Monthly Archives: May 2008

‘A refresher on how the press failed the people’

My brother Dan has a good memory, and uses it to write A refresher on how the press failed the people (on Iraq) at Nieman Watchdog.

Of course, that's not the only issue on which one could make that critique, but it's certainly one of the biggest.

Update: Does this qualify as an answer to The Seth Leibsohn Challenge?

Posted in Dan Froomkin, The Media | 4 Comments

Court Holds Bank’s Reliance on Transparently Fake Loan Docs Not ‘Objectively Reasonable’ Hence Dischargable

Via Calculated Risk, BK Judge Rules Stated Income HELOC Debt Dischargeable, news of a decisions that does indeed seem likely to be important if followed — and also seems reasonable enough to be followed:

This is a big deal, and will no doubt strike real fear in the hearts of stated-income lenders everywhere. … Judge Leslie Tchaikovsky ruled that a National City HELOC that had been “foreclosed out” would be discharged in the debtors' Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Nat City had argued that the debt should be non-dischargeable because the debtors made material false representations (namely, lying about their income) on which Nat City relied when it made the loan. The court agreed that the debtors had in fact lied to the bank, but it held that the bank did not “reasonably rely” on the misrepresentations.

I argued some time ago that the whole point of stated income lending was to make the borrower the fall guy: the lender can make a dumb loan—knowing perfectly well that it is doing so—while shifting responsibility onto the borrower, who is the one “stating” the income and—in theory, at least—therefore liable for the misrepresentation. This is precisely where Judge Tchaikovsky has stepped in and said “no dice.” This is not one of those cases where the broker or lender seems to have done the lying without the borrower's knowledge

Lots more good stuff where that came from.

Posted in Econ & Money: Mortgage Mess | Comments Off on Court Holds Bank’s Reliance on Transparently Fake Loan Docs Not ‘Objectively Reasonable’ Hence Dischargable

But Am I Big In Japan?

The folks at Wikio sent email saying

Wikio is the number 1 news aggregator in Europe, indexing over 55,000 English-language sources. We have only recently launched our Top Blog rankings … We have designed our rankings so as to make them the most comprehensive on the Internet – you can check them out in full and get more details on how they are compiled.

And they sent me this:

Now, in my view, being # 893 (which is what this showed on the day I posted this item) on almost any European blog list is pretty good for a small-time US operation like this one. But does it mean anything? Apparently, that number is a result of mating a Google-like ranking with a TLB Ecosystem-like ranking:

The position of a blog in the Wikio ranking depends on the number and weight of the incoming links from other blogs. These links are dynamic, which means that they are backlinks or links found within articles.

Blogrolls are not taken into account and Wikio only counts links from the last 120 days. We thus hope to provide a classification more representative of trends in the blogosphere.

Moreover, the weight of a link depends on the linking blog’s position in the Wikio ranking. With our algorithm, the weight of a link from a top blog is greater than that of a link from a blog that is less well ranked.

So it's part popularity contest, and part weighted popularity contest. But does the attention of crowds measure wisdom?

Posted in | Comments Off on But Am I Big In Japan?

Jessica Carvalho Morris Joins Amnesty International USA Board

Congratulations to Jessica Carvalho Morris, JD '03, who is the Director of UM Law's International and Foreign Graduate Programs, for being elected to the National Board of Directors of Amnesty International USA.

Jessica has been the coordinator for the Miami Chapter of Amnesty since January 2004.

Posted in Miami | 1 Comment

Iraq War & Torture: The Time for Civility Is Long Past

[I don't believe I have ever posted about a book I have not read, but I'm going to make an exception today—but keep in mind I'm working off secondary sources, which inevitably carries the risk that I may be misinformed.]

Former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan has reportedly penned a confessional memoir admitting, inter alia, that “Bush relied on 'propaganda' to sell the war”; “the White House press corps was too easy on the administration during the run-up to the war”; and suggesting that Rove and Libby conspired to obstruct justice.

I think the horrors of the US torture policy and the US Iraq policy have been so clear for so long that the time for civility is long past.

So, assuming the published book summaries are correct, in the main, I agree with Daily Kos: Cheers and Jeers: Wednesday where it is written:

MASSIVE JEERS to Scott McClellan. The latest former Bush lapdog—-he was press secretary from '03 to '06—-to come out of the woodwork has several juicy nuggets in his hot-off-the-presses tell-all book. Bottom line: he confirms everything that we dirty hippie bloggers were screaming about at the top of our lungs, but which the traditional media ignored because…well, because Scott McClellan stood at his little White House podium and denied it all, lying out of his fat little elitist face as the stenographers printed his crap without scrutiny.

Once again, we come face to face with a White House official who could've done the right thing…but instead decided that the lives of American troops, Iraqi civilians, Katrina victims, and a network of covert CIA operatives were worth less than the luster of his master's lapel pin. When our country needed him to tell it straight, he hid behind propaganda and spin and bogus talking points and outright bamboozlement.

He told us to our faces we could trust him, when all along he knew that he was committing deception on a massive scale with horrific consequences. The lies he left in his wake, placed end to end, could reach the moon and back. He helped put the welfare of a handful of maniacal warmongers ahead of the welfare of the country. The time to reveal the way the Bushies were “restoring honor and integrity to the White House” was back then—-years ago—-when such revelations might've done some good. Instead, he waited until 2008 for his conscience dump.

I could certainly have done without the personal appearance slur, but most of the rest of it seems a reasonable response to, as the Kos writer puts it, “341 pages of, Hey, I was just following orders.” (Although from the sound of it, the memoir is actually more along the equally ignoble lines of, “the noble good-hearted Tsar was badly served by his evil counselors.”)

But I do not agree with this absurd call to action. There are much better ways to protest.

Posted in Iraq | 5 Comments

Mr. Show Demonstrates How to Go Negative in Ads

Mr Show – McHutchence vs Greeley III

Posted in Completely Different | 1 Comment