Daily Archives: June 18, 2009

Walt Noel may not be available for that bartender’s gig at BJ O’Rourke’s

I’ve been pretty excited about Walt Noel’s plan to open BJ’s Pub, especially since he’s promised me a job busing tables. But now I see that the Geneva (that would be in Switzerland, not upstate New York) public prosecutor has opened a criminal investigation into Banco Santander’s role as a Madoff feeder fund. The areas of investigation: failure to conduct due diligence and turning a blind eye to Bernie’s evil ways, sound exactly like what Walter’s Fairfield Greenwich Group is accused of. It’s possible that what is criminal in the land of chocolate is not illegal in the US – mere negligence, for instance, is not – but if that lovable son-in-law Andres sold FGG “investments” over there,and I believe he did, then this could be a worrisome development.

Of course, the prosecutor says it will take “at least two years” to complete his investigation and, at 78, Walter may very well not be around to hear the results. I don’t wish you ill, Walt, but you might be more comfortable in a 2X8 box than a 6X12 room. Just saying ….

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Mark and Andy Madoff – fishing fools or dad’s willing accomplices?

The general supposition among Madoff scandal fans has been that Mark and Andy, Bernie Madoff’s sons, were too busy fishing and playing kissy kissy with beautiful women to trouble their dura matter with deep questions like the meaning of life or the source of dad’s money. Now two ex-Madoff traders have sued the kids, alleging that they were in on the scam. Truth or fiction? We don’t know, but the fact that they’ve signed up Ric Bourke and Walter Noel as character witnesses suggests that their homes on Tomac and Cherry Valley may soon be on the market.

Andy Madoff, Catherine Hooper (Cat in the hat)

Andy Madoff, Catherine Hooper (Cat in the hat)

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$135 billion in bonds counterfeit

Okay, that was fairly easy to predict, (particularly since there isn’t that much issued, in the entire world) nor was it too hard to guess, since the smugglers of said bonds were caught at the Italian/Swiss border, that the Mafia was probably behind it. Unanswered so far, though, is why the Italian police have let the two Japanese smugglers go and have now lost track of their whereabouts. It’s almost as if they wanted them to get lost, or something.

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That old idiot, Reagan

War Secretary Gates has positioned anti-missile ships and equipment around Hawaii in preparation for North Korea. I may have missed it, but so far as I can tell not one of the critics of “Star Wars’, the folks who called the plan, it’s proponent and supporters like me fools and morons, has expressed any relief that we have such a system to employ, nor have they admitted they were wrong or apologized for denigrating the intelligence of people who thought the idea sound. I’ll just hold my breath until they do.

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Don’t call me Liz!

From Best of the Web come these two delicious illustrations of what happens when deeply insecure obtain even limited power. They become jerks, naturally.

Stop Calling Me Shirley!
Some of the ladies on Capitol Hill turn out to be awfully prickly about what you call them, as Politico’s Anne Mullins reports:

Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) didn’t like a Brigadier General calling her “ma’am” at an EPW hearing yesterday.

“Do me a favor,” she said, “could say ‘senator’ instead of ‘ma’am?’ It’s just a thing, I worked so hard to get that title, so I’d appreciate it, yes, thank you.”

In the accompanying video, the general meekly complies: “Yes, Senator. Yes, Senator.” Had he failed to do so, we suppose the snappish senatrix could have taken revenge by addressing him as “sir.”

Another Mullins story concerns a lower-ranking but more persistently peevish Hill denizen: Elizabeth “Liz” Becton, a staffer to Rep. Jim McDermott of Washington. A lobbyist, unnamed by Mullins, had written to Becton to request a meeting on behalf of a client:

Days later, the assistant checked back in and unfortunately began the e-mail with “Hi Liz.” 

Becton curtly replied, “Who is Liz?”

When the assistant wrote back with an apology, Becton turned up the heat. “I do not go by Liz. Where did you get your information?” she asked. 

The back-and-forth went on for 19 e-mails, with the assistant apologizing six times if she had “offended” Becton, while Becton lectured about name-calling.

Becton told the assistant that if someone said using “Liz” was acceptable, then “they are [sic] not your friend,” and “If I wanted you to call me by any other name, I would have offered that to you.” Plus, it’s “rude when people don’t even ask permission and take all sorts of liberties with your name,” she said, adding: “Please do not ever call me by a nickname again.”

But the tirade didn’t end there. Becton continued her riff–responding that the assistant “got played” by someone who was trying to “tick” Becton off. Becton’s final, searing missive stated: “In the future, you should be VERY careful about such things. People like to brag about their connections in D.C. It’s a pastime for some. It’s also dangerous to eavesdrop, as you have just found out. Quit apologizing and never call me anything but Elizabeth again. Also, make sure you correct anyone who attempts to call me by any other name but Elizabeth. Are we clear on this?  Like I said, it’s a hot button for me. And please don’t call the office and not leave a message. My colleague told me you called while I was away. . . . I do sometimes leave my desk.”

UPDATE: Not that yopu’d want to or anything, but if you were thinking of writing Liz Becton and congratulating her for her firmly-shut sphincter, here’s how:

Anyway, in the event you want to meet with Jim McDermott, you would e-mail Liz Becton at meetingwithmcdermott@mail.house.gov. If you’d just like to drop her a line, you would use: Elizabeth.becton@mail.house.gov.

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A significant contract

99 Husted

99 Husted

Just reported as under contract, this house, last improved in 1997, started out a year ago at $5.250 million, dropped down eventually to $4.150 and now has a buyer, presumably for somewhere around that figure. We’re still not breaking the $5 million barrier, but my 70% rule is hopelessly inapplicable here, as that number is just $2.013 million. I hope I never said the thing worked every time, just on most houses. But this is a really nice one, on a good street, and obviously appealed to the buyer. I like it too.

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Hope and Shame

U.S. Civil Rights Commission demands answers to why Obama Justice Dept. squashed voter rights intimidation case.  Well of course, we know the answer: the convicted intimidators were Black Panthers, pillars of the community, and the victims were just fellow blacks (with a scattering of elderly white folks, wh don’t count), but couldn’t they send one of those Inspector Generals they’ve fired over to the White House to get some answer better than, “because”? Just asking.

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