US Households Are Not “Deleveraging” - They Are Simply Defaulting In Bulk
In a nutshell: based on NYFed calculations, there has been $800 billion in mortgage debt deleveraging since the end of 2007. This has been due to $1.2 trillion in discharges
Full Story: ZeroHedge
A haiku from the article: Erasing the Gender Gap in Financial Knowledge
Student Debt and the Crushing of the American Dream - NYTimes.com -
Some wonder how the American ideal of equality of opportunity has eroded so much. The way we finance higher education provides part of the answer. Student debt has become an integral part of the story of American inequality. Robust higher education, with healthy public support, was once the linchpin in a system that promised opportunity for dedicated students of any means. We now have a pay-to-play, winner-take-all game where the wealthiest are assured a spot, and the rest are compelled to take a gamble on huge debts, with no guarantee of a payoff.
The Volokh Conspiracy » Supreme Court Agrees to Consider Case, Without Having Heard Yet from Respondents -
What happened to the respondents? Well, for starters, they apparently never got a lawyer. This is probably because of the procedural posture of the case, which relates to the question presented by the case: Under the federal “in forma pauperis” statute (the one that allows people who can’t afford filing fees to have those fees waived), as amended in 1995, federal courts act as gatekeepers for in forma pauperis claims, and dismiss them without the other side even being served if they fail to state a legally sufficient claim. This is what happened to plaintiff-petitioner’s claim against the defendant police officers (and the local YMCA, where he lived). But then the district courtalso read the statute as barring the plaintiff from amending his complaint and refiling, and the Sixth Circuit (unlike most other circuits to consider the claim) agreed.
Odd that you can get to Supreme Court review without having lawyers insert themselves.
So the scandal—the real scandal—is that 501(c)(4) groups have been engaged in political activity in such a sustained and open way. As Fred Wertheimer, the President of Democracy 21, a government-ethics watchdog group, put it, “it is clear that a number of groups have improperly claimed tax-exempt status as section 501(c)(4) ‘social welfare’ organizations in order to hide the donors who financed their campaign activities in the 2010 and 2012 federal elections. — Tea Partiers and Tax Exemption: The Real I.R.S. Scandal : The New Yorker
Grammar errors? The brain detects them even when you are unaware
Your brain often works on autopilot when it comes to grammar. That theory has been around for years, but University of Oregon neuroscientists have captured elusive hard evidence that people indeed detect and process grammatical errors with no awareness of doing so.
Participants in the study — native-English speaking people, ages 18-30 –- had their brain activity recorded using electroencephalography, from which researchers focused on a signal known as the Event-Related Potential (ERP). This non-invasive technique allows for the capture of changes in brain electrical activity during an event. In this case, events were short sentences presented visually one word at a time.
Subjects were given 280 experimental sentences, including some that were syntactically (grammatically) correct and others containing grammatical errors, such as “We drank Lisa’s brandy by the fire in the lobby,” or “We drank Lisa’s by brandy the fire in the lobby.” A 50 millisecond audio tone was also played at some point in each sentence. A tone appeared before or after a grammatical faux pas was presented. The auditory distraction also appeared in grammatically correct sentences.
Click back to the source for the full thing. In the meantime, I’ll be reading into whether the study authors looked at education level and socioeconomic factors in this.
Brooklyn, the Remix: A Hip-Hop Tour - Interactive Feature - NYTimes.com
The mean streets of the borough that rappers like the Notorious B.I.G. crowed about are now hipster havens, where cupcakes and organic kale rule.
The systemic plight of labor | Felix Salmon -
In reality, however, a 401(k) plan is an icon of futility and the way in which the owners of capital extract rents from the owners of labor. Yves Smith is good on this, as is Matt Yglesias, although the real expert is Helaine Olen: the 401(k) is a way for both your government and your employer to disown you, and to leave your life savings to be raided by the financial-services industry and its plethora of hidden and invidious fees. The well-kept secret about old-fashioned pension funds is that, for the most part, they’re actually very good at generating decent returns for their beneficiaries. They tend to have extremely long time horizons, and are run by professionals who know what they’re doing and who have a fair amount of negotiating leverage when they deal with Wall Street. Savers are always strengthened by being united: disaggregating them and forcing them to take matters into their own hands is tantamount to feeding them directly to the Wall Street sharks.
But making high-pitched noises won’t solve your problem if your problem is a complete inability to cope with change. —
Hyperbole and a Half: Dogs Don’t Understand Basic Concepts Like Moving
Allie’s on her way back!
Soapbox Envy: CSS is not an amoral monster. -
Quit thinking of pages as static, box-like things.
Hell, if you can, stop thinking in terms of pages, and instead think in terms of content. Unlike a memo or a broadcast, web media allow you to present things in whatever context you damned well please. If you want to split one page into twenty as circumstances might dictate, you can make something that does that.
Starting the morning off right with Ben Henick’s punchy “CSS is not an amoral monster.” undercaffeinated.tumblr.com/post/498785314…— Eric A. Meyer (@meyerweb) May 8, 2013
Prenda Law Is The Tip of the Iceberg | Electronic Frontier Foundation -
We can rightly celebrate that Prenda Law has been rebuked and its practices exposed. Prenda (under various names) has filed hundreds of suits against thousands of Internet users, and their fall should discourage others from pursuing this business model. But the problem remains. Copyright is a broken system, biased in favor of copyright owners at the public’s expense, prone to harsh punishment and ruinous damages, steeped in the misleading and unhelpful rhetoric of “theft” and “piracy.” A system so out of balance is a natural haven for lawsuit abuse. Remember that Prenda Law (under various names) operated with impunity for about three years. These sanctions only happened because of sustained effort and careful research by many defense counsel and concerned citizens. Other troll lawyers are continuing to subpoena for the names of Internet subscribers, then shaking them down for “settlements,” without the extreme conduct that landed Prenda in hot water but no less damaging to their victims. And broken copyright causes more subtle harm at the hands of law-abiding, even well-intentioned people.
How Social Networks Drive Black Unemployment - NYTimes.com -
Help is not given to just anyone, nor is it available from everyone. Inequality reproduces itself because help is typically reserved for people who are “like me”: the people who live in my neighborhood, those who attend my church or school or those with whom I have worked in the past. It is only natural that when there are jobs to be had, people who know about them will tell the people who are close to them, those with whom they identify, and those who at some point can reciprocate the favor.
Because we still live largely segregated lives, such networking fosters categorical inequality: whites help other whites, especially when unemployment is high. Although people from every background may try to help their own, whites are more likely to hold the sorts of jobs that are protected from market competition, that pay a living wage and that have the potential to teach skills and allow for job training and advancement. So, just as opportunities are unequally distributed, they are also unequally redistributed.
Beginning in 1996, Radio Diaries gave tape recorders to teenagers around the country to create audio diaries about their lives. NPR’s All Things Considered aired intimate portraits of five of these teens: Amanda, Juan, Frankie, Josh and Melissa. They’re now in their 30s. Over this past year, the same group has been recording new stories about where life has led them for our series, Teenage Diaries Revisited.
Here’s our first installment: Amanda Brand is gay. Her family is conservative Catholic, and when she was a teenager, her parents were convinced she was only going through a phase. Recently, Amanda sat down with her mother and father in Queens, N.Y., in the same house she grew up in, to revisit her tumultuous teen years.
Teenage Diaries Revisited: A Gay Teen’s Family, ‘Evolved’
Photo: Radio Diaries (left), David Gilkey/NPR