The above story came from the London Times by way of Fox News. Yemen claims it is overwhelmed with Islamic fundamentalist terror suspects and that it does not have the capability to counter them. Warnings have also emerged that this weeks terror attempt was not the only plot.
Thursday, December 31, 2009
The above story came from the London Times by way of Fox News. Yemen claims it is overwhelmed with Islamic fundamentalist terror suspects and that it does not have the capability to counter them. Warnings have also emerged that this weeks terror attempt was not the only plot.
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
They were successful and developed a beautiful pen at great taxpayer’s expense, but NASA solved the wrong problem. The problem was not to make a pen write in space, but to just “write” in space. The Russians realized that they only needed to write in space, not use a ball point pen and simply used a five cent pencil instead of wasting a million dollars. The lesson is the first thing you must do to be successful in solving a problem is make sure you have identified the true problem.
At the end of November the amount of expected revenue for the West Virginia highway fund was down $14.6 million, mostly because of the poor economy. Immediately there was talk out of Charleston about raising taxes, but the tax rate is not the real problem. The real problem is the rising cost and reduced revenue. Until these problems are solved, the state’s Department of Highways will continue to have problems even in good economic times. The state must get creative on generating additional revenue and cutting cost.
There are 22 welcome centers and rest areas run by the WVDOH. Each costs approximately $500,000 a year in annual maintenance for a total of $11 million dollars. Two of these on the West Virginia Turnpike have a Federal exemption to allow them to be commercialized, which is pretty common on toll roads. However they also occur in a few other places on non-Toll Road Interstates, such as I-95 north of Baltimore, MD.
Commercialization of West Virginia’s other twenty rest areas and welcome centers could provide a partial solution to the WVDOH funding problems. As these are leased to private companies then a $10 million drain on the WVDOH would disappear as responsibility for the maintenance would shift from the state to the private companies. There would also be a revenue stream generated from the lease agreements. A drain on the state highway fund would be turned into revenue generation, all without putting any additional burden on the taxpayers.
There would also be employment benefits for the state. Each rest area at a minimum would end up with a fast food restaurant and a convenience store/gas station. The average fast food chain restaurant employs about 60 persons and the convenience store 10 persons. This would generate approximately 1,400 private sector jobs across the state from entry level fry cooks to well paid manager positions. As an example; if the two rest areas in Braxton County were commercialized in this way, the Braxton County unemployment rate could drop from 8.3% to 5.3% making it the lowest in the state.
The benefits do not stop at increased employment and reduced operating cost to the state. The free market approach also creates new tax revenue streams into the states coffers. The 1,400 new employees and the new businesses created will pay income taxes to the state. There will now be property taxes paid to the counties at the rest areas on the equipment installed where before there was none. Most important to WVDOH is the gasoline sold at the new filling stations will pay new taxes directly to the highway fund without raising taxes on struggling WV families.
In these hard economic times West Virginia must work to solve the correct problems and reduce the burden of taxes on all the people of the state in the process. We must look for new solutions to old problems and stop thinking the only solution is increasing taxes.
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Monday, December 28, 2009
Saturday, December 26, 2009
Friday, December 25, 2009
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Is this really what the Democratic Party stands for? Several months ago they wanted citizens to report on their friends, family, and neighbors if they heard peopel criticize the health care deform plans. Others favored passing regulations that would destroy conservative talk radio shows. Now an elected member of Congress wants to attack the free speech of a Florida citizen who dared to parody his website.
Is this really the party that Thomas Jefferson and James Madison founded? First they trample the rights of the states, then the citizens. Some of them have no concern for the Bill of Rights, nor do they believe in natural rights' legal ideals. People like this gentleman want your money, the power to control you, and for you to kindly shut up while they are doing it. Of course he wants a citizen put in jail for five years for making a parody of his website, all the while calling female professionals whores and comparing Republicans to Nazis.
Most people understand that Republicans labor under a double standard in politics and the media. I would hope that no Republican would want to jail another citizen for such a trivial thing, or even consider it a crime.
When satire becomes a crime, thousands of actors and commedians may have to find somewhere else to live.
CHARLESTON - As the United States Senate works frantically to meet its arbitrary Christmas deadline on "health care reform,” it appears that Majority Leader Reid has resorted to backroom deal-making in order to gather the necessary 60 votes on legislation that remains unpopular with the American people.
Media reports suggest that Vermont, Nebraska and Massachusetts may get exemptions that subsidize the expansion of Medicaid, while Florida, Pennsylvania and New York will be exempted from major cuts to Medicare Advantage. As most states (including West Virginia) shell out millions in tax dollars to fund new Medicaid recipients and seniors across the country see their Medicare Advantage benefits dry up, these exempted states will be shielded from the impacts of the Senate bill.
"These exemptions strike me as blatant admission by Democratic leadership that major components of this bill are a bad deal for states and a bad deal for seniors," said Capito. "What should have been an open process of give and take appears to have degenerated into a series of sweetheart deals for some states that leave the rest of us to pick up the tab."
Earlier this year, Capito wrote to the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources regarding the budgetary impact of expanding Medicaid. In a letter to the secretary, Capito noted that - after a short-term grace period - states would have to pick up a significantly larger share of the Medicaid burden, which could mean new taxes or more budget cuts.
She has also raised concerns about severe cuts to Medicare which threatens to alter coverage for thousands of West Virginia seniors.
"On top of $56 billion in cuts to home health care and $143 billion in across the board cuts to Medicare providers, by gutting Medicare Advantage the Speaker's bill blatantly breaks the President's promise that if you like your current plan you can keep it," Capito said in November after the House passed their version of the health care bill.
The Price of “Reform”
Some States Get Special Treatment Under Democrats’ Bill – But Not West Virginia
Politico: Reid Holds Caucus Together One Vote at a Time: “Reid was able to hold his caucus together, in part, by writing state-specific provisions that won over senators, one vote at a time. Nebraska, Vermont and Massachusetts scored $1.2 billion in special Medicaid assistance. Nelson got something for Nebraska the other states didn’t — a permanent exemption from increased state costs for new patients that come into Medicaid through the plan. Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming secured higher federal reimbursement rates for doctors and hospitals that serve Medicare patients. Senior citizens in Florida, Pennsylvania and New York will see their Medicare Advantage benefits protected at a time when the program will be trimmed nationwide.” (Politico, December 21, 2009)
Wall Street Journal: Change Nobody Believes In: “…Others got hush money, namely Nebraska's Ben Nelson. Even liberal Governors have been howling for months about ObamaCare's unfunded spending mandates: Other budget priorities like education will be crowded out when about 21% of the U.S. population is on Medicaid, the joint state-federal program intended for the poor. Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman calculates that ObamaCare will result in $2.5 billion in new costs for his state that "will be passed on to citizens through direct or indirect taxes and fees," as he put it in a letter to his state's junior Senator. So in addition to abortion restrictions, Mr. Nelson won the concession that Congress will pay for 100% of Nebraska Medicaid expansions into perpetuity. His capitulation ought to cost him his political career, but more to the point, what about the other states that don't have a Senator who's the 60th vote for ObamaCare? (WSJ Editorial, December 21, 2009)
Washington Post: ‘Cash for Cloture:’ “Indeed, the proliferation of deals has outpaced the ability of Capitol Hill cynics to name them. Gator Aid: Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) inserted a grandfather clause that would allow Floridians to preserve their pricey Medicare Advantage program. Handout Montana: Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) secured Medicare coverage for anybody exposed to asbestos -- as long as they worked in a mine in Libby, Mont. Iowa Pork and Omaha Prime Cuts: Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) won more Medicare money for low-volume hospitals of the sort commonly found in Iowa, while Nebraska's Nelson won a "carve out" provision that would reduce fees for Mutual of Omaha and other Nebraska insurers.” (Washington Post, Dana Milbank Column, December 22, 2009)
Friday, December 18, 2009
Hopefully this lack of movement indicates that the faux climate change movement is about to collapse. The timely journalistic coup that exposed global warming's biggest advocates as cunning manipulators of public opinion and enemies of scientific inquiry probably saved the day.
We should continue to find technologies that reduce pollution, but we do not need chicken little scare tactics to keep moving forward towards cleaner use of all energy sources.
Event: Winter Storm Warning
...WINTER STORM WARNING NOW IN EFFECT FROM 9 PM THIS EVENING TO
6 AM EST SUNDAY...
THE WINTER STORM WARNING IS NOW IN EFFECT FROM 9 PM THIS EVENING
TO 6 AM EST SUNDAY.
* PRECIPITATION TYPE...SNOW.
* ACCUMULATIONS...HEAVY SNOW WITH ACCUMULATIONS OF 10 TO 16 INCHES
THROUGH SATURDAY NIGHT.
* TIMING...SNOW WILL BEGIN FRIDAY NIGHT BETWEEN 9 AND 11 PM. SNOW
WILL BE HEAVIEST FROM 4 AM TO 4 PM SATURDAY.
* TEMPERATURES...TEMPERATURES WILL HOVER IN THE LOW TO MID 20S.
* WINDS...10 TO 15 MPH THROUGH THE EVENT...WITH GUSTS TO 25 MPH
SATURDAY AND SUNDAY.
Instructions: A WINTER STORM WARNING MEANS SIGNIFICANT AMOUNTS OF SNOW ARE EXPECTED OR OCCURRING. STRONG WINDS ARE ALSO POSSIBLE. CONDITIONS WILL DETERIORATE VERY RAPIDLY EARLY SATURDAY MORNING AND WILL MAKE TRAVEL EXTREMELY TREACHEROUS.
Target Area: Hampshire Morgan Berkeley Jefferson Pendleton Hardy Western Mineral Eastern Mineral
How is this refreshing? The people have come out and let it be known that Congress as currently constituted has performed unacceptably. As usual they show a complete disconnect from the people, but in the past few years they have also worked very hard to drive our country into decline. Massive debts destroy the financial reputation that we worked so hard to create dating back to Alexander Hamilton. The world has lost faith in our ability to lead the economy and make sound decisions. Some see an opportunity to use the current crisis to tweak the eagle's tail and cut us down a peg. No doubt our own left wing in theis country loves to see the United States shorn of its traditional dominance. But is this healthy for the world at large?
Who to blame? Obama has done a lot of damage, but the current majority party has seen nothing but decline since they took office in 2007. When Obama blames current problems on conditions created before he took office, he is careful to forget the votes and policies of a Democratic Congress.
Obviously the problem is the Democratic Party's massive lurch to the left. Mollohan has to march in step to ultra left winger Nancy Pelosi and her desire to destroy gun rights, coal mining, publicly fund abortions, raise the debt sky high, and do a lot of other things that will harm our nation and its people. We realize that a vote for Alan Mollohan os a vote for Nancy Pelosi and her disastrous record. Regradless of the good services he has done for individuals seeking help from his office, he is supporting the majority party in Congress whose almost every move has harmed West Virginia.
Most recently Congress raised the debt ceiling to allow yet another so-called stimulus package through by the barest of majorities. Alan Mollohan and Nick Joe Rahall voted to waste more money. Shelley Moore Capito voted against it, remembering much of the stimulus money spent last time went to groups like ACORN.
2010 cannot come soon enough. Mollohan's weakness is evident in his paltry fundraising and the enthusiasm of an army of candidates expecting to unseat him. Republicans in the First District need to band together this summer and fall and send Alan Mollohan and the Dmeocratic Congress into retirement.
Thursday, December 17, 2009
LATE SATURDAY NIGHT
THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN STERLING VIRGINIA HAS ISSUED A WINTER STORM WATCH...IN EFFECT FROM LATE FRIDAY NIGHT THROUGH
LATE SATURDAY NIGHT.
* PRECIP TYPE...SNOW.
* ACCUMULATIONS...HEAVY SNOW WITH ACCUMULATIONS GREATER THAN 5 INCHES.
* TIMING...SNOW WILL BEGIN LATE FRIDAY NIGHT AND WILL CONTINUE THROUGH SUNDAY MORNING.
* TEMPERATURES...UPPER 20S TO LOWER 30S THROUGH THE EVENT.
* WINDS...10 TO 20 MPH THROUGH THE EVENT...WITH GUSTS OF 25 TO 30 MPH SATURDAY AND SUNDAY. PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...
A WINTER STORM WATCH MEANS THERE IS A POTENTIAL FOR SIGNIFICANT
SNOW THAT MAY IMPACT TRAVEL. CONTINUE TO MONITOR THE LATEST
WASHINGTON – With the House of Representatives finishing up the year today with appropriations measures and a hike in the debt limit, Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., didn’t mince words when discussing her views on the Democrat’s year-end agenda.
“This is nothing but more of the same: more spending, more taxes and little to show for it,” said the 2nd District congresswoman.
“My colleagues on the other side of the aisle are pushing an agenda with more spending on programs that can’t even spend what they have now. And they’re hiking the nation’s debt limit to $12.4 trillion so they can borrow the money they need to do it. It’s irresponsible, it’s ill-conceived and it’s unlikely to meet with any more success than what we’ve seen with the first stimulus package.
Capito noted the troubling state of the job market and expressed skepticism that the Democrat’s latest “jobs” bill would realistically address it. She also raised objections to Democratic efforts to raid TARP funds that were originally pegged to help pay down the debt.
“Don’t be misled, this is not a ‘jobs’ bill,” she said. “Last time I checked, after passing a $787 billion stimulus package, the national unemployment rate is still in double digits and West Virginia’s unemployment rate is on the rise.”
“Instead of repeating the mistakes of the original stimulus so my colleagues can feign concern on jobs, let’s offer real relief for small business owners and put a stop to the troubling anti-growth policies that continue to stem from this congress.”
Liberal media types write with glee about the demise of the Republican Party and th epotential for splintering going into the election of 2010. That being said, the GOP has substantially outraised the Democratic Party since Obama took office.
Left wing control of the government sparked outrage over the waste of money and time. Frustrated protesters have seen the Republican Party as stumbling along too slowly and getting behind the curve on important issues. All too often they accuse Republicans of differing viewpoints of not being real conservatives. The media also fails to realize that committed Republicans have held Tea Party rallies.
The problems within the GOP and conservative movement overall are relatively picayune. Libertarians and conservatives in some areas have problems with party leadership, usually more on procedural than ideological grounds. Democrats are splitting on ideological issues. Conservative Democrats fear the wrath of constituents and left wing leaders. Some have courageously split, others try to steer the rapids in the middle of the river.
Republicans need a leader to emerge as Reagan did in the 1970s. From 1976 to 1980 the GOP was split by ideological differences. "Moderates" such as Nelson Rockefeller battled Goldwater inspired small government conservatives such as Ronald Reagan. Reagan understood the anger he shared with the American people, but channeled it into a specific vision of a brighter future rather than simply dislike of Jimmy Carter.
Where will that leader come from? The same model should succeed in 2012 as in 1980. Whoever it is needs to step forth and help inspire party loyalists and those that are simply mad as hell at the movement away from true American values.
Yesterday we talked about how Obama likes to rip on fat cats to score political points. A little mouse told me, before I ate him, that Obama was not literally talking about cats. Apparently that is a term they use for businessmen and heads of banks and whatnot. Now it all makes sense! Or does it?
Okay let me try and make sense of all this. You (the government) offer banks loans to bail them out because they made dumb decisions that, for the most part you had either been strongly encouraging them or forcing them to make. Of course some of them compounded that by making a lot of stupid decisions all by themselves. These decisions, made at your behest, screwed up the world's financial system. Now you give them bailout money instead of letting them go down the drain, probably because if you did not give them the money, they would reveal just how big a role that you (the government again) helped to screw everything up.
So they make decisions you don't like and now you want to force them to, once again, abide by the political needs of the government instead of the needs of who they are really accountable to, customers and shareholders.
Meanwhile the executive branch and the army of czars have not figured out one idea that actually worked because, surprise, there is no one there that has the ear of the president who has any knowledge of how a free market system actually works!
Take some advice from a real fat cat. Get your hands off the banks, General Motors, etc. Stop buying the support of NBC through cap and trade intercourse with their parent company, General Electric. Let companies rise and fall by their own merits. The free market system works if you let it. Half a$$#d socialism only creates an economy that works at a mediocre level because no one is sure what political whim will next sweep through the system.
If anyone out there wants to blame fat cats, don't blame capitalism and don't blame me. neither one of us had anything to do with what is going on now. We have met our economic enemy and once again it's the flipping government. Oh and guess what. The inflation that is coming? That's the government's fault too! It spends too much!
Fat cat signing off!
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Where does Barack Obama find people like Kevin Jennings? Seriously! It is almost as if he looked for the scuzziest and nastiest people on Earth to serve as his top advisors. And this guy has authority over federal school policy!!!!
If you read the link, you know that Jennings is a man who should never be allowed within a thousand yards of a school, much less serve as an educational advisor to the president. These conventions should be as carefully attended by FBI agents as pro Klan churches were during the civil rights movement. After all, they promote child molestation.
This is an issue that is kind of scary. This guy has written books proudly proclaiming that he encouraged young schoolage boys to have sex with older men in bus stations, but only if they wore a condom. To me if it walks like a duck, acts like a duck, quacks like a duck, a duck it most likely is. If this guy thinks molesting teenage boys is A-OK and is brazen enough to write a book about promoting it (isn't THAT a crime?), I doubt it would take much digging to find a serious felony in his past.
A conservative and a golf star cheat on their wives and it is big news. Obama appoints a guy that promotes child molestation and no one utters a peep. Am I missing something?
The thought that a child molestor currently serves as Obama's top advisor on education is chilling. No one has ever said he actually molested a boy, but he has repeatedly stated that there is nothing wrong with it. And that is horrifying enough.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Every darned time some liberal or left wing pinko Commie gets a bee in his bonnet about the business cycle or banks or just rich people in general, they attack me. Why? What do they have against me? What you see right here is what you get. I'm not rich. I'm sleeping on a #$!%&!% pizza box for crying out loud. Sometimes I stretch out in the driveway too. It's not like I spend twenty hours a day worrying about the profitability of a multibillion dollar corporation or somwething like that.
Yeah I know what you are saying. You may spend 23 and 1/2 hours a day asleep somewhere and the rest eating, a lot like many of the folks who receive redistribution of wealth, but are all fat cats like you? Of course not. Some fat cats knock $#!& off the counter and break it because they are unaware of their girth. Others do their business in the clean laundry basket instead of in the litter box. My point is that we may all be fat cats, but most of us know how to behave. Liberals and lefties love to assign stereotypes that are not accurate, yet elicit an emotional response (yes I said elicit, you got a problem with that? I may have no opposable digits, but I ain't dumb.) Of course when conservatives suggest that we may want to keep our eyes on the guy rocking back and forth in the airport whispering Allah Akhbar over and over, wearing a trenchcoat in summer over a suspicious bulge in his stomach, they scream "profiling! stereotype!" But when they want to stick all us decent fat cats in the same boat as the one that poops on your foot while you are asleep in bed that is apparently perfectly alright.
So Obama, you go on bashing fat cats on your weekly radio speech that is carried on no radio station I ever heard of, but MSNBC seems to have playing constantly. I'll live my life. Just quit profiling me and my friends. Don't dump the good in with the bad just to get an emotional political response. That's irresponsible. Even a cat knows that.
However, with that caveat in mind, the time has come to consider the positives of introducing some form of marijauna for medical use.
In 2003 almost five million people reported using opiate pain medication for "non medical purposes" according to a National Institute in Drug Addiction study. (In comparison, experts believe that two million people have a cocaine addiction.) Now this number has certainly A) risen sharply in the past six years and B) was underreported to begin with because a lot of people do not like admitting to this kind of behavior. Opiates include darvocet, percocet, oxycontin and other pills derived from opium.
For anyone, opium based drugs are highly physically addictive. All too many people have a predisposition towards addiction that makes them highly vulnerable to the "high" created by these medications. Mix a vulnerable person, physically or emotionally, with a highly concentrated opiate such as oxycontin and you are sure to get an addict nearly every time.
Enter marijuana. As a medication or social drug, marijuana has a much lower physical addiction rate. Certainly the high can create emotional dependence in many cases, but that is much easier to break than the physical dependence created by opiates. Marijuana when properly used has almost the same pain killing effect as most of the opiate drugs. Getting a similar benefit with a much lower rate of desperate addiction is a strong argument in favor of legalizing marijuana for medical use. As far as abuse is concerned, misuse and addiction to opiates is rampant already. Any measure that could stem the tide of normal people growing addicted in the course of taking a legitimate prescription is a bonus for society.
Medical marijuana gives us a potential alternative to the highly addictive opiates, but the problem does not stop there. We need to reign in some of these "pain clinics" that have as much concern for their patients as Mexican drug cartels do for their customers. Doctors that knowingly hand out pills to addicts for no real medical purpose at all need to be treated in the same manner as crack or meth dealers. Their degrees and nice clothes do not make them any better than any other drug dealer. Some highly addictive drugs need to be used only in cases of terminal illness or the most severe and debilitating conditions, the kind of real pain problems that would preclude a normal life anyway.
Medical marijuana is only part of the solution to runaway pain pill addiction in this country, but it is an important step towards keeping good people from sliding down that path in the first place.
One last thing. Those of you that support this and have rallies and meetings that end up on TV, here is a public relations hint. Get rid of the long hair and beards. Wear a button down shirt, maybe even a tie. It does not help the cause of medical marijuana to have on television the Jerry Garcia look alike contest. Now I used to have a lot of friends that looked like this, maybe still do. However, seeing these people wandering around in the background of TV coverage does not advance the movement. Not trying to be mean or discriminatory, but just take it as food for thought.
Sunday, December 13, 2009
Friday, December 11, 2009
Thursday, December 10, 2009
What exactly does that mean? Well Crazy Nancy will throw in some perks for seniors, leave out the "Cadillac health plan tax" for union workers. She'll do almost anything because she WANTS TO MAKE A DEAL TODAY!
That is, except for meaningful tort reform, interstate portability, small business pools, or anything else that smacks of free market reform or avoiding an eventual government takeover.
Crazy Nancy Pelosi, other than offering something good for America, is willing to deal today!
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
I work for a reproductive justice organization. That means that for almost 10 years, I’ve been advocating for West Virginia families to improve education on reproductive decisions, increase access to affordable birth control, and protect personal decision-making, including decisions about whether or when to have a child. This means that we at WV FREE support access to abortion care because it’s what women sometimes need as part of their basic health care.
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
WASHINGTON – In light of reports that as many as 300 employees may face layoffs at a Clay County coal mine, Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., released the following statement:
“Today’s news is a sobering reminder that continued uncertainty surrounding mine permits poses a serious threat to jobs across our state. We’re talking about real families now forced to ponder the future of their jobs and their livelihood. These are not abstract consequences in some far away land; these are our friends and neighbors. These are hard-working West Virginians.
“This mine provides the vast majority of Clay County’s tax-base and is its largest employer, making the prospect of Fola shutting down troubling at best and economically devastating at worst.
“Though today’s sad news stems from action in our courts, we know that the practical differences between delays at the hand of the courts or at the hands of the EPA are few and far between. While some would have us believe that the EPA and government regulators are simply ‘doing their job,’ it is becoming quite clear that the combined impact of litigation and regulatory uncertainty poses a severe threat to the economic climate of our state.
“As the President proposes his new so-called ‘jobs bill’ and heads off to Copenhagen to tout the EPA’s new ruling on carbon, perhaps he should consider the economic impact his policies will reap in the hills of Appalachia.”
WASHINGTON – Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, the ranking Republican on the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Housing and Community and Opportunity, made the following opening statement at this morning’s full committee hearing to discuss the status of federal efforts to address the mortgage crisis:
“I would like to thank Chairman Frank for holding this hearing this morning. As the Chairman is well aware, we had a similar hearing in the Housing and Community Opportunity Subcommittee in September of this year on the very issue of tracking progress with the Administration’s foreclosure mitigation programs. Introduced in early 2009, the Making Home Affordable program was rolled out with the promise of assisting 7 to 9 million troubled borrowers, yet the program has thus far assisted only a small fraction of this estimate.
“While the Administration’s plan has been somewhat more successful than the troubled Hope for Homeowners program, I have significant concerns with the over-estimation of the populations served by these programs. Although there are many Americans who are struggling to pay their mortgages, it has become clear that these programs simply may not be capable of handling the volume of borrowers, nor is it realistic to suggest that every struggling borrower will be able to benefit from a modification.
“Furthermore, there should not be a push to achieve these targets at the expense of ensuring that modifications are being processed in a manner that ensures the lender has as complete a picture of the borrower’s financial situation as possible. To this end, I was very troubled to learn that some modifications are being performed with minimal documentation. After all, it was this very practice of no or low documentation that helped create the housing crisis we face today. We should not be in the business of perpetuating this practice.
“According to the Treasury Department, 375,000 trial modifications are set to convert to a permanent modification by the end of the year. However, J.P. Morgan Chase recently disclosed that in November close to twenty five percent of their trial modifications failed to make the first payment, and nearly fifty percent of borrowers failed to make all three payments. Furthermore, the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston cites that thirty to forty-five percent of borrowers who receive modifications end up in default within six months. This raises significant concerns about the ability of these programs to meet the long-term expectations outlined earlier this year.
“These challenges are greatly compounded by a shift in the root causes of foreclosures. With the downturn in the economy, we are now facing more traditional causes of foreclosure, namely the loss of a job. As these programs progress, we must have a realistic understanding of their capability and we have an obligation to taxpayers to focus our efforts first and foremost on families who truly need assistance the most.
“I look forward to hearing from our witnesses this morning and thank the Chairman for holding this important hearing.”
Monday, December 7, 2009
WASHINGTON – Homebuyers would get three full days to review their complete mortgage documents before signing them at closing under a bipartisan proposal from Congresswomen Melissa Bean, D-Ill., and Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va.
“Buying a home is one of the most important financial investments a family will ever make,” said Capito, the ranking Republican on the Financial Services Subcommittee on Housing and Community Opportunity. “And with a decision of this magnitude, consumers deserve the time necessary to fully review their closing documents. By offering consumers time for proper review, we’re providing the transparency and information necessary for making sound financial decisions. I’m proud to join Melissa Bean in offering this bill and I look forward to our work together to see this legislation enacted.”
Both Bean and Capito noted the importance of ensuring that consumers have an adequate opportunity to educate themselves about the terms and components of their mortgage documents prior to closing.
“The financial crisis was touched off by an explosion in sub-prime loans, many of which were confusing to borrowers who didn’t understand the terms and wound up in loans they couldn’t afford,” Bean said. “When making the biggest single investment of their life, homebuyers deserve the time to fully inspect the details of the loan and ask questions about just what they’re committing to. This measure is part of the broad reforms to Wall Street regulation that I’ve been advocating for all year.”
Under current law, borrowers often do not see the final terms of their home purchase until they reach the closing. At the closing table, borrowers are confronted with a myriad of complex forms that are not easily comprehensible, even to industry professionals. In addition, borrowers often feel rushed during the settlement process and are unable to intelligently ask questions about the meaning of certain disclosures and the costs that they are incurring in connection with the transaction.
While borrowers do have the right to request and review a draft HUD-1 Settlement Statement one business day in advance to closing, many borrowers are unaware of that right, and there is no legal requirement that the HUD-1 be complete.
To be introduced this week, the Borrowers Right to Inspect Closing Documents Act requires the lender and the settlement agent to provide closing documents three business days in advance to review. Borrowers would get a complete and finalized HUD-I Settlement Statement, promissory note, mortgage, and Final Truth-in-Lending Act disclosure.
West Virginia was also hit by two bombs made from 16 in (410 mm) armor-piercing shells fitted with fins. The first bomb hit the foretop, penetrated the superstructure deck, and was found unexploded in the debris on the second deck. The second bomb hit further aft, wrecking one Vought OS2U Kingfisher floatplane atop the "high" catapult on Turret III and pitching the second one on her top on the main deck below. The projectile penetrated the 4 in (100 mm) turret roof, wrecking one gun in the turret itself. Although the bomb was another dud, burning gasoline from the damaged aircraft caused some damage. West Virginia was then seriously damaged by being engulfed in an oil fire started by Arizona and sustained for 30 hours by fuel leaking from both ships.
The torpedoes caused two large holes extending from Frames 43 to 52 and from Frames 62 to 97. Prompt action by Lieutenant Claude V. Ricketts (Claude V. Ricketts later had a ship named after him, the USS Claude V. Ricketts (DDG-5), formerly the USS Biddle), the assistant fire control officer who had some knowledge of damage control techniques, saved the ship from the fate that befell Oklahoma moored ahead. Oklahoma also took several torpedo hits that, in her case, flooded the ship and caused her to capsize.
Instances of heroic conduct onboard the heavily damaged battleship proliferated in the heat of battle. The ship's commanding officer, Captain Mervyn S. Bennion, arrived on his bridge early in the battle, only to be struck down by a bomb fragment hurled in his direction when a 16 in (410 mm) bomb hit the center gun in Tennessee's Turret II, spraying that ship's superstructure and West Virginia's with fragments. Bennion, hit in the abdomen, crumpled to the deck, mortally wounded, but clung tenaciously to life until just before the ship was abandoned, involved in the conduct of the ship's defense up to the last moment of his life. For his "conspicuous devotion to duty, extraordinary courage, and complete disregard of his own life", Captain Bennion was awarded the Medal of Honor, posthumously. Doris Miller, a cook, helped carry Captain Bennion to a safer place and then manned an antiaircraft gun despite having no previous experience. He was the first African-American recipient of the Navy Cross.
West Virginia was abandoned, settling to the harbor bottom on an even keel, her fires fought from on board by a party that volunteered to return to the ship after the first abandonment. By the afternoon of the following day, 8 December, the flames had been extinguished. The garbage lighter YG-17 played an important role in assisting those efforts during the Pearl Harbor attack, remaining in position alongside despite the danger posed by exploding ammunition on board the battleship. With a patch over the damaged area of her hull, the battleship was pumped out and ultimately refloated on 17 May 1942 and docked in Drydock Number One on 9 June. This gave the opportunity for a more detailed damage assessment and it became clear that there had been not six, but seven torpedo hits.
During the ensuing repairs, workers located 66 bodies of West Virginia sailors who had been trapped below when the ship sank. Several bodies were found lying on top of steam pipes within the air bubble existing in flooded areas. Three bodies were found in a store room compartment where they had lived on emergency rations and fresh water from a battle station. A calendar found with them indicated they had lived through 23 December. The task confronting the nucleus crew and shipyard workers was a monumental one, so great was the damage on the battleship's port side. Ultimately, however, West Virginia departed Pearl Harbor for the west coast and a complete rebuilding at the Puget Sound Navy Yard at Bremerton, Washington.
Yesterday, December 7th, 1941 -- a date which will live in infamy -- the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.
The United States was at peace with that nation and, at the solicitation of Japan, was still in conversation with its government and its emperor looking toward the maintenance of peace in the Pacific.
Indeed, one hour after Japanese air squadrons had commenced bombing in the American island of Oahu, the Japanese ambassador to the United States and his colleague delivered to our Secretary of State a formal reply to a recent American message. And while this reply stated that it seemed useless to continue the existing diplomatic negotiations, it contained no threat or hint of war or of armed attack.
It will be recorded that the distance of Hawaii from Japan makes it obvious that the attack was deliberately planned many days or even weeks ago. During the intervening time, the Japanese government has deliberately sought to deceive the United States by false statements and expressions of hope for continued peace.
Yesterday, the Japanese government also launched an attack against Malaya.
Last night, Japanese forces attacked Hong Kong.
Last night, Japanese forces attacked Guam.
Last night, Japanese forces attacked the Philippine Islands.
Last night, the Japanese attacked Wake Island.
And this morning, the Japanese attacked Midway Island.
Japan has, therefore, undertaken a surprise offensive extending throughout the Pacific area. The facts of yesterday and today speak for themselves. The people of the United States have already formed their opinions and well understand the implications to the very life and safety of our nation.
No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory.
I believe that I interpret the will of the Congress and of the people when I assert that we will not only defend ourselves to the uttermost, but will make it very certain that this form of treachery shall never again endanger us.
Hostilities exist. There is no blinking at the fact that our people, our territory, and our interests are in grave danger.
With confidence in our armed forces, with the unbounding determination of our people, we will gain the inevitable triumph -- so help us God.
I ask that the Congress declare that since the unprovoked and dastardly attack by Japan on Sunday, December 7th, 1941, a state of war has existed between the United States and the Japanese empire.
Saturday, December 5, 2009
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE BALTIMORE MD/WASHINGTON DC 450 AM EST SAT DEC 5 2009.
LOW PRESSURE IN THE NORTHERN GULF OF MEXICO WILL MOVE UP THE MID ATLANTIC COAST TODAY AND THEN EAST OF THE DELMARVA TOWARD THE GULF OF
MAINE TONIGHT. THIS WILL BRING SNOW TO THE MID ATLANTIC STATES.
WASHINGTON-EXTREME WESTERN ALLEGANY-CENTRAL AND EASTERN ALLEGANY-FREDERICK VA-CLARKE-HAMPSHIRE-MORGAN-BERKELEY-JEFFERSON-WESTERN MINERAL-EASTERN MINERAL-INCLUDING THE CITIES OF...HAGERSTOWN...FROSTBURG...CUMBERLAND...WINCHESTER...MARTINSBURG...CHARLES TOWN...EMORYVILLE...HARTMANSVILLE...KEYSER...FORT ASHBY 450 AM EST SAT DEC 5 2009
WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM 7 AM THIS
MORNING TO 9 PM EST THIS EVENING
A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM 7 AM THIS
MORNING TO 9 PM EST THIS EVENING. PRECIPITATION IS EXPECTED TO BEGIN ACROSS THE NORTHERN PANHANDLE OF WEST VIRGINIA...NORTH CENTRAL MARYLAND AND EXTREME NORTHERN VIRGINIA AROUND SUNRISE. TO START...A MIX OF RAIN AND SNOW WILL OCCUR. HOWEVER...AS COLDER AIR FILTERS IN...PRECIPITATION IS EXPECTED TO CHANGE TO ALL SNOW DURING THE MID MORNING.
SNOW WILL BECOME MODERATE DURING THE AFTERNOON WHICH MAY REDUCE VISIBILITIES TO ONE QUARTER MILE OR LESS. SNOW WILL TAPER OFF DURING THE EVENING.
SNOW ACCUMULATIONS OF 2 TO 5 INCHES CAN BE EXPECTED...WITH THE HIGHEST AMOUNTS ACROSS THE HIGHLANDS OF HAMPSHIRE COUNTY. TEMPERATURES BELOW FREEZING WILL LEAD TO SLIPPERY CONDITIONS. A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY MEANS THAT PERIODS OF SNOW WILL CAUSE TRAVEL DIFFICULTIES. BE PREPARED FOR SLIPPERY ROADS AND LIMITED VISIBILITIES...AND USE CAUTION WHILE DRIVING.
Friday, December 4, 2009
Thursday, December 3, 2009
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
“Mister Chairman, thank you for holding this important hearing this afternoon on the financial health of the Federal Housing Administration. Last month, Ranking Member Bachus and I wrote you about the importance of having this hearing at the full committee level and I thank you for accommodating our request.
On November 6, 2009, we received the annual independent actuarial review of the Federal Housing Administration’s Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund. The Congress had been warned by Housing Commissioner Stevens that this report would find that FHA’s Capital Reserve Account had fallen below the congressionally mandated reserve ratio of 2 percent. Unfortunately, the report found that it had fallen well below this level and now stands at .53 percent.
As we are all well aware, FHA has re-emerged as a major market participant insuring almost 30 percent of home purchases and 20 percent of refinances. FHA has a role to play in our housing market and if it is going to maintain this level of participation we must work together to ensure that the program remains self sustaining and returns to solid financial health.
I am encouraged by many of the steps Secretary Donovan and Commissioner Stevens have taken so far to shore up FHA and there is more to be done. I look forward to a vibrant discussion of whether or not FHA has the resources to upgrade technology and compete for experienced personnel to streamline their operations and improve efficiencies.
Secretary Donovan mentions in his testimony that FHA may be exploring raising premiums for new borrowers. In late 2007, FHA issued regulations to implement a risk-based pricing program. Yet, Congress implemented a moratorium through the HERA legislation which essentially preventing HUD from implementing any risk based pricing through October 31, 2009. Does HUD intend to implement a risk based pricing program once the moratorium expires? If the need to raise premiums on all borrowers is clear, why should we not have FHA price their premiums based on risk?
I would also like to hear more from the Secretary on stories that FHA borrowers are not able to make the first payment. It would be helpful to know the statistics on first-payment default rates. I know that the Secretary has indicated that he will be seeking greater recourse with lenders and I look forward to hearing more details on this proposal.
I want to welcome Secretary Donovan back to our Committee today. The FHA program is an important component of the housing finance market and Congress and HUD must do whatever is necessary to make sure that this program is run in a manner that does not expose the taxpayer to yet another bailout. I look forward to hearing from all our witnesses today on how best to ensure the future viability of the FHA program. Thank you Chairman Frank for holding this hearing and I look forward to hearing from our panels.”
“First and foremost, our men and women in uniform must know that we stand fully behind them and their mission. They‘ve made a commitment to prevent the spread of terrorism and work towards a stable Afghanistan, and it is critical that our government match their level of dedication.
“While any decision to send our service members into harm’s way is a difficult one, it has become increasingly clear that success in Afghanistan demands that our forces have further resources and manpower.
“As this process unfolds, however, it is critical that General McChrystal and his team of commanders have an appropriate opportunity to succeed. We must not be so quick to judge success or failure based on an arbitrary timeline that we draw premature conclusions about the effectiveness of this new strategy.
“As I have said before, our military efforts should be driven by the expertise of our generals on the ground who know the day to day demands of the mission, and not by the political winds of Washington.
“Put simply, I am encouraged by the President’s decision, but I urge him to let the facts on the ground – rather than a politically-driven timetable – guide our policy moving forward.”
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Monday, November 30, 2009
Hat tip to Pastor William Linhart, Calvary United Methodist Church. This shows the mindset of our Founding Fathers in the Continental Congress in the time of their most desperate fears. As our country enters increasingly troubled times, we ought to be mindful of these words.
O Lord our Heavenly Father, high and mighty King of kings, and Lord of lords, who dost from thy throne behold all the dwellers on earth and reignest with power supreme and uncontrolled over all the Kingdoms, Empires and Governments; look down in mercy, we beseech Thee, on these our American States, who have fled to Thee from the rod of the oppressor and thrown themselves on Thy gracious protection, desiring to be henceforth dependent only on Thee. To Thee have they appealed for the righteousness of their cause; to Thee do they now look up for that countenance and support, which Thou alone canst give. Take them, therefore, Heavenly Father, under Thy nurturing care; give them wisdom in Council and valor in the field; defeat the malicious designs of our cruel adversaries; convince them of the unrighteousness of their Cause and if they persist in their sanguinary purposes, of own unerring justice, sounding in their hearts, constrain them to drop the weapons of war from their unnerved hands in the day of battle!
Be Thou present, O God of wisdom, and direct the councils of this honorable assembly; enable them to settle things on the best and surest foundation. That the scene of blood may be speedily closed; that order, harmony and peace may be effectually restored, and truth and justice, religion and piety, prevail and flourish amongst the people. Preserve the health of their bodies and vigor of their minds; shower down on them and the millions they here represent, such temporal blessings as Thou seest expedient for them in this world and crown them with everlasting glory in the world to come. All this we ask in the name and through the merits of Jesus Christ, Thy Son and our Savior.
Reverend Jacob Duché
Rector of Christ Church of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
September 7, 1774, 9 o’clock a.m.