I am really turning into a yippie (young urban professional hippie). I am having a hard time deciding which I like more: the hazelnut apricot currant granola I just made, or the pecan cherry craisin granola I just made.
Hazelnut Apricot Currant Granola = dry: rolled oats, rolled wheat flakes, cashews, hazelnuts, almonds, sunflower seeds, a few pumpkin seeds, flax seed meal, wheat germ, brown sugar; + wet: veg oil, molasses, honey, and agave nectar; + fruit: sliced dried apricot, dried zante currants, and raisins.
Pecan Cherry Craisin Granola = dry: rolled oats, rolled wheat flakes, pecans, cashews, pumpkin seeds, some sunflower seeds, flax seed meal, wheat germ, brown sugar; + wet: veg oil, honey, molasses, and maple syrup; + fruit: dried cherries, dried cranberries, and golden raisins.
I just had a bowl of the hazelnut, and man is it good. The hazelnuts get all toasty and work great with the molasses. It’s a bit too strong for the apricots though. It probably calls for fruit with more bite, like a berry mix with blueberries. In hindsight, I think apricot would go well with a milder grain/nut blend (shelled pistachios?) and more of a straight honey glue. Hrm.
It comes down to this: Japanese language characters were too complicated for primitive home computers (for display, storage, and entry). As a result, the Japanese electronics market focused on highly-specified devices. Super-advanced mobile phones became the dominant form of computing, with music players and 3G internet access years before they appeared in the States. Obviously, PC computing power increased to overcome initial font/keyboard issues, but by then Japan had a culture of independence from the home computer, which is of course required for something like the iPod. Language and culture, not technology and science. Bingo.
Newsweek has a nice little article on the particulars of the housing crisis as they have affected Cleveland. It’s a pretty good take at peeling away the nasty layers of an onion so big it’s difficult to get one’s arm around it.
In this case, the story focuses on one guy, and it’s interesting to see the mayhem that a single asshole can cause when he’s willing to make a buck off the backs of his neighbors on his way to ruining their lives:
According to county records obtained by NEWSWEEK, Kellogg was the broker of record for the purchase of 71 houses in Slavic Village from 2003 to 2006—during the height of the subprime investment boom. All of them went into foreclosure within a year or two. […]
In transactions with what Mason’s office describes as artificially inflated home prices—courtesy of a friendly appraiser—the brokers would get up to 8 percent of the total in fees (the maximum allowed by law), and they often split much of the loan proceeds with the seller and other parties, perhaps anywhere from $10,000 to $50,000. (Kellogg’s appraiser on most deals, Bruce Hoover, was disciplined by the Ohio Department of Commerce on May 9 for failing to report, on another appraisal, that a home had been previously sold for much less; he did not respond to numerous phone calls asking for comment.) Some purchasers of record who are in foreclosure claim they were set up by Kellogg as “straw” buyers—neighborhood acquaintances who say he paid them a few thousand dollars to sign their names as the owner of record.
So what was the result of this madness?
An astonishing 80 percent to 85 percent of the Cleveland loans bought up by Wall Street from 2003 to 2007 went into foreclosure. Asked to assess the economic damage, Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson told NEWSWEEK: “You give me a number.” County Treasurer Jim Rokakis tries: “More people have left Cuyahoga than any other county in the U.S. with the exception of New Orleans. They had a hurricane; we had lenders.”
So that’s that. But what about the government response?
National and state regulators, meanwhile, paid almost no attention despite pleas for help from the local officials. It was way back in 2000 that Rokakis led a local delegation to the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, asking for help. After much pleading, the Fed scheduled a daylong conference in March 2001 titled “Predatory Lending in Housing.” “We asked them to step up and take action,” the county treasurer recalls in his office in downtown Cleveland. “But here’s what I learned about the Fed. They do wonderful lunches. But the Federal Reserve Bank is not there to protect us. It’s there to protect the banks.”
Well I guess all that they can do is pass some local legislation to deal with the problem, right?
So cities like Cleveland sought to take action themselves. In 2001 Mayor Jackson prodded the city council to pass an antipredatory lending act that would have “slowed the Mark Kelloggs down,” says Rokakis. But within a year the state, heavily lobbied by Ohio banks like National City, stepped in to void the local law, saying authority lay with the governor and legislature in Columbus. Then the U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency issued a pre-emption order saying the states did not have the authority to enforce laws against national banks. (OCC spokesman Robert Garsson counters that states are the ones that oversee “nonbanks” like Argent.) When the Feds and state officials tied the hands of the locals, Rokakis says, “it was clear this was the Wild West, and there’s no sheriff in town. If you’re a lender, there’s nobody who can stop you. The only difference is that in the old days, people robbed the banks. Now the banks were robbing the people.”
Oops. In closing: Thanks, brokers! Thanks, banks! Thanks, investment firms! Thanks, real estate investors! Thanks, global pool of money! Thanks, low interest rates! Thanks, government!
I can’t wait to see the impact of this on my ability to get a loan for my own house.
"When our friend Tommy Shaw slipped some of our rockin’ beans into the coffee machine on the Styx Tour bus, the band found their inner Coffee Fool. So much so, they wanted a special Styx brew to fuel them as they crisscross the USA on their long tours." (via Fresh Signals)
“Rule 7: No super powers. You must play a 100% normal cat. Your cat can’t summon some weird cloud god. If you request to make such a cat, you will be ignored. If you keep bugging us, you will be banned.”—Warrior Cats RPG Rules Wiki (via ctcircusfreak) WAWAWEEEWA!
Bruce, at his inauguration into the New Jersey Hall of Fame:
Rise up, my fellow New Jerseyans, for we are all members of a confused but noble race. We of the state that will never get any respect, we who bear the cruelness of the forever uncool. A chip on the shoulders of those with forever something to prove. And even with this wonderful hall of fame, we know that there’s another bad Jersey joke just around the corner.
But fear not, fear not! This is not our curse. It is our blessing. For this is what infused us with our fighting spirit, that we may salute the world forever with the fabulous Jersey state bird (raises middle finger). And that the fumes from our great northern industrial area, to the ocean breezes of Cape May, fill us with the raw hunger, the naked ambition and the desire not just to do our best, but to stick it in your face.
Theory of relativity, anybody? How about some electric light with your day? Or maybe a spin to the moon and back? That’s right. And that is why our fellow Americans in those other 49 states know that when the announcer says, ‘And now, in this corner, from New Jersey … ,’ they’d better keep their hands up and their heads down, ‘cause when that bell ings, we always come out swinging.
But on April 29, when Mr. Salerno, 35, presented his passport at Washington Dulles International Airport, a Customs and Border Protection agent refused to let him into the United States. And after hours of questioning, agents would not let him travel back to Rome, either; over his protests in fractured English, he said, they insisted that he had expressed a fear of returning to Italy and had asked for asylum.
Ms. Cooper, 23, who had promised to show her boyfriend another side of her country on this visit — meaning Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon — eventually learned that he had been sent in shackles to a rural Virginia jail. And there he remained for more than 10 days, locked up without charges or legal recourse while Ms. Cooper, her parents and their well-connected neighbors tried everything to get him out.
"Welcome to America. To show you what it is like to live here for an increasingly large segment of our population, we’re going to put you in jail. I hope you enjoy your stay, you piece of shit foreigner."
An amazing little animation done in black and white graffiti. Arm-monsters, crawling brains, diamonds, eight legged robots, pyramids, skulls, rampaging teeth, heads growing out of heads, eating other heads, megafeet, and other bizarro Bill Plympton style shenanigans cascade along the walls of Buenos Aires and Baden, Argentina, for a full six minutes.
Eighty-two percent of Americans now say the country’s seriously off on the wrong track, up 10 points in the last year to a point from its record high in polls since 1973. And 31 percent approve of Bush’s job performance overall, while 66 percent disapprove.
How this paragraph should read:
An amazingly miniscule eighty-two percent of Americans now say the country’s seriously off on the wrong track, up 10 points in the last year, but still leaving eighteen percent who think the precipice of doom is awesome.
This is only a point off its historic high in 1973, a year in which 168 American soldiers died in Vietnam, in contrast to the 171 that have died in Iraq during the first four and a half months of 2008. 1973 was also the year of a major oil crisis (OPEC’s embargo to allies of Israel during the Yom Kippur War) and a stagflation fueled recession due to major economic bungling by the White House. Considering President Bush has already done the war thing and the oil price spike thing, and is on the cusp of accomplishing recession, it would seem he has few options left if he is to reach historic title as the Best Worst President of All Space-Time.
President Bush still has much to learn from his forbears, for 1973 also saw the Vice President of the United States, Spiro T. Agnew, resign and subsequently plead no contest to tax evasion. Although Vice President Dick Cheney did take part in the treasonous outing of Valerie Plame in 2003, shot someone in the face in 2006, and had articles of impeachment introduced against him in 2007, Cheney’s sole act of historical proportions in 2008 was when he responded to a reporter’s mention that most Americans are opposed to the Iraq War with a sly “so?” But even after that act of despicable arrogance, his approval ratings continue to soar in the low double digits, and he remains quite a ways away from retirement.
Still, President Bush need not be deterred, for he must recall that in 1973, President Nixon had help from intrepid reporters Woodward and Bernstein, whose continuing articles on Watergate were “a cancer on the presidency.” The scandal led to the ominous resignations of Bob Haldeman, John Ehrlichman, Richard Kleindienst, and John Dean, whose sacrificial departures staved off Nixon’s resignation until he could obtain historically low approval ratings. It wasn’t until July 2007 that Nixon’s approval managed to drop down to 24%, allowing him to resign the following month with his head held high. President Bush has not had to come nearly so close to impeachment to win his numbers.
While President Bush holds the lowest job approval rating in history, in February 2008, with 19% in an American Research Group poll, the results of the ABC News/Washington Post poll suggest that these numbers may be exaggerated. The poll shows a staggering 31 percent approval rating, while only 66 percent of respondents disapprove. One would think Bush has done enough to sate the public’s thirst for disaster, but the numbers don’t lie: there is work left to be done.
President Bush has tried and almost, but not yet succeeded, at accomplishing the truly magnificent duet of worst all-time job approval rating and worst all-time right track/wrong track numbers. He has only a few remaining months to capture this elusive capstone to his legacy. With no Woodward and no Bernstein to beat the drums, it seems an impossible feat, but with nearly six months of steady change-agent campaigning by both Senators Obama and McCain, only a fool would bet against the Devil.
If Davenport were to build a permanent flood wall, I have read it would cost at least $60 million. … The 2008 flood made the top 10 floods of all time list, which goes back to at least 1868. Judging by that, we only have a flood like this or worse every 14 years or so. However, for the sake of this math I will say that we get a major flood every 3 years.
So we could spend $60,000,000 on a floodwall. Or we could spend $750,000 every three years to build a quick temporary levee and hose off some streets. $60M divided by every 3 years, divided by $750,000 would equal out to it taking 240 years for to “break even” on a floodwall. Somehow I doubt that floodwalls even last 240 years, especially without some annual maintenance. Spending money on maintaining a flood wall just means that it would take even longer to break even. If you change the numbers to a more realistic every-5-years major flood, and $65 million dollar floodwall, it would take 433 years to “pay off” the wall.
This is one situation where I’m definitely an againster. I’m against an expensive floodwall that pushes that water onto someone else, and I’m against spending 240 years worth of flood-fighting money to do it.
"Me thinks me have serious problem. Me thinks me addicted. But since when it acceptable to call addict monster? It affliction. It disease. It burden. But does it make me monster?
How can they be so callous? Me know there something wrong with me, but who in Sesame Street doesn’t suffer from mental disease or psychological disorder? They don’t call the vampire with math fetish monster, and me pretty sure he undead and drinks blood. No one calls Grover monster, despite frequent delusional episodes and obsessive-compulsive tendencies. And the obnoxious red Grover—oh, what his name?—Elmo! Yes, Elmo live all day in imaginary world and no one call him monster. No, they think he cute. And Big Bird! Don’t get me started on Big Bird! He unnaturally gigantic talking canary! How is that not monster? Snuffleupagus not supposed to exist—woolly mammoths extinct. His very existence monstrous. Me least like monster. Me maybe have unhealthy obsession, but me no monster.”