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Archive for January, 2011

Obama Administration drops the ball on Fannie, Freddy reform

January 31, 2011 Leave a comment

Most efficient administration evah:

The Obama administration failed to release a report today on how Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae could be reformed, despite being required to do so by the Dodd-Frank law passed last summer.

Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R., Texas), who chairs the House Republican Conference, said in a statement that the White House’s failure to meet the deadline made it “crystal clear that the President is not serious about reforming Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.”

“The Obama Administration’s repeated inability to propose a plan to reform Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac calls into question their commitment to taxpayer protection and their ability to effectively govern on this issue,” Hensarling added. “After more than $150 billion in Fannie and Freddie bailouts, we can no longer afford to allow the Administration to kick the can down the road.”

Kicking the can down the road is being kind.   One of the most egregious storylines of the whole financial crisis, was the implicit corruption of the GSEs.  Remember Franklin Raines?  The accounting scandals?  The royal screwing they gave to US taxpayers?

Yeah? Well, the administration would rather we didn’t.

Florida district judge rules Obamacare unconstitutional

January 31, 2011 1 comment

Here’s the ruling.

And here’s the money quote:

It is difficult to imagine that a nation which began, at least in part, as the result of opposition to a British mandate giving the East India Company a monopoly and imposing a nominal tax on all tea sold in America would have set out to create a government with the power to force people to buy tea in the first place.

If Congress can penalize a passive individual for failing to engage in commerce, the enumeration of powers in the Constitution would have been in vain for it would be “difficult to perceive any limitation on federal power” [...] and we would have a Constitution in name only.  Surely this is not what the Founding Fathers could have intended.

Judge Roger Vinson issued the ruling earlier today:

Vinson rejects the administration’s argument that the health care market is unique since nobody can truly opt out. Vinson mocks this argument a bit, writing: “Everyone must participate in the food market… under this logic, Congress could [mandate] that every adult purchase and consume wheat bread daily.” Later he offers another analogy: “Congress could require that everyone above a certain income threshold buy a General Motors automobile — now partially government-owned — because those who do not buy GM cars (or those who buy foreign cars) are adversely impacting commerce and a taxpayer-subsidized business.”

Vinson concludes: “The individual mandate exceeds Congress’ commerce power, as it is understood, defined, and applied in the existing Supreme Court case law.”

As the piece notes, the law will probably end up in front of the Supreme Court at some point.

UPDATE.    This is a bit inconvenient:

In ruling against President Obama‘s health care law, federal Judge Roger Vinson used Mr. Obama‘s own position from the 2008 campaign against him, when the then-Illinois senator argued there were other ways to achieve reform short of requiring every American to purchase insurance.

“I note that in 2008, then-Senator Obama supported a health care reform proposal that did not include an individual mandate because he was at that time strongly opposed to the idea, stating that, ‘If a mandate was the solution, we can try that to solve homelessness by mandating everybody to buy a house,’” Judge Vinson wrote in a footnote toward the end of his 78-page ruling Monday.

Here’s a glaring case of waffleitis on the part of a Democrat politician, doing the opposite of what he proposed as a candidate.  I wonder if anyone outside the conservative commentariat will notice point this out?

And just as an aside, if a Federal court deems a statute unconstitutional, shouldn’t that require the executive branch to immediately cease enforcing said statute?  I’m waiting for the wailing and lamentations from the virtuous left about respecting the judiciary branch of government and the Constitution in 3…2…1…  

[Hat Tip:  The Other McCain]

Is Bernanke partially to blame for the Egyptian crisis?

January 31, 2011 Leave a comment

Interesting take from Kudlow:

[...] Egypt is the world’s largest wheat importer. Because of skyrocketing prices, Egyptian inflation is now over 10 percent.

[...]

Commodities are priced in dollars, and the Fed has been overproducing dollars for more than two years. Consequently, emerging markets throughout the world — and the food sector in particular — are suffering from rising inflation.

The CRB food index is up an incredible 36 percent over the past year, including 8 percent year-to-date. Raw materials are up 23 percent over the past year. Inflation breakouts have occurred in China, various Asian Tigers, India, Brazil, and other Latin countries. Even Britain and Germany are registering higher inflation readings.

Flipping the switch: cutting off the internet in Egypt

January 28, 2011 2 comments

In the form of a graph:

James Cowie writes:

[I]n an action unprecedented in Internet history, the Egyptian government appears to have ordered service providers to shut down all international connections to the Internet. Critical European-Asian fiber-optic routes through Egypt appear to be unaffected for now.

But every Egyptian provider, every business, bank, Internet cafe, website, school, embassy, and government office that relied on the big four Egyptian ISPs for their Internet connectivity is now cut off from the rest of the world. [...]

What happens when you disconnect a modern economy and 80,000,000 people from the Internet? What will happen tomorrow, on the streets and in the credit markets? This has never happened before, and the unknowns are piling up.

[Via Twitter]

Days of Rage in Egypt

January 28, 2011 Leave a comment

First Tunisia, now Egypt is the next tinderbox in the Arab world.  The Mubarak government is trying to suppress the flow of information by “shutting down” the Internet, but apparently that’s not working so well:

CNN’s Ben Wedeman, who maintains an active Twitter presence, reports that cell phone relay towers were deactivated but that Egyptians are still able to access Twitter. Other Twitter streams belonging to well-known Egyptians in English, Arabic and French corroborate Wedeman’s claim.

While access to Twitter via mobile phones is painfully slow in Egypt, users with access to computers have been posting stunning videos and photographs via Twitpic, Facebook and YouTube that are then being widely retweeted, reposted and reblogged by sympathizers around the world.

Meanwhile, imagine you’re an Egyptian government stormtrooper, and this is what you’re seeing:

Yikes.

More eye-opening photos here.

Loretta Sanchez: Hey, let me have Gabrielle Gifford’s seat on the HASC

January 26, 2011 8 comments

The new civility, brought to you by the always civil and respectful Democrats:

Behind closed doors, California Democratic Rep. Loretta Sanchez has proposed removing Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords from the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) until she recovers from injuries sustained after being shot in the head on Jan. 8 in Tucson, The Daily Caller has learned.

The proposal sparked an outrage, according to those in the room — including from those in Sanchez’s own party.

“It’s not appropriate,” Texas Democratic Rep. Silvestre Reyes told The Daily Caller, adding that there was outrage among some members in the room when Sanchez made the suggestion. “It’s bad for morale during her recovery period.”

Stay classy, Democrats.

Obviously there’s no accounting for taste nor decency in the Democratic caucus these days.  This is from the same woman who warned of charlie in the hills “Vietnamese” possibly taking over her congressional seat during the campaign–you know, by the democratic ballot process and all.

[Hat Tip: Hot Air]

Packers going to the Super Bowl!

January 23, 2011 Leave a comment

Just went to the Packers website, and look what’s on the home page:

This is insane.  The Packers had so many injuries, going without four or five starters at a time earlier in the season.  What was really the Aaron Rodgers show for the first two rounds of the playoffs, became a defensive standoff for most of today’s game vs the Bears.  In the end, the Packers defense saved the day.  And now they’re four quarters away from another championship!

Sweet…

Packers vs Bears

January 23, 2011 Leave a comment

In January. 

The NFC Championship Game.

This is the only tune that fits:

Go Pack!

Be wary of politicians bearing committees

January 20, 2011 Leave a comment

So Europe sets up an oversight committee called the ESRB to make recommendations and assess the financial markets in order to prevent the next financial crisis.  What a brilliant idea!  It’s a shame nobody ever came up with that idea before.

Too bad though, as the ESRB, like most bureaucratic self-congratulating committees will probably do nothing to stop whatever it is it was created to prevent.

Bloomberg:

The European Systemic Risk Board, which aims to identify and warn of brewing risks in the financial system, may fail to prevent future imbalances as it doesn’t have any legal power to enforce action, according to economists at ING Group,Barclays Capital and ABN Amro. [...]

“The problem is that these bodies are set up to solve yesterday’s problems,” said Peter Hahn, a former Citigroup Inc. banker who lectures on finance at Cass Business School in London. “They can never do more than flagging any issues,” and whether they can stop a crisis “is questionable.”

The European Union is trying to avoid a repeat of the financial crisis that followed the 2008 collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. and resulted in European governments setting aside more than $5 trillion to support banks. Part of a wider regulatory overhaul, the ESRB is similar to the Financial Stability Oversight Council in the U.S.

“The idea is excellent, but if the thing is not going to have any teeth, it is not going to be good enough,” said Nick Kounis, an economist at ABN Amro Bank NV in Amsterdam.

The piece is talking about financial markets, but you can substitute any other issue–healthcare reform, the housing market, whatever.  The point is that politicians and bureaucrats will always make themselves seem more important than they really are.  They do that by forming “committees” to oversee this or that emergency to make it appear as if they’re on the case and working to protect you–the citizen.  Meanwhile, they do it only to justify their political existence.

Like the article suggests, more likely than not, their actions will do little if anything to prevent said problems.  In fact, they can make it worse.  So remember that the next time politicians (Republican or Democrat) tell us not to worry, that they’re on top of things and forming committees and whatnot.

ND-Sen: Kent Conrad not seeking reelection (UPDATE)

January 18, 2011 Leave a comment

It’s been about a year and two weeks since Byron Dorgan called it quits in North Dakota.  Today, the now-senior Senator Conrad does the same:

North Dakota Democratic Sen. Kent Conrad announced today that he will not seek reelection, creating a potentially prime pickup opportunity for Republicans in a GOP-leaning state.

“After months of consideration, I have decided not to seek reelection in 2012,” Conrad said in a letter to constituents. “There are serious challenges facing our state and nation, like a $14 trillion debt and America’s dependence on foreign oil. It is more important I spend my time and energy trying to solve these problems than to be distracted by a campaign for reelection.”

[Hat Tip: Memeorandum]

UPDATE.  Lieberman’s out too.

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