Here is your Morning Brief for the morning of May 23, 2012. Give us your feedback below and tune in to Lubbock’s First News with Chad Hasty for these and many more topics from 6-9 am.

1. Obama Administration & Democrats Target Volcker Rule

The Obama administration and Democrats appear likely to tighten rules or at least attempt to tighten rules on banks after JP Morgan lost billions of dollars.

The acknowledgment by a senior administration official Monday threatens to reopen a protracted fight between Wall Street allies and the White House over imposing new rules on big financial companies in the wake of the 2008 crisis.

The administration hasn’t specified any particular steps it would like regulators to take to shore up the so-called Volcker Rule — a bid perhaps to avoid an ugly public fight with powerful interests in an election year. But inaction — or a too-tepid response to JP Morgan’s losses — will hurt President Obama with key allies, who want to use the debacle to further rein in Wall Street.

Not everyone is happy with the Volcker Rule though. That includes most if not all Republicans as well as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

The announcement came hours after Chamber of Commerce CEO Tom Donohue criticized the Volcker Rule and pressed the administration not to use the incident to impose new, harsher regulations.

“Nobody’s clear about the Volcker Rule,” Donohue told reporters. “It’s 270 some pages and if you gave it to six experts on the subject, they’d come back with seven interpretations of what it means…. My own view is to suggest that we wait and see what happens.”

Waiting in this case could throw the game. The Volcker Rule is set to be finalized in July, and absent an extension, or quick work to address loopholes in the language, the final version will, by some analyses, allow banks to make broad bets similar to the one that landed JP Morgan in so much trouble.

The legislative authors of the Volcker Rule — Sens. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Carl Levin (D-MI) — are well aware of this, and have been pushing for swift action to bring the regulations in line with the clear intent of the law.

Not only is this making news nationally, but locally Chris Winn, candidate for U.S. Congress and his supporters have blasted incumbent U.S. Congressman Randy Neugebauer for not supporting a strengthened version of the Volcker Rule. Chris Winn seems to side with the President and other Democrats like Barney Frank, Maxine Waters, and more.

Republicans aren't sold and a simple search shows that there are tons of opinions out there on this issue. It's not a black and white issue really at all. In fact, an opinion piece out of the Wall Street Journal says that the Volcker Rule is flawed and should be done away with.

Politics is always interesting. In the District 19 race, Neugebauer is being criticized by some for being with the Republicans and Chris Winn is being praised for being aligned with the Democrats.

2. Senate Democrats Back TSA Fee Increase (link)

Senate Democrats want you to pay more for being felt up by the TSA. According to the Hill:

The Senate Appropriations Committee on Tuesday moved forward with legislation to increase airline passenger security fees, beating back a GOP attempt to keep them at current levels.

The 2013 Homeland Security appropriations bill would increase one-way fees for passengers from $2.50 to $5 in order to close a budget shortfall at the Transportation Security Administration.

Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) said the $315 million in funding would otherwise come from taxpayers and argued it is better to stick passengers who rely on TSA with the bill.

Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) and Sen. Dan Coats (R-Ind.) sponsored an amendment to strip out the fee increase and offset the loss of revenue with cuts to state and local grants, emergency food and shelter funding, and dropping $89 million in funding for a new highway interchange leading to the Homeland Security’s new headquarters in southeast Washington, D.C. Hutchison noted that the Senate had decided not to increase the fees in the recent Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization bill.

That amendment was defeated on a 15-15 vote. Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) joined Republicans in supporting the measure to strip out the fee increase.

Democrats wanting people to pay $5 to get felt up. Isn't that getting close to prostitution?

3. Public Opinion on Zimmerman Changing (link)

The more evidence that comes out, the more the public sees George Zimmerman in a different light. According to a new Rasmussen Report:

As evidence continues to emerge from the shooting death of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin, Americans are becoming more convinced that his killer acted in self-defense and that the legal system will come to that conclusion.

Forty percent (40%) now think George Zimmerman, who has been charged with second degree murder in the Martin shooting, acted in self-defense. That’s up 25 points from 15% in March and up 16 points from 24% last month. Thirty-six percent (36%) remain undecided, compared to 55% two months ago.

I'd have to agree with the 40%. Seems like self-defense to me and blown out of proportion by the President, Justice Department, and the Congressional Black Caucus.

4. LISD to Consider Dress Code Thursday (link)

According to KFYO News:

As the 2011-2012 school year ends, the Lubbock ISD Board of Trustees on Thursday morning will consider changes to the district’s Student Code of Conduct during their regular Board Meeting.

If a set of proposed changes from March are approved, changes would also come to the student dress code. Those changes would specifically involve banning baggy pants, extreme hair styles, visible tattoos and other minor changes.

The newest trustee on the board, Mark Blankenship, made it a point during his election campaign earlier this month, to campaign for a stricter dress code.

5. Dumb Story of the Morning (link)

NASCAR is going green.

President Obama’s eco-friendly EPA inked a green partnership deal with high-octane NASCAR Monday to promote recycling and environmentally-friendly products to the sport’s millions of fans.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, NASCAR will encourage fans to buy “sustainable concessions” at races, expand the use of “safer chemical products,” conserve water, reduce waste, promote recycling, push products approved by the EPA that have a small enviro footprint and encourage suppliers to get an “E3 tuneup” aimed at promoting sustainable manufacturing. 

Missing: any talk of greening races or race cars that consume about two million gallons of gas a year and average five miles per gallon.

“Yes, the focus is on suppliers and programs, not green cars,” said an EPA spokesman.

Instead, it’s a first step to get fans and suppliers to think green while favorites like Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Tony Stewart lay down some rubber.

“Because NASCAR is followed by millions of passionate fans and many businesses, it can be a powerful platform to raise environmental awareness, drive the adoption of safer products by more Americans, and support the growing green economy,” said Jim Jones, EPA’s acting assistant administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention.

6. Good Brews Good News of the Day (link)

Joplin Tornado anniversary.

On the one-year anniversary of the tornado that claimed 161 lives and injured 1,150 people, Joplin, Mo., residents can take comfort in reflecting on the stories of their heroes. The men, women and children who stepped up to make a difference during moments of severe crisis.

Heroes such as Mark Lindquist, the 51-year-old who risked his life to save three developmentally disabled people. There was also 9-year-old Maddox Prier who only learned speak at age 5, yet managed to warn his family in time to find shelter.

Everyday, Good Brews Coffee & Tea Lounge brings you the Good News of the Day!


Tuesday May 29: LIVE Broadcast from Good Brews Coffee & Tea Lounge 7-9am

Other Top Stories:

Ted Cruz: West Texas Values Could Cure America's ills

RNC Slams Obama for Booker Cover-Up

White House Shaped Bin Laden Movie

Most Anti-Business President Since Carter

Woman Fired For Being Too Hot?

These and many more topics coming up on today’s edition of Lubbock’s First News with Chad Hasty. Tune in mornings 6-9am on News/Talk 790 KFYO, streaming online at, and now on your iPhone and Android device with the radioPup App. All guest interviews can be heard online in our podcast section after the show at