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Archive for December 14th, 2005

Maniac

"Some European countries insist on saying that during World War II, Hitler burned millions of Jews and put them in concentration camps," Ahmadinejad said. "Any historian, commentator or scientist who doubts that is taken to prison or gets condemned. Although we don’t accept this claim, if we suppose it is true, if the Europeans are honest they should give some of their provinces in Europe—like in Germany, Austria or other countries—to the Zionists and the Zionists can establish their state in Europe. You offer part of Europe and we will support it."

Dec 8,2005

"They have invented a myth that Jews were massacred and place this above God, religions and the prophets."

"This is our proposal: give a part of your own land in Europe, the United States, Canada or Alaska to them [the Jews] so that the Jews can establish their country."

Dec 14, 2005

The second set of quotes were delivered as the crowd chanted "Death to America."

And the lefties are concerned that we are planting news articles in this region. If we sent planes in to drop leaflets they’d be shot down. How shall we get the word out against the likes of al-Jazeera? Telepathy?

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Competence

I am affiliated with a mortgage broker and my home office is registered in Albany as a branch. Occasionally, representatives from wholesale lenders send me literature, which gets filed with the recyclables. Sometimes I’ll read what these people have to say, and it chills me that these are the people who are partly responsible for the mortgages that you and I have. Here are some highlights from one package I got today (my emphasis added):
Dear Owner/Branch Manager,
Loanshark is a sub-prime wholesale lender based in Westchester/Elmsford, New York (We also do A paper which we process faster then A Banks, but its subprime pricing).  On the average, if a file is submitted properly it can close as little as 3-5 days, sometimes even faster (unlike A-Paper).  This all depends on the circumstances, how the loan is submitted, etc. Once a file is submitted, an approval will be issued in 24-48 hours.
I am an internal rep who will overlook the entire process of your files and have "On-Hands" presence to fix any issues that may arise on your file.  Prequals can be done while I’m on the phone with you, if it is complex you can fax to me and I can do it in a matter of minutes.  I have been in the business for 4 years, worked on the inside for Loanshark for 2+ years. I know what it takes to get a loan closed at Loanshark. I excel at high volume, return all calls promptly and I am true to my word. I am not going to promise you something that I can not deliver. Please call me to go over any scenarios, I am in the office all day awaiting to service your loan needs.
If you decide to use me as your rep, please alert your entire staff that your Loanshark rep will be Joe Shlabotnik. We do not want the possibility of another Loanshark rep soliciting your branch.  We will need a complete submission to lock me in as your Account Rep.  You will see the difference in how we close loans.  Sheila Dingbat is my Senior Account Manager that has closed 80+ loans in one monthShe has higher sign off authority than most Account Managers, which means your files can close faster than normal.
Thank you for you attention pertaining to this matter, and I look forward to doing business with you!
Joe Shlabotnik
Loanshark Mortgage
You might find other errors that I missed. My favorite was his promise to "overlook" my entire loan process, and I wonder if that was a Freudian slip and not a syntax error. The "excel at high volume" blurb was good too-does he shriek? Truly, we live in a magnificent country for an inept dope like this to be able to make a living helping us keep a roof over our heads.
If you have Microsoft word and another minute to kill, here is a howler that was emailed to me yesterday from an upstate loan officer for a physician to whom I recently sold a condominium. This is this slob’s excuse for a pre-approval letter for the doctor. It looks like my 10 year old nephew wrote it, lacking even a decent letterhead, applicable disclosures for licensure information, or the proper classification for the property. If I were stupid enough to submit this to the listing broker they’d kill the whole deal on general principle.

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Fraternities

Colgate University is being fought in court by fraternities after cracking down on Greek Letter Organization conduct and housing.

Colgate, in Hamilton, N.Y., about 30 miles southwest of Utica, began revamping student housing after years of problems at its fraternity houses, including hazing, sexual assaults and binge-drinking parties. The school’s worst tragedy occurred in November 2000, when a drunken fraternity member crashed his car into a tree, killing four people, including a freshman, Katie Almeter, 18.

That event spurred the college into action. In 2003, Colgate unveiled a plan that required nearly all students to live in college-owned housing. As part of the plan, it told its Greek-letter organizations that if they did not turn over their houses to the college, the fraternities and sororities would not be recognized – meaning the end of all their activities. If they sold or donated their houses, students could still belong to the organizations and still live in the houses, though the college would essentially supervise them.

All but one of the Greek-letter organizations turned over their property by this summer. Nearly all of the university’s 2,750 students now live in buildings where campus officials can provide some oversight.

A sole Greek-letter organization, Delta Kappa Epsilon, did not sell. It was derecognized. Colgate students are not permitted to live there or to participate in that fraternity’s activities. If they do, they face disciplinary action, including expulsion.

A brief disclosure and a few observations. First, I am a proud alumnus of one of Villanova University’s fine fraternities, Pi Kappa Alpha. Our chapter was very large and active, won at least two Smythe Awards for excellence, and enjoyed an excellent reputation. I still consider fellow Pikes friends and business associates. It was a terrific experience and it enriched my college life a great deal. I have since learned that the University sacked the chapter due to misconduct. That’s too bad, and I hold the members at that time solely responsible. I don’t for a moment expect others to share my positive view of Greek life. Our campus, a Catholic school in an affluent suburb, did not have many alternatives. If you went to Oshkosh State or Saint Wojohowitcz U and viewed Greek life differently, you may have a point. It worked for us, given the circumstances.

My observations:

  • Delta Kappa Epsilon, the organization cited in the article, also had a chapter at Villanova and was kicked off for numerous infractions, including hazing and alcohol-related vehicular tragedy. They continued as a secret society, which is not the way to go.
  • DKE’s pledges went through hell. I recall a guy getting arrested for stealing a flag as a prank. It was, as I recall, an "assignment." Our assignments were getting a girl’s phone number or a sandwich.
  • George H.W. Bush was a DKE at Yale.
  • It could be a coincidence that DKE was scrapped by both my school and Colgate, or it could indicate a problem with the national organization. I don’t know. Local chapters reflect the organization’s philosophy to a a degree, so both Pike and DKE have to be accountable for what their chapters do. To their credit, Pike respected Villanova’s ban. DKE seems to feel differently.
  • That is too bad, because colleges do not need fraternities but fraternities sure do need colleges. You have to play by administration rules.
  • Villanova did not have fraternity housing. None. Yet over 30% of men were in a fraternity as I recall, and the sororities were also popular. We had Greek week, philanthropic work, and a terrific social calender playing by the Augustinian Father’s rules. It worked.

As I said, views about fraternities and sororities vary with the campus culture. My best friend in high school went to Ithaca and did not care for the fraternity life. I felt differently, but I’m sure on this we agree-in this story, Colgate is in charge, and if a fraternity has to go to court to fight their rules, they are trying to have the tail wag the dog.

Yes, we did. Once a year.

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