Making Unique Observations in a Very Cluttered World

Friday, 2 April 2010

Thousands of U.S. homes tainted by Chinese drywall should be gutted - has been linked to corrosion of wiring -

Reading - Thousands of U.S. homes tainted by Chinese drywall should be gutted - has been linked to corrosion of wiring -

New federal guidelines say thousands of U.S. homes tainted by Chinese drywall won't be safe unless they are completely gutted.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission released the guidelines Friday. They say electrical wiring, outlets, circuit breakers, fire alarm systems, carbon monoxide alarms, fire sprinklers, gas pipes and drywall must be removed.

About 3,000 homeowners, mostly in Florida, Virginia, Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana, have reported problems with the Chinese-made drywall.

A large quantity of the drywall was imported during the housing boom and after a string of Gulf Coast hurricanes. It has been linked to corrosion of wiring, air conditioning units, computers, doorknobs and jewelry, along with possible health problems.

Read more -http://abcnews.go.com/Business/wireStory?id=10270554

The Fed Admits To Breaking The Law - over Bear Stearns - "this was and remains a blatantly unlawful activity" -

Reading - The Fed Admits To Breaking The Law - over Bear Stearns - "this was and remains a blatantly unlawful activity" -

After months of litigation and political scrutiny, the Federal Reserve yesterday ended a policy of secrecy over its Bear Stearns Cos. bailout.

In a 4:30 p.m. announcement in a week of congressional recess and religious holidays, the central bank released details of securities bought to aid Bear Stearns’s takeover by JPMorgan Chase & Co. Bloomberg News sued the Fed for that information.

The problem is this: The Fed is not authorized to BUY anything other than those securities that have the full faith and credit of The United States.

In addition Ben Bernanke has repeatedly claimed that these deals would not cost anyone money. But the current value looks differently:

Assets in Maiden Lane II totaled $34.8 billion, according to the Fed, which set their current market value in its weekly balance sheet at $15.3 billion. That means Maiden Lane II assets are worth 44 cents on the dollar, or 44 percent of their face value, according to the Fed.

Maiden Lane III, which has $56 billion of assets at face value, is worth $22.1 billion, or 39 cents on the dollar, according to the Fed’s weekly balance sheet. A similar calculation for the Bear Stearns portfolio couldn’t be made because of outstanding derivatives trades.

In other words, they have lost more than half of their value.

This was and remains a blatantly unlawful activity.

The Fed has effectively usurped Article 1 Section 7 of The Constituion which reads in part:

All bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as on other Bills.

The Fed effectively appropriated taxpayer funds without authorization of Congress. At the time these facilities were put in place neither TARP or any other Congressional authorization existed for them to do so, and to date no bill has been put through Congress authorizing the expenditure of taxpayer funds, either through putting them at risk or via outright expense, for this purpose.

Nor does it stop with a "mere" Constitutional violation - The Federal Reserve Act's Sections 13 and 14 do not permit Fed asset purchases except, once again, for items carrying "full faith and credit" guarantees. Credit-default swaps and trash mortgages most certainly do not meet these qualifications.

I know I've harped on this for more than two years, but here we have a raw admission of exactly what was done - and there is simply no way to construe any of it in a light that conforms with either The Constitution or black-letter statutory law.

What's worse is that Tim Geithner, head of the NY Fed at the time, was very much involved in this - that is, he in effect personally, along with Ben Bernanke, usurped the power of the United States House.

The Fed has spent two years trying to hide this from the public and Congress. It has fought off both Congressional demands for disclosure and multiple FOIA lawsuits, the latter of which has resulted in a series of adverse rulings (and, it appears, was ultimately going to force disclosure anyway.)

These actions are unacceptable but promising "never to do that again" is insufficient. In a Representative Republic where the rule of law is supposed to be paramount - that is, where we do not crown Kings and relegate everyone else to the status of knaves,unlawful actions such as this demand that strong and unmistakable sanction also be applied to all wrongdoers in addition to protection against future abuse.

In this case this means that both Geithner and Bernanke must go - for starters.

Amending The Federal Reserve Act of 1913 (as Chris Dodd has proposed to prevent future lending bailouts) is not sufficient in that The Fed did not lend in this case, it purchased, and by buying what we now know were trash loans it violated the black letter of existing law.

There is only one effective remedy for an institution that has proved that it will not abide the law: it must be stripped of all authority that has been in the past and can be in the future abused.

This means that The Fed, if we are to keep it at all, must be relegated to a body thatonly practices and provides monetary policy - nothing more or less - and that all monetary operations must be performed openly, transparently, and within those constraints.

We cannot have a republic where an unelected body is left free to violate The Constitution with wild abandon and those acts are then allowed to stand.

One final thought: If the individuals responsible for this blatant black-letter violation of the law do not face meaningful sanction for these acts, and neither does The Fed as an institution, can you fine folks over at The Executive, Judiciary and Legislative branches of our government please explain to us ordinary Americans why we should obey any of the laws of this land when you will not enforce the laws that already exist?

Read more -http://www.blacklistednews.com/news-8092-0-24-24--.html

7-7-7-7 costs Pennsylvania Lottery bigtime - lucky 7s - 3,107 winning tickets - whopping $7.77 million payout -

Reading - 7-7-7-7 costs Pennsylvania Lottery bigtime - lucky 7s - 3,107 winning tickets - whopping $7.77 million payout -

Talk about your lucky 7s.

Wednesday night, all 7s came up in Pennsylvania Lottery's Big 4 drawing, resulting in a whopping $7.77 million payout to 3,107 winning tickets.

Even more oddly, the news comes on a day when the Super 7 jackpot is $7.3 million, and Cash 5's top prize is $770,000.

The Big 4 payout was a staggering 1,573 percent of sales, according to lottery spokeswoman Kirstin Alvanitakis.

In other words: The lottery has to dish out about $7.2 million more than it took in for that drawing.

"We definitely lost money on the Big 4, that's for sure," Alvanitakis said. "But it's great for our players. People love to play quadruple numbers."

"It's definitely not an April Fools joke," she said.

A key factor is that Big 4's winning amounts are fixed - they're not a cut of cash collected. A 50-cent wager fetches $2,500, a $1 bet $5,000.

Also, 7-7-7-7 is extraordinarily popular. Most Big 4 drawings produce far fewer winners. Wednesday's midday drawing had 104 winners, and Tuesday evening's game was hit by 250 people, Alvanitakis said.

Luckily for the state, quadruples - popular with players - are rare. The last quadruple drawn was 2-2-2-2 on Sept. 2, 2008. All together, the 1,236 winners raked in $3.09 million.

Only two other times has 7-7-7-7 come up since Big 4 began in November 1980.

This big payout - 15 times the amount taken in - suggests questions about the soundness of Big 4's setup. This would seem to wipe out the revenue from more than two weeks of sales.

Such exceptions are not surprises, Alvanitakis said.

"We operate our numbers games with the expectation that when triples or quadruples hit we will lose money," she said. "Drawing triples and quadruples is great for the large number of our players who enjoy playing these number combinations."

Besides, there is a safeguard. "We have a sales cutoff of $10 million for Big 4 for any number combination - including quadruples - to ensure Lottery's liability does not exceed its ability to pay winners," she said.

Despite the big payout, the game still made money for March, she said.

On average, quadruples should happen every 1,000 drawings, since there are 10 such sequences (0-0-0-0, 1-1-1-1, etc.) out of the 10,000 possible combinations.

Read more -http://www.philly.com/philly/news/89689007.html