Obama’s Chicago home gets foreclosed

Via Actual Grit:

CHICAGO, IL – President Obama’s Chicago homecoming on Wednesday was less welcoming than he expected, as Obama was shocked to learn his Hyde Park residence had been foreclosed upon some time last year.  Obama was in Chicago for a series of fundraisers and decided to visit his old home, only to discover the locks had been changed and a new family had moved in.

Since his inauguration, President Obama had neglected to make a single payment on the home he’d shared with his wife and two daughters, while the house itself fell into grave disrepair.

“The place started to become a real eyesore,” said Kevin Deckman, who owns a home on the opposite side of the street from the former Obama residence.  “The lawn was nothing but weeds, and there were a bunch of stray cats that would come and go through an open window, I think.  It was a real health hazard.

Daniel Broyles, a spinal surgeon at the University of Chicago Medical Center, purchased the former Obama home at a foreclosure auction last May and was headed to his kitchen Wednesday night when he caught the president trying to jimmy open the side door with a credit card.  “He came through the door, and we both had this moment where we were looking at each other like, ‘What are you doing?’”  When Broyles explained to Obama the circumstances by which he came to own the house, the president apologized and left.

By the way, it is a spoof, but a funny one 🙂

Conservative Columnists Piling On: Romney Weak vs. Obama

American Spectator:

Since I wrote this little blog post the other day, picked up at Real Clear Politics, all of a sudden (by coincidence; I’m not claiming I had anything to do with it, but just am remarking on how rapidly the ‘meme’ has taken off) all sorts of people are suddenly realizing that Mitt Romney is hardly the candidate with the best chance to beat Barack Obama.

It certainly isn’t all at the Center for Individual Freedom, but we did have a written colloquy on the subject the other day, with Troy Senik and Ashton Ellis insightfully joining me in weighing in. Actually, Jonathan Last made the case earlier, here. Tina Korbe, a rising star, argues the same thing at Hot Air. Phil Klein at the Washington Examiner makes the case that Romney’s flip-flopping is a big liability in a general election (as it was for Al Gore and to a certain extent John Kerry). Back in late December, John Hawkins at Right Wing News also argued the situation quite well. Of course, Peter Ferrara made the case right here at the Spectator, although he also segued into (strong) arguments against Romney’s ability to do a good job if he were elected anyway. William Jacobson at Legal Insurrection also has questions.

The scholarly take on it, again doubting Romney’s electability, was by Larry Lindsey at theWeekly Standard. From the center-left, the very smart former U.S. Rep. Artur Davis (D-AL) thinks his (former) party doesn’t have much to worry about from Romney: “The fact, however, is that Democrats have not had to strain to plan the race they would run against Romney. For four days in the week, they will paint him as a flip-flopper who has occupied both sides of a lot of ground; for three days, as an entitled tool of corporate interests who made millions doling out pink slips on behalf of a shadowy management firm.” Also at NRO, Andy McCarthy doubtswhether we can know who is more electable.

At the New York Post, John Podhoretz writes a piece about Romney headlined “Never Has a Winner Looked so Beaten.” The column is brutal. It calls Romney “one of the weakest major candidates either party has ever seen.” Also: “[N]obody loves him. No one is inspired by him.… Claiming he should be president because he knows how to run a business may be the least stirring message any candidate has seized upon since Michael Dukakis foundered in 1988 by claiming he could bring ‘competence’ to the White House. And his liabilities are undeniable.


And Jonah Goldberg writes that Romney’s “authentic inauthenticity problem isn’t going away.”

I see, first, a candidate who “fails to inspire.” This is hugely important. It’s the old Dole/McCain/Bush 41 thing again: Without energizing one’s base, it doesn’t matter if you can get a few extra percentage points from “swing” voters (even assuming it’s true that those extra few points are achievable — which is probably not true anyway, because if you aren’t inspirational, you aren’t inspirational, period, meaning you don’t inspire the middle either). It’s also true that millions of voters really can decide to stay home; remember that Karl Rove estimated that up to 4 million expected Evangelical Bush backers stayed home in 2000

Read on HERE.

K.L. South: Romney’s behavior at Bain is a question of character, not capitalism.

K.L. South writes in the famed Furthermore Blog that the issue with Mitt Romney’s behavior at Bain is a question of character, not capitalism:

There is a huge difference between capitalism and ‘predatory capitalism’ or ‘corporate raiding’. The latter is more of a chop-shop mentality of ‘creative destruction.’ It is still a form of capitalism, sure, even if not held in high regard. That is not the issue. And, I agree most capitalism is moral… the problem is that people defend ALL OF IT equally. You cannot. But, the court of public opinion doesn’t do nuance very well.

No rational person would defend ALL matters of transportation equally; drunk driving, car hijackings, exploits of TSA agents in airports; are abusive or exploitative practices. As is a car salesman who knowingly sells you a lemon where the car will predictably break down 6 months later. Hereto, it is a free market transaction, right? It is capitalism, too.


Mitt Romney has been a rank opportunist throughout his political career. Mitt Romney was a clever money-making opportunist throughout his business career. The leveraged buyout business, which does not have to be an evil business, is a business that is ripe for heartless exploitation of vulnerable companies and individuals.


What about Romney benefiting from a $10 million federal bailout and pocketing $4 million dollars directly? It’s not difficult to understand why Romney is not against federal bailouts, having been the beneficiary of them. Perhaps Romney should explain to us how TARP and federal bailouts are free-market capitalism? Romney’s main accomplishment in his one term as governor was RomneyCare, which openly funded abortions for a $50 co-pay. Do Romney supporters call that capitalism too?

Bain defunded pension funds and kept the money – when companies went bankrupt, the pensions had to be paid out of ERISA – government insurance – paid for by those of us who pay taxes. A federal government insurance agency ponied up $44 million to bailout one of Bain Company’s underfunded pension plan. Nevertheless, Bain profited on the deal, receiving $12 million on its $8 million initial investment and at least $4.5 million in consulting fees.

While at Bain, and as Governor, Romney showed an example of the government stepping into the marketplace, picking winners and losers, providing profits to business owners and leaving taxpayers stuck with the bill. Romney’s Bain made avid use of public-private partnerships, something that many conservatives consider being “corporate welfare.” It is a commitment that carried over into his term as governor. Bain Capital has been a corporate welfare hog under Romney’s tenure and beyond. If one can make millions of dollars whether a company succeeds or fails then where is the risk-taking Romney speaks of so fondly?

Bain, at times, pursued a practice of socializing their losses to banks and pension insurers while privatizing their gains in the same kind of Wall Street practice that led to the mortgage crisis. They leveraged government assistance to boost profits. Is it anti-capitalist to ask if an average worker is an expendable line on a spreadsheet as that worker’s tax dollars were needed to bailout Bain and financiers? And let’s note; as a supporter of the TARP Wall Street bailout, Romney’s “creative destruction” applied only to Main Street, not Wall Street.

And this just scratches the surface folks. Read on at Furthermore

William Cohen: When Romney ran Bain Capital, his word was not his bond

Fortune Magazine’s William Cohen is someone that this editor has always respected. He is all about the free market tempered with personal restraint and personal responsibility, which is one of the themes of this very web site.

Read this carefully….

William D. Cohan in the Washington Post:

Yet, there is another version of the Bain way that I experienced personally during my 17 years as a deal-adviser on Wall Street: Seemingly alone among private-equity firms, Romney’s Bain Capital was a master at bait-and-switching Wall Street bankers to get its hands on the companies that provided the raw material for its financial alchemy. Other private-equity firms I worked with extensively over the years — Forstmann Little, KKR, TPG and the Carlyle Group, among them — never dared attempt the audacious strategy that Bain partners employed with great alacrity and little shame. Call it the real Bain way.

Here’s how it worked. Private-equity firms are always eager to find companies to buy, allowing them to invest chunks of the billions of dollars entrusted to them and from which they earn hundreds of millions in fees. One ready source of these businesses is Wall Street bankers hired to sell companies through private auctions. The good news is that when a banker puts together a detailed selling memorandum about a company, chances are very high that company will be sold; the bad news is that these private auctions tend to be very competitive, and the winning bidder, by definition, is most often the one willing to pay the most. By paying the highest price, you win the company, but you also may reduce the returns you can generate for your investors.

By bidding high early, Bain would win a coveted spot in the later rounds of the auction, when greater information about the company for sale is shared and the number of competitors is reduced. (A banker and his client generally allow only the potential buyers with the highest bids into the later rounds; after all, you can’t have an endless procession of Savile Row-suited businessmen traipsing through a manufacturing plant if you want to keep a possible sale under wraps.)

For buyers, the goal in these auctions is to be one of the few selected to inspect the company’s facilities and books on-site, in order to make a final and supposedly binding bid. Generally, the prospective buyer with the highest bid after the on-site due-diligence visit is selected by the client — in consultation with his or her banker — to negotiate a final agreement to buy the company.

This is the moment when Bain Capital would become especially crafty. In my experience — which I heard echoed often by my colleagues around Wall Street — Bain would seek to be the highest bidder at the end of the formal process in order to be the firm selected to negotiate alone with the seller, putting itself in the exclusive, competition-free zone. Then, when all other competitors had been essentially vanquished and the purchase contract was under negotiation, Bain would suddenly begin finding all sorts of warts, bruises and faults with the company being sold. Soon enough, that near-final Bain bid — the one that got the firm into its exclusive negotiating position — would begin to fall, often significantly.

Of course, some haggling over price is typical in any sale, and not everything represented by sellers and their bankers is found to be accurate under close examination. But Bain Capital took the art of negotiation over price into the scientific realm. Once the competitive dynamics had shifted definitively in its favor, the firm’s genuine views about what it was willing to pay — often far lower than first indicated — would be revealed.

[This is what we call negotiating in bad faith. It is wrong and in other contexts (such as insurance for example) would be illegal – Editor]

At such a late date, of course, the seller is more than a little pregnant with the buyer. Attempting to pivot and find a new buyer — which knew it had not been selected in the first place, but was now being called back — would be devastating to the carefully constructed process designed to generate the highest price. Once Bain’s real thoughts about the price were revealed, the seller either had to suck it up and accept the lower price, or negotiate with a new buyer, but with far less leverage.

Needless to say, this does not make for a very happy client (or a happy banker). By the end of my days on Wall Street in 2004, I found the real Bain way so counterproductive that I no longer included Bain Capital on my buyer’s lists of private-equity firms for a company I was selling.

The real Bain way may be nothing more than a clever tactic to eliminate competition from a heated auction in order to buy a business at an attractive price. After all, Bain Capital is seeking the highest returns for its investors. But Bain’s behavior also reveals something about the values it brings to bear in a process that requires honor and character to work properly. If a firm’s word is not worth the paper it is printed on, then its reputation for bad behavior will impair its ability to function in an honorable and productive way.

Mike Reagan: Gingrich Will Continue Reagan Legacy


Newsmax and Ronald Reagan’s eldest son, Michael, say the 2012 presidential election is crucial to America’s future and Newt Gingrich is the candidate who will best continue the Reagan legacy.
Introducing an exclusive Newsmax interview with Gingrich, Reagan says the former House speaker “will help continue my father’s legacy.”

Gingrich is “a man who fought in Congress for my father’s programs, a man who believes that President Obama’s vision for America is a dangerous one and must be stopped and reversed.”

Recounting Gingrich’s amazing career, Reagan says that, after he was first elected to Congress in 1978, he “began to confront the usual politics and became a leading ally of my father, Ronald Reagan. He helped Congress push through massive tax cuts. He worked to secure a military buildup that helped defeat the Soviet Union. Under his leadership, Congress also limited the welfare state. As a leader in the Reagan revolution, Gingrich began to confront both Republicans and Democrats in Congress for their cozy insider deals.”

Michael Reagan also reminds viewers that House Speaker Newt Gingrich was the key conservative figure behind the Contract with America, which helped the GOP gain control of Congress in 1994 and led to the first balanced budget in decades.

And since leaving Congress, Reagan adds, Gingrich “has remained at the forefront of an American political scene” and “helped keep my father’s legacy alive.”

Read more on Newsmax.com: Gingrich Will Continue Reagan Legacy, Says Mike Reagan

Santorum: Romney’s Super PAC is lying about me too…

See the video HERE.

Rick Santorum:

I did vote in the United States Senate that someone who was a felon, who served their time, came out of jail, had served their parole and probation, and after all of that sentencing, then they could go out and have their voting rights renewed. Which by the way is the exact law that’s in South Carolina.

Now Governor Romney has taken that and said ‘Rick Santorum is for felons voting.’ Now that is a lie! … And so to go out and mislead the people of South Carolina as to what our record is on this is just, YUCK!

I expect that from Barak Obama. I don’t expect that from a Republican running for president. We’re better than that!

Socialist Europe on a downward spiral…..

Wall Street Journal

The cascade of rating downgrades that hit France and eight other euro-zone nations last week casts fresh doubts over the monetary union’s ability to bail itself out of financial crisis and rescue its most vulnerable member, Greece.

Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services on Friday said it had stripped triple-A ratings from France and Austria and downgraded seven others, including Spain, Italy and Portugal. It retained the triple-A rating on Europe’s No. 1 economy, Germany.

The downgrade to France, the bloc’s second-largest economy, will make it harder—and potentially more expensive—for the euro zone’s bailout fund to help troubled states…….

John Kass: Barack Obama wins in ’12

Conservative columnist John Kass from the Chicago Tribune gives a grim reality check to the current campaign…

John Kass:

As the Republican presidential candidates and their mouthpieces prattle on the TV from sunny South Carolina, I look up from the screen and out the window and sigh, a conservative heretic at rest, staring at all that cold Midwestern snow.

There’s a yellowed sketch tacked to the wall of my work space, a cowboy Ronald Reagan smiling in eternal optimism. And on a bookshelf is a dusty, dog-eared copy of Russell Kirk’s “The Conservative Mind.”

Surrounded as I am by such dry artifacts of forgotten times, I sometimes wonder why I keep them. It could be self-mockery, or something like the way an amputee decides to keep the unused boot in the closet, out of sight, but near.

And still, I can’t ditch this feeling that I might be boiled in oil for the heresy I’m about to spout:

President Barack Obama will win re-election in 2012.

The reason he’ll win?

He knows who he is. And the Republican politicians don’t know who they are. They’ve forgotten what they’re about, or perhaps like some isolated tribe, they’ve lost the language necessary to explain it to themselves.

Their voters know this and don’t really believe them anymore.

And that’s why Obama will win.

And the Republican establishment that seeks to unseat him?

Their guy Mitt Romney calls himself a conservative. But he’s really a John Kerry in Republican clothing, right down to the phony laugh, and his past flips and flops will haunt him in defeat.

Shouldn’t the Romney types form their own party and call themselves the Corporatists? They’re often mistakenly called “pro-business moderates” by news organizations, but that’s not quite accurate.

For all the rhetoric about opposing regulation on business, they’re not opposed to those regulations that crush their competitors.

But do they know why their party is adrift? Can they even articulate the problem? I doubt it.

What’s bothersome is that I disagree with almost every single Obama policy, often vehemently, because what he’s doing amounts to feeding handfuls of steroids to the federal leviathan gorging on our individual rights and freedoms.

But being anti-Obama isn’t enough to vote him out. Republican voters have to believe, and I don’t think they do. They see the game unfolding. And they don’t want to be suckers again.


Another reason not to believe tonight…  Huntsman endorses Romney after trashing him for months….