The 112th Congress has been an embarrassment — and its members know it. As Rep. Jim Cooper, a moderate Democrat from Tennessee who has served on and off in Congress since 1983, says, “America’s problems have rarely looked so large, and Congress has rarely looked so small.”
With investigators zeroing in on over a dozen big banks in the Libor rate rigging scandal, the timing couldn’t be better for a structural overhaul of Europe’s banking sector. Not so fast, says the banking lobby.
Ever heard of the high-level expert group tasked with reforming the structure of the EU banking sector?
How about the Liikanen group as the expert panel is also known?
Too bad, because the group led by Finland’s central bank chief Erkki Liikanen is tasked with what is arguably the most important effort to prevent a repeat of the financial crisis: To look into whether Europe’s banking sector needs to be restructured.
That’s because when the EU created the working group to look at structural reforms of the banking sector in January it did so without big fanfare. Even high-profile changes – such as Hugo Bänziger, until May chief risk officer of one of the banking behemoths, Deutsche Bank, joining the group – went publicly unannounced.
So it’s small wonder then that the Liikanen group’s call for external input on banking reform – from EU citizens and organizations – published on its sparse homepage yielded few answers. The so-called consultation process lasted one month and ended in June.
“There have been around 80 responses in total,” Monique Goyens, who is part of the Liikanen group and heads the European association of consumer organizations (BEUC), told DW.
Goyens defends the meager turnout citing time pressure and argues that interest groups not individual citizens were the target of the consultation because experience in the financial sector was needed to respond to the questions asked as part of the consultation process.
But the group’s official page clearly states that “all citizens and organisations are welcome to contribute to this consultation” and even provides an e-mail address for citizen responses.
Until recently, most scientists believed that neurons were the all-important brain cells controlling mental functions and that the surrounding glial cells were little more than neuron supporters and “glue.” Now research published in March in Cell reveals that astrocytes, a type of glia, have a principal role in working memory. And the scientists made the discovery by getting mice stoned.
Sun Valley and self-driving cars aside, the story of the day today is that social news site Digg has sold its remaining assets for $500K to the NYC-based tech firm Betaworks. While that number is indeed in the ballpark, we’re hearing from multiple sources that the total price of the Digg acquisition was around $16 million, including the price paid for IP by a previously unreported acquirer, LinkedIn.
According to a familiar source, the Washington Post ended up paying $12 million for the Digg team. Around the same time, career social network LinkedIn paid between $3.75 million and $4 million for around 15 different Digg patents including the patent on “click a button to vote up a story”.
Nevertheless, what Mitt said after the NAACP speech is reprehensible and a perfect example of how strained the GOP view of reality has become:“Remind them of this: if they want more stuff from government, tell them to go vote for the other guy — more free stuff.”
Here is Mitt Romney, a man who wants us to believe he received at least $100,000 a year from Bain Capital for 3 years for doing nothing, assuming that African Americans want MORE free stuff.
Forget the legacy of slavery, in which millions of slaves provided “free stuff” for centuries. Forget that our government spent billions propping up financiers like Mitt Romney. Forget that our government still provides nearly free loans to bankers while regular citizens often pay usurious rates. Forget that we give oil companies billions in subsidies they don’t need and pay defense contractors billions to use defense systems we don’t need.
When did we become a country where the millionaires are jealous of the people on food stamps? A country that thinks teachers and fire fighters are soaking us dry? A country that thinks the richest who are paying the lowest taxes in 80 years are the ones being beaten up?
I don’t think living through poverty is a virtue but when someone like Mitt Romney who was born well off makes such a certifiably inane statement, I’m assuming he missed some essential part of brain development. He has no idea what it’s like to struggle. No idea how humiliating it can be to have no option but to accept charity. No idea what it means that people who denied the vote until the 1960s are now being forced to pay a new form of a poll tax to get it back.