Archive for September, 2004

Thursday, September 30th, 2004

Chronic cynicism

Yes, a visitor or two has told me that I sound cynical. But then, how can I help it? Adviser on ‘pay-to-play’ has two roles: Lawyer works with governor on new campaign rules and helps his clients deal with them

While Essex County attorney Angelo Genova was helping the governor rewrite the ground rules for political contributions in New Jersey, he was also launching a private venture to steer law clients through campaign finance regulations.

His law firm, Genova, Burns & Vernoia, began marketing a corporate political activity law practice group this summer, designed to help corporations and individuals hew to both state and federal regulations on campaign donations.

Genova also serves as attorney for the New Jersey Democratic Party, and according to numerous sources, he helped Gov. James E. McGreevey come up with tough new limits on campaign contributions by state contractors. McGreevey enacted the rules by executive order on Sept. 22.

And here’s the punch line:

Genova’s dual roles violate no ethics laws.

Neither does this,

A financial windfall awaits McGreevey when he leaves office. Under state law, outgoing governors are allowed up to $500,000 for a six-month transition covering staff salaries, office space, travel, postage and printing costs.

McGreevey thus will be riding out of office on taxpayers’ coattails.

Don’t see much reduction in my chronic cynicism in the near future . . .

Thursday, September 30th, 2004

Dames for Dubya

Following my post on being a dame, WhatsAPundit has come up with a perfect alliteration, Dames for Dubya. Brilliant!

Will have to see about getting a t-shirt done. I’m partial to that “W” line.

Thursday, September 30th, 2004

New-Jersey-on-Iberia?

Barcepundit has the scoop on the latest Spanish budget”

CREATIVE ACCOUNTING: Oil prices will remain high “for quite a long time”, says Spain’s Industry Jose Montilla. How come then Pedro Solbes, the Finance minister and Montilla’s colleague in Zapatero’s cabinet, has just presented the budget proposal for 2005 in which the macro-economic picture relies on a 3% growth of GDP, a 6,2% increase in spending, provided the price of oil is a maximum of 33,5 USD a barrel, which is more than 15 dollars off its current price? (this last link in Spanish)

You would think McGreevey was doing the numbers.

Wednesday, September 29th, 2004

No Rutgers for McGreevey

A devastating article by a former Rutgers University Board of Trustees chairman McGreevey won’t be landing paid job at Rutgers: If the governor is called upon to speak at the state university, let him do it for nothing. He could set an example for other faded politicians who keep looking for public handouts

Disgraced Gov. McGreevey, who last year was ready to sell Rutgers’ body, soul and 1766 birthright in a costly, poorly conceived, politically inspired research university merger scheme that would have left Rutgers irrelevant, is not going to get a paid job at the state university after he leaves office Nov. 15. Free lectures would be something else at a university that wants to hear all views.

Then there’s an Appeal set for lawsuit seeking special election, and New Jersey voters should decide lieutenant governor, report says.

In other news, totally unrelated to NJ, but a nice headline Fox Orders Pilot Starring Barenaked Ladies.

Wednesday, September 29th, 2004

Dames for Bush

I just saw in the Instapundit a photo of a girl wearing a Babes for Bush tank top. Nice alliteration, too. However, since I’m not 29 years old anymore, I propose a Dames for Bush version. No alliteration, but I’ve always wanted to be a Dame. Unfortunately, I believe that in order for the Queen to pronounce me a Dame, I’d have to become either a British citizen or marry a Brit. The Husband’s not British and I’m happy with him. Therefore, I’ll be a dame. After all,

There Is Nothin’ Like A Dame, Lyrics: Oscar Hammerstein II

Sailors, Seabees and Marines:

We got sunlight on the sand,

We got moonlight on the sea,

We got mangoes and bananas

You can pick right off the tree,

We got volleyball and ping-pong

And a lot of dandy games!

What ain’t we got?

We ain’t got dames!

We get packages from home,

We get movies, we get shows,

We get speeches from our skipper

And advice from Tokyo Rose,

We get letters doused with perfume

We get dizzy from the smell!

What don’t we get?

You know darn well!

We have nothin’ to put on a clean white suit for

What we need is what there ain’t no substitute for…

There is nothin’ like a dame,

Nothin’ in the world,

There is nothin’ you can name

That is anythin’ like a dame!

We feel restless, we feel blue,

We feel lonely and in grief,

We feel ev’ry kind of feelin’,

But the feelin’ of relief

We feel hungry as the wolf felt

When he met Red Hiding-hood

What don’t we feel?

We don’t feel good!

Lots of things in life are beautiful, but brother,

There is one particular thing that is nothin’ whatsoever

In any way, shape or form like any other.

There is nothin’ like a dame,

Nothin’ in the world,

There is nothin’ you can name

That is anythin’ like a dame!

Nothin’ else was built the same,

Nothin’ in the world

As the soft and wavy frame

Like the silhouette of a dame!

There is absolutely nothin’ like a frame of a dame.

So suppose that dame and bride

Are completely free from flaws,

Or as faithful as a bird dog,

Or as kind as Santa Claus,

It’s a waste of time to worry

Over things that they have not,

We’re thankful for the things they got!

There is nothin’ you can name

That is anythin’ like a dame!

There are no books like a dame,

And nothin’ looks like a dame.

There are no drinks like a dame,

And nothin’ thinks like a dame,

Nothin’ acts like a dame,

Or attracts like a dame.

There ain’t a thing that’s wrong with any man here

That can’t be cured by pullin’ him near

A girly, womanly, female, feminine dame!

Maybe a Dames for Bush lettering on this shirt . . .

Tuesday, September 28th, 2004

Orange alert

Via Drudge

Tuesday, September 28th, 2004

Not even the fish are safe

. . . from the reaches of McGreevey’s Lego legacy, so now

Bolstering New Jersey’s recreational fishing industry with open space funds, the state announced Monday that it has spent a total of $16.8 million to provide access to 30 waterways

With so much special interest, is anyone surprised that Wall Street gives state bond sale low grade?

Tuesday, September 28th, 2004

UNScam today

French bank scrutinized over oil-for-food deals. Congress seeks map of program to aid Iraqis

The BNP bank, which held the escrow account through which all of the U.N. program’s oil money flowed, maintains investigators sought its documents as evidence targeting other companies and individuals. But several congressional panels say the bank also is under scrutiny.

“The subpoena for BNP Paribas stems from concerns expressed about the bank’s compliance with existing ‘know your customer’ rules and similar laws enacted as part of the Patriot Act,” said a spokesman for Rep. Henry Hyde (R-Ill.), who chairs the House International Relations Committee

The UN “in consultation with the Iraqi government, named BNP to hold the sole escrow account. During the program, over $60 billion passed through the account.”

It won’t be the first time Banque Paribas has been linked in a corruption scandal. The ELF (oil company) investigation comes to mind:

Commissions and corporate bribes for foreign officials were legal under French law at the time – indeed, they were tax deductible. But it was illegal to kick money back to France through these so-called retro-commissions, which nonetheless are thought to have been widespread on major oil and arms deals.

Mr. Auchi has denied any wrongdoing, and defense attorneys said he had offered to buy Ertoil back and repay any commissions he received. But he has refused to appear in France before the magistrates, who have issued an international arrest warrant for him. Although Mr. Auchi’s name is almost unknown to the French or British public, he is sometimes described as the eighth-richest man in Britain, with a broad portfolio of assets grouped under his holding company, General Mediterranean. At one time, he was also reputed to be the largest individual shareholder in the French bank, Banque Paribas, and a member of its international advisory board. According to press reports, the French government last year seized his shares in Paribas, said to be worth $500 million. Queried about his holdings Thursday, Paribas failed to respond.

BNP was also involved in the provision of oil-backed loans — a very risky investment– to Angola in the 1990s at a time when Banque Paribas was near bankruptcy, which caused Global Witness to raise questions in its detailed report. Not that BNP has shied away from bad loans, especially if the loans are backed by the French government

It was widely reported that BNP Paribas, Société Générale and Crédit Agricole, three big French banks that are among Alstom’s leading creditors, made the preposterous suggestion to the government that the firm’s collapse could undermine the French, or even the European, financial system.

For all his talk about markets and despite previous warnings from the European Commission’s competition authorities, Mr Chirac could not resist the pressure to intervene. While denying that this was illegal state aid, his government declared that it would buy half of the €600m in shares the firm is about to issue in return for a stake of about 30%. This will be financed by the government’s recent sale of shares in Renault, a French carmaker.

The state will also provide further disguised subsidies in various forms, among them financial guarantees. The French government’s move immediately incurred the wrath of the European Commission, which said it must first approve the deal.

Interestingly, Jacques Chirac was named in the investigation on the arms trafficking and state looting in Angola, while at the same time being investigated for corruption during his tenure as mayor of Paris. Immune from prosecution for as long as he stays in office in his current post, he keeps a checking account at BNP, as many other people do. BNP’s a very large bank.

As for current EUropean politics, News you may have missed at EU Referendum has the details.

Tuesday, September 28th, 2004

Presidential Debate

MadTV‘s edition (link sent by a friend).

Monday, September 27th, 2004

Uncle!

Will anyone please stop those photo-ops of political candidates throwing footballs?

I realize I didn’t grow up in a football culture (neither American football nor soccer are popular in Puerto Rico), so the mystique of football is lost on me unless I’m in the audience watching a good game that has been preceded by a tail-gate party, or at a nice Super Bowl party.

But surely I’m not the only person out there that finds silly and inane the endless stream of photos of a middle-aged man tossing footballs. Especially if the middle-aged man can’t catch and is not photogenic to begin with.

To make things worse, the candidate feels it necessary to point in the air, interfere with street traffic, and bring Secret Service agents, entourage, and news photographers to a public park, therefore imposing on the public who might be there simply relaxing, so the photo op can take place.

For pity’s sake, if you’re running for President, look presidential. You’re not in middle school anymore.

So, if anyone wanted to continue the football tossing until someone said “Uncle!”, here you have it: “Uncle!”