Are You Checking the Facts?

The political arena is heating up and there are more and more rumors and TV ads being released out into a gullible public. Please take everything you read and hear with a grain of salt and keep your emotions out of it – weed through the rhetoric and learn where the candidates REALLY stand so that when it comes time to vote, you vote for the best candidate.

Which, I’m sorry to say, is neither candidate for me at this point. Though I would still rather have a Republican president than a Democratic one for the simple reason we need to get government out of lives – look what happens when government people/programs rule our lives – a collapsed economy.

I won’t pretend I understand half of what is being discussed right now, but I ran across this tidbit about our economic crisis on Factcheck.org and thought I would pass it along.

The Real Deal

So who is to blame? There’s plenty of blame to go around, and it doesn’t fasten only on one party or even mainly on what Washington did or didn’t do. As The Economist magazine noted recently, the problem is one of “layered irresponsibility … with hard-working homeowners and billionaire villains each playing a role.” Here’s a partial list of those alleged to be at fault:

* The Federal Reserve, which slashed interest rates after the dot-com bubble burst, making credit cheap.

* Home buyers, who took advantage of easy credit to bid up the prices of homes excessively.

* Congress, which continues to support a mortgage tax deduction that gives consumers a tax incentive to buy more expensive houses.

* Real estate agents, most of whom work for the sellers rather than the buyers and who earned higher commissions from selling more expensive homes.

* The Clinton administration, which pushed for less stringent credit and downpayment requirements for working- and middle-class families.

* Mortgage brokers, who offered less-credit-worthy home buyers subprime, adjustable rate loans with low initial payments, but exploding interest rates.

* Former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan, who in 2004, near the peak of the housing bubble, encouraged Americans to take out adjustable rate mortgages.

* Wall Street firms, who paid too little attention to the quality of the risky loans that they bundled into Mortgage Backed Securities (MBS), and issued bonds using those securities as collateral.

* The Bush administration, which failed to provide needed government oversight of the increasingly dicey mortgage-backed securities market.

* An obscure accounting rule called mark-to-market, which can have the paradoxical result of making assets be worth less on paper than they are in reality during times of panic.

* Collective delusion, or a belief on the part of all parties that home prices would keep rising forever, no matter how high or how fast they had already gone up.

The U.S. economy is enormously complicated. Screwing it up takes a great deal of cooperation. Claiming that a single piece of legislation was responsible for (or could have averted) is just political grandstanding. We have no advice to offer on how best to solve the financial crisis. But these sorts of partisan caricatures can only make the task more difficult.

–by Joe Miller and Brooks Jackson

You can view Factcheck’s sources here.

Stay focused folks. You’re being lied to and the government (both parties!) will do everything in their power to make you hand over more and more of your hard-earned money. When are we going to put our foot down and say ENOUGH?!

BAFAB: Deadline October 2nd

IT’S TIME TO ANNOUNCE THE WINNER!

CONGRATULATIONS GO TO … JUDY!!

BAFAB October 2008 Winner

If the event I can’t reach Judy before Monday, October 6th, then I will attempt to reach the second number listed.

So how does this work, you ask? Here’s the short version, I’m participating in the program and would love to buy someone a book of their choice ($15 max). If you would like to put your name into the pot and win a free book, please enter your name in the comment section below. If I draw your name October 2nd then I’ll buy you a book!

Winner will be announced on Write From Karen after 11:00 a.m. (U.S. central time) October 2nd.

And … if any of you are feeling generous and would like to buy ME a book, I’ve included a link to my Amazon.com wish list to make it easy for you. 😀

Easy-smeasy, right?

Want to learn more? Read the long version.

Please help spread the word! Copy the code below and paste it into your blog today!

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If anyone is participating in BAFAB week, please let me know! I also love to win free books! 😀

Thirteen (More) Common Writing Mistakes

I hope posting these tips help you. I hope they don’t bore you. (Obviously, the baby shown here is pretty bored with these language posts). But this sort of stuff interests me and being the self-absorbed peon that I am, I always assume anything that interests me, interests YOU. If I’m wrong, I do apologize. 😀

I did not write these tips. These tips, and many more like these, can be found at Common Errors in English. So, if you disagree with these rules, then please, don’t kill the messenger. These are here just for your learning/entertainment, nothing more, and nothing less.

Now that you know my disclaimer, let’s move on to the juicy stuff … *rubs hands together in glee* …

1. ALRIGHT/ALL RIGHT: The correct form of this phrase has become so rare in the popular press that many readers have probably never noticed that it is actually two words. But if you want to avoid irritating traditionalists you’d better tell them that you feel “all right” rather than “alright.”

2. ALTAR/ALTER: An altar is that platform at the front of a church or in a temple; to alter something is to change it.

3. ALTOGETHER/ALL TOGETHER: “Altogether” is an adverb meaning “completely,” “entirely.” For example: “When he first saw the examination questions, he was altogether baffled.” “All together,” in contrast, is a phrase meaning “in a group.” For example: “The wedding guests were gathered all together in the garden.” Undressed people are said in informal speech to be “in the altogether” (perhaps a shortening of the phrase “altogether naked” ).

4. ALUMNUS/ALUMNI: We used to have “alumnus” (male singular), “alumni” (male plural), “alumna” (female singular) and “alumnae” (female plural); but the latter two are now popular only among older female graduates, with the first two terms becoming unisex. However, it is still important to distinguish between one alumnus and a stadium full of alumni. Never say, “I am an alumni” if you don’t want to cast discredit on your school. Many avoid the whole problem by resorting to the informal abbreviation “alum.”

5. AMBIGUOUS/AMBIVALENT: Even though the prefix “ambi-” means “both,” “ambiguous” has come to mean “unclear,” “undefined,” while “ambivalent” means “torn between two opposing feelings or views.” If your attitude cannot be defined into two polarized alternatives, then you’re ambiguous, not ambivalent.

6. AMORAL/IMMORAL: “Amoral” is a rather technical word meaning “unrelated to morality.” When you mean to denounce someone’s behavior, call it “immoral.”

7. ANCESTOR/DESCENDANT: When Albus Dumbledore said that Lord Voldemort was “the last remaining ancestor of Salazar Slytherin,” more than one person noted that he had made a serious verbal bumble; and in later printings of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets author J. K. Rowling corrected that to “last remaining descendant.” People surprisingly often confuse these two terms with each other. Your great-grandmother is your ancestor; you are her descendant.

8. AND ALSO/AND, ALSO: “And also” is redundant; say just “and” or “also.”

9. AND/OR: The legal phrase “and/or,” indicating that you can either choose between two alternatives or choose both of them, has proved irresistible in other contexts and is now widely acceptable though it irritates some readers as jargon. However, you can logically use it only when you are discussing choices which may or may not both be done: “Bring chips and/or beer.” It’s very much overused where simple “or” would do, and it would be wrong to say, “you can get to the campus for this morning’s meeting on a bike and/or in a car.” Choosing one eliminates the possibility of the other, so this isn’t an and/or situation.

10. ANECDOTE/ANTIDOTE: A humorist relates “anecdotes.” The doctor prescribes “antidotes” for children who have swallowed poison. Laughter may be the best medicine, but that’s no reason to confuse these two with each other.

11. ANGEL/ANGLE: People who want to write about winged beings from Heaven often miscall them “angles.” A triangle has three angles. The Heavenly Host is made of angels. Just remember the adjectival form: “angelic.” If you pronounce it aloud you’ll be reminded that the E comes before the L.

12. ANXIOUS/EAGER: Most people use “anxious” interchangeably with “eager,” but its original meaning had to do with worrying, being full of anxiety. Perfectly correct phrases like, “anxious to please” obscure the nervous tension implicit in this word and lead people to say less correct things like “I’m anxious for Christmas morning to come so I can open my presents.” Traditionalists frown on anxiety-free anxiousness. Say instead you are eager for or looking forward to a happy event.

13. ASCRIBE/SUBSCRIBE:If you agree with a theory or belief, you subscribe to it, just as you subscribe to a magazine. Ascribe is a very different word. If you ascribe a belief to someone, you are attributing the belief to that person, perhaps wrongly.

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

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