The Spammers are finding a way back in. I’m not sure how they do it. But it’s driving me fricking crazy.
Archive for March, 2007
Read this article which seems to blame the eeeevill mortgage companies for the current round of foreclosures. Of course, without these experimental loans, these people wouldn’t have been able to buy a house at all. And a significant percentage are weathering the storm and becoming home-owners. By my math, that’s good. But we must have a sob-story about the 20% who are being fore-closed on not the 80% who got a home they’d never have been able to purchase just five years ago.
Notice also the irresponsibility of the home-owner they talk to:
He cannot afford his mortgage payment, which jumped to $1,300 a month from about $1,000 after his loan reset to a higher interest rate last summer. A divorce and the loss of his county government clerical job, which paid $14.80 an hour, have also hurt.
In 2004, Mr. Shields took out a popular hybrid mortgage that carried a fixed interest rate for two years before becoming an adjustable-rate loan for the remaining 28 years. In August, his loan’s interest rate rose from 6.6 percent to 8.1 percent, and to 9.6 percent now. “I love the house,” said Mr. Shields, 47, who now works in a custodial job with the Chicago school district that pays $10.40 an hour. “I put a lot of money in the house — a deck and a new garage — and they are just going to take the house.”
Bought a house too big for his income; got a divorce; invested money he didn’t have in improving the house; lost his job. How is this the fault of an “over-extended loan market”?
And I would point out that these two-year adjustable rate mortgages are designed to allow someone with bad credit to get their, um, financial house in order and refinance. Most people who buy the 1 or 2 year ARM’s do precisely this. But we have to hear about the ones who don’t.
But what got me was the NYT just can’t, just can’t write this article without getting into some good old liberal wealth hatred:
The mortgage interest deduction, the biggest single subsidy to homeowners, will cost the federal budget about $80 billion this year, according to the administration’s projections. Deductions for state and local property taxes will cost $15.5 billion. Allowing homeowners to pocket tax-free much of the profit from selling their homes is expected to cost $37 billion more. Altogether, this amounts to almost 5 percent of the federal government’s total tax revenue, and almost three times HUD’s entire $42 billion budget. Now even some in Washington are questioning the soundness of pushing homeownership so broadly.
I can’t even begin with the stupidity here. Deductions do not cost the government shit — they return money to the owner. It’s only right to deduct property taxes (which are smaller than pork spending) as we shouldn’t be taxed twice — we deduct income taxes, don’t we? And deducting the profit from selling a home (only after two years of residency, BTW)? Well, how else do you expect people in a mobile society to not get jobbed when they sell? If I have to sell my home in the near future because Sue and I change jobs, a full tax plus agent commission would wipe out any profits. I might even lose money on the deal.
But the NYT apparently believes only irresponsible people should get tax breaks.
And the government’s efforts to promote homeownership are far from an unqualified success. From 2000 to 2005, homeownership rates increased significantly only among households in the top two-fifths of the income distribution, those earning more than $46,883, according to the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey.
Gee, it’s almost like the responsible choices that give you wealth also make you buy a house.
Homeownership declined for families in the bottom two-fifths of the income scale. In the lowest fifth — where families make less than $20,180 — homeownership was only 42.4 percent in 2005, which was 3 percentage points less than it was 25 years earlier and 26 percentage points below the national average.
Whoa! Irresponsible choices can both make you poor and prevent you from owning a home? Say it ain’t so! And, of course, this has nothing to do with excessive property taxes, the disaster or urban renewal, property forfeiture, imminent domain abuses or Chapter 8 subsidies.
No, nothing at all.
I actually do agree with one point here. It’s not the government’s business to encourage people to buy homes. And we are seeing the Law of Unintended Consequences rear its ugly head once more. George Bush has been a big driver behind this ownership society business because he is, at heart, a leftist who believes government can make people better.
And I would glady trade in my home mortgage interest and tax deductions for a Fair Tax. But I don’t think that’s what the NYT intends.
I’m just curious. Now that Valerie Plame has testified that she was indeed a covert agent; that the Vanity Fair “spread” (one picture) was after she’d been outed; that she was NOC and could have been arrested had she been overseas at the time; that her former contacts were endangered by the revelation; that her neighbors “knew she was a CIA agent” only *after* Novak’s article … will the Bush defenders, especially Boortz, stop saying she wasn’t really a covert agent?
Don’t bet on it.
Happy Goddard Day. I love this:
As for the press — especially The New York Times, which had been very hard on Goddard and openly mocked his belief of reaching the moon in a 1920 editorial — it eventually came around. On July 17, 1969, the day after Apollo 11 left for the moon, the Times got around to running this belated retraction:
“Further investigation and experimentation have confirmed the findings of Isaac Newton in the 17th century and it is now definitely established that a rocket can function in a vacuum as well as in an atmosphere. The Times regrets the error.”
Based on this, I think we can expect the Times to acknowledge that Reagan’s tax cuts were a good thing, oh, about 2031.
God, I hate to defend Rosie O’Donnell. An easy way to find my stance on an issue is the opposite of whatever she’s saying. But the Right’s best source of yellow journalism has this article..
O’Donnell echoed the sentiments of Palestinian terrorist Abu Jihad, who told WND today, “I am sure the Americans tortured Mohammad and forced him to say these untrue things. Isn’t it strange it took three years since his arrest for the supposed confession?”
I like the comparison. Now O’Donnell is a terrorist. But let me ask you something. Would what O’Donnell and Jihad are saying have any credibility, any at all, if we had not water-boarded KSM?
Those are the real fruits of torture. The loss of credibility.
I want you to imagine the following scenario. KSM is captured and taken to Gitmo. The facility has been regularly inspected by the Red Cross. Gitmo detainees are presented with charges within six months of their arrival and allowed access to lawyers. They are brought to trial within a year. At KSM’s trial, he confesses to 9/11 and other acts of terror. Would anyone doubt this? Would there be any question? Would Abu Jihad or Rosie or anyone have anything credible to say against it? No. No. And nothing credible, at least. It would be seen as a triumph of American justice.
That’s what we’ve lost by water-boarding.
The US government would rather you die screaming in pain than smoke pot. Interesting note:
What becomes abundantly clear from Baum’s reporting: Everything, everything about the prohibition of marijuana is and has always been political. It basically boils down to Richard Nixon needing a wedge issue and a hammer with which to beat the dirty hippie anti-war protesters over the head. With just a bit of research, even hardened drug warriors in Nixon’s own administration in the late 1960s and early 1970s quickly realized marijuana was basically harmless.
From that, we have descended to a point where the government has determined it’s better that sick, crippled, suffering people (a) die, and (b) die in pain, than to give those dirty hippies the smallest of victories, even 35 years later.
I have another take on this. I think we are seeing the witch-trial mentality.
Huh? Bear with me.
The people who tortured, burnt, drowned and hanged witches in the last millenium always justified it by saying they were saving the witch’s soul. Yeah, they were going to die in pain and terror. But that was a small price to pay for the eternal salvation of having the demons driven from them.
(Whether they actually thought this, or just used it justify/rationalize a process that, not coincidentally, gave them the condemended witch’s property, is another issue.)
I see this in the drug warriors and the teetotalers — especially when it comes to denying Angel Reich marijuana or Richard Paey percocet. Yes, they will die in pain. But their souls will be saved because their minds won’t be cloud by those filthy drugs. Well, that and the pathological need to enforce the letter of the law beyond any boundaries of common sense.
I can’t find the link here, but when the founder of Alcoholics Anonymous was dying, he asked for a drink. He was denied. That is, a man who was quite understandably scared of what was happening to him was denied even a modicum of comfort. Because it would save his soul.
Hogwash. One of the most scared duties of a human being is to comfort the dying. It is something we will all need at some point. And if that comfort involves a drink, a pill or a joint, so be it.
Especially if that drink, pill or joint might keep them around for just a little bit longer.
Well the Right is overjoyed. Khalid Shaikh Mohammed is confessing to everything under the sun after his water-boarding. See, torture works!
When we tried and excuted the Nazis at Nurenberg, no one questioned our justice. Rent Judgement at Nuremberg sometime and see the great pains we took to be fair and just to the people who created the Holocaust. When the Israelis tried Eichmann, they gave him a fair trial. They didn’t torture him. And thus his conviction and execution had a legitimacy.
But if we now convict and execute KSM, no one in the world will believe our moral authority. This will look like a frame-up job no matter how guilty he is. And we will be seen as monsters, not arbiters of jsutice.
Had we just gone with case we had, we would have been bringing justice. Now we’re a lynch mob. Thanks, Attorney General.
And what would you think if this were done to an American citizen? Conservatives used to scorn the show trials and “confessions” that defined the Soviet legal system. Conservatives opposed the ICC because of valid concerns over civil liberties. Yet they now think it’s just fine to turn the wheel on someone else, just because he happens to be the scum of the Earth. Our justice system takes pride in how it treats the worst criminals; our nation takes pride in how it treats our enemies.
Or at least it used to. It used to have George Washington demanding humane treatment of savage Hessians. Or Lincoln treating Confederate soldiers humanely in the wake of Andersonville. Or MacArthur insisting on humane treatment while the Japanese butchered our men. Or fair justice for the Nazis who murdered tens of millions.
You have sold us out, George Bush, Rush Limbaugh and all you so-called conservatives. For the satisfaction of hearing KSM scream, you’ve sold out our honor, our sense of justice and our moral soul.
A great post over at Right-Thinking on KSM confessing to trying to kill everyone on Earth:
Everyone knows how I feel about torture. Inevitably there will be people on this blog who say, “See? This proves that torture works!” Allow me to head that argument off at the pass. It seems to me that what KSM is doing is talking himself up. He knows he’s caught, he knows he’s never going to see the light of day again. Why not show off to the Arab world his hot martyr status? Serial killers do this all the time, confess to crimes they didn’t commit just so their body count (and thus their notoriety) will go up. Henry Lee Lucas and Ted Bundy are just two examples off the top of my head.
Of course, Lee is invoking facts here and torturing people is about emotional satisfaction.
Reading the NYT’s article onCAIR, you would think that this is just an organization coming under fire from xenophobic Republicans. At no point do they mention prominent members advocating sharia law in this country or doctoring photos to put headscarves on women or exaggerating the number of Muslims in this country by a factor of three.
Oh, that liberal media!
Well, its seems NRO has gotten their talking points. The Bush Administration is going to throw Gonzalez under a bus.
Not that this is undeserved for the Little Legal Creep who found the argument to support torture and rendering. But this just shows . . . again! . . . that loyalty in the Bush Administration goes one way.
Cato, which was heavily involved in the suit, has the details.
Shelly Parker lived in a high-crime neighborhood in the heart of Washington. People on her block were harassed relentlessly by drug dealers and addicts. Parker called the police, time and again, then encouraged her neighbors to do the same. She organized block meetings to discuss the problem. For her audacity, Parker was labeled a troublemaker by the dealers, who threatened her at every opportunity.
One dealer tried to pry his way into her house, repeatedly cursing, then yelling, “I’ll kill you. I live on this block too!”
For obvious reasons, Shelly Parker would like to possess a functional handgun within her home for self-defense; but she feared arrest and prosecution because of the District’s unconstitutional gun ban.
You see, Shelly is not a good little minion, allowing herself to be raped and killed at will — which is what the gun-grabbers apparently want. Doesn’t she know that the appropriate response to crime is to let them do what they want and die content in the knowledge that the police — maybe — will put the in jail for a few years?! Sheesh. It’s like she thinks her life is worth something.
One thing I can’t stand is panic-mongering. I used to buy it, now I’m deeply skeptical of anyone who claims the world is ending.
Here are two BS artists called on their crap. First up, Sullivan debunking the “Eurabia” myth being pushed by the Right.
So did Steyn confuse “million” for “percent”? D’oh! Or is Steyn referring to another source? It is the premise of the entire book, after all
And here, in the same journal, is Easterbrook taking on the Global Warming hysterics. I agree with every word he says:
And to the extent that the media has been pushing doomsday on this, one of my worries is that the press corps has totally shot its credibility in a classic crying wolf exercise all through the ‘80s and ‘90s. The big deal press corps—The New York Times, everybody—has repeatedly demonstrated total incomprehension of the relative risks of environmental issues. We’ve heard an awful lot about arsenic in drinking water and electromagnetic emissions from power lines and things that even in the worst case analysis are really marginal threats and affect only very small numbers of people and only very slightly raise risks. Since the press corps—and the worst is The New York Times—constantly demonstrates that they have no sense of relative proportion in what are serious risks and what are minor risks, well, now they’re saying, “OK, now there’s proof of global warming.” They’re right, but Americans aren’t paying attention. They’ve cried wolf so many times when there was no wolf that now, when there is a wolf, no one believes them.
Read the whole thing. It’s brilliant.
Or does it seems like Congress is spending all their time investigating Bush and very little time, you know, legislating.
If this continues, it’s absolutely wonderful. Anything that keeps politicians slashing at each other instead of the tax-payer is good. Hopefully, the Democrats will continue to hound Bush for the next two years and never really get around to socializing the nation.
Hillary says she’s the new JFK. Um, no. People liked JFK. Even liberals don’t like Hillary. As I’ve argued in this space before, Obama is the new JFK. Low on experience, extremely high on charisma and, I suspect, somewhat more conservative than he pretends to be.