“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Watch out below.

Countrywide taps $11.5 billion credit line

By Jonathan Stempel

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Countrywide Financial Corp.(CFC.N: Quote, Profile, Research), the largest U.S. mortgage lender, said on Thursday it drew down an entire $11.5 billion bank credit line as a global credit shortage limits its access to short-term cash.

The drawdown, which should help the lender conduct daily operations, shows how liquidity strains have spread beyond subprime lenders to companies that mainly offer higher-quality loans. At least two analysts have raised the specter of a bankruptcy filing for Calabasas, California-based Countrywide.

"The fact Countrywide did this shows how disrupted capital markets have become," said Christopher Wolfe, managing director at Fitch Ratings, which downgraded Countrywide's debt ratings. "It may force Countrywide to reduce lending and migrate toward safer loans, and affect earnings from originations."

Shares of Countrywide fell $3.21, or 15.1 percent, to $18.08 in late morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange. They began the year at $42.45.

Several Countrywide representatives did not immediately return requests for comment.

Countrywide said it has tightened its lending standards so most new home loans will qualify for purchase and guarantee by mortgage companies Fannie Mae (FNM.N: Quote, Profile, Research) and Freddie Mac (FRE.N: Quote, Profile, Research). These are considered among home loans least likely to default.

"When you're in a pit, the first thing to do is to stop digging," said James Ellman, a portfolio manager at Seacliff Capital, a San Francisco hedge fund.

more here


  1. Ahh, come on, it's only other people's money!

    Gray skies are gonna clear up,
    Put on a happy face;
    Brush off the clouds and cheer up,
    Put on a happy face.
    Take off the gloomy mask of tragedy,
    It's not your style;
    You'll look so good that you'll be glad
    Ya' decide to smile!
    Pick out a pleasant outlook,
    Stick out that noble chin;
    Wipe off that "full of doubt" look,
    Slap on a happy grin!
    And spread sunshine all over the place,
    Just put on a happy face!
    Put on a happy face
    Put on a happy face
    And if you're feeling cross and bitterish
    Don't sit and whine
    Think of banana split and licorice
    And you'll feel fine
    I knew a girl so glooming
    She'd never laugh or sing
    She wouldn't listen to me
    Now she's a mean old thing
    So spread sunshine all over the place
    Just put on a happy face
    So, put on a happy face

    All Countrywide has to do,
    keep on keepin' on!

    Stay the Course
    Smile, be happy!

  2. Blip on the radar screen, according to this article.

  3. "Rufus,"
    Is really none other than Lawrence Kudlow!

  4. I'll see your Kudlow,
    and raise a Cramer.

    Now, I'll be the first to admit that Jim Cramer is not always on the right side of every deal, but the fellow is entertaining.


  5. Yep. You can smell us Princeton guys out every time, can't ya, Bubba?

  6. War just doesn't get any funnier:

    Afghan, U.S. forces assault al Qaeda in Tora Bora

    By Hamid Shalizi Thu Aug 16, 7:33 AM ET

    KABUL (Reuters) - U.S. and Afghan air and ground forces pounded al Qaeda militants for a second day on Thursday in the Tora Bora mountains close to the Pakistan border where Osama bin Laden once fled in the wake of the 2001 invasion.


    It was the plan all along. Let 'em go and lure 'em back for the slaughter. Should any flee, the Pakis'll bag em.

    Good to go.

  7. Seriously, though, Doug; there is one BIG difference between Me and Kudlow. He's at least pretending to know the best course of action from here. Me, I'm eating my popcorn, and waiting for an inspiration.

    I've been yelling for a considerably lower FF Target Rate for over a year, now; but, I'm not sure that's a big player in this scenario.

    Actually, the BEST course of action May Be to just sit back, eat our popcorn, and watch a bunch of greedy fuckers get scalped. Hopefully, we won't get scalped along with them. Hopefully.

  8. It can't get any funnier, but it isn't war!

  9. Rufus,
    A lady from san fran called Rush, and said she had cash, and was buying.

    Watched the last three cycles as she worked with traders, who she said always sold at times like these, and she sees that as a golden opportunity for the small investor, buying and holding.
    Takes a certain personality type to have the discipline to pull it off in real-life.

  10. Right on. It's nation building.

    Had enough? is doing its quarterly fundraiser. Stop by and chip in a few for the effort. Leave Raimondo a note informing him that you're doing your small part to end the nation building. Not the war. The nation building.

    He'll understand.

    Say hey to Ron Paul while you're over there.

  11. deja vue, all over again, trish.

    but this time the prime target of opportunity is not there, more than likely.

    funny, nah, Jon Stewart, Steve Colbert, those fellows can be funny, along with Dennis Miller, but nothing funny is coming out of Tora Bora.

    Just a sense of futility, which isn't even humorous.

  12. Alternatively you could read Rudy's current piece in Foreign Affairs.

    But that'll just make you feel like sticking your head in the oven.

  13. Rat, we have a dark sense of humor here at my house. And, yes, it is funny. Sad. But funny.

    And honestly? You just can't take this shit seriously every day. Bad for the spirit.

    We're moving to South America anyway. On to a different venue. Of sorts.

  14. Laugh about This if you can, if you can't cry.

    Pass the popcorn, rufus.

  15. Hanson cites Bible urination as reason to stop immigration

    A resurgent Pauline Hanson has called for an end to Muslim immigration to Australia

    Maybe if we look actually at the female genital mutilation that happens to young girls in this country. I think it's absolutely atrocious, it's digusting, if people want to live like that they can go back to Muslim countries … this is Australia."

    Ms Hanson confirmed that terrorism and security were key reasons behind her proposed ban on Muslim immigration.

    She also referred to a 2006 incident where two boys were expelled from an Islamic school in Melbourne for urinating on a Bible, and Sheik al-Hilali's infamous comparison of women in Western clothes to "uncovered meat".

    "I'm very concerned about [Australia changing]. I'm sick of people coming out here and saying our girls are like the meat market, or you have the Bible that's urinated on. Am I supposed to just forget about it?"

  16. Check out Albobl's great link he posted at BC to see even more clearly what a Dhimmi Fool GWB is.

    Fitzgerald: Is it illegitimate to defend ourselves?

  17. I've suspected it before, but now I just realized, I don't know shit about markets.

    Other than the farm ones that is.


    Don't forget about it Ms Hanson. Just don't send them here. These aussies have a pretty good attitude.

    There was an article the other day about some ranch hand that fell off his horse into a crocodile nest,climbed up a tree and stayed there for a week. Didn't seem to bother him much. Scratched a goodbye into his tobacco tin just in case, but was finally rescued.

  18. "Stroot said her sibling died last year.
    Likely story!

  19. Anybody know how I got here? (below)

  20. More Head in the Oven Material from Rudy =


    Rudy on Immigration [Kathryn Jean Lopez]

    From a reader:

    Perhaps Rudy hasn't changed his position afterall.
    Burried in his rhetoric about closing the borders is this:

    He says he would allow a pathway to citizenship only for illegal immigrants who identify themselves as illegal, who learn English and who go to the back of the line to apply.

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but, minus the fines, isn't that the policy that the grassroots just spent months defeating?


  21. South America, now that's a mighty big place, trish.

    A full range of cultures, from the beaches of Montevideo, one of the prettiest and most cosmopolitian cities in South America or the world, all the way to the plains of Bolivia, a land that time forgot. Or venture north to Cartagena Columbia, the pirate capital of the Caribe.

    It is an intersting continent, that's for sure.

    As for taking this stuff "serious", don't much any more.
    Just don't like bein' taken for a fool, by boners that couldn't find their way home without a chauffeur.

    Heard today that the White House staff is writing General P's report for him. Like I said, the country is bein' taken for fools, by knaves.

    As for Rudy, just project whatever Policy you want on him, like folk did with George W. Then when he loses, pine for what could have been, if...

    If he wins, then blame the Dems and the MSM when he does what he said he was going to do. Certainly worked out that way with Mr Bush.
    Easy as pie.

  22. From what he says, doug, he'd close the borders. Then figure out what to do with the balance of those Americans without papers, you know, the WOPS.

    Another round of debate on the subject. If the borders were closed, first, and successfully, there could be a route to legality, if not citizenship, for those here. Mr Pence had a reasonable proposal along those lines.

  23. If these markets do collapse and there's a recession of some real size, there's Hillary in the White House for sure.

  24. Been to Bogota?

    I just did my .40 cal qualification today.

    But, yeah, I'm looking forward to it. Never done South America.

  25. The shuttle is going to be coming down without repairs. Least we could do is give these brave people a prayer, even if you don't believe in it. I will.

    jeez, the White House staff is writing General P's report? lord

  26. I fell asleep with the TV on. it was still on when I woke. Some show on NBC called "scrubs." The wrong Americans are at Tora Bora. Tango Mar beach is looking better every day.

  27. Guns don't kill people. Chuck Norris kills people.

  28. Bogota, been there, high mountain plain, kinda like Denver, but higher.
    Quite urban, kind of dirty air, in my recollection. Sprawling place.

    None of the charm of Montevideo or sophistication of Buenas Aires. Far from the sea.

    I'd advise against taking the kids, as kidnapping is still a major industry there, I'm told. Though they have taken some steps to get a handle on the uncontrolled crime and violence of my era.

    A lot of Columbians are moving to Panama, where they are making up a new "underclass" of criminals. Most of the sex trade in Panama is done by migrated Columbian chicas, or so I'm told.

    Should be fun, at least interesting.

  29. Whats the deal with Brazil's Air Traffic Doubling in the last 4 years?

  30. The moderator was June Scobee Rodgers, the widow of Challenger's commander and the founding chairman of the Challenger center's board. "Barb, we have been standing by waiting for your signal from space for 21 years," she said.

    One girl asked if Morgan had a special teacher or mentor when she was young.

    "Some of my mentors that have meant more than anything to me are seven very special people who I believe are mentors to you, too, and that was the Challenger crew," Morgan replied.

    No Repairs Needed

  31. Rio, Doug, Rio. Everybody wants to check the place out before the beach is underwater from the melting glaciers.

  32. I wonder if there are any good trout streams coming out of the Andes. But all I know about is Ohio, and Idaho. Damn.

  33. The brief, a copy of which was released yesterday, says the list furthers a pattern of the “demonization of all things Muslim” that has unrolled in the United States since 2001.

    “Most people don’t understand what an unindicted co-conspirator is,” said Parvez Ahmed, CAIR’s board chairman, adding that the release of the list prompted death threats and hate mail against the council. “They think that being related to a terrorism case means we are terrorists.”

    No, it means being related to a terrorism case.

  34. Best Salmon in the World in BC, Bobal.

  35. "Fun" is what you have the most of looking back on it, Rat. "Interesting" is what you have while you're there. "Interesting" is what life is made of. I have found.

    Teenage son wouldn't pass up interesting for the world. Dotter is staying in Virginia in school. Tired of moving. (And who can blame her?)

    We're just along for the ride. Thoughtfully, it's a couple of armored SUVs.

  36. Then, my advise, trish.
    Have the boy qualify, too.

    Armored cars, life behind the glass topped walls of gated and guarded compounds, both fun and interesting. I always found the interesting to be fun, if it didn't get ya killed.

    Had some interesting times, outside of Cartagena in the mountains, el Gingro Loco was the moniker I earned on that trip, with a Remington 870.

    A little to much fun, maybe. But we all got back to the boat for the trip back to Puerto Bello. My Panamanian friends, they didn't think we'd all make it, but ...

    Don't stop for the sheep in the road, that's my advice, just plow on through.

    Locked and cocked, the only way to travel in Columbia, at least it was twenty years ago, doubt much has changed, really.

  37. Definitely time to change your Nic, el Rat!

  38. "Don't stop for the sheep in the road, that's my advice, just plow on through."

    Funny how many places that applies.

    Our son is too young to be qualified. Practice on a private range is an option. We're still six months out.

  39. Joke of the day:

    A man and a giraffe are having a drink in the pub. The giraffe falls on the floor from too much drink and the man gets up to leave. The barman says "Hey you can't leave that lyin' there." The man says "dont be stupid it's not a lion it's a giraffe."