URLs du Jour


  • You really oughta read Paul Gigot's article about his long history of skeptically investigating Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac from the editorial pages of Wall Street Journal. As a reward, he was reviled by company executives and their politically powerful friends.
    At the time, Wall Street's Fannie apologists outdid themselves with their counterattack. One of the most slavish was Jonathan Gray, of Sanford C. Bernstein, who wrote to clients that the editorial was "unfounded and unsubstantiated" and "discredits the paper." My favorite point in his Feb. 20, 2002, Bernstein Research Call was this rebuttal to our point that "Taxpayers Are on The Hook: This is incorrect. The agencies' debt is not guaranteed by the U.S. Treasury or any agency of the Federal Government." Oops.
    Oops indeed. As USA Today put it yesterday:
    Congress' top budget analyst says a federal rescue of troubled mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac could cost taxpayers as much as $25 billion.
    That should give you all the motivation you need to pay attention to Gigot's conclusion:
    The abiding lesson here is what happens when you combine private profit with government power. You create political monsters that are protected both by journalists on the left and pseudo-capitalists on Wall Street, by liberal Democrats and country-club Republicans. Even now, after all of their dishonesty and failure, Fannie and Freddie could emerge from this taxpayer rescue more powerful than ever. Campaigning to spare taxpayers from that result would represent genuine "change," not that either presidential candidate seems interested.

  • And, in further imitation of Mr. Insta: they told me if George W. Bush were re-elected, newspapers would be forced to withdraw stories that angered the politically powerful, and they were right!

  • Star Wars geeks can feast their eyes on fine art that's been photoshopped to include familiar characters. For some reason David's Napoleon Crossing the Alps was a popular victim. (Via BBSpot.)

New Hampshire Republicans Can Come In Off the Ledge

If you are a NH GOPer, you might cheer yourself up a bit by checking out UNH's Granite State Poll released today. High points:

  • Jeanne Shaheen's lead over John Sununu has shrunk from 12 points in April to 4 points now. Sununu's favorable/unfavorable ratings have improved, Shaheen's have worsened.

  • Carol Shea-Porter's favorable/unfavorable ratings also continue to worsen. Jeb Bradley outpolls Congresswoman Shea-Porter by 46%-40%. The other GOP candidate, John Stephen, doesn't poll as well against Shea-Porter, losing 42%-36%.

  • But it ain't looking good for any Republican running against Congressman Paul Hodes in NH's other district. Hodes continues to outpoll Bob Clegg (44%-25%, although that's slightly better than April's 51%-24% result). Similar results obtain in a Hodes-vs-Jennifer Horn race. Hodes' favorability ratings are decent and improving.

The Granite State Poll's Monday release showed Obama with a nanotube-thin lead over McCain, 46%-43% in New Hampshire. (Unfortunately for McCain, that's a comedown from his 6-point lead in April. But we'll try to stay optimistic.)

You can check the links for margins-of-errors, etc. New Hampshire's leftward movement doesn't look to be that inexorable.

[Note: the UNH Survey Center's final poll picked Obama over Clinton in the NH Primary, 39%-30%. Clinton wound up winning 39%-36%. So: Don't take polls seriously. Don't take this article seriously. Sorry for wasting your time.]

Last Modified 2013-04-22 12:52 PM EST