There was one little-noticed part of this week's announcement about the $25 billion national mortgage settlement. North Carolina's banking commissioner, Joseph Smith Jr., will take over a new role and serve as independent monitor. He'll oversee the five banks which agreed to new mortgage loan servicing and foreclosure standards.
Well, every single state in the country will get a piece of that $26 billion to help troubled homeowners keep their homes, every single state except Oklahoma. The attorney general in Oklahoma decided to opt out of the multistate settlement to hold banks accountable for questionable lending and foreclosure practices.
Scott Pruitt is Oklahoma's attorney general, and he joins me now on the line. Attorney General, welcome.
James Fallows of The Atlantic talks to weekends on All Things Considered host Guy Raz about President Barack Obama's compromise on providing reproductive services mandated by health care law after resistance from religious institutions and his latest cover story for The Atlantic on Obama's demeanor and a recent deal reached with five of the biggest banks in the country to pay back individuals whose homes were wrongly foreclosed on.
Okfuskee County in Oklahoma is the birthplace of Woody Guthrie, who would have turned 100 this year. Much of the economic problems Guthrie sang about were from what he saw in the county, which was once the largest all-black community in the country. Guthrie's music still resonates there, especially in the town of Boley, where hope is hard to come by. Logan Layden of State Impact Oklahoma reports.
Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney works on the front lines of the "unfunded mandate" issue, a phrase we've been hearing with increasing frequency at all levels of political discussion. What exactly is the problem with unfunded mandates?
When Americans traveled by stagecoach, they had to worry about rocks, rattlesnakes, robbers and other varmints. But I wonder if there weren't fewer passenger complaints.
Ralph Nader is not running for president this year. But he's giving a couple of speeches in Dallas this weekend and booked an American Airlines flight a couple of weeks ago for a $750 fare.
The flight takes three hours. Mr. Nader is 6 feet, 4 inches tall. His longtime travel agent tried to select an aisle seat, which is more comfortable for Mr. Nader. Probably for whoever might be next to him, too.
As most people who care about modern art, to list the major 20th century painters, they may start with Picasso, Matisse, then move on to the Americans, Jackson Pollock, Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns. But in France, a new museum just opened, devoted exclusively to one of the most multi-talented, controversial and often forgotten artist of the last century, Jean Cocteau.
Frank Browning traveled to France on the Cote d'Azure to report on this very peculiar man and the museum that celebrates him.