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Morning Reading

Good morning. Hope you had a good weekend. Here a a few items to get the week started, including both sinners and SAINTS:

In a message to Democrats, Wall Street sends cash to GOP (New York Times) President Obama's buddy, JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, specifically has something to say:

But this year Chase's political action committee is sending the Democrats a pointed message. While it has contributed to some individual Democrats and state organizations, it has rebuffed solicitations from the national Democratic House and Senate campaign committees. Instead, it gave $30,000 to their Republican counterparts.

The shift reflects the hard political edge to the industry's campaign to thwart Mr. Obama's proposals for tighter financial regulations.

America is not yet lost, but it's close (Paul Krugman)

How bad is it? It's so bad that I miss Newt Gingrich.

Readers may recall that in 1995 Mr. Gingrich, then speaker of the House, cut off the federal government's funding and forced a temporary government shutdown. It was ugly and extreme, but at least Mr. Gingrich had specific demands: he wanted Bill Clinton to agree to sharp cuts in Medicare.

Today, by contrast, the Republican leaders refuse to offer any specific proposals. They inveigh against the deficit -- and last month their senators voted in lockstep against any increase in the federal debt limit, a move that would have precipitated another government shutdown if Democrats hadn't had 60 votes. But they also denounce anything that might actually reduce the deficit, including, ironically, any effort to spend Medicare funds more wisely.

Mortgage Bankers Association sells headquarters at big loss (Wall Street Journal)

Like millions of American households, the Mortgage Bankers Association found itself stuck with real estate whose market value has plunged far below the amount it owed its lenders.

But the trade group for mortgage lenders is refusing to say exactly how it extracted itself from that predicament.

On Friday, CoStar Group Inc., a provider of commercial real estate data, announced that it had agreed to buy the MBA's 10-story headquarters building in Washington, D.C., for $41.3 million. The price is far below the $79 million the trade group says it paid for the glass-walled building in 2007, while it was still under construction.

Government intervention will leave a lasting hangover (Weekly Standard)

New Orleans celebrates Saints win as a new beginning (NPR)

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Thanks for the MBA piece. I needed a good laugh this morning!

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