Cognitive Dissonance

Hey Christians, can you do me a favor and stop pretending this song has anything to do with Jesus?

Ok, yeah, Light of the World. I get it. The lost without him thing. I get that too.

But there’s no way around the fact that none of you can think of a reason it would be appropriate to say “How can it be wrong when it feels so right” to Jesus.

In Closing: more nonsense they want to stick in the immigration “reform” bill; information coming out confirming what some people already suspected, Bank of America was actively trying to screw underwater homeowners; sociological research; and cheetahs.

Hansel & Gretel: Warriors of Shorties

I haven’t been as posty as I’d like lately. As some of you know, I have recently gone back to school. That means I have a lot of reading, and a bit of getting used to classmates who occasionally make me feel like this:


I remind myself that I am old enough to be mommies to some of them. So without further ago, shorties.

Social Media: It’s embarrassing that social media is now little more than yet another way to send me ads.

Social Security: There’s only a crisis if you want there to be one.

Too much Social, too little work: Up to 80% of a worker’s internet time might be spend “cyberloafing.” It’s easier to hide that you’re doing nothing at the computer than at the water cooler.

Bad Association: Turns out that Countrywide kept doing “business as usual” after B of A took over. I hope this surprises none of you.

Social Promotions for Educational Reforms?: I still like Kevin Drum.

Social Studies: The Avengers and The Breakfast Club.

Fitting in to Society: On immigration reform.

Vegas: Visitors are at a record high despite reduced convention traffic.

Reducing the deficit without slashing our own throats: From the progressives. But it won’t happen because the conservatives really want to make the majority of us into modern serfs by slashing the safety net instead.

Speaking of modern serfs: A third of student loans are subprime. They can’t be discharged through bankruptcy. They are creating a generation that may always be in debt.

Obesity is bad for you: even if you are the Governor.

On Republicans: From a Republican woman (endangered species, I know).

Gee, you don’t say!: Global climate change might adversely effect agriculture. Who knew?!?

Beauty is Everywhere


In Closing: More Kip Hawley; permission to work or state sanctioned restriction of trade?; almost half of Americans have nothing saved for retirement; underemployed; surprised?; and my, they’re recruiting terrorists early these days.

The Cabin in the Shorties

Gee, no kidding: When young people pay all their money on student loans, they don’t have money to take out mortgages.

Separate but Equal?: On women’s workouts.

I hate agreeing with Kip: I’ve said a lot of things about former TSA director Kip Hawley over the years, but the Kipster is making sense these days. Among other things he says that there cannot and will not ever be a get out of the security line free card, even though he wanted to make it happen. Turns out that he’s starting to agree with Bruce Schneier at times.

They can only get away with it because mostly poor people ride the bus: Houston is going to put undercover cops and TSA officers on buses to paw through bags, report suspicious activity, and “interrogate” passengers. Where are they getting the money to pay somebody to ride the bus all day?

On the standard of living and the dual income family: Making twice the money but barely having the same standard of living means we are half as well off. Tricks of counting inflation are partly to blame. Of course, some moms (and a small number of dads but CNN doesn’t mention them) are finding that the costs of working can completely devour a paycheck. This is particularly true when the pay gap between men and women is taken into account. Oh, and when the minimum wage is worth less than in the Johnson Administration (when, by the way, the highest tax bracket was much more than it is today).

How nice for them: Bank of America is making money hand over fist again.

Peeing in a Jar: It turns out that Florida‘s drug screening program for welfare applicants was a big waste of money and found drug use rates roughly a third what they are in the general population. Funny, when you barely have money for food you can’t afford weed.

Don’t panic: Yeah, chicken sometimes has E.Coli in it. That’s why you don’t see Chicken Sashimi at your local sushi bar.

It’s back from the dead: Bowles-Simpson. I have a better idea: repeal the tax cuts that gave us a budget problem in the first place, and bring troops home from places they don’t belong.

More than 100 to 1 against: Corn producers want to change labeling of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) to the more benign sounding “corn sugar.” They can’t change the fact that some scientists consider it “unsafe for human consumption.” Consumers don’t like the idea.

Let’s Go!: The literal translation of this blog’s title, Ikimashoo.

Right, cause there’s no discrimination any more: Romney thinks it might be time to get rid of the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Never mind the other things HUD does. Never mind the portfolio of FHA foreclosures.

Money Quote:First, if suburbanites with above-median incomes are big fans of a program aimed at helping minorities and the poor, it’s a safe bet that it’s not actually helping minorities and the poor.”

And finally: Crime must not pay.

Breaking the Shorties

Otherwise Occupied: the OWS movement may actually be getting somewhere. It was really a bad idea to seriously injure a Marine, because they are serious about Occupy. Someone who can’t tell the difference between an enemy who wants to hurt you and an innocent that does not want to hurt you shouldn’t be allowed to carry a gun. Don’t forget other ways to peacefully protest the banks.

Maybe that wasn’t a good idea: B of A is backing down from their boil-the-frog fees.

Be Sure to Double Check the Name: Attention conservatives! Even the CATO guys think medical malpractice damage caps are a bad idea. Last I heard, those guys were just barely less conservative than the Heritage Foundation.

Speaking of Cato: Cato Fellow and extremely talented magician/comedian Penn Jillette has risen to Glenn Beck’s challenge to write 10 Commandments for Atheists.

Speaking of Republicans Being Wrong: The freaking World Bank says they’re wrong about the economy. Regulation is not preventing job creation and it never did.

Not Helpful: yet more talk of a foreclosure fraud settlement proposal that gives the banks a slap on the wrists for trashing our housing values and preventing a meaningful economic recovery. On the other hand, maybe doing something about mortgage debt will help. Good luck making the banks suck that up.

Yeah, it’s the FIZZ and not the SUGARS: Teens who drink non-diet “fizzy drinks” more prone to violence. Note the careful use of the phrase non-diet instead of sweetened.

Strike: General Strike November 2. Don’t work, don’t spend money, don’t do anything taxable. If you must go to work, don’t spend money.

Now will you make a freaking MLS client that runs on Lion???:  Turns out Mac users are more productive. And that includes the time we spend finding workarounds for cludgy Windows only and MSIE only things we need for work! I’m talkin to you, Marketlinx! Don’t tell me “you’re aware of the problem” just fix it.

And Finally: Happy 125th Birthday to the Statue of Liberty.



OK, Maybe CNN wasn’t terribly subtle when they said “Washington could take down a mega-bank” and then immediately below showed a row of Bank of America ATMs. And don’t get me wrong, everything I have read about B of A lately indicates that they are skating on thin ice.

But don’t lose track of the prize. Fannie Mae just was forced to buy bought $500,000,000 in crappy loans from B of A — despite having plenty of foreclosures and pre-foreclosures of their own — in what Fortune calls a “back-door TARP.”

Gee, this couldn’t possibly have anything to do with the motivation behind a proposed program to help get rid of Fannie, Freddie, and HUD’s foreclosed properties, now could it? By the way, the headline is just a tweak misleading. They aren’t talking about slapping a “For Rent” sign in the lawns of these houses; they are talking about finding some sucker investor to buy them in bulk (that means with limited ability to pick and choose) under the condition of renting them out. Never mind that these homes are in conditions that vary from pristine to bulldozer-ready. Never mind that investors are already cherry-picking the best of them. Never mind that Fannie, Freddie, and HUD all have systems in place to favor owner-occupants when selling foreclosed properties.

Not gonna work.

In closing: I hope he’s still open for civil damages; She-Ra; Clavell did this as a novel, but with helicopters; If I Had $1000 Dollars; it hasn’t worked yet so let’s keep doing it; S&P and 63% of Americans agree about one thing; I know things are bad when Ron Paul starts to make sense; check your LinkedIn prefs; and Bert and Ernie are puppets, they have no sexual orientation.

Follow-Up Thursday

HR3: “Ok ok, we’ll take that word out if you’re going to get pissy about it. Damn feminists and liberals! We’d better get some concessions in return!” It’s still a bad bill that should not become law.

Banking Corruption: Oh yeah, JP Morgan knew Madoff wasn’t quite legit, problem? Elizabeth Warren still needs to head the CFFB, and to hell with Timmy Geithner. Did you know that the highest paid guy at Bank of America is still Angel Mozilo? The same guy whose business practices cost B of A billions of dollars last quarter alone?? It sure would be nice if someone would enforce the law regarding foreclosure fraud.

I felt a disturbance in the Force, as if a million wingnuts’ heads exploded and were suddenly silenced: The Obama administration is investigating whether the Health Insurance Reform bill can be used to require insurers to provide — not just cover, but provide freecontraceptives and family planning services!

On the Tea Party: Excuse me, I seem to have fallen into some alternate universe where George W. Bush is talking sense, and more or less agreeing with Howard Dean. Does the letter J exist in this universe?

On the Economy: Google got 75,000 job applications in one week because the economy is soooo good, right? At least demand for temps is up (pro tip: I’ve gotten job offers working at temp agencies; they’re a good way to earn a little money, get your feet wet, and maybe end up in a working interview!). On the whole, the employment situation is still “a lighter shade of gray.” The number of people using food stamps is up 14% from last year. So yeah, there’s a teensy disconnect between Wall Street and Your Street.

Will of the People: We want alternative energy, and the jobs we hope will be created by it, and the lower power/fuel bills, and just maybe the cleaner world. This is one of those “excuse me, the center is way off there to the left” moments.

On Education: You know, maybe teachers would do a better job if they had a decent curriculum to work from! Oh, now that’s crazy talk; everybody knows a really good teacher re-invents the wheel every semester…..

In Closing: Republicans hate puppies; they hate the environment too (Nixon was a dirty hippie!!) homeless shelters sometimes break up families; anchor babies; Weird Al; China; and VW is trying to win me back after making the Jetta look like ass:

But the Recovery is Still On, Right?

The Dow and S&P were both up today. The economy is [allegedly] growing. Everything is on track and will be wonderful in the future, right?

Yeah sure.

The experts — at least the ones that don’t have their heads stuck in the sand — know that a real recovery means people will have to spend more money. In an environment where the Bureau of Labor Statistics quietly admits that real unemployment is 16.7%, and some groups have unemployment rates as high as 28%, that seems unlikely to happen.

Almost 11% of houses sit empty, mostly in urban areas. Eventually these homes will either be renovated or bulldozed. Experts predict a boom in apartments, without bothering to mention that’s because it will be a long time before a typical American has a downpayment. Just a reminder: the housing crash means that not only can workers not afford to move to Where The Jobs Are, workers can’t afford to start small businesses either.

Union membership is down. This does mean that wages are going down because nobody is there to fight for a living wage. It means that stable jobs are gone, because there’s nobody to demand them. It’s also a symptom of the fact that we can’t seem to make much of anything more durable than a latte in this country.

So wages are down, unemployment is high, houses are money pits rather than assets. But hey, they’re having a party on Wall Street. Maybe there’s leftover cake.

In closing: no; LOOKOUT (or just be sane); and how does that fix the radiation?; more on Jack LaLanne; an idea whose time has come; childhood obesity; solve the puzzle, win a prize; it must be nice; on health care; yes, Albania; that too; puzzling; and in case you wondered.

Revisiting the BAMTOR Principle

Banks Always Make Their Own Rules, and this has been a banner week for demonstrating it!

You’ve heard of course about the lady who arrived at her second home to discover new locks and all her stuff missing, including her late husband’s ashes, right?

What about Deutsche Bank agreeing to pay a bunch of fines for helping wealthy Americans dodge their taxes?

Arizona and Nevada are both suing Bank of America over loan adjustments, and the Nevada AG has evidence that B of A has engaged in massive deceptive trade practices.

In California, Wells Fargo has been forced to admit that “pick a payment” was a bad idea and strongarmed into modifying a whopping 15,000 homeowners (sounds much more impressive if you say $2 billion in mortgages, doesn’t it?).

Meanwhile, the federal agencies that should be regulating the banks and protecting the citizens are protecting the banks from the citizens. The Federal Reserve has actually blocked new foreclosure regulations.

Even MarketWatch suggests that the banks have pulled on over on all of us.

We don’t just need rules for Big Banks, we need them to be forced to follow the law. Put a few bankers in jail, and I imagine the rest will be more likely to resist criminal activity.

In Closing: less American Pie; when Pat Robertson says to decriminalize pot, you know the War on Drugs is a failure; duh; security threat; Schneier; look, there’s never going to be a “get out of the security line free” card, so stop wishing for one!; gee, whoda thought?; good idea, wish somebody thought of it during the Clinton Administration; and idiot motorists drove through wet cement, getting stuck and delaying a project that would have been open in time for Christmas until probably Easter. Hope they’re real proud of themselves.

Self-Serving Bunch of Asshats

Today, Bank of Asshat America said “Investors should be buying bonds in all categories of U.S. securitized debt, in part because the market will continue to shrink next year.”

Securitized debt. That’s bonds backed by things like real estate loans and leases.

Now let’s see, Bank Of Asshat, where might you come up with those? Perhaps from Countrywide??

How convenient that your analyst thinks we should buy the thing that you just happen to be selling. Very convenient.

In Closing: How enterprise crashed the economy; katsudon; too frustrated about the DINOcrats folding on tax cuts for people who don’t need them to say anything rational; Steven King will rip the throat out of your Twilight whiny sparkly vampires; bank failures; full one way, empty the other; you think Sarah Palin is bad?; jobless rate by level of education; young adult fiction; it never occurred to her that you might not be able to afford cereal and a banana (fine, b****, you adopt them all!); and this:
Rob Rogers