1. APPELLATE COURT SIDES WITH GAY COUPLES IN SPLIT RULING ON CALIFORNIA PROP 8: Taking a narrow approach in deciding the blockbuster challenge to California’s ban on gay marriage, a 2-1 panel of the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals found Proposition 8 unconstitutional. As reported by law.com, the majority held the ban runs afoul of the Equal Protection Clause, serving no purpose other than to lessen the status and human dignity of gays in California, who could legally marry for a few months before the 2008 vote on Prop 8. The United States Constitution does not allow for laws of this sort. Because under California statutory law, same-se.x couples had all rights of opposite-se.x couples, regardless of their marital status, all parties agree that Proposition 8 had one effect only: It stripped same-se.x couples of the ability they previously possessed to obtain from the state, or any other authorized party, an important right to obtain and use the designation of “marriage” to describe their relationship. Nothing more, nothing less. However, the majority did punt on the broader question of whether marrying a partner of the same se.x should be a fundamental right, which scholars said was a move designed to help the opinion withstand United States Supreme Court review.
2. CITIGROUP, DISCOVER SUED OVER STUDENT LOAN CORP. LOSSES: Citigroup Inc., Discover Financial Services and Student Loan Corp. were sued by a pension fund over claims that Student Loan Corp. misled investors about increasing losses beginning in 2008. According to Bloomberg, the Oklahoma Firefighters Pension & Retirement System sued in federal court, claiming it lost money when the company’s stock price dropped after information about the losses became public. The fund seeks to represent all Student Loan Corp. investors between January 15, 2008 and September 23, 2010. At the same time Student Loan Corp. was failing properly to account for its mounting losses, the three companies issued materially false and misleading statements regarding Student Loan Corp.’s business and financial results, by telling the investing public that it was well positioned and performing well despite adverse market conditions. In September 2010, Student Loan Corp. told the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that it was taking a $900 Million charge, just days after it announced it was being sold.
3. IS MIAMI AMERICA’S HAPPIEST CITY OR MOST MISERABLE?: We recently did a piece that named Miami as America’s happiest city (see C&C Newsletter for January 26, 2012, Item 9). We do admit to scoffing at that title, but we also must do so at Forbes for naming Miami America’s most miserable city. Miami is a playground for the rich and famous. Celebrities flock to parties at South Beach clubs, then return to their $10 Million mansions. It is a leading city in culture, finance and international trade. But away from the glitz and glamor, many ordinary Miamians are struggling. A crippling housing crisis has cost multitudes of residents their homes and jobs. The metropolitan area has one of the highest violent crime rates in the country, and workers face lengthy daily commutes. Add it all up and Miami takes the top spot in Forbes’s ranking of America’s Most Miserable Cities. Forbes looked at 10 factors for the 200 largest metropolitan areas and divisions in the U.S. Some are serious, like violent crime, unemployment rates, foreclosures, taxes (income and property), home prices and political corruption. Others are less weighty, like commute times, weather and how the area’s pro sports teams did. While sports, commuting and weather can be considered trivial by many, they can be the determining factor in the level of misery for a significant number of people. One tweak to this year’s list: Forbes swapped out sales tax rates for property tax rates. Miami would have finished No. 1 under the old methodology, as well. Apparently, misery still likes company: West Palm Beach ranked fourth and Fort Lauderdale ranked seventh. Frankly, we would rateForbes as America’s most miserable magazine.
4. GOLF WISDOMS: No golfer ever played too fast.
5. PARAPROSDOKIAN: (A paraprosdokian is a figure of speech in which the latter part of a sentence or phrase is surprising or unexpected in a way that causes the reader or listener to reframe or reinterpret the first part. It is frequently used for humorous or dramatic effect.): “It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried.” -- Winston Churchill
6. QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “When you fall in a river, you’re no longer a fisherman, you’re a swimmer.” Gene Hill
7. ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: In 1863, fire extinguisher patented by Alanson Crane.
8. KEEP THOSE CARDS AND LETTERS COMING: Several readers regularly supply us with suggestions or tips for newsletter items. Please feel free to send us or point us to matters you think would be of interest to our readers. Subject to editorial discretion, we may print them. Rest assured that we will not publish any names as referring sources.
9. PLEASE SHARE OUR NEWSLETTER: Our newsletter readership is not limited to the number of people who choose to enter a free subscription. Many pension board administrators provide hard copies in their meeting agenda. Other administrators forward the newsletter electronically to trustees. In any event, please tell those you feel may be interested that they can subscribe to their own free copy of the newsletter at http://www.cypen.com/subscribe.htm. Thank you.