You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘Dick Tracy’ category.

Award For Delaware's Most Influental P/P/or T of The Year
The Golden Flush Award
/Click Image for Past Winners

Usually this is an after thought…” Oh, wow, year’s over, let’s get a person of the year”…  And then once we elect one,  we go… “holy crap… we totally forgot so and so….”

So to try to stir up some old simmering coals of memory, both mine and others, and perhaps even to (heaven forbid) get some debate going in the blog sphere, I thought I’d make an initial run on Thanksgiving Week, and then add people into the nominating category as others mention various ones I should kick myself for forgetting.

It will also force me to review the year which is something I rarely do… because face it, as a human being, I am slave of the moment….  If I did this last year, come December 14th the entire world would have been turned upside down and all the old priorities of 2012,  would in one day become trivial….

And so starting early gives me the chance to make the argument for each of those I decide to enroll with your kind recommendations included….

Julius Cephus:  Particularly this one man organized and stopped an end run around the Port of Wilmington.  The Kinder Morgan deal did not go through, and the Wilmington Port is bustling like never before…   Kinder Morgan was to strip the union of power, and drop the rates of pay, further dampening the economy of Wilmington proper.  It was also the first defeat of a Lavine-Markell development project, .. Fisker and Bloom had gone forward without a hitch.  Julius and other’s push back resulted in a General Assembly motion that stated they, not the governor, had final approval. It was the first time we were exposed to the current Governor’s manipulations.  They were to play a significant part across this year’s tapestry.

Steve Newton:  A blogger who has written infrequently, but effectively. His piece on SB 51  is what alerted us to the end run being performed by Dave Sokola on lowering the current standards being used for educating teachers.  It is brilliant.  It took an evening of reading the legislation line by line and cross referencing  it with Steve’s analysis, to understand the huge negative impact this bill would cause.  By the time this was done, the Bill had already passed the Senate unanimously without comment, and with an friendly amendment added that was voted upon without even being read.  Some public outcry was mustered within the House, both in committee and on the floor, but under the Governor’s direction, the Speaker of the House, pushed the bill to the floor before significant outcry could be mustered.  Only 4 House members were not on record for it’s passing.  Our educational schools now have to water down their teaching standards to meet the new law.  Steve also has brought the Highmark story to Delaware.  His research in the increase of medical costs in Western PA as a result of knocking out competition by unfair practices, leads one with a cold chill of what to expect in Delaware’s future.  We are already there.  As an insurer, Highmark is only paying medical claims in its own affiliated clinics.  As the new Blue Cross/Blue Shield owner, that is a huge percentage of Delaware’s residents.  None can go to any other hospital.  He has properly fingered Karen Weldham Stuart for not catching this prior to implementation.  Without Steve, this would have passed unnoticed.  The News Journal still has not once mentioned the takeover of Delaware’s health field under one owner.

Ernest Lopez.  If Kennedy were still writing Profiles of Courage, he should include this man.  Ernest Lopez is a conservative, and voted with Libertarian values to pass the gun legislation recommended by Markell and Biden.  Reflecting the views of his district, instead of taking the threatening message sent to him down from the NRA, he voted for his district.  A very vocal minority, who is always vocal, and always in the minority, swore they would unseat him.  He disregarded their idle threat, and voted both his and his constituents conscious.  A major billboard was put up to call him out.   His vote caused the passage of us now requiring background checks at public gun sales.  Now a certifiably insane person cannot slap cash and get a gun.  It is a no-brainer, and Ernie was the only Republican with brain enough to even know what a no-brainer is….

Cathy Cloutier:  her vote allowed gays to marry.  Again, she is a Republican who said enough is enough… Tired of voting against her conscious just so Sussex County would not flip over to the Democrats, she finally did not toe the line and voted along the lines of her own constituents, all overwhelmingly in favor of gay marriage.  In doing so, she went against the entire grain of her party, who firmly feel that gays are second class citizens, even though most Republicans in office are closeted gays.

Bethany Hall Long:  on the same vote, made a viable personal decision, and also voted for the legalization of gay marriage. Unlike Cathy’s vote, this was accomplished at great personal sacrifice, for all of those in her personal life, were solidly against this policy from taking effect.  In voting for what was morally right, she had to contend against those whose influence she could not escape.  She went with the correct vote, over the easy one.   As a result, Gay marriage is now legal in Delaware.

Paul Baumbach:  gave great ammunition against the fight for SB51, and later against HB 165. Both bills which will damage Delaware’s education for years to come.  He was one of the four who put up a fight on the House floor.  Paul also arranged for the meetings in Newark to discuss the new Power plant that figured in this past week’s election.

John Kowalko:  also was against SB51, HB 165, as well, being against the power plant.  In fact, John was the first person to sound the alarm over how big the power plant would be.  Without his big voice, it may have slid through unnoticed.  The power plant has defined northern Delaware politics since September.

Kim Williams;  responsible for HB 40 which investigates Charter School’s meddling into our educational systems.  She was as an acting state representative, allegedly refused entrance into a committee hearing on education, for fear she might say something damaging to the bill being rushed through….  She brought to the public’s knowledge, that the Charter School bill was drafted illegally without public input, and the charter group constructing it, was also under FOIA, to which the private group denied.  The Attorney General backed up her assertion, that the bill was formulated illegally but their decision was moot, because the bill was passed both houses anyways.  Kim Williams also in the HB 40 task force, led the group to realize that charter schools unlike public schools, do indeed filter those entering charters to weed out those who might lower their test scores….

Mark Murphy, Rodel, Sweeney, Hefferman, and the Fake Educational Reform Establishment:  I almost purposefully did not post this.  Although the first person’s name is usually followed by explicatives whenever mentioned, it is unlike Voldermort’s, still getting mentioned.  Mark Murphy was not put in his position based on his ability. He was placed there for his loyalty to the cause of  corporatizing public education.  Markell pulls the strings, Murphy figures how to get it done…  It is hard to make a puppet the most influential person of the year… So I was going to skip him… But at the last minute, remembered that every time  he or anyone of these make an op-ed, it resonates as gigantic news. The entire community rises up to counteract each op-ed, usually with the word “lies” thrown liberally about…. So, they do exert an influence.  I looped all of them together, as the group of liars in a Greek play, who stand on the stair steps and taunt the protagonists.  Well,… they are part of the play…….

Dan Short:  Sometimes villains get noticed too.  Primarily a single issue candidate, who personally supports the NRA, he actively campaigned and organized to create enough backlash so Markell’s gun laws could not get enough votes…  Without him, there is a possibility that all four of Markell’s gun control pieces of legislation would have passed both houses of Delaware’s legislature. Dan Short should be given the credit for stopping them.

John Sigler: Single handedly by his very brief tenure as the re-elected head of the Republican Party, he pointed out through his pigeon shooting, just how inept the Republican Party was at everything else.  With his leaving, all fissures cracking the Republican bedrock, were impossible to ignore.  Blogs split. The IPOD’s split. Former candidates of the same party just months earlier, now not talking to each other. The Delaware Republican Party is dead; no it is past dead.  More dead than a pigeon shot inside a box by John Sigler, former head of the Delaware Republican Party.

Nancy Willing: Her blog, the Delaware Way, is the go-to site for local information. Whether about Dover, about New Castle County, about any of New Castle County’s associations, Nancy combs all sources and puts them down in aggregate form. Heavily involved in the Power Plant controversy, The Delaware City Rail Yard controversy, Barley Mill controversy, the Woodlawan controversy, the Kinder Morgan controversy, the Charter School Controversy, the Common Core Controversy, Nancy has who is saying “what”, and links to “why”. One can expend less energy by using her blog to follow all the stuff the News Journal neglects, in a few quick empty steps.

Amy Roe:  a head of the Sierra Club, who emerged from nowhere to lead the fight against the power plant, and give quite a run against the establishment candidate.  Becoming the face the anti- power movement could coalase behind, she gave the anti power plant movement both dignity and grace.  Coming up short only 115 votes, she has awakened Newark now politically as never before…  The power plant if it goes forward, now has a strong group of Newarkeans against it.  Hopefully they will be monitoring it regularly and helping authorities keep in in compliance with all local law.

Tom Gorden; although much quieter than his first term in office, Tom Gorden is rapidly rolling back the privileges the previous Clark administration handed over to our state’s top developers. The Barley Mill plaza which had a green light, is now parked at a red. In a big sea change, though handled quietly, community groups are now no longer persona non grata in county government. It is no longer accepted as a matter of course that the Woodlawn Trust will be gobbled up by developers. If enough fight can be mustered, it can be stopped. Furthermore, with Tom there is closer coordination with the City of Wilmington, than we have experienced anytime in our lifetimes. In the county, local policing has been stepped up, particularly in neighborhoods prone to crime…

Dennis Williams: Came in with grand expectations, which looked deliverable for a while. The tide is turning and his relevance on this list, is because every day, the headline reality in Wilmington’s streets, brings his electioneering boasts back to haunt him, like a sizzling hot branding iron.  Time, Dennis, to say “Damn the torpedoes… Their punk asses are going in jail no matter which blowhard on City Council spouts off,before mine gets tossed in jail for impersonating a mayor..”

Alan Levin:  Jack Markell’s second in command, he was instrumental in defending Markell’s position on Kinder Morgan and the port, as well as the new power plant for the data center. He also had a hand in keeping Dole in Delaware, and worked to slip the power plant past a slew of unsuspecting Newark City officials.

Jack Markell: had his hand in everything.  He was behind Kinder Morgan’s takeover.  He was behind SB 51 and HB 165.  He was behind the illegal charter group, requiring HB 40. He also was the driving force for the four rational steps to gun legislation, 2 of which were passed. He was also the driving force behind the passage of gay marriage, signing the bill in the chambers just moments after its passage. He also supported the transgender bill in its travels through the labyrinth of Legislative Hall. He as behind keeping Dole in Delaware. He was behind changing an icon in Millsboro away from pickles, over to poultry. He pushed the bill to curtail Flowers. Despite your opinion over whether these were good or bad, they still showed a ubiquitous and wide reach across the state of Delaware. Seems like nothing got done that didn’t have his fingerprints all over it.

John Young: As head of Christina board, John Young led the board in standing up to Mark Murphy and Jack Markell, by refusing the RTTT funds slated for his district. Although some hired fools, (Jea Street) tried to paint Young into a corner, it served the opposite purpose and gave Young a platform. For the fist time, Common Core was getting publicly bashed. For the first time, many were finding that aligning themselves blindly to this sham of improving standards, was probably going to hurt them politically in the next couple of years. It was the fist salvo back, so the damage estimates were not high, but it did open eyes of many who had been on the sidelines of all educational issues, making them also become vocal in fighting Common Core. His blog Transparent Christina has channelled a lot of detailed information into the Delaware market, and had made Common Core an apprehension, instead of the savior it was supposed to be….

Kilroy: Kilroy has always been haranguing over education. In fact he was doing such a good job I left that issue alone for years, because other issues for me, like the economy and elimination of guns from the hands of the mentally ill, were more important. But as the issue has shifted back into the limelight, Kilroy’s hard hitting is making its mark… Kilroy is blunt, and right now, that is the language that needs to happen. Blunt descriptions of what takes place in the stratosphere of he academic field…. Kilroy often breaks stories before the News Journal, especially ones embarrassing to the Murphy/Markell cartel of education. If you have read Kilroy over the past couple of years, you would already know that Common Core is not the panacea we have been promised. It is a power grab for taxpayer dollars, financed by Wall Street itself…. If you think otherwise, you haven’t been reading a balanced reading list….
====
That is what I have so far. In retrospect I am surprised that education has played so much, as even I have only come to that topic lately… But if one looks over the News Journal op eds, education really did dominate the discussion in the 2nd smallest state this year….

I may have forgotten some big ones. To reiterate, that is why I am posting this early, to catch those big mistakes as they get brought to my attention….

Advertisements

My friends, we are gathered here today to celebrate one of life’s greatest moments, to give recognition to the worth and beauty of committed marital love, and to add our best wishes to the words which shall unite these two people in marriage.  In the words of our Creator, what God hath brought together, let no one cut asunder.

The commitment that the two of you are about to make, is the most important commitment that two people can make; you are about to create something new, the marriage relationship, an entity that never ends.

As you stand here today, are you now prepared to begin this commitment to one another? (I am)

Have you come here freely and without reservation to give yourselves to each other in marriage? (I have)

I would ask that you both remember to treat yourself and each other with dignity and respect; to remind yourself often of what brought you together today. Give the highest priority to the tenderness, gentleness and kindness that your marriage deserves. When frustration and difficulty assail your marriage – as these do to every relationship at one time or another – focus on what still seems right between you, not only the part that seems wrong. This way, when clouds of trouble hide the sun in your lives and you lose sight of it for a moment, you can remember that the sun is still there. And if each of you will take responsibility for the quality of your life together, it will be marked by abundance and delight. 

Will you have this person to be your wedded partner? (I will)

Will you love and comfort then, honor and keep them, in sickness and in health, and forsaking all others, keep yourself only unto them as long  as you both shall live? (I will)

Will you have this person to be your wedded partner? (I will)

Will you love and comfort them, honor and keep them, in sickness and in health, and forsaking all others, keep yourself only unto them as long as you both shall live? (I will)

Since it is your intention to enter into marriage, join your right-hands, and declare your consent (before these witnesses) by  repeating after me: 

I, take you to be my partner, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, as long as we both shall live. Take this ring as a sign of my commitment and fidelity to you. …

I, take you to be my partner, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, as long as we both shall live.  Take this ring as a sign of my commitment and fidelity to you. 

In so much as the two of you have agreed to live together in Matrimony, have promised your commitment to each other by these vows, (and) the joining of your hands (and the giving of these rings), by the authority vested in me by the State of  Delaware, I now pronounce you a married couple.  Congratulations, you may now kiss as a married couple….

Ladies and Gentlemen here who are witnesses.  May I present to you the world’s newest couple…. 

Awwwww.  How can anyone vote against something as wonderful as that?

I’m really sick today.. You see, when I was growing up, I was a history buff. I read childhood biographies of famous people, usually with the book behind the textbook while the teachers droned on and on, but once as a tyke, who upon seeing the obligatory National Park Film in the Williamsburg Visitors Center, after Patrick Henry sat down, I swore, I would always fight to protect the Constitution…. At that moment, even little as I was, I think I understood that I was temporary… But the Constitution like God, needed to be around forever…

With childish enthusiasm I imagined myself at times on the bridges of Lexington and Concord, roaming the swamps of South Carolina, and firing my muskets at King’s Mountain, and most importantly, crossing that line in the dirt on December 31, 1776 when no one else wanted to, to enlist till the end of the war.. . When it made the real difference, I said, I would step up at my own peril..

Today, I feel as George Washington must have, perched upon his horse on the New Jersey banks of the Hudson, watching the British inhabit New York and knowing there was nothing he or anyone else could do about it… Overmatched, the cause of freedom had taken a body slam.

Perhaps it is more like going back 2000 some years though. And being full of great optimism and hope for a burgeoning empire, a group of city states destined to prosper and rise, one whose morals would be impeccable, and suddenly without warning, ones best friend pulls out a knife and shoves it into your flesh and others pull out theirs, opening wounds where they can.

The Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution states that …. oh damn, here it is in it’s entirety.

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

Granted there have been times, particularly at war, when protecting Americans meant going against the grain of this… If someone is about to shoot you, I mean, it certainly would help if you know about it first…..

The problem with too much accumulation of information, is that once you have it, it can be used. Assurances along the lines of “I’ll never do that”… always down the line get replace with platitudes of…. ” I did it because I could…” or… ” I needed to.”

So having every thing you’ve ever done electronically in a file instantly accessed by simply typing in your name, can be a bit disconcerting… It’s a catch 22. If you have not a single demerit because you lead such a bland life, you get castigated for being a wallflower and uninteresting. On the other hand, if you take risks to live life fully, you get castigated for the errors you made… Either way, those with the power will use it to castigate you for something…. And though disguised as their trying to put you in your place, it is really their effective attempt to prove to others they wield power…

Today’s Senate voted overwhelmingly to continue the FISA Admendments Act. Like ACTA or CISPA or any other internet freedom restricting acts, had opposition been organized, it may have demanded another outcome. But today’s bill arose out of nowhere, and leadership demanded it pass, and pass it did….

Numb today, I understand the implications. It is like we chose to keep Japanese interned in concentration camps after the war was over. It is that bad.. If we are doing it for the Japanese, eventually someone argues, why not anyone else? And really, how else can one answer such an argument except to expand the offense to a greater scale?

I didn’t find about the attempted coup until waking up 3 am today. I did see outrage that Zuckerman’s picture was Twittered off a private feed! The silence over government taking our freedom, and the outrage over the release of privacy, is a stunning comparison. It begs the question: what is wrong with all of us? Shouldn’t the outrage be the other way around?

For the first time that I can find, we as a nation, have chosen to continue a war-powers act, on into peace-time. 9/11 is gone. Bin Laden is dead. We’ve preditor’d out Al Qaieda’s 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, in command. We are out of Iraq. We will soon be out of Afghanistan. We are not in a war for our nation’s survival. So why does the government need access into every American’s email, facebook account, twitter, photo’s? Why does the FBI need to show up at your facebook friends home, with a letter stating that you are under surveillance and then asking questions of their relationship with you, then forcing their silence by telling them that they can be prosecuted themselves if they even reveal to you that they’d had contact with government officials? Gee, did you ever had a friend get weird on you suddenly, like for no reason?

Should our government be allowed to do that?

According to the text of the Fourth Amendment listed above…. Absolutely Not.

And it was over before the child in me could even get his powder cartridge out of his gunnysack…

America gets up in arms when it’s privacy issues are at stake. How dare you know that about me! However when someone slips through our net and blows up a building or car, they exclaim, how did you not catch him in time?

Soon to be announced if not already out there, is our nation’s now no longer classified Trap Wire System. In the reports of its inception this package was held up as the ultimate surveillance tool. Cameras across the country would capture data from cities, highways, tolls, parks, public arenas, and everywhere else there is a camera, encrypt the data, then send it to a central point where it gets incorporated with all other data already compiled on every citizen. That data including public on line events such as dating services, chat rooms, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, as well as corporate files, employee rosters, and the vast cesspool of corporate data gleaned each and every time you use your credit card.

On every adult citizen, a computer can spit out a file of facts that even that citizen doesn’t know… The computing power is unparalleled. You are sitting at the stoplight, and for no reason a camera goes off, you think weird, no one tripped it. and instantly your face has been identified, your file pulled, and a program knows you buy Colgate toothpaste 39% of the time. And it knows you are on Zoloft. Your credit score is 593. And you are cheating on your spouse of 27 years with a 19 year old who gets something from Victoria Secret every month…..

A song comes on the radio and your mind jumps to it and you go on never thinking of that random event again…….

Of course there is the other side of the story. You pull up to the light right beside the dufus mentioned above. The same thing happens. You wonder too. Your picture triggers an alarm because your image was last seen in the lower Philippines having been traced there from Manila before paying for the boarding of a private boat off Gov. Lim Ave, then going dark 18 months ago. The alarm is because you were once an acquaintance on the third level of a Detroit sheik who propagated militancy. The file shows you worked with explosives on construction sites, you were terminated at one time being blamed for some missing C4. You denied you had anything to do with it. The camera notes that your car is low in back, and alerts other cameras on the route your are traveling that you will soon be entering their view. Your facebook page shows you liked Iran and support Assad of Syria. Your high school psychological profile says you were quiet and brooding. Your license plate is registered to a car reportedly at the gas station on Rt.273 undergoing lengthy repairs. You are unmarried. You don’t date, and your credit card has a large cash balance, yet you spend very little and that is only on food, gas, and a furnished apartment in Christiana Meadows. As you drive by a transponder, your new phone signal gets captured, and all your calls are now being pulled up. You spoke with a person of high interest, 2 times this morning, for a length of one minute each. Your visage is updated to all local cameras and all transportation portals, and put at the top of each face recognition program. Someone is dispatched to scout your apartment.

You see. That is the dilemma. We enjoy our safety, and abhor our loss of privacy.

If you haven’t noticed already, on your emails sometimes you have these buried within the routing: Abraxas and the others you see will say, Stratfor…. Bloggers are very used to seeing these on a rather regular basis. They are everywhere across the net.

One thing noticeable during the Olympics was that the Brits live this way all the time. They are used to it and prefer the cameras and intrusive software over a coordinated attack on their trains. And no one can blame them. But what the Brits have, and we don’t, is a set of rules regarding this capturing of information. If someone violates this code as did Murdoch, then the ramifications are severe; perhaps bringing down an entire corporate empire. The CEO, Vice President, and quite a few others all charged with illegal actions.

And that is the lesson we need to take. Accept the surveillance but know that if anyone, anyone breaks the code of privacy… you are going to be filthy rich for the rest of your entire life at their or their employer’s expense…. For if that is truly the case, going back to the original story up top, if you got busted for your too hot to fail 19 year old lover, and lost your spouse, for $83 million, you really wouldn’t mind too much… My bet? You would see it as a blessing in disguise. And if you still loved your spouse, don’t worry. When you are worth $83 million, she won’t go far.

This has to become the future of surveillance. Here is why.

I’ll use Facebook as an example. I can always tell when one a friend has to hand over their password to their employer. Whereas they used to be so lively, responsive, and fun, they suddenly stop posting anything showing their personality. Their presence on line becomes reduced to “look at my kid”; “here is my dog”. Whereas you used to be able to talk to them about their spouse, their parents, how they were feeling, how they liked their job, how they were doing in the lover department, how their head was, what hopes and dreams they possessed, how drunk they got, suddenly their presence is as chilled as someone passing Checkpoint Charlie in the 60’s. There is a rigidity that they must conform to. There is a corporate mentality that they must express, and most deal with it by staying silent.

That is not what America is about. America is about freedom, about life…. about liberty….. and about the pursuit of happiness…… What once was open air on the internet is now poisoned with carbon particles, so much so that it is hard to breathe.

We can’t lose our nation’s fun-loving identity. And we can’t stop protecting ourselves by our newer and newer technology. So, what we can do (and we can easily do this), is not to constrain the surveillance, but penalize any misuse of the data that gets captured.

And make the punitive damages so huge, so grand, so big, that American citizens will actually enjoy having their privacy breached when it comes time for the judge to make the monetary judgment. Which means we need to rethink all things private, and that includes the intrusiveness of the press into private lives…

I’m always saddened when someone suffers because of something got out of control on their social media, and everyone gangs up on line, saying, “well, you shouldn’t have put it on the internet.”

Really? REALLY? A person should never have a light moment with an acquaintance, one of those few joyous moments we as people treasure forever, because someone they don’t know, someone they never met, might hack into their account, and spread it across the world?

That is ridiculous. The internet IS us. If we want a fun moment, we have the right to exercise it.. Back when I was growing up, laws were passed and on the books to control the positions that went on within the bedroom. That has fortunately faded away into being ridiculous. The same needs to happen on the internet. And the easiest way, the simplest way, is to have huge, gigantic fines, ones that are so big they will bankrupt anyone, and everyone who breaches another’s privacy.

So what if some entity knows you use Colgate 39% of the time. If no one else ever knows that they know it, as far as impacting anything in the real world, their knowledge of that minutia, doesn’t matter.

We need to start the process. We first announce the problem; we offer a solution; we educate the public; we elect responsible legislators, we pressure responsible legislators, we get legislation signed, and then, we relax and really enjoy the rest of our lives.

It is past time that our personal privacy be now given a price tag that is equal to what it is worth. Something in the range of tens of millions comes to mind….. Hell, you can get $90 million for spilling hot coffee in your lap…..

Duffy is God’s answer to a prayer.. I miss the old days of blogging when we were debating principals instead of people… Duffy has stuck to the old line of debating principals with facts, and that is what makes him special in the eyes of bloggers everywhere…

Since the passing of Steve Newton, he has been the only one to challenge me in any argument, and usually some pretty good stuff comes out of both sides during the exchange… I have respected that.. Cause once again, opinions mean dick. Facts are what we steer by.. It is my hope that in responding to his challenge that an answer may make itself apparent.. Who knows? It may not come from me… But if I’m the catalyst for bringing it out in the open, then… none of this was in vain..

Why I like to debate Duffy is simple.. Neither side, he or I, is concretely set in their opinions… We accept it when the other side makes sense… I usually go into such debates having no idea where they’ll end up… I hope the rest of you enjoy the ride as welI….

That said..

Duffy leads: Wall Street’s problems were caused by Fannie and Freddie loaning money to people they knew couldn’t pay and moreover, forcing banks to lend money to people who couldn’t pay. That was not deregulation but misregulation

kavips rebutt’s:Uh… Mr. President. That’s not entirely accurate.

First off, the Community Reinvestment Act of 1977 was developed for, and locked in on, urban developmental areas and had no part of the subprime boom, which primarily occurred out in western desert regions where owning 4 to 5 investment homes was normal… Those homes were overwhelmingly funded by loan originators NOT SUBJECT to the act… We all know the crises was not because people couldn’t afford a payment on their house. It came about, because with no occupants, people could not afford the payments of 4 to 5 houses….. Instead of one loan per borrower turning up in default; four to five were.
Investment Homes lead forclosures not inner city Residences

Second off, The housing bubble reached its point of maximum inflation in 2005.
The Housing Bubble Starts to Dive in 2005
Courtesy of NYT

Third off, During those exact same years, Fannie and Freddie were sidelined by Congressional pressure, and saw a sharp drop in their share of loans secured by the Feds… Follow the dotted line on the very bottom of the graph…
Freddie and Fannie on the lowest line
Courtesy of NYT

Fourth off; During those exact same years, private secures, like Delaware’s own AIG, grabbed the lions share of the market.
Private, not Public Insurers Caused the Crash
Courtesy of NYT

Remember these graphs for later on when I discuss the results of deregulation, versus regulation… But like it or not, these graphs conclusively show that private insurers, who thanks to Marie Evans, we now know were deregulated by Phil Gramm in the 2000 Omnibus Bill, were the primary cause of the worlds financial collapse.. Probably put best by these words of AIG’s spokesperson, who when asked why they didn’t have sufficient funds to cover losses, said point blank, “We were deregulated. We were no laws requiring us to keep any funds, ..so we spent it…”

Duffy leads: The loosely regulated hedge funds escaped this mess largely unscathed. Why? They can’t count on a bailout like the big banks. The Too Big To Fail banks were counting on a bailout (not unlike the S&L bailouts which started on the Republican’s watch) and they got them.

kavips rebutt’s:Uh… Mr. President. That’s not entirely accurate. I agree that the hedge funds did survive better than the banks. Not because of bailouts, but because they sold short during the crises and made billions while firms closed and people got thrown out of work. There is nothing wrong with that; I did the same. In fact close readers may remember my warnings that the crises was impending almost a year earlier. Very close readers may remember my telling them exactly when to sell, and at what point the stock market would rebound… I must say: I called it rather well. 🙂

“Hedge funds were not in my understanding, at fault in the credit crisis,” said David Ruder, former chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission. “At the most what they did was to sell securities when some of their investments were declining and they needed to have liquid funds. They were not the architects of these problems.”

De regulated hedge funds are not the issue… De-regulated, excessively leveraged, mortgage securities, are a different story however… They, not the banks that held them, are the cause of the crises…Years from now, when academics search for causes of the stock market crash of 2008, they will focus on the pivotal role of mortgage-backed securities. These exotic financial instruments allowed a downturn in U.S. home prices to morph into a contagion that brought down Bear Stearns a year ago this month – and more recently have brought the global banking system to its knees.

Where you err is when you state that banks too big to fail, assumed they would be bailed out… By implication, you say imply they failed from squandering money, and wanted the bailouts.. But your tax dollars didn’t flow directly to the bottom line.

The roughly $200 billion the Treasury Department has handed out to battered banks was swapped for a special class of stock that pays a 5 percent dividend (rising to 9 percent after five years.) As of April 15, the Treasury had collected about $2.5 billion in dividend payments on its investment.

So in that sense, the bailout money represents an expense for banks. That’s one reason a number of banks have said they want to give the money back as soon as possible.

You say big banks were counting on a bailout, and they got them? That didn’t happen to these banks. New Mexico, Georgia, and Florida each lost a bank just last Friday. That brings to 8, the number of banks failed in June. Unfortunately if a bank is failing, it can’t bet on itself to fail, as can a hedge fund.

Duffy leads: Banks have successfully lobbied to get their losses absorbed by taxpayers and gains are kept private. How nice for them. They felt comfortable making insane gambles because they knew they’d be bailed out. Most of them were right. Also remember that it was Bill Clinton who tore down the wall between retail and investment banking. The idea was to give banks more stability as they typically perform as exact opposites in bull and bear markets. (FWIW, I think that was a good idea and I can tell you first hand that two of the Fortune 100 banks I worked for were carried by retail banking in bear years. They may not have had bonuses those years but they didn’t have layoffs either)

kavips rebutt’s:Uh… Mr. President. That’s not entirely accurate. The idea is that the banks made bad decisions knowing taxpayers would bail them out is the issue that is inaccurate. For the record, I have no qualms that it was the Clinton legacy who tore down the wall between banks and investment banking. Like you, I feel it was a good idea to do so… Again the problem was not primarily with banks making loans to people who could not pay.. Although, it was as late as October 2009, when I was made aware of one private Bank in Denver still exaggerating income to make loans look good enough on paper to get approval of securitization. What caused the collapse was the leveraging of those loans as securities, so that as the housing market became overextended, and the ARM jumped past the low cost opening years, the damage was 100 times worse because of leveraging. What made the collapse criminal, was that the insurance most financial institutions had bought from AIG, to cover such an improbable event, had already spent by that companies executives, out on bonuses to themselves. What made it doubly criminal, was that when they received government dollars through a taxpayer bailout, those same executives assumed it was to first go towards paying their bonuses again. However, very recent events may give some cover to the argument that some collusion was implicit in the bailing out of Goldman Sacs and AIG… Basically, once bailed out, AIG paid Goldman Sacs for shares twice as much as they were worth. The documents also indicate that regulators ignored recommendations from their own advisers to force the banks to accept losses on their A.I.G. deals and instead paid the banks in full for the contracts.

Strange Tales of Other Lands

(Reuters) – Forget about getting a job as a police officer in Indonesia’s Papua if you have had your penis enlarged. You won’t get it, according to local media reports citing the Papua police chief.

An applicant “will be asked whether or not his vital organ has been enlarged,” said Papua police chief Bekto Suprapto, quoted on local website Kompas.com. “If he has, he will be considered unfit to join the police or the military.”

The ban was applied since the unnatural size causes “hindrance during training,” said police spokesman Zainuri Lubis in Jakarta, quoted by news portal Detik.com.

Indonesia’s remote easternmost province is home to Papuan tribes, many of whom wear penis gourds. To achieve enlargement, they wrap the penis in leaves from the gatal-gatal (itchy) tree so that it swells up “like it has been stung by a bee”, a local sexologist said.