Category Archives: Ann Larie

Subprime Crisis Affecting Women Disproportionately

Today’s NY Times highlights how women are hardest hit by the subprime crisis.

First, to clarify –  a subprime loan is a loan that is offered at a higher interest rate, generally to individuals who would not qualify (or might not think they qualify) for traditional loans. Generally these loans have been meant for people with low credit scores or other factors that show they might be more likely to default on payments. The additional percentage points can add up to “tens of thousands of dollars worth of additional interest payment over the life of a loan”.

Traditionally, these types of loan companies preyed on poor people, much like high-interest credit card companies have, by taking advantage of people with poor credit and few options by charging enormous rates. (Interesting history of the “Ascendency of the Credit Card Industry” here)

Now it seems these financial vampires have found new prey as the NY Times reports,

“…even at high-income levels, mortgage brokers may assume that women are less confident to negotiate or shop around, and so offer them higher rates. A survey in 2006 by Prudential Financial found that two-thirds of women graded themselves at C or lower in their knowledge of financial services or products.

Ms. McIntyre, who bought her house for $125,000 in April 2006, is one of those women. When she bought the house, using two subprime loans — adjustable loans that started at 8.35 percent and 13.25 percent — the lender insisted that she use her savings to pay down a car loan, a common demand on subprime loans. After she lost her job, she had no reserve to pay her mortgage.

“I feel they had me from the start,” Ms. McIntyre said. “I was eligible for money as a first-time home buyer and a state employee. Nobody told me about any of these.”

What this means for women is that we must educate ourselves about our finances. We must hold ourselves responsible for learning how to invest, how to plan for retirement, and we must take the time to research when we take a large financial step such as buying a house.

Mothers and fathers must teach their daughters this information, and impress upon them the importance not only of financial independence but good long-term financial planning. As a society we should look at creating financially-savvy women as in everyone’s best interest – as our mothers, our life-partners, and our business colleagues.

Recommended reading –
“Women and Money” by Suze Orman
“Smart Women Finish Rich” by David Bach

Advertisements

Sexism Still Alive and Well in the Political Process

So leave it to election-year politics to draw me back into blogging!

Maureen Dowd’s editorial on Hillary Clinton’s ‘tears’ appeared in the New York Times yesterday and it was so incredibly sexist it made me sick to my stomach.

Now today, this editorial appeared stating that women must’ve seen Obama as the ‘popular kid who never talked to them’ and that every woman who’s been a multi-tasker suddenly was on Hillary’s side.
Now I recognize that voters can be motivated by all sorts of fickle & inconsequential things but it certainly seems like the interpretation of this particular voting shift has been extremely patronizing and sexist. Very few people focus on the fact that Hillary seems to do well when she can connect with smaller groups of voters which is more possible in New Hampshire. And maybe the almost-crying did humanize her and that helped with the vote but the way that it’s being written about is, to me, barely-disguised sexism and not at all what we’d see if a male candidate did the same.
The Daily Show at least recognized this and did a great montage of male politicians breaking down as well as pointing out that she didn’t even really CRY for chrissakes! I couldn’t find the full clip with the politicians breaking down but this shows the clip and how ridiculously everyone reacted.
In addition to posting these two editorials, The New York Times has been so blatantly pro-Obama lately that I’ve begun to lose confidence in it’s ability to accurately report on this election. And I’m not anti-Obama by any stretch (would easily campaign for him should he win the nomination), but I would hope for unbiased reporting, and editorials from many sides of each argument. New York Times don’t fail me now!
And I don’t even have time to touch on the maddening treatment of Hillary in the conservative press. The Washington Post printed this cartoon on January 10…
picture-2.png
Where is your embarrassment people! Ugh.
Addendum – This op-ed piece by Gloria Steinem appeared a day before the Maureen Dowd column. Definitely worth reading and glad to see the NY Times had presented this.

A Grand Old Time with the Grand Old Party

Well, as many of you know, I delight in nothing more than the myriad ways we on the left have devised to keep from taking a shotgun to our heads during the current administration’s reign.

A regular liberal-angst-sublimating favorite of mine is The Daily Show on Comedy Central. John Stewart and the TDS staff do an incredible job of hilariously showcasing much of the bad behavior currently displayed by our governing officials.

Not that I need to tell you nice people this. The Daily Show has more than 1.5 million viewers nightly on average. In fact, people have begun to argue more and more recently that TDS is a valid news source – at times providing coverage of issues our major news networks fail to cover or fail to cover accurately. The more I watch the show, the more I’m inclined to agree.

Interestingly enough, a National Annenberg Election Survey in 2004 found that fans of The Daily Show weremore likely to have greater knowledge of the facts of the presidential campaign than folks who relied on other tv news sources , even newspapers.  Also…

“People who watch The Daily Show are more interested in the presidential campaign, more educated, younger, and more liberal than the average American or than Leno or Letterman viewers,” said Dannagal Goldthwaite Young, a senior analyst at the Annenberg Public Policy Center , who conducted the research for this report. “However, these factors do not explain the difference in levels of campaign knowledge between people who watch The Daily Show and people who do not. In fact, Daily Show viewers have higher campaign knowledge than national news viewers and newspaper readers – even when education, party identification, following politics, watching cable news, receiving campaign information online, age, and gender are taken into consideration.”

BAM!

Now, of course, as the article continues, this doesn’t necessarily mean that folks who watch The Daily Show are receiving allof their info from the show. People who are drawn to the show are probably more likely to seek out political info from other sources as well. I do know, though, that I personally have seen facts and video presented on The Daily Show that I likely would have never seen on a traditional news show and the information is often presented in a way that highlights hypocrisies and outright lies from certain elected officials (such as the video clip of Bush saying he absolutely never said he was unconcerned about Osama bin Ladin juxtaposed with the earlier clip of him saying just that). And I have most certainly seen TDS segments that have caused me to look further into the facts of a particular news story.

Regardless of whether or not The Daily Show provides us with new information, the Annenberg Election Survey does provide an argument against the scorn  directed at TDS viewers along the lines of ‘kids today are getting dumber about politics by only relying on a self-proclaimed fake news-show as their source of information’.

Speaking of fake news, those of you familiar with Robert Greenwald’s movie OutFoxed (documentary/expose of the Fox news channel) will remember the frightening facts it presented regarding how regular Fox viewers scored on some basic news facts. Just in case you forgot…

• Fox News viewers were three times more likely to think that weapons of mass destruction had been found in Iraq than people who watch NPR or PBS
• Fox News viewers were seven times more likely to think world opinion favored the U.S. invasion of Iraq than viewers of NPR or PBS
• Fox News viewers are four times more likely to believe in 2004 that the U.S. had found links between Iraq and al-Qaeda

And again I say EGAD!

Alright, before I get too long-winded on this subject (too late), I must do what I set out to do when I started this post and that is, to share this hilarious & frustrating summation of the Foley page scandal. It seems like at least once a week that I see a Daily Show segment I feel like everyone should watch. Don’t worry! I promise not to load the blog with TDS clips but I wouldurge you to check out YouTube with the search words ‘The Daily Show’ on a regular basis if you’re not already a devoted fan (I know many of you already are and might I add, good for you).

In other news on things-that-keep-me-from-slitting-my-wrists-while-Bush-is-president I give you the Bush Speech Writercontributed by the much-beloved Turadg Aleahmad from far away in Pittsburgh. Enjoy!

-ALV-

Music-luvahs Unite!

OMG OMG OMG OMG!!

Attention regular live music goers (are you a goer? winkwinknudgenudge)- I am SO excited about this new site I just found – SonicLiving.com. It is so rad and has already provided me with mounds and mounds of unreasonably giddy happiness.

Here’s how it works.

You upload your iTunes list of artists and it scours all the Bay Area venues and marks your wish-list calendar with shows by those folks. You can mark the shows you’re interested in and shows you’re attending so they show up on your music calendar. And you can see what shows your pals are going to. AND you can listen to a band on the page of that show, watch YouTube clips of their live shows, buy tickets, check out the message board of each show about venues, ticket availability, etc.. ALSO (wait, there’s more! heehee) – if you subscribe to Pandora or LastFM it will check your accounts there once a week to see what you listened to and/or gave thumbs-up to and it adds those artists to your wish-list. Crazy!

Other nerdy luv-ly-ness – You can get artist alerts sent to your wireless email account. You can subscribe to the RSS feeds of your friends’ wishlists. If you download their Hellaphresh software, everytime you add a CD to your iTunes it’ll add the artist to your wishlist. AND, it’s invite-only so you get to feel all cool and stuff (tho’ I’m hard-up for friends – message me and I’ll send you an invite- I need you to make me feel loved).

I just set up my account and it took about 10 minutes. It was created and is run by Gabe Beneviste – who by day is a Mac OS X system administrator at Pixar Studios (can you say ‘lack of free time’?!). It’s apparently been up for a year and Gabe regularly has forums (read: buys a pitcher of beer for a random group of users at a show and asks for feedback) so a lot of the bugs have been worked out. It’s extremely user-friendly, visually pleasing, and so far it runs nice and quickly.

The live-music junkie, computer nerd, and the neurotically scheduled ‘J’ in me all approve wholeheartedly!

-ALV-

Liberals – Please Breed!

Ok – so I promise that I won’t always make my posts political but this is way more scary than regular old politics. This has to do with Republicans out-breeding Democrats by 41% – egad!

“But wait…,” I can hear you protesting, “Certainly this can only help us since most kids rebel against their parents political beliefs, right?”. Apparently, and horrifyingly not true. The most recent studies of this topic found that four out of five people grow up voting the same way their parents did (you see, you’re really not a snowflake after all). So you realized what you have to do, don’t you? Get out there and start making some babies folks!

Luckily, compared to some of the things I’ll try to persuade you to do in the course of this blog, this could be the most fun to execute – except for the, you know, uh, nine months and 18 years of actually raising the children but stay focused on the SEX people!! The sweaty, writhing, unprotected, progressive SEX!!

My new favorite Chronicle columnest (aside from the ever-fabulous Violet Blue and her Open Source Sex column) is Mark Morford whose RSS feed has already provided me endless hours of hilarity while I was supposed to be doing something else. His perspective on this matter is particularly enjoyable.

You have your mission! Get out there, you crazy liberals, and start humpin’!

-ALV-

Keith Olbermann gets eloquently angry

So I know we’re not *really* supposed to post until Oct 1 but Keith Olbermann’s response to Clinton’s interview on FOX news I thought was worth sharing.  I think the anger of progressives and the Democratic party towards the Bush administration is peaking in a new way and with some interesting (and hopefully mostly positive) effects.  Clinton said in his recent New Yorker interview that he felt that one fault of the Democrats in 2004 was they they were not willing to really fight back against the Republican propoganda machine’s attacks (one example being Kerry’s lack of response to the Swift Boat allegations).  I’m hoping that that the heat in Mr. Olbermann’s voice is possibly one of many signals that this is changing.  I know at least that I and many around me are angry and ready to fight although let’s hope our collective liberal anger can be used for positive action & smart strategy rather than it’s shadow brethren of overwhelmed paralysis or knee-jerk reactions.  I think Keith Olbermann’s heated, intelligent, eloquent statement is a positive start.

Stop the anger paralysis!  Get involved!
This event sponsored by DemocracyAction on Tuesday of this week should be fun. 
http://www.democracyaction.org/calendar/view_entry.php?id=671&date=20061003
If you can’t make it check out other ways to help at www.democracyaction.org

-ALV-