Monday, February 23, 2004
Looney Rooney, And He Ain’t the Only One
I have no idea if Andy Rooney has any belief in the Judeo-Christian representation of who God is, but he evidently has bought into the fallacy that individuals who profess to believe in God aren’t supposed to make any money. Why do I state this? Because of this statement of Rooney’s from his commentary As God Told Me…
My question to Mel Gibson is: “How many million dollars does it look as if you’re going to make off the crucifixion of Christ?”
Oooh, that’ll skewer him, won’t it Andy?
I think that Rooney’s question is possibly related to the rich man through the eye of a camel parable in the New Testament. I don’t know this for certain, but it’s a sound bet. If the catalyst for Rooney’s “skewering” question is not the parable mentioned, it could then very well be that Rooney has bought the whole altruistic fallacy propounded by both Socialism and Christianity. If this is so, he is then as much a thaumaturge as Stalin, Lenin, Marx, the Pope and the other Bible thumpers who propound sacrificing all you have for everyone else. Wouldn’t that then make us all gods?
I wonder how much money Andy Rooney and CBS are making off of interviewing Gibson via paid commercial advertisers and the four advertisement links for religious movies or what have you at the link above.
I Didn’t Get the Position
I recently applied for a writing position in the financial industry and I submitted a couple of articles as part of the consideration process. Alas, I did not get the position. Since I do not want the pieces to just sit in my computer, forlornly, I thought I’d share one I had written for consideration. The following piece is titled “Big Chicken Dinners” and within it I share some of my experiences with the high risk mortgage industry.
The economy is good , the economy is bad, Americans are wealthier than ever before, there are more Americans in poverty than ever before, what is an individual to believe, and, does what is stated in those words apply to you? They may or may not apply to you, depending on your current circumstances. What I want to look at today are Big Chicken Dinners, or, for those of you unfamiliar with mortgage lending lingo, loans for individuals with less than perfect credit. Mortgages rated B, C, or D, depending on your credit rating.
A paper mortgages have been around for a long time. An A paper mortgage is for an individual employed for at least 2 years and has maintained good credit. Meaning the individual pays his bills on time. B, C, and D paper mortgages are for those individuals with somewhat checkered employment histories and who pay their bills in varying degrees of lateness. Somewhat late, B paper, mostly late to usually late, C paper, or always late and approaching bankruptcy, D paper.
Mortgage lenders who write these Big Chicken Dinner loans have a mostly negative reputation. Some of them deservedly so, but the fact remains that these type of loans, and the lenders who offer them, play an important role in the mortgage industry, and, more importantly, as a cash flow provider savior, or devil, to the borrower.
If you are a home owner who is in financial difficulty, and have equity in your home, a Big Chicken Dinner mortgage can be just what is needed from the mortgage lending menu. These mortgages can be applied as the band aid you need to effect the healing your financial wounds require. The trick is to have a basic understanding of how to read the HUD-1 Settlement Statement when the time comes for you to sign the papers provided by the mortgage buffet of your choice.
The most important items to pay attention to, before you actually sign the bill, are junk fees, service release premiums (SRP), and origination fees. First, the origination fee. Origination fees are fees that go directly to the lender from your pocket. Like paying for a hamburger, origination fees are the price you pay to work with that particular lender. In today’s marketplace, they typically do not exceed 1% of the mortgage amount. Thus, if you are borrowing $100,000.00 dollars, the origination fee should not exceed $1,000.00. Next, let’s consider the junk fees. Junk fees, depending on the creativity of the mortgage lender, can take on many guises. The junk fees may be called a processing fee, a commitment fee, a lending fee, a document preparation fee, or all of the above, and can add up to a large number. If the junk fees are more than $300.00 to $500.00, you are paying for gravy that the meal does not need to enhance its taste. The SRP fees, are fees that are paid to your server. In this case the guy sitting across the desk from you (your server) representing the mortgage broker you are dealing with, by the full service mortgage lender/restaurant across the street. SRP fees are kind of funny. They will show on your HUD-1 many times in brackets. What SRP’s actually are, are monies paid to the mortgage broker, your server behind the desk, by the ultimate provider of your mortgage, the lender or the guy you will actually make your payment to. A simple way to think of this, is, you are at a restaurant, you order your Big Chicken Dinner, your server walks to the kitchen with your order, and a different restaurant delivers, through the back door, your meal, without you being aware of this. There’s nothing illegal about it, they’re just not serving food they’ve prepared and the SRP reimburses the broker you’re working with for selling the actual lender’s stuff.
Big Chicken Dinner loans can taste good, but you must take care when ordering. Ask someone who has had one. They can give you an opinion as to the quality of the meal served. It may be the Big Chicken Dinner was very, very good, or, it may have brought on such a severe case of food poisoning the individual is still suffering and in worse financial shape than before.
UNCW Indoctrination Center
In November of 2003, I got an unusual phone call from a fellow employee here at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington (UNCW). The employee had just attended a monthly staff meeting in another department. He claimed that during the meeting a high-ranking UNCW administrator had stated that recent increases in the number of student Christian organizations were causing “concern” for some members of the university administration.
Can’t be true, right?
Unfortunately, on December 8, 2003, a member of the Student Organization Committee (SOC) at UNCW told me that the university was indeed considering a possible quota on Christian organizations at UNC-Wilmington. During our conversation, this tenured faculty member casually stated that the university had too many Christian organizations to manage. He claimed that it would soon be necessary to stop recognizing new Christian organizations and instead have students conform their religious beliefs to those of existing organizations.
Whoops, I guess it is, but let’s not create a paper trail in regards to this.
And I’m afraid it gets even worse than that. On November 26th, the Director of the University Union sent a memo to the Chair of the SOC stating the following:
“I spoke with the Vice Chancellor yesterday afternoon. We are in agreement that we need to limit the communication by email to all involved. If there is a student who has been speaking with Dr. Adams, then in sending the information to the committee, we are sending it to him. We very specifically do not want to be communicating with him in writing or it might show up in the next column (by Adams).
Double whoops. I guess that email shouldn’t have been sent.
Any real chance for a political settlement — and for decent lives for the people of the region — depends on the United States.
The above is the very last sentence of a Noam Chomsky op-ed in, of course, the New York Times, and the sentence is nothing more than claptrap. Not to mention a juxtaposition. The only chance for “decent lives” for “the people of the region” is for the Arabs to pull their heads out of the sand and use reason. The Arabs are attacking the wrong enemy. Their enemy isn’t Israel or the United States. The Arabs’ enemy is the irrationality feeding upon bastardized Islam. A bastardization fertilized by the minds of men in search of power over masses. Until such time as a Arab Renaissance occurs which breaks what Ayn Rand termed “the rule of the mystics,” the Arabs will be destined to scratch away at existence. It’s not the United States, Israel or any other country holding the Arabs back. It’s the Arabs themselves.
Don’t Fall Off
“Considering same-sex marriage is like trying to walk on top of a chain-link fence: you’ll fall off within minutes, and your only decision is which side of the fence to fall on: The side that favors keeping marriage between one man and one woman, the formula for baby-making and dual-gender parenting, or the side that favors letting any combination of men and women call themselves a marriage?”
Bernadette Malone in an opinion piece in the The Union Leader titled Same-sex marriage threatens real marriage.
Pounding Stakes Rather than Theses
Over at No Treason, John Lopez notes my post An Objectivist Martin Luther wherein I mention Diana Hsieh’s recent public statement, the theses, to The Objectivist Center. John links to Roy Childs’ Open Letter to Ayn Rand as the stake. The first sentence from Childs’ letter directed to Rand.
The purpose of this letter is to convert you to free market anarchism.
I’d Like Tax Exempt Status
Every man, in truth, is his own little cosmos of philosophical notions, charitable activity and research interests. If a church or an unchurch deserves a tax exemption, why, then, don’t you and I? If taking tax money from a church were to limit its power to work for good, how much more does the dent in your paycheque limit your personal power to change the world? Ah, but if we didn’t tax personal income, the government wouldn’t have enough revenue to pay for our hyperefficient health-care system, our mighty national defence, our superbly managed fisheries and our brilliant diplomatic corps. Forget I brought it up.
Colby Cosh writing about Canada’s newest tax exempt organization, the Humanist Association of Toronto.
Sunday, February 22, 2004
An Objectivist Martin Luther
When Martin Luther took on the Catholic church, in regards to indulgences, legend has it that he nailed 95 theses to the door of the church in Wittenburg. Personally, I think Luther did not go far enough. Though he weakend the power of the church, in the manner of scraping away at the mortar that holds the stones of the church together, he did not dig at the foundation of erroneousness upon which the Catholic church is founded.
But, I want to touch a bit on Objectivism. Diana Mertz Hsieh, a student of philosophy with a deep interest in Objectivism, has nailed her theses to the door of The Objectivist Center. I have not read all the articles Diana linked to in her post, but the complaints aired by Diana are valid.
Read Diana’s “A Public Statement on The Objectivist Center” and make your own decision.
Real Men Aren’t Poseurs
VietNam. The very word seems to cause palpable discomfort to many individuals. That terrible war. As if all wars aren’t terrible. What troubles me about individuals referencing VietNam, specifically individuals such as John Kerry, is that when referencing VietNam they do so in the manner of what I would call trolling for a “sympathy fuck.” If you need an elaboration of the definition of that let me know. With that in mind I point you to two separate posts.
First, the Emperor Darth Misha I on John Kerry speaking Saturday (yesterday).
Second, McQ at Questions and Observations, in a post titled Let me introduce you to a real hero.
I just got a phone call from a certain beloved children’s educational television show (one that played a crucial part in my own graduation to literacy!), asking me whether there was any reason to be nervous about using the song “London Bridge is Falling Down.” Edginess about nursery rhymes and old songs (e.g. “Eenie, Meenie”) has apparently reached the point that it’s safer to check out every one of them for potential offensiveness before use. I was apparently the right person to call becasue I both know something about English-British history and something about ethnic politics.
The culture of fear of frickin everything, closely entwined, of course, with morality dictated by the state, so you don’t even have to think.
The quote is by Jacob Levy, posted at The Volokh Conspiracy. The call was from the show with the big yellow bird and a monster that eats cookies.
Arthur Silber links to a animated cartoon he was pointed to by the anonymous Atrios. The cartoon is the work of Mark Fiore and is titled the “The Gay Agenda.” I doubt you’ll need three guesses as to what the underlying issue is the cartoon purports to criticize.
The cartoon pokes at heterosexuals, Bush, the Democratic candidate field, conservative voters and ends on the following note. The note which reveals the terrifying gay agenda.
And the terrifying gay agenda is a harmless gay couple sitting at the kitchen table having breakfast, contentedly chewing their food. How nice. But it’s the final line of the cartoon that is supposed to drive home the point.
Look, would you mind, uhm, just leaving us alone.
Look, Mark Fiore, uhm, which group tends to draw more attention to themselves than gays? I can’t think of one except for the likes of Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson. The group they belong to has the same proclivity for ostentatious display. Would you mind just leaving us alone.
Saturday, February 21, 2004
More to Read
I currently have seven books sitting on my nightstand, waiting, patiently, to be read. Plus I notice four more alongside my reading chair. That’s eleven. Today I find that I’ll be needing to add a couple more to the pile(s). Here’s the one that will in all likelihood rise to the top of the pile. Mencken’s America. A new collection of previously uncollected essays. The link will take you to The Philadelphia Inquirer’s review which was written by Terry Teachout.
Thanks to Greg Ransom for alerting me to this.
David K. Shipler, in an op-ed for the New York Times titled Total Poverty Awareness, loses his concentration and misses connecting the dots he is so concerned with connecting. Shipler mentions the failure of the 40 year “War on Poverty.” He drives this point home with this statement.
Government is especially bad at connecting the dots.
A tacit admission that the government’s involvement in this issue, is, a failure.
After Shipler turns the corner on the above statement he utters this.
We need a sweeping national program to create what could be called gateways.
So, Shipler admits that the government can’t connect the dots, but in the next breath calls for more government to connect the dots. Disconnected.
Science Fiction Authors and Evolution
Razib at Gene Expression has a post up titled The evidence against evolution. Razib links to a Montana publication in which the author, who knows the correct “buzzwords,” argues against evolution. Razib tackles the erroneous postulations within the Montana piece and critiques the “style of science” versus the “reality of science” in certain science fiction writers works.
Driving Old Vehicles
William McGurn, The Wall Street Journal’s chief editorial writer has penned a column in praise of what he calls My ‘Train Station’ Car It’s old, dented, ugly, loud and . . . perfect. I enjoyed reading it. I drive old vehicles. My 94 Burb has 120 miles short of 210,000 miles on the odometer. No 2 to 3 mile jaunts to the train station for this vehicle. It still makes runs to Idaho, Ohio the UP of Michigan and what not. My 82 Jeep Wagoneer has 149,800 some odd miles on it and its dented, loud, and is far from ugly in my eyes, though the looks it gets on the streets aren’t cast its way for its beauty. This is my fishing vehicle. It burns some oil but I’d run it to Alaska it has so much heart. I love old vehicles.