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10/04/2010 - 13:19

house in waterCall it a paradox. The U.S. economy officially has been out of recession for 15 months. The stock market enjoyed a record-high September; durable goods orders are up; and consumer spending is growing. Yet homeowners continue to lose their properties at a frequency not seen since the Great Depression. And this is despite - and possibly to some extent, because of - an emergency federal program in place for the past year and a half designed to stave off foreclosures. Call it instead, then, a consumer bailout. But don't expect it to end soon.

09/30/2010 - 15:28

National Legal and Policy Center more than once has called it a shakedown. Now three members of Congress are suggesting as much. Yesterday Reps. Steve King, R-Iowa, Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., and Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., held a press conference to call for a Justice Department probe of an out-of-court class-action settlement against the U.S. Department of Agriculture initiated by black farmers during the late Nineties.

09/28/2010 - 20:54

Jo Bonner photoIn recent days, we have complained about the apparent delay of the House ethics trials of Reps. Charles Rangel (D-NY) and Maxine Waters (D-CA) until after the election. We also wondered aloud about why the Republicans on the Ethics Committee were letting it happen.

Today, Rep. Jo Bonner (R-AL), the Committee's ranking Republican, said Democrats were “stalling” and accused Committee Chair Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) of having “repeatedly refused to set either the Rangel or Waters trial before the November election."

09/27/2010 - 14:03

Jesse Jackson, Jr. photoRep. Jesse Jackson Jr., D-Ill., like his famous father, has become a Democratic Party kingmaker, both in Chicago and on Capitol Hill. He's also, according to the September 21 Chicago Sun-Times, the mastermind behind a scheme to raise $6 million in campaign contributions for then-Illinois Democratic Governor Rod Blagojevich in return for a U.S. Senate appointment. The allegation, made by a Chicago-area businessman-fundraiser, Raghuveer Nayak, contradicts Jackson's assertions that he hadn't tried to buy Barack Obama's pending vacant Senate seat in the weeks prior to Election Day 2008. The actual version of events may well determine whether federal prosecutors can secure multiple guilty verdicts against Blagojevich, convicted in August on only one of 24 corruption charges (lying to federal agents), with the other 23 resulting in a hung jury.

09/25/2010 - 19:03

Lofgren photoRep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) is Chair of the House Ethics Committee, which is supposed to be conducting a trial of Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) on the 13 violations of House rules the Committee alleged on July 29.  There is also supposed to be a trial of Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA).

Instead, Lofgren played host on Friday to comedian Stephen Colbert who testified “in character” on the plight of migrant farm workers before a Judiciary Committee subcommittee that Lofgren also chairs. I thought Colbert was actually pretty funny but other reviews were mixed.

09/23/2010 - 18:51

Meeks photoRep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY) lobbied against the federal investigation of a Muslim professor whose charity is suspected of funding Osama bin Laden, according to 2006 documents.

The congressman appealed to several federal agencies on behalf of Islamic scholar Anwar Hajjaj, and complained that the terror-linked teacher dealt with "unwarranted scrutiny" when he returned through U.S. airports from trips to Middle Eastern countries.

09/23/2010 - 15:52

Chrysler’s Jefferson North Assembly Plant in Detroit isn’t the sort of place where one would think party animals hang out. But the camera doesn’t lie. Acting on a tip, WJBK-TV/Fox 2 News in Detroit aired a story this morning showing roughly 15 plant employees, over the course of several consecutive days, chugging beer and smoking marijuana in a park near the company parking lot.

09/23/2010 - 10:28

Obama Carnahan photoIn response to the perception that much of the stimulus money has been spent on wasteful or unnecessary projects, the White House last week released a report titled "100 Recovery Act Projects That Are Changing America." It included $107 million for a wind farm in Missouri owned by Wind Capital Group (WCG), whose CEO is Tom Carnahan. His sister Robin (in photo) is the Democratic nominee for the Senate and his brother Russ is running for re-election to Congress.

When we commented on this appearance of cronyism back in May, we were under the impression that WCG qualified for a tax credit. It appears, however, that WCG will receive direct payments in lieu of tax credits for up to 30 percent of the cost of the wind farm.

09/16/2010 - 18:44

Becker photoIn placing radical union lawyer Craig Becker on the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) via recess appointment this past March, President Obama may have unleashed a more potent weapon to advance organized labor's interests than even he realized at the time. In a 3-2 decision on August 27, the board voted to review its ruling of three years ago, Dana Corporation [351 NLRB No. 28 (2007)], which granted dissenting workers the right to undo a successful (i.e., employer-recognized) union card check campaign. The board thus has given unions new ammunition for realizing its top priority of forcing, and not simply authorizing, employers to recognize majority-vote union card check campaigns under the guise of "employee choice." A separate but related issue is why Becker was allowed to cast a vote at all, given his conflict of interest in the case.

09/15/2010 - 09:54

Rangel Pelosi photoSo much for draining the swamp. Several sources report that the House will not try Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) until after the November 2 elections. Rangel won the Democratic primary for his seat yesterday, barely achieving 50% of the vote against five challengers. During his House floor speech on August 10 when he was not attacking NLPC, Rangel pleaded for an expedited hearing on the 13 charges leveled against him by the Ethics Committee. This followed months of maneuvering by Rangel to delay the investigation.

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