"Our Children and Grandchildren are not merely statistics towards which we can be indifferent" JFK

Monday, May 31, 2010

Is it possible that many politicians and members of Congress suffer from Folate Deficiency?

Grandpa has been steadfast in his view of politicians at large and members of congress throughout 2010 and concluded that they are innately self centered, inept, self-absorbed, manipulative, devious and defective.

Spending time with the grandchildren and reflecting on their inexhaustible level of innocence, grandpa thought maybe, just maybe the common denominator of "politician characteristics" was medically related. A couple of grandchild hugs later, grandpa thought maybe, just maybe these "characteristics" are due to a dietary deficiency. Think about it, the first lady planted an organic vegetable garden just over a year ago for the family's meals and formal dinners and there has been no evidence of confusion or irritability out of the White House since her inaugural harvest.

While grandma was out of town visiting a very dear friend, grandpa beckoned his crack research staff with a single mission of diagnosing the U.S. political malady and developing an antidote to assure all grandchildren of an equitable and optimistic future.

Grandpa's global crack research staff included Heineken's Political Behavioral Research (PBR) and Svedka's Associated Center for Disenchantment Control (ACDC) and they proved to be a most productive team. Bottom line, it is medical and the innately self centered, inept, self-absorbed, manipulative, devious and defective congress and congressional wannabe's traits do in fact stem from a dietary deficiency...Folate Deficiency.

Symptoms of Folate deficiency (credit WebMD and Nat'l Institute of Health) include Weakness, Confusion, Irritability, Lightheadedness, Forgetfulness and Difficulty Concentrating or Focusing Attention and Behavioral Disorders.

The proof is in the research results:

Chris Dodd: Assumed the role of the "financial reform" God as he believes this will be his legacy upon his departure from Washington D.C. after 36 years. Chris suffers from habitual Forgetfulness as despite his efforts for financial reform in 2010, he voted to repeal Glass-Steagall in 1999.

Richard Blumenthal (Connecticut Attorney General and candidate for Chris Dodd's Senate seat) suffers from chronic Confusion as Richard "befuddled" Blumenthal confused working maintenance in Washington Parks and Toys for Tots drives with actually serving in Vietnam.

Republican Senate Candidate (for President Obama's seat) Mark Kirk, according to ACDC suffers acute Confusion bouts as he intermittently believes he was named the U. S. Navy's Intelligence Officer of the Year....not so much.

Michael Steele (Republican National Committee chairman) according to PBR suffers from Irritability and Behavioral Disorders given his defending of the RNC's lavish spending at an "adult themed" nightclub. PBR also noted Forgetfulness given the "Family Values" mantra of the RNC.

Nancy Pelosi (Speaker of the House) states that eliminating liability caps for oil companies is worth considering. PBR and ACDC concluded that Ms. Pelosi suffers from Weakness, Confusion, Irritability, Lightheadedness, Forgetfulness and Difficulty Concentrating or Focusing Attention and Behavioral Disorders given her yes vote on the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 that included capping oil companies liability at $75 million.

Barney Frank in 2005: "Homes that are occupied may see ebb and flow of price at a certain percentage level, but you're not going to see the collapse that you see when people talk about a bubble. So those of us on our committee will continue to push for home ownership". Barney on CNBC during the week of May 17th, 2010; "My efforts have been towards affordable rental housing. I was very much in disagreement with this push into home ownership. I think the federal government should not be artificially doing that". We concluded that Mr. Frank's Confusion, Forgetfulness and Difficulty Concentrating are unmistakable symptoms of Folate deficiency.

Tim "Turbo Tax" Geithner, Treasury Secretary at the Senate confirmation hearings, it was revealed that Geithner had not paid $35,000 in self-employment taxes for the years 2001–2004. This failure to pay was noted during a 2006 audit by the Internal Revenue Service , in which Geithner was assessed additional taxes of $14,847 for the 2003 and 2004 tax years. The statute of limitations had expired for 2001 and 2002, and Geithner did not file amended returns or pay the additional amounts due for those years until after Obama expressed his intent to nominate Geithner to be Secretary of the Treasury (credit Wikipedia). 60 Folate deficient Senators voted yes to Geithner's appointment.

Crack research staff's antidote: start a food drive for your "representative" in lieu of the traditional cash contributions. Send your Senator a sack of spinach, a bag of sunflower seeds and a case of fortified breakfast cereal. We can no longer rely on replacing incumbent "representatives" through the voting process as the " wannabe's" are equally self centered, inept, self-absorbed, manipulative, devious and defective.

Good luck with your Folate Food Drive.

Help a Politician to Remember and Focus

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Memorial Day is not about retail sales events, it is about 1+ million soldier deaths

Some very sobering hard core facts regarding the ULTIMATE SACRIFICE:

American War and Military Operations
Casualties: Lists and Statistics
CRS Report for Congress
February 26, 2010

    4,435  Revolutionary War
    2,260  War of 1812
  13,283  Mexican War
364,511  Civil War (Union Soldiers)
     2,446  Spanish American War
116,516  WWI
405,399  WWII
   36,574  Korean War
   58,220  Vietnam "Conflict"
        383   Persian Gulf War
            8    Iranian Hostage Rescue Mission
        265   Lebanon Peacekeeping
          19   Grenada
          23    Panama
        383    Desert Shield/Desert Storm
          43    Somalia
            4     Haiti

From icasualties.org

    4,400  Operation Iraqi Freedom
    1,086  Operation Enduring Freedom/Afghanistan 

The numbers and impact on family lineage is heart wrenching. Take a minute and imagine the dads that never made it home to meet their child, the moms that never came back to braid her daughter's hair. Think about those that never came back to embrace their significant other and the family pain of losing one's son or daughter and acknowledging the family tree will never be the same.

Congress is in recess until June 4th; not that anyone notices a difference. Take a minute to remind your representative of THE example of ultimate sacrifice and that their lack of integrity, ineptness and self-centered core is a complete disgrace to those that truly gave to their country.

Do not use the lack of a draft as rationalization for your indifference to those in harms way. It is time to allow dads to meet their kids, for moms to again braid hair and for brothers and sisters to hug and laugh. BRING THEM HOME before another forest of "family trees" are lost.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Sunday Comics early edition

Facebook Level I Privacy Setting Reboot

Facebook Level II Privacy Setting Reboot

Suggested Reference Material for British Petroleum

Representative Sestak...Deal or No Deal?

New Kindle Expected This Summer

Next Stop...CNBC

Tim Geithner: "Our economy is getting stronger and
we're seeing a lot of strength, improvement and confidence"

Ben Bernanke's concept of an exit strategy

Nancy Pelosi thinks eliminating the oil company liability cap "is worth looking at", yet voted for the cap in 1990!

May 29 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Congress should consider eliminating the cap on damages that companies such as BP Plc have to pay for harm from oil spills.

“There is a movement afoot in Congress for that,” Pelosi said in an interview yesterday on Bloomberg Television’s “Political Capital with Al Hunt” airing this weekend. “Why have a cap?”

Pelosi had previously voiced support for a proposal to raise to $10 billion the existing $75 million cap for economic damages caused by each environmental disaster.

“You would hope that there would not be more than $10 billion of damage, but understand it is for each episode,” she said. Asked about eliminating the cap altogether, Pelosi, 70, said, “I think it’s worthy of looking at.”
Link to complete article on Ms. Hypocrite

Grandpa: Congressional hypocrisy levels remain elevated to record levels. Politicians are stumbling over themselves to announce the injustice of limiting liability of BP given the ecological devastation. BP has stated that they will pay all "legitimate claims" even if they exceed the $75 million liability cap. And BP's interpretation of legitimate is.....

We Americans can thank the 101st United States Congress for the liability cap as they passed the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 and it was signed into law in August 1990. Once again, our elected officials (a.k.a. pin heads) believe we are a country of idiots with no memories and no interest in history. Grandpa is here to guide them back in time.

The year was 1990 and sad to say, many of our current "pin heads" alleged they were "representing" children and grandchildren 20 years ago. Our President was George H. Bush and Dan Quayle sat in as co-pilot. Democrats held 55 of the 100 Senate seats while the same party occupied 261 of the 435 House of Representative seats.

The House of Representatives passed the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 by a huge margin and included in this act was limiting the liability of oil companies. The Senate opted for a voice vote knowing that it would be impossible for Grandpa to track down who voted yes.

The bill had 79 co-sponsors including: Nancy Pelosi, Barbara Boxer and Barney Frank. The following, not a complete list of hypocrites voted aye:

Nancy Pelosi, Barbara Boxer, Henry Waxman, Charles Schumer, Jim Bunning (grandpa very disappointed), Peter DeFazio, Olympia Snowe, Barney Frank, Edolphus Towns, John "I've been in Congress since 1955" Dingell, Jr., Charles Rangel, Marcia Kaptur (grandpa very disappointed II) and Paul "since 1985 I appeared on CNBC 519 times" Kanjorski.

We all need to request a response from our Senate side of Hypocrisy Boulevard given the "voice vote" however a few noteworthy potential hypocrites still in the Senate 20 years later include:

John McCain, Chris Dodd, Joseph Lieberman, Joe "I got to be VP" Biden, Richard "hard working Americans have paid my salary since 1977" Luger, Chuck Grassley, Mitch McConnell, Carl "31 years" Levin, Max "35 years in Congress" Baucus, Harry Reid, Kent Conrad, Orrin "33 year club" Hatch, John Warner and Richard Shelby.

The next time you hear or read about a "pin head" pounding the table to raise the oil company liability cap, ask yourself where they were in 1990 and how did they vote? This Vigilant Grandpa will do what needs to be done to assure our children and grandchildren of an equitable and optimistic future. Be very very careful "pin heads" as grandpa is packing a very large hammer!

FDIC Shuts down 5 banks and the 78th of 2010

Sheila Bair and staff put their Memorial weekend plans on hold as 5 more banks required their attention this holiday weekend. The FDIC shuttered 5 more banks on Friday bringing the total 2010 bank closings to 78. The FDIC closed 140 banks for all of 2009 so Sheila Bair is well on her way to top last year's figure. Last week was a quiet week as Ms. Bair shut down one lonely bank in MN.

The FDIC estimates this week's closings will cost the insurance fund approximately $281 million. Florida and IL remain in contention for the 2010 bank closing gold medal. At the end of May, Florida remains the top state of bank closings with 13 while Illinois remains solidly in 2nd place with 11 banks. Georgia holds the bronze with 8 closed banks however California, Minnesota and Washington are vying for bronze with 6 closed banks per state.

Grandpa remains very confident that California will kick it into high gear during the summer months and we could have a most interesting late summer rally between FL, IL and CA for gold.

Friday, May 28, 2010

To Pig to Fail (Jim Morin Commentary)

Kudos to Jim Morin of The Miami Herald!!

Yippee!! Florida waives fishing license fees for the weekend

BY DOUGLAS HANKS crline dhanks@MiamiHerald.com

No license is required to saltwater fish during Memorial Day, thanks to fears the Gulf oil spill will keep casual Florida anglers away. Gov. Charlie Crist announced Friday he would waive rules requiring a fishing license starting Saturday and ending Monday. Depending on the type, a Florida fishing license can cost between $17 and $79.

Next weekend, from June 5 to 6, also will be license-free. Red snapper season starts June 1.

``Florida is the fishing capital of the world,'' Crist said in a statement. ''Our beaches are clear, the fish are biting, and we invite our friends to enjoy some Florida hospitality.''

Grab all you can carry courtesy of BP


Is The SEC Still Working For Wall Street? (The Baseline Scenario)

By Simon Johnson

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) under Mary Shapiro is trying to escape a difficult legacy – over the past two decades, the once proud agency was effectively captured by the very Wall Street firms it was supposed to regulate.

The SEC’s case against Goldman Sachs may mark a return to a more effective role; certainly bringing a case against Goldman took some guts. But it is entirely possible that the Goldman matter is a one off that lacks broader implications. And in this context the SEC’s handling of concerns about “high frequency trading” (HFT) – following the May 6 “flash crash”, when the stock market essentially shut down or rebooted for 20 minutes – is most disconcerting. (See yesterday’s speech by Senator Ted Kaufman on this exact issue; short summary.)

Regulatory capture begins when the regulator starts to see the world only through the eyes of the regulated. Rather than taking on board views that are critical of existing arrangements, tame regulators talk only to proponents of the status quo (or people who want even more deregulation). This seems to be what is happening with regard to HFT.

HFT is a big deal – perhaps as much as 70 percent of all stock trades are now done by “black box” computer algorithms (i.e., no one really knows how these work), and there are major open questions whether this operates in a way that is fair for small investors. (Disclosure: in 2000-2001, I was on the SEC’s Advisory Committee on Market Information; I was concerned about closely related issues, although market structure has changed a great deal over the past 10 years.)

The technical, “fact-gathering” activities of bodies like the SEC are of critical importance in both building an overall consensus – do we have a problem, what should we do about it – and also in creating the basis for regulatory action (e.g., the SEC does not even collect the data needed to understand how HFT contributed to the May 6 disaster). And anyone who has ever put together a relatively complicated discussion of this nature can attest that how you frame the issues is typically decisive, i.e., what is presented as the range of reasonable alternative views?

On Wednesday, the SEC will hold a “market structure roundtable” to discuss “high frequency trading, undisplayed liquidity, and the appropriate metrics for evaluating market structure performance.” But who exactly will be at this discussion?

The names of panelists for this discussion are not yet public and probably not yet final – but the preliminary list is far too much slanted towards proponents of HFT (6 out of 7 seats at the table; see Senator Kaufman’s speech for details), with hardly any representation of people in the markets (e.g., “buy side” mutual funds) who think HFT is potentially out of control or unfair. It looks very much like someone is setting up a love fest for HFT – and a boxing match with 6 tough guys against one lonely critic.

To be fair, after coming under heavy pressure from a leading member of the Senate Banking Committee over the past 48 hours, the SEC is backpedaling quickly and indicating that the panel invitations can be broadened. This is encouraging – perhaps the agency is finally overcoming its tin ear problem.

But nothing other than a balanced panel on June 2 would be acceptable. At the very least, the SEC needs to increase the panel to 10 people – 5 for and 5 against. And all the issues need to be on the table – including exactly who benefits from HFT, how much money they make in this fashion, and whether or not long-term investors (and the broader economy) really gain from such arrangements.

The SEC must understand that it has a long way to go to restore its credibility. Wednesday’s quasi-hearing is an important test and many people will be watching carefully.

Goldman Sachs wheeling and dealing with SEC

Wall Street Journal
Goldman Sachs Group Inc. has told the Securities and Exchange Commission that the company hopes to avoid a fraud charge as part of any settlement of last month's lawsuit against the securities firm, according to people familiar with the situation.

It isn't unusual for companies accused by the SEC to try to negotiate a lesser charge in settlement talks. While Goldman has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing, many analysts expect the company to agree to a fine and other penalties in order to resolve the suit, filed April 16 in U.S. District Court in New York.

Lawyers for Goldman have met with SEC representatives at least once since the suit was filed. It isn't clear how the SEC responded to indications from Goldman that the company hopes to reach a settlement tied to a lesser charge than fraud.

Goldman and the SEC declined to comment Thursday. People familiar with the preliminary settlement discussions have said no agreement is imminent.

Public-Relation's Value

Avoiding a fraud charge likely would help Goldman rebound from the public-relations and stock-price hits suffered since the lawsuit was filed. Such a settlement could trigger criticism of the SEC as having backed down from Wall Street's most profitable securities firm.

The lawsuit accuses Goldman and trader Fabrice Tourre of selling a collateralized debt obligation called Abacus 2007-AC1 without disclosing to the two other parties to the investment that hedge-fund firm Paulson & Co. helped to pick some of the underlying mortgage securities and was betting on the financial instrument's decline.

Goldman's interest in a settlement involving a lesser charge than fraud was earlier reported by the Financial Times.

Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. analyst Brad Hintz estimated Thursday that Goldman could wind up paying about $621 million to reach a settlement.

A $250 Million Fine?

Mr. Hintz said he believes the SEC would agree to a $250 million fine, based on previous settlements between the government and Wall Street. Goldman likely would have to redeem $371 million from investors who had money in the securities at the center of the SEC's lawsuit.

The overall estimated payment could trim Goldman's earnings by $1.05 a share, an amount that Mr. Hintz noted would be "painful to Goldman" but "allow both Goldman Sachs and the SEC to walk away declaring victory."

Analysts project Goldman will post a profit of $19.53 a share during 2010, according to Thomson Reuters.

Other analysts have projected it could cost more than $1 billion to settle the charges. "Certainly, Goldman wants this case settled," Mr. Hintz wrote.


Thursday, May 27, 2010

SEC Settles with Pequot Capital Management for insider trading and nobody goes to jail, just write a $28 million check

IF ANYONE thinks the equity market is fair and equitable, they need their head examined! Insider trading if you are one of the Wall Street elite; no problem just write the SEC a check and they might even take plastic if you are seeking frequent flyer miles. May 27, 2010, NO FINANCIAL REFORM and the Wal Street clan simply continues to transfer funds to the SEC!

May 27 (Bloomberg) -- Pequot Capital Management Inc. and the hedge-fund firm’s founder, Arthur Samberg, will pay almost $28 million to settle regulatory claims they illegally tapped information from a Microsoft Corp. employee to bet on the software maker’s stock in 2001.

Samberg, who said last year he was winding down what was once the world’s biggest hedge fund, agreed to be barred from working as an investment adviser, the Securities and Exchange Commission said today in a statement announcing the case. The SEC also brought a civil claim against the former Microsoft worker, David Zilkha, saying he concealed his actions during an earlier probe.

“The cases have two particularly troubling aspects -- a hedge-fund manager trading on illegal insider information, and his tipper source who withheld crucial information about the scheme during an SEC investigation,” Robert Khuzami, the agency’s enforcement director, said in the statement. “Both are high-priority targets.”

Senators including Iowa Republican Charles Grassley have criticized the SEC’s decision in 2006 to close an examination of Pequot’s trades, including scrutiny of Morgan Stanley Chairman John Mack. Interest was rekindled last year after investigators got copies of e-mails between Zilkha and a Microsoft colleague from a hard drive in possession of Zilkha’s ex-wife.

‘Unnecessary Delays’

“Federal regulators have finally followed the evidence to its logical conclusions after years of unnecessary delays and timidity,” Grassley said in a statement today. “There was clearly a case to be made against Pequot, and the SEC has finally admitted it.”

Jonathan Gasthalter, a spokesman for Samberg, 69, and Wilton, Connecticut-based Pequot, declined to comment. Samberg and Pequot didn’t admit or deny wrongdoing when agreeing to settle.

Zilkha’s attorney, Henry Putzel, didn’t return a phone call seeking comment. Microsoft spokesman Peter Wootton declined to comment. The Redmond, Washington-based company wasn’t accused of wrongdoing.

In April 2001, Zilkha, now 41, was planning to leave Microsoft and join Pequot when Samberg e-mailed him, seeking information on whether the company would miss quarterly earnings estimates. “Any tidbits you might care to lob in would be appreciated,” Samberg wrote, according to the SEC’s claim.
Link to complete article...

This crook has a face albeit he did not have to admit anything...

Chris Dodd seeks to pile on as much debt on our grandchildren as possible before leaving office

Senate Bill Would Provide $2 Billion for Transit Agencies

By MELANIE TROTTMAN (Wall Street Journal) 
WASHINGTON—A group of senators led by Sen. Chris Dodd (D., Conn.) proposed Tuesday that Congress throw a $2 billion lifeline to struggling public transit systems in New York and other big cities.

The bill, introduced with the support of seven Democratic co-sponsors including Sen. Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) and lawmakers from New Jersey, Ohio and Illinois, would allow transit agencies nationwide to use federal money to reduce fares and restore service cuts made after January of last year. The proposal's prospects aren't clear at a time when Congress is under pressure to cut federal spending.

The bill would allow transit agencies to use the federal money to prevent future service cuts and fare boosts through September 2011. Agencies that haven't raised fares or cut services—and don't plan to do so—can use the funds for infrastructure improvements.

New York City's Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the nation's largest, in March approved service and staff cuts to cope with an earlier operating deficit, but it still must devise a plan by July to fill an additional $400 million shortfall. In recent weeks, the agency has said it is doing everything from laying off workers and curbing overtime costs, to renegotiating contracts and cleaning subways less often.

The bill is the latest effort to aid struggling transit systems but doesn't address a broader dispute about how to best fund the agencies long-term.

The American Public Transportation Association, the trade group that represents public transit systems, says public transportation systems get far less in government funding than they need each year.

In addition, big-city transit systems are generally restricted to using federal funds for capital investments such as new rail cars or tracks. Transit unions and officials in cities such as Atlanta and St. Louis are trying to change that policy by backing House and Senate bills that would enable federal funds to be used for day-to-day operations. New York City's MTA has said diverting capital funds to operations could lead to systemwide decay.

The MTA joined others transit agencies and unions Tuesday in applauding the emergency funding bill, saying through a spokesman that "we hope it passes."

The Amalgamated Transit Union and the Transport Workers Union will run radio ads this week in several states urging Republican senators to support the legislation. The ads will draw a link between heavy traffic and air pollution and urge the public to advocate for appropriated funding.

Grandpa: Chris Dodd sticking it to our grandchildren yet again. Spend another $2 BILLION so public transit does not need to raise fares! ENOUGH IS ENOUGH CHRIS!!!

Mommy...we don't want to stay with Grandpa Dodd....

Christina "Aunt Bee" Romer: sudden budget cuts would could hit the manipulated recovery

PARIS, May 27 (Reuters) - Immediate budget cuts in the United States could nip early signs of recovery in the bud, Senior White House advisor Christina Romer said on Thursday.

"The sensible way to address the current projected deficit is with a credible plan," Romer said at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development 2010 Forum in Paris.

"It would be penny wise but pound foolish to deal with our long-term problems by significantly tightening fiscal policy immediately or foregoing additional spending to reduce unemployment," she said.

"Immediate fiscal contraction would inevitably nip the nascent economic recovery in the bud," she said.

On the world economy, she said that while some countries had to implement immediate austerity measures to bring public finances under control, others not in immediate distress could help the recovery by supporting demand.

She said that more domestic demand in China and Germany in particular would be an important factor in ensuring a balance in world trade. (Reporting by John Irish and James Mackenzie; editing by Patrick Graham)

Christina "Aunt Bee" Romer's recycled sound bites...

CNBC May 3, 2010: "It would be penny-wise and pound-foolish to try to deal with our long-run problem by tightening fiscal policy immediately or foregoing additional emergency spending to reduce unemployment," she said.

Reuters April 17, 2010: "It would be penny-wise but pound-foolish to try to deal with our long-run problem by tightening fiscal policy immediately or foregoing additional emergency spending to reduce unemployment, she said.

ABC News March 10, 2010: “It would be penny-wise but pound-foolish to deal with our long-run problem by tightening fiscal policy immediately or foregoing additional emergency spending to reduce unemployment.”

ABC News October 22, 2009: Given the precarious nature of the economy Romer added that now was not the time to raise taxes or cut government spending and inflation that is too low is a greater worry right now that inflation that is too high.

Pete and Repeat went down to the lake, Pete falls in, who is left...

Not Grandchild Friendly

Grandchildren Friendly

White House Jester Beheaded For Making Fun Of Soaring National Debt (The Onion)

WASHINGTON—After serving 12 years in the position, Motley, the official White House Jester, was beheaded Tuesday after delivering a poorly received jape about the spiraling national debt before President and Mrs. Obama.

"For crimes of great arrogance and cheek, His Idiocy the White House Jester has been sentenced to a swift demise," White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said following the death sentence. "Let it be heard over every city and suburb of this land that the National Debt is no topic for frivolity, and the mailed hand of Obama shall smite all offenders."

Motley, who used his last words to beg in vain for Obama's mercy, was executed on the North Lawn at the strike of noon.

According to witnesses, the controversial performance took place late Monday evening, when Obama announced that his head was weary following a day of closed-door meetings with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, and the chief of the White House Avenary. Having retired to the Great Hall, Obama clapped his hands and called for feasting and joviality.

Initial performances by a madrigal group, marionette puppeteers, and Faith Hill proved popular with the First Family, but the festivities reportedly turned sour after Motley was summoned to lighten Obama's spirits.

"At first, Motley did greatly please the President with his cavorting and merrymaking," White House Senior Adviser David Axelrod told reporters. "He recited droll quatrains about the Tea Party movement to much enjoyment. But yea, verily, his impression of [U.S. Secretary of Education] Arne Duncan, with oversized costume teeth, earned the heartiest roars of laughter by far, and perhaps emboldened Motley past the brink of decorum."

Tensions rose when a happily beaming Obama demanded to be riddled. After a string of well-received topical posers, Motley asked the following:
A pocket-hole that grew so large,

A giant couldn't eat it.

A cache of gold that never was,

But nonetheless depleted.

When the President confessed to being stumped, Motley revealed the answer to be "the National Debt, of course."

Witnesses said Obama's mood immediately darkened and, pounding on the arm of the Presidential Throne, he demanded new jesting. After nervously clearing his throat, Motley was heard to ask, "Wherefore is the National Debt like a sprouting leaf of spinach?" When a glowering Obama demanded the answer, Motley stated, "For it shall rapidly grow into something our children cannot bear."

At this, Obama reportedly dropped the large turkey leg in his hand and signaled to nearby Secret Service agents, who seized Motley and dragged him, pleading, to the Executive Dungeon. The President exited the Hall in a fury, and within minutes had drafted an order of execution by beheading.

"The First Executioner completed his task in one true swing," said White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, who presided over the assembled crowd of some 20,000 onlookers. "His head has been spitted on a pike and displayed facing E Street as a warning to they who would mock our most precipitously extended federal debt."

In his career, Motley entertained three presidents, capered at five White House Correspondents' Dinners, and hosted a season of Comedy Central's Premium Blend. He is the first sitting White House Jester to be executed since the 1998 drawing and quartering of his predecessor, Dennis Miller, on the National Mall.

Analysts said that while Motley was an eminently skilled wit, he erred in taking on such a sensitive issue, overstepping the satirical authority normally afforded the Office of White House Jester: In fact, the last Jester to survive a debt joke was Harding Administration Jester Chauncey, who spent five days in the stocks by the Reflecting Pool.

Others placed the blame squarely on Obama's famously volatile temper.

"Only a month after murdering the Presidential Physician for telling him to quit smoking and jog more, Obama has again displayed his wrath with bloodshed," Washington Post reporter Brian Halloran said. "He must control himself better if he wants to be remembered with a flattering cognomen at the end of his term."

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

25 questions to ask anyone who is delusional enough to believe that this economic recovery is real….Blacklisted News

By Michael Snyder - BLN Contributing Writer
If you listen to the mainstream media long enough, you just might be tempted to believe that the United States has emerged from the recession and is now in the middle of a full-fledged economic recovery. In fact, according to Obama administration officials, the great American economic machine has roared back to life, stronger and more vibrant than ever before. But is that really the case? Of course not. You would have to be delusional to believe that. What did happen was that all of the stimulus packages and government spending and new debt that Obama and the U.S. Congress pumped into the economy bought us a little bit of time. But they have also made our long-term economic problems far worse. The reality is that the U.S. cannot keep supporting an economy on an ocean of red ink forever. At some point the charade is going to come crashing down.

And GDP is not a really good measure of the economic health of a nation. For example, if you would have looked at the growth of GDP in the Weimar republic in the early 1930s, you may have been tempted to think that the German economy was really thriving. German citizens were spending increasingly massive amounts of money. But of course that money was becoming increasingly worthless at the same time as hyperinflation spiralled out of control.

Well, today the purchasing power of our dollar is rapidly eroding as the price of food and other necessities continues to increase. So just because Americans are spending a little bit more money than before really doesn’t mean much of anything. As you will see below, there are a whole bunch of other signs that the U.S. economy is in very, very serious trouble.

Any “recovery” that the U.S. economy is experiencing is illusory and will be quite temporary. The entire financial system of the United States is falling apart, and the powers that be can try to patch it up and prop it up for a while, but in the end this thing is going to come crashing down.

But as obvious as that may seem to most of us, there are still quite a few people out there that are absolutely convinced that the U.S. economy will fully recover and will soon be stronger than ever.

So the following are 25 questions to ask anyone who is delusional enough to believe that this economic recovery is real….

#1) In what universe is an economy with 39.68 million Americans on food stamps considered to be a healthy, recovering economy? In fact, the U.S. Department of Agriculture forecasts that enrollment in the food stamp program will exceed 43 million Americans in 2011. Is a rapidly increasing number of Americans on food stamps a good sign or a bad sign for the economy?

#2) According to RealtyTrac, foreclosure filings were reported on 367,056 properties in the month of March. This was an increase of almost 19 percent from February, and it was the highest monthly total since RealtyTrac began issuing its report back in January 2005. So can you please explain again how the U.S. real estate market is getting better?

#3) The Mortgage Bankers Association just announced that more than 10 percent of U.S. homeowners with a mortgage had missed at least one payment in the January-March period. That was a record high and up from 9.1 percent a year ago. Do you think that is an indication that the U.S. housing market is recovering?

#4) How can the U.S. real estate market be considered healthy when, for the first time in modern history, banks own a greater share of residential housing net worth in the United States than all individual Americans put together?

#5) With the U.S. Congress planning to quadruple oil taxes, what do you think that is going to do to the price of gasoline in the United States and how do you think that will affect the U.S. economy?

#6) Do you think that it is a good sign that Arnold Schwarzenegger, the governor of the state of California, says that “terrible cuts” are urgently needed in order to avoid a complete financial disaster in his state?

#7) But it just isn’t California that is in trouble. Dozens of U.S. states are in such bad financial shape that they are getting ready for their biggest budget cuts in decades. What do you think all of those budget cuts will do to the economy?

#8) In March, the U.S. trade deficit widened to its highest level since December 2008. Month after month after month we buy much more from the rest of the world than they buy from us. Wealth is draining out of the United States at an unprecedented rate. So is the fact that the gigantic U.S. trade deficit is actually getting bigger a good sign or a bad sign for the U.S. economy?

#9) Considering the fact that the U.S. government is projected to have a 1.6 trillion dollar deficit in 2010, and considering the fact that if you went out and spent one dollar every single second it would take you more than 31,000 years to spend a trillion dollars, how can anyone in their right mind claim that the U.S. economy is getting healthier when we are getting into so much debt?

#10) The U.S. Treasury Department recently announced that the U.S. government suffered a wider-than-expected budget deficit of 82.69 billion dollars in April. So is the fact that the red ink of the U.S. government is actually worse than projected a good sign or a bad sign?
Link to remaining questions

Grandpa has nothing else to offer at this time however the truth is out there..

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Dylan Ratigan on the 12 who will decide financial reform

Dylan is not pulling any punches!!

Timmy Geithner wants Europe to conduct bank "stress" tests just like us!! Then set the bar low...very, very low

After conducting one of the largest scams (a.k.a. the no-stress, stress test on our finanical institutions) on Americans, Tim Geithner will advise Europe to administer the same scam stress test on their banking institutions. Tim will tout how successful our finanical institutions have performed since successfully passing the scam stress test however he will likely leave out the fact that each of these "viable and important institutions" had an unlimited supply of free money and billions of guaranteed debt from Tim's uncle once removed, Ben Bernanke and his 2nd cousin on Ben's side Sheila Bair.

As is the case with all Tim's and his relatives' ponzi schemes, in order to assure continued success, you need another player and Europe affords him a most timely opportunity.

Geithner urging Europe to set the bar low...very, very low...

(Reuters) - U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner will urge European officials this week to conduct some form of banking system stress tests, CNBC reported on Tuesday, citing an Obama administration official.

The stress tests, however, would have to differ from those conducted by U.S. regulators in the spring of 2009, because Europe lacks a huge bailout fund like the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program to plug any capital deficiencies found, CNBC said.

Geithner and other Treasury officials routinely cite the U.S. stress tests, which helped open the door for private capital to return to the banking sector, as calming intense market turmoil caused by the financial crisis.

Similar tests could provide more transparency into the European banking sector's condition and help boost market confidence.
Link to Timmy's Pretend Stress Test Article

Michael Pento On The Markets Vs. Bernanke (courtesy of Zerohedge.com)

By Michael Pento of Delta Global Advisors
Michael Pento Link

Who should investors listen to; the markets or the Fed? One says we are in for a double dip recession, the other just raised GDP forecasts.

The head of our central bank Benjamin S. Bernanke has a perfect track record for predicting economic outcomes. Unfortunately, his track record is only perfect due to its 100% inaccuracy. The Fed Chairman once assured investors that the subprime housing crisis was contained and would not bring down real estate prices or affect the overall economy.

Then, after being proven completely wrong by the near collapse of the entire global economy, Mr. Bernanke moved to an emergency Federal Funds target rate of 0-25 bps and has held it there for 17 months. And even though the economy has posted three straight quarters of growth, has shown no inkling to provide American savers with a decent return on their money deposited in banks.

Now we find the Federal Reserve once again proving it has an unlimited aptitude for ineptness by actually raising their G.D.P. forecast from a growth range of 2.8%-3.5% to 3.2-3.7%. That's correct; Federal Reserve officials raised their U.S. growth estimates for 2010 and lowered forecasts for unemployment and inflation, according to minutes of the Federal Open Market Committee meeting on April 27-28. They left their 2011 forecast unchanged at 3.4 percent to 4.5 percent. Fed officials' forecast for the average unemployment rate in the last quarter of 2010 fell to 9.1 percent to 9.5 percent versus 9.5 percent to 9.7 percent estimate made in January.

However, contrary to the Fed's predicted trend of improvement in employment numbers and economic data, on Thursday we saw first time claims for unemployment jump by 21,000 to 471,000 in the week ended May 15th. The four-week moving average also climbed to 453,500 last week from 450,500. Additionally, the Index of Leading Economic Indicators during the month of April saw a .1 percent decrease. That dip in the Conference Board's outlook for the next three to six months followed a revised 1.3 percent gain in March and was the first decline for the index in a year.

Meanwhile, sovereign debt contagion threatens to dismantle the Euro currency as Eurozone borrowing costs may become intractable if interest rates continue to rise. China is busy trying to pop their property bubble at the same time the Shanghai Composite Index is down 21% in 2010. Not to be outdone, Australia has collapsed their resource sector by imposing a 40% tax on the earnings of mining companies.

The threat of a metastasizing government debt default crisis similar to the credit crisis of 2008 has sent crude oil prices tumbling from over $85 a barrel to $68 in a matter of weeks. Dr. Copper has plummeted from $3.60 a pound in April to $2.93 as of this writing. But none of that matters to the Fed or gives them pause to reflect on their ebullient outlook.

It doesn't take superhuman predictive powers to have the ability to look at markets. What is it that Mr. Bernanke and company look at other than the rear view mirror when making prognostications about growth, unemployment and inflation? We have given the most incredibly powers to the Federal Reserve; namely, to dictate a target rate for the cost of money. But we have allowed to be appointed at the Fed a group of individuals who not only cannot accurately assess a given series of data but also have chosen to completely ignore markets.

The CRB Index is trading at its lowest level since October of 2009 and is telling investors that the global economy is in the process of slowing. But the Fed is stacked with academics that have never had to earn a living by predicting economic and market directions. Their failure to listen to the message of markets is the key reason they have such a miserable record of making accurate projections. For the betterment of the nation, the next appointment to serve at the Fed should be someone from the trading pit and not from Princeton.

Monday, May 24, 2010

1.2 million unemployed may lose federal benefits

By Ruth Mantell WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) -- About 1.2 million jobless workers could be "cut off" from federal unemployment benefits next month if Congress does not pass an extension soon, according to a statement released Monday by the National Employment Law Project. The House could vote as early as Tuesday on extending the benefits, and the Senate could consider the bill later this week, congressional aides said. "Unemployed Americans are pulling their hair out -- and they are looking to Congress for help," said Christine Owens, NELP's executive director. "Even if it means staying in Washington as the congressional recess approaches, the unemployment bill must move forward." Extending the benefits is part of a larger jobs and tax bill pending in Congress.

Tick Tock...

New Law Forces CEOs To Humbly Shrug Before Receiving Massive Bonuses (The Onion)

CEOs who pretend to give back bonuses will be eligible for additional tax credits.

WASHINGTON—Securities and Exchange Commission officials are calling it the strictest regulatory reform since the Great Depression: CEOs of major financial institutions will now be required to humbly shrug and smile sheepishly before accepting huge salary bonuses.

The new regulation, SEC rule 206(b)-7, will reportedly target Wall Street executives who accept disgustingly bloated annual payouts, forcing them to raise and then lower their shoulders in a manner that conveys a mild degree of humility or a sense of "Aw, shucks. Who? Me?"

"This sweeping new reform sends a clear message to fat-cat CEOs at firms like Goldman Sachs and AIG," SEC chair Mary Schapiro said Monday. "Never again will they be able to receive massive bonuses unless, at a minimum, they flash a gee-I-don't-think-I-should expression and say something like 'Well, all right, but only if you insist' first."

"Mark my words," she continued, "The days of greedy, out-of-touch executives pocketing outrageous $40 million bonuses without acting slightly embarrassed about it are over."

The crackdown comes on the heels of Wall Street's 2010 bonus season, during which not one executive was observed to look at the floor meekly, sink his hands into his pockets, or dig his right toe awkwardly into the ground before taking his cut of the estimated $55 billion in payouts.

The SEC rule stipulates that CEOs set to receive bonuses between $1 and $5 million will be required to raise their eyebrows in feigned surprise. Those who make between $5 and $10 million will have to smile uncomfortably and say, "Yikes, that's a whole lot of simoleons," while executives receiving more than seven figures must now audibly stammer, "It's, you know, I mean, ha! What are you gonna do, you know?" before having the funds wired directly to an offshore bank account.
Link to complete Article

Financial Industry spends $1.7 BILLION in 10 years and we wonder why financial reform has become a joke!

By Eric Lichtblau and Edward Wyatt
New York Times
updated 4:06 a.m. CT, Sun., May 23, 2010

WASHINGTON - Last Wednesday, Representative David Scott, Democrat of Georgia, mingled with insurance and financial executives and other supporters at a lunchtime fund-raiser in his honor at a chic Washington wine bar before rushing out to cast a House vote.

Nearby, supporters of Representative Michael E. Capuano, Democrat of Massachusetts, gathered that evening at a Capitol Hill town house for a $1,000-a-head fund-raiser. Just as that was wrapping up, Representative Peter T. King, Republican of New York, was feted by campaign donors at nearby Nationals Park at a game against the Mets.

It was just another day in the nonstop fund-raising cycle for members of the House Financial Services Committee, which has become a magnet for money from Wall Street and other deep-pocketed contributors, especially as Congress moves to finalize the most sweeping new financial regulations in seven decades.

Executives and political action committees from Wall Street banks, hedge funds, insurance companies and related financial sectors have showered Congressional candidates with more than $1.7 billion in the last decade, with much of it going to the financial committees that oversee the industry's operations.

In return, the financial sector has enjoyed virtually front-door access and what critics say is often favorable treatment from many lawmakers.

But that relationship, advantageous to both sides for many years, is now being tested in ways rarely seen, as the nation's major financial firms seek to call in their political chits to stem regulatory changes they believe will hurt their business.

The biggest flash point for many Wall Street firms is the tough restrictions on the trading of derivatives imposed in the Senate bill approved Thursday night. Derivatives are securities whose value is based on the price of other assets like corn, soybeans or company stock.

The financial industry was confident that a provision that would force banks to spin off their derivatives businesses would be stripped out, but in the final rush to pass the bill, that did not happen.

The opposition comes not just from the financial industry. The chairman of the Federal Reserve and other senior banking regulators opposed the provision, and top Obama administration officials have said they would continue to push for it to be removed.

And Wall Street lobbyists are mounting an 11th-hour effort to remove it when House and Senate conferees begin meeting, perhaps this week, to reconcile their two bills. Lobbyists say they are already considering the possible makeup of the conference panel to focus on office visits and potential fund-raising.
Link to make your blood boil

Grandpa: Wall Street and congress continue their chummy and incestuous relationship with complete disregard for what is in the best interest of our children and grandchildren. Might BP's dispersant have an alternative application with a positive effect on Wall Street lobbyists and congressional members?

Dispersant Secondary Feature
The dispersant effort is meant to break down the chumminess so that over time, the slick congressional members and lobbyists are reduced to smaller particles that biodegrade instead of being left as clogging, thick globs that can choke off true financial reform on behalf of our kids and grandkids.

April Existing Homes: 82% of total were 1st time buyers and distressed properties

Washington, D.C., May 24, 2010
WASHINGTON (May 24, 2010) – Existing-home sales rose again in April with buyers motivated by the tax credit, improving consumer confidence and favorable affordability conditions, according to the National Association of Realtors®.

Existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, increased 7.6 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.77 million units in April from an upwardly revised 5.36 million in March, and are 22.8 percent higher than the 4.70 million-unit pace in April 2009. Monthly sales rose 7.0 percent in March.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said the gain was widely anticipated. “The upswing in April existing-home sales was expected because of the tax credit inducement, and no doubt there will be some temporary fallback in the months immediately after it expires, but other factors also are supporting the market,” he said. “For people who were on the sidelines, there’s been a return of buyer confidence with stabilizing home prices, an improving economy and mortgage interest rates that remain historically low.”

Total housing inventory at the end of April rose 11.5 percent to 4.04 million existing homes available for sale, which represents an 8.4-month supply at the current sales pace, up from an 8.1-month supply in March. Raw unsold inventory is 2.7 percent above a year ago, but remains 11.6 percent below the record of 4.58 million in July 2008.

A parallel NAR practitioner survey shows first-time buyers purchased 49 percent of homes in April, up from 44 percent in March. Investors accounted for 15 percent of transactions in April, down from 19 percent in March; the remaining sales were to repeat buyers. All-cash sales stood at 26 percent in April; they were 27 percent in March.
Link to NAR Press Release

Distressed sales accounted for 33% of all sales in April. The combined distressed sales and first time buyers accounted for 82% of all April sales.

The government's tax credit program ended 4/30/10 so "look out below" when the June, July and August existing home sales figures are released. Sit back and enjoy the show as grandpa is expecting CNBC and the White House to fabricate a positive spin on how 82% of existing homes sales represented by first time buyers and distressed sales is a positive sign that our economy is booming and a bottom has been reached in the housing market.

The only bottoms witnessed in 2010 are the "bottom of the barrel" politicians in D.C. and the BP black hole at the "bottom" of the Gulf.

Apartment Mortgage defaults set record in Q1 2010, twice 2009 levels

By Hui-yong Yu
May 24 (Bloomberg) -- Defaults on apartment-building mortgages held by U.S. banks climbed to a record 4.6 percent in the first quarter, almost twice the year-earlier level, as more borrowers failed to repay debt approved near the market peak, said Real Capital Analytics Inc. in a report.

Defaults on so-called multifamily mortgages rose from 4.4 percent in the fourth quarter and from 2.4 percent during the same period in 2009, the New York-based real estate research firm said today. Commercial-mortgage defaults also rose in the first quarter for loans against office, retail, hotel and industrial properties, Real Capital said.

“Apartment defaults are leading other commercial real estate,” Sam Chandan, global chief economist at Real Capital, said in an interview. “Banks tended to make more aggressively underwritten apartment loans earlier during this last cycle. Credit and pricing reached their peaks for office properties and other commercial assets later.”

The global recession cut demand for U.S. apartments, office space, retail shops, hotels and warehouses during the past two years as jobs disappeared and consumers cut spending. Defaults on apartment-building mortgages surpassed the previous record, set in 1993, for the past three consecutive quarters.

The U.S. savings-and-loan crisis drove apartment-building defaults to 3.4 percent in 1993. Defaults on other types of commercial property debt peaked at 4.6 percent in 1992, according to Real Capital.

The proportion of defaults on office, retail, hotel and industrial properties rose to 4.2 percent in the first quarter of this year, the company said.

U.S. apartments may lead a rebound in commercial real estate as vacancies peak in 2010 and the economy adds jobs, property research firm Reis Inc. said May 19. Reis estimates apartment vacancies will peak at 8.2 percent in 2010, the highest level since the firm began tracking the number in 1980. The number should start to decline in 2011, Reis said.

Real Capital bases its analysis on bank filings and data from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Sunday Comics

William Dudley (Federal Reserve Bank of NY Pres.)
"The U.S. economy is recovering
 and we are now seeing
the first signs of significant employment growth,"

Goldman Sachs Staff Response to the Senate's
Financial Reform Bill

Barney Frank: "I understand the urgency for the financial
stability of the country in getting this done quickly."

Big Bird Banned from voting in Nevada
Voters dressed in chicken costumes won't be allowed inside
 Nevada polling places this year.
(okay...so Big Bird is not a chicken, go ahead and laugh anyway)
Sue Lowden (Republican Senate Candidate from NV)
suggested that people barter with doctors
for medical care, like when
"our grandparents would bring a chicken to the doctor."

Global reaction from politicians in response
to their constituents' demand for meaningful financial reform

Grandpa helping out Richard Blumenthal to note
differences between Vietnam and Washington D.C.
(don't let the shades of brown confuse you Mr. Blumenthal)

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Report: Majority Of Government Doesn't Trust Citizens Either (The Onion)

The Onion
WASHINGTON—At a time when widespread polling data suggests that a majority of the U.S. populace no longer trusts the federal government, a Pew Research Center report has found that the vast majority of the federal government doesn't trust the U.S. populace all that much either.

According to the poll—which surveyed members of the judicial, legislative, and executive branches—9 out of 10 government officials reported feeling "disillusioned" by the populace and claimed to have "completely lost confidence" in the citizenry's ability to act in the nation's best interests.

"All the vitriol and partisan bickering in Congress has caused most Americans to form negative opinions of the U.S. government," Pew researcher Amy Ratner said. "However, over the same time period, the government has likewise grown wary of U.S. citizens, largely due to their utter lack of foresight, laziness, and overall incompetence."

Added Ratner, "And the fact that American Idol is still the No. 1 show on television doesn't exactly make our government burst with confidence."

Out of 100 U.S. senators polled, 84 said they don't trust the U.S. populace to do what is right, and 79 said Americans are not qualified to do their jobs. Ninety-one percent of all government officials polled said they find citizens to be every bit as irresponsible, greedy, irrational, and selfishly motivated as government officials are.

Moreover, according to nearly 100 percent of respondents, Wal-Mart.

"It makes complete sense for Americans to lose faith in a government that has allowed lobbyists and special interests to take over Washington," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) told reporters. "That being said, you could see why Washington might likewise lose faith in a populace that apparently still suspects that its president is a secret Muslim who was not born in the United States."

Citing the billions of dollars wasted annually on flavored water and boneless buffalo wings, the number of drunk-driving deaths each year, and the lack of citizen accountability for the rise of Kim Kardashian, government officials registered extremely low opinions of the American people overall.

"This is the same American populace that failed to prevent us from deregulating the banks that almost caused a complete economic meltdown last year," Sen. Jim Bunning (R-KY) said. "Year after year, they elect terrible officials who make terrible decisions on their behalf. The fact that I, Jim Bunning, am a two-term U.S. senator really shows you just how far Americans have gone off the rails."

"I wouldn't trust anyone who voted me into office," he added.

Government skepticism is not confined to legislators, though. A cross-sampling of the U.S. Supreme Court found that only 1 in 9 justices believe the general populace to be ethical. Their confidence that the American people can resist consuming the newest Burger King sandwich just because it's there or at least keep it to one a week has also fallen to a 10-year low.

"They can't even fill out their census forms, for crying out loud," Gov. Butch Otter of Idaho said. "It's only 10 questions long. We're not talking about taking the SATs here. Jesus Christ, don't get me started on the SATs."

One typical respondent, President Barack Obama, said he found it hard to trust the judgment of U.S. citizens after recent events, including their decision to elect a president who promised health care reform and then come out against health care reform.

"How can I have hope for a nation that regularly protests tax cuts that directly benefit them?" Obama said. "Look, I'm not always perfect at my job, either, but I think I could make a halfway coherent comment on a YouTube video if I had to. Isn't that basically all they do?

Added Obama, "At this point, the only positive thing I can say about the American people is that I'm pretty sure they've never rigged an election in their favor."