January 6th, 2010

tuesday tv

Two little tidbits from last night's NCIS episodes: first, M Allison _Hart_ works for Wolfram, Hart & something or other. Har de har har. Wolfram and Hart. Okay, maybe not that funny.

Second, Hettie refers to a sex tape as "feculent". Nice vocabulary!

which Portland does he mean?

Over in the current issue of Landlines at the Lincoln Institute, there's an article about housing prices using the Case-Schiller index. The opening paragraph about the crisis is bad:

"These events were the direct and indirect result of extreme volatility in the value of residential property that had served as collateral for the nation’s huge stock of home mortgages."

Not a particularly useful opener, but okay. I'll keep reading. In the breakdown over a bunch of metropolitan areas into submarkets, based on how their prices acted, rather than their geographical location, this sentence makes an appearance:

"In the Midwestern cities of Chicago, Charlotte, Portland, and Minneapolis, the increases were much lower than those observed on the coasts."

The idea that one could refer to either Portland, OR or Portland, ME as a "Midwestern" city is, well, it would be funny, except that it's incredibly sad that _Charlotte, NC_ is included in that list of "Midwestern" cities as well. I actually cannot come up with any definition of Midwestern that includes Charlotte and/or Portland. Not one single solitary one. But more importantly, I can't actually figure out which Portland he means.

That is some _sloppy_. The author is listed as the Case of Case-Schiller, and if _that_ isn't disturbing, I'm not sure what is. His math and ability to manipulate statistics had better be better than his use of common English words used to describe geography.

ETA: Look, it _does_ get better. But those are some shockingly bad opening paragraphs. Once Case starts talking about monetary policy, both why money was so easy, and what effect that had in terms of increasing pressure to find some yield some where, things improve dramatically.

ETAYA: Oh, never mind. This is actually a really crappy article. I don't care who wrote it. Check this out:

"By late 2009, housing markets seemed to be approaching a bottom with prices stabilizing, but
many forecasts anticipate declines extending well into 2010. If that were to happen, numerous mortgages written in 2008 and 2009 would not be fully secured and could turn unprofitable."

Ignoring numerous other problems (does he mean a price bottom or a volume bottom, say, and which antecedent does he mean when he says "if that were to happen"), given that mortgages written since the crisis have required much more substantial down payments (the traditional 20%), in order for such mortgages to cease to be fully secured, well, let's just say that's another _big_ notch down. Does he really mean that? Or is that more sloppy? Ensuing paragraphs don't clarify; he gets into an analysis of what's going on with inventory.