“It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing he was never reasoned into”

Jonathan Swift
"The Democrats have moved to the right, and the right has moved into a mental hospital." - Bill Maher
"The city is crowded my friends are away and I'm on my own
It's too hot to handle so I gotta get up and go

It's a cruel ... cruel summer"

Monday, August 31, 2009

Journamalism! WOO!

Proving that the rich and connected part of America is immune to unemployment and economic downturns, meet your sparkly, newest, 27 year-old TODAY show correspondent . . . Jenna Bush Hager!

Qualifications? She has "White House experience", LOL.

Oh, yeah. . . she has ghost-written two books, and is a reading coordinator at an elementary school, so naturally she will be reporting on, wait for it . . .


My fav quote from the fruit of Dubya's loins, "It wasn't something I'd always dreamed to do," she said. "But I think one of the most important things in life is to be open-minded and to be open-minded for change."

Shorter; It's so AWESOME to be handed a surprise f**king job offer on a famous Teevee show out of the blue without any experience whatsoevah! Totally!

More from Gawker:

"Jim Bell, Today's executive producer is already giving quotes about how he's not using it as political grease for a future shot at trying to Frost/Nixon old Daddy Dubya. Watch that D:

"Bell said Hager won't be covering politics. He said he didn't consider the job as a down payment for a future interview with her father, who has been living quietly in Texas since leaving office earlier this year. Attacks on NBC News by conservatives for the liberal bent of MSNBC also had nothing to do with it, he said. "I hope to focus on what I'm passionate about because I think I'd do them best job on them - education, urban education, women and children's issues and literacy," Hager said."

MMM, HMMMM, riggghhhhht. . .

Look, I am gonna go out on a limb, and say that Jenna is probably a nice person (never met), and I know that legacy hires always trump competency and experience (Liz Cheney, anyone?), but seriously, she has only been a teacher for a couple of years.

What is her cred regarding education? Or Journalistic digging? Or . . . anything relating to the average American's struggles with paying for crushing school loans for example?

-Prodigal Son

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Audacity of Business as Usual

So much for all that hope and change and shit:

Bernanke to Be Nominated for Second Term as Fed Chief

Exactly how bad do you have to screw up these days to be held accountable for anything?

Friday, August 21, 2009

Depression Continued

This morning, I wanted to go into some more detail about what is happening now, and what to expect in this economy. Stuff that must be fixed before any real recovery can happen.

BTW . . . you won't see this reported on the Jon and Kate networks. LOOK OVER THERE! Sarah Palin also said something crazy again!!!

Real Estate: sobering numbers to consider here;
13% of homeowners are behind or in default, and notice from the chart that over half are fixed prime rate loans. People who used to have middle class jobs, and good credit. This is now a Prime foreclosure crises.

Mortgage modification has failed. There I said it. Chase has my mortgage, and when I applied for the Presidents "Home Afforable Modification Program", Chase lost my paperwork 3X, and then tried to stick me in a lower interest rate ARM . . . with them collecting a massive fee. I told them to go to hell. Peter Goodman had a great article about this in the Financial Times

"But for the loans in question, servicing fees range as high as 2%-3%. In some cases, Chase, or Washington Mutual previously, modified interest rates on the loans down to 3%, while keeping the servicing fee flat. This essentially strips cash flow from the mortgage note holders and diverts it to the servicer, a tactic that doesn’t sit well with owners of the impacted bonds."

Get it? You get your mortgage rate lowered to 3%, but it's an ARM, and the bank takes 2-3% in fees. IOW, you are not paying down your mortgage that much.

SOLUTION 1: Without giving judges in bankruptcy court the option to reduce payments for a period, we will still be in free fall.

SOLUTION 2: Have the government use FNMA to refi anyone who is 1 month delinquent, in foreclosure, or unemployed. You get a 40 year fixed at 3%, no points. When things improve, the gov can sell these mortgages to the banks, or keep it.

Tomorrow I want to discuss unemployment.

In the meantime . . . has anyone else experienced boolsheeet with their bank regarding their mortgage or modification?

-Prodigal Son

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Winding Down the USA

This country is in a depression.

Just because it does not look like the 30’s does not mean it is any less significant for those suffering. As of this week, I have been without a professional gig for six months now. Unemployment insurance has run out.


Wish I could be upbeat, but things are hard-core. The tax firm acquisition did not happen due to various seller-related issues, (it may happen with a different firm down the road, my partner and I are looking now), I am down to my last few thousand in the bank, although I still have not tapped my 401k yet. Still making house/car payments, but I gotta have some fresh income starting yesterday, or I am gonna have to start peeling off some retirement funds, withholding plus penalty or no.

I have not been sitting around waiting for something to happen. My family has cut back till it hurts. Thank goodness for local grandparents who can pay for the little fun stuff. Pop sure can't right now.

I have sucked it up and am waiting tables at a steak joint at nights now. I made $50 last Saturday, LOL. That's what I use to make in an HOUR. 41 years+ old, and back to college kid wages with a family and a mortgage.

I have applied to over 250+ jobs, interviewed for 3. Wanna know what ELSE keeps me up at night? At what point do I become 'damaged goods'? Ya know, "This guy has not found a job in 'X' months, must be something there . . . let's take a pass". Tell me it does not happen every day.

The crazy thing is that the career path I was on is dead. Every week I get a call from a former peer asking about what is out there. Nada. My headhunter says more hiring freezes and more layoffs coming. The financial sector is hemorrhaging jobs like crazy even now. Except at the top. Except the f*ckers who caused this economic cardiac arrest.

I have a buddy whose daughter has a chronic lung condition, laid off three months ago, and who had to choose between his house in Richmond or COBRA payments for his kiddo last month. He is living in a three bedroom apt now with his wife and 2 kids.

45 years old.

Can you imagine? Seem real yet? Ask yourself, “If my income was wiped out for six-twelve months, how would we get by?”

My kids are healthy, my wife and I are healthy, so we have the only important thing anyway. House and Car, etc. are just stuff.

But . . . can anyone here define “Middle Class”? Seriously, WTF does that mean anymore?

As a financial guy, I did the following to offset any tough period. . .

3 months salary in bank . . . CHECK
Controlled little debt . . . CHECK
Used cars, keep after paid off . . . CHECK
Did not buy more house than I can afford . . . CHECK
Life Ins . . . CHECK
Will/Medical power of attorney, etc . . . CHECK

And it was still not enough . . .

Last question: IF YOU CALL YOURSELF CHRISTIAN, WOULDN'T IT BE THE CHRISTIAN THING TO HAVE UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE? To, ya know, have one less thing on your neighbors mind while he tries to survive financially?

Tomorrow I want to talk about what our economy looks like and what that means, but for now;

Reach out to your buddy without a gig, buy him/her a beer. Joke about better times, do not talk about your upcoming vacation to the Caymans.

-Prodigal Son

Friday, August 14, 2009

Have the Whackos Won?

Well, the wackos have won a partial victory, led by Wacko-In-Chief Sarah Palin.

By grabbing onto the propagandist rhetoric of the worst kind, Palin undercut one of the better provisions in HR 3200, calling end-of-life counseling "death panels."

The proposed legislation was nothing of the sort, of course. It was a provision that allowed the reimbursement of counseling for terminally ill patients. The measure would've opened options for hospice care, either at home or in an inpatient facility, and other opportunities for enhancing the quality of life near the end of life. It also would have paid for counseling and some legal help in preparing for the end-of-life.

Instead, Palin and other right-wing extremists used the same fear-mongering tactics that stampeded this nation into Iraq — Vietnam with sand— and the Patriot Act, which gave Dick Cheney an extension on your phone and a tap into your Internet.

Palin was aided and abetted by a group known as "Patriot@FaxDC.com," which is blast faxing members of Congress and spewing its stupidity at newspapers. This outfit is a huge offshoot of the Tea Party movement that started last spring.

Take a gander at the e-mail The Amarillo Independent got today:

Alert: Part of the controversial Obamacare proposal pending in Congress that discusses "end-of-life" counseling and medical procedures that could be rationed based on the age of the patient and other factors was written by suicide advocates who argue openly for the "right" to death, according to reports.

The sources for the Obamacare provisions have been documented on a blog for Family Research Council Action and discussed by prominent pro-life columnist Jill Stanek.

"Come again that promotion of euthanasia isn't part of Section 1233?" Stanek wrote in her new explanation of the dangers of Obamacare. " Kudos to FRC's The Cloakroom …for drawing attention to the fact that the two authors of Section 1233 are major proponents of euthanasia and assisted suicide."

The authors include an Oregon congressman who has argued for assisted suicide before federal courts and an organization that openly boasts it helps "thousands of clients each year by ... guiding their search for a peaceful, humane death...."

FRC Action reports on its website the group "has been getting some heat" for its criticism of the plan.

"Today comes (a) smoking gun … with the group Compassion & Choices coming out defending the questionable rationing portions of the bill and admitting THEY ACTUALLY WROTE THE LANGUAGE!" FRC Action said.

Can you believe this stuff? There is not one documentable name for the source of these allegations. There is a regurgitation of garbage published by the right-wing Family Research Council, the folks who want to censor your television watching, but not one reliable source.

My column in the Aug. 13 issue talked about propaganda and public relations.

I support Pres. Barak Obama's agenda strongly but I wish he had been more calculating in the way he had introduced health care reform and more aggressive in the way he defends it now.

One problem at hand is that the vocal minority has taken charge of the conversation. The other problem is that the attack on health care reform is concurrent with an attack on the elected officials of the federal government.

As a progressive, I think we need insurance and health care reform tied together. And as a compassionate human being I don't believe all government workers are bad. But, as I look at the members of Congress and their behavior and their self-serving activity that has turned them into a “ruling class” I share the anger with the right-wing wackos.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Well said!

Pass it on! The perfect answer to "guvment cain't do nothin!"

"click here"

The Liberalator

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Misleading, As Usual

The Amarillo Globe Republican ran an AP story this morning headlined "Both sides mislead issues in debate on health care." The only problem is that all four claims (government encouraged euthanasia; government funded abortions; having to change doctors; and health care rationing) are all right wing lies that were disputed in the facts presented in the very same article. Oh well, what else can you expect from that rag.
(Sorry no link - article was not on Amarillo.com)