TheDC Morning: Increased legislative stupidity arrives with the new year

Mike Riggs Contributor
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1.) Joe Biden refuses to criticize totalitarian Egyptian president, admits liking The Onion — Muhammad Hosni Sayyid Mubarak has not truly “won” an election in the 30 years that he has been president of Egypt. Instead, he’s used secret police and state-controlled media to intimidate and incarcerate his critics and political opponents, including the runner-up in the first presidential election where someone other than Mubarak was allowed on the ballot. On January 25, Egyptians rose up against Mubarak, and the Egyptian president responded by shutting down the country’s Internet and sending armed thugs into the streets to do violence against his own people. By definition, Mubarak is a dictator. Unless, of course, your dictionary was penned by Vice Pres. Joe Biden, in which case geopolitical interests supersede honesty and/or human rights. “Mubarak has been an ally of ours in a number of things,” Biden told PBS’ Jim Lehrer last night. “I would not refer to him as a dictator.” In other Biden news, the vice president likes the Onion’s made-up coverage of him. “I think it’s hilarious, the stuff they do on me,” Biden told Yahoo! News Thursday. “I saw the one of me washing a Trans-Am automobile in the driveway shirtless with tattoos all over myself and out there,” he added. “By the way, I have a Corvette– a ’67 Corvette– not a Trans-Am.”

2.) When Uncle Sam picks the winners, we all lose — “As the nation’s roughly 7,700 banks and savings institutions try to recover from about $493 billion in loan losses since the start of 2007,” writes the WSJ’s Robin Sidel, “BankUnited is emerging as a case study of how government largess in the immediate wake of the crisis has allowed certain lucky institutions to thrive—while others, whose timing was less opportune, continue to struggle.” BankUnited collapsed in 2009, sunk by the countless bad loans it made before the housing bubble burst. Instead of letting BankUnited die, as happened to so many other community banks, the FDIC sold the company to a group of New York investors and “agreed to reimburse as much as $10.5 billion in future loan losses—and gave the new owners $2.2 billion in cash.” Not a bad promise of return for a group of buyers who only paid $945 million. Not that they needed it: With FDIC backing, BankUnited is finally in the black. If only every American company was so lucky.

3.) Increased legislative stupidity arrives with the new year — “It’s not yet even February, but lawmakers are already dumping an armload of bad ideas onto their respective state governments,” writes The Daily Caller’s Jeff Winkler. “On Tuesday, for instance, Arkansas state legislator Jimmy Jeffress abandoned his proposed bill banning pedestrians from using headphones on the sidewalk or street. It was a bad idea while it lasted, which was about 24 hours.” In New Jersey one legislator penned a bill “requiring every bicyclist 15-and-over to register with the state, pay a bi-yearly fee and attach an actual license plate to their 10-speed.” The bill died in a fire of voter outrage. There are other stories from other states. Some doofus in Vermont, for instance, wants to ban plastic bags in all Vermont stores.

4.) should have a special page dedicated to people who don’t have to play by the rules — On, there is a special supplement titled “Voices of Health Reform,” where “readers can meet average Americans already benefiting from the health reform law.” Michelle Malkin today proposes another supplemental section: “‘Voices of Health Reform Waivers,’ where taxpayers can meet all the politically connected unions benefiting from exclusive get-out-of-Obamacare passes — after squandering millions of their workers’ dues to lobby for the job-killing, private insurance-sabotaging law from which they are now exempt.” The number of Get-out-of-Obamacare-free waivers, for those of you who stopped counting, has jumped to over 700.

5.) Is America a bad investment? — Apparently, the world won’t let us borrow forever: “The United States and Japan received sharp warnings from the IMF and ratings agencies on Thursday that they must tackle their huge budget deficits to avoid investors dumping their bonds, which would create a sovereign debt crisis and push up their borrowing costs,” reports Reuters. “In the United States, Moody’s Investors Service said while the risk to the United States’ coveted top triple-A rating was small, it was rising.” Liberals seem to think that our debt is just a number. Will they dismiss our credit rating as just a group of letters?

6.) Bono Mack is the politician the Internet has been waiting for — Internet, meet California Rep. Mary Bono Mack: The first conservative congress-critter to put everything she’s got behind defending the Internet. “It has become increasingly clear that international governmental organizations, such as the United Nations, have aspirations to become the epicenter of Internet governance. And I’m going to do everything I can to make sure this never happens,” Bono Mack said in a statement on January 26. Earlier this month, Bono Mack said that the FCC’s net neutrality regulations “amount to a federal pat-down of the inner workings of the Internet.” Swoon.