Appearing on C-SPAN's Washington Journal this Sunday from 7:30 to 8:30 AM EDT

For those interested, I will be appearing on C-SPAN's Washington Journal this Sunday from 7:30 to 8:30 AM EDT to debate President Obama's spending plans. The program can be viewed here.

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So much for hoping that the changes in the mortgage rules would only be a one time problem

While the judge in the NHL case has yet to approve this request, I am sure that there are lots of other cases that are now going to ask for the same exception. The Obama administration is able to take some money from the Chrysler and GM bond holders, but at what cost? One wonders how much interest rates are already going up because of this increased risk. From the WSJ:

Within days of a bankruptcy-court judge's approval of the government's plan to sell Chrysler to Fiat SpA and leave creditors with big losses, a lawyer in the bankruptcy case of the National Hockey League's Phoenix Coyotes invoked Chrysler in trying to push through the speedy sale of the team.

Should the judge approve that move and allow the Coyotes to be sold quickly, as Chrysler was, it could put some creditors out in the cold, leaving the NHL and other investors without the kind of input typically afforded by bankruptcy law. . . .

"The concern is that you have thousands of lenders, hedge funds, insurance companies who model their investments on rules and laws," said Stephen Lerner, a lawyer for a committee of Chrysler dealers. "How do these folks make investment decisions when they're faced with bankruptcy courts that appear to disregard the rules?" . . . .

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Sarah Palin Responds to Letterman's stupid comments

I am glad that Palin nailed Letterman on this claim that he was referring to a daughter who wasn't at the baseball game. Letterman can't even just say that he was mistaken about which daughter was at the baseball game.

UPDATE: Letterman is bad enough, but Keith Olbermann is completely nuts. He starts off my claiming that Letterman apologized for his joke (which is simply not true (see above link)), and then calls Palin power crazed for not accepting that apology. Matt Lauer even asks Palin when she appeared on his show on Friday morning of Letterman owed her an apology (Lauer obviously realized that Letterman had already apologized). Olbermann claims that Palin was on the Today show to push the natural gas pipeline but at first claiming that Palin had somehow highjacked the appearance as a chance to go after Letterman. Well, anyone who watched it saw that Palin was asked about Letterman, she didn't bring it up, though I am sure that she knew that the issue would be raised. NBC wanted her on the show to talk about the Letterman controversy.

Olbermann does seem to understand that WIllow was the daughter who was at the baseball game -- Letterman's joke was about the girl that was at the game. Olbermann must have repeated 6 times that Letterman had apologized, but I would like someone to point to where it is that Letterman apologized. All he said was that anyone who knows him knows that he wouldn't make a sexual joke about a 14 year old. Letterman couldn't even say that he was sorry for not realizing that a different daughter was with Palin at the baseball game -- that he simply made a mistake and that he should have checked the facts more carefully.

Olbermann's claim about a glut of natural gas is pretty funny. Does the guy have any shame?

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"U.S. college grads shun Wall Street for Washington"

I am sure that the relentless attacks by Obama and others has not helped either. From Alertnet:

U.S. college grads shun Wall Street for Washington
11 Jun 2009 12:03:20 GMT
Source: Reuters
By Wendell Marsh
WASHINGTON, June 11 (Reuters) - Wall Street may be losing its luster for new U.S. college graduates who are increasingly looking to the government for jobs that enrich their social conscience, if not their wallet.
In the boom years, New York's financial center lured many of the brightest young stars with the promise of high salaries and bonuses. But the financial crisis has tainted the image of big banks, and with fewer financial jobs available, Uncle Sam may be reaping the benefit.
"Some grads might have seen two of their older siblings go through the dot-com crash and the emptiness of that, and now the Wall Street crash, just chasing after the big bucks," said John Challenger, chief executive of job placement company Challenger, Gray & Christmas.
Some of the appeal of Washington simply reflects the grim reality of graduating in the midst of the worst recession in decades. The U.S. unemployment rate jumped to 9.4 percent in May, which means new graduates are competing with a large pool of older unemployed workers for a limited supply of jobs.
A report from the National Association of Colleges and Employers projected a 21.6 percent decrease in new hires among college graduates. Almost every sector was hit, with banking taking the biggest blow, dropping 70.9 percent.
"Students don't see the private sector as being as viable this year," said Edwin Koc, director of strategic and foundation research for the Pennsylvania-based NACE. . . .


Wouldn't it be nice if the Dems viewed the restrictions in the entire global warming bill the same way?

The hardships imposed on the farmers are no different than the hardships imposed on other industries. If it is objectionable for farmers, it should be objectionable for everyone.

More and more Democrats are ready to vote against Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s climate change bill, according to a congressional committee chairman who opposes his leader.

The House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) said Wednesday that he’s at an impasse with the lead sponsor of a climate change bill strongly backed by Pelosi (D-Calif.), and that his list of Democratic members who would join him in voting against the measure is growing rather than shrinking.

“We’re stuck,” Peterson said regarding a clash he’s had with House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) over a number of issues in the bill. “And there’s a lot of issues that haven’t even come up yet.”

The two powerful chairmen are butting heads at the staff level, despite a deadline set by Pelosi for all committee action to be completed by June 19.

But that may be the least of the trouble.

Peterson has warned that the bill put together by Waxman and Energy and Environment subcommittee Chairman Edward Markey (D-Mass.) will fail if agriculture-related provisions aren’t altered, and he’s said he has as many as 45 votes on his side. That number of Democratic defections would certainly doom the prospects of passing the bill in the House.

And while the Agriculture chairman said he’s working to resolve those differences and not intentionally trying to torpedo the legislation, he noted that skepticism toward the bill is growing, not shrinking. . . . .

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What is next a pay czar for hollywood actors?

Note the key fact here is the "for now" in the second paragraph.

The Obama administration’s sweeping new proposal to restrict executive pay is likely to be a humbling exercise for seven of the nation’s largest companies, which have received billions of dollars in federal assistance to survive the economic crisis.

But for most other companies, the plan is expected to have only a marginal effect on pay practices for now.

The Treasury Department on Wednesday appointed a well-known Washington lawyer, Kenneth R. Feinberg, to oversee the compensation of employees at the seven companies — the American International Group, Citigroup, Bank of America, General Motors, Chrysler and the financing arms of the two automakers. . . . .

Some in congress argue that the regulations don't go far enough:

Democrats on the House Financial Services Committee said Thursday the administration's efforts to hector the private sector into reining in executive pay might not go far enough.

The administration contends that excessive compensation contributed to the U.S. financial crisis, but rejects direct intervention in corporate pay decisions.

Instead, the administration plans to seek legislation that would try to rein in compensation at publicly traded companies through nonbinding shareholder votes and less management influence on pay decisions.

"I do differ with the administration in that hope springs eternal and their position seems to be that if we strengthen the compensation committees we will do better," said the committee chairman, Rep. Barney Frank, a Democrat.

Rep. Brad Sherman, a Democrat, said that instead of giving shareholders a nonbinding voice on pay, their votes should be binding on boards of directors.

Democrats and administration officials agreed that companies across the private sector need to adjust compensation practices to avoid damaging the economy.

Gene Sperling, a counselor to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, said administration guidelines call on all publicly held companies to link compensation to long-term performance, not short-term gains. . . . .

Thanks to Anthony Troglio for this last link.

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Anti-semitic individual attacks Holocaust Museum, guard dies

Info about this attack by James W. von Brunn on Wednesday afternoon that left 39-year-old Stephen T. Johns, a special police officer, a six-year veteran of the museum, dead:

-- 88-year-old individual, well-known to monitors of hate groups as an avowed anti-Semite
-- felon, "sentenced in 1983 to more than four years in prison for attempted armed kidnapping and other charges in his Fed assault. He was released in 1989"
-- used .22 caliber rifle to commit the attack
-- attack occurred in a gun free zone.

The reaction from gun control groups?

The Brady Campaign

"Congress should think very hard about their responsibilities for public safety before weakening gun laws in our nation's capital, and should rethink their decision to allow more guns in our national public areas," said Paul Helmke, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.

"It is dangerous to force more guns into places that American families expect to be gun-free and safe," he said.

Mr. Helmke, who issued the statement within hours of the shooting, said he extended sympathies to the victims and that the bloodshed "shows that having even more guns in more places is the wrong answer to America's gun violence problem."


D.C. Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray said the shooting underscored the need for strict gun laws in the nation's capital.

"It's all the more reason why, though, District of Columbia gun legislation should be not used as a bargaining chip by those in Congress who would use our city for political gain while compromising safety, particularly when it involves our right to a vote," said Mr. Gray, at-large Democrat. . . .

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Media coverage of GOP takeover of NY State Senate

From the NY Times:

By the time the dysfunctional body that passes for a Legislature in New York State gets through the 2009 session, calling someone an Albany reformer will be an insult. In a display of chutzpah that startled even old political hands, the Senate Republicans and two of the least-reputable Democrats in a deeply disreputable place brazenly declared themselves to be a reform coalition and staged a palace coup against the Democratic majority. . . . .

Two of the least-reputable Democrats were also the ones that let the Democrats have control for the first half of this year. Why is the reputation of these individuals an issue now, but it wasn't an issue earlier?


How FEDS pressured Bank of America to buy Merrill Lynch

This hearing should be enlightening:

Bank of America CEO Ken Lewis heads to Capitol Hill on Thursday, and he's likely to be grilled by lawmakers about the government's role in ensuring that the bank complete its controversial merger with Merrill Lynch.

According to emails released Wednesday that pull back the curtain on heated negotiations, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke had suggested to another Fed official that "management is gone," if BofA managers tried to flee the deal and later on needed further government assistance. . . . .

He is expected to be asked specifically about whether the Federal Reserve and other government officials pressured Bank of America (BAC, Fortune 500) into completing the merger even after BofA realized how badly Merrill Lynch's fourth-quarter losses would be. . . . .

Lewis told investigators in the New York Attorney General's office earlier this year that he felt his job was on the line if he didn't go through with the deal. Once Lewis learned last December of Merrill Lynch's deterioration, he told then Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson that BofA was considering backing out of the deal, according to his testimony to investigators.

Paulson said that Lewis and the BofA board would be replaced if they sought to end the merger, which Paulson viewed as integral to the health of the U.S. financial system. Paulson told New York investigators that he threatened Lewis' job at the behest of Fed chief Ben Bernanke.

According to a Dec. 21 email released Wednesday, Bernanke called BofA's threat to pull out of the deal a "bargaining chip," saying "we do not see it as a very likely scenario."

In another email, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond President Jeffrey Lacker said that Bernanke considered Bank of America's threat to pull out "irrelevant" and "not credible."

Lacker added that Bernanke "also intends to make clear that if they play that card and they need assistance, management is gone," Lacker wrote. BofA is based in Charlotte, N.C., which is in Lacker's district. . . . .

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"Sotomayor's club for women only: The Democrats' double standard on gender"

From something that I wrote for the Washington Times:

It was revealed Friday that Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor belongs to the Belizean Grove, a highly selective club for women only. Senate Judiciary Chairman Sen. Patrick J. Leahy of Vermont announced Tuesday that her confirmation hearings will begin on July 13. If this judge were a man, the nomination would never make it to the Senate for hearings.

The Belizean Grove, founded in 1999, is modeled on the Bohemian Grove, a secretive, elite club for men only. The 125 members of the Belizean Grove include Army generals, Wall Street executives and former ambassadors. Ms. Sotomayor joined after becoming a circuit court judge.

We don't care if nominees belong to all-male or all-female clubs, but a double standard is in play. Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr.'s supposed membership in an all-male eating club while an undergraduate at Princeton became an issue during his 2006 Supreme Court confirmation hearing. When Judge D. Brooks Smith was nominated to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals in 2001, his confirmation was held up for almost a year in part because he belonged to an all-male fishing and gun club.

The opposition to all-male clubs isn't anything new. The American Bar Association's Canons of Judicial Ethics stipulates that judges "shall not" be members of any organization that unfairly discriminates based on gender.

In June 1990, Arlen Specter, then a Republican from Pennsylvania, and all but one of the Democrats on the Senate Judiciary committee sponsored a resolution warning nominees that having belonged to such clubs could be enough to deny them confirmation. The resolution claimed that membership in such organizations "conflicts with the impartiality, and the appearance of impartiality" expected of judges and that it will be held against the nominee unless they "actively engaged" in efforts to get underrepresented groups into the organizations. . . . .

Privately, Democrats on Capitol Hill tell us that the Belizean Grove is not objectionable like all-male clubs such as Judge Smith's fishing and hunting club, where "wining and dining was happening" and business networking advantaged men who belonged to the club. But the Belizean Grove is all about networking too. Business Week reported in 2001 that panels at club meetings included topics such as "how to obtain money and power." The article noted that the expectation was that women in this group would "help one another in any way they can." . . .

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Obama's Deficit Rhetoric is the opposite of what he does

From the Washington Times:

President Obama said on Tuesday that "Entitlement increases and tax cuts need to be paid for. They're not free." To look like he's getting tough on the deficit, he's promoting the "pay as you go" rule, which provides a justification for raising taxes. Mr. Obama shouldn't go there.

The proposal would require lawmakers to make up for new spending programs and tax cuts by cutting other programs or raising other taxes. The rule wouldn't be retroactive, so it would not pay for the extravagant spending programs Mr. Obama already has introduced, such as the $787 billion stimulus bill he signed in February. The mandate wouldn't apply to the $2.5 trillion worth of new spending priorities that the Obama administration plans to enact in the future. Steps toward nationalized health care would be exempt.

Mr. Obama has been pretending to be a deficit hawk since his presidential campaign last year. On the hustings, he continually blamed last fall's financial crisis on the deficit, which he promised to cut by shrinking government spending. During the presidential debates, he complained of an "orgy of spending and enormous deficits" and promised to correct the costly spending cycle.

His rhetoric didn't change after he moved into the Oval Office. Mr. Obama told C-SPAN on May 23 that "we are out of money now," and said at a May 14 town meeting in New Mexico that our deficit spending is "unsustainable." But the president continues to spend at record levels. . . . .

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So much for Obama's promise that business decisions would drive GM's decisions

From the Hill:

Rep Barney Frank (D-Mass.) won a stay of execution on Thursday for a General Motors plant in his district that the automaker had announced it would close.

No other lawmaker has managed to halt the GM ax. As chairman of the House Financial Services Committee Frank oversees the government's bailout program, known as TARP. Frank's staff said the lawmaker spokes with GM CEO Fritz Henderson on Wednesday and convinced him to keep the Norton, Mass. plant open for at least 14 months.

GM announced Monday in its bankruptcy and restructuring plans it would close of nine of its plants and idle three others. The automaker said it would also shutter three service and parts operations by the end of the year — one of which is in Frank's district.

"I greatly appreciate General Motors' willingness to take into consideration the wider needs of the company and especially the community," Frank said in a statement. "Keeping the facility open for this extra time gives workers a chance to look at other opportunities, while at the same time continuing to provide for their families." . . . .

From Bloomberg, here is teh administration's choice to run GM:

Edward E. Whitacre Jr. built AT&T Inc. into the biggest U.S. provider of telephone service over a 43-year-career. By his own admission, he becomes chairman of General Motors Corp. knowing nothing about the auto industry. . . . . . “I don’t know anything about cars,” Whitacre, 67, said yesterday in an interview after his appointment. “A business is a business, and I think I can learn about cars. I’m not that old, and I think the business principles are the same.” . . . .

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Left wing Dems happy with health care reform bill

The Hill newspaper reports:

House Democratic leaders gave members their first glimpse of their version of President Obama’s healthcare overhaul on Tuesday, with liberals leaving the meeting happy and centrist Democrats walking away skeptical.

The outline put forth lacked many of the details that will decide the fate of the overhaul — notably, how the proposal would be paid for. But it made good on the commitment Obama and Democratic leaders made to include a government-run “public option.”

A public option for healthcare insurance is essential for liberals in the caucus. Blue Dogs and New Democrats got less of what they wanted. Most notably, the plan ignores Blue Dogs’ call for a government plan to be a “fallback option,” if reform of private healthcare doesn’t work.
“They’ve made some real steps toward our principles,” said Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-Calif.), co-chairwoman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

“I’ve got my concerns,” said Rep. Betsy Markey (D-Colo.), a centrist lawmaker from a strongly Republican district. “We’ve got to address cost, quality and coverage, with cost being No. 1.”

The Democrats’ healthcare plan was laid out in broad-brush terms Tuesday to Democratic members in their closed-door caucus meeting. It was many members’ introduction to the issue that’s expected to dominate Congress for the summer. . . .

So much for the debate over how to pay for this:

Obama: It's OK to borrow to pay for health care
Obama-proposed budget rules allow deficits to swell to pay for health care plan

Andrew Taylor, Associated Press Writer
On Tuesday June 9, 2009, 8:43 pm EDT
Buzz up! Print
WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama on Tuesday proposed budget rules that would allow Congress to borrow tens of billions of dollars and put the nation deeper in debt to jump-start the administration's emerging health care overhaul.

The "pay-as-you-go" budget formula plan is significantly weaker than a proposal Obama issued with little fanfare last month.

It would carve out about $2.5 trillion worth of exemptions for Obama's priorities over the next decade. His health care reform plan also would get a green light to run big deficits in its early years. But over a decade, Congress would have to come up with money to cover those early year deficits. . . . .

Note this joke from Obama:

"The 'pay-as-you-go' rule is very simple," Obama said. "Congress can only spend a dollar if it saves a dollar elsewhere."

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So much for any notion that the Democrats who control congress are not anti-gun

From Fox News:

Investigators with the Library's Office of the Inspector General have raised a string of objections after Congress stripped them of their ability to buy and carry firearms.

Though the office has carried firearms in the course of its duties for the past 15 years, and inspector general agents at other federal agencies do the same, lawmakers inserted language into the fiscal year 2009 omnibus spending bill, which was signed into law in March, that prohibited the library's officers from using federal funds to "purchase, maintain or carry" firearms.

They cited an apparent "separation of powers" concern -- the library's investigators are deputized by the U.S. Marshals, which falls under the executive branch, but they investigate abuses in the Library of Congress, which falls under the legislative branch.

Inspector General Karl Schornagel cried foul.

"It's never been questioned until just recently," he told FOXNews.com. "Consider that we've been doing this for 15 years, we're very successful."

The office wrote in its semiannual report to Congress in March that the decision would "impede" investigations. It also received an opinion in April from the Government Accountability Office that there is no legitimate "separation of powers" concern. . . . .

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Boycott GM?

Some info here:

A pair of right-wing radio hosts says there's only one choice for conservatives angry about government involvement in the auto industry: Boycott GM.
"Nobody wants to support an Obama company," Rush Limbaugh told his audience Friday, citing a poll showing that 17 percent of Americans backed a boycott of GM.
"Every dollar spent with GM is a dollar spent against free enterprise," conservative talker Hugh Hewitt wrote online last week. . . . .

A columnist from the Dallas Morning News admits:

The popular, controversial Limbaugh didn't outright call for a boycott, but said he understood why people would want to avoid GM vehicles. . . .

Thanks to Peter K for this quote.


More rewriting history by Obama administration

Austan Goolsbee steps in it again.

Austan Goolsbee, an Obama economic adviser, sparked the back and forth when he said Sunday that President George W. Bush had done little to force GM's turnaround, except give the automaker money.
"When George Bush put money into General Motors, almost explicitly with the purpose -- how many dollars do they need to stay alive until Jan. 20th, 2009 -- there was no commitment to restructuring, to making these viable enterprises of any kind," Goolsbee told "Fox News Sunday."
"I don't know why the Bush administration simply handed them money and shoved the problem onto the next guy."
But former White House spokeswoman Dana Perino noted Sunday in Politico that president-elect Barack Obama had endorsed the decision of Bush in late December to bail out GM and Chrysler with $17.4 billion in emergency loans.
Perino said if Obama hadn't wanted Bush to offer automakers money, they likely wouldn't have gotten it.
"If the Obama transition team had not wanted us to provide breathing space for the automakers -- with an express condition of future proven viability -- they should have said so at the time, and those concerns would have been given considerable weight and may have changed the outcome," Perino wrote.
The White House had no comment Monday.

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CNN claims that the unemployment rate is worse than the standard unemployment numbers indicate

I am somewhat dubious about using this U-6 measure (the U-4 is at least plausible), but I thought that I would at least mention their argument.

Friday’s news that the official unemployment rate is now at a 26-year high of 9.4% is actually a rosy spin on what is really happening.

The official unemployment stat that gets the headline treatment, the BLS’ U-3 data set, doesn’t count all sorts of folks who are unemployed and underemployed.

To get a more comprehensive snapshot of the labor picture you need to focus on the less well-known U-6 data set known as “alternative measures of labor utilization.” The U-6 includes folks counted in U-3 plus “ all marginally attached workers” as well as people who aren’t working full-time but wish they were (i.e., the underemployed.) Marginally employed covers “persons who currently are neither working nor looking for work but indicate that they want and are available for a job and have looked for work sometime in the recent past.”

And when you add up U-3 and all the underutilized workers the official U-6 rate for May 2009 is 16.4%. That’s an official BLS-generated stat that no one really wants to talk about: One out of every six members of the civilian labor force is either out of work or not fully employed. (And that doesn’t even account for the rising ranks of workers coping with furloughs.)

Okay, so exactly how bad is that from a historical perspective? Pretty bad. The BLS began reporting U-6 in 1994; in January 1994 the U-6 rate was 11.8% and then steadily declined before reaching an all-time low in October 2000 of 6.8%. During the ensuing recession/bear market U-6 peaked at 10.4% (Sept 2003) until the credit crisis took hold in 2008. The U-6 rate hit 10.9% in August 2009 August 2008 and has been on a rapid climb ever since; over the past year it has shot from 9.8% to today’s 16.4%. It sure makes it hard to buy into the green shoots theory just yet.

The myth of the "saved or created" jobs.

"Saved or created" has become the signature phrase for Barack Obama as he describes what his stimulus is doing for American jobs. His latest invocation came yesterday, when the president declared that the stimulus had already saved or created at least 150,000 American jobs -- and announced he was ramping up some of the stimulus spending so he could "save or create" an additional 600,000 jobs this summer. These numbers come in the context of an earlier Obama promise that his recovery plan will "save or create three to four million jobs over the next two years."

Mr. Fratto sees a double standard at play. "We would never have used a formula like 'save or create,'" he tells me. "To begin with, the number is pure fiction -- the administration has no way to measure how many jobs are actually being 'saved.' And if we had tried to use something this flimsy, the press would never have let us get away with it."

Of course, the inability to measure Mr. Obama's jobs formula is part of its attraction. Never mind that no one -- not the Labor Department, not the Treasury, not the Bureau of Labor Statistics -- actually measures "jobs saved." As the New York Times delicately reports, Mr. Obama's jobs claims are "based on macroeconomic estimates, not an actual counting of jobs." Nice work if you can get away with it. . . . .

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"U.S. Pushed Fiat Deal on Chrysler"

Here is why the Indiana pension fund case that Indiana Treasurer Richard Mourdock is pushing is so important. If they can get to discovery, they will finally get to the bottom of much more of this. Having the Supreme court grant a stay is just the first small step in the process.

WASHINGTON -- The Obama administration rushed an alliance between Chrysler LLC and Fiat SpA despite Chrysler's worries about Fiat's financial health and its willingness to share technology, according to internal company emails.

The emails show Fiat ignoring requests for documents and trying to change contract terms late in the talks. A Chrysler adviser at one point said the deal risked looking as if the U.S. auto maker and the Treasury Department, which helped broker the pact, were "in bed with a shady partner." In another note, an official referred to the Treasury Department as "God." . . . .

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Obama's Representatives make up facts about the economy

The Washington Times has this. I hope that people see through their incorrect claims.

The Obama administration was out in full force defending the stimulus this weekend. The mantra is that the economy is getting better but Americans need to be patient to see progress. The problem is that, so far, there hasn't been any economic progress.

White House economic adviser Austan Goolsbee promised on "Fox News Sunday": "It's going to take more than a few months to turn it around." That contradicts White House economic adviser Lawrence H. Summers' promise in January that the economy would start improving "within weeks" so long as the president's $787 billion stimulus was passed.

The stimulus actually has dampened economic projections. In January, before the stimulus was passed, 53 business economists and forecasters surveyed by the Wall Street Journal expected gross domestic product (GDP) for the third quarter (July through September) to rise by 1.2 percent at an annual rate. Predictions became gloomier after the stimulus passed in March. In May, these experts forecast only a 0.6 growth rate for the third quarter.

White House adviser David Axelrod told CBS' "Face the Nation": "The president was very clear when he enacted the stimulus ... unemployment was going to go up and go up for some time." We only find administration officials back then warning about unemployment rates if the stimulus didn't pass. The stimulus did pass, and unemployment rose to 9.4 percent in May. . . . .

The AP gets this right with the title "Obama repackages stimulus plans with old promises":

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama assured the nation his recovery plan was on track Monday, scrambling to calm Americans unnerved by unemployment rates still persistently rising nearly four months after he signed the biggest economic stimulus in history.
Obama admitted his own dissatisfaction with the progress but said his administration would ramp up stimulus spending in the coming months. The White House acknowledged it has spent only $44 billion, or 5 percent, of the $787 billion stimulus, but that total has always been expected to rise sharply this summer.
"Now we're in a position to really accelerate," Obama said.
He also repeated an earlier promise to create or save 600,000 jobs by the end of the summer.
Neither the acceleration nor the jobs goal are new. Both represent a White House repackaging of promises and projects to blunt criticism that the effects haven't been worth the historic price tag. And the job estimate is so murky, it can never be verified.
The economy has shed 1.6 million jobs since the stimulus measure was signed in February, far overshadowing White House announcements estimating the effort has saved 150,000 jobs. Public opinion of Obama's handling of the economy has declined along with the jobs data. . . . .
By now, according to earlier White House economic models, the nation's unemployment rate should be on the decline. The forecasts used to drum up support for the plan projected today's unemployment would be about 8 percent. Instead, it sits at 9.4 percent, the highest in more than 25 years. . . . .

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$5 billion in stimulus money wasted weatherizing homes

Well, if the benefits exceeded the costs, presumably it would pay for people to do this weatherizing without the subsidy. The NY Times has other questions:

An unusually large share of the money will be spent not on keeping cold air out but on keeping cold air in. As a result of a political compromise with Sun Belt lawmakers last decade, the enormous expansion of the weatherization program will invoke a rarely used formula that will devote 31 percent of the money, nearly double the old share of 16 percent, to help states in hot climates, like Florida, save on air-conditioning.

Many environmentalists say cutting electricity use for cooling is just as worthwhile as reducing the use of oil or gas for heating. But there are substantial questions about whether it is the most efficient way to save energy. . . . .

Some of the uses for Stimulus money from Cincinnati:

As local cities and counties put together their applications for some of their first tastes of stimulus money, they've come up with block grant applications where the typical project costs less than $250,000.

The city of Covington, for example, has broken down its line items as small as $1,650 each - to replace 117 curb ramps in the neighborhood around Decoursey and Winston avenues, to make them handicapped-accessible. Cincinnati is giving out grants as small as $8,556 for a program to prevent teen pregnancy and violence.

The list of local applications for the Community Development Block Grants also includes $61,200 for sidewalks in Forest Park, $93,000 for air conditioners in Sharonville and $56,008 for playground renovations in Hamilton. . . . .


"Surging unemployment: Obama's spending binge delays economic recovery"

The Washington Times has this useful reminder:

The Bureau of Labor Statistics announced Friday that May's unemployment rate soared to 9.4 percent. Once again, Obama administration predictions on the economic impact of the $787 billion stimulus plan have proved wrong.

On Feb. 4, Christina Romer, chairman of the President's Council of Economic Advisers, warned: "If we fail to act [and don't pass the stimulus], we are likely to lose millions more jobs, and the unemployment rate could reach double digits." White House economic adviser Lawrence H. Summers told Americans that the stimulus would start improving the economy "within weeks" of passage.

After the stimulus bill was signed into law on Feb. 17, the Obama administration predicted that the unemployment rate this year would average just 8.1 percent. Even as late as May 11, Ms. Romer didn't think the unemployment rate would reach 9.5 percent until December.

What is stunning is the speed at which the unemployment rate is increasing. . . . .

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Smoot-Hawley Revisited

Reuters has a story on the Canadian desire to retaliate over trade restrictions:

Canadian municipal leaders threatened to retaliate against the "Buy America" movement in the United States on Saturday, warning trade restrictions will hurt both countries' economies.

The Federation of Canadian Municipalities endorsed a controversial proposal to support communities that refuse to buy products from countries that put trade restrictions on products and services from Canada.

The measure is a response to a provision in the U.S. economic stimulus package passed by Congress in February that says public works projects should use iron, steel and other goods made in the United States.

The United States is Canada's largest trading partner, and Canadians have complained the restrictions will bar their companies from billions of dollars in business that they have previously had access to.

"This U.S. protectionist policy is hurting Canadian firms, costing Canadian jobs and damaging Canadian efforts to grow our economy in the midst of a worldwide recession," said Sherbrooke, Quebec, Mayor Jean Perrault, also president of the federation that represents cities and towns across Canada.

The municipal officials meeting at the federation's convention in Whistler, British Columbia, endorsed the measure despite complaints by Canadian trade officials.

Trade Minister Stockwell Day told the group on Friday that Ottawa was actively negotiating with Washington to get the "Buy American" restrictions removed. . . . .

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The NRA petition for Cert

A copy of the NRA petition for Cert before the Supreme Court is available to read here.

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Ted Cruz: The Next Attorney General for the State of Texas

An impressive speech by Ted.

Note to those interested: Ted was the Solicitor General of the state of Texas. He is running for the AG job.


Americans dislike GM bailout

A Rasmussen Report poll finds:

Adults in the United States are disappointed with the federal government’s decision to take ownership of automaker General Motors and provide $30 billion U.S. in additional bailout funding, according to a poll by Rasmussen Reports. 53 per cent of respondents believe the course of action is a bad idea. . . . .

Only 26 percent think that it is a good idea.

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