It's not entirely fair to Greece in a situation like this because the ratings agencies have so often been wrong that their information should be considered worthless, but it's not. This now means the Greek government has to pay top margins for investors which will only force a new economic crisis faster. Bloomberg:
The move to CCC from B reflects ?our view that there is a significantly higher likelihood of one or more defaults,? S&P said in a statement yesterday. ?Risks for the implementation of Greece?s EU/IMF borrowing program are rising, given Greece?s increased financing needs and ongoing internal political disagreements surrounding the policy conditions required.?
Greece?s government, which plans to sell 1.25 billion euros ($1.8 billion) of 26-week Treasury bills today, said that the downgrade overlooked ?intense? talks between European officials to address the nation?s financing needs. Credit- default swaps on Greece, Ireland and Portugal surged to records yesterday on concern governments? struggles to resolve the turmoil will threaten their ability to pay their debts.
?Greece will default -- it?s a question of when, rather than if,? said Vincent Truglia, Managing Director at New York- based Granite Springs Asset Management LLP in New York and a former head of the sovereign risk unit at Moody?s. ?It?s a basic solvency issue rather than a liquidity issue. Only a debt writedown will do.?
The opening of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Central District of California court's decision striking down Section 3 of DOMA (click to enlarge)
"In the end, the court finds that DOMA violates the equal protection rights of the Debtors as recognized under the due process clause of the Fifth Amendment."
-- from the court's "Conclusion"
It's a decision whose practical impact may seem modest: It simply denies a U.S. Trustee's attempt to block two individuals from making a joint bankruptcy filing. But the ground for the trustee's opposition was none other than the infamous federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), already under multiple challenge in the federal courts, and in order to arrive at its ruling -- personally signed, in extraordinary, possibly unprecedented fashion by 20 members of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Central District -- the court had to declare:
The Debtors had demonstrated that DOMA violates their equal protection rights afforded under the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution, either under heightened scrutiny or under rational basis review. Debtors have also demonstrated that there is no valid governmental basis for DOMA. In the end, the court finds that DOMA violates the equal protection rights of the Debtors as recognized under the due process clause of the Fifth Amendment.
The underlying basis for the challenge was described by the court:This case is about equality, regardless of gender or sexual orientation, for two people who filed for protection under Title 11 of the United States Code (Bankruptcy Code). Like many struggling families during these difficult economic times, Gene Balas and Carlos Morales (Debtors), filed a joint chapter 13 petition on February 24, 2011. Although the Debtors were legally married to each other in California on August 20, 2008, and remain married today, the United States Trustee (sometimes referred to simply as ?trustee?) moved to dismiss this case pursuant to Bankruptcy Code § 1307(c) (Motion to Dismiss), asserting that the Debtors are ineligible to file a joint petition based on Bankruptcy Code § 302(a) because the Debtors are two males.
It is important to note that the case was filed on Feb. 24, one day after President Barack Obama's position that Section 3 of DOMA was unconstitutional was announced in a letter sent from Attorney General Eric Holder to House Speaker John Boehner.
As the court summed about the trustee's position:The trustee seeks dismissal solely because the Debtors are a same-sex married couple, in violation of DOMA?s definition of ?spouse? as the statute applies to Bankruptcy Code § 302(a).
The case had been brought to the attention of the House Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group, which is defending the Defense of Marriage Act in several other cases, but the BLAG had not intervened in this case, according to the opinion:The House Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group, acting through the United States Trustee, at the last minute orally requested a short continuance of the May 17 hearing in order to determine whether to intervene in this case to address the issues. Debtors consented and the court granted the request; yet, there have been no further pleadings and no challenge from the government to any issue raised by the Debtors. The government?s non-response to the Debtors? challenges is noteworthy.
Recapping yesterday's action:
Yesterday, the schedule said that House Members should expect a "longer than usual" series of votes at the end of the day. So, how many votes did they have? A whopping four. They adopted two amendments to the MilCon appropriations bill, rejected another, then passed a motion on whether or not to retain Title II of the bill, which is the entire Department of Veterans' Affairs section. Why would they bother doing that? Was there ever any question of whether or not they ought to be appropriating for the VA? Well, I missed the Rules Committee debate on this crazy procedure (it was written into the rule for the bill for some reason), so frankly, I just don't know. Maybe we could look into that one day.
Anyway, the Senate was there, too! They unanimously supported National Men's Health Week. Who knew that magazine had it's own week? Well, wieners are a hot topic right now, so it stands to reason.
Looking ahead to today:
The House is set to wrap up the passage of the MilCon (and VA!) bill, then move on to the Agriculture (and Rural Development! and FDA!) appropriations bill.
The Senate starts the day with two judicial nominations, expected to be relatively non-controversial.
And then the economic sabotage and obstructionism vehicle of the day, by which I mean the bill to which Republicans will offer any damn amendment they can think of in order to slow down and possibly stop anything from happening. And today, that's S. 782, the Economic Development Revitalization Act.
Today's floor and committee schedules appear below the fold.
The Playboy Club doesn’t look like a very good television show. Eddie Cibrian is to Jon Hamm as Rebel Yell is to Woodford Reserve. The plot involves murder-by-tripping-in-your-stilettos-while-attempting-to-avoid-sexual-assault. And there’s a fake Ike and Tina Turner:
But sadly, none of those reasons are why KSL-TV, a Utah NBC affiliate, is refusing to air the show in the fall and working to find a station on another network to take it. They’ve said that Playboy’s brand is incompatible with their own, which, you know, sure! But the whole premise of The Playboy Club seems to be that there’s a fundamental mismatch between Playboy’s brand and the reality: that the clubs could preach an ethos of look-but-don’t-touch, could insist the girls weren’t really for sale, but they weren’t going to protect them, either. Similarly, there’s something obviously compromised about Naturi Naughton convincing herself that her breasts are going to break barriers “because you can’t discriminate against these.”
If anything, this looks like it’s going to make the Playboy Clubs sound anachronistic, and maybe even a little musty. There’s something just so…lame about a bunch of Brycleemed college boys or young executives asking if they can buy a night with a Bunny for a buck fifty, and something weird and empty about a dude whose claim to cool is that he’s the dude at his local Playboy Club. The show may be a bad bet for a local affiliate worried about its ratings, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to successfully market nostalgia for the glory days of stag magazines. There’s a reason Playboy doesn’t just keep doing the same old thing ? it doesn’t sell like it used to.
Welcome to The Morning Pride, ThinkProgress LGBT?s 8:45 AM round-up of the latest in LGBT policy, politics, and some culture too! Here?s what we?re reading this morning, but let us know what you?re checking out too.
– Five of the seven Republicans who participated in last night’s GOP presidential debate said they support a federal constitutional amendment outlawing same-sex marriage and would reinstate Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.
– Defense Secretary Robert Gates said yesterday that he?s open to certifying repeal of Don?t Ask, Don?t Tell before his retirement at the end of the month.
– Yesterday, “the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Central District of California, in Los Angeles, released an opinion finding Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional in a bankruptcy filing brought by a same-sex married couple, Gene Douglas Balas and Carlos A. Morales.” Metro Weekly’s Chris Geidner has the details.
– Chief U.S. District Judge James Ware will decide within 24 hours “whether a gay judge?s ruling to strike down California?s same-sex marriage ban should be overturned because he failed to divulge” his own same-sex relationship. The ruling is expected to stand.
– A gay couple in Hazard, Kentucky, was ejected from a public recreation facility, after being told gay people were not allowed to swim in the pool.
– Momentum is growing for marriage equality in New York, after three Democrats and one Republican who voted against the measure in 2009 said they would support the bill if it comes to the floor before the end of the legislative session.
– Tracy Morgan has now come out in support of same-sex marriage and will appear in Nashville with GLAAD to protest the state?s ?Don?t Say Gay? bill — which may have paved the way for Morgan’s homophobic rant.
– Candace Gingrich-Jones, the lesbian half-sister of Newt Gingrich, says that the former House Speaker may be growing more accepting of gay people.
People want to know: Are green jobs real? The answer is resoundingly “yes.”
With roughly 93,500 direct and indirect jobs, the American solar industry now employs about 20,000 more workers than the U.S. steel production sector. The American steel industry has historically been a symbol of the country’s industrial might and economic prosperity. But today, the solar industry has the potential to overtake that image as we build a new, clean-energy economy.
Last week, Germany’s economic development agency announced similarly big news: There are now more than 100,000 workers employed in the German solar PV industry alone. Why is that so significant? The U.S. figures take into account solar jobs in PV, solar hot water and concentrating solar power; Germany is only factoring in solar PV.
And as a reader over at Clean Technica observed: “The US has about 312 million people while Germany has 82 million, about 25% as many people?. That makes the German solar industry more than four times as large an employer than US steel based on country size.?
A couple words of caution: These figures are comparing solar manufacturing, sales and installation to steel production alone. If one were to factor in products made from steel, the industry would be up around 160,000 workers.
With that said, the solar industry is just getting started here in America. Solar is a high-growth industry with the potential to create millions more jobs in a diverse range of sectors; while still an extraordinarily important industry, steel is not.
Rhone Resch, president of the Solar Energy Industries Association, explains the significance:
“Whether it is construction contractors, plumbers, electricians, assembly-line workers or even lawyers and accountants, solar is creating new opportunities at a time when so many Americans are looking for some good news on the job front. In just three short years, the solar industry has grown from a small start-up to an industry that now employs more Americans than U.S. steel production.”
Yet, even with such a big milestone for the U.S. economy, political leaders like Louisiana Representative John Fleming are questioning the “so-called green jobs that we’re yet to see produced.”
The bigger question for Mr. Fleming and other doubters is: Which curve do you want to place your bets on?
The continued growth in U.S. solar?
Or the uncertain future for U.S. steel? (The black line represents the U.S. and the red line is China.) Sadly, without leadership on a long-term renewable energy policy, the split between America and China below may just play out in the solar industry as well.
Welcome to ThinkProgress Economy?s morning link roundup. This is what we?re reading. Have you seen any interesting news? Let us know in the comments section. You can also follow ThinkProgress Economy on Twitter.
Welcome to Clean Start, ThinkProgress Green?s morning round-up of the latest in climate and clean energy. Here is what we?re reading. What are you?
“A wildfire burning along the New Mexico-Colorado border more than doubled in size in a matter of hours Monday,” closing highways and forcing about 1000 people to evacuate. [Fox News]
“A levee on the flood-swollen Missouri River near Hamburg, Iowa failed on Monday, sending water into low-lying farmland and prompting a flash flood watch for the town of 1,200,” authorities said. [Reuters]
Ninety years after “Blair Mountain in West Virginia was the site of America?s largest armed insurrection since the Civil War,” the mountain “was again in the public eye as a group of marchers retraced the steps of those 1921 miners in a fight to protect the historic battlefield from being strip-mined for coal.” [Ocala]
“As co-president of Koch Companies Public Sector, set up in 2009 to handle government, public and legal affairs for the Kochs? privately held oil, chemical and consumer products empire, Philip Ellender, based in Atlanta, is in charge of the Kochs? multimillion-dollar lobbying operation.” [Politico]
The Environmental Protection Agency said it “would take additional time to review input on rules being drafted to regulate greenhouse gases from power plants, a concession that the agency said won’t delay implementation of the final rules in 2012.” [WSJ]
“As catastrophic weather events continue to become more common and more severe due to climate change, the insurance industry will be sorely tested.” [Reuters]
? Rising food prices push Chinese inflation to 34 year high.
? Schools should teach art over history.
? Bitcoins seem like a mighty volatile investment.
? Superheros need to be freed from super hell.
? Looks like farm subsidies are likely to be cut.
? The MMIFF.
? US government debt may still be the least-bad option for those seeking safety.
? The First Man of Washington State is part of the Viltrumite conspiracy.
? Capitol Police bans shorts.
I'm going to take no risk and all and say at least half of it went into the pockets of U.S. contractors like Blackwater and Halliburton and KBR. Do you really think those motherfuckers were satisfied with the billions they were stealing directly from U.S. taxpayers?
Suppose the US decided it wanted to invest $6 billion or so in the economy by paying people to fix stuff and rebuild the infrastructure of a destroyed economy. How would you do it?
Well, supposedly the people who understand these things would start with an account in an established, honest bank. Let's call it the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The US Treasury would direct the Feds to credit that account with the $6 billion or so, and then disburse money from the account as directed.
The Fed would then follow the instructions it was given, with electronic transfers accomplished through recorded debits here and credits to the accounts of the bank of the intended recipients, or those authorized to make the dispersants. There would be electronic records to account for every dollar. None of this would require a single actual dollar or hundred dollar bill to be created, deposited or transferred. That is not how it's supposed to work in this millenium.
As the recipient bank received instructions for disbursements, it would in turn credit the accounts of the ultimate recipients, who could then use those credited accounts to pay the workers and providers of ultimate goods and services. The workers would have their own bank accounts, and their paychecks could even be credited to them directly, still with no actual dollar bills being required and all transactions fully recorded and traceable.
But that's not how the Bush Administration did things in Iraq. Instead, they had the NY Fed literally stack up cash, $6.6 billion of it, into several truckloads of $100 bills, haul them to an AF base, where these huge bundles of cash were loaded onto AF planes and flown to Iraq. Once there, the bundles were thrown in sacks and distributed somehow to. . . . Uh, we have no clue. We can't find the money and have no idea where it went.
This is mostly old news, but good grief!! It is as though they deliberately designed a plot to make it easy to steal $6.6 billion. And everyone who had anything to do with planning or approving this mindless action turned scandal should be named, shamed, and banned from any government position, forever. Many should be under arrest, or held as material witnesses to possibly the most reckless plan or egregious bank heist in history, at least until the 2008 bailouts.
What is the matter with these people?