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Mortgage Meltdown - Yesterday's News

by Izzy Thu Mar 6th, 2008 at 06:05:45 AM EST

Ripped from the headlines...

"The major difficulty in achieving home ownership in the past was a mortgage system that had become archaic, far too expensive, and actually dangerous -- for it encouraged high prices, hidden charges, and overbuying."

"...the old mortgage system has often been a hindrance rather than a help in the achievement of home ownership."

"Today, and in the future, those desirous of owning a home will wisely demand [a mortgage] free from hidden charges, lump-sum maturities, and the whole package of old system trials and tribulations."

...of 1935.

Yes, this was the United States Federal Government's response during the Great Depression to some of the depredations of the Gilded Age.  I guess that during those Roaring 20s, people with money, let's just say bankers for instance, had gotten a bit, well, greedy.  

I recently came across this handy booklet in which the government describes exactly how to handle and respond to a mortgage crisis.

Promoted by DoDo

with image edit by afew

Read more... (123 comments, 614 words in story)

Tales of American Dentistry

by Izzy Mon Feb 11th, 2008 at 04:50:47 PM EST

So my friend is telling me about his last visit to the dentist. He's got pretty nice teeth, but needs a few things done, which the dentist is telling him about.  And so he asks "well, how much will that cost?"  and the dentist says -- with a straight face -- "only twelve thousand dollars."


I'd like to tell you that this is a freak occurrence.  That perhaps there's some hidden, overwhelming catastrophe in my friend's mouth or that the dentist is a rip-off artist, but no.  

Welcome to The American Way where we routinely pay thousands just to make our teeth stop aching.  In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if this wasn't a hidden factor in the mortgage meltdown, with people refinancing just to get this or that fucking tooth fixed so they could think straight for a minute.  

I know I've had toothaches I'd trade my first born to fix, although so far it hasn't come to that...

Promoted by Migeru

Read more... (47 comments, 751 words in story)

Update: The Truth About Jerome A Paris and Other Startling Revelations

by Izzy Thu Jan 24th, 2008 at 02:42:29 AM EST

Some of you may remember when I staged an ET coup, lo these many years ago.  Back then, we were young and our hopes were high.  Or perhaps it was the other way around.  In any case, those were the salad days, the blog all fresh and green.  They were giddy days, bloated with joy and expectation.

I was a brother-in-arms so to speak, all hail-fellow well-met and you-go-girl or something appropriately genderless which I can't quite think of at the moment.  My point being I was one of you then, and not part of that dark, shadowy entity fearfully referred to as The Gnomes.

I know you were all counting on me to open doors and cast some sunlight into the corners of the smoke-filled back rooms, acting as a conduit and funneling out  vital information and the occasional bit of gossip.  In fact, I promised as much.

And then... nothing.  I was barely writing, becoming a mere shadow of my former blog self.  Then barely commenting, until my silence was almost complete and I became a virtual ghost in the machine, existing only in instant message form and practically abandoning the blog altogether.

I feel it's long past time to talk.  That an explanation is in order.  It is time to reveal the secrets behind my long absence -- the trials and tribulations, the personal suffering and trauma, the tears and bloodshed.

And the most shocking detail of all, -- that I, personally, have now been threatened by our so-called Dear Leader, Jerome a Paris.  In my darkest hour, no less...

Read more... (33 comments, 530 words in story)

Meanwhile, back at the ranch...

by Izzy Fri Dec 7th, 2007 at 03:10:15 PM EST

So I'm just going about my business the other week, getting ready for Thanksgiving and my then-pending trip to LA, when I get a call from a friend of mine who's going through a bit of a personal crisis.  Next thing I know, I'm changing plane tickets and sitting on a cattle ranch in the high desert of northern Nevada.

I don't want to be misleading and keep you in suspense, as though there'll be an actual story here, so I'll say upfront that my friend's crisis was gotten through with a minimum of fuss and that things are fine now.  I just wanted to explain why I suddenly found myself at a cattle ranch and show you some pictures.

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Read more... (29 comments, 952 words in story)

Fear and Voting at the Church

by Izzy Wed Nov 7th, 2007 at 07:59:36 AM EST

When I got the notice that my polling place had been changed, I was alarmed to say the least.  When I saw that it was in the next city over, I was outraged.  When I read that it was in the lobby of the Assembly of God Church, I was filled with dread and knew no good could come of it.  

These were all the ingredients of a disaster in the making.

My first thoughts were along the lines of "WTF?!?  Isn't there supposed to be some sort of separation of church and state thingy in this country? (my impromptu outraged thoughts aren't excessively articulate)...  Surely, voting in a church is the THE one line that should never be crossed.  Is this a Bush thing?  When did it start?"

But I told myself I was being prejudiced and irrational in my trepidation about the new polling place.  That the words "Assembly of God" were coloring my outlook.  That I was just suffering from a knee-jerk church aversion reaction.  Think of it as just another public gathering spot, I told myself.

Little did I dream that the reality was going to be so much worse than I imagined.

Read more... (52 comments, 1587 words in story)

School uniforms - yes or no?

by Izzy Mon Aug 27th, 2007 at 01:27:42 PM EST

I admit that sometimes I'm beguiled by the featured box on Yahoo -- the self-help advice, the job interview tips, celebrity gossip, even the user questions.  It was that last that brought this subject to mind.  Someone had asked people's opinions on school uniforms.  This is a subject that occasionally rages through a school district here or there in various parts of the U.S.

It got me to thinking -- I know Britain has school uniforms, but what's the status in other European countries?  In countries with uniforms, are there efforts to get rid of them?  I've heard Germany doesn't have them.  Is anyone calling for them?  If you do have these arguments, are the pros and cons different from country to country, or are the reasons all similar?

Read more... (32 comments, 609 words in story)

The Shape of Cancer (graphics heavy)

by Izzy Fri Aug 10th, 2007 at 01:49:08 AM EST

There are certain things in life that are too large and complex to take in as a whole.  The mind simply balks at certain prospects.  The enormity of some things can't be felt all at once lest the heart becomes too heavy.  We can only be guarded, glance at them, let in just a little.  

Cancer is one of these things.  They tell you to face it head on, but they're wrong, it's impossible.  You've got to deal with it in pieces.  Meet it obliquely.  Think of it in bits.  Feel it in moments.  

Let your guard down, take too much in and you're caught overwhelmed, catching your breath, collapsing into a seat, buckling at the knees, not knowing what to do next.  

Cancer is simply too big.

Read more... (16 comments, 1514 words in story)

Action Alert: Imprisoned pain patient needs public support

by Izzy Thu Jun 28th, 2007 at 01:29:26 PM EST

If you want proof that the drug war is inhumane, our laws unconstitutional, and our justice system unjust, you need look no further than the case of Richard Paey.  A disabled father of three, Paey is now about three years into a 25-year sentence for narcotics possession and drug trafficking.

Paey's crime was being in pain and taking prescription medicine.  He had no illegal drugs.  He never sold any drugs.  There was no real evidence of any fraud or wrongdoing, yet his conviction was perfectly legal in the state of Florida.  And perfectly unjust.

Paey's appeals are done and his last chance of getting out of prison is if he's granted clemency by Governor Charlie Crist.  His clemency petition was recommended by the Florida Parole Commission and the governor has made a statement that indicates he may be sympathetic.  Paey's wife and lawyer are asking for public support.

There's a good chance that our support could make a difference to correct this gross injustice.  Not only would it help Richard Paey, but it gives us a chance to express our concerns about mandatory minimums and the drug war.

Please continue over the jump for the contact information and details about the case...

Read more... (10 comments, 1577 words in story)

Hospital refuses help to dying mother

by Izzy Thu Jun 14th, 2007 at 04:53:28 PM EST

They refused to treat the woman and ignored her, even when she was in agony and couldn't walk.  They ignored her husband's pleas, even while she was collapsed on the floor from the pain.  When she vomited up her own blood, the janitor came out and mopped around her as though she were a piece of furniture.

Edith Isabel Rodriguez was a 43-year-old mother and grandmother.  She died May 9 of a perforated bowel at the emergency room of King-Harbor Hospital in Los Angeles.  But let's face it -- people die all the time, and her medical condition, while serious, is not uncommon.  What's more unusual in this case is the seeming callous disregard with which the hospital treated her.  Or didn't treat her.  

Desperate, her boyfriend called 911 from the pay phone outside the ER.  Eight minutes later, another patient called 911 begging for someone, anyone, to help Edith Rodriguez.  Finally her boyfriend found someone interested in Edith -- the police.  They arrested the dying woman on a warrant, assuring her boyfriend they'd give her medical treatment.

There's no doubt Edith Rodriguez died of her condition as she was being wheeled from the ER to the police car, but she did not have to die.  Edith Rodriguez was killed by something else.

Read more... (36 comments, 1631 words in story)

When I had tuberculosis

by Izzy Mon Jun 4th, 2007 at 07:32:57 AM EST

The globe-trotting TB guy all over the news is driving me crazy.  I'm sitting here right now with the flu.  I woke up this morning, only the second day of it, with that tight feeling in my chest.  And something else I can't describe, but it's as real and oppressive as the air right before a thunderstorm.  

I know this feeling like I know my own face.  I've had it more times than I can count -- it's bronchitis on its way and I get it most times I get sick, if I'm not really careful.  

So I'm sitting up typing, trying to distract myself when all I want is to be laying down.  But I shouldn't lie down, so I thought I'd tell you about when I had tuberculosis, which is why I'm worried right now.  Which is why I get bronchitis at the drop of a hat.  Which is why I hate TB guy.

From the diaries - afew

Read more... (55 comments, 1799 words in story)

"They talk to us like humans"

by Izzy Wed Apr 25th, 2007 at 03:43:38 PM EST

Yesterday in Indiana, inmates took over part of the New Castle Correctional Facility, a privately run prison, in what was called a "full-scale riot" by the town's mayor and a "disturbance" by the Department of Corrections.  Two employees of the prison and seven prisoners have been injured.

Whatever you called it, the news had lots of pictures and video of smoke pouring out of the prison, but there's more to the story.  The riot was evidently precipitated by an influx of inmates involuntarily transferred from Arizona.  Arizona says this was "necessary" due to overcrowding, yet was recently negotiating with California to take their overflow of inmates.  

Is Arizona lying or is something else going on?

Read more... (19 comments, 1144 words in story)

City of Angels - (graphics heavy)

by Izzy Tue Oct 24th, 2006 at 02:03:16 PM EST

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More news from my hometown in the richest nation on earth.

LOS ANGELES - The early morning light reveals a no loitering sign and a half-dozen people sleeping beneath it in tents on the Skid Row sidewalk.

A few bony men scatter as a police cruiser rolls up. But Glenda Caldwell isn't stirring from beneath her filthy blankets, sprawled beside a shopping cart filled with crumpled cans and paper.

"Where do you want me to pack up and go? To hell?"

Read more... (20 comments, 426 words in story)

In Memoriam

by Izzy Mon May 29th, 2006 at 03:15:31 AM EST

I posted this last year at another site, and hope you don't mind me posting it here.  It is Memorial day here in the US, and just the other day I found out I have a new name to add to my list of remembrance.  So on this day, I feel I'd like to again share this story among friends.

Today we honor the dead, particularly those who have died in war.  We are now, and have been for too many years, in a time of war.  As casualties mount on all sides, it becomes increasingly difficult to keep perspective and not become overwhelmed -- one hundred;  one thousand;  one hundred thousand dead -- my mind cannot or will not understand these numbers.  

I can only comprehend one.

Read more... (6 comments, 1380 words in story)

An Announcement

by Izzy Sat May 20th, 2006 at 10:00:58 AM EST

As you might be aware, EuroTrib has been abandoned by the gnomes.  They are out partying in Paris, eating and meeting and taking pictures of rainbows and who knows what all.  In fact, in an allegorical move, they're all going on a boat, practically begging for mutiny.

I have stepped into this power vacuum with poemless and Alexandra in WMass at my side.  Together we shall provide firm yet benevolent leadership.  

promoted by a dissident gnome...

Read more... (39 comments, 518 words in story)

Ice Dancing Finals

by Izzy Tue Feb 21st, 2006 at 01:53:31 PM EST

As you are by now well aware, my beloved Belbin and Agosto have been competing in the Olympic ice-dancing competition.  The last few days have been an emotional roller coaster.  From the giddy highs of Tanith Belbin's last-minute citizenship, to the deep despair of the team placing sixth in the Compulsory Dance, you've all been right here with me.

And it hasn't always been easy.  I know.  We were all so happy back during the Opening Ceremonies.  We were younger then.  And naive.  No one could have predicted the dark days that followed.  

I don't think anyone anticipated me turning all philosophical, pondering the deeper meaning of the games and the very nature of competition.  Not to mention the unpleasant turn my last thread took with it's vaguely threatening tone.

But you know what?  I never promised you people a rose garden.  The ONLY promise I made was that I'd bring you along for the ride, and that MAYBE I'd tell you who won and who lost, who "didn't ooze Latin" and who "reeked of seduction," who plunged to abject failure and who ascended to glorious victory.  

Oh, and I may have... not promised exactly, but stated rather definitely that there'd be no grievous bodily injury.  But what is the exact definition of "grievous" anyway?  I can't be right all the time.  I'm the first to admit I'm not perfect.

So follow me over the jump or don't.  It's your choice...

Read more... (20 comments, 1409 words in story)

Olympic Madness Open Thread

by Izzy Mon Feb 20th, 2006 at 05:18:40 PM EST

from the diaries. -- Jérôme

I know you're all counting on me for your up-to-the-minute Olympic coverage, but let's forget about medals and all that for a minute.  Is it the winning that counts?  or the trying?

Oh, sure.  I know what you're thinking.  You're thinking that I'm getting all philosophical NOW.  Now that the United States Olympic team is sucking big time.  But, no.  I assure you that is not it.  Really.  

I mean, what are medals anyway?  Especially ones with HOLES in the middle?  Who needs them?  Because we all know there are NO LOSERS at the Olympics, right?  It's really all about the people.  The humanity, if you will.  

So follow me after the jump as I ponder the larger questions:  how drunk is our ski team?  can a rocket powered car do better?  did the men's figure skaters really crumble under the pressure of my scrutiny?  and why the hell IS there a hole in the medals anyway?

Read more... (30 comments, 968 words in story)

A Viewer's Guide to Ice-dance

by Izzy Sun Feb 19th, 2006 at 01:42:20 AM EST

I confess I've been feeling a bit guilty ever since DoDo told me that he watched figure skating for the very first time and tuned in to the disasterous men's final program.  I feel somewhat responsible.

In case anybody else is somehow lured into this madness and decides to watch any of the dance over the next two days, I feel I owe you some sort of explanation.  This is my favorite of the figure skating disciplines and it's almost certain I will post about it on Tuesday, but you can't just dive into this sort of thing without some context.  

Read more... (17 comments, 838 words in story)

Olympics - Pairs Figure Skating Final

by Izzy Tue Feb 14th, 2006 at 01:04:50 AM EST

Of the four figure skating disciplines -- Men's and Women's Singles, Pairs, and Dance -- Pairs is generally considered the most popular and Dance the least.  I feel the opposite.  I can laud the virtues of the Dance all day, but the real reason for this is that Pairs skating is dangerous.  They do throws and lifts and spins that can cause grave injury in a split second.  

There are numerous examples, but the most famous are probably Elena Berezhnaya, who had a terrible head injury when her partner's skate hit her head during a side-by-side spin and, more recently, when current Russian champions Totmianina and Marinin stumbled during a lift, sending Totmianina crashing head-first into the ice.

Last Olympics, the Pairs skate ended without any severe injuries, although we had plenty of other drama with a judging scandal which ultimately resulted in two gold medals awarded and a complete change of the scoring system.

But that was nothing compared to today's harrowing skate.  If you don't want to read spoilers, or you simply don't have the stomach for this sort of suspense, do NOT follow me once more over the jump, my friend...

Read more... (20 comments, 1841 words in story)

Olympics Open Thread - Day 2

by Izzy Sun Feb 12th, 2006 at 04:43:12 PM EST

Technically, this is the first (and perhaps only) of the Olympic open threads, but you guys are tomorrow or... I'm yesterday?  In any case, the time zone thing is messing with my head and if I want to say it's Day 2, I expect you to go along with it.

So yesterday (or was it?), I recapped the opening ceremonies and we ended up live-blogging the Day 1 action in the comments.  And by "we" I mean me and Metatone.  It was obvious to us that there would be a huge demand for this sort of thing (hey -- Fran said she'd like it!), so here it is.

Follow me after the jump for a brief recap of Day 1 events!   Marvel at my ignorance of sport!  Mock my figure skating obsession!  Jump into the comments with commentary on your favorite sports!  C'mon, it'll be fun...

From the diaries - any updates to report? ~ whataboutbob

Read more... (40 comments, 677 words in story)

Torino Olympics Opening Ceremonies

by Izzy Sat Feb 11th, 2006 at 03:59:44 AM EST

Okay, it's 8 o'clock and I'm all hyped about the ceremonies!!  The pomp!  The pageantry!  It's starting!!!

The good stuff after the jump...

An in-depth report you will never read on the news, from the diaries (with minor edits) - whataboutbob

Read more... (77 comments, 1727 words in story)
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