November 13, 2011

AP, NYT Not Yet Reporting $433M Perelman-Smallpox Cronyism Story

MonkeySeeHearSpeakNoEvilA story first broken by David Willman at the Los Angeles Times on Friday (the story is currently dated November 13, but the first comment appeared late Friday evening Pacific Time) is going almost nowhere in the rest of the establishment press. I wonder why?

No, I really don’t, and neither will most readers here once they see what it’s all about, namely Obama administration corruption and crony capitalism (bolds are mine):

Cost, need questioned in $433-million smallpox drug deal

A company controlled by a longtime political donor gets a no-bid contract to supply an experimental remedy for a threat that may not exist.

Over the last year, the Obama administration has aggressively pushed a $433-million plan to buy an experimental smallpox drug, despite uncertainty over whether it is needed or will work.

Senior officials have taken unusual steps to secure the contract for New York-based Siga Technologies Inc., whose controlling shareholder is billionaire Ronald O. Perelman, one of the world’s richest men and a longtime Democratic Party donor.

When Siga complained that contracting specialists at the Department of Health and Human Services were resisting the company’s financial demands, senior officials replaced the government’s lead negotiator for the deal, interviews and documents show.

When Siga was in danger of losing its grip on the contract a year ago, the officials blocked other firms from competing.

Siga was awarded the final contract in May through a “sole-source” procurement in which it was the only company asked to submit a proposal. The contract calls for Siga to deliver 1.7 million doses of the drug for the nation’s biodefense stockpile. The price of approximately $255 per dose is well above what the government’s specialists had earlier said was reasonable, according to internal documents and interviews.

Perelman and others at Siga’s affiliate, MacAndrews & Forbes, have long been major political donors. They gave a total of $607,550 to federal campaigns for the 2008 and 2010 elections, according to records compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics. About 65% of that money went to Democrats. Perelman donated an additional $50,000 to President Obama’s inauguration.

… the federal contract required that the winning bidder be a small business, with no more than 500 employees. Chimerix Inc., a North Carolina company that had competed for the contract, protested, saying Siga was too big.

Officials at the Small Business Administration investigated and quickly agreed, finding that Siga’s affiliation with MacAndrews & Forbes disqualified it.

The excerpt hardly does the much longer story justice. The abuses and process-rigging just go on and on and on. Read the whole thing.

Yet we still have clowns like Jonathan Alter and Allan Lichtman running around claiming the administration is scandal-free. Zheesh.

You won’t be able to read about Siga at the Associated Press. Searches at the AP’s main site on “smallpox” and “Perelman” come up empty. A search at the New York Times on “smallpox” returns nothing relevant. A Google News search on “smallpox Perelman” (not in quotes, for the past week, sorted by date) returns a whopping five items. Two of them are versions of the LA Times story, one is from Fox News, and another is at a site called ThirdAge.com. The fifth item is from the AP’s sort-of competitor United Press International (UPI).

I guess being behind the dismally small UPI in covering (or potentially even not covering) a story of Washington corruption, rule-bending, rule-breaking, and campaign-contributions cronyism doesn’t bother the Essential Global News Network — as long as it’s the Obama administration and not that of a Republican or conservative. That why characterizing the wire service as The Administration’s Press is appropriate.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

File under ‘Elections DO Matter’: Kasich Decision to Turn Down Slow Choo-Choo $ Looking Better All the Time

Filed under: Economy,Ohio Politics,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:04 am

From a weekend Wall Street Journal editorial:

Train to Neverland
California’s railway gets more fantastic all the time.

California Governor Jerry Brown must have loved “The Little Engine That Could” as a kid. Last week his state’s high-speed rail authority released a new business plan that estimates its 500-mile bullet train from San Francisco to Anaheim will cost $98 billion. The state and federal governments are broke, and private capital won’t finance the project, but Mr. Brown still thinks the state can build the train.

Three years ago the rail authority sold a $9 billion bond measure to voters on the pretext that the bullet train would cost $33 billion and be financed mostly by private investors and Uncle Sam. They also claimed the train would draw 90 million riders per year—about 15 times what Amtrak’s Acela in the Northeast draws—and wouldn’t need a subsidy. Taxpayers were all aboard.

Then reality struck. A study last year by Stanford economist Alain Enthoven, former World Bank analyst William Grindley and financial consultant William Warren examined high-speed trains in Europe and Japan and concluded that the California train could cost upward of $100 billion and would be lucky to draw 10 million riders. The authors also reported that investors were refusing to finance the project without a subsidy, which the bond measure that voters approved had prohibited.

The White House has so far offered the state $3.2 billion in grant money—provided that it builds the train in a way that guarantees a taxpayer loss. …

Governor Moonbeam hasn’t changed a bit.

If there is anybody out there who still thinks John Kasich should have accepted $400 million from “Uncle Bam” and the Obama administration for the Cincinnati-Dayton-Columbus-Cleveland slow choo-choo, they are in the same Neverland as Jerry Brown.

Politifact, while criticizing Kasich for referring to the Ohio train’s average speed as being 39 mph (it might really be 50 mph if some curves are straightened — big whoop), noted supporters’ belief that the $400 million would be “enough to get the train up and running by late 2012.” Based on Cali’s experience, that’s sheer Neverland fantasy. As in California, the government would have had to come running back to taxpayers at either the federal or state level to finish the job.

If we’re at all lucky, Ohioans will never have to experience what California, which will hopefully change its mind about its disastrous project, is going through.

Sunday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (111311)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 7:15 am

Rules are here. Possible comment fodder follows. Other topics are also fair game.

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Obama-endorsed (proof herehere, and hereOccupy Update:

  • Important perspective from Mark Steyn, for those in business who naively see potential benefit in aligning with the Occupy movement — “Standing with “the 99%” means supporting the destruction of civilized society.”
  • From New York City (HT OWS Exposed) — “EMT Assaulted at Occupy Wall Street” — “A man has been arrested for allegedly assaulting a paramedic and breaking his leg at the Occupy Wall Street site overnight.”
  • A pertinent question from Jim Taranto at the Wall Street Journal’s Best of the Web last Monday — “Should the liberal media be held responsible for left-wing violence?” By the Gabby Giffords standards unsuccessfully attempted on Tea Party sympathizers, “Yes,” because they apply to the press and the Occupy movement.
  • From Salt Lake City (“Occupy Fight Results in 4 Arrests”) — “At least four people were arrested Thursday following a fight that reportedly involved an estimated 30 people in Pioneer Park near the Occupy Salt Lake base camp.” John at Powerline comments: “If you have ever wondered what would happen in a society consisting entirely of liberals, the Occupier movement is providing the answer: devolution.”
  • At Ace’s place (my title) — “BlogCon 1, Occupy Denver 0″ (Breitbart video here)
  • Denver (“Police clear out Occupy Denver”) — If you can stand it, read the article for the breathtaking childishness displayed therein.
  • The Occupy Wall Street crowd in New York has its own diseaseZuccotti Lung. It has a two-word cure: Go home.
  • As of 11 PM Saturday night, John Nolte’s incomplete but nevertheless useful Occupy incident count was up to 213.
  • Update from Portland (HT Atlas Shrugs) — “Occupy Portland stocking up on gas masks, homemade weapons, police warn.” I don’t want to minimize the clear seriousness of the situation, but there is something unavoidably funny about the link’s opening sentence: “Gas masks, homemade weapons and potluck dinners are being gathered by demonstrators at the Occupy Portland site, police warned Friday.” There must be some really bad cooking going on.

Remind me: What was this “Occupy Movement” supposed to be about?

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At SmartMoney.com“10 Things Baby Boomers Won’t Say”:

1. “Paws off, Junior, this cash is mine.”
2. “Make room kids, we’ll be living with you when we’re old.”
3. ” and we blame you for that.”
4. “We can’t face reality.”
5. “Until death do us part” doesn’t apply to us.
6. “We’re Unhappy …”
7. “… and we eat our feelings.”
8. “And we’re addicts.”
9. “We will bury you in debt.”
10. “We’re obsessed with (not) aging.”

#9 should probably be #1.

As the item’s subeadline indicates: “The aging Me Generation is still putting itself first.”

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At Heritage“Leaked Emails Fuel Perception of Cronyism in Solyndra Loan.” Perception?

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Good Sunday Read: John Hawkins interviews Thomas Sowell, who makes great points about race relations, slavery, the A-bombs dropped on Japan, and much more.

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Larry Kotlikoff at the Fiscal Times (“Deficit Accounting Is a Generational Ponzi Scheme”) — “… we are now reaching the end of the chain letter with too few young workers earning far too little to buy into our politicians’ unaffordable promises.” His Purple Tax Plan (that color because it’s supposed to satisfy both red and blue) has many elements worth considering.

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Evidence that the fact that we are reaching the end of Kotlikoff’s aforementioned chain letter is not leading to adult conduct in Washington (video at link) — “Sen. Rand Paul told Sean Hannity … “I have news straight from sources close to the Supercommittee that the Democrats have walked away from the table and they’re refusing to talk to the Republicans about a deal and, they will not counter any offers and basically there’s an impasse and it’s starting to look like they don’t want any deal at all.”

Positivity: 508 Babies Saved From Abortion as 40 Days for Life Closes

Filed under: Life-Based News,Positivity — Tom @ 7:00 am

Via Shawn Carney at Life News:

11/7/11 10:34 AM

Another 40 Days for Life campaign has come to an end — and we can look back now at lives forever changed. During these 40 days, there have been 508 lives saved — that we know of — because of God’s response to your prayer!

From past campaigns, we expect the number to KEEP GROWING, as our local campaign leaders get their final reports in.

… for today, let’s look at some of the ways lives have been changed during 40 Days for Life — and thank God for his abundant blessings during this time of prayer and fasting for an end to abortion.

AUSTIN, TEXAS

A volunteer spoke a teenaged couple approaching the abortion center and learned that the girl just found out she was pregnant. She was afraid of telling her parents and wanted to go behind their backs to get a judicial bypass — a court order — in order to have an abortion.

Her boyfriend was not in favor of the abortion, but reluctantly said he supported her because it was her decision.

“I showed them what her baby might look like, based on how far along she thought she was — six weeks,” said the vigil participant. “I also discussed alternatives and resources that I could connect her with.”

The couple walked into the abortion center, but soon left “with smiles of joy and satisfaction. They had decided to not to have an abortion,” said the volunteer.

“Praise God!”

OVERLAND PARK, KANSAS

The 40 Days for Life team in Overland Park had gotten a call from the 40 Days for Life leaders in Columbia, Missouri. Planned Parenthood’s Columbia abortionist had quit, so this office was sending women to Planned Parenthood in Overland Park for abortions.

A volunteer spoke to a couple who had shown up for an appointment in Overland Park. He asked the couple if they were from Columbia — they looked shocked — and said in fact they were. So he shared some pro-life information with them.

They never made it inside the building, however. It was closed! No one had shown up for work that day — there was no explanation.

Later, another couple showed up, knocked, tried the intercom — nothing. There was still no one there. They also took information from the volunteers and left. …

Go here for the rest of the column.