Thursday, October 23, 2008

Writes more than just Sci-Fi

Orson Scott Card is a name that I've seen but not paid much attention to for YEARS. When a friend's father is a science fiction author with a last name that starts with "Ch", you quickly learn to find the spot between Orson Scott Card and C.J.Cherryl (another author I've seen for a long time but haven't read yet). Unfortunately lately the gap between those two has disappeared, hopefully someday the same last name will fill that space again.

I started to take serious note of Card when he jumped into (or was pulled into) comics to write the Ultimate IronMan series, which he chose to do as an origin story. Overall it was decent, but the writing itself was understandably fresh for comics, coming from a seasoned science fiction author of full-length novels. I still haven't picked up and read any of his books, right now I'm making good progress through The Dragon Reborn because Jordan has some mystical way of sucking me into his books that I really do want to finish the whole series someday. I'm sure I'll pick up a Card book within the next 5 years.

The reason I mention this is that my good friend Dennis e-mailed out a newspaper article that Card wrote about journalists today that really speaks to me. He goes hugely off in the direction of criticising democrats and Obama, but I haven't seen or heard ANYTHING to refute the points he makes other than what seems like misdirection and deflection so I can't begrudge him that TOO much. That said, he does a great job of calling out journalists today and how biased they almost all are.

This housing crisis didn't come out of nowhere. It was not a vague emanation of the evil Bush administration.

It was a direct result of the political decision, back in the late 1990s, to loosen the rules of lending so that home loans would be more accessible to poor people. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were authorized to approve risky loans.

What is a risky loan? It's a loan that the recipient is likely not to be able to repay.

The goal of this rule change was to help the poor — which especially would help members of minority groups. But how does it help these people to give them a loan that they can't repay? They get into a house, yes, but when they can't make the payments, they lose the house — along with their credit rating.

They end up worse off than before.

This was completely foreseeable and in fact many people did foresee it. One political party, in Congress and in the executive branch, tried repeatedly to tighten up the rules. The other party blocked every such attempt and tried to loosen them.


I wouldn't go quite so far as saying all democrats are evil or that all republicans trying to stop the corruption, as his article implies, but it's definitely some food for thought.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Political Observations with Friends

A lot of political discussion has been going on via e-mail with friends. I'll call them my hometown friends, because we all met in Middle School / High School and have been a big group of gaming friends since, and thank god we all keep in pretty good touch via the internet and in person as frequently as possible.

So, hometown friends discussions, and it seems like ALL of the vocal ones are psuedo-conservative leaning towards libertarian, and they're all talking about how they think the mortgage bailout bill was a hugely terrible idea. They seem pretty furious about it passing, and are making sweeping statements that congress needs to be fixed because it passed. I try to keep pointing out that the bill was only voted down at first by a 52% majority, and was then passed with more money added on by a 56% majority. In my view neither of these is a huge majority, and I try not to assume which decision is right or wrong until the facts are all on the table and the results are in (when it comes to votes like this, thankfully we can make voting for congress decisions after seeing results most of the time), but I don't really see this as a necessity to clean out congress and change everything.

I'm on the fence if I feel the people in politics are the issue, or the systems. One can definitely fix the other, but which one is of the most importance / significant?

(oddity: I typically pronounce the word "significance" with a second 'g' - ie: signifigance - and I've been doing it for so long that it now sounds more correct to me)