WC Varones

Don't lend your hand to raise no flag atop no ship of fools

Danny Elfman on the 99%-ers

Ladies and gentlemen, the genius behind Oingo Boingo, The Simpsons and Nightmare Before Christmas soundtracks, and Jenna Elfman:



I'm so tired of hearing you whine
About the revolution
Bringin' down the rich
When was the last time you dug a ditch, baby!

You're just a middle class, socialist brat
From a suburban family and you never really had to work
And you tell me that we've got to get back
To the struggling masses (whoever they are)
You talk, talk, talk about suffering and pain
Your mouth is bigger than your entire brain
What the hell do you know about suffering and pain . . .

Movie Review: Drive

I recently saw Drive, not knowing anything about it other than it inspired a man to throw a hot dog at Tiger Woods because he "wanted to do something courageous and epic."

The movie is strange. It starts off with pink script credits reminiscent of Miami Vice or 80's John Hughes teen movies. And the soundtrack, though original, is heavily influenced by 80's music.

After an opening heist and getaway scene sets the hook, the film turns to a character drama replete with love interest, cute kid, flawed but loving mentor, etc. And then Ryan Gosling does the worst James Dean act I've ever seen. He stands around, wearing a denim jacket, leaning against doorways, and not talking. Except he doesn't look cool and disaffected as James Dean did. He looks retarded. I thought this might be Gilbert Grape 2: The Driver Years.

The theme song from the movie is "A Real Hero" by "College featuring Electric Youth," though I'm not sure whether College is the chick singer and Electric Youth is the synthesizer or vice versa. The lyrics were so clunky that I initially thought they were a tribute to the retard Gosling, but alas, they appear just a contorted way to arrive at the line "Real human being, and a real hero..." as a chorus which sounds really cool the way the chick with the great voice sings it to Top Gun music.

All of which is a really bizarre way to lead up to the main point of this review: you have got to go see this movie. It is amazing. It is a real genre-bender. The bad acting fades away and the weird music becomes compelling. The film is a good human drama and a good action movie (one middle-aged couple left mid-film because of some Tarantino-ish ultraviolence), and the combination of the two is incredible.

I can't begin to do justice to this movie, so let me leave you with this song which I initially found so cheesy and now can't stop listening to.

It Depends What the Definition of Default Is



You silly sovereign CDS holders thought you had something of value didn't you? I'm so sorry, the appropriate instrument for today's "event" is the CHS - Credit Haircut Swap. Credit Default Swaps on sovereigns are worthless. Thanks for the risk-less cash flow though, piggy.

More from ZH, the source of the graphic
So,
the European joke has come full circle. Indebted nations borrow more
money to bail out other indebted nations who ask insolvent banks to cut a
50% off deal on the loans that were given to them, but the insolvent
banks will then have to raise capital which the will of course borrow
from the over-indebted nations whom they just gave money to. Get it?
Problem solved - BTMFD!!!
Also Mish with some commentary
As a result of labeling 50% haircuts "voluntary", Credit Default Swap contracts have proven to be useless when it comes to protecting against sovereign default. The serious implication is investors will need to find another way to hedge.
And Denninger
In yet another stunning "agreement", this will somehow not trigger credit default swaps - in other words, they're not really default swaps any more, now they're "whatever we call thems when we want them to be whatevers."
UPDATE: another ZH Post authored by Finance Addict
The big question–apart from how many investors they will get to go along with this, given that they couldn’t reach their target of 90% investor participation when the write-down was only going to be 21%–is whether this will trigger a CDS pay-out.

That this is even up for discussion is mind-boggling. These credit default swaps are meant to be an insurance policy in case Greece doesn’t pay the agreed upon interest and return the full principal within the agreed timeframe. If they don’t pay out when bondholders are taking a 50% hit then what’s the point? I call shenanigans.

Sound familiar?

Fiat currencies of the ages: French Assignats.





HT: Jesse.

When Irony Attacks!

A mere month into the grand experiment that is Occupy Wall Street, the kids discover the joys of dictatorial bureaucrats who take all their money and tell them what to do.
Even in Zuccotti Park, greed is good.

Occupy Wall Street’s Finance Committee has nearly $500,000 in the bank, and donations continue to pour in -- but its reluctance to share the wealth with other protesters is fraying tempers.

Some drummers -- incensed they got no money to replace or safeguard their drums after a midnight vandal destroyed their instruments Wednesday -- are threatening to splinter off.

“F--k Finance. I hope Mayor Bloomberg gets an injunction and demands to see the movement’s books. We need to know how much money we really have and where it’s going,” said a frustrated Bryan Smith, 45, who joined OWS in Lower Manhattan nearly three weeks ago from Los Angeles, where he works in TV production.

Smith is a member of the Comfort Working Group -- one of about 30 small collectives that have sprung up within OWS. The Comfort group is charged with finding out what basic necessities campers need, like thermal underwear, and then raising money by soliciting donations on the street.

“The other day, I took in $2,000. I kept $650 for my group, and gave the rest to Finance. Then I went to them with a request -- so many people need things, and they should not be going without basic comfort items -- and I was told to fill out paperwork. Paperwork! Are they the government now?” Smith fumed, even as he cajoled the passing crowd for more cash.

The Finance Committee dives on whatever dollars are raised by all the OWS working groups, said Smith, and doesn’t give it back.

These kids just got more education in one month about how the real world works than they got in their five-year, $100,000 debt, Grievance Studies programs.

Steve Jobs, teabagger

HuffPo via Instapundit:
“You’re headed for a one-term presidency,” he told Obama at the start of their meeting, insisting that the administration needed to be more business-friendly. As an example, Jobs described the ease with which companies can build factories in China compared to the United States, where “regulations and unnecessary costs” make it difficult for them.

Jobs also criticized America’s education system, saying it was “crippled by union work rules,” noted Isaacson. “Until the teachers’ unions were broken, there was almost no hope for education reform.”

I am the 99%

I've never posted a picture of myself on the blog before, and I think it's about time I do so.

Greenspan's Body Count: Samuel Friedlander, Amy Friedlander, Molly Friedlander, Gregory Friedlander

Serial killer Alan Greenspan paid a visit to the wealthy New York suburb of Cross River:
A Westchester County attorney, apparently facing financial straits and a crumbling marriage, bludgeoned his wife to death, then shot and killed the couple's two children before turning the gun on himself, authorities said.

New York State Police said they believe 50-year-old Samuel Friedlander repeatedly struck Amy Friedlander, 46, with a blunt object during a heated argument in the master bedroom of their Lewisboro home sometime around midnight Monday night. He then walked down the hallway and shot his two children with a 12-gauge Remington 870 shotgun as they lay in bed, according to state police spokesman Major Michael Kopy.

[...]

Several media outlets reported that the couple's house had been put up for sale.

Michael Foley, a New York City police officer turned associate criminology professor at Western Connecticut State University, said that in many cases, people who come from more affluent backgrounds are less equipped to handle financial crises.

"I think everybody has a different coping mechanism. If you've always been poor and you're still poor, you don't know any different," Foley said, although he was quick to point out that domestic violence is not particularly prevalent among the wealthy. "I think that everybody, with the exception of the extremely affluent, they live check-to-check. It's just that their toys cost more."

His colleague in WestConn's Justice and Law Administration Department, George Kain, who is also the acting police commissioner in Ridgefield, agreed with Foley.

"The stress for those people (the wealthy) is much, much more intense, because they've never had to deal with that before," Kain said. "It's much different when you're an affluent person making a six-figure income and you can't make a mortgage payment."



The Friedlanders bought their house at 2 Lambert Ridge Road in 2002 for $737,500, and had been trying to sell it since May. It was "worth" well over a million dollars in Greenspan's bubble. Property taxes on the house were $18,956 a year, more in taxes alone than the median American household pays in rent or mortgage.

UPDATE: Yup.
They took a second, $100,000 mortgage out on the house in 2005, according to county property records.



Greenspan's Body Count stands at 194.

Steve Wynn goes off again about how Obama is destroying the economy

On his 3rd quarter earnings call, courtesy ZeroHedge [bad transcription corrected by WCV]:
What you do have on Wall Street is a reflection of the anxiety, insecurity and the fear that is endemic in the United States of America about the way government has gotten into the business of managing everyone's life and the ability of the government to manage the economy intelligently, by increasing these deficits, and government spending irrationally to the point of threatening everybody's financial security. I am watching my employees' standard of living drop like a rock because of deficits. I think that the American public is beginning to make the connection between deficits and their own loss of living standard.

People that work for me are being paid in 80-cent dollars on the way to 70-cent dollars, and even though I have given two cost of living increases to my employees, in spite of operating losses in America, because I've been able to use some money from Macau. I have not been able to keep up with the effect of deficits on the living standard of my employees. The net result of all of this is frustration, anxiety, and anger.

Click on over and listen to the whole rant, starting at minute 45 in the embedded audio.

Glorious

I wonder how the 99% feel about property rights now that their sh*t is being stolen?
Occupy Wall Street protesters said yesterday that packs of brazen crooks within their ranks have been robbing their fellow demonstrators blind, making off with pricey cameras, phones and laptops -- and even a hefty bundle of donated cash and food.

BREAKING: America leaderless as Obama's Teleprompter is stolen!

Henrico, Virginia:
A truck filled with President Obama's podiums and audio equipment was stolen in Henrico just days before his visit to Chesterfield.

We confirmed an investigation with the U.S. Defense Department. There are still a lot of questions. The biggest one being did the thieves intentionally target the President's truck or did they take advantage of a crime of opportunity and give a big "uh-oh" when they saw what was inside.

When you see President Obama speak, there is a pretty typical setup including the presidential seal on a podium, the see-thru Teleprompter and a portable sound system.

Thieves saw the truck carrying that equipment and couldn't resist the target.

We're told the truck was parked at the Virginia Center Commons Courtyard Marriott in advance on Wednesday's presidential visit to Chesterfield.

The thieves are reportedly holding TOTUS for ransom, but the American public is refusing to take their phone calls.
"Loose lips sink ships, but they also gobble up seamen."
-Old Zeke's Adages and Additions

We are the 53%

A great response to the "We are the 99%" crowd is We are the 53%. That's 53% as in the percentage of Americans who pay taxes while the other 47% contributes nothing (yes, it's safe to assume that 99% of the 99% are in the 47%).

Read through the people's life stories. It's amazing how so many start out just like the 99%-ers. But then they diverge: the 53%-ers went to work while the 99%-ers went whining for a handout.

We don't have a "rich not paying their fair share" problem

... We have a Warren Buffett not paying his fair share problem.



HT: T-Dub.

I am the 1%


Photo courtesy Exurban League.

Gold and Asset Allocation: Less Risk, More Return

One of the basic principles of investing is that expected return increases with risk. The "safest" investments like FDIC-insured CDs and short-term Treasuries have essentially zero risk of loss of principal, but you will earn close to zero on them. Corporate bonds are riskier but will return more on average. Stocks are still riskier but can be expected to earn even more, perhaps several percentage points above inflation over the long run.

The range of possible optimal portfolios then looks something like this, with cash and conservative bond-heavy portfolios in the lower left corner and aggressive stock-heavy portfolios in the upper right. The below, from Charles Schwab, is based on actual returns since 1/1/2009 for various mixes of cash, bonds, large cap, small cap, and international equity. This was a period of strong market returns, so the numbers are higher than long-run expected returns, but the shape of the curve is the same.

On the vertical axis is annualized return, and on the horizontal axis is the volatility (standard deviation of returns) of the portfolio, which is "risk" as defined by academics and investment practitioners (which is a silly way to define risk, but that's a discussion for another day).


Portfolios that lie below the curve are by definition bad portfolios -- taking on too much risk for the amount of return they earn. The Holy Grail would be to be able to build a portfolio that lies above this curve. Which, incidentally, is what you've done if you added gold to your portfolio.

The below portfolio returns are the actual results of an actual investor following the Varones investment strategy of mostly stocks with some cash and gold thrown in.




Given what gold has done has done the past few years, it's not surprising that adding a little gold increased portfolio returns. But what's really beautiful is how gold also reduces portfolio risk. The portfolio returned more than Schwab's "Aggressive" model, but had volatility in line with the "Moderate" model. This has been true long before gold's recent surge. It's because the correlation of gold with other asset classes like stocks, bonds, and real estate is low and even sometimes negative. All this information was available to anyone five years ago, and if gold returns were plugged into any asset allocation model, it would have recommended at least a few percent in gold. And all this is completely apart from, and in addition to, the fundamental reasons this blog has been pounding the table on gold the last few years. So if your financial advisor left you with a zero weight in gold, she's got some 'splaining to do.

Breakfast at the Varones household

(photos by Charlie McDanger)


Fascist pig Michael Bloomberg to shut down Occupy Wall Street

Read all about it at Naked Capitalism.

Not like you couldn't have seen this coming from a nanny-stater with fascist tendencies, eh?

Dennis Ritchie Passes

To those of us in the programming world this is uncanny. Dennis Ritchie passed away today.

To say Ritchie's contribution to computing and our information age was enormous doesn't do him justice. He is on par with Edison, Bell and Pasteur as far as his contribution to humanity moving forward. The brevity of his Wiki page belies his importance.

This is the guy who invented the C computer programming language, which is the basis for almost all computing today. Woz, Jobs, Gates, Allen, et al, built their success on Ritchie's invention. Oh and he also was one of the co-inventors of Unix. Denninger provides more detail into Ritchie's contribution here.


RIP Dennis, thanks for everything.

Seal Beach salon shooter identified as Scott DeKraai

The shooter in today's Seal Beach Salon Meritage shooting is reportedly Scott DeKraai of Huntington Beach, who was targeting his ex-wife Michelle. They have a 7-year-old son together and were in a custody dispute.

As usual, Patch beats the MSM:
Eight people were killed and one critically wounded Wednesday afternoon when a heavily armed gunman wearing body armor opened fire at the Salon Meritage in Seal Beach, police said.

Shortly after the shootings, a white male suspect -- who had weapons strewn across the floorboard of his white truck and guns strapped to his body -- was arrested without incident half a mile from the scene, police and witnesses said.

The alleged gunman was the ex-husband of a salon employee named Michelle, according to the husband of another employee who survived the shooting unharmed after locking herself inside a back room. Another source identified the suspect as Scott DeKraii of Long Beach, who worked in sportfishing.

DeKraai was injured in a tug boat accident in 2007 and appears to have purchased the home at 16212 Melody Lane in Huntington Beach in 2008 for $629,000. It is now worth $490,000 according to Zillow.

Thank goodness DeKraai's grandfather, longtime Seal Beach resident and former firefighter Monte Moore, didn't live to see this tragedy.

Fly private jets on the cheap

Our friend Charlie discusses Jetsuite, a pretty great option if you're spontaneous and live in the southwest.

Herman Cain candidacy implodes as he endorses bubble-blower Alan Greenspan as model Fed Chairman

You may have noticed that I haven't had a kind word to say about Herman Cain even as he's risen in the Republican polls. He seemed an empty suit in his first debate appearance, and his thin resume is not a selling point in a country just burned by electing a community organizer.

Well, tonight's endorsement of Father of the Economic Collapse Alan Greenspan should be the final nail in the coffin of Herman Cain's electoral prospects.
Moderator: Which Fed Chairman has been most effective.

Cain: Greenspan [would serve as model] for Federal Reserve chairman. We should not eliminate the Fed, but fix the Fed.

Paul: Greenspan was a disaster. [Applause]. Greenspan kept interest rates too low to long. Paul Volcker was the best chair because he tried to address inflation. Bernanke compounds the problem started by Greenspan.


Cain was previously Chairman of the Board of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, which I'm led to believe is some sort of ceremonial position for business leaders who have absolutely no idea what the f the Fed does. Which is the charitable interpretation: he's an idiot, not a conspirator.

Cain doesn't have the excuse that he was unprepared or shouldn't have known. He worked for the Fed during the Greenspan bubble-blowing years, and he has seen the financial and economic collapse in Greenspan's wake. This man is not qualified to be dogcatcher.

HT: Sarah

Lest we forget

Before there was #OccupyWallStreet, there was the initial rage over the economic collapse caused by the Wall Street - Washington cabal. Let's hearken back to those early days.

Allow me to re-post the song I posted here back in June 2009.



Hearing this song 2+ years later, it retains its beauty and its righteousness, but what really stands out is the naivety of the lyricist in thinking that the bankers were about to get their comeuppance. He clearly had no idea that they owned and operated the Congress, the Federal Reserve, and the Obama regime. He underestimated the corruption and depravity of Tim Geithner, Ben Bernanke, and Barack Obama.

So we didn't get the natural cleansing of excess in 2009. #OccupyWallStreet follows.

Hospitality tips


Nothing says "Welcome!" like a nice arrangement of chocolate and produce when you have guests in your home.

Fun sticker ideas

(click to enlarge)

Steve Jobs, R.I.P. adios a**hole

This blog tries to be even-handed and welcome all perspectives, and earlier we had a warm tribute to the man behind Apple.

So, I throw another opinion into the mix. Before we get to the man himself, let me address the company. From my standpoint, it appears Apple is primarily successful at marketing pretty products to a flock of sheep, who line up around the block to buy whatever the company makes--regardless of value or utility.

I have music players from several companies, and only Apple tries to block me from moving content from my player (iPod) back to a computer. Thanks, DRM fascists. Of course, Apple's products cost several times what the other companies' do, for the same--no, less--functionality.

At my house, Windows PCs and Android phones connect seamlessly with my wireless router. Apple products don't, and require multiple router resets, if they work at all. When a guest says, "Hey, I can't connect to your internet," it's a guarantee they just whipped out an iPad or MacBook. Haha sheep, I think, and go reset the router.

Now to the man himself. Picture the head of a deep-pocketed company, who can buy the best design and engineering talent out there. He does so, and tells them, Okay guys, let's make a phone. Then he waits for the various product ideas and designs to come to his desk.

"You're f**king imbeciles," he tells one design group. "Go jump off a bridge." To another, he barks, "This is garbage, you worthless rats. I can't believe you even have jobs here."

Then a group brings him a smart, handsome design, and he says, "Not bad, not bad at all. Now go back to work."

The engineers go back to slaving anonymously for their wages; meanwhile our hero gets on stage at the Consumer Electronics Show and presents his genius creation to the world. What a creator! What an innovator!

Hard-driving maniac with decent taste? Sure, his employees would give you that. But this guy is no Thomas Edison.

I'll leave aside his child-abandoning, back-stabbing, Chinese-labor-abusing, zero-philanthropy aspects...you can read about those at Gawker and elsewhere.

By his own self-congratulatory assessments and the recent sycophantic outpouring from the media, we get a picture of an iconoclastic champion for the world. Remember the "Think Different" campaign that (mis)appropriated the images of Gandhi and Martin Luther King? Surely that didn't go out without his beaming approval.

But Steve Jobs is no Gandhi, and he's no Martin Luther King. He did not suffer so that others might suffer less. To the contrary, he made others suffer so that he might bask in glory.

Sure, the guy can spin a motivational yarn that gets pasted and re-pasted all over Facebook. Call it one more product for the sheep; I'm not buying it.

There's an app for that

Obama Presidency performance stats and de-election clock.

Occupy San Diego video

I'll have a full report on yesterday's Occupy San Diego protest up shortly. In the meantime, here's some video of the march arriving at the civic center.



UPDATE: OK, I lied. I'm not going to get around to a full write-up this weekend, so please see my excellent compatriots Left Coast Rebel, Temple of Mut, and B-Daddy for the scoop.

Who are the Occupiers?

Long before the usual leftist hack groups of unions, moveon.org, Van Jones, and other Obama re-election front groups heard of Occupy Wall Street, the movement was started by true revolutionaries Adbusters and soon joined by internet resistance group Anonymous.

The originators do not see Obama as part of the solution but as part of the corrupt, two-party Kabuki theater meant to distract the public while enriching the bankers. And they are right.

While much of the conservative media has dismissed the Occupy protests as a left-wing reaction to the Tea Party, they are wrong. Yes, the Obamunists are trying to co-opt the movement. But they may not succeed. The public is rightly outraged that the banks took over Congress and the Treasury, blew up the economy, then got bailouts and big bonuses. And Obama hasn't lifted a finger to change any of that or prosecute any of the crooks.

Conservatives should join, not condemn, the Occupy protests. Libertarians and End-the-Fedsters are already there.

UPDATE: Leftist Yves Smith on why OccupyWallStreet doesn't like Obama:
Participants are critical of the President’s bank-coddling ways and Obama gave a remarkably bald-face confirmation of their dim views.

As Dave Dayen recounts, Obama was cornered into explaining why his Administration has been soft of bank malfeasance. His defense amounted to “They’re savvy businessmen”: “Banks are in the business of making money, and they find loopholes.”

Is breaking IRS rules a “loophole”? How about making repeated false certifications in SEC filings? Or as Dayen points out, fabricating documents? Or making wrongful foreclosures, aka stealing houses?

The Administration’s strategy for maintaining this posture is by being anti-investigation and anti-transparency. As we’ve discussed, the stress tests were a sham. The foreclosure task force didn’t even try to look serious, it was a mere 8 week investigation and of 2800 cases chosen for review (in no scientific manner), only 100 were foreclosures. The US Trustee’s office found a level of servicing errors more than 10 times that asserted by banks and happily parroted by Federal banking regulators. We expect readers could add to this list just as readily as we can.

There are plenty of grounds for legal action. Contrary to the Obama/Geithner position, this is a target rich environment. And some of the violations were persistent and deliberate enough that they might well raise to the level of being criminal.

Steve Jobs Passes

It's funny the news just hit and I got a text on my iPhone from a colleague in Beijing asking me if I saw it. What would have the world been like without Jobs and Woz teaming up to change it?


Thanks for everything Steve.

USSA



from usgovernmentspending.com

40% of our economy is the federal government. On top of state and local spending. We lost the Cold War.

UPDATE: Welfare Nation, courtesy of the WSJ.

The Obama Presidency by the Numbers

The Government Is So Unfair



What do you MEAN the government won't buy formula for the baby I made?! That is SO wrong. I'm boycotting the government, you scumbags.

Or I guess you can force us to accept free WIC food and health care.

God it is so unfair.

[via We Are the 99 Percent]

Cardiff Kook joins #OccupyWallStreet -- Occupy San Diego



The Cardiff Kook has joined the nationwide #OccupyWallStreet movement, supporting the local San Diego arm, oddly enough called Occupy San Diego.

I fully support the motivation behind #OccupyWallStreet, to hold accountable the dirty banksters, the crony capitalists, and the Dirty Fed who destroyed our economy. But it looks like these kids are a little bit clueless about who the bad guys are, and some are actually calling for the re-election of Barack Obama who was elected with Wall Street money, who bailed out the bad banks, who continues to allow Too Big To Fail to get even bigger, whose Justice Department still hasn't prosecuted a single Wall Street CEO for blowing up the economy, and whose administration is running the biggest crony capitalist schemes in American history.

Related thoughts from our friends Beers with Demo and Jr. Deputy Accountant.

Separated at birth: Ozzy Osbourne and Roseanne Barr



Maybe she could bite the heads off bankers.

"Oh, it's OK. I'm a libertarian."

I've found the most delightful response to do-gooder busybodies who want to lecture you on silly things like walking your dog without a leash or smoking on the beach.

As soon as they start in on their lecture, just say very politely and sincerely, "Oh, it's OK. I'm a libertarian," as if the laws simply don't apply to you. The look of complete dumbfoundedness combined with outrage on their faces is priceless.

Walking away from your mortgage just got a lot scarier

We've been touting the benefits of walking away from an underwater mortgage here for years.

Of course, as we noted, there's one catch: "recourse debt." The laws vary greatly by state, but often (as in California, I believe, but I'm not a lawyer, so consult one) purchase loans are non-recourse while refinance loans are recourse. Recourse debt means the banks can sue you many years after a foreclosure for the loss they took.

For a while, it looked like this recourse risk was only theoretical, as the banks were overwhelmed with an operational deluge and political pushback on targeting the poor. Now, it seems, that has changed.

Joseph Reilly lost his vacation home here last year when he was out of work and stopped paying his mortgage. The bank took the house and sold it. Mr. Reilly thought that was the end of it.

In June, he learned otherwise. A phone call informed him of a court judgment against him for $192,576.71.

It turned out that at a foreclosure sale, his former house fetched less than a quarter of what Mr. Reilly owed on it. His bank sued him for the rest.

The result was a foreclosure hangover that homeowners rarely anticipate but increasingly face: a "deficiency judgment."

[...]

The increase in deficiency judgments has sparked a growing secondary market. Sophisticated investors are "ravenous for this debt and ramping up their purchases," says Jeffrey Shachat, a managing director at Arca Capital Partners LLC, a Palo Alto, Calif., firm that finances distressed-debt deals. He says deficiency judgments will eventually be bundled into packages that resemble mortgage-backed securities.

Because most targets have scant savings, the judgments sell for only about two cents on the dollar, versus seven cents for credit-card debt, according to debt-industry brokers.

Silverleaf Advisors LLC, a Miami private-equity firm, is one investor in battered mortgage debt. Instead of buying ready-made deficiency judgments, it buys banks' soured mortgages and goes to court itself to get judgments for debt that remains after foreclosure sales.

Silverleaf says its collection efforts are limited. "We are waiting for the economy to somewhat heal so that it's a better time to go after people," says Douglas Hannah, managing director of Silverleaf.

Investors know that most states allow up to 20 years to try to collect the debts, ample time for the borrowers to get back on their feet. Meanwhile, the debts grow at about an 8% interest rate, depending on the state.

If you have a recourse mortgage, you're probably better off trying to short-sell the house and getting the bank to release your deficiency liability in writing. Banks will do this in a short sale but you have to ask.

The best strategy of all for deeply underwater homeowners is to take advantage of the FHA's great new FHA "Bail and Buy" program. Under FHA Bail and Buy, you short-sell your underwater house, then you get a 3.5% down, taxpayer-guaranteed loan to buy another house at current market prices. WINNING!!!

Kamala Uses a Choke Hold on Tom Miller

Tom Miller, Wall Streets Attorney General, should have known to never mess with Kamala:
California Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris will no longer take part in a national foreclosure probe of some of the nation's biggest banks, which are accused of pervasive misconduct in dealing with troubled homeowners.

Harris removed herself from talks by a coalition of state attorneys general and federal agencies investigating abusive foreclosure practices because the nation's five largest mortgage servicers were not offering California homeowners relief commensurate to what people in the state had suffered, Harris told The Times on Friday.
I mean seriously Tommy, I don't care if Lloyd ordered you, you don't mess with guy.
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