Monday, October 13, 2008

This is interesting...

This is A condensed timeline from the Investor's Business Daily
explaining "What Caused the Loan Crisis": I't's the best, short but full
accounting I've read yet.

This is quite a time line. Bush urged reform 17 times.

1977: Pres. Jimmy Carter signs the Community Reinvestment Act into
Law. The law pressured financial institutions to extend home loans to those
who would otherwise not qualify. The Premise: Home ownership would
improve poor and crime-ridden communities and neighborhoods in terms of
crime, investment, jobs, etc.

Results: Statistics bear out that it did not help.

How did the government get so deeply involved in the housing
market? Answer: Bill Clinton wanted it that way.

1992: Republican representative Jim Leach (IO) warned of the danger
that Fannie and Freddie were changing from being agencies of the public at
large to money machines for the principals and the stockholding few.

1993: Clinton extensively rewrote Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac's rules
turning the quasi-private mortgage-funding firms into semi-nationalized
monopoies dispensing cash and loans to large Democratic voting blocks and
handing favors, jobs and contributions to political allies. This potent mix
led inevitably to corruption and now the collapse of Freddie and Fannie.

1994: Despite warnings, Clinton unveiled his National Home-Ownership
Strategy which broadened the CRA in ways congress never intended.

1995: Congress, about to change from a Democrat majority to
Republican, Clinton orders Robert Rubin's Treasury Dept to rewrite the
rules. Robt. Rubin's Treasury reworked rules, forcing banks to satisfy
quotas for sub-prime and minority loans to get a satisfactory CRA rating.
The rating was key to expansion or mergers for banks. Loans began to be
made on the basis of race and little else.

1997 - 1999: Clinton, bypassing Republicans, enlisted Andrew Cuomo,
then Secretary of Housing and Urban Developement, allowing Freddie and
Fannie to get into the sub-prime market in a BIG way. Led by Rep. Barney
Frank and Sen. Chris Dodd, congress doubled down on the risk by easing
capital limits and allowing them to hold just 2.5% of capital to back their
investments vs. 10% for banks. Since they could borrow at lower rates than
banks their enterprises boomed.

With incentives in place, banks poured billions in loans into poor
communities, often "no doc", "no income", requiring no money down and no
verification of income. Worse still was the cronyism: Fannie and Freddie
became home to out-of work-politicians, mostly Clinton Democrats. 384
politicians got big campaign donations from Fannie and Freddie. Over $200
million had been spent on lobbying and political activities. During the
1990's Fannie and Freddie enjoyed a subsidy of as musch as $182 Billion,
most of it going to principals and shareholders, not poor borrowers as

Did it work? Minorities made up 49% of the 12.5 million new
homeowners but many of those loans have gone bad and the minority
homeownership rates are shrinking fast.

1999: New Treasury Secretary, Lawrence Summers, became alarmed at
Fannie and Freddie's excesses. Congress held hearings the ensuing year but
nothing was done because Fannie and Freddie had donated millions to key
congressmen and radical groups, ensuring no meaningful changes would take
place. "We manage our political risk with the same intensity that we manage
our credit and interest rate risks," Fannie CEO Franklin Raines, a former
Clinton official and current Barack Obama advisor, bragged to investors in

2000: Secretary Summers sent Undersecretary Gary Gensler to Congress
seeking an end to the "special status". Democrats raised a ruckus as did
Fannie and Freddie, headed by politically connected CEO's who knew how to
reward and punish. "We think that the statements evidence a contempt for
the nation's housing and mortgage markets" Freddie spokesperson Sharon
McHale said. It was the last chance during the Clinton era for reform.

2001: Republicans try repeatedly to bring fiscal sanity to Fannie
and Freddie but Democrats blocked any attempt at reform; especially Rep.
Barney Frank and Sen.Chris Dodd who now run key banking committees and were
huge beneficiaries of campaign contributions from the mortgage giants.

2003: Bush proposes what the NY Times called "the most significant
regulatory overhaul in the housing finance industry since the savings and
loan crisis a decade ago". Even after discovering a scheme by Fannie and
Freddie to overstate earnings by $10.6 billion to boost their bonuses, the
Democrats killed reform.

2005: Then Fed chairman Alan Greenspan warns Congress: "We are
placing the total financial system at substantial risk". Sen. McCain, with
two others, sponsored a Fannie/Freddie reform bill and said, "If congress
does not act, American taxpayers will continue to be exposed to the enormous
risk that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac pose to the housing market, the overall
financial system and the economy as a whole". Sen. Harry Reid accused the
GOP ;of trying to "cripple the ability of Fannie and Freddie to carry out
their mission of expanding homeownership" The bill went nowhere.

2007: By now Fannie and Freddie own or guarantee over HALF of the $12
trillion US mortgage market. The mortgage giants, whose executive suites
were top-heavy with former Democratic officials, had been working with Wall
St. to repackage the bad loans and sell them to investors. As the housing
market fell in '07, subprime mortgage portfolios suffered major losses. The
crisis was on, though it was 15 years in the making.

2008: McCain has repeatedly called for reforming the behemoths, Bush
urged reform 17 times. Still the media have repeated Democrats' talking
points about this being a "Republican" disaster. A few Republicans are
complicit but Fannie and Freddie were created by Democrats, regulated by
Democrats, largely run by Democrats and protected by Democrats. That's why
taxpayers are now being asked for $700 billion!!

If you doubt any of this, just click the links below and listen to
your lawmakers own words. They are condeming!

Postscript: ACORN is one of the principle beneficiaries of Fannie/
Freddie's slush funds. They are currently under indictment or investigation
in many states. Barack Obama served as their legal counsel, defending their
activities for several years.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Rocky Creek Farms

Sarah, Jacob, and I went on Thursday to Rocky Creek Farm for a hay ride and a little fun with our homeschool group. Here's a few pictures:

I'm glad we went before the snow storm :)


We've had over 6" of snow in the last two days. It's only October 11th. There's something seriously wrong here.

On the other hand, we bought a Suburban with auto 4 wheel drive so we're set for the winter :)

Saturday, September 27, 2008

New Job

Rumpelstiltskin ended wonderfully. I had several conversations about the church and had a wonderful time visiting with the other moms while the kids were practicing all week.

As soon as we were done needing to go to Livingston for the play, my transmission went out in the van. Good timing for us, but definitely an inconvenience. Now all we have is an S-10 pickup to haul all of us around.

We can use the bus for anything we need to get to in town, as long as we have the time to deal with the schedule. It's free and it's kind of fun to ride the bus--the kids get a kick out of it.

The longer I am without a vehicle that holds more than 3, the more I realize how much we can't do that I had planned on this year. The bus system ends at the city limits (sometimes even short of it). Homeschool Choir is outside the city limits. History Co-op is outside the city limits. All but one field trip that we had planned are outside the city limits (I had one planned per month.). Hiking, camping, fishing, hunting, shooting range (we had just joined), 1 YW/YM activity per month, scout activities...all outside the city limits. And we can take only 2 kids and 1 driver to any of them.

So. On Monday I started applying for part time jobs that would let me pick how much I worked. On Thursday I was hired to hand out samples at Costco. It pays $11/hour and lets me pick how many (6 hour) shifts per week I will work (I chose 3 to start).

Hopefully, soon we will be able to find a vehicle we are happy with that holds us all. We are looking specifically for something that we can pay off in the next 6 months from my work. After that I plan to work a bit more so that I can pay off the little bit of debt that we have, then I will quit. I much prefer to be home full time with my kids, but I don't mind doing this so that we won't have a car payment (for very long anyway).

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Queen Bea

Jessi has the lead female role in Rumpelstiltskin! At least she has more lines than anyone else other than the Tour actor/Director that comes with the little red truck. Who knew it wasn't the girl that spun the straw into gold? It's not in Missoula Children's Theatre's version--it's her mother-in-law, Queen Bea.

Jacob is Wizard #4, and Sarah and Joe are Bees. Jacob has 5-6 lines that he says alone and is thrilled with that. Sarah and Joe will probably have one line each and sing lots of songs. Lots of excitement at our house.

The performances are at 3pm and 7pm this Saturday at the Firehouse Five Playhouse in Livingston. Tickets costs $5 per person and $15 per family.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

So it begins...

Tomorrow is the first day of practice for Rumpelstiltskin with Missoula Children's Theatre. Sarah, Joseph, Jacob, and Jessica have been talking about it and asking "How much longer?" for the last month. They will be performing on Saturday twice at the Firehouse 5 in Livingston...but I can't remember what times :) I'll have to post the times later this week along with what parts they got.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Miscellaneous ramblings of the week...

We had a slow Labor Day weekend...Stan organized the garage, I shopped, baked bread, and went to the Stake Women's Conference. It was fun to talk to all the women from Livingston--they filled two rows in the chapel.

The Bishop called last night and asked us to speak in Sacrament on the 14th. That always makes me nervous.

Yesterday I canned 14 quarts of chili. I figured if I was going to make it, I might as well make a really (really) big batch and can a bunch for later. It saves time later and on freezer space. I think I will try beans for beans and rice next.

Sarah has decided to do Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day (Apologia Elementary Science) this year. The style fits her personality. It is quite a bit of reading since it is in a conversational style (which she loves, but the boys can't stand). She will then tell me what she remembers, I will write it for her (since she can't write fast enough), and she will draw a picture that relates. It has roughly one experiment a week to do that I am sure Joseph will do with us. And Stan has decided to do some experiments (unrelated) with the twins also.

Sarah and Joe are loving Learning to Read with the Book of Mormon. Thanks, Jenny, for recommending it :) It's what they always want to do first. I think that's about it for now...

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Start of Our School Year...

Well...we're definitely having a slow start.

Our scripture study stuff from Book of Mormon Discovery was lost in the mail and we had to re-order. I forgot to change our mailing address with Paypal and the Livingston Post Office did not forward the package. I knew they wouldn't. Livingston is notorious for loosing mail. I still haven't gotten the new cd.

Rainbow Resource also sent me a cd of Bible Geography instead of World Geography and I had to send it back and wait for the right one to come. It did come yesterday.

I have been doing math with everyone, writing with Sarah and Jacob, and reading with Sarah and Joe. The rest will probably have to wait until after Missoula Children's Theatre September 8th-12th since next week is a short week anyway (Labor Day). At least the kids are happy :)

Seminary started today for Stephen and Shane. They have all 3 wards meet together, but separate them according to grade. Stephen is fine with that, but Shane now has no one to compete with--last year his goal was to always beat the Seniors in whatever they were doing. And he usually did. Maybe they will all come together for some things.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

New School Year

Glacier was fun and beautiful. There is everything from mountains to plains and from desert to 5" shy of rain forest all within the boundaries. The mountain goats come right up to the cars up in the pass.

Now time to get the school year ready and start a little at a time. We started math this week. We will start one thing a week until we have it all going.

I let Stephen choose something for us all to study this year...he chose World Geography. We are using Trail guide to World Geography along with a few of the supplements that it recommends.

Stan has decided to help with science this year--he is teaching the older four Chemistry one night a week (and making level appropriate assignments for the rest of the week).

Along with Seminary, Scouts, and Duty to God, this is all the core subjects that Stephen and Shane will do.

Jessica and Jacob are going to use a workbook from Book of Mormon Discovery to help them with a study of Latter-Day Prophets.

Joseph and Sarah will be working through Learning to Read Using the Book of Mormon for reading--the others will be reading their choice of books from the library. Along with some handwriting (for the youngers), Faith in God, Personal Progress, and Cub Scouts that's about all that I will plan out for them. They all read a lot on their own and writing assignments will be in everything.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Vacations this summer

We went to my family reunion July 14-18. Stan was unable to go because his barley plants were "heading out" during that time and he had to take "heading notes". Which he did. The rest of us went and played in Utah with my family. We stayed in the Snydermill Lodge owned by my brother's stake and played at a lake (can't remember the name) one day, went to Utah Olympic Park the next, and to Lagoon the day after that. We all had a lot of fun.

Tomorrow we will be leaving for Glacier National Park (Stan with us this time) to camp for four days. Jessi has been looking up things to do in Glacier the last few days. Looks like we will be hiking and fishing a lot. Sounds like fun :)

This summer has been filled with moving and vacationing. As soon as we get back, I have to finish unpacking and get ready for the next school year.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Massive update. Again.

Well we moved. And moved again.

Two days after we moved into the farmhouse, a breaker popped over. No big deal. We couldn't get it to come back on though. We told the farm manager that we needed to buy a new breaker and asked him how he wanted us to deal with it. He said that he didn't want us to mess with the electricity and he would call Facilities Services (MSU electricians).

Facilities Services came out and said that they couldn't replace those breakers--they're not made anymore. And this box needs to be replaced. And all this wiring doesn't look right...let's look inside. When all was said and done, they gave the Dean of the Department of Agriculture a bid for $10,000 for the work that needed to be done. They also told the Dean that they would not allow anyone to live in the house if he didn't pay them to fix all of it (they are apparently allowed to do that--and no one but them is allowed to fix it). The Dean didn't want to put that much money into the house. He decided to tear it down instead and put up a manufactured home instead. He sent a message to us through the farm manager that we had to move as soon as possible. Two days after we moved in.

Stan made an appointment with the Dean to discuss all of this. We just put out quite a bit of money to move and didn't have the money to put down (first, last, and deposit) on another place. We certainly weren't moving unless we had another place to move to and with no money, there was no way to get one. He called his boss (on vacation) and his department head (also on vacation) to apprise them of the situation (they knew nothing).

Stan's boss said not to worry, he would pay for the electrical to be fixed out of his own budget and would go to the meeting with the Dean with him. When they went to the meeting, though, the Dean said that he didn't want the house fixed, he wanted to tear it down. They agreed to give Stan a 23% raise instead.

We couldn't save like we would have living in the farmhouse, but we could at least afford a decent house in Bozeman. We live 2 blocks from church and about a mile from Stan's work. With on campus parking the way it is, Stan walks to work and we all walk to church. We are saving a lot on gas at least.

This is Funny.

Check this out.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

We're Moving!

We have been looking at buying a house for the last few months, but an opportunity to rent at a price we couldn't refuse came up and we took it.

The house is at the Arthur H. Post MSU Farm. That's where Stan works all summer. He will no longer have any gas cost for work. Most of our homeschool activities are in Bozeman already, and we shop there, so my gas costs should fall dramatically also. The house is smaller than where we are living now, and needs a little fixing up, but we can make it work. It has character--It's probably close to 100 years old.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Your Brains

The kids really like this one :)

Thursday, April 3, 2008


I just didn't want to lose the video :)

Friday, March 14, 2008

Kinda Scary.

This is the pastor that Obama has been going to for the last 20 years. The one that married he and his wife. The one that will be advising him as President if he wins (since we have had two terms with Republicans, he probably will). More than kinda scary.

Almost makes me rather have Hillary. It's a toss up.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Friday, February 22, 2008

What a Beautiful Week!

It has been sunny and warm (50-55 degree highs). The kids have been playing outside every afternoon without coats, and we went to the park yesterday. We met up with a bunch of hippie, organic eating, raw milk drinking, unschoolers and had a lot of fun. I think I may be turning into one. Maybe I already have.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Robinson Crusoe Teaser #1

#1--I'm not sure whether that means there will be more to come or not. Jessi, Jacob, and Sarah (Joseph was sick) were in the Missoula Children's Theatre play "Robinson Crusoe" last week. The dad that videoed the play put this on you tube today. Can't wait to get the full, clear dvd!

Sunday, February 3, 2008

The Hinckley Challenge

From the website:

The challenge begins in 1 day!
President Hinckley often stressed our making the Book of Mormon part of our lives. He was 97 when he passed away, and we would like to celebrate his life and teachings by reading the Book of Mormon in 97 days.

As of today, you must read 5.42 pages/day to finish by May 11, 2008

Friday, February 1, 2008

This week...

Stephen, Shane, and Jessi had a wonderful time at the Rexburg Temple Open House last week. They talk about it for 3-4 days. The boys did not sleep before they had to leave at 2:15 am. I feel sorry for the leaders. Jessi slept at least a little.

Jessi and Stephen have been taking a class for the last month at the Museum of the Rockies on Montana history with one of the curators. This week was the last in the series, and they both are sad. They wanted it to keep going for a few months, not a few weeks. I talked to the instructor, and she said she was working on another class but it wouldn't be ready until April. Something to look forward to.

I am doing sharing time this week. I decided to do it on Pres. Hinckley and how a new prophet is chosen. We have quite a few convert families in our ward. I'm sure some of the parents don't understand how this happens since it hasn't since they were baptized, and wouldn't be able to teach their children. Hopefully we will have some good discussion (at least with the senior primary).

Friday, January 25, 2008

They're off!

Almost. Stephen, Shane, and Jessica are leaving at 2:15 tomorrow morning to go to the Rexburg Temple open house. The Stake has decided to rent a Greyhound type bus and drive them all. At 3am. Why they had to leave from Bozeman at 3am, I'm not sure. They aren't letting any of the ward leaders go, just stake leaders.

Stan invited 4 of the other young men (besides ours) to spend the night tonight, and he will drive them all over to Bozeman.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008


It has been forever since I posted anything on here goes!

We had a great Thanksgiving at home with just us. We ate turkey with all the trimmings.

I had great plans for learning about Christmas for schoolwork for the month of December, but the bishop had other ideas. I was called as Primary President the Sunday before Christmas, but I was interviewed 2 1/2 weeks before that. I couldn't seem to accomplish anything at home after finding out, so our Christmas school went out the window.

We went caroling and had Christmas dinner with the Claars. We all loved it--I hope we can do it again next year. We had fun making homemade gifts to exchange with them.

We had our 8th annual New Year's Eve party on Monday. There were 29 people there this time, the most we've ever had. It was lots of fun, but I think we need to keep a table upstairs for the adults to play games on next year.

Today is the first day back to school for public school, so we started also. We watched a Netflix movie on Andrew Carnegie and the steel industry, then the kids did their sit down work (math, grammar, writing, scouts, church).

Well, that's it in a nutshell. I'll have to write more often from now on. But I'm not making any promises.