Google Analytics

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Everybody just relax

Janet Napolitano tells us that the newly installed body scanners at JFK are nothing to worry about

"Those who read the images are not actually physically at the gate, so they cannot associate an image with an individual person at all," she said.

Translation: Its OK for government agents to see you naked as long as they don’t have to look you in the face afterwards.

Besides, there is no way anyone could possible correlate two different cel phone pictures taken by different TSA agents who can only communicate via walkie-talkie.

"And the machines are set so that no image is retained."

Translation: These machines can save the naked pictures of you but we won’t. Unless we change our minds. And we don’t plan on changing our minds until we decide we need to!

See? Its all gonna be just fine.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Halting the foreclosure factory in TX

Greg Abbot has stepped up again to go after the big bad banks.

The Texas Attorney General's office called for a halt on all foreclosures today amid widespread scrutiny over the way foreclosures are processed nationwide

While my knee jerk reaction might likely be with the majority of the comments on this story claiming that the government needs to get out of the way and let business proceed, it gets a little more interesting when you get into the details which are not listed in the story.

A friend of mine works in real estate here and today he pretty much deals only with pending foreclosures (preventing them, that is). He has some pretty terrible stories about how people are being mislead during foreclosure proceedings (like the bank claiming to work with them to put a short sale in place while the bank is still foreclosing out from under them just depending on which paperwork gets done first). But the real kicker is just the sheer number of loans that are invalid on their face. From what I hear its almost a guarantee that a troubled loan has something wrong with the original agreement. Now if that is the case and the near totality of these loans are wrong from the get go, then the authorities do need to step in and stop the proceedings-as-usual in order to make sure that everyone is treated correctly under the law.

This is not about socialistic government stepping in and taking care of everyone who has a problem. This is about holding the banks accountable for improperly setting up loans and then taking the property which they may not have a legitimate claim on.

Indeed, as I understand it, its systemic. Some of the bank’s standard loan forms may have actually done things the wrong way. If that is actually the case, this is catastrophic for them as well as the home owners. There is purposeful and inadvertent fraud likely on both sides and clouded titles on the properties for the foreseeable future.

Further, if the banks reaaaaally screwed this up, there may be a whole class of folks still able to make their payments that might start to challenge their loans.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Taking away my “Right to Work”

Congressman Sherman from California has submitted a bill to remove the ability for states to opt out of forced unionization of jobs in their states. The text of the bill isn’t available yet but the title is

H.R.6384 - To repeal a limitation in the Labor-Management Relations Act regarding requirements for labor organization membership as a condition of employment.

The Mr. Sherman wants to eliminate a 50 year old provision to the National Labor Relations Act which allows states to pass laws exempting their businesses from requiring all employees to join a union if the union has a presence there. He claims this “so-called right-to-work” force unions to represent non-union members. Not so, it just doesn’t allow you to force people into a union who don’t want to be members.

Mr.Sherman continues

Right-to-work laws have come to be known as right-to-work-for-less laws, because employees in states with these laws average about $5,333 a year less than workers in labor rights states.

Hmmm, he seems to be on to something. According to

Employers in Dallas, TX typically pay 9.6% less than employers in Los Angeles, CA.

But also that

The cost of living in Dallas, TX is 30.0% lower than in Los Angeles, CA.

So if you moved from LA to Big D, you would actually have more money. I wonder why that is? Surely we need to forcibly unionize the workers to fix this discrepancy. Or maybe just teach them some math.

Now I’m not a union guy. I have nothing against them either in theory. I just don’t think the government should be forcing me one way or the other to join a union. With all the problems California has right now, I think maybe Mr. Sherman ought to focus on helping out his state rather than adjusting the rules in mine to fit his failing agenda.

Friday, October 1, 2010

No pressure

While I see where they were going, trying to make an ironic situation where a character says “no pressure” and then does the opposite, the 10:10 guys really created a WTF moment with their mini-movie. The message comes out more like “Reduce your carbon emissions, or else we will kill you!”

Apparently having a teacher detonate her students because they decided not to participate in an optional exercise wasn’t funny? Whodathunkit?

To their credit, not only have they apologized without using the words “if” or “but”, they also stated that they will not be running around issuing take down notices for anyone who posts the video.

As a result of these concerns we've taken it off our website. We won't be making any attempt to censor or remove other versions currently in circulation on the internet.

Ouch, my ears!

The CALM act (HR 1084 && S 2847) will ensure that all of our sensitive ears will not be damaged or offended by that most serious of monsters that lurk in the night – loud commercials. Please Mr. Obama, I urge you to sign this bill as swiftly as possible in order to allow us all to sleep at night without fear.                Don’t worry about the debt or jobs or any of that other stuff that will work itself out on its own.

Seriously, I thought this one had died long ago. Its also something that has already been resolved technically by the market. Some TVs have a loudness function to prevent sudden large changes in volume.

Congratulations, assuming this gets signed (which I don’t see why it wouldn’t at this point) you just made the government a little bit bigger and TV a little more expensive to produce with no real appreciable positive result.