Thursday, June 02, 2011

Cruising the Web Some More

The New York Times profiles sportswriter Bill Simmons. This is what well-deserved success looks like.

Could schadenfreude be keeping Democrats from rushing to Anthony Weiner's support? Or do they think his ever-changing responses sound as fishy as conservatives think they do? Except for MSNBC does the guy have all that many friends?

So the government announces that we lost about $14 billion on the auto bailout. Add in another $14 billion that the government gave GM in a tax break. Megan McArdle analyzes what has gone down in the entire GM bailout and concludes,
No, the question was not whether GM could make a profit after a bankruptcy that stiffed most of its creditors and shed the most grotesque burdens of its legacy costs, nor whether giving companies money will make them more profitable. The question is whether it was worth it to the taxpayer to burn $10-20 billion in order to give the company another shot at life. To put that in perspective, GM had about 75,000 hourly workers before the bankruptcy. We could have given each of them a cool $250,000 and still come out well ahead compared to the ultimate cost of the bailout including the tax breaks--and over $100,000 a piece if we just wanted to break even against our losses on the common stock.
Read the rest and ask yourself if this was the correct policy and if the taxpayer has gotten his money's worth. Then ask yourself, as Mickey Kaus is asking, whether the government could have gotten a better deal for GM and the taxpayers if it had been willing to drive a tougher deal with the UAW, perhaps a deal that "would have given GM a better shot at surviving and served as a deterrent to future union leaders who might want to gamble with their employer’s solvency."

John Podhoretz imagines what would have happened if the American public had adopted Representative Weiner's proposed drinking game for the State of the Union with Weiner's own statements: mass cirrhosis of the liver. And Andrew McCarthy shoots down Weiner's preposterous statement that an ordinary citizen couldn't get an official investigation of a cyber crime such as he alleges caused the whole story in the first place.

Watch your Senate at work
as it manages to take a vacation while not going into recess because Republicans refused to give unanimous consent unless the Democrats actually proposed a budget. Harry Reid didn't want to have a roll call vote that could be embarrassing to Democrats who voted for the recess while not voting for any sort of budget. So they're just holding pro forma minute-long sessions. Just what James Madison envisioned, right?

The NYT finds that the Obama Justice Department has been more partisan in its hiring practices than the Bush Justice Department.
Nearly a quarter of the hires of the Bush group had conservative credentials like membership in the Federalist Society or the Republican National Lawyers Association, while only 7 percent had liberal ones.

By contrast, during the first two Obama years, none of the new hires listed conservative organizations, while more than 60 percent had liberal credentials. They consisted overwhelmingly of prior employment or internships with a traditional civil rights group, like the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund.
Pause for contemplating the obligatory "What if Bush had done this..." question.

Why should the taxpayers be paying for federal employees to conduct union business during the workday. The newest estimate from the Office of Personnel Management is that federal employees in 2009 spent a total of about 3 million work hours on union business at a cost of $129 million dollars with a 7% increase from 2008. I guess that having a pro-union president necessitated all that increased union activity on the taxpayer dime. Does this make sense to anyone other than union members?