Sunday, September 28, 2008

Yo mamma...

Yo mamma is so fat, her measurements are more easily represented by converting them to spherical coordinates.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Who should get the bennies?

According to this article on, iReporter and mortgage broker Margaret Lopez thinks we should use the $700 billion to bail out citizens who were sold these bad mortgages.

Sounds like a great idea to me. If banks need the bailout because the mortgages they invested in turned out to be bad, then we should be ensuring the mortgages get paid, right? $700 billion should cover it.

Right? I mean who should get tax dollars? Banks who made bad investments, or tax payers who made bad investments?

Obviously people should not have their mortgages bought outright. There should be a review process where their payments are reduced, possibly to pre-balloon rates, and their years extended to some large number that means they'll have difficulty building equity in the home because they'll be paying 99.9% interest for a long time, and their credit rating should reflect their poor judgement, but after all that, they should be able to keep their house and make the payments, just like the banks need, and everyone's less scared and a little wiser.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The bald faced hypocrisy

Check out this story about Obama and Biden voting FOR the "Bridge to Nowhere" legislation not once but twice. The best part is the last two paragraphs:

"CNN asked Biden's campaign whether it could ask the senator about his earmark requests and his votes on the Bridge to Nowhere.

"In response, a staffer e-mailed, 'You've interviewed Gov. Palin re: her completely made up position on the Bridge to Nowhere right?'"

Wow, what a great response.

Also important to note is his flagrant opportunism and betrayal regarding the coal industry. On Sept. 21st, Biden spoke to the UMW in southwestern Virginia, saying "I am a hard-coal miner, anthracite coal, Scranton, Pa.," yet in this Youtube video, Biden clearly says "We're not supporting clean coal," and "no coal plants here in America."

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Un-American bailout

"This massive bailout is not the solution, it is financial socialism, and it is un-American."

Thus spoke Senator Jim Bunning today about the so-called Paulson Proposal, and I couldn't agree more. Why would a republican-led congress coupled with a republican administration even consider a $700 BILLION plan to resuscitate our failing banks? Republicans are supposed to be for DE-regulation, free markets, free enterprise, and less government intervention. That is the FUNDAMENTAL set of ideals that makes their party attractive.

The United States market system is based on the principles of a free market. It's that simple. Sure, there must be some oversight and regulation, but in general it should be only as intrusive as it absolutely must be to ensure FAIRNESS. Injecting $700 BILLION into Wall Street to float banks that would otherwise auger violently into bankruptcy is about as far from free market as you can run.

"The situation is very fluid."

That's what I keep hearing from our best economic minds today on the radio. That's a euphemism for nobody knows what the fuck is going to happen.

Why the bailout? Because a resuscitation is exactly what it is apparently to be. Our market system is not just ailing, it's feeling the icy touch of death's hand on it's shoulder, and it's freaking out big time, because there's really nowhere to run. If we let this thing play out, as free market principles mandate that we do, the so-called "adjustments" could set the world back for years. Markets around the world would seize. The import and export of goods would halt because credit would not be available, which would slow the movement of goods, since nobody can trust each other (that's what BANKS are for - uniting buyers and sellers), massive job loss, starvation, you get the idea.

Ahmadinejad is laughing his ass off. I can't stand that douchebag.

Of course, the adjustments would take place, and from the moldering carcass of our financial system would rise something more robust and powerful, presumably, if our nation could maintain cohesion through it all, which we have done before (see Great Depression).

But my favorite bit of news today was hearing Treasury Secretary Paulson slyly rest blame on the American people:

"There is a lot of blame to go around - a lot of blame with big financial institutions that engaged in this irresponsible lending ... blame to the people who made loans they shouldn't have made, people who took out loans they shouldn't have taken out,"

Dude. I'm sorry, but if you honestly believe that the number of people making $60,000 per year (the median US household income), who would knowingly risk their family's livelihood on some shady mortgage, amounts to anything more a negligible percentage of all home buyers over the past 10 years, you do not represent us.

So, if the American citizen is such an ignorant stooge when it comes to personal finance, the biggest question in my mind is WHY!? We are citizens of the United States, the (for the moment) world's largest, most powerful, enlightened economy! WHY don't we learn anything about it in school?

All US high school seniors should be required to know the difference between an ARM and a fixed rate mortgage. I mean they all plan on buying homes at some point, so why not teach kids how to create a budget, acquire and pay off a loan, invest in the stock market, RESEARCH A MORTGAGE!?

That question has bothered me for many years, and I finally found a reason to blog about it. In fact, I believe it is this fundamental lack of economic knowledge that contributes to persistent poverty in the United States. If schools would teach poor students how to wisely manage money, perhaps some of them would see the light, and find a way to break the cycle.

You can be ABSOLUTELY SURE that if every American home buyer of the past decade knew the difference between an ARM and a fixed-rate mortgage, and what the risks and consequences involved in using those tools are, we would not be in the situation we're in now.

IF EVERY American student was educated in the ways of the American market, don't you think that our country would be stronger because of it? Don't you want a country of informed investors?

How embarrassing is it to be the Secretary of the Treasury, and blaming the failure of your country's financial markets on citizens whose greatest sin was believing they could afford a house? As the Secretary of the Treasury, you should be taking a very hard look at yourself and wondering what is wrong with the system you've helped supervise.

Oh wait, let me go ahead and tell you, so you can get on flushing our money away: It's not the fault of citizens you dipshit, it's your fault. You stood by and watched as millions of ignorant Americans were preyed by silver tongued jackals who sold them into the possibility of owning homes they couldn't afford. YOU had the power to do something about it then. You and your ilk.

You're the asshole, Paulson, not us.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Save Hidden Valley!

It's heart breaking and mind numbing and enraging. The only ski resort in the St. Louis region may be closing. I've come to love this hill and the people I've met there. With a roster of about 50 kids, the Hidden Valley Ski Team is producing some amazingly talented racers who compete strongly on the USSA, WIJARA, and FIS circuits, ages 6 to 18.

The problem is between Tim Boyd, the owner of Hidden Valley, and the City of Wildwood, where Hidden Valley is located. Mr. Boyd requested that the city issue HV a building permit to construct a 250-space parking lot on HV property. The new parking lot would accommodate visitors to a planned $1 million tubing park. The city responded by requesting a $251,000 fee, more than 5 times the cost of the parking lot, and requested that HV shut down the lifts by 11pm each night.

Besides the outrageous nature of the permit fee, Hidden Valley stays open until 3am on some nights, which Mr. Boyd says results in 20-25% of HV's revenue.

The City Council and Mr. Boyd have not been able to find an agreement. It is not clear if either party is making much of an effort. If Hidden Valley closes, Mr. Boyd will build a subdivision, and Wildwood will have a new property tax base.

In the end the only losers will be St. Louis area skiers and snowboarders.

Scott Baker has started a website at in an attempt to organize people interested in saving Hidden Valley.

If you are interested, please attend the City Council meeting on the 22nd!

What about old home construction?

This country's very solvency is being threatened and it all comes down to this subprime mortgage crap: Citizens who have bought more than they can afford using ballooning mortgages which were sold to them by conniving lenders. It all comes down to INSTANT GRATIFICATION. For the lender: another sale, another commission. For the buyer: a big house with a big yard, just like the ads say they deserve. The REAL cost is now being presented.

One of our biggest problems now is called investor fears. Investors get freaked out by pretty much anything these days, but that's because many markets have become so fickle. I mean the price of gas may jump $.20 on the report of someone sneezing in Arkansas. What makes investors happy or sad? Indicators. One of their favorite indicators of late is the rate of NEW HOME CONSTRUCTION.

What's up w/the rate of new home construction? What about old homes? What's it like where you live? Because where I live, there are a lot of old homes, and especially loft apartments, that are being renovated and purchased by home buyers. Those renovations require labor - much the same labor required to build a new home, although there's usually a lot less vinyl siding purchased, but I don't think the vinyl siding industry is the backbone of the US economy. Why don't investors latch on to something a little closer to the bone, like the rate of new primary mortgages assumed? Isn't that the number we're ultimately after here?

What do we care if some developer just erected 30 units? Isn't it only relevant if the units were sold? I mean if it's actually the act of construction itself that is supporting our economy, then perhaps this realignment is overdue, because that's not a sustainable path anyway. What happens when the whole country is paved over with subdivisions? No more new homes to build! They're all built! Time to start building out oceanic platforms? I can imagine the names now... Wavewood, Dolphinwood, Kelpwood, Jellyfishwood... Scallop Terrace, Plantation Reef, Tidehurst... we could just update the random subdivision/housing development/rest home name generator with some seafarin' speak.

Anyway, the question is why aren't old homes being sold to new families included in the list of economic health indicators? I believe there is a boom in old home renovation right now, including the aforementioned loft apartments... why no mention of that in the media? Is it because the sale of homes isn't really important, but the act of building them is?

Answers are welcome...