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Earthquake prediction

Who knows?

Tsk tsk

Despite the efforts of the past two popes to purge the ranks of liberals, there are still Catholics who believe in the teachings of social justice:

House Speaker John A. Boehner, a Republican who grew up in a devout Roman Catholic family in Ohio, is scheduled to give the commencement address this Saturday at the Catholic University of America in Washington, a prestigious venue in church circles for its affiliation with the nation’s bishops.

But now Mr. Boehner is coming in for a dose of the same kind of harsh criticism previously leveled at some Democrats — including President Obama — who have been honored by Catholic universities: the accusation that his policies violate basic teachings of the Catholic church.

More than 75 professors at Catholic University and other prominent Catholic colleges have written a pointed letter to Mr. Boehner saying that the Republican-supported budget he shepherded through the House of Representatives will hurt the poor, elderly and vulnerable, and therefore he has failed to uphold basic Catholic moral teaching.

“Mr. Speaker, your voting record is at variance from one of the Church’s most ancient moral teachings,” the letter says. “From the apostles to the present, the Magisterium of the Church has insisted that those in power are morally obliged to preference the needs of the poor. Your record in support of legislation to address the desperate needs of the poor is among the worst in Congress. This fundamental concern should have great urgency for Catholic policy makers. Yet, even now, you work in opposition to it.”

PA voters guide

For next Tuesday’s election, here’s a site that lists progressive candidates.

Medicare for all

Bernie Sanders and Jim McDermott introduce single-payer legislation. This is the way to do it – make the Republicans go on the record against it. Now let’s see if it gets to a vote.

Hallmark moment

I was in a store with a friend the other day and we passed a display featuring items that proclaimed “Live, Laugh, Love” — a phrase that was okay the first time someone used it, but has now become a million-dollar industry of triteness. You can even buy wall decals!

My friend looked at it and sneered, “Die, Cry, Hate.” Which cracked me up.

Nice idea

But I wonder why they think classes in resume writing will help when we have an actual unemployment rate around 18%.

Serendipity

So as I’m outlining my novel (oy, what a lot of work! I have trouble shutting off my brain), I’m also reading a lot about the business end of getting an agent. One piece of advice is to pick an author you like whose style is similar to yours, and see who represents them.

Imagine my surprise when I looked up one of my favorite authors and the agent’s name sounded familiar. Turns out not one, but two of the people I know are represented by this same agent. So at least once I have something to show, I can get personal recommendations to at least one good agent.

Pat Toomey

Supports the same changes to Medicare he used to bludgeon Joe Sestak. A right-wing extremist who’s a hypocrite? Shocking!

Stupid

The AARP points out that little Paulie Ryan is just plain stupid:

WASHINGTON — AARP is firing back at Republican budget maven Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) for accusing it of putting business interests before the needs of older Americans.

Ryan sent an email to supporters of his Prosperity PAC Tuesday, slamming AARP over its new multi-million dollar ad campaign that accuses Washington of trying to pay its bills by shorting the Medicare benefits Americans have earned.

The spot doesn’t mention Ryan or any party, but it is clearly a shot at Ryan’s budget, which would shift Medicare from its current from, a government-run plan, to a voucher-like private system in which the government subsidizes people to buy their own insurance.

Ryan did not appreciate the ad, and in the email, an adviser to his PAC trashed it.

[...] Republicans in the House have taken aim at AARP recently, charging, like Ryan, that AARP is prioritizing its business interests over its advocacy. A lengthy report using much of AARP’s own data suggested the income AARP gets from endorsing certain insurance plans was clouding its vision.
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Sticking a pin in the bubble

When is someone going to come out and say that the real estate bubble is an inherently bad thing? When mortgage payments or rent take up 50% of your income, it drives financial effects all the way down the line. I for one am happy to see this happen, because housing is still very overpriced:

MONTEREY, Calif. — By summer’s end, buyers and sellers in some of the country’s most upscale housing markets are slated to lose one their biggest benefactors: the deep pockets of the federal government. In this seaside community of pricey homes, the dread of yet another housing shock is already spreading.

“We’re looking at more price drops, more foreclosures,” said Rick Del Pozzo, a loan broker. “This snowball that’s been rolling downhill is going to pick up some speed.”

For the last three years, federal agencies have backed new mortgages as large as $729,750 in desirable neighborhoods in high-cost states like California, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Massachusetts. Without the government covering the risk of default, many lenders would have refused to make the loans. With the economy in free fall, Congress broadened its traditionally generous support of housing to a substantial degree.

But now Democrats and Republicans agree that the taxpayer should no longer be responsible for homes valued well above the national average, and are about to turn a top slice of the housing market into a testing ground for whether the private mortgage market can once again go it alone. The result, analysts say, will be higher-cost loans and fewer potential buyers for more expensive homes.

Michael S. Barr, a former assistant Treasury secretary, said the federal government’s retrenchment would be painful for many communities. “There’s always going to be a line, and for the person just over it it’s always going to be an arbitrary line,” said Mr. Barr, who teaches at the University of Michigan Law School. “But there is no entitlement to living in a home that costs $750,000.”

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