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Jerry Brown gives birthday present to the 99% on 100th anniversary of ballot initiative process

With a simple signature, California Governor Jerry Brown has struck a blow for populism in the ballot initiative process by signing a new law to clarify that all ballot initiatives be voted on in November, when twice the number of voters show up, rather than in primary elections.

Farmers Refunds May Elude Texans

AUSTIN, TX - Thousands of Farmers Insurance's Texas policy holders will probably miss out on a proposed $455 million settlement in a national class action lawsuit that accused the company of illegally inflating auto and homeowner rates by charging excessive management fees.

Group Rips Indiana Request for Permanent Health Law Waiver

The state of Indiana is under fire from consumer advocates for requesting a perpetual waiver from a key provision of the healthcare reform law.

The law allows waivers for health plans to phase in the law's medical loss ratio requirement, which requires the plans to spend at least 80 percent of premiums on medical care or give consumers a rebate. Indiana is the only state so far to request that high-deductible health plans be exempted forever.

Corporations, Wealthy Dominate Initiative Process

SACRAMENTO, CA -- California's initiative process was intended to give people a way to arm themselves against corruption, whether it was from lawmakers in the Capitol or the special interests that controlled them.

But in the 100 years since former Gov. Hiram Johnson rallied against the corrupt politics that permeated state government, corporations and wealthy individuals have adapted to California's initiative process and in some years dominate it by qualifying ballot measures that benefit them.

Consumer Watchdog Asks Senator Kohl To Recall Google’s Schmidt As Witness

Noting (as I did on Monday) that Schmidt had basically recanted his contrite testimony before Congress in basically calling the government slow and stupid in a Washington Post interview, Consumer Watchdog said in a letter to Senate chairman Herb Kohl that Schmidt should be recalled to testify by the Senate Antitrust Subcommittee:

Can Occupy Wall Street succeed?

Occupy Wall Street has now drawn the attention of the labor movement, political cognoscente and the White House.  It’s an authentic movement, born of genuine financial distress and betrayal, which is why it is resonating with Americans and is sparking protests in cities across America.

But can Zuccotti Park, the occupiers’ camp in lower Manhattan, ever become America’s Tahrir Square?