Jun. 4th, 2008

acroyear: (weirdos...)
Whether it's McCain, Obama, or, Hillary (Barr doesn't stand a chance) this will be the first time that a President will be elected from a standing U.S. Senator since JFK.  Every Senator candidate since him has lost to either a governor or to a vice president, or never made it past the primaries.

1964: Barry Goldwater
1968: Ed Muskee lost in the primaries to become Humphrey's running mate...and lost there, too.
1972: George McGovern
1976: Henry Scoop Jackson and Frank Church lost in the Democratic Primary; James Buckley lost in the Republican
1980: Ted Kennedy mounted a failed campaign to take the nomination from Carter
1984: 4 Standing senators, plus McGovern, all lost to Mondale in the Primaries
1988: Lloyd Benson lost in the Primaries to Dukakis
1992: 2 Senators and 2 former senators all lost to Clinton in the Primaries; several others chose not to run thinking that year's race unwinnable.  Shows what they know...
1996: Bob Dole (who lost in the primaries every election since '76, save '84 when he didn't bother fighting Reagan)
2000: Bill Bradley failed to secure the Democratic nomination; we all know what happened to McCain then
2004: John Kerry
acroyear: (bad day coyote)
keep a weather eye, indeed...
acroyear: (surprising)
I can't even see the parking garage 7 stories below me out my window.

the rain hit from nothing to impossible in 30 seconds.
acroyear: (pirate)
30 seconds after that last post.

only just got my system back online.

to find out of the fun even further north.

but yeah, this sucker is MOVING.  the front wave is going 60 miles an hour.

dayum.
acroyear: (bad day coyote)
TORNADO WARNING IN EFFECT UNTIL 4:00 PM ON WEDNESDAY
IN MARYLAND: ANNE ARUNDEL, CALVERT, CARROLL, CHARLES, FREDERICK, HOWARD, MONTGOMERY, PRINCE GEORGES, ST. MARYS
On super-doppler now, the entirety of Prince George's county is yellow or worse. ALL of it. not a single spec of green.

dayum.

the size and water of Baltimore is controlling the northern wing, which is now much less red than it was as it hits the city.
acroyear: (makes sense)
Respectful Insolence: "Green Our Vaccines": Serendipity and schadenfreude as antivaccinationists go to war:
Re: "Green Vaccines"

One of the things that the "Greens" are in favor of is biological diversity and protecting endangered species. This dovetails nicely with the "Green Vaccine" movement, since it is clear to me that they (the "Vaccine Greens") are simply trying to prevent the loss of valuable biological diversity.

Not too long ago, in 1977, one viral species (Variola or "smallpox") was made nearly extinct. It now no longer exists in its natural habitat, being reduced to a few specimens kept in captivity. This near-extinction was due solely to human activity, in the form of vaccines.

More recently, another virus (poliovirus) was brought to the brink of extinction before it was saved by the valiant efforts of a combined team of anti-vaccinationists and religious wack-jobs. Now, it is thriving again in Nigeria, Namibia and Yemen and is expected to make a complete recovery.

The virus that causes measles was never listed as endangered, although it had largely disappeared from its habitat in the US, UK and Europe, suggesting that governments in those regions were actively conspiring to bring about its extinction. Fortunately, by the tireless efforts of anti-vaccinationists and shameless medical opportunists, it has been re-introduced into large areas of its former range and is expected to thrive there.

So you see, the "Vaccine Greens" are just doing their part to prevent human-caused species loss and to maintain global biodiversity.

-- Prometheus
acroyear: (fof earplug)
Good Math, Bad Math : Mortgage Basics (part 2): The System is Broken.:
The way that [the mortgage system] works is:

1. Someone who wants to buy a home goes to a mortgage broker, and fills out an application.
2. The mortgage broker takes the application, and brings it to a lender. The mortgage broker is generally paid a commission by the lender for bringing them the potential loan.
3. The lender gets applications, and decides whether or not to give the loan. Once the loan is given, they sell the loans. They make money by selling the loans.
4. Investors don't buy loans directly. So there's another intermediate - an agent who buys mortgages, bundles them together into groups, and then sells bonds based slices of collections of mortgages. The mortgage bond agent makes money by selling mortgage bonds.
5. To supposedly manage risk, people like to buy bonds based on the best loans. That leaves a lot of leftover. Investors buy up bonds based on the best parts of the mortgage clumps. The remainder are sold to another kind of agent, who takes the leftover parts of the mortgage clumps, and combines those into a meta-bond, called a collateralized debt obligation. Those CDOs are then sold to investors. There's an elaborate system by which potentially risky mortgages are repacked into supposedly high-quality investments. I spent some time describing that system here.

There's a big problem with the structure of this system. Each intermediate participant in the system makes money by selling the loans to someone else - so they make money not by earning interest on loans as they're repaid, but by selling the loans before any payments are even received. So none of them are personally at risk if the underlying loans can't be repaid.


Worse, each intermediate in the system can plausibly claim that they are responsible for checking the information used to decide whether to approve the loan or not. The mortgage agent just fills out paperwork; he's just a facilitator. He's not really involved in the loan; even if he checked the information on the application, the lender should recheck it anyway, so why should he do it? The lender argues that they don't get to see the borrower, just the information that the mortgage broker gave them; he's their agent, he should have made sure that they got correct information. The investment agent that bundles loans into bonds argues that the lender was responsible for assessing the risk of the loans, and was supposed to give them valid, checked information. Each participant knows what a farce this is; each one knows that the other parties aren't doing the checking that they should. But each one is making money, hand over fist, by not checking things, and they've got a plausible excuse for denying their own responsibility.
emphasis mine

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