Thursday, October 30, 2008

No visible wires

Is Barack Obama really a socialist?
Probably not, but , of course, the rules would be different for him.

Economy shrinks as consumers cut back on spending
Impossible! Trickle-Down economics are a myth.

Hubble telescope working, taking photos again
It only took 6,000 AA batteries to get it running.

Phoenicians may be forgotten but not gone
...and who can forget the Ebonics?

French try plane technology in artificial heart
It guarantees a late arrival and then it surrenders.

Iraq wants guaranteed US departure after 2011
They should talk to the French Plane people.

New Zealand surgeons cut giant tumor from baby
According to Planned Parenthood, the baby is a tumor.

Judge: Michael Vick must appear in person for plea
and his dog needs to be there for Flea. (Rappin' Nic!)

Baghdad commuter rail skirts traffic, checkpoints
...or as the AP titled it; Hey Al-Qaeda, Here's a new way in!

Today's Highlight in History:
In 1961, the Soviet Party Congress unanimously approved a resolution ordering the removal of Josef Stalin's body from Lenin's tomb. Sure, they looked cute together, but it was still a bit creepy.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

WSJ Brilliance 10.29.08

Security Clearance
"John McCain isn't boasting about a new endorsement, one of the very, very few he has received from overseas," writes Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times:

It came a few days ago:
"Al Qaeda will have to support McCain in the coming election," read a commentary on a password-protected Islamist Web site that is closely linked to Al Qaeda and often disseminates the group's propaganda.

Some McCain supporters are skeptical of this endorsement's authenticity, but we are not. After all, Kristof works for the New York Times, not some fly-by-night outfit like CBS News. If he reports that al Qaeda endorsed McCain, we have confidence that he knows it to be true. Which does raise one question:

Why did al Qaeda give Nick Kristof the password to its Web site?

Monday, October 27, 2008

Rise of the Femblogs

Heart device maker recalls implant
"Ah yes, I remember it well. Quite noisy and very expensive!"

Depressed astronauts might get computerized solace
It's the subject of my short film "Rise of the Fembots."

E-tailers push e-mail discounts to lure shoppers
i-Think I've had E-nough of the e & i crap.

Microsoft profit up 2 percent, but outlook soft
correction: Outlook software.

Today's Highlight in History:
In 1962, U.S. ambassador Adlai E. Stevenson presented photographic evidence of Soviet-built missile bases in Cuba to the U.N. Security Council. Hey, just like Colin Powell, except for the 'stabbing Republicans in the back' part.

Ten years ago: Vice President Al Gore participated in a groundbreaking ceremony for a memorial dedicated to victims of the Oklahoma City bombing. Groundbreaking Earth-HATER!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Must Read

NicFitz Editor's Note: Orson Scott Card is a Democrat and a newspaper columnist, and in this opinion piece he takes on both while lamenting the current state of journalism.

Would the Last Honest Reporter Please Turn On the Lights?
By Orson Scott Card
October 5, 2008

An open letter to the local daily paper -- almost every local daily paper in America:

I remember reading All the President's Men and thinking: That's journalism. You do what it takes to get the truth and you lay it before the public, because the public has a right to know.

This housing crisis didn't come out of nowhere. It was not a vague emanation of the evil Bush administration.

It was a direct result of the political decision, back in the late 1990s, to loosen the rules of lending so that home loans would be more accessible to poor people. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were authorized to approve risky loans.

What is a risky loan? It's a loan that the recipient is likely not to be able to repay.

The goal of this rule change was to help the poor -- which especially would help members of minority groups. But how does it help these people to give them a loan that they can't repay? They get into a house, yes, but when they can't make the payments, they lose the house -- along with their credit rating.

They end up worse off than before.

This was completely foreseeable and in fact many people did foresee it. One political party, in Congress and in the executive branch, tried repeatedly to tighten up the rules. The other party blocked every such attempt and tried to loosen them.

Furthermore, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae were making political contributions to the very members of Congress who were allowing them to make irresponsible loans. (Though why quasi-federal agencies were allowed to do so baffles me. It's as if the Pentagon were allowed to contribute to the political campaigns of Congressmen who support increasing their budget.)

Isn't there a story here? Doesn't journalism require that you who produce our daily paper tell the truth about who brought us to a position where the only way to keep confidence in our economy was a $700 billion bailout? Aren't you supposed to follow the money and see which politicians were benefiting personally from the deregulation of mortgage lending?

I have no doubt that if these facts had pointed to the Republican Party or to John McCain as the guilty parties, you would be treating it as a vast scandal. "Housing-gate," no doubt. Or "Fannie-gate."

Instead, it was Senator Christopher Dodd and Congressman Barney Frank, both Democrats, who denied that there were any problems, who refused Bush administration requests to set up a regulatory agency to watch over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and who were still pushing for these agencies to go even further in promoting subprime mortgage loans almost up to the minute they failed.

As Thomas Sowell points out in a essay entitled Do Facts Matter? "Alan Greenspan warned them four years ago. So did the Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers to the President. So did Bush's Secretary of the Treasury."

These are facts. This financial crisis was completely preventable. The party that blocked any attempt to prevent it was ... the Democratic Party. The party that tried to prevent it was ... the Republican Party.

Yet when Nancy Pelosi accused the Bush administration and Republican deregulation of causing the crisis, you in the press did not hold her to account for her lie. Instead, you criticized Republicans who took offense at this lie and refused to vote for the bailout!

What? It's not the liar, but the victims of the lie who are to blame?

Now let's follow the money ... right to the presidential candidate who is the number-two recipient of campaign contributions from Fannie Mae.

And after Freddie Raines, the CEO of Fannie Mae who made $90 million while running it into the ground, was fired for his incompetence, one presidential candidate's campaign actually consulted him for advice on housing.

If that presidential candidate had been John McCain, you would have called it a major scandal and we would be getting stories in your paper every day about how incompetent and corrupt he was.

But instead, that candidate was Barack Obama, and so you have buried this story, and when the McCain campaign dared to call Raines an "adviser" to the Obama campaign -- because that campaign had sought his advice -- you actually let Obama's people get away with accusing McCain of lying, merely because Raines wasn't listed as an official adviser to the Obama campaign.

You would never tolerate such weasely nit-picking from a Republican.

If you who produce our local daily paper actually had any principles, you would be pounding this story, because the prosperity of all Americans was put at risk by the foolish, short-sighted, politically selfish, and possibly corrupt actions of leading Democrats, including Obama.

If you who produce our local daily paper had any personal honor, you would find it unbearable to let the American people believe that somehow Republicans were to blame for this crisis.

There are precedents. Even though President Bush and his administration never said that Iraq sponsored or was linked to 9/11, you could not stand the fact that Americans had that misapprehension -- so you pounded us with the fact that there was no such link. (Along the way, you created the false impression that Bush had lied to them and said that there was a connection.)

If you had any principles, then surely right now, when the American people are set to blame President Bush and John McCain for a crisis they tried to prevent, and are actually shifting to approve of Barack Obama because of a crisis he helped cause, you would be laboring at least as hard to correct that false impression.

Your job, as journalists, is to tell the truth. That's what you claim you do, when you accept people's money to buy or subscribe to your paper.

But right now, you are consenting to or actively promoting a big fat lie -- that the housing crisis should somehow be blamed on Bush, McCain, and the Republicans. You have trained the American people to blame everything bad -- even bad weather -- on Bush, and they are responding as you have taught them to.

If you had any personal honor, each reporter and editor would be insisting on telling the truth -- even if it hurts the election chances of your favorite candidate.

Because that's what honorable people do. Honest people tell the truth even when they don't like the probable consequences. That's what honesty means. That's how trust is earned.

Barack Obama is just another politician, and not a very wise one. He has revealed his ignorance and naivete time after time -- and you have swept it under the rug, treated it as nothing.

Meanwhile, you have participated in the borking of Sarah Palin, reporting savage attacks on her for the pregnancy of her unmarried daughter -- while you ignored the story of John Edwards' own adultery for many months.

So I ask you now: Do you have any standards at all? Do you even know what honesty means?

Is getting people to vote for Barack Obama so important that you will throw away everything that journalism is supposed to stand for?

You might want to remember the way the National Organization of Women threw away their integrity by supporting Bill Clinton despite his well-known pattern of sexual exploitation of powerless women. Who listens to NOW anymore? We know they stand for nothing; they have no principles.

That's where you are right now.

It's not too late. You know that if the situation were reversed, and the truth would damage McCain and help Obama, you would be moving heaven and earth to get the true story out there.

If you want to redeem your honor, you will swallow hard and make a list of all the stories you would print if it were McCain who had been getting money from Fannie Mae, McCain whose campaign had consulted with its discredited former CEO, McCain who had voted against tightening its lending practices.

Then you will print them, even though every one of those true stories will point the finger of blame at the reckless Democratic Party, which put our nation's prosperity at risk so they could feel good about helping the poor, and lay a fair share of the blame at Obama's door.

You will also tell the truth about John McCain: that he tried, as a Senator, to do what it took to prevent this crisis. You will tell the truth about President Bush: that his administration tried more than once to get Congress to regulate lending in a responsible way.

This was a Congress-caused crisis, beginning during the Clinton administration, with Democrats leading the way into the crisis and blocking every effort to get out of it in a timely fashion.

If you at our local daily newspaper continue to let Americans believe --and vote as if -- President Bush and the Republicans caused the crisis, then you are joining in that lie.

If you do not tell the truth about the Democrats -- including Barack Obama -- and do so with the same energy you would use if the miscreants were Republicans -- then you are not journalists by any standard.

You're just the public relations machine of the Democratic Party, and it's time you were all fired and real journalists brought in, so that we can actually have a daily newspaper in our city.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Rhymes with Clog

Browns suspend Kellen Winslow for 1 game
They should let him hold the SkyCam.

Romo says he won't play against Tampa Bay

Palin tells kids the vice president 'runs' Senate
I tell kids about Santa Claus. Which is more plausible?

Better air passenger prescreening expected in 2009
Until then; please remove your shoes & undergarments, unless of course you are Muslim, which, in that case, go on through!

Democrats' gloom deepens
It would depress me to look like that too!

FDA: Incontinence surgery linked to complications
Hence, the surgery you dimwit!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Blogging with the Stars

Monday, October 20, 2008

Joe the Blogger

Obama: Powell will have a role in administration
Maybe he can be the guy who shows satellite photos of mobile chemical plants in
Iraq to the U.N., oh wait, that would make him the lying Republican liar who lies.

Poll finds high anxiety on economy this month
People get paid to collect this information?

Tainted feed kills 1,500 Chinese dogs bred for fur

If they're bred for fur, what's the big diff?

NASA sees no quick fix for broken Hubble telescope
One word: Ebay.

Fashion critic Mr. Blackwell dies in Los Angeles
His corpse looks like someone puked into a mohair trench coat.

Concorde jet returns to Intrepid museum on Hudson
On a side note: Liberace was buried face down on the

Motivation #1

Friday, October 17, 2008

Two Papers in One!

  • "In Wednesday night's debate, John McCain warned that a group called Acorn is 'on the verge of maybe perpetrating one of the greatest frauds in voter history' and 'may be destroying the fabric of democracy.' Viewers may have been wondering what Mr. McCain was talking about. So were we."--editorial, New York Times, Oct. 17
  • "Several F.B.I. offices are reviewing reports of fraudulent voter registrations submitted by the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, or Acorn, a liberal community organizing group that has been under fire from Republicans."--news story, New York Times, Oct. 17
thanks to Wall Street Journal

All You Can Blog - $12.99

Killer gets life for killing Vt. college student
It's more than the student got & better than the killer deserves.

Australian leader holds firm on climate change
...with religious fervor.

Report says Arctic temperatures at record highs
This is Al Gore's definition of a Hate Crime.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Seve Blogesteros

Fla. Congressman said to be involved in 2nd affair
Must be a democrat as the word REPUBLICAN isn't flashing in neon.

Fla. Congressman said to be involved in 2nd affair
He's just helping single moms get their start.

US govt issues travel advisory for Mexico
Don't Drink the Water

Seve Ballesteros comes through brain surgery
It's not like it was rocket science.

Thursday, October 9, 2008


Monday, October 6, 2008

Blog Me Later

Earthquake kills at least 72 in Kyrgyzstan
You know an earthquake is bad when it leaves the country's name unreadable.

EBay to cut 1,000 jobs, will buy Bill Me Later
Bill Me Later is what former employees will be saying.

Cigarette suit first up in new court term Monday
I presume it's Charcoal with a subtle pinstripe.

Scientists: 1 in 4 mammals faces extinction
Hey, a 75% immortality rate ain't bad!

Economists say shaky economy may last for a while
Way To Take A Stand, Economists!

Doctors: No hamsters or exotic pets for young kids
Richard Gere has finally cornered the market.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

I can tuna fish but I can't play it.

Researchers find that tuna swim across Atlantic
They would fly, but security is too much of a hassle.

Today's Highlight in History:
In 1777, George Washington's troops launched an assault on the British at Germantown, Pa., resulting in heavy American casualties. John Adams Lied & People Died!

In 1958, the first trans-Atlantic passenger jetliner service was begun by the British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) with flights between London and New York. Ah, for the days before Tuna Profiling!

Friday, October 3, 2008


Why Some Women Hate Sarah Palin
or Why
'BiPolar Feminist' is Redundant.

Vietnam finds tainted products from China
It's called Communism.

As economy sags, faces do too, cosmetic docs say
But not Botox Joe's!

Today's Highlight in History:
In 1226, St. Francis of Assisi, founder of the Franciscan order, died; he was canonized in 1228. I wonder how far his body flew.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Fannie Mayhem: A History

  • A Mortgage Fable 09/22/08 -- Beltway trilogy: the Fed, Fannie Mae, and Bear Stearns.
  • Weekend at Henry's 09/08/08 -- Propping up the living dead at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

  • Fannie Mae's Political Immunity07/29/08 --Congress sets the rules in favor of Fan and Fred, which then repay the Members with cash from their rigged profit stream.
  • Fannie and Freddie's Enablers 07/21/08 – The same folks who put taxpayers on the hook for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are now demanding ransom to let taxpayers bail them out.
  • Paulson's Fannie Test 07/15/08 – Does Hank Paulson want to leave the U.S. financial system better than he found it? That's his test in the wake of his commitment to use taxpayer money to rescue Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
  • Fannie Mae Ugly 07/12/08 – Investors continued to flee Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac almost as frantically as the political class tried to reassure everybody there was nothing to worry about.
  • The Price of Fannie Mae 07/10/08 – It's time Americans understood the price they could soon pay for the Beltway's confidence game with these high-risk "government-sponsored enterprises."
  • Too Political to Fail 04/21/08 – Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac aren't held to the same standards of accountability as everyone else.
  • Fannie Mayhem 11/20/07 – Chuck Schumer is lucky Congress ignored his idea that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac should ride to the rescue of the housing market.
  • Fannie More 10/23/07 – Barney Frank and Chuck Schumer have come up with a proposal that would increase the risk to taxpayers from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
  • Freddie Krueger Mac 05/10/07 – Just when you think they're defeated, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac arise in Congress to kill any attempt to clean up their dangerous habits.
  • The Fannie Tax 04/12/07 – Democrat Barney Frank and the Bush Administration seem to have found common ground on new rules for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Naturally, there's a catch.
  • Memo to Fannie 06/14/06 – A joke in Washington these days goes like this: "What's the difference between Enron and Fannie Mae? Answer: The guys at Enron have been convicted."
  • Fannie Mae's House 10/25/05 – Every Congressional session can be counted on to produce its share of bad bills. But the "reform" bill for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is in a class of its own.
  • Fannie's Friends on the Hill 05/09/05 – Congress finally seemed ready to protect taxpayers from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Then Republican Mike Oxley decided to ride to their rescue.
  • Fannie Turns a Page 12/23/04 – Fannie Mae – a slick, semiprivate firm operating with the patronage of politicians – is the kind of institution one still expects to find in a country like France.
  • Fannie the Centaur 12/17/04 – Understanding their half-man, half-beast nature is crucial to fixing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in the wake of their recent financial scandals.
  • Fannie Mae Liberals 10/14/04 – There were many moments of high entertainment during the House hearings on Fannie Mae's creative accounting. But our favorite was the Mister Magoo performance given by Barney Frank (D., Massachusetts).
  • Fannie Uncovered 09/23/04 – The housing-finance giant has been engaging in some accounting funny business.
  • Fannie's Risky Business 02/25/04 – Alan Greenspan puts his credibility behind the cause of reforming Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
  • Christmas for Fannie Mae 12/23/03 – The Federal Reserve Board releases a new staff study about the impact of taxpayer subsidies for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
  • White House Fannie Pack 11/11/03 – White House chief economist N. Gregory Mankiw dares to tell the truth about Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The mortgage giants were not amused, which means we're getting somewhere.
  • Fannie Takes the Hill 10/09/03 – When the House of Representatives can't get even a modest regulatory bill out of committee, the dangers of Fannie Mae become clear in reality.
  • Speaking Truth to Fannie 03/12/03 – The president of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis warns of a potential crisis arising from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
  • Fannie Mae's Risky Business 09/23/02 – We've been suggesting that Fannie Mae was exposed to too much interest-rate risk. All of a sudden investors seem to agree with us.
  • Fannie Capitulates, Sort Of 07/15/02 – Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac end months of resistance, stonewalling and downright crankiness and agree to register their common stock with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
  • Fannie's Inside Info 07/01/02 – Even in this post-Enron world, Fan and Fred do not provide as much information about these securities as private mortgage lenders do.
  • Inside Fannie 03/19/02 – Fan and Fred don't function like other companies. They're allowed to pile up debt, implicitly guaranteed by taxpayers, without being held to even the minimum of corporate governance standards.
  • Frantic Fannie 02/28/02 – Companies taking on so much risk and debt, and backed by taxpayers, ought to be more transparent in what they tell the world.
  • Fannie Mae Enron? 02/20/02 – Fan and Fred look like poorly run hedge funds: lots of leverage and snarkily hedged risk. Does the word Enron ring any bells?
See all of today's editorials on Opinion Journal.

Party Like It's 1999!

September 30, 1999
Fannie Mae Eases Credit To Aid Mortgage Lending

In a move that could help increase home ownership rates among minorities and low-income consumers, the Fannie Mae Corporation is easing the credit requirements on loans that it will purchase from banks and other lenders.
The action, which will begin as a pilot program involving 24 banks in 15 markets -- including the New York metropolitan region -- will encourage those banks to extend home mortgages to individuals whose credit is generally not good enough to qualify for conventional loans. Fannie Mae officials say they hope to make it a nationwide program by next spring.
Fannie Mae, the nation's biggest underwriter of home mortgages, has been under increasing pressure from the Clinton Administration to expand mortgage loans among low and moderate income people and felt pressure from stock holders to maintain its phenomenal growth in profits. In addition, banks, thrift institutions and mortgage companies have been pressing Fannie Mae to help them make more loans to so-called subprime borrowers. These borrowers whose incomes, credit ratings and savings are not good enough to qualify for conventional loans, can only get loans from finance companies that charge much higher interest rates -- anywhere from three to four percentage points higher than conventional loans.
''Fannie Mae has expanded home ownership for millions of families in the 1990's by reducing down payment requirements,'' said Franklin D. Raines, Fannie Mae's chairman and chief executive officer. ''Yet there remain too many borrowers whose credit is just a notch below what our underwriting has required who have been relegated to paying significantly higher mortgage rates in the so-called subprime market.'' Demographic information on these borrowers is sketchy. But at least one study indicates that 18 percent of the loans in the subprime market went to black borrowers, compared to 5 per cent of loans in the conventional loan market.
In moving, even tentatively, into this new area of lending, Fannie Mae is taking on significantly more risk, which may not pose any difficulties during flush economic times. But the government-subsidized corporation may run into trouble in an economic downturn, prompting a government rescue similar to that of the savings and loan industry in the 1980's.
''From the perspective of many people, including me, this is another thrift industry growing up around us,'' said Peter Wallison a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. ''If they fail, the government will have to step up and bail them out the way it stepped up and bailed out the thrift industry.''
Under Fannie Mae's pilot program, consumers who qualify can secure a mortgage with an interest rate one percentage point above that of a conventional, 30-year fixed rate mortgage of less than $240,000 -- a rate that currently averages about 7.76 per cent. If the borrower makes his or her monthly payments on time for two years, the one percentage point premium is dropped.
Fannie Mae, the nation's biggest underwriter of home mortgages, does not lend money directly to consumers. Instead, it purchases loans that banks make on what is called the secondary market. By expanding the type of loans that it will buy, Fannie Mae is hoping to spur banks to make more loans to people with less-than-stellar credit ratings.
Fannie Mae officials stress that the new mortgages will be extended to all potential borrowers who can qualify for a mortgage. But they add that the move is intended in part to increase the number of minority and low income home owners who tend to have worse credit ratings than non-Hispanic whites. Home ownership has, in fact, exploded among minorities during the economic boom of the 1990's. The number of mortgages extended to Hispanic applicants jumped by 87.2 per cent from 1993 to 1998, according to Harvard University 's Joint Center for Housing Studies. During that same period the number of African Americans who got mortgages to buy a home increased by 71.9 per cent and the number of Asian Americans by 46.3 per cent. In contrast, the number of non-Hispanic whites who received loans for homes increased by 31.2 per cent. Despite these gains, home ownership rates for minorities continue to lag behind non-Hispanic whites, in part because blacks and Hispanics in particular tend to have on average worse credit ratings.
In July, the Department of Housing and Urban Development proposed that by the year 2001, 50 percent of Fannie Mae's and Freddie Mac's portfolio be made up of loans to low and moderate-income borrowers. Last year, 44 percent of the loans Fannie Mae purchased were from these groups.
The change in policy also comes at the same time that HUD is investigating allegations of racial discrimination in the automated underwriting systems used by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to determine the credit-worthiness of credit applicants.