Thursday, October 29, 2009

Homebuyer Credit Should End

I know I took advantage of it. It was really conincidental that I was looking to buy my first place when the credit became available. I priced it into the house (and hope that the homeowners did not, but I really can't know if my realtor told theirs that I was a first time buyer; I hope not), and since I didn't think that home prices had fallen enough, it was helpful.

That said, the program is really (like the tax breaks for mortgage interes) a payout to people sufficiently well off to buy/own a house and that don't really need it. Moreover, it becomes counterproductive if it applies to everyone rather than just first time buyers as it looks like it will.

Tax credits/breaks for homeowners artificially raise the price of housing (much like low interest rates). This is not so much a problem if it only applies to a small subset of potential buyers (like first timers or people in the bottom one or two tax brackets or--and I know this would piss a lot of folks off--minorities). When it applies to all homeowners, however, every sale price gets to be bumped by some amount--in this case the whole price of the credit.

Encouraging home ownership is not really bad, but I don't think it much needs encouragement either, and if all the tax code is really doing is encouraging higher home prices, it should be abandoned. I don't want my house to go down in value but it won't bother me much if it does. Prices are currently (still) too high.

Plus sized?

I realize that the world of modeling is severely fucked up, but it still drives me nuts that normal (if that) women are "plus-sized" and "normal" models are thin enough to be almost invisible save for their heads when viewed from the side.

Dumb thing on CNN talking about "women of all sizes" being gorgeous, but they are really talking about normal women ("plus-sized" models). So 1. plus sized modes are not the equivalent of "women of all sizes" and 2. you have got to be fucking kidding me that some meaningful fraction of the people in this country are going to look at a plus sized model and--because of the small amount of excess body fat that is not noticeable at all when clothed other than giving them nicer curves--say or think "Damn, she's ugly!" Seriously? They are normal sized women and they are fucking models. Of course they are gorgeous.

This is news to the 0.000005% of the population that takes fashion and modeling seriously. For most (particularly heterosexual male) viewers it is just a chance to see some nearly naked lovely ladies on CNN, and for the rest it is a complete waste of time.

(Found the video online.)

Yes, I realize that body image issues have been common for women for some time and are becoming more common among men, but calling plus-sized models "women of all sizes" is problem, not solution.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Deficit Hawks are Morons

If the "fiscal responsibility" gurus of the US Senate and House were actually remotely concerned about the deficit and fiscal responsibility they would be screaming bloody murder about the war in Afghanistan and supporting a health care reform bill with the strongest no-profit option (e.g. public) possible.

Too bad we are ruled by people with a 3rd grade understanding of money and economics (and for that matter, war).

Monday, October 26, 2009

Obama's Major Failing

I've said before that unless the Obama administration rights the wrongs of the Bush administration regarding torture, and the often unlawful prosecution of the war on terror in general, I will not vote for him in 2012.

Glenn Greenwald discusses these things frequently and here is discussing more recent rebukes of the present administration from the New York Times and The Nation (two largely pro-Obama publications). Unlike the hate driven, sometimes racist, and more often than not false criticisms from the tea-bagging right, these are not imaginary accusations. They are based on the real actions that this administration has taken.

Modern (Western) civilization is dependent on the rule of law being absolute. No one person or group can be above the law. The law exists to protect society from each other, from ourselves (on occasion), and from government. If the president, whose job is to enforce the law, is not subject to it, then our society has failed. The threat of losing an election is not adequate punishment for permitting--through failure to prosecute--torture, but it's all I am capable of.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The People Who Need To

Will not be the ones who read and comprehend this. Jenny McCarthy, Robert Kennedy Jr., Glen Beck, and more: anti-scientific, illogical, child endangering fools all. The sad paradox is that hoping for this idiocy to end means hoping for many children to get sick and die, because that is the only thing that will stop it. And if the anti-vaccination crusade continues and grows sick and dying children is exactly what will happen. It's already started; it's just not yet enough.

Maybe if we pass a law that states that any parent whose child dies from a disease preventable by a vaccination they refused can be prosecuted for manslaughter. At least the risk of their gamble will be somewhat shared.

Conflicting Thoughts

On the one hand the attention paid to Prejean and her boobs is ridiculous and certainly does say something about our society in that a woman receives a greater platform and can have more influence on the public dialog by being a ditzy, artificially busty beauty pageant contestant than a woman who actually has informed views or expertise, or more than half a functional brain (those women tend to get attacked, unless they are pretty, in which case they are largely ignored while being stared at).

On the other hand "Princess Jesus Boobies" is hilarious.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

You Go Bob!

Bob Herbert's op ed in the Times is great. Until you realize that it is not going to be heeded in any meaningful way. The masters on Wall Street own our collective asses, and while many politicians are doing wonderful jobs complaining about their disgusting practices, it is a bare handful that actually have the will to do something. Both parties are owned by Wall Street and other moneyed interests (like, say, health insurance companies).

The sad fact is that unless we have publicly funded elections this will continue to be the norm--the people/groups that fund candidates have a weighted say in policy, i.e. the poor and middle class will always be screwed--but since publicly funded elections are a threat to entrenched political leaders they are not ever likely to exist.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Words that Fail the Heart

Two beats so close to seem as one
She stares, a question asked, a winsome look
He starts, then stops
Hesitancy ends the turn of phrase
Wondering at what's been lost
For fear of what could not be gained
Conversation renews but less
Fading now
The stuttering beat of his heart now one of loss
He wishes he had spoken
He fears for what would be
His heart beat catches in his throat
That refuses to pass the words it wants
Words he knows have failed him

"I love you"

The beating tries to choke out

There she goes

His friend.
His heart's pain.
It's revenge to come when he's once more alone.


friend lover confidant
those words the ghost he seeks
that one's diaphonous visage in his head
his mind melds so with hers
his heart he opens forth
his body she won't touch
he loves
he leaves
he cries
friend and confidant so true
lover not to be
he screams to the cold night

Monday, October 12, 2009


On the one hand Obama really hasn't done anything particularly Nobel Peace Prize worthy (detainees still in Gitmo, torturers running free in the US, still in Iraq, soon to be further into Afghanistan...8 yrs in, Israel still defends firing bazookas at those with slingshots, Hamas and many others in the Mid East still want Israel wiped off the map, and violence in this country seems to be up--fueled by the crazy Obama hatred).

On the other hand, you could pretty much hear the entire world release its collective breath when, on election night 2008, the angry warmonger candidate lost and the thoughtful, (somewhat) anti-war candidate won. With nations less concerned that a crazy US Commander in Chief will decide to randomly bomb them, there's a fair chance they will be more open to dialog. I'm not so sure that there would be any more war if McCain had won, but the world would be a whole lot more nervous.

Update: Matt Taibbi explains my thoughts on this way better than I ever could (what with it being his job, and him being good at it and all).