Mailvox: true owners

BG queries about who actually owns the home:

I am a recent convert to your blog. I enjoy your unconventional, but unfailingly thoughtful, opinions.

Here is something for you to ponder. Assume that the evidence shows that the putative owner of a mortgage is not the actual owner of the mortgage, due to improper transfer procedures in the securitization process, such as a failure to properly endorse and record the necessary transfer documents. The implications for foreclosures may be profound, as you and others have indicated.

But think about this from a different point of view for a minujte. Wouldn’t this logic imply that a nondefaulting homeowner, who has been making all of the payments on his home, has in fact not been paying the proper person? Could the true owner of the mortgage sue the homeowner for not making payments to the true owner? The true owner might want to do this because the banks, servicers and other intermediaries might soon all be broke due to the foreclosure problem.

It does imply that the wrong party has been paid, in fact, this is exactly why multiple banks have been foreclosing on some houses. The problem is that in the case of a broken line of mortgage transference, it is not only difficult to ascertain the true holder of the debt, but in many cases the connection of the debt to the title is cancelled by virtue of the note proving the claim being destroyed in the process of the transfer. In such cases, the debt may still be owed to the “true owner”, but it is no longer secured by the home.

So, to answer the rest of BG’s questions, yes, the true owner of the debt can sue the homeowner but is very unlikely to because he has no claim on the house. The reason it makes no sense for the true debt-holder to sue the homeowner is that a bankruptcy filing on the part of the homeowner will discharge that debt without relinquishing the house.

Ender’s Game

I am increasingly beginning to feel like Leopold Mozart. After a spate of ASL games, Ender decided to design some game rules for his little football men. These are the NFL teams used the old electric vibrating football game; I used to break the flat bottoms off and play with them in the carpet when I was a kid. I didn’t do anything particularly fancy with them, I would just line them up and run little plays, then record the “results” in a notebook. Of course, I created a whole fantasy league with teams in places like Norfolk; both Minneapolis and St. Paul had their own teams.

Ender takes a much more systematic approach than I did. He doesn’t break off the stands nor invent his own franchises, but instead got his mother to make him a paperboard football field for which he makes paper logos that go in the middle of the field for the designated home team. Then he wrote up 10 double-sided pages of rules in which the offensive play call and the defensive call combine to create a modifier that is applied to dice roll on the play result table for the appropriate formation. It’s essentially Maddens meets ASL, or more to the point, a simplified version of Avalon Hills 1959 Football Strategy, but it’s surprisingly entertaining and produces pretty reasonable results despite the fact that absolutely no statistical analysis went into the formation result tables.

My one suggestion was to add a dynamic element via special rolls. “Heat of Battle”-style rolls triggered by net results below 2 or above 12 provide for fumbles and interceptions versus big gains and touchdowns, and blitzes against passes give either a -2 (1-2) for the defense or +3 (3-6) for the offense. Those elements backfired on me last night as I fumbled twice inside his 30-yard line.

It’s bad enough to have been surpassed on the literary side. But playing this last night, I suddenly had the alarming impression that it would make for a pretty good Facebook/Android game.

Ignoring the elephant

In which the New York Times is astounded to discover that poverty isn’t to blame for substandard intellectual achievement:

An achievement gap separating black from white students has long been documented — a social divide extremely vexing to policy makers and the target of one blast of school reform after another. But a new report focusing on black males suggests that the picture is even bleaker than generally known.

Only 12 percent of black fourth-grade boys are proficient in reading, compared with 38 percent of white boys, and only 12 percent of black eighth-grade boys are proficient in math, compared with 44 percent of white boys.

Poverty alone does not seem to explain the differences: poor white boys do just as well as African-American boys who do not live in poverty, measured by whether they qualify for subsidized school lunches.

The data was distilled from highly respected national math and reading tests, known as the National Assessment for Educational Progress, which are given to students in fourth and eighth grades, most recently in 2009. The report, “A Call for Change,” is to be released Tuesday by the Council of the Great City Schools, an advocacy group for urban public schools.

Although the outlines of the problem and many specifics have been previously reported, the group hopes that including so much of what it calls “jaw-dropping data” in one place will spark a new sense of national urgency….

“There’s accumulating evidence that there are racial differences in what kids experience before the first day of kindergarten,” said Ronald Ferguson, director of the Achievement Gap Initiative at Harvard. “They have to do with a lot of sociological and historical forces. In order to address those, we have to be able to have conversations that people are unwilling to have.”

It is truly remarkable what lengths some people will go in order to avoid the conclusion that is not so much staring them in the face as smashing in their teeth. While there are sociological factors involved – that 72% illegitimacy rate probably doesn’t help foster the development of black mathematicians – it’s more than a little absurd to insist that every group across the human race has precisely the same intellectual capacity. They don’t. This is an observable fact and would be an accepted scientific fact as well if scientists would focus on science instead of politics.

The current state of science is such a joke that it borders on parody. All the charlatans who want to pontificate about the holy theoretical mechanism behind the origin of the species are deathly afraid to admit to the obvious conclusions dictated by that mechanism while sociologists search desperately for an alternative to the completely obvious. If you’ve got one kid who is reading Tolstoy at five and another one who can’t sound out the word CAT, there is a very high probability that the first kid is significantly more intelligent than the second one.

The ultimate s-test

If you fail this one, don’t be surprised if the operation turns out to be superfluous:

It’s almost always the woman who suggests a vasectomy, says Duncan Harriss, consultant urological ­surgeon at the Park Hospital, ­Nottingham, who performs vasectomies and vasectomy reversals….. Women are used to being in control of contraception and it’s often difficult to let go of that, even when it’s their husband’s fertility, not their own, in question.

‘The number of vasectomy reversals is increasing and that’s a sign of how relationships are breaking down in this country,’ says Duncan Harriss. He sees five to ten men a week who regret their vasectomy — or, to be more precise, whose wives regret it. ‘The most common situation is that a man has had ­children, had a vasectomy in his 40s and then the relationship has broken down.

Imagine that. Now, I’m not saying that men shouldn’t have vasectomies if they want although I have been told they are much more potentially problematic than most guys tend to assume. But if your wife is demanding that you literally demasculate yourself because she is feeling insecure about the possibility that you might be able to build another family without her, then it is probably safe to go ahead and schedule a few family court appearances, a wedding, and an eventual reversal to go along with the initial operation if you are foolish enough to accede.

Any man who has even the least awareness of Game will understand the disastrous consequences that are likely to result from failing this extreme form of marital s-test.