Friday, February 27, 2009

Nevada's Security Savings is 16th bank to fail in 2009

SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) -- Henderson, Nev.-based Security Savings Bank was closed by regulators Friday, marking the 16th bank failure of 2009. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation said the failed bank's deposits have been assumed by Las Vegas-based Bank of Nevada. Security Savings Bank had $238.3 million in total assets and $175.2 million in deposits as of Dec. 31, the FDIC said.

Temecula bank agrees to FDIC cease-and-desist order

State and federal banking regulators are putting some heavy restrictions on Temecula Valley Bank so it won't slide into financial ruin.

On Wednesday, Temecula Valley Bancorp - the parent of the bank - said the bank agreed to a cease-and-desist order issued by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and California Department of Financial Institutions, which mandates the bank abide by numerous management and lending rules.

FDIC orders Imperial bank to return to sound practices

Imperial Capital Bank has agreed to take steps to improve its operations under a cease-and-desist order from banking regulators.

The San Diego-based bank, which lost $32.6 million last year, is the third local financial institution this year to be hit with an order from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. to return to sound banking practices. Others are Discovery Bank of San Marcos and Temecula Valley Bank.

FDIC acts against Westbridge Bank in Chesterfield

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. has ordered Westbridge Bank & Trust stop unsafe practices, improve its management and raise its capital.

The government regulator issued "cease and desist" order against the bank, accusing the bank of "unsafe and unsound" practices. Such orders are issued when regulators find serious problems at a bank.

Central Progressive Bank admonished again by FDIC

Central Progressive Bank of Lacombe has received a second admonition from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

The agency issued a cease-and-desist order in January asking the bank to curtail "unsafe or unsound" banking practices and to perform a variety of tasks, such as reorganizing bank management and drafting new budgets and profit plans.

FDIC hits 2 Minnesota banks with cease-and-desist orders

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. has issued cease-and-desist orders against two Minnesota banks for engaging in "unsafe or unsound business practices."

The federal agency, which insures the nation's bank deposits, cited both Horizon Bank of Pine City and Paragon Bank of Wells for operating with inadequate capital and failing to set aside adequate allowances for possible loan losses, according to separate cease-and-desist orders filed in January but made public today.

Columbia River Bank gets FDIC order

Columbia River Bank has received a cease-and-desist order from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and the Oregon Division of Finance and Corporate Securities that requires the bank to maintain higher capital levels, among other measures to improve its safety and soundness.

Columbia River Bank is held by The Dalles-based Columbia Bancorp (NASDAQ:CBBO).

FDIC hits Cape Fear Bank with cease and desist letter

Wilmington’s Cape Fear Bank has agreed to beef up its capital reserves and seek regulators’ approval before paying out any future dividends as part of an agreement with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and state overseers, the bank said in a release Thursday.

FDIC issues cease and desist Horizon

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) issued a cease and desist order to Horizon Bank, with offices in Pine City and North Branch, for what it called “unsafe and unsound banking practices.” The order was made public today, Feb. 27, based on a January investigation.

Obama says Iraq pullout by Aug 2010 Video:1:35

EU to promise $556 million for Palestinian aid. But who will oversee Gaza reconstruction? |

EU to promise $556 million for Palestinian aid. But who will oversee Gaza reconstruction? |

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Thursday, February 26, 2009


Pelosi throws cold water on weapons ban (from The Hill)

Pelosi throws cold water on weapons ban
Posted: 02/26/09 11:59 AM [ET]

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi tossed cold water on the prospect of reinstating the assault weapons ban, highlighting Democrats’ reluctance to take on gun issues.

Attorney General Eric Holder raised the prospect Wednesday that the administration would push to bring back the ban. But Pelosi (D-Calif.) indicated on Thursday that he never talked to her. The Speaker gave a flat “no” when asked if she had talked to administration officials about the ban.

“On that score, I think we need to enforce the laws we have right now,” Pelosi said at her weekly news conference. “I think it's clear the Bush administration didn’t do that.”

Outside of the dig at the recent Republican president, that phrase is the stock line of those who don’t want to pass new gun control laws, such as the National Rifle Association.

The White House declined to comment on Holder's remarks, referring reporters to the Department of Justice. The DoJ did not respond to The Hill's request for comment.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Limbaugh defends Jindal - Video 6:42

Bad Voodoo's War

Shields and Brooks - on Jindal


Laura and Army 1st Sgt. Rodney Prosser with their daughter Heidi, 11, and son Keith, 13, sit in front of what remains of their Greensburg, Kan., home after it was destroyed by a category F5E tornado, May 4, 2007. They and the rest of the Greensburg community have resolved to rebuild their town as a global example of clean energy.

Tom Delay - video

Bobby Jindal's speech

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Open thread: Synthesis of Jesus, Lincoln, Reagan, and FDR to address nation; Update: Churchill, too

9 p.m. ET everywhere. Obama should last about an hour, then Jindal takes over for 15 minutes. Here’s my Twitter prediction of what Jindal would say from early this afternoon, and here’s the excerpt of his speech released for publication a little while ago. How’d I do?

Compare and contrast the big finish to his rebuttal…

“A few weeks ago, the President warned that our nation is facing a crisis that he said ‘we may not be able to reverse.’ Our troubles are real, to be sure. But don’t let anyone tell you that we cannot recover - or that America’s best days are behind her.”

…with the key passage to the speech he’s rebutting. Hmmm:

But while our economy may be weakened and our confidence shaken; though we are living through difficult and uncertain times, tonight I want every American to know this: We will rebuild, we will recover, and the United States of America will emerge stronger than before.

The boss has already provided the Cliff’s Notes version of The One’s speech in case you don’t feel like watching. Or, if you prefer a longer treatment, try the AP’s report from the future on an address that hasn’t been delivered yet. Sounds like it was a smash. Exit question: Does the fact that the very first “Jindal is a Muslim” rumors are starting to swirl mean he’s officially arrived on the national stage?

Update: Politico helpfully prepares Jindal for the inevitable “you reeked” backlash.

Update: I forgot Churchill in the headline, but Chris Matthews didn’t. Follow the link for Buchanan’s retort.

Man Threatens President Obama (from COX)

Man Threatens President Obama
02-24-2009 3:04 AM

(Omaha, NE) -- Johnnie Galarza was accused of threatening to shoot President Obama soon after the election. Yesterday, officials in U.S. District Court in Omaha said the charge will be dismissed if Galarza undergoes psychiatric rehabilitation. Fifty-five-year-old Galarza had openly talked about how to shoot Obama during a therapy session. The remarks were reported to authorities by his Department of Veterans Affairs counselor. Galarza says he has been suffering from depression and post-traumatic stress from his days as an Army combat sniper. Galarza is not considered to be a dangerous person, according to an analysis from his therapist.

US Airways crew testifies 2:39

Fed chief reports to Congress 2:08

Ben Bernanke: best hope is recovery in 2010 (Times Online)

Ben Bernanke: best hope is recovery in 2010

The Federal Reserve chairman said that the US economy will only recover if Washington’s bail-out plans succeed this year

The future prosperity of the world’s biggest economy is dependent on President Obama’s $1 trillion bet to dig America out of the worst recession for decades, the US central bank has warned.

In a testimony to the Senate, Ben Bernanke, Federal Reserve chairman, said that the US economy will only recover this year if Washington’s bail-out plans succeed in helping the country’s fractured financial system to return to normal.

He told politicians on Capitol Hill that if White House fiscal stimulus proposals and the continued financial assistance from the Fed have their desired effect, the American economy should begin to grow again in the second half of this year.

Mr Bernanke said: “Only if that is the case, in my view there is a reasonable prospect that the current recession will end in 2009 and that 2010 will be a year of recovery.”

But new house price figures published yesterday, which showed no sign of recovery, and data indicating that consumer confidence had hit a new low, illustrated the size of the task facing President Obama and the Fed to encourage Americans to start spending again.

According to the S&P Case-Shiller US house price index, property prices had sunk 27 per cent by December from their peak in the second quarter of 2006. The final three months of 2008 saw US property prices drop at a record rate, plummeting 18.2 per cent – the biggest year-on-year decline in the index’s 21-year history.

Separately, new figures showed that US consumer confidence plunged to a record low in February. That slide is expected to result in a 4 per cent decline in retail sales across the country this year. Consumer spending, of which retail sales are a part, is vital for the prosperity of the US economy, accounting for two-thirds of growth.

While America slid into a recession in December 2007, the economy has since deteriorated at an astonishing rate. In the fourth quarter of 2008, the US economy shrank by 3.4 per cent, a number which this month is expected to be revised down to 5.5 per cent. Wall Street is expecting the first quarter of 2009 to be equally bad, but less severe in the second quarter, followed by modest growth in the second half of the year. Unemployment — 6.7 per cent of the US workforce is out of a job — is expected to continue to rise well into 2010.

The Dow Jones industrial average also took strength from Mr Bernanke's words rising by 179.37 points or 2.52 per cent to 7,294.15 in late afternoon trading in New York. Yesterday it had plunged by 250.89 points – or 3.5 per cent – to 7,114.78, its lowest level since May 1997.

Some states may shun stimulus funds |

Some states may shun stimulus funds |

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Canadian churches take up cause of five Guantánamo detainees |

Canadian churches take up cause of five Guantánamo detainees |

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Sunday, February 22, 2009

EU crackdown

European leaders in Berlin have agreed on the need to regulate all financial markets including hedge funds.


As well as greater supervision of all financial markets and instruments, leaders underlined the need to reassess the issue of pay at finance firms.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy added: "We all agreed that we can no longer tolerate the reward package system for traders and bankers."

There has been much criticism of bankers' bonuses, which have been high despite their bank's poor performance.

Leaders also said they wanted to crack down on tax havens.

Ms Merkel said: "As far as uncooperative players, tax havens or areas where non-transparent business is carried out are concerned, we need to develop sanction mechanisms. These must be made very concrete," she said

She added that a list would be drawn up "clearly showing which the unco-operative jurisdictions are."

MTP - Bobby Jindal - Video: Mash-up.

Sunday Morning Wrap-up 2/22/09 - Video:3:46

Saturday, February 21, 2009

IRS claims Swiss bank UBS kept 52,000 US account secret (AP)

Yes, Tax Evasion is illegal.

MIAMI (AP) — Swiss bank UBS AG used coded language in internal e-mails and memos, created hundreds of sham offshore entities and lied to U.S. officials in an elaborate scheme to conceal the overseas accounts of wealthy Americans, the Internal Revenue Service claimed in federal court documents.

The IRS filed the documents this week seeking to force the bank to turn over records for an estimated 52,000 U.S customers who allegedly violated American tax laws by concealing Swiss accounts worth at least $14.8 billion

For Alan Keyes -

For the Black helicopter crowd.

"Obama is a radical communist and I think it is becoming clear. That is what I told people in Illinois and now everybody realizes it is coming true.... He is going to destroy this country and we are either going to stop him or the United States of America is going to cease to exist....

"The man is an abomination.... That is a man with such a seared conscience, I can't even understand why anyone in their right mind would consider him worthy of political support....

"[He is a ]usurper occupying the office without constitutional warrant."

"He has refused to provide proof that he is in fact a natural-born citizen....

Taguba backs commission to investigate Bush-era abuses.» (Think Progess)

Taguba backs commission to investigate Bush-era abuses.»

taguba4.jpgLast summer, former Abu Ghraib investigator ret. Army Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba said that the Bush administration had “committed war crimes” and needed to be “held to account.” Yesterday, 18 human rights organizations, former State Department officials, and former law enforcement and military leaders — including Taguba — signed onto a letter asking the President to create a non-partisan commission to investigate the Bush administration’s torture policies. In a new interview with Salon, he explains why:

I feel we have to come to terms with policies that have gained such notoriety and have been debated about whether they were in the best interest of our national security, and whether those who created these policies were pressured by their senior leadership. […]

[I support] a structured commission with some form of authority with clear objectives and a follow-on action plan. I’m not looking for anything that is prosecutorial in nature, unless a suspected violation of relevant laws occurred, which should be referred to the Dept of Justice.

Soldier convicted of killing Iraqi detainees, sentenced to life in prison (from Stars and Stripes)

I hate this story but a crime is a crime; if this story wasn't so straightforward I wouldn't post it.

VILSECK, Germany — An Army medic was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole following his conviction Friday afternoon of premeditated murder and conspiracy to commit premeditated murder in the deaths of four Iraqi detainees in March 2007.

He was convicted for his role in the March 2007 incident, of shooting two of four Iraqi detainees who were bound, blindfolded and killed execution-style beside a Baghdad canal.

He was acquitted of a charge of obstructing justice and accessory after the fact for the January 2007 incident, in which it was alleged Leahy helped carry a wounded detainee out of a Bradley fighting vehicle before the detainee was shot by then-Company A 1st Sgt. John Hatley.

Gov. Jindal rejects funds for his unemployed after his state runs out of unemployment funds, Huh? (From Think Progess)

Jindal Rejects $90 Million In Recovery Funding That Would Have Benefited 25,000 Louisiana Residents»

jindalbush.jpgWhen President Obama signed the Economic Recovery and Reinvestment Act last week, it included three different provisions to benefit unemployed workers. The first provided funding to states that allowed for a $25 per week increase in benefits. The second extended the Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) program which gives 20 weeks of federally-funded unemployment benefits to individuals “who had already collected all regular state benefits,” while the third provisionwidened the pool of people eligible to receive unemployment benefits.

Today, however, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal announced his intention to opposechanging state law to allow his Lousiana citizens to qualify for the second two unemployment provisions. Jindal said the state would only be accepting money to increase the unemployment insurance payments for those who currently qualify for unemployment insurance.

In all, Jindal turned away nearly $100 million in federal aid for his state’s unemployed residents. Further, as the National Employment Law Project projected on Febuary 13, EUC extension alone would have benefited 24,981 Louisiana residents. Jindal justified his decision by claiming that expanding unemployment benefits would result in tax increases for businesses. In a press release, the governor’s office explained:

The Governor said the state will not use a portion of the stimulus package that requires the state to change its law to expand unemployment insurance (UI) coverage to qualify for up to $32.8 million of the federal stimulus funding because it ultimately would result in a tax increase on Louisiana businesses.

But it is not clear why participating in the expanded unemployment insurance program would result in tax increases for business. By Jindal’s own estimate, the recovery package would have funded his state’s unemployment expansion for three years, at which point the state could — if it chose to do so — phase out the program.

As New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin suggested earlier today, perhaps Jindal’s presidential ambitions are “clouding” his judgement. “I think he’s been tapped as the up-and-coming Republican to petition a run for president the next time it goes around. So he has a certain vernacular, and a certain way he needs to talk right now,” Nagin said.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Guantanamo soldier speaks out- video:7:38.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Bristal Palin to teens - "Abstinence doesn't work." (note: Alaska has the highest teenage birth rates)

The first bridge goes up from the Stimulus

That was fast. - CMP

From the Kansas City Star:

Missouri bridge construction is first stimulus project under way

The Associated Press

TUSCUMBIA, Mo. | Construction crews began work on a replacing a rural Missouri bridge just minutes after President Barack Obama signed a $787 billion stimulus package.

The Missouri bridge project was expected to be the first in the nation to get started under the stimulus plan. Missouri transportation officials met at the bridge Tuesday and quickly approved its replacement as a way of showing that infrastructure expenditures can have an immediate economic effect.

The 1,000-foot bridge crosses a Missouri River tributary about 30 miles southwest of the state Capitol. It was built in 1933. It was closed to large trucks in 2007 because of structural concerns.

The Missouri Department of Transportation also planned to begin work Tuesday on three other projects.

Peak of Unemployment

Tracking U.S. Monthly Unemployment (from Feb 6, 2009)

Unemployment Rate
Percent of U.S. workers age 16 and older

Mass Layoffs
Number of mass layoff events affecting at least 50 employees
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

The need to do something quickly.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Exclusive! Ensign, Frank, McCaskill, Pence; MTP - Video 9:00

Iraq - Thomas Ricks Video - 10:19

Bishop denies Holocaust 1:40