Saturday, September 27, 2008

Illegals cost Los Angeles County $37 Million for August.

Immigration: How come we don't have a breakdown like this elsewhere?

New statistics from the Department of Public Social Services reveal that illegal aliens and their families in Los Angeles County collected nearly $37 million in welfare and food stamp allocations, announced Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich.

In August, illegals collected over $19 million in welfare assistance and over $17 million in monthly food stamp allocations, for a projected annual cost of $432 million. Nearly twenty five percent of all welfare and food stamps benefits is going directly to the children of illegal aliens.

“Illegal immigration continues to have a devastating impact on Los Angeles County taxpayers,” said Antonovich. “Annually, the cost of illegal immigration to Los Angeles County taxpayers exceeds one billion dollars, which includes $220 million for public safety, $400 million for healthcare, and $432 million in welfare allocations. This does not include millions of dollars for education.”

"Jewel of Medina" publisher office firebombed

UK: Pathetic. I wonder how Prof. Denise Spellberg is feeling about this happening to a book publisher.

Police arrested three men on Saturday in connection with a fire at the offices of the publisher of a book about the Prophet Mohammed and his child bride.

The men, aged 22, 30 and 40, were arrested in north London under anti-terrorism legislation after the fire on Saturday morning at Gibson Square's offices. Police were also searching four addresses in east London.

Britain's domestic Press Association news agency said some residents, whom it did not identify, reported that the incident may have involved a petrol bomb being pushed through the firm's letterbox.

Gibson Square is responsible for the publication of "The Jewel of Medina" -- a fictional account of the Prophet's relationship with his youngest bride Aisha -- by American author Sherry Jones.

Random House announced last month it had cancelled publication of the book in the United States because of fears of violence.

"The Jewel of Medina" was re-released in Serbia earlier this month after being withdrawn in August under pressure from Islamic leaders.

Martin Rynja, publishing director at Gibson Square, earlier this month defended the decision to publish the book, saying that in "an open society there has to be open access to literary works, regardless of fear."

"As an independent publishing company, we feel strongly that we should not be afraid of the consequences of debate," he added.

Update# Details on the Police stopping the plot to kill the publisher.

Scotland Yard's counter-terrorist command yesterday foiled an alleged plot by Islamic extremists to kill the publisher of a forthcoming novel featuring sexual encounters between the Prophet Muhammad and his child bride.

Early yesterday armed undercover officers arrested three men after a petrol bomb was pushed through the door of the north London home of the book’s publisher.

The Metropolitan police said the target of the assassination plot, the Dutch publisher Martin Rynja, had not been injured.

The suspected terror gang was being followed by undercover police and the fire was quickly put out after the fire brigade smashed down the front door.

The foiled terrorist attack recalled the death threats and uproar 20 years ago following the publication of Salman Rushdie’s Satanic Verses, and the worldwide protests that followed the publication in a Danish newspaper in 2005 of cartoons deemed offensive to Islam, in which more than 100 people died.

Security officials believe Rynja was targeted for assassination because his firm, Gibson Square, is preparing to publish a romantic novel about Aisha, child bride of the Prophet Muhammad. The Jewel of Medina, by the first-time American author Sherry Jones, describes an imaginary sex scene between the prophet and his 14-year-old wife.

Bailout bill filled with Dem pork for special interest groups.

Politics: Including the corrupt ACORN group.

Boehner is charging that the proposal is "loaded with special-interest pork." He handed the following document to reporters:

"House Republicans are fighting to ensure the economic rescue bill doesn’t give a blank check to Wall Street at the expense of taxpayers on Main Street. But House Republicans are also fighting for the removal of pork-barrel provisions added to the working draft of the bill by Democrats for the benefit of special-interest groups and political contributors. Who else stands to benefit?

TRIAL LAWYERS – Instead of investigating the scandal-plagued American trial lawyer industry, the Democratic Congress has showed it in pork, tucking special benefits into major bills to benefit the industry at the expense of American taxpayers – and the economic rescue bill has been no exception. Working drafts of the bill include so-called 'cramdown' provisions allowing bankruptcy judges to reduce mortgage principal under the guise of helping those at risk of foreclosure. If enacted into law, the provision would be a bonanza for trial lawyers and undercut the effectiveness of any economic recovery effort by making it even harder to value mortgage-backed securities.

WASHINGTON LABOR BOSSES – Washington’s powerful big labor bosses – another special-interest constituency closely aligned with the Democratic Party – also get a big handout in the working draft of the bailout bill. So-called “say on pay” or “proxy access” provisions have been added to the bill by Democrats proposing to mandate a nonbinding shareholder vote on proxy access and other issues for all companies in which the Treasury Department buys a direct stake in certain assets. The proposal can and should include restrictions on executive compensation for participating firms in a responsible manner without allowing Washington labor bosses to have an undue say on corporate governance at the expense of American workers and their prosperity.

ACORN – The draft bill includes a left-wing giveaway that would force taxpayers to bankroll a slush fund for a discredited ally of the Democratic Party. At issue is the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now – better known as ACORN – an organization fraught with controversy for, among other scandals, its fraudulent voter registration activities on behalf of Democratic candidates. Rather than returning any profits made in the long-term from the economic rescue package, Democrats want to first reward their radical allies at ACORN for their (often illegal) help in getting Democrats elected to office. Families, seniors, small businesses, and all American taxpayers deserve better.

MORTGAGE INDUSTRY BAD ACTORS – The draft of the bill includes “foreclosure mitigation” provisions that essentially establish a preference for purchasing assets with the goals of modifying or restructuring loans. House Republicans believe the goal of the rescue legislation should be to stabilize the markets and protect taxpayers – NOT to use taxpayer dollars to identify assets to purchase in order to improve loan workouts. Congress has already enacted one irresponsible housing bailout to deal with the mess created by the Democrats’ refusal to reform Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. We don’t need another.

Just say no HELL NO to this bill until all this crap is taken out.

"Conservative" Judges rip Scalia on gun rights.

Politics: Harvie Wilkinson lacks common sense in his complaint

The judges, J. Harvie Wilkinson of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va., and Richard Posner of the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago, take Scalia to task for engaging in the same sort of judicial activism he regularly disdains.

"Heller represents a triumph for conservative lawyers. But it also represents a failure — the Court's failure to adhere to a conservative judicial methodology in reaching its decision," Wilkinson wrote in an article to be published next year in the Virginia Law Review. "In fact, Heller encourages Americans to do what conservative jurists warned for years they should not do: bypass the ballot and seek to press their political agenda in the courts."

The guns case was easily the most significant opinion Scalia has written in his 22 years on the court. Yet Wilkinson faults the justice for falling victim to the same criticism Scalia leveled in a scathing dissent in the court's 1992 decision that reaffirmed the right to an abortion.

"I cannot help but recall Justice Scalia's lament ... that 'by foreclosing all democratic outlet for the deep passions this issue arouses, by banishing the issue from the political forum that gives all participants, even the losers, the satisfaction of a fair hearing and an honest fight, by continuing the imposition of a rigid national rule instead of allowing for regional differences, the Court merely prolongs and intensifies the anguish,'" Wilkinson said, quoting from Scalia's dissent.

"Yet, sixteen years later, the court now takes an issue about which the nation is deeply divided and narrows democratic outlets, overlooks regional differences, and imposes a rigid national rule," he said.

Last time I check I remember it being the Constitution of the United States, not the Constitution of the United States Buffet where you can pick and choose where rights and laws can be used or not. The right to Abortion is no where in the Constitution so that dissent doesn't apply among other reasons to gun rights.

Obama's Missouri version of the C.I.O.

Update!: Missouri Governor Matt Blunt calls out Obama's C.I.O thug squad.

The secret police comes to America.

You have prosecutors and various law enforcement officials running around as Obama's "truth squad" and no one has a problem with this abuse of power? Some third party should run an ad just to see their response.

The KMOV report said the Obama campaign asked members of Missouri's law enforcement to target anyone who "lies" or issues misleading television ads. Formation of the Obama "Truth Squad" was the result, the report said.

McCulloch declined to return a call from WND seeking comment.

The KMOV report said the campaign was being conducted by McCulloch and another prosecutor, Jennifer Joyce, along with a number of sheriffs throughout the state.

"They will be reminding voters that Barack Obama is a Christian who wants to cut taxes for anyone who makes less than $250,000 a year. They also say they plan to respond immediately to any ads and statements that violate Missouri's ethics laws," the report said.

"We want to keep this campaign focused on issues," Joyce told the station. "We don't want people to get distracted. Missourians don't want to be distracted by the divisive character attacks."

The campaign was assembled to "set the record straight," they said.

Officials with the Missouri Sheriff's Association declined to talk about any sheriffs who might be involved in the campaign.

Video Report here.

This sort of action fits in with other attempts by the Obama campaign to silence critics and chill any attempt at a debate that are not on his terms. In the real world if they want to enforce the law, it should be for both sides.

Keep an eye for this ad featuring Rep. Roy Blunt if it plays in Missouri and demand action. It was so blatant even Tapper is kinda shocked.

Update 1: Missouri Gov slams this thug squad who are abusing the power of the office they are in for everyone to just protect their own candidate of choice.

"“St. Louis County Circuit Attorney Bob McCulloch, St. Louis City Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce, Jefferson County Sheriff Glenn Boyer, and Obama and the leader of his Missouri campaign Senator Claire McCaskill have attached the stench of police state tactics to the Obama-Biden campaign.

“What Senator Obama and his helpers are doing is scandalous beyond words, the party that claims to be the party of Thomas Jefferson is abusing the justice system and offices of public trust to silence political criticism with threats of prosecution and criminal punishment.

“This abuse of the law for intimidation insults the most sacred principles and ideals of Jefferson. I can think of nothing more offensive to Jefferson’s thinking than using the power of the state to deprive Americans of their civil rights. The only conceivable purpose of Messrs.

McCulloch, Obama and the others is to frighten people away from expressing themselves, to chill free and open debate, to suppress support and donations to conservative organizations targeted by this anti-civil rights, to strangle criticism of Mr. Obama, to suppress ads about his support of higher taxes, and to choke out criticism on television, radio, the Internet, blogs, e-mail and daily conversation about the election."

(video) Maxine Waters and others denying Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae were in crisis.

Politics: Back in 2004. This was after anyone with sense was sounding the alarm but very few in Congress on both sides of the aisle wanted to do a damn thing about it.

Obama did disrespect McCain at the debate.

Politics: This was deliberate and highly obnoxious/disrespectful by Obama . This wasn't some bad habit he picked from Biden being around him for so long. Black Jesus ain't stupid. A lot of the little things people dismiss as a quirk or bad habit have a purpose if he does it.

A New Bad Habit [Amy Holmes]

More than one person noticed that Obama repeatedly referred to McCain as "John." It seems that Obama has picked up this bad habit from his running mate.

During the primaries the RNC did research and found that Hillary gained sympathy from listeners when her opponent called her by her first name instead of "Senator Clinton." They heard it a sign of disrespect. Biden regularly refers to McCain as "John" often following the words, "my friend." (With friends like these...)

It's a small, but noticeable, tick and it sounds patronizing when Biden does it. "Folks" (to use another favorite politician's tick) noticed that Obama now does it, too.

San Francisco gave 372 convicted illegal adults sanctuary.

Crime: San Francisco should be considered a threat to the nation with this sort of policy in place.

It turns out that San Francisco wasn't shielding just juvenile illegal immigrants from deportation if they committed crimes - City Hall officials have discovered that there are 372 convicted adult felons on probation in the city who weren't reported to the feds.

The findings were reported in an audit overseen by the city's incoming probation chief, Patrick Boyd, after Mayor Gavin Newsom asked for a review of how San Francisco's sanctuary law was being implemented in the wake of a series of Chronicle stories describing missteps in the handling of juvenile felony offenders.

City officials repeatedly claimed that adult illegal immigrant felons were being turned over to federal officials - unlike juveniles, who for years were protected under what authorities now concede was a misinterpretation of the sanctuary law.

Officers with the city Probation Department are supposed to include defendants' immigration status in their pre-sentencing reports to judges. But "that policy wasn't being followed," at least not by everybody, Boyd said.

And apparently, no one was checking.

"My talks with staff indicate that there was some real confusion about how the sanctuary law was to be implemented, and that the department hadn't done a good job of making it clear what the expectation was," said Boyd, who was appointed by the San Francisco courts in late July to head the department.

Last month, probation officers began spending nights and weekends going over the files of 6,500 felons who are on probation in the city.

About 700 were found to be noncitizens, and 1,200 more had a blank space next to the immigration status question.

Further review found that 372 were probably in the country illegally or had some type of problem with their immigration status.

The names have since been sent to the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.

Women sentenced for aiding illegals in mortgage fraud

Crime: The reasoning for the light sentencing is mindblowing.

A Johnson County judge on Friday sentenced two Leawood women to probation for helping illegal immigrants use stolen Social Security numbers to commit $7.7 million in mortgage fraud.

Only four of the 102 mortgages taken out by those undocumented workers are in default, which helped spare the women prison time.

"....Judge James Franklin Davis asked at the sentencing hearing why prosecutors agreed to such a light plea deal.

Patrick Carney, assistant district attorney, said one reason was that only four of the 102 mortgages the women were involved in were in default. Federal officials would not pursue the case because of the small amount of losses, he said.

He wanted to see the fraudulent real estate work end, Carney said, and make it clear through the fines that the women were not enriched by it.
Davis said, “My only concern in all of these cases … is the ultimate losses to the taxpayers are still unknown.”

Lawyers speculated that citizen relatives of buyers took over some mortgages or that undocumented workers may still be paying while they strive for legitimate status or fight deportation.

After the hearing, Carney said it was interesting that so many of the undocumented workers had not defaulted.

“There is an argument to be made that they’re hardworking, honest folks who simply want to buy a house and raise a family,” he said, “but there is a right way to do that.”

Unless I am mistaken there are 102 illegal aliens with stolen SS numbers who willing signed loans with false information. What about the real owners of those SS numbers? Do they get a pass when the rest of them go into default? The justice system just pisses me off sometimes.

Brazil ecstatic about possible NJ size oilfield.

World: Brazil who actually use their resources are ready to drill baby drill off the coast over a potential gusher of riches.

"Brazil is abuzz with indications that Iara and Tupi are merely parts of a much larger, New Jersey-size deep-water oil field. It's been dubbed Pre-salt in reference to the mile-thick layer of salt between the ocean floor and the oil.

The preliminary tests are auspicious enough that President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva touted the undersea wealth as enough to turn Brazil into a "nation of engineers," a reference to his belief that oil will finance a development boom.

"It could definitely change the face of the country," said Paulo Levy, an economist with IPEA, a Rio de Janeiro think tank.

How huge is the Pre-salt field? The Iara discovery bolsters estimates that it could contain 70 billion to 110 billion barrels of oil, said Segen Estefan, a professor of ocean structures at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, a leading petroleum research center.

For comparison, proven reserves in Venezuela, the United States and Canada stood at 87 billion, 29.4 billion and 27.6 billion barrels, respectively, at the end of 2007, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

"There is no question there is a lot of wealth down there," said Joao Carlos Ferraz, research director at Brazil's national development bank, known by its Portuguese initials BNDES. "But there are uncertainties in terms of its size and the technical difficulties you will face."

Brazil ranks 15th among nations in oil reserves and 11th in production with a current average of 2.3 million barrels pumped daily. Unlike Latin American energy leaders Mexico, Venezuela and Colombia, where reserves and production are flat or falling, Brazil has doubled reserves and output since 1998.

A key to Brazil's success has been its advanced exploration and drilling techniques that enable it to exploit once-inaccessible oil deposits one mile or more beneath the ocean floor. Just as important was the decision in 1997 to open Brazil to investment by foreign oil companies. Dozens now operate in the country, usually in partnership with Petrobras."

Obama's thug squad goes after NRA ad.

Politics: Patterico points out the attempted free speech murder by Obama's thug squad over an NRA ad plus other Dem attempts of silencing critics.

As a staunch advocate of the First Amendment, I have to say that this is one of the scariest things I’ve seen since . . . well, since the last time Democrats used thuggery to try to squelch free speech.

Here’s the rundown. NRA does commercial highlighting Obama’s anti-gun record. Biased “fact-checking” site falsely claims that the NRA is being deceitful. Obama’s lawyer sends thuggish letter to networks threatening to try to get their license pulled.

Minority Real Estate Professionals and Asset Managers want a piece of bailout.

Nation: Hell no. First off only the best should be considered for any job role in managing the bailout not based on the color of their skin. Second, Maxine Waters as a supporter does zero in making people feel comfortable.

Minority business participation in this $700 billion bailout is as crucial to rebuilding our nation's economy and stemming further community destabilization as shoring up Wall Street. We wholeheartedly support Congresswoman Maxine Waters, Chairwoman, Subcommittee on Housing and Community Opportunity and urge her colleagues, and the Administration to heed her consideration in this matter.

As compromises are made to gain full support for the legislation's passage, there should be no compromise with regard to minority participation in the plan's implementation," said Maria Kong, President of NAREB, the nation's oldest minority trade association founded in 1947 to ensure equal housing for African-Americans and other disenfranchised minorities.

"Minority real estate and finance professionals are imminently qualified and poised to be part of the economic recovery. Urban and minority communities have been devastated by the economic downturn. And as importantly, minority professionals are part of these communities.

As Secretary Paulson and Congress extol that transparency is key to the plan's success and restoring public confidence in the nation's financial system, the transparency in implementation must show that the expediency of the moment does not negate the inclusion of America's minority professionals. Our businesses and our communities deserve the same opportunity for an economic turn-about as Wall Street does," Ms. Kong concluded.

How do you think the public will react if they find out people are getting positions based on some quota system? Ridiculous.

Friday, September 26, 2008

I've got a bracelet meme in 3...2..1..

Politics: "Someone stolah mah bracklet" or " I has brakelet"

Lets go people viral lolcats videos and captions stat!

Update# Newsbusters puts it better.

"Barack Obama has a bracelet, too. "

It has that whole Andre the Giant got a posse modern avant-garde shallow fashionista sense to it.

Fannie Mae and Freddie destined for failure.

Nation: This from September of 1999 and as you read it all you can think is those dumb sons of bitches.

Published: September 30, 1999

In a move that could help increase home ownership rates among minorities and low-income consumers, the Fannie Mae Corporation is easing the credit requirements on loans that it will purchase from banks and other lenders.

The action, which will begin as a pilot program involving 24 banks in 15 markets -- including the New York metropolitan region -- will encourage those banks to extend home mortgages to individuals whose credit is generally not good enough to qualify for conventional loans. Fannie Mae officials say they hope to make it a nationwide program by next spring.

Fannie Mae, the nation's biggest underwriter of home mortgages, has been under increasing pressure from the Clinton Administration to expand mortgage loans among low and moderate income people and felt pressure from stock holders to maintain its phenomenal growth in profits.

In addition, banks, thrift institutions and mortgage companies have been pressing Fannie Mae to help them make more loans to so-called subprime borrowers. These borrowers whose incomes, credit ratings and savings are not good enough to qualify for conventional loans, can only get loans from finance companies that charge much higher interest rates -- anywhere from three to four percentage points higher than conventional loans.

''Fannie Mae has expanded home ownership for millions of families in the 1990's by reducing down payment requirements,'' said Franklin D. Raines, Fannie Mae's chairman and chief executive officer. ''Yet there remain too many borrowers whose credit is just a notch below what our underwriting has required who have been relegated to paying significantly higher mortgage rates in the so-called subprime market.''


"Lenders also have opened the door wider to minorities because of new initiatives at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac–the giant federally chartered corporations that play critical, if obscure, roles in the home finance system. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac buy mortgages from lenders and bundle them into securities; that provides lenders the funds to lend more.

In 1992, Congress mandated that Fannie and Freddie increase their purchases of mortgages for low-income and medium-income borrowers. Operating under that requirement, Fannie Mae, in particular, has been aggressive and creative in stimulating minority gains.

It has aimed extensive advertising campaigns at minorities that explain how to buy a home and opened three dozen local offices to encourage lenders to serve these markets. Most importantly, Fannie Mae has agreed to buy more loans with very low down payments–or with mortgage payments that represent an unusually high percentage of a buyer’s income. That’s made banks willing to lend to lower-income families they once might have rejected.

Tie it forward to this video from 2005 where Daniel Mudd, CEO of Fannie Mae went sucking up to the CBC knowing the entire business at that point was going to fail praising this pathetic program that put everyone in financial danger.

When people kept pointing out even back then that lowering credit standards was a bad move, all the professional race baiters came out screaming racism, people backed down and we are where we are now because of it.

You can't lower standards and lend money to people who have no business getting a loan in the first place. Every time they try to help minorities in this way by lowering standards instead of pushing ways to have minorities and low-income people up the economic scale, it blows up in their face. This time the financial fallout is hurting everyone.

A portion of the American people have gotten the attitude that if this person has item A then I should have it also even though I can't afford it.

Update# A perfect example of a leftist screaming racist when the obvious is pointed out to them. Greg Mitchell whines Ann Coulter is hitting rock bottom by blaming minorities.

Just when you think Ann Coulter has hit rock-bottom -- apparently for her it is a bottomless pit -- she produces a syndicated column this week blaming the current financial crisis squarely on....minorities. She concludes: "Political correctness had already ruined education, sports, science and entertainment. But it took a Democratic president with a Democratic congress for political correctness to wreck the financial industry."

All Coulter did is point out the same LATIMES piece everyone else has blogged about which shows the start of the demise of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. But in Mitchell's reality it is racist.

Gov.Palin and the witchcraft prayer.

Politics: If the left is going to fake their way thru religious understanding this election at least bone up on the Africa chapter of religion.

The video of a Kenyan bishop asking Jesus to protect Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin from “witchcraft” has turned into a political witch hunt, says one Harvard expert who found “nothing unusual” about the blessing.

“He was giving an African prayer to an American Christian,” said Jacob K. Olupona, a Harvard African studies professor. “His prayer reflects his own background and his own training and his own world view. America may not believe in witchcraft, but witcraft is a reality (in Africa).”

Catholic League President Bill Donohue echoed that sentiment, saying witchcraft is a “sad reality” in Kenya that has resulted in scores of deaths.

oh yeah, Billions in earmarks ready to be enacted.

Politics: You are looking at the right hand and meantime the left is stealing your wallet.

As Congress tried to cobble together a plan to spend huge sums on a financial bailout, lawmakers also moved Thursday toward final approval of an omnibus spending bill with more than 2,300 pet projects, including a $2 million study of animal hibernation.

Many lawmakers had promised to go on a diet, but their appetite for the pet projects, known as earmarks, has returned as Congress finishes its work for the year and Election Day looms less than six weeks away.

Taxpayers for Common Sense, a budget watchdog group, calculates that earmarks account for $6.6 billion of the omnibus bill’s cost, which totals more than $630 billion. Senator Ted Stevens, the Alaska Republican who is on trial just a few blocks from the Capitol, appears to have gotten more earmarks than anyone else: 39 items totaling $238.5 million, according to the organization’s tally.

Representative John P. Murtha, Democrat of Pennsylvania, was the apparent winner in the House, with 30 items totaling $111 million, including $24.5 million for the National Drug Intelligence Center in Johnstown, his hometown.

Mr. Murtha told reporters that earmarks were just a tiny fraction of “what the administration wants to bail out those rich guys in New York.”

Other lawmakers said the earmarks were a way of tossing a few bones to Main Street, before the Treasury pours hundreds of billions of dollars onto Wall Street.

The omnibus spending bill, passed Wednesday in the House, with the Senate expected to follow suit soon, includes $488 billion for the Defense Department in the coming fiscal year, which begins next Wednesday. Military earmarks account for about 1 percent of that sum, Mr. Murtha noted, and the $700 billion rescue plan for the nation’s financial system would cost nearly 150 times as much as those projects.

Critics of earmarks, who gained momentum last year, were like voices in the wilderness this week.

“This all may seem a little trivial in a week that we may approve $700 billion,” said Representative Jeff Flake, Republican of Arizona, who has led the campaign against earmarks.

Smaller banks thriving during financial crisis.

Nation: If you fear the bigger banks maybe its time to check out your local bank chain.

"Banks throughout the United States carried on with the business of making loans yesterday even as federal officials warned again that their industry is on the verge of collapse, suggesting that the overheated language on Capitol Hill may not reflect the reality on many Main Streets.

The industry is resilient despite the struggles of some members. Washington Mutual, a troubled Seattle savings and loan that was among the nation's largest mortgage lenders, yesterday was seized by the government and sold to J.P. Morgan Chase.

At the same time, many smaller banks said they were actually benefiting from the problems on Wall Street. Deposits are flowing in as customers flee riskier investments, and well-qualified borrowers are lining up for loans.

"We collect money from local savers, and we lend it in the local community," said William Dunkelberg, chairman of Liberty Bell Bank in Cherry Hill, N.J. "We're doing fine. There are 9,000 financial institutions out there, and most of them are small and most of them are doing fine."

Dunkelberg, a professor of economics at Temple University and chief economist for the National Federation of Independent Business, added that a recent survey of that group's members found that only 2 percent said getting a bank loan was the great challenge facing their businesses.

"If you can't get a loan, my advice is to go see your local community bank," Dunkelberg said.

Even some of the nation's largest banks, which have pushed hard for a federal bailout, deny that the current situation is forcing them to reduce lending. "The strength of our core businesses, capital and liquidity are enabling us to continue to support our customers," Bank of America, the nation's largest bank, said in a statement. It added, however, that the bailout plan would allow more lending.

"....Smaller banks, by contrast, make few mortgage loans, and their lending is fueled by deposits, rather than borrowing. That has insulated them from the troubles on Wall Street.

"We're drowning in liquidity because people are pulling money out from other places and depositing it with us," said Peter Fitzgerald, chairman of Chain Bridge Bancorp in McLean. "Our bank has benefited tremendously."

Gov. O'Malley Warns Of Budget Cuts

Nation: Why doesn't he just raise taxes like the last time, it seemed to have worked well...wait no it did not.

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley announced yesterday that he has asked state agencies to identify hundreds of millions of dollars in spending cuts, as much as 5 percent of state government expenditures, to balance the budget as major revenue sources decline in the sour economy.

O'Malley (D) predicted an "extraordinarily difficult budget next year" if his administration does not start to pare spending during the current fiscal year. "While these cuts will not be easy, it is clear that the economic crisis our nation is experiencing will have a dramatic impact on next year's budget," he said in a statement.

The governor said he expects to recommend cuts to the Board of Public Works, which approves state contracts, on Oct. 15. Budget officials said some reserve funds would be used to help bridge the gap in Maryland's $14.5 billion general fund budget for this fiscal year.

State analysts estimate a shortfall of about $1 billion for fiscal 2010 and $432 million for the current fiscal year, which began in July, because of lagging collections of sales and income taxes.

The economy is also taking a toll on budgets in Virginia and the District. Virginia faces a two-year shortfall that could be three times previous projections -- at least $2 billion and nearly $3 billion by some estimates. State spending cuts could range from 2 percent to 20 percent and might include layoffs at some agencies, Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) has said.

District officials said this week that after years of surpluses, they face a gap of $131 million in the fiscal year that begins next month.

In Maryland, O'Malley said he will work with lawmakers to avoid cuts to unemployment insurance, foreclosure-prevention programs and energy assistance to low-income families. But aides said a wide variety of state services are on the table, including health care, the University System of Maryland and funding for local governments.

"There's not much left in terms of fat that can be trimmed," O'Malley spokesman Rick Abbruzzese said. "We're going to be cutting into flesh, and it will not be easy."

The state enacted $1.4 billion in tax increases during a special session last year to close a structural shortfall in its finances. O'Malley and lawmakers have since cut hundreds of millions of dollars more from the general fund and this month announced reduced funding for transportation projects.

CNN Factcheck: Would Obama meet 'unconditionally' with Iran?

Politics: Verdict: Substantially true.

New Zealand slides into recession.

New Zealand in recession: I laugh, its leaders come off like a less obnoxious Spain with a more annoying loudmouth as its PM.

Jon Stewart still a pseudo elitist ass.

Entertainment: If nothing else comes out of this election is the hostile and open contempt entertainers have for the rest of America who don't follow their ideology. Jon Stewart shows that off in spades in this EW piece.

Why do you think some people embraced her as a folk hero(Palin)?

STEWART: I keep hearing that she's ''like us.'' There's this idea that people who hunt and have ''good'' values are somehow this mythological American; I don't know who ''this'' person is, I've never met them. She is no more typical ''us'' than I am, than Obama is, than McCain is, than Mr. T is.

If there is something quintessentially or authentically American about her, I sort of feel like, you know what? You ''good values people'' have had the country for eight years, and done an unbelievably s---ty job. Let's find some bad values people and give them a shot, maybe they'll have a better take on it.

Even this immigrant knows the "mythological American" comes from the beginning of America where hunting, God, Values were the norm and not looked down upon by some twit living in Manhattan. History books, movies, legends that come from the reality of early fuel this image.

Jon Stewart's thinking is that how dare this woman fills that image which puts him and the group of elitists he runs around with as the "other." All he knows to do about it is to insult those people who don't fit his lifestyle where the only animals he sees on a regular basis live are pigeons. He doesn't get the love of hunting or trying to govern your life with good values.

Stewart also showing the leftist characteristic of hating to be judge and especially by people who he believes are beneath him on the social ladder.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: The easy and prevalent comedic take on John McCain has been that he's old. Has one emerged on Obama yet?

STEPHEN COLBERT: He's a hope-ronaut. He's in a rarefied level of hope where the rest of us have to take tanks up with us.

Is that really a comedic take? Seems more like a compliment.

JON STEWART: But it's not, in the same way that the take on Al Gore was ''he's too smart.'' Even if you're satirizing how wonderful they are, that hyperbole is setting them up for an expectation to fail, especially within the American political system now, where authenticity — and apparently mediocrity — are the manna that the populace feeds upon. To set somebody up as if they're above us, and God, you couldn't do anything worse.

Here again is the typical leftist trait of wanting to be lording over by someone in their ideology. Stewart just can't wrap his head around the fact that being smart doesn't bug the American people or even have the ability to live an "elitist" lifestyle.

But when you are not that smart and/or you push the elitist attitude as a positive, you are going to get slammed by the public. No one would work for a boss with that attitude, so why the hell would they vote for a president who acts the same way?

Bailout deal stalls as GOP lawmakers revolt

Nation: Bravo House GOPers! If there is going to be a taxpayer bailout, there better be clear oversight, taxpayers getting back a return on the bailout and it be a clean bill with no pork in it.

DreamWorks picks up 'Chocky' rights

Entertainment: Just when I think my younger years entertainment can't be mined out more items like this comes along to amaze me. This is old school creepiness if you were a young kid.

DreamWorks has extended its option for the dramatic rights to the science fiction novel "Chocky" from Pollinger Ltd., the U.K. agency that handles the literary estate of the late author John Wyndham.

"Chocky" tells the story of a boy who has a mysterious imaginary friend with whom he frequently argues. As the boy's father gets increasingly suspicious, it becomes clear that an alien entity has taken up residence in the boy's consciousness.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Mexico quietly helps emigrants to US learn Spanish

Immigration: Blogged about this way back I think but again, this is more about Mexico making sure its cash cow which is money being sent back is not harmed in any way.

For more than a decade, as the immigration debate has swelled on both sides of the border, the Mexican government has been quietly providing money, materials and even teachers to American schools, colleges and nonprofit organizations.

The programs aren't substitutes for U.S. curricula, but educators familiar with them say they provide a lifeline for adult students with little formal education by helping them become literate in Spanish — and by extension, English.

Yet many educators are wary of even talking about the programs, fearing they might stoke an anti-immigrant backlash.

The Mexican government, which spends more than $1 million annually on the programs, has many reasons to provide the aid to the immigrants and their children. The programs allow it to give back to the growing number of Mexicans living legally and illegally in the U.S. Behind oil, remittances from these individuals are the second-largest source of foreign income for the Mexican economy — almost $24 billion last year.

"We don't want the Mexicans in the exterior to feel like milk cows being expressed for the resources they were sending back," said Carlos Gonzalez Gutierrez, head of the Mexican government's Institute for Mexicans Abroad, which oversees most of the programs.

Mexicans abroad need an education to represent the country well, he said.

"The image and prestige of Mexico is inextricably linked to the image and prestige of these communities in the U.S.," Gonzalez said.

He also acknowledged that many of the adult participants are likely illegal immigrants, a group the U.S. government doesn't want to allow to stay, let alone have to support.

"Mexican involvement in American public education is another symptom of how things are different than the Ellis Island era," said Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, which seeks to limit immigration. "With technology, distance doesn't really matter. You never really leave the old country behind."

Krikorian said the U.S. shouldn't rely on Mexico to help integrate immigrants.

"Both the public and a lot of lawmakers want immigration on the cheap," he said. "Contracting out to the Mexican government is a cop-out."

House passes bailout bill for auto makers.

Business: The beginning of money being wasted on companies that refuse to take responsibility for their own business practices that got them into this mess.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday funded a $25 billion loan package for troubled automakers as part of a mammoth spending bill to keep the government running through March 2009, but the legislation did not extend a ban on offshore oil drilling.

The spending bill, which passed by a vote of 370 to 58, is needed to keep the government operating after the fiscal year expires on September 30.

It is expected to pass the Senate.

The bill sets aside $7.5 billion in taxpayer funds needed to guarantee $25 billion in low-interest loans to help struggling General Motors Corp., Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler LLC produce more fuel-efficient cars and trucks.

Tax Credits Bring More TV Shows to New York City

Entertainment: NYC gets it as its tax credit program brings in shows and revenue.

When the third season of “Ugly Betty” begins on Thursday, viewers who see the show’s star, America Ferrera, stumble past the Brooklyn Bridge or the Empire State Building will be seeing something new: New York.

Until this season, the ABC show was produced in Los Angeles, where its exterior shots were frequently filmed in front of green screens, and the distinctive New York architecture was added later by computer.

But thanks to tax discounts recently instituted by New York City and New York State, the show is now being filmed in New York, at sound stages in Long Island City and locations throughout the five boroughs.

“Ugly Betty” was not the only series to take notice of these incentives. The city expects 19 prime-time television series (up from 12 last year) to be produced in New York for the 2008-9 season, according to the mayor’s Office of Film, Theater and Broadcasting. They include NBC’s “30 Rock,” whose creator and star, Tina Fey, gave thanks in an Emmy acceptance speech on Sunday night to the New York tax discounts that made it viable to shoot in New York; Fox’s “Fringe” which, without the tax breaks, would have been shot in Toronto; HBO’s “In Treatment,” another recent transplant from Los Angeles; as well as forthcoming pilots on ABC, Showtime and USA.

The tax incentives have also been a financial boon to the city: the mayor’s office estimated that city-based shoots contributed $957 million in spending between April 23 and Sept. 23 of this year, an increase from $452 million during the same period last year.

On the other end you have the banana republic known as Miami running out shows because they are just too stupid for words.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

EU wants headlights on all day.

EU: Very enviro friendly this plan.

Drivers face paying up to £160 a year more for fuel because of an EU directive forcing them to keep their headlamps on all day.
The European Commission wants all new passenger cars and vans to have lights that stay on while the engine is running.
It is estimated that this will increase fuel consumption by around 5 per cent.

Amsterdam interesting, hip for ...teens

Travel: Well there goes another cool spot being invaded by snot nosed brats and fashionistas.

Obama Dumb Statement on Ahmadinejad’s UN Remarks

Politics: Who is he kidding with this nonsense?

Below is a Statement from Senator Barack Obama on President Ahmadinejad’s Remarks

“I strongly condemn President Ahmadinejad’s outrageous remarks at the United Nations, and am disappointed that he had a platform to air his hateful and anti-Semitic views. The threat from Iran’s nuclear program is grave. Now is the time for Americans to unite on behalf of the strong sanctions that are needed to increase pressure on the Iranian regime.

I don't think it was McCain who called Iran a tiny threat or was willing to talk unconditionally. The midget has been pulling this same crap since he got elected leader and now you are disappointed? This is the UN where it goes on all the time.

“Once again, I call upon Senator McCain to join me in supporting a bipartisan bill to increase pressure on the Iranian regime by allowing states and private companies to divest from companies doing business in Iran.

I wasn't aware that companies and states were being forced to invest and could pull out of deals on their own. Who knew?

AP cleans up Ahmadinejad "Zionist murderers"

Media: Did the AP leave out the more hideous parts of Ahmadinejad speech? If you do a search for "zionist murderers" zip by the AP reporters. But Reuters captured it.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad railed against "Zionist murderers" in a speech to the United Nations on Tuesday and vowed to resist American bullying and defend Iran's right to nuclear power.

After a long discourse on God, justice and morality, Ahmadinejad said a small number of "deceitful" Zionists were manipulating Americans and Europeans.

Ahmadinejad, who has said in the past Israel should be wiped off the map, said there was growing resistance in the world to the aggression of "bullying powers," a phrase he used repeatedly to refer to the United States and its allies.

"The Zionist regime is on a definite slope to collapse, and there is no way for it to get out of the cesspool created by itself and its supporters," he said, referring to Israel.

"American empire in the world is reaching the end of its road, and its next rulers must limit their interference to their own borders," Ahmadinejad said.

He dwelled on what he described as Zionist control over international "financial and monetary centers."

Obama and Ayers Pushed Radicalism On Schools

Politics: Great piece by Stanley Kurtz that shows Obama didn't mind being part of this taxpayer funded group that wanted to push radicalism in schools.

Democrats allow drilling ban to lapse

Nation: I am waiting for the catch but if this is true, drill now baby drill now!

Democrats have decided to allow a quarter-century ban on drilling for oil off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts to expire next week, conceding defeat in a month-long battle with the White House and Republicans set off by $4 a gallon gasoline prices this summer.

Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey, D-Wis., told reporters Tuesday that a provision continuing the moratorium will be dropped this year from a stopgap spending bill to keep the government running after Congress recesses for the election.

Republicans have made lifting the ban a key campaign after gasoline prices spiked this summer and public opinion turned in favor of more drilling. President Bush lifted an executive ban on offshore drilling in July.

"If true, this capitulation by Democrats following months of Republican pressure is a big victory for Americans struggling with record gasoline prices," said House GOP leader John Boehner of Ohio.

Democrats had clung to the hope of only a partial repeal of the drilling moratorium, but the White House had promised a veto, Obey said.

Student, car loans and credit card debt may be added to bailout bill.

Business: Who did not see this garbage coming down the road? Every piddling industry wants a piece of the taxpayers money.

Automobile-finance companies lead a growing list of liquidity-starved industries trying to get in on the huge government rescue plan targeted originally at cleaning up bad mortgage bets.

As Congress crafts a $700 billion federal government plan to buy up financial companies' troubled assets, auto-finance-company lobbyists are pressing for specific language including them in the plan, according to a lobbyist for one of the Big Three auto makers.

Other businesses, such as student and credit-card lenders, also could eventually access the program. To permit that, House and Senate versions of the bill written overnight -- with lobbyist input -- now include language broadening the types of assets eligible for sale under the plan, from "mortgage-related" to "troubled assets." The bill now goes by the acronym TARP, for Troubled Asset Relief Program.

"I think it's wise that if we're going to do this, to give Treasury maximum flexibility on the question of how they want to intervene on illiquid assets," said Michael Paese, global head of advocacy at the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association, or SIFMA.

I said before all these companies that made bad business decisions should take the pain and all those idiot homeowners that tried to flip, take out loans they couldn't afford or did not understand the concept of adjustable rates should get nothing. This is rewarding bad behavior.

HMM: "I have no way of judging whether the Wall Street bailout is a necessary evil or an impending disaster. But we're in this mess, ultimately, because our political elites thought it was good social policy to encourage banks to give mortgages to uncreditworthy people."

posted at 09:42 PM by Glenn Reynolds

This is a major part of the problem and there needs to be more people to say enough of this crap that the American Dream is a given right that includes taxpayers paying for it. If you can't afford the damn loan, you shouldn't get it.

The bailout bill as it looks now must be killed off.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Victory! Lowest rated Emmys ever.

Entertainment: Get a bunch of Hollywood liberals together for a suckfest bashing half of America while pushing their political beliefs doesn't seem to be a winning formula. Next year have Tommy Smothers go out there and whine some more about truth to power.

After broadcast TV execs received word about the ratings on their beloved Emmy Awards yesterday morning, they flung themselves on casting couches and chewed the cushions in an ecstasy of grief.

Sunday's 60th annual Primetime Emmy Awards, celebrating all that's best and brightest on cable TV (and broadcast series that do cable-like ratings) and featuring superannuated stars of '70s shows and a five-headed reality-TV host, had inexplicably attracted the franchise's smallest audience in its history.

A mere 12.2 million viewers caught the 3-hour 8-minute orgy of trophy dispensing and politically charged speechifying. And while that's a terrific number for many of the night's big winners -- AMC's "Mad Men" averages about 925,000 viewers; HBO's "John Adams" and FX's "Damages," 2 million-ish; AMC's "Breaking Bad," 1.4 million; Comedy Central's "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart," 1.6 million; and NBC's "30 Rock," 6.5 million -- it's just another insult for the broadcast networks that for years have shelled out a license fee for permission to broadcast what has become a cable infomercial.

HBO bagged 26 Emmys this year, including 13 for "John Adams," which makes it the winningest miniseries in Emmy history. The pay-cabler's "Recount" took another three.

AMC's awards included the historic "Mad Men" win for best drama series -- the first time a basic-cable series has won a best-series trophy -- and "Breaking Bad" star Bryan Cranston's surprise win for best drama-series actor.

NBC's struggling series "30 Rock" mopped up in the comedy competition. Ironically, when star/writer Tina Fey was onstage literally begging people to watch her show, NBC was pounding the tar out of the Emmycast with its Green Bay Packers-Dallas Cowboys football game, which logged about 19 million viewers (reliable stats won't be available until today).

Even more alarming for serious students of Emmycasts, the ceremony gained viewers only between its first and second half-hours. It held on to that number for about 30 minutes, then began its ratings swan dive. In its final half-hour, the trophy show averaged only about 1 million more viewers than when it began.

Heroes Season 3: Sylar can be stopped.

Entertainment: Just hide behind a pantry door with a dog chain wrapped around it. It seems to weaken him.

Police checkpoints are

Immigration: How to twists laws in your favor. The fact the mayor is upset about the checkpoints doesn't bode well for them being used for long.

The crash illustrates a problem Richmond police hope to curtail with a regular program of checkpoints: unlicensed and uninsured drivers causing crashes. Police opine, backing their arguments with anecdotes and their observations, that more such drivers clutter local streets than ever before and contribute to a growing number of hit-and-run crashes.

Latino political advocates, meanwhile, contend that state motor-vehicle law discriminates against undocumented immigrants, who cannot obtain driver's licenses. By aggressively enforcing licensing laws with checkpoints, local police further a racist policy and also unfairly target Latinos for traffic stops, they say.

"The bottom line is that there are better uses for our police force than to conduct these checkpoints," Mayor Gayle McLaughlin said. "There is all kinds of serious crime happening out there, and I don't see the purpose of devoting extra resources to driver's license checkpoints when there is so much need elsewhere."

Growing numbers of anti-checkpoint demonstrators wave placards each month in front of Richmond's monthly checkpoints, using Spanish-language signs to warn away motorists. The proximity of the November election also brings out City Council candidates, mostly on the pro-checkpoint side.

"I have lost my temper ... with these people accusing the police of racial profiling," said police Commissioner Chris Tallerico, a City Council candidate. "This is a sanctuary city, and that needs to be stopped. If I am elected, I will introduce legislation that will end Richmond's status as a sanctuary city."

No wonder the mayor is upset.

UC Berkeley bills tree-sitters

Nation: Who knew UC Berkeley could bring a smile to my face.

Berkeley's infamous tree-sitters have been hit with a rude surprise since they came down to earth: Judges are socking them with thousands of dollars in fines and legal fees.

Ironically, much of the money - which could total more than $10,000 per sitter - is going straight to the University of California, the very institution the tree-sitters were protesting as they tried to save a grove of trees outside Memorial Stadium.

"It's really vindictive," said an attorney for some the sitters, Dennis Cunningham. "They don't have this kind of money."

Maybe, but university lawyer Michael Goldstein isn't making any apologies.

"We've asked the judge to throw the book at them," Goldstein said flatly.

UC Berkeley estimates it spent more than $800,000 on police and other security measures during the 22 months sitters were up in the trees. The university spent $40,000 alone on the scaffolding that went up around the final tree during the last day of the protest this month.

Now, the school wants its pound of flesh.

Bailout starting to make people its not a good idea.

Business: It never was a good idea and the more time passes the more people are starting to speak out. The big thing is if you are going to use taxpayers money then where are the penalities for everyone who got themselves in this mess? That means the companies and the dumb homeowners who are just walking away in some cases from their bad decisions.

As economists puzzle over the proposed details of what may be the biggest financial bailout in American history, the initial skepticism that greeted its unveiling has only deepened.

Some are horrified at the prospect of putting $700 billion in public money on the line. Others are outraged that Wall Street, home of the eight-figure salary, may get rescued from the consequences of its real estate bender, even as working families give up their houses to foreclosure.

Most economists accept that the nation’s financial crisis — the worst since the Great Depression — has reached such perilous proportions that an expensive intervention is required. But considerable disagreement centers on how to go about it. The Treasury’s proposal for a bailout, now being negotiated with Congress, is being challenged as fundamentally deficient.

“At first it was, ‘thank goodness the cavalry is coming,’ but what exactly is the cavalry going to do?” asked Douglas W. Elmendorf, a former Treasury and Federal Reserve Board economist, and now a fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington. “What I worry about is that the Treasury has acted very quickly, without having the time to solicit enough opinions.”

Wash Post:

But Merkle, a defense contractor, said he has lived within his means in an era of easy credit. He didn't take on a huge loan even when his bank encouraged him to dream bigger.

"I've been financially responsible with my own money. Why should I now be responsible for the fact that you were not?" he said.

This may be a Main Street bailout backlash in the making. The details of the financial crisis are still hard for most people to follow -- what with talk of exotic "derivatives" known as "credit-default swaps" and so on -- but the central fact of the matter hasn't been lost on anyone in this Northern Virginia community: The taxpayers are on the hook for the bad judgment of others.

And they say they don't like it. They didn't break it, but now they've bought it. Political leaders and financial titans say the bailout is necessary to save the economy, but on the ground, in such places as Manassas Park, people think that the bailout will reward the wrong people. There's a sense that too many folks bought houses they couldn't really afford, banks urged them on, common sense went on vacation, and now the grown-ups have to clean up the mess.

"If I spent more money than I have, I don't deserve to have somebody bail me out," said John Owens, 45, a developer who lives on Eagle Court, where three houses have gone through foreclosure.

The anti-bailout sentiment appears to cut across class lines. You hear it from one end of Manassas Drive, the main drag through town, to the other -- from the small, Cape Cod-style homes built with G.I. Bill money after World War II to the muscle-bound houses newly risen along the golf course.

"I'm worried that the taxpayers are going to wind up paying for all this," said Arlena Elbaraka, 38, who lives in the manicured neighborhood of Blooms Crossing.

"Who ends up losing from all this? Us, right?" asked Rogelio Benitez, 36, a home-improvement contractor who lives with his wife and six kids in a working-class neighborhood on the western edge of town.

"I'm not overextended," Merkle said. "I didn't buy a large home that I can't afford. I'm not behind on any of my payments. I'm not sure I want the government to take my tax dollars and buy someone else's house for them."

Obama vows deep cuts in spending

Politics: The day a Democrat at this time goes thru with deep spending cuts is the day the earth implodes.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Goldman, Morgan to Become Bank Holding Companies

Business: Basically banks to be able to compete with Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America. It sounds like a good plan.

Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, the last two independent investment banks, will become bank holding companies, the Federal Reserve said Sunday night, a move that will fundamentally alter the landscape of Wall Street.

The move alters one of the models of modern Wall Street, the independent investment bank, soon after the federal government unveiled the biggest market intervention since the New Deal. It heralds new regulations and supervision of previously lightly regulated investment banks, as well as an end to the outsize paychecks that helped shape the image of the chest-thumping Wall Street banker.

Now, Goldman and Morgan Stanley, which have been the subjects of merger speculation in recent weeks, can become direct competitors to larger firms like Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America. Those firms combine investment-banking operations with the larger capital cushions that come with retail deposits, giving them a stability that pure investment banks lack.

By becoming bank holding companies, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley gained some breathing room in the immediate term. But the change also may lay the groundwork for additional deal making. Given the number of bank failures expected this year, it is possible that Goldman and Morgan Stanley could seek to buy those banks cheaply in a “roll-up” strategy.

Before the move to make the two investment banks into holding banks, federal regulations prohibited them from pursuing such deals. Indeed, Morgan Stanley’s recent talks with Wachovia revolved around Wachovia buying Morgan Stanley.

Being a bank holding company would also give the two banks access to the discount window of the Federal Reserve. While they have had access to Fed lending facilities in recent months, regulators had planned to take away discount window access in January.

Obama campaign faking "Grassroots" Smear Campaigns?

Politics: Via Jawa Report, details on professionally made fake videos to try and make virals with connections to the Obama campaign and David Axelrod. Ace sums up what is going on here.

The basics? Axelrod's astroturfing. An attempt to get a blatantly dishonest anti-Palin ad to go "viral" on YouTube. Gross deception in pumping out fake "amateur grassroots" ads which are really cooked up by a big PR firm strongly connected to David Axelrod and Obama's officially-acknowledged ads. And likely bright-line violations of electioneering laws, which require those putting out "electioneering communications" to disclose the true creator and sponsor of such ads.

This is not suprising and I am surprised there is not more out there. There is also the angle of it being pushed on liberal blogs. Ever since it was known that the top liberal blogs regularly coordinate their messages via an email listIt is not a stretch to see this sort of politics being used and pushed on those same liberal blogs who are regularly read by the news reporters which then makes it to the MSM. I said it earlier, but all these people are on one side of the Venn Diagram of politics.

Emmys: boring with Hollywood liberals on whine mode.

Entertainment: Another Hollywood award show with hollywood liberals on display. The only thing that was clear is Ricky Gervais should have been the host.

"A few well-timed political jokes and barbs—plus star turns by Ricky Gervais and Don Rickles—were all that stood between this year's Emmys and complete social irrelevance. Between the amorphous collection of reality personalities blandly hosting the show, and the early list of ho-hum winners, things got off to a rocky start.

But then came the mini-flood of politically themed remarks.

Laura Linney, winning for "John Adams," gave a nod to the "community organizers" who helped found America. It was a subtle retort to the Republicans' attacks on Sen. Barack Obama's resume.

There was a dig at Sarah Palin (or was it George Bush?): "I'm living proof that anyone can play the president," said "John Adams" winner Paul Giamatti. "Any….one."

Emmy co-hosts Tom Bergeron and Ryan Seacrest called Fox News Channel's Sean Hannity and Alan Colmes the most unintentionally funny folks on TV. Probably not a wise move, as it will only strengthen the paranoia of those who believe Hollywood is made up of nothing but liberals.

Of course, New Yorkers Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert also felt the urge to weigh in with one of the best bits of the night. As Mr. Colbert ate a bunch of prunes, Mr. Stewart asked him if that was a good idea, prompting Mr. Colbert to extol the virtues of shriveled old prunes over shiny new plums who lack experience. It wasn't hard to figure out who was who in the analogy.

Earlier, Mr. Stewart had said he was looking forward to the next administration, "whoever it is."

And Tom Hanks, executive producer of "John Adams," talked about how early political campaigns in the U.S. were filled with lies and personal attacks. "How great we've come so far," he said sarcastically.

Not suprisingly, Tommy Smothers spoke most eloquently—and directly—to the current political environment with a moving speech about the importance of speaking truth to power. "There's nothing more scary than watching ignorance in action," he said, allowing the viewer to define ignorance for himself."

Minority business program mismanaged in Broward County

Business: If you dig deeper you will probably come up with whole bunch of officials who knew relatives/friends/cronies who benefited from this program for all the wrong reasons.

Auditors are alleging that Broward County government has mismanaged a program designed to steer millions of dollars in work to small businesses owned by women and minorities.

The report from internal county auditors released this week charged that officials repeatedly forced contractors to set aside more work for minority firms than federal regulations require. The auditors said little documentation exists to justify set-aside goals on federally funded projects for the past three years and that inaccurate reports were sent to regulatory agencies.

The allegations come as a federal judge is about to take up a case next month in which the construction industry claims the county's minority-business efforts are illegal reverse discrimination. The county's equal opportunity director initially defended her office's conduct and resigned when the audit was released.

"The whole point of the program is not to divvy up contracts among races, but to encourage opportunity and growth and the program was not doing that," said Herbert Schlanger, the Atlanta attorney representing the local chapter of the Associated General Contractors.

County attorneys requested the audit as part of an effort to provide information sought in the lawsuit in regard to the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise program. The federal government requires the program be used as part of any transportation projects it helps fund.

More than $37.7 million in federal aid went toward such transportation projects in Broward between 2005 and this year, encompassing work at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport and the mass transit division.

County Auditor Evan Lukic concluded "serious deficiencies" exist in how the county's Office of Equal Opportunity administered the federal program.

The agency lacked detailed procedures on how to set goals and then monitor participation. Records were incomplete on every one of 27 projects auditors reviewed that had federal set-aside goals over the past three years.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Woman takes Swift workers' "plight" to D.C.

Nation: What plight? They wanted the company to accommodate them beyond reason which brought out the anger of the majority of workers working at the Swift Plant. They didn't get it and they walked out.

A Denver woman with ties to the White House has taken the issue concerning Muslims at the JBS Swift & Co. plant to national leaders.

During a recent Ramadan dinner at the White House, Seeme Hasan spoke with administrators and the Brazilian ambassador to the U.S. about the firing of about 120 Muslim employees at JBS Swift's Greeley meatpacking plant. The company's parent company is based in Brazil, which has a Muslim population.

Since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Hasan has consulted the U.S. State Department on relationships with Muslim countries and has been an organizer for the White House's annual Ramadan dinner.

Hasan, who is a co-founder of Muslims for America, also said she spoke with a "high-ranking" White House staffer about the potential public relations nightmare the issue could create.

"You have some Muslim newspaper pick this up, and they will call Americans heartless," she said. "This can give us a bad public image relationship. We don't need this. We look bad. In America, we look bad."

Hasan said she was informed that the U.S. Labor Department would look into the matter.

She said she was appalled when she first heard of the news.

"I thought it was horrible," Hasan said. "It's like firing (Christians) 10 days before Christmas."

She said she doesn't understand why it had to come down to firing the workers.

"When you hired these Muslim workers, you knew there would be religious constraints," she said about JBS Swift. "The least they can do is make some adjustments for them."

Hasan said to make workers wait another hour after they have fasted all day is wrong.

"It has nothing to do with ideology," she said. "When you are done with the fast, you need to eat something."

First there have been Christians fired during Christmas and the consideration to getting fired around that time is due to PR about the timing not religion. Second, you are setting a dangerous mark and ill-informed statement that hiring Muslims means certain constraints that everyone else has to work around. That will not be accepted in America. Every other group has had to conform and become a part of the social fabric of America, not the other way around.