Fanniegate

Walter Russell Mead wrote “Fanniegate: Gamechanger for the GOP?” reviewing a new book (tip to Instapundit):

Reckless Endangerment: How Outsized Ambition, Greed, and Corruption Led to Economic Armageddon. By Gretchen Morgenson, one of America’s best business journalists who is currently at The New York Times, and noted financial analyst Joshua Rosner…

We’ve known about corruption at the government-backed mortgage corporation Fannie Mae (Federal National Mortgage Corporation), such as Democrat fatcat Franklin Raines doctoring the books to increase his bonus or Democrat Congressman Barney Frank getting a job for his partner (and then defending Fannie Mae in Congressional hearings) or Democrat Jamie Gorelick (who helped bring on 9/11 and the housing crisis) ‘earning’ $26 million for bundling subprime loans into securitized financial instruments.   As bad as we thought the scandals at Fannie Mae were, nobody went to jail (not even the ‘Friends of Angelo’) and the fines imposed on the corruptocrats (if at all) were a small fraction of the amount looted from the American people.

“Reckless Endangerment” provides more insight into the Democratic Party’s culture of corruption.

The villains?  An unholy alliance between Wall Street, the Democratic establishment, community organizing groups like ACORN and La Raza, and politicians like Barney Frank, Nancy Pelosi and Henry Cisneros…

…the American dream didn’t die of old age; it was murdered and most of the fingerprints on the corpse come from Democratic insiders.  Democratic power brokers stoked the housing bubble and turned a blind eye to the increasingly rampant corruption and incompetence at Fannie Mae and the associated predatory lenders who sheltered under its umbrella; core Democratic ideas may well be at fault.

…Big government, affirmative action and influence peddling among Democratic insiders came within inches of smashing the US economy.

…The story illustrates everything the Tea Party thinks about the corrupt Washington establishment and the evils of big government.  It demonstrates the limits on the ability of government programs to help the poor.  It converts a complicated economic story into a simple morality play — with Dems as the villain.  It allows Republicans to capitalize on public fury at the country’s economic problems.  It links the Democrats to Wall Street — the one part of the private sector that the Republican base loathes.  It exposes that mix of incompetence and arrogance that is the hallmark of the modern American liberal establishment and links this condescending cluelessness to the real problems of real American families.  It links President Obama (through appointments, associations and friendships) with the worst elements of the Clinton legacy and it blunts some key Democratic talking points.

Read the whole thing.

ACORN abets human trafficking

Andrew Breitbart’s new website Big Government made it’s debut today with an expose (or punking) of the Baltimore office of ACORN.  Filmmaker James O’Keefe (link to transcript) taped ACORN employees (now fired) making statements encouraging child sex trafficking, tax evasion, and prostitution (“We are not here to judge what somebody do”).

Got that?  They’re not here to judge.  O’Keefe tells ACORN that he is bringing “13 El Salvadoran girls” who are “like 15″ into the house, and says that “they are performing tricks too”.  The ACORN tax expert tells O’Keefe “they under sixteen… you can use them as dependents”. 

I thought ACORN was bad enough with the taxpayer-funded voter fraud (convictions and pending cases and allegations).   If I hadn’t seen the video, I would have a hard time believing that even ACORN could sink so low.  But there it is - your tax dollars at work advising someone on housing for child sex slaves. 

Do you trust these people to help with the Census?

Sue Schmitz Facebook – Update

Marisa, one of Sue Schmitz’ supporters, found her way here and said that she didn’t find my commentary about her Facebook post even “moderately amusing”.  She believes that the point of my post was to make “random stale jokes here and there about her (Schmitz’) guilt”.  She thought it was “repugnant” to quote her public words without her “notification” or “opinion”.   Marisa also thought that making fun of people who defended Schmitz by claiming “injustice” was “skeezy”.  I see it as exposing the mental gymnastics and hypocrisy Democrats resort to in excusing the flaws of their politicans.

BTW if I were a newspaper editor following the ASNE Code of Ethics they suggest that people be given a chance to respond to a public accusal (I believe the comment section here suffices),  and I’m not accusing these people of anything more than willful blindness and poor judgment.

Marisa says that “Ms. Schmitz is the reason I was blessed with a strong understanding of government in high school, including that which is and is not corrupt”.  My original comment about Marisa was that “She must have missed the part about public corruption and the legal system” in school.  From her comments we can also assume she wasn’t taught much about the First Amendment (more “stale” humor – but certainly not “random”).

Marisa did make one valid point:  she said that Sue Schmitz did not create the page and that I should have pointed that out.  OK.  It seems that Sue Schmitz’ son created the page and posts using a picture of his Mom.

I would like to thank Marisa for taking the time to comment.   This provides an opportunity to update the post and highlight some of our neighbors who’ve publicly commented on Sue Schmitz’ son’s Facebook fansite.  Just like last time, those who offered prayers and support will not be mentioned, but those who rail against the “injustice” and their quoted words will be noted.

Meagan Imsand – “The injustice that surrounds you situation breaks my heart”.

J Ricky Sizemore – “What has happened is nothing more than a political persecution, a misuse of judicial authority and a travesty of justiice”.

Kelli Morgan – “I wish there was something we could all do about this ridiculous injustice”.

Susan Young Guffey – “I would just like to say, “this whole thing sucks big time. Its such bull crap! I don’t believe any of it… What I think happened is you stepped on some wrong toes and now someone has the opportunity to get you back”.

Elizabeth Moore Willingham – “What an injustice”.

Kristi Brown Combs – “Mrs. Schmitz is no criminal! I’m so upset over the ruling and sentencing”.

Daniel Lofgren – “This trial was nothing but a trumped up political witch hunt. In this state, if there is wrong doing in government, it goes unpunished. Only the innocent trying to affect change suffer”.

Jane Shrewsbury Hillis – “This was a witch hunt and you know it!!! This is a great idea..having a FB page!!!”

Yolonda Ary – “I have known you for many years and I know what they accused you of is absolutely absurd”.

Chris McGinty – “Mrs. Schmitz, what has happened to you is an atrocity, period”.

Sue Schmitz (who isn’t really Schmitz, but might be her son) – “First they came for the Communists... Then they came for me, and by that time there was no one left to speak up for me”.

Sue Schmitz (again) – “Please write Congressman Griffith, Senator Shelby, Senator Sessions, The Huntsville Times, and local media to show the power of the people of a democratic society and to shine the light of truth on this issue”.

Travis Large – “I wont stand for it and I damn sure dont believe all this foolishness!!!”

Kammie Bullen Lee – “I am very sorry for what has happened to you in this republican inspired witch hunt! The press and the U.S. attorney’s office have not treated you fairly. It is frightening to think we live in a country where a person can be tried, convicted, sentenced and threatened with seizure of family property on evidence that a few people have decided that person has not worked hard enough! Your true mistake was being a Democrat during a Republican witch hunt! I am glad to see that Alice Martin and the rest of her cohorts are going out with the rest of the Bush Administration!”

This update includes the willful blindness exhibited by these people through ‘yesterday’.  No stale humor this time – these people’s words mock themselves…

Sue Schmitz sentencing

Sue Schmitz (D – sentenced to 30 months in prison after her conviction on seven felony fraud charges) has a Facebook page.  Thanks to Dale Jackson of WVNN for pointing this out.

Here are some comments from our neighbors about this Democrat politician who stole money from our children:

Kristen Hilliard DeGurse calls Schmitz a “role model”.  Hide your purses and wallets…

Darlene Ehinger is “impressed with (Schmitz’) personal integrity” and believes that her prosecution was “reprehensible”.  Speaking of reprehensible, Ehinger is one of those disgusting peace action leftists…

Political and PR consultant David Driscoll (clients include the HHA) calls this “a great injustice by our legal system”.

Pam Miles vows to “fight for JUSTICE for you and Don until my last breath”.  Miles seems to have a thing for convicts…

Marisa Ikstrums says “the injustice of situation breaks my heart” and credits Schmitz with her “strong understanding of government”.   She must have missed the part about public corruption and the legal system…

Rose Norman says “Schmitz deserves a medal for what she’s done for Alabama politics”.  Looks like she earned ze ‘Iron Bar’ (unlike das Iron Cross)…

Andree Reeves says “everybody who knows you knows that all those accusations are NOT TRUE! Hang in there, and know that a lot of people love you–and we all feel worse about our government today”.  Note to Reeves – a conviction is more than an accusation – it is a finding of FACT.

Judy Shannon Sizemore says “all the crap doesn’t change a thing”.  Sadly she’s right, Democrat politicians still refuse to pass ethics reform…

State Representative Randy Hinshaw (D – 22) signed up as a “fan” of Schmitz (D – soon to be an inmate under the supervision of the Federal Bureau of Prisons).  The Democratic Party is abiding corruption rather than working to eliminate it – costing our children tens of millions of dollars (not an exaggeration).

***

Challen Stephens of The Huntsville Times showed some uncharacteristic sloppiness in his article “Schmitz’s prison home won’t be anywhere close”.  Stephens wrote:

Federal prosecutors argued she had used her influence in the Legislature to collect a paycheck from the state’s two-year college system while doing little or nothing to earn it.

Yes, prosecutors did ‘argue’ that Schmitz was guilty, but then the jury ‘convicted’ her – Stephens should have stated that she was convicted rather than minimizing it.  IMO this sounds a little bit too much like the commenters on Facebook…

US City Crime Rankings

The folks at CQ Press compiled a list of City Crime Rate Rankings from the FBI’s 2007 Crime in the US report.

New Orleans is the highest crime rate city in the US, scoring 441.  Camden NJ, Detroit MI, St. Louis MO, and Oakland CA round out the top 5.

Birmingham ranks 8th, with a crime score of 279.  Huntsville ranks 83rd, with a crime score of 94.   Montgomery ranks 90th, with a score of 90.  Tuscaloosa ranks 131st, with a score of 58.  Mobile ranks 156th, with a score of 44.   Thankfully, the rest of the cities in Alabama rank below Ramapo NY (385th).

For people in Huntsville, this is pitiful being ranked as the second most crime-ridden city in Alabama (again). 

What happened? Is it the illegals (er – undocumented workers – crime rates rose with their arrival)? Is it the St. Louis BRAC people (crime rates started rising after their move)? Is it meth? Crack?  Degeneration of society?  Heteronormative oppression?  Racist marginalization?  Proto-revolutionary rebellion?  Is George Bush encouraging crime to justify authoritarian social controls? Sunspots? Satan?

IIRC Mayor Battle doesn’t plan to increase the size of the HPD, but something must be done.  I know that he hoped that the new jail would help reduce crime, so we’ll see about that.  IMO this issue hasn’t gained attention because the City is trying to ‘sell’ itself to BRAC and industry, but it shouldn’t be ignored.

Anthony Williams – Crimefighter

Former Washington DC Mayor Anthony Williams (D) is a great guy.  We used the same dry cleaner in Adams-Morgan, where I met him about a year before he ran for Mayor.  He was always friendly and funny and we chatted a good bit.  When he ran for Mayor, I campaigned for him. 

Williams served two terms and is regarded as the best Mayor DC has had (Home Rule began in the 70s).  I realize that the bar for best Mayor was set very low after Marion Barry.  Under Williams, crime went down, property values went up, and the District gained financial stability (plus the Washington Nationals baseball team).

Last week, Anthony Williams foiled a robbery in DC, apparently by the power of his bow tie:

Williams ran after and caught a thief who had grabbed a package from a UPS truck.

The UPS driver yelled at the thief after seeing the package being swiped.

Williams was nearby and decided to do what any 57-year-old ex-mayor would do: track the guy down on foot.

“I was saying to myself, ‘What am I going to do if I catch him?’,” Williams later joked. “What does a dog do when it catches a car?”

When confronted the thief recognized Williams, saying “Oh, you used to be the mayor!”.

He then handed over the stolen package and disappeared into the crowd.

Great story.

Crime in the US – 2007

The FBI released the Crime in the United States 2007 report, dated 15 September 2008.  Here’s a summary of the Crime Summary:

After rising for two straight years, the estimated number of violent crimes in the Nation declined from the previous year’s total. The declining trend continued for property crimes, as those offenses were down for the fifth year in a row… the estimated volume of violent crime was down 0.7 percent, and the estimated volume of property crime decreased 1.4 percent in 2007 when compared with 2006 figures. The estimated rate of violent crime (…was a) 1.4 percent decrease… the estimated rate of property crime was…. a 2.1 percent decline…

Note: Caution Against Ranking—Each year when Crime in the United States is published, some entities use reported figures to compile rankings of cities and counties.  These rough rankings provide no insight into the numerous variables that mold crime in a particular town, city, county, state, or region.  Consequently, they lead to simplistic and/or incomplete analyses that often create misleading perceptions adversely affecting communities and their residents.

Of course, I can hardly wait for the National Rankings to be compiled. Last year, Huntsville ranked #83, Birmingham ranked #13.  Crime in Birmingham is up this year (roughly 5% over last year; murder down, robberies, burglaries, theft and car theft way up); crime in Huntsville seems to be down about 6% (murder up, theft and car theft down).  Here’s the FBI data for 2007.

The Birmingham News is reporting that “Birmingham makes FBI Top 10 lists in violent crime, property crime and homicides”.

WHNT Mayoral Debate

I submitted a question to WHNT for the Mayoral candidates:

“Huntsville has experienced a shocking increase in crime – how would you improve public safety?”

Note: HSV crime rate has increased 33% from 2002 through 2006 (latest FBI “Crime in the United States” data available), record numbers of murders, below average number of police (2.15 per thousand residents compared to US average of 3 per thousand residents).

HSV is ranked #83 on city-data.com Highest Crime Cities list; Birmingham is ranked #13. For comparison, Gary IN is ranked #81 and Tampa FL is ranked #85. No other city in Alabama ranked in the Top 101 Highest Crime Cities.

Top 101 cities with the highest 2006 city-data.com crime index per resident

Huntsville, Alabama

BTW, I checked the city-data information against the official FBI statistics – the data used in the rankings are, unfortunately, accurate.

I plan to attend the debate at the Monaco Prive Theater, because “politics goes so good with beer” (from The Pixies).

UPDATE: 

I attended the debate at Monaco Theater – I was surprised to see a well-dressed crowd of several hundred people there, mostly 20-30 somethings, fairly diverse. The Monaco offered free hors d’oeuvres, cash beer and wine, and a very nice venue.

IMO Tommy Battle ‘won’ the debate. Mayor Loretta Spencer didn’t seem comfortable, but gave good answers to questions – reading a transcript might seem to give her the win. Jackie Reed won the audience – she got more spontaneous applause than any other candidate. Mike Polemeni seemed to ramble, but I agree with his light rail suggestion – he got chuckles when he suggested that the light rail would be great for getting drunks home from downtown.

WHNT started with their panel questions (Steve Johnson, Lisa Washington, Dr. Jess Brown). IIRC the questions were allotted a one minute response. The first question – Johnson – was about roads (mentioning BRAC): Reed said long-range planning and loop, Polemeni said City should take over where State doesn’t perform, Battle said we don’t get return on our taxes (53 cents on a dollar), Spencer said City does best it can.

Second question – Washington, economic development (mentioning VW loss): Polemeni said mass transit, Battle said infrastructure (hitting State return of taxes again), Spencer said Chattanooga offered $200 million in incentives and we need to make city appealing, Reed said slow down growth.

Third question – Brown, expanding into Limestone County: Battle said “take care of what we have”, Spencer said annexed landowners gave land for parks and schools to city as part of deal, Reed said developers aren’t paying their fair share and that to some developers “greenways mean fountains”, Polemeni said City needs to cooperate in “joint ventures” with other local Governments.

Turns out that WHNT didn’t ask any questions submitted online, even though they asked for questions.

First Monaco question - make North HSV as attractive as South HSV: Spencer said attract businesses like Lowe’s, Reed said improve schools, Polemeni said loop, Battle said equalize services.

Jackie Reed question to Tommy Battle – don’t see you at City Council meetings, when would you have time to be Mayor?: Battle said he’s divested his businesses so he would be a full-time Mayor and watches Council meetings on TV. Reed rebuttal ‘only time I see you is when you lobby for your businesses’.

Mike Polemeni to Mayor Spencer – is HSV a Sanctuary City?: Spencer said there are “no legal things” that the City can do about immigration and that Police check Drivers Licenses. Polemeni rebuttal ‘they terk er jerbs’.

Tommy Battle to Mayor Spencer – jail overrun?: Spencer said Joint Venture made sense, bad hiring decisions, lawsuits pending. Battle rebuttal wish we had that $40 million for roads and schools and police and firemen.

Mayor Spencer to Tommy Battle – TIF funding builds schools, where were you when you were a City Councilman?: Battle said dedicated sales taxes to schools and asked what are you going to do on education. Spencer rebuttal new retail and construction.

Second Monaco question – Downtown Business District (note that the questioner mentioned “affordable housing” – thereby pissing me off): Polemeni said light rail from Downtown to Ditto Landing, Battle said get downtown moving, Spencer said replace brick sidewalks with concrete, Reed said taking bricks out is not planning.

WHNT Lightning Round with 15 second answers.

Johnson asked about Empty Storefronts: Battle said speed up roads, Spencer said investment, Reed said sprawl, Polemeni said mass transit.

Washington asked about Downtown Rescue Mission: Spencer said City Council, Reed said mistake, Polemeni said bridge over Pinhook, Battle said blaming City Council not right.

Brown asked about personal vote on Sales Tax Increase (Great Question!): Reed said TIF, Polemeni said he voted for but then noted bloated schools, Battle said don’t have to increase taxes, Spencer said TIFs and new retail.

In Closing Remarks, Mayor Spencer noted her 12 years of leadership and success. Battle said past is past, look to the future. Reed praised HSV leadership, but notes “hidden agendas”. Polemeni said he’s a “pragmatist”.

UPDATE:

Thanks to Pamela Furr of WVNN for asking the Crime question on her show tonight!!!