Friday, October 15, 2010

Random Catch-Up Post

Still not much happening here in Florida. Debbie has had a couple crazy-busy days at work, which is great. My days are still filled with rejection when I'm not simply being completely ignored.

For a change of pace, we'll start with good news. The world celebrates the rescue of the Chilean miners. The rescue was an amazing feat of engineering. For the men and their families, this is far from over, but they are out of the ground. And another technological marvel hits a milestone: The Opportunity rover is closing in on 15 miles total driving. That doesn't sound like a big deal, but given the original expectations, it's as close to miraculous as we're likely to see. Still not a peep out of Spirit; I'm guessing it froze to death over the winter. There were just too many strikes against the poor little guy.

In less happy news, at least two states (Illinois and New York) are doing their best to screw out-of-country military personnel out of the vote. Just how stupid to you have to be to piss off heavily-armed men with your gross incompetence? The mental and moral bankruptcy is truly astounding.

School gives out "free" laptops to students. School uses installed software to spy on kids in their bedrooms using the laptops' web cam. School gets busted and ends up paying out $600,000 of taxpayer money. No school employees are found guilty of any wrong-doing. Because, ya know, they meant well and weren't really perverts who got a kick out of watching teenagers undressing in their bedrooms and that one kid definitely looked like he was doing drugs when he was really eating Mike & Ikes and we really can't figure out what everyone is getting so worked up over.

In anticipation of Ben "Helicopter Drop" Bernanke rev-ing the printing presses back up to 110%, the dollar is crashing against pretty much every currency. This would be good news for US exporters if the US actually made anything the rest of the world wanted. It is also widely believed that the Fed action will have little or no impact on employment, but given how miserable the average economist is at fortune-telling, it may, in fact, work. Or not. Being a pessimist can be a lot of work figuring whether two pessimisms cancel each other out or become a pessimism2.

Speaking of pessimism, here is one view of the next 30 years. Personally, I think the guy is too optimistic; generalized increases in the cost of energy will play havoc with the high-tech future we all have come to feel entitled to.

Speaking of entitlement, French students are trying to shut down the country because the government has proposed to increase the retirement age from 60 to 62. Personally, I hope the students get what they want; one less country we have to worry about. If the French want to become part of the PIIGS economic disaster, I won't stand in their way. Remember the Third Chinese Curse: May you find all that you seek.

So what in hell would cause someone who is, at least chronologically, an adult to harass a dying seven-year-old child by putting their face on a skull-and-crossbones and parking a coffin in front of the family home? Mental illness? [Update: Mental illness is looking more likely.] Well, not exactly:

A member of Kathleen's family says the bad blood started about two-years ago after the two families had a falling out over a birthday party at the Rose house.  At the party, kids were using a "bounce-house" and playing games in the front yard.  The source says that Jennifer Petkov texted someone in the Rose family, asking if her kids could come to the event.  A response to the text did not come quickly enough and it angered Jennifer.  According to the Rose family, she's been harassing them ever since. 

Wow. Because diss-ing you is the only possible explanation why someone hosting a giant kid party at their home doesn't drop everything and respond instantly to your text message. It's very simple: Your desire to speak to me does not constitute an obligation on my time. Right now, one of the people in my tax class is flunking out because he spends the entire three hours texting people. When the instructor told him point blank to put his phone away, his response was, "Tell people to stop texting me!" Are you serious? Do you and your homies belong to the International Federation of Superheroes? Shut the damn thing off!! Texting someone does not obligate them to respond at all, much less instantly. Calling someone on their cell phone does not obligate them to answer. NOTHING YOU HAVE TO SAY IS THAT IMPORTANT! Get over yourself.

One of the big news items from the last week or so is that banks have basically thrown in the towel on foreclosures. Not out of any altruism, but because modern wonders like Ditech botched the paperwork so badly that no one is sure who owns what:

Did nobody, for instance at Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, review any of the paperwork fluttering in from places like Countrywide or Ditech and scores of other boiler rooms where mortgages were hatched like Peking ducklings?  There was an awful lot of it, I'm sure, but aren't there a lot of seat-warmers at Fannie and Freddie who collect their salaries for the express purpose of reading mortgage documents? Was nobody the least bit suspicious about the mysterious flurry of "restaurant employees" and "lawn-care technicians" buying million-dollar condominiums with no money down at terms that would make a three-card monte dealer weep with laughter?

Apparently not. And now anyone buying real estate could find themselves facing foreclosure even though they paid cash for their house.

Well, I need go practice doing taxes.

No comments: