Some Grooving Tunes (Warpigs)

This is an incredible version of “Warpigs” originally done by Black Sabbath (see below)

And so culture flourishes, and the warpigs get rich.

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It’s a Run on the Banks!!!

WASHINGTON — Alarmed by the sharply eroding confidence in the nation’s two largest mortgage finance companies, the Bush administration on Sunday asked Congress to approve a sweeping rescue package that would give officials the power to inject billions of federal dollars into the beleaguered companies through investments and loans.

Treasury Acts to Save Mortgage Giants – NYTimes.com

In a separate announcement, the Federal Reserve said it would make one of its short-term lending programs available to the two companies, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The Fed said that it had made its decision “to promote the availability of home mortgage credit during a period of stress in financial markets.”

An official said that the Fed’s decision to permit the companies to borrow from its so-called discount window was approved at the request of the Treasury but that it was temporary and would probably end once Congress approved Treasury’s plan. Some officials briefed on the plan said Congress could be asked to extend the total line of credit to the institutions to $300 billion.

I’m watching CNN right now report on this, and interviewing the people currently “running” on the bank.  All they want right now is to get their hands on their money, which is freaking them right the fuck out.  Since the only people worried are those with accounts over $100,000, they are all the rich folks…which makes it a great story for the 24-hour networks.

The banks have actually been running on empty for a good little while.  First there was the extra $200,000,000,000 that the Fed printed up a while back.  Which wasn’t really enough in the face of the disappearing mortgage money, the slowing economy, the weakening dollar, and the atmospheric oil.

Which killed the Bear (Stearns).

Which was the sign that things were already really bad.  What is happening with Freddie and Fannie is that they got stuck with all the crappy loans that filtered through the system. 

I actually know a bit about this topic, as I used to do some work for the FDIC involving closing banks.  Essentially we would consolidate loans and deposits and prepare them for sale to other banks.  The really crappy ones that couldn’t be sold would then be administered by the FDIC untill…whenever.

(note: I just heard a guy on CNN say “You could have a run on the banks” [which would be great for CNN])

So Fannie and Freddie got hit with all of the above and the necessity to take a bunch of shitty loans.  They are the drains for the mortgage industry and they got loaded with a whole bunch of crap, got clogged and the system starts to back up.

More on this later, but I thought it was funny when they were talking to the people waiting in line to make a run on the bank.

No Wonder I Just Got A Rebate

BBC NEWS | World | Middle East | BBC uncovers lost Iraq billions

For the first time, the extent to which some private contractors have profited from the conflict and rebuilding has been researched by the BBC’s Panorama using US and Iraqi government sources.

A US gagging order is preventing discussion of the allegations.

The order applies to 70 court cases against some of the top US companies.

War profiteering

While George Bush remains in the White House, it is unlikely the gagging orders will be lifted.

To date, no major US contractor faces trial for fraud or mismanagement in Iraq.

This is going to be a part of the war, much like the care for the soldiers who fought it, that’s going to cost a lot for a long time.  Now we just need to start putting the profiteers in jail to stem the tide a bit (actually that’s something we should have done very publicly the first time something like this happened, but, well…with Bush…ya know…).

Bloods for Billions

Ultimate Cash Machine – Forbes.com

It’s the Ultimate Money Machine. That night before the Super Bowl 10,700 fans packed the arena, paying an average of $340 for a ticket to witness nine mixed martial arts fights. Another 500,000 fans paid $45 ($55 for high definition) to watch five of the nine fights at home. The total haul from the event: $25 million.

This year UFC is likely to generate $250 million, capturing perhaps 90% of mixed martial arts revenue. The majority of UFC revenues come from the monthly pay-per-view events. Additional cash is made from ticket sales to live fights and licensing fees from its Spike cable shows The Ultimate Fighter and UFC Fight Night . These shows in turn act as promotional tools to drive fans to pay-per-view events. More scratch comes from sales of DVDs and T shirts, as well as downloads from UFC’s library of past bouts.

My guess is that you’ll see a backlash by the fighters of the UFC before too long, as they realize how big the pie they’ve been fighting for actually is.

The Clinton Fortune (Updated)

CNN Political Ticker: All politics, all the time Blog Archive – Clinton releases tax returns « – Blogs from CNN.com

(CNN) — Hillary Clinton released her tax returns for the years 2000 to 2006 late Friday afternoon, ending weeks of speculation over her delay in making them public.

“The Clintons have now made public thirty years of tax returns, a record matched by few people in public service,” spokesman Jay Carson said in a statement. “None of Hillary Clinton’s presidential opponents have revealed anything close to this amount of personal financial information.”

The campaign said the records showed Bill and Hillary Clinton had paid more than $33.7 million in federal taxes on a joint income of $109 million and donated $10.2 million to charities over the past eight years.

Who says you can’t get fabulously wealthy from public service?

UPDATE : 5/7/08

Clinton has continued to leverage this fortune in hopes of expanding it a bit more.

INDIANAPOLIS – Hillary Rodham Clinton, wobbly after a far-less-than-super Tuesday in North Carolina and Indiana, has been forced to lend her campaign $6.4 million in recent weeks — and she may shell out more cash to compete with Barack Obama in six remaining primary contests.

But her campaign made clear Wednesday morning that Clinton is pressing on despite Tuesday’s results, with spokesman Howard Wolfson saying there have been “no discussions” inside the campaign of Clinton dropping out.

[full story]

O.k., fine 10 points for perserverance, but minus several million for extending this fight beyond all reasonable measures.  You lost, accept it and move on.  Go back and finish your carpetbagging term in New York, and get the hell out of the way.

For the good of the party, and the country.

We Need to Ask McCain to Explain This

VQR » The Christian with Four Aces

“You need to be born again,” his mother told him, bombarding the couple with gospel tracts. At her urging, Robertson had dinner with an acquaintance of his mother, an itinerant evangelist named Cornelius Vanderbreggen, at an elegant restaurant in Philadelphia. Robertson was impressed. “I was used to the expensive bistros around New York, but that a faith missionary should say the Lord had led him to dine at this restaurant where the waiters wore white tie and tails was more than I could comprehend,” he wrote. “I thought that God’s people wore shabby clothes, baggy trousers, and suit coats that didn’t match. I thought they ate hamburger and boiled turnips.”By the next day, Robertson had undergone a conversion experience. “Dede, I’m saved!” he exclaimed to his wife. He took the nude down from the wall and put it out with the trash and, to Dede’s consternation, poured all their cognac down the drain. Although his wife was seven months pregnant, Robertson trekked off to a Christian summer camp in the Canadian woods to commune with God.

“Please come back. I need you desperately,” Dede pleaded in a note.

“I can’t leave. God will take care of you,” Robertson replied.

Robertson believes that one night in his cabin, as he lay on his cot, Satan spoke to him, trying to dissuade him from his path. But Robertson resisted.

Ahhh, nothing like abandoning a pregnant wife to figure out how to bilk money from believers to live a lavish lifestyle.

Pretty impressive if you ask me, and I’m a pirate.

Galt = Ninja

Charlotte Observer | 03/23/2008 | Donor gave, and UNCC winced

As a college student in Chapel Hill, John Allison stumbled across a collection of essays by Ayn Rand and was hooked by her philosophy of self-interest and limited government. As he rose over the decades to chief executive of BB&T, one of the country’s leading regional banks, Rand remained his muse.He’s trying to replicate that encounter through the charitable arm of his Winston-Salem-based company, which since 1999 has awarded more than $28 million to 27 colleges to support the study of capitalism from a moral perspective.

But on at least 17 of those campuses, including UNC Charlotte, N.C. State and Johnson C. Smith University, the gifts come with an unusual stipulation: Rand’s novel, “Atlas Shrugged,” is included in a course as required reading.

Galt may have been a ninja, but Ayn never understood the allure, inevitability, and necessity of piracy.   She did make a pretty good robot though, objectively.

Pay Me First

Unclutterer » Archive » The Real Cost of Financial Clutter on the Road to a Remarkable Life

De-clutter your debt. Make a list of every single debt you have – credit cards, student loans, car loans, mortgages, and anything else you have. Write down the total amount you owe and the interest rate you’re paying on that debt. Order them by interest rate. Then, each month, make the minimum payment on each of them, then make a substantial extra payment on the highest interest debt. When that debt disappears, move on to the next one on the list until they’re all gone.

My interest rates are out of control.