How to know you've found the right girl
- 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
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 mention their lives? Do they miss the pressure of having to make payments they cannot afford on a McMansion that belongs to the lender?
The intent of modification programs to date is to create a generation of mortgage slaves. Fortunately, mortgage slaves can free themselves via foreclosure, and the masses are choosing to do so.
Homo vegetarians 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.Indeed.
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."
"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."
Wait, maybe not, if Senator Claire McCaskill (D-Missouri) has her way. According to CNN's report on her proposal;
Under the terms of a bill introduced by Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Missouri, no employee would be allowed to make more than the president of the United States.
Obama's current annual salary is $400,000.
"We have a bunch of idiots on Wall Street that are kicking sand in the face of the American taxpayer," an enraged McCaskill said on the floor of the Senate. "They don't get it. These people are idiots. You can't use taxpayer money to pay out $18 billion in bonuses."
Let's see...what is it now? Approximately $2 Trillion in bailouts in 2008? Now another $1 Trillion in pure PORK renamed as "stimulus"? And a possible ADDITIONAL $2 Trillion to set up a "bad bank" and purchase all the remaining bad assets? That's approximately $5 TRILLION in the last 7 months or so! (do I have that correct?)
So, yeah, let's just bring on National Socialized Health Care while we're at it, because obviously we have the money for it. Yup, Congress voted to expand the CHILDREN's Health Care program to cover the children of parents making up to $80-100k/year, and it now includes adults, too, not just children! Sure, bring on National Socialist Health Care! Uh, then again, maybe the video clip below could explain why we should think twice about that better than I could. There are some interesting historical background tid-bits in this speech. And until that awesome Texan-guy in the recent Negocious Youtube post comments on National Health Care, this man from Illinois below will have to do. Just look at that snazzy photograph!
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 people like Tony Rezko, who was convicted of corruption. The Rezko investigation grew OUT of the Blago investigation, I think. So who's to say where the Blago investigation might go? So, I'm just saying that it will be interesting to see if the President puts any limits on Fitzgerald's investigations. There is no indication he will, but then we'd probably never see such an indication overtly, anyway. He wouldn't be the first President to thwart an investigation that might (that's the key word) have the the potential to hurt the President.
Bank Failure Friday -- MagnetBank, Salt Lake City, UT; Suburban Federal Savings Bank of Crofton, MD; and Ocala National Bank of Ocala, FL
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.
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
Let's hope more of the tape comes out in the criminal trial.
2) Bravery: I was listening to the live Roll-Call-Vote on the radio as the 59 IL Senators cast their votes "yes" or "no" for impeachment. A Senator's name was called, and then he/she said yes/no. First 20 votes were Yes. The next 10 were yes. One guy chose instead to vote "ABSOLUTELY"! It was funny. Somewhere around the 30th or 35th votes, there were 2 Senators who cast "non votes"! They just chose to vote "silent"! At this point I thought, "how could these pathetic Senators not have the balls to at least cast a definitive vote in the most-watched vote in the recent history of the IL Senate? I mean, the guy was ON TAPE trying to SELL our US SENATE SEAT! And they can't decide which way to vote?"
The rest of the votes came in "yes". They officially declared, "that's 57 votes for yes and zero no votes". They didn't mention those who abstained. Then there was some paper shuffling, some pseudo-official talk, some procedural stuff...and then after 5 or 10 minutes of that, our Chief Justice of the IL Supreme Court stepped in to confirm with the Senate that they have voted to Impeach the governor. He said, "Senators, you have voted to Impeach the governor. Can we can get a confirmation voice vote on that?" and at that time, the official vote-tally was CHANGED! And at some point between the procedural paper-shuffling, and the Chief Justice's request for voice confirmation, the two who had voted "silent" CHANGED their votes to "Yes"!!
HOW VERY BRAVE OF YOU TWO SENATORS!!
I couldn't find the names of those 2 Senators anywhere, after it was over. But....
I was SO impressed that they had the guts to wait until the other votes were shown to be unanimously in favor of impeachment, before they finally decided which way to vote. Now THAT is what I call Bravery!
[Interestingly, they also banned Blago from being able to serve in any IL state office ever again! And the security detail, the cops that stood outside his house, just immediately left his house the very minute the impeachment vote passed! Blago had "testified" earlier in the day, speechifying for 45 minutes, and then he BOLTED onto the State-Owned airplane to fly home to Chicago one last time on the State's dime, while the Senate was voting. He then gave a pathetic press conference at his house, saying the "fix was in", and went inside to be with his family. BUT...then the ego-maniac came BACK outside to talk to the press AGAIN, pleading with them, "if I wanna say some more, will you guys cover me? Huh? Will ya?" It's a great audio clip! The reporters said, "sure". Then, of all people, our oozingly-corrupt Mayor Richard Daley issued a statement saying he's "glad we can now clean up IL state politics". He conveniently left out "City of Chicago" politics in his statement. No, he wants that to stay just as it is; A 100% pure pool of Daley-run corruption, which drains into a saturated sleaze-river that eventually runs like vomit-hued white-water rapids, and finally cascades like a Mafia-owned Niagra Falls over the entire city of Chicago, creating as it hits the ground, a thick, disgusting, smelly, sewer-mist, which each Chicagoan must taste with every breath he or she draws, fighting gasps and wet-heaves as the sewer-mist, with ever-increasing density, relentlessly moves on, enveloping every block of our otherwise lovely city, never escaping into the upper atmosphere like most gases, never ceasing its expansion in all the years since Eliot Ness became the first and last person to suck a small bit of it away, swells to the point where it rivals now in its total mass, the gas-weight of a brown-dwarf star, with which it shares its color.]
Here's Wallstreetpro's latest (content warning: extreme profanity): We've been robbed.
This is Democracy
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?
full link below
Greenspan's Body Count: The Ervin Lupoe Family
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
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 means that each dollar is worth a lot less.
This is, in fact, the desired outcome for the Fed/Treasury. Devaluing the dollar punishes savers and rewards debtors, which is exactly what Geithner-Bernanke wants. Cut the value of the currency in half, and everyone's debt (mortgage debtors', consumers', businesses', and the government's) is suddenly a lot more manageable. Cut the value of the dollar by two-thirds or three-fourths, even better. And if some little old ladies can't buy groceries because the money they saved all their lives is no longer worth anything, well, let them eat Alpo.
Now that he needs a favor, he's suddenly Limbaugh's best friend
- headline, Wall Street Journal, 1/28/2009
Happy Bank Failure Fri...Tuesday
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.
Mish, Schiff and Spleef
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 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
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 the education vultures will haunt you until your dying days.
Don't take on student debt. Go to community college, or get a scholarship. Work your way through school.
Agape World - Hauppauge Ponzi scheme
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
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
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
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
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 Debevoise. Similar quid pro quos are called the “revolving door” phenomenon — agency officials do dirty work while at the commission and then go with a big law firm representing the crooks who got off.
Read the whole thing. It gets worse, including blatant cover-ups at high levels of the SEC. And now the SEC wants to be in charge of investigating itself regarding its failure to do anything about Bernie Madoff even when it was repeatedly and specifically told Madoff was running a Ponzi scheme.
Good riddance to the Bush Administration! Unfortunately, the Obama Administration is putting insider holdovers in charge at the key SEC, Treasury, and FDIC positions (I include the FDIC because it has departed from its legal role as protector of small depositors and become a slush fund to guarantee bad assets for Wall Street). Change we can believe in, indeed!
Friday night donkey punch
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?
I think they said something about your mother.
Gold hits $900
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?
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
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
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.
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 around his neck.
Regular Americans are screwed, whether they participated in the bubble or sat it out. The only winners are the bankers like Angelo Mozilo, Franklin Raines, and Henry Paulson who cashed out at the top, and politicians like Chris Dodd who took bribes from the bankers.
I personally know many, many more victims of the housing bubble. You do, too.
Deflation vs. Inflation
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
"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 threaten enough weak Republicans to pass a budget with massive spending increases -- 40% in just four years. Now that real estate bubble tax revenues have dried up, instead of rolling back spending, Democrats are pushing Republicans to pass tax increases on the most overtaxed people in the country. And Anthony Adams is the weakest Republican.
Adams will probably be rewarded for betraying his constituents with a cushy, do-nothing, $100,000+ seat on the State Board of something-or-other. That's how Schwarzenegger and the Democrats typically bribe legislators. And Adams, an apparent four-time loser on the California Bar exam, could certainly use a do-nothing job.
Anthony Adams' contact info is here:
540 W. Baseline Rd. Suite 16
Claremont, CA 91711
(909) 625-1038, (909) 625-1063 fax
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 319-2059, (916) 319-2159 fax
White Male Construction Workers to get no Fed Money!
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
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
Great moments in literature
- A Time to Run, Senator Barbara Boxer
B of A - Merrill paid early bonuses while extorting taxpayers
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 pay year-end incentives in December as opposed to their normal date in January. BofA was informed of his decision.”
Good riddance to Hank Paulson. If only his replacement weren't Tim Geithner. And not because Geithner is a tax cheat. He was president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York as the banks under his watch were taking on outrageous leverage to load up on toxic assets. And he was Vice Chairman of Greenspan's Open Market Committee that created the housing bubble. It's like nominating the captain of the Exxon Valdez to run the Environmental Protection Agency.
No subsidized housing in Del Mar 1355 Stratford Court
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' ridiculous. Nice homes can be rented in the area for a fraction of that price -- a very small fraction of that price.
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.
Couldn't happen to a nicer paper
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
Obama Inaguration Speech Theme: Irony or Deception?
-He is a big supporter of using Federal money to prop up businesses that have fundamentally failed. He's calling for more bailouts and 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 care of ourselves. I can't wait for that wisdom to come into my life. Thank you, Dear Leader.
Federal Home Loan Bailout number
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.
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 Fannie and Freddie fuck. I blame the credit agencies who gave AAA ratings to mortgage securities that were made up of $500K mortgages given to illiterate migrant workers who signed an X on the signature block. I blame the politicians for doing the will of their pimps instead of their constituents. And I blame the Fed for doing the exact opposite of its public mandate. (of course I realize their private mandate is to steal as much from the population as possible and move to Paraguay so they are super successful internally)
Now don’t get me wrong, the hedge funds do some “creative” things to charge 2 and 20 from their millionaire clients. And occasionally they get themselves in positions to blow up entire currencies (see George and Jim), but without the conspiracy that our government agencies perpetrated, this would never have happened.
Please give them a call if you are a scum loser who signed up for a house you do not deserve. I’m here to rent and pay taxes so you can stay in your McMansion while I attempt something completely un-American and save up for my home.
Fiddling while Rome burns
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.
Rep. Gary Miller (R) introduces Keep Homes Unaffordable Act
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, the availability of affordable mortgage loans remains essential to alleviating the credit crunch and stabilizing the U.S. mortgage market," Miller said in a statement.
The Jan. 1 drop in the high-cost limit has pushed up rates on larger mortgages that no longer qualify for purchase by Fannie or Freddie. Interest rates on "conforming" loans - those that can be sold to Fannie or Freddie - are much lower than on larger loans, known as "jumbos."
Lawmakers representing costly home markets along the coasts have vowed to attach language restoring last year's higher limits to economic stimulus legislation.
The National Association of Realtors, the Mortgage Bankers Association and the National Association of Home Builders have been lobbying for months to make last year's higher limits permanent.
It's bad enough that Fannie and Freddie helped create the bubble by using tax dollars to subsidize loan rates for sub-$500,000 homes. Gary Miller wants them to do the same for houses over $500,000.
The real solution: 20% down, no rate subsidies, fully documented income on loan applications. Without government funny money propelling a bubble, homes will return to affordable levels.
Miller is sick to want first-time homebuyers to have to take on extra debt to buy artificially inflated homes. Either that or he is on the payroll of the real estate industry.
Bank Failure Friday: National Bank of Commerce, Berkeley, IL
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
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 we get in deep enough the government wouldn’t dare let us fail. This strategy is so good, I’m pleased to see the auto industry taking a page from the play book too.”
The solution to the physical gold shortage
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
Picture taken by a commuter on a ferry that went to the rescue.
Testimony from a Fed Consigliere
Paulson persists picking your pocket
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 Bank of America's fourth-quarter earnings, due out Tuesday.
Any possible arrangement might protect Bank of America from losses on Merrill's bad assets. There would be a cap on the amount of losses the bank would have to absorb, with the federal government being on the hook for the remainder, said one person familiar with the matter.
They could have wiped out Merrill shareholders and executives, but no, they'd rather give billions to Merrill and leave future generations of taxpayers with the tab.
Newsweek catches on to Greenspan's Body Count
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 Reserve chief whom many people see as partly to blame for the current economic crisis—offers a macabre tally of people who killed themselves or close family members allegedly due to economic pressures (the current tally is up to 72).
Some Intellectual Honesty in our future?
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 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
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.
Feel-good story of the day
"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
[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.
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."
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.
Darth Cheney Speaks
During an interview Thursday with The Associated Press in his West Wing office, Cheney defended the administration's performance on an economy that is growing weaker daily and which recently collapsed in spectacular fashion. Cheney said that "nobody anywhere was smart enough to figure it out."
He said Bush doesn't need to apologize because he has taken "bold, aggressive action."
Translation: We absolutely knew this was coming, god damned Peter Schiff wouldn't keep his trap shut. But that's why we accelerated it so that we could most effectively rob the national treasury of any value it had left so that out friends could all be rich while the country burns. We were very smart indeed; fooled you idiots!
President Bush was the perfect patsy. Dumb as a stump and easily ordered around.
Ha ha ha ha ha ha, fuck you America, I'll be in Paraguay humping all the sheep I can dream of!
Letter to the Congressional Oversight Panel
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.
732 North Capitol Street, NW
Rooms: C-320 and C-617
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 to oversee the U.S. Department of Treasury’s administration of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) and to provide recommendations for future regulatory reform. To fulfill that mission, the Panel is empowered to hold hearings, review official data, and provide regular reports to Congress and the American public.
Because the Panel relies on direct input from the American people in going about our work, we appreciate your views and will endeavor to take them into account in our ongoing oversight work.
We are approaching the work ahead of us with great urgency and seriousness. We will do our best to ensure that the Treasury Department uses TARP funds in an accountable and responsible manner and that reforms to the financial regulatory system are adopted in a way that serves the best interests of the American public. Thank you for your contribution to this effort.
Why "more regulation" won't work: Meaghan Cheung
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 Cheung who signed off on a 2006 SEC investigation that effectively gave Madoff the all clear.
She said, "I was shocked" to learn last month that Madoff had been charged with - and confessed to - operating a massive Ponzi scheme at his Manhattan firm that swindled thousands of investors.
Greenspan's Body Count: Steven L. Good
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 seventy-two:
Steven L. Good
Dallas Dwayne Carter
Lt. Michael Howe
Palmer C. White
Dianne Pittman White
Edwin F. Rachleff
Scott M. Coles
Dawn E. Armstrong
Jonathon Calvin "40-Cal" Jacques
Little Boy X
Little Girl X
Rufus Shaw Jr.
Lynn Flint Shaw
Greenspan's Body Count: Adolf Merckle bitte die scheisse
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.
What does that teach you, kiddies? That's right: leverage kills. And extreme leverage kills extremely. Now you might ask yourself why Dick Fuld and Vikram Pandit haven't killed themselves. Silly kids, that's because they are Americans. When rich Americans screw up, the taxpayers bail them out.
Greenspan's Body Count now stands at seventy-one:
Dallas Dwayne Carter
Lt. Michael Howe
Palmer C. White
Dianne Pittman White
Edwin F. Rachleff
Scott M. Coles
Dawn E. Armstrong
Jonathon Calvin "40-Cal" Jacques
Little Boy X
Little Girl X
Rufus Shaw Jr.
Lynn Flint Shaw
WC Sports Desk Programming Note
* 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 was voted no.1, Alabama, for many weeks this year. But the votes weren't there to justify they being in a national championship game.
So fans of Christie Yamaguchi and Brian Boitano, enjoy your championship college game. I believe the Czech judge has already awarded Oklahoma a 7.8 which is quite controversial.
A little more Apple BS
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
Body Count goes to Vegas! Ernest Scherer III was a Vegas loser who fancied himself a professional poker player. Doesn't that photo tell ...
UPDATE: Edited to remove the guy's name. I hope nobody harasses him or his employer. He was good-natured and his sign was innocuous a...
Maybe teaching racial division and hatred wasn't such a good idea after all
Doctor cycling in California run down, stabbed by driver screaming about ‘white privilege’ : A doctor cycling along the Pacific Coast Highwa...