Associated Press headline, “Obama urges spending curbs, hands out $15 billion.”
After not quite a month in office, I’ve begun to change my opinion on the President. I thought at first he was a useful idiot, a tool of the powerful Democrat Spending Machine.
I no longer think he’s useful, and “idiot” may be too high a compliment.
“If we confront this crisis without also confronting the deficits that helped cause it we risk sinking into another crisis down the road,” the president warned. “We cannot simply spend as we please and defer the consequences to the next budget, the next administration or the next generation.”
It’s barely a week since Obama disregarded calls to trim the so-called Stimulus Package, the Porkulus Bill. Billions of dollars of non-stimulus spending items went into that bill, then Obama followed up with another $250 billion or so for the mortgage industry.
Obama has spent more money in 30 days than any President in history. I would not be surprised to find he spent more than all previous Presidents combined.
And he has the gall to say we have to get spending under control? Does he even have a clue what he’s doing? First he says we must spend for the good of our economy, then he says we need to stop spending for the good of the economy.
What the heck is he doing? He’s not just saying an doing two different things – he’s actually saying to different things at the same time.
I see today he’s also pledged $900 million to rebuild Gaza. Didn’t we also sell Israel the weaponry to destroy Gaza to halt terrorist attacks? When the Palestinians re-attack Israel, will we also help rebuild Jewish settlements? Where did Obama suddenly get this $900 million?
Next up, nationalized banks, nationalized healthcare, a few more trillion dollars in spending, followed by another call for fiscal responsibility?
What got us into this mess was government intervention pressuring banks into lending to people who couldn’t pay their loans back and individual and corporate greed and a attitude of immediate gratification and a complete disregard for the debt our grandchildren will inherit. And somehow, the fix for this mess is to pressure banks into lending to people who can’t pay their loans back and individual and corporate greed and a attitude of immediate gratification and a complete disregard for the debt our grandchildren will inherit. Are these people nuts?
No wonder there’s a movement afoot for a Chicago Tea Party. We’re taking money away from the grandchildren in red states and giving it to inept governments in blue states. And now Obama says those same grandchildren better get their spending under control. It’s worse than Orweillian. It’s obtuse and deranged. It’s destructive.
Please stop helping, Mr. President, before we become a third world country.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 7 so far )
And so the veil of deceit lifts. The news media, so eager to proclaim Obama as the messiah during the election cycle, now turns on him and begins to devour him. What changed?
In one sense, nothing. Obama’s promises of socialist changes are progressing. Universal health care, nationalization of manufacturers and banking, imposition of union rules, reestablishment of federal funding of abortion, and massive taxing and spending are being implemented at a frightening speed, with no conservative obstacles in sufficient numbers to slow them down.
In another sense, everything. Obama promised to be open and honest, anti-pork, hope and change instead of fear, yet many of the policies were buried inside a pork-laden monstrosity without debate, without the 5-day evaluation, and signed under dire warnings of catastrophe, and sometimes outright lies, such as the re-hiring of manufafacturing jobs and “all economists agree” pitches.
The revolt of hard working American, long overdue, has begun. Trillions of dollars printing are now showing up as inflation. CNBC says “traders revolt” and openly question why diligent homeowners must pay for the mortgages of dlinquent homeowners. Even high school children, governed by emotion instead of experience, said after his appearance this morning that they don’t believe eveything Obama says and understand the Stimulus bill is bad for the economy and is merely a thinly-disguised pork-laden liberal agenda.
One teenager even wore an Obama t-shirt that said, “Hitler gave good speeches, too.”
But the “angry left” is having it’s day, and I see few obstacles in their way for the next two years. It’s amazing the damage they’ve caused already in just 3 weeks of office. What can we do except batten down the hatches and weather this liberal storm?
I’m praying, and I’m buying gold.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 1 so far )
I had been thinking this, but hadn’t seen anybody writing about it.
Sub-prime mortgages have led to a financial crisis. The blame for sub-prime mortgages generally get laid on the greed of the mortgage bankers, but is that all there is to it?
Twenty years ago I remember the push to get banks and lending into low-income minority neighborhoods. There was a push at the time to make mortgages easier for those who could least afford them because it was good for the neighborhood.
Stan Liebowitz’s book, Housing America: Building out of a Crisis, puts the blame back on the federal government. I agree – without the government pushing banks to lend to risky people, there would have been less risk. Simple, no?
Update from A Mortgage Fable -
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- The Community Reinvestment Act. This 1977 law compels banks to make loans to poor borrowers who often cannot repay them. Banks that failed to make enough of these loans were often held hostage by activists when they next sought some regulatory approval.
Robert Litan, an economist at the Brookings Institution, told the Washington Post this year that banks “had to show they were making a conscious effort to make loans to subprime borrowers.” The much-maligned Phil Gramm fought to limit these CRA requirements in the 1990s, albeit to little effect and much political jeering.
I gave Askismet two weeks. Verdict: I love it.
Let me give you a little background: There are hundreds of pieces of spam that spammers think ought to be displayed prominently on Chasing the Wind. From weight loss drugs to pornography to cheap mortgages, the spammers have setup software “robots” to spam thousands of blogs.
The previous method I used to stop the spammers was blacklisting them, and it was manually intensive. Let’s say it was some site like http://www.something.com . (Don’t worry, that site is safe.) I have all first time comments from people moderated and I’d see this spam, then I’d add their website to a blacklist that would delete any post that contained “something.com.” Effective but time consuming. And man, you should see the list of horrible, perverted things they want to post.
I first heard about Akismet from Doug at Coffeeswirls, and when it was released I gave it a shot. After a week, I took a deep breath, and deleted that blacklist. And after another week, still no spam has gotten through. Akismet catches it all. The Akismet home page says that as of this morning, they’ve caught 260,522 spam attempts (6382 so far today), and that 81% of all comments are spam.
Now if they’d only come out with an email product, too…Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 1 so far )
I didn’t get all jazzed over this election; except for Proposition 2, there weren’t any real hotbuttons. My general impression of the results are that social conservatives and fiscal liberals won; Proposition 2 won handily, but those incumbents against appraisal caps held their job. Pfft.
- Proposition 1 passed that authorized various grants. I think the government has way too much of my money already so I voted against it.
- Proposition 2 passed, defining marriage as between a man and a woman, despite the best efforts of the opposition to lie about it. At one point I got a phone call from a recording saying this proposition would ban *all* marriages and we should all vote against it, and signed off by “Reverend” somebody to make it sound like it was a correct, religious thing to do. Their website is full of misleading quotes, denounced by the very people they’re quoting. If you have to lie to get people to vote your way then you’ve already convinced me your position is morally bankrupt.
- Proposition 3 said “certain economic development programs do not constitute a debt.” That sounded like permission to lie to your checkbook so I voted against it. The proposition failed.
- Proposition 4 denied bail to bad guys. Sounded good to me, and it passed with 83% of the vote.
- Proposition 5 allowed the legislature to define rates of interest. It sounded like permission for the legislature to hold up the banking lobby to gain special favors, so I voted against it. Texas agreed and this didn’t pass.
- Proposition 6 added additional people to review Judicial conduct. I voted for it and it passed.
- Proposition 7 allowed line of credit advances for reverse mortgages. I voted no because I think banks are just trying to get old people’s assets, but it passed. Not a bad thing, and it retrospect I could support this.
- Proposition 8, “clear titles for certain land” I voted for. I have no idea what these “certain lands” are, but somebody’s going to make some money off of it.
- Proposition 9 provided for a 6 year term for a board member of the regional mobility authority. I dislike everything Metro stands for; a separate taxing entity that I’d prefer to vote out of existence. They’re getting ready to build a shopping mall while ending bus routes, go figure. I’ll vote against anything Metro wants. Texas agreed and this didn’t pass.
I voted for Michael Berry and Shelly Sekula-Gibbs and skipped the others since I really don’t know anything about them. And Mayor Bill White has so irritated me this year I voted against him, even though I knew he was going to win handily. Bill White is for socialized towing, giving away a free year of housing to Katrina refugees (estimated cost $220 million), against property appraisal caps, and for gay marriage. In short, he won his first election by pretending to be a moderate, but he is as liberal as a skunk is stinky. I voted for Gladys somebody because it sounded like she could use the votes.
You know who I’m most disappointed in? Clout. I would have loved to get their recommendations before election day, but they gave a half-hearted analysis the morning of the election, way too late to be useful. If they want to be a political force, well then, they ought to be political.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Spammers are annoying.
I know I’ve mentioned this before – behind the scenes here at Chasing the Wind I delete a lot of spam. If you’re a first-time visitor, your comments are automatically moderated, meaning I have to approve it. Once I’ve approved one, the rest are automatically approved unless you use a naughty word.
That doesn’t stop spammers from trying, though. Earlier this week some spammer posted 300 advertisements for ordering shoes online. Mostly I get gambling sites, porn sites, and low mortgage rates. Exceedingly annoying to delete these daily, a real pain when they post 300 at a time.
So I’ve installed a WordPress plugin called Bad Behavior that’s supposed to stop 99% of these guys by analyzing their methods. It’s not supposed to affect real people, but there is always a chance. If you receive an error message, you should get an email telling you how to contact me, but my fervent hope is that that doesn’t happen.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 4 so far )
Closer and closer… step by step… HB 784 / HJR 35 is approaching the Texas House floor for a vote, possibly on Wednesday, according to Dwayne Bohac of Appraisalcap.com. If the vote fails, then taxes will continue going up 10% a year; my taxes already exceed my mortgage payment, in a dozen years or so, my taxes will exceed my salary, too. It’s time for this gravy train to come to a halt.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Mechanical Investing was good this month; in fact, I’m holding almost everything for another month, so turnover is light. I’m still following the SOS_Ancer and H52 screens primarily, and they’re working out well this year.
I’m going to try to change the format a little; the software I was using to calculate returns is a little wonky, so I’m going to calculate them manually.
Holding for another month:
|AKS||$9.46||$13.42||+41.9%||AK Steel Holdings. Most of these gains came in the last 2 days when Nissan mentioned their steel shortage problems.|
|AAPL||$52.69||$67.79||+28.7%||Apple Computer is doing well, both with Ipods and Macs.|
|CCK||$9.58||$12.20||+27.3%||Crown Holdings Inc. Still holding after 3 months.|
|LDG||$25.58||$27.12||+6.0%||Long Drug Stores Corp was down over 10% at one point, but it’s recovered nicely. I’m still holding for another month.|
|NAFC||$28.34||$36.27||+27.9%||Nash Finch Company. I’ve held this since August and it’s paid dividends twice on top of the great gains so far.|
|NVR||$630.50||$686.99||+9.0%||NVR Inc, builds homes and makes mortgages. Normally stocks split when they get expensive, so I don’t know why this one hasn’t split.|
|.LSSEH||$5.40||$1.25||-76.9%||Lone Star Technologies (May 05 40). Oh well, they can’t all be winners. Selling this in January.|
|.UICCH||$1.35||$2.75||+103.7%||United Industrial Corp (March 05 40). Last month this had lost 55.6%, now it’s gained it all back and then some. Options are volatile. I’ll sell this next month.|
|.BGUFF||$3.70||$4.60||+24.3%||BMHC (June 05 30) to be sold in February.|
|.SWNFJ||$4.10||$7.90||+92.7%||SWN (June 05 50). So far, so good! I’ll sell this one in February.|
|BRCD||$6.71||$6.99||+4.2%||Brocade Communications Systems Inc|
|FDS||$48.77||$52.01||+6.6%||Factset Research Systems Inc|
|IWOV||$9.19||$9.62||+4.7%||Interwoven, Inc. I wov this stock!|
|PKOH||$19.69||$21.86||+11.0%||Park Ohio Holdings; I sold this back in August for a +55.8% return. and repurchased 2 months later. Now it’s sold again. It’s still on some other screens, so I might end up buying it again later.|
|VLO||$42.45||$46.46||+9.4%||Valero Energy Corp. That’s twice I’ve bought/sold this. I saw a “Valero Marketing” sticker on a Diamond Shamrock gas pump this weekend.|
New stocks for this month:
|BZH||$123.34||$N/A||N/A%||Beazer Homes. Again.|
|GLBL||$8.46||$N/A||N/A%||Global Industries. No idea what they do. Something global, I think.|
|ISSX||$24.30||$N/A||N/A%||Internet Security Systems, Inc.|
|OSG||$64.39||$N/A||N/A%||Overseas Shipholding Group.|
Options are doing well; I’ll start selling them off next month and listing the returns. They’re so volatile and either win big or lose big, but I’m still amused when I see see an annual return of 9228.3% for an option. Here are the new options this month:
New options for this month:
|.CAIFN||$4.10||$N/A||N/A%||CAI (June 05 70), will sell in March.|
|.TXUGN||$2.85||$N/A||N/A%||TXU Energy (July 05 70), will sell in March.|
That’s all the trades for this year. Next trade will be January 3 (or 4th, if the 3rd is a holiday).Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Mechanical Investing was turbulent this month; there were some big losers, but some equally big winners. Overall I was up 1.5% for the month, so I’m not going to complain.
Holding for another month:
|CCK||+10.2%||Crown Holdings Inc. +18.6% in 2 months; I’ll keep holding it.|
|LDG||-3.5%||Long Drug Stores Corp. It’s up 5.5% in the last week though, so it’s looking good.|
|NAFC||-5.0%||Nash Finch Company. It’s given back some gains, but still up 7.2% since I bought it.|
|PKOH||+5.4%||Park Ohio Holdings; I sold this back in August for a +55.8% return. and repurchased 2 months later.|
|.LSSEH||-81.8%||Lone Star Technologies (May 05 40). Ouch. Options are volatile, that’s why I buy only tiny amounts. This one will be sold in January.|
|.UICCH||-55.6%||United Industrial Corp (March 05 40). Options are volatile. I won’t sell till 1st of January.|
|ADSK||+8.0%||Autodesk Inc. Total +22.9% over 2 months. Wo0t!|
|APA||+1.0%||Apache Corp. oil & gas. +15.3% over 2 months, but it looks like it’s gone flat now.|
|CLF||-9.2%||Cleveland-Cliffs Inc. Gave a lot of gains back, but still +13.0 over 2 months.|
|NFX||-6.0%||Newfield Exploration Co. No more, I give up.|
|NUE||-12.3%||Nucor Corp. Ouch ouch ouch.|
|RIMM||+24.7%||Research in Motion. Held this for 3 months; it lost 1.7% in the first month, but final over 3 months was +51.9%. Wo0t!|
|STTX||-10.0%||Steel Technologies Inc. No mas, no mas.|
|TIBX||+9.1%||Tibco Software Inc. That’ll do nicely.|
New stocks for this month:
|AAPL||N/A%||I’ve always wanted to own Apple Computer. Ipods are big.|
|AKS||N/A%||AK Steel Holdings|
|BRCD||N/A%||Brocade Communications Systems Inc|
|FDS||N/A%||Factset Research Systems Inc|
|IWOV||N/A%||Interwoven, Inc. I wov this stock!|
|NVR||N/A%||NVR Inc, builds homes and makes mortgages.|
|VLO||N/A%||Valero Energy Corp|
In addition, I’m picking up a couple more options; I buy these calls 10% out of the money as far in advance as I can get them and sell them 3 months before they expire:
New options for this month:
|.BGUFF||N/A%||BMHC (June 05 30)|
|.SWNFJ||N/A%||SWN (June 05 50)|
Overall for the volatile month of October I was up 1.5%. Next trade will be November 29.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
That was my first 3-day weekend since June. I’d almost forgotten how much I enjoyed my 3-day weekends every other week.
Friday was a day of nothing; puttered around the house, read blogs, played some Ultima Online, and waited for Alex to show up so we could catch “Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow.” He got in too late Friday though and had laundry to do. And Saturday he left before noon; he has to get back to school to get a good parking place.
In my son’s world, I know where I rank. Someplace between “laundry” and “a good parking spot.”
Patty had called me to ask me to dinner Saturday night since it was her husband Rick’s poker night, so I did some research on a restaurant she was looking for. (For some reason, she’s not getting my emails anymore, so bless her heart she called me before I had a chance to call her.) I took a friend of hers out to dinner a year ago who apparently still raves about the cooking, but “Bistro Boulevard” has since closed down. The chef, Monica Pope, has opened a new restaurant called “Tafia”. The menu is to die for. I couldn’t get reservations though, so we switched to “Cafe Complique’”. Then Rick’s poker game got rained out somehow, so Rick and Patty came by to pick me up. Which meant I had to ride in the back seat. Bah. The backseat always makes me feel like a kid. Adults get to ride in the front.
There was a wedding reception going on across the street at the Rice Hotel, so several times Patty ended up talking to herself as Rick and I admired the women’s fashions and forgot to keep thinking at the same time. I enjoyed wandering around the downtown area, but man is it empty. That toy train (that I voted against, by the way) has done nothing to revitalize the area. I think those new restaurants are going to go broke.
Sunday I called Sean, but he was occupied, so I went to see “Sky Captain” by myself. It’s ok for a rental, but it wasn’t that good of a movie. Scifi, 1950′s style, with some occasionally funny dialogue and campy special effects, but the overall story dragged.
Then on the way home, a stop at Best Buy to buy a new printer. I sent Alex an email last week that said, “Alex, bring your printer home this weekend, I have a couple of things I need to print.” But he didn’t; he said he thought I was kidding. For the life of me, I can’t figure out which part of my email was supposed to be funny.
By the way, the economy is booming – the waiting line was a dozen people long. I bought an Epson R300 color printer and some printable CD-ROM’s. Did you know they make CD-ROMs you can put directly into your printer? Now I know, too. Picked up a couple of Christmas ideas, too, for Alex and my sister.
The printer will let me print out my tax returns for the last couple of years, which I’ll need to refinance my mortgage. Like a root canal, I’m looking forward to that.
There. Now you’re all caught up with what’s going on in my world.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 3 so far )
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