January 19, 2007

Something to Read

It's been a long and hectic week at work this week, thus I haven't had much time to catch up with what's going on. Yet, I did find two excellent pieces for your perusal.

Bonddad provides today's housing bust post. According to Bonddad, option ARMS are leading the way in foreclosures as the sub-prime market quickly shakes out over rising interest rates. Well, I'm not surprised because one stat I found was that the majority of people who were opting for option ARMS were paying the minimum on their mortgage (and going deeper into debt every month as they weren't even covering the interest payment on their loan). Many had chosen option ARMS so they could get into their "dream house." Now they are finding the new payments more than they can handle. It's definitely not a pretty picture for a whole bunch of people. Bonddad's succinct summary of why this is happening?

  1. Foreclosures are increasing, in part because
  2. Lenders relaxed standards,
  3. Misrepresented some products, and
  4. Did a poor job of explaining risks to potential buyers.

    You can get more bonddad economic analysis and commentary here.

    Then via Kevin Drum, comes an excellent piece from David Roberts, science writer for Grist writing about how the right uses the words of people who in an attempt to appear reasonable decry the dirty hippies (or in this case the environmental alarmists) to discredit and marginalize the message of the left (in this case the environmental advocates).

    This [Cathy Young's piece to marginalize the environmentalists] is a classic of the genre, lifted straight from template. Note carefully what's happening: The denialists have been discredited. Now, the right wing is eager to cast the debate as having two equivalent sides, "alarmists and deniers." That way they use the marginalization of denialists to marginalize advocates. It's really a clever piece of judo, one the right's become incredibly adept at using.

    It relies, of course, on everyone accepting that there are "two sides." That way, having given up the ghost of denialism, the right can now turn to advocating weak, industry-friendly policies and calling them the "sensible middle."

    It's bullshit. Once more for the cheap seats: there is no equivalence between denialists and global warming activists. None. Their motives are not the same. They do not have equal credibility or deserve equal respect. They are not "two sides" of anything. There are people within the reality-based community who disagree with one another over the proper way to communicate about climate change and the proper way to respond to it. But those internal disagreements are microscopic compared to the disagreement between denialists and reality.

    Roberts provides a brilliant example to show how the right wing uses the words of those who bash someone on their own side in order to appear moderate. What's more the pity, is that sometimes people who do this become our worst enemy. Just think of Joe Klein and his almost pathological hatred of the Democratic base while he postures himself as the ultimate of Democratic sensibility. Read Dave's lesson and weep.

    Atrios reminds us that when you get tired of reading, you can watch Stephen Colbert at the 2006 White House Correspondent's dinner again. This year's guest, Rich Little, will have a tough act to follow.

    Posted by Mary at January 19, 2007 12:55 AM | Recommended Reading | TrackBack(1) | Technorati links |

    Pay-option ARMs? I call them put-option ARMs.

    Posted by: W.C. Varones at January 19, 2007 06:50 AM