31 July 2008

Odd That We Think The Victims Are The Ones Who Put No Money Down

I put this comment up at Thought-Mesh, but thought that it was worth cross-posting here:
One of the interesting things about the subprime mortgage mess is that, in part due to underestimating the risk and in part due to federal subsidies, banks went on a lending spree giving mortgages to a bunch of people who couldn’t otherwise have bought a house. Now that some people can’t afford the houses they wouldn’t ordinarily have been able to buy, it’s a terrible tragedy. But unless we think that before the spree, lenders found every last person who would pay off their mortgage, there are clearly people today who own homes who otherwise wouldn’t. The banks, on the other hand, are staring into the abyss.

It’s an odd sort of capitalist scandal that allows the poor to buy houses and punishes the bankers.

17 July 2008

15 July 2008

One Man's Looter Is Another Man's Oriental Institute

Synchronicity strikes as OJ points us to this WSJ article on Iraq's non-looted archeological sites the same day as we saw this exhibit at the University of Chicago's Oriental Institute bemoaning the catastrophic looting of "Mesopotamian Archaeological Sites." The exhibit is tied to a book on the catastrophe that, perfectly, includes a forward by Robert Fisk.

The Oriental Institute, which boasts of its "major collection of antiquities from ancient Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Sudan, Syria, and Turkey" wants to be sure we know that looting is awful because, um, because ... when archeologists dig up rare antiquities and cart them off to Chicago, they take careful notes about where they found them.

The Worst Economy Ever (h/t Glenn Reynolds)

Not only are they selling Apples on street corners, but people are lining up around the block to buy them.

14 July 2008

Where I Am This Week

It's a beautiful day on Michigan Avenue.

12 July 2008


Two Canadian children have been taken from their home by social services because of their mother's political beliefs. After the mother twice sent her 7 year old daughter to school with a swastika drawn on her arm, the school called social services. At the home, social workers found neo-Nazi flags and symbols. My favorite passage from the story is this:
Although she proudly wears a silver necklace that includes a swastika and has "white pride" flags in her home, the mother, who can't be named to avoid identifying her children, denies she's a neo-Nazi or white supremacist.

"A black person has a right to say black power or black pride and yet they're turning around on us and saying we're racists and bigots and neo-Nazis because we say white pride. It's hypocrisy at its finest."
I suspect that they're calling her a neo-Nazi because of all the swastikas, but I could be wrong.

A couple of thoughts:

First, is there anything stupider than white pride?

Second, as with anything that happens in Canada, the Canadians seem most interested in showing how this proves that they are better than Americans. This quote from commenter westwitch is nicely representative:
For those of you who believe that we have American style Free Speech, think again.

The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Section 1 is the Limitations clause, which allows for us to put some boundaries on all other rights, when they may cause harm to others. For instance, we can not yell FIRE in a crowded auditorium, when there is no such threat.

This is one of the sections which makes our Charter so great.
Of course, we can't yell FIRE in a crowded theater either, unless we're showing our support for individual rights in education.

Third, this is not an easy question for Canadians but, as westwitch suggests, it is easy for Americans: an American government would not be able to do this (though it might try).

Fourth, Canadian neo-Nazis? Really?