Monday, June 28, 2010

US industry passes out


I won't knock Plugs here, but this is almost like a Bush 1 moment.

"A country that doesn't innovate, stagnates." (plop)

Maybe companies like GE should quit financial innovations and instead spend their resources innovating actual products? There are plenty of tangible goods left to be invented and sold. In fact, I'll wager there are an infinite amount of goods yet to be invented and sold profitably.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Galveston, oh Galveston

Galveston, oh Galveston, I still hear your sea winds blowin'
I still see her dark eyes glowin'
She was covered up by seaweed on Galveston.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Crazy Sex Poodle

I don't believe the story, but it is interesting that Al is utterly quiet during our nation's worst environmental catastrophe. "Get off me you big lummox"?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

McChrystal has to go

His behavior is unprofessional, and last I checked he ultimately reports to the CiC. McChrystal doesn't have the option to criticize his superiors while he's serving in the US Army. It doesn't matter if he's right and the President is an asshat. It's not his job to publicly criticize the decisions or capabilities of his superiors.

Fine China

A giant shark loan ponzi scheme.
My hometown is zhejiang, now I live in shanghai, my sister pledged her home to bank, she lived in hangzhou, she bought her home around 500,0000rmb five years ago, now her home worth 2million rmb, so she can get huge loan from bank, she gave this loan to a shark loan company with 30% return every year, she has been doing and living on this for 4 years, she is a middle school teacher, she earned 4000rmb per month, but with this lending arrangement, she has been able to buy a car, the interest income is 6 times of her salary, One of my cousin's father lost all his principle of 4 million since one scheme blow up in 2008. That is my personal experience. 2 months ago I went back to my hometown in new year, this is 3 tier city, but many so investment companies shop in the street, and in 2009, I saw the so called investment companies( shark loan) opened in the town level, I visited four small towns, I saw there is shark loan shop in every town. China media is controlled, so you can't find many negative exposure, but if you dig a little bit deep, by doing some search for shark loan in Chinese, you will find out how serious the problem is. In my home town a 150 million ponzi scheme blow up in 2008, the leader turned himself in after he paid all the local official leader in full, and he felt safe enough knowing he will be protected, but my cousin's father was not so lucky for his 4 million, since he do not get his money back. Some people compare this bubble to Japan, to be fair, what happened in China real estate, the madness, the greedy, the loan shark with 100 % interest rate, it is much, much worse.

Martgage

Calculated Risk just noticed that the Obama administration has a problem with spelling. Some blame this on OCR software. If this is the case, I have to ask: In this day and age, why is anyone writing speeches that need to be scanned in order to distribute to the press? I assume the White House has a copy or two of Word.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Let's ask Roger.

Tom K. spotted this:

How do broke countries pay back money they owe other broke countries that owe money to other broke countries? They can't. We are not a Bailout Nation. We are a Bailout World.

Friday, June 18, 2010

LA is the best

Young brown-skinned men and young white-skinned men agree that Los Angeles is the best. Here they are, celebrating their victory by attacking a newspaper vending box. Be proud! Fight the power!

Update: LAPD has released a video. It seems like an equal opportunity mob of young men who stupidly pose for the many cameras as they riot.

I hope some American guys show up to work.

BP is hiring people to clean up the beaches. 18 bucks an hour. That's pretty good pay if you're unemployed, and if you are worried about toxic air they supply gas masks. As far as the heat is concerned, I've had worse jobs. When I've had these worse jobs I would have killed for $18/hr.

Run, Rible, Run!

New Jersey Republican politician David P. Rible began collecting a fat $54k annual pension at age 31. He's running marathons now, but still collects his disability pension plus his salary as a legislator. Nice, tidy six-figure taxpayer-funded annual paycheck.

I am glad that a high-profile Republican was busted doing this. The vast majority of these government union double-dipping early retiree people vote (D), and if it wasn’t for this guy being an (R) a lot of people would ignore the issue.

There's a plan afoot to loot us federal taxpayers out of somewhere between $50-$100 billion this year alone to keep the graft flowing. How about if we don't.

Friday, June 11, 2010

We can't stop here, this is Bat Country!

It's going to be a long, hot summer. I am thinking about turning off the computer for a few weeks and coming back later to read about all that has happened.

FBI to target mortgage fraud

Financial Times:
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is preparing a nationwide crackdown on mortgage fraud, the latest in a series of efforts to curb lending practices that contributed to the housing meltdown, according to people familiar with the matter.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Obama says he wants to eliminate the mortgage interest subsidy

Excellent. Here's a piece of common ground.
Democrats on President Barack Obama’s financial commission are considering the wisdom of permanent tax breaks such as the mortgage deduction and corporate deferral. Calling them “tax entitlements,” senior Democratic lawmakers have argued they should be on the table for reform just like traditional entitlement programs Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid.
Not that I think anything will happen. Companies like Toll Brothers have powerful lobbies. It is fun to watch, though, as people who consider themselves libertarians twist and squirm to justify this market-distorting welfare scheme for the wealthy and the people stupid enough to pay $600k for tract houses in California.

One commenter writes,
Notice that Obama does not mention the deduction for state/local income and property tax deductions. Those deductions allow people in high tax (usually Dem controlled) states to pay effectively lower federal income taxes than people who live in the more frugal states. Why should people in one state, who make the exact same income as people in another state, pay lower FEDERAL income tax?
Well, yeah. Nuke that piece of welfare too. It's absurd that residents of states without state income taxes are subsidizing states that do have income taxes. End the welfare. It's the libertarian thing to do. Plus it's good old-fashioned sense and fair play.

Bill White gets a wedgie

From the Chronicle:
December 2003
After being elected mayor, Bill White resigned from the WEDGE Group and BTEC board. The WEDGE Group had a controlling interest in BTEC.

September 2005
Hurricane Rita struck, taking down power at the Lynchburg Reservoir pumping station. White was called in to help. Among other actions, he put the crisis team in touch with BTEC, which led an effort to get a supply of diesel generators under an agreement with the Coastal Water Authority.

December 2006
The Sterling Group bought an interest in BTEC and asked White to join. White invested $1 million in the group's interest in BTEC.

2007
White reported income of $524,582 from the BTEC investment.
I won't say if I think Bill White engaged in shady deals here. If he did, the corruption pales in comparison to, say, Chicago.

To me, the big issue is how inept and fumbling Bill White's campaign staff is. Bill White is an electable Democrat who is articulate and avoids the looney-tunes wing of his party. Rick Perry is very beatable. Yet White trails badly in the polls, and now that this news has come out, the few remaining fence-sitters will go to Perry.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Austerity

I keep seeing the word "austerity" pop up lately whenever there's an article about the debt crisis.
Firemen march in front of a banner reading 'Markets cause crisis' during a demonstration to protest the government austerity cuts in Madrid...

The United States will have to adopt austerity measures similar to the ones taken in Europe, because the problems faced are largely the same...

But the drive to austerity has drawn criticism from European labor unions and some economists...

Tens of thousands of people are demonstrating outside Parliament to protest the Danish government's three-year austerity package...
I don't understand what's so austere about raising government pension retirement ages from 48 to 60. I don't understand what's so austere about making government employees chip in 5% more for their medical expenses. I don't understand what's so austere about rolling back government budgets to 2008 levels.

It doesn't matter that I don't understand. The only thing that is important is we cannot pay for it anymore.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

What recession?

We went to San Antonio over Memorial Day weekend. I have never, ever seen Memorial Day traffic like it. I-10 was backed up for 60 miles coming in to Houston. From Columbus in. The usual San Antonio attractions were mobbed. A line of cars was backed up for over a mile on I-10 trying to get to Buc-ees in Luling. Shiny new RVs and pickups towing expensive boats were everywhere.

I know and you know there's a bad recession going on. It seems like most everyone else failed to get the message. So where's the dough coming from? I don't get it.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Coming Bailout of Subprime Students

The education boil must be lanced.
Today, however, Ms. Munna, a 26-year-old graduate of New York University, has nearly $100,000 in student loan debt from her four years in college, and affording the full monthly payments would be a struggle. For much of the time since her 2005 graduation, she's been enrolled in night school, which allows her to defer loan payments.
I've pointed out for years now that the primary cost driver for higher education in this country has been "EZ loans for all." When virtually anyone can get $100k, $200k, $300k in cash for college expenses, what should you expect? It's a repeat of bubble pricing during the subprime mortgage fiasco. Here's a novel thought: Make all student loans non-recourse, and get government out of the loan process. The price of a college education would collapse within 1-2 years.

That doesn't help people like Ms. Munna because the damage is already done. That's why Congress will bail them out very soon.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Bouncy Bouncy!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Everyone's an expert

It's amusing to watch the Internet experts explain how they can solve the BP Deepwater Horizon crisis. It's even more amusing to watch the critics who have absolutely no understanding of what's involved. "Golf balls? They plan to plug the well with golf balls? Stupid people!"

Lots of smart people working for BP are trying their best, and they are on the line 24/7 with thousands of engineers around the globe, including their competitors. Heads will roll, as they should. Meanwhile, ignore the paranoid gibberish and the rants about how the Feds could do better. They can't. The Feds can't spot a housing bubble even though it's staring at them in the face, they hire banking regulators who spend their working days watching pron, and give us incompetent bureaucracies like the TSA.

Let the experts at BP and other companies do their work. Keep the Feds doing what they do best: grandstanding off on the side.