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Links 12/30/10

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  1. tuco

    Just wanted to sat the things you write, and the links you point to just say to me what a beautiful woman you are. You really are something else.

  2. Swedish Lex

    My timid comment will pale when compared to tuco’s above.

    Simply wanted to say that the “welcome back to the middle ages” piece from the FT leaves out the string of European wars that was part of the continent’s DNA for…ever until the creation of the current EU federal structure: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_conflicts_in_Europe

    However, the middle ages minus the plague, feudalism, wars, religious fanatics plus modern medicine, fundamental rights and democracy would have been a nice place. I would not mind living in such a museum.

    1. KFritz

      IMLTHO, the wellspring for all the misfortunes you enumerate hasn’t been completely unwound, and could reconstitute itself under duress. Meaning the collective psyche of the people. Thoughts?

    2. Dave of Maryland

      With all respect, we’re not going to get a magic return to the middle ages aka feudalism. They were based on a stable system of lords of the manor existing more or less peaceably under the king’s reign. Took several centuries to develop that.

      What we’re going to get isn’t the 12th century (a time marked, in France, by feverish building of great cathedrals, indicating local wealth), but a return to the 8th century & incessant bankster, I mean, Viking raids.

      1. Dave of Maryland

        For that reason I laugh at the survivalists who think a gun ‘n’ a garden will save them.

  3. Richard Kline

    Regarding the numerous and quite abysmal climatic changes documented in the article on climate science, the one which I find most worrisom is the rapid escalation in oceanic acidity. —But everything there described is double-plus ungood, and most of them feed-forward into each other. . . . Terra Linda will look quite different three generations from now, with quite a lot fewer homo [un]sapiens living on it. The sole benefit in my lifetime might be that the inexcusably puerile drivel which passes for ‘news’ on daily major media may have reality forced upon its venue when, say, the Greenland Ice Sheet goes floatabout.

    I found the Afghan situation maps in the Daily Mail piece quite interesting. What stood out for me most wasn’t the manifest ‘deterioration of security,’ i.e. insurgency advances in the north and east of the country but the evidence that all of the [media] surge in the south has had no demonstrable impact on the security/insurgency situation. The insurgency simply absorbed the blow, and hasn’t been shaken an iota. From my separate reading of news articles regarding the situation on the ground there, it would appear that the sole, documented improvements in ‘security’ are likely limited to a few districts immediatly adjacent to Kandahar flooded by large volumes of US troops—and only as a result of ethnic cleansing in those specific areas. Yeah, the locals pulled out of a free fire zone on the front end of the local ‘surges,’ whereupon the military leveled their villages, burned their crops, and blew up their orchards. So the areas are more ‘secure’ in that there is less insurgent activity, because no one lives there, and those trying to return have no shelter and are cut up in firefights and/or have fire directed on them ‘inadvertantly.’ This is called ‘ethnic cleansing’ in any other context. But absent that, there has been no improvement in ‘security’ at all. The bloviation by military mouthpieces to the press that ‘we’re hammering them, taking out their top guys, winning blah-blah-blah’ is the kind of mendacity that got the Five O’clock Follies their reputation forty years back in another war which was going _well_ by contrast to the present effort.

    1. Stelios Theoharidis

      I think that the whole surge meme in regard to Iraq is a bit of another trip down imperial hubris lane. Not that I am particularly for it, but I think that most realistic experts were talking about doubling or tripling forces in order to make a real dent in insurgency. That is a committment that Americans were unwilling to make.

      The awakening appears to be the real reason that insurgency declined in Iraq. Which was basically a policy of paying Sunni insurgents and giving them employment promises to act as defense forces rather than engage in sectarian violence. There is that stick of the surge, but it seems that jobs and economic opportunity win out.

      So what does that say for Afghanistan and Pakistan for that matter? Jobs and economic opportunity would probably make the biggest dent in the insurgency. From what I understand of Pakistan, the regions with heavy insurgency are literal fiefdoms, with little economic opportunity for anyone other than the semi-feudal landlords. Sure, there is that chicken or egg problem with you need security in order to have jobs and economic opportunity, but in regions with 40% unemployment and families to feed you betcha people will take whatever opportunity is available whether it be poppy growing for local strongmen or joining the Taliban.

      There is a part in the documentary Darwin’s Nightmare when a man discusses how good the war was, as he was always employed and his family never went hungry. It is when people have little certainty in regard to their future or little to lose that they are more likely to join insurgencies.

      12/12 on that pew survey, only 1% of respondents, so sad. You ask the average American about professional sports and they can tell you everything, politics on the other hand complete ignorance or misinformation.

    2. eric anderson

      I know it is semantics, but words mean things.

      Ocean pH is about 8.1. That’s alkaline. It is a bit less alkaline than it used to be. It’s a very long way to get to neutral (pH 7.0), past which the oceans actually become acid. (I’m not even certain this is within the realm of reasonable possibility.)

      What we are seeing is modest ocean de-alkalinization. That doesn’t sound quite so awful, does it? And that’s exactly why the other term is chosen.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        I suggest you get on top of what is happening before throwing out uninformed views. A shift in ocean PH levels towards more acid, which IS “acidification” is a death sentence to crustacea and coral reefs. That is turn wreaks havoc on the entire food chain.

        1. Paul Repstock

          WHOA LADY!
          You may ‘own’ this blog, you may be an accomplished financial manager, and author. I do not think anything gives you the right to slam a poster on a scientific subject unless you have an oceaography degree that we don’t know about.

          I was about to comment on the same link as Eric, when I read your post. The author has (one) point absolutly right; The big crime in “Climate Gate” is that bad science and vested interests has distracted attention from and by extention has condoned continuing present practices which are harmful to the environment.

          “Raise sea levels by 20 feet”..Phulleese! Only Al Gore could say something this stupid with a straight face. Buy a $2 calculator an figure out how much ice would need to be melted to raise sea levels by ‘One single inch!’

          1. wc4d

            WHOA DUDE! You may think it requires a degree in Oceanography, but all it really takes is the ability to read and understand a plethora of writing on this subject BY people with degrees in various sciences related to climate change and oceanography. Cheap shot “only Al Gore would be stupid enough” trash talk doesn’t prove any point other than that you’re out to make yourself look incredibly underinformed.

          2. Paul Repstock

            Well, partly because it is New Years (causing certain introspection), and partly from guilt about my own snide comment, I decided to employ my own “$2 calculator”. I find that Al Gore could be right…If all the ice melted???

            However, if all the Ice melted, I don’t think flooding would be our main concern. I also do not think that the driver ould be puny human activity. You will note that the ocean acidification link is right below one on solar storms. Solar cycles are quantifiable force in Earth’s energy budget, and have a very high corelation to climate change.

            I should not post what I have not calculated myself. Just as a comfort to any who may be concerned, it appears that loss of ice in the Arctic Polar regions is being offset by ice accumulation in the Antarctic Polar Regions

          3. emca

            /Paul

            Yves comment in part refers to a previous thread comment of Eric A. implying that acidification meant turning the ocean acid.

      2. Richard Kline

        So eric, what is a ‘modest de-alkinization’ at a far remove from your body’s internal chemistry is a massive acidification well approaching fatal parameters for most of the biota of the world’s oceans. Most of them would be quite dead long before we get near pH neutral. You will be _very_ aware of the semantic difference between ‘modest’ and ‘toxic’ when and as we pass the threshold of collapse.

      3. emca

        This thread is dead, but I’ll comment anyway.

        A rose is a rose is arose by any other name would still smell as sweet (or sour in this case)

        If standard nomenclature taught in high school chemistry whereby a solution through an increase in hydrogen ions in made more “acid”, offends you, well too bad.

        By the way I found these comments on ClimateSight, June 7, 2009:

        “acidification (dealkalization doesn’t have the same ring, huh)”

        and within the same post after constructing a straw argument:

        “Oceans are not corrosive or acidic, they are basic, and have a long way to go before they come to PH7 (neutral)…”

  4. attempter

    “Can The Bank Just Change The Locks On My Home?”

    Yes. They clearly can, for as long as we let them. Until we the people stop them. But “law enforcement” certainly isn’t going to do anything about it. If we want law, and we want security in our own homes, we’ll have to do it ourselves.

    When are people going to learn: If we want freedom, want democracy, want restored prosperity, we have to do it ourselves.

    1. lambert strether

      The obvious minor repair, which doesn’t fix the legal system, but at least lets you get into a phone to call a lawyer, is to always make sure you have an alternative way to enter your home. A pet door, a window, an axe. Possibly a neighborhood watch?

      1. attempter

        Yes, a neighborhood watch….

        That’s also one for the pro side of the ledger on the question, Is it worth getting involved in local politics only, to try to use the local power against the alien, stateless (“higher”) power.

        1. Fractal

          No joke, attempter. Network teevee news in the past week ran a story on a woman whose neighbors mobbed a foreclosure auction of her home while she was at work. The neighbors jammed up the sidewalks, screamed at the auctioneer & bidders, started calling everybody they could think of on their cell phones (including the owner), probably took a few minutes of video while they were at it, and scared off all the bidders. Wells Fargo ended up buying the home itself in the auction. Then, after being exposed, to save face WFC canceled the foreclosure & may give her a mod. Stay tuned.

  5. Skippy

    Climate is but one component of the larger environment we habitat, to over look the hole of the problem is too blind ones self to the enormity we face. Unfortunately history is replete with humans under the influence of priests of many stripes_of which_their only goal is to perpetuate the lies which they use to beguile the uninformed…for their benefit only. The only reason they behave as such, is *only* to retain the power of control at all costs, status trumps reality, belief in ones superiority via deity’s / ideology’s of various ilk predispose all other observations…cough…Galileo was shown the devises of bodily reduction…eh. One can not expect any difference with in a world littered with the remnants of this never ending cycle, we will lament the *greatness* of our ancestors once again…sigh. How we as individuals or small groups deal with this never ending story will be the seeds of tomorrow. Hopefully_this time_better understanding humans will carry the torch forward to the betterment of all living things.

    Afghanistan…what can one say when the employment opportunity’s (unemployment U6 upgrade if for not) and wealth creation (short term vs long term medical costs { Meth and WWII is still with us. etc.}) associated by this endeavor hold sway over the destruction and reduction of so many internationally. Should the troops come home what then, another post Nam episode, a warrior nation with out its victory, left to languish in turpitude, dragging its fragile ego with it. Unable to face the world with out the ranking it feels it must have ( god given ) of Numero Uno, what a bloody anchor to host upon ones neck…eh. How many Army’s did Rome sequester beyond the capital for fear of their return…eh…stop loss…cough…involuntary extension. Been their done that in the early 80s for sacks sake and from my personal observations at that time plus never ending story’s of today, it builds nothing but resentment, no wonder so many are going pro after the fact. They realize the effect I did after wards, they are too *modified* to ever live back in Disney Land again, what jail awaits them whence some REMF gets cocky and ye give their head a back azimuth adjustment…tell that shit to the judge…

    OT…here in Queensland its getting a bit wet (historical highs…recorded), dams that were near dry are over capacity from say 110+ to 160+% with more rain to come. The central coast is *all* flooding and the response by the government has been brilliant…no Katrina rubbish here. Helos taking first responders out to areas soon to be cut off and stock piles ready to roll out etc etc.

    Skippy…was looking for some new couches today and got into a discussion with the sales staff about my partner being deployed into the thick of it. Her first response was I’ll go through every thing we have and see what we can contribute to the effort, just let us know the best way to forward it…FTW…humanity still exists!

  6. W.C. Varones

    That Firedoglake Social Security piece is hilarious!

    The writer equates modest Social Security reform with the complete end of Social Security and the elderly starving in squalor.

    1. Rex

      “That Firedoglake Social Security piece is hilarious!”

      OMG, yep, those poorfolk stories are always good for a chuckle.

      “The writer equates modest Social Security reform with the complete end of Social Security and the elderly starving in squalor.”

      I think you injected the “modest” adjective from your own expectations. Watch what happens next if they manage to knock a modest chunk off of the foundations of the SS structure.

      Deficit, debt, grand children, future, unsustainable, etc. A lot of nifty propaganda phrases are being thrown to pave the way for slashing at Social Security, Medicare and all those expensive old-people things. If they expressed the same sincerity about those deficit buzz words when the subject was taxes, I might give them the credit to listen with an open mind to their upcoming onslaughts.

      Look back at the health care debates. Why were the best solutions attacked with all the name calling and quickly pushed off the table?

      Well, the good news on this subject may be that the recent information about climate change in the other post may make issues like funding for basic societal sustenance not very important as both the young and old start dying from starvation or unrest.

  7. Ignim Brites

    The Climate Progress piece is date Nov 15, 2010. It contains the claim that on the one year anniversary of “Climategate”, the “…media will be doing countless retrospectives…”. I don’t know about you, but it doesn’t seem like the airwaves have been filled with these retrospectives. What does that mean?

    1. Matthew

      It means they’re trying to do a pre-emptive propaganda launch before people can announce that 2010 was the year that Global Warming died.

      The fact all these so-called scientists have been on record for the last several years talking about how Global Warming in particular in Europe will result in warmer, more humid winters now have the gall to say that Global Warming is now responsible for the long harsh cold snaps and snowfall accumulations is opening too many eyes.

      So warming is proof of Global Warming….and cooling is proof of Global Warming….riiiiight…..and show me again where your computer models that foretell global disaster predicted this recent cooling?

      What, your models don’t work….you’ve been caught manipulating data….and you’re still going to play the “Trust us, we’re climate scientists” card?

      Game over….

      1. Matthew

        Recommended reading for all those actually interested in the science of Climate Change as it looks at how we have and continue to measure/estimate global temperatures.

        Excerpt:

        “GIStemp: Goddard Institute for Space Studies, temperature Series.

        If we would study global temperature change over time, we need a temperature record over time, and over the globe. GIStemp attempts to create a temperature history with full coverage over time and over space. Unfortunately, the (GHCN – Global Historical Climate Network) data start with one thermometer in Germany: Berlin Tempel in 1701

        Over time, thermometers are added, and they slowly migrate south and to both the new, and old, worlds. Eventually, about 1900 A.D., there are sufficient thermometers on the globe to get a partial idea what is happening. But climate is subject to cyclical changes. Some, like the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, have about a 40 to 60 year full cycle length. Others, like solar cycles that run 178 years, and Bond Events – a 1500 year cycle, are a bit longer. A 100 year record is inadequate to allow for these events.

        At its core, GIStemp tries to bridge this gap, both in time and in space, between the one thermometer and the globe, and between the 100 years and the 1500. This is a noble goal, but is just “A thermometer too far” to bridge.

        ….continued”

        Short Version is this should be mandatory reading for those on both sides of the debate because it focuses on the record which we’re both looking at to assess which hypothesis is correct.

        http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2009/11/09/gistemp-a-human-view/

        Cheers all….

        1. emca

          Chiefio.wordpress.com is the handy work of one E.M. Smith, famous self-appointed climate analyst (ass. degree in computer programing?) of the deniosphere.

          This link is truly laughable.

          Please link a recognized authority on subject (not a scientist speculating outside his/her discipline) who at least has published one scientific paper on the topic (or abstract from an accredited publication).

          If you want to reduce the matter to blog comments solely, I suggest you post a reply to /FedUpWithDenial at the “Climate Progress” site.

          I eagerly await your critique of the above.

          1. Dave of Maryland

            Hello Emca,

            I will do it for him.

            You need to go back to university & study carefully what passes for “science”. Who “makes” science & how. When you do, you may agree with Bismark & his famous comment on sausage, that the process of its manufacture is unpleasant to watch.

            Scientists appeal to “truth” as the ultimate authority, but in practice, “truth” is whatever can be made to pass muster. Science has, in the past, as well as in the present, passed off good-sounding speculation as truthful fact. In reality, the scientific standard for “truth” is self-referential. This is one of its many paradoxes. Ask any librarian. Science textbooks are routinely discarded after 30-ish years. The science they contain is no longer any good. If it isn’t good any more, what was it way back when? Sausage? We know more? Please. Engineering builds on earlier foundations, which can be traced. Science reinvents itself. Like fads, which it all to often unfortunately resembles.

            The theory of global warming might be true, or it might not be true, but for the duration of the theory itself, there will be no challenges from the scientific community. Science works by consensus. Global warming is as good an example as any.

            The theory of global warming, like all theories, started in a vacuum. There was no prior theory as to planetary warming, good or bad. There was a previous theory, back 40 years ago, that said we were entering a deep freeze (go back & check), but that theory had lain dormant for some decades.

            Suddenly someone comes up & grabs headlines (his name shouldn’t be hard to find) by declaring the world is getting hotter & so we should all watch out.

            This excites other scientists, it gives them something to do. Some support the theory, some hesitate. Notably, the effort required to refute is very often beyond the means of anyone who would be qualified to do so. We end up with good-sounding theories that arrive more by consensus than anything else.

            This, of course, feeds the ego of the original scientist, and his immediate circle. Which is another scientific quirk, in that science is a field of egos who need to be fed.

            Once a theory has been established by these slippery means, no reputable scientist will put his name on the line to refute it. The scientific world is, in fact, replete with stories of scientists who tried & who were shunned for their troubles. Careers ended. Lives destroyed. Among a long list of taboo subjects include Velikovsky, astrology, anything psychic, ghosts, UFO’s, God, religion, life after death, on & on. And while all these subjects are properly debatable, what passes for for “science” in these fields is nothing short of infantile. Which merely leaves the door open for charlatans of all sorts.

            Science is a racket, it’s gone on for 300 years, it was born deformed. Sometimes

          2. J.

            emca, you are missing the point of peer review. Science is not some sort of priesthood of secret knowledge. Anybody should be able to follow the argument and figure it out for himself.

            Peer review is done so a group of people familiar with the subject (peers) can examine the argument and proof presented by the author. The reason reviewers are normally in the same field is that it saves time spent on getting familiar with the subject, but there is no reason why other interested persons can’t take the time to understand.

            I thought E. M. Smith laid out his argument quite nicely. If you see obvious holes in it, please say so instead of demanding peer review. If you don’t see obvious problems, perhaps you should refrain from piling on until you improve your understanding. Science shouldn’t be treated like cheering on your favorite sports team.

            Since you ask for an argument from authority, will a MIT climatology professor, Richard Lindzen, do? Here’s a WSJ editorial where he insults the global warming models:

            http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703939404574567423917025400.html

            If you look Lindzen up on youtube, you should find a series of six videos comprising a seminar he gave on global warming, which has a lot more information on what he thinks is wrong with the “scientific consensus”.

            I’ve been a scientist myself (not the global warming kind) and I really hate to see peer review touted as The Truth Process. It’s more like The Truthiness Process. All sorts of stuff that shouldn’t get past peer review does, usually just because the reviewers didn’t read it carefully, sometimes because of politics or other reasons. A lot of the scientific literature is just plain wrong. Any scientist will tell you that.

            Peer review is better than no review but it’s not a fix for bad science. Bad scientists are bad at peer review too.

          3. emca

            I asked for a scientific paper support a non-human induced global warming scenario and I get an opinion piece from the WSJ.

            Nether /Dave of Maryland or /J have provided the link requested (although /J at least links a scientist in the field, albeit name we understand much, much more often than his work) .

            So to make the matter simpler, I will.

            Linzon 2001 abstract titled (his must important on the topic), “Does the Earth Have an Adaptive Infrared Iris?” hypothesized that infrared radiation leakage has a negative feedback having an overall cooling effect. The explanation is here:

            Does the Earth have an Iris Analogue

            This assertion is challenged here (based a 2002 paper):
            Evidence Against the Iris Hypothesis

            Linzen has recently (2009) return with his own rebuttal, but has yet to prove assumptions of positive feedback parcel to current climate models are flawed (that is, prove his Iris Hypothesis).

            Linzen touches on the topic of water vapor in the atmosphere; so as I’m tired of providing links my commenter(s) can’t or won’t offer, and in the line of support of human intervention in global climate phenomena I offer this recent paper on the subject:

            Schmidt et al. 2010

            and this analysis of the above:
            on Water Vapor Feedback

            and this:
            Water vapour: feedback or forcing?

            While we can’t know all, at least we can weigh the preponderance of evidence (this is the basis of judicial wisdom, is it not?). There is ample arsenal of recognized documentation supporting human induced climate change. Need I list it?.

            By the way I still ain’t hearing much in the way of refutation to the original Climate Progress article’s multiple assertions.

            Response?

          4. Paul Repstock

            I have a small personal litmus test for information presented to me. I try to avoid automatically rejecting that which appears absurd because I am not capable of judging what is truly possible (I don’t always succeed in avoiding judgement, but I try).

            The test in this case examines what the relevance of 27 degrees F. or 20 feet of sea level rise is to me. My answer is zero. I would not be here nor would any of you. Therefore, if these predictions are correct, we don’t need to worry any more about it.

          5. emca

            /Paul Repstock

            Unless you live in the Arctic, I doubt whether you’ll see a 27.4 deg. F temperature rise (location, location).

            Also this is worst case scenario which only states what has been shown in 10% of the model runs. You might notice that according to the chart shown, if you lived in the south Atlantic (Helena Island), the temperature would show only about a 3.6 deg. F increase (average annual worst case scenario).

            To your last statement, in a different sense, if worst case scenarios should come to pass, then many of us will not be here to argue the point.

      2. Stelios Theoharidis

        Matthew,

        You would think after the US military had repeatedly acknowledged that climate change constitutes a serious threat to international security that some of you conservatives on the other side of the dialogue would have stopped trolling your nonsense in comments sections.

        My apologies, but you have been dupped by a massive PR campaign by major oil/coal/energy companies and their functionaries in the public relations / conservative think tank industry. It has been proven time and time again that individuals are getting paid by these groups to introduce skepticism into the field of inquiry not only in the new media, but also on internet comments, and blogs. None of this skepticism has passed through scientific peer review, rather it has been relegated to the perpetual echo chamber of conservative blogs and punditry. These points which you bring up have repeatedly been refuted, or determined to not have significant impact upon our expectations.

        Sure we have some debate on the specifics, on the accuracy of models, on potential resolutions to this issue, but you are trying to make mountains out of mole hills. Time and time again, renewed inquiries with new data point to more problematic outcomes in peer-reviewed journals. That is what is linked in that article if you read it, some of which have nothing to do with the climate but rather the destruction of the marine food chain through ocean acidification. Now I understand that it is convenient for many people to continue the way that they live and deny the science, but this will have consequences on future generations.

        When you or any of these skeptics get published in Science or Nature for that matter then we can have a discussion. Until then keep trolling about the bias or conspiracy within the scientific community. The fact that you so readily became a tool for these powerful interests, against your own interest, and that of future generations is quite sad.

  8. Patricia Berrini

    Hello Yves, Would you accept me as a POSTER CHILD for the mortgage modification process?
    I heard you on Harry Shearer’s Le Show on December and then downloaded the podcast and transcript. Your discussion made that very arcane material accessible! Thank you so much.
    I made it through two years of this ‘recession’ only to lose my job at the end of October of 2010; I had worked as a Product Analyst for a software company. I am looking for full time employment but have not yet found work.
    We have a mortgage with Bank of America and we have been struggling with it. We want to modify it from it’s current very aggressive 15 year term to something we can afford going forward, i.e. a 30-year term of repayment. Times looked much rosier for us when we set a 15 year goal.
    I tremble to think that this modification process (seeking INTERNAL BOA modification) will go terribly wrong somehow and my house will enter foreclosure.
    WHY? We have considerable consumer debt due to two daughters with weddings in 2009 and 2010 and a property in Vermont that we no longer own. In the interim, because we were late paying the mortgage, our credit availability was then capitated to the amount owed making our FICO score plummet to the 630 range.
    BRIGHT SIDE: We have a LOT of equity in our house (comp between $400,000 to $450,000) and a relatively small portion of it as mortgage ($119,000 currently). I would love your blog to shine a SPOTLIGHT on us as we enter and negotiate the process of loan modification. We are trying to do the RESPONSIBLE thing. If you feel this is not right for your blog, can you suggest some of your colleagues or associates in the media who would like to do so?
    Your perspective is like a breath of fresh air and MUCH appreciated!
    (Freaked out in PA), Patricia
    ANY other advice or suggestions gratefully accepted.

    1. craazyman

      I don’t mean to be an A-hole and I hope you find a job soon and that your daughters have happy, loving, eternal marriages.

      But why did you need to go deeply into debt for their weddings to the point that your mortgage is in the danger zone? Wouldn’t a financially modest but classy affair do just as well?

      This sounds like something that should be on Oprah or Jerry Springer. I’m not sure you’re a Poster Child for victimization by the mortgage looters and money murderers. It sounds to me like a case of overconsumption — sort of a “I just had to have the Hummer and the backyard pool” sort of thing.

      Isn’t love and marriage primarily a spiritual phenomenon, not a financial phenomenon. Maybe I’m naive.

      Having said that. I hope you get the mod and it sounds like a good idea for all concerned, includig the bank.

    2. Fractal

      Patricia, please ignore the obnoxious assholes who sometimes comment purely for the perverse pleasure of spewing insults. Most readers & commenters here do not waste their time with that.

      You could read & possibly comment about your BAC mortgage on one or more of the following blogs, at least one of which is included in the links above, but don’t treat these sites as places to hire a lawyer (you DO need a lawyer):

      creditslips.com (highly technical, lots of lawyers)

      http://www.creditslips.org/creditslips/2010/12/mortgage-servicing-paper.html (read everything you can find by this guy Levitin)

      http://mattweidnerlaw.com/blog/2010/12/can-the-bank-just-change-the-locks-on-my-home/

      http://firedoglake.com/foreclosure-fraud/

      1. craazyman

        Puh-leeze.

        If you can’t see the difference between her situation and someone being thrown out of their house due to mortgage fraud or document fraud, then that’s on you.

        She’s not a poster child of any of that. I mean really. We all make mistakes and that’s human. I sure have. And no ad-hominem intended at all.

        But let’s keep a clear line between bank fraud and looting on the one hand, and folks who spend more, probably, than they should on the other and who don’t prudently plan for a rainy day, and then want the Spotlight as victims of the big bad bank.

        I’m not buying it, dude.

        1. lambert strether

          Yeah, only the deserving should get mortgage mods. But who’s deserving? I mean, besides the CEOs? Fortunately, thanks be to The God(ess)(e)(s) Of Your Choice, If Any, we have commenters here to sort that our for us!

          1. craazyman

            Puh-leeze. I said I think she SHOULD get a mod! I hope she gets the mod. Not that my opinion means anything. LOL.

            See-ree-us-lee dude, If you want to win the political fight against the Wall Street bankster looters, money murdering predatory trickster lenders, three-card-monte securitizers and document-financial-rape-fraudsters, then you’ve to keep just a little gravitas and balance in the picture. Just a little. And you’ve got to be able to deal with the difference between Fraud, Deceipt and Theft and somebody who imprudently stretched themselves too thin. You’ve got to evaluate who you hoist up as the victim poster child. Otherwise, you’re going to lose the war.

    3. Dave of Maryland

      At $119,000, I’d consider getting a stack of credit cards & bashing the heck out of them, then filing for bankruptcy, but then, big credit limits went bye-bye two years ago.

      1. aletheia33

        if the bankruptcy follows the max-out too closely, this is legally fraud. the bankruptcy court checks to see if you’ve done this. as a little guy, it’s still risky. even as a big guy, it’s not yet a certainty who will be held accountable for what, when.

    4. aletheia33

      patricia,

      a must read is the series on pro publica that will give you the wider national history/picture.

      be sure to find a “consumer lawyer”, not just any lawyer.

      bankruptcy can be a big help with overwhelming unsecured debt. but as a homeowner one needs a bankruptcy lawyer who is up on creditors’ current abuses not only of bankruptcy process but also of foreclosure process. may not be easy to find.

      my state bar association lists lawyers by specialization and i found one in my tiny state who is experienced in consumer law. now i know who i will call if foreclosure rears its ugly head. just knowing that helps with the stress.

      if you are working with a bank long-distance on a mod, keep in mind that anyone you talk to at a lower level is likely to be underpaid, untrained, overwhelmed, and have no idea what they are doing, and that nothing they say to you is truly reliable. record every conversation. keep copies of every document you send, put your loan number on every page of everything, do not get into sending faxes, follow written instructions to the letter. if they tell you they don’t have something you know you sent them, insist on them retrieving the physical file and informing you of what’s in it. if they change the rules midstream, stand your ground and insist they back up their claim with chapter and verse of written rule. use telephone and documents, not internet. call them twice a week routinely. insist they explain clearly every odd thing they say. if they’re asking you to do something that sounds punky, chances are it is.
      keep your head. the people you are working with are fried to the max. if you are not, you have an advantage, and you can actually help them help you.

      banks are negotiating balances on unsecured debt with more flexibility than one would have imagined 5 years ago. they have no choice, as the huge number of delinquencies is forcing them to write off unprecedented numbers of loans. they may agree to any proposal that involves a monthly regular payment. zero interest is quite possible. again, stand your ground, keep your head, and if at first you don’t succeed, try again a couple of months later.

      if things become truly difficult, all of one’s expenses should come ahead of that unsecured debt payment, which should be dropped as needed. there is no shame in this at this point in the game. one is of no use to oneself or one’s family or community if one puts debt payment ahead of basic needs. by which i mean food, transportation, health care, and shelter.

      having high equity, in the looking-glass land of foreclosure today, can be attractive to a bank to foreclose.

      research whether your state has (perhaps quite recently) passed any regulations to protect homeowners in foreclosure against abuses. your state’s department of banking and insurance may be a good place to start. and don’t hesitate to call this department and ask any and all questions. they may be too busy to help much, or they may have help, guidance, and information on how other pennsylvanians are faring with modifications and foreclosures.

      often when homeowners who’ve been abused in the foreclosure process take it to the media, the bank sees the light and becomes interested in truly negotiating. a court of last resort if things go wrong.

      if you are concerned about doing the right thing when you can, not blowing off one’s local tax obligation is a good one. they desperately need the revenue, and it will help your community survive more whole going forward.

      good luck.

  9. BrokeCitizen

    Yves,
    Wondering when you and Barry and Whalen will come to admit that Sheila Bair is doing a horrible job, failing to close down banks until they are long dead, and costing the industry and the taxpayers a mint.

    1. Cynthia

      Which leads me to say that Obama calling the owner of the Philadelphia Eagles to congratulate him for hiring Michael Vick to play for his team is just more evidence that our Nobel Peace Prize-Winning President worships at the altar of violence and hate, making this an Orwellian nightmare come true for all of us. So for the sake of our own survival, we must sic the Dogs of War on Barry O’Bomber and his dog-torturing buddy, Michael Vick.

      Take it away, Pink Floyd:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XpTXHhMa_YQ

      1. Doug Terpstra

        You can tell a lot about people by how they treat animals, probably all you have to know. Jeffrey Dahmer comes to mind.

        My wife likes to observe how our animals respond to visitors, as they seem to possess extra-sensory prescience.

        The same may be true of observing what people find funny. For instance, perpetual adolescent George W Bush, when asked what Karla Faye, whom he executed as governor, might have asked him at the end, said in mock desperation with trademark frat smirk “please, please … don’t kill me!” And then there’s the White House dinner where he and Rove produced a video of him pretending to look for non-existent WMD’s. Just a funny game of hide-and-seek.

        But the latest comedy from our current Warmonger-in-Chief was a warning to rock-band Jonas Brothers performing at the recent WH dinner theater about intentions toward his daughters. “Two words for you,” he said, “predator drones. You will never see it coming.” Rolling on the floor hilarious! Such shit reminds me of the follies and amusements of French aristocrats in “Dangerous Liaisons”.

        1. Anonymous Jones

          “You can tell a lot about people by how they treat animals, probably all you have to know.”

          I generally agree with this, but like with most heuristics, there are a lot of false positives and false negatives; so yes, it’s a good general rule, but I’ve met a lot of sociopaths who worship animals and a lot of generally kind people who just are leery of other species.

          Regarding your humor comments, there really isn’t anything much less disgusting than people making light of the terror they impose upon the world. Talk about sociopaths. WH is full of them, apparently.

        2. Cynthia

          Pretty much all serial killers start out torturing and killing animals for fun and sport, so Michael Vick most definitely has the character traits of a serial killer. So I find it very troubling that our president would have anything good to say about such a cruel and evil man as Michael Vick.

          And for Obama to make a joke about predator drones, when we’ve used them to kill thousands of innocent civilians, makes him a bit of a psychopath, too. Obama is also a pretty sick puppy for portraying his two prepubescent daughters as sexual objects. So it’s bad enough that we’ve got a president who’s a warmonger, but it’s even worse that we’ve got a president who has zero respect for human life.

      2. Fractal

        we need a separate thread for trash-talking. Vick looked questionable in Tuesday’s Sunday Night Football matchup of Eagles vs. Vikings. He strung together excellent passing sequences to advance 40-60 yards, only to fumble the ball and turn it over as Eagles were on brink of scoring. TWICE. If you ask me, he looked like he was taking a dive, felonious gambler that he is. So he just stunk up the place after being so publicly praised by the preznit, made the preznit look stupid.

    2. Doug Terpstra

      The expression says, “Take a picture; it’ll last longer…and…hey, you’d be skinny-dpping too if you had such a cute butt!”

  10. brian

    I am somewhat confused regarding the article about potential damage to eyes from game systems. I thought the science was conclusive that reading as a child is the major cause of short sight. Presumably staring at a small game system at a close distance will also cause short sight?

  11. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Bank Failures at Highest Level Since 1992.

    Hmmm…

    Actually, by my calculation, 1992 isn’t really a bad number or wasn’t a bad year.

    In a few days, it will be 2011.

    Now, 2011 is a prime year…technically, a prime number year.

    What happened in the most recent prime years, you ask?

    Well, let’s see.

    1973 was a prime year and we had the first oil crisis.

    The next prime year was 1979 – another oil crisis year as Ayatollah Khomeni took power.

    Then came 1987, the next prime number – and we had a not-so-minor market crash in October that year.

    After that, 1993, another prime number – this time, NAFTA was signed into law…another disaster.

    Next, we have a prime pair, 1997 and 1999 – in 1997, we had the Asian Contagion and in 1999, we had Y2K.

    That brings us to the last time we had a prime year, 2003 – and we had a financial crisis in Argentina.

    Here we are looking at 2011, another prime year.

    Now, you can look at the bad things that happened in 2008 and say maybe there is nothing to this ‘prime year’ phobia, or you can take the conservative approach and remind yourself that if things could be that bad in an even number year like 2008, you better prepare yourself for a prime year like 2011.

    Of coures, if the monks from the Dark Ages were mistaken and we are actually entering year 2012, for example, maybe you can relax and go back to bed…or go read up on Mayan propphecies.

  12. colinc

    The Pew Research quiz and, especially, the “analysis” were almost dumbfounding! That is, I was astounded first by the “results” and the breakdown of the numbers and demographics. If this is even remotely “accurate” in reflecting the awareness of “the American people” then we have no business even calling ourselves, as a group, “sentient” let alone “educated.” I guess that’s why people are willing to be “tested” on the idiot-box with respect to a “5th-grader” instead of a H.S. or college “graduate.” Of course, that last group didn’t fare all that well in the quiz, either.

    Perhaps more astonishing was that the researchers themselves, in the analysis, deem the quiz “difficult.” I won’t “discuss” my score here [bad manners, right?], but suffice it to say that I finished the 12 questions in less than 2 minutes and my score was above any of the averages. In other words, what was so damn “difficult” about it?
    That article, taken in conjunction with some of the climate-related comments above (among many other places), only reinforce my “calculation” that by 2050, fewer than 100 million “humans” will exist on this space-faring rock. The planet won’t notice.

    1. Ignim Brites

      2050 is a little soon for the population to dip to 100 million but that is definitely where we are headed. I figure it will take a few centuries to get below a billion. Fortunately, economic output will contract much much faster. That is one reason why global warming isn’t as much of a threat as some make it out to be. As the global economy contracts, CO2 emissions will contract with it.

      1. colinc

        Yes, I understand that. However, it was also my understanding that they (Pew) were [merely?] trying to gauge how much of the population “knows” those “talking points.” Moreover, I found the questions “properly” worded to reflect that, unlike many polls I’ve seen. I don’t think the survey was in any way trying to assess what people “believe” are “actual” conditions. Furthermore, not every question was a mere talking point. The questions regarding the last election and changing congressional “leadership” are, in point of fact, fact. (BTW, I did read your linked post, thanks, and the comments.)
        Lastly, not that it “really” matters (I suppose), but I get the vast majority of my information online and rarely see any idiot-box “news.” Specifically, I find the posts here, both articles and “Links” and many of the comments, to be of great value as well as those expressed at Baseline Scenario, Zero Hedge, Rortybomb, and even “your” site, among many, many others. So, I wonder, what is “really” being reflected if the Pew questions are just “talking points,” versus “reality,” and yet “we” (including those commenting on your site’s article), the “realists,” managed to score “better than the average(s)?” Hmmmm.

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