Brian Banks, football player exonerated in rape case, signs with Atlanta Falcons

Banks was a 16-year-old junior and had made a verbal commitment to sign with Southern Cal when Wanetta Gibson, a Long Beach Poly high school classmate accused him of the rape.

I’ve followed then 16 year-old Brian Banks’ rape case from beginning to end.  It’s a heartbreaking story that appears to be headed toward a happy ending.

CBS News

Brian Banks said signing with the Atlanta Falcons is his second-biggest accomplishment.

The biggest was Banks’ exoneration of rape charges one year ago.

Banks, 27, signed with the Falcons on Wednesday, giving him an opportunity he said he did not believe would be possible when he spent five years in prison and five years on probation following his conviction of rape and kidnapping charges a decade ago.

“I felt at the time in order for me to exit prison with a sane mind and be able to just function as a person I had to let go of certain dreams and goals I once held in life, football being one of them,” Banks said.

Banks said he “couldn’t have asked for a better place to be” than with the Falcons.

“I can’t believe this is happening,” he said. “It’s surreal.”

Banks was a 16-year-old junior and had made a verbal commitment to sign with Southern Cal when Wanetta Gibson, a Long Beach Poly high school classmate accused him of the rape.

Gibson recanted her claim and offered to help Banks clear his name after he was out of prison. That helped lead to the conviction being overturned by a California court and Banks’ record cleared on May 12, 2012.

Banks’ original defense attorney, Elizabeth Harris, declined to talk to “60 Minutes” as did Gibson, who has not returned the money she won in her lawsuit.

Banks said he read every book he could find while in prison and also learned to value every opportunity.

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Video of the accuser telling someone Brian never raped here:


Occupied Washington

Mother Jones

Grotesque income inequality is just a symptom of our larger political disease.

A FEW WEEKS AFTER the Occupy Wall Street protests began, we found ourselves having a random conversation with a couple of San Franciscans at a store counter. What were these kids going on about? they asked. Time was tight, the inquiry a pleasantry, really. Best to keep it simple. “Jobs, the economy, income inequality.” Well, one offered, he knew the wife of Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf, and according to him, the reason companies aren’t hiring is because they are worried about the extra cost of Obama’s health care reform.

Stunned silence.

Because what can you really say to that, except…let them eat cake? Stumpf made $17.6 million in 2010—672 times what the average American takes home. And say what you will about Obamacare, but for large companies that already offer health benefits, it imposes pretty much zero costs and might even save money.

But why single out Stumpf, who actually sounds fairly cuddly for a bank CEO? (His hobby is baking bread, for Christ’s sake.) Let’s turn instead to John Paulson, the billionaire hedge fund manager who unctuously admonished Occupy protesters: “Instead of vilifying our most successful businesses, we should be supporting them and encouraging them to remain in New York City and continue to grow.” Or how about the homeless-themed Halloween party thrown by an upstate New York foreclosure mill? Or the financier David Moore, who, having been dressed down by a panhandler for proffering only a dollar, took to the Wall Street Journal op-ed pages to bray about Obama’s class-warfare rhetoric: “The president’s incendiary message has now reached the streets. His complaints that rich people must ‘pay their fair share’ have now goaded some of our society’s most unfortunate.”

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Debt Madness Was Always About Killing Social Security

Robert Scheer – Truthdig

This phony debt crisis has now passed through the looking glass into the realm where madness reigns. What should have been an uneventful moment in which lawmakers make good on the nation’s contractual obligations has instead been seized upon by Republican hypocrites as a moment to settle ideological scores that have nothing to do with the debt.

Hypocrites, because their radical free market ideology, and the resulting total deregulation of the financial markets, is what caused the debt to spiral out of control this last decade. That and the wars George W. Bush launched but didn’t have the integrity to responsibly finance. The consequence was a banking bubble and crash leading to a 50 percent run-up of the debt that has nothing to do with the “entitlements” that those same Republicans have always wanted to destroy.

Even Barack Obama has put cuts in those programs into play, warning ominously that a failure to lift the debt ceiling could cause the government to stop sending out Social Security checks. Why, when the Social Security trust fund is fully funded for the next quarter-century and is owed money by the U.S. Treasury rather than the other way around? Why would we pay foreign creditors before American seniors?  The answer, offered as conventional wisdom by leaders of both parties, is that we cannot endanger our credit by failing to back our bonds, even though the Republicans have aroused the alarm of the main U.S. credit rating agencies by their brinkmanship on the debt.

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In California: 10,000 LINE UP TO SAVE THEIR HOMES!


Sacramento Bee

They came by the thousands, transforming normally festive Cal Expo into a venue emblematic of California’s nightmarish housing meltdown.

An estimated 10,000 people were in line Friday morning when the Cal Expo Pavilion’s doors opened on a five-day event aimed at helping distressed homeowners avoid foreclosure.

The line for the Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America’s “Save the Dream” event stretched from the Pavilion, through Cal Expo’s east parking lot, onto Exposition Boulevard and nearly to Ethan Way – a distance of half a mile.

Sacramento-area homeowners stood shoulder to shoulder with those from all parts of California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Arizona and far beyond, hoping to have their mortgage payments lowered in order to keep their homes.

Their stories ran the gamut: underwater mortgages, unemployment, financial crises, long-missed loan payments and frustration trying to talk with lenders.

NACA officials this week wrapped up a six-day event at the Los Angeles Convention Center, where an estimated 40,000 came through the doors.

NACA CEO Bruce Marks said Friday that he expects that many at Cal Expo by closing time Tuesday.

“You’d think that the crowds would diminish by now, but they’re not. They keep coming,” Marks said. “This (Sacramento event) is probably going to have about as many as we had in Los Angeles.”

NACA, headquartered in the Boston suburb of Jamaica Plain, will be working with homeowners around the clock through 8 p.m. Tuesday.

Its services are free, and it serves both the employed and unemployed. Options include renegotiated loans, interest rate reductions, loan principal reductions and mortgage restructuring. NACA said it has legally binding contracts with major lenders, including Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

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Arianna: Special Interest Groups Are Buying Public Policy

It’s time for the country to be alarmed at what’s happening.   Corporations are buying candidates, election and formulating public policy.  This is NOT a democratic process.  This is Oligarchy at it’s best.   As it stands now, the richest 2% of our population owns more than 80% of the entire wealth in this country.  Therein lies the problem.

Thank the Supreme Court of the United States for giving them that power in the Citizens United case.

Huffington Post

On a recent episode of CBS News’ “Washington Unplugged,” Arianna joined a roundtable hosted by Bob Schieffer to discuss the state of the American economy. Slate’s John Dickerson and The Atlantic‘s Marc Ambinder were also on the panel.

Arianna made some powerful accusations about the folks in Washington:

“Right now powerful public special interest groups are buying public policy. We saw what happened with the bailout– yes, we had to bail out Wall Street but did we have to do it the way we did? Without conditions or strings attached? With Goldman Sachs getting 100 cents to the dollar?” she said.

“I have friends who sleep with a copy of Ayn Rand’s ‘Fountainhead’ under their pillows who are really upset about this. This is not a left-right debate…. Everybody, even the richest Americans, should want a thriving middle class.”

George Carlin: We Know What They Want – More For Themselves, Less For You


George Carlin performed this stage act a few years ago, but he tells us what we already know.  Heck, FDR spoke of the greedy bastards (Corporations, Bankers, robber barons, etc.) decades ago when  the most memorable part of that speech was,  “We have nothing to fear but fear itself…” 

Dylan Ratigan – How The Feds, Banks & Congress Played A Role In Our Economic Mess (Video)

Dylan Ratigan of MSNBC, in my opinion,  is the “go to guy” in explaining exactly what happened to our economy and why.  He explains it in the simplest terms possible, so that the average viewer will understand the issues regarding the economy.  Kudos to Ratigan for his excellent work

I wanted to share these two videos with you:

Part 1


Part 2