“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, January 14, 2010

31,382 Mortgages Modified , 1%, of the 4 Million Loans Targeted Under Obama Foreclosure Prevention Plan

Obama is President. The Democrats have bullet proof majorities in both houses of Congress. Under Obama and Democratic reign, the banks are borrowing from the government creation of the Federal Reserve at 0% interest.

Deposits get 100% guarantees from the US Treasury.

Fannie and Freddy are controlled by the Democrats. The current losses at Fannie and Freddy are over $500 billion.

The Fed has been buying up mortgages by the hundreds and hundreds of billions. The TARP has pumped in over $700 billion to the banks.

Obama had a plan and promised what would happen with his plan. Listen to Obama in his own words about what was to happen.

How has that been working you say? Obama has big plans and promises for health care. How do you suppose that will work out?


Foreclosures May Rise to Record 3 Million U.S. Homes This Year
January 14, 2010, 04:14 AM EST
By Dan Levy
Jan. 14 (Bloomberg) --

A record 3 million U.S. homes will be repossessed by lenders this year as high unemployment and depressed home values leave borrowers unable to make their house payment or sell, according to a RealtyTrac Inc. forecast.
Last year there were 2.82 million foreclosures, the most since RealtyTrac began compiling data in 2005. More than 4.5 million filings are expected this year, including default or auction notices and bank seizures, said Rick Sharga, senior vice president for the Irvine, California-based seller of default data and forecasts. There were 3.96 million filings in 2009.

“This will be the peak year, and the main reasons are unemployment and house prices that have stabilized way below mortgage amounts,” Kenneth Rosen, chairman of the University of California’s Fisher Center for Real Estate and Urban Economics in Berkeley, said in an interview.

Government and lender efforts to keep people in their homes are failing to relieve the worst foreclosure crisis since the Great Depression. Unemployment was 10 percent in December, unchanged from the previous month, while the so-called underemployment rate that includes part-time workers and discouraged workers rose to 17.3 percent from 17.2 percent, the Labor Department said Jan. 8.

U.S. lenders permanently modified 31,382 mortgages, or 1 percent, of the 4 million loans targeted under the Obama administration’s foreclosure prevention plan through November, the U.S. Treasury Department said last month. Fewer than half of the 3.2 million homeowners estimated as eligible for mortgage relief by the Treasury actually qualify, according to Herb Allison, assistant secretary for financial stability.

More ‘Robust’

“The government doesn’t have their act together on housing,” Rosen said. “They seem to be pussy-footing around. We need a much more robust effort.”

Obama’s loan-modification program is “destined to fail” because it doesn’t confront the problem of negative equity that is driving foreclosures, Laurie Goodman, senior managing director at Amherst Securities Group LP, told Congress Dec. 8. Homeowners with negative equity, where a property is worth less than the loan, have little incentive to keep paying the mortgage and will “strategically default,” Rosen said.

The Treasury will release updated and “much different” statistics tomorrow, spokeswoman Meg Reilly wrote in an e-mail. More than 728,000 borrowers have already received an average $550 reduction in monthly payments, giving them “a second chance to stay in their homes,” she said.

Government Efforts

An $8,000 first-time homebuyer tax credit and a $200 billion lifeline to keep mortgage buyers Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac solvent are among the administration’s efforts to date that have supported the housing market, she said.

“Modifications will not be the solution for all homeowners and will not solve the housing crisis alone,” Reilly said.
The number of homeowners with negative equity totaled 10.7 million, or 23 percent, at the end of the third quarter, according to a Nov. 24 report by First American CoreLogic, a Santa Ana, California-based real estate research firm.

Home prices probably fell 13 percent in 2009 to a median of $172,700, following a drop of 9.5 percent the previous year, Walt Molony, a spokesman for the National Association of Realtors, said in an interview. Prices are down 26 percent from the July 2006 peak.

Defaults among prime borrowers are likely to accelerate, adding to a “huge” inventory of properties that banks possess and haven’t yet put on the market, according to Robert Shiller and Karl Case, who created the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index. In September, Goodman estimated that 7 million homes were already in foreclosure or likely to be seized.

‘Massive Supply’

The housing market is weighed down by a “a massive supply of delinquent loans” that will end up in foreclosure this year, James Saccacio, RealtyTrac’s chief executive officer, said in a statement today.

The end of the government’s tax credit for first-time buyers, scheduled to expire in the spring, and the end of the Federal Reserve’s $1.25 trillion purchase of mortgage bonds, may add to housing woes, Rosen said.

A total of 2,824,674 U.S. properties got at least one foreclosure filing in 2009, a 21 percent jump from the prior year and more than double the number in 2007, RealtyTrac said.

About 2.2 percent of households received a filing last year, according to the company, which sells default data collected from more than 2,200 counties representing 90 percent of the U.S. population.

December Data

December filings increased 15 percent from a year earlier to 349,519, the 10th straight month the tally surpassed 300,000. Foreclosures in the fourth quarter jumped 18 percent from the same period in 2008 and fell 7 percent from the third quarter.

Nevada had the highest foreclosure rate for the third straight year in 2009, with more than 10 percent of households receiving at least one filing. December filings fell 22 percent from a year earlier and rose 27 percent from November.

Arizona had the second-highest rate for the year as more than 6 percent of households got a filing. Florida was third at 5.93 percent, followed by California at 4.75 percent and Utah at 2.93 percent, RealtyTrac said.

The other states among the 10 highest rates were Idaho at 2.72 percent, Georgia at 2.68 percent, Michigan at 2.61 percent, Illinois at 2.5 percent and Colorado at 2.37 percent.

California, Florida, Arizona and Illinois accounted for more than half of the U.S. properties that got filings in 2009, RealtyTrac said. California led with 632,573 homes receiving at least one filing, up almost 21 percent from the previous year. Filings increased almost 9 percent from November.

Florida had the second-highest total with 516,711 properties, up 34 percent from 2008. Filings in December rose 4 percent from the previous month, according to RealtyTrac.

Arizona had 163,210 properties that got at least one filing in 2009, up almost 40 percent from 2008. Illinois was fourth at 131,132, up almost 32 percent.

Other states in the top 10 were Michigan at 118,302, Nevada at 112,097, Georgia at 106,110, Ohio at 101,614, Texas at 100,045, and New Jersey at 63,208, said RealtyTrac.

--With assistance from Kathleen M. Howley in Boston, Jody Shenn in New York and Bob Willis and Dawn Kopecki in Washington. Editors: Kara Wetzel, Rob Urban

To contact the reporter on this story: Dan Levy in San Francisco at +1-415-617-7077 or

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Kara Wetzel at +1-212-617-5735 or


  1. There cannot be a more spectacular failure of a touted plan than Obama's mortgage foreclosure plan.

    How did it happen? The big banks and Wall Street control Obama and the Democrats. They controled Bush and the Republicans.

    The corruption continues and yet the American public is silent. Interesting.

  2. I have never before seen the numbers of vacant homes, in old established areas, as are visible, today.

    Empty retail space, like never before. Even the stand alone Wendy's, at PV Mall, closed.

    Retail strip centers, standing empty.

    The State budget is in shambles.
    Looks like a blood bath, to me.

  3. There is no leadership, deuce, and most folks do not understand what is happening.
    Let alone the who or why of it.

    That there are structural and philosophical challenges to our current system, just something that no one wants to address.

    As rufus has mentioned, as the workers are replaced by automation, where do they go, now.

    Flippin' burgers is out,
    Wendy's closed its' doors.

  4. Four of Wall Street’s top executives offered some contrition and a defence of their actions on Wednesday, as the head of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission promised to use wide-ranging powers to establish the causes of the financial crisis and pursue any wrongdoing.

    Lloyd Blankfeinof Goldman Sachs, Jamie Dimon, chief executive of JPMorgan Chase, John Mack of Morgan Stanley and Brian Moynihan of Bank of America maintained a united front as the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, headed by Phil Angelides, probed the bail-out of AIG, risk management and executive compensation.

    Mr Blankfein, whose bank has become a lightning rod for public anger at Wall Street, bore the brunt of the panel’s questions. He mounted a robust defence after being asked whether part of his business was akin to selling a car with faulty brakes and then buying an insurance policy.

    But he added: “Anyone who says I wouldn’t change a thing, I think, is crazy.”

    The Goldman boss said that he and his rivals had been insufficiently sceptical of loose credit standards.

    “We rationalised [it] because a firm’s interest in preserving and growing its market share, as a competitor, is sometime blinding – especially when exuberance is at its peak.”

  5. DR, agreed. The state budget deficits are in free-fall. The average federal government worker, without benefits make $70,000 as opposed to $40,000 in the civilian economy.

    Government pensions for government unionized employees is unfathomable.

  6. The people of Massachusetts have an opportunity to send an earthquake to Washington. One can hope they will.

  7. An upset in Mass would kill the healthcare debacle.

    In some ways that would be unfortunate.

    America has not yet woken up to what is happening. The scope of the financial calamity is beyond comprehension.

    Our Rulers and Masters are still determined to keep 47,000 troops in Japan. The Pentagon budget is now going over $800 billion.

  8. It surely is fathomable, just not affordable.

    It was just a few months ago that you fellas were all excited about increased Federal educational benefits for all military members leaving government service.

    All 1.5 million of 'em in the Army, plus the assorted others.

    Because THEY were "deserving" recipients of Federal largess.

    It all has to be restructured, military retirement payments should not come until the veteran reaches Social Security age requirements. 62 or 63, I believe, rather than fully funded retirement at 38 years of age from the Government, as is available today.

  9. Wait till the boats start arriving from Haiti.

  10. What will happen when 9,000,000 start arriving, fleeing the looting, and armed insurrection starting shortly?

  11. At its best, Haiti was somewhere to avoid.

    Rest assured that the Brazilian troops will not hold the country together. Doubt that there are many of them, anyway. Not even a Bn, I venture to guess.

    The recovery effort, that'll be really stinky.

  12. $800 billion and we cannot put down the rabble in Afpakistan.

    Could not defeat the Sons of Anbar, but had to buy them, instead.

  13. The White House Home Mortgage Assistance Plan is essentially a refi plan with associated closing costs.

    It did nothing about the underwater mortgages which is understandable. That would involve forcing the banks to take a hell of a haircut.

    The problem is, with so many mortgages underwater by so much, its only a matter of time before millions of homeowners walk away from their deals.

  14. Just have to whack that ponytail, whit, now or later.

    Unless they can re-inflate the market values. Which is not on any event horizon I can see.

  15. The Democrats have piled on massive debt equal to one years GDP. We're told "not to worry. Our debt to GDP ratio was worse right after WWII."

    Well, maybe, but our prospect for future earnings was a hell of a lot rosier then too.

    Massive write downs and write-offs of debt are going to occur. The banks have pretty much had it all their way so far, but the grumblings against Bernanke, Geithner, Goldman Sachs, et al are getting louder.

    The pitch fork trade is picking up.

  16. Just have to whack that ponytail, whit, now or later.

    I think it may have to be done and sooner rather than later but it seems so un-American.

  17. DR: An avatar is not real, we'll call you what we will. It is not for you to decide what your nick name is, Ms T.

    Fuck you, Rat. You choose to antagonize, you get what you pay for.

    Deuce: The big banks and Wall Street control Obama and the Democrats. They controled Bush and the Republicans.

    Leading to the unthinkable: The Tea Party as a third party.

    The average federal government worker, without benefits make $70,000 as opposed to $40,000 in the civilian economy.

    I resemble that remark.

    An upset in Mass would kill the healthcare debacle.

    Even a close race will throw cold water on it. In fact, it already has. When Obama canceled a speech on green energy to "monitor the crisis" he was talking about Massachusetts, not Haiti.

    Whit The problem is, with so many mortgages underwater by so much, its only a matter of time before millions of homeowners walk away from their deals.

    It's the best option now. Not even good credit risks can get credit, so the only real penalty for walking away is you lose your home, but that was understood in the agreement that the home was the security for the loan. Oh, and Obama will call you an immoral speculator.

  18. Ms T, we're seeing scenes that we've all seen before, from you.

    I, for one, will not jump through your emotional hoops. As for fucking me, you're not really my type.

  19. And, I might add, you're not her type!

  20. Obama’s Bank Tax Seeks $90 Billion to Repay Bailout
    President Obama plans to announce Thursday a new tax on 50 big banks and financial institutions to recoup taxpayer losses from the Wall Street bailout.
    Times Topics: Bailout Plan

  21. Doug: And, I might add, you're not her type!

    Yeah, I'm pro-Jew and pro-Israel.

  22. Gee, there I was again, stuck on gender issues.
    Politics need not interfere with passion.
    Look @ the Carvilles!

  23. The mortgage situation is fixable, even now.

    Quite simply the banks could writedown their mortgage to 80% of fair market.

    They would take the written down amount as a percentage of equity in the property. (They become a silent partner with the home owner.)

    The banks could be given an exemption on capital gains on the equity position.

    The banks could be encouraged through a tax incentive to sell the mortgage to a community bank, say within twenty miles of the residence.

  24. On the mainland, banks typically let many live rent-free for quite some time.
    Wife ran into last renter of the place the kid just bought here, and he said the bank (B of A) paid them 4 grand to move out!
    ...they put in a nice offer of $550, but bank did not accept.

  25. Said previous owners were 2 guys from New York that he never saw.
    ...Lost $300 k in two years!

  26. (nice ocean view, 4 blocks from beach, 5 beds, 5(!) baths)

  27. See, the Federal employee tells US first of her foreign interests, putting them above the best interests of the US of A.

    So typical of them Federal Socialists.

  28. Sounds like a Bed and Breakfast prospect, doug.

  29. Real Homes of Genius: A Foreclosure Process Lasting over Two Years in Pasadena. What is the Estimated Value of Shadow Inventory in Pasadena?

    The deterioration of the housing market in California is stunning.
    If we look at the amount of distress in the state it would be hard to believe that the market is doing well yet some think the next boom is just around the next subdivided lot. Loans that were made at the peak of the bubble are now coming back to haunt the state in 2010. People forget that the bulk of the option ARM loans were made from 2004 to 2007. The problem goes beyond option ARMs, Alt-A, and even subprime loans. Many prime loans are now defaulting because homeowners are dealing with a weak economy. Today we are going to look at a vintage WaMu loan that is now finally heading back to the bank after two years of distress in Pasadena.

    Before we examine today’s Real Home of Genius, let us take the market pulse of Pasadena California:

  30. "Sounds like a Bed and Breakfast prospect, doug."
    A couple of places near us have done that.
    For the kid, it's already kind of an informal B & B, for his friend's and their girlfriends!

  31. The home loan refi system is screwed...

    I bought a home 4 years ago, in a rather upscale place, WELL below book value, this area NEVER had any crazy inflation in prices (1 mile away in the really expensive area (ave cost columbus ohio 1m+) they racked up +60% in 6 years) so in the end my house is valued at slightly more than I paid...

    I am almost completely debt free (except for home loans & one small auto), I show a strong net profit, i never have been behind on any payment, no bounced checked and a 750 credit score...

    I was told if I want to bring 24k to the table I can refi at a lower rate...

    So, if i want to pay bribe to a useless bank official i can refi at a lower rate...

    forget my credit history, debit to income ratio it all comes down to am I desperate to refi or not..

    well i aint...

    I am paying way to high an interest rate and most likely will continue to do so...

    but I dont qualify, good luck with those that earn less, have shaky history and dont care about their credit history

  32. Median price hit $668,000 even though typical family earns $43,000 in this zip!

    Ultimately prices in many areas in California are still in bubbles. Some would like to believe that with hocus pocus and holding properties off the market that somehow some housing wizard is going to come by and suddenly turn toxic mortgages into wonderfully current notes. It is not happening and won’t happen. Over the last month I have seen numerous articles even in the mainstream media encouraging people to walk away from their mortgage. I see this happening for California and in many cases is the wise thing to do. For people in option ARMs here in the state, the choice is rather simple. Banks don’t want to admit this but from what I am seeing, you can virtually live payment free anywhere from 1 to 2 years.

    Clearly delaying tactics are not helping the housing market. Today we salute you Pasadena with our Real Homes of Genius Award.

  33. funny thing? my investment property is 3.9%

  34. ...and the kid gets in @ 5% with an FHA 3% down!
    ...financed and insured by the rest of us Shmucks.

  35. Deuce: Quite simply the banks could writedown their mortgage to 80% of fair market.

    This is an election year, the small regional and local banks have the upper hand. Populism rules. Obama is floating a tax on the big banks who pay billions in bonuses. After the election, Congress will go back to supporting who pays them (Wall Street) regardless of whether the majority belongs to the the Democrats or the Republicans.

  36. Deuce: What will happen when 9,000,000 start arriving, fleeing the looting, and armed insurrection starting shortly?

    There's no more Haiti anymore. The Parliament building is even gone. Someone on the Belmont Club said the United Nations will arrive as soon as they can book a decent hotel. Obama is a deer in the headlights, waiting for someone to tell him what he's supposed to do.

  37. Let's see...

    we gave 938 million to gaza this year, coupled with another billion to the PA...

    How much are we giving to Haiti?

  38. This is, truly, a fuck-up of Monumental, nay, Biblical, proportions. So, what next?

    I guess asking the Yalies is out of the question, since they got us into this mess to start with.

    Well, the housing market is well, and truly, fucked for awhile. All you can do is try to get the foreclosures done as quickly as possible, and get that worry out of the way. Then what?

    Then comes the $4.00 gasoline. At a time when 1 out of 5 is unemployed, or, severely, underemployed.

    My advice: get people Working at replacing imported oil. It's got to be done, eventually, and there will never be a better time than now.

  39. So if Haitian came to the USA screaming and blowing themselves up they could stand to gain about a billion a year in aid?

  40. Homes are on the horizon..

    But look ma, It's the COMMERCIAL Paper that is really really troubling...

    And it's not just in good ole USA..

    It's world wide...

  41. Deuce wrote:

    "Quite simply the banks could writedown their mortgage to 80% of fair market. "

    I thought much of the problem revolved around the fact many of those mortgages were securitized making renegotiating problematic (to put it mildly). On top of that didn't the recent bankruptcy law changes and recent court rulings make it untenable for bankruptcy courts to modify mortgages?

    It is dismaying to see the 'bankers' reaping such huge bonuses so soon after having just been bailed out - an industry so fragile that it needed huge capital injections from the public in a single year bracketed by many many years of huge profits. It is mind boggling just how much of a swindle it is. Heck, I put 'banks' in smear quotes because for many of them they weren't banks that were qualified (until the became qualified with a stroke of a pen) to belly up to the fed window to exchange securities (whatever junk they wanted to get off their balance sheets) for oodles of cash.

    WiO wrote:

    "I was told if I want to bring 24k to the table I can refi at a lower rate...

    So, if i want to pay bribe to a useless bank official i can refi at a lower rate..."

    A bribe? That 24k would go against your principle, no? You'd then be paying less interest on less principle but, hey, if you want to keep working to pad the bankers pocket, go for it.

  42. ...or did you sign a bad deal to begin with and the 24k is penalty to break it?

  43. Oil prices aren't supposed to skyrocket in a time of severe recession in the U.S.

    But, times have changed.

    The Unfreakin' Believable Growth in Chinese Highways, and Auto/Truck Sales

  44. Ash said...
    ...or did you sign a bad deal to begin with and the 24k is penalty to break it?

    no penalty that expired 1 year ago..

    We had financing lined up inadvance, complete with pre-approval letters from the bank..

    Problem was, after we signed the deal, after we pack up our home and had all our belongings on the van the Loan Broker turned out to be a complete liar and fraud..

    So within 24 hours we found 30 yr fixed loan and it was 3.5 points above what we had planned on...

    of course we told, just do the deal and refi in 36 months...

    guess what, there is no refi'ing now...

    so 8.9% is high, but not by historic context...

    and we'll deduct it off the net income for the tax reduction...

    my home interest deductions is hitting 40k lol

  45. The economic fallout from the end of technology as we know it today will be enormous, he says. Many of the resources used in manufacturing today are interconnected. Oil powers much of the world: It fuels our cars and is used in the mining of other materials -- for instance iron ore and copper, each of which is a finite resource that is vital to manufacturing. The depletion of natural resources will have a profound effect on the way things are made.


  46. I guess it's all a game...

    with the growth we had last year one of my better vendors and I had a talk...

    we were getting a 20 case price, and they didnt have another discount until we hit 70 cases...

    they just split the difference with me and will give me an additional 10% off at 30 cases....

    that savings amount is almost to dollar what I would get with the refi... (not even counting savings on pallet shipping)

  47. Well. Aren't we all in a sour this morning.

    You oughta be in my shoes.

    Day Four and I seem to have lost a cat.

  48. ah... the haitians are looting the booze stores now...


  49. cant say i blame them...

    a nice bottle of scotch, a walk down the beach, get stinkin drunk and wake up 4 days later might not be a bad idea for some...

  50. There are four of them (not three; I originally miscounted).

    Maybe they won't notice.

    What's one cat more or less?

  51. or...

    where is the Dominican Republic's Army?

    The Military of the Dominican Republic —or Fuerzas Armadas de la Rep├║blica Dominicana consists of approximately 44,000 active duty personnel, about 40 percent of which are utilized for non-military operations, including security providers for government owned non-military facilities, toll security, prison guards, forestry workers and other state enterprises. The president is the commander in chief for the military. The primary missions are to defend the nation and protect the territorial integrity of the country. The Army, twice as large as the other services combined with about 24,000 active duty personnel, consists of six infantry brigades, a combat support brigade and a combat service support brigade; the Air Force operates two main bases, one in southern region near Santo Domingo and one in the northern region of the country; and the Navy maintains seven ageing vessels and four new vessels. The Dominican Republic's military is second in size to Cuba's in the Caribbean.

  52. The D R sits on the same island

    The had no damage...

    they have:

    Fit for military service 1,405,845, age 15–49

    where are the convoys of DR's people to lend a hand?

  53. Interesting thought...

    How much will it cost in lives and property when the 3 Gorges Dam fails?

  54. Just remember...

    As unfortunate as events may seem at any given time - as ate up as things may be - it's all God's plan.

    Repeat after me.

    It's all God's plan.

    Aha! Found the cat.

  55. And! We have solid puppy stool today!

    And! My husband and son are just about now edging out over the Caribbean!

    And! It's warmer!

  56. God can be so hilarious.

  57. If anyone needs a very warm welcome home this afternoon in Atlanta, it's my son.

    This morning he left behind his first True Love. Maria.

    Been there and boy does it suck.


  59. WiO: How much will it cost in lives and property when the 3 Gorges Dam fails?

    Since Taipei cannot match Beijing’s ability to field offensive systems, proponents of
    strikes against the mainland apparently hope that merely presenting credible threats to China’s urban population or high- value targets, such as the Three Gorges Dam, will deter Chinese military coercion.

  60. This comment has been removed by the author.

  61. to those that support terror around the globe..

    a message about karma...

    you are not immune to the beast you have created...

  62. Folding Puppy Stools are much more practical than solid, esp when traveling.

  63. Want to thank all who offered advice on getting to sleep.
    I took it all and Christ did it work great. Plus I added in four benedril of my own. And a slug of melatonin. Did the trick. Somewhere in there I vaguely recall my wife shaking me sayng, are you ok. Waking up though out of this bliss was kind of a bitch. And a decision had to be made, stay in this bliss and wet the bed, or crawl upwards toward the light and the can. Sleeping alone it was a temptation to just wet the bed. The feeling I had was like that guy in the book 'Deliverance' and how hard it was for him to wake up. And the mind was a perfect blank slate, you hardly remember who you are. But the inner witness remained, the divine child, the little boy that runs on ahead of one on the windy headlands...I know who I am.

    So I must be ok.

    I don't recommend this for everyone, however.

  64. bob: But the inner witness remained, the divine child, the little boy that runs on ahead of one on the windy headlands...I know who I am.

    "...I knew the title removed me from something I did not dare lose. Bashar? I was more than that! I was Miles Teg, the name given me by my parents.”

    “You were on the name-chain!”

    “Certainly, and I realized my name stood at a distance from something more primal. Miles Teg? No, I was more basic than that. I could hear my mother saying, ‘Oh, what a beautiful baby.’ So there I was with another name: ‘Beautiful Baby.’ “

    “Did you go deeper?” Idaho found himself fascinated.

    “I was caught. Name leads to name leads to name leads to nameless. When I walked into that important room, I was nameless. Did you ever risk that?”

    “Once.” A reluctant admission.

    “We all do it at least once. But there I was. I’d been briefed. I had a reference for everyone at that table — face, name, title, plus all of the backgrounding.”

    “But you weren’t really there.”

    “Oh, I could see the expectant faces measuring me, wondering, worrying. But they did not know me!”

    “That gave you a feeling of great power?”

    “Exactly as we were warned in Mentat school. I asked myself: ‘Is this Mind at its beginning?’ Don’t laugh. It’s a tantalizing question.”

    “So you went deeper?” Caught by Teg’s words, Idaho ignored tugs of warning at the edge of his awareness.

    “Oh, yes. And I found myself in the famous ‘Hall of Mirrors’ they described and warned us to flee.”

    “So you remembered how to get out and . . .”

    “Remembered? You’ve obviously been there. Did memory get you out?”

    “It helped.”

    “Despite the warnings, I lingered, seeing my ’self of selves’ and infinite permutations. Reflections of reflections ad infinitum.”

    “Fascination of the ‘ego core.’ Damn few ever escape from that depth. You were lucky.”"I’m not sure it should be called luck. I knew there must be a First Awareness, an awakening . . .

    “Which discovers it is not the first.”

    “But I wanted a self at the root of the self!”

    (From Chapterhouse: Dune by Frank Herbert)

  65. Christ worked great, your Chemical Blaspheme and Self Congratulatory Hubris simply dimminishes the miracle.
    Compounded by bad poetry.

  66. Consumer credit contracted by $17.5 billon in November. That is the tenth straight month that Americans have decided to pay down debt and it is the longest negative run in the 66 year history of the series...Until consumers are again comfortable with their level of debt the second recession, the consumer recession cannot end; and until it does the end of the first recession is almost moot.

  67. Obama wants the United States to emulate socialist Europe, touted as an economic success story. If various European countries became part of the United States:

    1. Portugal would rank #51 as a U.S. state, below Mississippi in per capita GDP.

    2. Italy and Greece as U.S. states would rank between the two poorest U.S. states - West Virginia and Mississippi.

    3. If France became a U.S. state it would rank #48 out of 51 by per capita GDP, just barely ahead of America's two poorest states - West Virginia and Mississippi.

    4. Belgium, Finland, U.K. Germany and Spain would rank in the bottom 20% of U.S. states by per capita GDP, just barely ahead of Arkansas but below Kentucky.

    5. Although Netherlands, Sweden and Denmark are among Europe's wealthiest countries, as U.S. states they would be between 14.5% and 18% below the U.S. average

  68. "This is an election year, the small regional and local banks have the upper hand. Populism rules. Obama is floating a tax on the big banks who pay billions in bonuses. After the election, Congress will go back to supporting who pays them (Wall Street) regardless of whether the majority belongs to the the Democrats or the Republicans. "

    Holder and BHO much more than any pub will punish business, the better to cover up GOVERNMENT coercion and fraud that got this whole snowball rolling.
    Private fraudsters are Pikers compared to the Pros in DC, Boston, and Chicago.

    BHO is talking about a 10 year tax, to include banks that don't owe a dime to the Govt.

  69. So little Tim rewards cronies in record amounts while BHO prosecutes his Communist Class Warfare Crusade.

    All free of politcal slant, of course.

  70. "The word "attainder", meaning "taintedness", is part of English common law.
    Under English law, a criminal condemned for a serious crime, whether treason or felony (but not misdemeanor, which referred to less serious crimes), could be declared "attainted", meaning that his civil rights were nullified: he could no longer own property or pass property to his family by will or testament. His property could consequently revert to the Crown or to the mesne lord.

    Any peerage titles would also revert to the Crown. The convicted person would normally be punished by judicial execution as well—when a person committed a capital crime and was put to death for it, the property left behind escheated to the Crown or lord rather than being inherited by family. Attainder functioned more or less as the revocation of the feudal chain of privilege and all rights and properties thus granted.

  71. The wasps' bodies are tiny - about the size of a pinhead - but they are deadly to many insects, including varied species of house flies, blowflies and flesh flies.

    Interesting. Some considerable larger wasps were nearly deadly to me, maybe a decade ago, when I turned up allergic. Never knew I had the potential for that. You do too, even though you think you will never have a problem. Wife, who happened to be with me, and the paramedics she called, saved the day.

    So now I hate bees, wasps, yellowjackets, all of 'em.

    It's an odd experience every summer feeling one sting away from the other world. At the mercy of some damned insect. So I pack a needle but often forget to do so.

    We've imported some beetle, that attacks the Yellow Star Thistle here, which takes over range land, not economical to spray. Seems to be doing some good.

    Lots of potential in those bio fields.

    You read such strange stuff, Lilith, first wife of Adam, night woman, shriek demon, bringer of all bad things, yet it sounds oddly familiar.

  72. bob,

    Noted psychiatrist Brian Weiss has written several books on his observations of patients claiming past-life experiences. His record and observations (including personal ones) are compelling. If you please, try "Many Lives, Many Masters".

  73. bob,

    The use of insects, such as this wasp, to battle agricultural pests play well with rufus's view on bio-fuels. Often, it's the small things that turn the tide.

  74. I've heard of him, Allen. Now I have my new credit card, I'll buy his books. Thanks,

    The evidence is indeed, compelling, as I argued in the old day with Teresita/Cathic women, who at that time was always putting up objections of one kind or another. Objections that must be faced.

  75. Political Maggots OTOH, do no good for anyone, other than their own kind.

  76. Chii-coms match Angelena Jolie,
    ante up a cool million for Haiti!

  77. bob,

    With no disrespect to anyone, I find that most people haven't any idea at all what their faith professes for the record. They equate blind rite with faith. As a minister friend once told me, "People are looking for validation, not truth." That is also true of many, many other non-religious articles of faith.

    By the by, it is certainly true for many XXXX.

  78. US Rep. John Shadegg, R-Ariz., said Wednesday he will not run for reelection this year. Shadegg represents Paradise Valley, north Phoenix and Anthem.

  79. The MSM is doing a good job of advertising Dem defections more than all the Pubs.
    No doubt they will correct this deficiency forthwith.

  80. "the XXXX"
    The Liberal Voters.

  81. Fired up the Amazon card and ordered up:

    Same Soul, Many Bodies: Discover the Healing Power of Future Lives through Progression Therapy by Brian L. Weiss (Paperback - Aug 30, 2005)
    Buy new: $14.00 $10.08


    Only Love Is Real: A Story of Soulmates Reunited by Brian Weiss (Paperback - Mar 1, 1997)
    Buy new: $13.99 $10.07


    Many Lives, Many Masters: The True Story of a Prominent Psychiatrist, His Young Patient, and the Past-Life Therapy That Changed Both Their Lives - Brian L. Weiss

    Thirty bucks, no fuss, no mess, books ordered, without getting up. No driving to the book store, no messy carbon footprint. Save the environment.

    If you get an Amazon credit card now, you get thirty free bucks, folks. Amazon is a good service. Everyone should get an Amazon card.

    You could get these books for free.

    Placed on your front step.

    They've never made a mistake yet, for me.

    Soulmates reunited, hmm. i kind of like the sound of that.

    Some of the American Indian tribes had the idea that families evolve together, as a group.

  82. Thanks Allen, I'm going to print my borders coupon tonight and go buy that book tomorrow.

  83. Allen, you've sold four books already. You deserve a commission.

  84. Blogger Lilith said...

    Consumer credit contracted by $17.5 billon in November

    Let's not forget that figure's affected by the roughly $3B/mon taken out of the consumer economy by the doofus C4C program of last summer.


  85. Ex UN weapons inspector, Scott Ritter, charged with on-line sexual offense

    And it's just that easy to ruin a man.

  86. Nasonia, via Allen:

    Werren, the leader of the International Nasonia Genome Working Group, calls the predators "smart bombs" because each species zeroes in on its specific prey. The wasps' bodies are tiny - about the size of a pinhead - but they are deadly to many insects, including varied species of house flies, blowflies and flesh flies.

    ...Another fascinating aspect of the rapid evolution of Nasonia, Werren said in an interview, is that in barely 100,000 years or so, its genome has acquired the genes of pox viruses as well as a species of bacteria called Wolbachia

    Random Thought:

    What if biological warfare research produced a wasp that size with a preference for humans, including the torment of swarming an enemy position, to say nothing of vectoring pox and other epidemic diseases?

  87. I have had many past lives...

    In one I was a stable boy, forced to muck out stables until I was kicked in the head by an angry mare...

    In one I was a cave dweller in south africa, happy to crab fish all day and eat roasted crab all night... until I ate some raw crab, I had the trots for 30 days and died...

    In one I was a black slave hand, with a giant dick, sadly the master like the dick more than the mistress...

    In one I was a race car driver's gas re-filler, until that fateful explosion...

    My many lives have all ended me up dead...

    Kinda sucks having the same ending..


  88. I thought, I knew you from somewhere.

  89. WiO said...

    "My many lives have all ended me up dead...

    Kinda sucks having the same ending..



    Yes, that is a recurring problem. Life's not perfect.

  90. However, it may be perpetual.

  91. Stories from the South.

    The owner of a golf course was confused about paying an invoice, so he decided to ask his secretary for some mathematical help. He called her into his office and said, 'You graduated from the University of Tennessee and I need some help. If I were to give you $20,000, minus 14%, how much would you take off?'

    The secretary thought a moment, and then replied, 'Everything but my earrings.'

    A group of Alabama friends went deer hunting and paired off in twos for the day. That night, one of the hunters returned alone, staggering under the weight of an eight-point buck. 'Where's Henry?' the others asked.

    'Henry had a stroke of some kind. He's a couple of miles back up the trail,' the successful hunter replied.

    'You left Henry laying out there and carried the deer back?' they inquired.

    'A tough call,' nodded the hunter. 'But I figured no one is going to steal Henry!'

    The Sheriff pulled up next to the guy unloading garbage out of his pick-up into the ditch. The Sheriff asked, 'Why are you dumping garbage in the ditch? Don't you see that sign right over your head'. 'Yep', he replied. 'That's why I dumpin it here, cause it says 'Fine For Dumping Garbage'.

    A senior at LSU was overheard saying...'When the end of the world comes, I hope to be in Louisiana .' When asked why, he replied he'd rather be in Louisiana because everything happens in Louisiana 20 years later than in the rest of the civilized world.

    The young man from Mississippi came running into the store and said to his buddy, 'Bubba, somebody just stole your pickup truck from the parking lot!'

    Bubba replied, 'Did you see who it was?'

    The young man answered, 'I couldn't tell, but I got his license number.'

    A Georgia State trooper pulled over a pickup on I- 75. The trooper asked, 'Got any I.D.?'

    The driver replied, 'Bout whut?'

    North Carolina
    A man in North Carolina had a flat tire, pulled off on the side of the road, and proceeded to put a bouquet of flowers in front of the car and one behind it.

    Then he got back in the car to wait. A passerby studied the scene as he drove by and was so curious he turned around and went back. He asked the fellow what the problem was.

    The man replied, 'I have a flat tire.'

    The passerby asked, 'But what's with the flowers?'

    The man responded, 'When you break down they tell you to put flares in the front and flares in the back. Hey, it don't make no sense to me neither.'

    And this from South Carolina
    'You can say what you want about the South, but I ain't never heard of nobody wanting to retire to the North.

  92. Bobal: It's an odd experience every summer feeling one sting away from the other world. At the mercy of some damned insect. So I pack a needle but often forget to do so.

    I work in the backyard all the time, I haven't been stung since 1977. I hired some Vietnamese guys to clear out some brush, they got hit 15 times by yellerjackets. Maybe the lotion I use on my legs scares em away.

  93. ...Stories from the South.


    Them ain't stories, Whit. Them's the truth.


  94. Only in Arkansas...

    A friend related this intimate story.

    The other day he came home and was greeted by his wife, dressed only in very sexy underwear and holding a couple of short velvet ropes.

    Tie me up," she purred,
    "and you can do anything you want."

    So, he tied her up and went fishing.


  95. bob said...
    Allen, you've sold four books already. You deserve a commission.

    Thu Jan 14, 06:35:00 PM EST

    Now, if only I were that persuasive when it comes to selling 13 commercial lots :)

  96. A man gets home, runs in the house and shouts, "Honey, I just won the lottery pack your bags."

    The wife says, "Great what should I pack for the mountains or the beach?"

    He says, "It doesn't matter just pack your bags and get the hell out."

  97. For Bob:

    So you have a sixty thousand-dollar car. We're real impressed. We
    have a quarter of a million-dollar combine that we only use two weeks a

  98. Bobal: The evidence is indeed, compelling, as I argued in the old day with Teresita/Cathic women, who at that time was always putting up objections of one kind or another. Objections that must be faced.

    A Catholic woman would have probably cited Hebrews 9:27 [I]t is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.

    On the other hand, it seems that certain important people DO experience reincarnation:

    Matt. 17:10-13 And the disciples asked him, saying, "Why then do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?"

    But he answered them and said, "Elijah indeed is to come and will restore all things. But I say to you that Elijah has come already, and they did not know him, but did to him whatever they wished. So also shall the Son of Man suffer at their hand."

    Then the disciples understood that he had spoken of John the Baptist.

    I guess my take on it is that if you don't remember your past life, then it won't matter if you have a future life, because you won't remember being you then. Which is the same thing as being a totally different you.

    And why is it that every man claims to have been Julius Caesar in a past life, and every woman Cleopatra? Nobody was just the guy who emptied Cleopatra's chamber pot?

  99. Allen, you've delayed my departure to Ohio by about two days. I'm waiting for the books, which from Seattle, means Monday. But, that's ok, I'll wait.

    Who was that guy that did those fascinating LSD regression studies back in the day? You go back far enough, you remember your days as a lizard. Layer after layer of psychic excavation. But then, more happily, thinking forward, up, up, up. Usually.

    By the way, don't try it.

    Came home to get my Casino T shirt for the drawing tomorrow, which I forgot. We have a free room there tonight.

    We all might have some fun talking about these books.

  100. if you don't remember your past life

    Maybe just too deeply buried, right now.

    See immediately above.

    Gotta run, Beaver Feaver is waiting.

  101. :)



    Great stories Whit, Melody, and LT.

    I laughed my ass off.

  102. Lilith,

    Dr. Weiss did not find a single patient (hundreds) who had lived an extraordinary/historical life. All were rather ordinary for a particular period of time or epoch.

  103. Allen, there was a lady doctor down in LA who did that kind of study, one remarkable thing she found, if I recall, was the ratio of male/female in the regressions was just what it is in the overall population, few more fems than males. Can't recall her name.

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