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Open Thread Wednesday

Thought maybe we'd try something a little different today.

I've never seen it done here. Don't know if it's by design or that it's just never happened, but I thought maybe we could do an open thread Wednesday.

We've got a great, intelligent readership here, and I think it would be very interesting to see what kind of discussions could be generated among everyone.

Talk about anything you want, keep it clean, and no personal attacks.

If this doesn't work, well, then that'll be that.


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Comments (32)

Major lulz:<a href... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:
Jeez.Two bottles o... (Below threshold)
Shawn:

Jeez.

Two bottles of vodka, some food, but not before they stop off at a pub.

Sounds like a nice date.

I just went over to Wizbang... (Below threshold)
Shawn:

I just went over to Wizbang Blue for the 2nd time of its existence and have come to the conclusion that it exists solely of about 6 people who are all enraged leftist loons, who just comment back and forth on eachothers snarky remarks.

I'd hate to see what the Daily Kos is like.

Shawn,Wizbang blue... (Below threshold)

Shawn,

Wizbang blue is exactly as you describe. Comments taking issue with the moderator, no matter how civil, are not tolerated. The more reasoned and factual your rebuttal the quicker you will be banned.

That is why I stay away fro... (Below threshold)
914:

That is why I stay away from WIZBLUE...The likes of Lee Ward make it KOS compatible and a waste of time.

Interesting "discussion". L... (Below threshold)
JFO:

Interesting "discussion". LOl.

it exists solely of abou... (Below threshold)
Brian:

it exists solely of about 6 people who are all enraged leftist loons

That "no personal attacks" thing didn't last long.

Brian,I don't thin... (Below threshold)
Shawn:

Brian,

I don't think I named names, did I?

Oh lordy I didn't realize i... (Below threshold)
JFO:

Oh lordy I didn't realize it was Mallow who authored the post Brian. Too funny. Way to have a "discussion" Mallow.

By the way Mallow -"it does... (Below threshold)
JFO:

By the way Mallow -"it doesn't work" thanks to you.

A young lady of my acquaint... (Below threshold)

A young lady of my acquaintance is pregnant, and having a very unpleasant first trimester. She's got morning sickness basically 24/7. Her doctor put her on a severe restriction on physical activity until she stops barfing. Or, as she put it, "I can't even pick up a gallon of milk."

I couldn't help myself "So, basically, you're breaking the doctor's orders every morning when you put on your bra?"

Man, sometimes I'm so evil...

J.

Shawn's safe. The Blue Boob... (Below threshold)

Shawn's safe. The Blue Boobies are essentially unpersons, so mocking them qualifies as an "unpersonal" attack.

J.

"By the way Mallow-"it d... (Below threshold)
914:

"By the way Mallow-"it doesnt work"-thanks to you."

Its been 15 minutes ignoramus. Give it a chance.

oops, was that a personal attack? or a compliment?

Per Investor's Business Dai... (Below threshold)

Per Investor's Business Daily (using Federal Reserve data):
--
"overall lending at U.S. commercial banks was up 5.7% in January from last year to $9.85 trillion, a record. Since 1990, average annualized monthly lending growth has been 7.3%. In other words, we're just below normal.

Commercial and industrial loans, a key gauge of business access to credit, were up 8.4% in January -- though down from the roaring 20%-plus growth rate of early last year. Consumer loans rose 10.1%.

In short, bank lending is at record levels. That's a data-based fact...

Down at the bottom of the (banking) regulators' (Monday) release came this revealing statement: "Currently, the major banking institutions have capital in excess of the amounts required to be considered well-capitalized.""
--

Bank nationalization. Discuss amongst yourselves.

(what? not as exciting as JT's imagery?)

happens every day at LGF</p... (Below threshold)
Hengineer:

happens every day at LGF

but cool

The Blue Boobies are ess... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

The Blue Boobies are essentially unpersons, so mocking them qualifies as an "unpersonal" attack.

J.

I suffered through part of The Island, and have to say that your assertion is debatable.

Thoughts on the bailout of ... (Below threshold)
pgg:

Thoughts on the bailout of the Big 3 Automakers:

3 decades and change ago, the government decided Ma Bell was too big, and broke her up. Now, AT&T has re-assembled almost all of the original parts.

But in the intervening period, technological advances made by upstart maverick telecom companies, and the marriage of cell phone, PDA, PC and internet technologies have brought us some amazing advances in personal communications. AT&T is involved in these markets as well, but without the innovation-averse monopolistic market share they once enjoyed. The personal telecommunications industry is one of the most competitive, most cutting edge, and - surprise! - most healthy industries in the world today.

Contrast that with the Big 3 automakers. 30 years ago, they made big, ugly gas-guzzling cars that few people liked. Now, they make big, ugly gas-guzzling cars that nobody likes, and they go begging to the government for bailout money because they're "too big to fail."

Tell me that if the government broke GM, Ford and Chrysler into 50 separate companies, there wouldn't be hundreds of maverick innovators racing in to fill the market vacuum.

Yes, it would be a mess for several years, but the market competition would produce wonders that sci-fi geeks have been waiting fify or sixty years to see.

30 years from now, we would have flying cars that ran on hydrogen or some plant by-product (paging Dr. Brown, paging Dr. Emmett Brown!), and cost half what today's cars do.

For a little levity, here i... (Below threshold)
Shawn:

For a little levity, here is a hilarious newscast where the anchors lose it on air. It's been around a while, but it's still a good one.

Video

The more you watch it, the funnier it gets.

Help me out here.F... (Below threshold)

Help me out here.

From the NY Times, published less than an hour ago:

In addition, the administration has instructed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two government-controlled mortgage-finance companies, to refinance homeowners at today's low market rates even if those people have less than the standard 20 percent equity usually required by lenders.

Fabulous. But it gets even more fabulous...

That program, which applies only to people with mortgages owned or guaranteed by Fannie or Freddie, is expected to help as many as five million homeowners who are current on their house payments.

What? Seriously, we're helping out people who are "current" on their house payments? I've GOT to be misreading that. There must be more to it.

OK, so here are a few more ... (Below threshold)

OK, so here are a few more details from the housing fact sheet:

Mortgage rates are currently at historically low levels, providing homeowners with the opportunity to reduce their monthly payments by refinancing. But under current rules, most families who owe more than 80% of the value of their homes have a difficult time securing refinancing.

Yet millions of responsible homeowners who put money down and made their mortgage payments on time have - through no fault of their own - seen the value of their homes drop low enough to make them unable to take advantage of these lower rates.

Aw, the poor babies can't take advantage of low rates? Welcome to my f***ing world. We too owe a tad more than 80% of the value of our home (82% to be exact), and we can't refinance like we'd like to--and we have outstanding credit (yeah, us). But Obama & Co. is now giving preferential treatment and access to low-interest rates to people who got their loans through Freddie and Fannie and who are current on their payments. Yeah, that's equitable; that's fair. We're helping people who don't need help!

The amount of f-bombs I'm dropping over this would make Lenny Bruce blush.

Inflation or defilations... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

Inflation or defilations, which is it going to be? The M2 money supply has grown by 10.5% over the last year (Jan 2008 to Jan 2009) to 8243.9 billion dollars. That would indicate a tendency for inflation. However, the value of homes and stocks have drop by more then 5 trillion dollars (as close as I can tell) during the same time. Even though there's been growth in the money supply, there's been a much larger shrinkage in wealth.

People who are looking primarily at the money supply are buying gold or other safe-havens. People who are looking primarily at the contraction in wealth are moving into and/or holding onto dollars. Both actions starve the economy.

I think this economy will swallow up the $787 billion stimulus bill without hardly a blip on anyone's economic radar screen. The exception would be if Congress rejects Obama's calls for tax increases, particularly the nonsensical carbon tax. That would signal to people that Congress is not going to let Obama dictate economic policy, but that it will do the job it was elected to do, which in part, is a check and balance on the excesses of the other branches of government. If not, then the voters will intervene in 2010 and put an early end to Obama's plans. Congress has 20 months.

Peter F,Here's the... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

Peter F,

Here's the key piece in information "...applies only to people with mortgages owned or guaranteed by Fannie or Freddie..." That means the taxpayers are already 100% on the line for these mortgages and there is no way out from under them except to pay them off. If such a home goes into foreclosures the taxpayers make up the difference between the outstanding balance and what's left from the sale of the property after all the costs associated with the foreclosure and sale have been paid. Taxpayers are already 100% at risk, so it actually saves taxpayers money if the foreclosure can be prevented by refinancing at a lower interest rate and reset back to 30 years.

The problem with your loan is that it's not guaranteed by the government, so there's no direct cost to taxpayers should you be forced into foreclosure. The only benefit you get is that by preventing potentially millions of foreclosure the value of your home will stop declining sooner than it would otherwise.

One of the ideas that's been floated in congress is for the government to guarantee all mortgages. The ultimate cost is estimated at 500 billion, but it means there are no more toxic assets because the taxpayers will stand good for them. It would also mean people like yourself might be able to refinance. Bernanke didn't like the idea because he thought 500 billion was too much money, which makes you wonder what he thinks about the money already spent on the problem. Also, he made some stupid comment about people not paying their mortgages if they knew they were guaranteed by the government. Apparently, Bernanke doesn't know the guarantee is to the lender not the borrower. I think the real reason Bernanke doesn't like the idea is that it solves the underlying cause of the banking crisis in one bold move that doesn't require his finesse, and thus, strips him of a lot of power.

Anyway, if enough homeowners like yourself are pissed off and call their senators and representatives, maybe the idea would get traction.

Mr Lorry, you are the smart... (Below threshold)
Bruce Henry:

Mr Lorry, you are the smartest conservative I've ever come across.
I mean that sincerely.

The Blue Boobies<... (Below threshold)
RFA:

The Blue Boobies

I like that! It's describes my neighborhood.
Have you copyrighted the term yet?

Bruce Henry,<blockquo... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

Bruce Henry,

Mr Lorry, you are the smartest conservative I've ever come across. I mean that sincerely.

While I appreciate the compliment it likely undermines my reputation on Wizbang. Also, some will suspect that I'm using the moniker "Bruce Henry" as a sock puppet.

It's better to agree with the idea and add to it than to compliment the person, particularly being as I'm getting ready to post a stupid comment (this might be it) :-)

I am getting ready for t... (Below threshold)
MF:

I am getting ready for the next Tea party

I'll keep my accolades to m... (Below threshold)
Bruce Henry:

I'll keep my accolades to myself from now on, Mr Lorry.

I didn't say you NEVER say something stupid, by the way.

Speaking of people might so... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

Speaking of people might sometimes say stupid things, and speaking of regulating the greedy f*ckers on Wall Street:

http://blogs.wsj.com/deals/2009/03/04/bear-stearns-jimmy-caynes-profane-tirade-against-treasurys-geithner/

Really, really funny, if--like me--you like it when greedy liars are reduced to sputtering like sailors who just lost six months' per diem in a casino.

Mac, first, thanks for the ... (Below threshold)

Mac, first, thanks for the detailed response. Much appreciated.

Here's the key piece in information "...applies only to people with mortgages owned or guaranteed by Fannie or Freddie..." That means the taxpayers are already 100% on the line for these mortgages and there is no way out from under them except to pay them off.

I hear you on this point. But aren't we really concerned with troubled or at-risk loans, not loans where borrowers are deemed 'current on their payments' or where foreclosure is imminent? To pre-emptively secure loans that aren't in trouble or at risk by making lower interest rates available only to people who chose to finance through Fannie and Freddie, seems rather arbitary with a dash of favoritism thrown in on the part of government. (I understand and agree with the reasoning for refi-ing at-risk loans; I see how it saves taxpayer money in the long run.)

One of the ideas that's been floated in congress is for the government to guarantee all mortgages. The ultimate cost is estimated at 500 billion, but it means there are no more toxic assets because the taxpayers will stand good for them. It would also mean people like yourself might be able to refinance.

(Well, our children's children's children will stand good for them, anyway.) I don't like the idea of all loans being guaranteed for people who are 'good' on their loans (I presently count myself in that category) because now you not only take away the consequence for a poor or bad decision on the part of the minority, you tell an entire society 'hey, it's OK to make a bad decision about the most important purchase decision you'll likely ever make and not pay for it'. It may solve the temproary banking crisis, but it creates a moral crisis (the removal of personal and direct consquence for one's actions) on an almost irreverisble scale.

Anyway, if enough homeowners like yourself are pissed off and call their senators and representatives, maybe the idea would get traction.

Believe me, I do. I've got the form letters from Patty Murary and Maria Cantwell to prove it. Sigh....

Peter F,I... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

Peter F,

I don't like the idea of all loans being guaranteed for people who are 'good' on their loans (I presently count myself in that category) because now you not only take away the consequence for a poor or bad decision on the part of the minority, you tell an entire society 'hey, it's OK to make a bad decision about the most important purchase decision you'll likely ever make and not pay for it'

The reason to guarantee all mortgages is that in one bold move it solves the core issue that's disrupting our financial system, which is no one can tell if the mortgage backed securities they hold are any good. If all mortgages are guaranteed then all of a sudden all such securities are golden. The recession would be cut short, and ultimately, such a move would likely cost taxpayers less than continuing the current strategy of putting out fires.

The second point is that the government gives the guarantee to the lender, not the borrower. If a borrower doesn't pay their mortgage it gets foreclosed and the government makes up any loss the lender incurs. The borrower is out on the street and has a bad credit rating to boot. Even Bernanke seems to have problems understanding the lender vs. borrower distinction, so it's worth repeating.

Also, guaranteeing all mortgages insure fairness among all homeowners regardless of who initiated or owns their mortgage. For that reason alone it seem like the best of many bad strategies.

Mac,Sorry for the ... (Below threshold)

Mac,

Sorry for the late reply.

Thanks for laying out why guaranteeing mortgages is the most sound of all the bad ideas out there. This is exactly the kind of information that the public needs to hear. You've given me a real sound reason to spam mail my hapless senators with!

You gave me an education and I very, very much appreciate it.

Mac Lorry gave everyone who... (Below threshold)
MichaelC:

Mac Lorry gave everyone who has read this thread an education. I am grateful to learn about this things in such clearly enunciated paragraphs.




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