21 December 2007
By Jonathan Fairbank, Editor-in-Chief
At this time last year, the situation in Iraq was abysmal. American and coalition casualties – not to mention the tremendous tolls on Iraqi civilians – were mounting in unbearable numbers. Iraq seemed like a lost cause – perhaps it still is. Even the senior editor of this Report in his January 2007 piece, on the eve of “The Surge,” called for a complete withdrawal from Iraq.
Flash to a year later. Both American liberator and Iraqi civilian casualties are dramatically down. In fact, markets in Baghdad are open again, and according to media reports, normal life – as normal as it can get in war-torn Iraq – seems to have resurfaced.
We are unsure whether this is the respite before a larger storm. We hope that the surge has worked and that evil militants are being killed off in sufficient quantity. We also earnestly hope that the hitherto effete Iraqi military and police forces will demonstrate courage and moral fiber to defend their soil and their people.
We also wonder out loud how is it that all it takes is the addition of 21,000 American troops on the ground. We are optimistic this year – even if it is nervously so.
18 December 2007
To Grace C. from Lost in Emotions
How Do I Love Thee? (Sonnet 43)
|by Elizabeth Barrett Browning|
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
Fed passes reforms to combat subprime mortgage crisis
The measures promise to protect borrowers from prepayment penalties and misleading loans.By Ron Scherer | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor
New York - The federal regulatory process to fix some of the worst mortgage abuses is now moving ahead with greater speed.
The Federal Reserve, the nation's central bank, voted to take a wide range of actions that might prevent future malpractice, but will likely do little to help borrowers facing foreclosure. The Fed's main thrust appears aimed at banks who made loans to subprime borrowers, those with less than stellar credit ratings, and those who took out loans without proof of income or other documentation.
"This is a huge step," says Kurt Eggert, a law professor at Chapman University School of Law in Orange, Calif. and a past member of the Federal Reserve's Consumer Advisory Council. "If these steps had been taken five years ago we may not have had the meltdown, or at least it would have said there is a sheriff in town trying to force some reasonable basic rules of good lending."
The Fed's actions, announced on Tuesday, included:
•Giving protection to subprime borrowers from prepayment penalties if they payoff their loans early.
•Requiring lenders to ascertain that borrowers are aware of the need to set aside money for taxes and insurance in their monthly payments.
•Clamping down on so-called no documentation loans, which have been made to the self-employed or other people without a conventional income.
•Setting new standards to determine a borrower's ability to repay a loan.
The Fed's board of governors passed these proposals unanimously on Tuesday. The next phase for these new regulations will be opening them to public comment.
"These sound like reasonable proposals to me," says Lyle Gramley, a former Fed governor, now at Stanford Policy Research in Washington. "Subprime loans are made to those people least able to understand the terms and conditions and they need protection so this is an important step forward."
Few of the measures would have an immediate impact – the Fed has indicated it would start to implement them next year.
However, the new regulations are also taking place after the financial markets have already made changes. Banks have become particularly wary about making mortgage loans to anyone but the best borrowers because of enormous losses. Many of the mortgage brokers who made the most egregious loans are now out of business.
"The market has instilled discipline," says Richard DeKaser, chief economist at National City, a bank holding company in Cleveland.
"Much of this is insuring we don't repeat the problems going forward," he says.
Foreclosures are now at record levels and some 20 percent of subprime loans are now delinquent. And, the numbers may still rise since many of the borrowers took out loans with low "teaser rates" that will readjust upward over the next two years.
However, Mr. DeKaser says some will make the argument that the Fed's new rules may act to stifle innovation. "If I want to lend you money, who should say what the terms are to limit the extension of credit," says DeKaser. "By codifying restrictions there will be more safety in mortgage lending, but potentially limited innovation."
Some members of Congress have been jawboning the Fed to become more active. And, there is legislation pending in both the House and Senate that would make it easier for subprime borrowers to repay loans without penalty.
One of the spillover effects of the mortgage crisis has been a developing credit crunch as banks have become reluctant to lend each other money. Yesterday, in a separate action designed to remedy the situation, the European Central Bank announced it has lent out $500 billion to member banks. After the announcement, international interest rates, known as the London Interbank Offer Rate (LIBOR), fell. Since many short-term loans use LIBOR as a benchmark, this rate reduction will help individuals who carry balances on credit cards, those borrowing money for car loans, and some business loans.
15 December 2007
Diplomat 'dumps' adopted daughter
By Bruno Waterfield in Brussels
The Telegraph, UK
A senior Dutch diplomat and his wife have sparked a furore by giving up the Asian baby they adopted seven years ago because she had not "bonded" with them.
Dutch Vice-Consul Raymond Poeteray and his wife, Meta, adopted Jade while posted in South Korea, because they believed they were unable to conceive.
The couple have since had two children of their own and last year handed Jade to authorities in Hong Kong, saying she had not adapted to her new family.
But a nanny who cared for Jade has accused them of showing the girl little affection, saying they did not treat her like "a normal daughter", in stark contrast to their natural children.
De Telegraaf, a leading Dutch newspaper, has accused the couple of discarding the little girl "like household rubbish".
But in a press statement, the Poeterays claimed Jade suffered from such a severe "fear of bonding" that medical specialists advised she be placed in temporary care.
"Contrary to what has been written in the media, we do not want to get rid of our daughter," the couple said. "We never even considered giving her up.
"To our great disappointment, things didn't get better, they got worse, and the rest of the family began to suffer hugely from that."
The family had been undergoing counselling, but were pessimistic about the chance of Jade ever returning to their Netherlands home.
"Although the specialists now think it is not possible that Jade can be brought home, we continue to hope," the couple added. "We will do our best to find a solution allowing her to find happiness in her life.
"This is a private matter, for which we as parents bear the responsibility. The publicity itself is already painful enough, but what's worse is it doesn't help us find a solution for our problems."
Jade, who speaks English and Cantonese but not Korean, does not have Dutch nationality or Hong Kong residency, throwing her future into doubt.
The couple claimed their failure to apply for Dutch citizenship for the girl was merely an oversight, not an indication of their intention to abandon her.
The girl's plight has sparked anger in Korea and Hong Kong. Meanwhile, Hilbrand Westra, chairman of the Dutch department of United Adoptees International, has called on the Netherlands to take responsibility for Jade.
"Morally and ethically, the Dutch government must take responsibility for the plight of this child and look after her," Mr Westra said.
The Child Protection Agency in Hong Kong is now searching for new foster parents for Jade, with little response, despite having placed advertisements in newspapers.
14 December 2007
I'M A REALLY TALL WOMAN WHO OUGHT TO KNOW BETTER, BUT I STILL CAN'T CONNECT WITH SHORTER MEN
BY FRANCEY RUSSELL
He's amazing, I say. He's practically perfect. "And you're just friends?" asks Amy, incredulous. The reason we haven't taken our relationship to the next level feels a little superficial, but when I tell her, she has no problem understanding. The thing is, he's shorter.
The fact that I'm not dating this really wonderful guy because of his diminutive stature, and that my friend deemed that a valid reason, got me thinking about my knee-jerk resistance to dating small men.
Why do girls prefer bigger boyfriends? It's obvious that male domination still plays a role in making a 21st-century woman want to be more petite than her man. Traditionally, men are supposed to be stronger in every sense to protect the meek members of the "weaker sex." So the act of dating a shorter guy could be seen as bucking the status quo, if one wanted to go there.
I've dated short men. For whatever reason, none of the shorties worked out, but I doubt that the demise of any of those relationships had anything to do with my exceptional height.
The size thing only comes up once in a while when dating a wee man. Kissing standing up is good for a laugh. In heels, I clear these guys; for them, staring straight ahead means staring straight at my tits. Even holding hands feels a little weird and a lot like a mother leading her child, which I'm not into with guys I'm sleeping with. Fortunately, most of these problems disappear when you're both horizontal. Good sex is good sex is good sex. Height doesn't matter in bed.
A lesser man (I'm talking moral fibre here, not measurements) can't handle having a tall lady friend. The combination of smaller-than-average stature and lack of self-confidence makes some men feel threatened by tall women. They become brash and are prone to making cracks, continually observing, "Shit, you're really fucking tall!" Never does a man seem shorter than when he can't get over how tall you are.
When the traditional male-female order has been disrupted, it's no longer obvious who's physically stronger. For some guys, that's too much to deal with.
Luckily (hallelujah!), since graduating high school I've witnessed a steady decline in the number of sassy, insecure short boys. As boys grow into men, and as we accept less rigidly defined gender roles, the great height divide loses its significance.
Nine times out of 10, the media depicts a heterosexual couple as a tall man and a pocket-sized woman. We find it appealing when a man can whisk you away or tuck you under his arm. Even though we see statuesque women in the media, they're rarely shown towering over men. I'm always grateful to see an image of a guy tilting his chin upwards to kiss a girl – unless the image is played for laughs, .
I saw photos of Pharrell Williams (5-foot-7 tops) parading around New York with a tall filly. It was so sexy, it made me want a shorter (hot, stylish, music-producing) man tilting his chin up at me. For whatever reasons, seeing a version of yourself out there in the visual culture provides a sense of affirmation. And seeing lil' Pharrell's tall woman made me think about lowering my dating height requirements.
Actually, it made me think of my practically perfect tiny guy friend. From my perspective (up here in the trees with the giraffes), our respective sizes have been the only incompatible aspect of our relationship. Like a fence, it's kept us on just-friends terms. It's not like there isn't something there between us.
Sometimes, when I'm staring down into those big brown eyes, I think we could really be something. Maybe one of these days I'll jump the just-friends fence. I'll embrace all the quirks of being with a tiny man, like bending down to kiss him or having a boyfriend who is constantly at eye-level with my nipples. Mmmm. Doesn't sound too bad
NOW AUG 19 - 25, 2004 VOL. 23 NO. 51
09 December 2007
07 December 2007
Sure, Congressman Ron Paul (R- Texas) was featured on one of the network evening news programs back in November. That’s because they could no longer ignore the Internet. Paul has done exceedingly well in terms of Net presence and Net-based fund-raising.
His ideas are solidly based on Constitutional principles. Like reducing the size and scope of the Federal government. Radical, huh? And he has NOT flipped/flopped on the War. He had opposed it from day one!
30 November 2007
Democracy in America is two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner. For many years in the United States, welfare recipients have voted themselves pay increases at the ballot box. Now the nanny state is at it again. The putative mortgage crisis currently facing the country has many politicians talking about bailing out both rogue lenders and scheming borrowers. We have been reporting for years here at the Fairbank Report that many people have been playing with OPM (other people’s money) when it came to easy mortgage financing.
No income verification. No money down. In fact, why not borrow up to 125% of the value of the property? People making minimum wages were buying million-dollar homes. Both lenders and borrowers knew what they were doing. They were gaming the system and more significantly getting away with it.
Now the wolves are voting themselves, at the expense of the sheep, a federal bailout. It only goes to show that if bad behaviour occurs in a large enough number, there won't be any consequences. What about the people who forwent vacations and fancy restaurant meals in order to scrimp and save for the 20% down payment? They are, in a phrase, royally screwed!
I oppose any government – federal or state – bailout of this mortgage debacle. I even object to the Bush Administration’s proposal, currently being circulated among lenders, to artificially freeze mortgage rates at an “affordable level.”
These rogue lenders and scheming borrowers knew precisely what they were getting into when they executed these exotic loans. Now a few crocodile tears down their fat cheeks are leading the weak-knee politicians to propose a taxpayer bailout and other counter-market measures. There must be severe consequences to bad behaviour, or else, there won’t be anything but bad behaviour.
23 November 2007
So the French trade unions will go on demonstrating and picketing, even as their ranks are thinning. Only seven percent (yes 7%) of the French labor force are unionized, a surprisingly low number that is about half that of the United States (Source: Los Angeles Times, 11/23/2007).
Nevertheless, Sarkozy – thirty years after Margaret Thatcher – has the difficult and unenviable task of dismantling the entrenched welfare-nanny state that has made France unproductive and inefficient. We wish him all the best because he WILL need it.
19 November 2007
04 November 2005
Good Bye and Good Riddance (?) to "the Maestro"
By B G Phan
Mr. Phan is Senior Editor of the FAIRBANK REPORT.
Good bye and perhaps good riddance to Federal Reserve Bank Chairman Alan Greenspan. He is scheduled to leave the Fed at the end of January 2006. Sycophants in government and the mass media have hailed him as "the maestro," "the genius" and other equally nauseating, honey-dripping terms of endearment.
Let's look at his recent records to see if these accolades are justified.
In 1996, Greenspan correctly foresaw the "irrational exuberance" of an overheated, speculative stock market. Yet, he did nothing to cool down the market. A few interest rate hikes in 1997, 1998 and 1999 might have avoided the crash of the stock market from 2000-2003. In fact, Greespan probably exacerbated the 2000-2001 recession by belatedly and continuously raising rates after the March 2000 bubble had burst. It was only after the attacks of 9/11/2001 that the Fed began to cut interest rates.
And then there's his recent "froth" in the real estate market commentary. Duh!, as the Valley Girl would say. Under his chairmanship, the Fed has failed to regulate the banks and other financial institutions, which have been pushing dangerous exotic loans, e.g., interest-only, piggy-back, 100%+-financing mortgage loans. In overheated housing markets such as California, Boston and New York, these creative financing schemes now account for the majority of outstanding loans! People who have no business buying houses are purchasing them at enormously inflated prices. After all, it's not their money; they're playing with OPM, other people's money.
The housing bubbles in California, Boston and New York will burst. And the consequences and ramifications will be ten folds worse than the bursting of the Nasdaq bubble. Yet, Dr. Greenspan, "the maestro"--nay "the genius"--has done very little to prevent excesses in the housing markets by reining in rogue lenders. Even if the Fed acts aggressively today, it is a day late and a dollar short.
The upcoming housing bubble-induced recession, perhaps even a small depression, should be called Economic Hurricane Alan in honor of the maestro, and like other hurricanes, this one will pack a wallop and cause a world of hurt...
17 November 2007
12 November 2007
By Michael Henchard
As Evita Hillary Clinton was addressing reporters in Iowa, instead of performing the duties of junior Senator from New York for which she is handsomely paid, four American flags collapsed behind her. Not one, or two, or even three, but all FOUR flags fell.
Whilst God speaks in mysterious ways, this incident is easily interpreted. God says an emphatic “NO” to Evita Clinton. She will destroy the Republic as we know and love it. God has spoken…
09 November 2007
"Me voted for him," said proud West Covina resident Pauline Reyes, wiping away donut crumbs from her supple mustache, "because him cute."
Vox populi indeed!!
30 October 2007
|Live rates at 2007.10.30 07:05:17 UTC (Source: http://www.xe.com/ucc/convert.cgi)|
|United States Dollars||Canada Dollars|
|1 USD = 0.955391 CAD||1 CAD = 1.04669 USD|
Historically, one Canadian Dollar gets about 80 U.S. cents. Now the world has turned upside down: One Canadian Dollar now gets $1.055 USD…The Canadian loonie is worth about 5.5% more than the once-mighty US Dollar!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
28 October 2007
25 October 2007
19 October 2007
NEW YORK -- Something remarkable happened at 44 Henry St., a grimy Chinatown tenement with peeling walls. It also happened nearby at a dimly lighted apartment building with trash bins clustered by the front door.And again not too far away, at 88 E. Broadway beneath the Manhattan bridge, where vendors chatter in Mandarin and Fujianese as they hawk rubber sandals and bargain-basement clothes.
TOP OF THE TICKET Blog on Pres. Clinton's plans for ex-Pres. Clinton
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Clinton unveils new healthcare plan
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Donor Hsu projected wealth, likability
Hsu thrived in 'bundling' system
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A Democrat in '08! But not that one
At Wal-Mart, Clinton didn't upset any carts
All three locations, along with scores of others scattered throughout some of the poorest Chinese neighborhoods in Queens, Brooklyn and the Bronx, have been swept by an extraordinary impulse to shower money on one particular presidential candidate -- Democratic front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton.Dishwashers, waiters and others whose jobs and dilapidated home addresses seem to make them unpromising targets for political fundraisers are pouring $1,000 and $2,000 contributions into Clinton's campaign treasury. In April, a single fundraiser in an area long known for its gritty urban poverty yielded a whopping $380,000. When Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) ran for president in 2004, he received $24,000 from Chinatown.At this point in the presidential campaign cycle, Clinton has raised more money than any candidate in history. Those dishwashers, waiters and street stall hawkers are part of the reason. And Clinton's success in gathering money from Chinatown's least-affluent residents stems from a two-pronged strategy: mutually beneficial alliances with powerful groups, and appeals to the hopes and dreams of people now consigned to the margins.Clinton has enlisted the aid of Chinese neighborhood associations, especially those representing recent immigrants from Fujian province. The organizations, at least one of which is a descendant of Chinatown criminal enterprises that engaged in gambling and human trafficking, exert enormous influence over immigrants. The associations help them with everything from protection against crime to obtaining green cards.Many of Clinton's Chinatown donors said they had contributed because leaders in neighborhood associations told them to. In some cases, donors said they felt pressure to give.The other piece of the strategy involves holding out hope that, if Clinton becomes president, she will move quickly to reunite families and help illegal residents move toward citizenship. As New York's junior senator, Clinton has expressed support for immigrants and greater family reunification. She is also benefiting from Chinese donors' naive notions of what she could do in the White House.Campaign concernsAs with other campaigns looking for dollars in unpromising places, the Clinton operation also has accepted what it later conceded were improper donations. At least one reported donor denies making a contribution. Another admitted to lacking the legal-resident status required for giving campaign money.Clinton aides said they were concerned about some of the Chinatown contributions."We have hundreds of thousands of donors. We are proud to have support from across New York and the country from many different communities," campaign spokesman Howard Wolfson said. "In this instance, our own compliance process flagged a number of questionable donations and took the appropriate steps to be sure they were legally given. In cases where we couldn't confirm that, the money was returned."The Times examined the cases of more than 150 donors who provided checks to Clinton after fundraising events geared to the Chinese community. One-third of those donors could not be found using property, telephone or business records. Most have not registered to vote, according to public records.And several dozen were described in financial reports as holding jobs -- including dishwasher, server or chef -- that would normally make it difficult to donate amounts ranging from $500 to the legal maximum of $2,300 per election.Of 74 residents of New York's Chinatown, Flushing, the Bronx or Brooklyn that The Times called or visited, only 24 could be reached for comment.Many said they gave to Clinton because they were instructed to do so by local association leaders. Some said they wanted help on immigration concerns. And several spoke of the pride they felt by being associated with a powerful figure such as Clinton.New take, old gameBeyond what it reveals about present-day campaign fundraising, Chinatown's newfound role in the 2008 election cycle marks another chapter in the centuries-old American saga of marginalized ethnic groups and newly arrived immigrants turning to politics to improve their lot.In earlier times, New York politicians from William "Boss" Tweed to Fiorello LaGuardia gained power with the support of immigrants. So did politicians in Philadelphia, Cleveland, Chicago and other big cities.Like many who traveled this path, most of the Chinese reported as contributing to Clinton's campaign have never voted. Many speak little or no English. Some seem to lead such ephemeral lives that neighbors say they've never heard of them."This is a new game," said Peter Kwong, a professor at Hunter College in New York who studies Chinatown communities across the country. Historically, Kwong said, "voting in Chinatown is so weak" that politicians did not go out of their way to court residents."Today it is all about money," he said.The effort is especially pronounced among groups in the Fujianese community. More than a decade ago, Fujianese cultural associations ran gambling operations and, more ominously, at least one was home to a gang that trafficked in illegal Fujian native immigrants.The human-smuggling problem came to a head in 1993, when a cargo ship, the Golden Venture, ran aground off New York City. As shocked police and immigration officials looked on, hundreds of Fujian natives who had spent weeks below deck struggled to make it to shore. Several died in the attempt.A crackdown by the FBI's organized-crime task force led to the indictment of more than 20 Fujian native traffickers. Today, the problem has substantially dissipated, says Konrad Motyka of the FBI's New York field office, who participated in the investigation of the Golden Venture.Although Motyka is wary of the havoc wreaked in the past by Fujianese organized crime, he said: "I welcome signs that the community is participating in politics."High hopesAt his tiny restaurant in the south Bronx, which has one table and a takeout counter, Chang Jian Lin displays a prized memento: a photo of himself and Clinton. The picture was taken at a fundraising banquet in Chinatown this spring.Lin and his wife, who also works in the restaurant, said through an interpreter that they believe Clinton, if elected president, will reunite their family. The Lins' two teenage children remain in Fujian, a mountainous coastal province in southeastern China opposite Taiwan."If she gets to be the president, we want our children to come home," Chang Jian Lin said.Campaign officials point out that Clinton has sponsored legislation aimed at family reunification; the proposals failed. And immigration measures being discussed in Congress would assign a lower priority to family reunification, which tends to bring in poor people, and give preference to immigrants with more-lucrative job skills.Moreover, the Lins appeared to have an exaggerated impression of a president's ability to change such things as immigration laws single-handedly.Kwong thinks Clinton may be "exploiting the vulnerabilities of recent immigrants."Nonetheless, Lin is planning to attend another Clinton fundraiser, a birthday bash next week. He said his support rested on more than his hope for reuniting his family. "Besides the immigration issue with my kids, the overall standard of living will improve for the Chinese people" living in the U.S., he said.He has never before supported a U.S. politician and, not yet a citizen, he is barred from voting. But when Fujianese community leaders asked him to donate to Clinton, he said, he eagerly contributed $1,000. Immigrants who have permanent resident status can legally make campaign contributions.Coming up with the money was hard, Lin acknowledged, adding: "The restaurant is really small."Missing personsThe tenement at 44 Henry St. was listed in Clinton's campaign reports as the home of Shu Fang Li, who reportedly gave $1,000.In a recent visit, a man, apparently drunk, was asleep near the entrance to the neighboring beauty parlor, the Nice Hair Salon.A tenant living in the apartment listed as Li's address said through a translator that she had not heard of him, although she had lived there for the last 10 years.A man named Liang Zheng was listed as having contributed $1,000. The address given was a large apartment building on East 194th Street in the Bronx, but no one by that name could be located there.Census figures for 2000 show the median family income for the area was less than $21,000. About 45% of the population was living below the poverty line, more than double the city average.In the busy heart of East Broadway, beneath the Manhattan Bridge, is a building that is listed as the home of Sang Cheung Lee, also reported to have given $1,000. Trash was piled in the dimly lighted entrance hall. Neighbors said they knew of no one with Lee's name there; they knocked on one another's doors in a futile effort to find him.Salespeople at a store on Canal Street were similarly baffled when asked about Shih Kan Chang, listed as working there and having given $1,000. The store sells purses, jewelry and novelty Buddha statues. Employees said they had not heard of Chang.Another listed donor, Yi Min Liu, said he did not make the $1,000 contribution in April that was reported in his name. He said he attended a banquet for Clinton but did not give her money.Clinton "has done a lot for the Chinese community," he said.One New York man who said he enthusiastically donated $2,500 to Clinton doesn't appear to be eligible to do so under federal election law. He said he came to the United States from China about two years ago and didn't have a green card.Out of the peripheryA key figure helping to secure Asian support for Clinton is a woman named Chung Seto, who came to this country as a child from Canton province and has supported Bill and Hillary Clinton since the 1990s. She called Fujian natives' support for Hillary Clinton the beginning of civic engagement for an immigrant group that had long been on the periphery.She said she stationed translators at the entrance of one event to try to screen out improper contributions.Qun Wu, a 37-year-old waiter at a Chinese restaurant in Flushing, saw a reference to a Clinton fundraiser in a Chinese-language newspaper. He took a day off from work to go. Though he only makes $500 a week, he considers his $1,000 donation to be money well-spent. He got his picture taken with Clinton, hung it prominently in his house, then had color reprints made and sent to family in China."Every day I go home and see it," he said. "I see my picture with Hillary, and I feel encouraged. It's a great honor."
Many, on the other hand, said they gave for reasons having more to do with the Chinese community than with Clinton. He Duan Zheng, who gave $1,000, said of the Fujianese community: "They informed us to go, so I went."Everybody was making a donation, so I did too," he said. "Otherwise I would lose face."firstname.lastname@example.org@latimes.com
18 October 2007
05 October 2007
29 September 2007
The Outstanding Public Debt as of 30 Sep 2007 at 05:35:50 AM GMT is:
The estimated population of the United States is 303,123,167
so each citizen's share of this debt is $29,611.59.
The National Debt has continued to increase an average of
$1.28 billion per day since September 29, 2006!
Concerned? Then tell Congress and the White House!
23 September 2007
18 September 2007
Cal State University Staff Relies on Free Food to Survive; System Executives to Get 12% Raise, Bringing Avg Executive Pay to $270K
Earlier today, Rich McGee, Chair of Bargaining Unit 9, addressed the Board of Trustees' Committee on Collective Bargaining as they met in open session. Here he describes his remarks:
I introduced myself, and thanked the Trustees for the privilege of speaking with them today. I then congratulated Dr. Al Karnig, the President at CSU San Bernardino, for having the courage to tell the truth about PeopleSoft. Yesterday, during his Fall convocation speech, President Karnig blamed "difficulties with the implementation of PeopleSoft" as one of the reasons that the enrollment is low at CSUSB. I informed the Trustees that PeopleSoft has not made the campuses more productive, and that in fact tasks that used to take moments now take a very long time. For example, one person used to be able to perform over 250 student advisements in the course of a day. Now, they can do 30, or less, in the same amount of time. The system just isn't working! Ask your students, ask your staff; they will tell you the truth.
Regarding the compensation issue, I said that rather than give them dry figures and numbers, I preferred to use an actual example. At CSU San Bernardino, there is an ASA-2 who has a medical disability, and must use an electric wheelchair. She loves her job, and does it very well. Last night, both she and her husband attended the President's evening convocation celebration. But they only attended because there was food being offered. If they hadn't gone, they wouldn't have eaten dinner, as they have only 3 bottles of water and a single loaf of bread left to last them for the remainder of the month.
To have a staff member at any university having to depend upon free food in order to eat? That's just shameful.
15 September 2007
9/15/2005 - 9/15/2007
Congratulations and happy second anniversary to the wonderful, intelligent and humorous staff of the Fairbank Report!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thanks for two years of pugilistic, incisive, analytical, humorous (in the Swiftian sense), hard-hitting, cantankerous and beautifully crafted commentaries. Keep the good stuff coming!
Associate Editor's Notes: Originally posted on 1/25/2007 on The Fairbank Report.
25 January 2007
3065 GIs KIA Since 2003; War Unwinnable; New Strategy Proposed BelowBy Jonathan Fairbank, Editor-in-Chief
Like most Americans in 2003, I supported the war against Saddam Hussein's Iraq. Colin Powell's dog-and-pony show at the UN convinced me that we needed to rid Iraq of WMD.
By 2004, I still supported the war efforts even though the Iraq Survey Group, which was appointed by the Bush Administration, conclusively found that there was no WMD in Iraq. I believed, then, that Hussein could have used his oil wealth to pursue WMD and thence share these deadly weapons with Al-Qaeda. I supported Bush in the General Election of 2004.
By the summer of 2005, I was feeling queasy; yet, I was hoping for the best. I still supported the Administration's overall efforts in Iraq.
By late 2006, I have privately withdrawn support for the war. And now on the 25th day of 2007, I am publicly withdrawing my support for the war because it is unwinnable.
The Maliki government is weaker than the Weimar Republic and totally corrupt.
If we cannot quell the insurgency with the current force of 140,000 men on the ground, an additional "surge" of 21,000 men by Cartesian logic will not succeed in blunting the brutality of the present insurgency/terrorist campaigns.
The United States is caught between a rock and a hard place. Colin Powell was right when he said, "If you broke it; you own it." A withdrawal from Iraq will mean certain collapse of the Maliki government and result in an anti-Western Shiite government perhaps led by Moqatar Al-Sadir. Yet, remaining in Iraq will assuredly mean continued American casualties and sustained bleeding of the Treasury to the tune of $200 billion a year.
Reluctantly, I propose a quick withdrawal from Iraq and redeploy these troops along the United States borders in order to avoid terrorist infiltration into the American homeland. I propose using the current resources being spent on the war efforts to boost counter-terrorist monitoring and to thwart terrorist plots via covert military actions and improved intelligence gathering and sharing among allies.
This is not an optimal solution. But it is one that may just lead to a different result. On the other hand, as a matter of fait accompli, staying the course will lead to more Iraqi and American deaths as well as continued depletion of the Treasury without significantly altering the current situation.
An honest assessment by a fair-minded person will probably arrive at the aforementioned conclusion.
The difficult task at hand is to convince a certain obdurate cowboy-president of this harsh reality.
12 September 2007
08 September 2007
Music and lyrics by Rick Springfield
Emotions by Lost in Emotion
Jessie is a friend,
yeah, I know he's been
a good friend of mine
But lately something's changed
that ain't hard to define
Jessie's got himself a girl
and I want to make her mine
And she's watching him with those eyes
And she's lovin' him with that body,
I just know it
Yeah 'n' he's holding her
in his arms late,
late at night
You know, I wish that I had Jessie's girl,
I wish that I had Jessie's girl
Where can I find a woman like that
I play along with the charade,
there doesn't seem to be
a reason to change
You know, I feel so dirty
when they start talking cute
I wanna tell her that I love her,
but the point is probably moot
'Cos she's watching him with those eyes
And she's lovin' him with that body,
I just know it
And he's holding her
in his arms late, late at night
Like Jessie's girl,
I wish that I had Jessie's girl
Where can I find a woman,
where can I find a woman like that
And I'm lookin' in the mirror all the time,
wondering what she don't see in me
I've been funny,
I've been cool with the lines
Ain't that the way
love supposed to be
Tell me, where can I find a woman like that
You know, I wish that I had Jessie's girl,
I wish that I had Jessie's girl
I want Jessie's girl,
where can I find a woman like that, like
I wish that I had Jessie's girl,
I want Jessie's girl
27 August 2007
Mon Aug 27, 2007 9:32AM EDT
By Christelyn Karazin
CORONA, Calif (Reuters) - Bhaviesh and Varsha Shah bought their dream home in a new development east of Los Angeles two years ago, planted flowers around an emerald lawn and picked out wicker furniture for sitting outside on cool afternoons.
Today the view from their porch is a street pocked with boarded windows and dead lawns -- homes now repossessed after buyers failed to make mounting mortgage payments.
The Shahs live on a street with 10 large homes of 3,000 square feet or more, four of them now in foreclosure.
Although they are surviving the mortgage meltdown, their dream development -- like many in this arid corner of Southern California known as the Inland Empire -- is an early casualty.
"We're not surprised. We had a feeling it was coming," said Varsha Shah.
They found out which way the wind was blowing about a year ago when several families moved into some of the homes and never bothered to water the grass or pick up beer cans. Unlike the Shahs, they didn't seem to be in Towne Square and its 49 Spanish-style and 1920s-inspired Craftsman homes for the long haul.
The Inland Empire, 50 miles east of Los Angeles, was a latecomer to the housing boom in California as buyers squeezed out of high-price coastal Los Angeles and Orange counties found large homes going up on the region's vast supply of vacant land.
And it has been one of the most hard hit by foreclosures.
The Inland Empire's combined Riverside and San Bernardino counties reported the fourth highest number of foreclosure filings of any of the nation's 229 largest metro areas in July, behind Atlanta, Los Angeles and Detroit, according to market tracker RealtyTrac.
OWNERS GO 'UPSIDE DOWN'
Survivors of Towne Square find themselves not only with unsightly, empty properties next door, but also with home values plummeting amid the fire sales on foreclosed homes.
So selling and moving to a better neighborhood is not much of an option because many owe more on their mortgage than they would get for the sale -- what the industry calls "upside down."
And real estate agents note that California's market is likely to rebound as it has in the past, underpinned by high population growth.
"Everything goes in cycles. I think we'll be OK if people don't panic," said Patricia Patton, who has been a real estate agent in the area for over 14 years.
Joe and Mary Gordon don't feel much like sticking around, but have little choice.
They bought an approximately 4,000 square-foot (371 sq meter) home on the street behind the Shahs for $741,000, thinking it would be their last home after moving from Orange County, just west of the Inland Empire.
Two homes on the Gordon's street are going through foreclosure and one of them, comparable in size to theirs, is being offered by the bank for $550,000.
The Gordons fear they will lose hundreds of thousands of dollars in equity. "We have no recourse. We'll have to live here eight to ten years before we get our equity back," said Joe.
Bob Taylor, president of the development's homeowners association, said his family thought about moving, but with the installation of a pool and landscaping, they didn't think they would break even after the market turned south.
The frustrated families stuck in Towne Square are critical of the developer Centex Corp. for failing to exclude investors and scammers who bought 14 to 17 of the 49 homes in what was billed as a "family centered executive development."
"Centex has discouraged speculative investments in our primary-home neighborhoods," Eric Bruner, Centex's director of public relations, told Reuters in response to homeowners' complaints.
The families believe the investors were not just people flipping houses for a quick profit, but also a group of scammers taking advantage of lax lending rules that permitted 100 percent financing with no money down and minimal documentation.
For the Gordons and Taylors, these are the people who ruined the neighborhood by using their homes like revolving night clubs, cramming cars into the cul de sacs and threatening neighbors who complained.
The Corona Police Department said it was called about neighborhood disturbances on Towne Square's Summerset St., where the Shahs live, 35 times in 2006. The street that runs parallel, Springfield Circle received 28 complaints.
"How did we feel? Sick!" Joe Gordon yelled, throwing up his hands. "We'd go to work, then just come in the house and hide. You never knew what was going to happen."
Now, many of the investors have disappeared and their homes have gone into foreclosure.
Despite the bad days spent in Towne Square, Bob Taylor said his family of six is here to stay and even optimistic that nice, responsible neighbors will eventually move into the foreclosed homes.
"After what we've been through for the past two years -- short of Charlie Manson moving in -- it can't be any worse," he said, referring to the famous American murderer.
25 August 2007
20 August 2007
This insignificant peasant slut has defied the Great Paper Tiger for one year before the pusillanimous American regime even dared to deport her for entering the country illegally. The government was so weak that this illiterate peasant actually strutted around the country and gave the birdie to the Fed for a full year before the government could summon enough courage to act on Sunday (August 19) to deport this illegal alien-criminal.
Now illegal aliens are threatening to burn down Los Angeles unless she is “returned to her people.” We say, better to let LA burn than to succumb to foreign subversives.
15 August 2007
Chris Thornberg of UCLA and others have presaged the collapse of the housing market as far back as the boom boom days of 2002. Perhaps, they were wrong in when the collapse would take place. (Staff at the Fairbank Group correctly predicted in 2004 that 2006 would be the year, and it was!) But their logic, housing price increases at rates not supportable by prevailing salary and wage increases, was indisputable.
Yet, people who had no business buying condos and houses, recklessly bought by playing with OPM (Other People's Money), and now the proverbial chickens have just begun to come home to roost. Although Fairbank Report analysts have projected up to 20% housing price downturn, I project a larger decline because people, as late as 2005, were buying properties at 10 to 15 times their annual household income! And the Greenspan Federal Reserve Bank sat idly by, refusing to crack down on dangerous subprime (read junk) loans!
07 August 2007
Fat and lazy, Americans have come to rely on cheap Chinese imports and cheap Mexican labour. American sloth and debauchery have descended to the point where in merely twenty years of open trade with the United States, Red China has such a commanding current account surplus with the USA that this once scrawny country of toothpick-skinny men is now threatening to torpedo the American economy by dumping US bonds.
Sloth and debauchery led to the demise of the Roman Empire. And the same sins have apparently led to the decline of the short-lived American Empire. Rome’s might lasted 1,000 years; America’s might lasted two generations. How pathetic.
China threatens 'nuclear option' of dollar sales
By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, The Telegraph (UK)
The Chinese government has begun a concerted campaign of economic threats against the United States, hinting that it may liquidate its vast holding of US treasuries if Washington imposes trade sanctions to force a yuan revaluation.
Two officials at leading Communist Party bodies have given interviews in recent days warning - for the first time - that Beijing may use its $1.33 trillion (£658bn) of foreign reserves as a political weapon to counter pressure from the US Congress. Shifts in Chinese policy are often announced through key think tanks and academies.
Described as China's "nuclear option" in the state media, such action could trigger a dollar crash at a time when the US currency is already breaking down through historic support levels.
Xia Bin, finance chief at the Development Research Centre (which has cabinet rank), kicked off what now appears to be government policy with a comment last week that Beijing's foreign reserves should be used as a "bargaining chip" in talks with the US.
"Of course, China doesn't want any undesirable phenomenon in the global financial order," he added.
He Fan, an official at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, went even further today, letting it be known that Beijing had the power to set off a dollar collapse if it choose to do so.
"China has accumulated a large sum of US dollars. Such a big sum, of which a considerable portion is in US treasury bonds, contributes a great deal to maintaining the position of the dollar as a reserve currency. Russia, Switzerland, and several other countries have reduced the their dollar holdings.
"China is unlikely to follow suit as long as the yuan's exchange rate is stable against the dollar. The Chinese central bank will be forced to sell dollars once the yuan appreciated dramatically, which might lead to a mass depreciation of the dollar," he told China Daily.
The threats play into the presidential electoral campaign of Hillary Clinton, who has called for restrictive legislation to prevent America being "held hostage to economic decicions being made in Beijing, Shanghai, or Tokyo".
She said foreign control over 44pc of the US national debt had left America acutely vulnerable.
Simon Derrick, a currency strategist at the Bank of New York Mellon, said the comments were a message to the US Senate as Capitol Hill prepares legislation for the Autumn session.
"The words are alarming and unambiguous. This carries a clear political threat and could have very serious consequences at a time when the credit markets are already afraid of contagion from the subprime troubles," he said.
A bill drafted by a group of US senators, and backed by the Senate Finance Committee, calls for trade tariffs against Chinese goods as retaliation for alleged currency manipulation.
The yuan has appreciated 9pc against the dollar over the last two years under a crawling peg but it has failed to halt the rise of China's trade surplus, which reached $26.9bn in June.
Henry Paulson, the US Tresury Secretary, said any such sanctions would undermine American authority and "could trigger a global cycle of protectionist legislation".
Mr Paulson is a China expert from his days as head of Goldman Sachs. He has opted for a softer form of diplomacy, but appeared to win few concession from Beijing on a unscheduled trip to China last week aimed at calming the waters.
02 August 2007
Editor's notes: The FR has featured several original and controversial essays on the topic of Asian men in contemporary Western society. Search the archives for them.
They're hot, they're sexy... they're Asian men
By David Nakamura
First Appeared in Seattle Times. ©2000 Seattle Times
For 29 years, I've lived, day in, day out, with something that was so unfashionable I'm surprised someone didn't try to manufacture it and sell it at Kmart or TJ Maxx. It was something that left me hopelessly lame, uncool, out of it. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn't make it into the "hip" crowd.
My unthinkable and unchangeable flaw? I'm Asian. More specifically, an Asian man.
Thankfully, I'm not alone. About 2 percent of the American population is similarly afflicted. For years we struggled with our predicament, hopeful - but by no means certain - that someday our glaring inadequacy would cease to be a flaw. Someday, we prayed, it would be cool to be like us.
Well, people, I'm here to tell you that General Tsao's Chicken has at long last come home to roost. Check out the evidence. Look at the faces on the billboards. The Wall Street Journal reports in a front-page story that Asian males are "becoming increasingly popular with advertisers." The Dallas Morning News says there's been "a surge in Asian male awareness" in the ultra-macho worlds of sports, cars, fraternities.
And, the coup de grace: a two-page spread in the Feb. 21 issue of Newsweek titled, "Why Asian Guys Are on a Roll."
Such articles lay bare the disturbing facts, how we had been seen as inscrutable by nature, bookish in appearance, small in stature, and how that added up to the painful truth: We weren't the masculine ideal. At the same time, our Asian sisters enjoyed a free pass on the benefits of a decidedly different reputation: exotically beautiful and culturally mysterious.
But now, Asian men are all the rage, the articles said. We have Asian actors and action heroes such as Chow Yun Fat, Rick Yune and Jet Li. We're on the fashion runways in chic cities. We make more money than other racial groups. And, the Newsweek story reported, Asian men are intermarrying other races like never before. (And to think I believed my Asian girlfriend was good enough!)
Newsweek quotes this dialogue between an Asian man and his white babe:
He: Asian men are the next "trophy boyfriends."
She: "It's almost like Asian boyfriends are the fashion accessory of the moment."
After reading that, I was so ebullient that I could have kissed my pocket protector. After all those years of nerdiness, I am finally riding the crest of America's cultural tsunami!
In the interest of full disclosure, I should say I'm only half-Asian: My father's family is Japanese and my mother is descended from Eastern European Jews. But most "ethnics" are only partly so - it's that single-drop-of-blood thing. So let the record show that I'm as down with my roots as any Human homeboy.
And I'm ready to rock. My days of rising at dawn, working 10 hours, hitting the sack early and being an otherwise decent, law-abiding geek are over. I'm gonna be hitting the fly clubs, chowing at the phat restaurants and dating the hotties, kickin' it with my good friends and fellow hipsters, Puff Daddy and Ricky Martin.
Of course, that's assuming those guys can hang with me. Sure, just last year the national media were going gaga over over the Latin invasion of the likes of Martin, Enrique Iglesias and Jennifer Lopez. How they could sing, shake their booties, pout before the cameras. But, hey, a year is a long time. Get with it. The Latino thing is so 15 minutes ago that I suspect it'll soon be roped off, declared a national treasure and placed in the Smithsonian.
Now it's all about Asians, baby, and I, to crib from a certain overexposed Latin lothario, intend to be livin' la vida Tokyo.
My Asian buddy Phil isn't as convinced that this is a good thing. I mean, he's spent a good 28 years dutifully keeping his place in the Asian nerd corner. He attended Harvard, for heaven's sake.
At lunch the other day, he confided, "Doesn't it feel uncomfortable being objectified in this way?"
I was appalled, naturally. From behind my wraparound shades and pulled-down ball cap - I don't want to be mobbed on the street, after all - I patiently explained the New World Order to P-Daddy, which is what I call Phil now.
"P-Daddy, my samurai partner in crime," I said. "You gotta learn to live a little. Stop being so... so... Asian! Or, rather, be more Asian! Feel the power in your weaknesses."
For the sake of P-Daddy and my non-Asian friends, I've put together this tip sheet on how to be cool, Asian-style:
Hair: Preferably black and limp; cut in the shape of your favorite kitchen bowl.
Shirt: Snug; short sleeves preferred.
Pants: Polyester; hemmed 2 inches above the ankle; worn at all times, even when you're playing basketball.
Car: Any make of Toyota or Honda; for those on a budget, Hyundai; for the extra-wild party boys, Mitsubishi Mirage.
Food: Dim sum (except for those icky chicken feet)
Babes: Pamela Anderson-Lee (explain to friends that she added "Lee" to her name because she really is married to a Chinese).
Clubs: Anything karaoke (sing only Canto-Pop songs by your favorite Hong Kong teen idols; fake the lyrics if you haven't mastered your Cantonese).
Catch phrases: "He's my Buddha!" and "Confucius says you ain't nuthin' but a grasshopper." (Translation: You're so inconsequential that even a fifth-century B.C. East Asian philosopher wouldn't bother pondering you.)
I urge everyone to study up. You never know when we Asian men will be reduced to fleeting has-beens. I can see it now: a Newsweek cover story in March 2001: "Why Native American Men Are Livin' Large." Guys with ponytails. Feathered headdresses for the ladies.
Sure, you may think what I'm saying is based on tired, played-out cultural stereotypes that lump individuals into broad groups in ways that can be hurtful and dangerous. But who cares, as long as the stereotype works for you?
Whatever seems lame about your group right now might seem trendy in the blink of a (slanted) eye. After all, I'm Asian, and you know what that means: We're on a roll, the big Buddhas on the block after all these years.
Washington Post Metro reporter David Nakamura is considering changing his byline to his middle name: Akira.
22 July 2007
By Jonathan Fairbank, Editor-in-Chief
As late as 1982, Monterey Park, CA was a safe, clean and American suburb located a few miles from downtown Los Angeles. Then Chinamen from Hong Kong and Taiwan began to colonize the city by bribing City Councilors and buying out long-time residents. Beginning in 1983 and ending in around 1988, the largest and fastest white flight in American history quietly took place in this suburban town. These Chinamen thence constructed a large number of apartment buildings, which were rented out to immigrants from Taiwan, Hong Kong and Vietnam whom they recruited to settle in the town. Of course, these immigrants live(d) ten to a room, and the destruction of the once-beautiful Monterey Park started in earnest.
But things settled down for a few years in the city. These immigrants, for the most part, were family-oriented who raised their families on menial jobs, welfare fraud and tax evasion.
Then the monstrosity of Mainland Chinamen came on the scene in the mid-1990s. Unlike the overseas Chinamen of the 1980s, these Mainland Chinamen are young, single and looking for the fast buck. They live ten to a room, but they also run gambling and opium (YES, OPIUM) dens and brothels out of these dilapidating apartments.
They tout the law with impunity because, in their eyes, Monterey Park is a “Chinese town” where the mainly white and Hispanic police force is too timid to raise questions for fear of being sued by the ACLU or one of the ubiquitous ethnic-based “legal aid societies.”
The result is rampant criminal activities such as gambling, prostitution and drug- and women-trafficking. Old timers, mainly the Chinaman cohort of the 1980s, are paying the price of the latest crime waves to hit Monterey Park.
And there’s very little these old-timer Chinamen can do. The police doesn’t care because no one in the police force lives in the city or is intimidated by potential charges of racism. Because they never had to assimilate, these old-timer Chinamen do not know how to leverage institutional resources to address the crime waves from Mainland China, which seems to export everything under the sun to the United States including criminals.
One might quip, “Let these blasted Chinamen stew in the crap they made.” On one level, I agree. Let these bastards reap what they sowed in the 1980s. But if left unchecked, these criminal Chinamen, like sewage scum, will seep into other SoCal communities. In fact, the Fairbank Report has learned that there are attempts under way, which are funded in part or in whole by the Beijing regime, to Sinicize La Canada-Flintridge, Claremont, Upland, Rancho Cucamonga, Chino, Redland and other livable areas of the Los Angeles basin.
Moreover, by writing off Monterey Park as a loss to criminal Chinamen, we are, in effect, surrendering piecemeal the entire state of California to criminal elements and illegal aliens. California may appear to be a lost cause, but we should not go down without a good fight!
15 July 2007
And we were the first to call for a ban on all Chinese-made products, in particular foodstuffs, in the United States.
Yet, no action. Not quite. The Chinese did execute their FDA administrator. This is classically Chinese tactic: “Kill the monkey to scare the chickens.” In other words, symbolic justice. The stench of corruption is so deep and pervasive that there is very little the central government can do except for these showcased executions. Recall that in the late 1990’s, the former mayor of Beijing (who occupied a very high-level position within the Byzantine labyrinth of Chinese government) was executed for “economic crimes.” Yet, corruption remains rampant as before his execution, if not worse. Once again, symbolic justice over substantive reform.
So there will certainly be more cases of tainted Chinese-made products that will kill or maim thousands, if not tens of thousands, and the world will go on consuming them. Sigh!
11 July 2007
What does a kid, who was fast-tracked to the top by "friends" in various local city governments during his short career, know about managing a Southern California city? If this were Podunk, Oklahoma, I would say, knock yourself out kid. But this is the big time--Los Angeles!
Young scientists and artists have talent, and they should be fast-tracked to their potential. But in government, there's very little talent involved or required. It's about judgement and sagacity, which come with experience and (perhaps) age.
In a market the size of Southern California and paying SoCal salaries, don't tell me the good Councillors of the City of Rosemead could not find a more experienced and seasoned administrator?!
04 July 2007
30 June 2007
Compare this picture with the typical transfer of power in the United States where the outgoing President is gracefully sent off in a military helicopter as the incoming President and his family wave good bye on theWhite House lawn.
Meanwhile, new PM Gordon Brown is faced with his first crisis as the Religion of Peace threatens to strike London again and indeed has struck Glasgow.
09 June 2007
02 June 2007
In the current absurd and hyper-politically correct state of the United States, everyone is considered an American. Just hopped off the boat? You are a Boatperson-American. Just illegally crossed the borders? You are an undocumented American. Just wanna blow up Kennedy Airport? You are a terrorist-American. And it is reported today that terrorist-Americans were seeking to blow up JFK Airport in New York City in a plot which would have made 9/11 look like child's play.
When will the nappy-headed Americans wake up?! Wake up! Wake up!
Perhaps, it will take at least 50,000 deaths from a single terrorist attack to wake up the fat, lazy and over-eating American cows!
31 May 2007
This TB-afflicted lawyer is so good-looking (with a hot bride to boot) that he intimidated the border guard to allow him to enter the United States even though there was a red alert out for TB Andy's arrest. An uglier couple would have been arrested and beaten.
It's amazing how much symmetry matters in this world!
I learned the truth at seventeen
That love was meant for beauty queens
and high school girls with clear skinned smiles
who married young and then retired
The valentines I never knew
The Friday night charades of youth
were spent on one more beautiful
At seventeen I learned the truth
And those of us with ravaged faces
lacking in the social graces
desperately remained at home
inventing lovers on the phone
who called to say – come dance with me
and murmured vague obscenities
It isn't all it seems at seventeen
A brown eyed girl in hand me downs
whose name I never could pronounce
said – Pity please the ones who serve
They only get what they deserve
The rich relationed hometown queen
marries into what she needs
with a guarantee of company
and haven for the elderly
Remember those who win the game
lose the love they sought to gain
in debentures of quality and dubious integrity
Their small-town eyes will gape at you
in dull surprise when payment due
exceeds accounts received at seventeen
To those of us who knew the pain
of valentines that never came
and those whose names were never called
when choosing sides for basketball
It was long ago and far away
The world was younger than today
when dreams were all they gave for free
to ugly duckling girls like me
We all play the game, and when we dare
we cheat ourselves at solitaire
Inventing lovers on the phone
Repenting other lives unknown
that call and say – Come dance with me
and murmur vague obscenities
at ugly girls like me, at seventeen
Copyright © Janis Ian/her co-writer(s) if any/their publisher(s). All rights reserved.
Re-printing these lyrics for limited personal use is fine. Using these lyrics to make money is a violation of lots of laws; do not do that please!
Permission to quote in books, magazines, etc. may be obtained by writing to email@example.com
25 May 2007
This is NOT torture. This was an adolescent prank at Abu Ghraib, or it could be kinky sex in West Hollywood. Definitely not torture by any stretch of the human imagination.