Saturday, March 1, 2008

Revenge of the Foolish

Only snowed 6 inches last night! Whoopee! Looking out into the backyard, I swear it is going to be well into the month of May before all of the snow is melted. I am already starting to get the fishing itch, about a month earlier than usual. I have to look into procuring a boat, as I now have the yard to store it in. I am thinking about a smallish jon boat type, something light and able to navigate medium speed rivers. The mighty Merrimack River has given up many wonderful smallmouth bass over 5 pounds to me over the years, and with a boat I would have access to a whole new treasure trove of fishing spots. See, I am already sick with fishing fever!

Sports Warning
I have only recently been able to think about sports after the terrible disappointment of the Superbowl. Enough time has passed and there are several developments that I would now like to comment on, so if you are not interested, skip on down to the main thought section.

The loss of Asante Samuel, the cornerback for the New England Patriots was expected. What is shocking is the ridiculous amount of money the Philadelphia Eagles threw out to get him. On any realistic rating scale, Samuel is no better than the 7th through 10th best player at that position. What makes him good is his speed on jumping routes, not his man to man coverage. The Eagles are going to regret this deal as Samuel is going to be toasted on a regular basis by division players like Plaxico Buress and Terrel Owens. Too funny.

What is not funny is the delay in the Patriots signing Randy Moss. Simply put, Moss cannot be let go or the Patriots may find it hard to win 9 games next year. With an already old defense that was weak at years end, the Patriots must keep a solid offensive unit together to be competitive. Here's hoping something gets done and soon.

Revenge of the Foolish
It has been my experience that most Americans are easily mislead and tend to buy into get rich quick and easy schemes more easily than any others. The housing bubble was a wonderful example of this. It has also been my experience that nothing can be as scary as angry Americans that feel like they got a fast one pulled on them. Check out this story form yahoo Finance:
Activists Bare Teeth Over Foreclosures
Saturday March 1, 12:43 pm ET By Adam Geller, AP National Writer
In Fight Against Foreclosures, Ornery Activists Tackle Countrywide, Nation's Biggest Lender
CLEVELAND (AP) -- Folks on Humphrey Hill Drive were still waking up on the icy Saturday morning the shark hunters came to town. They rounded the suburban traffic circle in a pair of rented school buses after a half-hour ride from far more modest neighborhoods, rumbling to a stop at the Garmone family's driveway. Forty-two caffeinated Clevelanders piled out, their leaders carrying bullhorns.
Their quarry, Mike Garmone -- a regional vice president at Countrywide Financial Corp., the nation's largest mortgage lender -- didn't answer his door. So they deployed, ringing bells at the big homes with three-car garages, handing out accusatory fliers and lambasting Garmone and his company's loans. Before departing, they left their calling card -- thousands of 2 1/2-inch plastic sharks -- flung across Garmone's frozen flower beds, up into the gutters, littering the doorstep.
The commotion was the work of an in-your-face activist group called the East Side Organizing Project, with a paid staff then of just two, mobilized to battle Cleveland's mortgage "loan sharks." Years before the rest of the country was rocked by the fallout from aggressive lending, their neighborhoods were already home to the nation's highest concentration of foreclosures -- and they were fed up.
In late July, an ESOP regiment headed to Hudson, an outlying suburb, and tried to shove their way into the office of the lawyer representing Countrywide in its Cleveland foreclosures. The company that had been selling the group its plastic sharks heard about their tactics and cut off the supply.
Countrywide, too, was taking notice and it was not happy.
"During efforts to physically force your way into the office, one of the firm employees was actually bitten by an ESOP member," Countrywide's chief counsel, Sandor Samuels, wrote afterward. "We will not enter into relationships with organizations that desire to subject our employees, contractors and Chief Executive Officer to harassment."

The story is dripping with irony. The same people that wanted all kinds of "exotic" loans to buy home they could not afford are now on the warpath now that they, drum roll, cannot afford the homes!

I think it is wonderful for these groups to go after Countrywide Financial. That firm is the poster boy for all that was so wrong with housing. I think in the long term Bank of America will come to regret taking on the history and convoluted mess that CFC brings with it.

Have a good night.


Russ DoGG said...

Countrywide is an institution that has deliberately operated on the edge of the law. Apparently we've been far too charitable in our views.
In a move that escalates the legal trouble faced by the mortgage lender, the Countrywide Financial Corporation, federal regulators have asked the courts to sanction the company for abusing the bankruptcy system.

United States trustees in Florida, Georgia and Ohio have asked the courts to enjoin “Countrywide’s sustained bad faith conduct” in its treatment of distressed consumers trying to save their homes in bankruptcy court, according to a complaint filed by a United States Trustee Donald F. Walton.

“Countrywide’s failure to ensure the accuracy of its claims and pleadings has resulted in an abuse of the bankruptcy process,” Mr. Walton, the trustee for the region that includes Atlanta, wrote in papers filed Thursday in the Federal Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Georgia.

Russ DoGG said...