Archive for October 4th, 2008

October 4, 2008

Alabama 17, Kentucky 14

Glen Coffee ran for 218 yards and a touchdown, and linebacker Rolando McClain turned a fumble recovery into another touchdown as No. 2 Alabama beat the previously undefeated Kentucky Wildcats in Tuscaloosa.

The Crimson Tide (now 5-and-0) simply couldn’t get their passing game to click, as Kentucky brought heavy pressure on QB John Parker Wilson, who was sacked twice in the first half and threw an interception on ‘Bama’s first possession of the second half. Wilson finished the game 7-of-17 for 106 yards.

Perhaps Alabama was let down slightly after last week’s big game against Georgia. On the other hand, perhaps Kentucky spent the week watching game film of the second half of the Georgia game, when the Bulldogs outscored the Tide 30-10.

Now that they’re nationally ranked, Nick Saban’s team will have to take it up a notch or two, as every opponent they face will be fired up and looking to score an upset. Next week, the Tide hosts Ole Miss, which just last week defeated Florida, which had been ranked No. 4.

October 4, 2008

‘An American Carol’ mini-review

Last night, I saw An American Carol at the DC American Film Renaissance festival and enjoyed it very much. Kevin Farley is excellent as Michael Malone, a thinly-veiled caricature of Farenheit 9-11 director Michael Moore.

In true Zucker style, there are running jokes about Malone’s obesity, his romantic haplessness, and the inferior status of documentary filmmakers. Also, Malone keeps getting his face slapped, a cathartic experience for many views.

The funniest scene in the movie was when a courtroom (with Dennis Hopper as the judge) is overrun by zombie lawyers from the ACLU. Hopper and Gen. George S. Patton (Kelsey Grammer) wield pump shotguns as they blast away at the zombies, as Patton shouts: “They’re not people, they’re the ACLU!”

Robert Davi as the terrorist leader is appropriately sinister, with Serdar Kalsin and Geoffrey Arend as his comic henchmen.

Ideologically, the film leans heavily toward the neocon point of view, glorifying war and derogating the Fourth Amendment (“Enjoy your privacy rights in hell!” Patton shouts at one point). Yet it is very funny, and certainly if it reaches a wide audience, Michael Moore’s reputation will be permanently damaged. Here’s the trailer one more time:

October 4, 2008

In the mail . . .

Scratch Beginnings: Me, $25, and the Search for the American Dream by Adam Shepard. Just started the first chapter, and when I put the book down, Adam had arrived at a homeless shelter in Charleston, S.C., only to find the shelter closed. He’s got his own Web site, and the book is self-published, so I’m thinking the story has a happy ending.

CORRECTION: Shepard’s book is not self-published — it’s by Harper Collins, which is even a happier ending. Adam, dude — you should have gotten an advance, then you wouldn’t have had to live in a homeless shelter. Oh, wait . . .

October 4, 2008

What the bailout didn’t fix

Reagan administration economic adviser Martin Feldstein:

A successful plan to stabilize the U.S. economy and prevent a deep global recession must do more than buy back impaired debt from financial institutions. It must address the fundamental cause of the crisis: the downward spiral of house prices that devastates household wealth and destroys the capital of financial institutions that hold mortgages and mortgage-backed securities.
The recently enacted financial rescue plan does nothing to stop this spiral. . . .
Because of the 20% fall in the price of homes since the bursting of the house-price bubble, there are now some 10 million homes with mortgages that exceed the value of the house. . . .
More than $700 billion is needed to buy all of the impaired securities. The impaired mortgage-backed securities reflect not only the negative-equity mortgages but also positive-equity mortgages with very high interest rates, adjustable rates, or negative amortization. Even if the government could purchase every troubled mortgage, the prospect of future price declines would contaminate the mortgage portfolios. As house prices fall, the value of mortgage-backed securities would fall further.

Whatever happened to caveat emptor? Can’t we just admit that people who bought overpriced homes (or leveraged their home equity) in the bubble market of 2002-2006 made bad decisions? Can’t we simply say that mortgage lenders made bad investments and therefore lost money?

Why must this be perceived as a systemic crisis? The people who lost money, lost money, period. That money’s gone, and the sooner we accept this reality, the sooner we can move forward. No point crying over spilled milk.