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Twins Roundtable Podcast

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From the Notebook

-The penultimate edition of this year’s Twins Podcast (assuming the Twins aren’t in the playoffs) is now up. Seth Stohs, Josh Taylorand Jeff Straub joined me for what I thought was a very entertaining hour of fun and baseball. It’s too bad the season’s end is coming up so fast as the group of people I have been fortunate enough to do the podcast with this year were really coming together. Listen here.

-I had on SNL for the first time in 7 or 8 years this Saturday and I was amazed at how bad their opening skit involving John McCain was. Then this:

Al Franken, the former “Saturday Night Live” star now running in a high-profile Senate race in Minnesota, helped craft the opening sketch mocking John McCain that kicked off the NBC comedy show Saturday, according to two well-placed sources inside the network.

Franken, who hasn’t been a staff writer on the show for 13 years, “phoned in” a spoof of McCain recording campaign ads in an edit booth, said an NBC source. Seth Meyers, the show’s current head writer, wrote it, but the sketch was hatched by Franken, a longtime liberal satirist and comedian.

An SNL insider said that, as of the Wednesday script read-through, Franken was the “credited writer with Meyers” on the opening sketch. Show veteran Darrell Hammond is to play McCain.

At least that explains why the skit was so unfunny and boring. There was another skit I really did like, which it poked fun at (east coast) journalists. Unfortunately, the funny skit is not online anywhere, though the unfunny McCain skit is readily available.

My review of Zucker’s “An American Carol” has generated a lot of comments, much to my surprise. The vast majority of them are somewhere between very negative and negative, with a few positively exasperating in their idiocy; one person actually acccused me of wanting to restrict first amendment rights. I try to put out quality writing because I take pride in my wordsmithing, but I’m far from a great writer. The standards being put on that review were a little high. I guess people were expecting me to put forth a pulitzer quality review of a movie which features ACLU lawyers as bloodthirsty zombies. Well, considering I average about 20 regular readers, that’s just not going to happen. It’s more proof no matter what you do, you can’t please anybody.

-What do I think of the housing crisis? This:

“The case against government-guaranteed loans and mortgages to private businesses and persons is almost as strong as, though less obvious than, the case against direct government loans and mortgages. The advocates of government-guaranteed mortgages also forget that what is being lent is ultimately real capital, which is limited in supply, and that they are helping identified B at the expense of some unidentified A. Government-guaranteed home mortgages, especially when a negligible down payment or no down payment whatever is required, inevitably mean more bad loans than otherwise. They force the general taxpayer to subsidize the bad risks and to defray the losses. They encourage people to “buy” houses that they cannot really afford. They tend eventually to bring about an oversupply of houses as compared with other things. They temporarily overstimulate building, raise the cost of building for everybody (including the buyers of the homes with the guaranteed mortgages), and may mislead the building industry into an eventually costly overexpansion. In brief in the long run they do not increase overall national production but encourage malinvestment.”

And this:

The fine print to this noble intent was an ill-conceived loosening of standards. For instance, the Clinton administration reinterpreted the Jimmy Carter-era Community Reinvestment Act to politicize lending practices. Under the CRA, the government forced banks to prove they weren’t “redlining” — i.e., discriminating against minorities — by approving loans to minorities and various left-wing “community group” shakedown artists whether they were bad risks or not. (A young Barack Obama got his start with exactly these sorts of groups.) Sen. Phil Gramm called it a vast extortion scheme against America’s banks. Still, the banks were perfectly happy to pass the risky loans to Raines’ Fannie Mae, which was happy to buy them up

That’s because Raines was transforming Fannie Mae from a boring but stable financial institution dedicated to making homes more affordable into a risky venture that abused its special status as a “Government Sponsored Enterprise” (GSE) for Raines’ personal profit. Fannie bought the bad loans and bundled them together with good ones. Wall Street was glad to buy up these mortgage securities because Fannie Mae was deemed a government-insured behemoth “too big to fail.” And others followed Fannie’s lead.

The current financial crisis stems in large part from the fact that people who shouldn’t have been buying a home, or who bought more home than they could afford, now can’t pay their bills. Their bad mortgages are mixed up with the good mortgages. And thanks in part to new accounting rules set up after Enron, the bad mortgages have contaminated the whole pile, reducing the value of even stable mortgages.

And maybe a little of this.

-Got a google hit for “what does andrade rhyme with

It depends on how you pronounce “Andrade”

If you pronounce it the horrendous Anglecized way golfer Billy Andrade’s family does, you get aid, fade, jade, laid, maid, paid, Quaid, raid, wade (Anne-drayd)

My family uses a mix of Spanish and Spanglesh to get “An-Draw-Dee” so any “ee” sound will work. Like “We”

The classic Portuguese “Ahndrahdth`” is more difficult. Gutteral growls are your best bets.  Hope this helps.