Archive for July 12th, 2008

by jhwygirl

Until its bitter bitter end, I suppose. The guy has absolutely no boundaries.

Either that or he is stupid.

Maybe it’s both.

A big ole’ hat tip to Pogie over at Intelligent Discontent for this one.

When the G8 Summit on climate change closed out last October week, the Chimpster ended a private meeting by saying “Goodbye from the world’s biggest polluter,” and then, with a big ole’ smile on his face, punched the air.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, needless to say, looked on in shock.

You didn’t read that in the U.S. press. This news came from the UK Telegraph.

Regarding that October thing? It was late and I’m sticking by that excuse.

by jhwygirl

Don’t want our readers to miss it: In an attempt to avoid the weekend news dump, at 4:30 p.m. MST yesterday federal bank regulators seized Indymac Bank. It is the largest bank collapse in United States history.

The second most largest bank collapse, incidentally, was in 1984, when Continental Illinois collapsed. The two most expensive failures (so far – we have yet to see what this current one is going to ultimately cost) were both in 1988: the American Savings and Loan Institution of California and First Republic Bank in Texas.

Gee, who was President of the United States in 1984? That would be Ronald Reagan.

And who was President of the United States in 1988? That would be Ronald Reagan also.

The U.S. has been racking up quite a list of failed banks since ole’ George Jr. took office. Take a look.

Indymac specialized in Alt-A loans – loans in which the buyers didn’t need to produce little, if any, evidence of income or assets other than the home they were buying.

That arrangement was peachy-keen, until what-is-now-today’s mortgage crisis began a little over 2 years ago. As homes began to loose value, with creditors owing more than the home was worth, investors in Indymac began to worry about those mortgage-backed securities. The rest is history in the making.

Meanwhile, on the larger front, Wall Street firmly implanted itself yesterday as a bear market: Investors fled from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac securities. Here’s Piper Jaffray analyst Rober Napoli, on the collapse of Fannie and Freddie shares:

“Investors have lost total confidence in Fannie and Freddie and are looking for a government bailout. If Fannie and Freddie have to pull back substantially in their lending, we’re taking another leg down in the market and housing prices. There are no other lenders right now in the U.S. mortgage market other than Fannie and Freddie.”

Fannie and Freddie are backing $5.2 trillion in mortgages. That’s half of all U.S. mortgages.1 year freddie and fannie securitiesWith investors calling their stock worthless, we’re in deep doo-doo here, given even U.S. Treasure Secretary Henry Paulson is feeding the flames. And while that statement on Paulson might not seem fair consider this: He regulates these damned banks for God’s sake. What is he doing, just sitting back and watching the paperwork float through? We have banks that won’t do Stafford Loans – and given the confidence level in Freddie and Fannie, it’s going to be real soon that mortgages – given the magnitude of what Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loans provide in mortgage backings – may simply to cease or at least be nearly impossible to obtain for virtually everyone.

Neocons, it seems are rejoicing in this stuff. Look – I read Missoulapolis just like she reads 4&20 – and her reports on the mortgage crisis, especially her local stats reporting, is good stuff to know – but it is the joy that she takes in reporting it and the gleeful comments that I can do without. Does she talk about this stuff with her neighbors and friends? Man, I try, with those that own homes – and it is downright uncomfortable. They don’t want to talk about it. I mean, start talking about housing or real estate and bring up the current stats and conversation screeches to a halt. People not only simply don’t want to believe it, they think it isn’t going to happen here in Missoula. No wonder – look at Carol’s June report on the local market. The year’s sales are down by 35%, and June sales are half of 2006’s – yet the prices haven’t dropped by even 1%. Realtors are feeding a whole bunch of real sweet kool-aid out there, folks. But make sure to check the comments to her posts – because that’s where the “gleeful” comes in, not only from her, but her readers. Then there’s May, and April.

She tags it all with “affordable housing” too. That’s the real kicker. She seems to forget the definition of affordable housing and is thinking that the median price of homes here in Missoula are going to dump to or below 3 times the median income. I doubt that is going to happen, considering that home values have been rising for more than a decade here – long before all those funky loans ever came around.

Then there’s Missoula’s other neocon, Dave Budge. Linking to a WSJ piece calling Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac socialism. There’s a 2nd piece – seems Budge couldn’t contain himself.

It shows some difference here….I hate bailouts, but at a point where the whole damned U.S. economy is going to collapse, something needs to be done – and having both sides work together instead of each side saying “my way or the highway” leads us to paths of extremes. Moderating the solution – and I agree, corrections based solely on the market certainly need to be made – would be better, no?

Of course, what I suggest above requires some regulating of the market that sent these real estate prices soaring. Easy money feeds on the greed of not only investors and CEO’s, it feeds on the greed of buyers who bite off more that they should.

I guess what I’m saying is that I’ll go for minimal bailout if neocons will go for reasonable banking regulations.

The free market and Ayn Rand be damned.

by jhwygirl

Zoos are being faced with the somewhat new dilemma of what to do with aging animals. Do apes go through menopause? Apparently. Can aging lemurs suffer from dementia? Don’t know. Does acupuncture help arthritic tapirs? Yep. At the Arizona-Sonara Desert Zoo, 22-year old sibling black bears Spike and his sister Missoula have been moved to a new enclosure with graded ramps and a sloping pool – they had been unable to access their 3rd floor den.

A Malayan Tapir

I was in Bend, but I missed this. Still had fun anyways…..Most of you probably caught this at the end of your 4th of July weekend, but Kent Couch’s feat deserves a mention. Kent attached 165 helium filled balloons to a lawn chair, armed himself with a BB gun and attached a gps unit to both himself and his chair and lifted off from Bend Oregon. He didn’t stop until he hit Idaho. His website has some neat maps, including some 3-D GoogleEarth maps.

John Lennon is probably rolling in his grave. A woman, Gail Renard, who participated in John and Yoko’s famous Bed-In for Peace, sold John’s handwritten lyrics to “Give Peace a Chance” in an auction at Christie’s for $833,654. John and written and recorded the song during the 1969 protest. It was the first solo work released by a Beatle.

Lennon\'s handwritten \"Give Peace a Chance\"

I’d of thought it’d fetched more.

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