Truthout | News in Brief (15)

Tuesday, 27 April 2010 10:44 By Mary Susan Littlepage, t r u t h o u t | Report | name.

The Washington Post reports that most big Wall Street firms sold investments that contributed to the financial crisis, and most suffered in the markets, with some forced out of business.

But it's Goldman Sachs, the bank that not only survived but prospered from the crisis, whose executives are being called before a congressional firing line today over accusations that the firm bet against the American homeowner, betrayed its clients and helped fuel the financial meltdown.

Chief executive Lloyd C. Blankfein and several current and former deputies will answer questions from the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, which has concluded an 18-month probe of Goldman's activities. 

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The New York Times reports that Sen. Lindsey Graham wants to be where the action is.

"I'm in the center of a lot of important debates - I like that," Graham, a South Carolina Republican, said in an interview on Monday. "I want to be a conservative who can put conservative principles in play on hard issues.

"So, Graham has been busy this year, reaching out to Democrats in an effort to broker deals on hot-button issues like energy and immigration and closing the prison at Guantanamo Bay. He is the rare member of his party who is consistently willing to cross the aisle.

Now, though, Graham's position as the go-to Republican for the Obama White House is in doubt. Over the weekend, he abruptly reversed course, backing out of plans to unveil a long-awaited bipartisan energy bill - a high priority for President Obama. He has scheduled a news conference for today to urge the Senate Democratic leadership to put off debate on another of his priorities, an immigration overhaul.

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The Chicago Sun-Times reports that Charlie Brown has a new owner. E.W. Scripps Co. said today it will sell the unit that owns the licensing rights to Snoopy, Charlie Brown and the rest of the "Peanuts" gang for $175 million to Joe Boxer owner Iconix Brand Group Inc. The sale of United Media Licensing also means Iconix has a new partnership with the family of the late "Peanuts" creator, Charles Schulz. They'll receive 20 percent ownership in the unit that owns "Peanuts" and pay that percentage of the sale price.

United Media Licensing represents other character brands such as Dilbert and Fancy Nancy, but the bulk of its licensing business comes from "Peanuts." The unit's licensed merchandise has annual sales of more than $2 billion. Some 20,000 new products are approved each year, in conjunction with more than 1,250 licensess in about 40 countries.

Schulz died in February 2000.

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The Los Angeles Times reports that in New York, a man who intervened when a woman was being attacked was stabbed and was dying as people strolled by, police said.

"The homeless man lay facedown, unmoving, on the sidewalk outside an apartment building, blood from knife wounds pooling underneath his body," the newspaper reports. "One person passed by in the early morning. Then another, and another. Video footage from a surveillance camera shows at least seven people going by, some turning their heads to look, others stopping to gawk. One even lifted the man's body, exposing what appeared to be blood on the sidewalk underneath him, before walking away.

"It wasn't until after the man had been lying there for nearly an hour that emergency workers arrived, and by then it was too late. Hugo Alfredo Tale-Yax - who police said was stabbed while intervening to help a woman being attacked - had died."

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The Hill reports that Senate Republicans held ranks on Monday and blocked a Democratic effort to overhaul the financial system and crack down on Wall Street. In a 57-41 vote, Democrats fell short of the 60 votes necessary to proceed to the Wall Street bill.

One Senate Democrat, Ben Nelson of Nebraska, joined Republicans in voting against the motion. Nelson had reportedly been pushing for a provision backed by Warren Buffett that would have largely exempted existing derivatives contracts from the bill's new rules.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) immediately moved to intensify the pressure on Republicans by scheduling additional procedural votes on Tuesday and Wednesday that would open debate on the financial reform bill.

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Talking Points Memo reports that the White House says President Barack Obama will deliver the eulogy Thursday at the funeral for civil rights leader Dorothy Height.

Height died last week at age 98 after a long illness. She was a pioneering voice of the civil rights movement whose activism stretched from the New Deal to Obama's election. She remained active and outspoken well into her 90s and often got rousing ovations at events around Washington, where she was easily recognizable in the bright, colorful hats she almost always wore.

Last modified on Tuesday, 27 April 2010 10:55