New Kissell Amendment on Derivatives Markets Transparency and Accountability Act

Earlier this week the House Agriculture Committee met to hear testimony and discuss legislation to improve the transparency and accountability of the derivatives market. Rep. Larry Kissell, NC-08 proposed an amendment to this legislation that will help lend some good old fashioned common sense to the boards that oversee the commodities market. His proposal will require that farmers, ranchers and grain elevator operators - average Americans directly affected by commodities trading - have a seat on these boards. This will diversify the boards and take some power from the financial elite that have a grip on the financial services industry as a whole. The amendment was approved by the committee and included with the legislation.

Rep. Patrick McHenry Emboldened by Gregg's Withdrawal

Yesterday when news that Senator Judd Gregg had withdrawn his name from consideration as Commerce Secretary broke I immediately wondered which taxes he hadn't paid. It wasn't until I heard he had also claimed he wouldn't run for reelection in 2010 that I started looking for a shoe to drop. Something had to be up for the man to drop out of public life completely.

It didn't take long to figure it out. I had read earlier at TPM that Gregg's name surfaced in the Jack Abramoff scandal, but now find his name linked with the New Hampshire phone jamming scandal as well. There are shoes one and two in one fell swoop.

Upping the ante

Dear Senator Phil Berger:

I read today that you're eager to get North Carolina's Death Machine back into gear. Good on ya!

Sen. Phil Berger hopes to get the death penalty back on track. The Senate Republican leader has again filed a bill that would end a de facto moratorium on capital punishment in North Carolina. (snip) Berger's bill would forbid any group from disciplining a doctor for attending at an execution.

I, for one, am enthralled with your passion for killing, and encourage you to take your zeal to the next level. I hope you'll add an amendment to your bill requiring all executions to take place at high noon in the public square. If North Carolina's doctors get to attend the dark festivities, why shouldn't the rest of us?

NC House Committees are now available online

Speaker Hackney announced committees today in the NC House.

They are now available online at the ncleg.net web site here.

A couple of interesting things to me:

Second term (and very capable and promising) member Rep. Angela Bryant got a chairmanship.

Rep. Grier Martin is no longer chair of Homeland Security/Veterans Affairs. He moved to an Appropriations sub-chair specializing on transportation.

I'm still looking over the lists.

Anything of interest to anyone else?

What's the best way to handle overcrowded prisons?

Here's your answer: Adopt "Republican logic" and deny bail to people based on ugly prejudices and the illusion of thinking.

The No Bail for Certain Illegal Aliens bill, proposed Monday by N.C. Reps. Justin Burr (R-Stanly) and Pearl Burris-Floyd (R-Gaston), would deny bail for illegal immigrants who are charged with sex offenses, drug trafficking, gang related offenses, violent felony charges, or driving offenses.

Aside from the fact that it's almost certainly unconstitutional, it's also stupid. Just what we need in the middle of a budget crisis ... ignorant legislators proposing misguided legislation that costs a fortune and accomplishes nothing. Driving offenses? Now there's a cause for "no bail" if ever there was one.

Sheeesh.

Project Compassion

I'm writing today to shine the spotlight on a Chapel Hill-based organization called Project Compassion. I got a little taste of what they're up to recently when one of their trainers, Marilyn, helped a group of us start up a Support Team for a friend who has cancer.

I won't recount all the details of their activities, which you can easily see on their website. Stories of people they've helped. Background about their organization. Leadership. And more.

House Majority Leader Hugh Holliman looking to shaft state workers.

I just read this over at Isaac Hunter's Tavern, the blog of local NPR reporter Laura Leslie, and was simply astounded. The state health care plan is in a major shortfall, as discussed elsewhere. So, what should we do to fix the problem? Adam Searing and Adam Linker think we should look at the administrator of the health care plan, of course we aren't allowed to look at them because the details are CONFIDENTIAL.

HKonJ3 Valentines Day Feb 14th

Journalist Cash Michaels has produced a powerful new video -- just 2 minutes and 33 seconds in length -- about the importance of HKONJ 3 -- Historic Thousands on Jones Street in Raleigh -- and what we hope to accomplish on February 14, 2008.

Watch and pass it on to your friends and colleagues:

Invite them to join you at the event!

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