Get on the wire to every squadron around the world………

Attention politicians that did not read the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 before voting for it.

Federal flood insurance reform demands a renaissance of reason ~ Steve and Peggy Nicosia

Here is what you don’t hear in the mainstream media outlets like the New York Times:

(3) 40 percent of premium dollars going to the NFIP and private insurance companies for program administration, (4) adjusters who wrongly attribute wind damage to the flood program, and (5) 40 percent of federally backed mortgages required to carry insurance do not carry it — have led to premium increases of up to 3,000 percent and much more. Policies now costing $500 can increase to more than $20,000 when rates are fully phased in because structures are deemed out of compliance by Biggert-Waters.

True NFIP reform means clearing the rats off the money, not bankrupting your own people so insurance companies based in Illinois can make a fortune. And that’s the bottom line……..

Gee, did anything happen while I was away?

Whewwwww doggie were things happening! I’m not sure where to start and that does not count a new development here on Slabbed.  Both chapters of the Slabbed Nation are lumped into one post for the sake of expediency so we gotta start with Former Goatherder in Chief Aaron Broussard’s REJECTION by Judge Head:

Aaron Broussard won’t get hearing to explore alleged prosecutorial misconduct, judge rules ~ Manuel Torres

Even worse for the others trying to make hay outta Sal, Jan and allegedly others playing on the Internet:

Aaron Broussard’s failed try for new hearing is a bad sign for others alleging prosecutorial misconduct. ~ Manuel Torres

We gotta get Manuel a nickname. Lest I digress as Judge Head, on loan from Corpus Christi Texas is known as a seasoned jurist that does not tolerate fools or tomfoolery as these Robing Room reviews illustrates:

Criminal Defense Lawyer

Comment #: 1852
Brilliant but ill-tempered. Equal opportunity ass chewer though-no one is exempt from his wrath.

and this one which nails it: Continue reading “Gee, did anything happen while I was away?”

Senator Wicker introduces a Senate version of NFIP reauthorization and enters the special interest briar patch.

Today Anita Lee profiles in the Sun Herald legislation introduced in the Senate by Roger Wicker to reauthorize the NFIP for 5 years. Talking NFIP is fashionable in political circles these days and the insurance industry is heavily dictating the discussion in DC. 

After reading the entire bill and Senator Wicker’s FAQ sheet I’ll say I was underwhelmed. Don’t get me wrong I greatly appreciate the fact that Wicker is the only national politician in Mississippi that gives a shit about the coastal insurance crisis. I just don’t think using concepts based on MID Commish Mike Chaney throwaway lines advances the cause of true NFIP reforms much and I agree with former Texas Commish Robert Hunter who thinks Wicker’s proposal is unworkable in practice.  Then again here at Slabbed we’re underwhelmed by Mr Hunter’s proposals too as the thinking at the consumer federation just isn’t innovative in its own right but that is another post.

Otherwise the Senator’s bill reauthorizes the NFIP almost as is, with the same low overall coverage limits.  One big change is the 20% annual rate increases and like the House there are new mapping provisions. Reading this latest story and an earlier piece in the Sun Herald on a similar bill on the fast track through the House of Representatives you really get a flavor for exactly how much the insurance lobby is dominating the discussion in DC.  Wicker himself alluded to it as Anita reports:

Wicker believes his bill is more palatable than previous efforts to offer optional wind coverage through NFIP so that one policy would cover wind and storm-surge losses. Continue reading “Senator Wicker introduces a Senate version of NFIP reauthorization and enters the special interest briar patch.”

Obama got a round tuit – Nominates Felicia Adams for north Mississippi USA

Reportedly, President Obama has finally gotten a “round tuit” and nominated “Felicia Collette Adams of Jackson…for U.S. attorney in the Northern District of Mississippi.

Adams, current chief of the Southern District’s civil division, faces U.S. Senate confirmation before she can take the office vacant since Bush appointee James Greenlee retired more than a year ago.

Adams was not available for comment when the announcement was made late Wednesday.

“Felicia Adams has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to justice throughout her career, and I am honored to nominate her to serve the people of Mississippi as U.S. attorney for the Northern District,” said President Obama in a White House news release.

Hmmm. Continue reading “Obama got a round tuit – Nominates Felicia Adams for north Mississippi USA”

A peek inside Slabbed as we set up some important financial concepts and introduce the ol’ Forex Scam. Anyone else remember Russell Erxleben?

These past 2 weeks we’ve periodically gotten a huge number of worldwide referrals from what appears to be a pornographic website, based on the verbage contained the referring URL.  Running the link through a Whois search reveals it is in reality a Forex scam site.  As is my custom I checked the wiki entries to see if the explaining could be made easy for me and sure enough the two wiki entries had a wealth of great information.  (Those wondering about the Forex proper can click here.) For the balance of this post we’re going to concentrate on the scam I linked first and the implications therein so is there we now visit:

A forex (or foreign exchange) scam is any trading scheme used to defraud traders by convincing them that they can expect to gain a high profit by trading in the foreign exchange market. Currency trading “has become the fraud du jour” as of early 2008, according to Michael Dunn of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission. But “the market has long been plagued by swindlers preying on the gullible,” according to the New York Times. “The average individual foreign-exchange-trading victim loses about $15,000, according to CFTC records” according to The Wall Street Journal. The North American Securities Administrators Association says that “off-exchange forex trading by retail investors is at best extremely risky, and at worst, outright fraud.”

With the scam set let’s visit with the assertion it is possible to beat the Forex. I’ll note these same concepts apply to the stock markets too in varying degrees:

The forex market is a zero-sum game, meaning that whatever one trader gains, another loses, except that brokerage commissions and other transaction costs are subtracted from the results of all traders, technically making forex a “negative-sum” game.

…………..there are many experienced well-capitalized professional traders (e.g. working for banks) who can devote their attention full time to trading. An inexperienced retail trader will have a significant information disadvantage compared to these traders.

Retail traders are – almost by definition – undercapitalized. Thus they are subject to the problem of gambler’s ruin. In a “Fair Game” (one with no information advantages) between two players that continues until one trader goes bankrupt, the player with the lower amount of capital has a higher probability of going bankrupt first. Since the retail speculator is effectively playing against the market as a whole – which has nearly infinite capital – he will almost certainly go bankrupt. The retail trader always pays the bid/ask spread which makes his odds of winning less than those of a fair game. Additional costs may include margin interest, or if a spot position is kept open for more than one day the trade may be “resettled” each day, each time costing the full bid/ask spread.

Although it is possible for a few experts to successfully arbitrage the market for an unusually large return, this does not mean that a larger number could earn the same returns even given the same tools, techniques and data sources. This is because the arbitrages are essentially drawn from a pool of finite size; although information about how to capture arbitrages is a nonrival good, the arbitrages themselves are a rival good. (To draw an analogy, the total amount of buried treasure on an island is the same, regardless of how many treasure hunters have bought copies of the treasure map.)

So it is the middle men who always make the money. Often the middle men also are taking a trade position too so the game truly is rigged.  I mention this because the entry properly mentions information advantages. Indeed in my closest circle of stock trading friends we often discuss price/volume movements in issues we own in terms of buyers/sellers “with superior knowledge” or “access to information” the retail investor simply does not have.  Properly analyzed the data can confirm previous buys or signal that it’s time to sell.  These concepts also underpin the business of insurance where “information advantages” has a more proper name: Information asymmetry. Continue reading “A peek inside Slabbed as we set up some important financial concepts and introduce the ol’ Forex Scam. Anyone else remember Russell Erxleben?”

Hitting close to home. Oil has entered the "Jackson Marsh". Please don't kill the marsh in order to save it. An open letter to Senator Roger Wicker.

Folks I have more on my plate than time to blog but I could not let the latest report of oil in the marshes of Hancock County pass without commenting.  What the Sun Herald calls Jackson Marsh (No doubt related to the nearby Jackson Ridge) is a special place I knew as a kid as Dodson’s pond which was named for a local doctor whose son I attended elementary school with long ago. 

Doctor Dodson remains a great man and humanitarian who always took care of the local boys back in the day.  I always had permission to duck hunt in that tidal marsh as a teenager including a few times with future mayor Tommy Longo and his siblings.  It breaks my heart to see such a wonderful place of biodiversity poisoned by a rogue company which cut corners on safety.  I also know that if oil is in “Jackson Marsh” then it is also in “Mayfields” and the marshes across from Bayou Caddy, places I well know from my time living in Hancock County. 

This brings us to the last Sun Herald update filed by Donna Melton at the Sun Herald and it is there we stop next (sorry Donna but I need the entire piece so I apologize in advance): 

The Jackson Marsh in Waveland doesn’t look good. 

Dime to quarter-sized tarballs and an oily sheen can readily be seen in the marsh and is flowing back into the Mississippi Sound as the tide goes out. Continue reading “Hitting close to home. Oil has entered the "Jackson Marsh". Please don't kill the marsh in order to save it. An open letter to Senator Roger Wicker.”

Chris Vignes, member of the Slabbed Nation, is on a blackhawk with Representative Taylor and Senator Wicker over the Mississippi sound.

Chris and I landed on each others radar screens as we both were at Senator Wicker’s insurance roundtable this past April.  We’ve been following each other via twitter since and we’ve noted Chris has retweeted a few of our posts.

Today he is on twitter posting pictures from the chopper and giving short observations for his twitter followers which includes the Slabbed Nation.

As the oil begins coming ashore it is clear both Haley “Boss Hogg” Barbour andPhil “Lawnmower Fumes” Bryant are the early losers. Simply put I’ve talked to folks that are die hard Republicans on and off the coast that tell me they’ll never vote for Bryant after his idiotic remarks. Meantime Haley is getting killed in the court of public opinion on the flat out stupid remarks he made in opposition to the BP escrow which will be used to pay impacted locals. This could not happen to 2 more deserving career politicians in Bryant and Barbour.


Will Mabus savus after all?

Earlier, I asked Ray Mabus, the Secretary of the Navy, a former governor of Mississippi, and a son of the Gulf, to develop a long-term Gulf Coast Restoration Plan as soon as possible.  The plan will be designed by states, local communities, tribes, fishermen, businesses, conservationists, and other Gulf residents.  And BP will pay for the impact this spill has had on the region.

So much for those who coined “savus from Mabus”,  Obama picks ‘Son of the Gulf’ Ray Mabus to lead restoration:

President Barack Obama’s selection of Navy Secretary Ray Mabus , a former Mississippi governor, as his go-to person in charge of developing a long-term Gulf Coast restoration plan won widespread praise Wednesday.

While details are sketchy, the selection of Mabus, which Obama announced Tuesday night in an Oval Office speech to the nation, is meant to quell rising unease, especially on the Gulf Coast , about the government’s response to the eight-week-old oil spill.

Describing Mabus as a “son of the Gulf,” Obama said, “the plan will be designed by states, local communities, tribes, fishermen, businesses, conservationists, and other Gulf residents.” Continue reading “Will Mabus savus after all?”

New details emerge about Scott Walker’s violent side. Senator Wicker staffer phone whipped and punched with closed fist.

Scott Walker / The Sun Herald

This Scott Walker update brought to you by Lt Gov Phil Bryant: If he’s warm and Republican he’s good enough for the people in Ocean Springs

Margaret Baker is all over the unfolding Scott Walker meltdown with new details about his arrest in Washington DC for assaulting Senator Roger Wicker staffer Eleanore Kelly. I think it is very clear Scott has problems that go way beyond simple boozing to a place far more sinister. And to think, with the full backing of the state and local GOP political machine, this thug came within 96 votes of becoming the Mayor of Oceans Springs. 

Margaret Baker has the skinny

Former mayoral candidate and local businessman Scott J. Walker assaulted a staffer of U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker’s with a telephone in a Washington, D.C., hotel room in the early morning hours of April 11, according to an affidavit filed in the case. 

Walker was charged with simple assault and attempted possession of a prohibited weapon, the weapon of which was identified in the court record as a hotel phone. Continue reading “New details emerge about Scott Walker’s violent side. Senator Wicker staffer phone whipped and punched with closed fist.”

Just when you think that former Ocean Springs GOP mayoral hopeful Scott Walker can not sink any lower….

Scott Walker / The Sun Herald

Margaret Baker reports today that Walker was arrested just days before his drunken crash and burn in Washington DC for assaulting Eleanore Kelly, director of constituent services for Senator Roger Wicker. 

Before we get to Margaret’s report I feel compelled to make a few observations about Mr Walker’s recent behavior. First is the immediate thought that came to mind when I read today’s news, which I will not further elucidate beyond saying it appears Mr Walker needs a bit of marital counseling beyond a much-needed visit to AA. The man is spinning out of control. 

Second, the irony is not lost on me that Walker’s local GOP associates in Jackson County, normally a tough on crime bunch, manage to see past Walker’s recent criminal behavior including Pascagoula Mayor Robbie Maxwell calling Mr Walker “a fine young man”. I’m certain Walker’s momma would no doubt agree but will the public? I don’t think so judging from the multitude of comments left on Ms Baker’s stories to date. Here is a snippet from the latest on this unfolding saga: Continue reading “Just when you think that former Ocean Springs GOP mayoral hopeful Scott Walker can not sink any lower….”