I Swear to God

It’s like a scene out of one of those 60’s apocalypse movies.

But it’s freakin’ for real.
Thanks bunches, ‘Tini Boy. I’m so depressed I could knock a couple back easy.

Dog Food Recall

And it wasn’t China’s fault. One US facility so far and they have a drop-down to check for your area.

I’m Too Saddened By This To Comment

Other than to say I Love You Guys.
And have a pint or six in your honor.

Who Cares?

Is the title of the song quoted below, and while it may sound trite I think it’s a good attitude to have: Economic tides ebb and flow; family and friends are the things that matter in life.
Obviously economic discussions dominated the family chats this weekend, so we did what we normally do: we opened up a large bottle of cheap wine. And my Bride put some Fred Astaire on the Hi-Fi. She said that if they could find the joy in life in the midst of that, then we certainly have nothing to really complain about.
Wise words, my friends.

Let It Rain And Thunder

Let a million firms go under!
I am not concerned with
Stocks and bonds that I’ve been burned with.
I love you and you love me,
And that’s how it will always be.
And nothing else can ever mean a thing.
Who cares what the public chatters?
Love’s the only thing that matters!
Happy Birthday, Dear Daughter
(“Who Cares” by George and Ira Gershwin)

Rick Santori (argh! sp: Santelli ) on CNBC Was Just Making

…this very same point.

Commentary: Bankruptcy, not bailout, is the right answer
Congress has balked at the Bush administration’s proposed $700 billion bailout of Wall Street. Under this plan, the Treasury would have bought the “troubled assets” of financial institutions in an attempt to avoid economic meltdown.
This bailout was a terrible idea. Here’s why.

Ouch.

This is gonna leave a mark

“Having a former chairman of Goldman Sachs preside over disbursing hundreds of billions of dollars to Wall Street is a terrible concept and inevitably will lead to crony capitalism and the appearance of – if not the actual existence of – corruption,” says Gingrich in his statement. “The Bush Administration has now provided three case studies in arrogance, isolation, and destructiveness: Michael Brown during Hurricane Katrina, Ambassador Jerry Bremer in Baghdad, and Secretary Paulson at Treasury.”
“It is a tragic and very expensive legacy,” he continued. “No conservative and no Republican should doubt how much it has hurt our cause and our party.”

Bailout Vote: Fails

I haven’t found the vote total yet
update: what the TV is showing is the Dem votes 141 for and 94 against
The Repubs 66 for and 132 against

Dow’s Down Over 600

Voting in the House looks shaky.

Citi Acquires The Banking Operations Of Wachovia

Hopefully this will keep them going.

No One Expects The Spanish Acqusition!

As Tim discovered, I’ve been nationalized by the British Government and a Spanish bank

The government on Monday confirmed it was nationalising Bradford & Bingley after hammering out a deal with the Spanish bank Santander, which will buy the embattled UK mortgage lender’s £21bn deposit book and branch network for about £600m.

I wonder if this means they’ll play Tapas at my funeral?

My Favorite Paul Newman Movie?


Yeah.
That one.
Rest in peace, Mr. Newman. You were a fine, fine figure of a man human being.

Your Saturday Morning Electronica

…composed entirely of Mac alert sounds

Once again, the amount of time some people have on their hands never ceases to amaze.
(h/t Insta)

I Will Support The Bailout Plan If

…every member of Congress who votes for it also resigns and promises not to run for office again.
It only seems fair that they make some sacrifice and take some responsibility for this mess which is largely of their creation.

I’m Sorry to Put It In Common Terms, But the More He Opens His Mouth

…the more all I can think is…

Senator McCain has no need to be fearful about a debate,” Obama told reporters.

…”What a weaselly little prick!”
Sorry.

What They Didn’t Tell You Was In The Bailout

Well, lookee here

Here’s the relevant part of the Dodd proposal:
TRANSFER OF A PERCENTAGE OF PROFITS.
1. DEPOSITS.Not less than 20 percent of any profit realized on the sale of each troubled asset purchased under this Act shall be deposited as provided in paragraph (2).
2. USE OF DEPOSITS.Of the amount referred to in paragraph (1)
1. 65 percent shall be deposited into the Housing Trust Fund established under section 1338 of the Federal Housing Enterprises Regulatory Reform Act of 1992 (12 U.S.C. 4568); and
2. 35 percent shall be deposited into the Capital Magnet Fund established under section 1339 of that Act (12 U.S.C. 4569).

Get that? “Countrywide” Dodd wants to use at least 20% of any profits generated to issue more sub-prime mortgages…and fund groups like La Raza and ACORN.
In other words, use your money to fund groups that support their agenda. As opposed to, say, paying down the US debt.
Or something radical like giving it back to the Taxpayers and letting US decide where to spend OUR money.

The Bailout Stumbles

So it seems that this plan may be dead for the moment.

(CNN) — What began as high-stakes negotiations over the proposed $700 billion bailout of the nation’s financial system dissolved into bickering, begging and a roiling battle between parties Thursday night.
One day after President Bush said the nation’s economy is at grave risk, lawmakers argued over competing counterproposals and wound up without any apparent financial bailout deal on the table.

I’m frankly glad that this rush to spend at least 700 billion dollars has been slowed. That’s an insane amount of OUR money that the very people, Congress, who created the conditions that allowed this situation to develop want to hand over to the geniuses who went out and actually lost it all. It’s insane.
I agree the economy is at grave risk. It’s at grave risk from damn near anything this Congress does.
But the bright spot out of this is that the true nature of our parties is being revealed, it seems to me: all they care about is the next election and their hold on power. Every issue is a partisan squabble. The Democrats and the Republicans both now place party interests above that of national interests. Power has corrupted both, absolutely. Sure, there are decent, honorable people in both parties, but they are swamped by those who see every issue, every discussion only through political lenses and in terms of how it can be turned to their side’s advantage.
It’s sad but inevitable; these two parties have had a long run but they have fallen into corrupt machines solely interested in their own self-preservation, and they use the tools of government; laws, coercion and your money; to ensure it.
They need to go.
Oh sure, we’ll replace them with at best other parties that will eventually founder as well, as all human institutions surely do, but at least we’ll hopefully get a few good years out of them.

Words Can Not Describe…

How totally a$$ sucky the weather is in Manhattan today.

Gosh, This Will Sure Help

Hmm, maybe it’s me, but it seems something’s missing from this exciting and bold legislation

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) – The New Jersey Assembly on Thursday is expected to vote on a package of bills to help the state’s economy as national leaders grapple with the Wall Street financial meltdown.
The seven-bill package, spearheaded by Assemblyman Patrick Diegnan, D-Middlesex, would loosen New Jersey’s corporate law requirements to make it easier to operate a business in the state.
…Specific measures include:
_ Allowing corporate notices to directors and shareholders to be sent electronically.
_ Eliminating a rule requiring at least 10 days’ notice to shareholders about items that could be voted on.
_ Simplifying rules involving the resignation of corporate directors.
_ Providing speedier options for businesses filing with the state Division of Commercial Recordings.
_ Giving corporations more flexibility to adopt alternative voting methods to select directors.
_ Expanding the types of foreign business entities allowed to merge with corporations in the state.
_ Give corporations more flexibility to award stock grants instead of stock options to executives.

Sure, it’s nice having fewer rules for Board of Directors…I guess. Although given how brilliantly various Boards of Directors have performed of late, I’m not sure making life easier for them is such a winner of a plan.
But what about something crazy and wild like, oh, I don’t know…say lower taxes and other measures to lower the cost of doing anything in NJ?
Silly me.

Jim DeMint is En FUEGO!

We’ve just been alerted that despite House Democrats relenting on extending bans on offshore drilling and oil shale in the continuing resolution (CR) appropriations bill, Democrat Senate Leader Harry Reid has decided to sneak an extension of the oil shale ban through as Congress fights over the financial bailout. Oil shale in America’s West is estimated to hold be between 800 billion and 2 trillion barrels of oil — that is more than three times the proven oil reserves in Saudi Arabia alone.

LOVESES him!. Go get ‘em, tiger!

Only ‘Bout Half as Crazy as Anything Else We’ve Heard

UPDATE: A note to the quibblers: More zeros as we speak.

The House of Representatives on Wednesday approved a $25bn package of low-cost loans to help hard-pressed carmakers and their suppliers finance plant modernisation at a time of restricted access to public capital ­markets.
The automotive loans are separate from the proposed $700bn bail-out for the banking sector, which is still being debated in Congress. The House approved the measure 370-58, setting the stage for Senate approval within days.


From an email today:

Any argument with this?
Now here’s a bail out plan that works!
I’m against the $85,000,000,000 bailout of AIG.
Instead, I’m in favor of giving $85,000,000,000 to America in “We Deserve It Dividend”.
To make the math simple, let’s assume there are 200,000,000
bonafide U.S. Citizens 18+.
Our population is about 301,000,000 ± counting every man, woman
and child. So 200,000,000 might be a fair stab at adults 18 and up..
So divide 200 million adults 18+ into $85 billon that equals $425,000.00.
My plan is to give $425,000 to every person 18+ as a
“We Deserve It Dividend”.
Of course, it would NOT be tax free.
So let’s assume a tax rate of 30%…

Read more »

The End of the World As We Know It: When “I Fart in Your General Direction”

turns felonious.

…During fingerprinting, Cruz then allegedly moved closer to one of the officers and passed gas, the station reported. In the complaint, the investigating officer wrote that police noticed a “very strong” odor.

The alleged stunt led Cruz to be charged with another offense — battery on an officer — in addition to DUI and obstruction, WSAZ reported.

Part Of How We Got Here

via Ace, here’s a useful reminder of where a good part of the blame in this mess lies

Fannie Mae Eases Credit To Aid Mortgage Lending
By STEVEN A. HOLMES
Published: September 30, 1999
In a move that could help increase home ownership rates among minorities and low-income consumers, the Fannie Mae Corporation is easing the credit requirements on loans that it will purchase from banks and other lenders.
The action, which will begin as a pilot program involving 24 banks in 15 markets — including the New York metropolitan region — will encourage those banks to extend home mortgages to individuals whose credit is generally not good enough to qualify for conventional loans. Fannie Mae officials say they hope to make it a nationwide program by next spring.
Fannie Mae, the nation’s biggest underwriter of home mortgages, has been under increasing pressure from the Clinton Administration to expand mortgage loans among low and moderate income people and felt pressure from stock holders to maintain its phenomenal growth in profits.
In addition, banks, thrift institutions and mortgage companies have been pressing Fannie Mae to help them make more loans to so-called subprime borrowers. These borrowers whose incomes, credit ratings and savings are not good enough to qualify for conventional loans, can only get loans from finance companies that charge much higher interest rates — anywhere from three to four percentage points higher than conventional loans.
”Fannie Mae has expanded home ownership for millions of families in the 1990’s by reducing down payment requirements,” said Franklin D. Raines, Fannie Mae’s chairman and chief executive officer. ”Yet there remain too many borrowers whose credit is just a notch below what our underwriting has required who have been relegated to paying significantly higher mortgage rates in the so-called subprime market.”
…In moving, even tentatively, into this new area of lending, Fannie Mae is taking on significantly more risk, which may not pose any difficulties during flush economic times. But the government-subsidized corporation may run into trouble in an economic downturn, prompting a government rescue similar to that of the savings and loan industry in the 1980’s.
”From the perspective of many people, including me, this is another thrift industry growing up around us,” said Peter Wallison a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. ”If they fail, the government will have to step up and bail them out the way it stepped up and bailed out the thrift industry.”

Fannie Mae, pushed by the Clinton Administration into making loans to people who they knew would have trouble repaying them. And all the while Congress, both sides of the aisle, whistled and said “tra-la-la.” In 2005, after Raines was forced to retire because of the burgeoning mess, some Republicans to their credit wanted to increase oversight and the Democrats on the Banking Committee quashed the bill on a straight party line vote so it never reached the Senate floor. And so the Republicans let it go.
And they want us to give a blank check to the same people who caused this mess.
Like hell.

I Blame Bradford

For sullying my good name

Mortgage lender Bradford & Bingley (B&B) is cutting 370 jobs because of the continuing downturn in the market for mortgages.
…They will lose their jobs in the first three months of next year when their work is transferred to a larger office at Bingley in West Yorkshire.

Notice there are no towns named “Tree Hugging Sister” to be found.
Anywhere.
Curious, no?
Aside: I was founded in 1964 as well…

This Bailout Must Be Stopped

As I talked about below I’m very much against this bailout, as it seems many of you are too. And as I feared it now seems that those bastards sorry I meant really smart and terrific folks in the Treasury Department and Congress decided to really open up our purse (link via HotAir)

In the dark of night over the weekend when most people were snoozing, the Treasury dramatically expanded its bailout plan to include buying student loans, car loans, credit card debt and any other “troubled” assets held by banks.
The changes, which were included in draft language that also opened the bailout program to foreign banks with extensive loan operations in the United States, potentially added tens of billions of dollars to the cost of the program.
Although it was a major addition to what was already the nation’s largest-ever bailout, it did not become part of the debate between Democrats and the Treasury over details of the program. A Monday counterproposal by Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher J. Dodd included such consumer loans as well as mortgages, just as the Treasury’s draft did Saturday night.

This is simply gobstoppingly outrageous and unwarranted. I remember when I was in college in the early 80s; I was besieged everyday even back then with “pre-approved” credit card applications. I had no job; well, I drove buses at Virginia to make my beer money, that’s true, but I was at least in theory a full time student, no real income, but I could have gotten all the plastic my heart desired and lived large. And my heart did desire, it’s true. But I had this weird archaic notion that if I spent some money I would need to pay it off relatively soon; like the next month. So I never took any of those folks up on their offers. Fast forward a few years to after I take my degree and get a full time job working for an exceedingly large grain company in Manhattan. Sure, I was only making about $14,000, but as a single guy sharing a house with 2-3 other people in Bloomfield in 1986 you could survive. And so now that I was gainfully employed with absolutely no debts you think I could get a credit card? Nope, nary a one. I couldn’t even get a charge card from a freakin’ department store, let alone a “major” credit card. So I had to work and scrimp and save and live humbly until my situation and salary slowly improved and I was able nibble at that opium-laced pie that is Credit.
Did I say “live humbly”?

Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. stressed that the additions were needed to ensure that student loans and credit cards – which have become indispensable to the spending habits and career plans of many Americans – do not become victims of the widening credit crunch.

Maybe I’m missing something here, but it seems to me that perhaps, just perhaps these “spending habits” are in fact a major part of the problem and should not be encouraged or subsidized. And they sure as hell should not be subsidized by my taxes. And ‘foreign banks’ should not be allowed in either; I’m sputtering on that charming little addition to this ball of crud.
On a related issue, it’s very tempting to go after the obvious targets, the CEOs of these companies that have screwed so many pooches. It is indeed obscene how some of them are pulling in millions of dollars in compensation as their companies go belly up and lose billions; I agree it’s a subject that needs to be looked at.
But the real problem here, as Paco alludes to, the real problem that needs to be addressed is Congress. Oh the Barney Franks and Chris Dodds and Joe Bidens and the Larry Craigs and the Pete Domenicis and the Barack Obamas and the John McCains will all tell us to pay no mind to the folks behind the velour curtain, will point their fingers at those greedy executives and cry “for shame!” But it has been Congress that has allowed these things to go on; it is Congress that has taken millions of dollars in bribes from these various industries; it is Congress that has abandoned any semblance of fiduciary responsibility or moral leadership and has instead used the taxpayer’s sacred trust as merely a fund to buy re-election; it is Congress that has allowed extra-Constitutional “regulatory agencies” to run rampant and legislate with no review or say by the People. This is the primary issue that needs to be addressed; Congress needs to be held accountable. Every incumbent needs to go.
Will we throw out some babies with the bathwater? Sure.
Bummer.
When the bathwater is so fetid even the rare good one is fouled by the contact.
Update: Further reading:
Jim
Ace
Volokh
Another update: Read Eric too.

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