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Showing posts from September, 2008

Court Rules Prosecutors Withheld Evidence in Rowland Related Case

The Spadoni case has been making its way through the judicial grinder for more than four years.

The lede to an early 2004 New York Times story reads:

HARTFORD, April 12 - A lawyer convicted last summer of giving a $2 million bribe to Paul J. Silvester, former state treasurer, in exchange for a contract for his company to manage Connecticut's pension fund is seeking a new trial, claiming that the government misled his defense team and the jury.”
Silvester is, of course, the canary whose chirping brought down the Rowland administration.

In 2004, Spadoni’s defense attorneys were claiming, according to the Times’report, that prosecutors had mislead the jury when they said Silvester, the star witness in the bribery case against Spadoni, had admitted his role in bribing Spadoni and was being punished for it.

On the contrary, Spadoni’s attorneys claimed, “Mr. Silvester never pleaded guilty to accepting a bribe in the case involving Triumph Capital Group, a Boston investment firm for which Mr.…

The subprime Horror, continued: Out of the mouths of commentators

How odd it is that one has to look to blog commentators rather than the US House or Senate, the greatest deliberative bodies on earth, for permanent solutions to future financial crises. From a Politico commentator on the eve of The Great Pickpocketing:

“Subprime mortgages will never be mandated by the US government again. Subprime mortgages will never be guaranteed by the US government again. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loans will no longer be guaranteed by the US government. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will be broken up into smaller companies and auctioned within 12 months. If a company or entitiy decides to fund mortgages to the poor who cannot afford it, it will be done without the support or guarantee of the US government. Let liberals fund all subprime mortgages and lose a trillion dollars. The FBI will look into the relationship between leading congressmen and Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac for possible criminal charges. A panel will be formed (like the 9/11 commission) that will document…

Palinphobia

“On the last night of the Republican convention,” Jim Geraghty observed in the latest issue of National Review, “MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann reacted in outrage to a comment by Hawaii governor Linda Lingle... Said Olbermann: 'I’d love the governor or anybody else repeating those talking points to give us the names of those news organizations that have actually questioned whether or not mothers have a right to sit in office. But we haven’t heard that list yet.' His colleague Chris Matthews agreed: 'I sit here waiting for that list of major news organizations who have questioned her motherhood or her right to become vice president, given her motherhood. I don’t think it has ever happened.'

“Glad to oblige.”

And oblige he does.

NBC News anchor Brian Williams: “Are [working women with several children] wrong when they express fears or doubts that she should be able to do this, that she should be doing this?”

Washington Post columnist Sally Quinn: “And I think if you’re talking abou…

The Coming State Budget Crunch

The national economic fender bender should introduce a welcomed dollop of sobriety into budget discussions between Connecticut’s major parties.

The Democrat camp, which for several years has argued for a more steeply progressive rate on the incomes of Gold Coast millionaires, has put away its rhetoric, at least for the time being. The millionaires are hurting, and their pain is being felt by redistributionist mayors and congresspersons at the state capitol. Connecticut’s revenues have been diminished by, in Democrat parlance, the parlous financial conditions of the greedy CEOs of Wall Street who are now suffering a well deserved comeuppance. Unfortunately, their setback means that the revenue that poured into state coffers for the last decade and more from dubious financial transaction on Wall Street is no longer trickling down to the big spenders at the state capitol.

Obviously, something must be done. At this point, Micawber’s economic theory kicks in.

“Annual income twenty pounds, an…

MURPHY AND THE ENERGY BILL, VICTORY OR HOAX

Remember that Speaker Pelosi shut down the House of Representatives without giving it a chance to vote on whether to permit drilling for oil? She had the lights turned out the camera turned off. But a bunch of Republicans stayed behind and debated the issue, day after day, during the five weeks the House was on paid vacation, and ten senators of both parties worked on a compromise. President Bush lifted his presidential moratorium on off-shore drilling. The Congress’s moratorium expires on September 30.

Lots of Americans must have contacted their representatives asking them to hold a special session and vote, up or down, on drilling. It had an effect. Speaker Pelosi changed her plans. She announced she would “be open to voting on a drilling compromise.”

The writing of the drilling compromise was finished and the bill was introduced Monday night, September 15, at 9:45 p.m. (The name of the bill is “Comprehensive American Energy Security and Consumer Protection Act,” H.R. 6899…

Rangel Disabled

Claiming that Republicans were waging a guerilla war against him, besieged New York pol Charlie Rangel, a Democrat, has paid $10,800 in back taxes, which is a good thing. Then he called Republican Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin “disabled,” which is a bad thing.

Mrs. Palin recently gave birth to a Down Syndrome child who, Democrat well-wishers insisted, was birthed by her daughter, which is a lie.

A Not So Open Secret: Congressional Millionaires and AIG

The federal reserve has just shuttled $85 billion of taxpayer’s money to American International Group (AIG).

Opensecrets.org Discloses that AIG, compared to other companies, “has been the most nonpartisan in its contributions, splitting evenly the $9.7 million it has contributed over time. Sen. Chris Dodd, chair of the Senate banking committee, has racked up the most from AIG, with a total of $281,400, while Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), a member of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee and the Senate Finance Committee, takes second with $116,400. Presidential candidates John McCain and Barack Obama collected $103,000 and $82,600 from AIG, respectively.”

Lawmakers were more heavily invested in AIG than any other company: “Twenty-seven lawmakers owned stock in AIG last year, worth between $6.4 million and $20 million. Rep. Robin Hayes (R-N.C.), one of the richest members of Congress, was at the top of the list of congressional investors, owning stock worth between $2.8 mill…

Blumie The Snail

It has taken 17 months for Attorney Richard Blumenthal to discover that Lisa Moody, Governor Jodi Rell’s Svengali, is a political appointee and not a state worker, a piece of delicate information that probably could have been obtained in a two minute conversation with the employee division of state services. As a political appointee, Moody could not have violated a state law banning state employees from using state resources for political activities because – SHE IS NOT A STATE EMPLOYEE.

The Blumenthal probe took one year and four months to reach this very expensive conclusion, sufficient reason, said Republican Party chairman Chris Healy, for everyone to conclude that Blumenthal “has outlived his usefulness. The only people who benefited were the lawyers that many fine people had to hire to protect their reputations which Blumenthal and Democrats sought unsuccessfully to question. Dick Blumenthal owes us a refund.”

He forgot to mention the newspapers, which carried the Moodygate scanda…

A Devilish Question

So, we have a business meltdown. Who does it help or hurt, Sen. Barack Obama or Sen. John McCain?

This is a devilish question, but we are in the midst of a presidential campaign. Horns and cloven feet are everywhere.

In American politics, who fashions the best narrative wins. We all like a good yarn. A yarn is a story that sells, one that nestles nicely in our frame of reference, a story that confirms what we have always suspected.

Others, most effectively the Financial Times of London, have suggested that Alan Greenspan is responsible for both the tech bubble and the housing bubble that has now broken over our heads. But the current controversy undoubtedly helps Obama, because he has successfully presented himself to the voting public as an agent of change and, if we are in the pickle jar, we want to get out of it by the quickest possible route. Obama has managed to position himself on the side of the angels. He wants to overthrow the old order, the ancient regime that has brought only …

ZZZZZZZZZZ

A precious candid of Charlie Rangle handling the collapse of the old Bush economy.

Hey, the guy has tax problems. Let sleeping dogs lie.

And lie... and lie... and lie ...

Obama, Glam, Glits and Bling

Hollywood turns out to put on the Ritz for its favorite candidate.

This line is certain to be a favorite for those on the right blinded by the Hollywood blitz.

Standing in the courtyard of the Greystoine mansion, surrounded by a Hollywood glow, Obama said through a spokesperson, "I don't know who showed up down in Florida where he [Senator McCain] raised $5 million but my guess is that it wasn't a lot of nurses, firefighters and police officers. The whole corporate lobbying community is rallying to his side. We're going to have to struggle to keep pace. You can't challenge that group and not expect them to have a lot of money."

The struggle goes on.

Dodd and the Dominoes

Firms that were undercapitalized during the housing mortgage failure are now going under. On Black Sunday, Lehmen Brothers tanked, Merrill Lynch quietly sold itself to the Bank of America, and AIG, a major insurer, was tottering.

When AIG put its hand out to the Federal Reserve for a 40-billion- dollar bridge loan to stay afloat while it raised needed capital, the Fed said no. It had already pledged to spend up to 200 billion dollars of taxpayer money to help rescue the government-chartered Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mortgage underwriters and another troubled investment banking firm, Bear Stearns.

Briefly, the brokers at the failing firms were buying up bad mortgages, repackaging them as stock options and making money hand over fist on the mortgage bubble, which eventually ruptured. When the bubble broke, none of the firms had stored away enough capital to handle the whips and scorns of outrageous fortune.

Sen. Chris Dodd, the chairman of the senate banking committee whose elections have…

Obama’s Failing Strategy

WASHINGTON - An overwhelming advantage in experience and lopsided support from working-class and suburban whites have lifted Republican John McCain to a slender lead over Barack Obama less than two months from Election Day -- ALAN FRAM, Associated Press Writer

That is what we call a red flag.

Running short on message, Sen. and presidential aspirant Barack Obama first borrowed an idea from a cartoon bubble and then, for good measure, threw in a trite saying about lipstick and pigs, all to no avail. The moose hunter and her partner have galloped past him in the polls.

Why?

Obama’s Achilles’ heal is his lack of administrative and foreign policy experience. His trip to Germany, France and England earlier in the year was a frenetic attempt to acquire quickly the semblance of foreign policy experience. Palin has the edge on him with respect to administrative experience, and presidential aspirant John McCain is light years ahead of him on the foreign policy front.

Importing Biden into the ticket …

Pam on Sarah

The lithesome Pamela Anderson, once star of Baywatch and home made porno films, has ventured into politics. Asked her opinion of Governor of Alaska and Republican Vice President Sarah Palin, Ms. Anderson retorted, “I can't stand her. She can suck it. You can quote me.” Ms. Anderson is something of an authority on sucking.

Lieberman and His Enemies

Some in the Democrat Party are continuing their efforts to show their displeasure with Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman, now an independent who is never-the-less a registered Democrat.

Majority Leader of the US Senate Harry Reid, recently batted down a rumor that Lieberman was being ejected from the Democrat caucus. Reid and Lieberman some time ago agreed, largely at Lieberman’s urging, that the now independent senator would refrain from attending Democrat caucuses in which political strategy was being discussed. An ardent supporter of Republican Presidential candidate Sen. John McCain, Lieberman crossed a Rubicon of sorts when he appeared at the Republican Party convention and gave a speech in support of his preferred presidential candidate. The support itself is not surprising: Who wills the end, wills the means, and Lieberman is dissatisfied with his party’s attempts to shove a stick in the spokes of President Bush’s belatedly successful Iraq war policy.

A spokesperson for Reid has cal…

Paglia on Palin, Friendly Fire For Feminists

Camille Paglia, who writes for Salon magazine, is a trifle bristly – part of her charm. She is to feminism what Lewis and Clark were to the great Northwest, for there is more to feminism than meets the eye of many establishment feminists.

In her most recent piece in Salon, “Fresh Blood for the Vampire,” Paglia, North America’s Oriana Fallaci and a self described “dissident feminist”, takes aim at the outrageous attacks on Republican Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin:

Over the Labor Day weekend, with most of the big enchiladas of the major media on vacation, the vacuum was filled with a hallucinatory hurricane in the leftist blogosphere, which unleashed a grotesquely lurid series of allegations, fantasies, half-truths and outright lies about Palin. What a tacky low in American politics -- which has already caused a backlash that could damage Obama's campaign. When liberals come off as childish, raving loonies, the right wing gains. I am still waiting for substantive evidence t…

Spanking Fannie

"Depend on it, sir: Nothing so concentrates the mind like the prospect of being hanged in a fortnight." – Samuel Johnson

Nothing yet from Dodd on spanking Fannie.

In the business world, the prospect of failure has precisely the same effect. In a failure free environment, we can forgive ourselves everything. Failure never touched the souls of the nincompoops responsible for the home financing fiasco because they always knew deep in their bones that, if they failed, their generous Uncle Sam would come to their rescue and pick up their tab.

And that is exactly what has happened with Freddie Mac and Fannie May.

The so called “rescue” of these frauds by the federal government is itself defective because there is no failure component in the rescue effort, no element of fear that would restrain future frauds from following the same path to taxpayer perdition. Every single governmental program should be blessed with a fear factor.

The chief problem with government and quasi-government pr…

Unsliming Sarah

In a piece called “Sliming Palin,” Fact Check corrects some of the more odious lies that have been spread around the internet. Everyone who loves the truth should take notice.

"Palin did not cut funding for special needs education in Alaska by 62 percent. She didn’t cut it at all. In fact, she tripled per-pupil funding over just three years.

"She did not demand that books be banned from the Wasilla library. Some of the books on a widely circulated list were not even in print at the time. The librarian has said Palin asked a "What if?" question, but the librarian continued in her job through most of Palin's first term.

"She was never a member of the Alaskan Independence Party, a group that wants Alaskans to vote on whether they wish to secede from the United States. She’s been registered as a Republican since May 1982.

"Palin never endorsed or supported Pat Buchanan for president. She once wore a Buchanan button as a "courtesy" when he visited W…

The Scandal Front, So Far

Governor of Alaska and Republican Vice President nominee Sarah Palin’s daughter is pregnant and unmarried.

True. She and the father of the child expect to be enjoying wedded bliss in the near future.

Mrs. Palin’s unaborted Down Syndrome baby was actually her daughter’s baby.

Not true. This is medically impossible since the daughter is pregnant with her future husband’s baby. In a similar case, one of the reasons why John Edwards, once considered by Sen. Barack Obama as a Vice Presidential possibility, was not able to marry the woman he putatively impregnated was because he was already married to his cancer stricken wife. Otherwise, like Mrs. Palin's future son-in-law, he would have done the honorable thing and married the mother of his reputed child, if it was indeed his child. Determining the parentage of the child has been made difficult because while Edwards, who claims he is not the father, boasted he would be willing to take a DNA test to validate his claim, the woman he may hav…

Ms. Vs Mrs.

Throughout his report in The New York Times, Patrick Healy refers to Mrs. Palin, the mother of five married to “the First Dude,” as Ms. Palin, while the wife of former president Bill Clinton, formerly “Hillary Rodham,” is Mrs. Clinton.

"Friends of Mrs. Clinton, meanwhile, say she is the Obama campaign’s greatest weapon in pointing out Democrats’ differences with Ms. Palin and Mr. McCain."

Sup’with that?

Sen. Barack Obama is referred to throughout as “Mr.”

Ms. Healy expects a catfight among Ms. Palin and Mrs. Clinton.

Bring it on.

Sarah the Moose Hunter

The Democrats approached the Republican convention in their usual way, full of a deceptive self confidence. After all, their party had just concluded a convention that would have made Nero blush. The stadium in which Democrat presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama accepted the nomination of his party dwarfed the ancient Roman coliseum several times over, nor were fireworks available to the Romans at the Circus Maximus.

Democrats have a very attractive presidential candidate in Mr. Obama, who had just put away Sen. Hillary Clinton in a bruising primary. Prior to the ascendancy of Mr. Obama, the Clintons, Hillary and Bill, were the face of the Democrat Party. Most pundits agreed that Mr. Obama had conducted a very shrewd campaign from which he emerged as an agent of change and the Main Stream Media’s Main Man. Leftist bloggers also were solidly in his corner. His oratory sent chills up the quivering leg of longtime political commentator Chris Mathews. News reports were glowing. Mr. Oba…

Anatomy of a Rumor: Down Syndrome and the Palins

Out of a sense of decency, Sen. Barack Obama has said that the children of politicians should not be hauled into the bloody political ring, even when they embarrass their parents, as children will sometimes do. It is a solid rule to follow: The sins of the children, provided they have reached the age of reason, should not be visited upon their parents – even when their parents are politicians.

These glad tidings have not reached some of Obama’s supporters.

Immediately after Sen. John McCain announced that he had chosen Governor of Alaska Sarah Palin to be his Vice President on the Republican Party ticket, rumors began to fly. Progressive blog sites not kindly disposed to Republicans – DailyKos, www.barackoblogger.com, The Huffington Post, some in the mainstream media and their local echo chambers – sniffed out a rumor, since shown to be false, that the mother of Mrs. Palin’s newborn Down Syndrome child was her daughter.

No self respecting journalist would print such “news” on such slend…