Sunday, January 10, 2010

Sunday night misc.

From a story in the Charlotte [NC] Observer:
Between them, Jeff and Jennifer Felts had seven children when they wed in 2002, so they decided a bigger house was in order.
Last week, with him out of work and her earnings down, they won a 60-day delay in foreclosure on their Kannapolis home. Their case is one of more than 63,000 started last year in North Carolina, a record jump in foreclosure filings amid a weak economy.
"It's a nightmare," he said.
Their ordeal began in December 2004 when they contracted with a builder for a custom house costing about $800,000. They were comfortable with the debt, based on his earnings as a truck driver for 28 years and her higher income as an insurance agent.

Get that? A trucker and an insurance agent, and they feel entitled to a $800,000 house. The entitlement of the buyers annoys me almost as much as the stupidity and cupidity of the lenders. To read about their nightmare [inevitable word in one of these tear-jerker stories], click here.
From a site called OutsourcePortfolio, a piece on outsourcing of publishing work to India:
The trend of outsourcing in this industry is in fact so well-established and profit margins so high that a deluge of Indian BPOs further outsource their work (Nearly 70%) to local printers. The Indian publishing BPOs currently employ about 35,000 professionals and there is demand for 20,000 more in the next couple of years. Seeing the opportunity venture capitalists re also getting drawn to the sunshine sector. American Capital Strategies recently announced ( $45 million fresh investment in Techbooks
With all this and more, the publishing BPO business is clocking an annual growth of 30% in India with profit margins oscillating between 30-40%. The sector mainly caters to the US and UK markets.

Read the whole post here. American companies that do this are evil and approach treasonous.
Then, Richard Rodriguez on the role that newspapers formerly played in our civilization and where they are now. There was a time when ordinary Americans aspired to more of culture than the hope of winning on American Idol. Rodriguez writes
A scholar I know, a woman who is ninety-six years old, grew up in a tin shack on the American prairie, near the Canadian border. She learned to read from the pages of the Chicago Tribune in a one-room schoolhouse. Her teacher, who had no more than an eighth-grade education, had once been to Chicago—had been to the opera! Women in Chicago went to the opera with bare shoulders and long gloves, the teacher imparted to her pupils. Because the teacher had once been to Chicago, she subscribed to the Sunday edition of the Chicago Tribune, which came on the train by Tuesday, Wednesday at the latest
For that sad story, click here. It's in Harper's mag. The coarsening of the ordinary American is the unremarked tragedy of the last forty years. Not so long ago we had a working class that was engaged politically and culturally with a wider world. The methodical destruction of that class has been the greatest tragedy of the years since 1973.
I apologize – A dreary lash-up of news, and here we are, another damn day closer to death.


Sugar Magnolia said...

No apology necessary - these are things that, as much as we may feel compelled to, we cannot deny. I particularly liked your term "coarsening", as it sums up nicely exactly what is happening. Our ability to create and appreciate "culture" is one thing that separates us from the rest of the animal kingdom. If we lose that part of us, what will we have become?

Also, from the first paragraph, I would like to add to your amazement of the sense of entitlement of the truck driver and insurance agent: the truck driver and insurance agent AND THEIR SEVEN KIDS. If a couple has seven kids, be it from a previous marriage or any other means, wouldn't they, shouldn't they try to get either better jobs or a less expensive house? Surely it would be hard enough to make those paychecks stretch for a mortgage on an $800,000 home for the two of them, but when you throw seven kids into the mix, and you have to pay for food, school clothes, dental and medical appointments, etc. and etc., well, I would think there would be very little money left for a mortgage, and the best they could realistically afford is, oh, I don't know, maybe A LOT LESS than an $800,000 house?! Have we really lost our collective minds in this nation?

It also makes me ponder the elderly lady you mention. Growing up in a shack, I'll bet she also had siblings; not many only children in those days, were there? And I'll bet the family made do and the children did not suffer because they were not living in an $800,000 home and did not have a designer's name on their britches, and did not have a WII game, nor a bedroom and bathroom each, nor parents that indulged them to the point of incapacitating their morals and decision-making later in life. In other words, she was not SPOILED.

That is why her peers are the greatest generation. What will we be able to say about the rotten bunch we are turning out this century?

Truth Ferret said...

I too appreciate your insight and your posts.

Having seven children and wanting to live in such an elaborate house is mind-boggling to me. Truck drivers and insurance salespeople don't have stable incomes to begin with and then factor into that the amount of time spent away from the family in order to maintain that life-style and you see what is valued. Large, expensive houses do not necessarily make wonderful homes. It is the people who make a home, no matter what the external trappings are. You already know that, Loon, so sorry for repeating the obvious. I just get so frustrated with what is valued here. Money, money, money and what money can buy. What I value is TIME...time I can spend with my family and friends. That is all that matters. Because once that time is gone....

You know I have never seen a U-Haul trailer behind a hearse, yet.