Monday, August 17, 2009

Test from Adobe Contribute

This is a test, posting a blog entry using Adobe Contribute.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Debunking the rumor that the Community Reinvestment Act caused the subprime lending failure

I've heard countless times during the election cycle that our financial woes are all rooted in the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA).

It is my position that this is not the case. The CRA while providing a requirement for regulated financial institutions to provide it's services (including credit) to the communities in which they are chartered to do business. NOWHERE in the CRA does it mandate making irresponsible loans.

First off, have you actually read the CRA?. It repeatedly mentions that the regulated institutions make the loans within the bounds of "consistent with the safe and sound operation" of said institution.

Nowhere does it suggest that loans be given to those who are unable to pay, or that loans should be made beyond the means of the applicant. The purpose was to give those poorer communities the same opportunity as those in more affluent regions. This stemmed from a practice called "redlining" that was popular in the 60s and 70s. (Redlining is the practice of denying or increasing the cost of services such as banking, insurance, access to jobs, access to health care, or even supermarkets to residents in certain often racially determined areas. )

In SEC. 802:
"It is the purpose of this title to require each appropriate Federal financial supervisory agency to use its authority when examining financial institutions, to encourage such institutions to help meet the credit needs of the local communities in which they are chartered consistent with the safe and sound operation of such institutions."

In SEC 804:
"SEC. 804. (a) IN GENERAL.--In connection with its examination of a financial institution, the appropriate Federal financial supervisory agency shall-- (1) assess the institution's record of meeting the credit needs of its entire community, including low- and moderate-income neighborhoods, consistent with the safe and sound operation of such institution; and "

Second, the CRA specifically targets "regulated financial institutions", which by definition in the act are "insured depository institutions"; ie: those commercial banks covered by FDIC.
This holds no bearing on the non-bank mortgage companies, which aren't regulated under the CRA. Yet these non-bank mortgages account for a significant percentage of all of the failed sub-prime loans.

Ultimately, the law isn't what made the institutions give out these loans, it was generated from profit motive. Greed is what drove the problem, pure and simple. Now, with the bailout, we've given Wall Street greed yet another bonus check with tax-payer sponsored Wall Street Welfare.

Nice try Mr. Conservative. Next time, try checking your facts.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Offshore Windfarms at Last

Looks like somebody is actually listening about the cry for US Energy Independence. It's the first step down a long road, but seems a sound idea.

For those of us who are land locked, look at the Pickens Plan.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

What Becomes a Leader Most?

I read the following letter to the editor in Time Magazine print edition, then went and found it online to get the text. (,9171,1838755,00.html)

David Von Drehle's cover story "The Five Faces of Barack Obama" assured me that Obama would be a good choice for President [Sept. 1]. The reason: he has the curiosity to look deeply into controversial issues. I am 80 years old and was raised in Wisconsin, where folks rarely considered other perspectives. I opted to live in Alaska from 1949 and on into statehood. I can well appreciate Obama's ability to examine an idea or policy that has been suitable and decide to move on if it no longer fits. This ability escapes most Americans. Sadly, the very positive attributes Obama possesses appear to be fodder for voters to doubt his abilities. The only salvation I can see, if any, will be when the older folks die off and the young realize our mistakes and embrace a candidate like Barack Obama. Rita Ihly, BELLINGHAM, WASH.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

A Shallow Grave (no dead people)

What a day it's been. Woke up the morning as usual and hit the shower. When I got out and saw Raine, I knew something was wrong. She told me Ricky the goat was dead. He's been sick for a couple of weeks and we couldn't get him to shake it off. So Josh and I got to dig a grave before work/school. Of course, we didn't have a shovel, so we had to find one to borrow first.

Two hours late to work and sore from the digging, but at least the day is back on track. Four PM rolls around and I got a call that Josh had fallen and hurt his ankle... they thought it was broken. So I took off work and came home. It looked bad, so I took him to the ER. Sure enough, broken fibula. Could require surgery, but they want him to see a specialist for further diagnosis.

While there, I saw some unique small town character.

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Where else do they get their medical cabinets at Sears? Notice the two rolls of "guaze" on the cabinet?

So all in all, a crazy day, but at least there will be another one tomorrow.... and did I mention 3 day weekend?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

CNG - a month's view

Well, I'm home, I've got the truck, and it runs fine. Looks like eBay came through this time. I'm still a bit leary about making eBay purchases though. Now, what about this crazy CNG thing?

Let me start with the one shortcoming I've found. I was semi-aware of this from my research, but after actually living with it, I think it's a reasonable trade-off for the advantages.

The big thing is getting "enough" CNG. To explain this, you have to understand the fueling process. CNG tanks are high-pressure systems. The tank is pressurized to 3600 PSI (full). Natural Gas as its is transmitted to homes/etc is relatively low pressure (150 PSI I think). There-in lies the problem. You can't pressurize a 150 PSI feed directly to 3600 PSI (the pipe can't keep up), so you have to pre-fill a large storage tank at the fill station. Compressors take it off the pipeline and pressurize this big tank to 3600. The fueling pumps then fill your vehicle from this storage tank.

The problem is that when you have vehicle after vehicle filling up, the use the pressure in the tank faster than the compressors can replentish it. So the 3rd or 4th or 10th vehicles get progressively less pressure at fill-up. I've gotten fills as low as 1800 PSI. (3-4 gge). This leaves me sitting with around 1/2 a tank and the pump won't dispense more. More typical is to get around 2300-2500 PSI. The end result is that if I don't leave Tulsa with at least a 2300 PSI fill, I probably won't have enough CNG to get all the way back to the station. There have been a few mornings where about the time I get to Sand Springs, it cuts over to regular gasoline.

Still, I'm saving money. I've used 1 filled up with regular gas once since I've been home from the trip (a bit over a month), and am averaging about $5.50/day on CNG. I've still got 3/4 a tank of regular gas since that fillup. My estimation is that I'll use 1 tank of gasoline a month. Sure beats the heck out of 2 tanks a week!

My savings won't be quite what I expected if I'm forced to use regular gas, but the other benefits are worth consideration too. I'm not putting money in OPECs pocket at nearly the rate I was... my money is staying in Oklahoma. I've got a truck, which means I'm not dependent upon other people to haul stuff for me. I'm contributing to a cleaner environment as well.

Overall, I'm happy with the choice. If I had NG available at my land, I'd seriously look into one of those home filling systems, and would never burn a drop of regular gas unless I was going out of state.

Take a look at this site