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Member since: Fri Nov 12, 2004, 08:39 AM
Number of posts: 45,752

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David Sirota: Leaked Docs Show How Wall Street Extracting Massive Fees from Public Pension Systems

@davidsirota: BREAKING: Leaked documents show how Wall Street is extracting massive fees from public pension systems http://t.co/qqVxLMz80l


LEAKED: Docs obtained by Pando show how a Wall Street giant is guaranteed huge fees from taxpayers on risky pension investments

ON MAY 5, 2014

- snip -

Thanks to confidential documents exclusively obtained by Pando, we can now see some of the language and fee structures in the agreements between the “alternative investment” industry and major public pension funds. Taken together, the documents raise serious questions about whether the government employees, trustees and politicians overseeing major public pension funds are shirking their fiduciary responsibilities under the law when they are cementing “alternative” investment deals.

The documents, which were involved in a recent SEC inquiry into the $14.5 billion Kentucky Retirement Systems (KRS), were handed to us by SEC whistleblower Chris Tobe, an investment consultant and former trustee of the KRS. Tobe has also written a book — “Kentucky Fried Pensions” — about the scandalous state of the Kentucky public pensions system.

The documents provided by Tobe (embedded below) specifically detail Kentucky’s dealings with Blackstone – a giant Wall Street investment firm which has deployed a platoon of registered lobbyists in Kentucky and whose employees are major financial backers of Kentucky U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell (R).

The Blackstone-related documents, though, don’t just tell a story about public pensions in Kentucky. The firm, which just reported record earnings, does business with states and localities across the country. The Wall Street Journal reports that “about $37 of every $100 of Blackstone’s $111 billion investment pool comes from state and local pension plans.”


’77 Sunset Strip,’ ‘F.B.I.’ Star Efrem Zimbalist Jr. Dies at 95

Source: Variety

@BreakingNews: Actor Efrem Zimbalist Jr., who starred in dramas '77 Sunset Strip' and 'The FBI,' dies at 96, family says - @Variety http://t.co/Mtq8J7lbxz

’77 Sunset Strip,’ ‘F.B.I.’ Star Efrem Zimbalist Jr. Dies at 95

Efrem Zimbalist Jr., a staple of 1960s and ’70s TV as the star of ABC dramas “77 Sunset Strip” and “The F.B.I.,” has died. He was 95.

Zimbalist died Friday at his home in Solvang, Calif., according to a statement issued by his daughter, actress Stephanie Zimbalist, and son Efrem Zimbalist III.

“We are heartbroken to announce the passing into peace of our beloved father, Efrem Zimbalist, Jr., today at his Solvang, Calif. ranch. A devout Christian, he actively enjoyed his life to the last day, showering love on his extended family, playing golf, and visiting with close friends.”

Tall, handsome and always well-dressed, Zimbalist starred as the smooth former OSS officer-turned private eye Stuart Bailey who ran a Los Angeles detective agency in “77 Sunset Strip.” The show, one of the first TV series hits from the Warner Bros. studio, ran on ABC from 1958-64.

He returned to the Alphabet the following year as Inspector Lewis Erskine, the methodical leader of “The F.B.I.,” which ran through 1974. His real-life counterpart, FBI chief J. Edgar Hoover, was a fan and supporter of the show, and a friend of Zimbalist’s. In 2009, the FBI saluted Zimbalist by making him an honorary agent, the highest honor the bureau can give to a civilian.

Read more: http://variety.com/2014/tv/people-news/77-sunset-strip-f-b-i-star-efrem-zimbalist-jr-dies-at-95-1201170658/

CDC Announces First Case of MERS in U.S.

Source: Bloomberg News

MAY 2, 2014

By Lorraine Woellert

DC, Indiana State Dept of Health conducting investigation into first case of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) in U.S., agency says in statement.

CDC to hold 3pm press briefing

NOTE: 371 cases of virus have been reported in Saudi Arabia since Sept. 2012, Saudi Health Ministry said yesterday

Read more: http://about.bgov.com/2014-05-02/cdc-announces-first-case-mers-u-s/

Florida Senate Approves “Charlotte’s Web” Medical Marijuana Bill

Source: CBS News

Florida Senate Approves “Charlotte’s Web” Medical Marijuana Bill

TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami) – Gov. Rick Scott is expected to sign a bill that would legalize the use of low-THC marijuana to treat epilepsy and cancer patients.

The Florida Senate passed the bill Friday after the House overwhelmingly passed it Thursday.

“I’m a parent and a grandparent. I want to make sure my children, my grandchildren, have the access to the health care they want,” said Gov. Scott.

The bill puts some restrictions on the use of the marijuana strain known as Charlotte’s Web. It can have no more than 0.8 percent THC, the chemical that makes users feel high. On average, marijuana has about 15 percent THC, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. The strain has normal levels of cannabidiol, or CBD, which is used to treat seizures.

Read more: http://miami.cbslocal.com/2014/05/02/florida-senate-approves-charlottes-web-medical-marijuana-bill

Sinn Fein Leader Gerry Adams Arrested Over 1972 IRA Killing

Source: Associated Press


Apr. 30, 2014 4:21 PM EDT

BELFAST, Northern Ireland (AP) — Northern Ireland police say they have arrested Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams on suspicion of involvement in the Irish Republican Army's 1972 abduction, killing and secret burial of a Belfast widow.

Adams confirmed his own arrest Wednesday in a prepared statement and described it as a voluntary, prearranged interview.

Police had been expected to question the 65-year-old Adams about the 1972 killing of Jean McConville, whom the IRA executed as an alleged spy. The IRA did not admit the killing until 1998.

Adams was implicated in the killing by two IRA veterans who gave taped interviews to researchers for a Boston College research project. The Northern Ireland police took legal steps to acquire the interviews, parts of which have already been published after one IRA interviewee died.

Read more: http://bigstory.ap.org/article/sinn-fein-leader-arrested-over-1972-ira-killing

BREAKING: Federal Judge Strikes Down Wisconsin Voter ID Law (Unfairly Burdens Poor, Minorities)

Source: Associated Press

@AP: BREAKING: Federal judge rejects Wisconsin voter ID law, says it unfairly burdens poor and minorities.


Apr. 29, 2014 2:29 PM EDT

MILWAUKEE (AP) — A federal judge in Milwaukee has struck down Wisconsin's voter Identification law, saying it unfairly burdens poor and minority voters.

U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman issued his long-awaited decision Tuesday. It invalidates Wisconsin's law.

Wisconsin's law would have required voters to show a state-issued photo ID at the polls. Supporters said it would cut down on voter fraud and boost public confidence in the integrity of the election process.

But Adelman sided with opponents, who said it disproportionately excluded poor and minority voters because they're less likely to have photo IDs or the documents needed to get them.

Wisconsin's law was only in effect for a 2012 primary before a Dane County judge declared it unconstitutional.

Read more: http://bigstory.ap.org/article/federal-judge-strikes-down-wisconsin-voter-id-law

BREAKING: Sterling Banned For Life By NBA (Fined $2.5 Million)

Source: Associated Press

@BreakingNews: NBA announces Clippers owner Donald Sterling banned for life, fined $2.5 million for recorded remarks - live video http://t.co/cenGvc7fDP


Apr. 29, 2014 2:24 PM EDT

NEW YORK (AP) — Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling has been banned for life by the NBA in response to racist comments the league says he made in a recorded conversation.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver also says he will try to force a sale of the Clippers and also fined Sterling $2.5 million.

Silver called Sterling's comments and views "deeply offensive and harmful."

Read more: http://bigstory.ap.org/article/sterling-banned-life-nba

FYI: @breakingstorm: Confirmed tornado located near Upland, Neb.; moving NW

@BreakingNews: RT @breakingstorm: Confirmed tornado located near Upland, Neb.; moving northwest at 30 mph - @NWSHastings http://t.co/FJXQCOPm0H

Koch Brothers Group Wipes Cliven Bundy Support From Social Media Accounts

Source: Huffington Post

Koch Brothers Group Wipes Cliven Bundy Support From Social Media Accounts

Sam Stein
The Huffington Post
04/25/14 12:47 PM ET
WASHINGTON -- Americans for Prosperity Nevada, the state affiliate of the Koch Brothers-backed group, appears to have hastily deleted social media posts expressing support for Cliven Bundy, the renegade rancher who exposed himself as a racist in recent press conferences.

A tweet sent by AFP Nevada on April 10 urging followers to read more about the #BundyBattle, which involves Bundy's refusal to pay fines for allowing his cattle to graze on public land, has been deleted. A Facebook graphic that the group posted criticizing the Bureau of Land Management for enforcing grazing laws against Bundy has similarly disappeared.

Previously, the page read: "The BLM spent HOW MUCH to round up cattle? ONE MILLION DOLLARS." As of Friday afternoon, it reads: "This content is currently unavailable"

AFP Nevada, a anti-government, libertarian organization, did not immediately return a request for comment. But the group is the latest to join the massive, frantic stampede of political organizations and media figures distancing themselves from Bundy in the wake of his comments. Sens. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Dean Heller (R-Nev.) both condemned the rancher's remarks, and various Fox News personalities called them repugnant as well.

Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/25/koch-brothers-cliven-bundy_n_5213481.html

Virgin Australia Airlines Plane Passenger Arrested in Bali After Allegedly Trying to Enter Cockpit

Source: CBS News

Virgin Australia Airlines plane passenger arrested in Bali after allegedly trying to enter cockpit

Apr 25, 2014 3:56 AM EDT

A Virgin Australia Airlines passenger jet landed Friday in Bali, Indonesia, after the pilot reported an attempted hijacking, Indonesian officials told the Reuters news agency.

According to reports on Indonesian television, the pilot reported a hijack attempt after a passenger tried to enter the cockpit during the flight, which departed from Brisbane, on Australia's east coast.

Reuters reported that a passenger from the flight was arrested in Bali.

A Virgin official told Reuters the plane was never actually hijacked, and that the man who attempted to enter the cockpit was drunk at the time.

Read more: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/virgin-australia-airlines-plane-passenger-arrested-bali-after-trying-to-enter-cockpit
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