No Real Loan Forgiveness, Re-segregate and Leaving All Children Behind, Arizona Voter Suppression, Weird Germans, and Lincoln Like Politics

Ideas and Issues
uncounted ballots

New Orleans

No Real Loan Forgiveness, Just More Bank Scams

“…the main purpose of the settlement was to keep people in their homes.  Yet the report shows that $13 billion of debt has been written off in 113,500 short sales, versus $2.5 billion in 22,000 principal-reduction loan modifications.  Those numbers raise questions about which types of borrowers are receiving which types of aid.  The average debt write-off in a short sale is about $116,000.  The average in a principal reduction is about $117,000.  That suggests some of the borrowers doing short sales may have been able to qualify for principal reduction instead.  It also suggests that aid is being targeted on large mortgages, presumably for higher-income borrowers.” (NYT)

No surprise that once again a bank “settlement,” comes off as more of a “sell-out!”

Arizona Voter Suppression on Steroids

“Ideas and plenty of criticism have been floating around in meetings, e-mail and letters since the exact number of ballots left to be counted after the polls closed – 631, 274 – came to be known….In Maricopa County [Phoenix], which as roughly 60 percent of all registered voters in the state, 115,000 votes were cast through provisional ballots, a 15 percent increase from 2008, based on state records.  Some 59,000 people who requested early ballots also went to the polls on Nov. 6, accounting for almost half of all provisional ballots cast.  According to complaints logged by grassroots groups working to mobilize Latino voters, many were first-time voters who signed up to get their ballots by mail and claimed to have not received them.”  (NYT)

How predictable was this?  And, if steps are taken now to push back on voter suppression now that huge numbers of states are under one-party control, then forget about increasing voter participation!

No Child Left Behind Re-segregates Public Schools

“…such competition has achieved little more than re-segregation, long charter school waiting lists and the same anemic international rankings in science, math and literacy we’ve had for years.”   (Martin Brick NYT)

And, wasn’t this the plan or are you saying this was a surprise?

Politics Does Not Suck

“The challenge of politics lies precisely in the marriage of high vision and low cunning.  Politics is noble because it involves personal compromise for the public good.”   (David Brooks NYT)

Is this just in the movies or in the USA, too?

Weird Germans

“It is not that the laws [on lobbying] are stricter here [in Germany]; in many cases, they are looser.  Businesses can give unlimited contributions directly to political parties, as can private individuals.  Donations below 10,000 euros, or about $13,000, are not reported.   The difference is largely cultural.  Germans dislike costly campaigns and rampant fund-raising, and the old parties have seen what happens to those too cozy with donors.”  (NYT)

What’s wrong with them?  Oh, you mean, it’s us?