Saturday, May 24, 2008

I'm on Facebook

I got a Facebook account now, so you can be my friend there as well as on Myspace.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Plat du jour

So where are the A Mini and the B Mini?
(Could this have been a car from The Italian Job remake?)

Fossella reads the handwriting on the wall

Fossella Will Not Seek Re-election
Rep. Vito Fossella (R-NY) has finally awakened to reality and decided not to run for re-election. His being arrested for drunk driving may be forgiven by his relatively conservative constituents, but not his having a child with a longtime DC-area girlfriend--while his wife and other children were living back here in NY.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Bush is an idiot (which is nothing new, of course)

Bush says he won't back bill that bails out lenders
Bush only wants to help "creditworthy people stay in their homes," not speculators or lenders. He seems to have overlooked the fact that the subprime borrowers who are now unable to pay their mortgages weren't really creditworthy in the first place. That's why they needed subprime loans.

The underlying cause of this whole mess was the ridiculous notion that it didn't matter how many subprime borrowers actually paid back their loans because ever-rising home prices would protect the lenders. The only people who didn't believe this idiocy were the people who were the real lenders, the buyers of the mortgage-backed securities that were created by bundling up the subprime loans. So the various banks and brokerages guaranteed the securities, in exchange for some (all?) of the extra interest the subprime borrowers were charged for not being creditworthy.

(Then most of these banks and brokerages made this risk magically disappear off their books. Through some accounting legerdemain it was not carried as a liability, presumably because they thought there was no risk, as the ever-rising home prices would cover everything. When many of the subprime mortgages did go into default, and it turned out the homes were no longer worth what was borrowed on them (if they ever were), the banks and brokerages had to write off billions to cover the payments owed to the mortgage-backed security owners. But that's a whole different problem.)

What we now have is a bunch of people in homes they couldn't really afford when they they bought them, and mostly still can't afford now, even at their current, reduced value. The creditworthy people in trouble now are primarily people who had regular mortgages, but have lost their jobs in Bush's recession. It's fine to help these people, I suppose, but no one should be under the illusion that this is going to help very many of the lower-income people who took out the subprime mortgages. And paying for it with money from a fund designed to help poor people get homes just transfers the taxpayers' money to the middle class.

There's an awful lot of blame to go around here. Practically everyone involved in the subprime mortgage fiasco (except the securities buyers) was stupid and/or ignorant, if not an outright crook. If the government wants to reverse some of the damage that was done, it's going to end up helping some blame-worthy people, and Bush should wake up to this fact.

Plat du jour

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Semi-random thoughts

● One of the nice things about listening to WQXR over the internet is that I don't have to listen to most of the commercials. Even the ones that aren't obnoxious in the first place get pretty boring by the 50th hearing. There is a downside--they play these little snippets of music or promotions that are also repetitive, and the engineers occasionally forget to flip the switch at the end, leaving the internet listeners with dead air (is that a proper term for an internet transmission?).

● Sometime last week my glob had its 30,000th visitor. Thanks.

● GENDA (the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act for NY State) is on the agenda of the State Assembly Codes Committee's Tuesday meeting. This is further than it got last year, so I'm a bit hopeful.

● I'm wondering if the Connecticut Supreme Court will shortly make that state the third to have marriage equality for same-sex couples. The speculation has been that they have delayed announcing their decision until California's court ruled because they didn't want to be the second.

● Vista is still rather slow, but at least it's working now. Since the last update or two that Microsoft has sent down Explorer has rarely crashed, and the keyboard and mouse haven't locked up once.

● That jerk Vito Fossella has resisted all calls (even from his own party leaders) to resign. He apparently wants to run for re-election. More good news for the Democrats.