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Showing posts from January, 2009

How to know you've found the right girl

I started balling when I saw the box.

- from a friend's wedding web site on her reaction to the moment he proposed and presented the ring (in a fancy restaurant, nonetheless!)

Loan modification is evil

The WSJ:
If the intent is to help homeowners, then foreclosure is undoubtedly the best solution. Household balance sheets have been destroyed by taking on too much debt via the purchase of inflated assets. With so little savings, a household with negative equity almost implies negative net worth. Walking away from the mortgage immediately repairs the balance sheet.

Credit may be damaged, but homeowners can rebuild it. And by renting something they can afford, instead of the McMansion they cannot, homeowners are most likely to have some money left over each month that they can save toward a down payment on a house they can eventually afford.

[...]

Finally, loan modification is not only ineffective, it is evil. Coercing borrowers to continue paying a mortgage on a home that is hopelessly overvalued and not informing them of alternatives is predatory lending.

The media should interview those who had been foreclosed upon. Do they feel sorry or relieved? Are they rebuilding their credit, not to…

Homo vegetarians down under

Mrs. Keith sends this news from down under:
A gay vegetarian foreign currency trader says his boss tormented him for being a "homo" who wouldn't eat steak with the boys.They should have offered him tube steak!

Pacifico's discrimination suit claims the firm made up lies about his performance to sack him but the real factors were that he was a vegetarian who was perceived to be gay by boss Robert Catalanello.

Court papers say Catalenella called him "a vegetarian homo."

[...] His lawyer, Rick Ostrove, said the firm associated being a vegetarian with being gay.

"It's a ridiculous male stereotype that only real men eat meat."Indeed.

"A trading floor is certainly a manly man's world," Pacifico said.
This is where Australia is really behind the times. Trading floors in the U.S. are so much more open-minded.

"There will be time for profits on Wall Street. Now is not that Time."

So says our dear leader. The market conditions might make that statement correct, but still, isn't it nice of him to have decided that 9 days in office has somehow given him the authority to hault profit-making? Not that I'd defend the crooks on Wall Street, and yes, many of them are now playing with OUR money and owe us big time, but since WHEN does the President have this authority? And since they're using OUR money, I'm really hoping they DO make a profit so they can pay us back! Congressmen are shouting out sophisticated arguments like, "these people on wall street are idiots! What gives them the right to dish out bonuses?" Ah... a VERY good question. But are we allowed to ask whether our government has the "right" to run up a trillion dollar deficit? To redistribute our money to the politicians' Wall Street Cronies? To run up a $53 TRILLION debt? If they have the right to do all that, then surely we can allow SOME people to have the right …

Integrity Watch

Let's see if the President allows Federal Prosecutor Pat Fitzgerald to continue his investigation into the vast web of corruption in IL politics, with full freedom to go wherever the evidence takes him. Illinois is SO unbelievably corrupt, that it strains one's imagination to think that our President had no dealings with these proven-to-be-corrupt politicians in this state.

But now, as President, he has the power to simply "re-assign" Pat Fitzgerald to another district, or to "discourage" him from following this case to the end, no matter where it leads him. What if Blago decides to cooperate with Fitzgerald in exchange for a lighter sentence? Or if he turns state's evidence entirely? I'm not suggesting anything, but Blago has no love for Obama. He is extremely jealous of him, because Blago himself often told everyone he was going to be President. And he felt slighted by Obama once or twice. However, they are both mutually linked to other corrupt peo…

Bank Failure Friday -- MagnetBank, Salt Lake City, UT; Suburban Federal Savings Bank of Crofton, MD; and Ocala National Bank of Ocala, FL

Happy Bank Failure Friday, everybody!

Sheila Bair is still going after the small fry while hoping Geithner and Bernanke can pull a few trillion dollars out of taxpayers' asses to save the big banks.

Today it's MagnetBank of Salt Lake City.

UPDATE: Triple play! Suburban Federal Savings Bank of Crofton, MD, and Ocala National Bank of Ocala, FL, bite the dust.

Veggie tails

A 30-second commercial at the Super Bowl: $3 million.

Getting millions of dollars worth of publicity by getting your ad banned: Priceless.

And the cinematography is pretty good too.

Bravery and the Truth in Illinois...No, it's not what you think

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1) Truth: An angle you probably haven't heard about this impeachment of Blagojevich. I'll try to be brief. Blago was on tape, showing his endless corruption skills. Many hours of tape. MANY different names were mentioned on the tape. As impeachment gathered momentum, the Democratic party (which dominates this state, hardly any Repubs to be found), was all for moving ahead on impeachment. Repubs, too. The Impeachment trial was set tobegin reviewing the evidence (the audio tapes of Blago). Then the Dems who control the house and Senate, however, suddenly decided to accelerate the impeachment hearings! The reason? Well, they did NOT want all the evidence to be shown so publicly, because many of THEIR names are mentioned by Blago in the tapes! He was doing crooked deals with everybody in the state. And the entire state is a cesspool of this kind of thing. So they had to impeach him, but they didn't want TOO much of the evidence to get out.
Funny thing was, the Repubs were sayin…

Walstreetpro

Last week, Negocios linked to a Walstreetpro video. The combination of hillbilly jive and a thorough comprehension of Wall Street and Washington crimes is magical.

Here's Wallstreetpro's latest (content warning: extreme profanity): We've been robbed.

This is Democracy

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Welcome to Illinois politics. 2 Parties, 1 goal - crime at any cost.

1. Democrat - Rod Blagojevich


2. Republican - George Ryan


What's the difference? Ideology, moral conviction, human rights? No dear friends, the only difference between the previous governor, impeached today, and the previous, previous governor is that one has been convicted and is serving time while the other is going to be convicted and will serve time.

Hey Illinois, ain't democracy a peach?

More Victims.

It's not quite Greenspan's Body Count, but reading stories like this makes me wonder if we should also be keeping some kind of a "non-fatality casualty list" of those who have been victimized by the current bad economic situation. Seriously, poor Carrie, Charlotte, Samantha, and um....the other ones, too.

full link below http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/28/nyregion/28daba.html?_r=1

Greenspan's Body Count: The Ervin Lupoe Family

It's a tough job being the official arbiter of Greenspan's Body Count. We take this responsibility seriously, at least as seriously as Alan Greenspan took the decision whether to allow a normal recession or create the greatest asset bubble in the history of the world.

When we first heard about the case of Ervin Lupoe, we thought it didn't qualify for Greenspan's Body Count.

... click here to read the rest of this article.

Inflation: the ultimate bailout

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Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

The Fed is just getting warmed up in its battle to reignite inflation. It has already doubled the monetary base:



... and it will soon begin printing money to buy long-dated Treasury bonds, pushing down interest rates. It's hard to wrap your head around the concept, but Congress can spend as much money as it wants without causing Treasury rates to go up, because the Fed can print as much money as it wants to buy Treasury bonds. In fact, why don't we eliminate the income tax, and just have the Fed print the roughly $1 trillion dollars it brings in?

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. In the short term, it doesn't cause inflation because the depression has crushed demand for goods and services. It also doesn't cause the dollar to collapse in FX markets because all other major countries are simultaneously doing the same thing. But in the long run, a vastly greater number of dollars out there mea…

Now that he needs a favor, he's suddenly Limbaugh's best friend

Happy Bank Failure Fri...Tuesday

We forgot a shout out last Friday to Redlands, California, proud home of 1st Centennial Bank. Actually it's a bank no longer thanks to the FDIC. It's the latest in a long line of irresponsible banking which end in failure. Of course they didn't qualify for TARP money because didn't pay enough to buy those whore Washington politicians.

For those keeping track, or checking here, that's 3 for the month. Let's see if Sheila has some suprises in store for us this weekend.

The thinker

How do you think Greenspan made that decision: "Should I allow the economy to experience a typical cyclical recession, or should I create the biggest asset bubble in the history of the world?"

BOHICA

Mish, Schiff and Spleef

Mish completely destroys Schiff for some of the predictions he's made. I still think time will tell but Mish makes some excellent points. To be fair, Schiff broke into the mainstream media and was the only one sounding the warning bells. He might not have hit all the nails on the head but he did stand up to CNBCs idiot panels and predict reality as opposed to their fantasy. I have posted a couple of videos involving Schiff here and here that I feel deserve consideration.

Fine, Mish is attacking one of those that actually was spreading the message. Well Mr. Shedlock, what do you have to say to this guy? He might be more right on than you or Schiff!

* Warning contains material inappropriate for children and the weak minded.

That'll teach him!

Two rich kids who lost their trust funds to Bernie Madoff sure showed him!
Two Florida teens whose trust funds went down the toilet because of Ponzi schemer Bernard Madoff vented their rage by wrapping a tree on his Palm Beach estate in toilet paper.

The once-flush trust-fund kids called The Palm Beach Post after their deed was done, saying it was retaliation for Madoff losing the money that had been invested in their futures.

They said their parents approved.
You see? Karma, man. Madoff will have to live his whole life now remembering that his palm tree was once toilet papered. If that's not justice, I don't know what is.

The education scam

Just as the real estate industry suckered millions of Americans into taking on crushing debt to own a home because home ownership was the Meaning of Life, the education industry has suckered millions of Americans into taking on crushing debt to go to school because education is the Meaning of Life.

Forbes explains: The Great College Hoax.

And like the housing bubble, the education bubble was created with easy money. If people actually had to save for college, colleges couldn't charge $40,000 a year. But when student-victims can be swindled into signing a lifetime debt agreement, colleges can charge whatever they want.

On a related note, "Doug" tells GetOutOfDebt.org that he's considered suicide to get out of debt. The $30,000 credit card debt? He can always declare bankruptcy and start with a clean slate. The $75,000 student debt? Not so fast. The education pushers and their lackeys in Congress have made student debt generally ineligible for bankruptcy, so that …

Agape World - Hauppauge Ponzi scheme

a⋅ga⋅pe [ah-gah-pey] –noun,
1. unselfish love of one person for another without sexual implications; brotherly love.
2. a touchy-feely word used by swindlers to cause suspension of disbelief.

a⋅gape [uh-geyp] –adjective,
1. with the mouth wide open, as in wonder, surprise, or eagerness: He stood there agape as he realized he had put hundreds of thousands of dollars into a Ponzi scheme.

End of Days

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I thought I was pessimistic. Banana Republic is having a big sale in honor of the "Final Days."



They had a cashmere sweater for $15.99:



I was going to buy it, but then if it's the end of the world, what am I going to need a cashmere sweater for?

And you thought Del Mar real estate has tanked

This poor schlub bought a Florida mansion for $13.75 million in March 2004--and sold it in November for $10 (or $100, depending on which reports you read).

What? The poor schlub is Lehman Brothers' chief expropriation officer Richard Fuld? And he "sold" the mansion to his wife? He must be the guy who gave Bernie Madoff the brilliant idea of mailing his jewelry to his relatives.

Del Mar retail / CRE update

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If it's a Sunday with nothing happening, it must be time for another Del Mar CRE update. The last update is here, and earlier updates are here, here, and here.

Let's start on a positive note: the long-awaited Three Dog Bakery finally opened.


And while there were no customers in the picture, I did see people in the store earlier in the day. It smelled delicious. If I were a dog with a credit card, I would have bought something.

That was the only good news of the day though.

Remember how the high-end Del Mar Plaza used to paint scenery over the windows of its vacancies?



Well, they've given up on that. And another one's gone...



And another one's gone...



Another one bites the dust!



And a few blocks to the south, more vacancies are popping up:





No more of the vacancies from earlier CRE updates appear to have been filled. At this rate, Del Mar is going to be a ghost town by race track season.

Corruption at the SEC

The San Diego Reader's Don Bauder has a good article on corruption at the SEC. SEC attorney Gary Aguirre wanted to interview John Mack of Pequot Capital Management about possible insider trading... But his boss said Mack had big Washington connections — specifically, to President George W. Bush. Aguirre protested. Just weeks after he had been given a strongly positive job review, Aguirre was fired. The Senate’s Committee on Finance and Committee on the Judiciary did a 108-page study on the matter.

There were some hair-raising findings. While Aguirre was trying to get the Mack interview, an attorney at the Debevoise and Plimpton law firm sent Paul Berger, Aguirre’s boss, an email with the opening words “Yowza!” It described how an ex-SEC lawyer could make $2 million a year with the firm. One of the top attorneys at the Debevoise firm contacted a senior official of the securities agency on behalf of Mack and behind Aguirre’s back. After he fired Aguirre, Berger took a job with Debev…

Friday night donkey punch

... from Freddie Mac to the taxpayers:
Freddie Mac, the mortgage-finance company under federal control, said it will ask the U.S. Treasury Department for as much as $35 billion more in aid.

Freddie, which took $13.8 billion from Treasury in November, said in a securities filing today that its fourth- quarter operating losses will again drive its net worth below zero.

Anybody speak Hungarian?

These guys just linked to us, but I have no idea what they are saying. Babelfish doesn't do Hungarian.

I think they said something about your mother.

Gold hits $900

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And it's an all-time high in both Euro and Sterling terms. What's happening here is that all currencies are simultaneously devaluing as all countries print money to try to overcome debt deflation. So the dollar may look "strong" at the moment against other currencies, but that's sort of like a skydiver with his back arched and limbs outstretched falling slightly slower than other skydivers in sleek vertical postures.

Sure would have been nice to buy the GDX at 22 in October, eh?

Austrian economics

On the disastrous California economy:
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger cited the growing unemployment rate as evidence that the state needs “aggressive economic stimulus” – including revenue increases, job creation programs and government streamlining.
There's no stimulus like a tax increase!

At the movies: Gran Torino

I saw Gran Torino last week and agree mostly with Charlie. It's got a few grating flaws, but it's still a great film.

And I've told you once and I've told you twice, but you never listen to my advice: get Dogville on DVD. Two years after I watched it, its power and grace still astound me.

Victims of the housing bubble

I do my best to keep track of Greenspan's Body Count. But to paraphrase the immortal lyrics of Megadeth,

The arsenal of Greenspan can't be rid they said
And if it comes, the living will envy the dead
The living victims of the housing bubble may not yet envy the dead, but they are victims nonetheless.

Consider:

Victim #1: W.C. Varones. A man who would love to own a home in his community, a community in which all homes are still priced at insane multiples of rent and median incomes. And the government is using Varones' own tax dollars on a wide variety of ventures designed to keep housing prices unaffordable.

Victim #2: A close associate of W.C. Varones. A man who bought a luxury 1-bedroom condo in the bubble. He now yearns to move his young family to a bigger home, but cannot bring himself to dump the condo at a loss.

Victim #3: A close associate of W.C. Varones. He owns homes in two cities, though, curiously, lives in only one at a time. His mortgages are like a millstone…

Deflation vs. Inflation

We've been going over this debate for months. It's the most important investment question of our time.

I haven't articulated it much. But the two camps are captured well by Mish for deflation and Toscano against deflation. They are both right. We are certainly in a deflationary situation right now, but the Fed printing presses are limitless. To be fair, Mish says no hyperinflation, while Rich says no deflationary spiral. So they can both be right in the unhappy middle: stagflation.

Do what you will. I am holding both gold and cash for either eventuality. Bonds are for fools.

Then and now -- Assemblyman Anthony Adams

California Assemblyman Anthony Adams, 11/25/08:
"It is absurd for Democrat to refuse to live within their means and expect California's taxpayers to pick up the tab for their poor spending choices," said Adams. "California's families have been hit hard by the economic downturn and are struggling to balance their own family's budget. With the holiday season approaching, Californians shouldn't have to choose between putting presents under the tree and giving more of their hard-earned money to Sacramento."

Lying weasel Anthony Adams, 1/22/09:
"(We must be able) to tell constituents, 'Look, we had to raise taxes, we had to go forward, but we've fundamentally altered the way in which Sacramento is going to be budgeted – and we will not have these problems again because of it,'" Adams said.

Every year, California Republicans promise to hold the line on taxes and spending. And every year, Schwarzenegger and the Democrats bribe or threat…

White Male Construction Workers to get no Fed Money!

But maybe MORE importantly, neither will "highly skilled workers who are already professionals"!!

This is exactly why I trust, with all of my heart, my Federal Government to know how best to spend my money. I'm glad they didn't ask me, because I would have said, "if you're gonna build stuff, hire qualified people to do it."

Say, that is intimate Obamas fisting

"The Obamas do a lot of touching, and kissing, and even fisting, with one another"

Den of hookers: 1355 Stratford Court, Del Mar

It just keeps getting stranger and stranger.

We made this off-hand comment about a condo with $25,000 monthly rent:
So, it's not subsidized, but it's still available if you've got $25,000 burning a hole in your pocket and you've given up crack and hookers.
But who says you can't have it all? It turns out the condo comes with its own hookers:
Intimate Moments Outcalls
1355 Stratford Ct, #17
Del Mar, CA
(858) 279-3093

Great moments in literature

"Her skirt was very short and Josh found himself mesmerized by her perfectly shaped, silken legs with kneecaps that reminded him of golden apples."

- A Time to Run, Senator Barbara Boxer

B of A - Merrill paid early bonuses while extorting taxpayers

Last week we wrote Paulson persists picking your pocket, wherein Bank of America took tax money from Henry Paulson under the threat of dumping the Merrill Lynch deal at the last minute.

Now we learn that while Bank of America was extorting taxpayers in the boardroom, Merrill was shoveling cash out the back door to executives:
Merrill Lynch took the unusual step of accelerating bonus payments by a month last year, doling out billions of dollars to employees just three days before the closing of its sale to Bank of America.

The timing is notable because the money was paid as Merrill’s losses were mounting and Ken Lewis, BofA’s chief executive, was seeking additional funds from the government’s troubled asset recovery programme to help close the deal.

[...]Nancy Bush, an analyst with NAB Research, described the size of the 2008 Merrill bonus payments as “ridiculous”.

BofA said: “Merrill Lynch was an independent company until January 1 2009. John Thain (Merrill’s chief executive) decided to p…

No subsidized housing in Del Mar 1355 Stratford Court

Last month, we wrote Subsidized housing in Del Mar, wherein the dopes who were paying somewhere around $19,000 a month to "own" a condo were offering it for rent for $6500 a month.

Oops. A couple corrections are in order:

First, the condo for rent (1355 Stratford) was not the same condo as the one that had sold for $2.55 million (1426 Stratford). I was confused because they were on the same block, had similar architecture, and 1426 Stratford had a "For Lease" sign in front of it while 1355 Stratford was the only one showing up online. It looks like the owners are into 1355 for about $1.6 million, so their carrying costs are more like $13,000.

Secondly and more importantly, though, it seems they may have meant $6500 per week, as they have now changed the rent in the ad to $25,000 per month.

Now, those of you who don't know Del Mar might think $25,000 a month is high for rent. Let me assure you, those of us who do know Del Mar think it's friggin' ridiculo…

Couldn't happen to a nicer paper

Desperate New York Times borrows from Mexican loan shark.

They will likely blow through the $250 million within a couple years, at which point they will be at the mercy of Carlos Slim Helu. Unless they are rewarded with a bailout by the Obama Administration for their loyal reporting.

The market ethusiastically welcomes President Obama

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... the gold market, that is.

Obama Inaguration Speech Theme: Irony or Deception?

Reportedly, the theme of Obama's Inauguration Speech is going to be.....well first let me lay out some facts that might put his theme into clear relief.

-He is a big supporter of using Federal money to prop up businesses that have fundamentally failed. He's calling for more bailoutsand more Federal Stimulus Packages.
-He's in favor of bailing out GM and the Unions.
-His stimulus package proposes sending "tax refunds" to people who didn't even PAY TAXES in the first place. In the English language we call that "welfare".
-He was deeply involved in the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mae housing-loan/fraud-policies, and received more money from them than any other candidate.
-You get the idea....

Back to his Inauguration speech's theme, which will be (I'm not kidding here), "PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY"!

So yes, let's all sit back and listen to Mr. Personal-Responsibility-Begins-With-Calling-on-Uncle Sam -for -Help tell us how we can better take ca…

Federal Home Loan Bailout number

This is a public service announcement brought to you by W.C. Varones.

If you signed up for a house that was 10 times your income and you lied on your home loan application regarding your employment and savings status, and you are about to lose the house because you can't afford the 7Gs a month converted mortgage payment - call this number because we the responsible tax payers of this country, like myself, want you to have a home, while I rent.

1-800-600-8128

I called the number and it was explained to me that there are a variety of reasons someone needs assistance. I suggested - like fraud. When I asked the representative on the phone why this happened, she said it’s the fault of the banks and the hedge funds. Interesting that she blamed the hedge funds.

I know people will call me a radical, conservative fascist but I blame those who purchased homes they couldn’t afford. I blame the evil, little orange people who provided the loans to these people. I blame the enablers such as Fann…

Fiddling while Rome burns

Obama hosting pricey party in a dicey economy:
The price tag for President-elect Barack Obama's inauguration gala is expected to break records, with some estimates reaching as high as $150 million. Despite the bleak economy, however, Democrats who called on President George W. Bush to be frugal four years ago are issuing no such demands now that an inaugural weekend of rock concerts and star-studded parties has begun.

Neil Young on the bailout

Rep. Gary Miller (R) introduces Keep Homes Unaffordable Act

It should be obvious to everyone at this point that inflated home prices are not a good thing. Homes should return to reasonable (3x to 4x) multiples of annual incomes, and young families should be able to save up a 20% down payment before purchasing. We are still far from that point.

Enter dimwitted California Republican Gary Miller, who thinks the solution to a housing bubble created by easy money is to try to reinflate the bubble with more easy money. His Keep Homes Unaffordable Act:
Economic stimulus legislation passed into law last year temporarily lifted the loan limits to nearly $730,000 from $417,000 through the end of 2008. The limits dropped to $625,500 from $729,750 on January 1.

Rep. Gary Miller, Republican of California, introduced legislation Thursday to reinstate the higher limits, arguing the move was crucial for restoring the affordability of mortgages in some regions of the country and stabilizing the housing market.

"As the crisis in housing markets continues, t…

Recognition

Getting a mention in Newsweek is OK, but we're really honored to be linked in the Daily Paul.

Bank Failure Friday: National Bank of Commerce, Berkeley, IL

Happy Bank Failure Friday, everyone!

Lazy FDIC bureaucrat Sheila Bair took a month off, but she's back in action with the seizure of Illinois' National Bank of Commerce.

UPDATE: Double play! The Bank of Clark County, Vancouver, WA, goes down.

Countrywide lawyers: don't believe that crap our PR guys say about helping homeowners

News from Countryfried:
In marketing, advertising and testimony before Congress, Countrywide Home Loans has said repeatedly that it is working hard to modify the mortgages of financially strapped borrowers caught up in the subprime meltdown. But in a New Hampshire court, attorneys for the lending giant are singing a different tune, describing such assurances as “mere commercial puffery.”

Saying the modification offers are “only Countrywide’s vague advertisements,” attorneys for the lender are asking the court to throw out a lawsuit alleging breach of good faith, fraud, negligence and misrepresentation, which was filed on behalf of a family that was refused a loan modification by the California-based company.
Our friend Super Fly translates:

“Mere commercial puffery” … “We’re just outright liars and evil like every other bank out there. We lie to you and we certainly lie to the government so we can get loans that we describe as temp financing but really we’re insolvent and hopefully if w…

The solution to the physical gold shortage

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I've written before about the physical gold shortage. The bottom line is people want to buy more gold coins than governments want to mint. You could buy the GLD ETF, but gold kooks don't like having their transactions electronically traceable, and they don't like trusting some bank to hold their gold.

Enter the private market:



PAMP S.A. is a Swiss company that makes gold bars. You still pay a relatively hefty premium ($37.50 over spot in my recent purchase), but less than you'll pay if you're lucky enough to find Krugerrands, American Eagles, or Canadian Maple Leafs these days.

Safe - US Airways flight 1549

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Thanks to some great flying and some quick flight crew and rescue workers, it looks like most if not all of the passengers on US Airways flight 1549 are safe.



Picture taken by a commuter on a ferry that went to the rescue.

Testimony from a Fed Consigliere

At least one congressman is concerned about his legislative oversight role. Well done Grayson!

Paulson persists picking your pocket

Once Bank of America saw Merrill Lynch's horrible books, it didn't want to go through with the merger. So Henry Paulson bribed them with your money to do it:
Discussions over these funds began in mid-December when Bank of America approached the Treasury Department. The bank, already the recipient of $25 billion in committed federal rescue funds, said that it was unlikely to complete its Jan. 1 purchase of the ailing Wall Street securities firm because of Merrill's larger-than-expected losses in the fourth quarter, according to a person familiar with the talks.

Treasury, concerned the deal's failure could affect the stability of U.S. financial markets, agreed to work with the Charlotte, N.C., lender on the "formulation of a plan" that includes new capital from the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program, according to the person familiar with the talks. The amount and terms are still being finalized, this person said. Details are expected to be announced with…

Newsweek catches on to Greenspan's Body Count

Well, well, well. Little ol' W.C. Varones got a link and a mention in Newsweek:
Recent weeks have seen a spate of suicides by some of the most financially powerful people in the world. German billionaire industrialist Adolf Merckle lay down in front of a train after huge investment losses threatened his family's business empire. Chicago real-estate mogul Steven Good shot and killed himself in the driver's seat of his Jaguar after the property-auction business turned sour. René -Thierry Magon de La Villehuchet lost $1.4 billion to Bernie Madoff, went to work, took sleeping pills and slit his wrist.

The deaths bring up two questions: Is this the start of a disturbing recession-induced trend? And will it spread to rank-and-file Americans? The answers to both questions are a matter of debate. New York Magazine this week questioned whether a suicide epidemic was really taking place on Wall Street. In the blogosphere, Greenspan's Body Count—named after the former Federal Rese…

Some Intellectual Honesty in our future?

Back to that sea-ice-level report WC posted a link to, which shows that today we once again have the same amount of sea ice as we did in 1979.

In the 70's, the popular theory was that we were heading into another ice age. Then we warmed up. Well, now that the sea-ice-levels are THE SAME as they were in the late 70's, I pose 2 questions: Will we be seeing any intellectual honesty from the scientists and politicians who are trying to scare us daily about global warming? Shouldn't they now start scaring us about a coming ice age again?

If you think about it, that WOULD be the intellectually honest thing to do, right? Now that we're back "where we left off" in the 1979, let's start worrying about our depressed-value houses being crushed by southbound glaciers, ok? Anyone wanna fund my next movie project, "An Inconvenient Glacier"?

Points to ponder

We note that supporters of Palestinian militants often compare their situation to apartheid in South Africa.

We don't recall Nelson Mandela or Stephen Biko sending suicide bombers onto buses full of women and children. And we don't recall barrages of missiles raining down on civilian neighborhoods in Johannesburg or Cape Town from the townships.

One might think the Palestinian plea for sympathy would be more effective if they were a little more like Mandela, Gandhi, or King, and a little less like bin Laden.

I got your irony right here Alec Ahsoak

Child molester wins lottery put on by anti-rape organization.

HT: Ang.

UPDATE: The people of Alaska don't appreciate irony. Maybe they should add it to the high school curriculum.
The man who won the state's first half-million-dollar lottery was attacked on a downtown street Tuesday afternoon with a tire iron or metal pipe, according to Anchorage police.

Police say Alec Ahsoak, 53, was attacked when a man approached him to ask if he was the man who won the $500,000 jackpot.

Whether the attack was motivated by Ahsoak's winning the lottery or the widely distributed reports that he is a three-time convicted sex offender was unclear.
Unclear. Yeah. Let's go beat the crap out of some lottery winners. They really piss me off.

Did Al Gore ground his private jet?

Why Won't Anyone Listen to Peter Schiff?!?

HT: Link from Patrick.net

There's something fishy here

Feel-good story of the day

The Somali pirates who hijacked a Saudi oil tanker last year got their ransom payment...and then drowned making their getaway.

Innocence

A father asked his ten-year old son if he knew about the birds & the bees.

"I don't want to know," said the boy, bursting into tears. "Promise you won't tell me."

Confused, the father asked his son what was wrong.

The boy sobbed, "When I was six, I got the 'There's no Easter Bunny' speech. At seven, I got the 'There's no Tooth Fairy' speech. When I was eight, you hit me with the 'There's no Santa Claus' speech. If you're going to tell me that grown-ups don't really get laid, I'll have nothing left to live for."

From Mohawk Campfire.

Ron Paul on Madoff

Zactly what I said:
[H]aving agencies like the SEC gives people a false sense of security.

Kind of like the FDA and the Consumer Product Safety Commission. They don't really check for melamine in food or lead in toys from China. But they give the public a false sense of security: "Well, I know there's a government agency responsible for it somewhere, so it must be OK!"

Sure, there will always be Ponzi schemes. But they don't grow to $50 billion without government endorsement.
Paul actually said this a few days ago, but I just found the video.

Same shit, different day

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Tolerance

Atlas Shrugged

Stephen Moore in the Wall Street Journal:
The current economic strategy is right out of "Atlas Shrugged": The more incompetent you are in business, the more handouts the politicians will bestow on you. That's the justification for the $2 trillion of subsidies doled out already to keep afloat distressed insurance companies, banks, Wall Street investment houses, and auto companies -- while standing next in line for their share of the booty are real-estate developers, the steel industry, chemical companies, airlines, ethanol producers, construction firms and even catfish farmers. With each successive bailout to "calm the markets," another trillion of national wealth is subsequently lost. Yet, as "Atlas" grimly foretold, we now treat the incompetent who wreck their companies as victims, while those resourceful business owners who manage to make a profit are portrayed as recipients of illegitimate "windfalls."

Obama bingo

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I won my office Obama bingo game today, clinching it when he said "middle class" to give me five across the middle, including the free space.

Bingo cards courtesy of Balls of Fury, who wrote an awesome Obama bullshit bingo card generator.

Baseball whiff

Don't go to MLB.com. The creepy viruses have spread from the locker room to their website.

Darth Cheney Speaks

Letter to the Congressional Oversight Panel

So I wrote:
Paulson and Bush's TARP plan is a complete failure of the Executive and Legislative Branch. Paulson lied about what he was going to do while the Legislature gave up the oversight it is required to keep according to the constitution.

Please resign your positions on this panel and in our legislative branch of government. You have utterly failed the people of the United States of America in your oversight role. This upcoming economic depression is your fault.And they wrote:
Congressional Oversight Panel
732 North Capitol Street, NW
Rooms: C-320 and C-617
Mailstop: COP
Washington, DC 20401

January 8, 2009

Dear [Negocios Loucos All Mighty],

Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts with the Congressional Oversight Panel. We have received an enormous amount of correspondence through our website over the past few weeks, and we apologize for any delay in responding to your message.

As part of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, Congress established the Panel…

Why "more regulation" won't work: Meaghan Cheung

Because the type of people attracted to regulation bureaucracy jobs are lazy and incompetent:
The Securities and Exchange Commission's New York watchdog, under fire for failing to uncover Bernard Madoff's alleged $50 billion Ponzi scheme - despite a dead-on tip by a whistleblower - yesterday tearfully defended herself, arguing that she and the agency did the best job possible.

"Why are you taking a mid-level staff person and making me responsible for the failure of the American economy?" an upset Meaghan Cheung, with eyes tearing up, told The Post.

"I worked very hard for 10 years to make a career, and a reputation, and that has been destroyed in a month," said Cheung, who was the SEC's branch chief of the New York enforcement division during that unit's earlier probe of Madoff's brokerage business.

The 37-year-old has been singled out by whistleblower Harry Markopolos as the woman who failed to detect the scam despite his lengthy warnings. It was C…

Greenspan's Body Count: Steven L. Good

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The W.C. Varones Blog is having serious trouble keeping up with Greenspan's Body Count. Sent in by IA and Ryan, another one today:
One of Chicago's most well-known real estate moguls appears to have shot himself to death, police said.

Steven Good was found dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot Monday, police said.

The body of Steven L. Good was found in his Jaguar on Monday. The car was spotted in a parking lot of a wildlife preserve in Kane County, Illinois, just outside Chicago, authorities said.

No note was found, and police say they do not know how long the 52-year-old had been in the vehicle.

Good was the chairman and chief executive officer of Sheldon Good & Co., a major U.S. real estate auction company.

The death comes amid great turmoil in the country's real estate industry. In his role as chairman of the Realtors Commercial Alliance Committee, Good commented on tough conditions last month at a business conference.
Greenspan's Body Count now stands at seven…

It's about time

Greenspan's Body Count: Adolf Merckle bitte die scheisse

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Thanks to Junior Accountant for sending this one. German tycoon Adolf Merckle, "Germany's Warren Buffett," killed himself after his business and family fortune blew up in Greenspan's bubble:
German billionaire Adolf Merckle has committed suicide, in despair over the huge losses suffered by his business empire during the financial crisis, his family said on Tuesday.

The media-shy billionaire, whose family controls some of Germany's best-known companies, was hit by a train on Monday evening, local officials said.

"The desperate situation of his companies caused by the financial crisis, the uncertainties of the last few weeks and his powerlessness to act, have broken the passionate family entrepreneur and he took his own life," a family statement said.

State prosecutors from the southern city of Ulm said Merckle, 74, left work on Monday and died after being hit by a train near the town of Blaubeuren. He left behind a suicide note to his family, they added.

Wha…

WC Sports Desk Programming Note

Just a television programming note: tonight from Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile, Alabama is the GMAC Bowl. Yes sports fans, the bowl brought to you by you. GMAC is the crooked loan arm of GM that enabled GM to sell many more cars than they should have by offering loans to the unemployed to buy Chevy 1 tons. Well they obviously were going to go broke until the US of A stepped in to prop them up. So even if you could give a rats ass about Tulsa and Ball State, you, if you're American, are paying for it. So enjoy tonight’s game comrades.

* And a little reminder for those who enjoy sports where judges determine champions such as figures skating, gymnastics, diving and synchronized swimming, Thursday is the college football championship game between Florida and Oklahoma.

See this is funny because each team has lost once. There is a team that is undefeated, Utah, but they weren't given the opportunity to play in this game. They played in another game and spanked the team that …

A little more Apple BS

"Schiller also said 3.4 million customers visit Apple stores each week. "

Are you kidding me, so in a year 176.8 MILLION people visit Apple stores? Well done Apple!

Kathy Griffin on CNN New Years Eve

This is pretty funny. Not Alec Baldwin berating his daughter funny, or Celine Dion take a kayak funny, but still pretty good.