The Alabama Moderate

Painting the Red State Purple.

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Archive for August, 2007

Another One Bites the Dust

Posted by ALmod on August 27, 2007

I said it when Karl Rove left.  Now Gonzales is expected to announce his resignation.  Be prepared.  Something big is about to go down.

Truthfully, I was more surprised at the resignation of Karl Rove.  Alberto Gonzales isn’t so much a surprise due to his involvement in the U.S. Attorney scandal.  But nevertheless, when the rats start to abandon ship…

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Common Sense in Lending

Posted by ALmod on August 16, 2007

Now that the Dow is taking a nose dive in a much needed market adjustment (it was going up too far too fast), everyone seems to want to talk about mortgage lenders and how they might go bankrupt.  My thoughts?  They should.  They practiced bad business, and anyone who practices bad business deserves to lose in the business world.

I know.  I sound mean, but hear me out.

If you run a business, you run a business to make money.  Lenders make money by lending money to people who need it and will pay it back with a fee (interest) for borrowing that money.  Considering that the person you are lending to is supposed to pay you back more than what was originally borrowed, it makes sense to lend to those who are most likely to pay you back.  It’s a very simple concept, and it’s why you make a hefty down payment and pay your bills on time.  If you have a history of not paying your bills and have very little income, you are a bad credit risk, and people shouldn’t lend you money unless they don’t expect to see it again.  Sure, folks can be nice and let you borrow, or they can take advantage of the fact that you are rebuilding your credit and charge you  some unbelievable interest rates, but when they do so, they are taking a risk themselves.  It’s a spin of the roulette wheel, and when you gamble, you have to be prepared to lose.

Such is the situation with the “sub-prime” mortgages that were ever so popular just a few short years ago.  I’d never heard of an adjustable rate mortgage until my husband and I started shopping for our first home.  Interest rates were at an all-time low, and we both had excellent credit scores and very little debt.  So I was shocked when the first company we shopped offered us a 80/20 loan, with 20% being an adjustable rate.  We were sold the same line of being able to refinance later.  I wasn’t buying.  I told the woman on the other end of the phone that if rates were at an all-time low, the only way the rates would likely adjust would be up, and I wasn’t interested.  We went to our bank the very next day and were pre-approved for a nice fixed-rate mortgage loan.

But some people did buy into those adjustable rates.  Those loans were given to many people who were high credit risks, and those people are now unable to pay them back.  Why all the surprise from the industry?  You hit on a 17.  Should you be shocked and ask the house to bail you out if the dealer gives you a queen?

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So what?

Posted by ALmod on August 15, 2007

There are a couple of things being reported about the Argo situation that really makes me want to… well… do nothing about them.  They aren’t really holding my interest, and I’ll tell you why.

First, the saveargo.com website has a nifty little quote from Springville’s Mayor Buckner saying that he doesn’t care about Argo.  That would disturb me– if I didn’t know that the quote was taken grossly out of context.  First, when comparing the the mayor of Argo and the mayor of Springville, actions speak louder than words.  One voted for a willingness ordinance that would or would not come into play based on a vote of Argo’s citizens.  The other has tried very hard to stop a vote of Argo’s citizens and has worked to drive this town into debt whether or not the annexation goes through.  Now, which would you say cares more or less for Argo’s citizens?

As for the quote being taken out of context…  It came from a Springville City Council meeting.  In that meeting, it was brought up that the mayor’s young son had been approached in a not-so-friendly way by a Save Argo supporter, and the mayor stated that he’d had some soul searching over which was more important and whether he was a father or a mayor.  (My opinion is that he’s both, but your family always come first.  What can I say?  It’s Biblical.)  That was when he made the statement about Argo.   Frankly, I don’t blame him, but he should also know that if he gives in to these thugs, it will only get worse from here.  If they’re already trying to influence his decisions, and they succeed, what else are they going to try from here on out?  We’ve seen how they’ve run Argo thus far.

The second thing is a report that Argo is going to be spending $400K to fix roads.  Big deal.  At least this is money that Springville would have had to spend, anyway.  Yeah, they’re going to rack up debt, and that doesn’t thrill me at all, but at least it’s on something that needs to be done regardless of the outcome of the vote.  It’s not, say, a municipal complex.  Have a ball, Argo.  Just make sure you get to what has affectionately come to be known as the Argo Booby Trap.  My only real question is why the citizens of Argo were told for so long that the town wasn’t able to repair the roads because they were county roads.

While we’re at it, I’d also like to know what the council and mayor were doing between 2001 and 2004 and why they weren’t working on their municipal complex then.  I’d like to know why it’s so darn difficult to get copies of receipts that should be public information, and I’d like to know who holds the building contracts for the new municipal complex and why it costs an additional $810K when it should cost a fraction of that, considering that the town already had the land.  I’d like to know how many contractors the city considered for the job, and what the bids were.  I’d like to know why Argo’s former mayor and a local businessman (not a resident of Argo until the annexation issue arose) have taken over a court case against the petitioner.  The two must be awfully cozy to go into legal matters together, and I have some questions as to how much Argo values its citizens and residents as opposed to its businesses.  As a matter of fact, I’d like to know why they think that most businesses wouldn’t appreciate the same protection that many homeowners would like to see result from building codes and zoning– or are they only concerned with the business owners who are members of town leadership and cronies?

Those are the things that interest me– not some stupid out-of-context quote or road work that we’ll need anyway.

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Foreshadowing?

Posted by ALmod on August 13, 2007

You know it’s bad when the rats start fleeing a ship.  Keep an eye on the news, because as these things tend to go, we’re going to find out some rather interesting things within the next six months (max).  I’d bet money on it.

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You have no power over me.

Posted by ALmod on August 9, 2007

A girl has been through a long journey in a strange world ruled by a cruel king. She’s fought hardship after hardship to get to this point. Her freedom and the freedom of her baby brother are at stake. She is almost there, but the king stands in her way. All she has to do is keep moving forward, and as the king bargains with her and threatens her, she makes the realization. She knows why he was bargaining and threatening and stalling. “You have no power over me.”

Thus ends one of my favorite childhood movies, Labyrinth. But there is a lesson to be learned, and it was the first thing I thought of when things in Argo started heating up.

You see, there are a few people who have run Argo (and Springville, at times) for many years. The same names keep popping up in a lot of places– addressing the Springville City Council and making accusations and intervening in court cases. That should be a clue as to who has the most to lose and who has been pulling the strings this whole time.

One thing is certain. Someone approached the young son of Springville’s Mayor Buckner in a threatening manor. There is at least one witness to that. It has shaken the mayor, and suddenly those questions of exactly what happened when several elected officials in Argo mysteriously resigned are revisited. Nobody knows who did it except for those involved, but we do know what side they were on. We know they were desperate, or at least I would rather think they were desperate than to look at the alternatives. Why else would someone threaten a child?

This is nothing less than common thuggery. These are the kind of people who wish to run this town, or at least to have it run their way. And people would rather hide in the shadows or give up than to fight them tooth and nail. Some in Springville choose to ignore what’s going on, but I’m telling you now that if these people win, it will affect you. It already has. All it should have taken for you to realize this is one look at your mayor and council during their last meeting. Is that how you want your city run? Do you want your city leaders to be influenced by the type of people who would threaten a kid? Better yet, do you want your leaders’ children to be threatened, whether it influences them or not? What kind of council and mayor would that produce in time, when those who put their families first will no longer run? Wake up Springville! Shutting these people down is in your best interest, as well!

Bullies and thugs are all about control. Under normal circumstances, there is nothing they can really do to you, but that false sense of fear will do in a pinch. They know this, and it’s why they’ve been fighting so hard against giving the people the power of the vote. Do you really want them to have taxpayer money backing them? People of Argo and Springville, you have your freedom. All you have to do is keep going after it. Judge Robinson has just given you an opportunity. Take it. If the thugs and bullies come your way, you’ll know the truth. They have no power over you. If you want to stop them, all you have to do is show them that you know that.

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