March 29, 2013

Here's a Hot Air Link
— Ace

Adultery vs. RINO-ish sentiments.

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Overnight Open Thread (29 March 2013)
— CDR M

I'm workin' tonight so the ONT will be pretty light. Or lame. Whatever. Just be thankful you can comment (knocks on wood). more...

Posted by: CDR M at 05:05 PM | Comments (621)
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NBC Flack's Crazy Spin: We're Not Even Thinking About Getting Rid of Matt Lauer!
— Ace

There's been so many We're Getting Rid of Matt Lauer stories they felt the need to add "balance" to the truth by offering some lies.

A top NBC executive says the network is not considering replacing Matt Lauer as co-anchor of the “Today” show.

NBC News executive Alexandra Wallace, who oversees the troubled morning show, made the comment Wednesday in response to reports that the network had approached CNN’s Anderson Cooper about the “Today” job.

The report first appeared in Deadline Hollywood and was confirmed to The Associated Press by a source who spoke on condition of anonymity because the discussions were private.

Ms. Wallace said Mr. Lauer is “the best in the business” and that NBC wants him on “Today” for many years to come.

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"I absolutely, unequivocally guarantee that no harm
will come to Matt Lauer by my hand.
That said, accidents do happen.
I understand he does a lot of boating.
Tricky things, boats. All those ropes and counterweights...
Basically a gallows floating in the unforgiving sea.
Plus, all that gas. Frankly, we may never know what happened.
Uh, wait, I mean: I hope he remembers to turn off the gas lines."

Posted by: Ace at 07:12 AM | Comments (309)
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Rush Limbaugh: The Gay Marriage Issue is Lost
— Ace

Wow. Big statement.

Limbaugh's diagnosis about how it was lost is wrong. He says it's because of language -- traditional marriage proponents began speaking of "traditional marriage," which then allowed/advanced the term "gay marriage," which then created a semiotic space in people's minds that there was a general category of "marriage" and then two varieties of it beneath that, and since they're all marriage, well, it's unfair to discriminate against one type.

That's just wrong.* You know I think people have to be wary of the "When you've got a hammer, all the world looks like a nail" thing. Everyone does this. The AMA, for example, will issue papers calling for the banning of guns because guns are a "unacceptable health risk." We each have our preferred prism by which we examine complex things.

Ever talk to an engineer about a political or social issue? They give you an engineering answer.

Rush Limbaugh is a guy who works with words so his preferred prism is "language."

But come on. The sort of people who are primarily interested in words and their power are:

1. extremely political people

2. idiots who just like to parse words because they enjoy wasting your time with semantic games; being a nitwit over the meanings of words in everyday conversation is their idea of a crossword puzzle (sorry, but there's a special place in hell for all the endless liberal word-parsing during the Clinton Impeachment matter)

3. people who read and/or write a lot

You could fill one state, maybe two, with those sorts of people. I've said it before: this country is basically dumb. Dumb people do not sweat the meanings of words. They're barely even listening to them.

I think the reason for the gay marriage issue being lost (if it is lost) is multivariable. For one thing, gays have the right allies. They work in the media disproportionately, and they know a lot of people in the media. And there's a weirdly-strong alliance of urban liberal women and gays.

For another thing, people want to think well of themselves. "Bullying" does not feel right to them. If they are given the choice between what feels like a bullying position and non-bullying one, they will choose the latter almost every time.

I think the gay marriage issue has relied far too much on the idea of an official governmental disapproval of gays which then in turn gives pretext and justification for a social disapproval of gays. I think the anti-gay-marriage forces were too close to this idea-- I think this is the one the public disagrees with, the idea that the government should, or that society needs, some sort of an official position disapproving of the sexual choices of gay people.

I think people find this bullying. I think people see gays as a minority who actually doesn't have too much control over whom they're attracted to. A fat person may be able to strenuously fight against his inclination to grow fat, but that doesn't mean he was born thin and just "chose" to be fat, picking freely between the two. And while it is true that a gay person could either refrain from sex or try to re-orient his sexuality, it's a bit implausible that that this merely a choice. It may be a choice, but it's not a free one; obviously, I think, a person is oriented how they're oriented. Sure, one could fight that, but it's certainly swimming hard upstream.

I mean, I think most people intuitively get that gays and lesbians seem like gays and lesbians. Most of the time you don't go, "What? Him?!!?" Most of the time, you're pretty sure if someone's gay. Which sure makes it seem intrinsic. (Though I acknowledge it may not be; "gay" behavior may be learned and imitated. Sure seems intrinsic, though, at least to the casual glance.)

Anyway, point is, the gay marriage issue actually bundles two different issues.

1. Whether gays should "get married just like anyone else"

2. Whether gays should be subject to official governmental disapproval and the related social disapproval which flows from that/is justified by that, as many take government to be the arbiter of values

It's Number 2 that most people who are supporting gay marriage are really interested in. I don't think people care all that much about Number 1. I think most gay supporters of gay marriage care less about Number 1 than Number 2.

I think if we really wanted to stop gay marriage per se we should have split off Number 1 from Number 2 and made it plain we were okay with Number 2, too. But I don't think we did, because I think many people on the anti-gay-marriage (Number 1) side were also anti-Number-2 (anti-"mainstreaming" of homosexuality, as they'd call it).

Trouble is, for that side, it's not enough people against Number 2. It's like 35% (just guessing, don't ask me to cite a wild-ass guess).

So, the public, to register its general support for the idea that gays shouldn't get so much grief (concept number 2), signs on to gay marriage (concept number 1).

That's why I think we lost. Because we packaged an issue which could have won with one that was doomed, and made them a package deal. And the gay marriage side took an issue which frankly I think most people don't favor-- gay marriage -- but packaged it with an idea most people do, that gays should be basically let alone to do be gay, without so much shouting about it.

Straight up, I bet you'd the anti-gay-marriage side of things would still win, politically, but only if it were unconnected to the poison pawn. If our "side" offered some way to generally bless gay coupling as None of the State's, or Society's, Business, while still keeping marriage a traditional man-and-woman affair, we might have won. That is, if we offered a middle path, sans gay marriage itself, the public would take that compromise.

But we really didn't. We collectively bet we could win on the easier one and on the harder one at the same time, and the public rejected us on the harder one, so it rejected us on both.


* Actually it occurs to me I way overstated on "That's just wrong." Certainly words do matter and people grow conditioned to feel certain ways by how words are used and, importantly, what other words we associate with certain words. The words "intolerant" and "bigoted," used frequently in proximity to a word, will produce the standard Pavlovian linkage.

But I think it's glib to blame this all on words, or, I should say, I think it's glib to say "Our chief mistake was one of terminology." While words and messaging matter, surely gut reaction and philosophy matter more.

Caveat: You know, I'm sitting here talking about how the issue is lost as a political matter and a commenter notes that in most places where it's been put to a vote, it's lost. It's only been enacted democratically in a couple of states. The rest have been judge-imposed.

The commenter says, It's lost because the elites disagree with the public and the elites will have their say.

That's actually true. All this stuff about "gay marriage losing" is true, sort of, if you assume the younger voters don't change their minds, and we're talking about the issue being lost in 2036. As of now, the anti-gay-marriage side is either politically viable or the politically-winning side of it.

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Wife Swap Features Tea Party Christian Swapping Families with... Polyamorous MFF Trio
— Ace

soothsayer called my attention to this train-wreck last night.

Clarification: I should have made this clear: This is an ABC show called "Wife Swap," not an actual sexual wife swap. The premise of the show is that the wives swap families, first to observe (first half of show), then to impose a set of rules on the surrogate family (second half). It's intended as culture-clash social-horror programming. But it's not actual "wife swapping," except in the New Mom, New Rules sort of way.

The show definitely cut the polyamorous trio -- one dude living with his wife, his kids, and his girlfriend -- to be the "normal" ones. And the sympathetic ones.

That said, Nixon said something about giving a dagger to your enemies.

Below are a couple of long videos of the show. Neither is the full show, but taken together I think they're most of it. It was a real horror show.

What every reality show requests -- and which most contestants happily agree to -- is that "stars for a week" surrender their dignity at the door. I don't know why someone would do this. I don't even think they pay all that much (but I could be wrong).

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Top Headline Comments 3-29-13
— Gabriel Malor

Good morning, gentlefolk.

Immortality project?

MKH writes a must-read. We really could use more writers of this caliber.

Rick Wilson, who is a good guy, pushes back after being slammed on the Rush Limbaugh show.

The food stamp map. Alaska, eh?

Have a happy Easter, and see you next week.

Posted by: Gabriel Malor at 02:21 AM | Comments (474)
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March 28, 2013

Overnight Open Thread (3-28-2013)
— Maetenloch

Potatoes!

h25E23E7F

In all forms.

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potatoes

And that means there's only one thing to do: Potato Parties

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Cults and Factions in Modern America
— Ace

At the other site, Jerome Hudson wrote of modern day liberals -- actually, Marxists, whether they understand this or not -- betraying the basic American tenet of equality.

We have fallen so far out of alignment with our founding ideals, that every man is created equal in the eyes of God. Touré's venomous message echoes what our colleges and grade schools teach, what our media communicates, what so many movies dramatize, and what The Civil Rights establishment promotes: that America is still as racist as ever and if you're white, the only acceptable response is for you to nod your head and agree, and if you're black, you better not ever think for yourself.

This suggested to me a contrast between the values of the Enlightenment which gave birth to America, and the values of Marxism, which gave birth to the mass grave called the Soviet Union.

And that recalled Geroge Washington's many warnings about "faction" in politics. Faction was anathema to a free and democratic society, Washington argued; but faction is the central animating principle in Marxism.

Here are some of George Washington's warnings:

Liberty … is, indeed, little else than a name, where the government is too feeble to withstand the enterprises of faction … and to maintain all in the secure and tranquil enjoyments of the rights of person and property.’

...

‘The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge natural to party dissension … is itself a frightful despotism … the common and continual mischiefs of the spirit of party are sufficient to make it the interest and duty of a wise people to discourage and restrain it. It serves always to distract the public councils and enfeeble the public administration. It agitates the community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms, kindles the animosity of one part against another … ‘

Hence the current disagreement with the Neo-Marxists. Dividing people endlessly by faction is not just sloppy or lazy thinking; it's their primary tactic. It's their cult.

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"Scientists Warn of Ice Age"
— Ace

Headline at Germany's largest newspaper, Die Welt, which is German for "Greater Germany."

Unrelated but anyway: Why isn't the media drawing Larger Conclusions about the sex scandals at the Horace Mann private school in NYC?

Megan MacArdle notes that while the media is always willing to draw Larger Conclusions about institutions dominated by Others, they do not draw such conclusions about their own institutions:

What explains the difference? The obvious candidate is the demographics of columnists and academics who write about these things. Few of them are football players. Few of them are practicing Catholics (or social conservatives). But a fair number of them went to private school, or send their children there. Even if they are prone to question the institution as an institution, doing so would be awfully uncomfortable. And it might not do much for little Emily's chances at Brearley.

For the record, I don't think that private schools are somehow structurally or culturally hospitable to pedophiles in a way that public schools aren't. But it's worth asking why we were so sure that other institutions--ones we don't participate in--were somehow uniquely pedophile-friendly, rather than subject to the normal human instincts to give our colleagues the benefit of the doubt, and avoid scandal at any cost.

I would be more forgiving of this phenomenon -- that people are always willing to Believe the Worst about People Not Like Them -- in the media except for a couple of things.

First, the media is liberal. This means that, as liberals, they are always instructing others that we tend to be willing to Believe the Worst about People Not Like Us. That means they fully understand this basic rule of human nature -- but they do not think it applies to themselves. I suppose, being liberals, they've transcended basic human nature somehow. I suppose, for those in the media, the acquisition of a three-semester journalism degree also helped elevate them above the instincts common to all humanity.

Second, the media is liberal. That means that they are constantly applying this rule selectively to The Other... and are frequently criticized for it, and often wind up embarrassed by it, when their bias blows up in their faces. And yet still they take no actions whatsoever to correct this flaw, despite being well aware that it causes systematic errors in their reporting.

I believe the media is dumb, but I do not believe they're this dumb to not see how their low-primate pack-animal division of the world into Our Tribe and Their Tribe consistently produces wrong reportage, by giving Our Tribe too little suspicion and too much latitude while giving Their Tribe too much suspicion and too little latitude. But they're comfortable with that. Hey, as long as Our Tribe comes out on top.

Fen's Rule: Liberals actually believe none of the things they preach about.

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Zo Vs. Toure
— Ace

Not really much of a match. more...

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FAQ: How Should I Answer My Lady When She Asks If Another Woman Is Attractive?
— Ace

This question perplexes some men.

The Savvy Man looks upon it not as a trap but something close to a gift.

Alternate Gambit: Offer up very vague statements that sound like criticisms, but are so without meaning that no one can pin you down on quite what you mean.

Example One: Well, she's got a bit of wallaby sort of look to her, doesn't she?

Example Two: She's a bit diagonal for my tastes.

Another Savvy Man Answer: RW wrote:

My wife once asked me "is it true that all men really think about having a threesome? If so, who do you think about?"

Answer: "Yes. And, two of you."

Outstanding.

Posted by: Ace at 11:18 AM | Comments (289)
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On Emotion and Narcissicism
— Ace

I have two stories about Piers Morgan and am trying to connect them up.

First up, "Piers Morgan demonstrates how emotion triumphs over reason on cable news." After noting how Piers Morgan and his designated Victim Prop resorted again and again to cheap emotionalism in an alleged debate on gay marriage...

Again, in this author’s opinion, the intellectual underpinnings of [the] argument against gay marriage are especially frail. Morgan probably could, if he chose, dissect and dismantle [that] argument with facts of his own. Orman most certainly could have. Neither chose to, however, because they were content to express their feelings on the matter, and the audience ate it up. Why would either rely on a dispassionate argument in favor of gay marriage when the audience rewards them so for merely expressing their feelings?

There is a deeply fulfilling and powerful intellectual debate ongoing in the print and online community about gay marriage today, just as there is regarding nearly every contentious issue of the day. Readers of this post are probably aware of that, and are likely to be voracious consumers of that debate. The viewers of programs like Morgan’s are, sadly, cheated out of that experience. One would hope that Morgan thinks highly enough of his own audience to treat them to an educated discussion on the issues at hand, rather than to rely solely on the self-evident high regard he has for his opinion.

I linked this recently, but Sacred Honor compels me to link it again: Adam Carolla goes off on Piers Morgan's remorseless narcissism. Note particularly Carolla acknowledges we all have this beast of narcissism inside us (or, rather, we who seek public attention all do), but that there used to be a decorum about it, a Social Contract about how much you were permitted to blatantly talk about yourself in any five minute period. Say, about for about one minute in five, so long as you could gin up a plausible pretext to return to every narcissist's favorite subject, the Almighty Me. You couldn't just talk about yourself for five minutes straight, without even pretending to have anything else in mind but a celebration of the Almighty Me.

But that decorum is largely gone. Those who breach it pay no social penalty for doing so -- indeed, as Carolla notes, they're actually socially rewarded now.

Linking these two ideas about Piers Morgan: It occurs to me that while there is a selfish, ego-centric aspect to ideas -- we are, after all, proud of the ideas we hold, in perhaps a way we shouldn't be -- emotion, on the other hand, is entirely about the Self.

Ideas -- even if we are egotistically invested in them -- remain, fundamentally, external to us. What we call "abstract." They are Specters that reside in a Plane of Ideas outside of us. We champion one Specter over another, and surely there is an element of self-justification in our choices, but, at the end of the day, Ideas are owned by no man. They are owned, briefly, by their first creator, but after that briefest period of intellectual ownership, they have no owner and are simply commonly-held good which any man can utilize. They are outside of us. Ideas shape us but they are not us.

Emotion, on the other hand, is purely and entirely about the self. Emotions do not exist or have importance outside the self that feels them.

While the ego may be protective of the Ideas it chooses, the ego is not merely protective of emotions; emotions are the ego, and the ego is emotion.

I note this because every statement of emotion is unavoidably a statement about the Self. This is the Narcissists's Playground. At last, an opportunity to talk endlessly about oneself! Ideas, quotations, and lines of argument must be frequently cited to external sources. Credit must be given to others. What a hateful thought to the Narcissist.

But Emotion? O Joyous Thing, Emotion! We are all the authors and owners of our own Emotions, and undeniable experts on ourselves and our feelings! We need not share credit with anyone! For our emotions are Us and when we speak of our emotions we Sing a Joyous Song of Ourselves!

It takes hard work and talent to craft and argument -- but, actually, anyone can do that, can't he? So long he has something on the ball.

But only Piers Morgan can tell you what Piers Morgan is feeling. That is specific to he himself; that Glory is his alone.

I think this is what I find so bothersome about Meghan McCain's constant use of the words "young people" in justifying herself. She's not talking about external ideas that could be of interest to young people; primarily she is just asserting that her personal status as (sort of) young should make she herself compelling to young people. Rather than advertising her ideas (should she stumble upon one some day) she relentlessly and remorselessly advertises herself (but always with the unmet promise that one day she will offer an idea external to herself that Young People might think is just swell).

And make no mistake, when she says things like "Young people need a young spokesperson" or the like, what she really means, barely disguised at all, barely comporting with the decorum Carolla mentions, is that "Young people need the Almighty Me."

I think Carolla is right; at some point we stopped telling the Narcissists that they were boors, and stopped imposing the social penalty of Shunning on them, and instead started pouring gasoline of attention on the already-blazing fire of self-regard.

We should probably stop that.


Posted by: Ace at 10:08 AM | Comments (372)
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March 31, 2013

Muscle Car Quiz #3/Open Thread [CBD]
— Open Blogger

Usual rules.....first correct answer gets a Platinum Membership with the optional ampersand utility.

Extra year of membership for:
a)correct engine or
b) Moron who owns it.

The rule committee has agreed to a special prize for most elegant answer that may or may not be correct: One Get-Out-of-Barrel-Free card.

AOSHQ 3 hotrod.jpeg
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March 28, 2013

Response to Jim Carrey's Song
— Ace

Pretty good!

And welcome back, commenters! After the comments were down for two hours, I started to wig out -- without interaction, this site is pretty dead. Plus, as I was the only one talking (well, and Drew and Maetenloch), I became suddenly aware of the silence and realized, "Shit, I have to work. I have to post stuff."

Also a big welcome back to Albie Damned, who I'm told is out of surgery and now able to play in the comments again! more...

Posted by: Ace at 08:49 AM | Comments (370)
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The Stuebenville Rape Victim Either Wanted It or Brought It On Herself, Says Todd Akin President of Local Chapter of NAACP
— Ace

Of course. From the IBT.

Royal Mayo, a lifelong resident of the Ohio city that gained national infamy following the rape of the girl by two Steubenville High School football players, says that attention should be focused on the role of the young woman, whom he calls the “alleged victim,” saying she was drunk and wanted to go out with one of the football players. He also claims that other teens involved in the incident were let off easy, because they were “well-connected.”

...

In a phone interview with the International Business Times, Mayo described the 16-year-old girl as the “alleged victim” and said she might have been having consensual sex. “She said her mother brought her to the party, at 3 o’clock, with a bottle of vodka,” Mayo said. “Where did you get it, young lady? You brought it from home? Where’d you get it? You came to the party with your mother.”

Mayo added that she might have been a willing participant, apparently unfazed by the inflammatory nature of such statements. “They’re alleging she got raped; she’s acknowledging that she wanted to leave with Trent. Her friends say she pushed them away as she went and got into the car, twice telling them, ‘I know what I’m doing; I’m going with Trent,’” Mayo said.

The Media will not report this, of course, because it tends to discredit the Democratic coalition, by association.

Wouldn't this demand some coverage, given that Todd Akin's remarks had flooded the airwaves during campaign season? But that would assume the media decides which stories to run based on news-worthiness or neutral standards, an entirely false assumption.

The media picks which ancillary political stories to champion based solely on one criterion: Whether they discredit, indirectly, the conservative cause.

The Media's game is despicable. Their "ethic" of pretend objectivity means that they do not address issues head-on, honestly. If they were to honestly object to, and argue against, Republican/conservative positions, two good results would flow:

1, they'd be outing themselves as far as political bias, which would be honest, and informative for their viewers.

2, the argument being honestly joined, with the positions of the various partisans (including those of the press) plainly identified, a rational conversation could be had.

But they don't do this. Which leads to the Worst of All Possible Bias Reporting -- rather than honestly attack Republican positions through argument, they instead seek to discredit them by a welter of negative reporting on the various sins and gaffes of Republican personalities. They do not join the argument honestly, but dishonestly, and not frontally, but from the side, by feigning neutrality on the position under discussion but making sure that every wart on every Republican face is magnified 100x.

Todd Akin's rape comment is worthy of endless repetition, and not just in Missouri, where it was relevant, but across the nation, to discredit each and every other Republican running in each and every other race, including the Presidential one. The endless repetition was intended to, and did in fact manage to, discredit all other Republican office-seekers. Note well: It did not refute their positions, but it discredited them personally.

Imagine an alternative world where the media was still biased, but honest: In such a world, the media could, rather than running this game in which they endlessly regurgitate negative reporting on Republican gaffes and scandals (both real and contrived), they could simply take ten minutes at the end of every news-hour to offer their opinions and beliefs candidly, and make honest arguments about the issues they care about. 50 minutes of straight reporting, unbiased; and then ten minutes of honest, out-in-the-open partisan agitation.

Because their "ethics" supposedly prevent them from openly taking a side, however, they instead inject their opinions into all 60 minutes of every hour. Todd Akin's views on rape are endlessly reported to discredit his entire party; this NAACP president's odd views on rape are never spoken of, not even a single time, by the liberal establishment media. (IBD, which reported this, is not liberal establishment media.)

In law this technique is called "collateral attack" -- you're not challenging the actual issue head-on, because you can't (for example, because you have forfeit your right to challenge it by missing a filing date) but instead mount a logically unrelated attack on your opponent, hoping to achieve the same goal as a frontal attack would have. Different tactic, different argument, separate logic -- but mounted for the same goal.

The media is nothing but collateral attacks all the live-long day, because "ethics" supposedly compel them not to make any frontal ones. (And this "ethic" incidentally is a corporate code created to maximize profits by withholding the organization's actual partisan bias from the public and thus permitting it, in theory, to appeal to every possible partisan in the entire universe of potential news viewers. It does not exist to better inform the public; it exists precisely to keep them less informed. It does not exist to keep reportage free of bias; it exists to keep reportage full of stealth, unacknowledged bias, a much more potent method of propaganda than straight-ahead argumentation would ever be.)

It's dishonest and cowardly and shameful.

You cannot trust someone whose first words to you are a blatant lie. And the media's first, second, and last words to you are lies.

Posted by: Ace at 07:52 AM | Comments (347)
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The Time Has Come to Let Young People Have News
— Ace

So says Meghan McCain.

I couldn't disagree more:

You know, Footloose was about a town where they didn't let young people have news. And look what happened there.

"No news is good news." — The Bible

Posted by: Ace at 06:17 AM | Comments (418)
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Top Headline Comments 3-28-13
— Gabriel Malor

Happy Thursday.

Slow start around here today. Hopefully Vic has the goods.

Posted by: Gabriel Malor at 01:49 AM | Comments (406)
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March 27, 2013

NBC: "surging" student loan debt "crushing" the system [Purp]
— Open Blogger

Well, the cat is out of the bag now.

The U.S. Department of Education said 6.8 million federal student loan borrowers are now in default, representing $85 billion in debt. [$85B? The sequester was how big?] And the department's systems for collecting the bad loans are struggling to keep up.

The Department's Office of Inspector General found in December that more than $1.1 billion in defaulted student loans were stuck in a sort of computer limbo.

"The Department is not pursuing collection remedies and borrowers are unable to take steps to remove their loans from default status," wrote Assistant Inspector General for Audit Patrick Howard in the December 13 report, which blames a system installed in 2011 by Xerox that is supposed to transfer defaulted loan accounts from servicing companies to private collection agencies. Those collection firms have considerable power, including the ability to garnish up to 15 percent of a borrower's wages. But none of that can happen until the accounts are transferred.

So, basically, there's no actual collections actions happening against a billion bucks worth of deadbeat loans because of some "computer glitch".

This looks like a pretty expensive glitch now that its been going on for a couple of years, but I'm sure Xerox is darkening the skies and clogging airports with consultants, TOP MEN, EXPERTS, the freaking PROS FROM DOVER and it'll all be sorted out in a jiffy(*).

(*) In government parlance, a jiffy is roughly about 20 years +/-5yr

Don't panic. TOP MEN are all over this.


Comments seem to be hosed again...NOW you can panic

Posted by: Open Blogger at 09:55 PM | Comments (84)
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