April 29, 2010

Bits Bucket For April 29, 2010

Post off-topic ideas, links and Craigslist finds here. The DC meetup link at the forum is here.




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Comment by wmbz
2010-04-29 03:11:49

U.S. MBA Mortgage Applications Index Fell 2.9% Last Week

(Bloomberg) — An index of mortgage applications in the U.S. fell last week as rising mortgage rates hurt refinancing, while a looming deadline for a homebuyers’ tax credit boosted purchases for a fifth time in six weeks.

The Mortgage Bankers Association’s index decreased 2.9 percent in the week ended April 23. The Washington-based group’s refinance measure fell 8.8 percent, while the gauge of purchases climbed 7.4 percent to the highest level since October, the month before the tax credit was initially due to lapse.

“We’re going to see some mortgage demand, with buyers taking advantage of the tax credit,” Robert Dye, a senior economist at PNC Financial Services Group Inc. in Pittsburgh, said before the report. “We’ll see some weak demand on the back side” after the tax credit expires.

Comment by pressboardbox
2010-04-29 05:36:35

We need no-doc, neg-am, no down,130% value loans back!

Comment by Pondering the Mess
2010-04-29 09:06:04

Don’t worry, I’m sure they’ll get around to that eventually. After all, fraud is required for the “recovery” to continue!

Comment by pressboardbox
2010-04-29 10:46:47

Why do I get the feeling that people today would gladly accept all the rampant fraud it would take to get back to the bubble lifestyle instead of justice and truth?

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Comment by ecofeco
2010-04-29 16:05:52

Because it’s GOOD to be the Banksta!

 
Comment by oc-ed
2010-04-29 16:06:17

Because somewhere along the path

“Truth, Justice, and the American way”

has by some dark magick been changed to

Deception and Injustice is the amerikan way.

At some point the darkside became the rule rather than the exception. It is now acceptable to break the law. In fact you will be rewarded, bailed out, supported if you do. Whereas, those who choose to be honest and fair are penalized. The Looters are running the show mate.

Witness the hullaballoo regarding the Arizona Illegal Immigrant issue. I heard today that the Mayor of Los Angeles is calling for a boycott of everything AZ. It is my opinion that any government representative or organization that sides with anyone who has clearly broken the law has impeached the organization’s authority to govern. I will probably get flamed on this because it is a hot button issue, but the bottom line is a law was broken. That is why they call it “illegal immigration”.

 
Comment by dude
2010-04-29 17:36:16

Yep, rule of law is a must. If you don’t want to enforce the border, fine. Pass a law allowing free access and there will be nothing that can be done about it. Both libs and cons are guilty of tip toeing around the real issues here.

 
Comment by neuromance
2010-04-29 17:59:39

Why do I get the feeling that people today would gladly accept all the rampant fraud it would take to get back to the bubble lifestyle instead of justice and truth?

If there were no consequence to it, I’m sure most people would love to have it back.

The problem is though, that there is a consequence to it.

This bubble/bust/bailout scheme (not the first time it’s happened) just keeps adding to the debt. An analogy is like an engine running low on oil. It starts slowing down, but the driver gives it a burst of gas which speeds it back up again. He gets a burst of speed. But the car keeps slowing down. And he keeps giving it more gas. Till the engine seizes and catches fire.

This bubble/bust/bailout economic model that’s being pushed by Wall Street does two major things: 1) It transfers a great deal of wealth from outsiders to insiders, and 2) it creates more and more national debt.

Wage stagnation, jobless recoveries - these are symptoms. Eventually, I suspect the system will seize up* if we continue like this.

* When I say seize up, I mean deliver a standard of living unacceptable to most voters.

 
 
 
 
 
Comment by wmbz
2010-04-29 03:13:44

More Than a Million May Lose Jobless Aid Due to Deficit Concern

April 29 (Bloomberg) — Since the U.S. recession began in December 2007, Congress has extended the duration of weekly unemployment benefits for the jobless three times. Now, the lawmakers may have reached their limit.

They are quietly drawing the line at 99 weeks of aid, a mark that hundreds of thousands of Americans have already reached. In coming months, the number of those who will receive their final government check is projected to top 1 million.

It’s a deadline that has rarely been mentioned in recent debates over jobless benefits, in which Republicans have delayed aid because of cost concerns. The deadline hasn’t been lost on Teauna Stephney, a 39-year-old single mother from Bothell, Washington, who said she could become homeless once her $407 weekly checks stop in June.

“What are people like me supposed to do?” said Stephney, who said almost two years of benefits haven’t proved long enough for her to find work after she lost her last job in August 2008. Referring to lawmakers, she said, “I would like them to come and talk to me and spend a day in my shoes.”

Comment by wmbz
2010-04-29 03:22:52

I call pure BS on people like Teauna saying they can’t find a job. There ARE jobs out there, now it may not be the job, or pay the money someone would like,but work can be had. There are plenty of people who just are not looking for a job, sitting around waiting for the check.

Two years on unemployment isn’t long enough? So what is? 3,4,5 years or should it just be indefinite?

Comment by oxide
2010-04-29 03:52:58

$407 is pretty steep. If her salary was so high as to command that kind of UI, then surely she chould have been able to put away at least a year of cash, even with the kids, right?

I can’t find the story on Bloomi…did they say anything about what her job was or what kind of house payment she had? After one year of UI, it’s pretty clear that jobs in her field aren’t coming back anytime soon. She should have done a major reassessment a year ago — career, house, etc. And if she wasn’t smart enough to do that, then she has no business making a high paycheck at all.

Comment by CarrieAnn
2010-04-29 04:53:49

I think the problem is not only Teauna looking at a new job w/a new income but she may also have to look for new lower housing and a new cheaper ride. And she can’t bring herself to believe she’s work so hard (in her last position) only to end up there.

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Comment by packman
2010-04-29 06:38:33

I think you hit the nail on the head.

In chemistry terms - the problem is that many people just acted like a gas when times were good - their living style expanded to meet the level of their paycheck (the container) during the boom; but they’re acting like a liquid on the backside, and not willing to let the container shrink again.

Sometime you’ve just got to take the hit. Take the lower-paying job. Move into a smaller apartment or sell your now-too-expensive-to-maintain house. Stop eating out so much. Get by on your existing clothes for a while instead of buying new ones. Etc.

I did it. I got laid off in late mid 2008, and got a job for 25% less pay a few months later. I didn’t have to sell my house since we had a good pad saved up, and weren’t over-extended. Problem is this isn’t true for many people, and now they’re not willing to face the consequences of their pre-crash imprudence.

Guess that probably sounded pretentious. Just trying to lead by example though.

 
Comment by pressboardbox
2010-04-29 06:56:49

“many people just acted like a gas when times were good ”

Wondered why there was a strong fart-smell during the housing bubble. Kind of would explain why realtors use too much perfume/cologne.

 
Comment by sfbubblebuyer
2010-04-29 09:00:25

11% pay hit here, Packman. No big change since my wife also works and we lived below our means before, just slightly less into savings per month and a little less eating out.

 
Comment by Pondering the Mess
2010-04-29 09:08:46

Sadly, in New Future of Glorious Green Shoots Recovery, massive decreases in pay will be the norm, while prices for many things (housing included) are still “sticky” or rising (gas prices.) I’m sure this will work out okay long-term… not!

It is confusing though why the handouts to bankers continue while unemployment benefits must end… it’s almost as if the politicians only care about who gives them the biggest bribe…

 
Comment by drumminj
2010-04-29 09:25:14

It is confusing though why the handouts to bankers continue while unemployment benefits must end…

While I don’t agree with TARP and whatnot, it’s worthwhile to note that it was a loan, rather than a handout. The money given to bankers will (supposedly) be repaid. UI benefits are strictly a handout.

If the gov was giving low-interest loans to individuals, that’d be more comparable…

 
Comment by pressboardbox
2010-04-29 09:57:26

How are we supposed to have a Recovery(TM) without free government money for doing nothing? Come on people, lets make this recovery happen.

 
Comment by RioAmericanInBrasil
2010-04-29 10:17:30

While I don’t agree with TARP and whatnot, it’s worthwhile to note that it was a loan, rather than a handout.

Only one part was a “loan”.

The other part was GSE’s buying the banks bad assets with taxpayer money.

Another part was the FED creating 1.25 Trillion dollars to buy more of the bank’s bad assets.

This was the bailout the super rich to be paid back later American’s and their unborn children.

 
Comment by GrizzlyBear
2010-04-29 12:58:47

Has anyone looked at the price of shelter in Bothell, or anywhere in the greater Seattle area? $407 per week isn’t going to cut it there unless one has roommates- doubtful for a mother of a child. I’m guessing she has reserves she’s been tapping into.

 
Comment by drumminj
2010-04-29 13:21:23

Has anyone looked at the price of shelter in Bothell

She’s in Bellevue, no? Certainly there are cheaper places in the area - Bothell being one of them.

 
Comment by GrizzlyBear
2010-04-29 13:27:29

“She’s in Bellevue, no? Certainly there are cheaper places in the area - Bothell being one of them.”

From the article:

..Teauna Stephney, a 39-year-old single mother from Bothell, Washington..

Sure, Bothell is cheaper than Bellevue, but Bothell is not cheap, and certainly not affordable on $400 per week unless you’re talking a trailer park or something.

 
Comment by alpha-sloth
2010-04-29 13:43:37

UI benefits are strictly a handout.

They’re a form of insurance, no? Employers pay into an insurance fund that pays out to unemployed workers when they get canned. I don’t see how that counts as a handout.

 
Comment by drumminj
2010-04-29 14:01:22

From the article:

..Teauna Stephney, a 39-year-old single mother from Bothell, Washington..

My bad…I mis-read. Certainly better than Bellevue.

I don’t see how that counts as a handout.

To some degree the funds are paid by the employer. However, with all the extensions, the money is coming from the federal government, not one’s former employer.

 
Comment by alpha-sloth
2010-04-29 15:47:40

My understanding is the money from the Federal government is a loan to the state that must be paid back, not a handout. I must admit I have no idea how the states will pay it back, but that’s the theory at least.

 
Comment by Happy2bHeard
2010-04-29 18:13:22

I did a quick look at Craigslist - $675 seems to be about bottom end for a 1 BR apartment in Bothell. And who is going to rent to someone with no job?

When I was unemployed in 2003, around 50K per year previous salary would get you the max of $496 per week unemployment. So she was probably making less than that before she lost her job. If she had to cover daycare and depending on the age of her child, she may not have had much left over to put into a rainy day fund. And it does not say how long she was previously employed at that salary, so we have no idea how long she would have been able to save.

Then consider that she has been unemployed for close to 99 weeks - almost 2 years. By this time her car may be in dire need of repair and she has probably tapped most of any savings she was able to accumulate.

To earn as much as her unemployment has been, she has to find a job that pays at least 13.50 per hour - about twice minimum wage. If she works 80 hours per week at a 2 minimum wage jobs, then she has to pay for double the daycare, unless her child is old enough to stay home alone (also not a good choice). So 2 minimum wage jobs is not really the equivalent of 1 full time job that pays twice as much.

So by now, she is desperately searching for any job and competing against more recently laid off people and recent or soon to be graduates. She may figure that she can pick up that job at McDonalds the day her UI runs out. And why should she take it sooner if it will put her in a hole faster when she still has hope of getting that $15/hr job before it does?

And where is daddy in all of this? Is he unemployed, too?

She is in a tough spot and I expect she is doing the math every day. It sure is easy to say take any job and move, but the execution can still be problematic.

 
Comment by CA renter
2010-04-30 02:30:35

Good post, Happy2B.

 
 
Comment by combotechie
2010-04-29 05:01:49

“… 39-year-old single mother…”

There might be the cost of child care to consider.

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Comment by Ki
2010-04-29 05:43:24

“did they say anything about what her job was or what kind of house payment she had? ”

From LInkedIn, Teauna’s past work history:

* Lead Project Marketing Manager Windows Live Search at LG
Consulting
* Project Manager Associate at Center for Information Service
* Commutations Sector Partner Program Manager; Hosting ASP.NET Administrator at Siemens at Microsoft Corporation

“Lead project marketing manager”…..if ever there was a BS title, this one is it. Her job consisted of producing a weekly status report and setting up a weekly meeting for the team. For this she made $120K a year.

As for house payment, I’m sure if you go to her county’s assesor website you can find all that too.

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Comment by oxide
2010-04-29 05:45:57

Thank you for the research. I can’t access those sites from here. And shouldn’t the reporter be doing this instead of you?

 
Comment by In Colorado
2010-04-29 08:01:13

Her job consisted of producing a weekly status report and setting up a weekly meeting for the team. For this she made $120K a year.

Do you really know that? Or are you just an engineer who thinks that marketing folks are all BS’ers who do nothing of value? (BTW, I am an engineer).

Most marketing people I know do a lot more than “produce a weekly status report”.

 
Comment by Spokaneman
2010-04-29 08:11:47

If her UI is $407/week, that would imply that here earnings were around $814/week, or $42K/year. Washington State UI tops out at $625/week and pays roughly 50% of the beneficiarys wage but is limited to the $625/week.

I’m not making excuses for her, but if her earnings were $42K she’s not going to be able to put much aside living in Bellevue.

 
Comment by drumminj
2010-04-29 09:23:07

she’s not going to be able to put much aside living in Bellevue.

Perhaps she should choose someplace cheaper nearby to live, like Issaquah

 
Comment by Spokaneman
2010-04-29 11:14:47

Or Ellensburg. The cost of living in King or Shohomish County is high, no matter where you live. I read in Forbes as I recall Seattle is the worst or next to worst affordable city in the US, when comparing living costs to median wage.

 
Comment by Arizona Slim
2010-04-29 12:48:50

Good grief, what about Oly’s old stomping ground in Thurston County? I got the impression that the Oly family wasn’t forking out big bucks to live there.

 
Comment by Ki
2010-04-29 12:58:12

“Do you really know that? Or are you just an engineer who thinks that marketing folks are all BS’ers who do nothing of value? (BTW, I am an engineer).”

No, I am not an engineer. But I know a BS job when I see one.

 
Comment by GrizzlyBear
2010-04-29 13:05:51

“Perhaps she should choose someplace cheaper nearby to live, like Issaquah”

Uh, methinks you don’t know Issaquah.

 
Comment by In Colorado
2010-04-29 13:06:52

You are quick to pass judgement on someone you do not even know. Oh well.

 
Comment by GrizzlyBear
2010-04-29 13:09:05

“Or Ellensburg. The cost of living in King or Shohomish County is high, no matter where you live. I read in Forbes as I recall Seattle is the worst or next to worst affordable city in the US, when comparing living costs to median wage.”

Sure, one can move to Ellensburg to live off the unemployment check, but there is next to no chance to land a job, much less a decent paying on in that dinky farm town. I agree, though, it’d be hard to find a place more difficult to make ends meet on median income than the greater Seattle area. There are affordable places around Tacoma, but the crime is unholy.

 
Comment by Spokaneman
2010-04-29 13:45:46

Naw, you commute into Seattle. Its just a couple of hours each way, unless it snows on the pass.

BMW is going to locate a composites plant in Moses Lake of all places. Moses Lake makes Ellensburg look positively cosmopolitan.

 
Comment by GrizzlyBear
2010-04-29 13:54:24

“Naw, you commute into Seattle. Its just a couple of hours each way, unless it snows on the pass.”

I know you’re kidding. Ellensburg is not commutable to Seattle. Fuel, maintenance, and repair would eliminate any savings on rent.

 
Comment by GrizzlyBear
2010-04-29 14:30:00

“Good grief, what about Oly’s old stomping ground in Thurston County? I got the impression that the Oly family wasn’t forking out big bucks to live there.”

I actually know exactly where Oly lived, the house and everything. She lived right on the Puget Sound, in quite an expensive area.

 
 
Comment by Blue Skye
2010-04-29 06:07:13

She might put money aside in her next job. This doesn’t come naturally, it’s a learned behavior. At 39, it’s late to be learning such a thing, but it’s not too late. Self reliance and prudence are lessons lost on a whole generation, so far.

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Comment by Happy2bHeard
2010-04-29 19:07:45

Based on Ki’s research, she has been a temp worker. She probably had some money saved. She may have had stretches of unemployment before that tapped some of her savings.

After almost 2 years with no work and on unemployment, how much would you expect her to have left?

 
 
 
Comment by James
2010-04-29 07:54:26

If you have a degree and can’t find something in your field it is VERY challenging. Other jobs assume you are going to quit as soon as you find anything. Has the absurd problem of being true.

Also employers have similar feelings about people taking a salary cut.

 
Comment by neuromance
2010-04-29 18:08:20

There’s a new janitor at my apartment complex. He drives an Avalanche pick-up truck. Expensive vehicle. Big, blond-haired, tanned middle-aged white guy. Looks like a tradesman. The janitor is usually a job you see poorer unskilled minorities in.

I saw this and thought it looks like people are moving down the ladder in terms of the jobs they’re taking. But this fellow is working.*

I have no idea of this fellow's actual background. But that's the image I see. YMMV.

 
 
Comment by maus
2010-04-29 04:08:00

I couldn’t find work after four months of looking and I did reassess the market in my area (Indianapolis) and made the hard decision to sell the house and move to Dallas. I was here for three weeks before I was offered a job. She might want to reconsider the area she lives in. Family and friends are nice but at some point in time you have to put you ability to earn a living before them and do what it takes to have a roof over your head. I do understand if you have an ill family member that you take care of but anything less than that is just silliness.

Comment by CarrieAnn
2010-04-29 04:57:37

I applaud you for your clear headedness and sense of responsibility maus. I’ve had the feeling all along that people were desperately clinging to the old reality because making a change in direction is so difficult for some to swallow. But at some point Americans have to learn again how to put their big people pants on and man up.

I wish you well in your new location.

 
Comment by alpha-sloth
2010-04-29 13:50:47

I do understand if you have an ill family member that you take care of but anything less than that is just silliness.

What if your spouse has a good job? Should s/he quit and follow you or should you separate for employment reasons? What if you have kids?

Comment by CA renter
2010-04-30 02:35:35

This is a big problem for many families. It’s easy for someone like Bill in L.A. to talk about mobility, but it’s not nearly as easy when you’re married with kids and/or have other obligations that make moving unworkable.

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Comment by jeff saturday
2010-04-29 04:14:13

“What are people like me supposed to do?” said Stephney

Well Teauna, if the place you lived ran out of water, how long would you stay there? My guess is less than 99 weeks. I would suggest that you use those shoes you want someone else to spend a day in to go somewhere and find a job.

Comment by pressboardbox
2010-04-29 05:37:44

You are “supposed” to be responsible for yourself.

Comment by dude
2010-04-29 17:44:51

There is no need for that in the 21st century. I heard somewhere that the government has a five year plan to take care of everything. No worries, really.

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Comment by Happy2bHeard
2010-04-29 19:17:21

The out of town move is not as easy as it sounds. 20 years ago, you could get relocation assistance. Now jobs advertise “Local candidates only.”

So when do you decide to take the chance on moving to a place where you have no support system on the off chance that there will be a better job market when you get there? It’s a lot easier if you have no dependents. Or a partner.

Where are people like Teauna going to go when the homeless shelters are full?

Comment by jeff saturday
2010-04-30 03:51:31

There is a great place to go when you are broke. To work!

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Comment by wmbz
2010-04-29 05:35:31

I had a chance to receive unemployment in 1976. The way the system worked here in S.C. then was, you were guaranteed a check for 90 days. You had to put in a least 5 job applications per week. You brought in a form at the end of each week to show you has been out looking for a job. If you did not bring in the form after 2 weeks your check would be discontinued. The exception was if you were sick or injured and in that event you needed a doctors excuse.

I did not go through the system, I found a lesser job than I had, had and was working 3 weeks later.

Wonder what the guidelines are today?

Comment by oxide
2010-04-29 05:47:43

How many people were there per job in 1976?

 
Comment by joeyinCalif
2010-04-29 06:04:01

heh.. i had a couple opportunities to collect unemployment. Someone started telling me where to go and what i had to do and i said stop.. forget it.. and hustled up another job. Never applied for it.

in my experience you can ask 10 or 20 people for any available job they have or if they know of a job opening, and you’ll be employed.. doing something.. who knows what.

 
Comment by Blue Skye
2010-04-29 06:08:47

Today I think you can apply online and not have to go through the humiliation of the unemployment office and its lines.

Comment by eastcoaster
2010-04-29 07:15:28

Yup, all done online. I was on unemployment back in 2001 - never once had to see someone in person.

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Comment by ET-Chicago
2010-04-29 08:57:47

You can do everything online, but you supposed to be “actively seeking work, “keeping track of resumes sent and so on.

The way it works in IL, at least, you can get six to nine months’ worth of UI (I don’t know the exact length) without interacting with a civil servant, just doing everything online or via an automated phone service. After that, they want to do some kind of follow-up, see that you’re applying for jobs or in re-training, etc. I don’t know whether the state actually does the follow-up ’cause I never got that far in the process.

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Comment by Spokaneman
2010-04-29 13:51:39

Even though I am working I saw an ad for a job that looked interesting, but required that the applicant apply in person at the State Unemployment office.

I was quite surprised, the place was not crowded, no lines, just a few people waiting in the waiting area to see a counselor. The person who took my resume and who gave me a perfunctory interview was polite and respectful. For better or worse, I didn’t get the job though.

So much of the business with the UI office is done online here in WA these days that the UI office doesn’t get crowded.

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Comment by James
2010-04-29 07:57:40

I’ve collected a grand total of 1 week of unemployment since 1987.

Always seem to have been lucky.

 
 
Comment by Ki
2010-04-29 05:38:32

99 weeks of unemployment….un effing believable.

Comment by aNYCdj
2010-04-29 06:18:21

I just don’t think you get it……..how many of you can walk into an business and hand in a resume today and get to talk to someone who is knowledgeable????

This is how we used to get jobs and yes 99 weeks is f’in unbelievable..

Comment by measton
2010-04-29 09:11:54

Let’s not forget that for many when this money goes they won’t be able to afford food or shelter.

What would you do if you had no job, no food and no shelter and maybe a hungry kid or two??

Unemployment and welfare aren’t for the poor they’re to keep the poor from eating the rich.

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Comment by CarrieAnn
2010-04-29 10:58:27

Now I don’t need benefits and my pay after staying home w/my kids for 10 years is unimpressive but I walked up to someone I was buying a service from, asked if they needed anyone and was working w/in weeks. I believe NYC is as you say. but at what point do you cast a wider net and go down a new part of the maze instead of hunkering in the empty halls and asking who moved your cheese?

In the few months I’ve been there they’ve already asked me to take on additional responsibilities w/additional pay twice. It appears they’ve been patting themselves on the back for my hire since being an oldster I appear to be so much more responsible than most of my work peers. Who knew!

That one person was the only one I ever asked. It wasn’t even a search.

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Comment by In Montana
2010-04-29 14:32:34

My hubby talks about the young lowlifes at work and it cracks me up. Besides all the mistakes they make on the job… never enough money..Health problems but they “can’t afford” to get the insurance the company offers, always going out for junk food, charging up toys on the CC, DUI…out of wedlock kids here and there, sorry, got to be in court today…LOL.

 
Comment by dude
2010-04-29 17:49:25

I wasn’t going to bring it up but you gave me my segue. How much money does the husband of the woman in the article bring home? Oh, what’s that? The traditional family is no longer needed, oh, OK.

 
 
 
Comment by Pondering the Mess
2010-04-29 09:13:26

This will be the new normal.

And don’t forget - as these folks fall off the unemployment benefits list, they vanish from the system. So, employment levels will look *better* as more people lose their benefits after losing their jobs!

Ah, “green shoots!”

Comment by GrizzlyBear
2010-04-29 13:14:03

That’s why these numbers being released are so wrong on so many levels. The propaganda in this country is unmatched. Things are much, MUCH worse than is being reported.

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Comment by ecofeco
2010-04-29 16:20:12

Exactly.

I still can’t figure what part people don’t understand that millions of jobs were lost over the last 30 years while millions of people came into the workforce.

Oh wait! American Idle is on! Ohhh. Shiny.

 
 
 
 
Comment by michael
2010-04-29 06:22:37

1 million folks are about to receive their final 99 week unemployment check.

Comment by Housing Wizard
2010-04-29 08:35:32

I couldn’t believe what I was seeing on Larry King the other night (check it out its on tape ) . Donald Trump was on the show and of course he knows everyone on the planet and he is personal friends with whom ever is talked about and everybody is just so great . But ,to sum it up old Donald started talking about the need for jobs and bringing manufacturing back to America and China is eating us for lunch and China thinks were dumb (he must know China business men also )

But I was wondering when the people (even people like Trump ) would start noticing that Main Streets pain was going to start translating into the old USA going down the tubes . My impression of Trump on the program was he had a realization that the parasites can’t kill the host if they want to survive . As the same time the Cheerleaders on the Business Channel still act outraged
and defend the actions of Goldmans and their elk .

Comment by sfbubblebuyer
2010-04-29 09:06:36

Goldman Sachs has elk? I can’t help but imagine them standing around the water cooler talking about how they hosed the rabbit warren’s pension fund by selling it junk derivatives that the weasles put together so they could bet against it.

Meanwhile, the bears have woken up from hibernation and are in the bushes hungrily eying the guffawing buffoonish elk.

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Comment by measton
2010-04-29 09:14:00

Despite repeated examples in history these slobs require a head bashing and Oh Sht moment (I might loose my wealth too) before they comprehend the situation. By the time there is a critical mass it may be too late.

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Comment by RioAmericanInBrasil
2010-04-29 10:10:15

Despite repeated examples in history these slobs require a head bashing and Oh Sht moment (I might loose my wealth too) before they comprehend the situation. By the time there is a critical mass it may be too late.

This is the main reason that the establishment grabbed hold of the Tea Party so quickly. Now the TP doesn’t even know what it’s so mad about.

But the underlying reason they are mad is because the middle-class has been shafted and looted by the the Wall Street Bank crowd.

The Tea Party almost figured this out at first but their anger was re-directed towards the bogus cited 47% who pay no taxes (but who actually pay as much total taxes as everybody) and the “socialists” who wanted to take over their Medicare. Classic shell game.

The key to appealing to the Tea Party mind is through patriotism. This is how the failed, hypocritical, Randian bedwetters co-opted the movement by labeling the poor as leaches and non-producers when in fact it is the Tea Party’s string pullers (the super-rich, Banks, etc.) who have been the biggest leaches sucking the life out of America. The Bank leaches have created poor leaches (by debt and outsourcing) who they now point the finger towards as the cause of the middle class’s problems. It’s sort of working. So far.

The real danger to the PTB will come when the Tea Party is convinced of the real root of the problem. This would not be as hard as it sounds as Americans like capitalism but don’t like to be ripped off. (I’m like that)

When the TP comes to realize WHY their way of life has been gutted and WHO PROFITED FROM THE MIDDLE-CLASS’s GUTTING, we’ll then we have a new ballgame in American politics.

And when the 18% Tea Party joins the 20% who already knows what’s going on…

Well, there’s your critical mass.

 
Comment by packman
2010-04-29 10:15:58

Rio - I mainly agree with your post, except for one thing.

The key to appealing to the Tea Party mind is through patriotism. This is how the failed, hypocritical, Randian bedwetters co-opted the movement by labeling the poor as leaches and non-producers when in fact it is the Tea Party’s string pullers (the super-rich, Banks, etc.) who have been the biggest leaches sucking the life out of America.

 
Comment by packman
2010-04-29 10:20:08

Oops - ignore that post - I clicked the wrong button. Here’s what I meant to post:

Rio - I mainly agree with your post, except for one thing.

The key to appealing to the Tea Party mind is through patriotism. This is how the failed, hypocritical, Randian bedwetters co-opted the movement by labeling the poor as leaches and non-producers when in fact it is the Tea Party’s string pullers (the super-rich, Banks, etc.) who have been the biggest leaches sucking the life out of America.

This to me indicates that you’ve never read Rand. Ayn Rand is much closer to the genesis-form of the Tea Party than the co-opted form - by far. She would have laughed and ridiculed your association of her ideas with any kind of patriotism - in fact they were the opposite. Rand was pretty much an atheist, both in religion and in geo-political loyalty.

 
Comment by RioAmericanInBrasil
2010-04-29 10:27:14

Packman, Is this explanation a little more convincing? Link to follow:

Taibbi: The Lunatics Who Made a Religion Out of Greed and Wrecked the Economy, Alternet: April 26, 2010 | By Matt Taibbi

When Britain and other countries were engulfed in the flood of defaults and derivative losses that emerged from the collapse of the American housing bubble two years ago, few people understood that the crash had its roots in the lunatic greed-centered objectivist religion, fostered back in the 50s and 60s by ponderous emigre novelist Ayn Rand.

The rightwing “Tea Party” movement is just one example of an entire demographic that has been inspired to mass protest by Rand without even knowing it.

On the other side of the debate were the people who argued Goldman wasn’t guilty of anything except being “too smart” and really, really good at making money. This side of the argument was based almost entirely on the Randian belief system, under which the leaders of Goldman Sachs appear not as the cheap swindlers they look like to me, but idealized heroes, the saviors of society.

In the Randian ethos, called objectivism, the only real morality is self-interest, and society is divided into groups who are efficiently self-interested (ie, the rich) and the “parasites” and “moochers” who wish to take their earnings through taxes, which are an unjust use of force in Randian politics. Rand believed government had virtually no natural role in society. She conceded that police were necessary, but was such a fervent believer in laissez-faire capitalism she refused to accept any need for economic regulation – which is a fancy way of

Rand’s fingerprints are all over the recent Goldman story.

 
Comment by RioAmericanInBrasil
2010-04-29 10:35:35

Ayn Rand is much closer to the genesis-form of the Tea Party than the co-opted form

I agree. But I think the coopters used patriotism and the appeal to the flag, freedom etc. to promote the leach/producer Randian ideas. It’s not hard to portray “leaches” as idealistically anti-American and anti-capitalism.

They used patriotism and Randian ideas together as tools whether or not those tools were meant to be used together.

Kind of like USA and USSR teaming up once.

I’m posting a new Matt Tabbie article about it. Let me know what you think of it please.

 
Comment by Housing Wizard
2010-04-29 10:36:50

Rio….Your so right . It’s going to take time for the public to know who is fleecing them . The PR machine is powerful .

 
Comment by packman
2010-04-29 10:50:14

The fundamental problem here is that people equate/associate what Goldman Sachs (and others) did as free market capitalism, and therefore also equate it with Randian ideas. That’s the core of the problem though - what they did wasn’t free market capitalism, because they used the government as a tool to influence policy in their favor. This is in fact the opposite of Randian ideas.

Read Atlas Shrugged. It’s practically a roadmap for what’s happened here. The antogonists in the story are indeed the companies that use the government as a tool for increasing their own power, by implementing policies supposedly in the name of free and fair markets, but which in reality were very anti-competitive; that screw over the companies that are truly innovative but don’t have the same level of government influence.

 
Comment by Carl Morris
2010-04-29 12:29:24

And when the 18% Tea Party joins the 20% who already knows what’s going on…

Well, there’s your critical mass.

I like what you’re saying, but I don’t think it will work until the 20% stop insulting the TPers long enough for some understanding to occur. And of course there are those benefiting from the current system who will do their best to keep the fires of animosity between the two groups stoked…

 
Comment by michael
2010-04-29 12:31:21

they also equate de-regulation with lawlessness.

 
Comment by Housing Wizard
2010-04-29 12:33:42

I think there is also a issue of the fraud of mis-rating the MBS
securities to begin with . Wall Street breached their duty in every way to to be a lender and not a big joke lender making bad loans betting on the come while they could leverage by 30
times while not being transparent .

 
Comment by packman
2010-04-29 13:02:35

Rio,

You going to post that Taibbi article? I’d like to give it a look.

However if it’s anything like Taibbi’s previous rants against the tea party, e.g.:

This whole scene sort of encapsulates what’s wrong with the Tea Party movement. The movement, and let’s admit this, has some of its roots in legitimate grievances about government waste and some not-entirely-inaccurate observations about what’s left of the American welfare state. Of course what resonates most with the suburban whites who mostly make up the Tea Party are stories about minorities and immigrants using section 8 housing, food stamps, Medicaid, TANF and other programs, with the Obama stimulus being for them a symbol of this ongoing government largess. The heat of the Tea Party movement comes from the racial frustrations that actually exist out there, in the real world outside New York and LA, as urban expansion and immigration increasingly throw white and nonwhite communities together, with white Tea Party types more and more often blowing gaskets over increased crime rates, declining school standards, and mislaid or wasted tax revenue.

Then no thanks. He lost legitimacy on his views of the tea party when he pulled out the racist card.

Perhaps there is a racist person or two involved, but that’s kind of hard to avoid when you have any organization (such it is) of such size; there are always going to be outlying kooks going along. But race isn’t even close to what the tea party is about at all - either in its early or its co-opted form.

 
Comment by Ki
2010-04-29 13:07:42

“This is the main reason that the establishment grabbed hold of the Tea Party so quickly. Now the TP doesn’t even know what it’s so mad about. But the underlying reason they are mad is because the middle-class has been shafted and looted by the the Wall Street Bank crowd.”

I was told repeatedly the tea party is nothing but rich white guys. So rich white guys are mad at themselves? Interesting.

 
Comment by Ki
2010-04-29 13:13:40

“the bogus cited 47% who pay no taxes (but who actually pay as much total taxes as everybody) ”

47% pay $0 income tax. That is fact. You can say it isn’t so 1000 times a day and it doesn’t change the fact it is so.

The argument you put forth - the 47% pays sales tax, gas tax, etc is ridiculous. It’s like saying 47% of the public gets free cable but they pay for phone service so it’s all good.

 
Comment by GrizzlyBear
2010-04-29 13:23:45

“The fundamental problem here is that people equate/associate what Goldman Sachs (and others) did as free market capitalism, and therefore also equate it with Randian ideas. That’s the core of the problem though - what they did wasn’t free market capitalism, because they used the government as a tool to influence policy in their favor. This is in fact the opposite of Randian ideas.”

The same can be said for Monsanto, Walmart, and most all of the mega corps which are now controlling our lives. They didn’t benefit from free market capitalism, but by an abysmal failure of a government bereft of all that is moral, and rife with a level of corruption almost unimaginable.

 
Comment by RioAmericanInBrasil
2010-04-29 13:33:15

The fundamental problem here is that people equate/associate what Goldman Sachs (and others) did as free market capitalism, and therefore also equate it with Randian ideas. That’s the core of the problem though - what they did wasn’t free market capitalism,

Been a long time since I read that book. I remember I preferred War and Peace but I see your point and I have nothing invested in bashing Randians necessarily. It’s just a lot of people are now but I could have just has easily wrote:

This is how the failed, hypocritical, Randian fake-free-marketers, quasi-capitalist, crony-corportists bedwetters co-opted the movement by labeling the poor as leaches and non-producers when in fact it is the Tea Party’s string pullers (the super-rich, Banks, etc.) who have been the biggest leaches sucking the life out of America.

You do bring up another point though on why so many label it as Randian and a lot do. Maybe because of Greenspan actions combined with his relationship with Rand?

Here’s another quote out of that article that does it again:

People have to understand this Randian mindset is now ingrained in the American character. You have to live here to see it. There’s a hatred toward “moochers” and “parasites” – the Tea Party movement, which is mainly a bunch of pissed off suburban white people whining about minorities consuming social services, describes the battle as being between “water-carriers” and “water-drinkers”. And regulation of any kind is deeply resisted, even after a disaster as sweeping as the 2008 crash.

http://www.alternet.org/story/146611/taibbi:_the_lunatics_who_made_a_religion_out_of_greed_and_wrecked_the_economy__?page=3

 
Comment by RioAmericanInBrasil
2010-04-29 13:57:17

47% pay $0 income tax. That is fact. You can say it isn’t so 1000 times a day and it doesn’t change the fact it is so.

Sacrifice wise, poor people support the USA more than you because they pay about the same percentage of their income in total taxes as all of us do. Actually what they pay is much more burdensome to them than what we pay. Therefore, they sacrifice more for their country paying a higher percentage of their disposable income than you and me. The poor pay gas, sin, property, sales, state, federal payroll, federal medicare and utility and service taxes. I’ll bet you didn’t know that Ki.

Your argument is like saying a renter does not have the right to live in peace in a city, or be part of that city because he pays no property taxes which is the main revenue for a city.

Unless you are in fact writing from a playbook, I’d say your politics and propaganda are continually interfering in your ability to objectively conceptualize complicated issues.

 
Comment by packman
2010-04-29 14:07:32

You do bring up another point though on why so many label it as Randian and a lot do. Maybe because of Greenspan actions combined with his relationship with Rand?

Yeah that’s unfortunate (and been discussed on HBB a number of times). I haven’t seen much written about any explicit repudiation of Randian ideals by Greenspan, but it seems like attempting to steer the whole of the U.S. economy via the rudder of the by-definition-collectivist Federal Reserve is very counter to the opposite individualist Rand philosophy.

It seems that point just breezes by a lot people, including many of the supposed free-marketers.

 
Comment by RioAmericanInBrasil
2010-04-29 14:11:22

You going to post that Taibbi article? I’d like to give it a look.
However if it’s anything like Taibbi’s previous rants against the tea party, e.g.: Then no thanks. He lost legitimacy on his views of the tea party when he pulled out the racist card.

I posted that last post with the link before I just saw your last post asking for the link.

I guess he does mention the race thing but different ethnic groups are involved in a lot of stuff but it doesn’t mean everyone is a racist that talks about it. I have some leeway in what I see before I call racism. For example, I am against illegal immigration but that doesn’t mean I’m prejudiced or racist against the Mexican or Hispanic race.

 
Comment by alpha-sloth
2010-04-29 14:29:20

Sounds like Mr. Taibbi has been reading my mail. :wink:

I agree you won’t find in one of Rand’s romance novels a hero who uses the government to garner his riches. That would be way too realistic and sissified for her Hollywood-buff, perfect-man heroes, who earn their livings smelting metals and building railways. But you will find a consistent portrayal of any and all regulation as being a means of the parasites (who are by far the majority of the population in her books) to suck their livelihoods from the heroic, flawless, and much put-upon ‘producers’ (who are a tiny minority- and no, there’s no middle ground). Because, of course, no regulations are needed for these morally perfect entrepreneurs- they’ll naturally do what’s right. Just like Greenspan (her lover, friend, and lifelong proponent) thought about successful firms never doing anything that might harm the system. Coincidence? Sure is a big one.

I too think everyone should read Atlas Shrugged. See if you don’t find it glorifying exactly the ethos that has brought us where we are today: Regulation is a way for the little pissants to keep down the ‘reality makers’. If they’d just get out of the way, these titans could get to work on our new paradigm. And the world will be such a better place.

Well, we tried it and here we are. And it’s not better, Ayn. We freed the titans and they ripped us off.

(I bet someone tells me this time didn’t count- it wasn’t a ‘perfect’ free market. Maybe in heaven we’ll finally get to test her hypothesis.)

 
Comment by alpha-sloth
2010-04-29 16:04:45

From an abc news interview with Greenspan:

TAPPER: You’ll be testifying about the financial crisis on
Wednesday before the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission. When you
testified before Congress in October, you said that you finally saw a
flaw in — in the way that you looked at markets, that markets cannot
necessarily be trusted to completely police themselves.

But isn’t it — isn’t it more than a flaw? Isn’t it an indictment
of Ayn Rand and the view that laissez-faire capitalism can be expected
to function properly, that markets can be trusted to police themselves?

GREENSPAN: Not at all. I think that there is no alternative, if
you want to have economic growth and higher standards of living, in a
democratic society, to have competitive markets. And, indeed, if you
merely look at the history since the Enlightenment of the 18th century,
when all of those ideas surfaced and became applicable in public policy,
we’ve had an explosion of economic growth…

Note the use of the straw man: Rand is equated with competitive markets (as if zero regulation- which she specifically calls for, would ever produce that), democratic societies, and the Enlightenment. Criticism of her is portrayed as criticism of these things.

 
Comment by ecofeco
2010-04-29 16:29:49

Well I’ll gladly bash Randians and Lindertarians!

Because they ARE stupid and should be told so REPEATEDLY that they are. Naive and stupid and sheltered.

 
Comment by RioAmericanInBrasil
2010-04-29 16:33:03

Rand is equated with competitive markets (as if zero regulation- which she specifically calls for, would ever produce that), democratic societies, and the Enlightenment. Criticism of her is portrayed as criticism of these things.

Is this the crux of the Randian philosophy?

1. That zero regulation would produce more competitive markets?

a. If so how would markets with zero regulation self-prohibit monopolies or fraud?

b. If so how can the consolidation of wealth and banking power, the need for bailouts and the current mess be blamed on over-regulation?

 
Comment by RioAmericanInBrasil
2010-04-29 16:36:46

Because they ARE stupid and should be told so REPEATEDLY that they are. Naive and stupid and sheltered.

Why?

 
Comment by RioAmericanInBrasil
2010-04-29 16:55:33

The fundamental problem here is that people equate/associate what Goldman Sachs (and others) did as free market capitalism, and therefore also equate it with Randian ideas. That’s the core of the problem though - what they did wasn’t free market capitalism, because they used the government as a tool to influence policy in their favor. This is in fact the opposite of Randian ideas.

Packman, I’ve been thinking and reading. Maybe it was Randian to start with but evolved from Randian because Randian doesn’t work in actual practice because of human behavior’s reaction to money. Let’s face it. Very few businessmen want competition and all businesses trend towards monopolies or crony cartel type thing if not regulated. Why would they not?

For example: It was the Randian thinking that deregulated the banking industry and repealed Glass-Steagall. This was de-regulation IMO. And the wild-west, no rule ethos caused the crises. When the crises happened the Randians immediately begged the government to bail them out which meant they were hypocrites and Randian wannbe’s who couldn’t walk the walk?

It seems to me, the Randians had their shot in Banking/Finance , or much more of a shot than in the past and it didn’t work. Thus the bailouts.

Am I missing something?

 
Comment by alpha-sloth
2010-04-29 17:27:00

Am I missing something?

By jove, I think you’ve got it.

 
Comment by dude
2010-04-29 17:59:13

It seems to me that the problem we face is much less due to deregulation and much more due to regulatory capture. If one looks at it that way then the Randian motive and effect holds up quite well.

 
Comment by ecofeco
2010-04-29 18:11:00

It’s both.

Deregulation was THE watchword of the Reagan era and continued right up the Chimp admin. What was left after each step was co-opted.

 
Comment by packman
2010-04-29 18:13:20

Am I missing something?

Yes. The simple fact that bailouts exist at all is the antithesis of Randian free-market philosophy. They are the ultimate in regulation. And they happened without a reinstatement of Glass-Steagall.

Not to mention the VAST array of other regulations which many folks continually ignore.

I won’t take the other ignorant “libertarians are stupid - nanny-nanny-boo-boo” bait.

 
Comment by RioAmericanInBrasil
2010-04-29 18:17:54

It seems to me that the problem we face is much less due to deregulation and much more due to regulatory capture.

I see that point but to me, regulatory capture can have the same result as deregulation in this way:

If a regulatory agency becomes “captured” and changes regulations to favor the firms that “captured” it, then this has the same result as eliminating regulations that, in the past, prohibited that same favor towards the capturing entities.

Therefore the final effect of the regulatory capture was the same as deregulation. Therefore the Randian motive was discredited by the backdoor but discredited nonetheless.

 
Comment by basura
2010-04-29 19:28:26

The simple fact that bailouts exist
Not to mention the VAST array of other regulations

Bingo! The Keynesians in this blog would never admit to those. They will just parrot “no regulation” and “free market did this” BS over and over again. Obviously they have no idea how regulated these banks and markets are. That would be asking too much from the true believers…….

Not saying the banks aren’t at faults. The perfect punishment for them would have been to NO BAILOUTS resulting in collapse of their companies. Instead our Govt chose something else.

Once again I see Govt more at fault with it’s bailouts than the banksters with their greeds.

 
Comment by alpha-sloth
2010-04-29 19:43:32

Laissez-faire economics will produce a free market for about as long as anarchy will produce a free society- ie about as long as it takes for the first gangs (street or economic) to form. Maybe…ten minutes?

Don’t forget that the Randians also favor zero environmental regulation. Somehow that’s self-regulating too. I guess once you pollute too much, people die and pollution decreases.

 
Comment by basura
2010-04-29 19:48:39

Randians also favor zero environmental regulation.

Absolutely! Go to youtube and search for George Carlin’s environmental rants. Mother nature will take care of everything. Works for me!

 
Comment by alpha-sloth
2010-04-29 19:54:55

Proper regulation prevents the need for bailouts. We had *no* bailouts of the post-Depression Keynesian financial system. We elected a bunch of Randian (Reagan) deregulators, and it’s been one bank (or S&L) bailout after another ever since. Along with a massive run-up in national (and personal) debt. Once again, mighty big coincidences.

 
Comment by RioAmericanInBrasil
2010-04-29 20:19:03

Not saying the banks aren’t at faults. The perfect punishment for them would have been to NO BAILOUTS resulting in collapse of their companies. Instead our Govt chose something else.

Governments chose or had to chose bailouts? Regardless, bailouts happened.

IMO the biggest failure of communism and pure-greed capitalism is that neither took into proper account human behavior and enough political and social considerations.

You can’t depend on economic systems based on pure math or economics that don’t give credence to the importance of social science. Otherwise they fail. Human behavior has been overlooked in favor of feel good, noble man theories maybe.

It seems bailouts happen in endangered, large capitalistic economies. So how can one ever realistically envision an economic system that precludes them? If the most “capitalistic” system on earth (Wall Street) just begged for bailouts, then is there any real hope that bailouts won’t be used?

Therefore is the raw “free-market” solution credible in practice? Or is it just another enticing novelist’s fiction?

 
Comment by ecofeco
2010-04-29 23:52:55

The above posts have explained why, RioAmericanInBrasil, Randians and libertarians deserve nothing but scorn and derision.

The naive, simplemindness of both are literally, juvenile and bankrupt.

 
 
 
 
Comment by sfbubblebuyer
2010-04-29 08:57:50

So, she wants them to come and spend the day despondently loafing around taxpayer provided shelter while not accomplishing anything or taking any action TO accomplish anything.

Well Teauna, here’s the scoop. They already do that. Sadly, they aren’t limited to 99 weeks of being parasites. But at least there’s a limit to the number of them allowed.

 
Comment by ecofeco
2010-04-29 16:10:51

I know many who’s UI was NOT extended.

Also, remember that UI payment amounts are different from state to state.

As for jobs, let me tell you… a min wage job doesn’t even pay for the gas to get to and from the job. And at +/-10% UE, even those are hard to come by.

Also try to remember that outside of NYC, Chicago or, say Boston, mass transit is damn near non-existent in the rest of the country.

Comment by dude
2010-04-29 18:02:44

Sorry, can’t let that pass. I work 45 miles from home, and drive a car that gets 22.5 miles/gallon. I use 4 gallons/day at 3 dollars per. That’s $12. At minimum wage after taxes that’s still only 2 hours work. It sucks, yes, but my extreme example is far from the norm and you’ve heard of buses no doubt?

Comment by ecofeco
2010-04-29 18:16:42

The poor and unemployed don’t drive well maintained cars. And if you want to split hairs, lets figure out the TCO.

And it’s not “2 hours” it’s 25% of your take home.

Please see the second paragraph of my post. Outside of a few metro areas, there is NO mass transit in the rest of the country.

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Comment by dude
2010-04-29 19:18:33

“a min wage job doesn’t even pay for the gas ”

Live by hyperbole, die by hyperbole.

 
Comment by ecofeco
2010-04-29 23:56:37

Well, if gas was ALL you had to pay for with your min wage, then yeah, I guess it was hyperbole. :lol:

 
 
 
Comment by dude
2010-04-29 18:05:16

Oh, and also, any place too small to have a bus route still has this thing called a bicycle. And for those who are particularly unbalanced there are things called “sidewalks”.

Comment by ecofeco
2010-04-29 23:58:46

Nope. You really should get out more often.

In the city were I live, it is literally suicide to ride a bike and in many parts of even the nicest areas of town, there are no sidewalks.

And THAT is not hyperbole.

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Comment by dude
2010-04-30 08:02:26

So there are no pedestrians? I fine that hard to believe.

 
 
 
 
 
Comment by wmbz
2010-04-29 03:31:31

Obama picks Yellen for Fed vice chair, 2 others for Fed board vacancies

WASHINGTON (AP) — Putting a bigger stamp on the Federal Reserve, President Barack Obama is set to name Janet Yellen as vice chairwoman of the central bank and fill two other vacancies on the board, which has enormous power over Americans’ pocketbooks.

Fed interest rate decisions affect the rates consumers pay on home mortgages and other consumer and business loans. On Wednesday, the Fed ended a two-day meeting by sticking to its pledge to hold rates at historic lows for an “extended period” to help energize the recovery.

Yellen is president of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. As vice chair, the second-highest ranking Fed official, her duties would include helping build support for policy positions staked out by Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, who has begun a second term.

Yellen was a top adviser to President Bill Clinton and is considered a dove on monetary policy. That means she would be expected to be more concerned about high unemployment, currently holding at 9.7 percent nationally, than about rising inflation.

Comment by pressboardbox
2010-04-29 04:41:33

“Abolish the Fed” is the only reaction that comes to mind.

Comment by Professor Bear
2010-04-29 09:47:52

“Higher than previous future inflation risk” is the reaction that comes to my mind.

 
 
Comment by edgewaterjohn
2010-04-29 04:55:04

Another uber-Keynesian. Wonderful.

This bar never closes!

Comment by CarrieAnn
2010-04-29 04:58:52

You didn’t think he’d promote a dissenter did you? ;)

 
Comment by oxide
2010-04-29 05:18:21

Not sure this is a bad thing. Unemployment is one of the worst things for a country. Instead of people producing goods and services (and money) with their labor and supporting the government with taxes, they are doing little of value and the government is supporting them. A double whammy for a country’s finances. And that’s in a country without widespread civil unrest. If people can get back to work, the deficit will go down by itself.

Comment by CA renter
2010-04-29 05:24:41

People can go back to work after we’ve hit the reset button and repudiated all this debt.

We need asset prices to fall and interest rates to rise in order to get a true, sustainable recovery, IMHO.

Obama’s choice of Yellen is disappointing to me. I’d much rather see some inflation hawks in there.

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Comment by LehighValleyGuy
2010-04-29 06:51:55

How come you’re so sensible about economics and so nutso about health care?

 
Comment by drumminj
2010-04-29 09:35:03

How come you’re so sensible about economics and so nutso about health care?

If that’s not the most diplomatic way to start a conversation, I don’t know what is :lol:

 
Comment by Professor Bear
2010-04-29 09:49:25

“If that’s not the most diplomatic way to start a conversation, I don’t know what is…”

For good measure, he could have thrown in some vicious affronts about s3x and religion along with the political poke in the eye.

 
Comment by CA renter
2010-04-30 03:04:31

Comment by LehighValleyGuy
2010-04-29 06:51:55
How come you’re so sensible about economics and so nutso about health care?

Well, thanks for the half-compliment. ;)

It’s my personal opinion that in order to have an optimally functioning economy and society, basic needs must be met. I’m one of the wackos who believes that healthcare is a right that supercedes another person’s “right” to make a profit at the expense of someone else’s health.

IMHO, I’m a socialist where basic needs are concerned and believe that certain things like food/agriculture, water, air/pollution, medicine, etc. should be owned or highly regulated by the government (that is held accountable by “We the People”). I believe that anything that can easily be monopolized (like energy/transportation/communications infrastructure, etc.) needs to be controlled by the govt.

Anything that is a “want” or something where the infrastructure that supports a certain market cannot be easily monopolized should be fully “free-market.”

 
 
Comment by combotechie
2010-04-29 05:53:25

“Unemployment is one of the worst things for a country.”

But it sure can be educational for those who are slow at learning in more conventional ways.

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Comment by alpha-sloth
2010-04-29 06:31:41

It didn’t seem to teach good lessons in 1930s Europe.

 
Comment by combotechie
2010-04-29 06:48:47

But it sure offers lessons for those who care to study 1930s Europe.

Those who don’t learn from history… etc.

 
Comment by Professor Bear
2010-04-29 09:50:51

The 1930s also taught something about repudiating debt by running the printing press. I guess it wouldn’t be quite as alarming if the printing is all done electronically, as there will be no resulting need to cart around paper money in wheel barrows.

 
Comment by LehighValleyGuy
2010-04-29 11:11:11

I think that was 1920s Europe.

 
Comment by CarrieAnn
2010-04-29 11:24:15

Noting the History Channel last night reported The Boston Massacre occurred when mobs had been roaming across Boston for 2-3 days causing havoc. Their problem? They had just lost their jobs and blamed the British.

Of course, the British obviously not realizing the pent up frustration across all the citizens should have never opened fire on unarmed men. Why do I believe our leaders may be equally as tone deaf?

 
Comment by GrizzlyBear
2010-04-29 13:44:34

“The 1930s also taught something about repudiating debt by running the printing press. I guess it wouldn’t be quite as alarming if the printing is all done electronically, as there will be no resulting need to cart around paper money in wheel barrows.”

Just when is this inflation going to hit, which people here have been talking about for years? We already had inflation.

 
Comment by packman
2010-04-29 14:08:53

Just when is this inflation going to hit

Been to any gas stations lately?

 
Comment by GrizzlyBear
2010-04-29 14:20:05

“Been to any gas stations lately?”

So you’re basing inflation solely upon the price of fuel? While I don’t agree with a lot you say, I would have expected a more well-reasoned response.

 
Comment by GrizzlyBear
2010-04-29 14:21:51

Since we’re going to cherry pick the price of one item, I’ll go ahead and ask you:

Have you noticed the pizza price wars lately? Definitely deflationary.

 
Comment by ecofeco
2010-04-29 16:37:34

I’ve noticed that a lot of food chains are offering some reduced menu items.

But my grocery store, utility bill, gas, insurance, vehicle maintenance, clothes, water, sewer, etc have all KEPT going up. And rent has dropped maybe 10% where I live. whoopee.

So fast food, much like the falling prices of PCs, are NOT necessities of life. And the necessities have NOT deflated. Not in my state at least.

 
Comment by CA renter
2010-04-30 03:07:15

Seeing the same thing here, eco. Deflation was a minor blip in the late 2007-early 2009 timeframe, but even then, commodities were going up wildly through 2008, IIRC.

I think we are seeing wage deflation and cost inflation. The worst of all worlds.

 
 
Comment by edgewaterjohn
2010-04-29 06:30:04

I would never argue otherwise. I hated being unemployed, especially in the colder months - daytime teevee s*cks!

That said, widespread unemployment was always a very real possibility that more people should have been considered when they signed over the rights to their next three or four decades of anticipated labor to buy a dwelling.

The “trees grow to the sky” crowd is getting really tiresome. Many of my friends and acquaintences anticipate their wages to grow at the same trajectory of their parents and thus they rationalize high house prices.

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Comment by In Colorado
2010-04-29 08:17:37

Many of my friends and acquaintences anticipate their wages to grow at the same trajectory of their parents and thus they rationalize high house prices.

They must work for the Federal Gov’t. The only people I know who seem happy and unconcerned these days are those who work for the Feds. Everyone I know in the private sector has teensy tiny expectations.

 
Comment by polly
2010-04-29 08:35:47

I hope you never ever have to go through any sort of long term unemployment again, as I hope I never have to as well. However, I strongly recommend public radio over TV as daytime background noise while doing job research, tailoring resumes, etc. If you don’t like the programming on your local station, there are many others available over the internet. I went though a heck of a long time at home when I never touched the TV before 6 or 7 in the evening.

 
Comment by Pondering the Mess
2010-04-29 09:21:33

“The “trees grow to the sky” crowd is getting really tiresome. Many of my friends and acquaintences anticipate their wages to grow at the same trajectory of their parents and thus they rationalize high house prices.”

Still going on in Maryland, at least in larger businesses.

Everyone assumes they’ll be a VP at some point, that huge raises each year are the norm, overpriced housing makes sense because eventually “your salary will be much higher” and so on. Right…

 
Comment by CarrieAnn
2010-04-29 11:51:32

There are a number of people I know that recently bought much larger homes w/in the last year or are doing major upgrades on their homes that have already mentioned a strong possibility of a job loss. But they commit anyway almost like they’re on automatic pilot.

I suppose it is possible that some people could have experienced the loss of a parent and subsequent gifts of money may be behind these choices but for most of them, that is not the story.

Perhaps it is like a midlife crisis. Most of our peers are in their 40s and perhaps they feel its now or never.

 
 
Comment by Pondering the Mess
2010-04-29 09:18:06

The problem is:

1) Low rates kill saver and fixed income people, who are workers.

2) Bankers (and probably other companies) have found ways to use the low rates to make money without having to actually hire more people. Remember that the “perfect company” consists of nothing but executives being paid to exist. They won’t hire people unless they have to, and if working the low rates is a way to get rich vs. hiring employeess, that’s what they’ll do.

We need to clear out the bad debt and put some value back into our money. Raise rates!

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Comment by CA renter
2010-04-30 03:08:46

Amen!

 
 
 
Comment by packman
2010-04-29 06:46:27

Another uber-Keynesian.

Just curious - on what do you base this - the “inflation dove” comment, or do you have more info? I’m not that familiar with Yellen’s background, other than it’s mostly academic rather than commercial (which I view as a good thing, in general).

Comment by edgewaterjohn
2010-04-29 06:59:10

Just google her name, you’ll find countless recent quotes of hers that support me taking that swipe. She repeatedly parrots the concept of a goldilocks recovery. One that is strong enough to have proven Fed tactics correct, but not so strong as to warrant an end to ZIRP. This is AG redux…squared.

As for it being better that she is an academic? Well, that’s your opionion and you’re welcome to it. That’s all I have to say about that.

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Comment by measton
2010-04-29 09:15:36

I’ve seen the same charge from several articles. As the FED chief is likely selected by the banking elite it is unlikely we will see a change of course.

 
Comment by packman
2010-04-29 09:34:15

Thanks.

As for it being better that she is an academic? Well, that’s your opionion and you’re welcome to it. That’s all I have to say about that.

Mainly just saying that because it seems like the corrupt uber-PTB are always from the commercial side - guys like Paulson, Rubin, Summers, Geithner, Corrigan, etc. While the academics are generally of the same Keynesian views, it seems like there are at least some (e.g. Shiller) that are not.

At least in her case if/when she exercises her Keynesian principles, it be because that’s her true beliefs, rather than it being due to funneling money to close Wall Street ties like most of the others.

 
Comment by alpha-sloth
2010-04-29 16:11:10

Keynes would have nipped both the dotcom bubble and the housing bubble in the bud. He also would not have allowed the financial deregulation that led to the last bubble. If you think his theory involves nothing but deficit spending, you simply don’t understand his theory.

 
 
 
 
Comment by RioAmericanInBrasil
2010-04-29 08:55:27

Bummer…

 
Comment by Pondering the Mess
2010-04-29 09:16:00

Her job will consist of helping refill the punch bowl with more low, low rates!

Kool-aid for all!

 
 
Comment by jeff saturday
2010-04-29 04:01:39

Well, the place I bought in 1984 for $55,000.00 and sold in Aug. 2005 for $192,500.00 was just sold again in March 2010 for $55,300.00 I am glad I wasn`t on board for that soft landing.

Comment by arizonadude
2010-04-29 06:28:16

You timed that one right dude.

 
Comment by mikeinbend
2010-04-29 06:31:06

Bought in 1992 for 280k, sold in 04 for 860k. That one is around 600k now (coastal CA). Truck farming ruined my back, so I got my teaching license. Bought 2x in Oregon, california equity locusts(dodges tomatoes) in 05 for 150k, and 200k respectively. 150k house was sold in 06 for 287k, now worth +/-150k again. The 200k place we sold in 06 for 350k and now its launguishing in 10 for 165k. Bought some losers though, like a place in utah that we bought for 350k and sold for 289k. However, bite us again, just bought one for 117k, that we are renting out at $825/month till we need it. Its been a bumpy ride, through health scares, surgeries, kids, and work issues. Thank goodness(or badness) for the housing gains we secured. And our new home that has a mortgage of 0, for the next 30 years and more. So it is actally more like double the value, considering no money paid in interest over the term of a loan.
Hopping on the welfare train soon enough, according to Oregon helps dot org website, we qualify for food stamps, oregon health plan fo the kids, and free lunches at the schools for the kids. If we qualify why not?

We are working, but our houshold income is 25k-30k, I sub teach, wife is nutrition services. Before you say get better jobs that cover the cost of living, ask yourself, who else is gonna be the lunch lady or the sub teacher if it is not someone with relatively low cost of living, with one major expense, a roof, bought and paid for?

Comment by James
2010-04-29 08:03:31

Mike,

Hopping on the welfare train soon enough, according to Oregon helps dot org website, we qualify for food stamps, oregon health plan fo the kids, and free lunches at the schools for the kids. If we qualify why not?

Consider if you really want to be a charity case or not? Do you really need to be at the government nipple? Wouldn’t it be better to save that for some widow or orphan?

Plenty of reasons why not. I suspect it’s just too hard to turn down free money.

Comment by mikeinbend
2010-04-29 10:23:04

James
Good points. Never been on welfare. Dont want it either. Just ran the calculators supplied by the state, noting that we qualify, even though my wife and I work several jobs between us. not sure if we will take it.

Should I also refuse the EIC?? Wife is seeing professionals on food stamps (teachers, cops, etc) at the grocery buying red bull etc with stamps and cigs/booze with cash. We would be more sensible! She is working two $10/hr jobs. I make $20/hr but have to be four hours away from my kids who desperately need me. Something’s gotta give. Son’s having breakdowns, tantrums, and it’s becasue I am gone for the first time in his life (third grade, he used to accompany us to our farming/vegetable sales job for his first years, then teaching school, now dad is gone and he don’t understand)

Also, someone has to heat/serve the food to kids(nutrition services), and sell the groceries, work the sub living wage jobs; and hours are being cut by employers to avoid beneift liabilities. If we refuse sub living wage jobs, someone else will do them(while on state aid), and we wont be working at all. Then, we qualify for welfare checks and HUD vouchers, unemployment, etc.

Health care is breaking our backs, and our kids qualify for Oregon Health Plan. We could send them to the dentist for more than toothaches.
Some help with groceries would be nice too. We both work, it’s just not enough $$.
In central Or. 1200 teachers vying for 100 or so positions, and they are ALL on the sub list, so I have to go to my man cave at the coast to have regular teaching gigs.

Kinda sucks, man. Should I take assistance and be a dad to my son/daughter for awhile, or teach the weeks away here and listen to the suffering going on at home in my weekly absences? I know, two parent household, we should count our blessings and take our knocks. At least we have a paid off home we can put into hock. I’ll take welfare before I do that!

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Comment by sleepless_near_seattle
2010-04-29 10:35:52

Color me somewhat disappointed that OR doesn’t look at total assets when assessing need. No offense to mike (and thanks for sharing the story) but unless I’m missing something I calculate $807k in profits (not including taxes)….not too bad…

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Comment by mikeinbend
2010-04-29 15:47:21

Prolly about right.
50 k rip off back surgery discectomy insurance said yes, then no
10k schooling
50k 3 misc other surgeries (fusion, rotator cuff)
20k x 10 medical insurance
12k one expensive a$$ drug to help me function insurance not cover either.
10 years on couch at 50k per year and teaching school thrown in
1 house 117k
Its all spent. At least I have a doctor now who will treat my pain, and I can get off the couch and sub teach!
Not a leach, no offense taken

 
Comment by sleepless_near_seattle
2010-04-29 17:19:13

Wow, good thing you had the profits you did. Thanks for sharing and clarifying, mike. Best of luck to you.

 
 
 
Comment by cactus
2010-04-29 08:33:25

Truck farming ruined my back, so I got my teaching license.”

My back is F’ed up too no fun you did what you had to do. Seems like you got a pretty good head to make up for the bad back.

I put everything I can on wheels now because I seem to move alot plus the test labs I work in have heavy equipment, put that on wheels too were possible.

I like the wire racks from Costco and heavy duty wheels from McMaster Carr. the costco wheels are a joke they will bend if you overload the racks.

 
 
Comment by edgewaterjohn
2010-04-29 06:34:20

IIRC, that bad kitty (FPSS) did call early/mid 80s pricing. It’s only one instance, but the impossible has been proven possible.

As all you fans of the scientific method know, that’s more than enough to totally descredit a whole lot of housing price theories and assumptions.

Comment by Prime_Is_Contained
2010-04-29 08:34:55

Existence proof, baby!

(course, it could be that the property has declined in value for other reasons, such as fire damage, FB-exiting damage, etc).

But still—a fun data-point.

And yes, FPSS had his bet on 1983 pricing, IIRC.

 
 
Comment by eastcoaster
2010-04-29 07:18:35

What state? That is shocking to me.

Comment by jeff saturday
2010-04-29 07:46:21

Palm Beach County Fl. It is a 2/2 side of a duplex, CBS construction which back in 84 was fine for me. I was in my early 20`s, single and it was a nice neighborhood. Fast forward to 2003, married with a kid and one on the way, a detriorating neighborhood and I started looking for a larger single family house in a better neighborhood and guess what I ran into. So here I am in my second rental since Aug. 2005 The problem for me, at least in Northern Palm Beach County is the lower end stuff has crashed but the nicer middle class neighborhoods are still being propped up at what I consider insane prices. But I keep telling myself and my wife “patience grasshopper”

Comment by jeff saturday
2010-04-29 08:39:11

I goofed that story up. We started talking about a bigger house in a better neighborhood with a kid and one on the way. By the time we could afford to look for a better place in 2003, we couldn`t afford it. Those kids are 12 and 16 now.

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Comment by pressboardbox
2010-04-29 08:39:14

Story sounds very reasonable for the area in FL where I live. Plenty of $250K bubble stuff selling for $50k, as a matter of fact, very little else is selling at all right now. Realtors are ripping out their bleach-blond hair.

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Comment by mrktMaven FL
2010-04-29 07:56:52

Mom’s place in S FL — she paid 245K for it in Aug. 2005 — recently auctioned for 55K.

Although it was a tough decision, I’m glad I talked her into filing BK instead of lending her the money to stay there.

Comment by CA renter
2010-04-30 03:16:02

Sounds like it was a good move.

 
 
 
Comment by wmbz
2010-04-29 04:19:33

BlackRock Joins Blackstone in Loan Fund Frenzy: Credit Markets

April 29 (Bloomberg) — BlackRock Inc., the world’s largest asset manager, and Blackstone Group LP’s GSO Capital Partners LP are forming mutual funds to invest in loans as the London interbank offered rate rises to the highest level since August.

The firms have joined Goldman Sachs Group Inc. in announcing funds investing in leveraged loans pegged to short- term interest rates. Investors poured more than $2.5 billion into bank-loan mutual funds in March and the first three weeks of April, more than triple the amount for March and April last year, according to Lipper FMI data.

The Federal Reserve will likely raise its target rate for overnight loans between banks to 0.75 percent by the end of this year, up from 0.25 percent, according to the median estimate of 67 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. The S&P/LSTA U.S. Leveraged Loan 100 Index has returned 5.68 percent this year, building on last year’s record 52 percent as lending continues to open up.

New money “will provide financing, which will help” mergers and acquisitions, said Tom Ewald, a New York-based money manager who runs the Invesco Floating Rate Fund at Invesco Ltd., which has about $11 billion of leveraged loans under management. “That is a positive for all markets and the economy.”

Comment by ecofeco
2010-04-29 16:50:55

M&As? Isn’t that where they buy a company and fire the bought out employees and stiff the vendors of the bought out company?

Yeah, real “positive for all markets and the economy” there. :lol:

 
 
Comment by pressboardbox
2010-04-29 04:44:04

At least the oil spill is contained:

This article is from six days ago:

http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE63L4UG20100423

Comment by mikeinbend
2010-04-29 06:39:31

And today they are saying that 42,000 gal/day is actually 200,000/day, so it is 5x more goo in the soup and growing 5x faster than originally reported. Contained my oily behind(too much olestra/ aka Alli)/jk!

Comment by pressboardbox
2010-04-29 08:21:25

Just like the “contained” Greek problems that went from a $30 billion bailout to a $150 billiion bailout in two days. How big will it really be next week?

 
 
 
Comment by wmbz
2010-04-29 04:47:11

99 of 100 metros lost jobs in past year
Business First of Buffalo

The economic recovery hasn’t arrived quite yet.
Ninety-nine of the nation’s 100 largest markets — including Buffalo — have fewer private-sector jobs now than they did a year ago, according to a report released Wednesday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The sole exception is Augusta, Ga., which added 100 private-sector jobs between March 2009 and the same month this year.

The biggest declines occurred in the Chicago market, which lost 133,200 private-sector jobs during the past year, and the New York City area, which lost 133,000.

Buffalo’s year-to-year decline totaled 4,600 private-sector jobs, which ranked 22nd on a list that went from Augusta’s gain down to the biggest losses. More than three-quarters of America’s 100 major metros suffered bigger drops in raw numbers.

Wichita, Kans., suffered the worst 12-month decline in percentage terms. Its private-sector employment fell 6.0 percent between March 2009 and March 2010. Las Vegas was next with a drop of 5.9 percent.

Comment by Ki
2010-04-29 06:42:47

Time for another $800B porkulus bill.

 
Comment by edgewaterjohn
2010-04-29 06:50:13

“The biggest declines occurred in the Chicago market, which lost 133,200 private-sector jobs…”

Just another solid fundamental supporting a return to ever increasing house prices.

Comment by ET-Chicago
2010-04-29 09:03:05

Leading the nation in private-sector job loss! And now we’re even losing some of the supposedly iron-clad civil servant’s jobs.

Who will buy all our luxury condos?

Comment by aNYCdj
2010-04-29 11:34:20

WHO???

Why the illegals…just put 40% down get a green card, don’t pay your mortgage and everyone living in that apartment will be deported, and we keep the money

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Comment by Pondering the Mess
2010-04-29 09:25:17

But the banksters! Will somebody think of the banksters!

Oh, wait - their recovery is going well. Nevermind! Nothing to see here!

 
Comment by ecofeco
2010-04-29 16:56:51

But didn’t someone state above that there were plenty of jobs out there although they might be crappy ones?

Yet we see that there are NO jobs out there.

Hmm…

(actually, there ARE jobs out and decent paying ones, IF you happen to be a brain surgeon who can fix databases while cooking a 4 star meal and must be able to lift 50 pounds with retail experience)

 
 
Comment by wmbz
2010-04-29 05:01:34

Eric King: As Rickards correctly points out Washington had no idea of the depth of the financial crisis. The wealth transfer and looting of this country continues unabated while the chasm between the rich and the poor widens. The destruction of the middle class is irrelevant to the modern day pirates, they must have their treasure at any cost. As Jim notes, “The winners like Goldman Sachs made sure to collect.” The last two sentences of Jim’s piece summarize the situation nicely and are in line with top professionals who ask today, “What is real anymore?”
April 26, 2010
Welcome to Pluto
By Jim Rickards

Plutocracy, rule by the rich, is not named for Pluto, god of death, but his spoiled son, Plutus, the personification of wealth. The juxtaposition of a dead economy and bank billionaires makes this lineage apt.

http://kingworldnews.com/kingworldnews/KWN_DailyWeb/Entries/2010/4/26_Jim_Rickards%2C_Trust_in_Free_Markets_is_Dead_.html

Comment by rms
2010-04-29 07:16:42

Human history is littered with revolutions where the men were forced to line-up with upturned palms.

Comment by measton
2010-04-29 08:29:07

And yet the PIGS continue their plunder.

 
 
Comment by nycjoe
2010-04-29 07:32:20

Amen. I think at bottom the problem is (behind the age-old one of human greed) that modern business operates like a giant shark, or a cancer cell. Always forward, always consuming ever more, growth for growth’s sake … never a fallow season, always trying to wring out the maximum. Not only must each quarter be bigger than the last, but the growth rate must also continue to increase … or you’re perceived to be dying. How can that be sustained without destruction?

If some sort of homeostasis model could be accepted … just as most of us, individually, don’t wish to grow to be 20 feet tall and weigh 2 tons. At some point, business and the rich should be compelled to say, enough is enough, we’re doing fine. Let’s just maintain rather than grow.

Until that rosy day, it’ll be boom and bust, I guess.

Comment by Jim A.
2010-04-29 07:54:14

IMHO part of the problem is stock pricing. The only real justification for the high prices of stocks compared to the dividends they generate is anticipation of higher future stock prices. Higher future prices would be due to either growth or inflation. And there are better way to hedge for the possibility high inflation. So management tends to be focused on growth.

 
Comment by In Colorado
2010-04-29 08:12:39

It’s interesting how we humans are “wired” for self destructive behavior. In this case we are wired to hoard and never be satisfied. The rich can never be rich “enough”. The are wired to hoard more wealth, even though they clearly don’t need it.

Read an article the other day about how women are supposedly “wired” to prefer “jerks” over “nice guys”, the rationale being the “nice guys” are subconciously perceived as “weak” and “jerks” are perceived as “strong” and that supposedly women, ever hard core libbers, prefer “strong” guys over “weak” guys. Don’t know if its true, but it would explain a lot of behavior I’ve seen over the years.

What do the lady HBB’ers think about this? Do women really prefer “jerks”?

Comment by Pondering the Mess
2010-04-29 09:30:45

The ultra rich are ever-consuming monsters. No amount is ever “enough.” When they see a homeless man eating trash, it angers them that he has something to eat - that something - whatever it was - should have belonged to them, even though they have no use for it.

And so, they’ll keep consuming and plundering until they end up fighting with each other who gets to rule the dystopic, 3rd world graveyard that they’ve reduced our world to… And even that won’t be enough for them.

As for “jerks” vs. “nice guys” - yes, the jerks win and that is part of the programming. Being a greedy sociopath might have made some sense back in the caveman days (at least until the other members of the tribe kicked you out), but it is extremely destructive behavior in this modern world. But primal programming hasn’t caught up with that fact.

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Comment by Jim A.
2010-04-29 09:49:11

Well the jerks vs nice guys is the mirror image of the madona/whore complex. I tend to put it down at least partly to the idea that it is sometimes handy for a group to have brave/foolhardy (hunters, firefighters, etc)people around, but they tend get killed off. So the best way for a group to have genes that predispose people to those behaviors is to have the women more interested in sleeping with them. Evolutionary psychology like this is kind of fun for cocktail parties, but I’m not sure that it’s really science.

As for the original point, well in evolutionary terms we’re wired for scarcity rather than abundence, which makes sense when you’re talking about hunter/gatherers.

 
Comment by Carl Morris
2010-04-29 12:38:53

I’ve heard it explained as well-adjusted women not wanting jerks, but being attracted to confidence, which is interpreted as “jerks” by men who lack confidence. Then add in the non-well-adjusted women and their taste for abusers…and you end up with the common “women only like jerks” complaint.

 
Comment by CA renter
2010-04-30 03:21:11

I think there’s something to that, Carl.

 
 
Comment by CarrieAnn
2010-04-29 12:27:22

“Do women really prefer “jerks”?”

What type of women are we talking about? And what constitutes a “jerk”?

To me it always boiled down to how much the woman respected herself.

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Comment by wittbelle
2010-04-29 17:10:59

Young women tend to prefer jerks to “nice”, (i.e. stable), guys as they perceive them to be more interesting, perhaps even dark and brooding, maybe a little aloof. If a young man pays too much attention to a young lady, they will be labeled a “stalker” or “creeper” and be kicked to the curb almost instantly. Being stable and reliable as a young man is definitely viewed as boring and weak and unattractive. My poor son, a pretty nice fellow himself, has had a rough go of it, but found a sweet girl that likes him. Her parents are going through a divorce and being around my son and our family is a nice stable change for her.

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Comment by rms
2010-04-29 22:01:51

“Being stable and reliable as a young man is definitely viewed as boring and weak and unattractive.”

The young ladies at the offices I visit always keep a lap dog around for security, but they’ll lift that skirt in a hot moment for strong, chiseled man; no shame either.

 
Comment by GrizzlyBear
2010-04-29 22:09:58

LOL. I enjoyed your post.

 
Comment by CA renter
2010-04-30 03:26:51

The young ladies at the offices I visit always keep a lap dog around for security, but they’ll lift that skirt in a hot moment for strong, chiseled man; no shame either.
——————-

I think these women prefer the “dark, brooding, with a hint of badness” types for the same reason(s) Tiger Woods cheated on Elin with his mistresses — who were clearly below Elin’s level.

Same goes for Jesse James’ cheating on Sandra Bullock. Again, the same scenario where he cheats (on a top-quality woman) with women who could easily be described as very bad-ass white trash.

I think both men and women have a “dark side” that is in conflict with what they perceive to be good and wholesome. I think most people can’t reconcile these two sides, so they live two different lifestyles (for as long as they can get away with it).

 
Comment by Wolfie
2010-04-30 21:03:08

Women are hardwired to be attracted to “alpha” males rather than “betas.” That’s the whole idea around what’s called “game.” Girls preferring “jerks” to the nice guys. There was a reality show a couple of years ago called “the Pickup Artist” where nerds learned “game” and transformed themselves into chick magnets. For more info a guy named Roissy has a blog devoted to the subject.

 
 
Comment by neuromance
2010-04-29 18:26:40

The rich can never be rich “enough”.

Kurt Vonnegut published a poem in The New Yorker called “Joe Heller,” which was about the author of the renowned World War II novel Catch 22. The poem describes a party that Heller and Vonnegut attended at a billionaire’s house. Heller remarks to Vonnegut that he has something that the billionaire can never have, “The knowledge that I’ve got enough.”

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Comment by neuromance
2010-04-29 18:34:59

What do the lady HBB’ers think about this? Do women really prefer “jerks”?

It may be an evolutionary thing. Leaders, good providers, prestige-bringers - these people aren’t milquetoasts. A hard-scrabbler who is not hesitant to throw other people and things under the bus may well be a better provider for the female and most importantly, from an evolutionary perspective, her progeny. It may not be something of which she is consciously aware.

Ultimately, what we see today is life which has been the most reproductively successful in the past. The game is constantly changing though. Who knows what things may look like in several hundred years.

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Comment by exeter
2010-04-29 05:08:33

Chris Rupke of Bank of Tokyo/Mitsubishi was interviewed on WBBR this morning re: housing. And for once the discussion included the different types of bottoms (starts, prices, sales, etc).

He stated that we’re at the bottom of starts =check

He stated starts will soon add to GDP growth=check

He stated prices will coninue to fall for a period of time. When pressed he said “a few years”…. pressed further by Tom Keene and he said 3, 4 or 5 years”. -=check

Comment by edgewaterjohn
2010-04-29 06:43:34

That’s some mindblowing logic. Anything to goose that GDP I guess? And why do I get the sinking feeling that this is also what the Chinese are doing?

Is there any measure of “global” shadow inventory?

Comment by exeter
2010-04-29 07:54:35

Good. Shacks from coast to coast, north to south. Gimme more inventory more inventory more inventory. Dig dig dig… build build build. Stupid? Yup. Good for us? Yup. Harry HomeOwner and Larry LoanOwner can rot in greed hell.

 
 
 
Comment by wmbz
2010-04-29 05:08:56

Warning for Britain as financial chaos spreads to Spain
Spain’s economy was thrown into chaos on Thursday when its credit rating was cut, sharpening fears that Britain may suffer a similar fate.
UK 29 Apr 2010

The turmoil came just a day after Greece’s rating was cut, increasing concerns of a Europe-wide financial crisis.

The euro fell sharply and the interest rates European governments pay to borrow money jumped after Standard and Poor’s, a credit ratings agency, downgraded Spain.

Last night the government in Madrid appealed for calm, promising an “austerity programme” to cut spending.

But economists fear that events in Spain show that financial “contagion” is spreading from Greece, as investors are scared off investing in any European country with significant government deficits.

Britain’s government deficit this year will be bigger than that of either Greece or Spain, and some City analysts believe the UK’s AAA credit rating could be cut, driving up interest rates and raising the prospect of Britain being bailed out by the International Monetary Fund.

Comment by combotechie
2010-04-29 06:26:50

“Last night the government in Madrid appealed for calm, promising an ‘austerity programme’ to cut spending.”

Spain took their shot using promises, now it’s time for some pain.

Comment by Professor Bear
2010-04-29 08:00:59

The pain in Spain falls mainly on the plain.

 
Comment by Shizo
2010-04-29 08:07:17

Saw on Zerohedge(dot)com last night that there was a slip-up in releasing the unenjoyment numbers that were supposed to be under lock and key till Friday. It was said the report was OVER 20%. Second verse, same as the first!

Ruh roh, raggy.

Comment by Pondering the Mess
2010-04-29 09:33:15

Man, where’s a recovery when you need one?

Too bad Spain can’t just print up piles of money and fake a recovery like we do!

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Comment by In Montana
2010-04-29 14:51:36

Where? I couldn’t find it there.

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Comment by shizo
2010-04-29 15:19:42

linky in a bit, sorry I’m clueless in creating a tinyurl…

 
 
 
 
Comment by Professor Bear
2010-04-29 09:57:42

Sounds like bailouts are in the works now. Who will shoulder the bagholder costs of the IMF/EU rescue package?

* APRIL 29, 2010, 7:05 A.M. ET

UPDATE: Greek, Spain, Portugal Debt Insurance Costs Fall Sharply
(Adds updated market prices, more detail.)

By Ainsley Thomson
Of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES

LONDON (Dow Jones)–The cost insuring the sovereign debt of Greece, Spain and Portugal fell sharply Thursday as market sentiment lifted following news that the International Monetary Fund and European Union rescue package for Greece could now total up to EUR120 billion over three years.

Also conducive to an improved market mood were comments from European Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs Olli Rehn, who said Thursday he is confident that talks on the Greek bailout can be completed in coming days.

At 1030 GMT, before Rehn spoke, Greece’s five-year sovereign credit default swaps were at 600 basis points, 120 basis points tighter than Wednesday’s close, according to data provider Markit.

That means the annual cost of insuring $10 million of Greek sovereign debt for five years has fallen $120,000 to $600,000 from Wednesday’s closing level.

Thursday’s tightening comes after Greece’s five-year CDS hit an intraday high Wednesday of 855 basis points.

Meanwhile, Standard & Poor’s Corp.’s downgrade of Spain Wednesday has had little impact on the cost of insuring the country’s sovereign debt, with Spain’s five-year CDS tightening 10 basis points to 175 basis points, Markit said.

Portugal is trading 32 basis points tighter at 295 basis points.

Comment by Professor Bear
2010-04-29 10:03:18

I suppose an interesting question to explore is that of how banksters will turn this PIIGS bailout into a cash cow?

Comment by alpha-sloth
2010-04-29 15:43:26

The people getting bailed out are the big (German, French, etc) banks that are owed the money by Greece. While the people of these nations are furious at having to ‘bail out Greece’, they are in fact bailing out their own big boyz. Sound familiar?

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Comment by ecofeco
2010-04-29 17:03:18

You can’t fix stupid.

 
 
Comment by neuromance
2010-04-29 18:40:12

As long as the governments are firehosing money at the problem, and the banksters are recipients and the middlemen, one can rest easy that they will take a healthy cut.

Being able to hold an economy hostage if you don’t do well is a great business model.

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Comment by wmbz
2010-04-29 05:12:21

Can political third parties ever win anything? Britain is about to test the question.

After 13 years of Labour Party rule, Britain is on the verge of historic change as the May 6 general election approaches. For the first time, the Liberal Democrats, the country’s third party, could win a big enough share of the vote to force electoral reform and end the traditional two-party system.

Comment by rosie
2010-04-29 07:52:14

A minority parliament is not a bad thing. No one party has enough seats to form a majority, so deals are made on an ongoing basis. The party with the most seats approaces the Queen who then decides if the party should form government, a formality. The other parties get some amendments to bills and everyone is happy. Only finance bills are considered confidence motions, which can bring down the government if not passed. This has worked well in Canada since 2006.

 
Comment by ecofeco
2010-04-29 17:04:56

Well it only took them 30 years to figure they might be better off with a 3rd party!

 
 
Comment by CA renter
2010-04-29 05:28:38

Some were asking about the Tea Party’s stance on bank bailouts yesterday.

This was the genesis of the Tea Party, and a position I think ALL of us on the HBB would certainly agree with.

The Republican party has co-opted the Tea Party movement, and I believe (in my conspiracy-minded way) that this was done intentionally because they were afraid that a strong, independent movement would threaten the two-party stranglehold.

The genesis:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bEZB4taSEoA

Comment by Professor Bear
2010-04-29 07:55:10

“The Republican party has co-opted the Tea Party movement, …”

Politics makes strange bedfellows.

Comment by packman
2010-04-29 08:02:36

The problem is that in theory, they have much of the same goals. However you know what they say…

“In theory, there’s no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is.”

 
 
Comment by measton
2010-04-29 08:35:38

Bingo - I went to a very early protest and then things changed.

 
Comment by GrizzlyBear
2010-04-29 14:43:44

“The Republican party has co-opted the Tea Party movement..”

The tea party was made up of Repugs to start with. No surprise here.

Comment by CA renter
2010-04-30 03:35:01

No. I was a firm supporter of the original Tea Party movement (against bank/FB bailouts). This was their only stance, initially. See, even measton went to a rally in the beginning (above post). You certainly can’t call either one of us Republicans.

It was only after it gained momentum that it became a “Republican” movement that started shifting its focus to healthcare, patriotism, etc. I think they (the ever-present PTB) were very worried about the Tea Party, so they used their propaganda to take over.

 
 
 
Comment by Natalie
2010-04-29 06:26:50

“Goldman Sachs may soon settle its fraud case with the U.S. regulator, the New York Post reported on Thursday, opting to end a legal fight rather than endure a repeat of the public flogging it received this week. . . The Post report, citing sources familiar with the matter, said Wall Street’s top investment bank was mulling closing the fraud case with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to limit damage to its reputation. . . It’s almost a certainty that there will be a settlement, the paper quoted a source as saying.” No one could of seen that coming. I’m sure the Obama admistration will fight tooth and nail for every penny they can get out of them - might even ask for a cookie.

Comment by arizonadude
2010-04-29 06:30:53

I’m sure the settlement will be a fraction of the money they fleeced from the american people.

Abby joseph will be working overtime servicing congress I guess.

Comment by packman
2010-04-29 06:52:00

I’m sure the settlement will be a fraction of the money they fleeced from the american people.

A very, very small fraction.

Comment by CA renter
2010-04-30 03:36:11

Didn’t we all call this one, too?

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Comment by michael
2010-04-29 06:32:07

“no one could of seen tht coming”.

*yawn*

Comment by Jim A.
2010-04-29 07:57:00

Well at least that’s a change of pace from “unexpected.”

 
 
Comment by joeyinCalif
2010-04-29 06:50:23

the Obama admistration will fight tooth and nail for every penny they can get out of them

Such an obvious display of greed and corruption.. but curiously, Obama’s reputation will be enhanced by it.

 
Comment by Hwy50ina49Dodge
2010-04-29 06:51:24

“…I’m sure the Obama admistration will fight tooth and nail for every penny they can get out of them…”

Poor lil’ Opie, Cheney-Shrub didn’t leave him their SEC prosecution “cheat sheet” they developed after 8 years in power… ;-)

Crissy! Crissy! Crissy!

 
Comment by pressboardbox
2010-04-29 08:34:03

I’m just glad justice was served by watching those Goldman guys have to answer all those tough questions by the Senate panel. I wish every time I got a speeding ticket I could just go before those guys and have them grill me as the punishment. Do any people really realize what a joke our society has become?

Comment by RioAmericanInBrasil
2010-04-29 09:23:33

Do any people really realize what a joke our society has become?

Yes. But unfortunately most of them are foreigners.

Comment by ecofeco
2010-04-29 17:08:16

*rimshot*

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Comment by Pondering the Mess
2010-04-29 09:35:34

I’m sure the Goldman cronies will get a small bill for their crimes, which will be paid off with Bailout money, and they’ll then get to have a big hand in “reforming” Wall Street to make it easier for them to keep on looting.

Good to see that “justice” has been served?!

 
Comment by ecofeco
2010-04-29 17:06:48

“Limit damage to their reputation.”

I wonder how they will erase the Internet? :lol:

Comment by neuromance
2010-04-29 18:46:23

I have heard on more than a few occasions, of corporate journalists lamenting the “unfiltered” flow of information reaching the great unwashed, and how they are essential in that they distill the information into its salient and accurate points. Expect this low buzz to continue until it gets a foothold.

The population may eventually be dumbed down enough to accept this. I don’t have any statistics on the general intelligence of the population. The SATs used to be an IQ test till they were “normalized” in the early 90s and ceased to be such. But my impression is that the trend may not be flattering.

 
 
Comment by packman
2010-04-29 18:19:20

Ask JP Morgan how damaging public exposure and outcry can be to your reputation, in terms of actually harming your business.

The answer is - not very.

 
 
Comment by Hwy50ina49Dodge
2010-04-29 06:38:25

“Drill Here!…Drill Now!” … verses…”Cost-Benefit Analysis”

(Is involving the low cost US Military…spending or stimulus?)

WSJ: BUSINESS APRIL 29, 2010,
By RUSSELL GOLD, BEN CASSELMAN And GUY CHAZAN

Leaking Oil Well Lacked Safeguard Device:

“…The company also said it welcomes an offer of U.S. military help to get the spill under control.”

“…The oil well spewing crude into the Gulf of Mexico didn’t have a remote-control shut-off switch used in two other major oil-producing nations as last-resort protection against underwater spills.”

“The U.S. considered requiring a remote-controlled shut-off mechanism several years ago, but drilling companies questioned its cost and effectiveness, according to the agency overseeing offshore drilling. The agency, the Interior Department’s Minerals Management Service, says it decided the remote device wasn’t needed because rigs had other back-up plans to cut off a well.”

“An acoustic trigger costs about $500,000, industry officials said. The Deepwater Horizon had a replacement cost of about $560 million, and BP says it is spending $6 million a day to battle the oil spill.”

Comment by Ki
2010-04-29 06:52:24

That kind of simple minded cost benefit analysis would get you fired from an entry level analyst job.

BP has around 100 tankers. It costs each one $500K to retrofit. Total cost $50M. Plus the cost of inactivity for the tankers while being retrofitted. Since adding one of those gadgets is not exactly like getting an oil change, I’d say the cost is more like $750K as a tanker sitting idle costs mucho dinero. So total cost for all tankers is $75M.

If the oil spill takes less than 13 days they’re still ahead. That’s on a pure cost basis. But since the $6M a day is an expense for this year while the $75M is an expense depreciated over several years, the break even is more like 17-20 days.

The $560M replacement cost is covered by insurance and not a factor in the c/b analysis.

Comment by exeter
2010-04-29 06:55:09

Awww Martha…. poor BP! Poor powerless Exxon Mobil! What will we do?!!!

 
Comment by pressboardbox
2010-04-29 06:59:42

I don’t think we are talking about tankers here mister entry-level anyalyst. ;)

Comment by MrBubble
2010-04-29 08:19:45

Bingo.

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Comment by MrBubble
2010-04-29 08:24:27

Oops. Hit submit accidentally. What I wanted to say was that this is what happens when you focus on a single bottom line rather than a triple bottom line. We are pimping off of a failed model developed in the 18th century. That’s some shameful shi…

 
 
Comment by joeyinCalif
2010-04-29 08:25:55

Speaking of tankers, spills and safety..

It’s been over 20 years since the Exxon Valdez spill, but it’s gonna be at least 5 more years before double-hull tankers are required.

And that Valdez ship is still cruising the oceans today.. only thing that’s different about it’s hull is it’s got a different name painted on it..

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Comment by pressboardbox
2010-04-29 08:42:12

“only thing that’s different about it’s hull is it’s got a different name painted on it”

-That, and the hull has a big patch on the bottom.

 
Comment by Pondering the Mess
2010-04-29 09:38:14

Hahaha - that same ship is still out there?!

Oh, wow… talk about a model for how we “solve” our problems: paint over the problem, rename it, and hide the truth!

Much like ACORN will turn into something else and continue the same games, politicians rotate between jobs, companies swap names and continue the same bad practices, etc.

Just slap a patch on it, rename it, and pretend nothing happened! Problem solved!

 
Comment by joeyinCalif
2010-04-29 10:11:19

hmm…
Registered in panama.. Hong Kong Bloom Shipping Ltd owns it. It’s been renamed the “Dong Fang Ocean”..

however, i see it’s just an ore-carrier nowadays.. bummer..

 
Comment by AmazingRuss
2010-04-29 10:31:02

It’ll be out there for centuries, according to Water World.

 
 
 
Comment by alpha-sloth
2010-04-29 16:19:47

that kind of simple minded cost benefit analysis would get you fired from an entry level analyst job.

Too funny! Hey Ki, what happens when your cost benefit analysis is accidentally based on oil tankers instead of oil wells? Do you get a standing ovation from your bosses?

 
Comment by neuromance
2010-04-29 18:55:44

The beauty is that the oil companies can externalize the costs of this kind of disaster. Regulation can possibly lower the risk of incurring the cost in the first place.

We all need energy. Energy means a higher standard of living. But if we’re going to let the oil companies “Drill baby drill”, in order to prevent rampant cost externalization, we need to put very short leashes on them.

While the relationship between business and society should be symbiotic, but ultimately, businesses should only be allowed to exist if they benefit the society. Many organized crime businesses are shut down because they impose a net cost on society (Hello, Goldman?).

IMHO, there should be no question of which is the wrasse and which is the shark. As a society, we’ve occasionally lost track of which is which, and it seems to me that the outcomes then have not been positive.

Comment by CA renter
2010-04-30 03:40:39

+1

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Comment by joeyinCalif
2010-04-29 06:59:26

who cares how much it costs us to get the military out there cleaning it up. They will save the lives of many seagulls, oysters and seals and other wildlife.

Comment by MrBubble
2010-04-29 08:26:39

Jeevus you must really hate this planet

Comment by joeyinCalif
2010-04-29 08:53:58

maybe i only understand this planet better than you do..

Roughly 62 million gallons of crude oil naturally seep out of cracks and holes in ocean floor and into the water every year.

And, on average, roughly 15 million gallons of oil per year comes from offshore drilling oil-spills and normal operational leaks and losses..

This planet naturally bleeds 4 times more oil into it’s oceans than oil rigs spill..
—–

They call oil a pollutant. Of course it is from our point of view.. but it wasn’t a pollutant before we existed.

I can imagine how some form of life (maybe human) either evolved thanks in part to oil or it’s break-down products being in the water, or might even depend on some oil being in the water today..

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Comment by MrBubble
2010-04-29 09:45:11

“maybe i only understand this planet better than you do..”

That, friendo, is highly doubtful. I have worked in the oil and mining industries, have degrees in geology and environmental, wrote my thesis about paleoclimate, researched limnology for the National Park Service, etc..

So mine actually is bigger.

It’s just that it’s always about a single bottom line with you and it’s no longer working. You’re only worrying about the almighty dollar and vehemently defending a failed system and failed modes of thought.

Nice work on googling those seepage facts, though!

“I can imagine how some form of life (maybe human) either evolved thanks in part to oil or it’s break-down products being in the water, or might even depend on some oil being in the water today..”

One of the classic forms off terrible, thoughtless argument. I can’t remember the term for it but, P.U., it stinks!

Hey maybe the Earth has evolved to break down the natural seepage and that the extra that we put in throws the whole thing out of balance. My “point” is as “valid” as yours above. Surely, you must see the holes?

All opinions are not created equal.

MrBubble

 
Comment by MrBubble
2010-04-29 09:46:51

“environmental [sciences]” above

 
Comment by joeyinCalif
2010-04-29 09:52:18

…maybe the Earth has evolved to break down the natural seepage and that the extra that we put in throws the whole thing out of balance.

Do you see ANY evidence of that? How long did you ‘experts’ predict that the Valdez spill would soil our environment.. decades.. eternity? And how long did it actually take nature to clean it all up? Was it 3 or 4 years?

Seems to me that nature has quite a bit of reserve capacity to clean up not only it’s own natural spills, but ours too.

 
Comment by MrBubble
2010-04-29 10:32:03

There isn’t any evidence of my statement, duh, nor is there any truth to your opinion. I was putting my “hypothesis” up as a counter-example to yours using your same flawed technique. Get with the program.

Now, of course, the same argument cannot be used for the ability (or lack thereof) of the planet to deal with the excess CO2 that we are pumping out. So don’t get all excited. Sources are outpacing sinks, even though there is an unknown sink. [Bummer that the Japanese satellite that was supposed to study that issue crached last year]

MrBubble

PS: And “Seems to me” when talking about science or planetary system balance (or imbalance) doesn’t cut the mustard. You clearly are out of your element.

 
Comment by AmazingRuss
2010-04-29 10:37:32

“They call oil a pollutant. Of course it is from our point of view.. but it wasn’t a pollutant before we existed.”

Nothing was called anything before we existed.

If you like the stuff so much, why not fill your pool with it… or go down to the gulf and swim in it.

It’s pollution no matter where it came from, and it’s not ok for an oil rig to explode, kill a dozen-odd people, and dump millions of gallons of toxic and valuable stuff into the ocean. It just isn’t. There is absolutely no justification.

 
Comment by measton
2010-04-29 10:42:31

Joey at his best today

But time may be running out: Oil from the spill had crept to within 12 miles of the coast, and it could reach shore as soon as Friday. A third leak was discovered, which government officials said is spewing five times as much oil into the water as originally estimated — about 5,000 barrels a day coming from the blown-out well 40 miles offshore.

Suttles had initially disputed the government’s estimate, and that the company was unable to handle the operation to contain it.

But early Thursday, he acknowledged on “Today” that the leak may be as bad as the government says. He said there was no way to measure the flow at the seabed and estimates have to come from how much oil makes it to the surface.

If the well cannot be closed, almost 100,000 barrels of oil, or 4.2 million gallons, could spill into the Gulf before crews can drill a relief well to alleviate the pressure. By comparison, the Exxon Valdez, the worst oil spill in U.S. history, leaked 11 million gallons into Alaska’s Prince William Sound in 1989.

As dawn broke Thursday in the oil industry hub of Venice, about 75 miles from New Orleans and not far from the mouth of the Mississippi River, crews loaded an orange oil boom aboard a supply boat at Bud’s Boat Launch. There, local officials expressed frustration with the pace of the government’s response and the communication they were getting from the Coast Guard and BP officials.

“We’re not doing everything we can do,” said Billy Nungesser, president of Plaquemines Parish, which straddles the Mississippi River at the tip of Louisiana.

“Give us the worst-case scenario. How far inland is this supposed to go?” Nungesser said. He has suggested enlisting the local fishing fleet to spread booms to halt the oil, which threatens some of the nation’s most fertile seafood grounds.

No problem here just look away. It’s natural right.

 
Comment by joeyinCalif
2010-04-29 12:00:10

measton, i am always disappointed when very educated and intelligent people do not view mankind and it’s actions as natural, and are convinced that nothing we do can be considered natural.

Instead, we are some sort of destructive aberration and the best thing that could happen is we all get lobotomies and go back and live in the trees..

This earth spun for billions of years before we existed and will do so for many billions more after we’re gone.. it doesn’t need our help.
We like clean beaches and cute little animals and pure water and safe food, etc, so we clean up after ourselves.. but don’t imagine the Earth is affected by our actions one way or another.

 
Comment by MrBubble
2010-04-29 13:21:15

The Earth and other species on Earth are being affected by our actions on a global scale. That is a fact and you are patently wrong. We can talk about extenction rates and CO2 concentrations and temperature, etc. specifically if you’d like, but we definitely are affecting the planet.

Will Earth keep on spinning once we are gone? Of course it will. But it will be a very different place had we not been here. To say otherwise is nowhere near right.

“we are some sort of destructive aberration and the best thing that could happen is we all get lobotomies and go back and live in the trees..”

Another terrible logical fallacy. I can’t remember its name, but suffice it to say that your reasoning skills are sub-par. I may go look up those fallacies so that I can call them out as we daily listen to you bumble through your mind — lobotomized or otherwise.

MrBubble

 
Comment by joeyinCalif
2010-04-29 16:30:49

We can talk about extenction (sp) rates..

OK..
Something like 95% of all species that ever lived on Earth are now extinct. Probably 94.9999% of those disappeared before man even existed.

Species extinction would seem to be a perfectly natural thing.

Suppose some animal other than man causes the extinction of some species. Is that considered natural?

 
Comment by neuromance
2010-04-29 19:02:41

We like clean beaches and cute little animals and pure water and safe food, etc, so we clean up after ourselves.. but don’t imagine the Earth is affected by our actions one way or another.

I certainly don’t want to live in a third-world hellhole with choking air pollution, parasite-infested water, sewage in the streets, and industrial run-off everywhere. One Love Canal is enough. Our environment is clearly impacted by our actions.

I don’t know about long-term models and whatnot, but doing a little here and a little there adds up, if we do it consistently.

 
Comment by joeyinCalif
2010-04-29 20:59:36

It’s not easy to have your cake and eat it too. Sometimes it’s impossible.
I look around this room and, except for a potted plant, everything is manufactured, including the pot the plant is in.

All that manufactured stuff doesn’t grow on trees. It comes only at the end of some long, filthy process. We are still learning how to avoid making a mess, and some messes are unavoidable, and we’ve long way to go before perfection… but we are not giving up our stuff in the meantime.

——-
Love Canal
In 1942, Hooker Chemical and Plastics began disposing chemical waste in the Love Canal region. Other companies as well as the military had used it as a chemical disposal site since the 1920s. (!!)

And then a public school board FORCES Hooker by threat of imminent domain to sell the freakin abandoned dump site to them so they can build.. guess what.. a freakin SCHOOL.. on top of a freakin 50 year old toxic dump..

We still got a lot to learn today.. maybe we haven’t even scratched the surface yet.. but we are not perfect and shouldn’t imagine that everything we do that turns out wrong was a stupid mistake. A mistake yes, but mistakes are unavoidable.

Finding scapegoats and misdirecting our rage is avoidable. We like buying and using all the plastic, chemical and metal stuff? Then we like oil and have to accept the responsibility for everything that comes along with it.

 
 
Comment by measton
2010-04-29 14:00:39

Joey

maybe i only understand this planet better than you do..

Roughly 62 million gallons of crude oil naturally seep out of cracks and holes in ocean floor and into the water every year.

And, on average, roughly 15 million gallons of oil per year comes from offshore drilling oil-spills and normal operational leaks and losses..

This planet naturally bleeds 4 times more oil into it’s oceans than oil rigs spill..

Man you are dense
Not sure where you get those figures, but that 62 million gallons of crude that leak into the water every YEAR is distributed around the globe over the course of a year. This is 5000 barrels a day relatively close to shore. I’ll bet you would consider oil pollution if we poured 100 gallons around your living room. Then my response would be, but Joey 62 million gallons leak into the water every year this was only 100 gallons.

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Comment by joeyinCalif
2010-04-29 16:53:14

i have no argument with that.. oil spills on the beaches are no fun and need to be cleaned up.

It’s not a reason to go screaming nuts about us killing the planet. The planet can take care of itself. It is WE who are threatened by all the various forms of “pollution”. Life will go on no matter how unfriendly the environment is to human life.

As long as we use oil there will be spills despite our best efforts to prevent them. If you think not, then come up with a better way, or a substitute for oil, and make your fortune.

 
Comment by joeyinCalif
2010-04-29 17:47:29

measton, i cant find the original page with the 62M gallon data..

Google “oceanic oil seepage” and you’ll get a bunch of pages. But beware.. Some pages might claim even bigger amounts than that.

 
 
 
 
Comment by measton
2010-04-29 08:41:41

The U.S. considered requiring a remote-controlled shut-off mechanism several years ago, but drilling companies questioned its cost and effectiveness, according to the agency overseeing offshore drilling. The agency, the Interior Department’s Minerals Management Service, says it decided the remote device wasn’t needed because rigs had other back-up plans to cut off a well

Similar to people questioning the need for cockpit doors prior to 9/11.

Similar to people questioning the levy system prior to Katrina.

Similar to mine safety inspection.

Money talks.

Comment by Pondering the Mess
2010-04-29 09:40:00

And similar to people questioning the wisdom of toxic loans, which, as we all know, could never go bad since “housing only goes up!”

Nobody learns.

 
 
Comment by ecofeco
2010-04-29 17:17:55

Ocean floor wellheads are known as subsea trees. They are complex arrangement of flow valves, safety valves and blowout preventors and distribution manifold.

The trees must be serviced regularly.

The only investigation that needs to be done is what caused the explosion and who didn’t keep the tree maintained.

 
 
Comment by Ki
2010-04-29 07:02:23

Obama at a speech yesterday:

“We’re not, we’re not trying to push financial reform because we begrudge success that’s fairly earned. I mean, I do think at a certain point you’ve made enough money.”

He thinks the govt ought to impose a limit on one’s income. But don’t you dare call him a socialist.

Comment by Natalie
2010-04-29 07:25:23

There is no reasoning with people that think standard of living is a zero sum game. They dont have the capicity to understand.

Comment by MrBubble
2010-04-29 08:30:10

That model is still predicated on unlimited growth, which is not possible while still on this sweet swingin’ sphere.

Comment by pressboardbox
2010-04-29 08:55:34

Printing-press makes anything possible. Maybe the Professor Brown should have used a printing press as the basis for his time machine instead of a Delorean.

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Comment by measton
2010-04-29 09:20:39

As pointed out the other day

It is a zero sum game when wealth is obtained via theft and not in producing something.

Comment by Pondering the Mess
2010-04-29 09:41:48

Precisely: I don’t care how wealthy somebody gets provided they don’t steal that wealth from others. Unfortunately, it is clear that these days stealing that wealth is the most common way to obtain it - and it is the easiest way, as well as being endorsed by our leadership (provided you pay them off.)

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Comment by ecofeco
2010-04-29 17:23:26

As Olygal would say “+ umpitty ump zillion!”

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Comment by joeyinCalif
2010-04-29 07:29:15

Max Baucus.. chairman Senate Finance Committee.. said this last month:
“The last couple three years the mal-distribution of income in America is gone up way too much, the wealthy are getting way, way too wealthy…[snip] ..This legislation (some health care fix-it bill) will have the effect of addressing that mal-distribution of income in America.”

redistribute the wealth.. is that socialist or marxist.. i always get them mixed up.

Comment by Professor Bear
2010-04-29 07:52:46

“…redistribute the wealth…”

You forgot crony capitalism: Force Main Street to make whole the Wall Street banks that cast trillions of dollars into the sea.

Comment by joeyinCalif
2010-04-29 08:18:02

You refuse to admit, or are incapable of understanding that Main Street was bailed out when Wall Street was bailed out.

Wait and see what happens to Greece’s “main street” when that economy is allowed to go under. It’ll be a hoot.

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Comment by measton
2010-04-29 08:48:38

You refuse to admit, or are incapable of understanding that Main Street was bailed out when Wall Street was bailed out.

Really Joey we’ve been bailed out?

1. Have you looked at unemployment numbers.
2. Have you taken a look at how much investors make in their bank accounts?
3. Have you looked at future inflation which workers won’t be able to hedge against, but Wall STreet will.
4. Will VAT taxes and increased state taxes be a gift to mainstreet.

TARP was a gift to big banks at the expense of mainstreet.

 
Comment by joeyinCalif
2010-04-29 09:39:36

measton, there’s an excellent chance that only reason you are able go online today is because businesses and banks and all the rest were rescued from disaster.. and your ISP is still connected..

Did a few bailouts cure the fantastic amount of damage WE DID to our economy? No.. of course not. We are gonna pay for OUR mistakes for a long, long time.

Why do people not see that disconnecting business’s health from our own financial health is like disconnecting our heads from our shoulders.
And not just financial. More of us would likely survive a nuclear holocaust than would survive without businesses to feed, clothe and shelter us..

 
Comment by MrBubble
2010-04-29 09:50:06

“What’s good for Wall St is good for Main St” arguments make me throw up in my mouth. But since joeyinCA is an expert on economics, monetary policy, immigration laws AND Earth systems, he must be right!

 
Comment by measton
2010-04-29 11:05:44

there’s an excellent chance that only reason you are able go online today is because businesses and banks and all the rest were rescued from disaster.. and your ISP is still connected..

Please
The gov should have taken over these banks and sold off the pieces. They could have loaned the free FED money to banks that were more responsible, that didn’t have massive leverage. They could have stimulated the economy by rebuilding our infrastructure and a host of other jobs programs. The GS bonus pool should tell you who benefited most from Gov handouts.

 
Comment by joeyinCalif
2010-04-29 11:16:45

I am nowhere near an expert in any of those fields, but discussing issues with you hasn’t so far required it.
—-
Give me one example of any transaction .. any.. that you think is never good for both main street and wall street. My task is to illustrate how it might be mutually beneficial.

And since i haven’t even thought this through yet, and may have missed something plainly obvious, it’s a good opportunity for you to prove what a dunce I am..

 
Comment by joeyinCalif
2010-04-29 11:26:57

measton..
please?
That’s your response?

Not “No, joey, you’re wrong. I would be online regardless of the bailouts because.. ” ?
—–

Yeah… we coulda bailed out the more responsible banks. That would have cost us practically nothing becasue there were none.

 
Comment by measton
2010-04-29 12:52:10

Yeah… we coulda bailed out the more responsible banks. That would have cost us practically nothing becasue there were none.

Wrong there were plenty of local and regional banks that did not have the leverage of the Wall Street Banks. These are the banks they are currently being closed by the FDIC. It should have been the otherway around. Shut down Wall Street Banks and support the regional banks. They may have made poor quality loans which they bundled and sold to Wall Street, because there was a market, but it was Wall Street that created this market via fraud. Thus they are ultimately responsible.

 
Comment by measton
2010-04-29 12:53:53

The paragraph that followed the “Please” points out that I think you are wrong.

The gov could have supported jobs which would have saved the ISP. If not they could have supported the ISP providers with a loan.

 
Comment by Professor Bear
2010-04-29 13:14:09

“WE DID to our economy?”

Which Megabank is it again that employs you, Joey?

 
Comment by joeyinCalif
2010-04-29 16:40:45

measton, just because those small banks didn’t have access to the leverage afforded to big ones, it doesn’t mean they were acting responsibly
They took full advantage of whatever leverage was available to them.

To me, a responsible bank would be one that didn’t drink the KoolAid.. Those are as rare as.. i dunno.. pick something.

 
Comment by RioAmericanInBrasil
2010-04-29 17:06:19

To me, a responsible bank would be one that didn’t drink the KoolAid.. Those are as rare as.. i dunno.. pick something.

The times you quit posting after losing the debate?

Wrong answer. Never mind, that answer would support your point.

 
Comment by ecofeco
2010-04-29 17:22:16

Well joey, at least we know who’s sock puppet your are.

 
Comment by joeyinCalif
2010-04-29 17:38:42

Almost zero.
Right answer Rio.. It suits me and also you… along with almost everyone else around here. Quitters are rare as .. i dunno.. pick something.
——

Anyway, if we gave 1,000 billion dollars to responsible, small banks, they would transform into a few huge big banks which we then expect to “responsibly” run and control the financial system.

But since we have decided big banks are prone to corruption, inherently evil and /or are by definition TBTF, and the whole objective is to rid ourselves of megabanks, it doesn’t make any sense to create new ones to replace the failed ones.. does it?

 
Comment by RioAmericanInBrasil
2010-04-29 18:31:10

Almost zero.
Right answer Rio.. It suits me and also you…

It was not really the right answer but it was for my joke. Sometimes I like humor more than proving points.

But there were many banks that did not drink ENOUGH of the Koolaid to kill themselves and did not require bailouts and then give bonuses with taxpayer money.

That’s why there is moveyourmoney.info

It talks about it.

 
Comment by joeyinCalif
2010-04-29 18:57:47

Rio.. i have given the practicality of this small-bank thing at least some thought.

A business is an organism that, unrestricted, will grow as fast as it can and as big as it can… like a fish in a pond who’s size is limited only by things like it’s food supply and the pond’s limited oxygen content.

imo, the only way to limit a bank’s maximum size is to limit it’s market, either geographically or similarly. While limiting it’s region is artificial, it allows banks maximum continued freedom to provide all the various services that are now available, and allows ourselves continued access to that maximum of services.
—-

I think we could painlessly limit bank size it if we really wanted to. But I do not think we’ve considered all the consequences of being stuck with tiny banks.

For instance, funding a big project could easily be beyond one bank’s reserve capabilities. We’d need a coalition of banks to get some things done, or perhaps be forced to use large foreign banks..
Coalitions would be hard to organize and are as troublesome, costly and wasteful as any bureaucracy is expected to be, and would contain their own subset of potentially negative consequences.
Foreign banks are the last thing I would want to be dependent on for anything.

Not to say that this example of “big projects” is a deal breaker, but there’s gotta be thousands of similar situations that could prove very problematic in a strictly small-bank economy.

 
Comment by RioAmericanInBrasil
2010-04-29 19:18:00

I think we could painlessly limit bank size it if we really wanted to. But I do not think we’ve considered all the consequences of being stuck with tiny banks.

Ok, but I don’t think people are talking about tiny banks. The relative sizes and relative market share distributions of say 1995 would fine.

It’s out of control now:

“The four major U.S. banks: Bank of America, Citigroup, JP Morgan Chase and Wells Fargo, issue two-thirds of the credit cards in this country, write half of the mortgages and collectively hold $7.4 trillion in assets, about 52 percent of the nation’s estimated total output last year.

“Despite the fact that we bailed these banks out because they were too big to fail, incredibly, three out of four of these institutions are now larger today than they were when we bailed them out. Enough is enough.”

Sen. Bernie Sanders

http://sanders.senate.gov/newsroom/news/?id=aeec9d75-4dbf-474e-9f09-85db2c510687

 
Comment by joeyinCalif
2010-04-29 19:48:17

correct.. people are NOT talking about “tiny” banks.. because they are fearful of committing themselves to ANY “proper” size.

How small must a bank be to avoid the problems we claim to attribute to a big banks size?
As a legislator who intends on writing laws and passing regulations, you must decide on solid numbers, not vague adjectives like small and big..
—–

tell ya what.. While the big-bank controversy will be hashed around in the papers and among politicians for as long as the recession lasts, once we’re financially secure again, (except for some regulatory window dressing to appease a few politically powerful special interests and a bone or two thrown to the “outraged” public) it’ll be decided that precisely what we have now is good enough for us.

 
Comment by Professor Bear
2010-04-29 23:12:01

“How small must a bank be to avoid the problems we claim to attribute to a big banks size?”

1. A good start would be to look at the banks on the Fed/Treasury TBTF list.

2. Then for good measure, don’t allow any bank to get any larger than 1/2 the size of the smallest one on the TBTF list.

It’s just a rule of thumb, but it seems like a reasonable place to start.

 
 
Comment by pressboardbox
2010-04-29 08:27:00

Technically didn’t main street already get their bailout when they used HELOCs and credit cards to buy every hummer, jet-ski, and flat-screen HDTV in sight before the bubble burst? Getting not to pay the mortgage, and short-sales, and credit card settlements - there’s your bailout! Cash4Clunkerz, $8k homebuyer credit, extended UE benefits - now you’re just getting greedy!

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Comment by Pondering the Mess
2010-04-29 09:44:59

Sort of: the difference is that (in theory) that money has to be paid back, while the banksters get to keep their Bailout.

That being said, a lot of that money will not be paid back, and the costs will instead be shifted and spread around, hitting savers and fixed income people the hardest via dollar devaluation even though they ironically had the least to do with this mess.

 
 
Comment by measton
2010-04-29 09:08:58

REally joey mainstreet was bailed out??
1. Take a look at unemployment
2. Take a look at the low interest rates we make for keeping our money in the bank.
3. Take a look at the threat of future inflation to the middle class who can’t hedge their income like the elite.
4. Take a look at future VAT and state taxes which will of course target the middle and upper middle class to pay for the bailout of the elite.

You have a strange sense of getting bailed out. Do you also accuse the rape victim of getting what she wanted??

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Comment by James
2010-04-29 08:14:34

You have to look at the wealth distribution vs total wealth generation in the country and then evaluate the situation.

A bad wealth distribution is bad for the country. We don’t want that inverted pyramid because it’s a net loss for everyone. The “rich”, a very very small number, end up living in self protected enclaves. The mass of people not working will not produce high quality goods, services or IP.

Hence the rich also lose with a bad wealth distribution. This isn’t in anyone’s best interest.

Comment by measton
2010-04-29 08:49:52

BINGO

The rich then have to hire security, they can’t travel, they send their kids to private schools in Switzerland.

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Comment by exeter
2010-04-29 09:05:36

measton,

Have you ever wondered why $50k/yr wage slaves pander and cheerlead for the wealthy elite?

 
Comment by measton
2010-04-29 09:06:21

In the US you also have to worry about a large armed group of citizens, many in militias. The only thing that keeps some of these groups from going native is that their life is pretty good in terms of a job that can provide food and shelter and play things for the weekend. Take that away and I suspect you will see them take what they can.

 
Comment by Pondering the Mess
2010-04-29 09:48:06

“Have you ever wondered why $50k/yr wage slaves pander and cheerlead for the wealthy elite?”

Because too many people in this country think that “someday” with enough brown-nosing/greed/education/work/whatever they can become one of the elite. They don’t understand how the game works, and thus they dream of becoming a ruling sociopath vs. not wishing to be ruled by sociopaths.

 
Comment by MrBubble
2010-04-29 12:19:53

Exactly. So many people think that there is a real meritocracy here, but nothing could be further from the truth.

For example, if you are a legacy applicant to one of the “elite colleges” (i.e. a family member went there before you and gave cash), your chance of acceptance sky rockets. Once a poor, non-legacy student realizes that he or she is only at the “elite school” to increase the average SAT score of the privleged dolts with whom he consorts, it becomes impossible to un-see that the game is rigged.

Without a “red pill” experience of this type to truly demonstrate how rigged the game is and how it perpetuates itself, voters will continue to take the blue pill and vote against their own economic self-interest in order to “preserve the sanctity of marriage” or other such drivel.

 
Comment by ecofeco
2010-04-29 17:29:20

…and, and them thar dang socialeests!

 
 
Comment by joeyinCalif
2010-04-29 09:11:45

While we could redistribute the wealth within this country, no matter how we do it, it still wouldn’t be fair.

The USA has less than 5% of the world’s population and over 25% of the world’s net worth.

As true believers in the re-distribution of wealth, we should give about 80% of ours to foreign countries…

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Comment by Professor Bear
2010-04-29 10:00:47

So long as the banksters stole their money fair and square, it should be theirs to keep.

 
Comment by joeyinCalif
2010-04-29 10:20:01

you and your “stole”..
Stealing is a crime, and no criminal activity has been discovered or haven’t you heard. And we are presumed innocent until proven guilty.. probably never heard of that one either..

And probably never heard of lying under oath or bearing false witness.. but this is not a court of law and you’re free to express whatever you like. Vehement, prejudiced anti-bankster propaganda is an old song.. it used to have a different name.

 
Comment by RioAmericanInBrasil
2010-04-29 11:05:08

Vehement, prejudiced anti-bankster propaganda is an old song.. it used to have a different name.

And after a forty year absence, the re-mix is just starting to climb up the charts.

 
Comment by MrBubble
2010-04-29 12:09:02
 
Comment by ecofeco
2010-04-29 17:32:19

Again joey, you lie.

Google News alone shows you to be a liar.

You are an amazing textbook example of self delusion.

 
Comment by ecofeco
2010-04-29 18:49:44

$60 million settlement for Massachusetts subprime mortgages

On May 10, 2009, the Goldman Sachs Group agreed to pay up to $60 million to end an investigation by the Massachusetts attorney general’s office into whether the firm helped promote unfair home loans in the state. The settlement will be used to reduce the mortgage payments of 714 Massachusetts residents who had secured subprime mortgages funded by Goldman Sachs. Michael DuVally, a spokesman for Goldman, said it was “pleased to have resolved this matter,” and declined to comment further. This settlement may open the door to state government actions against Goldman throughout the United States aimed at securing compensation for predatory mortgage lending practices

- Wikipedia

 
Comment by joeyinCalif
2010-04-29 19:03:51

you called me a liar because of a settlement? wow..
A settlement is not a conviction. It’s a contractual agreement.

wiki also has a dictionary.. wiktionary.org

 
Comment by Professor Bear
2010-04-29 23:06:29

“Stealing is a crime, and no criminal activity has been discovered or haven’t you heard.”

Absence of evidence is merely weak evidence of absence.

Besides, it ain’t over till it’s over, which’t ain’t yet.

Friday April 30, 2010

Bloomberg
Goldman Scrutinized by U.S. Prosecutors Examining SEC Case
April 30, 2010, 12:06 AM EDT
By Justin Blum and David Glovin

April 30 (Bloomberg) — Federal prosecutors in New York are investigating transactions by Goldman Sachs Group Inc., accused of misleading investors by U.S. securities regulators, to determine whether to pursue a criminal fraud case, according to two people familiar with the matter.

 
Comment by ecofeco
2010-04-30 00:02:45

Why yes joey, a settlement for discontinuing an investigation is, indeed an admission of guilt… in the real world.

 
 
Comment by Housing Wizard
2010-04-29 09:12:53

No truer words said than your post James .

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Comment by Professor Bear
2010-04-29 09:32:58

Rich greedy people who live for bonuses and bailouts are too stupid to realize that excessive wealth concentration eventually will hurt them. Witness what happened in France circa 1789 as an extreme example of how bad this can get.

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Comment by ecofeco
2010-04-29 17:26:46

Some people just lose their heads when it comes to money. :lol:

 
Comment by Bill in Los Angeles
2010-04-29 17:27:14

I can see both your points and Joey’s. I have read about the bad effects of concentrated wealth at the very top.

Right now for example we are seeing a new bad effect: The birth rate among the middle class is far lower than a couple of generations ago.

Well-raised children with the proper love and nurturing are rarer and rarer in this society.

Meanwhile the poorest nations and the Muslim nations are having population booms.

The middle class in America is squeezed to death. We’d be a strong and stable society if we’d return to having mostly one income families where one spouse stays home, also where one can work within a reasonable drive from home to a job, like ten minutes instead of two hours.

Maybe internet will help return society to that structure. But the massive government spending must be stopped. Then focus on paying down the debt with unchanged tax code. After about ten years of this, cut taxes drastically.

I am against increasing taxes on the job providers - which is really the wealthy. Let everyone be on an even playing field and abolish the income tax for all at some point.

 
Comment by RioAmericanInBrasil
2010-04-29 18:04:00

I am against increasing taxes on the job providers - which is really the wealthy.

I agree with most of your post but not that part.

I think we should tax the very rich much more. Like 70% as we did in the 50s -70’s

Reasons:
1. Progressive taxes are part of American history and values. We’ve strayed from our core values.

2. The very rich are the only ones who benefited from the past 30 years at the same time their taxes have been slashed. We have re-distributed wealth in this country from the middle-class and small business owners to the already rich. This wealth re-distribution has hurt America. We need to re-distribute it back to the middle-class.

3. The rich have the money and when one is that rich, more tax will not affect their standard of living. (3 luxury houses instead of 5 is no big deal)

4. The super rich do not create American jobs anymore. They outsource them, downsize and cut pay. The super rich, especially the Wall Streeters suck the money from America’s productive class (The middle-class) The real productive class (middle-class and upper middle-class small business owners should be given the breaks) Down with the monopolistic oligarchy. Up with the real capitalists.

5. If taxed more, the rich will work much harder to make more money. It’s too easy now. They got lazy. They leach off the rest of Americans because their money comes too easily. They feel they are entitled to be billionaires.

 
Comment by Bill in Los Angeles
2010-04-29 18:58:01

Well indeed the rich benefit most from the police and military, but if we had an equal playing field, it would ENCOURAGE poor people to move up to middle class and middle class people to move up to the wealthy class - entrepreneurs.

The drive to create wealth creates jobs.

 
Comment by Professor Bear
2010-04-29 23:08:29

“Well-raised children with the proper love and nurturing are rarer and rarer in this society.

Meanwhile the poorest nations and the Muslim nations are having population booms.”

I’ve got the solution: Let lots of illegal immigrants from Muslim nations slip across the border and turn them loose on Wall Street.

 
Comment by CA renter
2010-04-30 04:19:05

…it would ENCOURAGE poor people to move up to middle class and middle class people to move up to the wealthy class - entrepreneurs.

Bill,

You keep insinuating that people who are poor/middle class somehow lack initiative or a decent work ethic. I’ve seen far too many **very productive** poor people to believe this theory is correct.

I also question the assertion that Goldman Sachs (or other financial wizards) create jobs. In many cases, they destroy them.

 
 
 
Comment by Mike in Miami
2010-04-29 09:53:43

I am not much for wealth redistribution, but to get the trillions back that were unlawfully taken from the American people would be nice. A quick look into history books confirms that sooner or later this will be done anyway, voluntary or otherwise.

Comment by Green Shoots
2010-04-29 13:10:31

“…but to get the trillions back that were unlawfully taken from the American people would be nice.”

That’s only the tip of the iceberg. The damage to our financial system’s ability to properly price risk done by Big Hank’s bailouts, not to mention the moral hazard facing future generations of investment bankers who learned that they are, indeed, too big to fail, is incalculable. This is why I believe breaking up the Megabanks into smaller, competitive, non-systemically-risky pieces that are incapable of creating their own brand of bad economic weather in order to qualify for the next round of TBTF bailouts is the only possible way to restore capitalism to a functioning state of existence.

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Comment by ecofeco
2010-04-29 17:25:11

Let me see if I have this right. It’s o.k. for Wall St and the Bankstas to determine how much others should earn, but not the other way around?

Hmm. Really?

“Let them eat cake!” ring any bells?

Comment by Professor Bear
2010-04-29 23:10:09

“Let them eat cake!” 21st Century updated edition:

“Let them stand in the unemployment line while we enjoy our ginormously massive government-guaranteed taxpayer-funded bonuses.”

 
 
 
Comment by Natalie
2010-04-29 07:26:28

capacity

 
Comment by Green Shoots
2010-04-29 07:47:57

The San Diego economy is roaring back to life. Fence sitters better buy now or get priced out forever!
——————————————————————————-
Local economic indicators index rises

By Dean Calbreath, UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER

Originally published April 28, 2010 at 1 p.m., updated April 28, 2010 at 9:46 p.m.

Building permits issued during the first quarter in San Diego County were 21 percent higher than in the same period of 2009.

Fueled by rising stock prices and an improving outlook for the national economy, San Diego County’s leading economic indicators rose 1 percent in March, marking a full year of continuing rises in the index after three years of decline.

The 12-month rise in the index signals that the local economy hit bottom late last year or early this year, according to a report released Wednesday by the Burnham-Moores Real Estate Institute at the University of San Diego.

USD economist Alan Gin, who compiles the index, said he was particularly encouraged by improvements in hiring. Employers added 5,000 workers to their payrolls in March, the best monthly gain in local employment since February 2008.

Comment by Green Shoots
2010-04-29 07:50:53

San Diego home construction is also coming back strongly:
—————————————————————————-
Building permits for homes here on the rise
But nonresidential activity continues to be weak

By Roger Showley, UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER

Originally published April 28, 2010 at 3:53 p.m., updated April 28, 2010 at 9:53 p.m.

San Diego County building permits rose in March to reach their highest level this year and boost year-to-date totals by 21.2 percent over 2009, according to the Construction Industry Research Board. Single-family-home permits were up 97 percent in the first quarter compared with year-ago levels.

To me, that shows developers are seeing this big uptick in the housing market,” said University of San Diego economist Alan Gin. “There are more sales and higher prices, and they’re reacting to that.

There were 298 permits issued, up from 258 in February but down from 521 in March 2009, when there was a one-month spike in multifamily permits. So far this year, 841 units have been authorized by local jurisdictions, compared with 694 for the same period last year. In the first quarter this year, single-family totals stood at 585, nearly double the 297 of the first quarter in 2009.

 
Comment by In Colorado
2010-04-29 08:02:18

Sadly in San Diego it doesn’t take much to get house prices to go up.

Comment by Carl Morris
2010-04-29 09:00:37

I wonder if places like San Diego and Boulder get a disproportionate bump from the efforts to reflate due to actually being relatively nice places to live?

Comment by Professor Bear
2010-04-29 09:22:39

It’s all about the inventory. There are about 10,000 single family homes and condos currently on the market in a county with 1,000,000 households. This is lower by half than the number of homes that were on the market back in 2006. Rumor has it that banks are letting people who stopped paying their mortgages live rent-free in homes that should be going into foreclosure.

With only one home on the market for every 100 households, you can see that the sellers have a huge marketing advantage; they can cherry pick the demand pool for buyers with high willingness to pay, and let anyone who does not want to step up to buy an unaffordably priced McMansion to keep on renting.

By contrast, if homes on which so-called owners have stopped making payments were brought to market, we could rather quickly achieve the long sought goal of providing affordable housing in San Diego. Why the opportunity to finally achieve affordability is being passed over is quite a mystery to me, given how much politicians like to complain about the chronic shortage of affordable housing here.

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Comment by Pondering the Mess
2010-04-29 09:50:27

If the shadow inventory was sold, bad things would happen, including:

1) Banks having to recognize losses.

2) The Bubble dream bursting as reality comes into view.

3) Real estate values would drop, causing a drop in property taxes.

4) Crooks would no longer be rewarded and prudent people would be able to afford housing.

So, it’s in the interest of those in power to keep the shadow inventory hidden until it rots away vs. allowing there to be plenty of affordable housing.

 
 
 
Comment by Professor Bear
2010-04-29 09:09:30

“… it doesn’t take much …”

A little UHS collusion to withhold supply from the market is all it takes.

Comment by rms
2010-04-29 11:41:55

FedGov providing the jumbo financing much have some influence on prices.

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Comment by Professor Bear
2010-04-29 13:12:36

How is the FedGov backing the jumbos? I thought the GSE limit was $729,750 or so. Do you have some evidence to back up your assertion?

 
Comment by Professor Bear
2010-04-29 14:20:08

Who will invest in Jumbos if Megabank, Inc is broken up into non-systemically risky pieces? Will the GSE conforming loan limit be lifted about $729,750 to let them do it?

BusinessWeek Logo
Thursday April 29, 2010

Bloomberg
Wall Street Begins Taking Bets on Jumbo-Mortgage Debt (Update1)
April 28, 2010, 7:07 PM EDT
(Adds prices in seventh paragraph.)

By Jody Shenn

April 28 (Bloomberg) — Wall Street banks began taking bets on pools of jumbo-mortgage bonds as trading started today on four new credit-default-swap indexes.

The PrimeX indexes, administered by London-based Markit Group Ltd., are similar to the ABX indexes tied to subprime debt that began in early 2006, allowing easier wagers on the subsequent record defaults among homeowners with bad credit.

When a plan to create the indexes linked to older prime loans larger than the limits for government-supported Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac was announced in December, Wells Fargo & Co. analyst Glenn Schultz suggested investors consider selling jumbo-mortgage securities because PrimeX trading could drive down their prices, as happened with subprime bonds and the ABX indexes he had called “Frankenstein’s monster.”

“In this yield range PrimeX looks like an attractive alternative to both ABX and jumbo cash bonds,” Bank of America Corp. analysts led by Chris Flanagan in New York wrote in an April 26 report. In “pre-open” inter-dealer trading, the indexes gained, leaving potential yields at 6 percent to 8 percent, the analysts said.

The four PrimeX indexes are each linked to 20 originally AAA rated securities from 18-month periods, ending June 30, 2006 and Dec. 31, 2007, according to a document on Markit’s Web site. Two of the indexes are tied to fixed-rate loans and two track adjustable-rate mortgages.

‘Price’ Basis

The contracts will trade on a “price” basis, with the cost of buying default protection ranging from 442 basis points to 458 basis points a year plus an upfront payment equal to the difference between 100 and an index’s level, translated to a percentage of the size of the positions. Negative upfront amounts would be paid by the seller of protection to the buyer.

Three of the four indexes closed above 100, according to Markit’s Web site. Their levels ranged from 97.73 to 107.23.

Credit-default swaps on structured-finance securities offer payments if the debt isn’t repaid as scheduled, in return for regular insurance-like premiums. A basis point equals $1,000 annually on a contract protecting $10 million of debt.

In a hearing yesterday in Washington with Goldman Sachs Group Inc. executives, U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill, a Democrat from Missouri, called at least one type of credit-default swap a “La-La Land of ledger entries.”

“It’s not investment in a business that has a good idea,” she said. “It’s not assisting local governments in building infrastructure. It’s gambling. Pure and simple, raw gambling.”

 
Comment by rms
2010-04-29 19:16:41

“How is the FedGov backing the jumbos? I thought the GSE limit was $729,750 or so. Do you have some evidence to back up your assertion?”

I thought the jumbo was above $417k.

Where would prices for a 3/2 ranch settle in San Diego, CA if the Jumbo went away?

 
 
 
 
 
Comment by brahma30
2010-04-29 08:47:50

Aaargh!!….I cannot take this anymore.

Fed bailing out WallSt, Fed exchanging its worthless dollars with swap agreements, Healthcare which IMHO is worse than what we had, false economic recovery, future demand sucked to satisfy current demand (8K homeowner credit), foreclosure moratorium, unemployment rate lies, economy rebounding lies, insolvent banks masquerading as good, saudi sukuk defaults, PIIGS default, government bailing out another government. F****…the head aches.

Comment by pressboardbox
2010-04-29 11:59:58

You left out the big oil spill ;)

Comment by Housing Wizard
2010-04-29 13:51:33

brahma30…Boy do I agree with your post . We now live in Crazy World .

 
 
 
Comment by measton
2010-04-29 08:57:08

Former President Bill Clinton enthusiastically weighed into the blistering national debate on immigration today with a resounding assertion that America needs more immigrants — not fewer — to ensure its long-term fiscal future.

Really with 10% unemployment this is your plan.

The balls all T’d up.

Comment by Professor Bear
2010-04-29 09:08:29

Who cares if they are illegal and don’t pay any taxes — we need more immigrants! If Hitlary gets elected president, we are sure to get lots more, too…

 
Comment by exeter
2010-04-29 09:09:54

When China runs the table do what China does. (slave labor and inflate currency)

PS……………..

The poor banks!!!!

 
Comment by Pondering the Mess
2010-04-29 09:56:26

The goal is massive unemployment, followed by complete dependency upon handouts. Combine this with a collapsing state with a Balkanized population lacking a common language or culture, and you can easily sieze control and maintain it, forever.

Comment by ecofeco
2010-04-29 18:23:23

“Power” 101.

 
 
 
Comment by measton
2010-04-29 09:02:13

Provided by The Business Insider, April 28, 2010:

When it comes to the PIIGS, Dr. Doom is in full-on doom mode.

Felix Salmon has some good notes on a PIIGS panel from the Milken Global Conference, which included Nouriel Roubini, who is in his wheelhouse when talking about sovereign debt crises.

Nouriel, of course, takes that kind of thinking to its logical conclusion, and kicked off the panel by announcing that it was just in time: “in a few days,” he said, “there might not be a eurozone for us to discuss.” There’s no way that Greece can implement the 10% spending cut it needs to do in order to stop its debt spiralling out of control at current interest rates — and even if it did, the economic effects would be disastrous.

Nouriel’s base case, then, is Argentina 2001: after all, Greece has a much higher debt-to-GDP ratio, much higher deficit-to-GDP ratio, and much higher current-account deficit than Argentina had back then. And if that’s the base case, there’s no way that Greek debt should be trading anywhere near its current levels.

And guess what: Spain is worse than Greece, says Roubini. Ugh.

The BIG difference
Greece has the IMF and EU over a barrel. I view it as similar to N. Korea, and of course Wall Street. Pay us money or the whole ship goes down.

No pun intended in terms of N. Korea.

Comment by Green Shoots
2010-04-29 09:26:34

Roubini never tires of rubbing his hands together, does he? Didn’t anyone tell him yet that the Spanish, Portuguese and Greek debt crises are all contained?

 
Comment by pressboardbox
2010-04-29 10:08:56

Greeks are like Somali pirates and Europe Zone is the tanker? Bring in the SEAL snipers.

 
 
Comment by Green Shoots
2010-04-29 09:29:28

Doesn’t this gloomster realize that home prices have already bottomed out, and will continue to appreciate during the strengthening recovery which is already underway?
———————————————————————————
28.04.10
Monthly Review Press
Sustained Downward Pressure on House Prices
by Dean Baker

The Census Bureau reported on Monday that the vacancy rate edged up to 11.0 percent of all housing units in the first quarter of 2010, slightly above the year-round average of 10.9 percent for 2009. The data showed a slight decline of 0.1 percentage points in the vacancy rate for ownership units compared with the first quarter of 2009. This was more than offset by an increase of 0.5 percentage points in the vacancy rate for rental units. This indicates that homeowners who are having difficulty selling their units are opting to rent them out instead.

The seasonally adjusted homeownership rate edged down to 67.2 percent, the lowest level since the first quarter of 2000. For blacks, the ownership rate fell to 45.6 percent, the lowest level since 1999. With delinquency and foreclosure rates still near record highs, these figures are virtually certain to drop further over the course of 2010 and probably into 2011.

Comment by Arizona Slim
2010-04-29 13:15:12

If you like to read Dean Baker, you’ll enjoy his Huffington Post articles. I especially enjoyed the one about the Washington crew and the housing bubble. Seems that they’re having trouble acknowledging said bubble’s existence.

 
 
Comment by Green Shoots
2010-04-29 09:42:21

There has never been a better time to be a SoCal property vulture!
——————————————————————————-
San Diego Business Journal
Investors Waiting To Find Bargains On Distressed Properties
REAL ESTATE: Pressure Mounting on Lenders to Unload Troubled Assets

By Lou Hirsh

Monday, April 26, 2010

Investment bargain hunters are itching to go shopping in the market for distressed commercial real estate assets, but experts note that real opportunities to buy — locally and elsewhere — may not be arriving for several more months.

A key reason: Most lenders are still not pulling the trigger on delinquent commercial loans even as their numbers continue to rise. But that could soon change.

“You could see the shoes start to drop in the second half of 2010, or at least by year’s end,” said Alex Zikakis, president and CEO of Carlsbad-based Capstone Advisors Inc.

For instance, Capstone, which provides investment and receivership services, has been hired by lenders to manage real estate assets throughout California and the U.S., secured with more than $500 million in troubled loans during the past year.

Zikakis said many of the California projects, which ended up in some type of delinquency or receivership, are residential housing tracts in places including Riverside County, the San Francisco Bay Area and Silicon Valley. There have also been office, apartment and industrial properties, but few of the recent projects it has handled are in San Diego County.

However, more local projects are likely on the way, and heading for the sales block.

“Everybody knows that the distress is out there,” Zikakis said. “It’s just a matter of when those lenders and special servicers are going to move those assets out there.”

Comment by Green Shoots
2010-04-29 09:46:20

Great opportunities also await those who are looking forward to buying distressed residential properties.
—————————————————————————-
Distressed Sales Again On The Rise, CoreLogic Reports
By MortgageOrb dot com on Thursday 08 April 2010

Distressed home sales - such as short sales and real estate owned (REO) sales - accounted for 29% of all sales in the U.S. in January - the highest level since April 2009, according to First American CoreLogic. The peak occurred in January 2009, when distressed sales accounted for 32% of all sales transactions. The distressed-sale share fell to 23% last July before rising again late last year.

The rebound in distressed sales occurred due to increases in both the REO and short-sale shares. The REO share increased to 22% in January 2010 - up from 19% in December but down from a year ago, when it was 27%. Short sales accounted for 8% of all sales in January - up from 7% in December and 5% a year ago.

During the last 12 months, there were 974,000 distressed sales: 740,000 were REO sales and 234,000 were short sales. The data was extracted from First American CoreLogic’s public-record property transactions database, which covers more than 2,200 counties in the U.S.

Among the largest 25 markets, Riverside, Calif., had the largest percentage of distressed sales in January (62%), followed closely by Las Vegas (59%) and Sacramento (58%). The top REO market was Detroit, where the REO share was 48%, followed closely by Riverside (47%) and Las Vegas (45%).

San Diego’s short sale share was 19% in January, making it the highest-ranked short-sale market, followed by Sacramento (18%) and Oakland (16%).

Although the top 10 markets for foreclosures are all located in Florida, only two Florida markets - Orlando and Cape Coral - made the top 10 distressed-sale list. The most likely reason is that Florida is a judicial state. In turn, its foreclosures process, which works through the courts, takes longer than in California, Arizona or Nevada, where non-judicial foreclosures are the norm.

First American CoreLogic notes a non-linear price response to distressed sales. At low shares of distress, the price discount for distressed sales relative to market sales is high, as the very few properties that are distressed are highly so. Examples of low-distress/high-price-discount markets are Tulsa, Okla., and Pittsburgh.

At moderate to higher levels of distress, the price discount rises with the increase in the distressed-sale share, as expected.

However, at very high distressed-sale shares, the price discount is much lower, which means that the prices in the two markets (distressed and non-distressed) begin to converge into one large distressed market, First American CoreLogic says.

Examples of very distressed markets where the gap between distressed and non-distressed prices is small include Modesto, Bakersfield and Stockton.

 
Comment by pressboardbox
2010-04-29 10:11:03

What difference does it make who owns the empty strip malls?

Comment by Green Shoots
2010-04-29 11:16:29

I’m hoping lots of foreign knifecatchers rush in to buy, as we sure could use their cash!

 
 
 
Comment by Professor Bear
2010-04-29 10:09:13

Something tells me voices of reason like this one will be drowned out by other Senators taking massive campaign contributions from Wall Street special interests.

Let’s keep banks from growing too big to regulate
By Sherrod Brown
Friday, April 30, 2010

Wall Street executives and newspaper editorial boards argue that it’s not size but the systemic risk and the interconnectedness of “too big to fail” banks that matter ["Bailing out of bailouts," editorial, April 25].

They are wrong. Too big to fail is simply too big. It’s not a choice between competing options. The foundation of the argument that we can always understand and recognize risk is about as sturdy as the mezzanine tranche of a subprime securitization.

Three years ago — before some of our nation’s biggest financial institutions put our economy on the brink of collapse — this argument would have carried more weight. But after millions of jobs and homes have been lost and trillions of dollars in savings have been destroyed, we must recognize that regulatory hubris is a dangerous thing.

Two years ago — after failing to detect or address growing risk in the financial sector — the Bush administration stepped in to save those institutions deemed “too big to fail.” By intervening to save some banks but not others, the federal government essentially set a size threshold. While all of the institutions that foundered in 2008 were tightly woven into the fabric of our economy, some were big enough to shatter our economy. Those institutions received bailouts and the smaller institutions were allowed to fold, taking countless small businesses and jobs with them.

The Wall Street reform bill that is before the Senate now that Republicans have ended their filibuster will make important changes to our laws to provide for the orderly liquidation of these trillion-dollar banks if necessary. Those changes are important but not sufficient.

We owe it to taxpayers to develop a toolbox that includes multiple measures to prevent bailouts. That means a tough authority measure to ensure the orderly liquidation of big banks if they become insolvent. And it means sensible size and leverage limits so we’ll never have to bail out a bank again.

It is all about size and risk.

The writer is a Democratic senator from Ohio.

Comment by Housing Wizard
2010-04-29 12:26:45

It’s also about the monopoly of the size . Wall Street investment firms
at some point defined the lending market . They defined the bogus
toxic loan product ,they defined the lack of loan underwriting and prevention of fraud ,they defined that lending would be treated like a investment
(as in the mistake that brought about Glass-Steagal to begin with way back in the 30’s).Who but Wall Street bogus lender greed middlemen would come up with low down stated income loans for sub-prime borrowers and rate it AAA stuff . Who but the Greed Machine would throw so much loan dollars on the US that it would create 17 million excess units of real estate that are now rotting in the sun . And how cute that the Wall Street unregulated got to leverage by 30 to 40 times reserves ,while regulated banks were limited to 9x’s (but they could sell to Wall Street Lenders ) And all the side bets on loans were real fun casino games in Wall Streets unregulated non-transparent World in which they ended up defining the loan market by this faulty lending and the faulty ratings on those securities . The real estate market became riddled with builders building tracts to sell to flippers ,to sell to another flipper . Keep the scheme going by ever increasing faulty lending and mis-rating of those securities . It’ was a highly leveraged Ponzi-scheme riddled with fraud under the illusion that it was lending .

Again I say , a loan is based on the principals of the current value of a asset and the ability of the borrower to pay the loan for the term of the loan . A investment is a bet on future value or yield and that the investment will go up in value . Loans cannot be based on a projection that the asset loaned on with go up in value or treat the borrower like someday they might be able to afford the loan ,or they use future value to pay for the loan .

It’s very clear that Wall Street investment firms and hedge funds confused lending with investment to the point that it inflated the value of real estate to such a fake level that it’s historic . Now this breach in duty to separate investment from loans and the duty to
underwrite loans ,as well as correctly rate the risk of these securities
is a liability that Wall Street bogus Lenders want to avoid no doubt and say it’s legal . If its legal there should be a law against it .

The question becomes ,do you want outfits like GS being the middlemen that throw billion of loan dollars on to our markets without any regard to the functions of a lender or that funds are allocated according to viable needs rather than Ponzi-schemes that inflate the value based on the scheme of the false creation of value ,while mis-rating the risk .Do you want some control on the money supply that comes in from all over the World to Wall Street or control on the leverage to raise the money supply by 30 to 40 times like the unregulated World of Wall Street did.

I think it would be important to overhaul what a lender could do in the way of lending and allowable leverage ,rather than Wall Street just gets to create any loan product it dreams up and any underwriting they care to breach their duty on while they rate it investment grade when its junk securities. Actually the truth is that Wall Street lenders ,can’t be lenders .

The original fraud of Wall Street mis-rating of the loan securities and
high leverage ability created a fraudulent market that had no way of sustaining value by the sheer weight of the faulty lending that would insure a default if real estate didn’t continue to go up forever .

This PR campaign that we should set up a automatic bail out fund for these Wall Street bogus lenders ,(much like a FDIC fund on regulated banks ),is missing the point on whats wrong .

The issue is that Wall Street lenders (middlemen selling securities )are not lenders or banks in the traditional sense of that title ,and never should of been lenders leveraging at 30 to 40x’s while breaching underwriting duties and creating bogus loan product and ratings on MB’S’s where the fraud started . Glass Steagal were are you ? IMHO these middlemen are liable .

Comment by ecofeco
2010-04-29 18:25:56

They didn’t “confuse” anything. They knew EXACTLY what they were doing.

 
 
 
Comment by Professor Bear
2010-04-29 10:13:27

Dumb questions of the day:

1) Is the Fed’s housing market intervention during this housing bust unprecedented?

2) Is it legal?

3) Doesn’t their action to artificially prop up housing prices likely portend a period of near-zero or negative housing price appreciation over the next several decades?

Fed pledges to keep US interest rates low for ‘extended period’

By James Politi in Washington

Published: April 29 2010 03:00 | Last updated: April 29 2010 03:00

The Federal Reserve yesterday pledged to keep interest rates low for an “extended period”, even as it offered a slightly more upbeat assessment of the US economy.

Fed policymakers have been discussing the combination of tools it intends to use to tighten monetary policy, with officials divided over the timing of any asset sales from the central bank’s balance sheet.

During the financial crisis the Fed bought more than $1,000bn in mortgage-backed securities and other assets to support the financial system and the housing market - a process it hopes eventually to reverse.

But there is considerable debate over the speed at which it would manage this process, amid fears among more dovish members of the FOMC that quick sales could raise mortgage rates and thwart the recovery.

The FOMC yesterday would only say it would “continue to monitor the economic outlook and financial developments and will employ its policy tools as necessary to promote economic recovery and price stability” - the same phrase it used in March.

 
Comment by Housing Wizard
2010-04-29 10:13:50

I still don’t get it . The Cheerleaders for GS say that fraud is a misrepresentation of material fact ,and GS and their elk didn’t misrepresent any material fact . What I don’t get is that the basic MBS’s were misrepresented as in AAA ratings on junk based on the information that was provided to the bought off Rating Agencies .It’s also clear that Wall Street Investment firms were riding off the prior good reputation of the Secondary market that had a low default rate based on prudent underwriting and different models . Can Wall Street make a change in models ,like Toyota made a change in brake systems ,and not be liable for a faulty risk analysis that allowed for them to get funds they weren’t entitled to get based on the faulty rating on risk?

What I don’t get is how Wall Street Investment Firms/Lenders can just make up ratings on junk securities and what was their basis for those faulty models or assertions that this junk paper was anything but high risk stuff that pension funds and what have you should not of been investing in . Who gave Wall Street the right (just because of de-regulation )to say that real estate always goes up therefore these securities are good shit .In addition these were 30 year notes in most cases so where does Wall Street Investment firms get off on saying these were sustainable loans where the future projection of their value were based on so many iffy factors such as the borrowers
being able to refinance the loan ,or get a raise or real estate going up .
Loans are not suppose to be based on a future projection of a event but rather are suppose to be made based on the now variables of ability to pay now and the property value not being based on a future projection
of value . Were do they get off on creating faulty loan product ?
So,my question is, de-regulation or not ,I suspect that de-regulation did not mean you could mis-rate risk based on faulty models that were contrived just so you could sell the junk to the World . The issue is would you of been able to get those funds had you represented the true risk as a material fact rather than a bogus rating based on bogus models that have never ever been acceptable or proven out as being anything but
unsustainable lending that would result in default .

Further, is it acceptable that Wall Street can flood the market with billions of loan dollars ,to the point that it would create a housing bubble and mis-allocate funds and raise values artificially ,as in Ponzi -scheme ,while breaching their duty to underwrite the loans in a business risk acceptable way . Somehow Wall Street wants us to believe that this is perfectly acceptable business practice and they don’t have liability for the part they played in arranging this fraud that started with mis-rating securities to get funds to begin with .

We have a situation here where Wall Street firms/Lenders didn’t underwrite the loans ,the front line mortgage brokers and loan agents
actually helped borrowers commit fraud ,and the faulty loan product was just one more way to avoid actually underwriting loans .

Than to add insult to injury all these side bets like credit default swaps
were place on this product by Insurance Companies that did not have the funds or necessary reserves to pay off on these bets ,and apparently GS talked AIG late in the game into insuring this junk ,again based on their false ratings of this junk . Actually AIG should of sued GS for misrepresenting the true risk of the securities they were insuring so late in the housing bubble . Instead a GS guy Hank Paulson becomes Treasury Sec. and we bail out the Insurance Company that was a victim of the misrepresentation of securities by GS and the others .

Comment by packman
2010-04-29 10:28:24

I think you’re getting Goldman Sachs confused with the DoD, which actually does have an elk herd at its Army Defense Supply Center in Richmond, VA.

It’s a common mistake, since the Federal Reserve - a branch of Goldman Sachs, also has a branch in Richmond.

Comment by Arizona Slim
2010-04-29 13:18:30

Thank goodness I finished my smoothie before reading the above reference to elk. Otherwise, you’d be owing me a new keyboard and monitor.

 
 
Comment by ecofeco
2010-04-29 18:30:03

It was the Wall St version of this:

In 1746, the UK parliament passed the Marine Insurance Act, requiring anyone seeking to collect on an insurance contract to have an interest in the continued existence of the insured property. Thus was born the insured-interest doctrine. The indemnity doctrine, which precludes a buyer from insuring property for more than it’s worth, soon followed.

The point of these rules is to limit insurance contracts to trading existing risks and not to create risks by giving buyers of insurance incentive to destroy property. The doctrines have been part of insurance law in both England and the US (which in 1746 were colonies under English common law) ever since.

 
 
Comment by wmbz
2010-04-29 10:54:35

So who will decide when you have made ‘enough’ money. Perhaps Barry can come up with a scale. Surely, Buffet,Gates,Jobs and every other Billionaire have made way too much. Wonder when Barry has made too much? He reported a 5 million dollar income, that sounds like more than enough.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: “Now, what we’re doing, I want to be clear, we’re not trying to push financial reform because we begrudge success that’s fairly earned. I mean, I do think at a certain point you’ve made enough money.”

http://www.realclearpolitics.com

Comment by pressboardbox
2010-04-29 12:12:32

“PRESIDENT OBAMA: “Now, what we’re doing, I want to be clear, we’re not trying to push financial reform because we begrudge success that’s fairly earned. I mean, I do think at a certain point you’ve made enough money.””

I think at some point you’ve made enough speeches, Mr President.

Comment by wmbz
2010-04-29 13:34:48

His handlers have to cringe and cross their fingers when he goes off prompter.

The only time I listen to him is when he’s on his own, it’s actually entertaining. Foster Brooks spoke with more coherency.

 
 
Comment by drumminj
2010-04-29 13:20:19

Wonder when Barry has made too much?

Yeah..why doesn’t he refuse his meaty salary for being prez, and the payments for life that will follow?

I might actually respect him then…

Comment by MrBubble
2010-04-29 13:36:55

Ad hominem attack. You can do better than that! Push yourself. I’m no Obama fan, but that’s just lazy.

Comment by MrBubble
2010-04-29 13:46:41

Actually, that argument might be “Ad Hominem Tu Quoque”.

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Comment by LehighValleyGuy
2010-04-29 14:48:21

MrBubble, I don’t think that’s really an example of an ad hominem attack, because it does, in a way, address Obama’s argument– it points out an alleged inconsistency between his words and deeds. Ad hominem would be criticizing him for something unrelated to the topic, e.g. he has big ears and looks dumb, so he doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

Same with your comment re: Al Gore and carbon footprints below.

 
Comment by pressboardbox
2010-04-29 15:08:48

Well, I’ll come out and say it. He has big ears and he looks dumb. He sounds as if he is trying so hard to be hip.

 
Comment by MrBubble
2010-04-29 15:25:37

You’re right. It’s Ad Hominem Tu Quoque, I think.

From The Google:
“This fallacy is committed when it is concluded that a person’s claim is false because
1) it is inconsistent with something else a person has said or
2) what a person says is inconsistent with her actions. This type of “argument” has the following form:

Person A makes claim X (people shouldn’t make too much money).
Person B asserts that A’s actions or past claims are inconsistent with the truth of claim X (Obama makes more than the average salary).
Therefore X is false. People don’t make too much money.

The fact that a person makes inconsistent claims does not make any particular claim he makes false (although of any pair of inconsistent claims only one can be true - but both can be false). Also, the fact that a person’s claims are not consistent with his actions might indicate that the person is a hypocrite but this does not prove his claims are false. “

 
Comment by drumminj
2010-04-29 20:55:31

Ad hominem attack.

I’m not out to attack Obama. I didn’t vote for him, and I’m not a huge fan - I’ll be honest. But I’m simply pointing out here that if thinks there’s a point at which someone has made “enough” money, why doesn’t he step up and lead by example. Especially in this case, where the budget and taxpayers certainly could use a break.

 
Comment by drumminj
2010-04-29 21:11:15

Also, the fact that a person’s claims are not consistent with his actions might indicate that the person is a hypocrite but this does not prove his claims are false

Hadn’t refreshed before posting above. I’m not claiming people don’t make too much money. I’m simply saying that if he really believes that, he should step up and lead by example.

Personally, I don’t believe there should be caps to income/wealth/gains one makes legally. But my point wasn’t to refute what Obama said. I was simply stating that if he really believes that, he should step up to the plate and give up his salary (everything is paid for him while in office anyhow), as well as his pension (or whatever they call it for the PotUS).

 
 
 
Comment by ecofeco
2010-04-29 18:41:16

POTUS - $400,000 per year

CEO of GS - $63,000,000 per year

Certain hedge fund directors/pres/ceos - $1,000,000,000 per 2005 report

While wealthier than most, the prez is nowhere near in the same league as the Master bators of the Universe.

Comment by measton
2010-04-29 19:09:54

This is what tells me we are not in anyway headed toward socialism. Gov is not taking control of Wall Street. Wall Street is taking control of our gov.

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Comment by drumminj
2010-04-29 21:14:11

While wealthier than most, the prez is nowhere near in the same league as the Master bators of the Universe.

So just because other people make more money in salary, that means that Obama can’t possibly have enough money, by his definition?

Also, CEOs don’t collect their salaries by pointing a gun at taxpayers. The POTUS does, however (no, not directly related, but worth noting IMO)

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Comment by ecofeco
2010-04-30 00:06:15

“Also, CEOs don’t collect their salaries by pointing a gun at taxpayers.”

They don’t? So what was TARP again? :lol:

 
 
 
 
 
Comment by wmbz
2010-04-29 10:58:55

Illegal immigrants plan to leave over Ariz. law.

PHOENIX (AP) - Many of the cars that once stopped in the Home Depot parking lot to pick up day laborers to hang drywall or do landscaping now just drive on by.

Arizona’s sweeping immigration bill allows police to arrest illegal immigrant day laborers seeking work on the street or anyone trying to hire them. It won’t take effect until summer but it is already having an effect on the state’s underground economy.

“Nobody wants to pick us up,” Julio Loyola Diaz says in Spanish as he and dozens of other men wait under the shade of palo verde trees and lean against a low brick wall outside the east Phoenix home improvement store.

Many day laborers like Diaz say they will leave Arizona because of the law, which also makes it a state crime to be in the U.S. illegally and directs police to question people about their immigration status if there is reason to suspect they are illegal immigrants.

Supporters of the law hope it creates jobs for thousands of Americans.

“We want to drive day labor away,” says Republican Rep. John Kavanagh, one of the law’s sponsors.

An estimated 100,000 illegal immigrants have left Arizona in the past two years as it cracked down on illegal immigration and its economy was especially hard hit by the Great Recession. A Department of Homeland Security report on illegal immigrants estimates Arizona’s illegal immigrant population peaked in 2008 at 560,000, and a year later dipped to 460,000.

Comment by packman
2010-04-29 11:38:36
 
Comment by Arizona Slim
2010-04-29 13:19:56

Down here in Tucson, I’ve never seen anyone hustling work outside the El Con Mall Home Depot. Ever. Same goes for the Lowes on Oracle Road.

 
Comment by Left Ohio
2010-04-29 13:57:11

Denver schools ban employee travel to Arizona over immigration law

denverpost DOT com/ci_14983762

With a graduation rate of 52% one would think they have other priorities a little closer to home.

In other local news, opponents of the Arizona law will have a march and rally starting at the state Capitol this Saturday morning which I would like to observe (as neither participant or counter-protestor) in person and will post here what I see.

Comment by Arizona Slim
2010-04-29 14:56:42

They’re having a big rally here in Tucson too. But I have a weekend concert to shoot. Need to start packing the camera gear tomorrow.

 
 
 
Comment by Green Shoots
2010-04-29 11:03:06

Here is a very promising development in the discussion on banking reform. With passage of this measure, we could achieve a meaner, leaner, more competitive banking system that provides the foundation for long-term U.S. economic recovery. All Americans (except for perhaps the members of banking sector’s Megabank, Inc cartel) would stand to benefit from this development. Perhaps it is not too late after all to stop the U.S. economy’s long slide into the clutches of Wall Street’s Third World oligarchs?
———————————————————————————-
market pulse

April 29, 2010, 1:51 p.m. EDT · Recommend · Post:
Provision would break up nine biggest banks
By Ronald D. Orol

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) - Nine of the largest financial institutions including Bank of America Corp., Citigroup Inc. and J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. would have to scale down by about 40%, according to legislation introduced by a group of eight Democrats on Thursday. The group is hoping the measure will be approved as part of sweeping bank reform legislation under consideration on Capitol Hill. The measure limits the size of non-deposit liabilities at financial institutions to 2% of U.S. gross domestic product, or about $300 billion. It’s unclear whether congressional leaders will allow the measure to be voted upon by the full Senate or whether lawmakers would approve it.

Comment by packman
2010-04-29 11:44:10

Fine and good, but what if - like the breakup of Ma Bell in the 1980’s - they all just eventually conglomerate together again?

In other words - not sure if just forcing them to breakup is the answer. At least, not by arbitrary legislation. IMO they should be (should have been) broken up in bankruptcy court.

Comment by Green Shoots
2010-04-29 12:10:21

“…they all just eventually conglomerate together again?”

Obviously you would need laws and enforcement to prevent that from happening the same way in the banking sector.

 
 
 
Comment by wmbz
2010-04-29 11:10:43

Foreclosure easing in big cities but still spreading
April 29, 2010

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) — Foreclosure filings declined in more than half of the country’s worst-hit spots in the first three months of 2010. But that doesn’t mean the healing has begun.

In a release issued Thursday, RealtyTrac, a leading online marketer of foreclosed homes, reported that foreclosure filings declined in 14 of the top 20 cities year-over-year, most of which are concentrated in the Sunbelt “bubble” states of California, Arizona, Florida and Nevada.

But the improvement during the first quarter, compared with 12 months earlier, may have been a statistical glitch, not evidence of a real trend.

“The decreasing foreclosure activity in some of the nation’s top foreclosure hot spots in the first quarter is not a sure signal that those areas are out of the woods yet,” said RealtyTrac CEO James Saccacio.
Map: See foreclosure rates for 206 cities

Plus, those improvements bucked the market’s general trend: Nationwide foreclosures rose 16% during the quarter.

 
Comment by wmbz
2010-04-29 11:14:46

The 51st.State?
Clipped from Neal Boortz

Considering the cries over financial reform and the Arizona law, I’m sure that this one has slipped under your radar. Just a little gem being voted on in Congress today. Ever heard of HR 2499? It is otherwise known as the Puerto Rico Democracy Act. This resolution would require Puerto Ricans to hold a national referendum to decide if they want to remain a US commonwealth or … become the 51st state.

Yes, you read that right - a state. Here’s how it would work. The House passes this resolution. Then Puerto Rico holds a national referendum. The referendum would offer two choices: do you want the status quo or do you want to “pursue a different political status?” If the majority of Puerto Ricans vote to pursue a different status, then we go to round two. Here would be the three options:

1. “Independence: Puerto Rico should become fully independent from the United States;”

2. “Sovereignty in Association with the United States: Puerto Rico and the United States should form a political association between sovereign nations that will not be subject to the Territorial Clause of the United States Constitution;” and,

3. “Statehood: Puerto Rico should be admitted as a State of the Union.”

Notice that none of these options now offer the status quote .. something has gotta change. So if merely a plurality of Puerto Ricans then vote to become a state, then .. tada! .. we have a 51st state.

My guess? Many Puerto Ricans don’t really want their country to become a State. Residents of Puerto Rico don’t pay U.S. income taxes on the income earned in Puerto Rico. Why would they want to start? On the other hand … Puerto Rico is basically a welfare state. You would not believe the percentage of Food Stamp money is spent in Puerto Rico. If they become fully independent this money goes. Interesting situation.

 
Comment by wmbz
2010-04-29 11:20:51

Sounds like they had to many employees to begin with…

MTA To Layoff More Workers
Service Cuts Already In Place
29 Apr 2010

MYFOXNY.COM - Hundreds of more workers for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority will reportedly be laid off this summer.

More than 550 bus workers and 122 subway workers will lose their jobs.

The city’s mass transit agency is struggling with a budget shortfall of $800 million.

The MTA already had plans to let go 500 subway station agents and 600 administrative workers through layoffs and buyouts in the next two weeks.

Dozens of bus lines and two subway routes- V and W- will also be eliminated.

The second and third rounds of layoffs will happen on June 27 and then on July 4.

On Wednesday, the cash-strapped agency approved a $26.3 billion capital program through 2014. It also approved a deal to develop the Hudson rail yards. The developer, Related Companies, plans to build a commercial and residential complex.

 
Comment by wmbz
2010-04-29 11:26:50

Obama Sends Swat Teams to American Off Shore Oil Rigs in the Gulf of Mexico. Thursday, April 29, 2010

One day before Earth Day, a Louisiana off shore oil rig mysteriously blew up. This of course was just weeks after Obama announced his plans to increase drilling. Now we are hearing Obama is sending a swat team to all oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico. Was it terrorism? There could be two possibilities of terrorism.

Oil Rigs don’t just explode. It’s possible, but it’s not very likely. Could this be the act of environmental terrorists or could this be Middle Eastern terrorists who know if Americans increase drilling, their power decreases? These are two very likely possibilities. Obviously both groups don’t want Americans using their own oil. I always felt there was more to this story, as the media is building this story up to benefit the environmentalist, claiming its worse than the Exxon Valdez.

I remind you, the site of the Exxon Valdez was cleaned up and proved to be a profitable fishing area after the cleanup. This should be interesting to watch.

Obama, speaking from the Rose Garden, says the explosion is of national importance, and he is sending swat teams, Lisa Jackson, and the Department of Homeland Security to the Gulf fo Mexico to investigate all oil rigs.

Comment by joeyinCalif
2010-04-29 11:47:59

i heard a TV interview by one of those guys right after it happened. He was very calm.. said “no doubt” the flammable gas was allowed to come up under too-high pressure, hit the atmosphere, expanded and ignited.. like it was some common occurrence.

i don’t exactly recall where gasses that expand.. hmm.. i do recall something about them absorbing heat… isn’t that how refrigerators work?

Comment by MrBubble
2010-04-29 12:03:34

This is from the poster who claims to understand Earth systems? Oy vey.

Comment by joeyinCalif
2010-04-29 12:08:18

You posted your cyber-degree above, but suspiciously continue to waste opportunities to contribute your expertise.. Let’s hear your learned opinion.

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Comment by MrBubble
2010-04-29 13:29:08

Do you want me to explain how a refrigerator works? The Ideal Gas Law? Non-linear systems? The carbon cycle? What?

Are you drinking already?

Look, I keep my own posts to real estate and business anecdotes and little things that I read about those subjects. I come over the top on religious, bigoted and/or anti-environmental posts that are not germane to housing. You have encroached into these areas and I am now roundly thrashing you. You want more? I’ve got 2 1/2 hours more of joey beat downs.

MrBubble

 
Comment by joeyinCalif
2010-04-29 16:18:46

ok.. so maybe I don’t recall my high school physics classes.. shame on me.
My point was it’s possible that nothing conventional, much less a terrorist, was needed to ignited the gases..

I got this from a 2-Heptanone MSDS sheet.

General Fire Hazards:
Product is a combustible liquid. The vapor is heavier than air. Vapors or gases may ignite at distant ignition sources and flash back.

Hot vapor or mists may be susceptible to spontaneous combustion when mixed with air. Ignition temperatures decrease with increasing vapor volume and vapor/air contact time and are influenced by pressure changes. Therefore, ignition may occur below published ignition temperatures.

Flash point is about 39C for that stuff.. practically room temperature in the gulf.

No doubt this ketone along with who-knows what else is in the gases that spew from oil wells.

 
 
 
Comment by pressboardbox
2010-04-29 12:09:50

Compressing gasses will ignite them: i.e. diesel engine combustion.

Expanding gasses do not ignite.

Hot air always gets news coverage.

Comment by joeyinCalif
2010-04-29 16:08:32

yeah.. i guess i had that backwards with the refrigeration thing.

Anyway, here’s something about the causes of these fires..

Surprisingly few surface blowouts ever ignite. Except in Kuwait, in 1991, less than 10 blow outs per year ever catch on fire, world wide.

Crude oil is a highly volatile, explosive cocktail which is lighter than water and burns twice as hot as coal. Vapor cloud explosion is possible through the following sequence:

Hydrocarbons are released near wellhead
Some gas liquids flash evaporate, forming an aerosol of liquid droplets and vapor
Heavier hydrocarbon liquids that do not flash evaporate pool around well and release vapors
Vapors mix with air and form a combustible vapor cloud
An ignition source is exposed within this explosive mixture
Combustion starts and a flame front propagates through the flammable zone.

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Comment by MrBubble
2010-04-29 11:55:31

Would enviro terrorists wouldn’t blow up a rig that had a chance of spilling a pantload of oil into the Gulf. That would be like PETA members blowing up an animal testing lab with the monkeys still inside. That idea doesn’t pass the smell test.

Aside: do you think that BP will have to foot the clean-up bill or will they get a bailout?

Comment by MrBubble
2010-04-29 13:31:41

Please speak English!

Should read “Would enviro terrorists blow up…?”

 
 
Comment by MrBubble
2010-04-29 12:31:08

Answer to my own post that has not shown:
BP will pay.

 
Comment by wmbz
2010-04-29 15:18:23

Who the hell ever heard of sending a swat team to an oil rig? What does a swat team know about oil rigs? What do they do when they get there? Sounds like a load of unadulterated gubmint crap.

Comment by MrBubble
2010-04-29 15:27:57

With you there. Sounds like my days in the Army. “When in command, do something resembling anything.” Terrible idea, IMHO.

Comment by RioAmericanInBrasil
2010-04-29 15:47:55

They need send in those dolphins that work for the Navy. Maybe the sea lions if things are really bad.

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Comment by ecofeco
2010-04-29 18:45:47

It exploded due to poor and cut rate maintenance. The MSM may say something else, but I know quite few rig hands and they all say the thing about almost all of the Gulf rigs: they suck. And they suck from lack of maintenance.

 
 
Comment by wmbz
2010-04-29 11:39:28

Media Neglect: Populist Rage Aimed at Wall Street as Democrat-Controlled GSEs Ignored

As congressional Democrats press on with their attempts to get financial legislation reform passed, a key component has been lacking from the debate: how to handle the government-sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae (NYSE:FNM) and Freddie Mac (NYSE:FRE).

Although some Republican lawmakers have cried foul over the fact nothing has been included in a bill sponsored by Senate Banking Committee Chairman Sen. Chris Dodd, (D-Conn.), President Barack Obama’s administration has vowed to pursue reforming the GSEs … eventually.

However, despite a long history of alleged corruption, close ties to the current administration and a recent $10-billion extension of “emergency aid” to Freddie and Fannie in the deadest possible part of the news cycle, these two entities have gone relatively unnoticed by the news media, with a lion’s share of the spotlight given to Wall Street bogeymen like Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS).

Comment by Green Shoots
2010-04-29 12:02:10

“Populist Rage Aimed at Wall Street as Democrat-Controlled GSEs Ignored”

It seems like Democrat efforts to channel bailout rage towards Wall Street banks has succeeded wildly in taking the heat off the GSEs, whose decline from stable financial institutions into subprime securitizers was a key factor in the Fall 2008 financial collapse. Is there any chance the Senate will call in Franklin Raines and some of the other key perpetrators of the GSE decline and collapse in for a little chat before they are through reviewing the causes of the mess we are in?

Comment by packman
2010-04-29 13:08:10

Raines had his day in court already and got slammed; canned from Fannie in fact - not for pushing subprime but for accounting fraud.

I’d like to see James A. Johnson on the stand. He was the one at Fannie when all the subprime pushing got started. But it’ll be a cold day in Hades before they put him up there.

Comment by wmbz
2010-04-29 13:45:08

“Raines had his day in court already and got slammed; canned from Fannie in fact - not for pushing subprime but for accounting fraud”

True, but he sure as hell got to keep his huge golden parachute.

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Comment by packman
2010-04-29 14:12:31

Don’t they all?

(unfortunately)

Well - almost all. Ken Lay probably wishes he still had his parachute, though I’m not sure how fireproof it would have been.

 
 
 
Comment by measton
2010-04-29 13:46:19

Green Shoots

The GSE’s are there to serve Wall Street. They are just one of a number of vehicles that Wall Street has used to socialize the losses.

 
 
 
Comment by wmbz
2010-04-29 11:43:19

Why don’t we(U.S) just adopt Mexico’s immigration practices.

Mexico acknowledges migrant abuse, pledges changes
Associated Press – Wed Apr 28

MEXICO CITY – Amnesty International called the abuse of migrants in Mexico a major human rights crisis Wednesday, and accused some officials of turning a blind eye or even participating in the kidnapping, rape and murder of migrants.

The group’s report comes at a sensitive time for Mexico, which is protesting the passage of a law in Arizona that criminalizes undocumented migrants.

The Interior Department acknowledged in a statement that the mainly Central American migrants who pass through Mexico on their way to the United States suffer abuses, but attributed the problem to criminal gangs branching out into kidnapping and extortion of migrants.

Rupert Knox, Amnesty’s Mexico researcher, said in the report that the failure by authorities to tackle abuses against migrants has made their trip through Mexico one of the most dangerous in the world.

“Migrants in Mexico are facing a major human rights crisis leaving them with virtually no access to justice, fearing reprisals and deportation if they complain of abuses,” Knox said.

Central American migrants are frequently pulled off trains, kidnapped en masse, held at gang hideouts and forced to call relatives in the U.S. to pay off the kidnappers. Such kidnappings affect thousands of migrants each year in Mexico, the report says.

Many are beaten, raped or killed in the process.

Comment by In Colorado
2010-04-29 13:19:50

You should read the whining in the Mexican media over the Arizona laws, while they are silent over their own mistreatment of Central Americans.

Comment by Arizona Slim
2010-04-29 14:50:55

In one recent news story, I think the Mexican media may have been justified in, well, whining. It was the earthquake in Baja. Hardly got any coverage in this country, but, oh, brother, what devastation. Entire villages with not an intact building left.

 
 
 
Comment by wmbz
2010-04-29 11:46:42

One Thomas Frank opined in the Wall Street Journal on the subject of federal government regulation as the cure for financial crises. A reader in Costa Mesa, CA responded:

“Thomas Frank should ask himself whether he really believes that financial crises can be prevented or controlled by more government regulation (”Please Tread on Us,” Tilting Yard, April 21). Aren’t these the same people who have “regulated” Social Security and Medicare into trillions of dollars of debt? When he discusses the financial crisis that now, more than ever, threatens to sink the entire economy in a sea of debt, his unwillingness to even acknowledge the flagrant irresponsibility of the ruling class, i.e., the government, in causing the crisis is remarkable.

“Banks and insurance companies are already our most government-controlled industries. What is needed is someone to “regulate” the government so that no laws will ever again be passed that require banks to lend billions to prospective home-buyers who do not qualify as good quality risks. As Ronald Reagan said, government is the problem.

“And what is this hatred Mr. Frank has for the tea partiers? I have attended several tea parties and can tell you that while most attendees do indeed distrust government intervention, their main gripe is the incredible debt that progressives like Mr. Frank have so blithely incurred for this and succeeding generations. One sign held up by a young child said it all: ” ‘No Child Left a Dime.’ ”

~ George Neiiendam, Costa Mesa, CA

 
Comment by wmbz
2010-04-29 12:38:35

LOL! Do as I say not as I do! And a lot of poor misguided morons follow this clowns carbon footprint crapola.

Al Gore, Tipper Gore snap up Montecito-area villa
The Italian-style home has an ocean view, fountains, six fireplaces, five bedrooms and nine bathrooms.
Los Angeles Times

Former Vice President Al Gore and his wife, Tipper, have added a Montecito-area property to their real estate holdings, reports the Montecito Journal.

The couple spent $8,875,000 on an ocean-view villa on 1.5 acres with a swimming pool, spa and fountains, a real estate source familiar with the deal confirms. The Italian-style house has six fireplaces, five bedrooms and nine bathrooms.

Comment by MrBubble
2010-04-29 13:32:52

Ad hominem attacks do not disprove global warming. Do you really want to start this?

MrBubble

Comment by wmbz
2010-04-29 13:52:00

I could not care less about the global warming baloney.I would never waste my time arguing about it. I do however think it is hilarious that the tip top dog in the fight against the so called waste and damage mankind is supposedly doing to the planet is a bald faced hypocrite.

Funny how his follower/admires gloss right over that simple fact time and time again. However if some “evil” capitalist does what Al does then they are horrid world destroyers.

Comment by MrBubble
2010-04-29 15:33:02

I don’t like Al Gore. There, I said it. He is a hypocrite and a privledged donkey. It’s just that in savaging him, you get to use words like “baloney” and “crapola” next to “global warming” which serves your ideological agenda that is based on zero scientific knowledge.

You’re being disingenuous here.

MrBubble

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Comment by wmbz
2010-04-29 13:00:48

Amway to close West Michigan plant, cut 100 jobs from local work force
The Grand Rapids Press ~ April 29, 2010

Update: Amway says job cuts, Ada warehouse closing is necessary to remain strong West Michigan employer

ADA — Amway this morning announced it will close a West Michigan plant, shift production of some products to Europe and Asia and trim about 100 jobs from its local work force as part of a “strategic adjustment” process that reflects where it does most of its sales.

The $8.9 billion Ada-based direct sales company also said it will shift about 50 jobs into its Ada headquarters as it ends production at a plant in Lakeview, Calif., and eliminates 150 positions there.

“More than 80 percent of our customers buy our products outside the United States, and Amway needs to update its supply chain to reflect that,” Amway chairman Steve Van Andel said in a press release.

Comment by Ki
2010-04-29 13:18:01

Gore says live in a cramped 1 bedroom apartment to save the earth, he lives in a ocean side villa with 3 bedrooms per person and 3 fireplaces per person (in Southern California no less).

Obama says poor people can’t use vouchers for private schools, yet sends his daughters to private schools.

Nancy Pelosi says we must all buy into ObamaCare, yet excepts herself and her cohorts from the mandate.

The way of the libDem…

 
Comment by Arizona Slim
2010-04-29 13:24:34

I can remember back in the early 1980s when my dad had gone into business as an engineering consultant. One fine evening, someone invited him to a business meeting. So, he business suited up and went.

He looked quite crestfallen when he returned. Mom asked him about the meeting, and he said it was about Amway.

Fortunately, Dad didn’t sign up.

Comment by Bill in Los Angeles
2010-04-29 17:34:30

This happened twice to me. I returned from both meetings (dropped my Crest toothpaste too, just like your dad did) and felt used by my friends :)

In one of those two cases, it was a colleague, who was in the same line as our boss at work. The boss was in on the scAmway baloney. Some of the prodding to get into the business was done during working hours at taxpayer expense.

The meetings were not during working hours.

 
 
 
Comment by Sammy Schadenfreude
Comment by Professor Bear
2010-04-29 14:30:58

The title is intriguing, but I can’t read the article you linked. The text looks like a bunch of symbols…

 
Comment by Carl Morris
2010-04-29 14:50:00

Holy cow that’s good…not much else to be said. And when they talk about “I’m sure you have the answer, you and Ron Paul and all the other pot-smoking libertarian do-gooders have it all figured out” they’re talking about us.

Game over. Like cancer, the fraud is so ingrained that it will kill the host to remove it. Might as well load up on morphine and enjoy our last days.

 
Comment by Professor Bear
2010-04-29 22:52:19

“Whoever pops this fraud bubble is going to have to escape on the next flight out, faster than the Bin Laden Bunch fled Kentucky in their chartered jets after 9/11.”

I sure hope this guy wears a tinfoil hat; I still remember how ugly the popping of the fraud bubble turned out for the Soviet Empire circa 1989, and the last thing I want to witness is a replay here in the U.S.

 
 
Comment by wmbz
2010-04-29 13:37:34

Mad scramble as oil slick nears Louisiana coast

VENICE, Louisiana (AFP) – Offshore winds pushed a giant oil slick closer to the Louisiana coast Thursday amid a frenzied effort by authorities to contain what one official said had become a disaster of “national significance.”

The White House pledged “all available resources,” including the military, to avoid an environmental catastrophe, and the Defense Department said it was studying ways to help as officials revealed that the Gulf of Mexico oil spill was far worse than believed.

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal declared a state of emergency amid forecasts that parts of the oil slick may reach parts of the Louisiana coastline later Thursday.

“It is a question of when, not if, the oil is going to come on shore,” Doug Helton, incident operations coordinator for the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, told AFP.

The governor’s pronouncement listed at least 10 wildlife refuges in Louisiana and Mississippi that are in the direct path of the oil and that are likely to be impacted, adding that “billions of dollars in ongoing coastal restoration projects may be at risk because of this emergency.”

A massive deployment of resources and manpower so far “has not slowed the diffusion of the oil, which has reached over a 600-square mile (1,500 square kilometer) area and is about 16 miles (25 kilometers) off the Louisiana coast.”

 
Comment by CarrieAnn
2010-04-29 13:42:56

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/10091952.stm

Bank of England governor ‘warned of tough times’

A US economist has claimed that the governor of the Bank of England told him “tough” budgetary measures would be necessary in the UK.

David Hale said Governor Mervyn King had said the measures would keep whoever wins the next election “out of power for a whole generation”.

*********************
Those sound like some pretty nasty cuts coming.

Comment by measton
2010-04-29 14:45:34

Or maybe like Greece, it will keep whoever is voted into power busy stomping out riots.

 
 
Comment by measton
2010-04-29 13:44:24

NEW YORK – Noisy protesters with signs took over two bank building lobbies on Thursday in a prelude to a Wall Street rally by workers and union leaders angry over lost jobs, the taxpayer-funded bailout of financial institutions and questionable lending practices by big banks.

Hours before the scheduled rally, more than 100 people entered a midtown Manhattan building housing JPMorgan Chase offices. They handed a bank executive a letter requesting a meeting with the CEO, and chanted “Bust up! Big banks!” and “People power!”

A half-hour later, they were calmly escorted outside by officers, who remained expressionless as the protesters chanted, “The police need a raise.”

They then walked a few blocks up Park Avenue and crowded into the lobby of the Seagram Building, where Wells Fargo and the bank it merged with in 2008, Wachovia, have offices.

The protesters held up signs reading, “Save Our Jobs” and “Save Our Homes.” One included a Great Depression-era photograph. Police arrived on horseback as curious office workers watched the scene unfold from their windows.

“We’re here today to stop the corporate greed that is ruining our neighborhoods,” said Andrea Goldman, 59, of Springfield, Mass., who’s part of a group called Alliance to Develop Power.

How long before these protesters become less well behaved.
I’d say when unemployment runs out and they still don’t have jobs or when there is massive inflation in food and fuel.

Comment by Professor Bear
2010-04-29 14:13:49

This story is from The Onion, right?

Comment by Professor Bear
2010-04-29 14:34:59

OK, I guess not. Maybe Main Street can claim bailout reparations from Megabank, Inc before this is over?

Workers to rally on Wall Street against big banks
(AP) – 5 hours ago

NEW YORK — Workers and union leaders angry over lost jobs, the taxpayer-funded bailout of financial institutions and questionable lending practices by big banks are planning to rally on Wall Street.

The AFL-CIO and an association of community groups are planning to lead the protest Thursday afternoon in Manhattan. The timing coincides with Congress considering an overhaul of financial regulation.

The groups are calling on the banks to be held accountable for their role in the economic crisis. They blame the banks for a recession that has cost people their jobs, homes, savings and retirement income.

The Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association has declined to comment on the rally. The industry group includes many Wall Street financial institutions.

 
 
 
Comment by Ki
2010-04-29 13:53:02

Gallup Poll:

“RINCETON, NJ — More than three-quarters of Americans have heard about the state of Arizona’s new immigration law, and of these, 51% say they favor it and 39% oppose it.”

Keep up the riots La Raza, MALDEF, etc, you’re doing a bang up job of swaying public opinion.

Comment by Arizona Slim
2010-04-29 14:54:04

Here in Tucson, I’m seeing a bit of an uptick in the number of Mexican flags on display. Including one on a rental house about a half mile from the Arizona Slim Ranch. When I first saw this flag, I said (quietly), “Which country do you want to stay in?”

Comment by In Colorado
2010-04-29 15:58:10

Ah, but you see, the consider the whole Southwest as “stolen” territory that is rightfully theirs!

Comment by Bill in Los Angeles
2010-04-29 17:43:38

But they stole that territory from the indians who crossed over the Bering strait. The indians themselves were immigrants to the Americas. Then before that, the people who emerged out of Africa to Europe and Asia were immigrants to Europe and Asia.

If Arizonans have to give up their land to Mexico, Mexicans better go back to Siberia. Siberians better go back to Africa.

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Comment by basura
2010-04-29 19:45:01

With your logic what’s wrong with Mexicans or any illegals coming and staying in America? It’s evolution, right? We will do our best to keep them away and they will do their best to come here. That’s why I don’t worry about legal and illegal immigration. Let the nature run its course. If I were in Mexico I would want to get the hell out of there. And if US turns into Mexico I will be the first to leave US for greener pastures. I don’t hold too much value into this patriotic BS. I am an American by an accident of birth. Had my parents conceived me a millisecond sooner or later, it would have been somebody else.

Survival is what I am interested.

 
Comment by Bill in Los Angeles
2010-04-29 20:52:32

Fine with me but we have a right to defend ourselves from illegals - particulaorly because they are driving up the ehalth care costs, they are filling our schols with their children, which costs taxpayer money, and they are filling our jails. I guess you might not live in AZ. There is a war in the southern part of the state. Landowners are overrun by illegals. The situation is getting worse and worse. I keep up with Arizona news and noticed. It’s due to illegal aliens that are endangering Arizonans more and more.

I’m normally not a government supporter. But I want people to pay their own way. If we can guarantee they pay their own health insurance and health care and get paid by their native countries for the jailtime of their crimes, and if they pay for their children’s education, I’m okay on open borders.

Otherwise you are welcome to donate your money to illegals. Just don’t force me to donate mine.

 
Comment by basura
2010-04-29 21:10:44

people to pay their own way.

I agree with most of what you said. I am also in favor of landowners or other picking their guns if they felt their lives are threatened. However I don’t think the Govt will let the landowners protect themselves. We have a left party which sees these immigrants as a solid voting block that will help achieve the perpetual power grad and a fascist party which only interested in providing cheap slave labors to their corporate masters. And not to mention both of these parties support some kind of welfare state in the expense of law abiding middle class citizens like you and me. As Ron Paul says, we can’t have a welfare state and complain that we have too many illegals.

 
Comment by ecofeco
2010-04-30 00:16:07

They support a welfare state alright…. for the rich.

 
 
 
 
 
Comment by Professor Bear
2010-04-29 14:21:43

Noone could have seen these bailouts coming:

* APRIL 29, 2010, 4:20 P.M. ET

WORLD FOREX: Euro Manages Modest Rebound, But Greece Lingers
By Bradley Davis
Of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES

NEW YORK (Dow Jones)–The euro managed a modest rebound against the dollar Thursday as euro-zone officials said a bailout package for Greece could be ready within days, easing some fears over the cash-strapped nation.

Encouraging data from Germany and the European Union, as well as strong earnings reports from European and U.S. companies, helped give risk sentiment a lift, boosting currencies, such as the Australian and Canadian dollars, that are closely tied to global growth prospects. The U.K. pound also took advantage of improved market sentiment, rallying more than 0.8% against the greenback.

Late Thursday, the euro was at $1.3238 from $1.3203 late Wednesday, according to EBS via CQG. The dollar was at Y94.07 from Y94.11, while the euro was at Y124.53 from Y124.27. The U.K. pound was at $1.5323 from $1.5192. The dollar was at CHF1.0830 from CHF1.0856.

The ICE Dollar Index, which tracks the U.S. currency against a trade-weighted basket of currencies, was at 82.037 from 82.292.

Euro-zone officials said they expected a final bailout plan within days, helping the euro recover from the 12-month lows it hit Wednesday, but as the euro ticks higher on a trickle of news on Greece, it will keep giving back those gains, said Dean Popplewell, currency analyst with Oanda online trading platform in Toronto.

Overall investor sentiment is still very unnerved about stressed sovereign debt infecting other countries, Popplewell said. “It feels very much like the calm before the storm,” he said of the euro’s rally.

Moody’s Investor Service tempered the euro’s gains Thursday afternoon when it said further multi-notch downgrades to Greece’s debt could be in the works, with the severity of downgrade depending on the outcome of the bailout plan.

However, analysts are still convinced the euro relief rally based on a lifeline for Greece will be short-lived, Credit Suisse analysts said, as other euro-zone peripheral countries–notably, Portugal–wait in the wings with sovereign-debt problems of their own.

Credit Suisse now looks for the euro to fall to $1.29 in the next three months, a downgrade from its previous forecast of $1.43 for the same period.

Beyond what many analysts see as the euro zone’s structural problems–few political institutions underpinning a monetary union–the handling of the Greek debt crisis has “severely damaged” the notion that holding euro is a “safe alternative” to the U.S. dollar, particularly among managers of central-bank reserve funds, Credit Suisse said.

 
Comment by Professor Bear
2010-04-29 14:24:47

The gig is up at Gollum.

* The Wall Street Journal
* ROI
* APRIL 27, 2010, 6:52 P.M. ET

Clients First at Goldman?

* By BRETT ARENDS

Who wants to entrust their money to a Goldman Sachs fund after this?

Ordinary investors around America have more than $50 billion invested in Goldman Sachs mutual funds, says industry specialist Financial Research Corp. That makes the beleaguered Wall Street bank one of the top 25 managers in the country.

And Tuesday many of those investors will have watched, with disgust, the Mark McGwire moment during the Senate hearings at which four Goldman executives, former and current, testified about the firm’s role in the collapse of the mortgage market.

(The former major league baseball player famously refused to answer congressional questions about alleged steroid use, instead insisting “I’m not here to talk about the past.”)

Just before lunch Maine’s Susan Collins (R.) asked the Goldman honchos an equally straightforward question, which should be a slam dunk for any self-respecting professional–namely, whether the firm puts its clients’ interests first. And several pointedly refused to give a direct answer.

Dan Sparks, former head of the mortgages department at Goldman paused briefly, then said: “I believe we have a duty to do well for our clients.”

Fabrice “Fab” Tourre, the Goldman executive director who is named in the SEC’s suit against the firm, said Goldman has a duty to serve clients in its role as a market maker by providing liquidity. “I do not believe we act as an investment adviser to our clients,” Mr. Tourre said.

Sounds like rhetoric from the public relations firm of Waffle, Weasel and Spin.

The details of the infamous Abacus fund, which cost a select group of Goldman institutional customers $1 billion, were already unpleasant enough. Now this.

Can you imagine financial advisors calling up their clients and saying, “Hey–great news. I think I can get you into a new Goldman Sachs fund!”

Is such a phone call even conceivable right now? Maybe to someone without a TV. Living somewhere remote. Like Guam.

You have to assume that the advisors are fielding clients’ calls instead. “How come you’ve got my money in these Goldman funds? Get me out!”

Comment by Arizona Slim
2010-04-29 14:58:13

I think Goldman’s going to go the same way as Arthur Anderson. Once a fine accounting firm, it no longer exists. Something about its audits of a company called Enron.

Comment by San Diego RE Bear
2010-04-30 17:08:50

“I think Goldman’s going to go the same way as Arthur Anderson.”

I hope you’re right, but it’s just hard to have faith in the right thing happening anymore.

 
 
 
Comment by Professor Bear
2010-04-29 14:29:30

As state attorney general, could Jerry Brown potentially investigate Meg Whitman’s ties to Gollum?

Governor Candidates Ask:
Is Wall Street in the California Governor’s Race?
by Richard Perry
Thursday Apr 29th, 2010 8:12 AM

Two California governor candidates, Republican Candidate Steve Poizner and PFP Candidate Stewart Alexander are sharing the concerns of millions of Californians; how deep was Meg Whitman’s involvement during the period when she serve on the board of Goldman Sachs. Stewart Alexander says “California is in a deep financial crisis and Californians need to know how much did Goldman Sachs contributed to the state’s financial crisis and what part did Meg Whitman play.”

Meg Whitman remains silent about ties with Goldman Sachs

Stewart A. Alexander
For California Governor
Peace and Freedom Party 2010

April 29, 2010

While Republican front-runner Meg Whitman is sharing what she will do for California if elected governor, millions of Californians want to know about her past connections with Goldman Sachs and Wall Street. According to the CS Monitor, “Ms. Whitman sat on the board of Goldman Sachs before resigning seven years ago in a controversy over how she and other executives received shares in initial public offerings. Campaign finance records show she held stakes in Goldman and Goldman-managed investment funds after resigning.

On Tuesday, seven current and former Goldman Sachs employees including CEO Lloyd Blankfein testified before a Senate Subcommittee investigating the role Goldman Sachs in the mortgage meltdown that triggered the global financial crisis. During the hearing, U.S. Senator Carl Levin stated that “evidence shows that Goldman Sachs helped build and operated that conveyor belt that fed toxic mortgages and mortgage securities into the financial system and then made large bets against the market it helped create, reaping the profits from it.”

Now two California governor candidates, Republican Candidate Steve Poizner and PFP Candidate Stewart Alexander are sharing the concerns of millions of Californians; how deep was Meg Whitman’s involvement during the period when she serve on the board of the Wall Street financial giant. Stewart Alexander says “California is in a deep financial crisis and Californians need to know how much did Goldman Sachs contributed to the state’s financial crisis and what part did Meg Whitman play.

Over the past decade, Meg Whitman has made a fortune from her dealings on Wall Street and with Goldman Sachs and Ms Whitman has committed $150 million of that fortune to buy the California governor’s seat. With little or no political experience, the billionaire Republican has already spent more than $60 million dollars on television and radio ads covering the entire state. Her campaign has offer little substance regarding how she will put more than two million Californians back to work or how she will solve the state’s financial crisis.

Meg Whitman has stated that she will run California like a business; however, most of her business experience and successes have resulted from her Wall Street ties during a period when Wall Street reaped trillions in profits at the expense of Main Street.

Stewart Alexander says “If we have a governor candidate that can buy her way into the governor’s office, Californians need to know if she can be trusted and if she will be working for Wall Street or for the people of California.” Alexander is calling on U.S. Congressman John Conyers, Jr., Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee to arrange immediate congressional hearings to determine the involvement of Meg Whitman and other Goldman Sachs board members regarding business activities that led to the criminal charges that were filed by the SEC against Goldman Sachs.

Comment by Hwy50ina49Dodge
2010-04-29 16:23:46

“Meg Whitman remains silent about ties with Goldman Sachs”

Meggy’s working on her taxes… :-)

(Oh, what a web we weave when first we practice to deceive)

Comment by Hwy50ina49Dodge
2010-04-29 16:41:03

Meggy must have one of those “TrueSauviest™” GoldenmanSucks special client accounts: ;-)

Ken McLaughlin kmclaughlin@mercurynews.com
Posted: 04/29/2010 02:29:56 PM PDT
Updated: 04/29/2010 02:29:57 PM PDT

In an interview with The Associated Press on Tuesday, Whitman for the first time said she regretted taking part in a now-banned practice called “spinning,” which allowed top executives to buy shares of hot IPOs — initial public offerings — at bargain-basement prices, then immediately sell the shares when the stocks became available to the public.

“…Before spinning was outlawed in 2003, congressional investigators and business ethicists had called the practice corrupt. They said investment banks were rewarding top executives with lucrative IPO stock because they wanted future business from companies like eBay.

Whitman, a onetime Goldman Sachs board member, told the editorial board that, in retrospect, “I wish I hadn’t done that.”

At the time, though, “it didn’t actually occur to me” that there was any conflict of interest.

Whitman contended that she felt she was getting the favored shares simply because she and her husband had a private wealth-management account, designed for well-healed clients, at Goldman.”

Comment by RioAmericanInBrasil
2010-04-29 17:10:19

Whitman, a onetime Goldman Sachs board member, told the editorial board that, in retrospect, “I wish I hadn’t done that.”

At the time, though, “it didn’t actually occur to me” that there was any conflict of interest.

She’s toast.

Hwy thanks for the drinks offer! Have to tell you upfront though that Jack Daniels in Rio is expensive!

(Comments wont nest below this level)
Comment by joeyinCalif
2010-04-29 18:35:47

Another thing they oughta do, imo, is outlaw butchers from taking the most tender, choicest cuts from the best animals for themselves and friends at wholesale prices… maybe denying the public any chance at all to get them.

And while we’re at it, there’s gotta be millions of similar examples where someone “in the business” takes advantage of being in the business..

We’re in the mood to rid ourselves of corruption and insider action, so lets list and outlaw all of them. Maybe the ACLU can do it by way of “Equal protection under the law” in a class action suit, or some such thing..

Then we can vilify and persecute anyone who ever took part in such despicable behavior.. What fun..

 
 
 
 
Comment by measton
2010-04-29 19:22:11

Meg Whitman has stated that she will run California like a business; however, most of her business experience and successes have resulted from her Wall Street ties during a period when Wall Street reaped trillions in profits at the expense of Main Street.

By this she means she will bend over the stock holders and employees, and make some huge bank.

 
Comment by joeyinCalif
2010-04-29 19:27:26

..however, most of her business experience and successes have resulted from her Wall Street ties during a period when Wall Street reaped trillions in profits at the expense of Main Street…

holy cow.. i can’t even imagine California becoming profitable much less reaping trillions in profit..
And since the State of California can only be considered Main Street, we would get to keep it all.. all that money money money…

 
 
Comment by wmbz
2010-04-29 15:11:30

Boy Scouts introduce Video Game merit
by Ben Silverman Buzz up!

Evidently bored with building fires, tying fancy knots and helping old ladies across the street, the Boy Scouts of America have decided to hip it up a bit with a brand new honor rewarding their understanding of video games.
Boy Scouts Video Game badge

While that may sound ludicrous to old-school Scouts, the new “Video Game” award is intended to make Tiger, Cub and Webelos Scouts more responsible gamers.

Rather than shooting their way to success, they’ll have to accomplish a number of far more mundane tasks to earn the new belt loop and pin, such as explaining the importance of the video game ratings system, working with an adult to build a schedule that includes chores, homework and gaming, and playing a game designed to boost math, spelling or other school-oriented skills. Belt loops and pins are the cub scout/webelo equivalent of merit badges for boy scouts.

Comment by Carl Morris
2010-04-29 15:33:39

My son will be excited to hear about this :-). Sounds kind of silly, but you do have to have some things in the program that excite them. I won’t argue with anyone who wants to talk about the negatives of video games, but I can honestly defend one positive thing…my son knows WAY more about WWII history than I did at his age. He’s trying to talk me into taking him to Germany to see some of the historical sites sometime.

Comment by Arizona Slim
2010-04-29 16:25:22

He’s trying to talk me into taking him to Germany to see some of the historical sites sometime.

See if you and your son can find a way to make that happen. It will be an unforgettable experience for both of you.

 
 
 
Comment by RioAmericanInBrasil
2010-04-29 16:03:52

Obama takes immigration reform off agenda
By SUZANNE GAMBOA AP

Immigration reform has become the first of President Barack Obama’s major priorities dropped from the agenda of an election-year Congress facing voter disillusionment. Sounding the death knell was Obama himself.

The president noted that lawmakers may lack the “appetite” to take on immigration while many of them are up for re-election and while another big legislative issue - climate change - is already on their plate.

“I don’t want us to do something just for the sake of politics that doesn’t solve the problem,” Obama told reporters Wednesday night aboard Air Force One.

Read more: http://www.kansascity.com/2010/04/29/1912382/obama-takes-immigration-reform.html#ixzz0mX7GVsN8

Comment by Hwy50ina49Dodge
2010-04-29 16:55:07

lil’ Opie, the “Non-Hawaiian”… ;-)

 
Comment by ecofeco
2010-04-30 00:12:46

Told ya it was a non-starter.

 
 
Comment by GrizzlyBear
2010-04-29 16:11:11

Disgusting..

Edgewood man killed in home-invasion robbery after Craigslist ad

The family had been trying to sell a ring on Craigslist and had received a call from the suspects, who said that they were interested. Three men and a woman knocked on the door and showed cash. Once inside, the robbers pulled guns on the family, tying up the mother and shooting the father. The son then jumped on one gunman and was struck on the head.

http://www.theolympian.com/2010/04/29/1222682/edgewood-man-killed-in-home-invasion.html#storylink=omni_popular

Comment by Hwy50ina49Dodge
2010-04-29 16:52:31

Yes it is…

Look at this detail:

“Deputies responded around 9:30 p.m. to a report of a residential robbery…”

Let this be a lesson: Don’t do “bidness” transactions after the sun goes down…Don’t invite buyers into your home with your family…find a “meeting place” coffee-shop within 1000′ of a local police station…when you meet, tell them you left the item your car and you’ll be right back…don’t know what you can do about counterfeit money they may hand you…have a camera ready to capture their vehicle license…

 
Comment by ecofeco
2010-04-30 00:09:45

NEVER invite strangers to your house after dark, except for the plumber. :lol:

 
 
Comment by CarrieAnn
2010-04-29 17:35:57

They’re looking at the possibility of filing criminal charges against GS:

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=azKt1pYdWUAU&pos=1

April 29 (Bloomberg) — Federal prosecutors in New York have been examining transactions by Goldman Sachs Group Inc., accused of fraud by U.S. securities regulators, to determine whether to pursue a criminal case, according to two people familiar with the matter.

The federal review, which lawyers say is common in such a high-profile case, is being done by the U.S. attorney in Manhattan, said the people, who weren’t authorized to comment and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Comment by Professor Bear
2010-04-29 22:25:19

Certainly God’s work wouldn’t involve criminal fraud, would it?

Comment by ecofeco
2010-04-30 00:08:06

“Jim Baker” ring any bells? Tammy Fae perhaps? :lol:

 
 
Comment by Professor Bear
2010-04-29 22:28:07

New Yorkers See Wall Street as Problem for Economy, Poll Finds
April 27, 2010, 3:16 PM EDT

By Chris Dolmetsch

April 27 (Bloomberg) — More than half of New Yorkers, 56 percent, see Wall Street as more of a problem than a solution when it comes to the city’s economy, according to a Marist Poll released today.

Just 24 percent of those surveyed said Wall Street was more of a solution for the city’s economy, while 20 percent were unsure, according to the survey of 684 New York City residents conducted by telephone on April 21-22. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

“Wall Street may be part of New York City’s economic engine, but even here, New Yorkers point to its pitfalls,” Lee Miringoff, director of the Poughkeepsie, New York-based Marist Institute for Public Opinion, said in a statement. “It doesn’t boost Wall Street to be New York City’s ‘Main Street.’

More From Businessweek
* Greek Probe Uncovers ‘Long-Term Damage’ From Swaps Agreements
* EU Seeks Greek Swaps Disclosure After Ministry Probe (Update2)
* Goldman Scrutinized by Prosecutors Reviewing SEC Case (Update1)
* Bond Rally Teeters as Yield Spreads Blow Out: Credit Markets
* Gold Approaches One-Week High as Greece Woes Spur Haven Demand

 
 
Comment by Professor Bear
2010-04-29 22:31:04

A bond market yield blowout in the Spring of 1987 presaged the October 1987 stock market crash. Don’t say I didn’t warn you, as I am warning you right now with this har post.

Friday April 30, 2010
Bloomberg
Bond Rally Teeters as Yield Spreads Blow Out: Credit Markets
April 29, 2010, 11:20 PM EDT
By Bryan Keogh and Sonja Cheung

April 30 (Bloomberg) — The record rally in corporate bonds is showing signs of cracking, with yields rising the most in 13 months relative to government debt and new sales falling to the lowest level this year.

The extra interest investors demand to own company bonds widened 6 basis points this week to 149 basis points, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s Global Broad Market Corporate Index. Global company bond issuance tumbled 56 percent from last week to $19.6 billion, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

Ratings downgrades in Greece, Portugal and Spain drove investors from credit markets on concern worsening government finances may undermine the global recovery, curbing revenue and providing less of a cushion for borrowers to meet debt payments. Company bond spreads were at a 2 1/2-year low before this week, generating total returns of about 22 percent including reinvested interest since the market bottomed in March 2009.

“Corporate bonds could only defy gravity for so long,” said Eric Cherpion, deputy head of syndicate at Societe Generale SA in London. “The volatility from Greece is pushing spreads out, which have remained tight despite the credit risks in the market.”

The pullback was sharpest in Europe, where spreads widened 11 basis points to a six-week high of 152 basis points, according to Bank of America’s EMU Corporate index. U.S. investment-grade spreads rose 4 basis points to 155 basis points, or 1.55 percentage points.

Global corporate bond spreads are still down from the record 511 basis points in March 2009 and 176 at the end of last year, the data show.

 
Comment by Professor Bear
2010-04-29 22:35:11

* The Wall Street Journal
* HOMES
* APRIL 30, 2010

Sales, but No Frenzy, From Home-Buying Tax Credit

By DAWN WOTAPKA And ROBBIE WHELAN
[TAXCREDIT] Associated Press

Real-estate agent Rosemary West, left, earlier this month talked to Michael and Brianne Smith, who are selling their townhome in Plainfield, Ill.

The looming expiration Friday of a federal tax credit for home buyers has spurred some consumers to hurry to ink deals, but the last-minute activity has been more muted than some brokers and builders anticipated.

Many people who wanted to act on the tax credit already have done so, said Eric Lipar, chief executive of Texas-based LGI Homes. “We’re not seeing an increase in traffic,” he said. “It’s business as usual.”

To qualify for the credits of up to $8,000, home buyers must sign purchase contracts by midnight Friday, and those purchases must be completed by June 30. Some sellers were preparing for a possible 11th-hour rush: Home builder Lennar Corp. is keeping some of its sales offices open until midnight Friday, while rival KB Home extended hours both Thursday and Friday.

And some brokers say their business has surged as the deadline neared.

“It’s gone nuts,” said Lew Reich, an agent at the brokerage of Keller Williams Realty in Plano, Texas. “We’re seeing a very strong rush, strong sales, a lot of people are being energized by the end of the credit.”

David Lee, who does maintenance work for the Mandalay Bay casino in Las Vegas, submitted a $150,000 offer on Tuesday for a three-bedroom house in Las Vegas. He hopes to get an $8,000 tax credit, but the home is a bank-owned foreclosure, and Mr. Lee is still waiting to hear from the bank about whether his offer has been accepted. “I’m kind of going crazy because it’s a lot of money for me,” Mr. Lee said.

If Mr. Lee doesn’t get a home now, however, he figures he might be able to get one cheaper in a few months—if prices fall further.

It isn’t clear how effective the credit has been. Sales of new single-family homes surged 27% in March from the prior month on a seasonally adjusted basis, the Census Bureau reported, but that estimate is based on a small sample and is frequently subject to large revisions. So far, the credit has been most effective with first-time buyers not stuck with an existing home to sell.

The end of the credit has stirred fears that the housing market, which has showed signs of stabilizing in much of the country over the past year, might face further steep price declines. Economists note that the buying incentives pulled demand forward, so buyer traffic could fall come Saturday.

Meanwhile, many of the same headwinds remain: Unemployment is high, and the foreclosure crisis continues to dump more distressed properties on the market.

 
Comment by Professor Bear
2010-04-29 22:46:54

Caveat emptor for Gollum’s clients.

* April 28, 2010, 3:27 PM EDT
* Fundmastery Blog home page »

Goldman Sachs: Let the clients beware
MarketWatch dot com

Despite all the sound bites and the high profile hearings we have seen in Washington DC, there is still a high degree of confusion over one issue. What level of responsibility does Goldman Sachs have towards its clients?

Is it a broker or an investment advisor?

At issue are two differing definitions of the duty a Wall Street firm like Goldman Sachs owes to it clients. One view Is that Goldman is an investment advisor and thus required to act as a fiduciary or steward. A fiduciary is required to look out for the best interests of its clients. Another view is that Goldman is just a brokerage firm and thus held to much looser standards. That is, it is just required to carry out transactions at the direction of clients and is not really obligated to disclose its own interests or conflicts in a given transaction.

Why I left a Wall Street firm

As a fee-only investment advisor, this is an important issue to me. And, as a former broker at Merrill Lynch, I am somewhat familiar with the inner workings of a Wall Street firm. Brokerage firms love to talk about their devotion to clients, but that devotion is often forgotten in the rush to sell financial ‘products’ that make money for the firm and its brokers. In fact, that issue — pressure to push poor financial products — is what caused me to leave Merrill Lynch 27 years ago. Now, we are seeing another iteration of this conflict.

Here is a MarketWatch report that gave one Senator’s rather jaundiced view of Goldman’s actions [emphasis added]:

…Goldman sees clients not as valuable customers but as “objects” for making profit, Carl Levin, chairman of the Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, said at the start of the hearing.

The firm’s conduct of betting against mortgage-related securities that it sold to clients “brings into question the whole function of Wall Street,” Levin said. Wall Street used to be an “engine of growth,” betting on America’s successes, not its failures, he added.

Goldman’s cause wasn’t helped later in the hearing when former and current bankers at the firm disagreed on whether it has a duty to act in the best interests of clients…

Another MarketWatch piece highlighted the confusion among high level Goldman executives on this issue of the firm’s duty to its clients:

Former and current bankers at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. disagreed Tuesday about whether the firm has a duty to act in the best interests of its clients, during a hearing Tuesday of the Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations.

Sen. Susan Collins asked the question to Dan Sparks, former head of the mortgages department at Goldman… He paused briefly, then said: “I believe we have a duty to do well for our clients.”

Collins asked the same question to Joshua Birnbaum, a former managing director in structured products group trading at Goldman. Birnbaum said Goldman has such a duty and has fulfilled that duty.

Collins asked the question to Fabrice Tourre, executive director in structured products group trading at Goldman. He said the firm has a duty to serve clients in its role as a market maker by providing liquidity. “I do not believe we act as an investment adviser to our clients,” Tourre added…

Obviously, these three executives have not exactly gotten their messaging straight as they all have different opinions as to this critical issue.

This distinction is of fundamental important to anyone who is a client of a Wall Street firm. These are often very large and diverse financial services firms that have — wittingly or unwittingly — blurred the distinction between the standard of responsibility a firm has as a broker versus the requirements of an investment advisor. These firms like to tout their brilliant and objective advisory capabilities in marketing brochures, but when pressed in a hearing, they tend to fall back on the much looser standards required of a brokerage firm, which could be expressed like this:

Well, the firm made money and the traders made money. Two out of three ain’t bad, right?

The third party referred to indirectly would be the clients who, all too frequently, are left out of the equation.

And, this distinction between a broker versus an investment advisor can be very confusing at Wall Street firms because these large firms have internal investment advisory groups that are required to act as fiduciaries. However, these firms also have many brokerage and trading operations that are not required to act as fiduciaries. Typically, the troubles come from the brokerage or trading side of Wall Street.

So, Just because you are dealing with Goldman or Morgan Stanley or Merrill Lynch that does not mean they are acting in your best interest. You as the buyer of investment advice from Wall Street may want to remember the old adage, ‘Let the buyer beware.’

 
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