Speaking of dry heaves:
Shortly after putting a $20 bill into one of the machines, Paulson said he hit the jackpot. “Next thing I know there’s bells and whistles going off, the place is going crazy,” he said. The machine indicated he’d won $5.15 million; but as the quarters began to pour from the machine, Paulson said a manager came over and shut off the machine.
Context and commentary from Mischa:
“The proposal warns that up to $739 billion in mortgages are at “moderate to high risk” of defaulting over the next five years and that millions of families could lose their homes. To prevent that, Bank of America suggested creating a Federal Homeowner Preservation Corporation that would buy up billions of dollars in troubled mortgages at a deep discount, forgive debt above the current market value of the homes and use federal loan guarantees to refinance the borrowers at lower rates”
The reason they are at “high risk” is twofold. Prices are too high and Congress and this administration is spending too much money weakening the dollar. Home prices need to come down, the war in Iraq needs to be stopped cold turkey, and Congress needs to stop bailing out banks and homeowners when they do something stupid. While we are at it, we need to abolish the Fed.
So here’s a pretty nice policy idea from John Edwards: if the IRS already has all the information it needs to do your taxes, as it does for about 50 million Americans, why don’t we spare you the trouble and have the IRS do your taxes by itself? The IRS would then just send you “Form 1” in the mail, telling you how much you owe or how big your refund is, and you’d sign it and return it. Studies suggest that this would save Americans approximately 225 million hours of tax-related drudgery.
For the first time since the Great Depression, the U.S. personal savings rate has “gone negative.” In 2005 and 2006, U.S. citizens spent more than they made. Economists disagree about just how ominous this is, but they generally agree on why it’s happening. Americans are “overspending.”
As black hair trends turned from relaxed and straightened back to more natural, the cosmetology industry, miffed at revenue lost to braiders and dread lock lockticians helped push through legislation in 2001 that made the ancient art of braids and dreadlocks requiring a 1500 hour cosmetology license.
Back when I used to party all night, I’d take the bus down from Uptown to Boystown and see the salons, women sitting in chairs with 1 or 2 braiders furiously braiding. And when I took the bus back up north at 3am, the same women would still be there, braiding away. Monica used to get braids and it always blew my mind how long it took.
The licensing requirement has forced many braiders ‘underground’ and out of the salons. Many now work out of their homes, divorcing the practice from the community that makes it a ‘local watering hole’ for black women.
This issue touches on race, class and even nationality as women from Senegal and other African companies come into the country bringing new styles and offering cheaper services. An African-American shop owner:
“I didn’t appreciate the signs that I saw Senegalese braiders hanging on their shops when they started coming over here–authentic African hair braiding,” he said. “As if what we’d been doing was fake?”
And a Senegalese owner:
“The American people, they don’t do the professional job that we do. We take eight hours, ten hours, to do it neat and tight. You go to the salon of the American people, the braid does not stay. One month and you can tell if an American person or an African did the work. The customers come back to our place and they complain, because the hair is frizzy or raggy,” she said.