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  • The European Commission has fined Microsoft (MSFT) €561M for taking too long to fulfill its commitment to a 2009 settlement to provide consumers with a choice of Internet browsers in its Windows OS. The penalty brings total EU fines for Microsoft over the past decade to €2.26B. Google (GOOG), which is under an EU investigation for possible abuse of its search dominance, may well be watching with interest. (PR[View news story]
    I recall when they were looking into breaking up MS here in the US. Soon MS learned they had to grease the political machine to do business. It's just part of the pseudo capitalist process. You have to buy into the lobby system of distorting markets. If there is a poster child for distorted market, the American healthcare market is. If you compare it to other undustrilaized nations and look at the lobby money, you know I'm just stating the obvious.
    Mar 6 12:47 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Build An Intelligent REIT Portfolio Without Mortgage REIT Risk [View article]
    Jan 21 07:41 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Several Reasons Why Mortgage REIT Investors Could Benefit From Recent Rule Changes [View article]
    The gov't insured loans were never the problem in the toxic loan subprime collapse of capitalism. However, they too invested in these as entities. So did insurance companies, pension funds and many more of those blinded by greed. So the interest rates are kept low to allow that many more qualified people to reduce the inventory of housing.
    Jan 21 07:32 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Are We Witnessing The End Days Of Supply Side Economics? [View article]
    David Stockman, Bruce Bartlett and the WSJ have all come out as this supply side/trickle down economics is a hoax. Admission is the first step to recovery. Supply side refuted the Keynes theory and claimed the job creators/productive sector would promise prosperity. The tax cuts and loopholes are still in place. Keynes said that the consumer fueled the economy and he was right all along. Just as austerity measures in Wisconsin and many of the nation in Europe are increasing their unemployment rates, we have to rethink the another ill-fated ideology. Governments sponsored jobs programs, such as the ones which built the TVA and Boulder/Hoover dam, certainly were and are good examples of taxpayers money well spent.
    May 20 05:26 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Are We Witnessing The End Days Of Supply Side Economics? [View article]
    Wyatt you are misguided.
    May 20 05:18 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • 10 Reasons Apple Investors Should Be Nervous [View article]
    FYI, the best marketer ever has to be AOL, selling an inferior product for more, making it a total hell to switch. They did it by merely having the US postal service loading their CD's into mail boxes. Are they still the number one ISP?
    May 28 01:42 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • 10 Reasons Apple Investors Should Be Nervous [View article]
    We need only look at Apple and their keeping their competition behind. Recall MS/Dell and others beat Apple eons ago with superior marketing. Apple has always been a better product software and hardware. Then Apple caught Sony (Walkman) sleeping and too market position away. Now you have to stay on top as a micro (a company) given whats happening in the macro (the economy). One might argue the desk top has out lived its usefullness and hence Dell might need to find another niche. Perhaps Microsoft should be looking to other products/services. Apple is certainly on the look out for other products/services as is Google. My only question would be, why didn't Apple take advantage/marketshare when MS came out with the ill-fated Vista?
    May 28 01:40 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Why the Recession Ended [View article]
    President George W. Bush addresses the White House Conference on Increasing Minority Homeownership at The George Washington University Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2002

    THE PRESIDENT: …. I appreciate your attendance to this very important conference. You see, we want everybody in America to own their own home. That's what we want. This is -- an ownership society is a compassionate society.

    More and more people own their homes in America today. Two-thirds of all Americans own their homes, yet we have a problem here in America because few than half of the Hispanics and half the African Americans own the home. That's a homeownership gap. It's a -- it's a gap that we've got to work together to close for the good of our country, for the sake of a more hopeful future.

    We've got to work to knock down the barriers that have created a homeownership gap.

    I set an ambitious goal. It's one that I believe we can achieve. It's a clear goal, that by the end of this decade we'll increase the number of minority homeowners by at least 5.5 million families. (Applause.) … And it's going to require a strong commitment from those of you involved in the housing industry. …

    I appreciate so very much the home owners who are with us today, the Arias family, newly arrived from Peru. They live in Baltimore. Thanks to the Association of Real Estate Brokers, the help of some good folks in Baltimore, they figured out how to purchase their own home. Imagine to be coming to our country without a home, with a simple dream. And now they're on stage here at this conference being one of the new home owners in the greatest land on the face of the Earth. I appreciate the Arias family coming. (Applause.)

    We've got the Horton family from Little Rock, Arkansas, here today. … They were helped by HUD, they were helped by Freddie Mac. …

    Finally, Kim Berry from New York is here. She's a single mom. You're not going to believe this, but her son is 18 years old. (Laughter.) She barely looked like she was 18 to me. And being a single mom is the hardest job in America. And the idea of this fine American working hard to provide for her child, at the same time working hard to realize her dream, which is owning a home on Long Island, is really a special tribute to the character of this particular person and to the character of a lot of Americans. So we're honored to have you here, Kim, and thanks for being such a good mom and a fine American. (Applause.)

    I told Mel Martinez I was serious about this initiative… And the good news is, Mel Martinez believes it and means it, as well. He's doing a fine job of running HUD, and I'm glad he has joined my Cabinet. (Applause.)

    And I picked a pretty spunky deputy, as well, Alphonso Jackson -- my fellow Texan. (Applause.) I call him A.J. …

    I see Rosario Marin, who's the Treasurer of the United States. Rosario used to be a mayor. Thank you for coming, Madam Mayor. (Applause.) She understands how important housing is. …

    All of us here in America should believe, and I think we do, that we should be, as I mentioned, a nation of owners. Owning something is freedom, as far as I'm concerned. It's part of a free society. And ownership of a home helps bring stability to neighborhoods. You own your home in a neighborhood, you have more interest in how your neighborhood feels, looks, whether it's safe or not. It brings pride to people, it's a part of an asset-based to society. It helps people build up their own individual portfolio, provides an opportunity, if need be, for a mom or a dad to leave something to their child. It's a part of -- it's of being a -- it's a part of -- an important part of America.

    Homeownership is also an important part of our economic vitality. If -- when we meet this project, this goal, according to our Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, we will have added an additional $256 billion to the economy by encouraging 5.5 million new home owners in America; …

    Low interest rates, low inflation are very important foundations for economic growth. The idea of encouraging new homeownership and the money that will be circulated as a result of people purchasing homes will mean people are more likely to find a job in America. This project not only is good for the soul of the country, it's good for the pocketbook of the country, as well.

    To open up the doors of homeownership there are some barriers, and I want to talk about four that need to be overcome. First, down payments. A lot of folks can't make a down payment. They may be qualified. They may desire to buy a home, but they don't have the money to make a down payment. I think if you were to talk to a lot of families that are desirous to have a home, they would tell you that the down payment is the hurdle that they can't cross. And one way to address that is to have the federal government participate.

    And so we've called upon Congress to set up what's called the American Dream Down Payment Fund, which will provide financial grants to local governments to help first-time home buyers who qualify to make the down payment on their home. If a down payment is a problem, there's a way we can address that. And when Congress funds the program, this should help 200,000 new families over the next five years become first-time home buyers.

    Secondly, affordable housing is a problem in many neighborhoods, particularly inner-city neighborhoods. … I'm doing is proposing a single-family affordable housing credit to encourage the construction of single-family homes in neighborhoods where affordable housing is scarce. (Applause.)

    Over the next five years the initiative will provide home builders and therefore home buyers with -- home builders with $2 billion in tax credits to bring affordable homes and therefore provide an additional supply for home buyers. …

    And we've got to set priorities. And one of the key priorities is going to be inner-city America. …

    Another obstacle to minority homeownership is the lack of information. You know, getting into your own home can be complicated. It can be a difficult process. I had that very same problem. (Laughter and applause.)

    Every home buyer has responsibilities and rights that need to be understood clearly. And yet, when you look at some of the contracts, there's a lot of small print. And you can imagine somebody newly arrived from Peru looking at all that print, and saying, I'm not sure I can possibly understand that. Why do I want to buy a home? There's an educational process that needs to go on, not only to explain the contract, explain obligation, but also to explain financing options, to help people understand the complexities of a homeownership market, and also at the same time to protect people from unscrupulous lenders, people who would take advantage of a good-hearted soul who is trying to realize their dream.

    Homeownership education is critical. And so today, I'm pleased to announce that through Mel's office, we're going to distribute $35 million in 2003 to more than 100 national, state and local organizations that promote homeownership through buyer education. (Applause.)

    And, of course, one of the larger obstacles to minority homeownership is financing, is the ability to have their dream financed. Right now, we have a program that all of you are familiar with, maybe our fellow Americans are, and that's what they call a Section 8 housing program, that provides billions of dollars in vouchers to help low-income Americans with their rent. It encourages leasing. We think it's important that we use those vouchers, that federal money to help low-income Americans go from being somebody who leases to somebody who owns; that we use the Section 8 program to not only help with down payment, but to help with continuing monthly mortgage payments after they're into their new home. It is a -- it is a way to help us meet this dream of 5.5 million additional families owning their home.

    I'm also going to encourage the lending industry to develop a mortgage market so that this script, these vouchers, can regularly be used as a source of payment to provide more capital to lenders, who can then help more families move from rental housing into houses of their own. …

    Last June, I issued a challenge to everyone involved in the housing industry to help increase the number of minority families to be home owners. And what I'm talking about, I'm talking about your bankers and your brokers and developers, as well as members of faith-based community and community programs. And the response to the home owners challenge has been very strong and very gratifying. Twenty-two public and private partners have signed up to help meet our national goal. Partners in the mortgage finance industry are encouraging homeownership by purchasing more loans made by banks to African Americans, Hispanics and other minorities.

    Representatives of the real estate and homebuilding industries, through their nationwide networks or affiliates, are committed to broadening homeownership. They made the commitment to help meet the national goal we set.

    Freddie Mae -- Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac -- I see the heads who are here; I want to thank you all for coming -- (laughter) -- have committed to provide more money for lenders. They've committed to help meet the shortage of capital available for minority home buyers.

    Fannie Mae recently announced a $50 million program to develop 600 homes for the Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma. Franklin [Raines], I appreciate that commitment. They also announced $12.7 million investment in a condominium project in Harlem. It's the beginnings of a series of initiatives to help meet the goal of 5.5 million families. Franklin told me at the meeting where we kicked this office, he said, I promise you we will help, and he has, like many others in this room have done.

    Freddie Mac recently began 25 initiatives around the country to dismantle barriers and create greater opportunities for homeownership. One of the programs is designed to help deserving families who have bad credit histories to qualify for homeownership loans. …

    There's all kinds of ways that we can work together to meet the goal. Corporate America has a responsibility to work to make America a compassionate place. Corporate America has responded. As an example -- only one of many examples -- the good folks at Sears and Roebuck have responded by making a five-year, $100 million commitment to making homeownership and home maintenance possible for millions of Americans. …

    The non-profit groups are bringing homeownership to some of our most troubled communities. …

    The other thing Kirbyjon told me, which I really appreciate, is you don't have to have a lousy home for first-time home buyers. If you put your mind to it, the first-time home buyer, the low-income home buyer can have just as nice a house as anybody else. And I know Kirbyjon. He is what I call a social entrepreneur who is using his platform as a Methodist preacher to improve the neighborhood and the community in which he lives.

    And so is Luis Cortes, who represents Nueva Esperanza in Philadelphia. I went to see Luis in the inner-city Philadelphia. … But he also understood that a homeownership program is incredibly important to revitalize this neighborhood that a lot of folks had already quit on. …

    Again, I want to tell you, this is an initiative -- as Mel will tell you, it's an initiative that we take very seriously. … Thank you for coming. May God bless your vision. May God bless America. (Applause.)

    What would 5.5 million marginal mortgages cost? I dunno ... at, say, $127,000 each, that would be, what, $700 billion?
    May 16 06:43 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Why the Recession Ended [View article]
    The war machine was gov't spending and not private investment. Those who don't know history are doomed to repeat it. Pressure to rein in spending during the FDR era caused the depression to last even longer and a mistake made by FDR. The tea party is ignorant of the fact that gov't spending is not an evil, unless, it crowds out and or puts off all together private investment. Then again admission is the first step to recovery. The most distorted market in America is the healthcare system. Obama, has had to deal with reality. Both parties are in the pockets of drug makers, managed care and insurance. Speak of an unsustainable system, this is the poster child. A distorted market like no other, making OPEC and De Beers. Then the Reagan era deregulation is in fact what started the subprime. Capitalist self destructed, just as communism. The nerve of the firms repaying TARP money by floating new issues of stock, thereby diluting present shareholder value, reeks of the Wall Street welfare entitlement mentality. They screwed the shareholders to get their greedy little hands on that unearned bonus. Now its hitting main street as pension funds are under funded and the insurance industry was also a big investor in these subprimes. Companies have to use profits to fund pensions and not reward their employees. Just look at the Wall Street folks who duped other Wall Street folks.
    May 13 10:38 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Liquidation in Commodities Resumes [View article]
    Again I see the silly notion/idea that China has America in a strangle hold with this debt. Failing to see that we are still the number one consumer nation and the market for China's goods/services, be it Walmart or whatever. Their stability depends on America and if they ever decide to put pressure (call in their loan), their market/economy would suffer. They want the stability which our market offer and keep their population employed and expanding. Otherwise, social unrest would ruin their status quo. That is the current system keeps high level communist officials, their families and friends wealthy. Trust me they don't want anything to rock the boat. It’s in their best interest to maintain this co-dependency. No one held a twisted their arm and or held a gun to their head to loan America. As no one twisted our arm and or held a gun to our head to borrow/trade with China or India. Wake up and smell globalization and quit listening to the mania created by talking heads with nothing between the talking heads ears.
    May 13 10:35 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Liquidation in Commodities Resumes [View article]
    We seem to not factor in the economic reality and forces which will cause the long term prices to increase. Price is but a rationing system for all goods and services. Demand will increase regardless of the speculation, given the real economic forces at play. However, speculation will cause short term non-economic roller coaster conditions. This is but a short term market distorting issue. The demand caused by limited supply and inflationary pressure is long term and makes all tangible commodities attractive and a safe investment in the long term. The higher prices will increase exploration and alternatives in the even longer term as higher prices make it even more attractive to lure capital into these markets, hence spurring innovations. The big players/concerns see this as they move away from fossil and into natural gas. Two forces also put upward pressure into the metals market, its use a material and folks whom are misled into thinking that its a safe storer of value and hence hoard it much like any other commodity in a false economic demand which distorts its real demand. The weakness in the dollar, seems to bring out these misled folks whom think that currency should be made of precious metals. You have to factor these as speculators who add on to the precious metal in industry and thereby cause a silly distortion in the precious metal market. However, all tangibles should keep pace with inflation and are a safe bet on keeping purchasing power if and when the FED raises interest rates to slow the economy and inflationary pressures. The only folks who distort short and long term markets are those who hoard in a misled idea that gold is just but a commodity. Their demand is not realistic and has to be factored into false economies/distorted markets. Other than the hoarding volatility cause in the precious metals market all commodities will be a safe bet in the years to come as China/India economic expansion create real demand.
    May 13 09:09 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Why the Recession Ended [View article]

    Federal Reserve Board data show that:

    •More than 84 percent of the subprime mortgages in 2006 were issued by private lending institutions.

    •Private firms made nearly 83 percent of the subprime loans to low- and moderate-income borrowers that year.

    •Only one of the top 25 subprime lenders in 2006 was directly subject to the housing law that's being lambasted by conservative critics.

    Fannie, the Federal National Mortgage Association, and Freddie, the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp., don't lend money, to minorities or anyone else, however. They purchase loans from the private lenders who actually underwrite the loans.

    Between 2004 and 2006, when subprime lending was exploding, Fannie and Freddie went from holding a high of 48 percent of the subprime loans that were sold into the secondary market to holding about 24 percent, according to data from Inside Mortgage Finance, a specialty publication. One reason is that Fannie and Freddie were subject to tougher standards than many of the unregulated players in the private sector who weakened lending standards, most of whom have gone bankrupt or are now in deep trouble.

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    Aug 7 06:32 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Why the Recession Ended [View article]
    You completely missed the impact of “liar loans”, i.e. fraudulently written mortgages that were 100% from private companies. These were the people who severely ramped up the number of mortgages to feed the derivatives packaging machine. These loans were said to be conforming, but were not. That’s a huge piece of the puzzle to miss.

    And the size of Fannie and Freddie’s woes aren’t from what they underwrote, but rather what they bought after the peak to “get in the game”.

    First of all we need to come to grips with the biggest welfare issue created by government. The mortgage itemized deduction, which many in this society have used, which will be phased out as the standard deduction rises. Most here used it and therefore we have more homeowners as a society. To say that Freddie and Fannie underwrote bad loans is just not fact. They were bullied by elected officials into investing in the one time gold mine of sub-primes.

    Do we have to go through this EVERY time? No, the real estate bubble was not the fault of Fannie and Freddie. Yes, F&F backed less than 26% of subprime loans in 2006. No, option ARMs, ALT-A loans, and 120% cash-out-refi loans were not F&F inventions. No, the 1977 CRA was not to blame for the meltdown 30 years later. No, banks were not forced to give option ARMs to people with bad credit by the evil Democrats in Congress.
    Aug 6 05:54 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Chipotle Stands to Gain From Store Growth, Increased Consumer Spending [View article]
    Chipoltes web site has franchise information. Also McDonalds divested themselves as they provided the seed money. I personaly prefer Chipoltes, (having tried Qdobas) however, many swear by Freebirds.
    Aug 5 06:12 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Why the Recession Ended [View article]
    Please spare me your flat earth non sense. For that matter have you seen the Bush transcript? Just as I thought. I'm sure he didn't inhale. However, did he sneeze? What action did he see? How about the Laura DUI breath test? Its pathetic the hoops and hurdles the democrats must jump to please the crazies.

    Just like the fool who threaten the president, your commander and chief, is rotting away in prison. Pathetic a grown man of nearly 50 years, living with mom, would listen to Rush, Beck and the idiots on FAUX NEWS. So where are these folks who prodded and urge this fool in his hour of need. I though so.

    Back to your steers and queers in the stockyards. Ft Worth is not safe for the farm animals. I suppose its manly these days, since Brokeback Mountain is out of the closet.
    Aug 5 06:06 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment