Credit crunch

The foreign press is much more open about the horrid state of the U.S. economy:

The verdict is in. The Fed’s emergency rate cuts in January have failed to halt the downward spiral towards a full-blown debt deflation. Much more drastic action will be needed. Yields on two-year US Treasuries plummeted to 1.63pc on Friday in a flight to safety, foretelling financial winter. The debt markets are freezing ever deeper, a full eight months into the crunch. Contagion is spreading into the safest pockets of the US credit universe.

The desperate emergency rate-cutting was a foolish idea anyhow. More of the venom that’s poisoning you isn’t going to help, Americans would have been a lot better off if they’d taken their medicine back in 2001. Instead, more money was pumped in and no amount of hiding the statistics can conceal the fact that running the printing presses until they melt isn’t going to fix anything.

The Fed is like a guy with a hammer trying to steer a car. The car is headed for a cliff, so he frantically pounds on the steering wheel until it breaks. Now, there’s nothing it can do. A friend of mine was cursing the fact that he’s tied into dollars because of his stock options. “They’re so screwed”, he said, in unconscious imitation of what two other executives had concluded just last week.

Don’t plan on moving anytime soon, and if you’re thinking of selling your house, better do it now. Prices are going to continue to go lower, and they’ll do so for longer than anyone thinks. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing if you’re into cash, or better yet, if you’ve been into gold for the last five years. But it is problematic given the size of the debt edifice that has been constructed upon the housing market.

UPDATE – Unsurprisingly, the reaction of state and local governments to this decline in availability and concomitant increase in the price of credit is to try to change the rules in their favor:

A complex system of credit ratings and insurance policies that Wall Street uses to set prices for municipal bonds makes borrowing needlessly expensive for many localities, some officials say. States and cities have begun to fight back, saying they can no longer afford the status quo given the slackening economy and recent market turmoil.

Mailvox: A Marine concurs

Gunny JMC testifies:

I found the school system substantially flawed and only those students with the burning desire to educate themselves, getting an actual education, in my day, graduating high school in 1975. At the time, the teachers were mostly good teachers, and well educated, but fighting a bureaucratic system. It occupied too much of their time, but had not destroyed them yet.

I watched my son and daughter get a horrible education, ameliorated only by my demands of their reading skills, and the constant discussions on everything, each day and evening at home. Neither of my two children graduated high school, but they fit right in with the statistical failure of their school. I’m not sure how one would graduate from the school they went to, it was over-run with gangs and drugs, and only a few male teachers were able to control the mob scenes. I went there on a regular basis, sometimes in uniform, sometimes not, but I always saw kids in the halls, and on many occasion, reached out and grabbed a firm hold and stopped a kid from doing something.

You are absolutely right in calling for the end of these schools.

It’s easy for the college-educated class to forget that while they can afford to have terrible schools tearing away at the values that sustain the social fabric, the less-educated have no such margin of error. It doesn’t actually matter much what is learned or not learned by the suburban girl whose parents pay for a quiet abortion, by the suburban boy whose parents hire lawyers to plea-bargain a felony distribution charge down to a possession misdemeanor and 100 hours of community service, or by the adult-children of either sex who take eight years to complete their sociology degrees on Mommy and Daddy’s dime. They can afford to mess around for 12 years, then settle down into a functional role as an office drone or hausfrau without their lack of an actual education having any significant effect on their lives. They possess the economic ticket, which is all that a college degree represents nowadays.

As I have written previously, the schools are now so bad that they actually maleducate, the net effect is negative and a child would learn more and receive a better education by doing nothing but playing XBox and PS/3 for 12 years. At least he’d learn reading, math and geography, you’d be amazed at the level of geographical knowledge possessed by the average 12-year old wargamer.

An unusual take on TIA

Publisher’s Weekly comes up with a description of TIA that actually manages to be less accurate than that of the most hostile atheist non-reading reviewer:

The atheists write with what Matt Baugher, v-p and publisher for spiritual growth and Christian thought at Thomas Nelson, calls “venom,” stridently stating that religious belief is delusional and dangerous and the world would be better off without it. Becky Garrison (InProfile, this issue), senior contributing editor for the smart Christian humor magazine the Wittenburg Door, offers a snarky, satiric response in The New Atheist Crusaders and Their Unholy Grail (Thomas Nelson, Jan.). Baugher said orders from mainstream retailers for Garrison’s book have been double what they expected.

Blogger and political columnist Vox Day comes at the issues from a nontheological perspective in The Irrational Atheist (BenBella, Feb.), relying on factual evidence to counter atheist claims that religion causes war, that religious people are more apt to commit crime and that the Bible and other sacred texts are unreliable and fictitious…. All of these books aim to move the discussion in a less vitriolic direction, and none more so than Zondervan’s A Friendly Dialogue Between an Atheist and a Christian (Feb.).

Less vitriolic. That’s just… astounding, considering that I did nearly everything but question Richard Dawkin’s parentage and tear out Sam Harris’s liver with my bare hands. PW is known throughout the publishing industry for its oft-peculiar take on books, but this may take the cake. Of course, it’s possible that they had the insight to see through the aggressive gamer’s pose and realized that at heart I’m all about the kumbaya and mutual hair-braiding.

On a tangential note, I was helping some guild mates on a quest at the Hellfire Citadel last night when a L70 Blood Elf priest and an L61 Tauren warrior happened to show up at the instance gate where we were waiting for the last member of our party to arrive. I immediately hit the priest with a Viper Sting and set my wolf on the warrior, leading to a violent free-for-all that left five dead, two of ours and three of theirs. The two that got killed were understandably annoyed, which amused the last member of our party when he showed up, saw all the skeletons and asked what happened.

After being informed, he took one look at my Field-Marshal’s Pursuit and said “Never invite a battleground guy anywhere you’re likely to run into Horde.”

Reason #356,485

Charlotte Allen notices the obvious in the Washington Post:

“Women ‘Falling for Obama,’ ” the story’s headline read. Elsewhere around the country, women were falling for the presidential candidate literally. Connecticut radio talk show host Jim Vicevich has counted five separate instances in which women fainted at Obama rallies since last September. And I thought such fainting was supposed to be a relic of the sexist past, when patriarchs forced their wives and daughters to lace themselves into corsets that cut off their oxygen.

I can’t help it, but reading about such episodes of screaming, gushing and swooning makes me wonder whether women — I should say, “we women,” of course — aren’t the weaker sex after all. Or even the stupid sex, our brains permanently occluded by random emotions, psychosomatic flailings and distraction by the superficial. Women “are only children of a larger growth,” wrote the 18th-century Earl of Chesterfield. Could he have been right?

Short answer: yes. But the women’s foolishness she mentions is far from harmless, unfortunately, it will likely require the collapse of Western civilization – or at least its partial conquest by non-feminized cultures – before it will be universally acknowledged that permitting female influence in government does not yield significantly better long-term results than permitting children a similar influence. If this statement upsets you, then I’d be very interested in hearing what, precisely, you believe the difference would likely be. As it stands, most government policy revolves around giving anyone who screams loud enough whatever they want.

It’s been said that if women had run the world from the start, we’d still be living in caves. That’s an exaggeration, of course; matriarchal societies actually tend to produce grass-hut dwellers. To me, the interesting question is if a post-patriarchal culture will survive long enough to return to hut-dwelling or if it will simply die out altogether.

Discuss amongst yourselves