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Somali legislators flee abroad, Parliament paralysed
Today's Headlines
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Page 6: Politix
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-Lurid Crime Tales-
Former State Assemblyman Pleads Guilty To Fraud
Former Queens Assemblyman Anthony Seminerio pleaded guilty today to fraud charges.

Seminerio, who resigned yesterday, could face up to 13 years in prison when he is sentenced in Manhattan federal court on Oct. 20.

He remains free on bond.

Seminerio, 74, who has been an assemblyman for over 30 years, allegedly took $1 million from various companies doing business with the state, creating a fake consulting firm in 2000 to hide those payments.

Seminerio, a Democrat, also faces as much as a $175,000 fine for his involvement in the alleged wrongdoing.

Posted by: Fred || 06/25/2009 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [343 views] Top|| File under:

#1  A Democrat? From New York? And crooked on top of it?

The sun rose in the west this morning.
Posted by: Jack is Back! || 06/25/2009 12:54 Comments || Top||

#2  Seminerio, 74, who has been an assemblyman for over 30 years, allegedly took $1 million from various companies doing business with the state, creating a fake consulting firm in 2000 to hide those payments.

A million in 30 years? That's probably the tip of the iceberg.
Posted by: tu3031 || 06/25/2009 14:26 Comments || Top||


-Short Attention Span Theater-
How did newspaper get Sanford's private e-mails? Steamy
Posted by: GolfBravoUSMC || 06/25/2009 09:47 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [336 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Are there any un-hypocritical Republican 'leaders?'
Posted by: Glenmore || 06/25/2009 10:41 Comments || Top||

#2  Probably no fewer than the Dems do. We just tend to punish rather than praise.
Posted by: tipover || 06/25/2009 11:04 Comments || Top||

#3  How did the newspapers get Elliot Spitzer's private story?

Because someone knew. Someone always knows. There are no secrets in political life.
Posted by: Steve White || 06/25/2009 11:05 Comments || Top||

#4  This suggests to me that someone had access to either his or her computer. Was she in NC when these emails were sent or back in Argentina? If she was back home in December, what happened to her computer? Sounds to me like there are some very specific places and persons that could be checked out to answer some questions. Any bets on the party affiliation of the person responsible?
Posted by: Richard of Oregon || 06/25/2009 11:55 Comments || Top||

#5  I'll bet someone tipped off The State (for money, revenge, glory) and they somehow were able to get spyware installed on his computer.
Posted by: Jack is Back! || 06/25/2009 12:57 Comments || Top||

#6  Carnivore

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carnivore_(FBI)
Posted by: flash91 || 06/25/2009 13:50 Comments || Top||

#7  I'm telling you all, it was a honey trap.
Posted by: Iblis || 06/25/2009 14:01 Comments || Top||


Economy
Fannie, Freddie asked to relax condo loan rules: report
Two U.S. Democratic lawmakers want Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to relax recently tightened standards for mortgages on new condominiums, saying they could threaten the viability of some developments and slow the housing-market recovery, the Wall Street Journal said.

In March, Fannie Mae said it would no longer guarantee mortgages on condos in buildings where fewer than 70 percent of the units have been sold, up from 51 percent, the paper said. Freddie Mac is due to implement similar policies next month, the paper said.

In a letter to the CEO's of both companies, Representatives Barney Frank, the chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, and Anthony Weiner warned that a 70 percent sales threshold "may be too onerous" and could lead condo buyers to shun new developments, according to the paper.
Hokay, we've got a Frank and a Weiner, now all we need is a Bean. And....we have one!
The legislators asked the companies to "make appropriate adjustments" to their underwriting standards for condos, the paper added.

In an interview with the paper, Weiner said the rules have "had a real chill on the ability to get these condos sold," at a time when prices of condos have fallen enough to attract potential buyers.
Posted by: Steve White || 06/25/2009 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [344 views] Top|| File under:

#1  It worked so well last time.
Posted by: Formerly Dan || 06/25/2009 6:42 Comments || Top||

#2  guaranteed that this mincing twit will disavow any responsibility (AGAIN) when this fails as well
Posted by: Frank G || 06/25/2009 8:44 Comments || Top||

#3  Let the market work, Bawney. The market is smarter than you are.
Posted by: Abu Uluque || 06/25/2009 12:52 Comments || Top||

#4  YJCMTSU!
Posted by: Jack is Back! || 06/25/2009 12:58 Comments || Top||


Home Front: Politix
ABC ObamaCare Special Turns Into Presidential Filibuster
President Obama uses network primetime special and overtime 'Nightline' coverage to talk for more than 45 minutes of combined 75-minute programs, revealing nothing new.

Call this a teachable moment, but even with ABC's best-laid plans to kickstart the debate about health care reform and not allow the "Prescription for America" special to become an "infomercial," as many have complained -- the president spent more than twice as much time as his questioners vaguely answering or not answering the questions asked of him. But the network consistently presented the event as part of the need to fix a "broken system." When asked, every one of the 164 hand-picked audience members said they felt that health care needed to be changed.

President Barack Obama appeared on the ABC network in a town hall format broadcasted from the White House on two separate programs on June 24 -- an hour-long primetime special during the 10 p.m. Eastern Time hour and later on the "Nightline" program that aired during the 11:30 p.m. Eastern Time hour.

ABC's "Good Morning America" co-host Diane Sawyer billed the event as "a serious conversation" about the issue and she moderated the discussion along with her former "GMA" partner, now "World News" anchor Charles Gibson. ABC medical editor Dr. Timothy Johnson, a long-time network advocate for universal health care plans going back to Hillarycare, also participated in the event.

While Obama had to field some difficult questions -- from the audience and ABC -- he faced no Republcian critics of his proposals. The network also allowed him to dominate the program with long-winded and vague answers. Out of the 75 minutes the network dedicated over the two programs (commercials excluded), the president managed to take 60 percentof that time: 45 minutes to give 19 vague responses -- not exactly the "dialogue" advertised by ABC:

In fact, at one point, the president went on for four minutes and 33 seconds to answer a question about government interference, the "Big Brother fear" as the questioner put it and how it would be paid for. In the next segment Gibson pleaded with the president to keep his response to the next question shorter.

Obama was also granted the opportunity to deliberate over two of the audience questions during the commercial breaks. And the initial hour-long program never even addressed some of the most debated aspects of health care because Obama consistently ran long and was unchecked by the hosts. And while some of the members of the audience asked challenging questions, not one Republican critic of Obamacare was given a chance to be heard. Gibson did attempt to question the president about such critics, but no Republican voices were allowed to speak for themselves.

Saving the Most Controversial for Last

In addition to Obama's longwinded responses, the ABC special left the most critical questions until the "Nightline" portion of the segment -- after a 30-minute break for local news and likely fewer viewers.

One of the biggest points of contention opponents of government's involvement in health care has been the threat that it would crowd out private health insurance providers by creating market forces they couldn't compete with -- or what Aetna Insurance president Ron Williams called it as part of the town hall: "introducing a new competitor that has rulemaking ability, the government would have."

While William's was introduced as an audience questioner he actually faced a question from Sawyer, which wound up being a populist rant critical of his industry and emphasizing the president's claim that insurance companies need to be "kept honest."

"If I could, I'm going to bring in Ron Williams from Aetna, CEO of Aetna, and if I can reverse the order a little bit Mr. President, I'd like to ask a question of him and then let you comment on his answer," Sawyer said. "Mr. Williams, Aetna, to take one, an insurance company. We hear people all over the country people see their premiums going up 119 percent in the last several years. They see the profits of the insurance companies, the billions and billions of dollars, even in a lean year. They see profits in the billions of dollars. Is the President right -- that you need to be kept honest?"

Despite Gibson, Sawyer and some audience members' tough questions, the president remained optimistic throughout his 45 minutes of the ABC broadcast and said health care reform would be resolved assuming he gets the support of the American people. He even claimed "the stars are aligned" to get this done.

"The answers are yes to all of that, and if the American people get behind us, this is going to happen," Obama said, getting the last word from ABC.
Posted by: GolfBravoUSMC || 06/25/2009 09:02 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [336 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Couldn't bear to watch it.
Posted by: Abu Uluque || 06/25/2009 12:55 Comments || Top||

#2  He is giving the name Gas Bag an even worse reputation. Anyone who has ever worked for someone who only wanted to hear his own voice and was a de-missive listener knows its all BS. I think this act is getting old and tired and American's are waking up - some with buyer's remorse.

What we need is less talk and more walk.
Posted by: Jack is Back! || 06/25/2009 13:03 Comments || Top||

#3  Sorry, as unfair and rigged as it might be, I just can't get angry about Aetna Insurance president Ron Williams getting screwed on national TV. Sorry, I just can't.
Posted by: gromky || 06/25/2009 15:30 Comments || Top||

#4  When I read the "stars are aligned" I thought of "disaster" which originally meant "a very unfortunate alignment of the stars"
Posted by: Anguper Hupomosing9418 || 06/25/2009 16:01 Comments || Top||

#5  Coming soon to ABC - a Prime Time musical tribute to our Dear Leader!
Posted by: DMFD || 06/25/2009 19:32 Comments || Top||


Obama votes "Present" on taxing Health Benefits
President Obama left the door open to a new tax on health care benefits Wednesday, and officials said top lawmakers and the White House were seeking $150 billion in concessions from the nation's hospitals as they sought support for legislation struggling to emerge in Congress.

"I don't want to prejudge what they're doing," the president said, referring to proposals in the Senate to tax workers who get expensive insurance policies. Obama, who campaigned against the tax when he ran for president, drew a quick rebuff from organized labor.

Obama also fielded a pointed personal question during an ABC News town hall at the White House on Wednesday. The prime-time program was the latest in a string of events designed to build public support for his plan to slow the rise in health care costs and expand coverage to the nearly 50 million uninsured.

Dr. Orrin Devinsky, a neurologist at the New York University Langone Medical Center, challenged Obama: What if the president's wife and daughters got sick? Would Obama promise that they would get only the services allowed under a new government insurance plan he's proposing. Obama wouldn't bite.

If "it's my family member, if it's my wife, if it's my children, if it's my grandmother, I always want them to get the very best care," Obama said.
Posted by: GolfBravoUSMC || 06/25/2009 01:39 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [336 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Senators, Representatives, Governors, Obama, and their families should get only as good a level of care as the least of us if this bullshit is passed. Denial of treatment, redtape, and delays shouldn't only be for "the little people"
Posted by: Frank G || 06/25/2009 8:47 Comments || Top||

#2  Thought Obama promised that we would all have the same health care plan that Congressmen and women have. I never did see that happening. If that can't happen, I like Frank's plan--that they have the same health care that the least of us have. Next we will have a tax on the tax for health care. This is kind of like the deal Clinton gave us, he taxed social security benefits. Do these lawmaker elitists never tire of taxing everything stationary and/or moving, animate or inanimate, etc.?
Posted by: JohnQC || 06/25/2009 9:13 Comments || Top||

#3  Sorry JohnQC. I stopped reading after "I Thought Obama promised......"
Posted by: Besoeker || 06/25/2009 9:29 Comments || Top||

#4  :)
Posted by: JohnQC || 06/25/2009 9:55 Comments || Top||

#5  I wonder how much longer Obama can get away with refusing to answer direct questions such as Dr. Devinsky's, and only replying with platitudes.
Posted by: Anguper Hupomosing9418 || 06/25/2009 16:04 Comments || Top||


South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford admits affair
South Carolina GOP Gov. Mark Sanford admitted Wednesday to an affair, and resigned his position as chair of the Republican Governor's Association following a strange week in which the governor dropped off the grid and could not be located.

"I have been unfaithful to my wife. I developed a relationship with what started out as a dear, dear friend from Argentina," Sanford said in a rambling and often emotional news conference at the state capital in Columbia.

"I'm a bottom line kind of guy I'm just gonna lay it out. It's gonna hurt and I'm going to let the chips fall where they may," said Sanford, often touted as a potential 2012 presidential hopeful.

Sanford apologized to his wife, Jenny, and his children. "To Jenny, anybody who has observed her over the last 40 years of my life knows how closely she has stood by my side in campaign, after campaign, after campaign," he said.

"I've let down a lot of people, and that's the bottom line," he said.

Sanford said his family did know about the affair before his trip to Argentina, and that he had spoken with his father in law about the situation

Asked if he and his wife had separated, Sanford responded, "I don't know how you want to define that. She's there, I'm here."

"What I did was wrong, period," he said. "I spent the last five days crying in Argentina."

The governor said that his staff did not deserve blame for giving misleading statements about his whereabouts to the press - first that he was off writing and then that he was hiking the Appalachian Trail.

"I apologize to my staff," Sanford said in a statement released after the 2 p.m. news conference. "I misled them about my whereabouts, and as a result the people of South Carolina believed something that wasn't true. I want to make absolutely clear that over the past two days at no time did anyone on my staff intentionally relay false information to other state officials or the public at large. What they've said over the past two days they believed to be true, and I'm sorry to them for putting them in this position."

Soon after the press conference ended, the RGA announced that Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour - another potential 2012 candidate for the GOP - would be stepping in to fill Sanford's previous role as chairman.

"The news revealed today hurts all of us who have gotten to know Governor Sanford over the years and so it is with regret that the RGA accepted Governor Sanford's resignation as chairman," Barbour said in a statement. "While this news is deeply disappointing, I also know it's important to remain focused on the future and Governor Sanford's resignation allows him and us to do just that."

Sanford's announcement was the latest twist in a story that began as a mystery but now has turned into a fiasco for Sanford, whose staff provided a series of increasingly confusing cover stories when his whereabouts became the subject of global news coverage.

"I don't know how this thing got blown out of proportion," the governor told The State newspaper of Columbia, S.C., after he landed at the Atlanta airport Wednesday morning.

Sanford, a conservative Republican who had a promising future in national politics, is now not only the butt of jokes but has serious questions to answer about the bizarre series of events.
Posted by: Fred || 06/25/2009 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [317 views] Top|| File under:

#1  ...Word here in Columbia is that the state powers-that-be have told Sanford to fall or be pushed - there is zero support for him right now, and an impeachment is likely if he doesn't go quietly.

Mike
Posted by: Mike Kozlowski || 06/25/2009 5:31 Comments || Top||

#2  I thought the college hiking trail coordinator story that preceeded his admission was a bit strange.
Posted by: Besoeker || 06/25/2009 7:47 Comments || Top||

#3  Governors are inherently competitive and it seemed to me that it would be difficult to top former gov Spitzer's goofy adultery. Yet here Gov Sanford has come up with a goofier adultery.

I suppose you might try adultery while parachuting or adultery while on a eco whale protection mission or before a welcoming speech at a stamp collection convention. I shutter to see what's next.
Posted by: Lord garth || 06/25/2009 9:22 Comments || Top||

#4  #3: Philandering philatelist?
Posted by: Perfesser || 06/25/2009 9:40 Comments || Top||

#5  It could have been worse. He could have been having an affair with Palin or one of her daughters:)
Posted by: Jack is Back! || 06/25/2009 13:06 Comments || Top||

#6  Andy Sullivan to seize upon Jack's comment in 5 .. 4 .. 3 ..
Posted by: Steve White || 06/25/2009 14:32 Comments || Top||



Who's in the News
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A multi-volume chronology and reference guide set detailing three years of the Mexican Drug War between 2010 and 2012.

Rantburg.com and borderlandbeat.com correspondent and author Chris Covert presents his first non-fiction work detailing the drug and gang related violence in Mexico.

Chris gives us Mexican press dispatches of drug and gang war violence over three years, presented in a multi volume set intended to chronicle the death, violence and mayhem which has dominated Mexico for six years.
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Meet the Mods
In no particular order...
Steve White
Seafarious
Pappy
lotp
Scooter McGruder
john frum
tu3031
badanov
sherry
ryuge
GolfBravoUSMC
Bright Pebbles
trailing wife
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Fred
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Glenmore
Frank G
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Alaska Paul

Two weeks of WOT
Thu 2009-06-25
  Somali legislators flee abroad, Parliament paralysed
Wed 2009-06-24
  Khamenei agrees to extend vote probe
Tue 2009-06-23
  Revolutionary Guards Say They'll Crush Protests
Mon 2009-06-22
  Guardian Council: Over 100% voted in 50 cities
Sun 2009-06-21
  Assembly of Experts caves to Fearless Leader
Sat 2009-06-20
  Iran police disperse protesters
Fri 2009-06-19
  Khamenei to Mousavi: toe the line or else
Thu 2009-06-18
  Iran cracks down
Wed 2009-06-17
  Mousavi calls day of mourning for Iran dead
Tue 2009-06-16
  Hundreds of thousands of Iranians ask: 'Where is my vote?'
Mon 2009-06-15
  Tehran Election Protest Turns Deadly: Unofficial results show Ahmedinejad came in 3rd
Sun 2009-06-14
  Ahmadinejad's victory 'real feast': Khamenei
Sat 2009-06-13
  Mousavi arrested
Fri 2009-06-12
  Iran votes: Not a pretty sight
Thu 2009-06-11
  Gitmo Uighurs in Bermuda

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