Thursday, January 01, 2009

The Dougloid Papers: Cranky Three Year Old, Not Ready For Prime Time.

This month marks the third anniversary since I began to scratch the itch here, and it is a time for a little analysis and introspection. 

A lot has changed around here.

Most importantly, Jake set off to Afghanistan to practice the healing arts among his brothers and sisters in 101 ABN and among the good people of Paktia province-of whom there are many. 

If I had to take a guess I'd say that he gets great satisfaction out of putting hurt people back together, which is why he's where he is in the first place. He's scratching the itch too.

It cuts right through a lot of nonsense and is the medical trade slimmed down to its basic essentials. He's due back stateside in March at least for a while.  

It's also proof positive that the Army frequently makes pretty smart decisions and one of them was investing in a guy who had a rocky start and took a few wrong turns here and there. What he's become was worth the wait.

While we're on family matters, the young 'uns are growing like weeds, and they continue to prosper under the wise tutelage of their parents and grandma. The rest of us are fine, and we are all blessed with health and a reasonable level of comfort.

We also became owners of our own place and the Dougloid Towers is no longer a rental property with a grouchy land lord. As long as we pay the bank when we're supposed to, it is ours in fee simple absolute as the saying goes.

Much has also changed on the political level, about which no more need be said-except when the Outs start believing, as their tin pot Fuhrer El Rushbo tells them frequently, that they still matter. They don't, the ship has sailed without them, and the misapprehension that they have important things to say will be corrected here from time to time.

The economic world continues to be troubled amid rumors of major pending layoffs at Microsoft
and pending layoffs at Citigroup.

The big news  is that it's hitting hard in places where it was never expected to-that is, among people who wore shirts and ties and pushed paper instead of a shovel or a screwdriver or wrench or who carried plates in a downtown diner. That in itself is an interesting development. 

Back in slavery days, ole Massuh told the house negroes that they were somehow better than the field hands, they lived up in the big house and didn't stink and sweat like the field negroes, and the house negroes largely believed it, to their eternal discredit. It was a nice life too, although one  might not have appreciated the attentions of ole Massuh when he was in his cups and feeling randy. Be that as it may, when ole Massuh had blown his roll at the gambling tables and had to put up the collateral, the house negroes went to the same auctioneer that the field hands did.

That's one big  lesson that's going to be learned this year by a lot of folks, and that is to never forget where you're from and who your people really are. For most of us, it ain't the people in the limousines with the caviar and Moet Chandon either.

Something else we'll be watching is the foreclosure/mortgage/housing drama that has been playing out this past year. Trillions in paper equity have been wiped out in the residential housing market, and nobody's the winner here. 

The banks who funded mortgages that didn't make sense, and then put them in the blender and sold them off to other, equally foolish people, have had to back up to the government pay window for a bailout, but thus far have not seen fit to extend the favor in any great degree to people looking for a way to meet their obligations and stay in their homes-and there are a lot of them. Nobody's saying rescue the mortgage scammers or speculators here-just show some consideration to people who can maybe keep it together with some help.

Attempts are being made to resolve the problems people are having by some voluntary measures, but the creditor side community does not seem to be able to get its head out of the dark place it stuck it, and realize that anything's better than inventory you can't move-in this case, a deteriorating housing stock. 

One measure that seems headed for serious consideration will be revising the bankruptcy code to allow bankruptcy judges to "cramdown" primary residence mortgages by rewriting the loans.

Parenthetically bankruptcy judges already have this power in commercial bankruptcies and where the mortgage is a rental property or a vacation home. Senator Durbin is slated to introduce such legislation in the new session of Congress that starts next week.

As Howard Jarvis once famously observed , it's akin to hitting a mule in the head with a baseball bat-you may not change anything, but at least you've got his attention.

It will be my new year's resolution to get back to what matters most to me, and that is the aviation industry and what happens therein.



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