Sunday, November 6, 2011

Some Sunday Autumnal Notes from Regulus

Trees at their stunning autumnal hued peak. This is over by Decatur Place and 22nd St, NW, Washington, D.C. (by the Spanish Steps), 3:26PM, Nov. 5, 2011.


I started this entry last night but revised and rewrote it totally this afternoon.

My next planned full blog update is for Monday night, although I may have to finish one of my compliance recommendation reports (the ones in which I bug officials in fly-speck towns and counties in states such as North Dakota as well as befuddled one-and-two-man contracting companies about the type of items they used in various public works projects, sometimes with cooperation other times not). In such case, the update will have to be Tuesday night. 

For my 3 or 4 blog readers, this means EITHER Tuesday or Wednesday morning for their daily Regulus blog.

The old Firemen's Insurance Co. Building at the corner of 7th Street and Indiana Ave., NW, Washington, D.C., which today houses at the ground floor a Starbucks. The building was refurbished and the dome given a shiny paint of gold some years ago.


A hapless post-Halloween pumpkin in the gutter, 2400 block of P Street, NW, Washington, D.C., 3:32PM, Nov. 5, 2011. I was walking to the Georgetown DMV when I chanced upon this pumpkin.


Among the topics I would like to discuss ... 

Part 1. Another Day, Another Small Claims Lawsuit from the Legal Rep. of Some Satanic Credit Card Company

I'm being SUED AGAIN in small claims court (one of the remaining two unresolved cases) and I'm considering doing a (chapter 13) bankruptcy (since I cannot do a chapter 7 based on income).

This one is for $4,100. The last remaining one is for just over $3,000. The settled one has a balance of $1,850. I'm not sure if a chapter 13 bankruptcy -- which costs $2,000 or so -- makes sense. Keep in mind I have an non-dischargeable $220,000 in student loan debt (though  this has been quite manageable so far with the Direct Loan program), and its existence will have an impact on any bankruptcy proceedings.

For what it's worth, this debt was run up when I was unemployed. It was mostly clothing and food purchases.

I can't do a chapter 7 as my income (at a b it over $60,000) is probably too high -- which shows you just how corrupt our system really is. The most likely outcome is some payment arrangement -- typically, you sort of get to set how much you're willing to do and the case is considered settled provided you stick to it. 

Yeah, yeah, I know, I know -- American libertarian bullshit / D.C. think tank corporate whoring / Free Choice / Let the Eagle Soar Like She's Never Soared Before / Unlimited Opportunity and Jesus Shops for his Guns at Wal-Mart and NEVER goes to Canada for his meds because he eats and breathes all that Freedom in our health care system.


Actually, if anything, D.C. Superior Court did me a favor by moving the initial hearing to January as I was never served any papers and this is reflected (I think) in the online docket explanation involving "questionable service of process."

Still, I'm getting tired of these Wednesday morning trips (see here and here, so this will be visit #3) to the Small Claims and Conciliation Branch of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia.

And there is a chance of a 4th visit. 

Wednesday is the day the court sets aside each week for credit card companies suing hapless stiffs and so there is a bus station quality to the proceedings.  


Part 2: Driver's License Renewal -OR- D.C. DMV = Cartoon Parody

I got my new driver's license, but it was hell on wheels, so to speak, to get. The incompetence of some of the folks is amazing. However, it is all done and complete. I went to the Shops at Georgetown Park mall -- where there is actually a D.C. DMV office. Talk about "cheek-by-jowl" ...

The interior of The Shops at Georgetown Park (or just "Georgetown Park") mall, Washington, D.C., 3:53PM, Nov. 5, 2011. It is located at 3222 M Street, NW. (I had to get to the DMV by 4:00PM.)


The Georgetown DMV, Washington, D.C., 4:13PM, Nov. 5, 2011. Yes, it has Saturday hours -- and I was just about the last person out the door.

The Georgetown DMV branch is actually much better than the Southwest D.C. one. I will explain later why I needed my lease and why that small floater in my right eye nearly caused me to fail the vision test (but it did not).

After I got my (corrected) license -- with new apartment number (504), new weight (175lbs), up from 135lbs, and new mugshot photo -- I had dinner at Mr. Smiths.


Part 3. Please read these columns:

* Paul Krugman's Friday New York Times op-ed Oligarchy, American Style about the massive skewing of wealth to the top 0.1% of the population since 1979 -- and income gain has little to do with a college education attainment.

* Matt Taibbi's savagely brilliant and funny take-down of New York City Mayor and billionaire Michael Bloomberg for his parroting the rightwing GOP lie / talking point that the ENTIRE mortgage bubble / housing market depression was caused by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Barney Frank and Jimmy Carter (because of the 1977 Community Reinvestment Act) that "forced" banks to lend to poor people who could never afford those obscenely inflated home prices.

I love the ending part:

"And then there’s this whole line in which he professes to indulgently understand the need for the "catharsis" and "entertainment" of protest, again almost like a Dad who tells his idiot teenage son that he understands the need to sow a wild oat or two, but please don’t wreck the family Mercedes next time."

Ha ha

"Well, you know what, Mike Bloomberg? FUCK YOU. People are not protesting for their own entertainment, you asshole. They’re protesting because millions of people were robbed, by your best friends incidentally, and they want their money back. And you’re not everybody’s Dad, so stop acting like you are."

Also read his follow up piece. This would give the WaHoPo Editorial Board and its corporate oligarchical apologists and imperial courtiers bad post-dinner party acid reflux. Sally Quinn might freak out and reach for her gas mask. 


Another post-Halloween pumpkin, this one outside the house at 1810 Wyoming Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C., Nov. 4, 2011.


Part 4: A Very Nellie Time

I had a lovely time last night with my (UNFORTUNATELY) former boss at Nellie's. It was supposed to be a much bigger group but it did not work out that way. I also went to Osmegma (Omega) tonight.


An interesting and pretty flower -- a zinnia, perhaps? -- growing in the small yard of the house at 1732 V Street, NW, Washington, D.C., 6:08PM, Nov. 4, 2011.


Part 5: Oh-smeg-ma

Also tonight, I went to Osmegma (Omega) tonight, where one of the bartenders and one of the Saturday night dancers are quite appealing to me.

The place is in a time warp inside as though it were still 1998.


My last post-Halloween forlorn pumpkin image: This one is outside the house at 2914 30th Street, NW, located in the Georgetown section of Washington, D.C., 3:39PM, Nov. 5, 2011.

I was walking hurriedly -- zig-zagging down the number and letter grid on this bright autumn day-- to the Georgetown office of the D.C. DMV.

The 3000 block of N Street, NW, Washington, D.C., 5:39PM, Nov. 5, 2011. This is in the heart of Georgetown. I was heading back home after the DMV and dinner.


Part 6. Music Videos of Note

The last two videos at Omega tonight (where I RARELY go) were Kylie Minogue's I Should Be So Lucky and Lisa Lisa / Cult Jam's Lost in Emotion.

What ever happened to Lisa Lisa? She was quite pretty in that 1983 video.

(FYI: The Kylie Minogue video dovetailed nicely with the gay dirty movies being shown on some of the TV monitors involving guys, in particular "Rory", who actually looked vaguely Aborigine, on some remote beach in Australia.)


Part 7. Daylight Stupid Time (Briefly) Ends

Tonight was the end of daylight savings time -- the "fall back" to STANDARD time.

As I've mentioned before, the whole concept of "daylight savings time" (now 8 months of the year) is TOTAL nonsense, at least insofar as nearly ever reason given for it (especially energy savings), but as Americans, we are too in love the concept and what it allegedly (falsely) represents.


More arboreal fall splendor in the trees in the 3000 block of Dumbarton Street, NW, (Georgetown) Washington, D.C., 3:41PM, Nov. 5, 2011.


OK, this ended up a FAR longer entry than I anticipated. My next update will certainly not be until at least Tuesday night.



к.нео.физ.де.му said...

loved the matt taibbi article!

absolutely right on spot about that pompous asshole bloomberg!

Regulus said...

Yes, Matt Taibbi is quite an amazing writer -- a sort of early 21st Century muck-racker.

How are you doing? I hope you are feeling better with no more headaches.

к.нео.физ.де.му said...

i am doing fine... it is still not definite that the episodes i had were migraine related....

i was trying to discuss the article with a friend of mine (she is a graduate of u of chicago business school currently doing financial consulting). here is her comment:

"Before I read the last sentence (here is the last sentence from taibbi's article she is refering to "Jesus … I mean, for one thing, Fannie and Freddie don’t even make loans. That’s how absurd this whole thing is.") in the citation above, I was thinking that the author was making a valid point for a careful data analysis. In fact, without such analysis it is difficult to say what was the crucial piece here - Fannie's and Freddie's actions or the principal-agent problems that created incentives for the bubble in the loan package market.

But with this last phrase I see that the article looks like a cunning and knowledgeable attempt to trick people into believing the author's thesis that the government has nothing to do with the problem.

Right, Fannie and Freddie don't make consumer loans, but they sell their debt, which is de facto guaranteed by the government. The word used by the Mayor is not quite right, but that does not change the meaning of what he said.

In addition, the big banks that repackaged the loans were not the only decision-makers in the transaction. Why did the pension fund managers buy those? Here is where regulation could come in to look at this principal-agent problem. It is clear that the industry (and even the academia) have not yet learned to price credit risk. Consequently, maybe those securities, the pricing of which is not straight-forward, should somehow be left out of investing options for those funds that have unsophisticated investors? This is again the case when the government should step in and try to protect the little guy. This protection does not need to include banning credit derivatives. What is the problem with selling those to wealthy people - if these wealthy people wanna buy them? Aren't there hedge funds out there to serve these wants?

In general, the focus should be on protecting the weak and poor from potential harmful consequences of a risky activity, and not on restricting the innovative products and processes.

And, sure enough, this should go hand-in-hand with handling the "too big to fail" (TBTF) issue - in order to preven the possibility of systemic failures that would call for bail-outs at the expense of tax payers."

what do you think?