Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Lunar Rover

There was an unexpected commotion
In the carport early this morning
Commerce dictated conference connections
But the dog was barking
Wings beat frantically around my head
Terror threatened to spill my travel mug
On the cold concrete of early autumn
But it was only a wood pecker
Sheltering beneath the tin roof
Trying to escape a cold downpour
A rain so severe even I did not want to drive in it

After several heartbeats
Thrum, thrum, thrum
We both regained our equilibrium
Bird and man, staring eye to eye
As we shared a frosty moment
I marveled at woodpecker’s red and black feathers
Perhaps he wondered at my thinning hair
Quiet dog, quit your barking
It’s just an unexpected commotion
In the carport early this morning
No need to wake the others


Credits: poetry and collage by Jay Larsen

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

More on MERS

From George Mantor at:
RISMEDIA, September 29, 2009—The latest chapter in the mortgage meltdown is being written in court, as one by one, judges are putting a halt to foreclosures. The latest was a recent Kansas Supreme Court case. In Landmark National Bank v. Kesler, the court held that a nominee company called MERS had no standing to bring a foreclosure action.
Nor was Kansas the first. In August 2008, Federal Judge for the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Nevada ruled MERS had no standing. ”Indeed, the evidence is to the contrary, the Note has been sold, and the named nominee no longer has any interest in the Note.”
In September of 2008, A California Judge ruling against MERS concluded, “There is no evidence before the court as to who is the present owner of the Note. The holder of the Note must join in the motion.”
On March 19, 2009, the Supreme Court of Arkansas determined that MERS was not the true beneficiary because the Note had been sold. Alabama and Florida have made similar rulings.
In each case, the reason stems from a fundamental misstep in the handling of Notes and Trust Deeds that runs contrary to established court policies which require that the real parties identify themselves to the court. Each of these cases involved MERS and, in each case, the courts’ rationales were almost identical.
First, a little background. Over the last 40 years, mortgage lending has evolved from a bank holding the mortgage to the mortgage being bundled and sold as part of an investment pool, usually in the form of a bond.
As a registered security, the Note is a negotiable instrument, like money or a cashier’s check, and under securities law that Note must be given to the investor. In this case, mortgage backed securities, (MBS) were bundled together in a pool and shipped to…well, we don’t really know.
One of the impediments to an MBS is the need to file assignments for the beneficiaries in each county each time the mortgage is resold. And apparently, no one holds them for very long because most have been passed around several times.
In order to avoid the logistical nightmare of trying to maintain a public chain of title, the biggest lenders joined MERS, Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc.
MERS was created with the sole intent of evading the recording fees due to the county in which the security is located.
In so doing, in my opinion, they also destroyed the age-old practice of making a public record of information concerning real property in general, and legal interest specifically. The chain of title is a vital record produced to resolve many a dispute.
Now, that’s gone. I believe, erased simply so they themselves, MERS, could siphon off the recording fees for themselves. They sold their business model to lenders as a better way to track mortgages that were being sold and resold all over the world.
But, as there often is with a BIG IDEA, there were also unintended consequences. Only now are they coming to light. Until MERS was challenged in a foreclosure proceeding, no one had taken a look at the law.
The law, according to a Nevada Judge, is that for purposes of foreclosure, both the Note and the Deed of Trust must be assigned. When the Note is split from the Deed of Trust, the Note becomes unsecured. A person holding only a Note lacks the power to foreclose because it lacks the security.
MERS lost track of the Notes. In some cases, according to my research, they deliberately destroyed them.
Every thing was fine until the economy contracted. MERS began foreclosing on delinquent home loans and then one day; someone said “show me the Note.”
In reviewing the judge’s rulings in the above matters, several key points have been determined:
• MERS is not the beneficiary of the Notes and has no skin in the game. It did not lend any money, collect any payments or do anything more than track the sale of the securities.
• Judicial procedure requires that parties identify themselves and prove their standing.
• Splitting the Note and Trust Deed leaves no party with standing to foreclose. The true holder of the Note, the security, paid the lender so the lender is covered. The true holder of the Note was insured by AIG so they are covered. AIG and the banks were bailed out by taxpayers. So, unless the American tax payer can produce a “blue-ink” original Note, no one has standing to foreclose.
• Allowing a foreclosure to proceed without the original Note places the homeowner in double jeopardy. If the original Note were to surface, the holder of the Note would be entitled to payment, but from whom? The borrower is still on the hook.
MERS currently holds 50 to 60 million loans so this is no small matter. And, just because they have lost repeatedly doesn’t mean they will give up. They will keep right on foreclosing in hopes that the homeowner won’t fight back and, in most cases, they won’t be stopped.

Ape by Banksy
Self-Destructive Greed by the Wall Street Securities Industry and MERS
Article from:

Monday, September 28, 2009

I predict you will hear about "MERS" in the near future

MERS is an acronym for Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, a private company that registers mortgages electronically and tracks changes in ownership. I had never heard of them, and Walls Street was hoping you would never hear about them unless they showed up in court one day to foreclose on your mortgage. You see, MERS is one of the many nasty little games Wall Street has been using to leverage your simple mortgage into thousands of collateralized debt obligations and other "products" which have poisoned our financial system.

The only problem is that some judges (like the Kansas Supreme Court) recently have declared that the MERS vitalization of mortgages may not be legally binding and that the company does not have the right to foreclose on properties. And the banks that wrote the original mortgages may not have the right to foreclose either, because they have already been paid in full by MERS and the securities companies MERS is protecting from scrutiny. Go to : for some better details.

These Walls Street guys may have gotten so caught up in moving the little cups around that even they forgot to keep track of where the pea was.

My prediction: MERS will be something everybody has heard of in six months.

Why? Because MERS holds 60 million mortgages. And the banks will have to buy back their promissory notes at full value before they can foreclose on those loans. And the people holding the security products created from those mortgages will want to get paid before they release them. But no bank is going to pay hundreds or thousands of percent over the actual value of the mortgage, just to be able to foreclose in court.

I smell lawsuits...

Friday, September 25, 2009

Been off line lately

Got home. Went back to work. Got sick.
I've out with a virus since Tuesday. Dr says I should be better by Monday. I hope he is correct.
My wife tells me I have been a lovely shade of gray.

Jay Larsen

Sent from my Windows Mobile phone

Saturday, September 19, 2009

The Eulogy I gave for my Dad

Eulogy of Claire Jay Larsen
By Jay Larsen

I remember when my dad gave the eulogy for his mother. He had every name and date at hand. He was very organized and made the whole thing seem very precise. My dad liked things to be organized and precise. But personally, I have found that life is not about precision so much as it is about impressions. And my dad made a big impression on all of us who knew him.

I will attempt to eulogize my father’s life and the impressions he left on me. If dates are incorrect or missing, if names get confused or left out, please rest assured that the imprecision is all mine.

We are here today to celebrate the life of Claire Jay Larsen, a man who played many roles in his life: son, brother, husband, elder, teacher, bishop, dean, and of course the role that left the biggest impression on me—father.

Claire was born to Orba and Christian Larsen in Southern Idaho, near Preston, on July 29th, 1935.
He had several older half sisters as well as younger siblings, but he never categorized them as anything other than “family”. His siblings include his sisters Ladeen, May, Beth and Emma, and his brother John.
His early years were spent on a small farm growing beans, beets and such. Dad never lost his hard-working, hands-on, farm boy approach to life. He was never afraid to pitch in and get his hands dirty. And he often spoke of long hours spent mowing hay, bringing in the harvest, and caring for the “HARSES”. His love of the outdoors continued through a life time of camping and rock climbing. Dad never met a rock he didn’t want to climb.

Claire’s father, Christian, was a giant figure in my dad’s life. Christian was a respected member of the Mormon community. He had served a mission in Tonga in the early 19-hundreds, where he built church buildings and taught school, traveling from island to island in dugout canoes. This was back in the day when missions didn’t have a set length. Grandfather served until the Mission President released him almost 3 years later.

I remember helping my dad pour over Christian’s missionary journal, scanning each fading page, transcribing the text (although “translating” might be a better word, because Christian’s hand writing was not the best.) In fact, it is a lot like mine when I am in a hurry, which in some ways made it easier for me to read.
Dad worked hard to put Christian’s Journal together into a book with pictures and historical background info. He distributed copies to all his siblings and his children. Dad was so proud of what his father had done and his service to the Church. And he was proud of his family’s part in the Church’s history.

Dad looked up to his father as a heroic figure. He told me more than once how when he was young, maybe 8 years old, that he got his feet stuck in an icy puddle in a remote section of a dirt road as the temperature was dropping fast. His horse (or HARSE) wandered away and he was stuck, literally frozen into the road. Cold and alone. Scared. Dad was so relieved when his father, noticing the horse had come home alone, got on and road out and found his young son. Christian pulled his boy right out of his frozen boots, wrapped him up and carried him home. Dad was worried about his lost boots, but Christian told him, “Boots can be replaced, family can’t.”

So it was a huge shock to Claire when he lost his father to an accident involving a broken tractor and a train, when he was just 10 or 11. In my opinion, how Claire dealt with the sudden loss of his father really came to define how he approached the rest of his long life. I have spent much of my life slowly realizing just how much that event influenced and shaped his attitudes and actions over the years. I believe Dad was still learning how much that early loss had influenced his life himself.

The accident that took young Claire’s father away from him was not planned. Nobody wanted it to happen. But it did, and it changed everything. And that young boy had no idea how to fill the void left by his father’s absence. All he could do was to try his best to hold things together, to step forward, to try and keep things running and moving and organized. He wasn’t sure if he was doing the best job possible. His dad wasn’t there to show him what to do or to rescue him if he made mistakes. But Claire was determined to make his father proud of him.

Claire helped his mother and sisters run the farm after that. His mother, Orba, was a school teacher, and she impressed on her son (and me, and all her kids and grandkids) how important education was. Dad went to high school and stayed involved in the Church. I asked Dad once if he thought that the reason the Church was so important to him was because the Church had become a kind of surrogate for his missing father. And he said, Yes. That as long as he was serving the Church and doing what the Church asked of him, that he was doing what his father would have wanted him to do.
But it was more than that. My dad also appreciated all the men in the church who helped him and counseled him as he was growing up. The Church was an important source of male leadership for him.

When he was old enough, Dad did a short tour with the Army. Then he went on a mission to Colorado. He worked hard and was proud to have baptized one family into the Church.

After his mission, Dad started his academic career in earnest. He got a Bachelor’s degree from Utah State, while still finding time to be on the State boxing team. He placed 2nd in the state one year. I know, I saw the trophy.

Dad traveled to California to San Jose State to work on his Masters Degree, despite his mother’s warnings that California was not like Utah or Idaho, that things were different out there in Hollywood and that he would meet strange people.

Dad worked a paper route and worked at a fish cannery to pay his way through college in San Jose. But he kept attending church regularly. At one church dance he stole his friend’s date because that girl was more fun than his date. She was so much fun in fact that he married Jeanette Robertson, and was adopted whole heartedly into the Robertson clan.

When Claire finished his Master’s Degree, he took a teaching job in a little town called Willows California. Dad liked teaching math and writing to the 4th graders there, but had trouble with art and music. Probably because dad was colorblind and tone deaf. Afflictions that were apparent whenever he picked paint colors or clothing by himself, or whenever he sang out loud in church. But my mother made up for that by filling their house with music enough for both of them.

Claire and Jeanette had two troubled pregnancies in their first years together. Both ended tragically and neither baby lived more than a few hours. Those deaths too were not planned or wanted, but dad kept moving forward. And eventually Mom made it through another pregnancy and I was born in 1963.

Dad’s work moved his young family to Kern County, where he worked at the high school in Arvin and later he became the first librarian at West High School in Bakersfield.

Mom delivered my sister Kathrine in 1966 after a hard pregnancy, much of it spent in bed. The doctors told her and my dad that Jeanette could not have any more children. To do so would kill her. But my parents were determined to have more children. So even as Dad was taking a position as a research librarian at Bakersfield Community College, they adopted my brother Ronnie in 1969. And later my sister Debbie in 1971.

Much like his father before him, Dad was at his best when his family needed rescuing. We kept him busy taking us to the emergency room for stitches and casts; moving in and out of his house, and in and out of his house, as we tried to make it on our own. He would ride to the rescue with that tuition check, or rent check, or whatever check just at the last minute. And believe me, we gave Dad plenty of opportunities to rescue us, and he always rose to the occasion.

As the grandchildren began arriving, Grandpa Larsen, extended his strong arms and even stronger heart to embrace his growing family. Terra and Natasha, Siona and Chani, Sasha—you may notice a pattern here, we are very good at producing beautiful granddaughters in this family—and Grandpa loved them all and rode to their rescue many times over.

Dad was a strong defender of his family. He worked very hard to make sure we wanted for nothing. Dad had some very clear ideas of how his family should work, and we managed to throw most of his plans into disarray. But even though we kids didn’t always stick to Dad’s plan, he adapted and learned to come to terms with who we were, and to appreciate us as individuals. It is a testament to Dad’s love for us, that he did not let differences of religion, politics or sexuality unbind the bonds of family. It is a credit to his strength of character that he found a way to maintain his strong beliefs and still respect and accept our differences.

Another area of pride in my father’s life was his career as an educator. He spent most of his adult life working and serving Bakersfield Community College. He was probably happiest as a reference librarian. He always said that he loved poking through the catalogs and researching some topic for a professor. Dad just loved all that knowledge in all those books. I remember spending summer breaks helping him reorganize sections of the library. Dad also taught library science classes. At one time, most of the librarians in the area had taken classes from Professor Larsen. And many of the librarians were not shy about reporting back to my dad the titles of books I had been checking out, especially titles they thought were too mature for me. I remember dad’s voice on the other end of phone once, telling the librarian to go ahead a let me check out that book she was so worried about. “If he can read it, let him have it. A little knowledge never hurt anyone.” He said.

Dad eventually got a PHD from BYU. We were all proud, and Mom got her PHT (put hubby through) at last. Soon promotions followed at work, because dad never said no to responsibility. He became the head librarian. He started one of the first computer learning centers in the state. Later he was the Dean of this and that. He was instrumental in getting the satellite learning centers built. And he postponed his retirement to finish his work planning and building the new Grace Van Dyke Bird Library. Doctor Larsen had a reputation for being a hard worker and great defender of the college.

Despite all his success and long hours at BC, dad was most proud of his service within the Church. There is no way for me to recall all the positions dad accepted over the years: he was a missionary, a councilor to bishops, a member of the Stake High Council, a temple worker, a Bishop. And through it all he was always a home teacher. Many were the weekends where when I was done mowing our lawn, Dad would load up the mower and we would go mow the lawn of which ever widow in the ward needed some help around the house. I helped Dad paint houses, put in hot water heaters, move families across town, what ever the members of the ward needed. Brother Larsen was there to serve.

Dad was an avid Church scholar. His personal library is full of all manner of LDS books, all of them read, many more than once. And Dad always had his scriptures at hand and always had a scripture reference appropriate for any topic. So of course he was always ready to speak in church, and he did, many, many times.

Dad loved his church. He was planning on starting a mission at the Los Angeles Temple last week. His faith was very important to him, and he expressed it through service. I’m sure his father would be very proud of him.

No discussion of my father’s life would be complete without mentioning his relationship with his sweetheart and wife, Jeannette. If you knew Dad, then you know that Mom had a long struggle with cancer. And Dad was an amazing nurse. He kept track of all Mom’s appointments and medications. He put his life into a very tight orbit around Mom’s needs. I was constantly amazed at how hard he worked taking care of our mother. And he took equal care of her after her death in 2006.

He missed her dearly, and we were all afraid that dad would waste away without Mom, who was the center of his life. But Dad still had his church and his hobbies to keep him busy, and before too long he was dating some. Eventually he introduced us to Carol, who he married in 2007. Carol and Claire had much in common and yet were very different from each other. But Dad was happy to be adopted into the Walker clan, happy to increase the number of kids and grandkids in his life. Dad and Carol traveled and built a new home together.

Dad spent the last year of his life traveling and visiting all his siblings, children and grand children. I think he visited every one of us. His last week was spent enjoying the natural beauty of Alaska. He had a great time, I could tell by looking at all the pictures he took.

He passed suddenly. Dad probably did not want to be a burden on any of us, so he didn’t linger. And I know he was looking forward to seeing Jeanette and his mother and very much looking forward to seeing his father again after all those years of making him proud.

I know Dad would want me to thank you all for coming today, and he would apologize if his funeral interfered with any of your plans.

Dad made a big impression all of us who knew and loved him. That impression will never die or fade away.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

I'm in Bakersfield

I'm in Bakersfield going thru boxes of stuff and making tons of phone calls.
I need to find some time to write a eulogy for my dad. Not an easy task.
Thanks to everyone who has helped and who are traveling to be here.
Hanging in and moving forward.

Jay Larsen

Sent from my Windows Mobile phone

Monday, September 07, 2009

Pictures of my Dad

Here are some photos of my Dad, Claire Jay Larsen, 1935--2009 2009 on the Alaska Cruise he took last week with his wife Carol just before he died.
2000 at the Kangaroo Farm in Arlington WA.

1966 on a camping trip somewhere. He was always happiest outdoors.

1956 in Colorado while he was on his mission. We never could stop him from climbing rocks. He was always full of energy and ready to explore what was over the next hill. We miss you, Dad.
I will be flying to Bakersfield CA on Tuesday to help arrange things for the funeral, which will be in Bakersfield on Monday the 14th. You can call Hillcrest Memorial at 661-366-5766 if you are interested in the details.
Thanks to all the people who have expressed concern or helped with the arrangements. Everyone has been so kind and gracious to me and my family.
Jay Larsen

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Goodbye Dad

My Dad died last night.
He was 74.
He was just getting off an Alaska cruise.
He made a big impact on a lot of people.
I don't know what to say except:
I love you Dad...

Jay Larsen

Sent from my Windows Mobile phone

Friday, September 04, 2009

Al Franken talks to his constituents

For those who can't see the video:

This video features health care debate for people who actually have an attention span longer than a 30 seconds. We need more of this and less screaming.
You may not agree with the Senator, but this is how the debate should be taking place.
Unfortunately the media companies like focusing on screaming instead of on ideas.
I would say everyone should watch it, but like I said, many people don't seem capable of maintaining a single train of thought for 10 minutes.
How about this? Everyone should try to watch it. Take it in 30 second segments if you must.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Hypocrisy Rules

We pick up our scripts
And rehearse our parts
Round the water cooler each day
We profess beliefs we do not share
With the characters in our play
When forced to reconcile
Our actions with our acting
We say, Well, what the hey?
Hypocrisy rules the rat race
Just make sure you pick a rat
That’s not too fat
Or you might not get away
Credits: Poem and Collageery by Jay “Pretense Al” Larsen

This needs a Warning Label

Found this at
Don't they know how dangerous this could be?
Leaving the Universe Reboot Button unguarded on a street corner?
Please don't tell the League of Sinister Villains and Demented Demigods!
There is no guarantee it will turn out better just because you restart it!

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Select All Selector

Cruise the strip with your heart out of shape
Crank the tunes until your heartstrings break
Cavort with strangers, heartless wretch
Create a space to project your heartfelt wish
What’s on tonight?
Select a channel before my heart breaks
What’s on tonight?
Select all, Selector
Credits: poetry and collage by Jay Larsen

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Bill Moyers says Obama Must Fight, Not Finesse

Bill Moyers says Obama Must Fight, Not Finesse
Award-Winning Journalist Disses Dems as 'Spineless'
by Patrick Gavin
PBS's Bill Moyers issued a tough critique of the Democratic Party on Friday night on HBO's "Real Time With Bill Maher."
Bill Moyers has been a frequent critic of the Republican Party over the years, making his critique of the Democratic Party on 'Real Time' more exceptional. (Photo: AP)Moyers, whose comments focused on the recent health care debate, said that "too many Democrats have had their spines surgically removed."
Moyers, a White House press secretary during the Johnson administration who went on to win over 30 Emmys and countless other awards during his subsequent journalism career, has been a frequent critic of the Republican Party over the years, making his critique of the Democratic Party on "Real Time" more exceptional.
"The problem is the Democratic Party," said Moyers. "This is a party that has told its progressives — who are the most outspoken champions of health care reform — to sit down and shut up. That's what Rahm Emanuel, in effect, the chief of staff of the White House, told progressives when they stood up as a unit in Congress and said, no public insurance option, no health care reforms."
Moyers said that, over the years, the Democratic Party "has become like the Republican party — deeply influenced by corporate money."
"I think Rahm Emanuel, who is a clever politician, understands that the money for Obama's reelection would come primarily from the health industry, the drug industry and Wall Street, and so he is a corporate Democrat who is destined, determined that there would be something in this legislation — if we get it — that will turn off those powerful interests."
Moyers had some advice for President Barack Obama, as well.
"There's a fear that Barack Obama will become the Grover Cleveland of this era," said Moyers. Grover Cleveland was a good man, but he became a conservative Democratic president because he didn't fight the interests. ... I would much rather see Barack Obama be Theodore Roosevelt. Theodore Roosevelt loved to fight. He came into office and railed against the malefactors of great wealth, and he was glad to take them on. ...
"I think if Obama fought, instead of finessed so much, he stood up and declared for what is really the right thing to do and what is really needed instead of negotiating the corners away, instead of talking about bending the curve, and talking about actuarial rates, if he were to stand up and say, 'We need this because we're a decent country', I think it would change the atmosphere."
Moyers said that conservatives have dominated the debate over health care lately. "In the last few weeks, the right wing has been winning the debate. How [Obama] lost control of the narrative, I don't understand. Well, yes, I do. He didn't find the right metaphors, as you were just saying, and he didn't speak in simple powerful moral language. He was speaking like a policy wonk to the world of Washington, not a country of people who are hurting. ...
"Here's the party that lost and the conservative movement that was discredited over the last eight years .... They're setting the agenda for a Democratic Party that controls the White House, the Senate and the House. Something's wrong in that."
© 2009