150 Years After the Civil War, Race Still Haunts Us

The Bellingham Herald
By Orson Aguilar

One hundred and fifty years ago, on April 12, 1861, the first shots of the Civil War were fired. A century and a half later, the issue of race still haunts us.

Back then, most everyone understood that America’s bloodiest war – more than 623,000 dead – had its roots in race. But race is not a subject Americans like to think about anymore. At every turn, prominent voices try to pretend that since we’ve achieved a colorblind society, we can forget all that old unpleasantness.

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Does $3 million Settlement Deal With PG&E Reflect a Culture Change?

By Samuel S. Kang

On Monday, the California Public Utilities Commission will consider whether to accept a deal the commission’s staff negotiated with Pacific Gas and Electric over the utility giant’s failure to maintain and provide adequate pipeline safety records. The CPUC’s request for the record stems from last September’s gas pipeline explosion in San Bruno that killed eight people and incinerated 38 homes.

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Seize the Moment: Use Settlement Talks to Halt Abuse of Homeowners

American Banker
By Orson Aguilar and Tunua Thrash

State attorneys general and federal financial regulators are locked in settlement negotiations with U.S. banks that engaged in abusive, often fraudulent, mortgage and foreclosure practices. These negotiations may be the last, best chance to help struggling homeowners, stabilize neighborhoods and strengthen the economy.

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Alan Greenspan Is Once Again Banging the Drum for Deregulation — Is He Just Crazy?

Alter Net
By Orson Aguilar and Preeti Vissa

The free-market fundamentalists who brought us economic collapse are now frantically rewriting history in an attempt to justify their mistakes and head off effective regulation.

Some people never learn, and it seems that Alan Greenspan is one of them. The former Fed chair, who ignored repeated warnings of trouble in the subprime mortgage and derivatives markets and whose inaction played a key role in the crash of ’08, is now claiming that the reason the economic recovery is so weak is too much government action.

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If AT&T Buys T-Mobile, Who Wins and Who Loses?

California Progress Report
By Preeti Vissa and Samuel S. Kang

AT&T’s recently announced plan to acquire T-Mobile has the potential to change the communications landscape in significant ways. A few have already praised or condemned the proposed merger, but rather than rush to judgment (and federal regulators could take a year or more to approve or reject the proposal), it may make more sense to take a deep breath, step back, and look at the big picture.

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If AT&T Buys T-Mobile, Who Wins and Who Loses?

Huffington Post
By Preeti Vissa

Wealth and poverty, as I’ve noted in recent posts, aren’t just about income. They’re also about things like assets and health. Another increasingly important factor is connectivity.

Which brings us to AT&T’s recently announced plan to acquire T-Mobile, which has the potential to change the communications landscape in significant ways. A few have already praised or condemned the proposed merger, but rather than rush to judgment (and federal regulators could take a year or more to approve or reject the proposal), it may make more sense to take a deep breath, step back, and look at the big picture.

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Inching Forward on Credit Scores

Huffington Post
By Preeti Vissa

In December I wrote about problems with traditional credit scoring systems, which put some consumers at a disadvantage because important information isn’t included. Now one major credit reporting agency, Experian, has announced a change that represents a meaningful step forward, but it’s not enough.
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And the Oscar for Irony Goes to …

SF Gate
By Preeti Vissa and Regina Davis

The Best Documentary Oscar for “Inside Job,” aside from being a deserved award for a well-made film, is also a reminder of how wildly off-track the debate about economic recovery has gone. Watch the film (out on DVD March 8 ) and marvel at how much structural reform is needed, and at the irony of how much the Republican House majority is doing to thwart what reforms have already been enacted.
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Debit Card “Swipe” Fees: Will Low-Income Consumers Be Protected?

Huffington Post
By Preeti Vissa

A rule change being considered by the Federal Reserve Board could have a big effect on banking services millions of us use every day, and on whether low-income Americans are able to access those services. It’s important that the Fed approach this decision in a way that protects consumers.
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Attacks on Health Care Reform Will Hurt the Valley

The Modesto Bee
By Frank Alvarez and Carla Saporta

Attacks on the Affordable Care Act — the health care reform law passed last year — are ratcheting up in Congress. If they succeed, they will hurt all Americans, and some of the greatest harm will be felt right here in the San Joaquin Valley. The valley’s representatives in Congress need to think long and hard before going further down this road.
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