December 29, 2007

Excerpt of the Day: On Borrowers’ Role in the Subprime Situation

Rob Asghar, a writer and editor based in Southern California, dished out unwanted but necessary medicine in a subscription-only Wall Street Journal op-ed on Thursday:

By and large, the lenders were no less irresponsible than the borrowers who aspired to live a bigger life than they could afford. But all of the strange creatures of subprime — the overpaid loan officers, bloated budgets, lavish Las Vegas “planning meetings” and the like — were nurtured by consumers who believed that incurring massive debt was the secret to becoming a rich landholder (or boat owner).

Regulation of the industry may address some problems — but not without creating the new ones that inevitably result from straitjacketing the free market. Besides, market forces were already slaying subprime’s monsters. By late 2005, most in the business knew the feast was entering its final moments.

The recent effort by the Bush administration to help a segment of subprime borrowers is, fortunately, a mostly cosmetic matter. (One mortgage executive tells me that only about 5% of the loans in his company’s loan portfolio will be affected.) Policy makers in Washington would do well to leave it at that. We need bureaucratic meddling far less than we need a sober and clear-eyed citizenry.

As my own friends bought and maintained homes, I quietly mused about how the homes owned them, not the other way around. I moved often, based on job commitments, with no interest in buying a house.

….. When the average person learns to treat those (market) forces with humility and respect, we’ll all be served far better than by any political promises that claim to stand up for the little guy.

With Barney Frank and John Conyers (second item at link) around, and a presidential campaign in progress, the chances of “leaving it at that” are lower than they should be.

Couldn’t Help But Notice (122907)

Michael Yon: “When nobody is shooting, it means that you are winning.

Yon also relays a thank-you letter — from a soldier, specifically LTC Jim Crider, the commander of the 1-4 CAV soldiers based at FOB Falcon. He’s thanking us “for the honor of fighting for and representing the United States of America. ….. I am stronger, more driven, and humbled all at the same time.” Fair enough. The debt we owe Mr. Crider is one that can never be repaid.


Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair has converted to Catholicism.

Memo to impatient prolifers and profamily advocates who want an instant “I was wrong, I am sorry” for Blair’s support of abortion rights and other anti-family measures while he was in public life:
- The operative term is FORMER Prime Minister.
- Forgiveness, penance, repentance, and the visibility of his (yes) required renunciation of his previous public views and actions, are between him, his confessor, and God.
- God, and Tony Blair, assuming he’s attempting to follow God’s will, don’t operate on your instant-gratification timeline.

I’ll be the first to rip Mr. Blair if he acts like Massachusetts CINOs (Catholics In Name Only) John Kerry and Ted Kennedy and plays the “I don’t personally believe in it, but I can’t condenm it” tune. But a little patience is in order, people.

Favorite headline of the week (link may require subscription): “No recession in ’08, says Bear analyst.” That would be an analyst from Bear Stearns.


Mark Steyn (HT Instapundit), on his being hauled before the Canadian Human Rights Commission and the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal over some of the content inAmerica Alone” (background here):

I want the constitutionality of this process overturned, so that Canadians are free to reach the same judgments about my writing as Americans and Britons and Australians and it stands or falls in the marketplace of ideas. The notion that a Norwegian imam can make a statement in Norway but if a Canadian magazine quotes that statement in Canada it’s a “hate crime” should be deeply shaming to all Canadians.

Exactly. And to repeat a question from December 18 (scroll to “Pain Dealer” item) — Where in the bleep is Stephen Harper in all of this?

Positivity: Wreaths Across America

Filed under: Positivity,US & Allied Military — Tom @ 6:00 am

From the organization’s home page (HT A Rose by Any Other Name):

The Wreaths Across America story began over 15 years ago when Worcester Wreath Company (a for-profit commercial business from Harrington, Maine) began a tradition of placing wreaths on the headstones of our Nation’s fallen heroes at Arlington National Cemetery.

Over that period of time, Worcester Wreath has donated 75,000 wreaths which were placed by volunteers in a wreath-laying ceremony each December. This year, Worcester Wreath Company will do even more to show its respect and appreciation for those who serve, by doing the following:

* Doubling its annual donation to 10,000 wreaths destined for Arlington National Cemetery.

* In addition to the Arlington Wreath Project, Worcester Wreath will donate 2,500 wreaths to the Maine Veterans Cemetery at Togus, and over 1,800 ceremonial wreaths, representing all branches of the armed forces, will be sent to over 200 other state and national veterans cemeteries across the Country.

* For the first time in 2007, ceremonial wreaths will also be donated to 24 veterans cemeteries on foreign soil, and aboard U.S. ships sailing in all seven seas.

* All wreath-laying ceremonies will be held concurrently on Saturday, December 15th, at 12:00 noon EST.

* And lastly, on Monday, December 10th, 51 wreaths will be donated for a special wreath-laying ceremony at each State Capital and 36″ ceremonial wreath for our Nation’s Capital.

Needless to say Worcester Wreath Co. is by far the largest donor to the Wreaths Across America project and they are dedicated to this project for many years to come. It is a vision that we will one day honor every veterans’ memory for the holidays, as a way to show our gratitude and appreciation for the sacrifices made to preserve our freedoms.

Wreaths Across America was formed as a non-profit organization (501-C3 status – EIN 20-8362270) in 2007, in direct response to the many letters and requests from supporters all around the Country, about how they too could get involved and bring the Arlington Wreath Project experience to their local communities. ….

Go to their home page for more.