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08/24/2010 - 09:27

Dodd photoSen. Christopher Dodd (D-CT) received up to six sweetheart home loans from Countrywide Financial, even though he has only publicly admitted to accepting two special deals, The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday.

The revelations were brought to light by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, raising questions about a previous Senate ethics committee investigation into Dodd’s dealings with Countrywide that just disclosed information about two of the loans.

4,079 reads
08/23/2010 - 17:12

Shorebank logoOn Friday the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation momentarily took over politically-connected ShoreBank, just long enough to relieve it of some of its woes and then turn it back over to the same people to continue its same failed mission. According to a press release, the FDIC Deposit Insurance Fund will take a $367.7 million hit in the transaction.

5,063 reads
08/20/2010 - 14:38

Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), charged with violating House ethics rules, said today on ABC’s Good Morning America that the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) is "not very tight, they don't do very good work, rather sloppy work."

2,138 reads
08/19/2010 - 16:48

$ green imageIf you think environmentalist shareholder tactics like those employed by Rockefeller descendants on Exxon – which push their agenda via resolutions at annual meetings rather than promote company profitability – then you haven’t seen anything yet, according to a Marketwatch report yesterday. After the BP oil leak disaster and the Massey Energy coal mining accident that killed 29 workers, green activists are expected to increase pressure on corporate executives next year:

3,259 reads
08/19/2010 - 13:44

UAW/GM logosMore evidence that the GM IPO is being hurried for political purposes is found in the IPO registration filing yesterday. The company cannot assure the accuracy of its financial information because of weaknesses in its internal controls. How can GM offer and price shares if it cannot even attest to its own financials?

The shares being offered for sale will come from the U.S. government and the United Auto Workers (UAW) trust fund, another red flag. If the UAW has such great confidence in the future of the company, why is it selling? Is it to cash in on the superficial media accounts of GM’s “progress,” when it knows the long-term future of the company is less rosy?

3,629 reads
08/19/2010 - 11:36

Sun ChipsSun Chips' loud bag is getting lots of attention, including a Wall Street Journal story yesterday. PepsiCo’s Frito-Lay division bills it as “The World’s First 100% Compostable Chip Package.”

The overwhelming crinkle of the bag annoys people, and it is inappropriate in certain settings like theaters and schools. It is hard to imagine how this bag ever got off the drawing board when one considers how much PepsiCo spends on perfecting and marketing its products.

4,859 reads
08/17/2010 - 12:07

ACORN evidenceWhatever guises the discredited Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, or ACORN, assumes in the future, taxpayers now have less reason to worry about being conscripted into funding them. This past Friday, a Manhattan federal appeals court ruled that Congress last fall had acted within its authority in deleting funds for the radical nonprofit community network. In overturning a lower court, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals determined the appropriations cutoff had not punished ACORN without trial and thus was not in violation of the constitutional ban on bills of attainder. The decision was partial; the appeals court sent the case back to U.S. District Judge Nina Gershon to decide whether ACORN's free speech and due process rights also had been violated. Even on those grounds, the plaintiffs' case looks shaky.

3,027 reads
08/16/2010 - 17:47

Waters photoRep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) held a press conference Friday to refute charges that she gave political help to a bank with ties to her husband, just days after another House Democrat, Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY), also defended himself against ethics charges in an unusually public manner.

“What I’m doing now is outside of the box, beyond what’s normally done,” said Waters at the 90-minute press conference, which included an extensive slide-show disputing House Ethics Committee allegations that she helped secure over $12 million in federal bailout funds for OneUnited Bank, a bank in which her husband had a substantial financial stake.

2,388 reads
08/16/2010 - 13:35

Sharpton Newsweek coverThe transformation of Reverend Al Sharpton from street provocateur to civil rights eminence ranks as one of the more remarkable image makeovers in American public life. And mainstream journalism has played a central role. Anyone doubting as much should read the recent (August 2) cover story of Newsweek magazine, "The Reinvention of the Reverend Al." Written by Allison Samuels and Jerry Adler, the article is a fawning and misleading portrait of the Harlem-based preacher/politician. The piece doesn't quite beatify Sharpton. But it does make a highly selective use of information, some of it factually wrong, in stating the case for "the Rev," as he is commonly known, as a moral conscience of the nation. It also stands as an example, as if any more were needed, that "diversity" in the newsroom isn't about a diversity of opinion.

4,123 reads
08/16/2010 - 12:23

Whitacre/GM photoThe unexpected departure of General Motors CEO Ed Whitacre (right) last week was reportedly due to tensions over the timing of a public offering, which the Obama administration wants to take place before the November Congressional elections so that it can declare some kind of “success” for the still-unpopular auto bailout.

A premature IPO must be a really bad idea if it’s too much for Whitacre, who has not exactly demonstrated principled leadership. There’s the problem of taking the GM job in the first place. What kind of capitalist would be a party, or more precisely an accessory after the fact, to the violation of private property rights represented by the crushing of GM bondholders? While CEO, Whitacre did not disappoint his masters in the White House, even appearing in a TV commercial in April in which he falsely claimed that GM had paid back the US government in full and five years ahead of time.

3,843 reads
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