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Following the money in Ferguson

First, for Ferguson, the "foreclosure crisis" never went away:

In the zip code that encompasses Ferguson, half (49 percent) of homes were underwater in 2013, meaning the home’s market value was below the mortgage’s outstanding balance.

This condition (also called “negative equity”) is often a first step toward loan default or foreclosure, according to the recent report, “Underwater America,” from the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society at the University of California, Berkeley.

Mortgage lenders targeted predominantly black and Hispanic areas for the highest-risk, highest-cost types of mortgage loans, such as adjustable-rate mortgages and loans with high prepayment penalties.

This led to higher-than-average default rates, according to the Housing Commission established by the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington, D.C.

Many of the families that were sold risky mortgages had good credit, decent incomes and everything else necessary to qualify for traditional long-term, fixed-rate loans. Yet, they were not offered those kinds of loans, but instead “steered into exotic and costly mortgages they did not fully understand and could not afford,” the commission said.

This “deliberate targeting of minority areas for the sale of risky and expensive loans,” as the commission described it, wreaked havoc on the financial wellbeing of affected families and undermined the stability of entire neighborhoods.

Now add to this how the town of Ferguson funds itself: Read below the fold...

Male investors behaving badly

Tweet of the day

In the garden: Hurry up with the flowers, Morning Glories!

These morning glories had better get it together and start flowering before it's too late! I think I'm seeing a bud right there in the middle where the stems branch, but maybe not! Something to watch for on my morning tour, I guess. Read below the fold...

Tweet of the day (2)

Ferguson cops aren't wearing badge numbers? Why would that be?

Tweet of the day

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on race and class in Ferguson (and how The Nation butchers the story by putting a sportswriter on it)

Let's start with the headline from Time:

The Coming Race War Won’t Be About Race

Sure, sure, clickbait. But also not accurate, and distorting Jabbar's message (and note the URL says "coming-race-war-class-warfare," so that was probably Abdul-Jabbar's original title before an editor struck out the taboo word, "class"). Compare the Washington Times:

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: Ferguson unrest about class warfare, not race

So to Abdul-Jabbar's message. There's a media critique we're all familiar with, but I'm going to extract what I consider to be the heart of the argument: Read below the fold...

In the garden: So now I have to become a birdwatcher...

Na ga happen, my eyes are too bad. But I just heard a lovely melody and saw a bird, and I imagine its partner, at one of my honeysuckle bushes ("Birds love a mess," as Nippersdad says).

Then they flew off, as birds will do! I can't reproduce the melody, but I did notice that both birds had prominent round yellow bellies (and not buff, or beige, but yellow).

This year I've seen not only more hummingbirds, but a pair of cardinals, and now this pair of whatever-they-ares. (Not chickadees; the call of the chickadee can hardly be characterized as melodious, no?) Read below the fold...

Green Party rebrands; Asher Platts uses the new logo immediately

Here's the rebranding site, and here's is the trade dress:

Wait! Don't react! Either way. Trade dress -- logos, design treatments -- are not standalone. They are meant to fit into larger contexts, unobtrusively yet visibly. So I like the way Asher Platts took the new logo and immediately repurposed a poster from the Austrian Greens: Read below the fold...

In the garden: A happy oak (?)

Quercus rubra? I don't have an acorn, but perhaps the happy growing tips -- maybe Dromaius has another ____ tropic word, here -- will give clue.

Read below the fold...

Tweet of the day

This is a test

#Ferguson: Obama emits greatest statement EVAH on "healing." So how about justice?

WaPo's running transcript:

[OBAMA:] Ours is a nation of laws: of citizens who live under them and for the citizens who enforce them. So, to a community in Ferguson that is rightly hurting and looking for answers, let me call once again for us to seek some understanding rather than simply holler at each other. Let’s seek to heal rather than to wound each other.

What a steaming load of crap. Read below the fold...


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