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July 19, 2010

Covering Their Fannie

Jim Geraghty, from Friday's Morning Jolt newsletter...

The fundamental problem with the [financial reform] legislation is that it doesn't address...the underlying problems with the mortgage market. It was the mortgage bubble, instigated by liberal social justice demands placed on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which caused the crisis, not a failure of securities rules and regulations. No mortgage market problems, no mortgage-backed securities problems; no mortgage-backed securities problems, no financial crisis. One of the greatest scams ever is the success of Democrats in distancing their mortgage policies from the financial crisis, and portraying the crisis as simply a matter of Wall Street greed and lack of regulation. . . . Reform of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac never is going to happen unless Democrats have no other choice. Not at least as long as Barack Obama is President or Democrats control all or part of Congress. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are off limits for Democrats, just as they were when the Bush administration warned of problems.

This was not a problem caused exclusively by one political party, but the ""mess we inherited" rhetoric by the White House necessitates reminding people that the Bush administration did warn of problems...and they did propose reforms...which were shot down and the need for them dismissed by Sens. Frank and Dodd...and as you can see here...

UPDATE 8/23: With an election looming, Barney Frank sees the light.

UPDATE 8/24: The Obama administration fesses up about who their HAMP program was designed to help.

Who's Unserious?

In the course of dismissing Mitt Romney as a viable GOP candidate for 2012, Dr. Zero articulates nicely my biggest concern about Republicans retaking political power...that they won't have the political courage to do what needs to be done...

Serious Human Beings

This election will not be fought over the fine details of a few specific pieces of legislation. It will not be a contest to find someone who can escort an unpopular Barack Obama from the White House, then trot back inside and continue shoveling trillions of dollars into the deficit furnace. We don’t need a national CPA to provide a lecture on deficit reduction during his inauguration, then return for a State of the Union speech in which he explains spending cuts are pretty much impossible, while forklifts roll in with massive new tax packages. We have no use for someone who thinks ObamaCare is an awesome machine that just needs a new transmission and some mag wheels to reach its potential.

We are about to conduct an election about the very philosophy of our government. It is our last chance to avoid the Great Crash which Obama has brought to our doorsteps… but which would have lurked twenty or thirty years in the future even without him. The Obama presidency has begun a fundamental transformation of the relationship between Americans and their government. The groundwork for this transformation was laid over many years, by politicians from both parties. Government bloat has accumulated for decades. The State isn’t really changing all that much under Barack Obama. It’s working to change us.

To reverse this process, we must reach farther back than the administrations of George Bush or Bill Clinton. We are being crushed by engines of regulation, taxation, and corruption that were designed in the first decades of the last century. We’re approaching the end of the story that began during the New Deal. It won’t be good enough to merely rewind the tape a few years. Even such a half-hearted measure, simply returning us to where George Bush left us, would be the most spectacular reduction of State power in our entire history… and it wouldn’t be good enough.

July 17, 2010

Horowitz on Hitchens - Hitch on Hewitt

David Horowitz reviews the new Christopher Hitchens memoir Hitch 22, in a two-part essay at NRO, and it's a must for admirers of either or both men. David says his friend Hitch hasn't really left the Left, and shows how Hitchens' loyalty to his Marxist revolutionary influences is hopelessly at odds with his proud Orwellian anti-totalitarianism. The result is "a moral incoherence" that is navigated by Hitchens in the book by omission of inconvenient facts.

Hitchens' apostasy from the Left wasn't nearly the abrupt and devastating "crucible of despair" endured and described by Horowitz, but David's message that "you can't have it both ways" is hammered home in countless examples for Hitchens. The larger point made by Horowitz is to show how powerful is the seductive appeal of the utopian fantasy...that such a lover of freedom as Christopher Hitchens cannot and has not rid himself of it. Pack a lunch.

"Second Thoughts" - Part One - Part Two

Also a very worthwhile read is this transcript of Hugh Hewitt's conversation with Hitchens last week. Another long one, but not to be missed by Hitch fans.

Here's the link to the Hitchens memoir. And here's to his successful treatment and speedy recovery.

July 11, 2010

He Calls It Community Organizing

Documentary Charges Obama Won 2008 Democratic Nod With Caucus State Dirty Tricks

It'll be interesting to see how the Democrats handle this issue in 2012. Pass the popcorn.

July 9, 2010

More Sportsguy

Post-decision thoughts by Simmons and his readers. Among them...

It's one thing to leave. I get it. You're 25. You don't know any better. You're tired of carrying mediocre teams. You want help. You want the luxury of not having to play a remarkable game every single night for eight straight months. You want to live in South Beach. You want to play with your buddies. I get it. I get it. But turning that decision into a one-hour special, pretending that it hadn't been decided weeks ago, using a charity as your cover-up and ramming a pitchfork in Cleveland's back like you were at the end of a Friday the 13th movie and Cleveland was Jason ... there just had to be a better way.


We are already fools for caring about athletes considerably more than they care about us. We know this, and we do it anyway. We just like sports. We keep watching for moments like Donovan's goal against Algeria, and we keep caring through thick and thin for moments like Roberts' Steal and Tracy Porter's interception. We put up with all the sobering stuff because that's the price you pay -- for every Gordon Hayward half-court shot, or USA-Canada gold-medal game, there are 20 Michael Vicks and Ben Roethlisbergers. Last night didn't make me like sports any less -- my guard has been up since 1996 -- it just reinforced all the things I already didn't like.

Well said. It didn't really help to have the Cavs owner respond immediately, sounding like a sixth-grader. ("The curse" moves to Florida? Really?) As much as some of his lines have generated applause in town, I'm thinking he really should have slept on it before penning his response.

The other thing that strikes me is that the NBA's reputation for being well-run by David Stern is in serious jeopardy. I suspect Stern will fine Gilbert for his outburst, and probably act to get his arms back around a system that used to require things like contracts being in place before players announced where they were going to play. There's a real sense now that the inmates are running the asylum, and Stern will have to act decisively to reassert control.

Meanwhile, I can go back to treating the NBA like I treated it before LeBron came to the Cavs....as my least favorite pro sport, and one where I'm too disinterested to ever watch a game start-to-finish until the Finals...maybe.

UPDATE: A pretty good column by Adrian Wojnarowski.

July 8, 2010

Simmons on LeBron

Reading Bill Simmons, five hours before LeBron announces, with his 23 thoughts on "The Decision". Let's face it. He's the best... Read it all, but here's a large slice of it...

Countdown to the LeBron James decision

19. I always thought the goal was winning rings. That's what Russell, Bird, Magic and Jordan taught us. That's what I grew up believing. But sports are different now. You're a brand as much as an athlete. In the past 72 hours, with the suspense building for his announcement, LeBron created a Twitter account, launched his own website and agreed with ESPN on a one-hour live selection show that, incredibly, was the exact same idea that a Columbus reader named Drew had in my Thanksgiving '09 mailbag … but I thought he was kidding. Now I think he's Nostradamus. Or even Nostradamu-SAS.

Drew from Columbus looked into the future, and here's what he saw: A world in which it was totally conceivable that an NBA superstar would sell an hour-long show in which he picked his next team and tainted his legacy in the process. I played along and pushed a "Bachelor"-type setup ("The LeBrachelor!") in which LeBron whittled 29 teams down to six, then four, then two, then one over the course of six episodes. Hell, have him hand out roses. Why not? It's not like this would actually happen, right?

20. Seven months later, it's happening. I can't wait to watch for the same reasons I couldn't turn away from O.J.'s Bronco chase or the Artest melee: it's Car Wreck Television. If LeBron picks anyone other than the Cavaliers, it will be the cruelest television moment since David Chase ended "The Sopranos" by making everyone think they lost power. Cleveland fans will never forgive LeBron, nor should they. He knows better than anyone what kind of sports anguish they have suffered over the years. Losing LeBron on a contrived one-hour show would be worse than Byner's fumble, Jose Mesa, the Game 5 meltdown against Boston, The Drive, The Shot and everything else. At least those stomach-punch moments weren't preordained, unless you believe God hates Cleveland (entirely possible, by the way). This stomach-punch moment? Calculated. By a local kid they loved, defended and revered.

It would be unforgivable. Repeat: unforgivable. I don't have a dog in this race -- as a Celtics fan, I wanted to see him go anywhere but Chicago -- but LeBron doing this show after what happened in the 2010 playoffs actually turned me against him. No small feat. I was one of his biggest defenders. Not anymore.

And here's where I really worry, because I don't think LeBron James has anyone in his life with enough juice to hurl his or her body in front of the concept of "I'm going to announce during a one-hour live show that I'm playing somewhere other than Cleveland." It's the best and worst thing about him -- he has remained fiercely loyal to his high school friends, but at the same time, he's surrounded by people his own age who don't stand up to him and don't know any better. Picking anyone other than Cleveland on this show would be the meanest thing any athlete has ever done to a city. But he might. Assuming he's not malicious, and that he's just a self-absorbed kid who apparently lost all perspective, that doesn't make him much different than most child stars who became famous before they could legally drink -- or, for that matter, Tiger Woods. That's just the way this stuff works. Too much, too fast, too soon. You don't lose your way all at once; just a little at a time. Then one day you look up and there's a TMZ photo spread with 15 of your mistresses, or you're agreeing to stab an entire city in the heart on a one-hour television show.