February 16, 2013

Bits Bucket for February 16, 2013

Post off-topic ideas, links, and Craigslist finds here.

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Comment by frankie
2013-02-16 05:56:46

ack Condlin, the cheerfully verbose president of Stamford’s chamber of commerce, was not shocked when it was revealed this week that his city lies at the heart of the richest stretch of land in America.

“Surprised? Not at all,” he said, when asked about a US Census Bureau survey that showed that almost a fifth of households in this swath of coastline in south-west Connecticut are officially “high income” earners. No wonder it has been dubbed “the Gold Coast”.

But Condlin, sitting in a conference room at the chamber’s offices in downtown Stamford, insisted the region did not wear immense wealth on its sleeve. “It does not feel wealthy. It does not feel like the streets are paved with gold and everyone’s riding around with Rolls Royce,” he said, before adding, with a laugh: “But there are a few.


Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-02-16 06:06:53

Housing is a rapidly depreciating asset.

Comment by azdude
2013-02-16 09:02:19

look who cnbc is wheeling out now:


Its all about the wealth effect from stocks and homes!

Comment by rms
2013-02-16 13:34:47

“look who cnbc is wheeling out now:”

+1 At least they’ve got a female shill. Wealth effect.

Comment by oxide
2013-02-16 19:32:40

Send this woman to AZ slim’s diction class. She lengthens and shortens her syllables unevenly, she swallows half her consonants, and she has a very obvious lisp. Having had (still have) a speech impediment myself, there is NO excuse for someone on national TV to not at least try to speak properly.

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-16 06:15:17

I hate to break it to gold investors, but one big support for gold prices in recent years has been the presumption that a currency war would lead to an inflationary spiral. To the extent the G-20 is successful in avoiding a currency war, gold could proportionately lose its luster as an inflation hedge.

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-16 06:17:58

G20 defuses talk of “currency war”

Finance ministers and central bank governors pose for a family photo during a meeting of G20 finance ministers and central bank governors at the Manezh Exhibition Center in Moscow February 16, 2013. The Group of 20 nations declared on Saturday there would be no ‘currency war’ and deferred plans to set new debt-cutting targets in an indication of concern about the fragile state of the world economy. REUTERS-Sergei Karpukhin

By Randall Palmer and Lidia Kelly
MOSCOW | Sat Feb 16, 2013 8:11am EST

(Reuters) - The Group of 20 nations declared on Saturday there would be no ‘currency war’ and deferred plans to set new debt-cutting targets in an indication of concern about the fragile state of the world economy.

Japan’s expansive policies, which have driven down the yen, escaped criticism in a statement thrashed out in Moscow by financial policymakers from the G20, which groups developed and emerging markets and accounts for 90 percent of the world economy.

After late night talks, finance ministers and central bankers agreed on wording closer than expected to a joint statement issued last Tuesday by the Group of Seven rich nations backing market-determined exchange rates.

A draft communique seen by delegates on Friday had steered clear of the G7’s call for economic policy not to be targeted at exchange rates. But the final version included a G20 commitment to refrain from competitive devaluations and stated monetary policy would be directed at price stability and growth.

“The language has been strengthened since our discussions last night,” Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty told reporters. “It’s stronger than it was, but it was quite clear last night that everyone around the table wants to avoid any sort of currency disputes.”

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-16 06:40:35

Suppose they gave a currency war and nobody came?

How gold will benefit from a currency war
Commodities Corner
February 15, 2013|Myra P. Saefong, MarketWatch
Gold stands to benefit from a currency war.

SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) — Talk of a so-called currency war has been heating up, and it might finally light a fire under gold, too.

Efforts by countries such as Japan to boost growth with massive stimulus programs — which in turn have devalued their currencies, an aid to exports — can benefit prices for gold. These have started to alter the precious metal’s relationship with the foreign-exchange market and expand its role as a safe-haven asset.

“We are now moving irrevocably to a time when gold will measure currencies, not currencies measure gold,” said Julian Phillips, a South Africa-based contributor and founder at GoldForecaster.com.

Comment by Prime_Is_Contained
2013-02-16 09:40:14

“We are now moving irrevocably to a time when gold will measure currencies, not currencies measure gold,” said Julian Phillips

Same thing.

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-16 11:24:51


Which reminds me of a part of the gold bug’s diatribe I never understood: How can currencies ever become “worthless” so long as you can use them to buy The Precious™?

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Comment by BetterRenter
2013-02-16 11:18:02

The gold bugs are totally nuts. Where’s sustainable and big inflation going to come from? High salaries in the West are dropping, and the credit binge is over. You can’t make money in the same way by bringing even a billion new consumers on board in Chindia; their purchasing power collectively is huge, sure, but the cost per sale isn’t that low, and profit per sale is quite small.

Gold prices today are totally sustained by gold bugs. They’ve pumped lots of their money into this shiny delusion, and eventually they’ll realize there’s nobody to sell it to, but themselves. Then the horrible rush for the exits will begin, and the price of gold will collapse back down to the industrial-use level, maybe US$400/oz.

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-16 11:29:39

“Gold prices today are totally sustained by gold bugs.”

Gold prices appear to have reached a permanently-high plateau.

The untold reality of gold and silver price controls
By Dr. Jeffrey Lewis
February 15, 2013

The financial backdrop to the current prices of precious metals like silver and gold is that trillions of dollars and other currencies have been created to reflate stock markets and attempt to create a recovery in the property market, which will only serve to re-inflate real estate prices back to their former unsustainable levels once again. This seems so utterly obvious, and yet it is rarely discussed.

Furthermore, far too many investors continue to rely on and even hope for the continuance of the status quo, despite the fact that their futile wishes for the financial alchemy to prevail — so that the “free lunch” creation of money from nothing but paper and ink will lead to more jobs and economic growth — have been increasingly frustrated.

Trading Volume Speaks Volumes

Consider for a moment the remarkably high volume of COMEX contracts traded during the days when the spot prices for gold and/or silver were driven sharply lower.

An illusion of weakness tends to prevail in these situations because the majority of precious metal traders do not seem to understand the difference between a paper claim and the real thing, nor do they seem to realize that only paper contracts or claims are being sold when the price of the precious metals drops — not the actual metal itself. Basically, the futures contract seller cannot be forced to deliver physical metal, and so sellers can simply settle their profit or loss on the trade in cash.

Furthermore, the fact that such price drops are typically initiated by the dumping of huge swaths of paper contracts by proprietary traders working at giant bullion banks that are too big to bail and/or fail, makes them seem more like manipulative attempts to scare the precious metals market into a selling panic.

No one is actually selling real bullion during these allegedly “not-for-profit”-led precious metal sell-offs. Instead, the paper market is moving the metal prices as the tail seemingly wags the dog.

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-16 11:32:40

“They’ve pumped lots of their money into this shiny delusion, and eventually they’ll realize there’s nobody to sell it to, but themselves. Then the horrible rush for the exits will begin, and the price of gold will collapse back down to the industrial-use level, maybe US$400/oz.”

To worsen their plight, in an era of central bank activism to appease political interests, they are a politically diffuse and powerless constituency. This makes it quite easy to dump losses on them in order to support other assets (e.g. stocks, bonds and real estate) that better serve central banks’ policy objectives.

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-16 17:36:42

Did I get this right: It is Indians who are dumping their gold and central banks that are buying the dips now?

Financial Times
February 15, 2013 5:23 pm
Banks drive gold sales
By Jonathan Eley

Demand for gold reached a record in value terms in 2012, according to the World Gold Council, although in tonnage terms it fell by 4 per cent.

The organisation, which is funded by gold producers, said demand for physical metal in India fell 12 per cent and was flat in China. Demand from central banks rose 17 per cent and gold-buying to back exchange-traded products rose by 51 per cent, although demand for bars and coins fell.

However, the metal’s price has continued to drift lower as economic data has improved, and the FTSE gold mines index, which measures the prices of leading global gold miners, is down 29 per cent over the past year.

Comment by shendi
2013-02-16 19:12:00

From a colleague that works in our Bangalore office, Indian’s don’t sell gold unless there is a medical emergency. Apparently they typically buy gold to give the bride during weddings. No selling at any rate.

I also learned about an interesting tidbit: the jewelers (or goldsmiths) make out like bandits, since they charge making charges for the jewelry as well as charge some metal that will be apparently lost during the melting process. Akin to the builders that make a ton of money when they sell the apartments/ houses - obviously during a boom.

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-16 06:21:21

How is the U.S. consumer economy shaping up in the wake of the 2013 payroll tax increase on the middle class?

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-16 06:23:34

For the record, my household had nothing to do with these results, as we avoid stepping into Wal-Mart like the plague.

February 15, 2013, 2:41 PM

Wal-Mart February Sales Don’t Look So Hot; Shares Tumble

By Steven Russolillo
Bloomberg News

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. WMT -2.15% shares tumbled Friday afternoon amid a report that February sales for the world’s biggest retailer are off to the worst monthly start in seven years.

February monthly sales are a “total disaster,” a Wal-Mart vice president wrote in an email to executives, Bloomberg reported Friday afternoon. Disappointing sales figures were driven by payroll-tax increases that hit shoppers who were already battling tough economic conditions. From Bloomberg:

“In case you haven’t seen a sales report these days, February MTD sales are a total disaster,” Jerry Murray, Wal- Mart’s vice president of finance and logistics, said in a Feb. 12 e-mail to other executives, referring to month-to-date sales. “The worst start to a month I have seen in my ~7 years with the company.”

Wal-Mart and discounters such as Family Dollar Stores Inc. FDO -1.18% are bracing for a rise in the payroll tax to take a bigger bite from the paychecks of shoppers already dealing with elevated unemployment. The world’s largest retailer’s struggles come after executives expected a strong start to February because of the Super Bowl, milder weather and paycheck cycles, according to the minutes of a Feb. 1 officers meeting Bloomberg obtained.

Shares were down as much as 4%, on heavy trading volume. The stock is down 12% from its record high hit in October.

Comment by azdude
2013-02-16 07:34:29

did they cut the food stamp checks?

Comment by In Colorado
2013-02-16 08:23:52

Well, since Walmart helped destroy the jobs base by constantly demanding lower prices from suppliers, which in turn drove production and with it jobs offshore, it almost seems like cosmic justice. In other words, your customers need money to shop at your store.

We learned in Biz school that being a WalMart supplier, especially if you are not a large company, can be the kiss of death as WalMart will suck you dry. WalMart likes to prey on smaller suppliers, which is why you often see so many odd brands of goods (like preserved foods) that you don’t see in other stores.

Comment by azdude
2013-02-16 08:53:45

walmart screwed walmart?

I think people have filled their homes with too much stuff from walmart and cutting back.

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Comment by 2banana
2013-02-16 08:56:17

So if you are a small supplier - then don’t deal with WalMart.

Sounds like the easiest decision in the world. Amazing that it is such a hard lesson to learn.

The drop in WalMart sales is from two sources:

1. The 2% tax increase in the SS withholding

2. The dismal US recovery is slipping back into a recession.

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Comment by In Colorado
2013-02-16 09:20:31

So if you are a small supplier - then don’t deal with WalMart.

The word is getting out, but before it was known it was (and can still be) very tempting. Walmart likes to focus on regional suppliers, and this is why:

Say you’re a regional supplier of preserves. You have a steady, if small local market. Suddenly WalMart shows up and places as large order for strawberry jam. At your current capacity you can handle it and make a profit. All is Good.

Walmart comes back and orders even more jam, and requests a lower price. It’s your golden opportunity to expand. So you lease more space, buy more equipment and hire more people. The profits per unit are well below what you were making before Walmart showed up, but hey, you’re making it up in volume.

Walmart continues to increase orders and now your label is in all of their stores nationwide, right next to the big boys like Smuckers and Kraft. Total profits are shrinking as Walmart keeps asking for discounts. Suddenly you aren’t making it up in volume anymore.

Then the day arrives when Walmart asks for another price cut and you can’t do it because you would start running a net loss. So you tell Walmart “No more price reductions.”

And they drop you like a hot potato. Zero orders. Now you have huge, unpaid for production lines which are sitting idle. BK follows.

Comment by 2banana
2013-02-16 10:50:10

I have heard them same story for 20 years now.

You would think the “little guy” supplier would figure it out.

Long term contracts.
Don’t expand.
Use only overtime for more production.
Refuse to become a national supplier.
Keep a strong customer base other than WalMart.

Comment by Dudgeon Bludgeon
2013-02-16 10:52:28

All true, but your expansion was financed with OPM and you’ve managed to pay yourself and your family members a lot of money which you’ve all invested in Real Estate through trusts. The BK has no effect on you. You’re great and eff the rest and as long as RE keeps going up everything is going to be great.

Comment by ahansen
2013-02-16 11:58:30

Precisely, Incolo.

I got to yesterday’s thread about raising the minimum wage too late to comment, but my (only partially) tongue-in-cheek reply to bila was:

Minimum wage should be eliminated entirely and the federal poverty level should be lowered. Nobody has money, nobody buys McDonaldWallmart’scrap, let alone pays taxes to support war-making and corporate cronyism.

If we’re ever going to get ourselves out of this insanely leveraged economy, we’ll have to bring wages (and prices) back down to a rational level and stop importing serfs to do our children’s jobs.

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Comment by Skroodle
2013-02-16 11:05:22

Income tax filing date delayed due to late changes in the tax law.

Loans by H&R Block, etc were delayed as well.

Comment by ecofeco
2013-02-16 20:36:56

I haven’t really noticed any major difference in my paycheck.

Besides that, it’s only Feb.

2 months is not enough to plot a trend.

Just a reminder, the increase doesn’t really affect anybody making 50k or less.

That’s most Americans.

Comment by frankie
2013-02-16 06:22:07

New data suggests that there has been a 57% increase in online dating revenues in the past year, and there’s plenty of room for growth too given that only one tenth of singles currently use online dating sites. Digital marketing and billing manager Vindicia has been tracking the global activity for its online dating clients, and says that it has seen first-hand how the sector is flourishing despite the state of the economy elsewhere.

Social networking, and in particular Facebook, is contributing to the growth. Vindicia client SNAP Interactive, for example, is the company behind AreYouInterested.com, a matchmaking site inside Facebook that works via mobile apps as well as through the Web.


If you’re a poor desperate person looking for a road to economic salvation, you need to stop dreaming about hitting a jackpot on the internet casino, and start looking for a job at an ad agency that helps convince other suckers to blow their money at internet casinos.


The two growth industries I’ve noticed in the UK are gambling and dating. Every web page has an invitation to date some one, each paper has it’s own dating site enabling you to meet the (insert name of paper) reader of your dream, they’ve even got adverts on the TV inviting you to meet the uniformed date of your dream. Is this a sign that people are desperately trying to escape reality either by winning a fortune or meeting and running away with their ideal knight or damsel.

Comment by 2banana
2013-02-16 07:00:42

Gambling and the opposite sex - two traditions of western culture for how many hundreds of years?

SNAP Interactive at facebook.

There is a joke in there somewhere.

Oh wait - it is on us.

Facebook Gets a Multibillion-Dollar Tax Break

Even though Facebook (FB) reported $1.1 billion in pre-tax profits from U.S. operations in 2012, it will probably pay zero federal and state taxes—and even receive a federal tax refund of about $429 million—according to a Feb. 14 statement from Citizens for Tax Justice.


Comment by In Colorado
2013-02-16 08:32:37

They are far from the only corporate freeloaders. But apparently free corporate cheese isn’t enough to keep the jobs in the country as the offshoring juggernaut keeps on rolling.

I recall an incident a few years ago, when Frontier Airlines basically demanded a subsidy for maintenance jobs in Denver. IIRC, it would have cost taxpayers about $20,000 per employee per year.

The local government refused, however, but another state/locale caved in and threw the money at Frontier and the repair facilities moved out of state.

Comment by Skroodle
2013-02-16 11:07:13

We obviously need to cut Social Security and Medicare.

And cut food stamps.

Comment by ahansen
2013-02-16 12:07:29

Exactly, Skroodle. Because 60 million desperate, hungry, diseased poor persons seething with class resentment would be such a boon to our economy!

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Comment by ecofeco
2013-02-16 20:47:03


Comment by Avocado
2013-02-16 20:58:49

Cut food stamps and give the savings to the banksters and oil co’s!!

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Comment by Avocado
2013-02-16 21:02:31

nothing new.

this is why people are no longer voting GOP.

time to get our country back.

Comment by Bill in Los Angeles
2013-02-16 20:52:53

The only success with Internet dating I had was before the year 2000. Met a lovely, intelligent woman through online dating who lived two miles away from me. We lived together a few years. Somehow after the year 2000 they were all scammers.

Comment by Avocado
2013-02-16 21:00:24

been there done that! 95% losers on Match all looking to be rescued.
get ld, then get out is how i play it. none are long term candidates.

Comment by ahansen
2013-02-16 21:21:43

Curious. As a female, that’s precisely what I’ve experienced as well. ‘Tis the province of the nerdish. (Sigh) Good luck out there…


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Comment by hazard
2013-02-16 06:23:17

10 shocking wealth facts
By Judy Martel · Bankrate.com
Monday, February 11, 2013
Posted: 6 am ET

1. Adjusting for inflation, Warren Buffett was a millionaire by age 25.

2. In 2011, Asia had more millionaires than North America for the first time ever, according to RBC Wealth Management.

3. If you divide their net worths by their age, Mexican telecommunications tycoon Carlos Slim, the richest man in the world, and Microsoft’s Bill Gates have each accumulated more than $100,000 in net worth for every hour they’ve been alive.

4. U.S. charitable giving was $298 billion in 2011, according to the Giving USA Foundation. That’s more than the gross domestic product of all but 33 countries in the world.

5. Since 2008, Americans have donated $19.1 million to the U.S. Treasury to help pay down the national debt. These are actual citizen donations, not taxes.

6. Including dividends, Standard & Poor’s 500 index gained 135 percent from March 2009 through January 2013, during what people remember as the “Great Recession.” It gained the exact same amount from 1996 to 2000, during what people remember as the “greatest bull market in history.”

7. According to Bloomberg, “Americans have missed out on almost $200 billion of stock gains as they drained money from the market in the past four years, haunted by the financial crisis.”

8. As of January 2013, there are 16 people left in the world who were born in the 1800s, according to the Gerontology Research Group. With dividends reinvested, U.S. stocks have increased 28,000-fold during their lifetimes.

9. According to a study by Harvard professor David Wise and two colleagues, 46.1 percent of Americans die with less than $10,000 in assets.

10. Franklin Templeton asked 1,000 investors whether the S&P 500 went up or down in 2009 and 2010. Sixty-six percent thought it went down in 2009, while 49 percent said it declined in 2010. In reality, the index gained 26.5 percent in 2009 and 15.1 percent in 2010.

Read more: http://www.bankrate.com/financing/wealth/10-shocking-wealth-facts/#ixzz2L4HcTciJ
Follow us: @Bankrate on Twitter | Bankrate on Facebook

Comment by Skroodle
2013-02-16 11:14:16

Steps to becoming a millionaire at age 25 just like Warren Buffet.

#1. Have your father elected to Congress
#2. Get your father to pay for business degree from Columbia
#3. Go to work for Wall Street financier at a starting salary of $100k+
#4. Become millionaire

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-16 12:39:18

There has never been a better time to be born as a trust fund baby!

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-16 06:25:03

BoC head sees housing market adjusting more in next few years
OTTAWA | Fri Feb 15, 2013 3:33pm EST

Feb 15 (Reuters) - The Canadian housing market is likely to continue cooling off in the next few years, Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney said in an interview broadcast on Friday.

Canadian home prices grew at the slowest pace in three years in December year-on-year, and housing starts fell more steeply than expected in January. Ottawa intervened last year, making it tougher to take out a mortgage.

“We’ve seen adjustment in the housing market, we think there’s a bit more to come in the next few years. Again, I think Canadians have listened to the message and they are adjusting,” Carney told CTV.

Comment by azdude
2013-02-16 07:37:52

do you think the public will eat all the losses when the canadian bubble pops?

Comment by 2banana
2013-02-16 07:52:43

do you think the public will eat all the losses when the canadian bubble pops?

Canadian Banks already have a built in TARP.

So the answer is yes.

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-16 12:20:23

Unless the purpose of government insurance schemes is to enrich specially favored constituents in the FIRE sector at the expense of non-FIRE sector constituents, they are an abject failure and should be banned from the spectrum of policy remedies.

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Comment by CA renter
2013-02-17 03:58:47


Comment by Skroodle
2013-02-16 15:38:47

What about US Banks?

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Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-16 06:26:59

Spreadtrum Slides Amid Housing Concerns: China Overnight
By Ye Xie - Feb 15, 2013 3:27 PM PT

Chinese stocks traded in the U.S. posted their first back-to-back weekly declines since November on speculation policy makers are shifting their focus from supporting the economy to curbing asset prices.

The Bloomberg China-US Equity Index of the most-traded Chinese equities in the U.S. fell 0.4 percent to 96.35 this week, after losing 4.2 percent in the five days to Feb. 8. Chipmaker Spreadtrum Communications Inc. sank the most in two months. LDK Solar Co. led gains among solar stocks on optimism alternative energy demand is growing. Mainland Chinese markets resume trading Feb. 18 after the week-long New Year holiday.

China’s new leaders, to be installed at the National People’s Congress starting March 5, are set to announce fresh measures to damp growth in the property market before the meeting, the Shanghai Securities News reported Feb. 6. While the government has refrained from easing monetary policy to push the economy out of its slowdown, data this month showed new home prices rose the most in two years in January.

“The government doesn’t want an overheating housing market and there’s a slight worry that they will take action sooner rather than later,” Elena Ogram, who manages $50 million in emerging-market assets, including Chinese stocks, at Bank am Bellevue AG in Zurich, said by phone yesterday. “Housing prices are one of the sensitive indicators.”

Comment by CA renter
2013-02-17 04:00:13

This is what happens when the PTB try to create “economic growth” through asset price inflation. Bad policy decisions all around the globe.

Comment by hazard
2013-02-16 06:29:09

Posted: 9:04 p.m. Friday, Feb. 15, 2013

President Obama lands in West Palm Beach, on way to Treasure Coast golfing break

By George Bennett

Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

After three days of campaign-style barnstorming to promote policy initiatives, President Barack Obama arrived at Palm Beach International Airport on Friday night and headed to the Treasure Coast for a weekend of golf.

Obama is expected to spend the weekend on the links at the Floridian Golf Club in Palm City, where he’ll get tips on his game from legendary golf instructor and former Tiger Woods coach Butch Harmon.

Posted: 5:56 p.m. Friday, Feb. 15, 2013

Freeze watch issued for Palm Beach County on Saturday

By Toni-Ann Miller

If you are hanging around Palm Beach County for the Presidents Day weekend, start dusting off those sweaters and load up on hot chocolate, because the year’s first official freeze watch will be stopping by for a visit.

The watch will trail a cold front that is expected to pass through the area beginning Saturday afternoon into the evening. The colder, drier air left behind by the front puts the freeze watch in effect for Sunday from 2 a.m. until 9 a.m., said Steven Ippoliti, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Miami. Coastal temperatures are expected to be in the low 40s while inland temperatures will be in the low 30s, he said.

A wind chill advisory joins the colder temperatures, which will make for a breezy, brisk weekend, especially Saturday night into Sunday morning. Coastal feel-like temperatures could be in the low to mid-30s, while temperatures near Lake Okeechobee could fall into the low to mid-20s.

Comment by oxide
2013-02-16 08:07:24

I gotta admit, I’m not likin’ this golf habit the Pres has picked up. Anytime I see people playing golf, I remember George Carlin’s homeless/golf routine and how true it is. Or I remember the two times I attempted to play golf and was shouted off the course by old men in golf carts. At least Bush did something useful by clearing brush (even though there are rumors that it was pre-placed photo-op brush).

Comment by Spook
2013-02-16 10:21:52

any sport where you can drink a beverage while playing it is not a real sport.

Comment by elvismcduf
2013-02-16 11:10:12

….maybe several beverages? medical 420? psilocybin?…drink, cuss, spit and pee in public..to me it’s freedom….what’s not to like? sport or not, it’s a good way to pass the time…gotta go, twelve o’clock tee time:)

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Comment by alpha-sloth
2013-02-16 15:24:33

any sport where you can drink a beverage while playing it is not a real sport.

On the contrary, those are my favorite sports. Badminton, hacky-sack, croquet, frisbee, cornhole, ping pong.

I refuse to play any sport in which I can’t hold a drink in my hand.

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Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-16 06:37:13

How Obama’s Call For Refinancing Mortgages Will Boost The Economy
By Pat Garofalo on Feb 13, 2013 at 12:40 pm

President Obama last night called on Congress to make it easier for families to refinance their mortgages. Noting that many eligible families are having a hard time refinancing, Obama urged Congress to pass a bill as soon as it can that would ease the process and open up refinancing to those currently blocked out:

Part of our rebuilding effort must also involve our housing sector. Today, our housing market is finally healing from the collapse of 2007. Home prices are rising at the fastest pace in six years, home purchases are up nearly 50 percent, and construction is expanding again.

But even with mortgage rates near a 50-year low, too many families with solid credit who want to buy a home are being rejected. Too many families who have never missed a payment and want to refinance are being told no. That’s holding our entire economy back, and we need to fix it. Right now, there’s a bill in this Congress that would give every responsible homeowner in America the chance to save $3,000 a year by refinancing at today’s rates. Democrats and Republicans have supported it before. What are we waiting for? Take a vote, and send me that bill.

The bill in question is one proposed by Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Robert Menendez (D-NJ). Housing policy expert John Griffith explains here why the bill will help:

Congress needs to step in to help the roughly 18 million more Fannie- or Freddie-backed borrowers who are current on their monthly payments and carry above-market interest rates, according to estimates from Moody’s Analytics. By refinancing to today’s low rates — typically well below 4 percent — many of these families can save an average of $2,600 per year in mortgage payments, according to the Congressional Budget Office. [...]

Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, estimates that the proposed legislation would result in 2.9 million more refinancings, helping borrowers save a combined $7 billion annually in mortgage payments. Since many of these borrowers are middle-income families, most of those savings will likely be spent elsewhere in the economy, bolstering growth and creating jobs.

The administration has said that it will implement some changes to refinancing programs by executive order, if Congress doesn’t act.

Comment by Ben Jones
2013-02-16 06:59:10

‘The administration has said that it will implement some changes to refinancing programs by executive order, if Congress doesn’t act.’

Nice threat King Obama. And guns sales surge by another couple million.

It’s all so weird. A former cop threatens the police and they start shooting anything that moves. The US govt’s solution to anything these days; send in special forces, a drone or sell some weapons to somebody. And if Obama doesn’t get what he wants, by gosh he’ll just make an executive order! If you don’t like it, he’ll put you on his personal kill list. Maybe it’s just me, but IMO things have gotten out of hand. Like re-colonizing Africa.

Did anyone hear that Chicago made El Chapo public enemy number one? Another nice move. Chicago’s violence rate and drug use isn’t because of a failed drug war or other issues. It’s all because of some short mexican thousands of miles away.

Comment by SV guy
2013-02-16 08:02:34

My wife was just watching a recording of a cop show she watches. I can hear and see the television from the computer area. Anyway, there was a scene where the cop is talking to a black guy with his child on a bus. This father is brandishing a gun. The cop talks him down and he hands over the gun. To which I respond “now burn this MFer down, NOW!” in my best San Bernardino sheriff voice.

Things are most definitely out of hand

Comment by hazard
2013-02-16 08:32:45

“Things are most definitely out of hand”

December 31, 2012 By Daniel Greenfield

“Chicago’s problem isn’t guns; it’s gangs. Gun control efforts in Chicago or any other major city are doomed because gangs represent organized crime networks which stretch down to Mexico, and trying to cut off their gun supply will be as effective as trying to cut off their drug supply.”

“There is a war going on in America between gangs of young men who bear an uncanny resemblance to their counterparts in Sierra Leone or El Salvador. They live like them, they fight for control of the streets like them and they kill like them.”

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Comment by 2banana
2013-02-16 09:04:36

Gun control efforts in Chicago are doomed????

Chicago has a nearly a COMPETE BAN on guns for law abiding (unless you are politically connected).

FYI - Mexico also has nearly a COMPLETE BAN on guns for the law abiding.

Gun control does NOT equal crime control. It does not reduce crime. It does not stop crime.

Gun control is not about guns. It is about control.

Comment by aNYCdj
2013-02-16 09:40:52

Ya know 2 my stupid ignorant idea of putting TSA body scanners at public housing projects as a start, is deemed racist y’all…..yet where are the illegal guns?

I just figgerd its taxpayers money and public housing, so dont like being scanned move and pay your own rent.

Comment by Skroodle
2013-02-16 11:17:15

Drugs are the problem. Legalizing drugs would get rid of the gangs #1 source of money.

Comment by aNYCdj
2013-02-16 11:45:43

Yes but they will still have the unregistered guns to do other things to get money…..so both at the same time would really put a serious dent in crime.

Comment by hazard
2013-02-16 12:13:57

“Legalizing drugs would get rid of the gangs #1 source of money.”

Oxycodone for everyone!

Painkiller overdose deaths reach 15,000 a year in U.S.

(400 a year killed in U.S. with rifles)

Posted on November 1, 2011 by Erin Marie Daly

Nearly 40 Americans die per day from overdoses of prescription painkillers like OxyContin and Vicodin, according to a new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The number of deaths represents a three-fold increase over the past decade, and opioid pain relievers now account for more overdose deaths than heroin and cocaine combined, the report found. In addition, in 2010 alone, there were enough painkillers prescribed to supply every American with a one-month supply, the agency says.

http://oxywatchdog.com/2011/11/painkiller-overdose-deaths-reach-15000-a-year-in-u-s/ - 50k -

And this is from one of those upity Northeast Chinese mobs.

Indictments aimed at denting Chinese mob in Boston

Using evidence based on wiretaps and a video-equipped informant, a task force of federal, state and local law enforcement officers last week arrested the 26 in raids across the area. In addition to drugs, gambling and prostitution, officials say the gang also helped smuggle illegal aliens into the country.

Authorities say they have so far seized 12 guns, 12,000 Oxycodone pills, 2,000 condoms and $340,000 in cash - some $100,000 of it from a single safety deposit box.

http://www.universalhub.com/2011/indictments-aimed-denting-chinese-mob-boston - 37k -

Comment by Montana
2013-02-16 12:29:57

Oh, no DJ you don’t get it. Legalize drugs (yay, oxycontin OTC!) and the drugpins will all go to vo-tech to learn new trades.

Comment by hazard
2013-02-16 12:34:10

“Legalizing drugs would get rid of the gangs #1 source of money.”

Oxy Watchdog - YouTube
http://www.youtube.com/user/oxywatchdog - 45k -

Comment by aNYCdj
2013-02-16 13:16:35

Nah Montana lots will OD and die which would save us from building new prisons and hiring more people….

Is it a good thing? Well not many people really get rehabilitated….and the cost is astronomical….but then again Montana has so much empty space we can put 100,000 criminals in the middle of nowhere…in some valley (I can hear Red River Valley playing in the background) and survival of the fittest….

Comment by alpha-sloth
2013-02-16 15:59:40

There is a war going on in America between gangs of young men who bear an uncanny resemblance to their counterparts in Sierra Leone or El Salvador.

Less than one hundred years ago the gangs of young men waging war in America bore an uncanny resemblance to their counterparts in Ireland, Britain, and Italy.

Comment by Avocado
2013-02-16 21:06:48

Darwin would be all for legalizing drugs, let the weak die off.

Comment by Pimp Watch
2013-02-16 09:32:35

A goddamn empire. Go ahead. Deny it you partisan morons. And you too 2banana. You’re a moron empire partisan.

Because you see? Without mass delusion with the partisan loons steering the conversation via sole ownership of the platform, the empire thugs have no power.

Yea…. it’s way beyond out of hand. And when the empire policies are criticized, the tweedle dee versus tweedle dum narrative starts.

Comment by 2banana
2013-02-16 10:47:42

When democrats are in power/control:

Both parties are just are bad and corrupt so we might as well keep voting democrat. The republicans would have done just as bad. There is no difference.

When democrats are not in power/control:

The republicans are the most evil and vile party ever. All the bad in the world can be blamed on them. We must vote them out of office NOW.

Yeah, I see it. But you are not a party hack.

So tell me.

Why do public union goons, environmental wackos, race hustlers, trial lawyers, give me my cheese groups, etc. vote nearly 100% democrat if there is NO difference?

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Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-16 11:39:39

Thanks for weighing in right on cue, tweedle-dum.

Comment by ahansen
2013-02-16 12:22:45


Police, fire, and prison guard unions are staunchly Republican.
Environmental trusts like the Park and Forest services are staunchly Republican. Race hustlers like AIPAC are staunchly Republican. Cheese interests like Wall Street are staunchly Republican.

Care to redefine your argument? Ben and Pimpy are right. It’s the powers of empire herding the teeming masses, not the other way around. The parties are all about the rulers, not the ruled.

Comment by Pimp Watch
2013-02-16 13:38:22

Don’t expect the party imbecile to understand.

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-16 13:40:09

You do realize the presidential election was back in November 2012 and your party lost, don’t you?

Or are you stuck in stuck-calendar denial, like those Japanese soldiers who were discovered living in Pacific island caves years after the end of WWII?

Comment by Avocado
2013-02-16 21:08:19

Is banana on public assistance?

Comment by ahansen
2013-02-16 12:15:16


There are plenty of opportunities to drop out of that empire and not play the game, but you have to give up the perks of empire when you do so.

Is THAT the source of your frustration?

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Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-16 12:22:15

Just because the political-economic climate completely sux where you live, doesn’t mean you should expect it to be any better elsewhere.

Comment by Pimp Watch
2013-02-16 13:45:07

Whats wrong Alenna……. People rejecting the narrative and telling the truth makes you uncomfortable?

Comment by ahansen
2013-02-16 16:11:08

Obviously not, but do you realistically expect our social structure to change significantly during the second half of your life? Without cataclysmic intervention, too many interconnected systems make a turn-around all-but-impossible during the course of a generation or two.

The best we can hope for is a viable third party coalition bringing proportionate representation to the legislature. Or that whoever’s been flinging star-chunks at us lately refines their coordinates.

Comment by Pimp Watch
2013-02-16 17:14:25

Nobody expected 1989 Soviet Union either….. not even their “leaders”.

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-17 00:47:38

“…cataclysmic intervention…”

Already happening.

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-16 11:48:44

Is there any limit to the ability of the POTUS to use executive orders to override Congress?

Weekend Edition February 15-17, 2013
Another Giveaway to the Banksters
Obama, Housing and the Next Big Heist

For those who missed President Obama’s latest giveaway to the Bank Mafia, we’ll repeat what he said here. This is an excerpt from Tuesday’s State of the Union Speech:

“Part of our rebuilding effort must also involve our housing sector. Today, our housing market is finally healing from the collapse of 2007. Home prices are rising at the fastest pace in six years, home purchases are up nearly 50 percent, and construction is expanding again.

But even with mortgage rates near a 50-year low, too many families with solid credit who want to buy a home are being rejected. Too many families who have never missed a payment and want to refinance are being told no. That’s holding our entire economy back, and we need to fix it. Right now, there’s a bill in this Congress that would give every responsible homeowner in America the chance to save $3,000 a year by refinancing at today’s rates. Democrats and Republicans have supported it before. What are we waiting for? Take a vote, and send me that bill. Right now, overlapping regulations keep responsible young families from buying their first home. What’s holding us back? Let’s streamline the process, and help our economy grow.”

First of all, whenever you hear a politician talk about “streamlining the process”, run for cover. The term is a right-wing formulation that means “remove all the rules which inhibit profitmaking”. Naturally, Wall Street’s favorite son, President Hopium, is more than comfortable with the expression and uses it to great effect. But what are the rules that Obama wants to eliminate, that’s the question?

Obama answers that himself when he says: “Too many families with solid credit who want to buy a home are being rejected.”

This is pure baloney. Borrowers with good credit who can meet the standard down payment requirement (usually 10 percent) can secure financing without too much trouble. The problem is that the banks don’t want to be limited to creditworthy applicants alone, because there aren’t enough creditworthy applicants interested in buying a house. That’s why they want Obama to loosen regulations on “government insured” mortgages so they can lend money to anyone they want knowing that Uncle Sam will pay the bill when the loans go belly-up. That is what this is all about; Obama wants Congress to slap their seal of approval on a new regime of crappy loans that will eventually be dumped on US taxpayers. Here’s the story from Bloomberg:

“U.S. Realtors and mortgage bankers say they’re hoping President Barack Obama’s call for streamlining mortgage rules will lend new momentum to efforts to prevent imposing a strict minimum down payment for home loans.

… bankers and real estate agents …are angling for changes to a proposed regulation requiring lenders to keep a stake in risky loans say they hope Obama’s comments will help their cause.

At issue is the so-called Qualified Residential Mortgage rule, which six banking regulators including the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and the Federal Reserve are aiming to complete this year. The regulators drew protests in 2011 when they released a preliminary draft requiring lenders to keep a stake in mortgages with down payments of less than 20 percent and those issued to borrowers spending more than 36 percent of their income on debt…(“Housing Industry Pins Hopes on Obama to Soften Down-Payment Rule, Bloomberg)

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-16 12:04:20

“government insured” = insured by OPM; banksters and ‘responsible’ homeowners win, and everyone else pays.

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Comment by 2banana
2013-02-16 07:09:41

Right now, there’s a bill in this Congress that would give every responsible homeowner in America the chance to save $3,000 a year by refinancing at today’s rates. Democrats and Republicans have supported it before. What are we waiting for? Take a vote, and send me that bill.

Why should obama even care about this?

Why is the government involved in refinancing housing AT ALL? It is a PRIVATE contract between two willing parties.

If your bank doesn’t want to refinance you (or at the rate you want) then go to another bank. If that bank says no and the next - maybe it is you. Why does the government need to be involved?

Or, I forgot.

The obama housing bubble v2.0.

Bigger and bigger government.

It is what will make America great again.

Comment by oxide
2013-02-16 11:27:07

I call BS.

Congress needs to step in to help the roughly 18 million more Fannie- or Freddie-backed borrowers who are current on their monthly payments

“Private contract,” my rapidly depreciating butt. If the banks are going to sell their toxic waste to the taxpayer, then the taxpayer ought to have some say in the payment terms of the toxic waste.

Comment by BetterRenter
2013-02-16 11:55:58

Yep. A government refi subsidy is there to keep them making mortgage payments. It’s not going to inflate the bubble, despite what many politicians believe, but continue to manage the bubble’s deflation. It’s part of The Plan. The Plan may be based on delusion, but it’s still going to manage the collapse, Japan style.

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-16 12:16:25

“A government refi subsidy is there to keep them making mortgage payments.”

They are already paying their mortgages, so your explanation holds no water.

My understanding is that ‘responsible borrowers’ are the ones who are entitled to a reduction in their monthly payments worth $100,000+ in many cases and paid for by other people’s money, in order to free up more of their wealth for consumption spending that will stimulate the economy.

Renters can eat cake.

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Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-16 12:33:49

Wouldn’t it be better policy and more honest to just park a $100,000 lump sum in every American household’s passbook savings account that they could use to stimulate the economy however they chose?

Tying government handouts to the stupidity that led people to get themselves hundreds of thousands of dollars under water on their mortgages seems like encouragement of further financial stupidity.

Comment by Dudgeon Bludgeon
2013-02-16 13:29:20

If you were to park $100k in everyone’s passbook savings most would simply go out and buy RE.
I guess that would work.

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-16 13:37:30

“If you were to park $100k in everyone’s passbook savings most would simply go out and buy RE.”

That’s all the better, as in that case, the action would be incentive-compatible with DC policy objectives to prop up the real estate sector.

Comment by alpha-sloth
2013-02-16 16:08:54

Renters can eat cake.

Renters can get or keep jobs and/or make more money in their businesses as the economy is stimulated by the refis.

People pay more taxes, and the deficit is reduced.

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-17 00:40:33

It’s great to have our very own Democratic party parrot spouting the party line right here on the HBB.

Comment by BetterRenter
2013-02-16 18:25:34

CIBT said: They are already paying their mortgages, so your explanation holds no water.

Without the refi, they won’t be paying their mortgages for long. Note I said “KEEP them making mortgage payments”.

Looks pretty dry under my explanation. Water held.

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Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-17 00:39:28

If they are already paying their mortgages, then apparently there must not be any need to reduce their payments in order to get them to keep paying them, right?

What am I missing here?

Comment by BetterRenter
2013-02-17 11:49:14

“What am I missing here?”

You’re missing that the current payments are still breaking them in half. You know, catastrophes that come from a long distance off, are still catastrophes when they arrive.

Sure, there are refis for people who simply reduce payments. Let’s get real about those, too. They are only looking to spend more in other places. So they’ll be no better off either, when layoff time comes around.

Comment by ahansen
2013-02-16 12:33:30

“…why should the administration even care?”

They care because having stable communities and families promotes the public weal and saves taxpayers money in the long run. Private banking completely botched public housing. At least returning the responsibility to a regulated government can standardize the qualifications and practices and perhaps keep more of our communities intact. More importantly, it will put an end to collusion between realtors and the insurance industry who both profit from the foreclosure churn.

And yes, I do know responsible people who have been helped by HARP, (in Bakersfield and Central CA, specifically), and yes, the deterioration of their neighborhoods has been corralled because of it. Some people actually WERE criminally exploited by their lenders….

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-16 12:35:21

“Private banking completely botched public housing.”

It would never have turned out this way without CRA and the collaboration of the three F’s (Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the FHA).

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Comment by ahansen
2013-02-16 14:02:27

As has been REPEATEDLY pointed out here, CRA-originated loans have a higher repayment history than private lender loans.

FNA/FRM have actuarial standards and qualifications — pathetic though they may be.

Comment by alpha-sloth
2013-02-16 16:30:49

As has been REPEATEDLY pointed out here

Doesn’t matter. It feels so right, it can’t be wrong.

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-17 00:29:52

“Doesn’t matter. It feels so right, it can’t be wrong.”

You still haven’t read Thomas Sowell’s book, have you.

Because he studied with Milton Friedman, and works at the Hoover Institute, and is a black man to boot, you just know that his book has nothing useful to say, right?

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-16 12:37:01

“Some people actually WERE criminally exploited by their lenders….”

Did the lenders put guns to the victims’ heads and force them to sign the contracts?

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Comment by ahansen
2013-02-16 14:07:23

No, but they sold/transferred mortgages to entities that changed the terms and repayment rates without notifying the borrowers. They lied about refinance options as a condition to purchase. And they rewrote contracts after the fact. Oh, and in once case misrepresented title — just before the title insurance company went out of business.

Comment by ecofeco
2013-02-16 21:18:48

Is fraud ever committed with a gun to someone’s head?

Comment by Montana
2013-02-17 06:52:51

That’s duress.

Comment by Avocado
2013-02-16 21:13:46

banana - why do I or anyone even bother responding to your brainwashed bag of bones.

Obama is “less gov” than your boy Bush. Way less!

Did you cry for 8 yrs of Bush? Of course you didn’t. Fox told you not to.

Comment by Ben Jones
2013-02-16 06:46:33

This sounds familiar.

‘Rachel Fox isn’t an ordinary 16-year-old. She’s already graduated from high school and has been a working Hollywood actress for years…That would be a packed schedule for most of us, but Rachel has another activity that’s a real passion. For the last year-and-a-half she’s been actively day-trading stocks with her own money. She says she’s been racking up stellar returns, claiming a 30.4% gain in 2012, versus the benchmark S&P 500 which gained 13% for last year. While she’s doing it all, she’s also helping teach people about investing via her website’

‘Last year I made 338 day trades,” she says proudly. Trading that often is not just a hobby. Rachel is up at 6:30am every morning, looks through her account, scans headlines and then makes her picks for the day. She uses a standard brokerage account and makes use of an app that enables her to trade on her smartphone. “The days when I’m working on set in between takes I’ll be on my iPhone trading; it’s a solo project,” she shrugs, “I’m just doing this.”


Comment by 2banana
2013-02-16 07:15:58

Two words:

Casey Serin

For the old timers around here - we remember it as everything that was wrong with housing. And making money in a bubble is so easy that even a teenager/twenty something with ZERO experience and almost ZERO cash can make lots of money.

For a time.

Of course, it will end in bankruptcy.

Comment by azdude
2013-02-16 07:42:53

when the market only goes up anyone can day trade. They have taken the fear out of the market and now everyone is a trader again. look at the margin accounts. People are buying on credit heavily once again. When will they pull the rug out from under the sheep again?

Casey boy is probably day trading too. Do you remember him talking about bird dogging for investors, lmao.

Comment by ahansen
2013-02-16 12:41:16

From Russia yet! I wrote to him privately off and on during his “comeback” and he honestly had no idea that you couldn’t just go online and troll for investors in a “great money-making concept”.

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Comment by Bronco
2013-02-16 18:21:29

Thought it was Uzbekistan?

Comment by oxide
2013-02-16 19:41:54

The advertisement in front of the Maria Baritromo video was for an online trading company. Yeah, with DOW at 14000, NOW’s the time to start trading. :roll:

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Comment by Combotechie
2013-02-16 08:18:56

Two more words:

1. Commissions, and

2. Spreads (as in the spread between the bid price and the asked price).

Comment by azdude
2013-02-16 08:34:24

retail investor = buy high sell low I guess we have a new group of investors lining up.

wall street is trying to get retail all giddy because the market is rising. they need to unload some shares off to more gullable folks.

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Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-16 11:35:30

“For the last year-and-a-half she’s been actively day-trading stocks with her own money. She says she’s been racking up stellar returns, claiming a 30.4% gain in 2012, versus the benchmark S&P 500 which gained 13% for last year. While she’s doing it all, she’s also helping teach people about investing via her website.”

Financial genius is a rising stock market.

– John Kenneth Galbraith

Comment by ahansen
2013-02-16 12:38:46

“…338 day trades…”

Boy is SHE in for a surprise when it comes time to do her taxes. There better be a damned good algorithm for figuring basis costs on that 30.4% gain or her accountancy fees will overshadow her profits.

Comment by ahansen
2013-02-16 12:56:29

Trying to find link to the 2008 video of the day-trader kid who filmed himself losing $30,000 in about fifteen seconds when the fed stepped in to stop-loss SKF.

Comment by aNYCdj
2013-02-16 13:22:49

Jack E. Brown of Soddy Daisy, TN, has been accused in federal bankruptcy court of running a $10 million Ponzi scheme through his tax planning business, Brown’s Tax Service. Brown used clients’ financial data to solicit some 50 investors for his supposed day-trading program.


Comment by 2banana
2013-02-16 07:30:57

Add in 50% to these salaries for gold plated benefits and insane pensions.

When Massachusetts goes bankrupt they will demand a bailout from the bankrupt Federal Government. Because NO one could see this coming and we could not touch salary because of union contracts.

And remember, all those union dues being funneled solely to the democrat party.

Now shut up, go to work and pay your fair share. It is for the children.


Mass. gives out 100 grand like candy
http://bostonherald.com ^ | 02/16/2013 | Joe Dwinell

The roster of state workers raking in six-figure pay skyrocketed last year by an astonishing 12 percent to nearly 7,700 employees, according to a Herald review — a budget-busting bombshell that has fiscal watchdogs howling “enough.”

The review comes as Gov. Deval Patrick is pushing for massive $1.9 billion in tax and fee hikes amid a sputtering state economy and a climbing jobless rate.

The highest pay — more than $700,000 — went to those in the University of Massachusetts system. Yet, nurses, state troopers, office workers, prison guards and managers also swelled the ranks of the six-figure club, including:

•     2,557 University of Massachusetts employees who took home $100,000 or more last year — with 196 earning anywhere from $200,000 to more than $700,000;

•     1,583 state troopers who pulled in $100,000 or more — with 29 earning $200,000 or more;

•     200 Department of Transportation workers, who drove home with $100,000 or more; and

•     More than 200 Department of Correction employees who raked in upward of $100,000.

Comment by 2banana
2013-02-16 07:38:06

Why Is Washington So Polarized?
Townhall.com | February 16, 2013 | John C. Goodman

People who have been around for a while all seem to agree. Never in living memory has the atmosphere on Capitol Hill and in Washington, D.C., generally been so toxic.

I don’t find this to be true out in the hinterland. The country as a whole is divided politically. But it’s not obviously more divided than it was 50 years ago. The toxicity of politics is a D.C. phenomenon. What’s more, the polarization is worse among the elites. It seems that the more education they have, the more polarized people become.

Why is that?

I have a theory. Any period in which there is radical political change is likely to be a period when raw emotions are strained. The reason: political change means we are moving from an old system to a new one. When that happens, people who were wedded to the old system will perceive that they are losing something — a way of life, a shared way of looking at the world, institutions that they relied on.

We are living in such a period. Over the past 30 years the entire world has seen a complete reversal in the political trend of the twentieth century. There was a time, not long ago, when many of us believed that the march toward communism and socialism was inevitable. Country after country moved left. In the first eight decades of the twentieth century, I can’t think of a single place where individual liberty increased — unless you count the aftermath of war in Germany, Italy and Japan.

Collectivism, it seemed, was unstoppable.

Then, in the last two decades of the last century, everything changed. Communism was dismantled almost everywhere. It was not only politically dismantled. Collectivism was intellectually discredited. All around the world, a new wave of thinking emerged — one which saw that the left was wrong. Wrong about everything. Wrong about communism. Wrong about socialism. Wrong about the welfare state.

In country after country, the power of government was rolled back — through deregulation and privatization. It’s hard to exaggerate how fundamental this change has been. When Ronald Reagan was president, not even the most conservative politician would dare talk about privatizing Social Security. This was true in other countries as well. Yet today, more than 30 countries around the world have fully or partially privatized their social security systems. We haven’t done it yet. But we’ve discovered that a presidential candidate can talk about it and still win two elections.

About 40 countries now have a flat tax and tax rates have been generally falling almost everywhere. In Europe, talk of privatizing health, education and welfare was once as taboo as talk of privatizing Social Security was in the US. No longer.

Sweden, once thought of as the model for the modern welfare state, now has a full-fledged school voucher system, has privatized large segments of its health care system and is on the way toward privatization of almost all of its welfare state. Britain, which once boasted that its system of socialized medicine was “the envy of the world” has been privatizing health services for the past decade. Since 2008, National Health Service (NHS) patients have been able to choose any provider (NHS, private for-profit, private non-profit, etc.) they wish for elective care.

The dismantling of the state has not been smooth or even continuous. Some countries have seen reversals. Venezuela, Argentina, Ecuador and France come to mind. In our country we have gone from Bill Clinton’s declaration that the era of big government is over to a massive new entitlement created by ObamaCare.

These reversals give people on the left hope that the trend is not inevitable. Rather than being resigned to defeat, they see hope that collectivism might rise again.

For the most part, the left in this country feels deeply threaten by events occurring all over the world. Every cherished belief of theirs is proving to be wrong. The institutions they revere are being dismantled.

They’re mad.

Comment by CA renter
2013-02-17 04:37:56

And look at what this “deregulation and privatization has gotten us:

U.S. inequality from 1913–2008.[26]
Share of pre-tax household income received by the top 1 percent, top 0.1 percent and top 0.01 percent, between 1917 and 2005.[27][28]

The level of concentration of income in America has not been constant throughout its history. Going back to the early 20th Century, when income statistics started to become available, there has been a “great economic arc” from high inequality “to relative equality and back again,” in the words of Nobel laureate economist Paul Krugman.[29] In 1915, an era in which the Rockefellers and Carnegies dominated American industry, the richest 1% of Americans earned roughly 18% of all income. By 2007, the top 1 percent account for 24% of all income.[30] In between, their share fell below 10% for three decades.

The first era of inequality lasted roughly from the post-civil war era (”the Gilded Age”) to sometime around 1937. But from about 1937 to 1947—a period that has been dubbed the “Great Compression”[31]—income inequality in America fell dramatically. Highly progressive New Deal taxation, the strengthening of unions, and regulation of the National War Labor Board during World War II raised the income of the poor and working class and lowered that of top earners.[32] This “middle class society” of relatively low level of inequality remained fairly steady for about three decades ending in early 1970s,[7][31][33] the product of relatively high wages for the US working class and political support for income leveling government policies.


Comment by aNYCdj
2013-02-16 08:43:17

To the legal eagles:

Who Owns Seeds? Monsanto Says Not You

Say you’re a Hollywood studio who spent a couple hundred million dollars on a blockbuster movie. Someone buys it on DVD, and then proceeds to copy the DVD and sell those copies at a profit.

That would be against the law.

Can you make the same argument about buying patented seeds to grow a crop, and then keeping some of that first crop to reap seeds and grow a second crop? A third?


Comment by 2banana
2013-02-16 09:10:13

I think this is why Monsanto invented suicide plants.

Good for one good harvest. The seeds are worthless.

As in this case - the farmer signed an agreement to use the seeds. He broke his agreement. Seems pretty straight forward.

Comment by In Colorado
2013-02-16 09:28:55

I don’t like the idea of Corporate America having that kind of stranglehold on the source of our food.

Can farmers still buy non Monsanto seed anymore? I suspect that the yields using “generic” seeds are lower than with the patented stuff.

What happens if your generic field gets cross pollinated with a neighboring Monsanto field and you save the seeds that are produced? Who does Monsanto sue? The bees?

Comment by 2banana
2013-02-16 11:02:59

I am quite certain that Monsanto seeds have the highest yields which is why most farmers use them.

There are a plethora of other seed company. Farmers have a great choice for seeds if they don’t want to use Monsanto seeds.

This is America. Due to the trial lawyers (#2 largest campaign contributors to the democratic party) blocking any national tort reform - anyone can sue anyone for anything.

There is no loser pays, no punishments for frivolous lawsuits, no caps on damages, no protections for the “little guy”, etc.

So yes - Monsanto can sue the heck out of anyone.

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Comment by In Colorado
2013-02-16 13:39:07

My understanding is that farmers don’t have much of a choice anymore from who they can buy seeds from and this has some biologists concerned due to lack of biodiversity issues, which could result in an entire crop wiped out due to some new disease.

I also don’t like Corporate America having that kind of monopoly. From what I have read, Monsanto, DuPont, Bayer and Dow control over half the seed market and that the independents are withering away. I’m also not too keen on genetically modified seeds.

Comment by GrizzlyBear
2013-02-16 19:28:45

“I am quite certain that Monsanto seeds have the highest yields which is why most farmers use them.”

Your level of ignorance is frightening.

“But GMOs took the biggest punch this week from academia: Tom Philpott highlights a USDA-funded study [PDF] by University of Wisconsin scientists who found that several types of GMO seeds (including Monsanto’s RoundUp Ready varieties) actually produce a lower yield than conventional seeds.”


Comment by Skroodle
2013-02-16 11:21:03

I hope he wins.

Just wait until Monsanto copyrights your DNA and starts charging for each kid.

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-16 11:56:55

God made the seeds.

But with a little genetic tweaking and some good attorneys, Monsanto legally claims property rights…

Comment by 2banana
2013-02-16 09:13:14

What happens to city with:

1. 60 years of unbroken liberal/progressive rule
2. Out of control public unions
3. Destruction of any “producers” due to high taxes and insane regulations.


Left In The Dark: Copper Thieves Rob Detroit Freeways Of Light
CBS Detroit | 2 Feb 2013

DETROIT (WWJ/AP) - The Michigan Department of Transportation says one-fifth of the lights along freeways in Metro Detroit aren’t working — and copper thieves are mainly to blame.

MDOT has identified the area around I-94, east of I-75, as one of the worst hit by thieves. “We are taking measures to try to keep the cabinets safe and secure, but for every move we make, the thieves come up with a counter-move,” said Morosi.

And those counter-moves are sometimes deadly. In October, a 34-year-old man was electrocuted at Putnam and Lawton, near I-96, while attempting to steal copper wire from a transformer.

Comment by In Colorado
2013-02-16 09:31:20

Just curious. Do you drive an Asian car?

Comment by 2banana
2013-02-16 10:56:16

It is a tough question to answer when Honda build cars in Lincoln, Alabama, and GM builds cars in San Luis Potosí, Mexico.

So define “Asian car” or “American car”

Comment by BetterRenter
2013-02-16 12:16:45

It’s more than a tough question. It’s a stupid question. All cars today are globally sourced. So it becomes a game of “what % of your car’s parts came from country Z”, which pretty much means the game is over. Now Boeing is in the same pointless game, building the 787 from a variety of subcontractors across the globe.

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Comment by In Colorado
2013-02-16 13:30:44

It’s more than a tough question. It’s a stupid question. All cars today are globally sourced.

That wasn’t my point. It was that Detroit’s collapse was closely tied to the US auto industry. For decades the big 3 made crap. While the Japanese worked on improving quality and fuel economy, the Big 3 focused on vinyl roofs and Corinthian leather, and lost market share big time. They finally got it, 40 years later and now make a good product. But they will never recover their lost market share.

So, if you bought a Honda, even if it was made in Ohio, you contributed to Detroit’s fall.

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Comment by Carl Morris
2013-02-16 18:20:59

So, if you bought a Honda, even if it was made in Ohio, you contributed to Detroit’s fall.

To me a symptom of the problem isn’t the same as contributing to it.

Comment by ecofeco
2013-02-16 21:25:55

Poor engineering wasn’t a symptom, it was the cause.

Combined with offshoring, it was the death knell.

Comment by Spook
2013-02-16 10:35:30

I would design the street lights to electrocute those who attempt to steal the copper.

I would also install cameras to record criminals being electrocuted.

These videos would be offered pay per view at the end of each month.

I am not joking.

Comment by Anon In Dc
2013-02-16 12:25:43

Sounds good to me. But the bleeding heart liberals would die just thinking about it. During one of the Republican debates Brian Williams asked some death penalty question. He said it and strong sentencing was “harsh.” Brian Williams who makes well north of $1M per year. Lives in the upper east side. Company provided car. Can insulate himself and family from crime. These “progressives” are always so much more concerned about the criminals. A waitress or nurse who has to take the subway at 3am after an evening shift. Well they can just fend for themselves. Can let their safety stand in way of a “progressive” feeling good about themselves for their enlightened and benign treatment of “underprivileged youths.”

Comment by Skroodle
2013-02-16 11:22:32

Belgium turned off lights on freeways except at entrances/exits years ago to save electricity.

Evidently, Belgian cars have head lights.

Comment by aNYCdj
2013-02-16 11:47:30

And in America we do the opposite…most entrance ramps and underpasses are dark.

Comment by BetterRenter
2013-02-16 12:24:18

My rusty city has handled the problem another way: It’s let over 1/4 of the street lights go dark due to a lack of maintenance. Of course, the unionized city workers in the street maintenance department are still collecting handsome pay, benefits and pensions. Priorities!

We’re close to Detroit. I’m sure looting of our street lights will happen eventually. Copper tends to vanish because it brings a high recycler price and can’t be identified. The only problem with stealing the steel poles themselves is that no recycler will take them, so the thieves would have to chop them up so they’ll be pretty much unrecognizable, which is a lot of work.

Trivia: Most street scrappers, thieves or not, put copper wire into bonfires to get the insulating wrappings off.

Comment by Northeastener
2013-02-16 09:18:07

Whoever asked yesterday for a link regarding the pre-school benefits waning by 3rd grade, it’s here.

Comment by CA renter
2013-02-17 04:55:58

The study shows (IMHO) that Head Start does a good job with the kids, but the K-3 teachers aren’t maintaining the relative trajectory. As one of the responders to that article mentioned, K-3 teachers have to teach to the test, and most of them have to teach the same basic curriculum. It only makes sense that differentiation would be diminished if the students aren’t getting individualized instruction…and that’s nearly impossible with 28+ students per classroom and the pressures put on teachers to teach to the test (or, possibly lose their jobs).

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-16 12:13:01

What, exactly, is the definition of a “responsible borrower”? Does this status make them worthy of a big wealth transfer, worth, say, $100,000+, funded by the U.S. Treasury?

U.S. Mortgage Refinancing Push Said to Advance in Congress
By Clea Benson & Cheyenne Hopkins - Jan 31, 2013 3:29 PM PT

The U.S. Treasury Department and members of Congress are preparing to move forward with plans to expand government-backed refinancing programs to underwater homeowners whose loans are packaged in private-label securities.

Senator Jeff Merkley, an Oregon Democrat, is drafting a bill modeled on a proposal he outlined last year to set up a federal trust to purchase or guarantee refinanced mortgages, according to two people familiar with the discussions who asked not to be identified because the bill hasn’t been introduced.

The trust, as described in Merkley’s earlier proposal, would provide relief to borrowers with privately owned loans and probably would be set up under the oversight of an existing housing agency. If Congress doesn’t pass such a measure, the Treasury is drafting a plan to step in to pay for rate modifications for those homeowners, according to two other people, who asked not to be identified because the initiative is not final.

“We must continue helping as many responsible borrowers as possible refinance into affordable mortgages by taking advantage of today’s historically low interest rates,” Michael Stegman, counselor to the Treasury secretary on housing policy, said Jan. 29 in a Las Vegas speech. “We must expand streamline refinancing to families whose loans are not guaranteed by the government.”

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-16 12:28:40

Do Democrats have sufficient political power to figuratively execute the heads of independent agencies who don’t support their policy positions?

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-16 12:30:59

Martha Coakley calls for regulator’s ouster
AG says agency chief blocking foreclosure aid to homeowners
By Jenifer B. McKim | Globe Staff

February 12, 2013

Martha Coakley will add her voice to a growing chorus on Tuesday, in a speech before a meeting of housing industry workers in Boston.

Attorney General Martha Coakley on Monday called for the removal of the federal chief regulator of mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, saying he is blocking efforts that would help struggling homeowners avoid foreclosure.

Edward J. DeMarco, acting director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, has drawn widespread criticism from housing advocates and members of Congress for refusing to support a program that would lower the debts of delinquent mortgage holders. Coakley will add her voice to the chorus on Tuesday, in a speech before a meeting of housing industry workers in Boston.

“The time has come for a permanent new replacement for director DeMarco,’’ Coakley said in an interview with the Globe. “Every day that goes by and we are unable to keep people in their homes when it is commercially reasonable is a huge loss.”

DeMarco’s office declined to comment. He was named interim chief of the agency in 2009, and stayed on in that capacity after President Obama’s pick as permanent head failed to get through Congress.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which the US government seized in 2008 when they were on the brink of collapse during the financial crisis. The two companies combined own or guarantee about three-quarters of all residential mortgages in the country.

Coakley said DeMarco is refusing to allow Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae to let borrowers who lost their homes to foreclosure, or who are at risk of losing their homes, buy them back at lower prices. The Federal Housing Finance Agency requires that sales of troubled homes be “arm’s length,” meaning they can’t be sold back to the original borrowers. Agency officials have said the provision is meant to prevent fraud.

On Monday, Coakley’s office sent a letter to the agency, saying it was “troubled” by federal policies that “appear to violate provisions of the new Massachusetts law to prevent unlawful and unnecessary foreclosures.” That Massachusetts law requires lenders to help certain troubled borrowers save their homes if it makes more economic sense than a foreclosure.

Comment by Northeastener
2013-02-16 13:39:34

Welcome to the People’s Republic of Massachusetts…

You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy.

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-16 14:03:28

I feel deep sympathy for any federal government bureaucrat who acts based on principle instead of political expedience.

Comment by CA renter
2013-02-17 04:59:49

This story is disgusting. DeMarco is absolutely right. If borrowers are allowed (encouraged, even!) to cram down their mortgages, every single underwater borrower will want to do the same…and taxpayers will be on the hook, once again.

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Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-16 13:34:57

While I realize that holding the line on guns, gays and God is a demanding task for Republican party operatives, I am frankly surprised they don’t step up to defend independent agency heads who are trying their best to prevent another raid on the U.S. Treasury to fund handouts to favored Democratic constituencies.

Dems renew call for new FHFA head
By Peter Schroeder - 02/07/13 10:33 AM ET

House Democrats are renewing their push for the president to finally nominate a permanent head of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA).

In a letter sent to the White House Thursday, a group of 45 Democrats called on President Obama to finally replace Edward DeMarco as the acting head of the agency that oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The group was spearheaded by Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), the ranking member of the House Oversight Committee.

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-16 17:34:29

Democrat political action blueprint:

1) Rob lots of Peters to reward a few Pauls who meet Democrat party definition of “deserving,” “responsible,” “underserved,” “low-income,” “minority,” or whatever.

2) Trumpet how much better off the entire world is, thanks to Paul’s improved lot in life.

3) Never mention how much money all the Peters had to pony up to pay off the few Democratically-annointed Pauls.

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-16 12:44:44

Feb. 16, 2013, 6:02 a.m. EST
American Dream died with Dow 49,200 forecast
Commentary: Optimism gone, along with our long-term vision
By Paul B. Farrell, MarketWatch

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. (MarketWatch) — “New-Millennium Dow: 49,200 by 2013!” That was the headline for my early January 2000 column.

“Carnage! Record plunge! Wall Street weighs market’s future!” The Wall Street Journal’s headlines screamed at me the third trading day of the new millennium. Hey, tell me what’s happening? Fear set in. Anxieties. My heart beat faster. Is this it? The big crash? Quite a dramatic opening.

Then suddenly I bust out laughing. Hey, these financial journalists are just doing their job. And they’re good. These guys sell news by hitting emotional hot buttons, hyping late-breaking stories. And it worked. Today fear. Tomorrow hope. News is entertainment in the New Millennium.

A week earlier, in a late December column, dot-com insanity had become a dangerous virus consuming America’s 95 million investors … Wall Street was red hot … stocks roared … the top 19 funds of 1999 had totally irrational returns from 179% to 323% … investors laughed at 30% index-fund returns … expected 100% plus returns to continue indefinitely … early retirement was all the buzz.

Paradigm shift: Great American Dream triggers death of optimism

Comment by hazard
2013-02-16 13:02:06

BY: Bill Gertz
February 15, 2013 4:04 pm

Two Russian nuclear-armed bombers circled the western Pacific island of Guam this week in the latest sign of Moscow’s growing strategic assertiveness toward the United States.

The Russian Tu-95 Bear-H strategic bombers were equipped with nuclear-tipped cruise missiles and were followed by U.S. jets as they circumnavigated Guam on Feb. 12 local time—hours before President Barack Obama’s state of the union address.

Air Force Capt. Kim Bender, a spokeswoman for the Pacific Air Force in Hawaii, confirmed the incident to the Washington Free Beacon and said Air Force F-15 jets based on Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, “scrambled and responded to the aircraft.”

“The Tu-95s were intercepted and left the area in a northbound direction. No further actions occurred,” she said. Bender said no other details would be released “for operational security reasons.”

The bomber incident was considered highly unusual. Russian strategic bombers are not known to have conducted such operations in the past into the south Pacific from bomber bases in the Russian Far East, which is thousands of miles away and over water.

Defense officials said the bombers tracked over Guam were likely equipped with six Kh-55 or Kh-55SM cruise missiles that can hit targets up to 1,800 miles away with either a high-explosive warhead or a 200-kiloton nuclear warhead.

The F-15s that intercepted the bombers were based at Kadena Air Base, Japan, and were deployed to Guam for the ongoing annual Exercise Guahan Shield 2013.

Two U.S. B-2 strategic bombers were deployed to Guam in late January and last fall advanced F-22 fighter bombers were temporarily stationed on the island. Three nuclear-powered attack submarines and the Global Hawk long-range drone also are based in Guam.

About 200 Marines currently are training on the island. Earlier news reports stated that Japanese and Australian military jets joined U.S. jets in the Guam exercises.

Guam is one of the key strategic U.S. military bases under the Obama administration’s new “pivot” to Asia policy. As a result, it is a target of China and North Korea. Both have missiles capable of hitting the island, located about 1,700 miles east of the Philippines in the Mariana island chain.

This week’s bomber flights are a sign the Russians are targeting the island as well, one defense official said.

Guam also plays a key role in the Pentagon’s semi-secret strategy called the Air-Sea Battle Concept designed to counter what the Pentagon calls China’s anti-access and area denial weapons—precision guided missiles, submarines, anti-satellite weapons, and other special warfighting capabilities designed to prevent the U.S. military from defending allies or keeping sea lanes open in the region.

Defense officials disclosed the incident to the Free Beacon and said the Russian bomber flights appeared to be a strategic message from Moscow timed to the president’s state of the union speech.

“They were sending a message to Washington during the state of the union speech,” one official said.

The bomber flights also coincided with growing tensions between China and Japan over the Senkaku islands. A Chinese warship recently increased tensions between Beijing and Tokyo by using targeting radar against a Japanese warship.

The U.S. military has said it would defend Japan in any military confrontation with China over the Senkakus. The bomber flights appear to signal Russian support for China in the dispute.

Meanwhile, Obama on Wednesday telephoned Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to reiterate U.S. nuclear assurances to its ally following North Korea’s third detonation of an underground nuclear device.

A White House statement said the president told Abe, who visits Washington next week, that the United States “remains steadfast in its defense commitments to Japan, including the extended deterrence offered by the U.S. nuclear umbrella.”

“It shows that the Russians, like the Chinese, are not just going to sit idly by and watch the United States ‘pivot’ or ‘rebalance’ its forces toward Asia,” said former State Department security official Mark Groombridge.

“One could argue the Russians were poking a bit of fun at the Obama Administration, seeing how they flew these long-range bombers close to Guam on the same day as the state of the union address,” he said.

“But the broader implications are more profound,” said Groombridge, now with the private strategic intelligence firm LIGNET. “The Russians are clearly sending a signal that they consider the Pacific an area of vital national strategic interest and that they still have at least some power projection capabilities to counterbalance against any possible increase in U.S. military assets in the region.”

http://freebeacon.com/bear-bombers-over-guam/ - 37k

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-16 14:08:52

Obama Addresses New Mortgage Refinance Program (HARP 3)
posted by Evan Bedard on February 14, 2013 in Mortgage Assistance

During President Obama’s speech on Tuesday he addressed the long-coming mortgage refinance program aimed for underwater responsible homeowners. The new program will be designed to help homeowners who have not been able to receive assistance because they are current on payments and do not have a government-backed mortgage.

“Part of our rebuilding effort must also involve our housing sector. Today, our housing market is finally healing from the collapse of 2007. Home prices are rising at the fastest pace in six years, home purchases are up nearly 50 percent, and construction is expanding again,” said President Obama.

Obama’s plan is to extend current refinancing options to privately financed loans and step up their efforts to restore the housing market. However, this plan is not new and it was also proposed to Congress back in September, and also in Obama’s 2012 State of the Union Address.

The current program allows underwater loans backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac to qualify for streamlined refinance options. Obama is urging Congress to allow this program to reach all homeowners to avoid more future defaults. This new program needs to be approved quickly as mortgage rates are still near record lows! At the end of last week the average interest rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage was at 3.53%.

“Too many families who have never missed a payment and want to refinance are being told no. That’s holding our entire economy back, and we need to fix it. Right now, there’s a bill in this Congress that would give every responsible homeowner in America the chance to save $3,000 a year by refinancing at today’s rates. Democrats and Republicans have supported it before. What are we waiting for? Take a vote, and send me that bill. Let’s streamline the process, and help our economy grow,” Said Obama.

Comment by hazard
2013-02-16 14:58:05

How long will it take TPTB to make the loss of roughly $7 trillion in home “equity” dissapear?

Ala Kazam Ala Kazoo I`ll pick up the Tab with an IOU

Comment by rms
2013-02-16 15:17:55

“Part of our rebuilding effort must also involve our housing sector. Today, our housing market is finally healing from the collapse of 2007. Home prices are rising at the fastest pace in six years, home purchases are up nearly 50 percent, and construction is expanding again,” said President Obama.

If the housing market is healing then why is there a need for HARP 3?

Comment by BetterRenter
2013-02-16 18:47:47

Well, there’s healthy healing and there’s unhealthy healing. The unhealthy healing of the housing market involves direct market pricing that reflects the massive amount of inventory. That means low prices, which involves the intolerable risk that the common man can buy up housing and either be a landlord or a real home owner… hence become empowered, which is a big big no-no in the New American Order.

In contrast, healthy healing of the housing market involves managed market pricing which we lowbrows used to call “collusion and price fixing”. Prices either stay large or become larger, forcing cash buyers out of the game, to be replaced by credit-backed buyers. This keeps people either beholden to debt, or otherwise under the thumb of the wealthy, i.e. the people who deserve to be landlords.

I’m glad to have this opportunity to explain to you what that stupid Kenyan actually meant.

Comment by hazard
2013-02-16 15:39:02

Posted: 5:07 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 16, 2013

Spaniards protest against evictions


The Associated Press

Demonstrations were held across Spain on Saturday to protest harsh repossession laws that have led to hundreds of thousands of evictions during the country’s deep recession.

In Madrid — one of 50 cities where such protests were planned — thousands of people marched to demand that the government amend the laws. Demonstrations also took place in cities such as Barcelona, Pamplona, Valencia and Seville.

More than 350,000 Spaniards have received eviction orders since 2008 because they were unable to make mortgage payments. Unemployment is at a staggering 26 percent, with young people the worst hit as Spain descends into a double-dip recession.

Most of those evicted remain liable to repay the sum originally borrowed, even as the value of their homes plunges, rendering them hard to sell.

Ada Colau — a spokeswoman for the Stop Evictions platform who helped organize the demonstrations — said the protesters are making these three demands on the government:

—That unemployed homeowners who cannot pay their mortgages can give their homes back to lenders as payment in kind and that this option is made available retroactively.

—That a moratorium on evictions is imposed.

—That vacant, unsold properties held by lenders are rented out as social housing.

Alarmed by growing disquiet over high eviction rates and the protests they have triggered, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s government already has yielded to demands to review the country’s mortgage and eviction laws.

But many observers say the changes, affecting the powerful but struggling banking sector, could take months or years to be approved as they make their way through parliament.

Comment by Bill in Los Angeles
2013-02-16 21:07:10

CCW class went well. The second amendment should not be infringed at all for those who get their CCW. on the Arizona application, you sign, and attest under penalty of perjury you are not a felon, never convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence, are not an unlawful user of , or addicted to, controlled substances, have not been adjudicated as mentally incompetent or committed to a mental institution, are a US citizen, have not been dishonorably discharged from the United States Armed Forces, etc. DPS investigates, my fingerprints go to FBI, and if all papers are in order I get my permit in three weeks.

I went through TSA precheck as well. There is a better form of check to get through lines even faster. And I go through frequent security investigations for my job as well.

Like someone said before, with a CCW you don’t have any more background checks for subsequent purchases of guns.

Comment by m2p
2013-02-17 17:18:52

Like someone said before, with a CCW you don’t have any more background checks for subsequent purchases of guns.

You do in my state, and many others
Permanent Brady Permit Chart

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