"Emancipate yourself from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our mind.” - Bob Marley

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

40 year old poetry

Jim Morrison, "Five to One", 1968
...Your ballroom days are over, baby
Night is drawing near
Shadows of the evening
crawl across the years....

Sunday, December 14, 2008

It's not JUST Sub-Prime - and it Never Was

For those who have missed the memo, CBS's 60 minutes has nice pictures and graphs. Video at:

Alt-A and Option ARM Loans to be bigger mess than Subprime

For those of you that still like your blinders: just keep waiting for that 2nd-half 2009 recovery.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Dilbert on MBS - Priceless

You just can't beat this:


Friday, December 12, 2008

CRA Myth Demolished - AGAIN

Barry Ritholtz demolishes the "CRA caused this" myth yet again. Some relevant snippets (the whole thing is a good read):

As the prior post on foreclosures shows, the concentration is mostly middle class and upper middle class white suburban neighborhoods...

California leads the nation in foreclosures. The state’s foreclosure activity was up 51% from a year ago. These are not CRA communities, they are what were hoped to be surburban bedroom communities east of the major cities (San Diego and L.A.)...

the Community Reinvestment Act required banks to make good faith attempts to loan the money back to its own depositors.

He mentions “in 1995 the Clinton administration added tough new regulations,” but omits any mentions that the Bush administration substantially watering down the act in 2004.

since Bear Stearns collapsed in March, there has been a veritable parade of bankers, mortgage originators, lenders, fund managers, and investment banks CEOs all testifying in Washington D.C. about the causes of the crisis. By some strange coincidence, not a single one blamed the CRA (Dick Fuld, CEO of Lehman Brothers was even asked about it). Not a one.

Why did 30 other countries, none of which have are covered by the CRA, have a remarkably similar housing boom and bust to the USA?

Barry is demolishing an Op-Ed in the NYT - once again, the blogosphere fixes what the MSM breaks.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Coming Stupidity Crunch

Watchers of the Stupidity industry tonight expressed grave concerns on the future supplies of stupidity.

One industry watcher, who wisshed to remain anonymous, stated: "Einstein thought that stupidity was infinite, but, really, we doubt that anything is truly infinite. However, we thought we had enough for the next 100 years until this Congress started trying to 'fix' things."

The first ripples of angst over stupidity supplies came last year when, acting on advice from Ben Bernanke, Congress increased the conformiing limit on GSE loans.

"That had some the more bearish Peak Stupidity people concerned, but we still thought the supplies would be good."

Then in October, Congress passed the $700 Billion dollar bailout of bankers and other scum.

"This wouldn't have been such hit to the reservoirs, except after defining the oversight, they gave Paulson the money before the oversight was in place. There really was a giant sucking sound on that one, and we know Monica and Bill are out of town."

However, there is panic on the Dumb futures tonight, after the Senate failed to reach agreement on even a bridge loan for the formerly-big 3, upon which as many as 3,000,000 jobs depend.

"We have no idea how to function in this environment. We looked all over flyover country, and cannot find anything like the dumbass deposits we had in D.C. - we are trying to arrange imports from Europe, but if that doesn't work, we'll have to fall back on Sean Penn amd Rosie O'Donnell. We think that'll probably do it for a while."

Friday, December 5, 2008

Words to Panic By

The Second Coming - W.B Yeats, 1919

Turning and turning in the widening gyre,
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
And that's only the first stanza. In the 2nd stanza, things get nastier than "mere" anarchy.

Good night. Sleep tight.

THUD! (No, it's not the stock market.)

(UPDATE: I got the original link to the whole interview from the comments section of the excellent Calculated Risk blog, evening of 12/5 or maybe even 12/4. Amazing stuff in the comments there, as well as the postings.

UPDATE2: Hat tip to CR commenter "Hawley Smoot" for the orginal link.)

This is the sound of veteran news reporter and interviewer Charlie Rose having the living shit shocked out of him.

A soon-to-be classic moment in video journalism, IMNSHO.

See this video clip of Charlie Rose interviewing Nassim Nicholas Taleb - author of The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable. The entire interview is here.

Charlie Rose refers to Nouriel Roubini as some one who "scares the hell out of everybody when he comes here, and sits where you are". And then

((Timings below are from the entire interview.))

(15:48) Rose: How bad do you think it will get?

(15:51) Taleb: I think it will be worse than Roubini thinks

(15:54) Off camera: THUD! , which is Rose's hand slamming down on his papers and a copy of Taleb's book.

The camera returns to Rose and he is staring at Taleb with his mouth open in utter shock.

Strangely, Taleb says he thinks Henry "Paulson seems to be doing a good job (particularly that they were part of the problem developing)" in steering the world to what Taleb calls "Capitalism 2.0", a world where banks are public utilities, because nobody who is backed by the public will ever be allowed to take this much risk ever again; a lot less debt; most hedge funds are gone; risk is taken with both gains and losses strictly privatized; and stock prices are MUCH lower and much less involved in the making of money by most people.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Guns Don't Kill People - Judges and Parole Boards Kill People

Regarding the likely murderer of the mother, sister and nehew of Jennifer Hudson:

Here we see:

Balfour was out on parole from the Illinois River Correctional Center on attempted-murder, carjacking and stolen-property charges, for which he had been sentenced to serve seven years.
Here we see:

Family members told police that Balfour, 27, paroled for an attempted murder in 2006, had threatened his estranged wife before and was thrown out of the family home, according to law-enforcement sources.
So a guy who tried to kill somebody (among other felonies) was sentenced by some moronic judge to all of 7 years - and then the morons on the parole board decided that this sterling citizen deserved to be released early.

From Gunfacts.info we see:

Why does crime rise when criminals are released from prison early? Because they are likely to commit more crimes. 67.5% were re-arrested for new felonies or serious misdemeanors within three years. Extrapolating, those released felons killed another 2,282 people. (“Reentry Trends in the U.S., Recidivism”, Department of Justice, 1999)

45% of state prisoners, at the time they committed their offenses, were under conditional supervision in the community--either on probation or on parole. (US Bureau of Justice Statistics, 1991) Keeping violent convicts in prison would reduce violent crimes.

Homicide convicts serve a little more than ½ of their original sentences. (“Firearm Use by Offenders”, Bureau of Justice Statiscs, November , 2001) Given that men tend to be less prone to violent behavior as they age (Homicide rates peak in the 18-24 year old group, Bureau of Justice Statistics, online database), holding them for their full sentences would probably reduce violence significantly.

In 1991, 13,200 homicides were committed by felons on parole or probation. For comparison sake, this is about ½ of the 1999 annual gun death totals (keep in mind that gun deaths fell from 1991 to 1999).

Los Angeles county saw repeat offender and re-arrest rates soar after authorities closed jails and released prisoners early. In less than three years, early release of prisoners in LA resulted in: (" Releasing Inmates Early Has a Costly Human Toll", Los Angeles Times, May 14, 2006)
• 15,775 Rearrested convicts
• 1,443 Assault charges
• 518 Robbery charges
• 215 Sex offense charges
• 16 Murder charges

About Me

I'm a 57 year old geek. I voted Democratic for 20 years, because I disliked the Republicans more. But now, nobody really speaks for me. I'm for Guns, for more correct government regulation of the financial world, against illegal immigration and amnesty. (in 2008 I ended up voting Republican - too many questions about Obama, and voting against anybody who voted for TARP 1.) In 2010 I voted a stright republican ticket because the Democrats have completely lost their minds.