A nice way to stay in touch with loved ones, and a convenient way to share my opinions without having everyone just walk away...wait a minute, where are you going? I wasn't finished..

Friday, November 30, 2007

Don't want to spoil your week-end

and I said I wouldn't say I told you so but this article caught my eye.

Here's the first couple of paragraphs..."Will your pension take part of the $1 trillion hit from the subprime meltdown?
Posted Nov 29th 2007 8:49PM by Peter Cohan

The Associated Press reports that local Florida governments have been withdrawing assets from its state pension fund at an astonishingly rapid clip. Specifically, in the last two weeks local Florida governments have withdrawn 40% -- or nearly $10 billion -- from the state pension pool. At this rate, the fund would have been 100% depleted by the end of 2007. So The State Board of Administration held an emergency meeting to halt further withdrawals.

If you think about this for a minute, you'll realize that this is pretty much the same thing that happened during the Great Depression when people withdrew their money from banks because they were afraid of losing their savings. In response, the government declared bank holidays. That is, the government told them that they could not get their hands on their money.

What -- you might ask -- is the reason that Florida local governments were so eager to get their hands on that pension money? Florida invested in some mortgage-backed securities (MBSs) -- which were downgraded by credit rating agencies to the point where they were below the standards permitted for a pension fund. Specifically, $700 million in asset-backed commercial paper was downgraded below "purchase credit rating guidelines."

So the state pension fund has to sell $700 million worth of this junk. What do you think they'll get? Maybe twenty-five cents back on the dollar? Does that mean three quarter of the retirees dont get their pensions, or every one gets a quarter of what they were planning on? On the bright side the $700 million was only a small fraction of their total holdings. On the not so bright side, the rest of the stuff they're holding is probably just as bad. Remember, people are just starting to default on their mortgages.

And we still have funds holding all those corporate junk bonds which financed all those overpriced buy-outs of the last 10 years. That money's not going to be paid back.

And just like anybody could borrow money to buy a house, even dogs and kids could get credit cards. Car loans? Didn't we talk about how everybody is upside down on their car loans. Consumer debt default will sky-rocket in the next couple years. And, yes, the bankers, credit card companies and car loan companies were bundling those loans up to and selling them to the pension funds and insurance companies just like the mortgages.

And of course the sad part is that the schemers will take their billions and retire somewhere they don't have to deal with the unpleasant consequences of the fraud they perpetrated. I would say it's the innocent who will pay the price, but they weren't innocent of being stupid, and people who elect Clintons and Bushes aren't stupid by accident, they work at it. Think they'll be able to sue? Not a chance, Bush's "conservative" Supreme Court isn't conservative when it comes to overturning Roe v Wade, or protectiong constitutional civil liberties, but they're damn conservative about letting poor people sue rich people. I'm not making it up - check it out.

There's more there if you want to read about it.

Monday, November 26, 2007


It's days later and I'm still full. Ooops, that was a usage Mommo never allowed, and we never described anyone as "rich", "comfortable" was barely acceptable.) Well, I've been comfortable for a couple of days now.

Home-made every thing from olives to wine. My personal favorite: eggplant antipasto, but the fried artichoke hearts were right up there. Anybody got the recipes? A person of any appetite would have filled up on the antipasto - like I did. And the pasta was a delicious lasagna. Were we done? No, just getting started. Ham and turkey, yumm. A corn,bean,pea vegge dish, mashed potatoes and green beans (with litttle pine nuts). For the nut course, roasted chestnuts and a pistachio faux gelato with cool whip, lemon and lime juice, pistachios and little pineapple chunks. That had to be desert for me. I couldn't face the pastries.

PS watchout for Tomasso's homemeade wine.

PPS Oh and the folks there were very nice also.

Flight Tracking

When schools are looking for coaches, some enterprising sleuth/fans track the flights of the schools corporate jets. This could be good for Michigan (the skunkbears), bad for Iowa.

"Mgoblog is reporting that a private jet left Willow Run airport (where all the private UM jets fly) to Cedar Rapids, Iowa. It was there for exactly 15 minutes, and then turned around, and should be landing back at Willow Run shortly.

Hmmmmmmm. It looks and smells like Ferentz for the Skunks."

Courtesy of BigEND at Rock's House.
Not so fast my friend, says SteelHop at Cartier Field:

"UM in almost any case can't hire Ferentz b/c it violates the Big Tens unspoken rule against hiring a coach at equal levels to fill an open position. UM can hire a DC or OC to do it but the intent of the rule is to stop what is exactly what is being rumored stealing a coach from a program that can't pay as much. Unless Delevany breaks the rule, and thus, admitting the conference is the Big Two in reality - this is rumor of equal to PFT.

I won't argue it can't happen but there would have to be a lot of explaining about how the Big Ten is no different than the ACC (O'Brien) or SEC (Tuberville) when it comes to athletics. Do you think Delaney wants to do that?"

Whadyallthink? And whateve happened to that other guy: what was his name? Oh yeah, Les Miles

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Aaahhh, that's better

I did something yesterday that had been on my mind for a month. I had to write to someone, but didnt know what was the right thing to say. I can't say it worked out well, but at least it's done. That undone thing had kept me from posting because every time I sat down to post I was preoccupied with not having written that person yet, and that thought drove other conversational ideas out of my mind.

And I've had a lot to talk about. Kim and Ross getting engaged, Thanksgiving at Dee and Jason's, Orla Hopp's passing and how involved we've been over the years with her family.

Orla Fitzsimmon's family came to Dundee during the 1920's and she was born in the house closest to route 31 on the south side of route 72. The house is still there with a candy store on the first floor. I guess the historic district won't let them tear it down. She was married to a postman whose family, the Hopps, has been here practically forever. They had three children, two sons and a daughter. One of her sons passed away several years ago. The daughter had children who were in elementary school with our own children. Janett first got to know Carrie at Brownie camp-outs and other events twenty years ago, and observed that Carrie was doing most of the work while the other mothers were planning, administering, and otherwise enjoying one another's company while engaged in non-productive pursuits. They became friends and shared many ups and downs over the years.

Carrie's oldest daughter, Crystal, became the closest of friends with both of our daughters, and they too shared all the ups and downs of childhood and adolescence. I'm not sure if Carrie's kids introduced our kids to Willow Creek Church, but I think so, and they certainly supported their regular attendance with rides and encouragement. Along with a loving family, Willow has been the the most positive influence in our childrens' lives.

Carrie's husband, Bill is a big-hearted galoot. He was running a small family business when I got to know him, and started helping him with some tax filings. I was worried about his heart and his back and encouraged him to accept a position with a large competitor for the security, the benefits, and the reduced workload. I don't know if he ever regrets giving up the rewards of ownership, but if he does he never let's on, and always greets me with "Hey, Andy, I love you, man" One time I was out of work for a while and behind in my bills and got my gas shut off. I don't know how he found out, but he was over to the house within hours saying "They can't do that." and going to the currency exchange to get service restored the same day.

Now Crystal has three beautiful little ones, and shares so much with Stephanie. It was Carrie's second daughter, Corrie, who steered Kim toward her job at Verizon, which is working out so well.

I'm hurrying now because our oldest son, Jase, is here and I should be getting ready for the wake, but speaking of Jason, he used to drop by their home and have coffee with Orla on his way to or from work before he moved out of town. That was ten years ago and her health was starting to fail then. Jason was very considerate of her, and she appreciated his friendhip. That's the way it's been for us with Orla and her family.

Well, got to go.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

For the students of foreign affairs among us,

another article on the Indo-Sino rapproachment. Item to ponder, the Chinese have traditionally given measured support to the Pakistanis, as the Russians have done with the Indians. One effect of this cozying up twixt the Chinese and Indians is to make Pakistan the odd man out on the sub-continent. How does this make the Pakistani military feel about Musharraf and his sell-out to the Bush-Cheney gang of two?

I haven't posted on economic/market matters for a couple of months because I think I already spun out the scenarion which is now occurring, and I'm not one to say "I TOLD YOU SO."

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Ok, a little history trivia

Bobbie Kennedy was at Notre Dame the day Martin Luther King was killed.


not to be posting. I don't know if works a bitch, or the commutes a bitch, or I'm suffering from a post equinox emotional malady.

Here's a timely joke from the Other Guy at Rock's House:

I was feeling depressed following the Navy game, so I called the Help Hotline.

I was put through to a 'call center' in Pakistan .

I explained that I was feeling suicidal.

They were very excited at this news and wanted to know if I could drive a truck or fly an airplane...