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’Tis the season of our discontent

I do not pretend to understand Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government-sponsored enterprises that politicians pushed to make home ownership possible for more people.

I will no longer pretend that understanding is possible.

Consider: Federal policy caused lenders to make irresponsible decisions. Those decisions caused a housing bubble, which led to the financial crisis, which led to the recession that devastated household wealth.

Or something like that.

Anyway, the Bush administration "took over" Fannie and Freddie in 2008 after losses wiped out their reserves.

So whose reserves were called into play? Yours.

The Treasury has injected nearly $188 billion into the companies, taking shares of stock in return. Fanny and Freddie have repaid nearly $46 billion!

But it's been tough, as explained in this cosmic paragraph from the Wall Street Journal:

"Currently, the government-controlled mortgage finance companies make 10 percent dividend payments to the Treasury every quarter, an arrangement that has forced them to borrow money from the government during periods when they don't turn large profits," wrote Nick Timiraos of The Wall Street Journal.

Is it just me? They borrow from the taxpayers when they owe the taxpayers?

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The American Civil Liberties Union of West Virginia has threatened the Wood County Board of Education with a lawsuit to force it to stop single-sex classrooms at Van Devender Middle School.

Wood County undertook the experiment to see if single-sex classes would improve students' ability to learn.

The ACLU contends it violates the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment.

"We believe these classes perpetuate gender stereotypes and hurt boys and girls academically," ACLU staff attorney Sarah Rogers told the Daily Mail.

The school board initially responded to the ACLU by reviewing its program and venturing the opinion that it is in compliance with the law.

The ACLU responded by filing a suit that alleges that in addition to perpetuating gender stereotypes, the boys' classrooms are brighter and the rooms are kept cooler, and that the desks in the girls' rooms are arranged face-to-face and the desks in the boys' rooms are arranged side-by-side.

Wood County Schools Superintendent James Patrick Law said that similar lawsuits have cost schools boards — taxpayers — about $30,000. Wood County is reviewing its options.

The ACLU should review its options, too.

Threatening lawsuits to force public schools to honor your  agenda is easy money. Running  schools that can empower girls — and boys — is much harder, and deserves respect.


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As West Virginians sweltered in the aftermath of a windstorm that took them back to the Stone Age, some wondered: If everything has an equal and opposite reaction, what would the bookend to a derecho look like?

Well, AccuWeather predicts the southern mid-Atlantic to southern New England could get big snows this winter.

A weak to moderate El Nino — the warm current that flows in the central to eastern Pacific along the Equator — could bring a strong southern branch of the jet stream.

That could link up with the northern branch and  produce big winter along the I-95 corridor, including Richmond, Washington, Baltimore, Philadelphia and New York.

Are we in the Mid-Atlantic?

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Peggy Noonan of the Wall Street Journal reacted to a scurrilous campaign ad that implied that Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's policies contributed to a woman's death.

"The ad's cynicism contributes to a phenomenon that increases each year, and that is that we are becoming a nation that believes nothing," Noonan wrote.

"Not in nothing, but nothing we're told by anyone in supposed authority."


Maurice is editorial page

editor of the Daily Mail. She may be reached at 348-4802 or



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