Nothing could more painfully demonstrate what is wrong with Congress than the current financial crisis. Among the Congressional "leaders" invited to the White House to devise a bailout "solution" are the very people who have for years created the risks that have now come home to roost.
Five years ago, Barney Frank vouched for the "soundness" of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and said "I do not see" any "possibility of serious financial losses to the treasury." Moreover, he said that the federal government has "probably done too little rather than too much to push them to meet the goals of affordable housing." Earlier this year, Senator Christopher Dodd praised Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for "riding to the rescue" when other financial institutions were cutting back on mortgage loans. He too said that they "need to do more" to help subprime borrowers get better loans.
In other words, Congressman Frank and Senator Dodd wanted the government to push financial institutions to lend to people they would not lend to otherwise, because of the risk of default. The idea that politicians can assess risks better than people who have spent their whole careers assessing risks should have been so obviously absurd that no one would take it seriously. But the magic words "affordable housing" and the ugly word "redlining" led to politicians directing where loans and investments should go, with such things as the Community Reinvestment Act and various other coercions and threats.-------------------------------------------------------------------------
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac do not deserve to be bailed out, but neither do workers, families and businesses deserve to be put through the economic wringer by a collapse of credit markets, such as occurred during the Great Depression of the 1930s. Neither do the voters deserve to be deceived on the eve of an election by the notion that this is a failure of free markets that should be replaced by political micro-managing. If Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were free market institutions they could not have gotten away with their risky financial practices because no one would have bought their securities without the implicit assumption that the politicians would bail them out.
It would be better if no such government-supported enterprises had been created in the first place and mortgages were in fact left to the free market. This bailout creates the expectation of future bailouts. Phasing out Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac would make much more sense than letting politicians play politics with them again, with the risk and expense being again loaded onto the taxpayers.
30 September 2008
28 September 2008
After leaving the pits, Renault's Fernando Alonso pulled off a helmet visor tear-off and let it sail over his shoulder, just as you'd see at any race of open-cockpit cars.
Noticing this, Bob Varsha pointed out that each racing team has recieved a special dispensation for the race weekend insulating them from Sinapore's uber-strict littering laws.
(C)ity authorities will waive their escalating fines for littering (£192-384 for the first offence; £768 and a corrective work order for a second offence) when it comes to the F1 drivers' tear-off visors - at least five of which tend to be used in a race.More here:
Laws got tougher in 1987, with higher minimum fines, and again in 1992, with the work-order program, which has offenders pick up trash for no pay or else face a $5,000 fine. "Work is to be done under the full glare of publicity as otherwise the deterrent effect would be lost," says Maggie Chia, a customer- service worker with the country's National Environment Agency.UPDATE: Raikkonen just stuffed into the water barrier coming out of turn 10 which ends Scuderia Ferrari's 46-race streak of finishing with at least one car in the points.
A US navy destroyer has made visual contact with a Ukrainian ship which was seized by Somali pirates last week and is now moored off the town of Hobyo. There is no indication that the USS Howard is about to approach the MV Faina, which is carrying 33 T-72 battle tanks destined for Kenya's government. A Russian navy vessel is also heading towards the region.But wait there's more:
The pirates have reportedly demanded a ransom of $35m (£19m) to release the Ukrainian vessel and its crew. Authorities in Somalia's semi-autonomous region of Puntland say they are powerless to confront the pirates, who regularly hold ships for ransom at the port of Eyl.
Why this isn't covered by the legacy media reveals how lame they've become.
Somali pirates suffered skin burns, lost hair and fell gravely ill "within days" of boarding the MV Iran Deyanat. Some of them died. This was also confirmed by Hassan Allore Osman, minister of minerals and oil in Puntland, an autonomous region of Somalia.
Osman's delegation spoke to the ship's captain and its engineer by cellphone, demanding to know more about the cargo. Initially it was claimed the cargo contained "crude oil"; later it was said to be "minerals". And Mwangura has added: "Our sources say it contains chemicals, dangerous chemicals."
27 September 2008
Watch the Obama ad (in link) blasting McCain for owning three foreign vehicles: a Lexus, a VW and a Honda (identified in the Detroit Free Press as a "2001 Honda sedan"). If it's a 2001 Honda Civic, it was built in East Liberty, Ohio, with higher domestic content (75%) than the Ford Escort (60%).And second, from the back-up QB:
CBS News was with (Biden) last Thursday during one of the rockiest weeks in history for the U.S. economy, something that wasn't lost on the six-term senator. "Part of what being a leader does is to instill confidence is to demonstrate what he or she knows what they are talking about and to communicating to people ... this is how we can fix this," Biden said. "When the stock market crashed, Franklin Roosevelt got on the television and didn't just talk about the princes of greed. He said, 'look, here's what happened.'"Franklin Roosevelt? 1929? Television? Wow.
Biden went on to tell the story of a time in 1950 when he watched a DVD of Seattle Mariners Highlights . . .
UPDATE: In the WaPo, some moron from the UAW harpoons McCain for having three of them "foreign cars" in his fleet:
UAW President Ron Gettelfinger, in a conference call organized by the Democratic party, blasted McCain on Sunday for not being truthful with voters. "When he's in the midwest, he tells voters he supports the industry," Gettelfinger told reporters. "That's really a nice campaign line. But it turns out that John McCain wasn't being straight with the people of Detroit."What Gettlefinger is too stupid to compute is that, as a spokestool for Obama, he's going after McCain for owning at least six American cars, when his pro-labor messiah, Obama, owns one American car. NOW who's "doing more for the American autoworker," you mouth-breathinhg idiot?
At the same time as sharia law has gained official recognition as a part of the British legal system and Muslims proudly talk about conquering the Western world, a British woman has been arrested because of a supposedly "racist" doll she kept in her window. In al-Britannia a Muslim man can claim state benefits for children with multiple wives and brag about subduing the country and reducing its traditional inhabitants to second-rate citizens or worse, but you cannot have a "racially insensitive" doll in your own home, at least not if you're white.
26 September 2008
25 September 2008
A $100,000 state grant for a botanic garden in Englewood that then-state Sen. Barack Obama awarded in 2001 to a group headed by a onetime campaign volunteer is now under investigation by the Illinois attorney general amid new questions, prompted by Chicago Sun-Times reports, about whether the money might have been misspent.Remeber All the Presidnet's Men: "Follow the money."
The garden was never built. And now state records obtained by the Sun-Times show $65,000 of the grant money went to the wife of Kenny B. Smith, the Obama 2000 congressional campaign volunteer who heads the Chicago Better Housing Association, which was in charge of the project for the blighted South Side neighborhood.
Smith wrote another $20,000 in grant-related checks to K.D. Contractors, a construction company that his wife, Karen D. Smith, created five months after work on the garden was supposed to have begun, records show. K.D. is no longer in business.
24 September 2008
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals sent a letter to Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, cofounders of Ben & Jerry's Homemade Inc., urging them to replace cow's milk they use in their ice cream products with human breast milk, according to a statement recently released by a PETA spokeswoman.
Storchen restaurant is set to unveil a menu that includes soups, stews, and sauces made with at least 75 percent breast milk procured from human donors who are paid in exchange for their milk. If Ben and Jerry's replaced the cow's milk in its ice cream with breast milk, your customers-and cows-would reap the benefits.
It's hard to tell where PETA, NOW and the Militant Breast Feeders will clash on this one, but since their all predictably in the bag for Obama for another six weeks, we probably won't hear a thing.
The head of the medical clinic that sent a Winnipeg man to the Health Sciences Centre emergency room, where he was found dead 34 hours after he arrived, says her clinic is not to blame.Socialism means never having to say you're sorry.
"I hope that his death wasn't a death resulting from poor care. And if it is, I hope it will help us to do better," (Dr. Diana Bennett) said.I wonder if the dead guy hopes his death will help them do better. Ah yes, it's always the system that fails, never the individual.
In 2000, Robert Collicott died of a blood infection before he got to see a doctor; he had been sitting in the HSC waiting area for 4½ hours. In 2001, Herman Rogalsky, 58, died in a waiting room at the Health Sciences Centre while waiting for an ultrasound. In 2003, Dorothy Madden, 74, died of a heart attack in the waiting room of St. Boniface Hospital's emergency ward, after a six-hour wait. In 2004, after a 20-year-old a woman shared her story about miscarrying after a four-hour wait at the Health Sciences Centre emergency room, nearly a dozen other women reported similar stories.That's it; I totally want the government to get into health resource rationing.
Health Minister Theresa Oswald noted that the addition of reassessment nurses to emergency wards did not address the problem of people who don't present themselves to the triage desk in an emergency room, as appears to have happenedBlame the patient - that's the blanket defense of the bureaucracy.
in Sinclair's case.
Manitoba Health has asked emergency rooms to make changes to prevent anyone else from falling through the cracks in a similar way, she said. "We did that yesterday … to ensure that every person is spoken to in the waiting room, just to say, you know, 'Hello, have you seen the triage nurse? Have you spoken to someone and registered?'" she said Wednesday morning.Wow, good thinking; nice to get around to that.
22 September 2008
On a much lesser heroic note, I got to live up to my legacy and play Saint Paul Fireman with my garden hose and fancy car-washing nozzle. My amateur rig reached just far enough across the alley to keep the fire limited to what you see above. It's not like I was facing the MGM Grand, or the Willard Hotel, but it was still an exciting night here on the edge of the tundra.
While I was breathing the fumes, Mrs. OctaneBoy was giving the directions to the 911 dispatcher and within minutes, the fellas from Station 14 were on the scene. They were coming from the-mop up of an earlier, similar incident. Later, they'd be off to address another burning garbage can off Howell Avenue.
15 September 2008
Read it all, unless you are prone to headaches when presented with the truth.
Hurricanes along the Gulf Coast are likely to do two things. First, they are likely to increase demand for gasoline as people flee the storm and look for fuel to power generators. Second, a hurricane that hits a major oil-producing region will almost certainly knock supply offline in the short run. An increase in demand coupled with a reduction in supply means that the price will go up.
Higher prices tell people to economize on gas and other essentials by cutting out nonessential driving. They also have the benefit of attracting supplies from elsewhere: profit-seeking entrepreneurs in regions that are not affected by the hurricane would, in anticipation of higher profits, redirect their supplies from unaffected areas toward places where they are most desperately needed.
The process by which equilibrium is restored is rendered inoperable — indeed, made illegal — by price-gouging laws. This has several surely unintended but negative consequences.
"I had become complacent," she said. "I thought the election was in the bag. Then, all of a sudden, we've got this big fight on our hands."What? It's not all wrapped up? I thought they had Hope™ for Change™!
"I'm very worried because we've seen this movie before," said Robert Spurrier, a teacher. "The Republican attack machine shifts the election away from issues andIs that the same attack machine that's harpooning Governor Palin from Anchorage to Hollywood to Manhattan?
turns it into a battle of personalities."
"You want to know the honest truth? I think she's like a bad actor from a B-list sex movie," said Paula Vanbuskirk, an Obama-supporting independent, whose contempt for the Alaska governor and self-styled "hockey mom" was shared by almost everyone questioned by the Financial Times.This goes directly to Ann Althouse's comment on Cathy Young's coumn; that they won't let be a feminist unless you vote for all that lefty dogma:
But in recent years, feminism has been dominated by Democratic Party devotees who act like they own feminism, as if theirs was the only feminism -- as if they could dictate that all women should vote Democratic.But wait; there's more.
"I just do not trust the American people," said Eleanor Shavell, 58, a computer programmer who, along with several others, joked she would move to Canada if MrThere you go, America - Only Obama and his Army of Smug can save the nation from your stupidity and rural ignorance.
Obama loses. "I cannot believe that 80 per cent of this country thinks we're headed in the wrong direction yet 50 per cent are supporting McCain and Palin. I guess it's like at school: there's always got to be a bottom 50 per cent."
14 September 2008
How's a brother supposed to get his name all huge out there in this modern era? I mean, when you play that gangta game, cleaning up city parks or teaching kids to rear is not going to make you supabad, know what I'm sayin'?
You gots to be notorious. You gots to make headlines in other ways:
A Minneapolis rapper who goes by the stage name "Explosive" bound the mother of his child with a telephone cord in her Burnsville apartment, told her "he loved the smell of burnt flesh" and then burned a cheek, her back and arms with a red-hot spoon, according to criminal charges.That's what you have to do; show the world how tough you are. How you won't take no lip from no woman.
Milton T. Brasson, 27, was in the Dakota County jail Friday, charged with second-degree assault, domestic assault by strangulation and false imprisonment. His brother, Aaron D. Brasson, 22, was also jailed, charged with aiding and abetting second-degree assault for allegedly helping to tie up the woman and heating the spoon over the stove, and aiding and abetting a terroristic threat.Not only is Brasson an unemployed loser, a crappy father and deranged sicko, he's also a sissy of extraordinary magnitude. You need your kid brother to help you beat up a woman, tough guy? Wow; what a pansy.
Chris Johnson, an audio and video producer for Twin Cities-based Shakademic Productions, recently produced a video for Brasson. He said Brasson has been trying to make it as a rapper for about five years.The only sounds I want to hear from the Brasson sissies are the noises they make locked in a box with a dozen hungry Honey Badgers.
So they revamped and improved Site Meter -into something unrecognizeable, (so far) unuseable and as of this writing, not even functioing. They've got a day or two to get their act together until I join the ranks of those who are unhappy to say the least:
The Other McCain:
Just got my first look at the new format for SiteMeter statistics. It sucks, big-time.Like Windows Vista, is how bad it sucks.
The Reference Frame:
(L)et me finish because there are many other problems that make the new system
virtually unusable. The creators of the new system probably like Flash (and for many purposes, I also think that Flash is simply great) but what I simply don't understand is why the owners of SiteMeter.com allowed a change that manifestly makes things worse from a user's viewpoint.
Right Wing News:
You can leave the old Sitemeter code as is. It will work fine as is. But, if you want the hit count to show, there is another piece of code you have to add to your site. Under Site Settings, look for Counter Code. Add it. But, if you just have that on your site, the numbers will not change. You must have the regular Sitemeter code, too.
I agree with everything Ann Althouse says. Unusable. And I loved it the old way. Awful. I’ll have to find a new product. Anyone have suggestions?
Ann Althouse (from whom I discovered wht mine was screwy):
This is the worst non-improvement of a website I've ever seen. "Seen" is an exaggeration. I feel like I can't even can't see the new charts. It is ugly and unreadable. The statistics were once so clear and sharply presented, featuring the information that was most useful to the blogger.I was willing to pay $30 a month for the premium service. Now, premium service is only $6.95 a month, but I'll probably drop it, because I never want to lay eyes on that horrible website again.Are they trying to be more like Google Analytics? I've never spent much time on Google Analytics and have always thought it was for businesses that are not bloggers. What is the point of SiteMeter now?Everything I loved about SiteMeter -- and you can click on the SiteMeter tag to read how I've adored it -- is gone.Ugh!I'm throwing away my most-clicked-on bookmark.
And so goes the interweb . . .
UPDATE: They seem to have gotten the message. Let's see how they fish their car keys outa the toilet on this one.
13 September 2008
In a news conference Thursday afternoon, Mayor Ray Nagin had encouraged Texas evacuees to book hotel rooms in New Orleans by requesting the "Mayor Ray Nagin special rate."Ha ha; that mayor's a real cut up. It's funny to joke with people that have no place to live right now. After the pathetic job Nagin and his flunkies did in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and in light of the fact that Texas took in and (and in many cases continues to host), a huge chunk of New Orleans evacuees three years ago, he may want to consider backing off the clowninsh, phony civic magnanomy.
The offer was designed, the mayor said, "to say to our friends in Houston and Texas that we want to take care of you, since you have taken care of us," according to a transcript of his remarks. Thousands of New Orleanians evacuated to Texas shelters and hotels because of Hurricane Katrina. Trouble is . . . the special rate doesn't exist.
In fact, it is against federal anti-trust laws for hotels to collectively agree upon rates. It also is impractical to set a flat rate citywide because hotels vary in size and services, said Stephen Perry, president of the New Orleans Metropolitan Convention & Visitors Association.
Calling it the "Nagin special rate" was the mayor's attempt to lighten the mood, Perry said. Nagin spokeswoman Ceeon Quiett did not reply to e-mail seeking comment.
"The woman I spoke to said he was just saying that in jest and that I was taking it too seriously," Bernard said. "For them to say we're taking things too seriously is just unconscionable. It's not a joking matter when you're running for your life just like the people here did three years ago."
Sept. 10, 2008 – (MINNEAPOLIS) – Mayor R.T. Rybak, Minnesota Twins President Dave St. Peter, and Minnesota Twins Hall of Famer Tony Oliva, joined by representatives of the Minnesota Twins, the City of Minneapolis, Hennepin County, Meet Minneapolis and the Minnesota Ballpark Authority, today announced plans to make a pitch to host Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game in 2014.So much for the facts. Best of luck to ya, Archie . . .
"Last week Minneapolis was in the international spotlight as we hosted the Republican National Convention, and more than 45,000 visitors to our city," said Mayor Rybak. "Today we are turning that momentum into new opportunities to showcase our city to the world, and play host to among the nation’s top events."
10 September 2008
I know some folks love them and cherish them as a vital resource. Here at the dog farm, we use the paperless and space-saving internet to find what we need. To others, piles of phone books are merely litter and can really soil the neighborhood.
Ed Kohler has a great post about this whole thing. It made sense to me and I've since been removed from the delivery cycles that previously dumped thousands of unused pages on my stoop, in my bushes, down my sidewalk, between my house and the neighbors house . . .
Here's the numbers that get it shut off in my area. They may work for you as well:
Yellow Book: 800-929-3556
The Verizon phone option tree took the longest to get through, but all three folks I talked to were more than pleasant.
Join me in the future! Get off the book!
09 September 2008
ULEN, Minn. — Authorities have obtained a judge's order to seize a pet dog that bit a 6-year-old boy in western Minnesota. The black Lab bit the rural Ulen boy on the neck and face on Aug. 30. Court records say the boy required a stitch but was not seriously hurt.You do remember John Lesch, don't you? Much more on Lesch's nonsense here.
Forty years after enlightened baby boomers and academics decried conformity and told the world to ignore “the establishment,” to not kowtow to “the man,” to “rap about problems to find solutions,” and to “not guilt-trip or judge other people’s life choices,” those same sorts — the now firmly ensconced “establishment” pretending otherwise — are wondering why they can’t get people to fall in line and do as they’re told to do and think as they’re told to think with respect to the environment and the “crisis” of “climate change,” the “crisis” which used to be called “global warming” until the news got out that the earth has been cooling for the last ten years and the arctic ice is refusing to melt.
Now, these establishment Boomers want you to kowtow to “the man.” They’ll brook no open discussions and they prefer you would learn to judge others — and to scold them — for their own good and for the planet’s. To encourage you in those noble endeavors, the new establishment is bringing in the psychologists:
Armed with new research into what makes some people environmentally conscious and others less so, the 148,000-member American psychological Association is stepping up efforts to foster a broader sense of eco-sensitivity that the group believes will translate into more public action to protect the planet. “We know how to change behavior an attitudes. That is what we do,” says Yale University psychologist Alan Kazdin, association president.
The website ProtestRNC2008.org carries a press release which sheds light on the activities of the RNC Welcoming Committee. The online notification posted June 8th, 2007 by a woman named Jessica Sundin calls for a meeting at the University of Minnesota Student Union Center co-hosted by the RNC Welcoming Committee. Sundin is a clerk at the University of Minnesota. Another press release was posted by Sundin in the name of the RNC Welcoming Committee after the convention began.A union job within the nurturing incubator of Big Academia; what a great place to hide from the real world.
Also headlining the event was Phyllis Walker “president of AFSCME Local 3800, the campus clerical workers union”. That website describes the meeting as such: “In the weeks leading up to the organizing conference extensive discussions took place among the forces that are planning actions at the Republican National Convention, including the anarchist-oriented RNC Welcoming Committee ...”
08 September 2008
07 September 2008
Fame - it kicks ass.
06 September 2008
St. Peter Street at Kellogg; hoodlums are breaking thinks two blocks away.
The electronics in these vehilces are not available at Best Buy.
I worked for the transportation coordination contractor for five days. It was quite an interesting look into the dynamic and ever-evolving challenge of people logistics (wow - I should write brochures). After clearing the federal background check and going through training, it looked like my job would be part air-traffic control and part rodeo clown, only with giant motor coaches instead of pissed-off livestock. I wound monitoring the parade of delegation-carrying buses into the secured area. Should they take too long clearing the Secret Service sweep, I was to slow them down via one of those confounded and completely non-intuitive Nextel things. Anyway, it all went quite smooth, but I am not looking for career in which I will spend eight to ten hours on my feet.
About one third of downtown Saint Paul was somehow transformed. There was ominous and very thorough security fencing lining many streets. MSNBC had a huge open-air live set in Rice Park. Fox had a broadcast tent about the size of a football field and CNN took over (and rebranded) the Eagle Street Grille as their broadcast quarters.
Of course, whenever the whole world is watching, there will always be strangers coming out of the woodwork. From the guy carrying the "Stop Bird Porn" sign to the gray-hailed fellow who was opposed to 'government spying' but was very happy to pose for cell phone pictures by uniformed law enforcement.
There were also plenty of hoodlums and felons a la Seattle 1999. I will not call them protesters, since legitimate protesters actually have a point and a position they want heard. I do not accept the term anarchists, either, since the moment these amateurs were caught and faced consequences, the went running home to mommy and then lectured the police about proper procedures - that's right, these wanna be 'anarchists' come equipped with their own set of rules they expect others to adhere to; how ironic.
It's tough to come up with an actual term for these clowns. They exhibited a jackass behavior that was in part "Let's Break Stuff, Heh, Heh, Heh, Heh" Beavis & Buttheadesque and part childish, champagne-fueled spoiled brat bride on her wedding day. These drecks exhibited basic ignorance by branding the whole scene a police state when, in fact, what they encountered was appropriate security precautions and adequate response. Here's the lesson, you idiots; in an actual police state, the entirety of the city of Saint Paul would have been locked down and all citizens would face restrictions, not just the ones that bragged about the havoc they promised to produce.
Ultimately, they are merely adolescent cowards who hid behind masks and within the crowds of legitimate protesters. Since their goal (stated by them) was to shut down the convention, they are also complete failures. All they accomplished was stealing the limelight from the adults that protested in a manner that did not require arrests or result in crimes.
What a weird world to live in: Hitch a ride to Saint Paul from wherever you call home, drop sacks of sand onto buses from overpasses, scare the crap out of cub scouts, throw bleach on senior citizens, set stuff on fire, break glass, run away and then hold press conferences to complain about the law enforcement that was ultimately 10,000 times better at their jobs that the patchouli gang was at theirs.
And, now that it's over, where are these punks today? Don't tell me you care about affecting change to a political system when you just sit on your ass the other 364 days of the year, screaming at the wind, while collecting a government check or cowering under the nurturing veil of academia.
After all the hubub blew through, I spend Friday shuttling cars from the Minneapolis Convention Center to a holding lot near the airport. I can report that is that the hybrid Tahoe and hybrid Yukon are very classy, quiet and comforable but still thirsty, the hybrid Malibu is much nicer and more composed than I expected (I had branded these things chronic rental-fleet darlings) and the DTS makes me want a CTS more than ever.
By Friday night, it was amazing (and relieving) to see how so much of downtown Saint Paul was restored to its normal state. Speaking on a civic level, we all need a massage and a beer. I settled for Thai food and Saint Paul beer.