Tag: Responsibility

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Perpetual Prosperity Psychology and the Housing Bubble

Something about the housing bubble narrative bugs me: Conspiracy. Evil bankers conspired to bilk Americans by financing home loans to people who could never pay, to then repackage bad mortgages as good investment products. While I lauded Matt Taibbi news analyses in 2010 and 2013 for exposing financial institution malfeasance, the blame game always seemed to ignore one other party’s culpability: Borrowers.

New research paper “Changes in Buyer Composition and the Expansion of Credit During the Boom” is a fascinating post-bubble autopsy. Its conclusions, if they survive the test, rewrite the bubble narrative, which revision makes more sense to me. 

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Our Cat Cali gets Fixed

This morning, my wife and I took our daughter’s Tortoiseshell kitty Cali to San Diego Humane Society, where she will have her operation today. I don’t feel good about taking away the cat’s motherhood, or changing her personality in the process. But I feel obliged by circumstance.

Cali came to live with us in October 2014, after one of my daughter’s four housemates insist the cat go. She and we endured two heat cycles in the last month, while we waited for our appointment date. This morning in Cali’s absence, Neko is unsettled. As am I. She comes home late-day.

Yesterday I posted a poll asking: “Is your cat fixed?” The results and comments are worth calling out. 

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Who Should Get This Found Money?

Two days before Christmas, I sat in the local coffee shop waiting to meet someone who was late. Way late. Bored, I switched between cleaning crap mail out of my iPhone 6 inbox and watching patrons. Looking up from a text message, I spotted something green under a chair about 5 meters away. I walked over and picked up unexpected cash, and an amount someone surely would miss. What to do with it?

Found money is a blessing if you need it, but a curse to the loser. This particular WiFi-equipped barista bar, LeStat’s on Park, is popular with college students. I imagined some impoverished, scholarshiper losing the last of his or her Christmas cash, and I wanted to return it. But how? To whom? You can help answer the latter question, either here or on one of the social networks where I will link. This post is plea for advice. 

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News Culture of Fear

Over on Google+ today, Chris Sewell posted as an image of a tweet from New York Times columnist Nick Bilton. Nine days ago I wrote about fear, not contagion, being the real threat Ebola poses. Nick’s point is scary itself. Happy Halloween to you, too.

For the supposedly freest country in the world, fear enslaves America, and the news media helps forge the chains. How stupid is that? In the past 12 hours, I have seen two people in my neighborhood wearing full-face masks—the fleshy colored material used to wrap up an injured knee. The masks covered from below chin to eyes. That’s the culture of fear. 

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Use Drones to Fight Ebola

The world is at war. Ebola is the enemy. Not Islamic State. Not Russia, Israel, Palestine, the United States, or any other nation or peoples you would like to insert here. No country—pardon the word choice—is immune to Ebola. The disease doesn’t care about cultural, political, racial, or religious differences that divide people. The disease indiscriminately attacks everyone.

Ebola should unite us—a global community rallying against a common enemy. But the disease can, already does, divide us. Fear, not infection, is Ebola’s great weapon of mass destruction. In parts of West Africa, farmers abandon crops for fear of infection; yesterday, I heard a BBC radio report claiming as many as 40 percent of farms in some countries. Fear. Fear of infection will divide us unless we unite first. 

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It's Time to Fire Congress

Constitutionally, the American people have few options to immediately penalize their representatives in Congress who forced Federal shutdown and threaten the debt ceiling. Someone would want to. According to Gallup, Congress’ disapproval rating is 85 percent. An AP-GfK poll shows even greater dissatisfaction.

Public Policy Polling says that “Hemorrhoids, toenail fungus, dog poop, and cockroaches all might be a little bit gross, but they’re all more popular than Congress”. Sadly, however, Brett Logiurato, writing for Business Insider, is right. The low approval rating doesn’t matter. States elect individuals, whose ratings often are much higher, not the body electorate.

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Was MSNBC right to Suspend Keith Olbermann?

On Friday, Keith Olbermann essentially got the boot from MSNBC for making three undisclosed political contributions—or that’s how I interpret suspended without pay. The donations violated MSNBC policies designed to prevent any apparent (or even actual) conflict of interest. For someone who does cover politics (Hey, wasn’t that Keith headlining election-night coverage?), it’s not unreasonable that there be no apparent bias.

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Mama Knows Where to Get the Goods

What a simply smart idea—set up outside the grocery store and collect food donations for the needy. September 5, 2010, I spotted Mama’s Pantry in front of Ralph’s supermarket in San Diego, Calif.’s Hillcrest neighborhood. on. The concept of fundraising food shoppers is so mind-boggling sensible, it’s stunning more charities don’t go to the food source—the local market. 

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Journalists, Don’t Fall for Predicto’s Flack Attack about iPhone 4 Recall

This morning, I received a PR pitch from social networking survey service Predicto, which existence I had no prior knowledge. I’m simply aghast by the flagrant misuse of data and assertion that based on a Predicto survey, Apple will likely recall iPhone 4.

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Editors Shrewdly Handled Gizmodo-iPhone Drama Act II

The toughest challenge for any newsroom is being the story. How should editors report about the news when they’re it, particularly if there are legal matters? That’s exactly Gizmodo‘s situation, following a Friday night police raid of editor Jason Chen’s home. Gizmodo waited until Monday to post about the search and seizure of items from Jason’s home, which included four computers and two servers. Gizmodo has responded tactfully from editorial and legal perspectives.

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A Mashable Post Mortem

Yesterday, I raked Mashable’s Ben Parr for his assertion that Apple’s then yet unannounced mobile advertising platform posed a credible threat to Google. Now that Apple has announced iAd, and seeing how Ben’s rumor reporting was right about it coming, I circle back for a postmortem. Simply stated: I stand by my assertion that his sourcing was weak and that he didn’t support bold assertions that Apple’s still unreleased mobile ad platform is way ahead Google’s.