Archive for September, 2008


27 September 2008 at 4:50 pm
by Berck

The remains of at least one person has been found in the wreckage from the fire.

I’m no expert, and have no real information, but it’s starting to sound like someone set himself on fire… No official word as to the cause of the fire, yet.


27 September 2008 at 1:26 pm
by Berck


Rude Awakening

27 September 2008 at 12:44 pm
by Berck

Some coyotes woke us up last night. They were yapping away like drunk teenagers. This is nothing unusual–they wake us up at least once a week. At the same time, there was a siren, followed by more sirens and a lot of banging noises. The sirens are not all that unusual; there’s a fire department just up the road, and there’s a huge residential area served by the road just outside our apartment. The banging was unusual, and the noise of a helicopter circling over head finally prompted me to look outside the window.

“Uhh, Jonah, there’s a big fire out there.”

Jonah got up and got very excited, and decided that we should go investigate. I wasn’t inclined to get yelled at by cops at 3am, but decided that since there was no way I was going back to sleep, we might as well. I put on some clothes, and we started walking up the street. They were evacuating the apartment complexes just up the street and across the road from us. The cops were banging on doors, telling folks to get out. Dozens of people were standing around in pajamas, with blankets and their pets.

We stayed out of the way, and watched the blaze appear to get larger, rather than smaller, despite the half-dozen fire trucks who’d tapped every hydrant in sight. They finally started making progress after they got a huge ladder truck set up. The explosions continued; who knows what that was. Parts of the building falling, cars burning, and natural gas meters blowing up, probably. After it looked like they’d gotten it mostly contained, we went back to bed.

No one’s speculated about the cause of the fire yet. It destroyed 8 apartments and burned 10 cars. Everyone appears to have escaped uninjured, though there’s still one person unaccounted for.

The road was still closed at 10am this morning, and we had to drive all around the back side of the neighborhood to figure out how to get out. By noon, they’d opened 3 of the roads at the Rockrimmon/Delmonico intersection, but one side of Rockrimmon is still closed.

The police have a couple of RV’s set up in the road. I’m not sure why the police need RV’s. Donut storage and coffee production? The fire department still has quite a few trucks out there, as the fire is still smoldering, though they’ve finally stopped watering it.

I thought Jonah said she was getting the camera last night, but it turns out she was asking me to get it. So we didn’t have it. But, the local news seems to have captured some pictures.

McCain vs. Banking Regulation

27 September 2008 at 9:35 am
by Berck

Jonah tries to hint that the republicans would have prevented the current situation if only the democrats would have let them.

She misses the point: The Republicans created the problem. Republicans, including John McCain, are responsible for the The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act. This is the act that allowed insurance companies to get involved with investment banks. Without this act, AIG never could have bought into all those bad mortgages. McCain’s response? From the above-linked article:

McCain now condemns the executives at those companies for pursuing the ambitions that the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act made possible, saying that “in an endless quest for easy money, they dreamed up investment schemes that they themselves don’t even understand.”

Unregulated capitalism, in spite of the Republicans fancies, doesn’t work. This is proof. They were wrong, and now they’re having to pay the consequences.

So, is the bailout a good idea? I’m inclined to think not. I think that we most certainly shouldn’t go anywhere near Dodd’s plan, and Paulson’s is even scarier. I suspect that all a bailout will do is toss $700 billion worth of inflation onto the fire. Keep in mind, this is essentially $700 billion worth of fake money. It’s not like anyone is loaning the money, the Feds are just going wish it into existence. The hope, of course, would be that it would be repaid, but this seems unlikely.

Let’s put it another way: Dubya wants a bailout more than the other republicans do. Let’s remember what happened last time he wanted something more than the other republicans.

The Mess We’re In

26 September 2008 at 8:25 pm
by Jonah

White House releases list of times it warned Congress to regulate Fanny and Freddy since 2001, including seven times this year alone.

Barney Frank, the US Representative in charge of writing the bailout package along with his counterpart in the Senate Chris Dodd, has had a rather cozy relationship with Fanny and Freddy . . . and by cozy I mean an executive of Fanny Mae was his lover (and he received $40,100 in campaign contributions from them). In 2003, thrilled that they had started buying sub-prime loans, Frank said, “Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have played a very useful role in helping to make housing more affordable . . . a mission that this Congress has given them in return for some of the arrangements which are of some benefit to them to focus on affordable housing.”

Speaking of Chris Dodd, he received more campaign contributions from Fanny and Freddie than any other politician: $133,900. He also received $21,000 from Countrywide, not to mention his below-market mortgages on a couple houses, and $70,000 from Bank of America, which bought the failed mortgage giant. Only Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have received more money from Bank of America than Dodd with John McCain slightly trailing him at $64,000. Obama is the top recipient of contributions from employees at Bank of America: $263,500 in donations. McCain is at $177,500, making him the fourth-largest recipient.

Federal Housing Enterprise Regulatory Reform Act of 2005, S. 190, which McCain endorsed in a speech on the Senate floor, would have been our best hope to avoid the mess we’re in now. But Chris Dodd blocked it from ever leaving committee. So much for deregulation.

Marketplace had a great piece about the value of $700 billion dollars. It’s enough for a laptop for every child . . . in the world.