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  • Beijing Moves to Cool Housing Bubble

    If dramatic new measures to cool China's property markets are any indication, it seems that the top Communist Party brass in Beijing watch Charlie Rose, too. A little more than two weeks ago, well-known hedge-fund manager James Chanos went on the popular TV show and said that China was on a "treadmill to hell" thanks to the bubble brewing in its property markets. "They can't afford to get off this heroin of property development; it's the only thing that keeps the economic growth numbers going," said Chanos. While it's not the only thing, it's a pretty important thing. At least a tenth of China's GDP comes from real-estate investment, and by some more-liberal estimates, real-estate and construction-related activities represent 60 percent of GDP.Chanos, one of the first investors to see Enron coming, isn't the only one who's worried that Chinese property prices have been rising at their fastest rate in two years despite...
  • Financial Reform’s Day of Reckoning Might Not Be

    The politics of health care were easy. You were either for it or against it, and no one questioned the lines of disagreement. Financial reform is harder, and as the vote is called later today, no one knows exactly how things will shake out. This morning on Good Morning America, Sen. Richard Shelby, the ranking member on the Senate Banking Committee, said a deal is unlikely. If that happens, it could lead to an actual filibuster (although the Republicans would actually have to do it, and not just make threats). But despite Republican Leader Mitch McConnell’s feverish efforts to hold his bloc of 41 together, Shelby also said that within several hours, leaders would “have the votes,” signaling the package would move ahead.The good folks at Talking Points Memo have devised five distinct scenarios we could see before the day is out. Perhaps the Republicans will blink first and give the green light for a vote (which will almost certainly pass). Or maybe the Dems will blink and stall...
  • Murdoch May Have Bet Wrong on British Elections

    Has Rupert Murdoch called Britain's May 6 elections wrong? The News Corp. tycoon is used to picking winners. After his purchase of The Times in 1981, he backed Conservatives Margaret Thatcher and John Major, and he had no qualms changing ideological horses in 1997 shortly before Tony Blair's Labour Party retook Parliament. Last year Murdoch's tabloid The Sun threw its weight behind David Cameron's -Tories. At the time, they enjoyed a double-digit lead over Labour, headed by Prime Minister Gordon Brown, and the third-party Liberal Democrats were no more than a blip on the horizon.But now a surge in popularity has given the Lib Dems a boost, making a Tory victory less certain. Murdoch's detractors are overjoyed. "Rupert Murdoch won't decide this election. You will," crowed Britain's Independent newspaper in an ad campaign last week. Infuriated, his son James stormed into the Independent's newsroom. "What are you f--king playing at...
  • McCain Descending

    First John McCain tells NEWSWEEK he's not a maverick (after his major campaign ad in 2008 was entitled "Maverick") and will refuse to cooperate with President Obama for the rest of the year. Now McCain is supporting the odious immigration bill that Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer is signing into law. This bill is a repudiation of everything McCain has stood for for 25 years. It actually legislates ethnic profiling against the 30 percent of Arizonans who are Hispanic. It allows the police to demand citizenship papers of any brown-skinned person they see and waives the need for a search warrant if police think illegals are inside a house. Of course the bill is actually terrible for police. It turns them into immigration agents who will have much less time to actually catch crooks, not to mention not leaving them any place to put the tens of thousands of illegals they round up. In the past McCain has tamped down anti-immigrant fever. He showed great leadership in pushing for comprehensive im...
  • White House Fires at ‘Unconscionable’ Insurers

    The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act made the practice of denying coverage for preexisting conditions illegal as soon as the Department of Health and Human Services begins to phase in the law. But until that happens, there’s public opinion to be won and lost.Having caught wind from a Reuters article that one Indiana-based insurer is not just denying but revoking coverage from women with breast cancer, the Obama administration decided to make an example out of someone and hit back at the company, called WellPoint, with a strongly worded letter from HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. Here’s an excerpt:"As you know, the practice described in this article will soon be illegal. The Affordable Care Act specifically prohibits insurance companies from rescinding policies, except in cases of fraud or intentional misrepresentation of material fact."WellPoint should not wait to end the unconscionable practice of deliberately working to deny health insurance coverage to women...
  • Embarrassingly True Admission of the Day

    Is it possible that Michael Steele has been suffering from Stockholm syndrome and is now coming out of it? How else to explain what he told students at DePaul University earlier this week?"The Republican Party had a hand in forming the NAACP, and yet we have mistreated that relationship. People don't walk away from parties, their parties walk away from them. For the last 40-plus years we had a 'Southern Strategy' that alienated many minority voters by focusing on the white male vote in the South."There is really only one response to this kind of admission from the head of the RNC: duh.
  • A New Twist in Politics: Bisexual Candidate Accused of Being Straight

    Last week State Rep. Babette Josephs of Philadelphia's 182nd Legislative District accused her leading political opponent, Gregg Kravitz, of faking his bisexuality. Why? Because Philadelphia's gay, lesbian, and transgender voters constitute a powerful voting bloc in the district, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer's Thomas Fitzgerald.According to Fitzgerald, Josephs told a crowd, "'I outed him as a straight person,' during a fund-raiser at the Black Sheep Pub & Restaurant, as some in the audience gasped or laughed, 'and now he goes around telling people, quote, "I swing both ways." That's quite a respectful way to talk about sexuality. This guy's a gem.'" Kravitz, 29, has called Josephs's comments offensive. "That kind of taunting is going to make it more difficult for closeted members of the LGBT community to be comfortable with themselves," Kravitz said. "It's damaging."In an int...
  • By The Numbers: The Clean Energy Race

    China passed America for the first time ever in terms of total investment in clean energy in 2009, according to a new study by the Pew Charitable Trusts, which expressed concern that U.S. investment efforts ranked only 11th among the 20 largest industrial nations as a percentage of GDP: $18.6BILLIONS invested by America, the second-highest amount globally $34.6BILLIONS invested by China, the highest amount globally 0.13PERCENTAGE of GDP invested by America, placing it 11th in relative rankings 0.39PERCENTAGE of GDP invested by China, placing it third in relative rankings
  • Earth Day Happy Hour: Biz Markie Edition

    We here at the Gaggle aren’t so steeped in politics that we don’t take notice of pop culture from time to time. So we took a long look—and you should, too—at this fantastic Earth Day remix from the folks at Repower America paying homage to hip-hop master DJ Biz Markie, featuring a cameo of the man himself. The message? Clean energy now, yo. (Our favorite part comes at 1:08)
  • Reid to Push Forward on Financial Overhaul

    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced Thursday afternoon that he would invoke cloture for the financial-regulation bill. The Senate will move forward on the bill Monday.  ...
  • Obama Plays Populist

    There are those, like Ezra Klein, who think President Obama somehow wimped out in his speech at Cooper Union. But my take is different. ...
  • The Rime of the Ancient Stockbroker

    By Jerry Adler It is an ancient stockbrokerHe’s drinking Coke and Jacks.“Hey, I know you,” the banker said.“You worked at Goldman Sachs.“You swung a big one, so I heardWay back in the day.But here I came to watch the gameAnd now you’re in my way.”The stockbroker held up a handAnd ordered J&BHe fixed the banker with a stare“There was a bond,” quoth he.“Something called a CDOA total sack of doodyBut anyway, a Triple-AFrom S&P and Moody.”“I fear you, ancient stockbroker!I fear you’ll get me fired!You’re in the tank with Barney Frank.I think you might be wired.” “We flogged it up and down the StreetAnd lots of other placesAnd no one thought that what they’d boughtMight blow up in their faces.”“Chill out, ancient stockbroker!Get up off the floor!Why look’st thou so?” “That CDO—I sold to my brother-in-law! “And when the housing boom went bustI had nowhere to hide.Instead of a bow, the CDOAround my neck was tied.“Houses, houses everywhereAnd the market sure did stinkHouses, houses...
  • Secret Teenage Sex Codes Revealed!

    At least, that was the promise of a press release that landed in the NEWSWEEK inboxes this morning. "Secret texting codes: Are kids having sex and getting high under your nose?" asked the release. It's true: Under Your Nose has become a popular make out spot for today's youth. The solution, says this e-mail, is an interview with two authors willing to discuss both the perils of sexting and the value of good manners. The authors can also help parents decode the secret texting codes teens use to talk about sex, drugs, and, presumably, bad manners. To wit: LH6 . P911 . 8 . Al Capone . if your kids use secret texting codes like these, they just said "let's have sex (LH6)", "alert—parents coming into the room (P911)", "oral sex (8)" and "heroin (Al Capone)" Make no mistake: that would have been one hell of a text. But what's more shocking is the continued attempts to rend garments over sexting, or the assumption that...
  • Obama's Financial-Reform Speech to Be Lean, Mean

    Obama's coming north, and he's carrying a big stick: the president is expected to deliver a stern reprimand to the banking sector in his speech in New York Thursday, in the process excoriating some of his biggest financial backers, The Washington Post reports. Executives and employees from Goldman Sachs, the firm that will bear the brunt of Obama's finger-wagging, contributed nearly $1 million to his campaign in 2008. Senior adviser Valerie Jarrett told Bloomberg the president's speech will focus on pushing the financial-reform bill, which he advocates as the antidote to Wall Street's "failure of responsibility." "I believe in the power of the free market. But a free market was never meant to be a free license to take whatever you can get, however you can get it," Obama will say, per excerpts released by the White House. His pitch: either Wall Street institutes and adheres to tough rules, or it risks dragging the country into a second...
  • How to Beat Republicans? Keep Slamming Them.

    It’s no secret on Capitol Hill that Democrats are on the defensive heading toward midterm elections that are considered a referendum on their majorities in Congress and their man in the White House. Part of House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer’s job is to minimize losses however possible. With just over six months until the voting, Hoyer and colleagues are trying desperately to switch to offense, and keep Republicans from driving the conversation like they did on health care—a debate that almost proved crippling to his party’s survival.At a breakfast this morning in Washington hosted by The Christian Science Monitor, Hoyer talked with reporters, taking time to slam Republicans at every turn. When asked to make an opening statement, Hoyer quipped that he’d be brief and try “not to filibuster the opportunity,” a clear jab at the filibustering party du jour.The slams continued. Taking a page from history, Hoyer noted that ...
  • Will Germany Exit the Euro Zone?

    When Greece first appeared to be on the brink of default, analysts looked for signs of a euro-zone breakup, as stronger countries like Germany balked on funneling their taxpayer euros to rescue dissolute southern economies. Now, as Europe inches toward a Greek bailout, that danger seems to be receding. But a new one's cropped up in its place. As some economists, including Morgan Stanley's Joachim Fels, now speculate, the bailout may actually raise the risk that Germany will decide to exit the euro zone to save its own neck. German Chancellor Angela Merkel is facing rising discontent at home, as voters remember the old pledges that Germans would never have to bail out profligate economies to the south. If Germany were to leave—perhaps along with economic allies such as the Netherlands, Finland, and possibly France—it would not only soothe domestic worries but also spare the mess of making struggling southern economies choose between default on the one hand and austerity...
  • With Justice Probe, Massa Saga Gets Messier

    Just when you thought the charges involving former Democratic congressman Eric Massa's alleged sexual misconduct couldn't get any more convoluted, new issues of possible financial fraud surfaced over the weekend, prompting the House ethics committee to take the unusual step of launching a full investigation even though Massa has resigned. As that news was being digested, documents obtained by The Washington Post reveal that FBI and Justice Department prosecutors are pursuing a separate public-corruption investigation into large payments, made shortly before Massa resigned, from his campaign fund to his chief of staff, and to renew the lease on the congressman's personal car.The involvement of the Justice Department underscored the seriousness of the allegations against Massa, and now potentially against his chief of staff, Joe Racalto.The notoriously press-shy ethics committee announced in a statement that it was establishing an investigative subcommittee to look into...
  • Flights Resume From European Airports

    After days of paralysis, European airlines are back up and flying today. But although that news will hearten travelers who have spent days sleeping in concourses, experts warn that it will take weeks for the situation to get back to normal and all flights to be running on time. ...
  • Georgia's Separate Peace

    Moscow and Tbilisi are still officially at war a year and a half after Russian troops rolled into the breakaway Georgian republics of South Ossetia and Abkhazia and declared them independent. But quietly, with minimal fanfare on both sides, peace is breaking out. A crucial border crossing opened last month, direct flights have recommenced, and Russia has begun issuing more visas to Georgian nationals....
  • Could Charlie Crist in 2010 Be a Repeat of Joe Lieberman in 2006?

    As speculation that Florida Gov. Charlie Crist will run for U.S. Senate as an independent reaches a fever pitch, it's worth revisiting Sen. Joe Lieberman's independent run in 2006. Consider the parallels. Back then, Lieberman was attacked by Democrats for embracing (allegedly kissing, actually) a Republican president and enabling the most loathed element of that president's agenda (the Iraq War). In the current cycle, Crist has been attacked by Republicans for embracing (half-hugging, really) a Democratic president and enabling the most loathed element of that president's agenda (the stimulus package)....
  • The FDA and the Dilemma of Salt

    When I saw the Washington Post headline on my morning paper, top of the fold, saying the FDA plans to limit amount of salt allowed in processed foods for health reasons, I knew that critics of the Obama administration would be crying "nanny state." Ingesting all the salt you want without the government telling you that it's bad for you is another of those freedoms that the tea-party crowd surely cherishes. But we could all throw out our salt shakers and we'd still be getting way too much salt in our diet. That’s because a huge amount of sodium is routinely pumped into processed food and restaurant meals, resulting in Americans consuming two to three times the recommended amount of between 1,500 and 2,300 milligrams a day set by the Institute of Medicine.  ...
  • Quote of the Day: Protecting Free Speech

    "The First Amendment itself reflects a judgment by the American people that the benefits of its restrictions on the Government outweigh the costs. Our Constitution forecloses any attempt to revise that judgment simply on the basis that some speech is not worth it." —Chief Justice John Roberts writing for the majority in U.S. v. Stevens, which struck down a previous law banning animal-cruelty videos as unconstitutional.
  • Kal Penn, Actor and Obama Administration Official, Mugged in D.C.

    He escaped angry New Jersey cops and Guantánamo Bay, but Kal Penn was no match for the nation's capital. Gossip site TMZ reports that the actor-turned-political operative was mugged last night walking home in Washington, D.C. A robber apparently took Penn's "wallet and other personal property" at gunpoint around 1:20 a.m. That's no laughing matter—although there is a certain irony in the fact that the costar of the marijuana-fixated Harold and Kumar films had his 4/20 marred by the incident. (Also, plenty of other wags are taking their best shots.)...
  • Too Fat to Fight? Army Recruiters Discuss New Report

    Childhood obesity isn't the first thing that comes to mind when you think about the military. But Mission: Readiness, a D.C.-based organization of retired generals, admirals, and civilian military leaders, is seriously worked up about the epidemic. In "Too Fat to Fight," a new report released on the Hill today, the group says more than 27 percent of Americans between the ages of 17 and 24—that's more than 9 million young men and women—are too overweight to join the military. And it's calling on Congress to do something about it: to get junk food out of schools and to provide more-effective programs for kids to lose weight. "I was overwhelmed by the number," says Mission's Lt. Gen. Norman Seip, who retired from the U.S. Air Force last fall. "We need a force out there that's fit to fight." ...
  • Replacing Stevens on the Supreme Court: Where Does It Stand?

    1. No decision has been made by the president.2. The top four candidates are Elena Kagan, Diane Wood, Merrick Garland, and Janet Napolitano.3. Dark horses are still possible, especially if one could be found who is an economic progressive who could help redress what the president considers to be the tilt toward the powerful on the court. That's why I'm told that Harvard Law School professor and consumer advocate Elizabeth Warren, whose expertise in bankruptcy law is a match for many of the business cases before the court and who comes from modest origins (her father was a janitor), is in the running. Kagan has never been a judge, but she waived tuition when she was dean of Harvard Law School for anyone entering public service, a policy recently abandoned for financial reasons but sure to be viewed favorably by Obama.4. In the short and medium term it's all about "getting to five"—bringing Justice Anthony Kennedy along to build new majorities. Garland has...
  • Death to the Kittens: Supreme Court Defends Animal Cruelty Videos as Expression of Free Speech

    Is it morally reprehensible to torture and kill animals and document it on video? Maybe so. But that wasn’t the issue the Supreme Court was considering in its latest ruling published this morning. In U.S. v. Stevens, a case that tested the constitutionality of a law banning animal-cruelty videos, justices classified it as a First Amendment question, and ruled with significant unity—8 to 1—to strike down the law, which has been on the books since 1999.Animal cruelty in most forms is illegal—just look at Michael Vick and his wardrobe of orange jumpsuits. But some forms aren’t, like hunting or bullfighting, which creates a gray area in deciding just what crosses the line. The law's defenders argued that depictions of women in stiletto heels crushing hamsters was akin to child pornography. But it was a wobbly argument. One of the more concerning aspects of child molestation is often considered the long-term effect psychological effect on the child, long after scars heal. There’s...
  • Even the Wall Street Insiders Are Skeptical of Goldman

    Goldman Sachs’s first-quarter earnings increased by 91 percent, but these better-than-expected results still were not enough to overshadow the civil suit the SEC filed against the bank on Friday for allegedly misleading investors.   Even the Wall Street analysts from insider banks such as Deutsche Bank and Credit Suisse wanted to talk about the lawsuit on the Tuesday-morning earnings call, which Goldman, in an unusual move, opened to the public.   Goldman's general counsel, Greg Palm, spent the first part of the conversation laying out the case for the company's innocence.He says the bank had no economic incentive to create a portfolio of mortgage investments it knew would fail. (The bank lost more than $100 million by making the long bet against the housing market, he says). But the main thrust of his argument was that the parties involved in the Abacus deal were not some wide-eyed investors. They were savvy and familiar enough with Wall ...
  • Quote of the Day: Bill Clinton

    "Hillary's going to live to be 110. I joke with her all the time. She might have three husbands after me. You know, she's going to live forever." —Former President Bill Clinton, on whether his wife, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, would be a good pick for the Supreme Court.
  • Absurdly Premature 2012 Watch, Vol. 14: Why Romney Isn't a Hypocrite for Attacking Obama on Health Care

    As I write in this week's dead-tree magazine, one of the most surprising—and, frankly, self-defeating—aftershocks of Obamacare's passage is the way that Republicans are now roasting once-and-perhaps-future presidential candidate Mitt Romney for enacting similar reforms as governor of Massachusetts. Newt Gingrich recently called Romneycare "wrong." George Pataki has characterized it as "unconstitutional." And the Cato Institute is now implying that Romney is a hypocrite for attempting to "lead the charge against a health-care plan that is modeled on his own." The problem, of course, is that Romney's plan so closely...
  • Gates Memo: Reaction Roundup

    A hot New York Times scoop on U.S. policy has dispelled much of the warm, fuzzy feeling brought on by last week's nuclear summit in Washington. The paper reported Sunday on the existence of a memo that Defense Secretary Robert Gates wrote in January, stating that government simply doesn't have a viable long-term plan for dealing with Iran's nuclear program. One official told reporters that the memo was "a wake-up call." Gates is trying to cool off the heated response to the article, insisting that the Times missed the context of the memo: "The memo was not intended as a 'wake up call' or received as such by the President's national security team. Rather, it presented a number of questions and proposals intended to contribute to an orderly and timely decision making process."...
  • Adoption Isn't Always Easy: The New York Times With More Stories of Struggling Parents

    I first met Josephine Ruggiero 13 years ago when I was reporting a story about international adoption, "Bringing Kids All the Way Home." Ruggiero and her husband had adopted three young biological siblings from Russia in 1994 and they invited me into their home, where they talked openly about how difficult adoption can turn out to be—for parents and children alike. The couple had high hopes that their son and two daughters would adjust to family life in the U.S., but there were physical and behavioral issues from the start, including fetal-alcohol syndrome and posttraumatic stress disorder—information that was not shared by the Russian orphanage directors or their adoption agency. ...
  • Carl Levin: Another ‘Big Shoe to Drop' on Goldman

    Washington is suddenly looking very unkind to the firm that used to be known as "Government Sachs." Now the Senate's Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, led by Carl Levin, Democrat of Michigan, is planning to focus hearings scheduled for next week at least in part on Goldman Sachs's role in the financial disaster. Levin's staff has uncovered new documents "that link certain actions to specific people" at Goldman, according to a senior legislative official who spoke on condition of anonymity. The official would not divulge the nature of the allegation but said that Levin believes it amounts to "another big shoe to drop on Goldman." Spokespeople for Levin said they were not prepared to discuss the nature of the probe, but his committee has been conducting several weeks of hearings and one is planned for April 27 on "the role of the investment banks." "We expect to have some information tomorrow," spokesman Bryan...
  • Bill Clinton's Supreme Court Advice: Pick a Wild Card

    If you ask Bill Clinton what he thinks, President Obama should throw a curveball with his next nominee to the Supreme Court. The qualities he’d like? Someone young, energetic, and someone who’s not a jurist. That rules out virtually all of the names on the White House’s reported shortlist—led, at the moment, by Solicitor General Elena Kagan. Two other top contenders, Merrick Garland and Diane Wood, have two of Clinton’s strikes against them; both are appellate justices and are pushing 60. Speaking over the weekend with ABC’s Jake Tapper and MSNBC’s Luke Russert, Clinton quoted the late high-court justice Hugo Black, who said that people from small towns—sheriffs and county judges—would be better equipped to know “how the lofty decisions of the Supreme Court affect the ordinary lives of Americans."So who would he appoint? Clinton wouldn’t talk names. But he did firmly remove two from the list: his and his wife’s. "[Hillary] would be good at it, and at one point in her life,...
  • Europe Turns Against The Pope

    The sex-abuse scandal of the early 2000s never did much damage to the popularity of John Paul II, the pope at the time. Pope Benedict XVI can only wish he were so fortunate. Ahead of the pope's official visit to Malta last weekend, Hitler mustaches and the Maltese word for "pedophilia" were painted on billboards displaying his picture. A petition opposing a papal visit to Britain this coming September has already collected more than 10,000 signatures in that country, and the writers Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens are threatening a citizen's arrest of the 82-year-old pontiff for crimes against humanity. And in the United States, a Gallup/USA Today poll found that Benedict's approval rating among Catholics and non-Catholics hit a new low last week, plunging to 40 percent from a high of 63 percent in 2008. In contrast, John Paul II's approval rating in America never dipped below 61 percent, even as the church paid out billions in compensation to...
  • Massa’s $40,000 Ill-Timed Check

    The saga of Rep. Eric Massa keeps getting worse for the former lawmaker. The Washington Post reported Friday that Massa wrote a $40,000 check to his chief of staff from his campaign fund the day after he resigned. The move looks fairly questionable considering that Joe Racalto, his top congressional adviser, is alleged to have had previous knowledge about sexual harassment complaints by staffers and tried to handle the accusations internally rather than reporting Massa. (Racalto’s lawyer told the Post the check was for months of work on Massa’s reelection campaign.)...
  • Goldman Sachs: Has The SEC Finally Grown a Pair Under Mary Schapiro?

    It’s been a busy week for the SEC. On Wednesday, the regulatory agency took a small, but important first step toward shining light on the very dark, very unregulated world of high frequency trading. And now come charges of civil fraud levied at Goldman Sachs. Talk about a double whammy. In the old days, the SEC would’ve put its feet up and called it a week after the high-frequency trading action. But following it up two days later by charging the biggest, baddest bank in the world with $1 billion of fraud? Who does the SEC think it is? The country’s financial watch dog? Let’s hope so....
  • BREAKING: Lesbian Divorce Appealed in Texas by Attorney General

    Yesterday, Eve Conant reported on the difficulties same-sex couples face when they seek to end their partnerships. In some cases, partners who get married in one state find themselves unable to get divorced in another (most states have no residency requirements for marriage, but do for divorce). The inability to divorce creates a series of legal, financial, and childcare problems, while also preventing those in the failed partnership to move on with their lives. Conant opened the story with two women who seemed to have beaten the odds. Angelique Naylor and Sabina Daly, who were married five years ago in Massachusetts, finalized their divorce in the state of Texas last month, making them the first gay couple to be legally divorced in that state. The only thing that could overturn the divorce was an appeal by the Attorney General Greg Abbott. Today Naylor says she received her notice of appeal in the mail. The fate of Daly and Naylor's marriage now lies in the hands of the...
  • More on Elena Kagan’s Recusal Realities

    Yesterday, we took a look at Elena Kagan, currently on the shortlist of shortlisters to replace John Paul Stevens. One potential downside for Kagan, we suggested, is her current job. As solicitor general, history indicates that Kagan would have to recuse herself from any case she either argued or submitted a brief for, which some legal analysts have suggested could be as high as 70 percent of cases in her first year on the bench. We cited Thurgood Marshall, Kagan’s former boss and a former SG himself, who recused himself from 57 percent of cases in his first year, as a mold for what a Kagan appointment could look like.But history, as if often does, dives deeper. While Marshall’s example may indeed be a mark against Kagan, plenty of others took the bench with seeming conflicts and ended up being rather decent, even historic, members of the court. Stanley Reed had a stellar record as solicitor general when he was appointed to the high court in 1938. In his first year he penned a major...
  • Is the SEC Opening the Floodgates?

    The civil suit brought against Goldman Sachs by the Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday involved just a single transaction and a single executive, and in a conference call with reporters, SEC Enforcement Director Robert Khuzami refused to say how widespread his investigation is. But that doesn't make the case any less significant. Securities-fraud charges related to the subprime debacle have been few and far between until now (plenty of mortgage originators have been indicted, but Wall Street has remained mostly unscathed). By naming the most prestigious firm on Wall Street and a world-famous hedge fund—Paulson & Co.—known for making some of the biggest profits by shorting subprimes, the SEC has signaled that there may be a lot more indictments to come. ...