May 6, 2010

Lucid, Lickety-Split, and Lightning Links (050610, Morning)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 10:34 am

Lucid Links:

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From a Wall Street Journal editorial, on Freddie Mac’s latest loss (link may require subscription):

… Only yesterday, Freddie said it lost $8 billion in the first quarter, requested another $10.6 billion from Uncle Sam, and warned that it would need more in the future. This comes on top of the $126.9 billion that Fan and Fred had already lost through the end of 2009. The duo are by far the biggest losers of the entire financial panic—bigger than AIG, Citigroup and the rest.

From the 2008 meltdown through 2020, the toxic twins will cost taxpayers close to $380 billion, according to the Congressional Budget Office’s cautious estimate. The Obama Administration won’t even put the companies on budget for fear of the deficit impact, but it realizes the problem because last Christmas Eve it raised the $400 billion cap on their potential taxpayer losses to . . . infinity.

Moreover, these taxpayer losses understate the financial destruction wrought by Fan and Fred. By concealing how much they were gambling on risky subprime and Alt-A mortgages, the companies sent bogus signals on the size of these markets and distorted decision-making throughout the system.

The last excerpted sentence can’t be emphasized enough, especially since establishment media reports seemingly won’t touch it. As I’ve noted several times (here, here, and here), Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are 15-year scams perpetrated on the financial markets by Democratic cronies who ruined the housing and mortgage-lending markets and ultimately set the stage for the ignition of the POR Economy Recession by Nancy Pelosi, Barack Obama, and Harry Reid in the summer of 2008.

More is here in “The House That Uncle Sam Built.”

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Great moments in government:

Montgomery County has not billed Kettering for sewer costs at its popular Water Raves outdoor water park since the facility opened in 1990.

Kettering has agreed to pay the county nearly $200,000, but that’s a fraction of the estimated $500,000 cost because state law allows the county to collect only for the past six years since no bills were issued.

While checking accounts, county officials discovered Water Raves had been billed for water service, but not sewer, according to Greg Merrill, director of the county’s environmental services.

After months of talks, Kettering recently agreed to a sewer debt of $213,265 for the water park. An audit of other Kettering accounts showed $13,757 in credits to the city, making the final bill $199,508.

Doesn’t Montgomery County’s Democratic Auditor Karl Keith, who has been in office since 2001, deserve a little heat for this?

Update: A commenter more accurately points the finger at Montgomery County’s Democratic commissioners, which raises a reminder — I “forgot” (ha-ha) that county auditors have narrow duties that would not ordinarily include, uh, auditing things like sewer assessments. It’s a good thing Republicans have a real auditor and CPA on the ballot in Nov- … … oops.

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I would say “unbelievable,” but the better description is “so predictable”:

… the official residence of Ohio’s governor in recent years “functioned as a ‘mule station’ for the conveyance of tobacco and other contraband into a state prison,” according to an investigation released last week by Inspector General Thomas P. Charles.

Strickland’s reaction has been to give the Inspector General the Ken Starr treatment and to defend a Public Safety Director who pretty clearly lied under oath. That too, is so predictable.

It’s not exactly a secret that I’m not a fan of T-Shirt Ted, but that doesn’t mean I want something bad to happen to him or Frances. Strickland seems all too willing to risk that:

The inmate work program, used by governors going back to Michael DiSalle, (1959-1963), “veered off course” after Strickland took office in 2007, the inspector general found. Inmate oversight was “cavalier,” largely because of “a failure to integrate the prison security requirements.”

Why would you not do that?

Hey Ted, if you want to do dangerous things after you leave office, hopefully in January 2011, that’s fine. But while you’re Ohio’s chief executive, you’re not allowed to be cavalier about your safety. You owe it to your state’s residents to do everything reasonable to keep yourself safe and avoid exposing yourself to unnecessary risks. The IG says you’re not doing that. The IG is clearly correct.

Meanwhile, the gubernatorial incompetence machine marches on:

Although she was appointed Sept. 18, Strickland’s office mistakenly failed to submit her appointment and four others to the Senate for approval. Collins-Taylor’s confirmation hearing is expected later this month.

Why John Kasich isn’t making competence an issue in the gubernatorial campaign is a true mystery.

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Lickety-Split Links:

You have to work really hard for things to get this bad:

… Although Ohio Democrats enjoy a registration advantage of more than 1 million voters over Republicans …

This is true even though the state’s residents are predominantly center-right in political outlook. 15-20 years of pathetic ORPINO (Ohio Republican Party In Name Only) leadership, awful candidates, and poor governance have brought us to this point.

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Andy McCarthy’s final paragraph in a read-the-whole-thing National Review column about the handling of the Time Square wannabe bomber:

Needlessly making the complaint public may harm the ongoing investigation, but it is savvy public relations. It gives the Justice Department and the administration a script with which to portray themselves as super-competent and the civilian justice system as so effective that Bush-era relics like military detention are unnecessary. I hope there’s a better explanation than that. If there’s not, then the administration has prioritized scoring political points over effective investigation and intelligence gathering.

This administration’s pattern of behavior leads me to believe that there isn’t a better explanation than that.

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Good Move: The Competitive Enterprise Institute (HT Michelle Malkin) has filed a false advertising claim against Government/General Motors over the company’s obviously false statement that it has fully repaid the government:

In the complaint, CEI urges the FTC to investigate the GM ad campaign entitled “GM Repaid Government Loan Ahead of Schedule.” The ad features GM’s Chairman and CEO, Ed Whitacre, who declares that “we have repaid our government loan in full, with interest, five years ahead of the original schedule.”

That claim, CEI explains in the complaint, “gives the false impression that GM has used its own funds to pay back all the bailout money that it received from the federal government. In fact, GM has only repaid a fraction of those funds—barely ten percent. Moreover, GM apparently repaid its loan by using other federal funds.”

To add insult to injury, GM’s misleading ad could unfairly dupe consumers into a false, renewed confidence in the company, the complaint explains.

The last excerpted sentence makes a good point: GM seems to be a desperate company. GM’s sales in April were up 7% from a dismal, cash-hemorrhaging April 2009. Ford, Toyota, Chrysler, Honda, and Nissan were up 26%, 24%, 25%, 13%, and 35%, respectively.

One observer notes that Chrysler’s suddenly good month “strongly suggests a high level of (low-profit) fleet sales for the month.”

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Lightning Links:

Positivity: Surgical center abandons late-term abortion plans after pro-life protests

Filed under: Activism,Positivity,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 7:39 am

From Madison, Wisconsin:

May 6, 2010 / 06:16 am

Reporting a “pro-life victory,” pro-life leaders in Wisconsin have praised the Madison Surgery Center’s (MSC) abandonment of its plans to perform late-term abortions.

The MSC is a joint partnership between Meriter Hospital, the University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics and the University of Wisconsin Medical Foundation. At a February 2009 meeting its board voted to allow late-term abortions.

The Center was the target of pro-life petition drives and television commercials opposing the plan to provide late-term abortions.

“It is my understanding based on recent information from the UW (University of Wisconsin) that they have now abandoned plans to provide late-term abortion services at MSC,” Wisconsin Assistant Attorney General Kevin Potter said in a letter to an Eau Claire attorney who asked for an investigation of UW for violating the law by promoting and being involved in the late-term abortion plan.

Peggy Hamill, state director of Pro-Life Wisconsin, reacted to the news.

“We give credit first and foremost to God for this pro-life victory,” she commented. “Pro-life grassroots activism works.”

Hamill said in a press release that thousands of people attended “countless” prayer vigils, tens of thousands of people signed a pro-life petition, and hundreds of pro-life television commercials aired in the Madison area. Hundreds of people also boycotted the MSC. …

Go here for the rest of the story.