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Garey Forster: Who’s vetting Joe Biden’s incompetent appointments, like Mitch Landrieu? | Opinion

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When LaToya Cantrell succeeded Mitch Landrieu as mayor, this newspaper opined, “She came into office in 2018 facing chronic infrastructure woes, nowhere more than at the Sewerage & Water Board, and large areas of dysfunction even after Mitch Landrieu’s generally successful two-term run.”

A contractor group slammed Mayor Landrieu on his way out for a slow start to $2 billion worth of roadwork projects funded by FEMA through a 2015 settlement.

Nola.com reported, “Mayor LaToya Cantrell made the failures of the S&WB under her predecessor (Mitch Landrieu) a part of her campaign and devoted her first year to securing more funding for the financially strapped utility. She has also argued that the miles of roadwork clogging city streets today are partly due to the need to quickly spend FEMA money secured by Landrieu but never spent.”

Buckle up; it could be a while before we see anything out of the thousand-billion-dollars of projects President Joe Biden hired Landrieu to oversee. This newspaper reported: “The total cost of $1.3 billion for the (new airport) terminal and roadways to it is about twice the $650 million estimate touted in 2013 by then-New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu and the airport’s outside consultants.” To heck with the terminal sinking and the plumbing problems, the roads that he forgot to include are still not finished.

Maybe putting Landrieu in charge is Biden’s way to double his money?

If you think Kamala Harris was a good pick for vice president, you’re definitely in the minority according to her most recent job rating: 28% approve/51% disapprove, putting her at a crushing 23 points net negative by USA Today/Suffolk polling.

Then you’ll probably think picking small-town Mayor Pete Buttigieg (South Bend population 102,000, budget of $300 million) was a good choice for secretary of Transportation, which spends $579 billion before passing the trillion-dollar infrastructure projects bill. Just forget about the ports currently in crisis due to supply chain backup of over one million containers that Buttigieg did not anticipate nor have a plan to resolve.

Now, you’re just going to love Mitch Landrieu in the job they made up for him, a czar of infrastructure, so the U.S. Senate doesn’t get to confirm him, and there’s no investigation of his qualifications or lack of any.

Wondering why Biden’s polls are so low? Rasmussen Reports’ recent polls have Biden at 41% approve/58% disapprove or 17 points underwater. No one knows who’s calling the shots. No one knew who was running Biden’s campaign, and no one knows who is running the administration. Certainly, it’s not Joe Biden. In 10 months, only three cabinet meetings.

Mayor Mitch screwed up, and Mayor Pete screwed up, whoever was the final decision-maker on the Afghanistan withdrawal screwed up, COVID-19 is not “on the run,” as Biden stated in July. There’s the southern border security crisis, the 31-year-high spiraling inflation rate of 6.2%, and Biden continues to pour money on inflation which is not “transitory” as promised in June, on and on.

Even the pro-Biden Washington Post says, “Biden has underestimated problems facing the country” and a growing number of Democrats worry that the White House has repeatedly underestimated the scale of the challenges facing the country.

Biden’s just an old political junkie hiring failed, unqualified politicians to do jobs they are not trained to do, hence the country’s suffering.

It makes you wonder who’s vetting Biden’s hires. According to freebeacon.com, quoting a Republican member of Congress opposed to Landrieu’s role, Biden’s pick to oversee $1.2 trillion in infrastructure spending is a top adviser to a trade organization that seeks Chinese investment in American infrastructure.

That’s right, Mitch Landrieu served as a strategic adviser to the United States China Heartland Association, which supports cultural and business exchange between China and 20 states in the American heartland. The association frequently partners with Chinese Communist Party front groups that operate abroad.

If you’re in the 41% approving Biden’s work, and none of the problems bother you, then you’re probably in favor of his latest pick for comptroller of the currency, Saule Omarova, a trained Communist. Omarova graduated from Moscow State University in 1989 on the Lenin Personal Academic Scholarship. Her thesis from MSU is titled “Karl Marx’s Economic Analysis and the Theory of Revolution in ‘The Capital.'”

She’s probably not too fond of the term “czar.”

Winston Churchill said, “Those that fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” History never really repeats itself because every historical moment is distinct, but we must learn from our mistakes so that we don’t repeat them.

In a world of social media and constant communication, understanding and processing information is critical. Maybe we elected an old dog who can’t learn new tricks?

Email Garey Forster at [email protected]

Garey Forster is former chairman of the Labor and Industry Committee in the Louisiana House of Representatives and a former Louisiana Secretary of Labor. His column runs weekly. Email him at [email protected]

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Exclusive: Trump’s social media venture seeks $1 billion raise – sources

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Dec 1 (Reuters) – Former President Donald Trump’s new social media venture is seeking to raise up to $1 billion by selling shares to hedge funds and family offices at several times the valuation it commanded in a deal with a blank-check acquisition firm in October, two people familiar with the matter said.

Trump Media & Technology Group, which has yet to roll out the social media app it says it is developing, already stands to receive $293 million if its deal to list in New York through a merger with blank-check firm Digital World Acquisition Corp (DWAC.O) is completed.

The deal valued Trump Media at $875 million, including debt. Trump Media is now seeking to raise up to an additional $1 billion at a valuation of close to $3 billion, to reflect Digital World’s share rally after Trump supporters and day traders snapped up the stock, the sources said.

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It is the clearest indication yet that Trump and the Digital World dealmakers are seeking to capitalize on the market euphoria around their venture, which has so far been fueled by its ambitious goals rather than a business that is up and running.

Digital World shares were valued at $10 each in the deal with Trump Media. Trump Media is now looking to secure a so-called private investment in public equity (PIPE) that would value Digital World shares closer to their recent price, the sources said.

The sources added that Digital World shares may be valued based on a 20% discount of their 10-day, volume-weighted average price.

The sources requested anonymity because the matter is confidential. Trump Media and Digital World did not respond to requests for comment. Bloomberg News reported last month that the companies were seeking to raise a PIPE without any details on its terms.

Digital World shares soared on Wednesday, as investors welcomed the news that the PIPE could dilute existing Digital World shareholders less than they expected by pricing at a level much higher than the customary $10 per share seen in most mergers with blank-check firms.

The shares, which had been trading down 6% before news of the $1 billion raise, rallied to close up 7% at $44.35 on Nasdaq, then extended gains in after-hours trade, rocketing up 31%, to $58.01.

Most PIPE transactions are inked before a deal to take a company public is rolled out, and it is far from certain that the companies will raise the entire $1 billion they are seeking following their deal announcement. Many Wall Street firms have snubbed the opportunity to invest, and many of the investors participating in the confidential road shows for the PIPE are hedge funds, family offices and high net-worth individuals, the sources said. Family offices manage the wealth of the very rich and their kin.

Weighing on the deal’s appeal is the reluctance of many investors to associate with Trump after he was banned from top social media platforms for encouraging his supporters to participate in the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, which was based on unsubstantiated claims of widespread fraud in last year’s presidential election.

Some hedge funds that backed the launch of Digital World, including Saba Capital Management and Lighthouse Investment Partners, have said they sold their shares to distance themselves from the Trump deal.

The deal also faces regulatory risk. U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren asked Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Gary Gensler last month to investigate the planned merger for potential violations of securities laws around disclosure. The SEC has declined to comment on whether it plans any action. read more

Trump Media and Digital World have asked investors to finalize commitments to the PIPE by the middle of December, the sources said.

In a PIPE road show attended by one of the sources, investors were asked to commit between $10 million and $20 million. Neither Trump nor Digital World executives made an appearance, and the investor presentation was led by David Boral, the president of EF Hutton, an investment bank that advised Digital World on the deal, the source said. A Trump Media representative was also in attendance, the source added.

But Trump has been personally involved. He has been calling some investors to ask them to make a commitment to the PIPE of more than $100 million, the second of the sources said.

Investors attending the road show were shown a demo from the planned social media app, called TRUTH Social, which looked like a Twitter feed, the sources said.

BIG PLANS

Trump has said he is launching his own social media app to stand up against the companies that have barred him from their platforms. He had 89 million followers on Twitter, 33 million on Facebook and 24.5 million on Instagram at the time he was blocked, according to a presentation on his company’s website.

Since Trump was voted out of office last year, he has repeatedly dropped hints that he might seek the presidency for a third time in 2024.

Special purpose acquisition companies such as Digital World had lost much of their luster with retail investors before the Trump media deal came along. Many of these investors were left with big losses after the companies that merged with SPACs failed to deliver on their ambitious financial projections.

TRUTH Social is scheduled for a full rollout in the first quarter of 2022, and is the first of three stages in the Trump Media plan, followed by a subscription video-on-demand service called TMTG+ that will feature entertainment, news and podcasts, according to the news release.

In a slide deck on its website, the company envisions eventually competing against Amazon.com’s AWS cloud service and Google Cloud.

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Reporting by Krystal Hu in New York
Additional reporting by Echo Wang in New York
Editing by Greg Roumeliotis and Leslie Adler

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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Genome sequencing finds no new Covid variant- The New Indian Express

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By Express News Service

DHARWAD: In a huge relief, genome sequencing found no new variant in any of the 113 samples from SDM Medical College.  As many as 306 students and a few medical staffers were infected with Covid-19 last week at SDM Medical College and Hospital in Dharwad. All the infected students are under treatment in their hostels, and staffers are quarantined in their houses.

Among the infected, six had mild infection and the remaining asymptomatic. Students with mild symptoms have now recovered. Among the 306 infected, 113 swab samples were sent to a laboratory in Bengaluru for genome sequencing. Deputy Commissioner Nitesh Patil confirmed that no new variant was traced in these 113 samples. 

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‘Red Notice’ Delivers Light Humor and an Exciting Plot

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★★★★☆

Running through marble hallways, past gold-trimmed portrait frames and sculptures draped in plastic, FBI Agent John Hartley (Dwayne Johnson) and Nolan Booth (Ryan Reynolds) chase each other through a museum—immediately immersing the audience into an action-packed mystery story. Red Notice arrived on Netflix with its star-studded cast on Nov. 5, offering audiences comedy and a plot full of double-crosses and fast-paced chase scenes.

The movie begins with a documentary-like introduction to the legendary treasure that the plot revolves around: Cleopatra’s third egg. While the first egg resides in Rome and the second with a private buyer, the third golden, gem-studded egg remains lost. Hartley and Booth are both after that third egg. 

All things considered, this is a fun, entertaining movie with a very talented cast of superb actors and actresses. Red Notice is a quality addition to a very popular, very full genre of comedy-action movies. From start to finish, director Rawson Marshall Thurber leaves the audience guessing which character will be double-crossed next. 

The plot takes a variety of unexpected twists and turns on the path to a relatively satisfying, but predictable ending. While the several double-crosses add volatility—and perhaps even creativity—to the movie, the flow of the movie is unsurprising. 



Reynolds never fails to carry out his role with particular suave with his smooth line delivery, although he seems to be pigeon-holed into the same role in many of his movies. He plays the cunning, witty, and handsome thief who is able to escape authority, and he is perfectly suited to this role here and in the popular Deadpool films. 

In a similar sense, Johnson plays his typical no-nonsense-exterior-but-kind-heart-interior character for most of the movie. But who doesn’t love “The Rock”? The movie portrays a typical plot headed by actors playing very typical roles with no sense of exploration or originality.

But if the audience can get beyond the unoriginality, the extravagance of the museum sets and the intensity of the action scenes still provide a source of entertainment. As Netflix’s most expensive original movie to date, with a massive price tag of $200 million, the overall production was admirable. The CGI and animations were impressive, including a realistic bull that causes mayhem.

Ultimately, Red Notice is exactly what it advertises itself as. It’s a funny, wild, irreverent, silly family movie with a cast that performs their natural roles with ease. But, for anyone scrolling through Netflix looking for something new, something different, something to make you think or leave you in awe, this is not it. 

Featured Image Courtesy of Netflix

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