Month: April 2010

It’s Bank Failure Friday!!!!

And here they are, ordered, and numbered for the year so far.

  1. Eurobank, San Juan, PR
  2. R-G Premier Bank of Puerto Rico, Hato Rey, PR
  3. Westernbank Puerto Rico, Mayaguez, PR
  4. CF Bancorp, Port Huron, MI
  5. Champion Bank, Creve Coeur, MO
  6. BC National Banks, Butler, MO
  7. Frontier Bank, Everett, WA

An interesting note here is that there has been almost a year of of reports foreshadowing the Puerto Rican bank closures, and this is 22 bank failures over 3 Friday evenings, 8 on the 16th, and 7 last week and this week.

This ain’t pretty.

Full FDIC list

And here are the credit union closings, and I missed them:

  1. Kern Central Credit Union, Bakersfield, Ca
  2. Tracy Federal Credit Union , Tracy, CA

Kern was closed April 8, and Tracy was closed on April 27. I guess that the NCUA does not wait until Fridays, sorry.

Full NCUA list

So, here is the graph pr0n with trendline (FDIC only):

Good News, Everyone!

Good news everyone!

I invented a device that makes you read this in your head using my voice!

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals has ruled that a lower court erred when it said that the Texas money laundering statute only applied to cash, which led it to dismiss the case against Tom Delay:

Co-defendants of former U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay suffered a significant setback Wednesday in their quest to avoid a trial on charges that the trio conspired to launder corporate money during the 2002 elections.

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals unanimously ruled that the lower state 3rd Court of Appeals erred when it accepted the co-defendants’ arguments that the money laundering law did not apply to them because the funds involved were checks, not cash. The all-Republican court, in effect, said the lower court acted prematurely.

I always thought that the ruling that check cannot be used to money launder was a pretty good indication of just how f%$#ed up justice and the judiciary are in Texas, and it’s nice to see the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, which is the state supreme court on criminal matter (the Texas Supreme Court is the supreme court on civil matter), to recognize this.

The interesting thing here is that after his performance in Dancing With the Stars, I think that a Texas jury might be much more willing to convict.

Pass the popcorn.

Wanker of the Day:

Reliably spouting right wing talking points since 2004

Barack Obama.

For claiming that there were no oil spills from platforms and as a result of Hurricane Katrina:

I don’t agree with the notion that we shouldn’t do anything. It turns out, by the way, that oil rigs today generally don’t cause spills. They are technologically very advanced. Even during Katrina, the spills didn’t come from the oil rigs, they came from the refineries onshore.

The problem here, as the folks at Media Matters so ably note, this is false. Hundreds of thousands of gallons of oil and distillates were spilled offshore as a consequence of hurricane Katrina.

It’s not true, it’s never been true, and he’s a smart guy, and he knows this.

Rachael Maddow Eviscerates Anti-Immigration Group

I saw this last night, and now the video is out.

I am a hardliner on immigration. I think that the immigration laws should be aggressively enforced, that border controls should be strengthened, and that oft-abused visa programs (H1b, L1) should be fixed.

I also believe that the focus should be on the employers, because if the cost of employing illegals exceeds that of legal hiring, then it will stop. (My proposals are here.)

Unfortunately, most of the political groups out there, aside from labor unions, that want a hard line taken, are populated by racist nativists.

Case in point is Ms. Maddow’s masterful take-down of the crypto-racists at the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR). She runs down its history, and then interviews its president, Dan Stein.

He is left an oily smudge on the floor.

Just watch it, it is 19 minutes and 33 seconds well spent.

Charlie Crist Announces Independent Run for Senate

He’s left the Republican Party to run for the Senate as an independent.

The reason that he gives is that the, “political system [is] broken.”

I think that he would have gotten a few more votes out of telling the truth, which is that, “The nutjobs in the Florida Republican party are running the asylum now.”

In related news, John Cornyn, head of the RSCC, wants his money back.

If Crist has any brains, he will tell him, and anyone else, to go pound sand, that they contributed to a conservative candidate for Senate, and he is still that.

He could play it as Reagan did with his, “I am paying for this microphone, Mr. Breen.,” moment.

Obama Finally Makes 3 Fed Nominations

As is expected, Janet Yellen was nominated as vice chairman of the Fed No. 2, along with Sarah Raskin and Peter Diamond.

Yellen is known as an inflation Dove, which is a good thing, though I don’t think that she will be the next Fed chair, she is 63, and neither would Mr. Diamond, he is 70.

Assuming that they are confirmed, it will mean that Obama has now appointed a majority of the permanent members of the FOMC.

Well, Here’s a Shocker

It looks like the explosion and subsequent oil spill that is threatening Louisiana and other Gulf coast coastal regions may have been caused by a failure to properly seal the pipes with cement, a procedure that was performed by Halliburton:

The scrutiny on cementing will focus attention on Halliburton Co., the oilfield-services firm that was handling the cementing process on the rig, which burned and sank last week. The disaster, which killed 11, has left a gusher of oil streaming into the Gulf from a mile under the surface.

Halliburton is the Vampire Squid of the oil services industry.

Jon Stewart:12 – Steve Jobs:0


The interesting thing here is that it’s actually pretty clear that Jon Stewart is a big fan huge fanboi of Apple® Computer and its products, and his take-down of Apple’s actions in the Gismodo iPhone prototype case is even more brutal because of it:

It wasn’t supposed to be this way. Microsoft was supposed to be the evil one. But now you guys are busting down doors in Palo Alto, while commandant Gates is ridding the world of mosquitoes. What the f**k is going on? It is all mixed up. I don’t know which end is up anymore. Black is white. Cats are dogs.

His point is that a large part of the appeal of products from Apple® is that it is, in some manner, sticking it to the man, and that now they are the man.

He also notes that in its corporate paranoia, Apple® ignores the real threats to its products:

I mean, if you wanna break down someone’s door, why don’t you start with AT&T, for God sakes? They make your amazing phone unusable as a phone! I mean, seriously! How do you drop four calls in a one-mile stretch of the West Side Highway! There’re no buildings around! What, does the open space confuse AT&T’s signal?!

Brutal, particularly when he invokes Apple®‘s iconic 1984 ad.

Vampire Squid Investigations Go Criminal

Not a whole bunch of detail yet, but it appears that the SEC referred the issues in its civil fraud complaint against Goldman Sachs to the US Attorney in Manhattan, and they are now investigating. (See also here)

Obviously, an investigation does not prove guilt, nor does it guarantee a successful prosecution, though I think that the Prosecutors will have a lot to go on, because Goldman Sach’s personnel policy has employees regularly filling out self evaluation forms, and very likely these have some admissions of wrongdoing.

I think that a judge would be far more willing to grant a warrant for these records in a criminal investigation than he would for a civil investigation.

Economics Update (a Day Late)

It was jobless Thursday, and the news is generally good, with applications for initial unemployment claims falling again, falling by 11k to a seasonally adjusted 448K, though the 4 week moving average rose slightly, and the continuing claims fell slightly to 4.65 million.

Additionally, the The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago’s national activity index rose in March, foreclosures fell in the 1st quarter, though things like foreclosure moratoriums and mandatory arbitration may have contributed to this, and Japanese consumer spending and wages rose in March, though prices continue to fall.

Also, 30 year mortgage rates fell slightly this week, which moderates concerns about increasing interest rates.

Additionally, US treasurys rose, and yields fell slightly in the latest 7-year auction, implying that rates remain stable.

Energy and currency are largely being driven by Greece.

People are less concerned about a Greek default, which has reduced demand for the dollar as safe haven, driving the dollar lower, and the lower dollar has drive oil prices higher.

Economics Update

Well, the Federal Reserves Open Market Committee (FOMC) has spoken, and it has kept its benchmark rate at effectively 0, and repeated its statement that the rates will remain low for an extended period.

Not an unexpected development. After all, the economy still sucks.

In real estate, mortgage applications fell overall, but home purchase applications rose. This is probably the interplay of rising rates versus the expiration of the home purchase tax credit.

In the real world, the American Trucking Aassociation’s Trucking Tonnage Index rose in March, indicating that there is something positive going on.

In the world of sovereign debt, the US Treasury 5-year bonds’ yeild rose to 2.54%, though compared to the yield on 2-year Greek bonds, which are now over 20% (!), it’s pretty cheap money.

Also note that in the continuing euro zone meltdown, Spain’s debt rating was cut S&P.

In energy and currency, oil rose on the news that the FOMC’s posture is unchanged, and the dollar rose on continued Euro zone problems.

The Republicans Cave on Finance

The Senate has agreed to start a debate on the financial reform package.

What the Republicans were angling for was a pre-approved package, with back room Ben Nelson(DINO-NE)-type deals cut in secret, so that they would get what they wanted without their finger prints on the deals.

Please sir, can I have some more?

Well, now it looks as if the bill will be in flux on the floor, which means that the sellouts will have to be public, as will voting in opposition to some of the amendments to strengthen the bill.

Harry Reid has hung tough, and the Democrats have been effective in painting Republican obstructionism for what it is.

This needs to be the rule, not the exception.

You Idiot, You Were the One Slowing It Down!

So now Angela Merkel is complaining that the rescue package for Greece is moving too slowly:

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Wednesday Greece’s international bailout must be accelerated for the sake of the entire euro zone, as the far bigger Spanish economy suffered a credit rating downgrade.

Yo! You Moron!!!!! The person who has being doing all that She can to slow walk this rescue is one, “German Chancellor Angela Merkel.”

I understand that the German public does not like the idea of bailing out Greece, but you pandered to, and encouraged, that sentiment relentlessly, unlike some of the members of your cabinet with whom you clashed, who have accepted the truth.

I hate this, “Why are you slowing down because I’m laying across the tracks,” act.