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Since the onset of the Great Foreclosure Adventure launched by banks and mortgage companies in 2007 causing the housing market collapse, the financial industry has done a great job of screwing the homeless twice, and without any foreplay or even a kiss.

First they got hapless borrowers into shady mortgages with hidden fees and ballooning payments when they were buying their home. When the borrower defaulted on the loan because they couldn't keep up with soaring interest rates, hidden fees and ballooning payment, the bank would toss them out onto the street. Now, banks are screwing folks a second time because they won't or can't donate the property to non-profit groups or charities that could make necessary repairs and then give the house to somebody who doesn't have one.

America was left with an unprecedented number of abandoned homes, leading to neighborhood deterioration not seen on such a large scale since the inner-city riots that flared through the US in the late 1960s. As a result, countless houses fell into decay: They were vandalized, taken over by crackheads and dealers, or generally allowed to rot. In many cities, entire neighborhoods collapsed because even just one abandoned house on a street affects the value of an entire block. The mortgage holder's asset turned into a liability and then disappeared entirely as cities moved in to tear down structures.

Yet many empty homes still are structurally sound and in decent enough shape that, with a bit of rehabbing, fresh paint and some TLC, they could be lived in again. In fact, they would make wonderful places for some of the millions of homeless people – especially homeless families – to live.

So why isn't it happening?

Habitat For Nobody

It would seem to be a no-brainer: A bank with a foreclosed house that is standing empty, and that it cannot or will not sell in a soft market, could donate the property to an organization such as Habitat For Humanity that could repair the structure before handing the keys over to a homeless family.

Here's the problem: Often, banks aren't really certain that it actually owns the property it seized.

Part of what caused the Lesser Depression to become so severe in 2008 was the chicanery of "securitized mortgages." A bank like Wells Fargo would sell its mortgages to a third party, someone like Goldman Sachs. Goldman then sliced, diced and repackaged hundreds of mortgages from numerous lenders to create a new vehicle to sell. Bits of the new instrument were sold off piecemeal to investors ranging from pension funds and large investors to other dealers – many of whom did another round of slicing and dicing before reselling its own bundle.

By the time everyone was done buying and selling slivers of a mortgage investment instrument, no one quite knew exactly what they owned of the tiny, individual pieces.

"We haven't a clue what we really own," an executive at a major bank confides, requesting anonymity because she is not authorized to speak with reporters. "How can we sell, let alone donate, something that might not be ours?"

"If they aren't sure they owned our house, then how did they foreclose on us?" Richard Nymann demands to know. He and his family lived on Long Island in a four bedroom house with a big yard until late 2009, when the bank servicing their mortgage tossed them out on the street. They moved from one relative's house to another before he found a new job and was able to rent a two bedroom townhouse.

Nymann isn't alone in asking the question. In fact, the problem is so widespread that at least four major banks including Bank of America, JPMorganChase, Ally Financial – it used to be called GMAC – and PNC Financial called a temporary halt to foreclosures simply to figure out who owns a clear title to specific properties.

"Judges were lecturing us because we couldn't prove our client actually had an interest in the property," a lawyer whose firm does a lot of work for banks sputtered. "They'd throw out the case and we had to start over."

Another Option

It's possible to turn empty homes into places to live. It requires the involvement of municipal governments and they have the legal authority to step in and rescue empty and abandoned houses.

The power to do so is rooted in what is called "eminent domain" and governments use it frequently to take over private property for everything from road construction and schools to power lines and even private development. The International Economic Development Council says eminent domain should be used when government needs "to assemble underutilized land or land indecaying or depressed neighborhoods and revitalize communities and cities."

In 2005, the U.S. Supreme Court rule New London, Connecticutt could use the procedure to seize privately-owned property so developers could build a new shopping mall. The court expanded the definition of eminent domain to include seizures where someone might turn a profit. The precedent means there's no reason why a city could not do the same thing to take over empty or abandoned houses and make them available to homeless families or individuals.

Here's how it'd work, sparing all of the legalese details.

A home has been standing empty since The First National Bank of Greed foreclosed on its previous owners. The city uses eminent domain to seize the property because it's in the city's interest to repair the place and make it livable for a homeless family. This stabilizes the value of all homes on the street, increasing property tax revenue and reducing the cost of taking care of a homeless family. The town offers "fair market value" to First Greed for the property.

Ah, but what is fair value? The bank wants $300,000 because that's the outstanding mortgage. The city notes there are two other abandoned houses on the block, and similar occupied homes listed for sale at $100,000 aren't being bought.

The value is determined the same way as in any eminent domain proceeding when two sides can't agree: The average of three appraisals, which could be in the $75,000 range.

Funding the plan could be just as creative. For argument's sake, assume that there are $50-million worth of foreclosed houses in a city. The municipality sells $50-million of 30-year tax-free bonds to investors. When a homeless person or family moves in, they pay the city rent equal to what it has to pay every month to meet its debt obligation. As part of the deal, the municipality could declare a property tax holiday for five years – precisely what governments do all the time for businesses.

With money so cheap right now, and assuming that it doesn't get ripped off by a Wall Street bid-rigging scandal involving a municipal bond underwriting the way Oakland California and a host of other cities have, the town would pay interest of 3% or less.

Indeed, two California cities are planning to do something just like this. Ontario and Fontana, located in San Bernadino County just east of Los Angeles, are determined to "using eminent domain to buy up mortgages for homes that are underwater," according to The New York Times.

Death Star

Rolling Stone's Matt Taibbi calls this the death star option available to cities, noting that using eminent domain "to seize toxic debt might be the one structural flaw big enough …" to force banks into acting like rational corporate citizens.

Acquanetta Warren, mayor of the city of Fontana, told The New York Times, “Sooner or later all these people who are upside down on their homes are just going to leave the keys out on the door and say forget it. This was supposed to be the promised land, and now we have people waiting in some kind of hellish purgatory.”

San Bernardino County has set up the mechanism needed to condemn and seize home loans, with some details still being worked out. Roughly 20,000 homeowners would be eligible for the program.

The plan is being developed by Mortgage Resolution Partners, run by venture capitalist Steven Gluckstern. He told Taibbi, "A bunch of us … asked ourselves what a fix of the foreclosure problem would look like. Then we asked, is there a way to fix it and make money, too. I mean, we're businessmen.”

There's nothing wrong with someone making money, especially if it can help underwater homeowners and people who have no home at all.

Bankster Opposition

Not surprising, bankers have their panties all in a bunch over the idea.

The Securities Industry and Financial Markets Assn. (SIFMA) is playing dirty. In a statement, SIFMA says its members will not make new home loans in counties that use eminent domain. In other words, SIFMA is promising to make it difficult for any community that tries this tactic to obtain private mortgage financing in the future.

SIFMA insists that saving homeowners and the homeless is "illegal and unconstitutional."

Apparently, lawyers toiling for SIFMA and Wall Street haven't read Kelo v. New London. They ought to, maybe this weekend. Kelo is the magic key to the kingdom given to cities by the Supreme Court to solve a massive problem. And, anyway, it's nice to watch bankster's fretting over what they see as being screwed the way they screwed America.

We won't even have to give them a kiss.

Please follow me on Twitter @SuddenlyHomeles and "like" me on Facebook.

My next book is about my experience being homeless. When published, I will donate a percentage of my royalties to homeless organizations.

Originally posted to Charley James on Wed Aug 01, 2012 at 05:34 PM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I like the idea of eminent domain to (14+ / 0-)

    "assemble underutilized land or land in decaying or depressed neighborhoods and revitalize communities and cities."

    This seems like a strategic solution that could make the best of a bad situation. Damn the heartless bankers standing in the way of the common good. Shades of the dispicable Mr. Potter in "It's a Wonderful Life."

    I was a peripheral visionary. I could see the future, but only way off to the side. ~ Steven Wright

    by Bugsby on Wed Aug 01, 2012 at 05:55:55 PM PDT

    •  Me too ... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      doingbusinessas, sb, jgilhousen

      While I like the idea of cities using eminent domain to take over mortgages, I thought that there were some problems with the specific approach that Mortgage Resolution Partners had advocated, whereby the city would not buy empty, foreclosed properties, but just homes where owners were current on payments? In these cases the market value of the mortgage is much higher than the market value of the home -- buying up mortgages for the fair value of the home can't be called "fair compensation".

      http://blogs.reuters.com/...

      Anyone with insight into this? Using eminent domain is a very promising idea; don't want it to get tainted by one corporation's greed.

    •  Yep. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LSophia

      It so often gets used to abuse the poor -- it'd be nice to see it used, for once, to stick it to the banksters and -help- the poor directly.

      I say that the counties should ED properties and then issue mortgages, etc, themselves.

      This could be self-funding after the initial buy-in.  The best part about eminent domain, though, is that, often, the government could get the property for free, in the cases where there's no proper chain of title, and thus no one eligible to claim compensation from the government.  

      However, something has to be done so that the homeowners don't get screwed in this too, if they're still in the homes.

  •  I believe San Bernardino City is trying (6+ / 0-)

    something akin to this, and got warned by the banksters about their credit or something.

  •  Eminent domain stuff is far from straightforward. (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kyril, Bronxist, misslegalbeagle, sb, LSophia

    Neighborhood residents tend to hate it, owners try to fight it in court and city needs to spend a lot of money to fix the house.

  •  what is really the role of the venture capitalist (3+ / 0-)

    here, have not seen it described anywhere, I trust those meatballs as far a I could throw them.

    do the math: the house for $75k, fixed for $35k, sold for $110k in a 110k market, little there for the venture capitalists...unless they are the contractors doing the work and the RE Commission up to $6k, then their profit is in the work and the re comm...but where is the $4-12k in bs and legal fees, who is paying that, the taxpayer in a town that has gone bankrupt and is laying off police and fire? I don't think so, I see the hand of the flipper/venture capitalist here, getting the taxpayer to spring some properties loose.

    There was an article that whined about Mitt's Bohemian Grove, Temple of Mammon venture capitalist pig fucker pals (remember he was on about turning these foreclosed properties over to such companies-no mention of eminent domain- so they could fix them and rent them and sell them someday.  Problem for them as described in the article was that poor but not too poor  people with cash and a hoard of landlords/investor class-(don't you love that bit of horseshit word smithing for slumlord greedy fucks) were buying up many properties.  Since a high % (I'd say 45-65 in some markets) many properties 'for sale' are really short sales and at present NOT selling without months of BS and going thru several would be buyers...this all leaves few bargains for the bigger investor Class-Mitt's friends to buy on the cheap as bundled bags of properties, but  as the small grubby local landlords and the few poor but not broke are buying up anything worth fixing up at the price available...for cash.

    A middleman to fund the Emminent Domain..(can we call it an ED property yet?) property until it's sold may make some sense, but are they really a contractor organizing their work and profits, telling the city : that one, I can do that one, then fixing it at whatever markup (and who is going to grind them, the market?, the bankrupt (San Bernadino city)  and/or failing municipality? And who is to pay for the maintenance and to keep th, , pardon me here, squatters and drug users out, and fix the property again when they break in, and they will...in the months it will take to sell this now $110k-120k...and who is paying the loan on the money spent on repairs, and who is paying the loan now forcefully negotiated with the bank...because the muni is never, politics being what they are, going to actually seize and never pay the bank, they will determine the price, pay them this new market rate...where is that money coming from?...in bankrupt San Bernadino?

    sell Unicorn poop on Ebay maybe...but I hope someone can make it work.

    No, they, the proponents of this idea want a showcase, "mark down to market and sell, now, or we will do this, see, they did it, and we just went to a taxpayer funded workshop to know how, so, get to it!..."

    Habitat For Humanity makes a good show and does do some projects, but I see this as too complicated for them...they work with individual homeowners but this is a big money project, each house, without a prospective tenant, just a sagging market.

      As a dogooder ORG like HforH, they maybe could do a specialty org that could do this,
    * just not a for profit firm:
    *  little oversight,
    *  tax money,
    *  corrupt and incompetent building officials - profiting or sabotaging depending on their masters,
    *  Good Ideas™...
    *  in sum,a recipe for disaster.

    Have you talked to any Habitat For Humanity officials about this?

    But the basic plan, it's absolutely necessary to force the banks to cut the crap, maybe this is the glove with the horseshoe in it...someone else can wear the silk one.

    we need more on this and thanks, this is a great start, post more about it please.

    They need to take the hit and we need the housing and the work.

    sorry to ramble, but I saw the article when it came out and we have talked about here a few times elsewhere, yours is maybe the first diary about it...maybe Jamess did one..thanks.

    From those who live like leeches on the people's lives, We must take back our land again, America!...Langston Hughes

    by KenBee on Wed Aug 01, 2012 at 10:51:53 PM PDT

    •  Very good questions .... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      nzanne, KenBee

      I posted a link to Felix Salmon above ... search his blog as he's addressed this a few times -- http://blogs.reuters.com/...

      I'm not a finance specialist, but from what I understand the "venture capitalists" are urging the city to play a different game from what is in the diary.

      - You are right that buying up an abandoned house at market value, fixing it and renting it does not have a huge margin. Hence VC interest would be minimal, tho' social value would be high.

      - But suppose the VC can find a house where the owner is still current on an 8% loan, buy out the house for current market value, and then allow the owner to refinance at 5%, then the VC is in a completely different ballgame. Given that current interest rates are 3.5%, the VC can pocket the 1.5% for virtually no effort, and get the city to use eminent domain to acquire the property.  Who gets screwed? The current mortgage holder.

      - It may be a good tactic to get the banks to drop interest rates on performing mortgages, but I'm not sure it is 100% legal -- the city is taking over a performing asset below its market value.

      - At least to start off, I would much prefer if the city focused on abandoned/foreclosed properties, rather than set dubious precedents that wont hold up in court.

      •  haha, thanks for that link..confusion (0+ / 0-)

        both from me and the comments (the first is good, most are interesting)

        And I was flipping back and forth between the ED being for already foreclosed and abandoned properties and for underwater mortgages still currently paid up....but on a possible foreclosure path.

        Still I think there is some way the 'investor class' is scamming this somehow...at minimum to cause more properties to be available.
         Too many possibilities.

        As a stick, this may be great, but local banks won't budge until the city actually does something and sets a new precedent.

           The precedent for ED'g abandoned properties looks like a big rallying point for the RW property fear mongers (look for it in the local Apartment Owners newsletter...like the NRA only different, same template usually), I was just reading about (and doesn't every town have one or more) where a city and the neighbors were working to get a crazed slumlord to make repairs and not be an idiot..the town, facing expensive legal processes bluffs, a lot, he calls them.
          This idea is a whole lot bigger an issue.

        In my previous town they put a scofflaw in jail, he famously took jail over being made to stay in one of his own apartments.
        But again, different issue slightly.

        From those who live like leeches on the people's lives, We must take back our land again, America!...Langston Hughes

        by KenBee on Thu Aug 02, 2012 at 02:51:08 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  here is a diary today: 'Geithner Steps Up In..' (0+ / 0-)

        From those who live like leeches on the people's lives, We must take back our land again, America!...Langston Hughes

        by KenBee on Thu Aug 02, 2012 at 03:20:46 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Sure it's legal. (0+ / 0-)

        After all, cities have used eminent domain to kick people out of their houses and raze blocks for shopping malls in order to improve the economics of an area, and that's been found legal.  I see no actual difference here; you're using ED to combat urban blight in a way that might actually make a difference, instead of just kicking peopel out of their homes for a chance at a low-wage shit retail job.

  •  and just one more slant...sorry (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    fuzzyguy, Bronxist, ScienceMom, llywrch

    if the city does get the bank ed's RE evaluated at say $75k, then they somehow get legal control and 'just' put it on the market to anybody, it gets the thing off their hands into the market, plenty of contractors and landlords and the poor with a little cash to buy them...no need of the middleman, just the forced cramdown and sale, if they can make the bank take what the market will really pay, at the time it really is sold, AND pay for  the now city supervised and contracted small repairs (weeds, windows, locks and basic gardening) simple maintenance and defense costs until sold...then this might work.

    We still have the problem of who is paying for the city's legal bills and administrative costs...guess $4-15k?

    back to example, take two:

    * house evaluated for small fee by RE agents, selling price set: $75k (fc mortgage was 185k, so sorry)

    * takes three months to sell:
    * inspection watch crew at three months at $150
    * garden costs $650 to get ready to sell and maintain
    * breakin: new doors, two windows, paint, drywall repairs, new carpet burned, new locks $8k
    * legal costs/admin fee... swag here :> $6k, bank doesn't fight too much
    * carrying costs of that money spent at x%
    * house has offers of $65k, $75k with new carpet, $55k as is..all have to finance..inspection by bank, yep them again, says: new roof $8k, oh and termite inspection and re commissions and closing fees and termite tenting...whatever, say$12k

    * all fail to go further with bank's demand, which will NEVER fucking end...then, Hosannahs:
    * cash offer of $48.5 accepted..
    * net $11.5 to bank.?...later

    YMMV...and of course we haven't mentioned fire and vandalism and crack house/crack labs

    You can easily find scenarios where the bank should just
    maybe give properties to the city and reduce risk for properties evaluated for under say $100k, and have a flat % over that: RE estimate $150, sell to the city for 50% and be fucking done with it....payable when the property is resold, city assumes further costs.

    And there are people who have said, can't say it's true, that the banks have been paid already two and three times for these house already.

    And another thing, if the city gets its knives sharpened, they are in much better position and can challenge the bank's legal standing/papers please to these properties and the bank just may then walk instead of spend new money to defend.
        The city may make enough on this to also fund the legal effort. The banks will fight BigTime (re: their threat) on the first cities to try this, so there's that...but after that template is created, bombs away.
      And the city may need to organize a non profit Homes For People or similar to do this...
    It might work.

    But the Vulture capitalists in this?

    No way.

    No fucking way.

    And some cities have already been buying up homes and apartments for city housing as an ongoing thing anyway, so that's been good for them to have cheaper properties to buy.

    all right...:>

    From those who live like leeches on the people's lives, We must take back our land again, America!...Langston Hughes

    by KenBee on Wed Aug 01, 2012 at 11:24:34 PM PDT

  •  I've been thinking of this issue for a few years.. (0+ / 0-)

    and have thought about how to engage from the private sector.

    I'll wait for your next diary when there's a little more room for discussion.

    Wonders are many, but none so wonderful as man.

    by Morgan Sandlin on Thu Aug 02, 2012 at 02:33:29 AM PDT

  •  Have you ever been to Fontana? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    llywrch

    It never was, and never will be "the Promised Land."  

    Short of eminent domain, it seems to me that some sort of law could be passed requiring banks to turn over a vacant house within a prescribed (and reasonably short) period of time.  

    Vacant homes, as you note, become magnets for vandalism, crime, illicit activity...and detract from the overall health of their surrounding neighborhoods.

    In Fontana, that timeline is speeded up to the point where you don't even need time lapse photography to depict it.

    Oregon: Sure...it's cold. But it's a damp cold.

    by Keith930 on Thu Aug 02, 2012 at 05:15:44 AM PDT

  •  I think this oversimplified homelessness (0+ / 0-)

    Sure- there are situations where families lose their home, etc.

    But the majority of homelessness is the culmination of a combination of factors, and their is usually a mental health component somewhere in there (i.e. 75%) - so you just can't have homes - you need services too.

    The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. --George Orwell

    by jgkojak on Thu Aug 02, 2012 at 09:24:37 AM PDT

    •  actually I believe this is a common misperception (0+ / 0-)

      this is from endhomelessness.org, the national Alliance to end homelessness which is a 4 star rated charity. http://www.endhomelessness.org

      "Chronic homelessness is often the public face of homelessness. "Chronic" has a specific definition, involving either long-term and/or repeated bouts of homelessness coupled with disability (physical or mental). People experiencing chronic homelessness often end up living in shelters and consume a plurality of the homeless assistance system’s resources.

      It’s a common misconception that this group represents the majority of the homelessness population; rather, they account for about 18 percent of the entire homeless population."

      I would also imagine that many homeless statistics may not be taking the formerly middle lcass living in vans/cars who are trying to hide their status out of shame and fear.  

      Hey Charley...really...I do NOT want to see any bankers panties...eeeeewwww...hugs/sh

      •  In my experience (0+ / 0-)

        Working in the non-profit world --

        When I encounter a family facing something like this - in EVERY instance there is an unaddressed psychological or substance abuse issue that created the situation that led to homelessness.  

        You don't let it get that far (becoming homeless- it does NOT happen overnight) unless you are struggling putting other pieces together as well-- this is not blaming victims- it is wishing we had better access to mental health care and treatment for everyone.

        The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. --George Orwell

        by jgkojak on Thu Aug 02, 2012 at 10:57:59 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I would absolutely agree (0+ / 0-)

          that mental healh issues need much better care and treatment.  I would also suggest that many if not most  people have at least moderate issues that could benefit from counseling.

          I have done a great deal of volunteering, some of which was in soup kitchens.  I also recently watched a very somber program on OWN profiling several families who were struggling.  They were not homeless, but they teetering very close to the edge.  They had decades of experience in the business world.   A great deal of success, both financial and professional.  And still, they were on the brink and living in very difficult circumstances.

          I not only do not want to blame the victim, I do not want to in any way increase the stigma or blame that is so easily attached to this.  There are millions of Americans who are homeless or on the verge who, as noted in the examples above, have had great success and never imagined this could ever happen to them.  So, I appreciate your experience, but I think we need to agree to disagree...

        •  It happens. (0+ / 0-)

          Usually, people move back in with their parents or crash on a friend's couch until they can get back on their feet.  

          Sometimes everyone just has shit luck.  When you're living hand-to-mouth with no more resources you can tap and something happens -- you get sick, your car breaks down and you lose your job, etc -- you can wind up homeless very easily.

  •  Eminent Domain Problem (0+ / 0-)

    You might run into a 5th Amendment problem here.  Even in Kelo, the court said that a municipality can't just swoop in and transfer property from one private party to another.  If you have a situation where a whole neighborhood has fallen into blight, there's no question that would be constitutional.  If we're just talking a couple of houses in an otherwise nice neighborhood, that probably doesn't meet the "public use" requirement of the Fifth Amendment.  

    •  True. (0+ / 0-)

      ...But I doubt that it would be used that way.  It's not the places with a few abandoned properties that're a problem, it's the ones where every other house -- or more -- are.  If this were implemented they'd certainly go after the low-hanging fruit first, and there's so many of them that it'll probably take a while. ;)

      •  Good point. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Praxical

        My point was just that you'd have to structure the program to go after neighborhoods that were heavily blighted to begin with.  You wouldn't be able, necessarily, to pick and choose and keep people in their homes.  It's more of a "stop the bleeding" type thing than a "keep people in the homes they love and bought" kind of deal.  

  •  Would like to recommend this diary! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jgilhousen

    But something is screwed up at kos so I can't.

    I'll link to it on facebook, instead.

    •  I've had that problem with a couple of comments... (0+ / 0-)

      in this thread -- no rec button appears on them.  It's a problem I've noted from time to time before.  Sometimes clearing my cache, closing and restarting my browser, and returning to the page clears the problem.  Sometimes not.  Perhaps someone more tech savvy than I can figure it out.

      Ad crearent magis et melius Democratae.

      by jgilhousen on Thu Aug 02, 2012 at 07:03:34 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks for the diary. (0+ / 0-)

    This is precisely the kind of brainstorming we need to solve the housing crisis, and it ain't coming from  the banks or the political RW  :) that's for sure.

    Now, I wish somebody would write a diary about what has just happened in Oakland with the financing, which I understand to be the city council defiantly voting to default on a loan with very unfair (usurious) repayment terms. I just caught wind of this from an acquaintance yesterday evening, I think you've alluded to it in your diary, too, and I think it's a scoop somebody should follow up...

    It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

    by karmsy on Thu Aug 02, 2012 at 04:40:46 PM PDT

  •  I like the way you think. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jgilhousen

    Out of the box. Great diary.

    The truth of our faith becomes a matter of ridicule among the infidels if any Catholic, not gifted with the necessary scientific learning, presents as dogma what scientific scrutiny shows to be false. - Thomas Aquinas

    by oxley on Thu Aug 02, 2012 at 06:38:13 PM PDT

  •  I didn't think it possible, Charley, but... (0+ / 0-)

    you've gone up even higher in my estimation with this piece.  Simply brilliant. Who knew there were even more rungs on that ladder?

    Ad crearent magis et melius Democratae.

    by jgilhousen on Thu Aug 02, 2012 at 07:06:08 PM PDT

  •  Followed, recced and hotlisted (0+ / 0-)

    Great stuff.

    Surprised the onepercent and banker concern trolls haven't swarmed all over it.

    "No man is rich enough to buy back his past." ~ Oscar Wilde

    by ozsea1 on Sat Aug 04, 2012 at 10:47:10 AM PDT

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