Anger – Like Kudzu in Georgia it’s everywhere!

Anger, it’s like Kudzu in Georgia – it grows everywhere and getting rid of it requires digging out the roots and burning them – or throwing them in your neighbors yard if you are angry with him about something.
For me I think of anger sort of like temptation. It’s always around and it just jumps up on me like flies on honey. I don’t have to seek it out, it always seems to know where I am.

Saint Paul told us in I Corinthians 10:13 that “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”

Is this where temptation and anger differ? Is God going to provide me a way out of temptation if I am willing to take it – but this latent, deep seated anger that I’ve been carrying around for fifty years or so – is there Biblical support that God wants to help me with that?

Our friends at put out a good piece this week on anger – from a Biblical perspective – addressing: 1. Is anger BAD and 2. How we can deal with it. I read the piece and I know I need to work on some of these principles. OK, you got me, I need to work on all of them!

If you are interested in what they are just open this site. It takes about five minutes to read and a lifetime to apply.

I made my first Political Contribution today for Brian Mast – Combat Wounded Vet who is running for Congress

I made my first political contribution today for Brian Mast – also a Combat Wounded Veteran who is running for Congress here where we live in District 18. You are probably too young to appreciate this but sometimes I forget things. My phone rang today and it was Brian, saying he got my number from his wife Brianna and asked if he could talk for a minute about his run for Congress.

While he was talking I had a flashback to one of our favorite servers for years at Palm Beach Grill – his wife – Brianna Mast. Brianna asked Marty and I several times back then to pray for “my husband” when he was shipped to the Middle East and in 2011 she implored us to pray for him as he had both his legs blown off by an IED. Of course we did and then we heard her reports of his long but remarkable healing and then the battle to adjust to his new artificial below the knee legs.

I saw the ads recently they are running on local TV and it dawned on me finally – that is Brianna from The Grill’s husband. Today I got an e mail from some good friends who are seasonal and they asked me if I knew him and told me about Brian being a strong Christian and Family Man – two boys 4 and 6 and a one year old girl – and that Marty and I and our friends at CF should get behind him.

Then just an hour or so ago Brian calls.

I have not met Brian personally but will do that soon when we get together for a local meet and greet. If you are interested in coming let me know. Brian is running against four other Republicans in the Primary later this month. Based on his record of serving our Nation – His remarkable recovery and re-entry into civilian life as a Christian leader of his family – and from what I can read on his website – – he merits my support and I hope yours as well if you live here in District 18.

If you check his website don’t miss the “Meet the Masts” section. It brought tears to my eyes as I remember Marty and I meeting and getting married right before I shipped out to Vietnam. Our proposals were equally “un-romantic” and we had to make do on my $68 a month and her $80 a week. Who knew I married Marty for her money?

Thanks for taking the time to read this. Uncle Larry

Who is Winning? Trump or “Cruzio?”

There’s nothing the Media likes more than a controversy so we all sit by our TVs and Internet waiting for the next key insight into when Donald will be crowned King of the Blue Team! The Media’s motives aside who is winning today – Sunday 3/6? The latest Delegate vote I saw this morning has it this way:

Trump 385
Cruz 298
Rubio 126
“Cruzio” 424
Kasich 36

My absentee ballot on my desk here tells me Florida and Ohio are coming up on 3/15 and they are winner take all States with Florida having 99 and Ohio 66. If Rubio wins Florida and Kasich takes his home State Ohio – excluding the other states we have:

Trump 385
Cruz 298
Rubio 225
“Cruzio” 523
Kasich 102

It seems to me the Blue Team race is far from over and who knows if Trump will stumble and or the others will play let’s make a deal. As the wise and ancient TV Kung Fu Fighter David Carradine once said “Patience Little Grasshopper.”

Let me be clear about one thing. I will never, ever vote for a Democrat again. I did that once eight years ago and look what happened! That said, I just can’t bring myself to trust Trump. He just doesn’t strike me as the “Solid Rock” the wise man or woman builds their house on. As a “Christian” of the remaining candidates Cruz appeals to me the most so I should be voting for Cruz later in the day when we fill out our ballots. However, since this is just the playoffs do I vote for Rubio to help Cruzio and then hope to get the chance to vote for Cruz against The Wicked Witch from New York? No matter if it’s Trump – Cruzio or the Grasshopper I will be voting for the Blue Team candidate.

Fannie and Freddie give Birth to a New Mortgage Bond – a Derivative

As the wise and now eternal philosopher Yogi Berra once said “It’s de javu all over again.”

If you are knowledgable about Mortgage Backed Securities (MBS) – have seen the popular movie “The Big Short” – have read my review of same at which placed the blame on a wider base – and or have lost money as an investor in AAA “Derivatives” you may want to hold your breath as you open the link below in todays Wall Street Journal – which in essence says Fannie and Freddie are going to start issuing their own “derivatives” based on – wait for it – wait for it – and I quote “all but their safest mortgages.”

I may not be the shiniest nickel in the bag but if I tell you the bond I want to sell you is backed by “all but their safest mortgages” can this be translated as “this derivative is guaranteed by the crap that is left over once we sell our safe mortgages to someone else” SUCKER!

To confirm this opinion by Yogi and Larry they go on to say they are “laying off the cost of defaults on private investors.” Can this be translated as “we are going to take a bunch of crap and package it and get the ratings agencies Moody’s and S&P to rate this as Double A (Aa)” and sell it to you because it says Fannie or Freddie on it and you just believe it is guaranteed by our Government even though they say they aren’t – SUCKER!

Now I know that you are far too wise and mature and have learned from the mortgage debacle of the first part of the 21st century that when you buy crap you often get crapped on. Yet somehow a smooth talking Bond Salesman or even worse yet a Retail Broker from your Investment Firm that would not know a derivative from a football tells you he can get you “a Fannie or a Freddie at 50 basis points more than the market you say bring it on because I need YIELD!

This is my first and final warning to you as a potential investor in something that is based on “all but their safest mortgages.”

Your former friendly Bond Salesman!


PS When is someone going to offer me a slot on Fox Business News so I can rant and rave against the evils of the Commercial and Investment and Government Agency Banking World that are looking to take advantage of your kind and naive nature and leave you penniless on the side on the Jericho Road waiting for the Good Samaritan to save your greedy – – – ?

The Big Short – A Well Acted But Sometimes Boring and Incomplete Documentary

The Big Short got a split vote in our home. Tony loved it – Marty was generally bored and having been in the business during that time I felt the screen play overly narrowed the focus of the root causes (plural) of the Great Recession of 2008 – putting the blame or credit if you will at the feet of too few players in the Financial Sector.

If I were just writing about the Big Short as a piece of entertainment I would say it was well written, directed and acted. As my friend Curt Fonger said “Larry – this should be required viewing for all young adults.” I agree but if you aren’t really interested in Economics or the significant decline in the Real Estate market and resultant loss of jobs, etc. this movie may not interest you. I would not describe the Big Short as a “general interest” movie and can recommend it only to people with some interest in the topic.

I agree with the premise of the film that unscrupulous Commercial Bankers, Investment Bankers and Mortgage Brokers committed fraud, deceit on the investing public, colluded and were for the most part well rewarded for their bad deeds. Other than Bear Stearns and a few Mortgage Brokers the doers of these evil deeds escaped virtually unscathed and you and I – the little people – the outsiders – otherwise known as the tax payers picked up the bill. As far as The Big Short went I agreed with the events as they were described.

What did they miss! In my view:
1.”Mark to Market Accounting” FAS 115 (1993) and FAS 124 (1995)
2. An overreaching yet protective NYC Fed – Timothy Geither, President
3. The US Treasury Department headed by ex Goldman Chairman and CEO Hank Paulson and
4. General IGNORANCE of what was going on in the Mortgage Backed Securities (MBS) Market and it’s Derivatives by the ratings agencies (Moody’s and Standard & Poors) – The SEC, President Bush and both Houses of Congress.

At the risk of putting you sound to sleep – the base of the mountain of the collapse – in my opinion – began when Congress rolled over and acquiesced to the position put forth by the SEC that every item on a Commercial Bank’s Balance sheet – be it a 30 day UST Bill or a 30 Year MBS had to be “marked to market.” In other works if the value of a Bank’s long term asset declined the Bank had to recognize that loss on it’s balance sheet in the current month – even though it had no intention of selling it in the current month or maybe never.

Additionally, and more to the point in the MBS Derivatives Market, sometimes there was no established market value for such products as High RISK MBS, High Risk Collateralized Mortgage Obligation (CMOs), Collateralized Debt Obligation (CDOs) and especially Credit Default Swaps (CDS).

Why does this matter? The President of the NYC Fed and the US Treasury Secretary knew full well that the largest Commercial Banks and Investment Banks held large positions in these products. If what could not be valued in a panic situation became valued at 10 cents on the dollar it’s Catie bar the door for America’s leading Financial Institutions.

This wasn’t about saving the homeowners and Mom’s and Pops of America – it was all about feathering the nest from which our Government leaders came – saving the Big Financial Institutions and sticking Mom and Pop tax payers with the bill.

What else could have been done say the talking heads? We had to bail out the big banks and allow them to continue to pay big salaries and fat bonuses.

Here’s what else could have been done. If unbiased – non-affiliated – not in the pocket Government leaders would have said “Stop – Calm Down – Take a Breath – Chill.” Let’s suspend this “mark to market business for a reasonable period of time – figure out what mortgages are really worth – assess both their present and potential future value and then in a calmer manner see what the Commercial and Investment Banks assets and their short and long term value really are.

For example: look at the real estate listings for homes in your neighborhood! The prices of homes in almost all real estate markets are back to or above where they were in 2008. The sky did not fall!

Correction – the sky did fall on the Mom’s and Pops tax payers who paid the bill for the TARP and the Big Bank Bailout.

Mercifully I will bring this to a close. Government did what Government always does. It protects the special interest and sticks it to the tax payer. And that my friends The Big Short got right.

Uncle Larry

Vegetarians – I just don’t get it!

Tony had an old college friend in town and he was joined by some other friends and we had a great time with them reflecting on the good old days. Tony’s friend’s name is Joe and he was a lot of fun.

While we were enjoying a wonderful seafood fest at Captain Charlie’s Reef Grill Joe raved on about how great the food was. I said to him – “next time you are in town bring your wife with you and we’ll bring her here.” He said something like oh no she would never like this place because she is a vegetarian. I asked what that means and he replied: “She doesn’t eat beef, pork, chicken or fish. However, she loves French Onion Soup.”

In a moment of clarity I said to Joe – so help me understand this. She won’t eat any of the things we enjoy because she doesn’t want to kill cows, pigs, chickens or fish but she has no whims about murdering thousands of Frenchies?”

I guess I don’t really understand the vegetarian thing or the contents in French Onion soup either!

Would you know an “Ass” if you saw one?

A good friend of mine whose name really is John e mailed me today – I presume because he knew I was in agreement with some of The Donald’s first comments, especially on immigration and border security. Now that he has taken to attacking a fellow Vietnam Vet/POW and started giving out people’s mobile numbers he asked me what I thought of him now. Seeing as how John and I are both from the South I sent him this reply:

Dear John,

As you know when you grow up in the south and you see an Ass (Mule for you Yankee Folks) out of its stall and tromping around in Ma’s vegetable garden Pa didn’t hesitate to take a two by four and whack the Ass upside the head. Surprisingly, the Ass didn’t run off but continued to stomp on the tomatoes. So Pa pulled out his pocket .22 he kept on him for rabbits and squirrels and trespassers and shot the Ass behind the ear putting it down.

Unlike Politics today no body has to tell you “its an Ass” because in the South everybody knows what an Ass looks like. It’s an unfortunate breeding of a male donkey and a female horse that results in really bad protruding teeth and a lot of bushy, ugly mane and tail. Nobody is going to second guess your decision to put him down because you gave him warning and he kept on being an unruly Ass. What other choice did he have?

Grandpa saw it all from his rocker on the porch. He was a wily and frugal cracker and he had the Ass bled out and cut up to thicken up the “slop” for the hogs.

I suppose there will be some city folk who will say the Ass was acting like a “moron” but really isn’t that redundant or an oxymoron – like White House Intelligence or Peace Loving Muslims?

As a man from Arkansas yourself I’m sure you would have been the first one to support the old farmer when one of those crazed animal rights, pot smoking hippies from the Commune down the road came by and asked the farmer why did you shoot the unruly Ass. The farmer of course picks up the two by four and the hippie runs off because even a pot smoking, liberal hippie from the city knows a precedent when he sees it.


PS John, I lost myself in the moment. Were you asking me about Trump or Hillary?

If you are Elderly or have Loved Ones who are this information may be important for you

If you are elderly or have parents or loved ones who are – this story in today’s on online WSJ may be more helpful to you than you think.

Up until now Medicare’s policy was that if you are seriously ill you MUST choose between “curative treatment” and “hospice.” Stated differently if you and or your family are exhausted from caring for an elderly and sick loved one you had to give up on any chance of being healed and resign yourself to death to get the comfort and benefits that hospice services offer.

As the WSJ point out perhaps this is why only 45% of people on Medicare take advantage of the many wonderful and fully covered hospice programs available to them. Who wants to give up hope to get better care in the short run?

With this change a person who is seriously ill and requires the significant level of care that hospice offers can choose to receive hospice care and STILL get the medicines or other treatments that might miraculously save their life.

I hope that you can open this link. I tried Google and did not come up with anyone else who had covered this story.

Please let me know if you have any questions. As you may know Marty and I regularly visit patients in hospitals, nursing homes, rehabilitation centers and hospice. Up to now the mere mention of the word “hospice” was “forbotten.” Everyone has to go outside the room just to talk about it. it was like signing a death sentence. I think this is an excellent change.

Finally, allow me to say two other things. Hospice does wonderful work. I mean really first rate, professional and caring service – and it is covered by Medicare. There is now no reason for anyone not to consider hospice. Nor is there much reason for anyone to donate money to hospice because they are making a profit off the Medicare coverage.


One more step on the road to Socialism – Greece here we come!

Was it just a month or so ago when King Obama recommended that all students who were tricked into getting student loans being forgiven those Federal (you and me) loans?

We wondered at that time when the next shoe on the road to Socialism and student loan forgiveness for all of the $1.2 Trillion – I think that’s $1,200,000,000,000 – would fall.

That sound you just heard was one more shoe dropping. If you can open the site below from the WSJ online you will see the King’s smiling face in the center of his “Education Department” as they announce the next step towards wiping the slate clean – caping payments of all student loan debt to 10% of “discretionary income.”

I don’t know about you but right now I don’t have any “discretionary income” and I don’t imagine it will be too tough for the ex-students who took out these loans to make the same claim.


PS If you suspect the WSJ is too conservative a source and may have slanted the story I have also included the site from YOUR Federal Department of Education. They estimate that only 6,000,000 students will get this new benefit – WHAT – ONLY SIX MILLION. How much damage can one President do before his term is up?

Ban Robert E Lee and Jefferson Davis? Can’t a Southerner Catch a Break?

Reading the reports on Fox News I see that the old adage “if you give them an inch they will take a mile” certainly seems to apply to the Progressive and Black community’s insistence of now doing away with not only the Confederate Flag but ANYTHING that has a historical tie to the Civil War – which as all Southerner’s know is more appropriately called “The War of Northern Aggression.”

The great and wise Harry Reid proposes removing the Statute of Jefferson Davis from Washington, DC. Several other progressive groups are demanding the removal of all statutes of American Historical figures like Robert E Lee from public buildings and parks. Other proposed bans include the singing of “Dixie” – any school named after a Confederate leader – and once again not to be out done by anyone Harry doubled down and has asked the UNLV Administration to considering dropping their “UNLV Running Rebels” Mascot. Funny I don’t remember Nevada being in the Confederacy.

Balance – BALANCE – BALANCE. What happened to a little balance mixed in with some give and take? It seems these days the only acceptable view is the Progressive view and in this moment it’s the rush to do anything and everything that salves the wounds of the Black Community.

I started this morning to send a “letter to the Editor” on this topic but was wisely advised against it by a friend because anything that is printed that goes counter to the current trend of Progressiveness and Racial Improvement would automatically classify me as a “Racist” according to my friend and he is probably right. More on this in Point B of this missive.

Point A: That said let me share my thoughts that started all this. I realize my life view is considered heresy to Progressives and the intelligencia of the media. Nonetheless I am sharing with you my feelings! My goal today is not to be correct from any stand point – political or otherwise but rather to simply share what I perceive to be true for a large portion of Americans – feelings which have been pushed down and demeaned and mischaracterized by the left and the media.

For example: Third, Fourth and Fifth Generation Southerners like Marty and I and our son Tony, from the Core Confederate States – and most likely many other whites scattered about our Nation – understand what would be the politically correct thing to do in the moment for the sake of the Black population we live life with. However, our lives and generational thinking, hold onto a deeply rooted historical culture – and we don’t see another round of “rush to judgement” change on our part as being merited. Today’s demands from various groups show it certainly won’t be the last change we will have shoved down our throats. You could call it selfish and prejudice and I could agree with you and not be offended. Somewhere, sometime isn’t there going to come a point where the thoughts and feelings of the majority are considered in these issues?

I think people groups with different “life views” have a much better chance of successfully living together if each will take the time to understand the other. I hear the Progressive view daily. I guess I’m asking others and anyone who reads this to try and understand my thoughts and the thoughts of people like me.

To be clear I’m not just talking about what the media will describe as pick up truck driving hillbillies – though they are great fun to be with on Saturday night and I feel so much safer with a rifle or shotgun in the window rack. I’m putting forth the position that many whites – Southern and otherwise – of all economic and social classes – across the last four or five living generations – to include a range from the most successful older population – to the current generation coming out of high school and trying to find their way in life – have deep rooted and entrenched positions handed down from generations past. Further, we believe that our heritage and choices also deserve to be remembered and not be swept away by the Progressive movement as if we mattered not.

It may be a hard thing for some to think that feelings and positions such as mine even exist and an even harder thing for anyone to put out there – but its true. It’s possible many Non Southern Whites, Progressives and a fair percentage of Blacks may criticize something they don’t understand and don’t have a answer for. But that doesn’t mean it does not exist.

It also means that I and many like me feel it is time to slow the rate of change – to take into account the thoughts and feelings of the majority and to put some emphasis on BALANCE. We are not alone – however, we are very under-represented in the media and in Washington and politics in general.

Point B: I don’t consider myself or my friends to be a racist. For example: While living in Chicago Marty and I supported an inner city mission in Chicago that helped exclusively – yes Black children. For decades we have been financial supporters of various ministries in Africa which serve – yes Black children. For 15 years I served regularly as a volunteer and Board Member of a rescue Mission in Chicago that provides shelter from the cold winter nights, showers, meals and clean laundry for – yes mostly Black men from the streets of Chicago. Not “homeless” folks but “street people” who made a conscious decision to live on the streets and live off the Social Welfare money stream.

When we moved to Florida Marty and I got involved with a children’s ministry that provided adoption for unwanted – yes mostly Black children. After that we ran the major fund raising effort for an inner city ministry in West Palm Beach that provides after school care, tutoring, food, clothing and mentors for – yes inner city Black children. In addition to the significant investment of time we have given money to causes over the years that provide the basic needs of human life and for “extras” like bikes and toys at Christmas for – yes Black families and Black children.

We have Black friends – one of whom is among the finest restauranteurs I have had the pleasure to know. For four of the past five days Marty and I have spent time in the Jupiter Hospital with a couple – the husband of which is paralyzed from the waist down and has a myriad of health issues. When they are home we bring them food and give them a little financial help now and then and – yes they are Black people. We attend a Church that goes of its way to welcome all persons of color.

We’d be open to having more Black friends but often my mouth’s “filter” clogs up and people aren’t comfortable when I say what I am really thinking.

My friends can tell you I am no saint. Far from it. My point is there are millions of Americans who think like I do who also personally and privately are helping minorities and people of color live life. Hence I don’t consider myself or them to be a racist. I may rightfully be accused of being prejudiced because I want to hang out with people who have the same goals and aspirations that I aspire to – regardless of their color. I think of that process as making good decisions because “bad company corrupts good morals.”