On the News With Thom Hartmann: Senators Reach Across the Aisle to Promote Immigration Reform, and More

Jim Javinsky in for Thom Hartmann here – on the news…

You need to know this. A rare word is coming out of the Senate today: “compromise.” With President Obama set to tackle immigration reform on Tuesday, a bipartisan group of Senators came out today with their own compromised deal. The team of four Democrats and four Republicans introduced a plan that will put the more than 11 million undocumented immigrants, currently in the United States, on a path to citizenship. But first, they will have to register with the government, pass background checks, pay back taxes and penalties, and then move to the back of the line for full citizenship status. The proposal also puts in place new border security measures – and young people – or “DREAMers” who were brought to the country illegally when they were a child, but have gone to school here and kept their nose clean, will be put on a faster track toward citizenship. This is a good sign that a deal on comprehensive immigration reform can be struck this year. Stay tuned.

In screwed news..the banking sector is ruled by monopolies. New data from the Dallas Federal Reserve shows that a small group of “mega banks” control upwards of 70% of all banking assets. Just twelve banks, out of the total 56-hundred commercial banks in operation across the nation – have assets between $250 billion and $2.3 trillion dollars. They represent only point- 2% of all banks in operation, yet they account for 69% of the industry’s total assets. This is the definition of “Too Big to Fail.” In fact, as Senator Sherrod Brown has pointed out, these banks aren’t just too big to fail, “they’re too big to manage.”

In the best of the rest of the news…

As state senators in Virginia contemplate taking up legislation, to rig the Electoral College for the benefit of Republicans, lawmakers in Michigan are considering doing the same exact thing. Last Friday, Michigan’s Republican House Speaker, Jase Bolger, was quoted as saying, “I hear more and more from our citizens in various parts of the state of Michigan, that they don’t feel like their vote for president counts because another area of the state may dominate that, or could sway their vote…They feel closer to voting for their congressman or their congresswoman, and if that vote coincided with their vote for president they would feel better about that.” Michigan is one of the bluer states taken over by Republicans in 2010 – and if Republicans succeed in rigging the Electoral College there, then that would seriously hurt Democrats’ chances of taking the White House in the future. In fact, if all states took up this election rigging scheme last year – then Mitt Romney would be our president today.

Last Friday, the so-called pro-life movement marched in Washington, DC, to take away a woman’s right to make a choice about her body. And while they got all the media attention, a different kind of pro-life movement arrived in Washington, DC over the weekend. Thousands of protestors flocked to the nation’s capital, calling for national gun control legislation. The march was organized after the Newtown massacre – and more than 100 residents of the Connecticut town joined in, to demand a ban on military style assault weapons and high capacity ammo magazines. Senator Dianne Feinstein, who introduced an assault weapons ban last week, appeared on CNN on Sunday claiming that she does have the support for such a ban – and that she’s been promised by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, that it will receive an up-or-down vote on the floor of the Senate.

The NYPD’s controversial stop-and-frisk policy may have recently been ruled unconstitutional, but that doesn’t bother New York police, who are set to unveil a new type of technology that makes stop-and-frisk unnecessary. NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly announced over the weekend, that within the year, his police force will begin using what are called Tera-Hertz scanners – or T-Ray machines – that can see through people’s clothing, to determine if they are carrying any weapons. As Raw Story reports, “The new device utilizes T-rays, which pass through fabric and paper, but cannot pass through metals.” The NYPD plans to deploy the machines in police cruisers at first, but eventually hope they can get the technology into a small enough machine, that it can fit on an officer’s belt. Privacy activists cheered the decision by the TSA, to get rid of the porno scanners in our airports, but now the fight for privacy continues on the streets of the Big Apple.

Don’t touch our libraries! That’s what the American people are saying amid the age of austerity and privatization, as they watch their community libraries lose funding, and close their doors. A new survey by the Pew Research center, found that 91% of Americans felt that libraries are important to their community. Another 76% said that libraries are important to them personally – and to their family. Unfortunately, public libraries are often the victim of budget cuts on a local, state, and federal level. In fact, the coming sequestration included a $19 million cut to a federal program that provides extra funding for public libraries around the nation.

And finally…Sarah Palin is out at Fox so-called News. Last Friday, Real Clear Politics reported that Fox News has decided to part ways with the gubernatorial quitter turned political celebrity. Over the last three years, she was a paid contributor, earning roughly a million bucks a year. A study out of the University of Minnesota analyzed Palin’s appearances on the network, and concluded that between 2010 and 2012 – Palin spoke nearly 190,000 words on the network – meaning she was paid roughly $15.85 per word. And that includes some of the words that none of us have ever heard before, and don’t even appear in any English language dictionary.

And that’s the way it is today – Monday, January 28, 2013. I’m Jim Javinsky in for Thom Hartmann – on the news.