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"Chuck Norris doesn't read books; he stares them down until he gets the information he wants out of them."
- ChuckNorrisFactsdotcom

Sunday, March 05, 2006
Warm fuzzies. I've said many times that if I had the money I'd hire someone to translate Tom Paine and leaflet the entire middle east. This is also why the asshole censorship collaboration that Yahoo and Google have been up to deserves swift and repeated nut-kicking.

Censorship is bad and should be subjected to the same sort of moral scrutiny that one applies to the taking of a life. There are rare occasions when censorship is a good action. They're so rare that the default position should always be freedom to speak and publish and distribute.

The free flow of information is why we are where we are today. The great american creativity machine runs on the first amendment. That's also why China won't catch us up until they've changed so much that they're unrecognizeable. They're already handicapped by their socio-political-cultural system. The past few years of explosive growth have allowed them and us to ignore that. At some point in the near future that growth will hit against the limits of the system and the system may not be resilient enough to handle it.

posted by Rachel 3/05/2006
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article. It segues nicely into another compare and contrast I've been thinking about for awhile. Muslim fanatics vs. Christian fanatics. Every other person I talk with seems to feel this knee-jerk reflexive comparison of the cartoon brouhaha and anti-abortion violence. It's not the same. It's not even in the same ballpark. Consider someone who feels this way:
We feel so strongly about this that we are going to do everything we can to stop it. We recognise no moral limits. The end justifies the means. Continue on this path and you must fear for your life.
Compare the motivation behind such a conclusion. On the one hand the group espousing such an idea believes that a doctor who performs abortions is comitting murder and will continue to do so. The other group is concerned about the treatment pieces of paper or the likeness of an individual who died hundreds of years ago. Wrong. Yet, they are not the same. A simple numerical comparison of people killed by/ for/ in the name of/ the different world religions within the last 20 years will bear that out.

Remember Piss Christ?
Remember the unveiled girls who were forced back into a burning building?

posted by Rachel 3/05/2006
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posted by Rachel 3/05/2006
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More on the
housing bubble. If you're a homeowner and you think you might need to sell, do it now. Don't wait until all those desperate unemployed realtors and construction workers are competing with you for the same few buyers.

Desperate people will start discounting. As crazy as the people showing up to open houses with briefcases full of cash and tens of thousands over the asking price was, expect the pendulum to swing back just as hard the other way, with people slashing tens or even hundreds of thousands from their asking prices. The most insane sellers market will be followed by an insane buyers market.

The housing bubble popping has the potential to be more than twice as nasty as the dot com bubble. More money and more people are involved. The best to hope for is a decade of zero appreciation. The alternative is actual price declines in order to return to the historical norm of 1-2% annual appreciation. 5 years worth of 20% annual appreciation needs to be balanced out. Price declines tend to start a spiral of decline as buyers wait for prices to fall more and desperate sellers become willing to do anything to get that $500,000 loan off their necks.

If things get bad enough, (and it's happened twice in the last decade,) people just walk away from houses they can't sell and mortgages they can't pay off. Enough of that and you can destabilize the banking system. What can the bank do with houses that won't sell for more than 75% of the loan amount? Eat the 25% loss? Eat thousands and thousands of them? Isn't it convenient that the bankruptcy rules just changed?

posted by Rachel 3/05/2006
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