U.S. weighs clemency for thousands of inmates jailed for 10 years

james cole

Deputy Attorney General James Cole

Thousands of nonviolent federal prisoners are expected to take up an offer by the Obama administration to apply for early release. It’s an effort to deal with high costs and overcrowding in prisons, and also a matter of fairness, the government says.

 

 

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New statistics prove our student loan system is broken

Millions of former students are struggling under the weight of loans.

There are millions of students who are senselessly defaulting on their student loans while failing to take advantage of programs meant to protect them financially. And chances are, it’s the poorest, least sophisticated borrowers who are suffering worst.

 

 

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Conflicting State and Federal Laws Trap Patients on Marijuana

medical marijauna

Patients are trapped between state laws that allow medical pot smoking and federal laws that do not.

Marijuana helps Robert Jones deal with nausea and anxiety that come with chemotherapy.He has been dealing with a lot of stress ever since he was told that his rent subsidy would end because marijuana is illegal under federal law. The drug, which was recommended by his doctor, is legal in New Mexico.

 

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Should We Break Up Washington and Spread the Government Across America?

Washington-DC

Washington has grown far bigger than the founders ever contemplated.

Americans are angry at Washington, and it’s not hard to see why. Not only does the federal government seem more ineffectual than ever in the face of ongoing economic hardship, but the capital has so far coasted through the downturn relatively unscathed.

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Student Loan Debt Crisis: Who’s to Blame as Students Get Buried in Debt?

College fund

Graduates struggle to afford the decades of payments they face.

Like many middle-class families, Cortney Munna and her mother began the college selection process with a grim determination. They would do whatever they could to get Cortney into the best possible college, and they maintained a blind faith that the investment would be worth it.

 

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Congressman Protests Excessive Air Marshal Arrest Cost

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Paleoconservative Republican Congressman John J. Duncan, Jr. has called for the abolition of the Air Marshal Service, arguing that more air marshals have been arrested since 9/11 (for crimes like smuggling explosives, domestic violence, drunk driving and human trafficking) than the number of people arrested by the marshals. The $860 million spent on the service amounts to about 4.2 arrests per year, at a cost of $200 million per arrest.

Professor Ian Lustick of the University of Pennsylvania wrote last year about the money feeding frenzy of the war on terror. And he wrote this: “Nearly 7 years after September 11, 2001,” he wrote this last year, “what accounts for the vast discrepancy between the terrorist threat facing America and the scale of our response? Why, absent any evidence of a serious terror threat, is a war to on terror so enormous, so all-encompassing, and still expanding? The fundamental answer is that al Qaeda’s most important accomplishment was not to hijack our planes but to hijack our political system.”

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Federal Employees Make More Than Private Sector Employees

art_white_house_money

Federal pay ahead of private sector pay

Federal employees earn higher average salaries than private-sector workers in more than eight out of 10 occupations, a USA Today analysis of federal data finds.   Accountants, nurses, chemists, surveyors, cooks, clerks and janitors are among the wide range of jobs that get paid more on average in the federal government than in the private sector.

 

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Judge Wipes Out Couple’s Mortgage Because of Bank’s ‘Repulsive’ Behavior

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Greg Horoski and his wife Diane no longer have a mortgage to pay

A New York judge was so angry with a bank’s “harsh, repugnant, shocking and repulsive” behaviour towards a financially struggling couple that he wiped out their $525,000 mortgage.
In an unusual legal decision that may cheer ordinary homeowners but dismay lenders, Judge Jeffrey Spinner took a tough line on a California-based bank that he considered had been determined to foreclose on the couple’s home in Suffolk County, Long Island.
His ruling against OneWest and its IndyMac mortgage division has relieved Greg Horoski and his wife, Diane Yano-Horoski, of the $291,000 they owed on the original loan as well as $235,000 in interest.
OneWest took $814 million in federal bailout money but has a reputation for foreclosing quickly on property owners who falls into arrears.
The Horoskis bought their house 15 years ago but they refinanced in 2004, taking a sub-prime loan from Deutsche Bank.
The interest rate soared to more than 12 per cent and the bank sued the couple in 2005, when Mr Horoski and his wife began having trouble making payments because of his health problems.
A foreclosure on the 3,400 sq ft bungalow was approved but the couple applied successfully for it to be settled in court.
The judge attacked the bank for repeatedly refusing to work out a deal, for misleading him about the sums in the case and for its treatment of the couple.
He wrote that OneWest’s conduct was “inequitable, unconscionable, vexatious and opprobrious”, cancelling the debt to deter it from “imposing further mortifying abuse” against the couple.
OneWest, which is owned by a private equity group, said it expected to overturn the “unprecedented” ruling on appeal.
Mr Horoski, a porcelain doll seller, told the New York Post : “I think the judge felt it was almost a personal vendetta. It was like dealing with organised crime.”

A New York judge was so angry with a bank’s “harsh, repugnant, shocking and repulsive” behavior towards a financially struggling couple that he wiped out their $525,000 mortgage.

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