Monday assorted links

1. Good take on La La Land and nostalgia.

2. Does it work when the coach yells at the ref?

3. Why is the barter market for lovers so imperfect?  My view is that women compartmentalize this kind of thing better than men do, for the most part, at least above age 30.

4. “Could flashing the “peace” sign in photos lead to fingerprint data being stolen?”

5. So maybe hard Brexit it is?

6. The debate over whether it was just subprime.

7. “But the concrete Pantheon? One of the reasons it has survived for so long is because the solid concrete structure is absolutely useless for any other purpose.” Link here.

8. Some economics for Martin Luther King Day.


If they know what Theresa May is going to say in the future, do they also know how Brexit is going to turn out?

The upside of BrExit is the same as that of D. Trump's presidency: there's nowhere to go but up, based on expectations, so it could turn out better than people think. Think about it (I'm against BrExit and Trump btw).

You can't win any negotiation if you aren't willing to walk away. The UK has no chance of getting a decent deal if the EU doesn't believe they are willing to leave the common market. May has to say these things. Whether she really wants a hard Brexit is another question (I doubt she does).

It's awkward, though, having to communicate to the EU and the domestic political scene at the same time.



Hmmm get a deal package, put it to a vote. If it passes then so be it, if it fails then retract Brexit.

#1 I believe wives are aware of that...

#4 - The V-symbol itself can also be used as a biometric identifier, regardless of the fingerprints:

More pseudo-scientific BS pandering to the almighty state's obsession with identification and assignment of responsibility. Since god no longer seems to hurl thunderbolts at the evil or turn whores into columns of salt, it's up to the state to handle the chore.

Seems you are being ironic about Big Brother catching bad guys, and I agree. Seems most of the time relatives of the criminal do the real police work (Unibomber) or the killer himself makes a mistake (BTK serial killer) rather than catching criminals though stellar detective work. Half the time seems the police simply go for the usual suspects and don't even collect or retain evidence carefully.

Distinguishing people within a 50 person database with "accuracy of over 90 percent in some cases" hardly makes for a biometric identifier.

The measured accuracy is a concern, but the bigger problem is sample size. A feature that may be unique among 50 people may be shared by thousands when you have a population of a million people.

Good catch. I was surprised they could capture decent fingerprint data at 9 feet. Generally good fingerprint data requires a scan distance of less than 1 inch and a strong light, or actual contact.

Even with strong light and all the rest of it, there is no real science behind finger prints. We assume they are unique, which seems a reasonable assumption. But how unique is a partial? No one actually knows and most of it relies on an individual evaluator's opinion.

Like a lot of forensics, finger printing is mainly about calming the fears of the jury with the Infallibility of Science rather than actual science.

"Even with strong light and all the rest of it, there is no real science behind finger prints. We assume they are unique, which seems a reasonable assumption"

Car keys aren't unique either. Neither are passwords. They don't have to be unique. If they are just 1 in 100.000, that's a pretty hard hurdle.

1. The human propensity to engage in nostalgia is problematic and insensitive and should stop. Check.

Worse. If you like the clothes they wore in the 1950s, you must be a white supremacist.

Check. Everything you see or hear in mainstream middle class popular culture should be viewed as racist. If you don't agree you are Hitler.

TL;DR White couples are racist. Especially tap dancing white couples. In Hollywood.

"I’m 39, single, easy on the eyes, easy to get along with and good in bed. And I can’t get laid."

Men and women have different definitions of "can't get laid." She tells us that "casual sex in the Tinder sense doesn’t work for me."

"This scenario has played out twice since I’ve been looking for a lover. Both times with men I would have sworn had player hearts of ice. We meet. We mingle. We agree that the occasional roll in the sack would be delightful. A month later, we’re fighting about who texted whom last and whether emoji count as adult communication."

Part of being a player is that the relationships aren't just uncommitted, they're also short term.

"My view is that women compartmentalize this kind of thing better than men do, for the most part, at least above age 30."

What does this even mean? Women know better how to separate desire for sex from desire for love? Hahahaha. Signalers gonna signal.

> After a certain age, a man gets used to being pursued. [...] I’m juggling projects and co-parenting. [...] I lacked the time, energy or inclination to maintain a committed relationship.

Why is an eligible bachelor going to waste his time chasing after a disinterested single mother with little free time or energy, when there are plenty of other women (of the same age) who will energetically pursue him and who make time for him? She might be pretty, but that's not enough at her age.

Tip: she should look for married guys and become their mistress. All of the sex, none of the relationship.

Yes, a married man is the only kind that would be satisfied by her limited spare time for an indefinite period

She should just go on a dating site. They were made for people like her.

Maybe she really is a steely-eyed cougar wanting nothing more than a great endorphin rush but this comes column reads like projection. Or, she's a steely-eyed cougar sleeping with needy guys who are angling for more, like, a place to live. Her other problem is she's low SMV and heading lower.

Ahem. *comes across as vs. *column reads like

Black single mother almost 40 in Atlanta. She is on the wrong side of the market, even for casual sex, I think. I bet her standards are very high as well. Bet she is still looking for the men interested in her when she was 25 with no kids.

It's clickbait. She's found a story that zillions of people will read, and the incentives to tell it far outweigh the implied personal humiliation. Now she can say to her editors: "xxx thousand page views. Give me a better gig next time."

#1. The history of human existence is intertwined with torture and suffering. Even today it's no dark secret that millions live in destitute misery. A trivial extension of this argument might be that we are all horrible people for not giving more to end malaria and provide medical relief for the sick of our world, instead spending money on luxury.
In this strange world of non-stop obsession over what identity group hurt another group, they miss the way way way bigger picture of the fact that individuals in the early and mid 20th century across the world were killed and suffered in the hundreds of millions. How many young white Americans died in WWII or Korea? Or lost relatives? How many White Americans of today can trace their lineage back to the Holodomor? How many white Americans *actually* have grandparents who lived a picturesque Americana life?
It's an artistic reflection on the better moments of a terrifying period of life. Remembering the strength of will from an ancestral period that allowed them to find meaning in their life even as the world burned.
It's okay to focus on past times without focusing on race or cultural hegemony. It's sometimes even healthy. There is more to history and entertainment than ethno conflict, if people want to spend a couple hours watching a reimagining of past life as a nostalgic musical, just fucking shut up and let them.

That was well put. It is good to care about everybody.

#1 - "Unbearable whiteness" - Really? People by the millions vote with their feet to live in white societies. Most economists will take on an extra five or six figures on their mortgage to live in a majority-white neighborhood. Economists' wives understand this, even if economists don't, or won't.

There are plenty of places in the world where film critics and economists can go to get away from "unbearable whiteness" but their revealed preferences are for "unbearably white" societies.

Racism is ok if directed at whites.

Imagine a reverse headline.

"The unbearable blackness of Detroit"

"The unbearable blackness of Tyler Perry"

A truly pathetic exercise. "How could a person of color long for a past bleaker than the already admittedly bleak present?" Maybe that's true. Maybe people of color refuse to eat at restaurants specializing in "soul food" or listen to recordings of Lightning Hopkins or read about the Tuskegee airmen. Didn't a big museum just open in Washington, DC more or less celebrating a bleak past?

It was the whiteness of the whale that above all things appalled me.

I can't believe Tyler linked to this article or read it. It's not about "nostalgia" - it's an attack on "whiteness". It argues nostalgia is a white condition. It calls the movie "an ode to a lost era of white supremacy".

People should see the Carch - 22 in critical race theory. According to its exponents, white people cannot comment on or make works of art about people of color. That is "cultural appropriation" which is designated racist.

But when, as in La La Land, white filmmakers make a movie about white people having a good time, it's an ode to whiteness, exclusionary, privileged yada, yada, yada, and likewise racist.

Basically, critical race posits as a first principle whites are always and unalterably racist in everything they create. Then they reason backward to whatever the specific thing they choose that day to focus on, to "explain" why it is an example of racism.

Being a liberal, heterodox thinker, inreject all "first principle" accounts of the world, which have no mire intellectual validity than creationism. I am shocked Tyler has referenced an example of this intellectual trash approvingly.

Agreed. I suspect this must be some irony or experiment on Tyler's side.

#1: Many white viewers of La La Land may well consider nostalgic escapism as a horizontal unifier—something with which everyone identifies—but longing for the past is itself a political act.

No it isn't. When you miss your dead grandmother who voted for Barry Goldwater, that doesn't mean what you're actually nostalgic for is Barry Goldwater! The entire premise of this article is wrong wrong wrong.

Indeed very wrong. I remember the first time I watched Game of Thrones. I said to my wife how much I loved our world with government enforced property rights. However it makes a good drama if they kill each other over the ownership of land and slaves.

Making everything you do and think political is the death of a society. I ran into a lot of people in South America who thought like this. It's soul sapping.

A person's first first duty is which his/-her society, civic virtue is essential. In this sense, everything is political, because every human act is social.As Brazilian Admiral Barroso said before his battle against the Paraguayans: "The Empire of Brazil expects every man will fullfil his duty". Social life is war by other means.

You guys stole that line from Lord Nelson at the Battle of Trafalgar. Weak sauce.

No they didn't. Thiago is a fat White retired accountant from Ohio. He is trolling you. And doing so rather well.

But Brazil is not a topic he knows anything about.

We didn't steal anything, he thought this sentence when he was preparing himself for a terrible struggle against the Paraguayan aggressor.

"But Brazil is not a topic he knows anything about."
Brazil is a topic I know everything about. I spent all my life learning about the Golden Age of Brazilian Culture, the War Against the Paraguayan Aggressor and our society in general. Although I like how you can even think you know my profession. It is like see that film/book about the guy who faced goats. Only Americans woild waste money on such stupid governent activities.

" War Against the Paraguayan Aggressor"

"The Paraguayan War,[A] also known as the War of the Triple Alliance[B] and the Great War[4][C] in Paraguay, was a South American war fought from 1864 to 1870 between Paraguay and the Triple Alliance of Argentina, the Empire of Brazil, and Uruguay. With an estimated 400,000 deaths, the war was the deadliest and bloodiest in Latin America's history. It particularly devastated Paraguay, which suffered catastrophic losses in population - almost 70% of its adult male population died, according to some counts - and was forced to cede territory to Argentina and Brazil. According to some estimates, Paraguay's pre-war population of 525,000 was reduced to 221,000 of which only 28,000 were men."

So, Paraguay was utterly destroyed by a coalition 10 times it's size and the coalition committed a terrible genocide against a nearly defenseless opponent and then seized Paraguayan territory afterwards. The triple alliance killed 60% of the population. And your bragging about it?

The film isn't even "longing for the past". It's totally not about that at all. It's just that the aesthetic style of the film is retro-1950s. The film is all about the look - it's a musical the references old Hollywood musicals, so of course it's going to adopt certain stylistic aspects of old Hollywood movies.

I find Chazelle's aesthetic a little off. His view of jazz and art seem more like a fan boy's idea than the idea of an actual artist. Not to say that his movies don't have a lot of craft or artistry. But musicians I've known love to play music and are usually happy for a job playing music, even if its not their favorite kind. Also, the more interesting ones are forward looking and innovative. Chazelle's musicians seem caught up in dominance games and purity issues and are constantly wishing they lived in other times. Those seem more like fan hangups than musician hangups to me.

As for the whiteness issue, I don't think this movie is a good hook for this point. But I do think there is something to it. Nostalgia for particular bygone things and people - your grandma, good egg cremes, fred astaire, or bebop - seems natural and unproblematic although it can get excessive. But general nostalgia for an era - i.e., pining for the "1950s" - does seem problematic in that it usually privileges a very narrow slice of life over the global perspective. And that global perspective does not just have to be about racial injustice, although thats very salient in America. It can be about gender issues and sexism. Global poverty. Colonialism. War. Air pollution. Disease. Food quality and cost. Working conditions. Organized crime. Stalinism. Road safety. Or any other of a million things that was demonstrably worse in every decade of the 20th century than present.

Playing popular music versus jazz was actually a big issue in the 50s according to sociologist Howard Becker's "outsiders". There were a lot more available jobs as well.

Yeah, I agree. I could point at dozens of movies that are "unbearably white" or subconsciously sexist or classist. This just isn't one of them.
A lot of rom-coms are painfully white-middle-class idealized nonsense. But 'La La Land' is largely an exercise in visual aesthetics - the plot is almost beside the point. it's a girl meets boy, boy meets girl, boy loses girl , formula. It's completely and totally all about the visuals in the dance numbers - and it's made to LOOK like a 50s musical because that's the aesthetic it's aping.

#3: File this one under "feminist discovers that biology is not a social construct after all."

#2 is actually truly fascinating.

But predictably, the comments here are all about racism and gender. And there's even a completely irrelevant Trump comment thrown in!

Does it even matter what TC posts to this absurd blog? Discuss.

Red meat on MLK Monday.

But yes, I'd think the prospect of a (usually) beefy, hotheaded man screaming at you is at least an unconscious factor.

What can I say, sports bore me.

A desperate society focus on what divides it, not what unites it.

Apparently it doesn't matter to you what he posts, as you tune in and click every day. 'Absurd blog' indeed.

#3: Expectations are the problem. There is NO relationship with 100% positive things. Even lasting friendships have ugly periods. So, there is no perfect friend, lover or husband. When you look for a partner you try to find a person with the maximum of positive things but there are always downsides. She's not looking for a lover but "the perfect lover" many nice things don't happen because overthinkers kill the good in the name of perfect?

+1. Plus, boo hoo. She's got it better than most in the romance department. But as a poster said above, the article was basically clickbait, she knows what she's doing.

"7. “But the concrete Pantheon? "

How about the concrete Parthenon. Which is in much better shape than the original.

"The [concrete] production process also releases carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas."

Well, yes, CaCO3 -> CaO + CO2.

BUT when the stuff cures, it absorbs CO2 from the atmosphere, thus completing the cycle with no net increase in atmospheric CO2. So, what's the problem?

I think the CO2 emissions come from the burning of some fuel. Somehow you have to heat the raw materials up to 1500°C to make cement.

Yes, this is the issue. Creating cement uses 4 MJ/kg of material. And the best fuel for the process is coal.

Carbon is already thrown into most modern cement in the form of fly ash to speed up the curing process so it does not need to absorb carbon from the atmosphere.

And as mentioned, fuel is burned to provide the process heat to make cement.

#8 (MLK Day economics)

"...reducing discriminatory barriers isn't just about justice and fairness to individuals; it's also about a stronger U.S. economy that makes better use of the underlying talents of all its members..."

Hardly some new insight on economics and society.

That labor is a scarce resource and that the division of labor greatly improves human productivity... has been known for centuries.

Less racial/gender discrimination in employment = more available labor = more productivity. More freedom of opportunity within the active labor force = better division of labor = more productivity.

(P.S. Federal politicians should not be permitted to establish "national holidays" of any type )

Interesting the idea that all of that has been known for centuries but so many places worked against it for so very very long. Is the why on that not worthy of some day of reflection. You should definitely work today, for equality and social justice!

1. It is a shame that Far from Heaven was wasted on the audiences of 2002.

"1. Good take on La La Land and nostalgia."

"...after a political season overflowing with the nostalgia of white supremacy."

A good chunk of the Left was living in a bubble. This author still is. This political season was not about "white supremacy" anymore than BLM or MLK day is about "black supremacy".

"This political season was not about “white supremacy” anymore than BLM or MLK day is about “black supremacy”."

You may not be making the point you think you're making, here.

No, I'm aware that you can flip the statement either way. And I'm non-ideological enough to admit the level of supremacy is probably non-zero in both cases.

This is simple, and sad, to decode. Both "white supremacy" and "black supremacy" both exist somewhere. People believe most. Which is more mainstream?

Apparently JWatts thinks MR comments is a good place to pretend a different reality, even (especially?) on MLK day.

I bet he can find another few MR denizens to agree. Sad, but happily not true in the wider world.

That was supposed to be "people believe both" meaning "some believe each."

Well your comment is impossible to decode. A link to nothing, some gibberish. Got it.

"Sad, but happily not true in the wider world."

Looks like someone's still in the denial stage.

Any comment that attracts fake Maya Angelou and Alt Lite must, by acclamation, be correct.

Well your comment was incapable of being correct or incorrect, that is how bad it was

Flawless logic.

There is an entire continent of black supremacy but it doesn't even occur to you because you dont see black countries as peers. Of course, this fits in rather well with your other political beliefs; black infintilism, and personal narrative; white hero.

I don't think that anyone complaining about White people engaging in Black infantilism (that is what you mean, right?) should bring up Africa.

The reasons why are left as an exercise for the reader. A bonus point if you can avoid mention of Lord of the Flies.

If only talented, ambitious white guys like Damien Chazelle, director of "La La Land," would stop accomplishing so much, other people wouldn't need to feel so resentful.

The best, more comprehensive explanation of how this happened was done in 2009, and can be found here.

Essentially, for policy reasons bipartisan regulators with the best of intentions inadvertently created incentives for conditions that could not handle the small recession that began in 2008, leading to a much worse recession as the hidden risks were exposed and the damage was revealed to markets as systemic.

Most of the regulations that have been proposed since are like the bans on nail clippers on planes since 9/11: they don't really do anything to solve the problem, and in any case private citizens demonstrated that the "hijack a plane and fly it into important stuff" tactic was already obsolete on Flight 93 -- similarly, investors will be difficult to fool again.


Great link, really fantastic, thanks.

It wasn't only subprime loans. In FDIC-insured, Fed Member, etc. banks, subprime loans were severely limited as to volumes relative to equity capital.

The Cisneros and Cuomo HUD, FHA, FNMA, FHLMC greatly expanded the volumes of Federally sponsored home loans - to the point where they operated 50% of a rapidly expanding home loan universe. Plus, HUD set goals for FHLMC and FNMA of 50% of production be to "low-to-moderate income", er, subprime borrowers. And, several years in the run-up to the 2006 RE bubble burst, FNM/FHLMC inordinately raised the maximum loan balances and unacceptably weakened underwriting standards. I could go on and on with other culprits and other factors. For one not often contemplated: the Fed's years earlier bail-out of LTCM which set the tone for too big too fail.

There were (some still are existent) dozens of causes. Both left and right advocacy gangs contributed. The right didn't want to end the huge profits. The left had its CRA, anti-discrimination mindset.

Inside dirt on CRA: banks mainly obtain CRA "credit" for examination and regulatory application approval (the main CRA enforcement bludgeon) purposes not only by advancing acceptable volumes of loans to low-to-moderate income borrowers, but also by paying bribes, er, grants to federally-favored community groups. Ergo, the money to fund community agitators duds like Obama.

Finally (I promise), FNMA and FHLMC made huge contributions to left-wing politicians, community groups and racial racketeers. One named Obama was paid $50,000 early in his meteoric rise to national prominence.

How come we had bubbles occurring at the same time in: Spain, Singapore, South Korea, Iceland, Israel, Ireland....and on an on. Was the CRA responsible for all that as well?

Does it mention the extreme leverage used by investment banks?

You can go broke with any investment plan if you over-leverage. That would include buying, say, 30-year fixed rate mortgages from borrowers with good credit. The argument that it's all because of CRA is silly.

Yup. Leverage was and is the only meaningful cause. Leverage turns small disruptions like the S&L crisis into huge ones like the Great Recession.

Blaming leverage for the financial crisis is a bit like blaming lack of flotation for the Titanic disaster.

AIG and Bear Stearns, for instance, were not over-leveraged given the valuations of the assets they owned, they failed because those assets turned out to be worth a lot less than they thought. That happened because there was a big incentive to hide those risks created by regulators who allowed, for instance, banks to buy more CRA mortgages on the secondary market rather than do other things like install rural ATMs.

@TallDave: the assets were only worth less than they thought on a mark to market during a meltdown. The mark to market rule change in 2007, which got rid of a rule that kept things working smoothly for 70 years, was the true culprit not the CRA. When Barney Frank said they'd fix that rule on March 9, 2009, the stock market bottomed and immediately started recovering, never to see that low level again (probably).

There's a lot of factors that went into the meltdown. The CRA didn't help, but it's silly partisanship to consider that the prime factor. Leverage was the main thing, combined with the MTM mistake of 2007. Brian Wesbury (who's proudly right wing and anti-government) at First Trust has done some good work on this.

Mark to market is just an accounting rule. The real problem was they bought assets that turned out to be worth less than they thought. If those assets had been worth what they thought, there would have been no problem.

And again, it was a bipartisan effort:

As for the “why” part of your question, the answer is a bit ironic. Banks making CRA loans initially expected that defaults would be higher due to lax lending standards. When they discovered the low-income borrowers had an unexpected propensity to pay their mortgages. After years of data poured in showing that borrowers were paying mortgages despite high LTVs, low down payments and unconventional income measures, bankers began to believe that many of the traditional measure of credit worthiness were overly conservative. Recall what I said earlier about how mortgage service providers started pursuing low-income borrowers in part because of the CRA.

What they didn’t take into account was that different types of borrowers may behave differently, and that much of the data on those lax lending mortgages was warped by increasing home prices. Wealthier, more sophisticated borrowers ruthlessly default when their mortgage goes underwater, for example. What’s more, the reversal of housing prices meant that defaults across all borrower classes increased.

Making matters worse, President Bush pushed hard for lax lending standards. He wanted to expand minority and low income home ownership far beyond what the CRA required. So he pushed even harder for the broadening of these lending standards.

And again, investment banks were not especially leveraged until after the subprime collapse. For instance, Bear Stearns' leverage was normal until two subprime mortgage hedge lost nearly all of their value in 2007. No accounting rule change would have fixed that problem, the asset was just a lot riskier than everyone had assumed (particularly regulators).

There were a lot of other mistakes, of course -- we know from the Fed minutes that they were still worrying about inflation as the crisis unfolded. But there's really no sensible way to blame "leverage" or changes in accounting rules.

The assets were worth what they thought before and after the forest fire. In the middle of the forest fire they were worth what they could be sold for at that moment, which was less than their intrinsic worth based on cash flows. MTM was an accounting rule (that was installed in 2007 after 70 years of not being needed) with disastrous real world consequences. Read the literature.

Wrong, subprime funds never recovered their value, and the issues at Bear Stearns took many months to develop even after the initial subprime hit.

I passed the CPA exam so I'm probably considerably more familiar than you with the concept of changes to fair value accounting and the implications of FASB regulation. It's true some of the thinly traded securities like CDOs were negatively affected, but there's a strong argument that those MTM valuations are appropriate precisely because because CDOs embody counterparty risk in ways that make them much less valuable when stressed.

At any rate, anyone with a lot of exposure to subprimes was going to have a bad day, period.

BTW I don't know if you remember Phar-Mor, but accountants certainly do, especially auditors, because they destroyed one of the Big 6 accounting firms (I think it was Coopers), after that they were the Big 5. Around the time I was studying accounting, Phar-Mor perpetrated a complete fraud on the accounting firm, keeping a second set of books with the real sales numbers and reporting fake numbers to the SEC. Everyone complained that the accounting firms and regulators were too cozy with big business and demanded stricter auditing.

Then Arthur Andersen got in bed with Enron and did something a little fancier, creating revenue out of transactions that really represented nothing more than a wash. Enron blew up and now there's no more Arthur Andersen. Around this same time, we had the Asian currency crisis on the back of similar reasons. Globally, everyone complained that the accounting firms and regulators were too cozy with big business and demanded stricter auditing.

The last thing FASB wanted was for another crisis to cause people to complain, yet again, that the accounting firms and regulators were too cozy with big business and needed to do stricter auditing. So they issued some stricter rules on how iliquid assets have to be reported to investors, and now some people complain they're too hard on big business and demand looser auditing :)

There are no bubbles, there are only changing preferences and prices. For instance, there's no practical reason why Lebron's ability to put basketballs in iron hoops according to an arbitrary set of rules is worth more than a billion dollars, but it's not clear that the price is wrong.

CRA was one domestic piece of a much larger international puzzle. The US would have avoided a lot of pain without it, but a lot of countries had similar regulations.

I doubt theloans to poor people were enough to make banks fail but even if they were, it could have been fixed without crashing the economy had banks not created derivatives and credit default swaps make it impossible to sort out who was solvent and who was not. The problems at Freddy and Fanny cost the government. less that 200 billion and they held half the mortgages so double that would have be enough fix it which would have been a bargain compared to what happened.

They did that because the regulators created incentives to do so. It was a deliberate effort to make financing more fair.

Once again someone trotting out the often-debunked blame-the-CRA line ignores a crucial fact: there were a great many non-bank lenders involved in the mortgage bubble, firms like New Century Inc. and Countrywide (the latter did recharter as a banking entity toward the end). The riskier loans, and much of the subprime volume, originated at these non-bank lenders, WHO WERE NOT SUBJECT TO THE CRA.

This is so good.

The article pretty much says the bankers were idiots for thinking they could use the lower standards they gave to very small loans on the much larger loans. Is that the way you are reading it? Greed or idiocy there are not many ways to spin that crisis.

It also says regulators and politicians openly encouraged them to do so.

In 2017, nobody understands the Housing Bubble yet because Republicans and Democrats both refuse to admit that it was George W. Bush's faith in our era's most sacred cow -- Diversity -- that facilitated the Bubble. Bush's 10/15/2002 White House Conference on Increasing Minority Homeownership signaled to already ambitious lenders like Angelo Mozilo and Kerry Killinger that federal regulators weren't going to be so sniffy anymore about old fashioned credit standards like down payments and documentation because the old way was racist and stood in house doorway of minorities, especially Hispanics, getting equality.

The government collects mortgage application and grant data by race and ethnicity, so there is a ton of data that housing prices went up fastest in increasingly Hispanic areas (i.e., the Sand States). But importing illegal aliens to build exurban mcmansions for people trying to get their kids out of school districts with lots of children of illegal aliens turned out to be a pyramid scheme.

Our era's most sacred cows are homeownership and good schools.

Good schools is code for as little diversity as legally possible.

It wasn't particularly important who got the loans. Regulators could have (and likely would have) created the same problems another way, to the extent diversity was a driver.

As the article points out, a lot of the trouble came from the fact that at one point, suddenly everyone wanted to refi. But they all used the new rules.

#1 It's a f#&@ing movie.

6. Of course, if Trump had been president at the time everyone would have a great mortgage with a great rate and a great house in a great neighborhood with great neighbors with great kids and nobody would have defaulted. It would have been great.

As it was, the concentration of wealth and capital resulted in low (and falling) rates of return (r) so owners of capital sought higher rates of return by taking on more risk encouraged by algorithms that promised skinny tails. Trump would not have trusted algorithms since he doesn't trust foreigners and isn't sure what an algorithm is and, besides, knows not to trust people with skinny tails.

You're funny. I was laughing so hard that I almost forgot. This MLK thing turned out to be a nightmare for black Americans who were inordinately harmed by the subprime crisis and the Obama presidency.

With 8, 3, and 1, I guess I should expect a lot of signalling on MLK day. 8. is particularly brain-dead. "For the purposes of developing a back-of-the-envelope estimate, Klenow builds up a model with some of these assumptions: "Each person possesses general ability (common to all occupations) and ability specific to each occupation (and independent across occupations). All groups (men, women, blacks, whites) have the same distribution of abilities."


I was going to call that out myself. How can any thinking person write that and then continue without comment as if it were perfectly reasonable? I guess according to this guy, the worst discrimination in the history of the universe is occurring in the NBA right now. White LeBron James is toiling in some rec league right now, no doubt.

"Unless one holds the antediluvian belief that, say, 95% of all the people who are well-suited to become doctors or lawyers are white men, this situation was an obvious misallocation of social talents."

Most of the people on this blog would happily state this antediluvian belief and continue without comment as if it were perfectly reasonable.

White Lebron James is throwing fastballs in the big leagues, and it isn't because black people forced him out of the NBA.

Wrong. Anyone who would say that would be incorrect.

Unfortunately you cannot explain the discrepancy in black-white ratio in college and professional basketball so blithely. Of course I have no problem with it whatsoever. But it's amazing how your ilk will bend over backwards to justify this disparate outcome.

What about the white, female LeBron James? What is she up to, Andre?

White American parents and white coaches decide what sports their kids play. Once there appeared to be too many black players in basketball they ran for the exits, which they've done in other venues as well. It's a shame for the kids but there are plenty of sports with expensive equipment and travel teams that they can keep to themselves.

The Euro kids aren't scared, why are the Americans?

Softball!? I really don't know, too much woman for me.

"What is she up to?"

May be upto posting comments with the moniker " Maya Angelou."

Again, that utterly fails to explain the difference between college basketball and the NBA. I assure you there is no lack of white basketball players in the U.S. That is a canard.

Most successful white pro basketball players of recent decades grew up either in Europe, Argentina, or parts of the North America with very few blacks: e.g., Kevin Love is from Portland, John Stockton is from Spokane (where Rachel Dolezal headed the NAACP), and Steve Nash from Vancouver Island.

There are many places in North America with very few blacks and many white people who play basketball at the collegiate, DI level, so white people not wanting their children to play a sport with black people is not the source of the disparity.

"95% of all the people who are well-suited to become doctors or lawyers are white men"
"Most of the people on this blog would happily state this antediluvian belief and continue without comment as if it were perfectly reasonable"

Lord no we aren't such racists. 60% of all the people who are well-suited to become doctors are Asian men and 35% are white men, come on.

"Most of the people on this blog would happily state this antediluvian belief and continue without comment as if it were perfectly reasonable."

Nonsense. Firstoff, who displaced White men in law and the medical field? Mostly, two groups, white women and Asian men. Most of the descendants of the Asians were not in the country in 1960, so a lack of "discrimination" is not what explains their rise. As for the White women, more of them are in highly educated fields, which unquestionably leads to higher productivity, but at what cost? The cost was to set off a dysgenic trend where the most highly educated women have the fewest kids. Taylor's analysis ignores both factors.

The rise of Blacks in such fields is mostly a result of affirmative action, another factor ignored by Taylor's analysis.

Should be Asians in general, not Asian men exclusively.

#2 was terrific. Easily the best like of the day. More like this please!

1. If some whites are nostalgic for a "whiter" past, I don't think it has anything to do with "white supremacy." An idealized vision of white separateness seems more likely. The two are regularly equated by those who have no desire to actually understand the world.

For what it's worth, I grew up on a white street, on the white of town. I see no reason to idealize that seperateness. I do have a hard time understanding why staying in that isolation would be better than venturing into a wider world.

Different people have different tastes. I suspect you know that.

How do these tastes actually relate to things like what we now call HBD?

How do you feel about HBD?

hbd and a longing for a "whiter" past are conceptually distinct. yes, many hbd enthusiasts want to 'make america great again' by returning to the aesthetics and values of decades when white culture was ascendant, but that's a correlation between tastes and interests and doesn't call into question the empirical findings, such as they are, of hbd research. the only inferences to be drawn are political.

I think people vary, and that it is worth trying to understand those differences both within and between populations. I similarly think the concept of "neurodiversity" (which Tyler has mentioned with regards to autism spectrum "disorders" in the past) is an interesting one.

There are indeed some interesting between-group differences that we can observe, such as in their ability to acclimatize at high altitudes, development of sickle-cell traits as a defense to malaria, skin pigmentation, and the like.

I suspect that to the extent there are between-group differences in general measures of intelligence, these are "real" but are a temporary result arising from that population experiencing a relatively recent trauma that killed in a non-random way across the intelligence distribution.

For instance, I think if every white American with an IQ below 100 died tomorrow, the White American population would have a comparatively elevated (but declining in its elevation) IQ for many generations afterward, but that regression to the mean would eventually take it right back towards 100 because there is not much survival advantage to a population having a higher-centered IQ distribution.

I think some of the people who care a lot about the issue are motivated by a "supremacist" desire: they want to believe that their race is better, because they're part of it, and we like to think we are special. But I think plenty are genuinely interested in trying to understand the reality of the world, and in explaining why we observe what we observe. They sometimes go overboard in their belief of the extent to which their pet theory explains existence (as most people do), but they serve a useful role in bringing a different viewpoint into the intellectual discourse. I abhor all efforts to shut their speech down.

That is a really bizarre theory. Does anyone else share it?

I can't say TV's theory is wrong. I'm not sure it is falsifiable with current genetic population knowledge.

Regardless though, I think if you have a "we are all in this together" attitude, one that does not split "we all" along racial lines, you are less likely to look for "separation" along those same lines. If you want to hang with vegans or something, I'd see that as different, a true "cultural" choice.


I don’t think it has anything to do with “white supremacy.”

Just another one of those coincidences, then. Much like how when a black college student, being followed by a another driver, decides to drive to a police station to be safe, as he explained on the phone while doing it. Then he is arrested, for resisting arrest.

Shame that the video, released a day ago, shows no resistance on the part of the owner of the car - 'Crosby stops the car in the driveway of a church, and slowly gets out facing the officers, hands in the air.

He begins to explain, but the officers order him to keep his hands up. Others scream at him to get on the ground.

He turns and, in an instant, five officers sprint toward him. They drive him back several feet, kneeing him to force him to the ground and striking him with open hands to make him comply, a police spokesman said later.

“Stop resisting,” an officer yells as another strikes Crosby’s thigh.

“I’m cooperating. I’m cooperating,” Crosby replies.

He continues to explain that the car is his, where he got it from and when. He attends Northwestern and is a civil engineering PhD, he says. He was just trying to fix his car.

He asks the officers why he’s being handcuffed; they say they have to figure out who the car belongs to.

They determine it’s his, but he was still arrested and charged with disobeying officers and resisting arrest.'

It is never about white supremacy, is it? Everything is ever so coincidental, really.

So the white people who idealize some past vision of a whiter society are motivated by a desire to arrest and beat black people rather than, say, just not interact with black people? And regardless, the two motivations are the same, and just examples of a desire for white supremacy?

There is something racist in having a desire to not interact with black people. It's not like black people will ever have that option, and the attempt to create a society in which whites don't have to interact with blacks would necessarily entail restricting the liberties of blacks. Essentially it means bringing back segregation.
Be realistic, any society that has both blacks and whites in it and both groups are at perfect liberty to go and do what they want is going to involve some getting along between groups. White people need to learn how to deal with that, because that's life.

Black people have that option and exercise it. That society has already been created.

I don't think calling that desire "racist" is useful, because it conflates two distinct desires. Wanting to subjugate black people because they are believed to be inferior fits squarely in the classic and more useful definition of "racist." Wanting to avoid black people (or any race or ethnic group wanting to avoid any other group) because they are different and that difference causes discomfort does not fit well into that classic definition.

Yes, realistically any society that includes different types of people will require interaction between those types. But it is useful to properly understand the motivations that are behind people's expressed preferences and behaviors. I think "I just want to be around people like me" versus "I want to subjugate people who I think are inferior to me" are very different motivations that will lead to very different behaviors, and should be morally assessed and reacted to in different ways.

@Maya Angelou : No they do not. Black people do not live in isolated all-black enclaves that have zero interaction with white society. They have to leave their houses and neighborhoods and venture out into majority-white territory on a daily basis. They are not surrounded 24/7 by black cops and black doctors and black shopkeepers and black taxidrivers and black waitresses. Capiche?

@Turkey Vulture
Then the "classic" definition of racism is lacking something. When most people TODAY talk about racism, they aren't talking about a desire to put black people into slavery. They are talking about racial segregation and, on an even more nuanced level, social exclusion on the basis of race. They are talking about black people being isolated and excluded from full participation in the economy precisely *because* white people avoid interacting with them. White people systematically avoiding black people because they are black is a major economic problem for black people. It prevents blacks from successfully networking within their professions. It dramatically reduces the market for black professionals such as doctors and dentists. (i.e. how many whites would to to see a black dentist and vice versa - what effect do you think that has on the market for black dentists?) It impairs black people's chances of economic success in myriad ways. When people talk about "structural racism" that is what they are talking about - the systematic effects of pervasive racism on the ability of black people to participate and succeed in the economy.

Hazel Meade,
I don't think the "classic" definition of racism is lacking anything, and I would say that to the extent people today are talking about what you are describing as "racism," they are improperly confusing motivations and behaviors that have different sources. Just because you identify the motivation and behavior as being bad and causing harm doesn't mean it needs to be called "racism." There are other bad and harmful things in the world that we come up with other names for besides "racism."

Indeed, I would say it's especially important to carefully curtail the "racism" label because of how terrible it is within our society to be branded anything like a "racist." It produces defensive reactions and a closing-up of discussion that I don't think get you closer to addressing an issue, which is a bad place to go when describing something that unavoidably involves very personal behaviors and viewpoints.

In particular, what you are describing often involves a particular condemnation of white people for behaving in that manner with a consequent failure to condemn, or outright willingness to excuse, the same behavior in people of other races. That is, the white guy who doesn't want to go to a black dentist or the like it is roundly condemned, while a black guy with the same desires may not be, and may actually find apologists for their behavior.

I believe there are two potential approaches to take given what I have described:
(1) If the feeling is that the conduct needs to particularly be changed among white people because they are a majority of the population with a more-than-proportionate share of societal wealth and economic power, then I don't think it should take a condemning route at all, because condemnation that applies to one racial group and not others will activate "that's unfair to me" circuits in people's brains and cause push-back to your efforts. Instead, the focus should be on calling it things like "social exclusion" and focusing on the way in which it excludes black people from social interaction, the economy, and the community.

I don't like any idea like (1), however, because I don't think it is a good idea to ever make differential demands of different racial groups on the basis of their race. What I describe in (1) can easily become outright "racist" because it starts to assume that only whites are capable of counter-acting their tendencies towards racial solidarity and out-group exclusion, and that other races are not capable of such morally righteous actions.

So I would favor (2): if our desire for racial solidarity and to be around those like us causes social harm, it should be equally disfavored regardless of the race of the person with those desires and regardless of who their desires effect. If it is wrong to express a desire to be around "people like me," it should be equally wrong for all races and ethnic groups.

I think the status quo, where white people are particularly condemned (and often called racists) for expressing a preference for people like them, while other groups are allowed to create and propagate race- and ethnic-based affinity groups because of their own desire to be around "people like them," is a terrible idea that (1) creates push-back from whites due to perceptions of unfairness, (2) fails to properly convey that preferences for "people like me" are a social problem generally, and (3) seems at least somewhat "racist" in that it demands a higher moral standard from whites than other groups, which implicitly assumes whites are capable of achieving some higher moral level.

I think that if you say "people like me" and then go to race, I think yes, we have to say that is at least a mild, socially prompted, version of race-ism.

I mean touch bases that modern population genetics does not see "race," especially in mixed populations like the US, and you see that this is a circular and usually destructive self-perpetrating social construct.

Or, as a smart guy and Great American once said, go with character, not skin color.

But I do think that white people have more of a moral obligation to overcome racial in-group bias and be socially inclusive of non-whites, because white people are the dominant group and they have the power. White people's social exclusion of blacks has much more, profoundly much more, effect on black people's chances of success than black people's social exclusion of whites.

Hazel Meade,
I think that even if you believe white people have a greater moral obligation because they are the dominant group, that the downsides of trying to enforce that obligation on white people alone make it an undesirable option. Condemning behavior by one racial group while excusing it in another seems like a great recipe for continued racial discord, and a way to create the feeling of racial grievance among white people. I do not think that responding to that discord and grievance with "Get over it! You have a moral obligation!" will be availing.

If your goal is actually to achieve greater social inclusion across races, I think the clear route to take is to discourage racial exclusion and preferences by all groups. I think that establishing different standards for different races may be the way to go if appearances and the feeling of moral righteousness, but a continuance of racial discord and exclusion, are the goals.

"It is never about white supremacy, is it? Everything is ever so coincidental, really."

You don't have to be sly about it prior. Everyone realizes that your a closet white German supremacist. Well, not really closeted, just anonymous on this blog.

And tell us again how Michael Brown, valedictorian, had his hands up in the air and was shot in the back.


#6: It's remarkable how rarely in this debate rent is mentioned. It would be like financial economists discussing stock market valuations without mentioning earnings. If we tried to do that, all of our arguments about equity valuations would just be debates that attribute equity valuations to things that correlate with equity valuations - margin balances, short term expectations, etc.

Willen, Foote, & Loewenstein are right, but they aren't willing to take it far enough. Home values rose because rents and expected rents rose. Owning a house in LA, NYC, or San Francisco (or Vancouver, London, Sydney, Stockholm, etc.) is like owning a piece of a cartel that has cornered the market on location. There is a fee for that sort of thing. And, it is reflected in both rent and price.

American exceptionalism and ancient prejudices that make blaming finance satisfying have sent everyone off on a wild goose chase when the answers are right in front of us. When home prices in those cities were rising and subprime lending was dominant, low income homeowners were moving out of those cities by the hundreds of thousands. Those cities were depopulating in 2004-2006. That is a pretty strange thing to see happening if access to credit and a housing frenzy are the driving force behind the market trend. Those households were being outbid for a place in the cartel.

But home prices far outpaced rents, so "expected future rents" are telling a huge part of the story, and how do you quantify those?

They correlate strongly with past rents. Contrary to popular belief, persistent rent inflation at the MSA level was the primary driver of price differences between MSA s during the boom and still today.

Here's an old post that talks a little about the increasing importance of persistent rent inflation.

Hard to get much out of that post. In my analysis rents were a great deal in many places at the height of the boom. I rented through the boom. You think that actually rent was increasing much faster than I assumed (~inflation) and so I actually would get a higher return on my down payment buying a house than investing it in equities etc.? You show an IRR of 5% on housing purchases currently which is not super exciting to me. About 4% in 2008.

#2...Pet Sounds is already nostalgic, as is The Doors The End and Break On Through To The Other Side, Sgt. Pepper's, John Fogerty's old time sound, Goodman's The Spirit of New Orleans, American Pie, etc. Beginning with the assassination of JFK, some of us experienced events that felt like a traumatic slap to the face given the feeling that the US can solve any problem view we were raised on. The Vietnam War was reported, not as a series of battles for territory, but how many of our troops were killed and wounded. There was already a nostalgic feeling for any war but this war, which seemed more like a test of how much we could stomach.

I supported James Webb because he seemed, like me, to acknowledge the positive attitude we felt prior to JFK's assassination and it's continuing relevance, while also acknowledging we have had years of hard lessons that should lead us to slowly and pragmatically seek those goals. Trump seems like the opposite of this, and HRC and Bernie not tempered enough. Since my view was soundly defeated, it's appropriate to label it nostalgic, since it's relevant to few people today. And I'm satisfied with that given the alternatives.

2. I doubt any teams are (consciously, and probably even unconsciously) taking this into account in their play selection, though I would be very interested to learn otherwise.

I think a 15-yard penalty for any mouthing-off would do a lot to reduce the effect of the bias. There's really no reason players and coaches need to be able to scream at the refs. At lower levels of play where such behavior isn't tolerated (particularly from the players), it occurs much less.

#1. I have seen 'La La Land' and i wonder if they saw the same movie. A large part of the plot revolved around the guy's interest in jazz and black characters are prominently featured. He plays as the one white guy in an otherwise all black band. There are scenes of the girl dancing to him playing in a jazz club among majority black patrons in the club. I feel like the person who wrote this review only watched the first 15 minutes or so (where there is a scene obviously referencing Singing in the Rain). Of course, the story does not focus on the civil rights era, because that is not what the movie is about. The nostalgia is merely the aesthetic of the film, not the meaning. There is nothing in the actual story that suggests these characters want to return to the 50s - any more than (say) a 60s era swords and sandels epic is an endorsement of facsism because it adopts the aesthetic of the Roman Empire - because the characters walk around wearing togas and laurel wreathes. By analogy, Mad Men must have been an endorsement of white supremacy because it was set in the 50s and revolves around 50s aesthetics in fashion and decor.

"Mad Men must have been an endorsement of white supremacy because it was set in the 50s and revolves around 50s aesthetics in fashion and decor." Oh, but Mad Men was cynical and ironic so that made it OK. You can't make a movie anymore that is fun and leaves a smile on your face without getting shredded by certain critics.

I actually didn't think La La Land was all that, but did have a good time watching it. All this nitpicking is silly. The movie was expertly made, but it did not have a profound message to it. Pretty simple story actually which is completely fine. Yes, the characters, especially Emma Stone, were a bit cardboard, but so what? It's pure entertainment with a touch of melancholy. Take it for what it is.

Agreed. The film is interesting because of the visual artistic aspects, not because of the storyline, characters, or plot development.
It's all about the musical numbers, especially the animated sequence near the end, which is transporting. Also the opening scene is a one long take, which is technically impressive, although the one-long-shot thing is getting kind of overused.

La La Land is set in a fantasy Los Angeles much like Woody Allen's fantasy New York: it's populated only by good-looking white people and talented black jazz musicians.

There are, for example, virtually no Mexicans (much less Koreans, Persians, or Russians) in La La Land's L.A.. But virtually zero pop culture critics care about Mexicans so most of the "Unbearable Whiteness" critiques we read are about how there aren't enough blacks in the movie, even though blacks are notably over-represented relative to the real demographics of Los Angeles.

That's a good point. There are surprisingly few Hollywood films that cater to a Latino audience.
I think this may be related to the surprising success of films like 'The Passion of the Christ' and 'My Big Fat Greek Wedding'. The former is a conservative Catholic film that appeals to Hispanics religious sensibilities and the latter is a comedy about cultural differences and big families. Hispanics are almost 20% of the population , but we don't see them that often in movies.

You don't understand critical race theory, HM. They saw the same movie, they just see it differently because they're "woke" and you're not. Start with the premise that everything white people do is racist. Everything. No rationalization to the contrary is admitted. Then, when you see white people doing something, you just have to express it as an act of racism. Are they working with other white people? That's exclusionary and racist. Are they working with people of color, in anything other than a subordinate role? They're enjoying "white privilege". They're committing "microaggressions".

3. The market for women over 39 is composed entirely of men over 39. These fall into four categories:
i. Married men who are faithful to their wives. Obviously they aren't available to the writer for her purposes.
ii. Married men interested in being unfaithful to their wives. As one or two commenters noted above, they might be available for her purposes, although it appears that her purposes include restaurant meals and other activities in public venues, which might be a problem.
iii. Hard-core players, who haven't settled down by age 40. A small group, and mostly interested in one night stands.
iv. Divorced or widowed men. But most of them are looking for a new committed relationship.
When you get right down to it, the number of men over 40 interested in a FWB relationship, which is basically what the author wants, is small.

I don't think your analysis is wrong, but it's all predicated on a relatively equal status standing. If the author was willing to date 'down', she could probably find plenty of men to date who'd be fine with those terms.

I suspect she's looking for attractive, tall men with education, a sense of humor, good fashion sense and means. And woe is her, the dating pool is so small.

And getting smaller, as women make up an increasing percentage of university graduates. Men are much more willing to 'marry down' than women.

In addition, men are more likely to die in accidents and they die at an earlier age in general, so as single women get into their 40's and 50's, the pool of available men starts to shrink even more. Good luck finding a healthy, attractive, high earning single male in his 40's who doesn't have some other flaw that kept him from marrying. And if you find one, you are going to have to compete for him against women in their 30's or even 20's, as women don't seem to mind dating and marrying older men of high income or high status.

If she's looking for someone with a good sense of humor, she might want to drop the cringy "lover" talk.

#1 La La Land review summary: La La Land evokes the past. The past was more racist than the present. Therefore La La Land evokes racism.

#4 this is why I always have the fingernail side of the finger pointed at the target when I'm flipping somebody off


"Subsequent evidence suggests that people with good credit scores played a larger role in the housing bubble and in the foreclosure crisis than initially thought. There was a closer correlation between Alt-A loans and regions with housing boom and busts than with subprime. If the housing bubble had been inflated by lending to subprime borrowers, the share of the mortgage market made up of people with weak credit should have been expanding during the housing boom. Yet the 2014 FSOC report contains evidence that the opposite is true. During the boom, the foreclosure rate on subprime loans was falling but the foreclosure rate on prime loans was not. As a result, the share of total foreclosures due to people with good credit was rising even before the housing bubble burst."

People with good credit scores were more likely to be engaged in house flipping-- buying multiple properties (often lying, with lender collusion, on the mortgage applications about their income and intentions) with the plan of renting them for a couple years then selling at a large profit. The better one's FICO the higher the potential profit since one's interest rate would be lower on the mortgage(s). Very few analyses of the bubble and bust pay much attention to "flipping", and yet it;s a classic speculative activity, of the sort that has driven other infamous bubbles from Tulipomania on. It was a huge part of what went wrong. A owner-occupant has every incentive to continue to pay his mortgage if the house ends up under water: he still needs a roof over his head after all. A speculator who has seen his hope for lavish profit banish has a strong incentive to let the property go into foreclosure thereby cutting his losses.

Comments for this post are closed