Tuesday, September 30, 2008

In the Spirit of Geeks Everywhere...

This is a reprinting of a post by Heather over at KelticKaos that interested me. My entire life before computers was spent with my nose in a book so as you read you can see why it interested me. The bolds were changed from hers to mine. The first side comment is hers, the second mine. To see hers click the title link :) Oh and sorry Heather for calling you a geek, but... :)

"100 Books
I saw this over at Us and Them, which is a blog I love. I also love books so this was kind of right up my alley. Check it out.

The Big Read is a USA National Endowment for the Arts program designed to encourage community reading initiatives and of their top 100 books, they estimate the average adult has read only six.

1. Look at the list and bold those you have read.
2. Italicize those you intend to read.
3. Underline (or color) the books you LOVE .

Share this list in your blog, too, if you like.

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling (except for the final one. I have it but was so disenchanted by the end, I haven't made myself read it. I probably will by the time the last movie comes out though)(the boy read every one, not me I read about 50 pages of the first and put it down...sorry)
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6 The Bible (I've read lots of it but can't claim the whole thing, that whole who begat who part is kind of dry)(yeah, me too)
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman (never even heard of this one)
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare (yep, read them all way back in 7th grade when we first had to read Romeo and Juliet, I was fascinated with the sonnets and memorized quite few)(it was required reading for me the first time in college...jeez we had to memorize quite a bit of it...course when you're stoned you can have quite a lot of fun with Shakespeare)
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveler’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34 Emma - Jane Austen
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown )Not buying into all that hype)
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meany - John Irving
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola (favorite quote: "If you ask me what I came to do in this world, I, an artist, I will answer you: I am here to live out loud."
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker (she wrote so much more)
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web - EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (I hated Sherlock Holmes stories, all of them)(Not me, I loved him and anything he wrote)
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery (even read it in French)
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas (still a favorite of the boy's)
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl (and lots of his other books, hated this one though)
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

I'd like to add several to this list. I realize when you deal with a finite number such as "100" you are bound to have to leave out a few of the good ones. Honestly though, if you are choosing 100, then you could easily leave off the repeat authors such as Hardy, Dickens and Bronte. I would add:

101 Tom Sawyer - Mark Twain
102 Treasure Island - Robert Louis Stevenson
103 The Good Earth - Pearl S. Buck
104 A Cricket in Times Square - George Seldon
105 The Diary of A Young Girl - Anne Frank
106 The Joy Luck Club - Amy Tan (or any other book she's written, she's a fabulous author)
107 Ivanhoe - Sir Walter Scott
108 Brave New World - Alduous Huxley
109 Robinson Crusoe - Daniel Defoe
110 Native Son - Richard Wright
111 The Time Machine - HG Wells
112 Uncle Tom's Cabin - Harriet Beecher Stowe
113 A Farewell to Arms - Ernest Hemmingway
114 The Red Badge of Courage - Stephen Crane
115 Fahrenheit 451 - Ray Bradbury

I read most of these in junior high and high school, or as a result of reading another book by the same author. So far my daughter has read less than 5 of any of these (not counting the Harry Potter series but Puh-leaze, are we really calling that classic literature here), and she's a sophomore. I just don't think that the focus is on the classics anymore. Melissa and Lloyd who homeschool their children haven't made them read a single on of the books on this list. It's unreal. I myself have barely read half of the original list, but I have read a great number of classic books not on this list. If the statement at the top is true, that the average adult has read only 6, well that would explain why the entire world thinks Americans are dumb.
Posted by Heather at 9/29/2008 08:20:00 AM"

Most of these were required reading when I was coming up...at least in my household they were. I did find it interesting that the list seems to be made up of the "popular vote" more than anything. I would have also included:

116. Atlas Shrugged--Ayn Rand
117. The Fountainhead--Ayn Rand (Even if you don't agree with her politics these are two of the finest examples of the written word I have ever read.
118. The Iliad--Homer
119. The Odyssey--Homer
120. The Idiot--Dostoevsky Re-reading this now...I know...geek...)
121. The Grapes of Wrath--Steinbeck
122. The Souls of Black Folk--W.E.B. DuBois
123. No Exit--Jean Paul Sarte

And where the hell is F. Scott Fitzgerald (such a sad man) in the mix? or more of Hemingway's work? or Steinbeck's? or Twain's? I could go on about classics but then I would have to go unpack boxes and I'm not about all that :) Have fun with it, add the ones you would include and pass it on...maybe we'll spark someone to actually read something not on a computer screen :)

Wall Street, R.I.P.: The End of an Era, Even at Goldman

Ok, call me a geek but this article was a very interesting read. It lays out specifics of the Wall Street collapse, but for the most part is about Goldman Sachs, in a way I've never read before. I'm sure you all get the gist of what happened but this gives specifics on just how much the big players borrowed on their equity. Bear Stearns, for example, borrowed 33 dollars against every dollar of equity they had. No wonder they failed. Do you think they would have let mainstream America borrow 33/1? Not in a million....

Monday, September 29, 2008

Pisser Mondays...

I know I said I would find some humor/satire to post about the bailout today but instead I think I will start a new series called Pisser Mondays...because honestly I can not for the life of me find any humor in this day...

It seems as though I have lost my life....seriously. I have somehow lost every documentation of every bit of education I have ever received. In my infinite wisdom I decided it should all be nicely contained in one folder. This folder contained my high school diploma, my hairstyling and instructor of hairstyling diploma, my AA degree, my graphic communications diploma and all certification of honors and awards received and my home health diploma and all certification of honors achieved. I had all this neatly inside the larger plastic folder containing every piece of documentation I would need to get my social work degree. Sometime earlier this year I needed it for something...now I don't remember for what, so I took it out. Bad idea. It seems to have never made it back into it's appointed folder. This I just can not believe. I have been so proud of me for being able to find it all in the first place and second for having the bright idea to keep it all in one place and lastly, but moot now, for being able to know where it was at all times.

Sometime during the course of taking the test, getting the degree, packing and throwing away to move, it has just disappeared. There is a sickening feeling down deep in my gut that when i decided to just throw away all old papers, all old folders containing course work, old papers and tests and everything else school related that was jammed into my right side desk drawer without really going through everything, just chucking it, I chucked my life right into the garbage along with all the other stuff I thought I would never need again. I am just sick. I can not believe I would have done something so friggin' stupid. This is a prime example of AADD in it's finest moment. So don't expect to hear much from me this week. I'm royally pissed and will be using that energy to search anything that might even resemble a folder! Wish me luck.

I guess I can be grateful that my degree, proof that I passed my licensure test, my honor society certificate and my certificate for serving that year from hell as assistant treasurer/historian of the social work student association are all still in the folder. I guess I can tell employers today really is the first day of my life, because I certainly can't prove I can do anything else...

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Here it is--A Section by Section Breakdown of the Bailout

Click the title link for the MSN page. Click here for a full pdf (110 pages) of the drafted bill. Click here for related articles from The Washington Post. Click here for articles from The New York Times. Tomorrow I'll try to find some humor or at least satire for you...I'm sure you will need it :)

"Section 1. Short Title.
"Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008."

Section 2. Purposes.
Provides authority to the Treasury Secretary to restore liquidity and stability to the U.S. financial system and to ensure the economic well-being of Americans.

Section 3. Definitions.
Contains various definitions used under this Act.

Title I. Troubled Assets Relief Program.

Section 101. Purchases of Troubled Assets.
Authorizes the Secretary to establish a Troubled Asset Relief Program ("TARP") to purchase troubled assets from financial institutions. Establishes an Office of Financial Stability within the Treasury Department to implement the TARP in consultation with the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, the FDIC, the Comptroller of the Currency, the Director of the Office of Thrift Supervision and the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.

Requires the Treasury Secretary to establish guidelines and policies to carry out the purposes of this Act.

Includes provisions to prevent unjust enrichment by participants of the program.

Section 102. Insurance of Troubled Assets.
If the Secretary establishes the TARP program, the Secretary is required to establish a program to guarantee troubled assets of financial institutions.

The Secretary is required to establish risk-based premiums for such guarantees sufficient to cover anticipated claims. The Secretary must report to Congress on the establishment of the guarantee program.

Section 103. Considerations.
In using authority under this Act, the Treasury Secretary is required to take a number of considerations into account, including the interests of taxpayers, minimizing the impact on the national debt, providing stability to the financial markets, preserving homeownership, the needs of all financial institutions regardless of size or other characteristics, and the needs of local communities. Requires the Secretary to examine the long-term viability of an institution in determining whether to directly purchase assets under the TARP.

Section 104. Financial Stability Oversight Board.
This section establishes the Financial Stability Oversight Board to review and make recommendations regarding the exercise of authority under this Act. In addition, the Board must ensure that the policies implemented by the Secretary protect taxpayers, are in the economic interests of the United States, and are in accordance with this Act.

The Board is comprised of the Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, the Secretary of the Treasury, the Director of the Federal Home Finance Agency, the Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Section 105. Reports.
Monthly Reports: Within 60 days of the first exercise of authority under this Act and every month thereafter, the Secretary is required to report to Congress its activities under TARP, including detailed financial statements.

Tranche Reports: For every $50 billion in assets purchased, the Secretary is required to report to Congress a detailed description of all transactions, a description of the pricing mechanisms used, and justifications for the financial terms of such transactions.

Regulatory Modernization Report: Prior to April 30, 2009, the Secretary is required to submit a report to Congress on the current state of the financial markets, the effectiveness of the financial regulatory system, and to provide any recommendations.

Section 106. Rights; Management; Sale of Troubled Assets; Revenues and Sale Proceeds.
Establishes the right of the Secretary to exercise authorities under this Act at any time. Provides the Secretary with the authority to manage troubled assets, including the ability to determine the terms and conditions associated with the disposition of troubled assets. Requires profits from the sale of troubled assets to be used to pay down the national debt.

Section 107. Contracting Procedures.
Allows the Secretary to waive provisions of the Federal Acquisition Regulation where compelling circumstances make compliance contrary to the public interest. Such waivers must be reported to Congress within 7 days. If provisions related to minority contracting are waived, the Secretary must develop alternate procedures to ensure the inclusion of minority contractors.

Allows the FDIC to be selected as an asset manager for residential mortgage loans and mortgage-backed securities.

Section 108. Conflicts of Interest.
The Secretary is required to issue regulations or guidelines to manage or prohibit conflicts of interest in the administration of the program.

Section 109. Foreclosure Mitigation Efforts.
For mortgages and mortgage-backed securities acquired through TARP, the Secretary must implement a plan to mitigate foreclosures and to encourage servicers of mortgages to modify loans through Hope for Homeowners and other programs. Allows the Secretary to use loan guarantees and credit enhancement to avoid foreclosures. Requires the Secretary to coordinate with other federal entities that hold troubled assets in order to identify opportunities to modify loans, considering net present value to the taxpayer.

Section 110. Assistance to Homeowners.
Requires federal entities that hold mortgages and mortgage-backed securities, including the Federal Housing Finance Agency, the FDIC, and the Federal Reserve to develop plans to minimize foreclosures. Requires federal entities to work with servicers to encourage loan modifications, considering net present value to the taxpayer.

Section 111. Executive Compensation and Corporate Governance.
Provides that Treasury will promulgate executive compensation rules governing financial institutions that sell it troubled assets. Where Treasury buys assets directly, the institution must observe standards limiting incentives, allowing clawback and prohibiting golden parachutes. When Treasury buys assets at auction, an institution that has sold more than $300 million in assets is subject to additional taxes, including a 20% excise tax on golden parachute payments triggered by events other than retirement, and tax deduction limits for compensation limits above $500,000.

Section 112. Coordination With Foreign Authorities and Central Banks.
Requires the Secretary to coordinate with foreign authorities and central banks to establish programs similar to TARP.

Section 113. Minimization of Long-Term Costs and Maximization of Benefits for Taxpayers.
In order to cover losses and administrative costs, as well as to allow taxpayers to share in equity appreciation, requires that the Treasury receive non-voting warrants from participating financial institutions.
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Section 114. Market Transparency.
48-hour Reporting Requirement: The Secretary is required, within 2 business days of exercising authority under this Act, to publicly disclose the details of any transaction.

Section 115. Graduated Authorization to Purchase.
Authorizes the full $700 billion as requested by the Treasury Secretary for implementation of TARP. Allows the Secretary to immediately use up to $250 billion in authority under this Act. Upon a Presidential certification of need, the Secretary may access an additional $100 billion. The final $350 billion may be accessed if the President transmits a written report to Congress requesting such authority. The Secretary may use this additional authority unless within 15 days Congress passes a joint resolution of disapproval which may be considered on an expedited basis.

Section 116. Oversight and Audits.
Requires the Comptroller General of the United States to conduct ongoing oversight of the activities and performance of TARP, and to report every 60 days to Congress. The Comptroller General is required to conduct an annual audit of TARP. In addition, TARP is required to establish and maintain an effective system of internal controls.

Section 117. Study and Report on Margin Authority.
Directs the Comptroller General to conduct a study and report back to Congress on the role in which leverage and sudden deleveraging of financial institutions was a factor behind the current financial crisis.

Section 118. Funding.
Provides for the authorization and appropriation of funds consistent with Section 115.

Section 119. Judicial Review and Related Matters.
Provides standards for judicial review, including injunctive and other relief, to ensure that the actions of the Secretary are not arbitrary, capricious, or not in accordance with law.

Section 120. Termination of Authority.
Provides that the authorities to purchase and guarantee assets terminate on December 31, 2009. The Secretary may extend the authority for an additional year upon certification of need to Congress.

Section 121. Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program.
Establishes the Office of the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program to conduct, supervise, and coordinate audits and investigations of the actions undertaken by the Secretary under this Act. The Special Inspector General is required to submit a quarterly report to Congress summarizing its activities and the activities of the Secretary under this Act.

Section 122. Increase in the Statutory Limit on the Public Debt.
Raises the debt ceiling from $10 trillion to $11.3 trillion.

Section 123. Credit Reform.
Details the manner in which the legislation will be treated for budgetary purposes under the Federal Credit Reform Act.

Section 124. Hope for Homeowners Amendments.
Strengthens the Hope for Homeowners program to increase eligibility and improve the tools available to prevent foreclosures.

Section 125. Congressional Oversight Panel.
Establishes a Congressional Oversight Panel to review the state of the financial markets, the regulatory system, and the use of authority under TARP. The panel is required to report to Congress every 30 days and to submit a special report on regulatory reform prior to January 20, 2009. The panel will consist of 5 outside experts appointed by the House and Senate Minority and Majority leadership.

Section 126. FDIC Enforcement Enhancement.
Prohibits the misuse of the FDIC logo and name to falsely represent that deposits are insured. Strengthens enforcement by appropriate federal banking agencies, and allows the FDIC to take enforcement action against any person or institution where the banking agency has not acted.

Section 127. Cooperation With the FBI.
Requires any federal financial regulatory agency to cooperate with the FBI and other law enforcement agencies investigating fraud, misrepresentation, and malfeasance with respect to development, advertising, and sale of financial products.
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Section 128. Acceleration of Effective Date.
Provides the Federal Reserve with the ability to pay interest on reserves.

Section 129. Disclosures on Exercise of Loan Authority.
Requires the Federal Reserve to provide a detailed report to Congress, in an expedited manner, upon the use of its emergency lending authority under Section 13(3) of the Federal Reserve Act.

Section 130. Technical Corrections.
Makes technical corrections to the Truth in Lending Act.

Section 131. Exchange Stabilization Fund Reimbursement.
Protects the Exchange Stabilization Fund from incurring any losses due to the temporary money market mutual fund guarantee by requiring the program created in this Act to reimburse the Fund. Prohibits any future use of the Fund for any guarantee program for the money market mutual fund industry.

Section 132. Authority to Suspend Mark-to-Market Accounting.
Restates the Securities and Exchange Commission's authority to suspend the application of Statement Number 157 of the Financial Accounting Standards Board if the SEC determines that it is in the public interest and protects investors.

Section 133. Study on Mark-to-Market Accounting.
Requires the SEC, in consultation with the Federal Reserve and the Treasury, to conduct a study on mark-to-market accounting standards as provided in FAS 157, including its effects on balance sheets, impact on the quality of financial information, and other matters, and to report to Congress within 90 days on its findings.

Section 134. Recoupment.
Requires that in 5 years, the President submit to the Congress a proposal that recoups from the financial industry any projected losses to the taxpayer.

Section 135. Preservation of Authority.
Clarifies that nothing in this Act shall limit the authority of the Secretary or the Federal Reserve under any other provision of law.

Title II--Budget-Related Provisions

Section 201. Information for Congressional Support Agencies.
Requires that information used by the Treasury Secretary in connection with activities under this Act be made available to CBO and JCT.

Section 202. Reports by the Office of Management and Budget and the Congressional Budget Office.
Requires CBO and OMB to report cost estimates and related information to Congress and the President regarding the authorities that the Secretary of the Treasury has exercised under the Act.

Section 203. Analysis in President's Budget.
Requires that the President include in his annual budget submission to the Congress certain analyses and estimates relating to costs incurred as a result of the Act; and

Section 204. Emergency Treatment.
Specifies scoring of the Act for purposes of budget enforcement.

Title III--Tax Provisions

Section 301. Gain or Loss From Sale or Exchange of Certain Preferred Stock.
Details certain changes in the tax treatment of losses on the preferred stock of certain GSEs for financial institutions.

Section 302. Special Rules for Tax Treatment of Executive Compensation of Employers Participating in the Troubled Assets Relief Program.
Applies limits on executive compensation and golden parachutes for certain executives of employers who participate in the auction program.

Section 303. Extension of Exclusion of Income From Discharge of Qualified Principal Residence Indebtedness.
Extends current law tax forgiveness on the cancellation of mortgage debt."

Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Debate

You all know I suffer from AADD don't you? The one thing that is annoying about it, aside from the obvious, is sometimes during lectures I hit on and can-not-for-the-life-of-me-understand-wtf-the-lecturer-meant-by-the-statement. This drives me crazy. I can not get past it and it renders me completely oblivious to the rest of the lecture.

Seven minutes into the debate John McCain said this: "This is not the beginning of the end of this crisis, it is the end of the beginning." All I heard was "This is not the beginning of the end but the end of the beginning" I'm sorry, I just lost it...not for the entire debate, but I did have to take a short nap to re-group. Is there anyone out there who can explain this to my deficit disordered brain? Oh, and without using the same words....the boy tried, but got so exasperated with me he just left the room shaking his head :)

Oh, before I forget there is are great drinking games to help you plan for the next debate up at Wonkette and The Seminal. The Seminal one is a less mysogynistic :) I wish I'd known about them...before...

Ok, the debate...I did take notes :)

At first I was pissed because Obama seemed to me to be allowing McCain to run all over him and was conceding to a great many of el stupido's comments, but this morning after sleeping on it I realized that he did in fact take the high road and looks better than McCain for doing so. It was funny to me when Lehrer said he was just trying to get them "to talk to each other" that Obama got the hint but it seemed to irritate McCain like being told "no" irritates a two-year old and he decided in his infinite wisdom to just dig his heels in and refuse to do that which was asked of him to the point of not even looking at Obama.

It was great when Obama called McCain on the tax cut issue. I think this resonated with a great many people because we are so pissed right now about the bailout and to think of giving corporations another 300 million, or was it billion (remember AADD) is just ludicrous when they are already using every loophole in the present tax structure to escape paying taxes.

To me, McCain looked and sounded like a mean-spirited, cranky old grump. Obama on the other hand looked and sounded polished and confident. He does need to figure out how to counter the "naive" comment a little better though. It does need a real answer because that is where people are seemingly undecided about him.

All in all this debate did not change my mind on who I vote for. I think I would much rather go for the calm, cool and collected naive one than the seasoned hothead. I don't want a temper-driven person responsible for that red button...

Here are some links for you if you want to read more of what other people are saying...I have to go cook chili now :)


Crooks and Liars


Presidential Debate Report Card

Fact Check

Post on the debate later...but for now...

I have to make the chili, but first I have to go buy the stuff to make the chili :)
So I'll just leave you with some cool posters I found...

Click each one for a larger image.

These are a representative (the first six pages of 17!) sample of what can be found from Northland Poster Collective...they have other stuff too!

Friday, September 26, 2008

You Just Gotta Love Wanda Sykes!

Usually I make a point to stay up to watch Wanda Sykes when she is on Leno because she is just sooo damn funny, but this week I missed it, so I'm posting it here because it's priceless :)


Jacquizz Rodgers, I think I love all 5'6", 180 pounds of you!

Now, most of you know that I don't watch football...mainly because I get the yard-by-yard-minute-by-minute updates from the boy, who, as most of you know, would die for the Georgia Bulldogs. :) I make my contribution to football by cooking my Georgia Bulldog Chili every friggin' week they play until it's over.

Last night was different. By the time Ugly Betty and Gray's Anatomy were over I had heard so much about it and been forced to flip over to watch during commercials that I was, ok, I admit it...interested. This was one hell of a game and it was actually fun to watch. Yep, I said fun. If you get a chance to watch Jacquizz Rodgers in action please do. Even if you don't like football he is just a delight to watch. Plus if you have a boy around 8 that is worried that he is never going to be tall you can show him being short can be a good thing.

The game was also great because my boy is and will for the rest of the season be walking on air because USC is out of the running for No 1. Yeah! Makes my life so much easier. I won't go into all the grumblings I get around my house for months about USC, but just a few are that they are always ranked number 1 because they don't play any serious teams thereby never getting injured. Do you know that they are so petted and pampered that their star players don't even have to walk off the field after a game? Yep, saw that one for myself last night.

Ok, I could go into much greater depth with this but I think I'm starting to itch and feel a spell of hives about to come on from all this football talk. We play Alabama tomorrow so if you want to help out cook the chili! :) It makes a lot but freezes well...

The numbers are debatable, but the idea is one I could live with :)

Hockeydino, my favorite republican has a post on his blog from yesterday that I started to repost, then decided not to, then decided, oh, what the hell...

"Financial Bliss Could Be Yours
Posted on 9/24/2008 07:47:00 PM comments (5)
Labels: AIG, Bailout, FED, Financial Bliss, Treasury
Financial Bliss Could Be Yours

How about this for an idea.

I'm against the $85,000,000,000.00 bailout of AIG.
Instead, I'm in favor of giving $85,000,000,000 to America in a "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 billion 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%.

Every individual 18+ has to pay $127,500.00 in taxes.

That sends $25,500,000,000 right back to Uncle Sam.

But it means that every adult 18+ has $297,500.00 in their pocket.

A husband and wife has $595,000.00.

What would you do with $297,500.00 to $595,000.00 in your family?

Pay off your mortgage - housing crisis solved.

Repay college loans - what a great boost to new grads

Put away money for college - it'll be there

Save in a bank - create money to loan to entrepreneurs.

Buy a new car - create jobs

Invest in the market - capital drives growth

Pay for your parent's medical insurance - health care improves

Enable Deadbeat Dads to come clean - or else

Remember this is for every adult U S Citizen 18+ including the folks who lost their jobs at Lehman Brothers and every other company that is cutting back. And of course, for those serving in our Armed Forces.

If we're going to re-distribute wealth let's really do it...instead of trickling out a puny $1000.00 ( 'vote buy' ) economic incentive that is being proposed
by one of our candidates for President.

If we're going to do an $85 billion bailout, let's bail out every adult U S Citizen 18+!

As for AIG - liquidate it.

Sell off its parts.

Let American General go back to being American General.

Sell off the real estate.

Let the private sector bargain hunters cut it up and clean it up.

Here's my rationale. We deserve it and AIG doesn't.

Sure it's a crazy idea that can 'never work.'

But can you imagine the Coast-To-Coast Block Party!

How do you spell Economic Boom?

I trust my fellow adult Americans to know how to use the $85 Billion We Deserve It dividend more than I do the geniuses
at AIG or in Washington DC

And remember, my plan only really costs $59.5 Billion because $25.5 Billion is returned instantly in taxes to Uncle Sam.

Ahhh...I feel so much better getting that off my chest.

(thank you brother Jake for the Foward)"

There seems to be some debate about the numbers, so I did my own calculations dividing the $700,000,000,000 bailout by 300,000,000 in population in the US. $2333. was my total. I don't know about you but there are two people in my household and that is approximately $5K. A family of four would get $10K and so on... I think HD just might have hit on something :) $5K would get us out of nearly all of out troubles(the student loans will be forever with me). So I say let the assholes who got us into this mess just get us out, because rewarding the behavior will tell them to do it to us again. This is just deviant behavior....hmmm...just which theory would work in this situation? More later.....

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Attack Your Limitations: Turn Your Weaknesses Into Strengths from Zen Habits

If you haven't made it to the Z in my blogroll yet you should really put Zen Habits in your reader.

"Attack Your Limitations: Turn Your Weaknesses Into Strengths

“Our strength grows out of our weaknesses.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Something that has always intimidated me from starting something new has always been a deep worry about my shortcomings. I know that I have weaknesses, and I’m afraid they’ll lead to my failure.

I’ve learned in recent years, however, that those weaknesses can be turned into strengths with a very simple tool: the right mindset.

I’m not talking just about the power of positive thinking (which I think is a great tool for anything) but about figuring out ways in which weaknesses can actually be strengths. If you develop the mindset that weaknesses aren’t really weaknesses, you’ve just broken through your limitations and fears.

For example, for the longest time I was no good at sustaining something for very long, at achieving any kind of long-term success. I was good at short-term projects, but I couldn’t keep anything going for long. So I found two ways to make this work in my favor:

1. I became the master of the quick turnaround. Someone needs a job done? I’ll do it in a day or two. Any job that takes longer than that is broken down into smaller jobs — and I take them on one at a time, rather than as a group of intimidating and overwhelming projects. I can do amazing work in short bursts — and that’s an awesome strength.
2. I learned to focus on baby steps. For some goals, you need to sustain something for a long time — running a marathon is a good example. But if I focused on one step at a time, and made each step a major success, I could achieve a lot over time with little baby steps. Instead of worrying about an entire marathon training program (usually takes 3-4 months), I focus on one day at a time, or one week at the most. And I celebrate my successes as though I completed the entire program.

Weaknesses as a Writer

A fear of not having mastered the novel form of writing also stopped me from trying to make it as a writer with a larger audience. I didn’t have experience in the larger world of journalism either (I’ve only written for small newspapers and magazines), so I never tried to make it with larger publications. For the longest time, these weaknesses held me back as a writer — I didn’t know how to write a novel and I don’t have a lot of big-time experience.

But then I discovered blogging, and suddenly my weaknesses were strengths: I could write blog posts about topics I knew about, in an honest way, rather than taking on the novel (which I will master someday). And my lack of experience actually helps — I’m just a regular guy going through things like everyone else, learning as I go — and my experiences as a learner help others learn as well. My weaknesses are strengths.

Weaknesses as a Blogger

While blogging was a good way to work on my strengths, there was also the weakness that I didn’t have a recognized name (when I started out), I had no readers (as compared to established blogs with big audiences), and no resources.

Those weaknesses were actually strengths, I realized.

Not having a recognized name meant I could re-invent myself into whatever I wanted. No one knew me as a small-town writer with no experience in productivity, organization, health, fitness, or other fields. I became Leo Babauta, a blogger on these topics (and some I knew a lot about — parenting and simplicity, for example) with a brand name I made up — Zen Habits. It worked, because the more I got my name out there, the more people associated me with this re-invented self. And it wasn’t a false self — it was something I became, based on my true self.

Not having an audience was also liberating — bloggers with audiences have expectations to meet. I could do anything I wanted. I could experiment with new styles, write heartfelt posts, write as frequently or as little as I wanted, become a copycat and imitate better bloggers, write controversial stuff, anything. I figured out what worked for me, what I liked writing, what other people liked.

Not having resources also became a strength: I would have to be creative. And creativity is a beautiful thing — much better than having a lot of money and staff. I was more personal than blogs in major networks or corporate blogs. I developed friendships with other bloggers. I wrote my butt off to do guest posts and freelancing for other blogs to get myself out there. I was lean and mean and having a lot of fun.

What Weaknesses Are Holding You Back?

What do you think your weaknesses are? Are they keeping you from starting something new, from pursuing a dream?

Sometimes we have fears about our weaknesses without realizing it. Take a minute to think about what you’ve always wanted to do, or what you’re doing now. What are your fears? What do you perceive to be your weaknesses? What are your limitations, and what’s holding you back?

Take assessment, and then read on to change your mindset about these weaknesses.

Turn Your Weaknesses Into Strengths

I won’t be able to do an exhaustive list of weaknesses, but the main thing to learn is to have the mindset where your weaknesses can ALL be turned into strengths. There might be exceptions, but I haven’t thought of one yet. Even if there are, it is extremely useful to always look at your weaknesses and see how you can use them to your advantage.

First step: examine your weaknesses.

Second step: figure out your strengths.

Third step: figure out how to move your weaknesses into the strengths column.

Here are just a few examples … again, I can’t list all of them and the main idea is to figure them out yourself. The more you practice this mindset, the better you’ll get at it.

* Not a good public speaker. Be an intimate communicator instead. If you aren’t good at talking to large crowds, talk to small groups or communicate one-on-one instead — and learn to be really good at that. Talk in ways that connect intimately with people, that draw them to you. Learn effective small-group communication and one-on-one skills.
* Not a good writer. Be a people person instead. If you can’t write a great proposal, make it in person. If you can’t write a great report, do a presentation. If you can’t write a great blog, do a video blog or podcast.
* Don’t have a lot of money to start a business. Be lean and creative instead. Small is actually an advantage in business. You can develop products without bureaucracy, witha quick turnaround, without too much planning or meetings. You can market using guerilla tactics. You are faster and more nimble than a larger competitor. You can adapt faster.
* You aren’t fast. So be deliberate. Be more thorough. Be more thoughtful. Work on important stuff instead of cranking out a lot of stuff.
* Don’t have large blog audience. So be more intimate and build stronger bonds with the small audience you have. Turn them into your biggest advocates, and really get to know every new reader. Have fun with your small audience in a way a bigger blogger can’t.
* Not a people person. So work on brilliant stuff alone. Find your niche and make amazing stuff with the talents you have. Find people who are people persons to promote your stuff for you.
* Not organized. Simplify things so you don’t need to organize (if you only have a few things, you don’t need to organize them). Be a creative genius instead of a diligent organized person.
* Not good with tech. Go low-tech. Work with paper or simple text files. This will allow you to concentrate more on your work rather than always being online, always trying out the latest tech stuff, always learning new coding methods or whatever. Let others figure out technology for you.
* Don’t have enough time. Great! So take what limited time you have and use it to maximal effect. Limitations are good — they force us to choose, and in doing so, they force us to choose what’s most essential. That increases our effectiveness. Choose only the task that will have the most impact.

You get the idea! Now get started on turning your weaknesses into strengths — start right now."

Craig Ferguson on John McCain Suspending His Campaign :)

Michael Weiss's White Paper to Congress--Final Draft

Be sure to watch the video, it's long but worth it.

"Dear Subscriber,
Martin D. Weiss, Ph.D.

We believe Congress may be on the verge of making what could become one of the greatest policy mistakes of modern times, passing bailout legislation that could aggravate, rather than alleviate, the nation's massive debt crisis.

With this in mind, we are submitting our white paper on this urgent topic to members of Congress and banking regulators, and I wanted to make sure you have a copy right now. Earlier this week, I gave you a preview in the form of a partial first draft. Below is our press release with a link to the final report.

Best wishes,


September 24, 2008

Proposed $700 Billion Bailout
Is Too Little, Too Late to End Debt Crisis;
Too Much, Too Soon for U.S. Bond Markets
Weiss Research Submits Policy
Recommendations to Congress Today

JUPITER, FL, September 24, 2008 — The proposal before Congress for a $700 billion financial industry bailout will not only fail to end the massive U.S. debt crisis but could actually aggravate the crisis by driving up interest rates, according to a white paper submitted to Congress and banking regulators today by Weiss Research, Inc. Therefore, Weiss recommends limiting and reducing the bailout as much as possible, while bolstering existing safety nets for consumers.

Based on recently released FDIC and Federal Reserve data, Weiss Research finds that:

1. 1,479 U.S. banks and 158 U.S. thrifts are at risk of failure, with total assets of $3.6 trillion, or 36 times the assets of banks on the FDIC's list of troubled institutions.

2. Among those with $5 billion or more in assets, 61 banks and 25 thrifts are heavily exposed to nonperforming mortgages.

3. The bailouts announced and proposed to date, although expected to cost over $1 trillion, are too small to rescue most institutions at risk, let alone address multiple problems with U.S. interest-bearing debts outstanding of $51 trillion and derivatives held by U.S. banks of $180 trillion.

Martin D. Weiss, president of Weiss Research, comments: "There should be no illusion that the $700 billion estimate proposed by the Administration will be enough to end the crisis. Nor should there be any false hopes that the market for U.S. government securities can absorb the additional burden of a $700 billion bailout without putting major upward pressure on U.S. interest rates, aggravating the very debt crisis that the government is seeking to alleviate." Among its policy recommendations, Weiss urges Congress to:

1. Severely limit the government's authority to buy bad private-sector debts by requiring it to pay strictly fair market value, including a substantial discount that reflects their poor liquidity.

2. Disclose to the public that there are significant risks in the financial system that the government is not able to address.

3. Focus more resources on strengthening existing safety nets, including FDIC insurance of bank deposits, SIPC coverage of brokerage accounts and state guarantee associations that cover insurance policies.

"Rather than focusing on the protection of imprudent institutions and speculators," concludes Weiss, "Congress should do more to protect prudent individuals and savers."

Regardless of what Congress decides, Weiss recommends that individuals continue to invest and save prudently, seeking the safest havens for their money, such as safe banks and U.S. Treasury bills or equivalent.

The Weiss Research white paper, "Proposed $700 Billion Bailout Is Too Little, Too Late to End the Debt Crisis; Too Much, Too Soon for the U.S. Bond Market," is available at http://www.moneyandmarkets.com/files/documents/Final-Bailout-White-Paper.pdf. In addition, as a public service for consumers seeking advice on how and where to find safer institutions, Weiss Research provides a free 1-hour informational video on the Internet, entitled "The X List," at www.MoneyandMarkets.com.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Letterman on McCain's No-Show

Hilary in the Senate....OMG! This is Hilarious!!!

ok, I stand corrected. The Onion is a satire magazine so it is parody...but OMG it is still funny. Would be funnier if it was the truth... *EDIT*

At first read, I thought surely this had to be some form of parody....then I kept reading. After spitting my coffee all over the place and with tears rolling down my face I decided I must share...as always :) I am still cracking up as I write this. This is without a doubt the funniest thing, however irreverent, I have read in a very long time! You go girl...tell 'em how you really feel! The part about how John Kerry acted when he lost is funny, too :) I can not imagine the fatigue she must be feeling...

$5 Billion Down...$695 billion to go...Next?

Go to the New York Times to find the perfect answer :) This is the way it should be. The people who have made the billions should now take this time to put back in to the country so in need and not put it on the taxpaying, working class. Warren Buffet, I so think I love you :)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

October 11, 2008--Global Day of Civil Disobedience--Mark Your Calender!

This article has been reprinted from OpEd News. Please click the title link for the article and related links.

"Global Day of Civil-Disobedience

by chris rice


End the war. Stop the bail-outs. No more warrantless surveillance. No more torture. Stop the madness. Fight the power.

Global Day of Civil-Disobedience

A broad movement of campaigners and organizations is calling on everybody to take action. On 11 October 2008, concerned people in many countries will take to the streets, the motto being "Freedom not fear 2008".

In order to protest we will take to the streets in many cities in many countries on 11 October 2008.

Politicians need to see that we are willing to take to the streets for the protection of our liberties!

You can find the latest information on the protest marches and the links of participating cities at our website:




Stop the Bail-Outs

No BailOut! No BailOut for the Banks! We have been ripped off of our own resources, jobs and taxes. WE HAVE PLENTY of natural resources in our country OIL, TECHNOLOGY, AGRICULTURE to give Americans the money and jobs WE NEED. The Bankers and CEOs are worried about keeping their excessive life styles. NO BAILOUT!! Stand Up and demand JUSTICE.

Accountability - fire executives of failed companies as done in the UK, and abrogate their severance packages.

No Warrantless Wire-Taps
# no blanket registration of all air travellers (PNR data)
# no information exchange with the US and other states lacking effective data protection
# no secret searches of private computer systems, neither online nor offline
# no blanket surveillance and filtering of internet communications (EU Telecoms-Package)
# abolish the blanket logging of our communications and locations (data retention)
# abolish the blanket collection of our biometric data as well as RFID passports
# abolish the blanket collection of genetic data
# abolish permanent CCTV camera surveillance and automatic detection techniques

No More Torture

In a submission to the UN in May, the Pentagon said that no more than eight youths, aged 13 to 17 at time of capture, were held at Guantánamo Bay. But a prisoner list released in 2006 in response to US freedom of information act litigation names 21 inmates under 18 when they arrived. A separate defence department admission brings the total to 22. Testimonies collected by the charity Reprieve, which represents 30 inmates at Guantánamo, indicate the actual number is much higher.

Why A Global Day of Civil Disobedience

1. Bush and Brown have been kidnapping citizens of any country, of any age.

2. After being kidnapped they are then held without trial without charges and often subjected to torture.

3. Besides being held without charges or trial they are also denied access to lawyers family friends.

4. They also have been given authority to spy on any citizen in any country without a warrant. Enter anyone's home or business in any country without a warrant.

5. Bush/Brown can and have open your mail, read your emails, keep records of what you buy and where you shop, keep records on all of your internet searches, listen in on your phone calls, track your cell phone, etc. In America it is done under FISA by the NSA.

6. Have carried out and continue to threaten any country with pre-emptive strikes.

7. We do not believe that these are legal means by which to fight terrorism but a prelude to open fascism. And a global war on terror requires a global response, a global General Strike.

8. Our leaders have allowed the looting of our country through our national debt.

9. Failed to provide for, prepare for, or act during the attacks on 9/11.

10. Failed to secure our borders before or since 9/11.

11. Failed to protect the safety of our food supply with adequate food inspectors.

12. Failed to protect our pets, our children or us from faulty and deadly imports. Resulting in the loss of life.

13. Failed to develop an Energy policy that moved us any closer towards independence.

14. Failed to fund critical infrastructure resulting in the loss of life.

15. Failed to provide an adequate response to our educational crisis. Resulting in a 50% drop out rate and massive over crowding.

16. Failed to wean banks off of super low interest rates weakening the dollar.

17. Failed to obey and uphold the rule of law and our international treaties.

18. Failed to defend and uphold the Constitution to the best of their ability.

19. Failed to capture Bin Laden. Or stop Al Qaeda.

20. Failed to secure Iraq.

21. Failed to and continue to fail to provide troops with proper equipment, medical leave, rotation, training, etc.

22. Creating and abetting the Sub-Prime crisis through legislation.

Stop The Homegrown Terrorist Act

Please use the link below to sign the petition to stop this bill: http://www.petitiononline.com/drop1959/

Find a protest near YOU

Participating countries and events planned:

* Athens (Greece)
* Belgrade (Serbia)
* Berlin (Germany)
* Bratislava (Slovakia)
* Brussels (Belgium)
* Bucharest (Romania)
* Budapest (Hungary)
* Copenhagen (Denmark)
* Dublin (Ireland)
* Helsinki (Finland)
* Lisbon (Portugal)
* Ljubljana (Slovenia)
* London (England)
* Luxembourg (Luxemburg)
* Madrid (Spain)
* Nicosia (Cyprus)
* Paris (France)
* Prague (Czech Republic)
* Riga (Latvia)
* Rome (Italy)
* Skopje (Macedonia)
* Sofia (България, Bulgaria)
* Stockholm (Sweden)
* Tallin (Estonia)
* The Hague (Netherlands)
* Valletta (Malta)
* Vienna (Austria)
* Vilnius (Lithuania)
* Warsaw (Poland)
* United States (United States)

For info on Washington, DC rally contact: Katrina Rodriguez


PHONE (202) 483-1140 annex 204 FAX (202) 483-1248

Our causes are many but now is the time to make our voices as one. From the bright lights in Hong Kong to the truck stops in India. From hospitals in America where patients have died in emergency rooms waiting for hours to be seen, to the blood soaked streets of Palestine, the time is nigh to raise our voices on high tell every King, Dictator and presidential wannabe "Enough is Enough".

Taking the day off, not buying anything. That part is easy. What's the hard part? Spreading the word, getting the message out, reminding The People that they have the power to shut it down.

Tired of the run around, tired of fighting City Hall? Tired of being lied to?

Economic Strike on NOW!Oct. 11th 2008 Global Day of Civil-Disobedience Nov. 2-5th 2008 GLOBAL GENERAL STRIKE


I created a website www.votestrike.com for you the voters because whichever party you belong to they have failed you. The website has ambitious goals of how to end the two party system & the third party myth. Modeled after the fall of the Berlin wall, the Polish overthrow of the communist government & the Phillipines removal of Marcos. All accomplished without firing a shot. But we do not rely on the failed tactics of the past instead we use the election system & the very votes & voters this system relies upon. And the site also offers campaign funding sources- who's bought off your candidate? As well as your solutions to education, lobbyist, healthcare, illegal immigration, the war on terror, the war in Iraq, crime, drugs, pedophiles, taxes. And a link page with 1000 links to more on these topics. I'm here to ask you to check it out, it's free. And you can submit content. Thanks for your time, my name is chris."

Also found these videos over at Brilliant at Breakfast who, on a daily basis, get it...

ok, that's enough for today :)

An Interesting Email from Martin Weiss...

"To Congress: Please Do Not Spread the Panic
by Martin D. Weiss, Ph.D.

Dear Subscriber,
Martin D. Weiss, Ph.D.

The proposal before Congress for a $700 billion mega-bailout is far too little to repair the damaged debt and derivatives markets ... and, at the same time, far too much for investors and taxpayers who must put up the money.

How big is the problem, really?

In the past, Congress has repeatedly asked us for data and analysis on these issues, and we have provided it in Congressional testimony and white papers. In that same tradition, below is a partial first draft of a white paper we will be submitting on this matter:

Why the Magnitude of the Mortgage,
Debt and Derivatives Crisis Overwhelms
The $700 Billion Bailout Plan Now
Under Discussion in Congress
(Partial First Draft of Weiss Research's Submission
to Congress and Federal Banking Regulators)

Last week, the President, the Treasury Secretary and the Federal Reserve Chairman announced their view that Congress must get to the root of the debt crisis in America by providing a broad solution that truly puts the crisis to an end.
However, the magnitude of the crisis afflicting mortgages, other debts and derivatives clearly overwhelms the $700 billion bailout proposal currently under discussion. To better understand the magnitude of the problem ...

First and foremost, we urge members of Congress to disregard data based on the list of troubled banks maintained by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).

The FDIC's list has only 117 institutions with $78 billion in assets. But given the current proposal for a $700 billion bailout, it is clear that Administration officials tacitly recognize that the FDIC list understates the problem. There are many more financial institutions at risk or in need of assistance with their toxic paper.
External Sponsorship

Who's Next on Wall Street's Hit List?

How many more? We believe a more accurate count comes from our analysis of: (a) the derivative risks assumed by major banks, (b) the mortgage holdings of the largest regional banks and (c) all banks and thrifts with TheStreet.com's financial strength rating of D+ (weak) or lower. Based on this analysis, we believe:

* 1,479 FDIC member banks are at risk of failure with total assets of $2.4 trillion.

* In addition, 158 savings and loans are at risk with $756 billion in assets.

* In sum, banks and S&Ls at risk have assets of $3.2 trillion, or over 36 times the assets of banks on the FDIC's watch list.

These numbers alone indicate that the $700 billion contemplated for the bailout plan could be severely inadequate.

Second, Congress should seriously consider the facts in the Federal Reserve's Second Quarter Flow of Funds Report.

In this report, released on September 18, just one day before the President announced the Administration's $700 billion bailout proposal, the Fed estimates that the nation's mountain of interest-bearing debts has now grown to $51 trillion.

Plus, it provides critical additional insights regarding the breadth of the debt problems facing the nation, as follows:

1. The ownership of residential mortgages is dispersed among many different sectors. There are $12.1 trillion in mortgages on single- and multi-family homes in the United States. But these are not held only by banks and S&Ls. They are spread among a wide variety of institutions and individuals, all of which could have similar claims to federal assistance.

Specifically ...

2. Fannie, Freddie and GSAs are still at risk. As a first priority, the plan would have to expand the recently announced bailouts of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in order to properly secure the residential mortgages held by government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) and agencies (GSAs). These now total $5.4 trillion, according to the Fed.

Plus ...

3. Private sectors and local governments also own residential mortgages in substantial quantities. The bailout plan would also have to cover:

* Investment banks and others that issue asset-backed securities, now holding $2.1 trillion in mortgages,

* Nonbank finance companies ($426 billion),

* Credit unions ($332.4 billion),

* State and local governments ($159 billion),

* Life insurance companies ($61.6 billion), plus ...

* Private pension funds, government retirement funds and households themselves.

4. Commercial mortgages are now going bad as well. The current debate seems to focus exclusively on residential mortgages. But at many regional and super-regional banks, much of the risk is currently in the commercial mortgage sector, where recent data denotes many of the same difficulties as the residential sector. To truly get to the root of the problem, Congress cannot exclude these either.

There are $2.6 trillion in commercial mortgages outstanding in the United States. As with residential mortgages, these are also dispersed widely beyond the banking sector — $644 billion held by issuers of asset-backed securities, $263 billion held by life insurers, $65 billion at nonbank finance companies and $37 billion at Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs).

5. Mortgages are less than half the problem. Although it is true that the current debt crisis in America originated in the mortgage market, it is not accurate to say that the root of the crisis is strictly in this one sector. Rather, the debt crisis has multiple and varied roots, with excessive risk-taking in credit cards, auto loans and virtually every other form of private-sector debt.

There are currently $14.8 trillion in mortgages in America. But beyond mortgages, there is another $20.4 trillion in consumer and corporate debt. This means that mortgages represent only 42% of the private-sector debt problem in America.

6. Local governments are a higher priority. Overlooking the debt problems of state and local governments would also be a big mistake. Indeed, given the essential nature of their services, including the pivotal role they play in homeland security, it could be argued that their credit challenges take priority over those faced by banks, S&Ls and Wall Street firms.

Currently, the Fed estimates $2.7 trillion in municipal securities outstanding, most of which have been reliant on a bond insurance system that remains on the brink of collapse.

In short, to truly get to the root of the problem as the President is requesting, Congress' new bailout plan would have to cover a lot of ground beyond just the banking industry.

Third, we urge Congress to get a better handle on the enormous build-up of derivatives in America, beginning with a thorough review of the OCC's Quarterly Report on Bank Trading and Derivatives Activities, First Quarter 2008.

Although derivatives were originally designed to help reduce risk, it is widely acknowledged that their volume and usage have reached such an extreme level that they have become, instead, speculative bets which greatly increase the systemic risk to financial global markets.

And although regulators have few details about these derivatives, most officials now realize they may be at the root of the panic that began to spread throughout the global banking system in the wake of the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy on September 15.

Therefore, it should be well understood by all members of Congress that, to ward off possible renewed waves of global panic, the bailout plan would also have to address the following facts:

* The notional (face value) amount of derivatives held by U.S. commercial banks is $180.3 trillion.

* The credit exposure to derivatives (risk of default by trading partners) is $465 billion, up 159% from one year earlier.

* U.S. banks with the greatest credit exposure to derivatives are HSBC (with $7.21 in risk per dollar of capital), JPMorgan Chase (with $4.11 in risk on the dollar), Citibank ($2.79), Bank of America ($2.15) and Wachovia ($.77).

* Further, after Bank of America's merger with Merrill Lynch, which reports $4 trillion in derivatives, and after a possible Wachovia merger with Morgan Stanley, which holds $7.1 trillion, these exposures will likely be intensified.

Congress must go into its deliberations with its eyes open, recognizing that any bailout plan that does not include these banks and other players in the vast market for derivatives could leave a gaping hole through which financial panic can spread again.

Fourth, for all of these debts and derivatives, a bailout plan would, in normal circumstances, require (a) realistic estimates of the amount that is already delinquent or in default, and (b) a reasonable forecast of how many more are likely to go bad in a continuing recession.

However, the only estimates currently available are those reflecting actual write-downs recognized by large, global financial institutions — over $500 billion. That figure does not include the thousands of other institutions which are among the sectors we cite above. Nor does it include losses incurred but not yet properly booked — let alone losses not yet incurred.

To date, no government agency is providing such estimates. But without them, any budgetary planning for this bailout is next to impossible. No one will know, except in retrospect, if the bailout truly removes the cancerous debts from the economic body or leaves most of them to fester and spread.

In sum, there should be no illusion that the $700 billion estimate proposed by the Administration can actually provide anything approaching a total solution to America's current debt crisis. It could very well be just a drop in the bucket.

Too Much, Too Soon for the U.S.
Government Securities Market

There should also be no illusion that the market for U.S. government securities can absorb the additional burden of a $700 billion bailout without traumatic consequences.

In its Fiscal Year 2009 Mid-Session Review, Budget of the U.S. Government, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) projects the 2009 federal deficit will rise to $482 billion.

However, this projection was made before the bailouts of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and AIG and before the White House's $700 billion bailout proposal.

Even assuming no budget overruns beyond the $700 billion, these bailouts threaten to double or even triple the federal deficit.

The OMB seeks to minimize its $482 billion deficit projection by stating it will be only 3.3% of estimated GDP, which it deems manageable. However, after adding the cost of announced and proposed bailouts — approximately $1 trillion — the federal deficit could be between 8% and 10% of GDP.

No reasonable person could deny that such a dramatic increase in the deficit will have an equally dramatic impact on interest-rate levels. To attract investors, the U.S. Treasury will have to pay much higher rates ... and these higher rates, in turn, will drive up rates on mortgages, credit cards and nearly all borrowing.

Recommendations for Congress

In light of these facts, we have four recommendations:

Recommendation #1. Before passing any bailout package to patch up certain sectors of the debt markets, consider the impact of massive government borrowing on all sectors of the debt markets, and on the value of the U.S. dollar.

History proves that far less dramatic increases in government borrowing have crowded out millions of private borrowers, driven up interest rates and greatly damaged the economy as a whole.

So it's reasonable to assume that the massive increases in government borrowing required for a bailout of this magnitude would put unprecedented upward pressure on interest rates, greatly aggravate the debt crisis, sink the U.S. dollar, and cause even more damage to the economy than in the past.

To avoid these consequences, we recommend that Congress reject the Administration's $700 billion bailout proposal and shelve any related legislation, moving forward instead with our recommendation #4 below.

Recommendation #2. If, despite the risk of causing much higher interest rates and a sharp decline in the dollar, Congress is determined to pass legislation creating a new government agency to buy up bad debts as proposed, we recommend that the new agency pay strictly fair market value for those debts, including a substantial discount that reflects their poor liquidity.

Further, it should be clearly understood that:

* Due to the recent sharp declines in market values and market liquidity, many of the bad debts on the books of U.S. financial institutions are currently worth only a fraction of their face value.

* When the government buys these debts at fair market value, it will still leave most of these institutions with severe losses.

* Many of these institutions do not have the capital to cover their losses and will fail despite the bailout.

Recommendation #3. Congress must clearly disclose to the public that:

* There are several significant risks to the financial system that the government is unable to address with any new legislation, including defaults on other large debts and derivatives, which could trigger a chain reaction of corporate failures.

* Whether the bailout legislation is adequate or not to stem the debt crisis and prevent financial panic, the government will need to prioritize the protection of its own credit and seek to ensure the stability of the U.S. dollar.

* The private sector, in turn, will need to handle any further spread of the debt crisis largely without government financial assistance.

Recommendation #4. Rather than focusing primarily on a safety net for imprudent institutions and speculators, Congress should devote more effort to bolstering the safety nets for prudent individuals and savers. These include:

* The FDIC, which insures bank depositors, but has inadequate funding and staffing to handle a large wave of bank failures.

* SIPC, which supposedly covers brokerage firm accounts, but, in practice, does not compensate investors for losses in most circumstances.

* State guarantee associations, which promise to cover insurance policyholders, but which have repeatedly failed to live up to their promise when large insurers fail.

Unless Congress approaches its monumental task with enormous caution, it could produce the worst of both worlds: A failure to resolve the current debt crisis plus the creation of a new set of crises that merely spread the panic and prolong the pain.

Recommendations for Investors

Most investors have unrealistic hopes and expectations regarding what Washington can accomplish. Even if Congress moves swiftly to enact legislation for the government to buy up bad debts from financial institutions, at best, the government will pay far less than face value.

Banks will continue to suffer losses and fail. Uninsured depositors will continue to lose money and investors will continue to see their shares lose all or nearly all value.

Therefore, regardless of what Congress decides in the coming weeks, investors should continue to seek the safest havens for their money and pursue investment strategies designed to build wealth in a crisis.

For more details, see our 1-hour video, "Plague to Pandemic," before it goes offline early this week.


Martin D. Weiss, Ph.D.
President, Weiss Research, Inc.
Chairman, Sound Dollar Committee"

Sometimes You Just Have To Feel Sorry For Dogs...

This morning is one of those mornings. 4:15 am. I am awaken with this god-awful crashing, running, banging, scrambling, tumbling noise in the attic, right over my head. It sounds, like it always does, as if whatever it is will come crashing through the air conditioner vent. This morning, as always, I start with throwing whatever I can get my hands on up at the ceiling. I don't know why I do this. It makes perfect sense to me in my sleepy-fog. I believe this will quiet the hoard and I can go blissfully back to sleep, never-mind the fact that the action will wake me up, in an of itself. Usually, it is the nearest bottle of vitamins or, my favorite, a half-full 20 oz Coke bottle (has enough weight to actually freak the little critters into a scared quiet). Alas, this morning, all I can put my hands on is a roll of packing tape so I give it the old heave-ho, not really thinking because of the sleepy-fog. The only thing I did different this morning was I turned over to throw it. Usually it's the old backhand, over the shoulder lop, but no not this morning. It had to be a really awe-inspiring pitch to stop that Mad Max movie-type crashing and banging. What happens, you ask? Yep, you guessed it, it comes reeling back down to earth right into my eye. OMG! I'm awake now, for sure and probably with a pending black eye to go with my job search.

I painfully get up, stumble into the bathroom, turn on the computer, head to the coffee maker, which is my usual routine. It is only then, I hear the dog. He is out back just barking his little head off, bewildered by the fact that he cannot get to the raccoons he know are up in the general direction of which he is barking. It's been 45 minutes now and I think he is about to give up, but you can just hear the frustration in his voice. I cannot help but think of scooby-doo and just know that he is grumbling, under his breath, in between his barks because he didn't get his scooby snack this morning. So as great as dogs are, sometimes you just have to feel sorry for them because of all that they can do, they cannot climb. It's just so sad....

Then there is the story of the puppy I was feeding because his asshole owners just left him to die when they moved. I was just about to get him to come to me after about a week of feeding him twice a day. He was so sweet and friendly and pretty smart and yes, funny too. Last week when it cooled off down to the 60's at night I guess he got cold, so he proceeded to tear all the stuffing out of an old couch that had been trashed out of his house. Oh, he had a grand ole time with it. The entire street in front of his house looked like it had snowed couch stuffing. I thought it was hilarious, but I knew the people across the street would not think it was funny and his days were numbered. But I hoped for the best and hoped they wouldn't do it...call the pound. But I guess they must have and as much as it pains me to say this, it was probably for the best because I know I would have ended up with him and Minnie(think scrappy-doo in cat form here) would have had an absolute hissy fit. She would have made his life pure hell. I can only hope someone will see him for the special dog he is and adopt him. It's just sad that I can't support all the homeless animals of the world. Do they have animal social workers? I think I might have missed my calling :)

Sunday, September 21, 2008

More on the Proposed Bailout Plan...

I sincerely hope that you, my readers 1)will read, 2)will use the widget on the left sidebar to contact everyone you can think of to voice your protest. It is just ludicrous to pay Wall Street for their greed and their complete and total disregard of working class America. If we don't say something and say it now, we will be so royally screwed we most surely will never recover.

Here are the articles:

Wall Street Is Licking Its Chops at the Bush Team's Multi-Hundred Billion Dollar Giveaway Plan

Paulson Bailout Plan a Historic Swindle

The Mother of all Bailouts

Wall Street and Washington

Tax the Speculators

Great Depression II

Screw Wall Street

k, that's enough for today...I'm sure there will be more tomorrow when the actual weekend's work is unveiled.

Text of Draft Proposal for Bailout Plan

This is one of those times when I think my readers need to see the entire article from The New York Times. There is a title link also.



Section 1. Short Title.

This Act may be cited as ____________________.

Sec. 2. Purchases of Mortgage-Related Assets.

(a) Authority to Purchase.--The Secretary is authorized to purchase, and to make and fund commitments to purchase, on such terms and conditions as determined by the Secretary, mortgage-related assets from any financial institution having its headquarters in the United States.

(b) Necessary Actions.--The Secretary is authorized to take such actions as the Secretary deems necessary to carry out the authorities in this Act, including, without limitation:

(1) appointing such employees as may be required to carry out the authorities in this Act and defining their duties;

(2) entering into contracts, including contracts for services authorized by section 3109 of title 5, United States Code, without regard to any other provision of law regarding public contracts;

(3) designating financial institutions as financial agents of the Government, and they shall perform all such reasonable duties related to this Act as financial agents of the Government as may be required of them;

(4) establishing vehicles that are authorized, subject to supervision by the Secretary, to purchase mortgage-related assets and issue obligations; and

(5) issuing such regulations and other guidance as may be necessary or appropriate to define terms or carry out the authorities of this Act.

Sec. 3. Considerations.

In exercising the authorities granted in this Act, the Secretary shall take into consideration means for--

(1) providing stability or preventing disruption to the financial markets or banking system; and

(2) protecting the taxpayer.

Sec. 4. Reports to Congress.

Within three months of the first exercise of the authority granted in section 2(a), and semiannually thereafter, the Secretary shall report to the Committees on the Budget, Financial Services, and Ways and Means of the House of Representatives and the Committees on the Budget, Finance, and Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs of the Senate with respect to the authorities exercised under this Act and the considerations required by section 3.

Sec. 5. Rights; Management; Sale of Mortgage-Related Assets.

(a) Exercise of Rights.--The Secretary may, at any time, exercise any rights received in connection with mortgage-related assets purchased under this Act.

(b) Management of Mortgage-Related Assets.--The Secretary shall have authority to manage mortgage-related assets purchased under this Act, including revenues and portfolio risks therefrom.

(c) Sale of Mortgage-Related Assets.--The Secretary may, at any time, upon terms and conditions and at prices determined by the Secretary, sell, or enter into securities loans, repurchase transactions or other financial transactions in regard to, any mortgage-related asset purchased under this Act.

(d) Application of Sunset to Mortgage-Related Assets.--The authority of the Secretary to hold any mortgage-related asset purchased under this Act before the termination date in section 9, or to purchase or fund the purchase of a mortgage-related asset under a commitment entered into before the termination date in section 9, is not subject to the provisions of section 9.

Sec. 6. Maximum Amount of Authorized Purchases.

The Secretary’s authority to purchase mortgage-related assets under this Act shall be limited to $700,000,000,000 outstanding at any one time

Sec. 7. Funding.

For the purpose of the authorities granted in this Act, and for the costs of administering those authorities, the Secretary may use the proceeds of the sale of any securities issued under chapter 31 of title 31, United States Code, and the purposes for which securities may be issued under chapter 31 of title 31, United States Code, are extended to include actions authorized by this Act, including the payment of administrative expenses. Any funds expended for actions authorized by this Act, including the payment of administrative expenses, shall be deemed appropriated at the time of such expenditure.

Sec. 8. Review.

Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency.

Sec. 9. Termination of Authority.

The authorities under this Act, with the exception of authorities granted in sections 2(b)(5), 5 and 7, shall terminate two years from the date of enactment of this Act.

Sec. 10. Increase in Statutory Limit on the Public Debt.

Subsection (b) of section 3101 of title 31, United States Code, is amended by striking out the dollar limitation contained in such subsection and inserting in lieu thereof $11,315,000,000,000.

Sec. 11. Credit Reform.

The costs of purchases of mortgage-related assets made under section 2(a) of this Act shall be determined as provided under the Federal Credit Reform Act of 1990, as applicable.

Sec. 12. Definitions.

For purposes of this section, the following definitions shall apply:

(1) Mortgage-Related Assets.--The term “mortgage-related assets” means residential or commercial mortgages and any securities, obligations, or other instruments that are based on or related to such mortgages, that in each case was originated or issued on or before September 17, 2008.

(2) Secretary.--The term “Secretary” means the Secretary of the Treasury.

(3) United States.--The term “United States” means the States, territories, and possessions of the United States and the District of Columbia."

Doesn't this scare the hell out of anyone else????

Friday, September 19, 2008

A History Lesson

If you are thinking something just didn't sound quite right about the speech Bush gave today then click the title link for a very interesting history lesson. Also click here for the Nuts Game.

OK, I know I live in Po-Dunk, but this is just not fair!

"clipped from fresh.amazon.com

Amazon Fresh

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"clipped from fresh.amazon.com
Fresh Selection

Highest-quality fresh fruits and vegetables

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Unexpected Convenience

Shop online at home or from work

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I've heard these places actually exist and can only dream about them. My absolute hatred of grocery stores could so go by the wayside if only Amazon would consider delivering to po-dunk....

Palin's Churches and the Third Wave

"Part One
History and Theology of the Third Wave

Sarah Palin has refused to acknowledge belonging to any specific denomination or any particular religious stream. However, it is now well documented that she spent her youth in an Assembly of God church and has regularly attended another AoG church, as well as two Independent Churches. At least three of four of these churches have close ties to prominent organizations and leaders in the Third Wave movement, also known as the New Apostolic Reformation.

This is a worldwide movement so completely ignored by the press that there is no single accepted term that has been coined for the identification for the group. In addition to Third Wave and New Apostolic Reformation, it is also referred to by the names of some of its more extreme theologies, such as Joel's Army and Manifest Sons of Destiny. Its roots are in a revival of the manifestations and beliefs of the New Order of Latter Rain which has been repeatedly condemned by the General Council of the Assemblies of God since 1949.

Palins's refusal to define her denominational background has resulted in much speculation about her religious beliefs and their impact on her worldview. An enormous amount of misinformation has resulted, since many of the writers lack the benefit of knowledge of these diverse theologies. Writers who are knowledgeable about the Third Wave movement have posted similar information on this site. However, this post is intended for use as a history and theology reference for the material in Part Two.

Part Two is documentation of the extensive links between these churches and major leaders of the Third Wave."

The entire article can be found by clicking the title link.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Jesse Levi Chronicles--Part One

So I've finally found something worthy of Prin's Pink Diamonds. It was my last attempt at actual literary writing. Be forewarned though, it's not for the shy, or faint of heart. There are eight parts and a "closure." I may or may not post all of them. I'll have to re-read and decide if they are all worth reading or just drivel :)

The real difference between liberals and conservatives :)

I told you there'd be more :)

Some days I should just never get out of bed...

Today, I think. is going to be one of those days... My search started last night around midnight actually. It is now 5am and I am back at it. Does this tell you anything? I was in search of an add on for firefox that an idiot could use to capture screen shots and post them on blogger, cause, you know this would be so much more fun with pictures and stuff and besides I wanted to share examples of the crap offered to plus sized women for clothing. After three failed attempts (not idiot proof) I found Clipmarks--so cool even I can use it! All you have to do is click the green icon that has been loaded between the address and search boxes and highlight and save, or email or post. This is the coolest add on I have found to date. Expect much fun to follow :)

So since lately I have had new readers and commenters (!) that totally think my way of thinking is wrong, I'll start sharing with you right away :) I'm not sure if this is Sarah Palin's church but one of the commenters on YouTube said she's on there about 6 minutes in...I think she may be the one in the blue shirt and black pants, but can't say for sure. This may scare you, so be prepared if you've never encountered glossolalia
before,click the link. Here's the video:

I'll probably be back with more later, but for now I'm freezing and need to go take a shower to warm up...Thanks Ike for bringing a touch of Fall to the South! Yea! 58 degrees at night!