Saturday, January 30, 2010

Good News: Toyota Has Fix for Pedal Problem
Bad News: It will cost 24 Lifetimes to fix

Toyota has announced that it is in the process of shipping replacement partsto its dealers to solve the problem of gas pedals that go down but don't necessarily go back up again, or something like that.

Press reports say 4.2 million toyota vehicles are affected worldwide. In my experience, it takes about 4 hours for a typical dealer visit including travel time, etc. 4.2 million vehicles times 4 hours is 16.8 million customer hours to fix the problem. Let's say the average person lives 80 years. That's a bit high but toyota owners probably live longer than average. Eighty years is 701,265 hours. Divide the hours by the lifetimes, and you get just under 24 lifetimes worth of sitting at the dealership reading People magazine and drinking bad coffee. You asked for it, you got it. Toyota. Time for the marginally relevant Youtube video of the day. (I think it's Tiger woods driving in this Toyota Commercial.)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Toyota Suspends Sales of 60% of its Line-up
More Gas Pedal Problems

Problems with gas pedals and unintended accelleration continue to dog Toyota. The floormat fix didn't work, apparently. Now Toyota has suspended sales of 8 models that comprise 60% of its sales volumes in North America, including the Camry.

All this reminds me of the first Bill Cosby standup routine to feature Fat Albert. Cosby wanted to lure Fat Albert to a place where he could scare him so he ran to Albert's house and said, "come on out Albert, Herman's gettin' a beatin'." Albert stomped out yelling, "hey hey hey, I love to see Herman gettin a beatin'." Of course, this begs the question, if Toyota is Herman, who's Junior Barnes? Anyway, getting totally off track of the original post, here's a video of people playing "Buck Buck", because Fat Albert was the baddes buck buck player in the whole world.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

An Update on the HAMP Mortgage Modification Program
HAMP - A Zero with its Wings Clipped.

Posted to the right is a picture of a Japanese World War II fighter, the A6M Model 32 "Hamp". The Mitsubishi Model 32 was nothing but a Zero with its wings clipped. By coincidence, the you could describe President Obama's HAMP (Home Affordable Mortgage Program) the same way. Here's a link to a good article at the MSNBC website, "Flaws Plague Foreclosure Relief Program" that sums up the program's performance through the end of 2009. Eight months into the program, and out of approximately 3.5 million potentially eligible foreclosure-bound mortgages, 850,000 of these loans have resulted in temporary loan modifications, but only 66,000 permanent modifications have been put in place.

The MSNBC article tracks what I've personally seen in our UAW clients. For most of them the HAMP modifications just don't make sense. First of all, most of the clients either make too much or too little money. Secondly, to enter into the modification would be increasing the principal balance on a loan that is already way over the value of the real estate. In many cases, it means tying the residents to a home that they'll never have significant equity in in their lifetime and under circumstances where they honestly should think about staying unencumbered so that they can move to where the jobs are going to be. It was recently reported that consumer advocate Elizabeth Warren was called to the White House to consult with President Obama. I hope that she can talk some sense into him that the banks don't necessarily know what's best for the economy. In fact, the banks don't even realize what's best for the banks. If the minority of these upside-down borrowers were allowed to reduce the principal of their home to its market value in Chapter 13 bankruptcy, it would give them incentive to stay in the home, keep it up and hope for appreciation. Terms could be inserted in the legislation to allow the mortgage company to share in that appreciation. This could be accomplished without a federal subsidy.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Happy Bubble Wrap Day!
Why isn't this a National Holiday?

Today is the 50th anniversary of bubble wrap. Every time I see bubble wrap, I think of the old SNL where you could win a Beatle. In this case, it was Ringo Starr sitting on your couch popping bubble wrap. Anyway, here's a link to virtual, eco-friendly, bubble wrap.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Hitler on the Massachusetts Senatorial Election

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Fresh Prince of Nigerian Pranks

From the "Oh no they di-unt" file:
The MacGruber Movie Trailer

This is apparently real. Warning - language alert NSFW.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Why We Need a Consumer Financial Products Safety Commision

The Center For Responsible Lending has prepared this video that gives some very persuasive reasons why we shouldn't rely on our current financial regulatory system to avoid another financial meltdown.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Happy "FAKE JAN" Day

Kind of makes you appreciate William Hung a little bit more, doesn't it?