Morning Must Reads: March 27

In the news: gay marriage, J.P. Morgan, gun debate, tax code, immigration fines, matzo.

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Mark Wilson / Getty Images

The early morning sun rises behind the US Capitol Building in Washington, DC.

  • Supreme Court hears case on whether married same-sex couples are entitled to federal benefits. TIME’s Michael Crowley says Justice Kennedy will be the one to watch today.
  • CIA Director John Brennan faces a quandary over his appointment for clandestine service chief.
  • At least eight federal agencies are investigating J.P. Morgan Chase.
  • Race and the gun debate: murders with guns are the number one cause of death for African-American men between the ages of 15 and 34.
  • Ramesh Ponnuru: How to restructure the tax code
  • New Jersey Sen. Menendez bounces back from scandal.
  • Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg to launch $50 million immigration advocacy group.
  • On gun control, watch these Senate Democrats: Max Baucus of Montana, Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Kay Hagan of North Carolina, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Joe Manchin III of West Virginia and Mark Pryor of Arkansas.
  • Janet Napolitano, Secretary for Homeland Security: America’s 11 million undocumented workers must pay a fine on their path to citizenship.
  • Happy Passover! Here’s some history on the “Steve Jobs of Matzo.”
275 comments
sacredh
sacredh

The streak is over. Miami lost in Chicago. It was a brutal game and fun to watch. At east now Miami can start resting their starters because they won't be chasing the streak. I think they would have lost Sunday in San Antonio anyway. Nice game Bulls.

AlistairCookie
AlistairCookie

OT, but cute I think. At dinner, we were talking about Presidents on coins. I asked my 4y.o. if he remembered our current President's name. No, he said, so I reminded him. He said, "Barack Obama! That name sounds like broccoli. I like broccoli!" My 2y.o. hears this and runs a few laps around the house shouting "Pres'dent Broccoli Mama!" at the top of his lungs. I'd answer to that. :)

deconstructiva
deconstructiva

Happening now (5:15-ish): Ashley Judd is not going to run for McConnel's Senate seat. She's tweeting it now. This is too bad: Mitch the Snapping Turtle is vulnerable but like Bachmann is so entrenched and flushed with GOP cash that a typical no-name local is going to have a hard time beating him. Damn.

retiredvet
retiredvet

As self appointed troll monitor today I see the crew is batting 1000!

La_Randy
La_Randy

"Defunding Political Science Research is the Wrong Kind of Big Government"

"As a Nature editorial from last summer argued, when moves to cut off political science funding sponsored by Representative Jeff Flake were making their way through the House, “The fact that he [Flake] and his political allies seem to feel threatened by evidence-based studies of politics and society does not speak highly of their confidence in the objective case for their policies. Flake's amendment is no different in principle to the ideological infringements of academic freedom in Turkey or Iran. It has nothing to do with democracy.”"


MrObvious
MrObvious

 Fund'em.

Later on, Winston would hear that the company's unofficial policy was that if a loan applicant could "fog a mirror," he would be given a loan.

This kind of information is absolutely crucial to understanding what caused the subprime crisis. There are people out there still willing to argue that the government somehow "forced the banks to lend" to unworthy applicants. In reality, it was unscrupulous companies like Countrywide that were cranking out loans en masse, knowing that these loans would be unloaded down the line, first to banks and then to sucker investors like pension funds and foreign trade unions, almost as soon as they were created.


Can we expect any of these to go to jail?

Nah - punish the whistle blowers instead. 

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

Currently, one third of all the pay in the United States is raked in by corporate executives.  In 1970, the average CEO made 28 times what an average worker at his company made. By 2005, this had swelled to 465 times what an average worker made. This is phenomena exclusive to the US, and is not shared by other developed Western nations like Japan where an average CEO makes less than 20x what an average worker does.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

Taxes, Economics, and Standard of Living

Although Ronald Reagan actually instituted one of the largest tax hikes in US history, he and the fiscal conservatives started their campaign to drastically reduce the top tax rate for the rich.

The conservative tax policy that unleashed the class war that ended the period known as the Great Compression (which followed the Great Depression), and was the terminus of an era where single income families enjoyed plenty of jobs, economic opportunity, and a larger degree of social mobility.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

Liam Fox expands on this, “America incarcerates more of it’s citizens than any other country in the world.  With only 5% of the world population, America has more than 25% of the world’s prisoners.  The steep incline in the number of Americans incarcerated began in 1980.  Since that time the number of Americans incarcerated has jumped from under 500,000 people to close to 2,500,000.   The advent of private prisons during that time has created a powerful lobby, on behalf of its Wall Street investors, to lengthen sentences.  Longer sentences means more prisoners.  More prisoners means more prisons.  More prisoners, and more prisons, means more profit.  As a result, Americans now spend almost $70 billion a year on a corrections system (including prison, probation and parole) being run largely for profit.”

DonQuixotic
DonQuixotic

Syrian opposition opens embassy in Qatar

Syria's opposition opened an embassy Wednesday in Doha, Qatar, a day after Arab League representatives meeting there allowed the rebels to take Syria's seat at the summit.

The embassy is the first for the Syrian National Coalition, which has been recognized by more than 100 nations as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people.

Other coalition ambassadors -- in Paris, London, Washington and the representative to the Gulf Cooperation Council countries all operate without a formal embassy building, according to Sarah Karkour with the coalition's media office.

The coalition is taking over the embassy building that formerly housed the diplomatic representatives of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government, which lashed out Wednesday at the Arab League's decision to seat rebel leaders at the summit.

nflfoghorn
nflfoghorn

@sacredh   Fun while it lasted.  With more teams now than forty-one years ago this might've been even more impressive than the Lakers' streak.

retiredvet
retiredvet

@AlistairCookie That's hilarious. 

One thing we learned very quickly with toddlers is be careful what you say in their presence. Because they repeat it.

bobell
bobell

@deconstructiva It would have been great fun to watch, but I think Judd is too liberal, and has extolled Tennessee too frequently, to win over Kentucky voters.  Sadly, there simply may not be a strong Democratic contender to run against Mitch in 2014.  We can always hope he gets primaried.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@Ivy_B Where was Steve King and his mouth breathing constituents when the Bush twins were running the secret service ragged bar hoping with fake IDs?

nflfoghorn
nflfoghorn

@Ivy_B Take this out to its (il)logical conclusion:  Teh Obama girls get to go to Mexico and the Bahamas.  So why not let all tween girls go?  Congress can subsidize their spring break...make it fair for everybody!

DonQuixotic
DonQuixotic

@Ivy_B 

It takes a very tough man to pick on children that can't speak out against him.

deconstructiva
deconstructiva

@La_Randy  Poe's Law is alive and kicking among the teavangelicals, no doubt The Onion hates this. What purpose does The Onion serve now when the tea's provide all the satire in real life?

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@La_Randy Bachamann investigation is a  Muslim Brotherhood plot. By gold from Goldline to put a stop to their actions.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@MrObvious So will Orange man Mozillo do jail time. His Ponzi scheme alone cost tax payers billions and may yet bring Bank of America to its knees.

Ivy_B
Ivy_B

@mantisdragon91 That's why I always vote against or abstain on executive compensation options on annual corporate proxies.

MrObvious
MrObvious

@mantisdragon91 

Of course they make that kind of money no matter how incompetent they are. And demand severance packages as they're kicked out. You can chalk that one down as a creation of a wonky and idiotic tax system. Where there's more incentive to grow stock options and bonuses then to grow a company and where the size of the corps resources can be used to buy the political system and corner markets.

MrObvious
MrObvious

@retiredvet 

What can you expect from a family structure that some times have two pair of balls.

paulejb
paulejb

@mantisdragon91 

First they came for the Russians... 

Bugs won't be quite as sanguine when they come after his dole check.

sacredh
sacredh

They're teasers. Bobell, have you heard anything else on a waiver?

deconstructiva
deconstructiva

@bobellYeah, ironically the Tea Party might be the best hope to toss out the snapping turtle. Now who will the D's run? How many candidates can you name who could stand up against him? Actually, how many candidates can you name? Beshear? Grimes?   *crickets*


retiredvet
retiredvet

Oh,and: Idiots! - They're everywhere.

nflfoghorn
nflfoghorn

@sacredh Mom (81) had her other knee replaced recently so whatever you have to go through...piece of cake comparison-wise1  ; )

sacredh
sacredh

I'm sorry to hear that bobell. It's looking more and more like I'll be off for several weeks for knee surgery unless the MRI reveals something that won't require surgery.

bobell
bobell

@sacredh

@sacredh We're not going to get a waiver. For reasons too complex to fit into a post brief enough for livefyre, the actual furlough hasn't yet taken shape -- duration or time frame. But we'll have one.

Morale is sinking, and productivity with it, although that's less true of my office than many others. We're a staff code.  It's the people who actually manage the programs who are really taking a hit. Not only are they facing a furlough, their program funds are being cut. And because the cut is across-the-board, some of them are having to postpone or give up on really important things -- important to the country, that is..

I'd like to think those [expletive deleted]s in Congress will pay for this, but I have no real hope. I believe in law, but justice not so much.

nflfoghorn
nflfoghorn

@retiredvet @nflfoghorn Not going to pass judgment on the professor until I know more about the exercise.  Lurch, OTOH, had to be told by his handlers to play this up for the evangelical base and likely shot his mouth off before getting the whole story.  He panders worse than he looks (and that's no small feat bro!)