Powered by TypePad

« Dancing With The Treasury Stars | Main | Right, Because We Want The Russians To Push The Button... »

March 07, 2009

Comments

Jane

Hey! It's morning again. And I hear Spring is sprunging. Wake up!

clarice

Good Morning,JOM!! Having a great time with the family visit. Can't catch up to everything but trying..

daddy

Knee How (hello)

This mornings China Daily has a big front page story:

Arctic Summer Ice 'could vanish by 2013'.

They could be right you know, but of course hummingbirds 'could also fly out of my be-hind' by 2013.

daddy

Page 2 of the China Daily is proud to report that the Tibet Chairman Puncog says that only 76 of the 953 people arrested last year for rioting in Lhasa Tibet will receive prison sentances. In response to a question about an alleged ban on foreign journalists visiting Tibet, Puncog said Tibet always welcomes foreign reporters, but they should work "in a just and objective way".

I'm with Puncog, and wish we could our reporters to work in a just and objective way also..

kim

That's pretty funny, daddy. Perhaps they're trying to sandbag the West into encumbering carbon. I've thought for awhile that the Chinese, and the Indians and the Russians want to use the guilt derived from the precious conceit of a Western elite to hamper our productivity in comparison to a third(second?) world with relatively unencumbered carbon. I believe that the politicians of those countries now understand that the CO2=AGW paradigm is shockingly flawed.
====================================

Thomas Collins

One of the lawyers I most admire is John Yoo. He provided solid legal advice to his client, the United States of America, under extraordinary circumstances and under great time pressure. He has an op ed in this weekend's WSJ. See LUN.

Thomas Collins

One of the lawyers I most admire is John Yoo. He provided solid legal advice to his client, the United States of America, under extraordinary circumstances and under great time pressure. He has an op ed in this weekend's WSJ. See LUN.

kim

You watch. I'll predict right now that this summmer's Arctic ice extent at minimum will be greater than last year, which was greater than the year before when the recent record was set. Part of the problem is that we've only been looking at sea ice extent carefully since 1979 with satellites and most of the time since then has been a warming period. But the warming ceased four or five years ago, the atmosphere and the oceans are now cooling, and the Arctic ice is returning. We'll be in a significant La Nina, a cooling phenomena, at least until late summer.
===========================================

Bill in AZ

Arctic summer ice could stay completely frozen by 2013 too. Just as good a chance of that as of their nonsense prediction, given the sun is still shut down, and in fact just threw another old cycle 23 spot.

kim

And the sun, oh boy, the sun is acting up, or rather, hibernating. This is big news, really, and running under the radar of the journalists because the AGW alarmists don't think the sun has much to do with climate. Boy, do they have another think coming.
=======================================

kim

Heh, the sun isn't even up, Bill, and we know it's acting up. You know Bill Livingston is measuring the internal magnetism of the spots, and they are on a decline curve to be not hot enough to be visible after 2015. Big news, yet do you see it splashed across the headlines? Naw, tax that killer coal instead. What madness.
===================================

MikeS

Daddy,
I'm thinking you ought not make those hummingbirds wait 'til 2013.

Jane

hummingbirds 'could also fly out of my be-hind' by 2013.

Hmmm, that could hurt.

daddy

And not to leave you ladies out, Page 6 of The China Daily has an exciting story, "Royal Beauty Secrets of Yang Yuhuan", the most famous concubine in Chinese History.

"Renowned for her delicate skin, she used litchi, rich in protein, vitamin B and C, phosphorous and iron, which all bubbled away in her regular hot spring bath. The bath not only moistened her smooth skin, but also refreshed her mind. She would pat and massage different parts of her face and body to further stimulate the absorption of those beauty enhancers."

And now it just turning midnight, and my newspaper reading accomplished, I shall have another Pee Joe, (cold beer), in pursuit of a 'her jew-ee luh' (hangover) in every country on the planet.

clarice

daddy, let them out earlier, I beg you..

I am so glad you told us what you do and where you go. Sometimes I'd go the site meter and see that someone was online from China or a similarly exotic Eastern locale and wonder what that was all about.

Thomas Collins

What's this about "exotic Eastern locale," clarice. Talking about Needham, Massachusetts, aren't ya? :-))

Thomas Collins

What's this about "exotic Eastern locale," clarice. Talking about Needham, Massachusetts, aren't ya? :-))

DebinNC

The mileage tax is gaining Dem fans in Congress. Sen. Boxer loves the idea but worries that attaching GPSs to our cars sounds too Big-Brotherish. Instead, she suggests an "honor system" where we all tell the gov the miles we've driven. That should work well.

glasater

Clarice~

I made the Whiskey soaked Salmon risotto recently and it is sooooo good.
Having good smoked salmon is very important.

clarice

I'm so glad you liked it, glasater. It is one of my favorites.

kim

Heh, Al Gore won't debate challenger Bjorn Lomborg. Smart move; he'd get eaten alive.
==========================================

centralcal

Good morning. Yes, Jane, spring has sprung. burgandy Hellebores, Georgia Blue campanula, deep purple Violets, bright orange Clivias, magenta Arctotis have all appeared from the cold earth right on schedule.

I think these durable, dependable, perennials are like the US economy - just leave them alone and watch them survive, thrive, and reappear exactly when they should. Well, the ecnoomy would be like this if we could get rid of the brown thumbed gardener (pun intended) doing his best to kill everything.

centralcal

And, add Typepad to the list of things that only worsen when tampered with.

hit and run

What a gorgeous day it is here.

From 5 inches of snow on Monday to 70s today. Seems like a clean break from winter to spring.

Love it.

daddy

I'm trying to remember now if it's called the Butterfly Effect or the Hummingbird Effect...you know the one, the one where the flapping of some critters wings can get the ball rolling to hurricanes and tornado's and global melting. You sure you guys want me to drop trow' just yet? Don't you think I should at least wait for the 2012 Mayan Calendar Doomsday to pass first before springing them hummingbirds?

kim

Hah, a little Goose/Gander stuff. Time Mag, through RCP, has an article about CIA staffers objecting to the coming investigations into their past conduct.
======================================

kim

It's the Butterfly's Wing, daddy.
=================================

mel

Morning all-

To repeat myself a bit, and to bleg.

I have been asked to help formulate some ideas and opinions on "moral hazard" for Rick Santelli's vacation replacement on CNBC, next week. In the spirit of considered opinion, I am letting you all know about this and asking you to cogitate on the matter. And then let 'em fly. I'll glean them, edit, and repost my response here, before sending it on.

And, no, I will not be on camera. That would be a (now-cultureless) bad decision.

And TCO, no need to add things, I have a good gist of your thoughts already, RuPaul, I mean Ron...oops.

mel

Daddy-

That transaction tax has floated around for years, always from the D-side. They see a big number, in this case trading volumes on various exchanges, and feel the need to tax it just a leetle bit. They already tax all trading proceeds as Ordinary Income, but I guess that's never going to be enough. Traditionally, the Illinois Congressional delegation has killed it, now Durbin's pushing it. Killing his "Golden Goose" is more like it.

Dope.

centralcal

Go Mel!

ben

"Arctic Summer Ice 'could vanish by 2013'."

So that's where Al Gore gets his information...the China Daily.

centralcal

I have a dumb question.

Recently, I received a letter from my credit card provider that their interest rates were going way up. I have 2 cards, both with a balance owing of $0.

I got a new card with a different provider, very low rates, and would like to close the other 2 accounts. I was told that if I close them, it would lower my FICO score.

So am I stuck with these cards for life? If I don't use them, the provider might cancel me for inactivity, which would also lower my credit score. I don't want extra cards floating around, worrying that I have to use them occasionally.

Should I just close them and not worry about credit scores, right now?

Pofarmer

Real quick mel, what's your joist situation? I gotta go feed critters here pretty quick.

Pofarmer

I don't understand why cancelling a card with no balance would lower your FICO score. If you aren't going to be using them, close them, lessens the chance for fraud, if nothing else.

mel

Po-

ceiling joists changing direction when I'm dropping, supposedly, non-load bearing walls. I'm trying not to take ALL the drywall down to figure out what's safe to drop and to avoid sagging.

Very frustrating.

Slop, or hot feed?

ben

Maybe this explanation I found on Yahoo Finance will help, centralcal:

"Biggest impact: amounts owed. The biggest and most immediate impact on your score is the toll on your credit card utilization, or the ratio of balances to credit limits. About 30 percent of your score depends on that calculation.

If you shutter an account with a zero balance, that credit limit won't get factored into the utilization calculation. Closing accounts should have less impact if you have other high-limit accounts that are open and in good standing.

Let's say you have two credit cards: one with a $5,000 credit limit and one with a $10,000 credit limit. You owe $3,000 on the $5,000-limit card and nothing on the other card. Your overall utilization is about 20 percent. If the card with the higher limit gets closed, your utilization would jump to 60 percent. The utilization spike could cause a dip in your score.

If you have a balance on the account when it's closed, the score will include the limit and balance on the closed account in the utilization calculation. As you pay down the balance, your score might improve until the balance gets to zero. "In terms of the impact to your score, you could actually lower your score once the paid-off, closed account hits zero," says Paperno. That's because once it's paid off, the credit limit no longer gets factored into the utilization ratio.

Secondary impact: length of history and mix of credit. Canceling cards doesn't impact the portion of your score determined by your payment history. As long as closed accounts remain on the credit report, they will get included in your payment history. Once paid off, an account with no delinquencies will disappear from the credit report within 10 years. Accounts with late payments can remain for seven years. When the account falls off the credit report, the score could take another hit, albeit as late as 10 years after closure.

The loss of the account can affect two factors: the length of credit history and mix of credit, which make up 15 percent and 10 percent of the score, respectively. Closure of the oldest account would affect the score more than shutting down a newer tradeline. Note: The factor that considers types of credit used includes open and closed accounts.

The silver lining to dealing with the ding to your score is that paying down balances on your other accounts can revive your score.

Use our FICO score estimator to gauge your credit score for free."


mel

ccal-

As I understand it, terminating cards is viewed like a "cut" in your overall lending picture, sort of like asking a bank to cut your mortgage from 100,00 to 97,500 because you already paid it. You're happy, the bank's happy, but to a credit agency, your number just shrank that you can borrow. They see this as "bad", you know, the no-culture type.

Doesn't make sense to me either, until you go through the rinse cycle of identity theft a couple of times. I don't wish that hell on anyone. Well, maybe Rahm, come to think of it.

mel

Ben-

Yours is better.

Jim Ryan

Daddy,

Wo bu hui deng xiao niao chulai...

Pofarmer

Slop, or hot feed?

Hay and silage for cattle. Everything from Fat rations to dry hay for mama cows today.

On your House, I'm assuming it's conventionally framed? If it is, then you're gonna have to take a trip up in the attic and see where everything is coming together. There are some very good reasons the industry went to trusses.

mel

Stick built, but I think they ran out of the long stuff, and to save money, swung the run when they got to the short stock. No hangers either. I'm afraid I need to get some steel in there or sister up a long run and palm nail some hangers for the short runs.

Just stupid stuff like that. At least the electrical is clean.

I used to work on the beef side of the"business" in Wyoming. No silage to worry about, grass only, taught me about the importance of irrigation at altitude though. I'll put up a map tonight and we'll swap animal stories.

No more fooling around, I hope everyone saw my bleg and will put some thought into it.

Later.

centralcal

Thanks Mel and Ben.

Well . . . trying to digest what you guys told me, one last question . . .

I refinanced my mortgage early January (from 6% to 4.5%). Mortgage should be good to go for a long time. No need for high credit score there.

My car is just turning 2 years old, and I usually try to keep a car for 5 to 8 years.

If I close one of the unwanted card accounts and it does ding my credit a little bit, I shouldn't be too harmed???? I don't foresee any likely big ticket credit need for a while.

Does that sound reasonable?

Pofarmer

Getting long material into a finished attic to shore up the ceiling joists, sounds, well, less than fun. Holy smokes.

Sue

Obama http://www.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2009/03/07/obama_stimulus_plan_is_already_saving_jobs/>saved some jobs in Ohio with his stimulus plan. Of course, come December 31st, they will probably be laid off again. Which you find out if you read to the bottom.

ben

Sounds reasonable to me. The only point I would make is that in the current situation it might not be a bad idea to have some back-up credit, we don't know how bad things will get...

Thomas Collins

Time to do the taxes. I use TurboTax, so I am going to pretend that I am the Secretary of the Treasury this weekend!

Thomas Collins

Time to do the taxes. I use TurboTax, so I am going to pretend that I am the Secretary of the Treasury this weekend!

centralcal

Ben - good point. I wonder - could I request the card company merge the 2 accounts into one and then I only have one account to worry about using once or twice a year? Do credit card companies do that?

Since my "line of credit" remains the same, only the number of accounts changed, would that impact my credit score?

SunnyDay

Centralcal - I wouldn't close them if I were you. Once your score drops, the creditor who issued the card you want to keep, may decide that they don't want you after all.

centralcal

SunnyDay - well, ugh, that's a bummer thought.

So I guess once you get a credit card, you are stuck with it for life, which is where I began this question.

SunnyDay

Oh, if the card comapny that raised your rates is Citibank or BOA, call them. They are responding to requests to restore people's original rates. Same with reduced credit lines.

Sue

c-cal,

If your credit score is good now, call the credit card company and demand they lower your interest rate or you will take your business elsewhere. Most of the time, they'll do it.

bad

Sue, typical that the jobs saved are public funded jobs, not private sector.

And those jobs are only saved for one year. The stimulus money will only shore them up for one year. Then those jobs are gone unless Columbus raises taxes and fees.

The money spent on these recruits should have been used on private sector stimulus to create business and jobs that would have generated tax revenue to keep the recruits employed for longer than a year.

Short sighted.

SunnyDay
stuck with it for life,

Just for the time being. Once things get back to normal, they won't be so touchy.

Right now, they are reacting to every little thing. Better not to make any changes.

On my site, we have some folks with balances, and nowhere to go, no cash to pay it off. In those cases, we advise, look for the "opt out" provision, and take the score hit to preserve the lower rate. That's a really really bad position to be in. :(

Ignatz Ratzkywatzky

cc,
You're just stuck with it as long as there is a financial mess, because lenders are not acting predictably.
If they're not charging you an annual fee or other problem I wouldn't cancel it.

Jane

When I bought my car a couple of years ago the guy told me my credit score would be higher if I closed cards I hadn't used in 20 years (like Bloomingdales). I never did, but it sounds like he was wrong.

DebinNC

Dave Ramsey is leading many people astray then.

Ignatz Ratzkywatzky

mel,

I have been asked to help formulate some ideas and opinions on "moral hazard" for Rick Santelli's vacation replacement on CNBC, next week.

I've got a few. Don't know if they're of any value, but;

If banks learn they are too big to fail won't there be great incentive for banks to consolidate and become even bigger, more unwieldy behemoths?

If the government buys up 'toxic assets' cheaply and eventually makes money on the deal won't it be encouraged to intervene more and more down the road?

Mark-to-market accounting, fair value, FASB 157, whatever it's called, is blamed, perhaps correctly, for its pernicious influence on balance sheets as assets decline in value. What role did it play and was it equally pernicious in overstating the value of assets on the way up?

We are told that it is in everyone's interest to stop foreclosures because a foreclosure reduces everyone's home values. However that reduction is only temporary as the market returns to equilibrium, which is where the market is headed either way, as the government cannot artificially inflate the value of homes permanently unless this mortgage program is intended to be permanent. The vast and real cost of Barry's mortgage program however results in an actual taking of money from the non delinquent homeonwers pocket. Has anyone at Treasury done an analysis of what a homeowner is actually gaining or losing under each scenario?

Is Tim Geithner the illegitmate love child of ">http://www.dragonlegion.net/photos/data/506/spock-breastmeld.jpg"> Yeoman Rand and Leonard Nimoy?

SunnyDay

Deb, when it comes to credit, no one should listen to Dave Ramsey; when it comes to budgeting, he's excellent, but I really expect someone to sue him for his credit advice one of these days.

Credit scores affect many things besides the ability to get credit, DR says they are not important.

Not only that, but he has business credit - he has a D&B report, and he has a rather bad rating, too.

After my Dad died, my Mom followed DR's advice, took all her cash, paid off and closed all credit accounts including her fairly new car. A few years later she had no credit at all. Her car died. DR would tell her to buy a junker and pay cash. IMO that's really bad - an elderly woman in a junker?? I wasn't having it. I loaned her the money to buy a good used car, and set about building her a quick credit history by adding her to some of my accounts.

bad

Mel,

What is the projected cost of mortgage cramdowns to future mortgage holders?

How aggressively will the administration pursue takeover of 401Ks and pension funds? And what is the likely formulation of this robbery?

How do I get in on the high returns/no risk private/public investments that Geithners butt buddies will be offerd in return for campaign donations?

bad

Sunny Day, I have newly married young friends who are getting similar advise at church sponsored financial seminars.

bio mom

I recently cancelled a corporate card which I almost never used because my institution frowned upon personal charges being put on it. When the fee was raised from $35 to $50, a fee I was expected to pay, not the institution, I cancelled. So, does that impaact my personal credit rating now?

SunnyDay

bio mom - no, business credit does not affect personal credit unless you default - then they will report the default on your personal report.

Right now, Equifax is trying to change that by creating a hybrid personal/business credit report, so things may change - if their new hybrid product sells.

Danube of Thought

This business about Obama's gift to Gordon Brown is horribly embarrassing, particularly in light of what Brown presented to Obama. What a truly shameful episode. Was it a deliberate effort to convey a lukewarm view of the special relationship, or a new low in amateur hour? Who is the chief of protocol?

Even is Los Barriles I have to worry about such stuff...

DebinNC

Thanks, SunnyDay. I'm very disappointed to learn this about DM. He's one of the few financial pundits I can understand. The economically informed people here sound to my ignorant ears like they're doing the "pellet in the pestle..chalice from the palace..flagon with the dragon" scene from The Court Jester.

DebinNC

DoT, I was interested in that too. The WH website shows an Acting Director of the Office of Protocal within which there is an unnamed Gift Officer. They may not have filled that position yet. No matter who came up with the gift ideas, nothing excuses the Zeros for offering them.

 Ann

Was it a deliberate effort to convey a lukewarm view of the special relationship, or a new low in amateur hour?

I believe it was deliberate. The first slap was canceling the press conference because "of snow". This coming from a guy that cranks up the WH thermostat to freezing and tells DC residents they need to suck it up when it snows.

I guess it could of been worst. He could of sent Biden to meet with Brown.

PD

And I hear Spring is sprunging.

Sprung forward, fall back.

Remember we lose an hour of sleep tonight.

PD

Obama saved some jobs in Ohio with his stimulus plan.

And what a bargain.

$800B for stimulus, 25 jobs saved = ~$30B/job

PD

The first slap was canceling the press conference because "of snow".

That was the second slap. First was sending back the bust of Churchill.

SunnyDay

Deb - like I said, his budgeting advice is excellent. IMO it is impractical to do without a credit score these days. That doesn't mean you have to get sophisticated about credit. If you have a car loan or a mortgage, you have a credit score. I would also keep a couple of credit cards available, because there are times when you need them - like renting a car, or reserving a hotel room.

Never use a debit card for these things, debit cards have protections, but they are at the mercy of your bank's procedures - so someone can clean out your checking account before you know it, and your bank can take 2 months to put the money back into your account - in the meantime you may be bouncing checks and accumulating fees. It's messy. A credit card protects you instantly, with very little bother on your part.

Same if you use a card to pay for services - if the services are not rendered, instead of being ripped off, you can dispute the charges and if you are right, get your money credited back. If you paid cash, good luck.

DR equates available credit with debt. That's just not so. He is for people who have no self control, don't want to educate themselves, and need someone to tell them every little thing. Unfortunately he has tied his money philosophy in with the Christian faith. When it comes to being in debt, he is right, but that is not the same as having and using credit. KWIM?

Danube of Thought

Rasmussen today has the presidential approval index at +8, and overall approval at 56%. Pretty sure the latter is a new low, and the former ties the previous low.

I'm waiting for solid signs that people are beginning to realize that this guy has no idea what he is doing.

bad

Hey DoT!! How is the beach and more importantly, the margaritas?

Caro

Saturday morning musical interlude--

It ain't your money to spend.

CWCID, John and Chad at the Northern Alliance.

Porchlight

DoT,

Yes, 56% total approve is a new low and 43% total disapprove a new high. 31% strongly disapprove is also a new high.

Saturdays seem to be bad for O - not sure why, as weekend polls tend to favor Dems. Last Saturday was a dip as well, with the only other +8 approval index (all others have been +10 or higher).

Have a margarita or six for me!

Pofarmer

Mel,

If the govt issues these cramdowns now, what is to keep them from having to come back in and do the same thing in six months or a year?

What makes the govt folks think they can pick the bottom in the Housing market better than anyone else?

Pofarmer

He is for people who have no self control, don't want to educate themselves, and need someone to tell them every little thing.

Then he sounds perfect for the typical Obama voter, and most of those in the muddle.

matt

am going to a protest in Fullerton, CA this afternoon. I haven't been to a protest in 35+ years (and that was to meet chicks), but this one is specifically directed at the political madness in California. Should be interesting.

glenda

Peace out, Matt!

Danube of Thought

Bad, both have been sensational. Lovely spot down here, and our friends have built a magnificent casa right on the beach. Headed back north to SoCal tomorrow afternoon. And between now and then I'll host a Margarita for everyone at JOM or bust.

glasater

DOT~

We've driven the Baja twice and flown to Cabo twice. When you say your friends have built a magnificent casa on the beach, I remember years ago RV's on that beach with their sewer hoses plugged right into the sand.
It is a lovely area and remember it well. And homemade Margaritas are the best.

pagar

Has anyone at Treasury done an analysis of what a homeowner is actually gaining or losing under each scenario?

With 17 vacant top level chairs at Treasury, and the tendency of government agencies to review anything before it is released, it may be years before such an analysis could be done. Remember how we have had to hear within a few minutes of when a American soldier dies in Afghanistan or Iraq or Congressional inquiries are launched. However it takes two years to get a total on American highway deaths. If I had my way, the person in charge of reporting total US highway deaths would be given 7 days to get his act together and get the daily totals for the nation published. If that person can't do it, fire them and put another person in there that can. How is it possible that a simple report that is already compiled at the lowest levels on computers can't be consolidated and published daily.

pagar

If you have ever wondered why postage rates go up continuously this story from Sweetness & Light may explain it.

Postal Service draws criticism for $1.2 million home buy

The South Carolina home belonged to Ronald Hopson, the former postmaster in Lexington, South Carolina, and his wife, Evelyn. The property includes five acres, four bathrooms, two half-baths and an indoor swimming pool.

Hopson is now the customer service manager for the USPS branch in Carrollton, Texas…

Anyone think that a customer service manager in a USPS branch is such a unique position that million dollars deals revolve around it?

cathyf
A credit card protects you instantly, with very little bother on your part.
Right. One of the facts that DR ignores is that a credit card does not just guarantee your credit when you buy things, it guarantees the seller's credit, too.

I remember being very young when my mom explained to me that there were "credit cards" and "charge cards". It is a credit card if you use it to borrow money, while it is a charge card if you pay the balance in full every month. Charge cards are for convenience, and for avoiding the writing-a-check strip search that you get so many places. Ramsey is very clear that he doesn't believe that anyone can use a credit card as a charge card, but I read somewhere that something like 20% of all Americans pay off all of their balances each month.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Wilson/Plame