1.) Feds may have to bail out Detroit for a second time — If the federal government decides, in its finite wisdom, that poorly run states and municipalities do not deserve to sink or swim based on the electoral acumen of their residents (or lack thereof), and chooses instead to “bail out” bankrupt members of the American federation, there will be some irony in the decision. In Detroit, two of the city’s public pensions are under investigation for “risky investing” that cost the two funds $480 million in three years. According to the Detroit Free Press, “many of the investments involved secretive middlemen, who pocketed hundreds of thousands of dollars, or were vetted by controversial investment adviser Adrian Anderson and his firm, North Point Advisors.” Anderson is currently under investigation by the SEC, but has not been charged. In the meantime, “the pensions are paying the legal bills of Anderson and a second adviser who scrutinized failed real estate deals.” Have you heard the one about the burglar who fell through the woman’s skylight and then demanded that she pay for his medical bills? This is sort of like that.
2.) Charlie Crist’s going away present: Turning a blind eye to fraud — Florida Governor Charlie Crist is apparently too busy planning his GTL schedule to act as chief executive of the State of Florida. What else to make of the fact that he absolved the executive director of Florida’s pension system of shady dealings? After every single one of his colleagues declined to invest with mortgage vultures Bayview Financial Holdings, Ash Williams of the State Board of Administration (which invests Florida’s public pension funds) said, “Sure. Why not?” According to the St. Pete Times, “Bayview affiliates resell or package problem loans bought on the cheap. After the mortgage meltdown, Bayview saw opportunity in the flood of struggling homeowners facing foreclosure.” But it needed money, so it sought investment from the state’s $122 billion public pension. Williams, it just so happens, worked on Wall Street with Bayview CEO David Ertel. After re-introductions were made between the SBA and Bayview execs, the State of Florida suddenly decided to invest with the mortgage company. Despite allegations of crony capitalism, Gov. Crist renewed Williams’ $325,000 annual salary during last month’s lameduck session.
3.) Joe Miller will not block snow-billy seductress from Senate — “Republican Joe Miller said he won’t stand in the way of incumbent Sen. Lisa Murkowski being certified the winner of Alaska’s U.S. Senate race, but he vowed to continue his legal fight over the state’s handling of the vote count,” reports the Associated Press. “Miller’s announcement late Sunday paves the way for Murkowski — a write-in candidate after losing the Republican nomination to Miller — to eventually be declared winner of the race.” Eventually is the key word, here: “U.S. District Judge Ralph Beistline, who is hearing Miller’s federal court challenge, must still decide whether to lift his stay before the state can move ahead with certification. There was no immediate word on when that might occur.” Alaska may never have full Senate representation ever again.
4.) List: The 10 dumbest moves the U.N. made in 2010 — The United Nations: What is it–what are they–good for? Making lists, of course! The Daily Caller’s Mary Katharine Ham does exactly that this morning with a list of the U.N.’s biggest, um, biggest, uh–blunders isn’t the right word, because all the stupid crap our global council of elders/insane people did this year, they did on purpose. So without further ado: Number 10 is the resolution to “combat defamation of religions.” The U.N. hasn’t voted on the resolution this year, but will soon, and as in years past, will vote favorably. The secretary-general of the Organization of the Islamic Conference described the resolution’s aim thusly: “We insist that freedom of expression should not be abused to insult others or condescend on other cultures.” Ha. Yes. Well. The list only gets better from there.
5.) Michael Steele: good at only one thing? — On paper, and for obvious reasons, RNC Chairman Michael Steele is the perfect foil for Pres. Barack Obama. In real life (or IRL, as the kids say, when they are talking on the Internet), Steele has been a disastrous leader for the Republican National Committee. TheDC’s Jonathan Strong counts the ways. “Within months of starting his new job, Steele committed the first in a long series of well-publicized gaffes. He called Rush Limbaugh ‘ugly’ and ‘incendiary,’ then apologized. He said abortion was an ‘individual choice,’ mimicking the rhetoric of pro-choice groups, angering social conservatives who had already feared he was too liberal,” writes Strong. “In the same interview, Steele revealed he was redecorating his office because it was ‘way too male for me.’ The total tab was $18,500.” And the list goes on!
6.) Who will sue the FCC first over net neutrality rules? — Last week, the Federal Communications Commission officially staked its regulatory claim to the Internet. Now, the question on everybody’s mind is, Who will sue first? “Verizon Communications said the FCC made the rules ‘without solid statutory underpinnings’,” reports PC World magazine. “USTelecom, a trade group representing broadband providers, and several smaller providers have also voiced opposition.” Who won’t be suing? AT&T and Comcast expressed some support for the rules, which weren’t as invasive as public interest groups hoped. The media reform-obsessed team at Free Press “suggested a lawsuit could come from a broadband customer, such as a public-interest group or think tank, that disagrees with the direction of the rules.” Because a “broadband customer” and an astroturf-funded “think tank” are now one and the same.