Friday, May 29, 2009

Foreclosures moving on up

The mortgage meltdown has been painted by some as a meltdown of the subprime mortgage market. That's starting to change, as the number of foreclosures on prime mortgages to people with good credit records is starting to climb. 6% either in default or in foreclosure, in California it's 7.5% in default and 3.5% in foreclosure. Those numbers are disturbingly high, considering. And for the first time prime fixed-rate mortgages are a larger percentage of new foreclosures than sub-prime or adjustable-rate mortgages.

The bottom ain't here yet, folks.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


You can choose your friends. You can even choose your enemies, to some extent. But family... you can't even return the remains to get your deposit back. Some of them back in PA are being supreme asshats. They've known since January that Mom's having everything that's left at the farm auctioned off, and that they'll have to get their stuff moved. The auctioneer's tired of not being able to tell what he can put in the auction and what belongs to someone. But have they done anything? No, not a thing. It took Mom finally having to write a letter saying "You have 1 week to get your stuff off the property. Anything left after that will be taken and sold." to get them to finally clear things out. 4 months, and they're complaining about having gotten no warning.

Not that that's new. Case in point was some relatives down in Mill Hall ages ago. The whole bunch of them worked at the same paper mill. Mill isn't doing well, and finally tells everyone "We can't stay in business. We figure we can keep running for 9 more months, so come March of next year we'll be closing the doors.". Come January they told everyone "We've managed to stretch it a bit, we can keep you on until June but that's the final date.". And come June, those relatives to the last one were complaining about how the lay-offs were so sudden and they'd never expected anything like this to happen, and there's no jobs to be had now 'cause everybody else from the mill already took them. And they aren't unusual for back there, everybody has that kind of attitude.

You can see why I don't care to ever move back there.

Monday, May 18, 2009

David vs. Goliath

When and why David can win. None of this is news to me. I've always held that you never, ever fight your opponent's fight on his turf by his rules if you have any alternative available. Never attack his strengths if you can attack his weaknesses. Redneck said it: "Take a stick to a fistfight. Take a knife to a stick fight. Take a gun to a knife fight. Stay out of a gunfight.". Old Shin'a'in proverb: "If you find yourself in a fair fight, you've obviously screwed up your planning. Learn from this, and avoid making that mistake again.". All of them are making the same point. And it's a good one to keep in mind. Your opponent isn't going to just hand you any advantage, why should you hand him one?

Friday, May 15, 2009


Attendance at Padres games is down. I can't understand why. The economy's in such sterling shape and people have so much excess money to burn. The Padres have such a great record, they've managed to win 4 of their last 23 games. And the beer at the games is such an incredible steal at $5 a bottle for Coors and it's ilk. If people don't start coming to their senses, how are the Padres going to pay off their Shiny! New! Stadium?


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Stupid mob

We got stuck last night in an instance in EQ2. The mob there should be a push-over if you handle him right. But last night he was just not behaving. Normally he gives an emote and then casts his spell, and you have to interrupt/stun him when you see the emote to keep his spell from going off. This time he was casting, then giving the emote. With no cue, it's impossible to keep him from frying the group and healing himself. And he was memwiping all over the place, no way the tank could keep him under control. I think the devs did something with him, personally.

By the time we called it, I was getting seriously into J's attitude: "Right. His health or my armor, one of them's hitting 0% before this is over."

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Maine allows same-sex marriages

Maine passes a law allowing same-sex marriages. This is why the Religious Right is in such a panic, such a rush to get bans enacted: if they don't shut the door now, they'll never be able to. I find it amusing that they're so willing to trample the freedom of religion of anybody who doesn't agree with them on the issue, but are so touchy about anybody else trampling on theirs. Guys, clue: it is not an infringement on your religion for other people not to act according to your beliefs. It's only an infringement when they impede your acting according to your beliefs. Your churches are still free to not perform marriage ceremonies for gays. But the government isn't your church.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Court reforms

I'd like three reforms in the court system:

1. An acknowledgement of the inequality of the two sides financially. The plaintiff always has control over when they file suit, what allegations they make, and who they pull in. The defendant has no control over who sues them, when they're sued, or what they're sued for. The awarding of costs and fees should reflect this. If the defendant in a case prevails, all fees and and costs incurred should be awarded to them unless the plaintiff can show exceptional circumstances that weigh against such an award. If the plaintiff prevails, court fees should normally be awarded but costs should not be awarded unless plaintiff can show that defendant had no reasonable basis for holding out. IOW if you sue someone you bear your own costs unless you can show defendant was solidly in the wrong and knew it, and if you're sued and win you normally won't be out-of-pocket anything.

2. A "put up or shut up" deadline. Once discovery's over, the judge asks one question of both sides: "Are you prepared to go to trial?". The only acceptable answers are "Yes." and "No.". No equivocation, either you are or you aren't. If you answer "Yes.", then that's it. You will be appearing in court. After this point settlement isn't allowed, the only options are a ruling on the merits by the judge or a jury, or a dismissal of the case with prejudice. But be careful, because if you answer "No." then the judge will end the matter right then and there. He can dismiss the case with prejudice or, if one party's ready and the other isn't, he can rule in favor of the party that answered "Yes.".

3. Once a lawsuit's filed, the first thing the plaintiff has to do is go before the judge and present evidence supporting their case. They don't have to have enough to win, but they do have to have enough to convince a judge that they've got at least the beginnings of a case. If you can't even do that much, the judge can dismiss your case on the spot. Defendant only has to answer your allegations once you've convinced a judge you have actual evidence to back them up.

All three are intended to make it harder for parties to use the courts as a bludgeon to coerce other parties into giving in upon pain of the massive expense of actually defending yourself in court.


"So, what's new?"
"New item, roast chav-on-a-stick."
"... eeew. Who'd be crazy enough to want that?"
"Dunno, but the bunch stuck in the town green do wonders getting the message across."