The return of the ninja bandits

by twit

Via the Associated Press on September 24, 2008:

WASHINGTON (AP) – The FBI is investigating four major U.S. financial institutions whose collapse helped trigger a $700 billion bailout plan by the Bush administration, The Associated Press has learned.

Two law enforcement officials said Tuesday the FBI is looking at potential fraud by mortgage finance giants Fannie Mae (FNM) and Freddie Mac (FRE), and insurer American International Group Inc. (AIG) Additionally, a senior law enforcement official said Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. (LEH) also is under investigation.

[…] Just last week, FBI Director Robert Mueller put the number of large financial firms under investigation at 24. He did not name any of the companies under investigation but said the FBI also was looking at whether any of them have misrepresented their assets.

Over the past year as the housing market cratered, the FBI has opened a wide-ranging probe of companies across the financial services industry, from mortgage lenders to investment banks that bundle home loans into securities sold to investors. Mueller has previously said the FBI’s hunt for culprits in the nation’s subprime mortgage crisis focused on accounting fraud, insider trading, and failure to disclose the value of mortgage-related securities and other investments.

This is so much funnier now that we know all about McCain campaign manager Rick Davis’ ties to Freddie Macupdate: so much funnier

“John McCain’s campaign manager and Freddie Mac essentially had what amounts to a secret half a million dollar lay-a-way plan. For almost three years and as late as last month, Freddie Mac made secret, monthly payments of $15,000 to Rick Davis’s firm, apparently in exchange for providing special access to a future McCain White House. If McCain knew about this, his presidential campaign should be in serious trouble. If he didn’t know about it, he ought to fire Rick Davis immediately,” said David Donnelly, Director of Campaign Money Watch.

but it does sound awful familiar

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“Palin-tology”

by lestro

A column in today’s LA Times paints a horrifying picture of Wasilla and of its famous former mayor, and it does so mostly using people who like her.

Some towns have character. Some have a sense of place.

And then there is Wasilla, which greets visitors with Wal-mart, Target, Lowe’s, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Carl’s Jr., McDonald’s and Taco Bell.

They paved paradise, and all they’ve got to show for it is chalupas and discount tube socks.

I thought I’d found the town center when I came upon a row of frontier-style buildings, but it was just a Knott’s Berry Farm-style facade housing a Señor Taco, among other establishments. Up at the next intersection of strip malls, I found a Chimo Guns shop across from a store offering 15% off of home-schooling supplies.

Sure, every town in the United States has its big-box stores, strip malls, fast-food joints and sprawling churches. But Wasilla seems to have little else.

But according to one of the planning commissioners who is running for mayor, it’s not Sarah’s fault.

Rupright admits the “downtown” area is no model city, with too much traffic and no real center. He’d like to fix that, he said, and the city sewer system is a mess too.

But don’t blame Palin, he said, calling her a good mayor and a smart cookie. The town just grew too fast.

“Grew too fast.” That’s idiot-speak for “someone was asleep at the switch.”

News

AP Photo/Al Grillo via Salon

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Tell me again how John McCain isn’t part of the problem

by lestro

oh, Johnny Mac, you may not be able to lift your arms above your head, but you have proven more than adept at putting your foot in your mouth:

One of the giant mortgage companies at the heart of the credit crisis paid $15,000 a month to a firm owned by Senator John McCain’s campaign manager from the end of 2005 through last month, according to two people with direct knowledge of the arrangement. The disclosure contradicts a statement Sunday night by Mr. McCain that the campaign manager, Rick Davis, had no involvement with the company for the last several years. Mr. Davis’s firm received the payments from the company, Freddie Mac, until it was taken over by the government this month along with Fannie Mae, the other big mortgage lender whose deteriorating finances helped precipitate the cascading problems on Wall Street, the people said.

oops. Quick! backtrack!

They said they did not recall Mr. Davis doing much substantive work for the company in return for the money, other than speak to a political action committee composed of high-ranking employees in October 2006 on the coming midterm congressional elections.

So, they spent $15,000 a month on a guy who didn’t do anything for them? I think I am beginning to understand this fiscal crisis better.

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Stop being so mean to Sarah Palin!

by twit

She’s not qualified to run for vice president, stop treating her like she is!

Shame on the press, trying to do its job!

Ms. Palin, the Republican vice-presidential nominee, is scheduled to meet Tuesday in New York with President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan, President Alvaro Uribe of Colombia, and former Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger.

But the McCain-Palin campaign’s sharp limitations on coverage of the meetings have sparked a mini-revolt – and a threatened boycott — among the press corps.

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