Happy Buy-Chocolate-and-Flowers-and-a-Card Day, supporting the chocolate, flowers and card industries.
• John Boehner is forced to split up the House surface transportation bill into three separate bills, to overcome far-right oppposition. What a clown show it is over there.
• The federal government recovered $4.1 billion in health care fraud last year. On the flip side, the high-risk pools expected to cover tens of thousands as a bridge to the implementation of the exchanges have significantly underperformed.
• RJ Eskow goes after Ed DeMarco.
• The Federal Reserve’s enforcement orders on servicer violations are truly a joke, and they once again include this boilerplate:
“NOW, THEREFORE, before the filing of any notices, or taking of any testimony or adjudication of or finding on any issues of fact or law herein, and without this Consent Assessment Order constituting an admission by (bank) of any allegation made or implied by the Board of Governors in connection with this matter, and solely for the purpose of settling this matter without a formal proceeding being filed and without the necessity for protracted or extended hearings or testimony, it is hereby ORDERED by the Board of Governors…”
In layman’s terms, no admission of wrongdoing. Again.
• Progressive groups want hearings on a Constitutional amendment to reverse the Citizens United ruling.
• Meanwhile, the Association of Mortgage Investors continues the trend of securities holders blasting the settlement deal.
• Politicians have not expanded the safety net. The nation got older and health care got more expensive, is all.
• Jeffrey Sachs looks at the hard numbers of the FY2013 budget, finds that the rich get off relatively easy, contrary to popular opinion. And the discretionary budget just gets battered in the budget, mostly by design, because of the debt limit deal.
• Could the opposition party in South Korea block the free trade agreement with the US?
• It’s nice that a former Republican Congressman has joined the call for an up or down vote on all Presidential nominees within 90 days, but this will only start gaining momentum when current Republicans have something to say about it.
• Phil Angelides, the chair of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, had the good sense to quit a firm that was about to invest in distressed mortgages, but how did he join up in the first place?
• Nancy Brinker of the Susan G. Komen Foundation also happens to be a penny ante grifter.
• Mike Elk on some labor victories and the importance of local, shop-to-shop organizing.
• Definitely with Josh Marshall on this: who cares if US voter registration rolls aren’t perfectly accurate as far as dead voters? That information isn’t transmitted directly from morgues to the registrar of voters. It takes time to clean up the rolls, not to mention money, which states don’t have.
• Yves pointed out the disclaimer the DoJ slapped on the National Mortgage Settlement website, saying they disavow its content. Hilarious.
• Elizabeth Warren takes the lead in another poll in the Massachusetts Senate race.
• Crazy Pete Hoekstra, on the other hand, saw his “yellowgirl” ad send him into a nosedive in Michigan.
• Have I mentioned lately how much I love the Occupy Our Homes movement?
• The Maine caucuses were an absolute mess, and could really blow up in Mitt Romney’s face.
• Speaking of that Romney professionalism, they put surrogate Jim Talent on a conference call to criticize Rick Santorum for voting for Medicare Part D, when Talent voted for it too.
• I heard US retail sales spun as a positive, but it should be noted that they were below forecast.
• The Club for Growth endorsed Dick Lugar’s opponent. Lugar is the most threatened Senator to a Tea Party primary challenge.
• Israel keeps accusing Iran of being behind the attacks on Embassy workers in India and Georgia, but Indian investigators don’t suspect the Iranians at all.
• Loving the idea of “cash mobs”.
• Holy crap, Stephen Breyer. Robbed at machete-point?
• Sadly, we won’t have Herman Cain on Dancing with the Stars this year.
• The ACLU takes a shot at Obama’s “evolution” on marriage equality in a Valentine’s Day message.