Monday, March 17, 2008

Obama's "friend" Pastor Wright

So Obama has been calling his Pastor (Pastor Wright) the old uncle that he disagrees with. He has tried to distance himself from Pastor Wrights political standing by saying he is just his "spiritual adviser".
In the following video it sure seems otherwise, since he is going OUT of his way to point to his Pastor and calls him a friend and that he "councils" Obama.


But the plot thickens even more:
Via NewsMax

Contrary to Senator Barack Obama’s claim that he never heard his pastor Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr. preach hatred of America, Obama was in the pews last July 22 when the minister blamed the “white arrogance” of America’s Caucasian majority for the world’s suffering, especially the oppression of blacks.

Senator Obama has sought to separate himself from his pastor’s incendiary remarks, issuing a statement Friday rejecting them as “inflammatory and appalling” but failing to renounce Wright himself for his venomous and paranoid denunciations of America.

In his press release, Obama claimed, “The statements that Rev. Wright made that are the cause of this controversy were not statements I personally heard him preach while I sat in the pews of Trinity [United Church of Christ] or heard him utter in private conversation.”

Appearing on cable news shows this past weekend, Obama claimed when he saw recent videos that have Wright making such comments as “God damn America,” he was “shocked.” Obama implied that the reverend had not used such derogatory language in any of the church services Obama attended over the past two decades.

If Obama’s claims are true that he was completely unaware that Wright’s trademark preaching style at the Trinity United Church of Christ has targeted “white” America and Israel, he would have been one of the few people in Chicago to be so uninformed. Wright’s reputation for spewing hate is well known.

In fact, Obama was present in the South Side Chicago church on July 22 last year when Jim Davis, a freelance correspondent for Newsmax, attended services along with Obama.

In his sermon that day, Wright tore into America, referring to the “United States of White America” and lacing his sermon with expletives as Obama listened. Hearing Wright’s attacks on his own country, Obama had the opportunity to walk out, but Davis said the senator sat in his pew and nodded in agreement.

Addressing the Iraq war, Wright thundered, “Young African-American men” were “dying for nothing.” The “illegal war,” he shouted, was “based on Bush’s lies” and is being “fought for oil money.”

Obama’s most famous celebrity backer, Oprah Winfrey began attending Wright’s church in 1984. Last year, Newsmax magazine reported that Winfrey abruptly stopped attending years ago, and suggested that she did so to distance herself from Wright’s inflammatory rhetoric. She soon found herself a target of Wright, who excoriated her for having broken with “traditional faith.”

The Reverend Wright’s anti-white theology that Senator Obama expressed surprise over is evident on the church’s website. The site says the congregation subscribes to what it calls the Black Value System, which is described as a disavowal of “our racist competitive society” and the pursuit of “middle-classness.” That is defined as a way for American society to “snare” blacks rather than “killing them off directly” or “placing them in concentration camps,” just as the country structures “an economic environment that induces captive youth to fill the jails and prisons.”

“In the 21st century, white America got a wake-up call after 9/11/01,” Wright wrote in the church-affiliated magazine Trumpet four years after the attacks. “White America and the western world came to realize that people of color had not gone away, faded into the woodwork or just ‘disappeared’ as the Great White West kept on its merry way of ignoring black concerns.”

Even Oprah knew but Barack didn't?
Sure, you folks keep believing that one.
Back in 2007 Newsmax reported on this very issue. Its getting attention now as the "Messiah Obama" is on a Presidential run.

Dollar plunge

Ben S. Bernanke's interest-rate cuts have touched off a vicious circle of doom for the dollar.

The Federal Reserve reduced the rate on direct loans to commercial banks by a quarter-point to 3.25 percent before Asian financial markets opened today. It will likely lower its target rate for overnight loans between banks tomorrow to at least 2 percent from 3 percent, according to futures traded on the Chicago Board of Trade. Lower borrowing costs work against the dollar by making fixed-income securities issued by the government less appealing to global investors.

``The relative return on U.S. assets is not attractive enough and we have moved back into looking for dollar weakness,'' said Robert Robis, a bond fund manager in New York at OppenheimerFunds Inc., which oversees $260 billion. Robis last month was betting the dollar would rally versus the euro.

If that weren't enough to make bears out of bulls, the weakest dollar since at least 1971 based on a Fed trade-weighted index is helping push oil, grains and metals, which are priced in the U.S. currency, to record highs. That in turn is causing economists to lower growth forecasts for the U.S. and preventing central banks concerned that inflation is accelerating from cutting interest rates, further undermining the dollar.

``The whole world feels there's inflation when a good part of that is the weak dollar itself,'' said Stephen Jen, head of global foreign-exchange research at Morgan Stanley in London. ``Watching the dollar plummet like this is very dangerous.''

Picking Up Steam

The dollar tumbled 6 percent in the past month against a basket of six major trading partners, the fastest pace of decline since May 2006. It fell to a record low against the euro of $1.5903 today, before trading at $1.5714, and depreciated to 95.76 against the yen, the weakest since 1995.

Barclays Capital Inc., BNP Paribas SA, Morgan Stanley, Standard Chartered Plc, Bank of America Corp. and Credit Suisse Group cut their forecasts for the dollar in the last two weeks.

European Central Bank president Jean-Claude Trichet and Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda said last week in interviews the plunge is ``concerning'' and ``undesirable'' for growth. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Morgan Stanley strategists say that coordinated action by policy makers to stem the currency's slide is increasingly likely. In intervention, central banks buy and sell currencies to influence exchange rates.

`Down the Tubes'

``It's hard to stimulate an economy when the currency is going down the tubes,'' said David Malpass, the chief economist at Bear Stearns & Co. The New York-based firm expects the dollar will fall to $1.60 per euro in 12 months.

The U.S. economy may expand 1.4 percent this year, according to the median estimate of 82 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News this month. The median in March was for growth of 1.7 percent. As recently as September the Fed's target rate was 5.25 percent.

Global investors see little reason to own U.S. financial assets with the two-year Treasury yielding 1.28 percent today, or 1.97 percentage points less than similar-maturity German bunds. The gap is the widest since September 1993. Foreign purchases of U.S. financial assets slowed in each of the final three months of 2007, to a net $56.5 billion from $113.9 billion, according to the latest Treasury Department data.

As the currency fell, the UBS Bloomberg Constant Maturity Commodity Index of 26 commodities ranging from energy, metals, agriculture and live stock rose 43 percent in the past 12 months, the biggest increase since the index's inception in 1998. The price of a barrel of crude oil surged 96 percent in a year to an all-time high of $111.80 today.

Commodities Hedge

``A lot of people out there are using oil and other commodities as hedge against a falling dollar,'' said Simon Wardell, manager of energy research at Global Insight Inc. in London. ``We could get to $120 in oil if we continue to see weakness in the U.S. dollar.''

The drop in the currency is responsible for about a third of the 230 percent rise in commodities since 2002, with the rest mainly attributable to demand from developing nations such as China, according to Morgan Stanley. The ICE Dollar Index moved in unison with the price of crude oil more than 97 percent of the time in the last year, according to Bloomberg data.

Relief may be in sight. The International Monetary Fund in Washington said last month that oil prices may be peaking as growth slows. The median forecast of 34 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg is for the dollar to gain about 10 percent against the euro this year and 8 percent versus the yen as the Fed's rate cuts spark the economy in the second half of 2008.

``If the U.S. dollar turns higher or if the crude oil market reverses then we have a spiral working the other way,'' said Tim Evans, an energy analyst at Citigroup Global Markets Inc. in New York. The price of crude oil will at $70 by September, Evans said.

`Major Concern'

The ECB is one of more than 12 central banks that cited faster inflation as the reason for raising or keeping rates unchanged this year.

``The surge in oil prices is a major concern and I don't think it leaves us any room for a loosening of our monetary policy,'' said Axel Weber, member of the ECB's Governing Council, in Frankfurt on March 11.

Inflation in the euro zone rose at a 3.3 percent annualized pace last month, the fastest in 14 years, the European Union's statistics office in Luxembourg said March 14. Consumer prices in the U.S. were unchanged in February, the Labor Department said.

Kenneth Rogoff, the former chief economist at the IMF and now a professor at Harvard University, said the greenback may drop another 12 percent on a trade-weighted basis.

``This recession will be long and deep and when we get out of it, we'll have inflation,'' Rogoff said in an interview. ``Confidence in the dollar is down.''

My biggest fear with Ben has been coming true so far.
That he would be more of a politician than the economist we need.
To me, every time I hear him talk he talks more like a politician, carefully wording his responses to divert blame from himself. The current run on the dollar, ISN'T totally his fault but a large part is. His actions lowering the interest rate are more and more pushing us towards the dreaded STAGFLATION.

Part of the problem I also see here is that there are LOTS AND LOTS AND LOTS of speculators right now jumping on gold, jumping on oil and jumping on other commodities to hedge their bets on the dollar. These folks are pushing the price up significantly on all commodities. There is a saying that stuck with me from a real estate mogul (the name completely escapes me), but, "When there are lots of rookies playing in a polo match, its time to get out."

The same went for the mortgage market, lots and lots of rookies, that took the advice of infomercials and bought and sold homes like it was ebay, are to blame for these high prices that the market is seeking to level itself back to. They are to blame for the radical increase that we have seen that banks were all to willing to jump onto and finance growth that was unrealistic. Now what we are seeing is the market seeking balance. Housing prices seeking to fall to realistic values for a 3 bedroom home in a brand new community.

The same I see going on with Oil, Gold and Corn. People are jumping onto these things like its the latest fad. Pushing the Oil prices higher, and couple that with the falling dollar it only exacerbates the problem. When the Oil plummets none of us will be complaining, but I do think it will happen. Not $20 per barrel as has been suggested by a Fox Business News contributor, but back to the $50-$60 per barrel level.

I can't say if we are in a recession or not, I am not that good, but I believe if we are NOT there yet, we are going to go there sooner rather than later. That being the case, our focus needs to be how do we weather this storm, and how long do we have to weather it for?

Today I received a letter from the IRS, stating that I will be getting money from part of the stimulus package. Part of it also includes more money depending on how many kids you have. My guess is that lots of this money will not be used back into the economy as the fed had planned. And the funniest part of all of this is, that the Fed has used MORE MONEY in the last week to put liquidity into the market then legislators gave to tax payers. To the Tune of $250+ Million to JP Morgan to purchase Bear Sterns.

Then, recently the house voted to increase taxes on people that make more than $31K for singles $65K for married couples. How truly ridiculous is it of the (Democrat controlled) House, to pass a stimulus package to put more money in the hands of the people this year, and then turn around and for the following year, not only ask for that money back, but then charge them MORE in taxes!

Geniuses they are not.

Court Will Examine Profanity Rules

he Supreme Court on Monday stepped into a legal fight over the use of curse words on the airwaves, the high court's first major case on broadcast indecency in 30 years.

The case concerns a Federal Communications Commission policy that allows for fines against broadcasters for so-called "fleeting expletives," one-time uses of the F-word or its close cousins.

Fox Broadcasting Co., along with ABC, CBS and NBC, challenged the new policy after the commission said broadcasts of entertainment awards shows in 2002 and 2003 were indecent because of profanity uttered by Bono, Cher and Nicole Richie.

A federal appeals court said the new policy was invalid and could violate the First Amendment.

No fines were issued in the incidents, but the FCC could impose fines for future violations of the policy.

The case before the court technically involves only two airings on Fox of the "Billboard Music Awards" in which celebrities' expletives were broadcast over the airwaves. NBC is separately challenging an FCC decision that rapped the network for airing Bono's use of the F-word during a Golden Globes awards show in 2003.

The case will be argued in the fall.

The FCC appealed to the Supreme Court after the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York nullified the agency's enforcement regime regarding "fleeting expletives." By a 2-1 vote, the appeals court said the FCC had changed its policy and failed to adequately explain why it had done so.

The appeals court, acting on a complaint by the networks, nullified the policy until the agency could return with a better explanation for the change. In the same opinion, the court also said the agency's position was probably unconstitutional.

The court rejected the FCC's policy on procedural grounds, but was "skeptical that the commission can provide a reasoned explanation for its fleeting expletive regime that would pass constitutional muster."

Solicitor General Paul Clement, representing the FCC and the Bush administration, argued that the decision "places the commission in an untenable position," powerless to stop the airing of expletives even when children are watching.

The FCC has pending before it "hundreds of thousands of complaints" regarding the broadcast of expletives, Clement said. He argued that the appeals court decision has left the agency "accountable for the coarsening of the airwaves while simultaneously denying it effective tools to address the problem."

The appeal also argued that the FCC's explanation of its policy was well reasoned and that the appeals court decision was at odds with the landmark 1978 indecency case, FCC v. Pacifica Foundation, the last broadcast indecency case heard by the Supreme Court.

Lawyers for the networks said the old policy worked well for 30 years and that broadcasters had no reason suddenly to allow for an explosion of expletives.

Separately, CBS is challenging a $550,000 fine the FCC imposed for the "wardrobe malfunction" that bared Janet Jackson's breast during a televised 2004 Super Bowl halftime show. The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia is considering whether the incident was indecent or merely a fleeting and accidental glitch that shouldn't be punished.

The case is the second recent test of the federal government's powers to regulate broadcast indecency. Last June, a federal appeals court in New York invalidated the government's policy on fleeting profanities uttered over the airwaves.

The new policy was put in place after a January 2003 broadcast of the Golden Globes awards show by NBC when U2 lead singer Bono uttered the phrase "f------ brilliant." The FCC said the "F-word" in any context "inherently has a sexual connotation" and can trigger enforcement.

The Fox programs at issue are a Dec. 9, 2002, broadcast of the Billboard Music Awards in which singer Cher used the phrase "F--- 'em" and a Dec. 10, 2003, Billboard awards show in which reality show star Nicole Richie said, "Have you ever tried to get cow s--- out of a Prada purse? It's not so f------ simple."

The case will be argued in the fall.

Should be rather interesting to see their ruling.
After the whole Nappy Headed Hoe's fiasco, this ruling could set some precedent that some are not ready to accept. One that I have stated numerous times.

Lets see where the court takes us this time next year.

New Economics Blog to check out.

Found a new Blog that would be of great interest to any frequent visitors.
James Phillip over at has a great site set up giving commentary on Economics and Technology.

We seem to share lots of the same views on the current "capitalistic" US economy.
One that caught my attention was:

The United States is being scared into a Recession »
(Truer words have never been spoken!)

Bear Sterns fire sale

JPMorgan Chase said Sunday it will acquire rival Bear Stearns in a deal valued at $236.2 million — or $2 a share — a stunning collapse for one of the world's largest and most venerable investment banks.

The last-minute buyout was aimed at averting a Bear Stearns bankruptcy and a spreading crisis of confidence in the global financial system.

The Federal Reserve and the U.S. government swiftly approved the all-stock deal, showing the urgency of completing the deal before world markets opened.

Bear Stearns shares close Friday at $30 a share. At their peak, the shares traded at $159.36.

The Fed will provide special financing to JPMorgan Chase for the deal, JPMorgan Chase said. The central bank has agreed to fund up to $30 billion of Bear Stearns' less liquid assets. Risky bets on securities tied to subprime mortgages — loans given to customers with poor credit history — crippled Bear Stearns, the nations' fifth-largest investment bank.

At almost the same time as the deal for control of Bear Stearns was announced, the Federal Reserve said it approved a cut in its lending rate to banks to 3.25 percent from 3.50 percent and created another lending facility for big investment banks. The central bank's official meeting is on Tuesday. Before the emergency move to lower the discount rate, which is the rate at which banks lend each other money, the Fed was widely expected to again cut its headline rate by as much as a full point to 2 percent.

The announcements from both the Fed and JPMorgan come ahead of what some analysts expected to be a brutal day for global stocks. Already, before the announcements, New Zealand's markets opened drastically lower — then began to recover after the deal was unveiled.

"This is going to go down in very historic terms," said Peter Dunay, chief investment strategist for New York-based Meridian Equity Partners. "This is about credit being overextended, and how bad it is for major financial institutions and for individuals. This is why we're probably heading into a recession."

A collapse of Bear Stearns could have created a further crisis of confidence in world financial markets amid a deepening credit crunch. JPMorgan's acquisition of Bear Stearns represents roughly 1 percent of what the investment bank was worth just 16 days ago.

The deal marked a 93.3 percent discount to Bear Stearns' market capitalization as of Friday, and roughly a 98.8 percent discount to its book value as of Feb. 29.

"The past week has been an incredibly difficult time for Bear Stearns," said Bear Stearns Chief Executive Alan Schwartz in a statement. "This represents the best outcome for all of our constituencies based upon the current circumstances."

Wall Street analysts say the bid to rescue Bear Stearns was more than just saving one of the world's largest investments bank — it was a prop for the U.S. economy and the global financial system. An outright collapse could cause huge losses for banks, hedge funds and other investors to which Bear Stearns is connected.

The government, led by the Treasury Department and the Fed, was reported to have closely monitored the talks between JPMorgan and Bear Stearns. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, former chief executive of Goldman Sachs Group Inc., "has been in nearly continuous consultations all weekend," said Brookly McLaughlin, a Treasury Department spokeswoman.

After days of denials that it had liquidity problems, Bear was forced into a JPMorgan-led, government-backed bailout on Friday. The arrangement, the first of its kind since the 1930s, resulted in Bear getting a 28-day loan from JPMorgan with the government's guarantee that JPMorgan would not suffer any losses on the deal.

This is not the first time Bear Stearns has earned a place in Wall Street history. A decade ago, Bear Stearns refused to help bail out a hedge fund that was deemed "too big to fail." On Friday, the tables had turned, with the now-struggling investment bank in need of the same kind of aid.

Bear Stearns was founded in 1923 and in recent years was best known for its aggressive investing in mortgage-backed securities — and what was once a cash cow turned into the investment bank's undoing.

In June, two Bear-managed hedge funds worth billions of dollars collapsed. The funds were heavily invested in securities backed by subprime mortgages. Until that point, subprime mortgage-backed securities were immensely popular with investors because of their profitability.

The funds' collapse and subsequent problems in the credit markets called into question Bear Stearns' ability to manage its own risk and the leadership ability of then-Chief Executive James Cayne. Critics of the company said Cayne spent too much time away from the office last year playing golf and bridge as the problems unfolded.

Cayne is the same executive who refused to let Bear Stearns provide support as part of a Federal Reserve-led plan to rescue Long-Term Capital Management in 1998. His reticence was said to deeply anger some of his fellow Wall Street CEOs, and the episode came up every time Bear was reported to be in trouble in recent months.

Cayne took over from the legendary Alan "Ace" Greenberg in 1993. Greenberg joined Bear Stearns as a clerk, working his way up through the ranks to eventually take over as CEO in 1978. Greenberg was known for his irreverent style, and his regular memos to employees were turned into a book called "Memos from the Chairman."

Before Greenberg's ascendancy to CEO, Bear Stearns began to expand from its New York roots throughout the 1950s and 1960s, opening international offices and expanding its U.S. operations.

The company was opened in 1923 as an equity trading shop. Today, it has subsidiaries providing a wide array of financial services products for individuals, corporations, institutions and governments. Generally, it provides capital markets, wealth management and global clearing services to its customers.

You know what gets me from all of this is that from what I understand, from friends back at Morgan, and Goldman, Bear Sterns wasn't in all that bad a shape. It seems like a rather desperate move by both the fed and Bear Sterns.

In any case, I wonder if shareholders will approve the buy?
That is the few that are left that still need to approve it.

This is the clearest example of a run on the "bank" that we have seen in the last 50 years. Bear Sterns was at $170 per share last year. Sold for $2? That doesn't even make ANY SENSE! Their corporate building in NY is valued at over 1 billion dollars! Its brand new!

Two things went through my mind on my way in to work this morning and hearing more about this. First Asian markets dropped 4% on this news, which tells me markets today in the US will do about the same. That being the case, the feds moves are striking MORE FEAR in markets on US liquidity then helping. Which makes me wonder, is the fed doing more harm then good dropping these rates so low? Its making buyers wonder, what does the fed know that we do not that they are dropping rates at now an expected 2% tomorrow!

2 FLIPPIN%! Seriously?!

Second thing, again, is why are we bailing out a failing company? JP morgan is buying Bear Sterns with money they are borrowing from the fed? So its guaranteed money that is coming from our tax dollars to save a financial company with JP as the intermediary. Why?

There has to either be WAY to much over thinking at the fed over all of this OR there is far more at play here then simple mortgage foreclosures. There is no way that 1% of Households in the US can have this far a reach on market liquidity.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Barack Obama's Pastor

In light of these recent discoveries.
Does this or should this have any bearing on Barack Obama?
The media went after Mit Romney on his religion. So much so that he had to make a statement about it. So should this also be fair game?

Does it or should it effect the outcome of Baracks presidential bid when he has been a member of a church for 20 years where the pastor is clearly racist. You can spin it however you want, but the man is a racist. Or are you only a racist if you are white and say something like this.

If any other Church in America or if Hillary's Church pastor would have said this he would be deemed a racist VERY VERY QUICKLY! If you were at any other Church or white Church and the preacher would say that they teach "White Values" they would be called a racist. So what is so different with this man?

Further to accept Louis Farrakhan into your church and give that man a LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD is flat out ridiculous. Farrakhan has said some very racist things, known to be an anti-semit as well as completely racist towards whites.

Does this effect Obama?
Should it effect Obama and his Presidential run?

I would have to say YES!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Standing by your man

In light of the recent scandals of both Republicans and Democrats, I ask the question why do women stand by their men? Sure some of these scandals that have come out did not involve sex cases like that of Eliot Spitzer. Some involved federal crimes that I guess shouldn't have any bearing on a marriage. But what does it take for a woman to leave her man?

Is it loyalty that keeps the woman there? Even though she has just been humiliated by a person she trusted? Is it power, like many believe is the case with Hillary and Bill Clinton? Is it just you have no where else to go so you stay?

So here is a picture break down (courtesy of NPR) of public officials that have been caught in scandals and the women that have stood by them:

Senator Edward Kennedy and his wife Joan July 25, 1965. Kennedy had just plead guilty to fleeing the scene of a auto accident that claimed the life of 28 year old Mary Jo Kopechne, who was a passenger of Kennedy's car. (AP photo)


President Nixon and his wife Pat on Aug 9th, 1974 making a farewell speech following the Watergate scandal. (Charlie Harrity AP)


Marion Barry, then Mayor of Washington DC and his wife Effi at a news conference where Barry was facing charges of drug possession. He was caught with his former girl friend at DC's Vista Hotel. (Robert Sherbow/Time Life Pictures/Getty Images)


Bill Clinton and his wife Hillary (now running for president) on December 18th 1998. Bill was under impeachment for having sex with an intern, Monica Lewinsky in the oval office. (Susan Walsh, AP)


Connecticut Governor John Rowland and his wife Patty as John announces his resignation on June 21st, 2004. Rowland resigned during a corruption investigation, and later pleaded guilty in federal court to mail fraud and tax fraud. (Bob Child, AP)


New Jersey Governor James McGreevey and his wife Dina at a News conference on August, 12th 2004. McGreevey announced he had an affair with another man and would resign. McGreevey later wrote a book on how he would seek out other men at Truck Stops and restrooms around the state.


Senator David Vitter and his wife Wendy at a news conference on July 16th, 2007. Vitter has not resigned after his name came up in the DC Madam case from Washington. Vitter was also accused in 2004 by his opponent to have had sex with a Louisiana prostitute which Vitter denied. (Bill Haber/AP)


Senator Larry Craig and his wife Suzanne at a news conference on August 28th, 2007. Craig was under investigation accused of lewd conduct in an airport bathroom. Crag has yet to resign from the incident. (Mike Vogt,AP Idaho Press-Tribune)


New York Governor Elliot Spitzer with his wife Silda holding a news conference March 10th, 2008. Spitzer has apologized for his actions and is expected to resign today or Monday. (Timothy A. Clary,AFP/Getty Images)


Here is a list of Public officials caught with prostitutes:

1974: Future television host Jerry Springer, then a city councilman in Cincinnati, resigned from office after it was revealed that he met a prostitute in a health club and paid her by personal check. The incident became an issue again in 1982, when Springer ran for governor. His campaign ran television ads in which Springer explained the incident and proclaimed that he was "not afraid" of the truth.

1976: Rep. Joe Waggonner, a Louisiana Democrat, was arrested in a Washington, D.C., prostitution sting. He was re-elected that fall and retired in 1978.

1976: Rep. Allan Howe, a Utah Democrat, was arrested after he approached two undercover policewomen for sex. He did not resign but lost his bid for re-election that fall.

1978: Rep. Fred Richmond, a New York Democrat, was arrested when he solicited sex from an underage male prostitute. He avoided prosecution by going into psychiatric counseling. His district re-elected him twice more, but he resigned in 1982 after pleading guilty to drug possession.

1980: Rep. Robert Bauman, a Maryland Republican, was arrested after patronizing an underage male prostitute. He blamed his actions on addictions to alcohol and sex. A month later, Bauman lost his bid for re-election.

1990: Rep. Barney Frank, a Massachusetts Democrat, was reprimanded for his relations with prostitute Stephen Gobie. Years earlier, Frank had paid Gobie for sex; he eventually hired him as his assistant. Gobie was later accused of running a sex business out of Frank's home. Frank was censured by the House for writing a letter on his behalf. He has since won re-election. Frank apologized to his constituents: "I did not handle the pressures of having a public life, of being a closeted gay man, nearly as well as I should have."

1996: Clinton political strategist Dick Morris submitted his resignation after the Star tabloid revealed that he had engaged in a yearlong affair with a Washington-area prostitute. The woman, Sherry Ann Rowlands, claimed that Morris had allowed her to listen in on a telephone call from the president.

2001: Philip Giordano, the Republican mayor of Waterbury, Conn., was arrested for sexually abusing children after he was charged with paying a prostitute to arrange encounters with her underage daughter and niece. Giordano was convicted on federal and state charges. Now in federal prison, he recently filed his fifth appeal of his conviction.

2007: Sen. David Vitter, a Lousiana Republican, issued a public apology after his name was linked to a Washington escort service run by Deborah Jeane Palfrey, the so-called D.C. Madam. Earlier in his career, Vitter had been accused of seeing a prostitute in New Orleans, a charge which he denied.

2008: Federal investigators discover that Eliot Spitzer, the Democratic governor of New York, has been a client of an exclusive prostitution ring. It is alleged that he paid several thousand dollars for sexual services.

So why exactly do these women for the most part stay with these men?
Its one thing to have a girl friend and cheat, especially at a young age. But to be married with children? What ever happened to the sanctity of marriage for these people? At least in the case of Larry Craig it was straight bullshit that you are caught in a sex sting for using a restroom. But these other guys DAMN!

Take out the trash, walk the dog, shoot up the neighborhood . . .

So you are minding your own business, taking out the trash at night, or checking some suspicious noise outside in the middle of the night. Don't forget this little handy tool.

The Magpul FMG9 could be a nasty surprise for that carload of gangbangers you meet on your way to the garbage can. Nice technical exercise, getting an automatic weapon down to pocket size, but you gotta wonder about the state of paranoia that drives these inventions.

Auditors: Iraq Faces Budget Surplus

Iraq isn't spending much of its own money, despite soaring oil revenues that are pushing the country toward a massive budget surplus, auditors told Congress on Tuesday.

The expected surplus comes as the U.S. continues to invest billions of dollars in rebuilding Iraq and faces a financial squeeze domestically because of record oil prices.

"The Iraqis have a budget surplus," said U.S. Comptroller General David Walker. "We have a huge budget deficit. . . . One of the questions is who should be paying."

Walker and the other auditors did not give a figure as to the likely surplus. U.S. officials contend that Iraq's lack of spending is due primarily to Baghdad's inability to determine where its money is needed most and how to allocate it efficiently. Two senators have called for an investigation into the matter.

Democrats say the assessment is proof that the Iraq war as a waste of time and money. The U.S. has spent more than $45 billion on rebuilding Iraq. And while officials in Iraq contend that much progress is being made, many projects remain unfinished and U.S. troops are still needed to provide security.

"They ought to be able to use some of their oil to pay for their own costs and not keep sending the bill to the United States," said Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt.

In recent months, Iraq experienced its highest oil production and export levels since the war began five years ago, said Stuart Bowen, special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction.

That spike in revenue combined with the highest oil prices in history, "coalesce into an enormous revenue windfall for the Iraqi government," Bowen told the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Whereas Iraqi officials estimated $35 billion in oil revenues last fall, Bowen said the final number is likely to be closer to $60 billion.

"That certainly gives them resources to carry forward with an extensive reconstruction plan," Bowen said.

But according to other U.S. officials, a major problem is that Iraq does not have the capacity to allocate the money without it being wasted or pocketed by corrupt officials.

"I think they are beginning to do more," particularly in improving its military and buying new weapon systems, said Claude Kicklighter, the Pentagon's inspector general. "And I think that's certainly the trend that we should be following."

The Government Accountability Office estimates that the U.S. has designated $6 billion to rebuild Iraq's energy sector and $300 million to develop Iraq's government ministries. But GAO contends that the U.S. doesn't have a strategic plan on how to accomplish either goal.

The State Department told investigators it believes the Iraqis should be responsible for devising such a plan. GAO disagreed.

"In our view, it's a shared responsibility. U.S. taxpayer money is involved," Walker said.

Last week, Sens. Carl Levin, D-Mich., and John Warner, R-Va., asked GAO to investigate what Iraq is doing with its oil revenue. The senators estimated that Iraq will realize "at least $100 billion in oil revenues in 2007 and 2008."

This is good news is my horse blinders wearing lefty friends.
It means that the Iraqis can soon (if not now) take over funding for their own security, their own infrastructure rebuilding.

It means that those efforts may not have been in vain.
It means that despite your hate for Bush, that things are working.
That the surge is working.
That the money can now start coming from Iraqi's to rebuild Iraq.
Its been the goal for some time right?

You left wing "folks" have complained for some time that the Iraqi's need to take things over for themselves. That they need to fund the effort themselves. Well here you have something that says they are capable of doing so economically and yet you still bitch about it.

As the saying goes, you just can't satisfy everyone huh?

Bank Scrutinize Even Routine Transactions

Federal investigators have been looking into money transfers made by New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer, who's been tied to a prostitution ring. Bank officials noticed frequent cash transfers from several accounts and it triggered a money laundering investigation. Banks use software to spot patterns in routine transactions.

The Irony cannot get any better than this.
You need to listen to this, its classic stuff.

The general thinking has been for some time that if you spend less than 10K it wont get reported to the Feds. People have been doing this for years. Its how some people smuggle/launder money into other countries, by simply carrying LESS than 10K on airplanes or by transferring less than 10K into accounts. Turns it takes far less to raise suspicion's.

Most do not know that every transaction you make no matter how mundane it may be, is tracked by your bank. From simple things like buying coffee and donuts to buying a stereo.

Banks monitor everything and give it a score. There is a company that sells this software to banks. Banks monitor your transactions based on your profile. Yes banks profile you. They take what you make per year, your credit score, where you live, where do you come from, who do you associate with, are you on a terror watch list, are you on list of felons and your transaction patters into consideration and give every transaction you do a score, from 0 to 100. Its an effort to stop money laundering, which people that do these things do so in small transactions sometimes.

Part of the implementation process includes giving specific scrutiny to the PEP List (Politically Exposed Peoples List). These people are anyone from foreign leaders with US accounts to Senators. These people are actually monitored more closely.

This was all implemented apparently within the last 10 years. Particularly following 2001. Some of it has to do with 9/11 and the patriot act mandating it but a large amount stems from the Attorney General of New York in 2001, forcing/mandating that wall street banks monitor account transactions.

Guess who the Attorney General for New York was in 2001! LMFAO...
Elliot Spitzer's

Spitzer was brought down by his own mandate as AG.
I could not help but to laugh on the way to work this morning hearing this.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Ending Africa's commodity concerns

This could bring the much needed stability over food supplies in Africa that many have been praying for. I won't hold my breath though, but its a step in the right direction.

Lisa Napoli: A different sort of commodity is always at issue in Africa. From South Africa, Terry FitzPatrick says this isn't about growing grain, but rather trading against it.

Terry Fitzpatrick: Farming in Africa is tough enough without the risk that bureaucrats or middlemen will cheat you when you sell your crop.

Economist Mohammad Karaan says commodity exchanges are needed to ensure stable markets.

Mohammad Karaan: African agriculture in particular is exposed to volatility, which then affects or brings us an uncertainty.

That uncertainty could end in Ethiopia, when the nation's first exchange opens in March. Farmers will know the daily price for crops, and can negotiate future contracts. It's part of a push throughout Africa to deregulate agriculture and let markets determine prices.

Chris Sturgess at the Johannesburg exchange thinks more trading centers are coming:

Chris Sturgess: If government is going to be setting the price of your commodities, you don't need an exchange. Because government will say fine, your price today is $100, you acknowledge all your corn, and that's it.

Experts say free-market exchanges can generate better incomes for farmers, bringing food security to Africa.

Foreclosure 'crisis' is overblown

This has been my sentiment for some time now.
Along with

-Picture Courtesy of Michelle Malkin

A recent list of year-end mortgage foreclosure rates in 100 top metropolitan areas drew a lot of attention. Released by RealtyTrac, a company that compiles data on home foreclosures, the list showed the number of foreclosure filings in each metro area, the percentage of homes being foreclosed and the percentage change from the previous year.

Though the report had some dismal news -- such as the nearly 4.9% foreclosure rate in the Stockton, Calif., area -- a close look at the data also provides some reassuring information. It tells me, for instance, that the foreclosure crisis is a regional problem, not a systemic one. It could become a systemic problem, of course, but we're a long way from that now.

This news will disappoint the gloom-and-doom crew and all those seeking the excitement of financial upheaval. But it may be time to temper our worry and take a closer look at some of the year-over-year foreclosure statistics:

* Though the national rate of foreclosure increased by a whopping 79% between December 2006 and December 2007, the rate was still only 1.033%. Because about 30% of all homes are owned mortgage-free, this means that for all the noise about a crisis, only seven-tenths of 1% of all homes were in foreclosure.

* In the top 100 housing markets, the average foreclosure rate was somewhat higher -- 1.38% -- and it was up 78% over the previous year. But if you rank-ordered the list of the top 100 areas, only 34 had foreclosure rates above the group average. Fifty-one areas had rates of 1% or less.

* Foreclosure rates actually fell in 14 of the 100 areas. More important, many of the areas with the highest increases in foreclosure rates were rising off rates that were tiny. The Bethesda, Md., area, to offer the most extreme case, saw foreclosures rise 1,288% -- to a rate of 0.682%. In other words, foreclosures there were virtually nonexistent the year before. Today they are still well below the national average. The same can be said for the Albany, N.Y., area (up 638% to 0.25%), the Baltimore area (up 544% to 0.73%) and the Providence, R.I., area (up 354% to 0.41%).

Seven of the top 10 foreclosure areas had experienced major price spikes in the past five years. Three of the top 10 foreclosure areas had experienced price increases that were dramatically lower than the national average. That pattern continues when you examine the top 25 foreclosure areas.

A tale of two extremes:Metro area Foreclosure rate, December 2007 Year-over-year increase of foreclosures 5-year home-appreciation rate

Detroit/Livonia/Dearborn, Mich.




Stockton, Calif.




Las Vegas/Paradise, Nev.




Riverside/San Bernardino, Calif.




Sacramento, Calif.




Cleveland/Lorain/Elyria/Mentor, Ohio




Bakersfield, Calif.








Denver/Aurora, Colo.




Fort Lauderdale, Fla.




National average




Average of top 100 metro areas



Not available

Sources: RealtyTrac, OFHEO

The seven areas with the top price appreciation for the past five years averaged a stunning 91.6% increase, nearly double the national average. The national average, in turn, was about triple the inflation rate for the period.

Small wonder the foreclosure rate is booming as well. Anyone who bought in the past few years with a 5% or 10% down payment has a good chance of being upside down as froth comes off the market. In those areas the problem is about irrational price spikes and the hazards they bring to homeownership.

Some would call this "a Cadillac problem" -- a great problem to have, like having more boats than you have water-skiers. Though 5% of the homeowners may be losing their homes, most of the other 95% probably feel significantly richer.

How much richer? Try this. Suppose you paid three times your income for a house and it nearly doubled in value over five years. What does that mean? It means your net worth grew by nearly three years of income. Try achieving that with your 401(k) plan. Even if you bought halfway through the surge, your gain is likely to be well more than one year of income. However you cut it, the change compares quite favorably with working and saving.

The three metro areas with low price appreciations are a different matter. Homeowners in Detroit have actually lost money on their homes over the past five years. That, in turn, has limited their ability to make up for income shortfalls by borrowing against home equity. Add a shrinking job market, and places such as Detroit are coping with a perpetual surplus of sellers over buyers.

One indication is the cost of renting a U-Haul truck. It recently cost $1,447 to rent a 26-foot truck to move from Detroit to Dallas but only $521 to rent the same truck to move from Dallas to Detroit. The real economic problem, for the most people, isn't the price-spike states. It's the deflation states.

That really puts a damper on the doom and gloomers no?

International experts foresee collapse of U.S. economy

in 12 steps, outlines how the losses of the American financial system will grow to more than $1 trillion - that's one million times $1 million. That amount is equal to all the assets of all American banks.

I read this and called BULLSHIT!
So like I usually do I fact checked.

Assets Ranking as of 2007:

1. Bank of America 1.4 Trillion
2. JP Morgan 1.15 Trillion
3. CitiBank 907 Billion (Banking Assets) Total Assets 2.02 Trillion
4. Wachovia 496 Billion
5. Wells Fargo 415 Billion
6. WAMU 347 Billion
7. BanCorp 208 Billion
8. SunTrust 178 Billion

Forget the top 8 Banks in the US, the #1 Bank in the US totally blows apart the first paragraph of this article.

"The end of the third quarter of 2008 (thus late September, a mere seven months from now) will be marked by a new tipping point in the unfolding of the global systemic crisis.

"At that time indeed, the cumulated impact of the various sequences of the crisis will reach its maximum strength and affect decisively the very heart of the systems concerned, on the front line of which (is) the United States, epicentre of the current crisis.

"In the United States, this new tipping point will translate into - get this - a collapse of the real economy, (the) final socio-economic stage of the serial bursting of the housing and financial bubbles and of the pursuance of the U.S. dollar fall. The collapse of U.S. real economy means the virtual freeze of the American economic machinery: private and public bankruptcies in large numbers, companies and public services closing down."

Mark down your Calendars folks.
I am.
I'll be reporting back on how accurate this was in September.

Seeee you, in September.....see you....when the summers through......

I have seen some doom and gloom in the last few years, but DAMN, seriously to call for a coming Depression? Come on. For real?

In this article it also talks about the GEAB report for 200 dollars.
Its free here. Thank me later.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Obama Mania hitting a new level?

I spoke to good friend about this set of videos and wanted to get her take on it. She is rather moderate in some respects but also left on many others. The response given was that things are very divided and that Obama may be the one to make that Change towards unity. I responded to that with the following:

There are some things I agree with you on, this country is VERY divided, and its divided mainly by party lines. Obama to ME and to many conservatives that I talk to, does not signify the unity that conservatives are seeking. He isn't even remotely moderate on any position I can think of. Not one. His views are so far left that its almost like replacing a right wing president with a far left wing president. How the opposite extreme is unifying I do not know.

The divide will still be there, only it will be a louder voice from the right than what we see now from the left. Obama for all his great speeches he gives, to me is not the great unifier that people are believing him to be. His positions are nothing short of socialist, his idols include Lenin and Karl Marx, his foreign policy is one that failed miserably for Carter. Hell his foreign policy advisor is the same guy that Carter USED, Zbigniew Brzezinski and Robert Malley. Few people know this, just like few people actually know or listen to his positions because they get so wrapped up in his speech. There is NO DOUBT AT ALL, that the man can speak like no other president that I can think of EVER could. There is no doubt that he has this magical ability to gather people to hear him speak like no other. So great that people swoon and faint hearing him speak, they applaud when he blows his nose. That sounds more like a cult than a political movement. He is able to give a great speech about change of policy and about change of direction, but he gives me little on substance that makes me agree with the direction he wants to go in.

Yes for a president to be successful, he needs to have the power of the House and the Senate behind him. For him to move his agenda forward he has to be able to accomplish this. THIS is the reason that I will vote for Obama. Democrats will be in the position for the first time since the 70's (and we remember how great that was) to have control of both Congress and the Presidency. They will have all the support they need to move the country in whatever direction they want. I am one of those that wants to SEE that direction, and if my gut is correct, it will not be pretty. But I want to see it for my cynicism, to show people (mainly liberals) that the Socialist direction that they seek is not one that will benefit the US in any way. That jobs will leave at an exponential rate to other countries and the change people seek is all a rouse.

The majority of the people that are swaying towards him are the youth of America, and sadly the youth of this country, the 18 year old through college are not very good political decision makers and rarely are as informed as people make them out to be. They are mostly misguided in a mind set that is pushed into their minds of mush by their professors. You saw it in college, you see it now, the kids walking around with che shirts like its cute, embracing socialism and Marxism like its actually a viable system, meanwhile living in a capitalistic sytem that they despise and most of the time they don't even know why, just that they hate corporations and hate rich people.

I'll end it here. To me the video is of no surprise of how captivating this Obama Mania is. Hollywood has had this admiration for socialism and leftist policies for some time now. What is going to be rather stunning is how things develop after he is the nominee. When people start to peal away the bark on Obama, will they really bring themselves to vote for something that is damn near like a French system of government, where corporations are government owned, unions grow in power, and social services are the norm. Something inside me tells me yes, that a growing number of people want the government to take care of them. Its going to be rather amazing to see that shift, but I think we as Americans have fostered this, "someone else take care of me attitude". The way some have chosen to raise their kids, the way we have become ever so dependent on the federal government and seeking them for solutions to local and state problems only leads me further to believe that people in the general election WILL vote for Obama over McCain.

It will be an interesting 4 years.