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I just saw Dr. Russell Chianelli on Bloomberg TV, and my jaw hit the floor.

He’s a professor at UT, and helped clean up the Exxon Valdez Oil Spil by “populating” the beaches with these natural “oil eaters”. In his interview, he pointed out that oil is CONSTANTLY leaking into our oceans from various sources (obviously, not as fast and overwhelming as the BP situation).

But this is the first I’ve heard about something that makes a lot of sense: that, despite the impression we’ve all developed, oil is a NATURAL phenomenon and there are naturally-occuring creatures on Earth that have evolved to subsist on it.

In fact, he went further, and insisted that, despite popular conception, the Valdez Spill has been “almost completely” corrected using these little oil-hungry buggers. And he challenged anyone to “go up there, and prove otherwise”.

ORIGINAL ARTICLE:

By Dr. Russell Chianelli

As I am starting the Materials for Energy Blog, a BP oil well, located 50 miles off the coast of the U.S. in the Gulf of Mexico and one mile below the surface of the ocean, blows out releasing 5,000 barrels of oil per day. This brings me right back to 1989 when I was working on the cleanup of the Exxon Valdez oil spill[i]. People remember the Exxon Valdez but don’t realize that it wasn’t the biggest tanker spill in the world[ii].

So what was the biggest global oil spill? Before the Gulf War the biggest oil spill in the world was the Ixtoc Blow-Out in the Bahia de Campeche, Mexico on June 3, 1979[iii]. When PEMEX drilled a deep exploratory well, similar to the current blowout, the sea bottom gave way and in 9 months 3,500,000 barrels of oil were released; more than 10 times the amount released by the Exxon Valdez. The nearest coastline in the U.S. was in Texas, approximately 600 miles away! Out of this huge amount of oil, very little ever reached the shores of Padre Island, which was the closest point. Why? This is because of hydrocarbon degrading organisms, Hydrocarbon Degraders. These microorganisms consume the oil creating CO2 and H2O and more of themselves. Approximately, 50% of the petroleum goes to making biomass that then goes up the food chain.

After every major oil spill there is an explosion in the number of fish and other marine creatures as they consume the Hydrocarbon Degraders. Everywhere in the ocean oil seeps occur. In fact, many of the deposits in the Gulf of Mexico were discovered by observing Oil Seeps.

Thus the Hydrocarbon Degraders are everywhere waiting for their dinner! What can be done to oil spilling into the sea?

The science of Hydrocarbon Degraders and oil spills was originally investigated by Dr. Ronald Atlas, now of the University of Louisville, who studied the Amoco Cadiz oil spill which occurred on March 16, 1978[iv]. The Amoco Cadiz was the largest tanker spill ever, spilling 1,600,000 barrels of crude on the beaches of Brittany, France. Nutrients, N and P, from farms above the beach, enhanced the growth of the Hydrocarbon Degraders giving rise to the concept Nutrient Enhanced Bioremediation for dealing with oiled beaches. It was this idea that Ron Atlas and I developed for the beaches in Alaska after the Exxon Valdez oil spill. This was the largest successful bioremediation project. The materials used were INIPOL EAP-22[v], an oleophilic nutrient and CUSTOMBLEND, a typical agricultural fertilizer. Their application is described in reference 1. These nutrients were successfully used on the beaches in Alaska and not on oil in the open water.
For oil in open water, an EPA approved dispersant may be used such as COREXIT[vi].

Since oil and water don’t mix the oil is only available to the Hydrocarbon Degraders at the oil/water interface slowing hydrocarbon degradation. Adding the dispersant allows the oil and water to mix accelerating the degradation of the oil and destroying the oil slick. Such a dispersant is being used on the current offshore oil spill to prevent the oil from reaching the beach[vii].

A dispersant was not used in the Exxon Valdez oil spill. If it had been used the oil would not have reached the beaches after a major storm. Oil on the beach requires Nutrient Enhanced Bioremediation. In the case of the Ixtoc blow-out, natural dispersants, produced by the Hydrocarbon Degraders, allow them to access the oil. The dispersant being added accelerates the process and will likely prevent most of the oil from hitting beaches[viii].

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Have you ever wondered why there aren’t more people in jail because of all this Mortgage Madness?

More delicious white collar perp walks? More lawyers suddenly employed?

Sure, there’s Madoff and that other guy in Texas who are both certainly going away for a long, long time. But they weren’t connected to the housing mess, really. Amazingly.

But there is a metric shitton of apparent perpetrators in this disgusting mess. From the realtors, to the brokers, to the CEOs. And they’re called-out every day in the press, and on Capital Hill for their “wrong doing”.

So why haven’t there been more headline-inducing criminal charges for those awful people who so obviously “preyed” on our Nation’s poor and uneducated?

Are we lazy? Are there not enough judges? Have they paid somebody off?

After all, the national “ire” meter is through the roof, the highest it’s ever been. We want blood. If ever there was a time for publically stringing people up, it’s now.

So why isn’t it happening? Wasn’t all that stuff illegal?

Well, no. Sadly, and amazingly… it wasn’t illegal.

In fact, thanks to our super-awesome Government and its relentless pursuit of voters (and their property taxes), they actually made 99.9% of it bona-fide, free and clear, LEGAL.

From verifying income, to making sure the securities were rated accurately, all of it was A-OK.

And it was  made A-OK on purpose.

Ala the various iterations of the Community Reinvestment Act, and subsequent tweaks, even a cursory check for something like, say, income, would derail the whole, lucrative process. The Government would be deprived of their precious tax revenue, and the politicians would be deprived of appreciative voters.

And millions of Americans would be cheated out of their “American Dream”.

A quick word about the Community Reinvestment Act, without going tootoo deep into it (wiki, for that). Nobody is arguing the INTENTIONS of the CRA, which were to help people get homes who normally wouldn’t be able to get homes. A laudable aim, for sure, because after all, who wouldn’t want some poor, but well-meaning and hard working family to have the safety, security, and stability of a home of their own? Their very own “American Dream”?

(BTW, the “American Dream” is not “home ownership”, it’s “opportunity”. But if you want your “opportunity” to result in a home with a white picket fence, then so be it. But the “American Dream” is not, and has never been, merely owning a home. That definition was an invention of our politicians, The National Association of Realtors, and the media.)

So, only a certifiable asshole (or a mean old Republican) would deny a good-hearted, but poor soul, their “right” to own a home, right? Well, the problem with that, and the CRA is, instead of addressing the root of the problem –why these people couldn’t afford a home in the first place, or why their credit was bad, etc– the Government decided to simply force banks to loan them the money.

Those big, bad banks.

Again, perhaps an admirable tact, because at one point in our history some banks would “red line” whole communities, unfairly disallowing normally qualified people from access to credit based on their race, age, sex, or proximity to deadbeats. Never mind that various laws have outlawed that sort of thing for many, many decades. And the Fair Housing Act of 1968 made it all illegal yet again. But of course, despite the fact that redlining was already illegal five-times-over, the Carter Administration, through the CRA, decided that it was the banks’ fault, and only the banks’ fault, that more people weren’t buying homes. And therefore the banks’ duty to rectify the situation directly, by forcing banks to jettison their own, time-honored, self-imposed “regulations” for credit worthiness.

That’s right. The CRA outright forced the banks to loan money (for a home) to people who they would never have normally lent to. Not because of race, sex or location, mind you, but because of bad credit or lack of income.

(Leave it to Government to use a jackhammer for a job that really required a little sandpaper.)

At first the CRA only insisted that banks dedicate a small percentage of their total loan portfolio to “bad” home loans (because that’s what they were, “bad”, in a strict financial sense). And the banks quickly figured out how to make it work: by passing along the cost of the added risk to their customers.

The banks’ PR people saw an opportunity too, so we started seeing ads and press releases proclaiming “Last year we proudly made __% of home loans to underpriveledged families… we’re looking out for you”, etc. So it’s not like they used their bully pulpit to bitch about it.

But then under Clinton, though, the quota of “bad loans” went up. Way up, to almost 50%. Thanks Andrew Cuomo.

And, well, the banks hit the roof. 5% forced-bad loans they could deal with. They could sweep it under the carpet, and pass along or hide the cost. But 15, 21, 34, and then almost 50% was just too much. It was becoming catastrophic to their business. And so they did what any red-blooded American big business would do: they lobbied the shit out of congress.

So the Clinton Administration agreed to re-jigger Freddie and Fannie to “back” these increasing numbers of bad loans, which were rechristened “sub prime” and hailed as a new “groundbreaking” loan type because they “helped” so many people.

Again, subprime simply meant “loaning money to someone with bad credit”. 15 years ago that was considered a good thing.

Fast-forward to 1998, and the banks still weren’t happy. At all. F&F simply weren’t efficient enough to “eat” all these ever-increasing numbers of bad loans.

And numbers of bad loans were ever-increasing for more reasons than just ever-rising CRA quotas, of course. As stupid as the banks knew all of this was, the implicit “Government backing” that came with F&F spurred them, and their adjuncts, to make even more bad loans, above and beyond those insane quotas. After all, the Government (us) had their backs, right?

Well, even though, technically, F&F “had their backs” the banks were still nervous about having all those bad loans on their books (Enron hadn’t happened, and so mark-to-market wasn’t in effect yet). So in 1998 Clinton, along with a bipartisan congress, repealed Glass Stegall, allowing banks to securitize these home loans, good and bad, and “kick” them up to wall street.

That meant that these bad loans no longer had to sit on their books. In fact, they could easily sell them now,  especially after the dot.com bubble burst in 2000. Because securitized home loans, which represented a solid, underlying, physical asset (the house and it’s property), made sure these new securities were suddenly very sexy.

Then, as they tend to do, Wall Street started divvying them up, and bundling them into packages, and hocking them to anyone and everyone they could. Including poor, poor Iceland.

And then Greenspan refused to raise the interest rates, further fanning the flames. Raising prices.

Etc. Etc. Etc.

(PS, read this post if you want a slightly more detailed explanation of all this awesemeness)

But the overarching point here is this:

IT WAS ALL LEGAL.

That’s why our thirst for blood is going unquenched.

And why was it all legal?

Stay with me here… and follow the money….

Because, under the auspices of helping poor people, the Government MADE it all legal.

That’s why we’re not seeing Dog the Bounty Hunter dragging those asshole mortgage brokers out from under their beds by their hair. That’s why we’re not following some Wall Streeter as he skips from country-to-country trying to evade extradition. That’s why were not seeing anyone busted for anything.

It was LEGAL.

It’s distasteful. It’s greedy. And it might actually end up ruining the World.

But again, IT WAS ALL LEGAL.

The Government forced the banks to abandon their own, century’s old self-imposed “regulations” in order to “fix” a societal problem (regulation). And they repealed their own laws that stood in the way, too (deregulation). They offered up Freddie and Fannie to backstop this idiocy. And then they act surprised that some of the worst elements of our society looked at this ludicrous, artificial market and said “I’ll bite!”

And after a while even the good, moral players had to play along. Because they were losing business.

Government tees it up, and then acts surprised when the private sector knocks it out of the park.

Duh?

And every discussion at every Denny’s, right now, surely includes the words “they should be put in jail!”

And they’re not wrong.

Those slimy mortgage pushers who signed as many people up as they could, and then danced off with their millions of dollars in “fees”? And those unctuous iBankers pushing these bundled securities, they knew were full of shit? And don’t even get me started on the credit ratings agencies. I mean, how on earth were these overly-complicated packets of over-priced, and obviously bad loans given AAA ratings?

WTF?

It was LEGAL!

But now we have to ask ourselves… WHY was it all legal.

As a country, we MUST do that. We HAVE to do that. Because that’s the only way we’ll learn from this.

And let’s be very wary of the people who are saying “Common guys! The damage is done! It’s water under the bridge! Let’s not point fingers of blame! Let’s move forward!”… we need to because those are the people who caused this mess.

We absolutely should go back in time, dig around, point fingers, assign blame, and be vigilant about what exactly happened. And why.

It’s the only way to make absolutely sure it doesn’t happen again. Ever.

It’s our duty to do that. We owe it to ourselves. We owe it to our children.

This bill failed because the American People were calling their representatives at least 99-1 against this bailout.

Any bailout.

And it’s simply because they don’t quite understand this. Neither the problem, nor the proposed solutions.

And it’s not surprising. I watch CNBC all day, read the Economist every week, and I still don’t understand all of it.

It’s not the public’s fault.

Wall Street has been feeding them a string of lies for years now, and so has DC. It is a classic Chicken Little situation.

They’ve been saying for weeks that if we don’t act tomorrow, the Universe will implode.

But it hasn’t.

If it was so important, the Democrats should’ve passed this bill by themselves.

But they didn’t.

If it was so urgent, they could’ve worked over the Jewish Holiday.

But they couldn’t.

So it’s not crazy that the American People aren’t quite grasping the import, here.

Despite the distrust of DC, the individual, respective representatives could be of help explaining this.

Because, of course, everyone hates every politician… except for their politician.

But it seems they’re too busy insulting each other.

It is undeniable that McCain and Obama missed a chance to win this election when they refused, for some reason, to even half-heartedly address this issue in the debates. They could’ve explained at least a bit of it. They could’ve at least imparted a sense of urgency.

But it seems they were too busy not losing the debate.

You know, it’s not the political ineptitude that’s so surprising here. It’s how long it continues to go on.

Right now fingers are being pointed, wagged, and extended in all directions.
Angry fingers. Righteous fingers.

Who knew what, when?!
Who said something?!
Who actually tried to do something?!

Well, in all directions except one.

Inward.

Turns out the very people who are currently trying to “fix” this financial clusterfuck… are the very ones that caused this financial clusterfuck.

And can we really expect the Government and their benefactors to investigate themselves?

Sure, they’ll pretend to. But it’s all empty gesture. Sans substance. Theatre.

But the truth is out there. And we can thank our meth addict of a 24-7 news cycle for that.

So where are the clips?
Where are the told-ya-so soundbytes?
Where’s the proof?

Don’t hold your breath.

The emperor has no clothes, a small dick and a bad herpes outbreak.

The Government teed it up, and Wall Street knocked it out of the park.

But let’s not waste time by pointing fingers.
It doesn’t matter how this happened, it only matters what we do next.
Let’s just agree that everyone screwed up, and move forward.

It would be almost funny if it weren’t the exact polar opposite of funny.

Government changed the rules, and then acts surprised as the market finds ways to stay in business, and even profit.

But, really. Can a white knight in shining armor really save the princess if he was the one kidnapped her, raped her, stole her money, and left her for dead?

He’ll sure try.

Campaign slogans are sometimes powerful things. And at their most powerful, they sometimes even decide whole elections.

For instance,

“It’s the economy, stupid” – 19942 Clinton/Gore

Simply brilliant. And it wasn’t even their “official” slogan, but it stuck. And to this day is more memorable than whatever their “official” one was.

Like that, the best ones in history are succinct. They are are sufficiently chant-able. And above all they are true.

They also tend to fall into certain categories. Such as:

CHANGE:
“Change you can believe in” – 2008, Obama/Biden

CHANGE FROM PREVIOUS CHANGE:
“Back to normalcy” – 1920, Harding/Coolidge

FREE STUFF!
“A chicken in every pot. A car in every garage.” – 1928 Hoover/Curtis

BLATANT NEPOTISM:
“Grandfather’s hat fits Ben” – 1888 Harrison/Morton

BLATANT GROVELING:
“Grant us another term” – 1872 Grant/Colfax

BORROWED INTEREST:
“Remember Hoover!” – 1936 Roosevelt/Garner

And… finally… SEXUAL:
“We Polked you in ’44, We shall Pierce you in ’52” – 1982 Pierce/King

So, what category does that put McCain/Palin’s seemingly simple, yet all-of-a-sudden-everywhere “Country First?”

Of course, it takes you to John McCain’s military service. As it is intended to do.

But look closer. It does something else, too. And to explain what, exactly, that is, we will let the unassuming woman I recently met in a rural Utah Bed and Breakfast, while watching McCain’s Convention keynote, clarify.

HER: “Hmmm. Country First… I like that slogan.”
ME: “Really? What do you think it means?”
HER: “Well, that John McCain thinks of his Country first, before other things.”
ME: “Before other things? Like what?”
HER: “Ego.”

Wow.
Sometimes the most powerful things, are the simple things.

e

Was it greed? Was it capitalism? Was it super-greedy uber-capitalism?

Well, one thing’s for sure, we wouldn’t find ourselves having to bail out AIG, Freddie & Fannie, Bear Stearns, and the millions of flippers and defaulters if the real estate bubble hadn’t burst.

And, of course, the real estate bubble wouldn’t have burst if all the foreclosures and mortgage defaults hadn’t happened.

And all those people wouldn’t have defaulted and gotten foreclosed on if they hadn’t tried to buy too much house to begin with, via those vile subprime and other “predatory” (even “racist”) loans.

Which wouldn’t have happened if we hadn’t all thought real estate was a “good investment” and “always goes up”, and is “The American Dream” (which it’s not, “opportunity” is).

And, it’s important to note, Real Estate wouldn’t have “always gone up” (for 5 meager years) if the tech bubble hadn’t burst and Sir Alan Greenspan hadn’t depressed interest rates for way, way, way too long.

And those securitized rotten mortgages wouldn’t have been peddled so aggressively if Sir Alan Greenspan hadn’t depressed the interest rates for way, way, way too long, either.

(interlude)

Alan Greenspan wouldn’t have depressed interest rates for so damn long if the country wasn’t heading into recession after the demise of the tech bubble.

Of course the tech bubble burst because people finally realized that tech stocks don’t “always go up”.

(end interlude)

All those bad, securitized mortgages wouldn’t have (couldn’t have) been securitized if the banks, along with Freddie & Fannie, hadn’t lobbied for Republican Senators Phil Graham and James Leach to repeal the Glass-Steagall Act (a post-Great Depression law that banned banks and brokerage houses from intermingling their finances) which was passed 90-8-1, and signed by Bill Clinton.

The banks, along with Freddie & Fannie, wouldn’t have lobbied for Glass-Steagall to be repealed if the banks, along Freddie & Fannie, hadn’t been suddenly handling an ever-increasing amount of really stupid, bad mortgages.

Freddie & Fannie wouldn’t have been able to “revamp” themselves and “back” all those idiotic loans if Clinton hadn’t installed his buddy Jim Johnson and former budget director Franklin Raines (both of whom are currently high-level Obama campaign principals).

Clinton wouldn’t have installed his cronies to head up F&F (and change their rules) if the banks hadn’t cried bloody murder (lobbied) about how dangerous, and risky all these mortgages, now sitting heavily on their books, were.

And, finally, the banks would never have partaken in these super-risky mortgages in the first place had the office of Housing and Urban Development, at Clinton’s direction, not drastically increased the home ownership quotas for “minorities” and other, “less fortunate” citizens.

And Clinton would have never demanded that “minorities” and other, “less fortunate” citizens, had it not sounded so darn good. In theory. Politically.

And, well, that’s it. That is exactly what happened.

All of this with the obvious and important fact that throughout all of this the Government willfully failed to enforce laws already on the books, like you can’t loan money to someone who can’t prove their income (bank fraud) and you can’t give junk-rate securities a AAA rating when you know full well they’re junk (securities fraud).

(interlude)

By the way, it’s not too late to enforce these laws, and even collect money from the monumental assholes that perpetuated this mess. Both in Government and in the private sector. From Congressmen, to Fed Chairmen and Presidents. From wannabe BoilerRoom Mortgage Brokers to Wall Street CEOs. These jerks owe us money, and jail time.

(end interlude)

You know what they say about good intentions?

Whoever they are, they’re right.

Well, well, well.

Our ever-plucky NYC City Council will be voting tomorrow in favor of actually fining street front retail stores for keeping their doors open while blasting the AC.

Jerks, both of them.

We all remember what our Moms used to tell us, about holding the refrigerator door open?

Yeah, well, same thing.

Only this time it’s not the fridge, but a store. And it’s not your Mom, it’s The Government.

Yay.

Look. Even when we were 7, and it was just the fridge, holding the door open for no good reason was pretty dumb. It was selfish, thoughtless and wasteful, no doubt. And especially in today’s energy-…um… challenged, ?, times, it’s certainly going to be a bigger deal. And should be.

Of course, these shop owners are gladly paying up to 20% more in electric bills to “lull” customers in with that cool, soothing air. And yes, they are being selfish. And wasteful. And evil, evil capitalists to boot.

But really. Think about it. All we really had to do was simply draw attention to their selfishness, and they would’ve gotten the message, quick.

Simple.

Run a few news stories, have some local politicians make some speeches, or even have a little protest and threaten to boycott.

You know, the kinds of things us New Yorker’s are good at doing?

And, because being energy IN-effecient is tres unpopular these days, when consumers start voicing an opinion with their pocketbooks, these storeowners would no doubt get the message in a hurry.

And close their doors.

But to have the Government force these shop owners to do what we want them to is beyond frightening. In fact, it’s downright socialist. And I don’t throw around that word lightly.

But what’s perhaps even more frightening are the comments following this New York Times online piece, where I first read about it:

Link

With caring citizens like these, and a Government to do their bidding, our future is now very much in question.

Egads.

e

Okay. Here’s the plan.

Everyone under 40 years-old… STOP SAVING FOR RETIREMENT. NOW.

That’s right.

Stop socking money away in your 401k. Stop buying stocks, bonds, CDs, whatever. Fire your broker and tell your financial advisor to take a hike.

Get all that money back… Get all your credit cards together…

And spend it. Spend it all!

Go on vacation.
Buy a new car.
Have a huge party with all your friends.
Try skydiving.
Whatever.
Just take that money you were saving for retirement, and spend it.

Have a blast!

…Yeah, I know it sounds crazy. And probably goes against some of our “gut” instincts about what’s right, and what’s not.

But you’ve got to trust me on this one.

Because if there’s one thing we’ve learned about personal, fiscal responsibility in the last few months is…YOU DON’T NEED IT!

Isn’t that awesome!

There is no reason whatsoever to keep a budget, balance your checkbook, or even pay your bills. That stuff is way overrated.

Can you smell the freedom!?

…Look, I know this sounds crazy, but we have NOTHING TO WORRY ABOUT. Because the Government’s got our backs. And the Government is, like, HUGE.

So no matter how stupid, or irresponsible we are with our money, and our lives (let the suckaz call it what they want), we will not starve. In fact, we’ll most definitely come out ahead. And rightfully so. I mean, what else is our Government there for? We PAY for it, for crying out loud!

And here’s the beautiful part: the worse we make it, the BETTER it’s going to be! Because if only a few of us throw caution into the wind and live life to it’s fullest NOW, then the chances of Uncle Sam coming to our rescue aren’t so good.

But if ALL of us do it… TENS of MILLIONS of us do it… it can’t fail!

Think about it. 35-or-so years from, there we are, millions of us, all of a sudden either retired or (gasp) layed-off from our jobs. With no where to go. And more importantly, no money to PARTICIPATE IN THE ECONOMY with!

How SAD is that!? And that’s when the news stories start pouring in.

I mean, what plucky up-and-comer at your local news station WOULDN’T do a story on the BIGGEST, SADDEST CATASTROPHE EVER?!? (We won’t call it a “crisis”, that’s so 2008).

Think of the headlines! Think of the empathy!

Then all we have to do is sit back, and let the bailout come to us.

“But wait” you say, “Isn’t that just OUR tax dollars being used to bail us out?!”

Aha. And that’s the real beauty here. It’s not OUR tax dollars, it’s our CHILDREN’S tax dollars.  Let THEM figure it out.

Hey, the Government always finds a way, right?

So, my fellow Americans, who’s with me!?!?

Here’s to living in the present. And living life to it’s fullest.

Here’s to 2042 !!!

Huzzah!

e

I was wondering if I was the only one who noticed the New York Policeman grab that kid by the THROAT last night at the home run derby.

 

Apparently not:

 

http://www.prosportsdaily.com/forums/showthread.php?t=245985

In Defense Of Common Sense

Dear Senators and Representatives,

This is an open letter regarding the “Housing Bill” you are currently considering in the Senate. And I have a message from your constituents:

DON’T DO IT!

Sure, there are a lot of people who are “upside down” in their mortgages, dealing with rising monthly payments, facing foreclosure, and some are even walking away from their homes…

But there are a lot more of us who aren’t.

It may surprise you, being politicians and all, but the majority of us out here actually passed second-grade math class.

And we know that buying a house is a big deal. A very big deal.

We know for instance that borrowing multiple hundreds of thousands of dollars requires more than a passing glance at a multiple-page contract. And, crazy as it sounds, might even require a lawyer.

We know that if a mortgage payment surpasses, say, the 50% mark of your monthly take-home income, then it *might* not be such a good idea.

A heck of a lot of us out here heard the term “adjustable rate mortgage” and thought, maybe, just maybe, that it might actually “adjust” at some point down the road.

Our supernatural spidey sense also told us that people with 5 maxed-out credit cards, 2 past bankruptcies, and make 40K a year *probably* shouldn’t be buying a 500K home. In fact, they probably shouldn’t be buying a home at all.

Some of us were actually alive, and paying attention when the dreaded “Tech Bubble” burst, way, way back in 2001.

Some of us lost money.

So, naturally, some of us had a sneaking suspicion, too, that “No Money Down!” might just not be the brightest of ideas when it comes to spending hundreds of thousands of dollars. Especially hundreds of thousands of dollars that aren’t yours.

And we raised an eyebrow when “Flip This House!”, the reality show, debuted across the country in 2005.

We raised another one when “Flip That House!” appeared on a competing network in 2005.

However, we were fresh out of eyebrows by the time “Flipping Out!” debuted, on yet another network, in 2007.

You get the point.

You see, a whole bunch of us saw this whole thing coming from a mile away.

And we did something crazy.

We DIDN’T jump on yet another get-rich-quick bandwagon.
We DIDN’T over-extend ourselves and buy more house than we could afford.
We DIDN’T sign multiple-page contracts without reading them.

Most important of all, we DIDN’T take on unnecessary risk and expect the Government, via our fellow citizen’s hard-earned tax dollars, to bail us out.

We continued to rent.

We did what some would call “the right thing”. Even though that was merely being fiscally responsible. And just barely, at that.

Call it what you will, we did it.

And you know what? We vote

Look. Don’t bail out these selfish idiots. Especially the banks.

And unless someone was absolutely, and provably defrauded, you must resist the urge to come swooping in like some super hero savior. Simply let the market do what it does best: work.

America can’t afford foreclosure relief.

No matter how many sob stories make it into our glorious 24-hour news cycle. Resist the urge with every pandering, political bone in your body.

Sure, it may temporarily “depress” housing prices, including some of those who weren’t directly involved in this whole mess. But remember, when we see a 30% drop in price of a house that was twice as expensive as it should be, is still 40% too expensive.

The truth is, despite all the whining, the market is still over-priced. Everywhere.

But perhaps the real reason for your concern is that you’re seeing your property tax coffers shrink across the country? Well, much like the infamous home owners and their home equity lines of credit, buying boats and plasma TVs with phantom equity, perhaps you politicians shouldn’t’ve have budgeted on a bubble either. Eh?

So please, if you can, suck your crocodile tears back into your reptilian tear ducts, and stop this bill. Stop this insanity.

DON’T DO IT.

Because if you DO bail these people out, even a little teeny, tiny bit, you will have not only done the wrong thing. You will have made doing the right thing no longer necessary.

e