Bank of America Slammed With Federal Lawsuit for "Doing the [Mortgage Fraud] Hustle"

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In more long-awaited fallout from the mortgage crisis, Federal prosecutors today sued the Bank of America and Countrywide Financial for a scheme to defraud the government via a program called "The Hustle."

Yes, they called it "The Hustle." Its purpose: allegedly to process home loans at high speed with quality control. Its effect: the creation of thousands of fraudulent or bad home loans, which led to more than $1 billion in losses and countless foreclosures, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney's office.

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Stephen Colbert's Super PAC Raises $1 Million

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While Republicans duke it out in the Florida primary today, funnyman Stephen Colbert continues to mock the political process entirely with his Super PAC, which announced today that it had raised $1 million. The Super PAC (that's "Political Action Campaign" to you, sir), also known as the Americans for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow, is Colbert's way of highlighting the absurdity of campaign finance rules.

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United States Postal Service, Like United States, is Broke

It was either Cliff or Newman, and I chose Cliff. Deal with it.
The U.S. Postal Service reported a $3.1 billion quarterly loss on Friday and, at its current financial decline, won't be able to make the $5.5 billion payment for its retirement fund due next month. Politico reports that unless Congress wants to waive its fee, the United States Postal Service will default on its payment obligations. Quick, print out this story and mail it to yourself, the post office needs your help!

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MTA's New Financial Plan Shows Fare Increases in 2013, 2015

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The MTA Board met this morning to present and discuss its newest financial plan for 2012 through 2015, a plan still in its preliminary stages. To everyone's likely dismay, it projects fare increases, but also promises no service cuts based on the budget. "[The plan] presents at least a fragile stability for the organization," outgoing MTA Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jay Walder said at the meeting.

"Fragile" is...well, we'll take what we can get.

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Colleges Forced to Explain Why They Are So Damn Expensive

Over 500 colleges will have to submit reports to the government explaining tuition hikes, CNN reports. The Department of Education published a list this morning of schools that had the highest tuition increases over the last three years. Both private and public institutions are included and will have to tell Washington how they plan on handling these exorbitant costs. "College is expensive" will not be an acceptable excuse.

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Germans to Buy NYSE; Hasselhoff to Chair Federal Reserve?

Deutsche Boerse, the owner of the German stock exchange, is in talks to purchase the NYSE. Apparently they're taking "buy low" to heart. The Post reports that NYSE Euronet, current owner of the New York Stock Exchange, was going to reveal the news next Tuesday, but rumors forced them to release some marginal details about the move earlier.

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Mayor Bloomberg and Bonuses: A Classic Flip-Flop?

Bonus baby
One major theme of Mayor Michael Bloomberg's State of the City Address yesterday was his call for belt tightening in light of spending cuts and tough economic times.

The mayor specifically brought up one example of spending that he hopes to eliminate: the $12,000 annual Christmas bonuses that are given out to retirees from the police and fire departments (These bonuses are paid in addition to regular pension benefits).

Funny, we remember a very different Bloomberg message about annual bonuses not so long ago.

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Dear Rest-of-America: New York City Now Officially a "Disaster Area" to the Tune of $20M!

Hey, Flyover Country! Do you think us Godless New York Liberals want too much of your guns taken off of the street, your unborn babies to become science experiments, and worst of all, your money for our grubby little (often Jewish) hands? Well, guess what! We just score the motherfucking Powerball on your asses.

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Cliff Lee in Pinstripes (or "How The Yankees Will Deal With Last Night's Loss")

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A Reuters article today entitled "Lee makes himself more enticing for Yankees" notes that Texas Rangers southpaw Cliff Lee -- who delivered the New York Yankees a brutal slaying last night -- is looking more and more enticing to the 2009 World Series Champion Team, and that the Yankees can and will convince anyone to sell their soul to our city. Yes, even Texans.

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Are Creative Writing MFAs a "Ponzi Scheme"?

A Master of Fine Arts in creative writing in America is a curious piece of paper, one that says something about the person holding it -- mostly, that they survived an MFA program without killing themselves, which apparently isn't easy -- and also, in some circles, acts as a certification that the MFAs holder is a writer of a specific, high regard. But as the debate as to whether or not an undergraduate degree is losing its value in America rages on, the question as to whether or not post-graduate writing degrees are actually worth anything -- in fiscal amounts, craft, or otherwise -- remains a lesser-asked inquiry, because only people who think they can become writers actually give a shit. But it's a question that remains, no less.

So, is it?

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