30 January 2008

Regarding the Mortgage Meltdown

What we all know - opportunistic lenders were overeager to lend to overeager borrowers because of the "you're throwing your money away on rent" LIE - and now the FBI is investigating...

What do you do when unwise people end up getting a raw deal from other unwise people, who get a raw deal from the first unwise people? It's interesting that most reports are willing to fault the lenders, which is valid... but there's plenty of fault to go the other way, too.

We've had our own little housing crunch in this area, but we had the fortune and foresight to get out of it to accommodate other priorities well before things hit the fan... because we knew what the terms were and when they would change.

26 January 2008

Priorities?

Heard on the nightly news: "Next, will race be a factor in this year's elections? But first, your lottery numbers..."

24 January 2008

Bigger Than Most "OOPS"es

So this lady thinks her company is replacing her behind her back... and deletes all their data (it was an architectural firm).

Except they weren't replacing her. (Well, until now, that is...)

Thankfully, they were able to recover the data.

23 January 2008

No ID, No Vote... No Problem.

So there's an MSNBC article about how hard it is to be a non-ID'd voter in Indiana. Waah. What sob stories do they trot out?
There's the poor, 32-year-old mother of seven who says it would cost her at least $50 to vote in person. There's also the 92-year-old woman who's voted for decades in the same polling place, but now can't vote there because she let her driver's license expire when her eyesight began to fail.
This is really ridiculous. Don't campaigns (or rather, parties) get vans out to "get out the vote?" I'd think the mother of seven - who obviously finds time to manage her house & get her kids to school & soccer practice but somehow can't find time to research what it would take to vote - would be able to manage to give the 92-year-old woman a ride to the nearest licensing office, BECAUSE:

Per Indiana's publicly available website:
Indiana residents of any age may obtain an identification card from any license branch in any county. To obtain a free identification card for voting purposes, you must visit a license branch with sufficient documentation and state that you need a free identification card for voting purposes.
Yes, that sounds completely inhumane...

(And yes, there's more to the two stories mentioned above, but it's still a slew of very fixable problems, if they care to fix them...)

Caveat Emptor

... or in this story, "Caveat Realtor."

(You know, I do NOT like the US grammatical punctuation-quotes rule...the British version makes a lot more sense to me...)

Anyway, though, the article claims that the case:
is likely to be the first of many in which regretful or resentful buyers seek redress from the agents who found them a home and arranged its purchase.
Please, North County Superior Court, dismiss this case! We don't need all the buyers in this likely-bursting market suing their realtors...

15 January 2008

Please be the end!

Here's to the end of hearing Mona Lisa theories!

Cheers!

Not Exactly a Gun Culture

Experts think that America's "gun culture" (???) is fading. Here's an excerpt:
[America's falling out of love with guns] runs counter to popular perceptions of the United States as a country where most citizens are armed to the teeth and believe it is every American's inalienable right to buy an AK 47-style assault rifle with the minimum of bureaucratic paperwork.
Let me correct them: "... with no bureaucratic paperwork, thankyouverymuch."

Idiots.

Whose "popular perception" is this, anyway? I mean, who's armed? Who thinks everyone should be? I know very few gun owners, and to the best of my knowledge, no one I know believes that it's everyone's "inalienable right to buy an AK 47-style assault rifle."

The perception I grew up with - not from my parents, who were silent on it, aside from being strongly anti-gun-in-the-house, but from public school, TV, and newspapers - was that gun owners (aside from gansters/-as) were freaks who delighted in murdering Bambi (and his Mommy), who thought violence was always the best solution, and who generally crouched in the back woods of some hilly southern State reading their Bible and arguing over who was more "saved." And let me re-state that they were the freaks - not the general population.

The perception I grew up with was most emphatically NOT "everyone is armed to the teeth and it's everyone's right to wield assault weapons while grocery shopping."

The perception I now have - which I assume to be more accurate, as it's based on a much broader and non-agenda-based experience - is that while most people DO NOT own a firearm, and many in fact recommend against it; most people also believe that responsible citizens should be able to keep and bear arms for their safety... or sport. (Although, eeeeewww...I wouldn't want to shoot any living thing unless my life depended on it!)

We could go on about what "safety" means and what the Founding Fathers were talking about, but that's for another time... this is just one striking example of how the media has twisted American culture and values.

11 January 2008

Couple of things today

First, since National Healthcare and expanded welfare programs are coming back into the light, here's a good read:
The US is at risk of losing its top-notch triple-A credit rating within a decade unless it takes radical action to curb soaring healthcare and social security spending, Moody's, the credit rating agency, said yesterday.
So let's go ahead and expand government-run health care - we don't need to participate in this "global economy" anyway, do we? After all, it's not like we import anything from, say, China... If we don't do something to curb government spending (which means getting non-governmental solutions to society's problems), we are going to spend ourselves into the 1930s. And if pro-tax politicians take over, we'll be there even faster, because we'll be taxing ourselves into the 1930s, as well.

And in the "shaking head in disbelief" category, here's the latest from Hillary:
In broken English, one woman told Clinton how she wasn't making money as a broker anymore.

"I have no income at all," she said. "So how will I survive?"

Choking up with emotion, the woman said, "In my neighborhood, there are brand-new homes, but the value is nothing. I'm glad you are here so I can tell you, because you're going to be the president, I know."

A man shouted through an opening in the wall that his wife was illegal.

"No woman is illegal," Clinton said, to cheers.
No woman is illegal?!?! Wow. I assume she's talking about their existence. If they're not legally allowed to be where they are, they are, in fact, breaking a law. That makes them, or more appropriately, their situation, illegal. Now, if we're going to be compassionate, let's talk about making it easier to get back in line and come here legally. You know, through paperwork. Not deserts and rape trees. That would be compassionate.

10 January 2008

See?

We don't have to destroy embryos to get stem cells. According to one researcher:
"The stem cells we generated were completely normal and differentiated into all the cell types of the body, including insulin-producing cells, blood cells and even beating heart cells."
You know the saying about a window opening when a door closes? I've seen it happen over and over again in public policy, and here's a GREAT example. Not to mention that I hope these are more successful than the embryo-destroying stem cells - those grow tumors of teeth and hair (eeeeewwww....). Adult stem cells are the ones that have been used successfully, and many times now! Plus, we keep finding them all over the body in places we hadn't thought to look before...

09 January 2008

I'm nominating these guys

...for DUMBEST LOW-LIFE OF THE WEEK.

Wheeling your dead roommate around town to cash his Social Security check...sheesh.

Pretty crazy stuff going on

First, tornadoes in January - yikes! Best wishes with the recovery efforts there... watch out for more with this crazy weather, though.

Then table-top ordering... that would be GREAT!!! Having worked as a waitress, I sure think it'd make life easier on that end - no worrying about "are they ready yet?" or "have I checked too often on their meal?" or "it's been a while...did I remember to put that order in?" or "they're already through their first drink?!?!" Granted, I wasn't the greatest waitress, but reducing (or transferring, in some cases) the human error potential in dining experiences would be an improvement on both ends of the transaction. I don't see it as a threat to positive human interaction, either - you'd still be greeted & seated, and probably have the system explained to you for the first while, too; and of course the server still delivers the food - we're not turning restaurants into vending machines quite yet.

Update 09.00: As I post this, I see that a 6.2 earthquake struck Canada around the Queen Charlotte Islands-Vancouver region... wow. More craaaaaa-zy stuff...

08 January 2008

It was about time!

I finally joined the NRA! It feels like Christmas all over again! :-)

07 January 2008

On the Topic of New Year's Resolutions

MSN Health has ten stationary gym machines you're better off avoiding in favor of more natural (but equally/more-effective) exercises.

Hmm... you mean exercise doesn't have to rip your joints apart? :-)

Having used them with trainers, I have to say that I don't miss the machines - the things that I learned with personal trainers, though, helped me recognize which muscles were working with which exercises, and how to isolate them. That helps me determine which home workouts are the most effective (at strength training).

My personal recommendation: TaeBo combined with Pilates or yoga of some (gentle) variety. You can do just about any exercise with free weights, an exercise ball, and a resistance band.

05 January 2008

Look what we can live on!

Flour and cooking fat - for three months, at least... now, these fishermen were probably in pretty decent shape and a bit used to the weather, but it gives me hope to know that our diets don't have to be elaborate to keep us alive! I figure Permafrost must make for ideal indoor storage conditions!

04 January 2008

What a night...

If you need any further evidence of the general disenfranchisement felt by the country, just look at the results of the Iowa caucuses from yesterday: an ├╝ber-liberal who promises "change" and is playing on liberals' discontent, and a liberal in faux-Republican fur who's playing on Evangelicals' discontent...

02 January 2008

It's been busy, and so have I

Lots of things going on - I haven't posted because a) I've been insanely busy, and b) I'm not quite sure what to say about them. (I'm sure that's a welcome break for some!) For example, Benazir Bhutto was assassinated. Bad. It's bad to murder people. And wow, Pakistan is having troubles since before and after that event...what else do you say?

Crazy caucuses in Iowa... okay. They've been a long, LONG time coming, and I'm betting that everything to be said has already been said. I know I've heard just about everything!

Anything else...not really big enough to stick out in my mind. Happy New Year! Let's see how much GOOD we can do with this one!!! :-)