February 14, 2008

No bad dream fucker’s gonna boss me around

Jill Torberson, Happy Home, 2007

* Washington Independent: The Credit Crisis Only Begins with Mortgages. excerpt:

"One can pity Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke. No other federal reserve chairman ever cut interest rates by a full 1.25% within just eight days, as Bernanke has done. But the monetary skies remain as leaden and thunder-clouded as ever. The stock market keeps quivering downward, crowds thin at the malls, jobless queues grow. Wal-Mart reports that customers are using their Christmas gift cards for groceries.

"The hard reality is that the economy is facing a one-two knockout blow from a collapse in consumer spending, plus a shock-and-awe wave of asset write-downs that is wreaking havoc in the financial sector. The more Bernanke floods the economy with easy money, the worse the final reckoning is likely to be.

"First the consumer. For decades, personal consumption’s share of GDP averaged in the 66 percent-67 percent range. In 2000, however, it moved up sharply, hitting 72 percent in early 2007, the highest rate of consumption in any modern country ever.

"How did consumers pay for it? Well, not with their wage packet—median household incomes were roughly flat in the 2000s. Instead, households doubled their debt load, and personal savings rates dropped to zero.

"Almost all the new borrowing was against houses. Very low interest rates and super-easy mortgage rules drove house prices up 50 percent between 2000 and 2005, one of the fastest jumps in history. As prices soared, consumers refinanced again and again, rolling over the proceeds into pricier houses and more consumption. Wall Street’s economists looked on happily, and constructed elaborate theories proving that the debt spiral could continue indefinitely."
"The truly bad news is that the credit crisis is not just about home mortgages. The same problems infect almost every important asset class. Commercial mortgages had a drunken spree of their own in 2006 and 2007. A sign of the times: the big New York developer, Harry Macklowe, is unable to pay $7 billion in debt on seven prime Manhattan office buildings he bought less than a year ago. The takeover loans that fueled the 2006-2007 stock market boom are also faltering badly. Trading markets are now pricing prime takeover loans and commercial mortgages as if they were junk bonds.

"On quite reasonable assumptions, total market losses from defaults and writedowns on mortgages of all kinds, and from junk bonds, leveraged takeover loans, credit cards, and auto loans, will be in the range of $1 trillion.

* Kareem Abdul Jabbar has a blog, and its good! check it out.

* Excerpt from Janice Dickinson's memoir: Everything About Me Is Fake . . . And I'm Perfect:

"Okay, enough about my youth (for now, anyway). Let's pick things up in the backseat of a limo, circa 1980, after a Harper's Bazaar shoot for Gucci. I was making out with rocker Frank Zappa before we stepped out for dinner at the fabulous Russian Tea Room in New York City.

"As the two of us strutted inside the place, all eyes were on my hot white jeans, which left little to the imagination. Somewhere between the antipasto and the second bottle of vino, I looked down and noticed something clammy between my legs -- something that had nothing to do with Frank. Perfect, hot, model-babe Janice had all of a sudden turned into just-got-her-period-all-over-her-Calvins Janice.

"What to do?

"Before Frank got a load of the problem and decided I needed a transfusion (yep, it was that bad), my brain went into overdrive. Suddenly my hand was spilling half a bottle of wine into my nether regions.

"'Oh my God, Frank, you had me so hot I wasn't paying attention,' I purred as $200 worth of booze soaked into my crotch. I could always get hold of another bottle of wine -- but at least this way I knew I wouldn't end up as the bleeding girl on one of his anthology albums!"

* "After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music." --Aldous Huxley


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