They know they’re losing

When you’re losing, change the language:

“NPR News is revising the terms we use to describe people and groups involved in the abortion debate. This updated policy is aimed at ensuring the words we speak and write are as clear, consistent and neutral as possible. This is important given that written text is such an integral part of our work.

On the air, we should use “abortion rights supporter(s)/advocate(s)” and “abortion rights opponent(s)” or derivations thereof (for example: “advocates of abortion rights”). It is acceptable to use the phrase “anti-abortion”, but do not use the term “pro-abortion rights”.

Digital News will continue to use the AP style book for online content, which mirrors the revised NPR policy.

Do not use “pro-life” and “pro-choice” in copy except when used in the name of a group.

So, an “abortion rights supporter” is not “pro-abortion rights”? How does that make any sense? However, I do generally agree with the move away from the pro-life / pro-choice dichotomy. Most abortionettes are not uniformly pro-abortion, they primarily support it in the case of black women or when a baby inconveniently stands in the way of obtaining that all important degree in Starbuck’s managementWomen’s Studies or Walmart receptionistSociology. And “pro-choice” was always stupid. It was as about as reasonable as describing Hitler as “pro-choice” when it came to Jews.

Anyhow, it’s a pretty transparent to cast the anti-abortion movement as anti-rights. Because all rights are good, after all. Personally, I tend to view the two sides as “abortionette” and “decent, civilized human being”. The ironic thing is that it’s usually the ignorant pro-infanticide crowd that attempts to portray the opposition as paleolithic. But if there is one thing that archeology has taught us, it is that pre-Christian societies viewed it as a parental right to murder unwanted children, especially baby girls.

Wanktankery-doo

Not being a Republican, a conservative, or a wonker, I am completely unconcerned with who happens to work at the various Washington wankfeststhink tanks. That being said, I hardly think it’s astonishing to learn David Frum has continued to travel along the leftward path trod by David Brock and others before him.

With Mike Allen’s account of his exchange with David Frum, we apparently have David’s version of his departure from AEI: Donor pressure forced AEI president Arthur Brooks to fire him. “But the elite isn’t leading anymore,” David is quoted as saying. “It’s trapped. Partly because of the desperate economic situation in the country, what were once the leading institutions of conservatism are constrained. I think Arthur took no pleasure in this. I think he was embarrassed. I think he would have avoided it if he possibly could, but he couldn’t.”

I have known and liked David and Danielle Frum for many years, and what I am about to write will end that friendship. I regret that. But his statement goes beyond self-serving. It is a calumny against an organization that has treated him not just fairly but generously…. I also think that for David to have leveled the charge that Arthur Brooks caved in to donor pressure, knowing that the charge would be picked up and spread beyond recall, knowing that such a charge strikes at the core of the Institute’s integrity, and making such a sensational charge without a shred of evidence, is despicable.

Merowr! Despicable calumny… that’s excellent. This tempest in a teapot should be good for a few amusingly overheated columns over the next few weeks, to say nothing of random sideshots over the years. Having read a pair of David Frum’s books and interviewed him, I think he’s an interesting thinker who is about as genuinely and deeply conservative as Lady Gaga. Frum is one of those unique political analysts whose superior ability to recognize a problem is inversely proportional to his ability to recommend a reasonable solution to it.

I don’t see much value in the wank tanks anyhow. Begging copious donations from a lot of people in order to give it to a few people who have never accomplished anything material in their lives to sit around and think grand thoughts strikes me as an excellent way to kill a lot of trees without producing anything of value. I haven’t seen any evidence that the wank tanks have a better track record for putting out significant books than the average non-fiction publisher. As for the American Enterprise Institute, I see they’ve got something like 13 Fellows who supposedly pay attention to the economy and U.S. monetary policy, precisely none of whom were capable of figuring out that perhaps keeping interest rates near zero just possibly might cause an investment bubble that could perhaps have some small effect on the economy.

(rolls eyes) Seriously, what in the name of Milton Friedman are you doing if your entire job is to pay attention to monetary policy and you don’t even know what obvious effect certain monetary policies will have on the economy?

On "helping" indebted homeowners

Karl Denninger correctly points out the obvious about the latest Obama sleight of hand on housing:

Absolutely none of the attempts made thus far have had a damn thing to do with helping Americans, and this “new program” is no exception. They have all – each and every one – been aimed at one and only one thing – allowing banks and the GSEs to lie about the “value” of the home loans they hold.

The essence of this economic mess was a credit bubble. Nowhere was it bigger in the impact on the common American than in residential real estate.

Every action since this crisis began related to housing has acted to prevent the market from clearing. Holding loans and houses above market value – the price where they will clear in a free and open market – has been done for one and only one purpose – to allow banks and GSEs that are radically underwater – that is, INSOLVENT – to pretend they are not.

This latest plan to use TARP money to subsidize those who own homes with mortgages that exceed the value of their homes is actually nothing more than another bank subsidy. Washington is giving the banks something for nothing; the “cuts” envisioned on the second mortgages will actually have the net effect of temporarily creating some value in an otherwise worthless unsecured loan. As Denninger points out, the plan does not represent a cut in loan value from 100% to 15%, but rather an increase from 0% to 15%.

It’s just more extend-and-pretend. And like all the previous efforts to prop things up, it’s going to fail too. Remember, the primary reason banks so desperately want to prevent foreclosures is because they want to avoid being forced to revalue the loans presently inflating their assets.

On a tangential note, consider the intriguing implications of the following comparison of interest rates:

4.78% 30-year Treasury Note
4.99% 30-year mortgage

In other words, Federal Debt is priced as being nearly as risky as a home mortgage in a market where a significant number of mortgages are underwater or in default.

The FAQ

Like everyone else, I get tired of answering lots of similar questions on a regular basis, so it’s long past time to put together an FAQ to which I can point curious parties in the future. So, here’s your chance to ask a few that may or may not make the list. As always, I will ignore questions that I deem to be overly personal and those that concern friends and family.