A Gripping Tale of Mortgage Madness
Published on May 18, 2009


But first . . .


REPUBLICANS’ MORE BUSINESSLIKE APPROACH TO DISCRIMINATION

As reported here:

 

SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) -- Republicans can reach a broader base by recasting gay marriage as an issue that could dent pocketbooks as small businesses spend more on health care and other benefits, GOP Chairman Michael Steele said Saturday. . .

 

☞  He’s spot on, which is why the GOP should come out against marriage generally, not just same-sex marriage.  Married workers cost more if you provide family health insurance.  So the smart hiring order is:  single people first; and then married gay people (who are less likely to have kids needing health insurance and more likely to have working spouse’s with their own health insurance), and then, if you absolutely must, married heterosexual couples.  It’s just good business.

 

THE TEST TUBE

Meanwhile, Massachusetts has had marriage equality for five years.  A sort of test tube for the rest of the country.  This site – from advocates of marriage equality – considers the pros and cons.  What effect have the 10,000 same-sex marriages had on “the institution of marriage” – other than allowing 20,000 more citizens to affirm its value?  One encouraging finding:  statewide support for marriage equality has increased ten percentage points since it was enacted.  That suggests that, with time, some of the fears and uncertainty resolve themselves, as people come to understand that love is not a zero-sum game.  The happiness of one couple need not come at the expense of another.

 

EVEN FINANCIAL WRITERS GOT CAUGHT UP

 IN THE MORTGAGE MADNESS

Stephen Gilbert:  “Did you see this?  A first person account of how a couple fell into the mortgage pit.  The victim, however, is a financial writer for the New York Times.  I can think of a $5.99 paperback (I bought it a long time ago) that could have saved him a load of grief.”

 

☞  The 48-year-old financial expert with a near-perfect credit score borrowed $414,000 on take-home pay, post alimony and child support, of $2,777 a month.  The monthly payments were $2,500.  His new wife kicked in, but soon their combined credit card debt was $50,000, a good chunk of it at 27% annual interest.  They solved that problem, paying off the cards by taking out an even larger mortgage at a higher rate . . . then his wife lost her job and the mortgage payments became impossible, a problem they solved by not paying it.  It’s been eight months of non-payments, and still this is not a home in foreclosure (the banks are backed up).

 

And when you read the story, it almost seems . . . well, not reasonable, exactly, but, well . . .

 

NINE

Mark Budwig:  “You wrote‘Start out with 10.  Subtract 1 and 0 from 10 and you get 9.  From there on in, the die is cast.  Because when you go up to 11, you are adding one more – but also subtracting one more.  So still 9.’  The correct meaning of ‘the die is cast’ is identical to ‘the dice are cast’ – that is, events are set irrevocably in motion and the outcome is in the hands of fate.  When Caesar crossed the Rubicon, he had no idea how things would work out, just that as Fortune’s Favorite, he would prevail.  The die was cast.”

 

Bryan Norcross (and Jim Roberts and Ken Doran and Rob Gordon and Nick Watson and Michael Haynes and James Ooi and Toby Gottfried and Andrew Klossner and several others*):  “You asked, ‘Why does any two-digit number – when those two digits are subtracted from it – become a number divisible by 9?’ A little math proof:  If a two-digit number is AB [with A in what my first-grade teacher Mrs. Green used to call ‘the tens place’], it is equal to: 10xA + B.  Adding the two digits together is: (A + B).  Subtracting the two digits from the two-digit number is thus expressed:  10xA + B – (A + B).   The B’s cancel each other and you’re left with:  10xA – A . . . which is 9xA (ten times something minus one of those somethings leaves you with nine of them).  And any number that is a multiple of nine is also, of necessity, divisible by nine.”

 

* But no women.  What’s up with that?

 

Artie:  “Forget two-digit numbers; if you take ANY whole number – 4,875,331, say – and subtract from it the sum of its digits, the result will be divisible by 9.”

 

☞  Artie goes onto to explain the math and asks me to put him in touch with any of you whose kids may need math tutoring in Manhattan.   Just one more service bundled into the cost of your subscription.

 



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