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If you’re not checking out the local blogs on reviewjournal.com, here’s just a sample of what you’ve been missing:


Nice deal if you can get it …

Publisher Sherman Frederick writes:

The Web site Politico carried an interesting story over the weekend you may not have seen. Entitled "No mortgage pinch for Obama and team," the piece by Kenneth P. Vogel detailed the special mortgage deals enjoyed by Obama and his "progressive" team. Nothing illegal, Vogel points out, but it illustrates how the Obama political class lives above the regular folks it reaches down to help.

Consider …

— Barack and Michelle Obama on their $1.65 million, 6,500-square-foot Georgian Revival home received in 2005 a discount on their mortgage from Northern Trust. The reason: Northern Trust saw it as a chance to build a relationship with a successful couple. Nice deal if you can get it, which by the way you probably can’t.

— Secretary of State Hillary Clinton snagged her Dutch Colonial Revival house in suburban New York in 1999 when no one was willing to back their mortgage by taking a $1.35 million loan from long-time ally Terry McAuliffe. Later, McAuliffe was paid off when he backed the Clintons on a refinance from PNC Mortgage. The Clintons received several fee waivers and reductions in writing the 7.5 percent 30-year interest-only loan.

Nice deal if you can get it, which by the way you probably can’t.

For a link to more examples, go to www.lvrj.com/blogs/sherm/.


Once … twice … three times a loser

Columnist Jane Ann Morrison writes:

Las Vegas attorney Vincent Ochoa can’t catch a break in his bid to become a Family Court judge. Despite endorsements from both Las Vegas newspapers, a relative rarity, he lost to Cynthia Giuliani last year.

So he tries for an appointment, and during the interview process, he wows the Commission on Judicial Selection so much, he is nominated for both open Family Court seats. Nevada Supreme Court Justice James Hardesty even said, "I don’t understand why the people of Clark County didn’t elect this guy. I just think he’s terrific."

But while the commissioners sent a message to Gov. Jim Gibbons about who they liked for a Family Court judgeship, the governor sent one right back to the commissioners: I get to pick, you don’t.

Despite the unsubtle nudge to the governor to pick Ochoa, Gibbons selected two others — Bill Gonzalez and Charles Hoskin.

Oh well, at 56, Ochoa is young enough to keep trying.

For more, go to www.lvrj.com/blogs/morrison/.


Parole date: The 12th of Never

Columnist John L. Smith writes:

Louie Eppolito wanted to be a movie star. Steve Caracappa wanted an off-the-record life.

In the end, Eppolito starred in a courtroom drama that resulted in typecasting to the tune of life plus 100 years. Caracappa’s off-the-record dream became life plus 80 years.

The Mafia Cops case, which played out in New York but was developed in part in Las Vegas, at last appears to be coming to a close. Eppolito and Caracappa, who moved to Las Vegas after retiring from the NYPD, saw their sentences reinstated by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, who reversed U.S. District Judge Jack Weinstein’s decision to set aside their 2006 racketeering convictions after determining the statute of limitations had run.

If anyone expected the two former cops, convicted of taking cash and pulling hits for the Lucchese crime family, would be contrite, they were dreaming.

Caracappa: "You will never take away my will to show how innocent I am."

Eppolito: "I’ve been suffering for four years in jail. I can take it. I’m a man. … But I never did any of this."

For more, go to www.lvrj.com/blogs/smith/.


Science for science sake

Columnist Geoff Schumacher writes:

President Obama may or may not have all the answers to the nation’s economic crisis, but he’s making small but important strides in other areas.

A big one occurred Monday when he announced that the federal government will no longer restrict or silence scientists who don’t toe an ideological line. Obama said he wants to ensure "that scientific data is never distorted or concealed to serve a political agenda and that we make scientific decisions based on facts, not ideology."

What a novel concept.

For more, go to www.lvrj.com/blogs/schumacher/.

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