Wednesday News Reads: Day Three

Good Morning

Today is day three of the Supreme Court hearings on Obamacare. For a preview of this morning’s activities we go to SCOTUS Blog:

Argument preview: Health care, Part III — Beyond the mandate : SCOTUSblog

Argument preview: Health care, Part IV — The Medicaid expansion : SCOTUSblog

The articles are best read in full, so I won’t quote from them, there is also a main page for the healthcare hearings you can go to at SCOTUS blog: Health Care : SCOTUSblog

From Reuters, U.S. top court weighs all-or-nothing on healthcare law

* Asks if law can survive without insurance mandate?

* Justices to end three days of historic arguments

* Will also take up Medicaid expansion for the poor

The fate of President Barack Obama’s healthcare overhaul will be on the line on Wednesday when the U.S. Supreme Court considers whether the entire law must fall without its centerpiece insurance mandate.

Completing three days of historic arguments, the nine justices will hear arguments on whether the rest of the law, Obama’s signature domestic accomplishment, can survive should the court decide Congress exceeded its powers by requiring all Americans buy insurance by 2014.

The Obama administration faced skeptical questioning on Tuesday from the court’s five-member conservative majority on the insurance requirement. But it was unclear whether it would strike it down or let it stand.

A ruling on the mandate that most people obtain health insurance or face a penalty appeared likely to come down to Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Anthony Kennedy, two conservatives who pummeled the administration’s lawyer with questions.

If even one of the five conservative Republican appointees joins the four liberal Democratic appointees on the court, the law would be upheld. If the five conservatives remain unified, the law would fall. A ruling is expected by late June.

The Raging Cajun had a lot to say about yesterday’s hearing…Carville: A Supreme Court loss will help Democrats

While the Obama administration fights to protect the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, Democratic strategist and CNN contributor James Carville said a Supreme Court overruling may not be such a bad thing for the president, politically.

“I think this will be the best thing that has ever happened to the Democratic Party,” Carville said Tuesday on CNN’s “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer.”

He added: “You know, what the Democrats are going to say, and it is completely justified, ‘We tried, we did something, go see a 5-4 Supreme Court majority’.”

Video of the interview at the link.

I am going to stay away from Trayvon Martin links this morning and give you a look at the murder of an Iraqi woman in California.

Killing of Iraqi Woman Leaves Immigrant Community Shaken

Sam Hodgson for The New York Times

Kassim Alhimidi wept over the body of his wife, Shaima Alawadi, at a prayer ceremony on Tuesday. She died after being found severely beaten in her home near San Diego.

There are still no leads, which seems both strange and frustrating.

Shaima Alawadi’s family says they found the first note taped to the front door of their house on a quiet suburban street here. It said: “This is my country. Go back to yours, terrorist,” according to her 15-year-old son, Mohammed.

Ms. Alawadi’s husband, Kassim Alhimidi, says he wanted to call the police. But his wife said no, insisting the note was only a child’s prank. Like many others in the neighborhood, the couple were immigrants from Iraq. In 17 years in the United States, they had been called terrorists before, he said.

Last week, Shaima Alawadi’s was found by her daughter, she was beaten with a tire iron and died from her injuries three days later.

“At this point, we are not calling it a hate crime,” said Lt. Mark Coit of the El Cajon police. “We haven’t made that determination. We are calling it an isolated incident, because we don’t have any evidence of anything similar going on at this point.”

What about that obvious hate filled note found near Alawadi’s body?

Anyway, this NYTimes article focuses on the neighborhood and comments from people who live in the “tight knit” community of El Cajon.

Yves has a post about  Foreclosure Fraud 101: A Step-By-Step Look at One of the Most Common Fixes for Securitization Fail « naked capitalism

One thing that foreclosure defense attorneys have seen as a huge red flag of servicer chicanery is the use of allonges. An allonge is a separate piece of paper used for endorsements that is required by the Uniform Commercial Code to be “affixed” to the note and used for endorsements when there is no more space left on the note for signatures. Allonges were pretty much never seen until the robosigning scandal, since all the space on a note (meaning the back and the margins) can be used for endorsements. But they have a funny way of showing up out of nowhere and solving all the problems with a particular foreclosure. Of course, if an allonge really was “affixed,” it shouldn’t be possible for it to materialize out of nowhere.

So readers can see how this looks up close, I’m attaching this pleading from Lynn Szymoniak (the foreclosure fraud investigator who appeared on 60 Minutes and later received $18 million in settling a qui tam case as part of the national foreclosure settlement). Lynn in still embroiled in an an ongoing foreclosure fight and a major bone of contention is whether the party trying to foreclose has standing.

I suggest you read this filing in full; it’s pretty comprehensible on its own. For newbies to this sort of thing, one thing that is it important to understand is that all the documents pertaining to a specific mortgage (the note, the mortgage, which is the lien on the property, title insurance, etc) go in a single file called a collateral file. It is supposed to be with the trustee or a custodian hired by the trustee, unless it has been sent out for a specific purpose. The documents in a collateral file are put in in a particular order (generally chronological) and are supposed to remain in that order.

And one last link for you, this time we will go back to L.A., Magic Johnson’s Group Wins Dodgers Auction With Record $2 Billion Bid – Forbes

Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt announced an agreement Tuesday night to sell the team to a group that includes former Los Angeles Lakers star Magic Johnson and former baseball executive Stan Kasten for $2 billion, a record price for a North American sports franchise.

The Johnson group’s bid was bankrolled by Guggenheim Partners, a privately held financial firm that manages over $125 billion. If the deal is approved in federal bankruptcy court, Guggenheim CEO Mark Walter would become the controlling owner.

That is all I have this morning, sorry it is a bit late…and on the short side. I will post more news links in the comments below. So what are you reading about today?

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21 Comments on “Wednesday News Reads: Day Three”

  1. Minkoff Minx says:

    When I wrote last nights news reads, I literally was falling asleep while typing out the last sentence. Here are some more links for you this morning:

    Trayvon’s murder is still topping the headlines, and I am glad that it is getting all the attention it should have gotten a month ago.

    Trayvon Martin’s slaying rivets nation – The Washington Post

    There is news of more
    Turmoil builds in China’s Tibetan regions

    And in Syria:

    Al-Assad accepts peace plan, but reports of more violence emerge – CNN.com

    Blasts and bullets after Syria accepts peace plan | World | Reuters

    World News – Report: Syria is torturing children, UN human rights chief says

  2. Minkoff Minx says:

    And my little “haven” of Banjoville is in the news again…North Ga. judge resigns amid ethics investigation | AccessNorthGa

    That makes two Judges resigning for ethics in the past month. You know, it is beautiful here…and there are very good people here…and I know that the corruption within our town is nothing new and it happens everywhere. I am glad these people are getting what they deserve.

  3. bostonboomer says:

    U. of Texas student newspaper publishes disgusting cartoon about Trayvon Martin shooting.

    http://dailytexanonline.com/blog/matter-opinion/2012/03/27/trayvon-martin-and-case-yellow-journalism

    • Woman Voter says:

      The comments on that cartoon are worse than the cartoon in my opinion. The name calling and physical threats of harm are disgusting. Sad, very sad.

    • RalphB says:

      The dustup over that made the local news last night. Most students believe they have the right to publish, due to freedom of speech, but don’t like the cartoon at all.

  4. bostonboomer says:

    I hope this ownership group will work out for the Dodgers. Frank McCourt tried to buy the Red Sox when the team was up for sale, and he was turned down. I don’t understand why MLB let him buy another team after it became clear he didn’t have enough money.

  5. RalphB says:

    Arlen Specter, standup comic…

    Former Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter (D) on Wednesday compared Mitt Romney to an actress in pornographic films because he had shifted position so often throughout his political career.

    “The Republican Party has moved so far to the right, you can’t recognize Mitt Romney,” Specter told MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski. “What Mitt Romney will appear in October?”

    “Mitt Romney has changed positions more often than a pornographic movie queen,” he added.

    http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/03/28/arlen-specter-mitt-romney-changes-positions-more-than-a-porn-star/

  6. RalphB says:

    Satiric genius at work.

    “Colbert: Obama is still planning to not take away our guns”

    http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/03/28/colbert-obama-is-still-planning-to-not-take-away-our-guns/

  7. bostonboomer says:

    David Dayen: The subsidies are what prevents insurance from going into a “death spiral,” not the mandate

    http://fdlaction.firedoglake.com/2012/03/27/its-the-subsidies-not-the-individual-mandate-that-stops-the-insurer-death-spiral/

    That makes a lot of sense. If people simply can’t afford insurance, they’re going to pay the penalty (or not pay it, since there’s no enforcement system).

  8. RalphB says:

    The most important argument is this afternoon for the Medicaid expansion. If it’s ruled to be unconstitutional for the Fed to require states to do certain things to qualify for Fed money, then it essentially turns every program into little more than block grants. What about earlier Medicaid expansions or Dept of Education programs? The effect of that ruling could be huge and disastrous in the future.

    For the individual mandate, have the GOP thought ahead to what they always wanted to do with Social Security? Seems they want to replace it with mandated individual retirement accounts and it the insurance mandate is unconstitutional then so is that.

  9. ANonOMouse says:

    Some food for thought concerning George Zimmerman. I read today that his father is retired Virginia Supreme Court magistrate Judge Robert J. Zimmerman. Which explains why he got off with a wrist slap after accusations of domestic assault and assault on an officer. It seems the charges were dropped to misdemeanor charges and/or dismissed, with a punishment of anger managment classes. I wonder where I’d end up if I slapped a cop? Where do they keep female senior citizens in state prisons? :-)

    Hmmmmm! Proving, yet again, that Justice isn’t blind.

  10. NW Luna says:

    I’m against the mandate to purchase from a private company. I’m for a mandate to contribute to Medicare & Social Security. Huge difference in the details.

    Either way the Supreme Court goes, the insurance co’s benefit.

    Oh, for single-payer. (I know, just bitter & clingy. If I could knit I’d be knitting uteri to mail to R congressmen.)

    • dakinikat says:

      I’m not sure if you have to purchase from a private company. Part of the law expands medicaid so that if you can’t get private insurance, you can go into either the Federal Exchanges or the medicaid program.

      • RalphB says:

        It’s a shame that there’s been at least $205 million spent demonizing the ACA so that people have no clue what’s in it.

        • dakinikat says:

          When they ask people about point by point issues, like getting insurance for people with pre-existing conditions, or really sick children, or college aged kids, they like it … but put the title of the law on it and they all turn into know nothings and hate it.

      • RalphB says:

        Everyone seems to think the broccoli or brussel sprouts mandate is next. People lose their minds on the issue. Most effective propaganda ever.

        • Don’t forget, you’ll be forced to buy a Chevy Volt too! Oh no, an electric car – nothing could possibly be worse, except maybe a transvaginal ultrasound probe. Nah, after all it’s only the vagina of a slut that will be probed. They aren’t actually human…..but if that’s the case what would that fetus become when it’s developed and born? I’ve got it – a humancoli, combination human & broccoli. Yes, that was definitely snark city.

      • NW Luna says:

        As a healthcare provider, I like most of the program: no prior-condition limitations, included preventive care, and others. But we don’t know if we’ll have Federal Exchanges or what they’ll look like.

        A big question is how the federal government will run exchanges and specifically whether it will be an active purchaser, meaning it can deny insurers a place in the exchange if they don’t offer consumers a good deal. The recent HHS-proposed regulation on exchanges did not say.

        [Steve Larsen, director of the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight] said Thursday that “we will be releasing further guidance in some form — it’s not clear whether it will even have to be a regulation — that would clarify how we will be setting up an exchange or portions of an exchange.” “I can’t describe for you now the particular time frame,” Larsen added. “I can only say that we know that’s an issue that has to be resolved.” ….

        But despite all this, the feds would be smart to adopt a more aggressive purchasing model and set robust consumer protections and standards. Not only would such an approach help meet the goals of the exchanges — connecting individuals and families with affordable health care options — but it would also discourage some states from abandoning their own exchanges in favor of the federal option. HHS would face substantial cost increases as conservative governors who are reluctant to build exchanges in the first place begin to see the federal exchanges as an ideologically agreeable (and cheaper) alternative.

        http://thinkprogress.org/health/2011/07/22/276879/what-will-the-federal-exchanges-look-like/?mobile=nc

        For my situation, I checked out RomneyCare in Massachusetts — For one person it means about a $600/month premiums, a $2,000-4,000 deductible, and $2,000-$5,000 out of pocket, plus co-pays and limits.

  11. From the coverage on NPR this afternoon, it seems a foregone conclusion that the court is going to throw out the entire AHCA. I know, even if the govt’s attorney had been brilliant, this court is so beyond conservative I don’t think any part of the law stood a chance from minute one. I did love that Scalia asked if the lawsuit could be partisan. Were all the states suing Repugnant controlled. Clement said yes, that it could be viewed as partisan. A little honesty or simply rubbing the govt’s & the people’s noses in a pile of crap?