Monday, September 29, 2008
Do I have this mortgage disaster right?
I just want to see if I can boil this whole thing down to the most basic elements possible.
Due to lessened regulations and requirements of creditworthiness, billions of dollars was loaned to people who couldn’t qualify for a debit card much less a mortgage. Those same people re-and tri-financed the same property, often taking ARM loans with large balloon payments down the road.
Meanwhile the banks and mortgage entities packaged up these mortgages, borrowed on them, invested that borrowed money in bad decisions and bad investments and lost it all. They basically went to Vegas with our money and thought they could win enough to pay it back and keep the extra.
Then people’s ARM payments came due and they started defaulting, leaving the banks and mortgage houses holding worthless paper on both sides of the equation.
And now we’re all paying for it dearly. Do I have it about right? I’m sure it’s infinitely more complicated, but is that the gist of things? It’s not really the defaulting mortgages, as that is only 5% or so of all mortgages. It’s the fact that the banks borrowed against the mortgages, sold and resold the debt and in the end were playing a shell game, except there was no ball under any of the shells. Is that about right?
By the way, the fact that most of the lawmakers that created this mess are Democrats means nothing to me. There were Republicans sitting right next to them in Congress who voted for all of this crap. No one is innocent here.
Thursday, June 26, 2008
Heller smells like victory…partial victory
This is good, but it’s only a partial victory.
A divided U.S. Supreme Court ruled for the first time that the Constitution protects individual gun rights, striking down the District of Columbia’s handgun ban and raising questions about weapons restrictions elsewhere.
The 5-4 ruling resolves a constitutional question that had lurked for two centuries: whether the Second Amendment covers people who aren’t affiliated with a state-run militia.
``The enshrinement of constitutional rights necessarily takes certain policy choices off the table,’’ Justice Antonin Scalia wrote for the majority in the final decision of the court’s nine-month term. ``These include the absolute prohibition of handguns held and used for self-defense in the home.’’
It affirms the individual right to self defense, but the language is narrow, focused on home defense and handguns, and leaves a lot of wiggle room. The limits of today’s ruling are explored at Reason. It’s worth a read.
For states without a Castle Doctrine, that leaves a lot of places where states and cities can still try to gun grab. It doesn’t matter to them how useless these laws are. It doesn’t matter how ineffective gun bans are. They won’t stop. It’s a religion.
Next case please. One that takes this even further and leaves these over-reaching nanny mayors and governors across the land with NO ambiguity; you shall not infringe on the people’s right to keep and bear arms.
It must suck to work for the Brady Center today.
Thursday, May 01, 2008
McPander at it again
Republican John McCain said Wednesday that the bridge collapse in Minnesota that killed 13 people last year would not have happened if Congress had not wasted so much money on pork-barrel spending.
Federal investigators cite undersize steel plates as the “critical factor” in the collapse of the bridge. Heavy loads of construction materials on the bridge also contributed to the disaster that injured 145 people on Aug. 1, according to preliminary findings by the National Transportation Safety Board.
“The bridge in Minneapolis didn’t collapse because there wasn’t enough money,” McCain told reporters while campaigning in Pennsylvania. “The bridge in Minneapolis collapsed because so much money was spent on wasteful, unnecessary pork-barrel projects.”
Sounds like a reasonable complaint regarding the government. It certainly resonates as potentially true, and I am sure it got a rousing bit of applause, or at least a bunch of reporters thinking what a maverick he is for saying it.
Sixteen fractured gusset plates in the center span on Interstate 35W were a main cause of the deadly bridge collapse in Minneapolis last August, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said on Tuesday. The plates, which connected steel beams in the truss bridge, were roughly half the thickness they should have been because of a design error. How that flaw made it into the bridge is unclear; according to NTSB chairman Mark Rosenker, investigators couldn’t find the original design calculations. Extra weight from construction was also a factor in the tragedy
There can be no doubt that we spend too much on pork projects. BUT...at the same time Senator McMaverick is claiming that the government let the bridge fall, he (and the Wicked Witch of Yale) wants to bankrupt the very fund designed to maintain and build infrastructure in this country.
How’s that for talking out of both sides of his mouth? White man speak with forked tongue. I know Goose died and everything, but there’s no need to take it out on the rest of us, Maverick.
My presidential vote here in Connecticut is utterly worthless. CT will go blue and that’s the end of it. That fact may save my sanity this fall, as I will not make one whit of difference to anyone if I refuse to pull the lever (we still have old school levers) for McCain, and I gotta tell you...I just might refuse. I’m so sick and tired of him and his pandering. The three of them are utterly nauseating and totally uninspiring as people and politicians.
I’ll never forgive you, Fred Thompson. You raised my hopes and then you came to dash them.
Hat tip; Insty
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Obama’s tax plan
Yesterday at the gym, one of the TVs was showing one of the talking head “news” channels. They showed a graphic comparing current tax levels against Obama’s proposed raising of taxes. I was wearing headphones and standing in the middle of a crowded gym. I am the guy that tries to never, ever disrupt the place. I am considerate, even deferential to others because I hate people, and I hate all the things they do, and yet I don’t want them to hate me, so in public I treat people as I wish to be treated. That is to say, left the hell alone and barely cognizant that anyone else is around. :)
Anyway...there I was, standing on a treadmill, mouth agape and I could not stop myself. Out loud, I just said “Holy shit!” I assume it was pretty loud, as I had the music up pretty high.
Here’s the problem: I can’t find an easily-digestible breakdown of what I saw. It was supposedly from the New York Times, but I can’t find anything there. Obama’s site buries most of the numbers. Anyone see this? Perhaps someone smarter than I can find this info. What I remember was that he wants to jack the estate tax from zero to 28%, skyrocket payroll taxes to I think 58 or 59% (holy France, Batman!) and raise the income tax, all allegedly on “the rich.” There’s also a “tax cut” for lower middle class and poor folk, but considering that half of them don’t even pay taxes, it’s a lot of posturing for votes, and not really economic assistance of any meaningful variety.
God forbid that any money move anywhere and the federal government not get a cut so it can then use the money to “help” you, eh?
I would vote for the first person to sign a pledge to reduce the federal government by 25% over ten years, with the goal of 50% over 20. I would vote for John Edwards if he made that pledge. I’d vote for Michael god-damned Moore if he made that pledge.
Friday, December 21, 2007
Post office efficiency
Around Thanksgiving, I called and asked for some special military addressing package the USPS has for sending packages to troops stationed overseas. Customs forms, all the right versions of whatever the frig documentation I needed. “7 days, sir.”
Bastards. Christmas rush my ass. This is ridiculous. Fucking government. Even when they privatize they suck. I’ll just hit my local branch and ask them to help. Somehow I lucked out and the branch is full of helpful, generally cheerful and friendly people.
I often wonder which one of them will snap first, and will they turn their rage inward at their fellow workers, or will it be us, the public, on whom they unleash their fury?
Friday, August 17, 2007
Fuck. Now I can’t vote for Fred Thompson
See? This is why I’m so fucking fed up with politics. Just when you think you might want to vote for a guy, maybe, he opens his mouth and says this:
...and would push for a constitutional amendment that protects states from being forced to honor gay marriages performed in other states.
“I don’t think that one state ought to be able to pass a law requiring gay marriage or allowing gay marriage and have another state be required to follow along,” Thompson told CNN’s John King in an interview Friday.
FUCK YOU. Seriously, just fuck you. Not only am I just so sick to death of jagoffs who think that their marriage would somehow be ruined if two gays were allowed to legally join and *gasp* call it marriage, I’m extra fed up with stupid fucks that think this requires a god-damned constitutional amendment.
I’m even more fed up with dumb fuck federal-government-can-fix-everything types who don’t even grasp the god-damned simple fucking concept that each state was designed to pass it’s own laws and be essentially soveriegn, with very little influence or input from the central government. Fuck Fred, and fuck Abe Lincoln for smashing the concept of state’s rights, and fuck everyone who tries to pretend it’s just code for racism or slavery.
We fought a fucking revolution so we wouldn’t have a king, and we built a CONFEDERACY (it’s not a dirty word) of independent states that should be allowed to govern themselves to a large degree. If Massachusetts or New York or fucking South Carolina want to pass a law saying gay folks are welcome to a marriage license, that;s how the fucking system was designed to work! That’s the way it is supposed to be! If Arkansas or Montana want to pass a law saying that their state doesn’t recognize gay marriage, then don’t live there, be gay and try to get married.
Again; that is how the system was designed from the beginning. The Feds have no business being involved unless the law violates the Constitution, and it’s not even close to an issue that requires amending it to make it a violation. How’s about you reverse some of that executive power consolidation first? Or maybe you could catch a god-damned motherfucking terrorist or two? Do we really need to amend the Constitution of the United States of America to prevent Bob from taking half of Steve’s shit in a divorce?
Some days I mourn the loss of what this country could have been, and I put the blame squarely on the shoulders of Lincoln, who is not the hero my junior high textbook made him out to be.
Hey you know what else? Fuck the Pledge of Allegiance too. No, I’m not talking about the “under God” addition, although that was a slick piece of propaganda. I’m offended by the “indivisible” part. It’s just brainwashing to prevent people from thinking of this country as a patchwork of states and to force them to think of it as a homogeneous land with one central authority. We’ve lost so much of what this country was supposed to be, and we’ll never get it back now that we let the federal monster grow so large.
That, and nothing else, will be the ruin of this great nation one day. Our reliance on such a monolithic central power to decide everything for us will bring us down.
I really might not vote next year. I don’t know. Someone better impress me, or convince me that they at least have a passing interest in not making things worse.
And that is why I try not to blog about politics all day, every day. Because I would write 300 posts a day saying pretty much that over and over again.
Monday, August 06, 2007
Ron Paul loves pork
I’m not a huge fan of Ron Paul, mainly because I think that aside from a few common-sense, small-government platitudes, the man is untenable as a leader. Turns out he’s also a liar and a hypocrite.
400 million dollars in pork requests. I love the line that Erick at Redstate wrote here:
PAGING RON PAUL SUPPORTERS: Please cite the Article, Section, and clause of the Constitution that gives Congress express authority to fund the marketing of wild American shrimp.
Another thing you’ll find at the Redstate page: a link to a PDF filled with 65 pages of Ron Paul requesting federal money for things the federal government has no business being involved in. Some libertarian he is.
And people buy his “I’m a purist” crap?
Not all of us, Erick. Liar,
9/11 truther (as per the comments, I’m changing this) 9/11 Truther sympathizer and panderer, hypocrite and faux Big L libertarian. That’s the real Ron Paul.
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
Moore, Social Security and patriotism
Originally posted at Moorewatch. Re-posted here for those of you that don’t want to visit that joint. :)
In the middle of a conversation we were having with my in-laws about how they receive their SS payments, something occurred to me: Moore has told another little lie, and keeps telling it over and over again.
Fact: 80% of the people who receive Social Security do so via Direct Deposit. 80% of the people that receive Social Security do not receive checks every month, but rather automated wire transfers. Using that example to prove that a single-payer healthcare system is easy to run in America is absolutely ludicrous.
Supplemental Fact: Those same 80% never see a piece of mail that “arrives on the same day every month.” Of the 20% who do get a physical check mailed to them, you can find hundreds - if not thousands - of examples of checks arriving late, for the wrong amounts, etc.
Sure, it’s a small detail, but one Moore has been relying on heavily to “prove” that Special Free Super Cheap Universal Health Magic For All can be done, done well and done by our federal machine exclusively. He’s using a half-truth and a small lie to try to convince America to enact the largest socialist program in the history of the nation.
By the way...the next time you hear Moore say he loves America, here’s some proof, by his own words, that he’s lying. Mikey took part in a Q&A (heavy on the Q, very very light on the A) over at Crooks & Liars. Here’s what he wrote that, in my opinion, proves he has never and will never love the United States of America as it was founded and exists today. First, when asked about his next project, he said:
If you look at the other films in order, you can see a theme and pattern, but much more I can’t tell you yet.
Later, in response to someone asking him to clarify, he wrote:
The theme i referred to that exists in all my films is the economic system that we live under. It’s unfair, unjust, and not democratic.
And there you have it. Moore believes that our entire economic system is wrong. Of course, it’s the reason we exist as a separate nation - we wanted a free market, and we were sick and tired of our market being controlled by one dottering old madman thousands of miles away. We fought a war to establish, among other things, our right to have a free market economy. It’s one of the cornerstones of this great country, and Michael abhors it.
His desire has always been to see socialism established in the U.S. in any way possible. It’s the central theme to every film and most of his television and written projects as well. It’s why he overlooks Castro’s horrible abuses and murderous past to champion him as a man of the people. In Moore’s mind, human rights can only be abused by those of a right-wing persuasion. Anything to the left is inherently good, and the further left you go the better. Unions should be able to bankrupt a company. Guns belong only in the hands of the state. Government should dole out your healthcare. F911 was the aberration, and that was about capturing lightning in a bottle. The radical hatred of Bush wasn’t going to be marketable for very long.
Moore wants to literally destroy one of the cornerstones of the United States of America. It’s not just about healthcare. He wants the government - or rather, a far left government - in charge of everything. I do not believe Moore loves the United States of America. I believe he’s in love with the idea of turning it into the People’s Republic of America.
Posted by JimK at 07:12 PM on July 25, 2007
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Categories: Michael Moore(on), News, The Federal Government, Things To Ponder
Tags: Michael Moore Sicko healthcare America patriotism socialism
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
Brownback and Romney fight over who is the bigger jackhole
Not that there was much chance of either Brownback or Romney getting my vote in 2008, but this little dust-up seals it. Romney’s new ad:
I’m deeply troubled about the culture that surrounds our kids today… I’d like to see us clean up the water in which our kids are swimming. I’d like to keep pornography from coming up on their computers. I’d like to keep drugs off the street. I’d like to see less violence and sex on TV and in video games and in movies. If we get serious about this we can actually do a great deal to clean up the water in which our kids and grandkids are swimming.
Does the word “parenting,” or the concept of responsible parenting show up in this ad anywhere? No? Imagine that. Brownback’s idiotic “I can be a bigger nosy Nelly than you” response:
In a move rich with irony, Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign released a new television advertisement decrying “the culture that surrounds our kids today,” despite the fact that Romney served on the board of Marriott International, which generated tens of millions of dollars in revenue through in-room pornography services at its hotels.
In stark contrast with Romney’s role at Marriott, which brought him over $100,000 per year, Senator Sam Brownback lead the fight against indecency and asked the hotel chain to stop offering pornography in its rooms.
Senator Brownback has been a leader on decency and media issues… Despite facing intense industry opposition, Brownback has worked to strengthen video game ratings standards and to study the impact of media on childhood development.
Hey Senator Brownback, would you care to maybe study the impact of involved parenting on childhood development? How about the concept of responsibility? Does that affect childhood development in any way?
God how I loathe the social conservative. It’s not like there’s a better option on the left though. Democrats are gearing up for another round of “Let’s ban the popular media format of the decade” all over the country. Last time it was music, this time it’s video games.
If Fred Thompson or Rudy Giuliani come out with this crap too, I might just not vote at all. I’ve had it. Social conservatives can kiss my ass. Let me say it again, for the morons in the cheap seats:
Posted by JimK at 06:39 PM on July 17, 2007
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Categories: Entertainment, Gaming, News, Politics, The Federal Government, The Stupidity Of Man
Tags: social conservatives video games media politics Mitt Romney Sam Brownback Election 2008
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
Water on a plane? Hell no, but that bomb is perfectly fine.
Federal inspectors were able to slip a fake bomb through a checkpoint at Albany International Airport during a test of the facility’s Transportation Security Administration screeners, according to individuals familiar with the incident.
The unannounced inspection by TSA officials took place early last week. The airport’s security measures failed in five of seven tests, most of the problems occurring at the passenger checkpoint, the sources said.
In one test, TSA inspectors hid the components of a fake bomb in carry-on luggage that also contained a bottle of water. Passengers are prohibited from carrying containers holding more than three ounces of liquids, gels or aerosols through airport checkpoints.
The screeners at Albany International confiscated the water bottle but missed the bomb. In all, the inspectors slipped four banned items through the main checkpoint during the test, sources said.
The TSA, which took over security at the nation’s commercial airports after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, conducts random tests of its workforce on a regular basis and failures are common, officials said.
Paul Varville, the TSA’s security director at Albany International, could not be reached for comment.
Ann Davis, a TSA spokeswoman, declined to discuss the circumstances of the covert test at Albany International.
“We don’t discuss the results because they tend to paint an inaccurate picture of the competency of our work force,” she said. “The tests are designed to be incredibly difficult and TSA does anticipate a fair level of failure.”
Can you imagine the arrogance and idiocy it must take to deliver that line with a straight face? “TSA does anticipate a fair level of failure. We realize this means that in the end, we’re utterly ineffectual and really, all we do is make air travel around a thousand times more stressful for the average person than it need be, but, hey...no liquids on a plane, right? That’s gotta count for something.”
Is there a more obvious waste of security money than hiring people with the IQ of root vegetables to screen air travelers using methods designed not to catch bad guys, but to avoid race-and-religion-based lawsuits?