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Old 07-22-2008, 10:59 AM   #41
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And I'm sorry but I think she could at least not smoke for the camera--the newspaper absolutely used that photo to make a subtle comment.
I agree. The camera is an amazing tool. We can read whatever we want into a picture and the photographer can exploit that in many subtle ways if they choose.

For example, here's a shot I took a few years ago:



The photo hasn't been manipulated in any way. What do you see?
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Old 07-22-2008, 11:00 AM   #42
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I agree. The camera is an amazing tool. We can read whatever we want into a picture and the photographer can exploit that in many subtle ways if they choose.

For example, here's a shot I took a few years ago:



The photo hasn't been manipulated in any way. What do you see?
A couple of gay firemen.
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Old 07-22-2008, 11:03 AM   #43
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A couple of gay firemen.
Because they're playing with a huge hose or because the one has his hand on the other one's ass?
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Old 07-22-2008, 11:04 AM   #44
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Regarding the article, it mentioned that she had been working two jobs to maintain her lifestyle. Well apparently not. In any case, I do not feel that it is worth kicking somebody when they are down, but I do not see the same "predatory zeal" or whatever it is called on the backs of the CC companies that many others hear don. CC companies can mail you, e-mail you, market to you, do whatever it is, but the ultimate responsibility boils down to the person who needs to sign on the dotted line. I am not saying I feel no sympathy, her husband died when she was 27, she was supporting a child and had medical emergencies. It is not to say it isn't at all understandable, but it does not negate the fact that she was living with substantial debt. Debt, in itself, is risky. Add to that the risk of RELYING on two jobs just to maintain your lifestyle, it makes the spending/debt cycle seem that much more difficult.

Predatory lending? Is there any other kind based off the definition that many people her give? CC companies CHARGE interest for the risk involved in lending money! If an individual needs money to support a lifestyle and the CC company/underwriters determines they have X amount of risk, they can charge Y amount of interest. The fact that people get into this place in the first point isn't a product of lack of intelligence, it is a lack of basic foresight in that making less than you spend is unsustainable. If an inflated IQ is required to grasp that, I feel I have lost faith in humanity.
Amen!!! Very well said. However, there are those that will continue to cling to the idea of "From each by his ability, to each by his need". Any arguement of personal decision, or freedom to choose, becomes irrelavent to that mode of thinking.
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Old 07-22-2008, 11:07 AM   #45
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I agree. The camera is an amazing tool. We can read whatever we want into a picture and the photographer can exploit that in many subtle ways if they choose.

For example, here's a shot I took a few years ago:



The photo hasn't been manipulated in any way. What do you see?
Nice photo--I see two firefighters battling a blaze (don't tell me one of them is smoking a cigarette! )
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Old 07-22-2008, 11:14 AM   #46
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Because they're playing with a huge hose or because the one has his hand on the other one's ass?
Yes. Plus they are standing close enough together for very *personal* contact. And the picture is "flaming."
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Old 07-22-2008, 11:22 AM   #47
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Nice photo--I see two firefighters battling a blaze (don't tell me one of them is smoking a cigarette! )
And if someone were writing an article on firefighters or fire control or the importance of not smoking in bed, they might use that picture along with the article to make their point (I have the picture on flickr under a creative commons license so it's available for people to use however they want if it's non-commercial).

Actually, they're letting the house burn. It was part of a controlled burn exercise. They're dousing the garage so it won't catch. The garage had all of the scrap metal and appliances that were pulled out of the house before they lit it.

For all we know, this lady was a 1-pack a day smoker but started smoking a lot more recently. Or, was just nervous about having her picture taken for a big news article so she went for the cigarette. Or, she could be a 5-pack chimney who smoked away any hope she had of ever getting ahead of her bills. I'm not saying she's not responsible for her own actions, but it's interesting how we all read our biases into what we see.
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Old 07-22-2008, 11:23 AM   #48
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Many are quick to blame this woman's personal habits. If you read the story, she had appendicitis.

No one wants to take their frustration out on these people:
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In the spring of 2006, [Morgan Stanley] unveiled a trillion-dollar balance sheet, Wall Street's first. It expanded in every faddish business line, not excluding, in August 2006, subprime-mortgage origination (the transaction, intoned a Morgan Stanley press release, "provides us with new origination capabilities in the non-prime market, which we can build upon to provide access to high-quality product flows across all market cycles"). Nor did it pull in its horns as the boom wore on but rather protruded them all the more, raising its ratio of assets to equity to the aforementioned 33 times at year-end 2007 from 26.5 times at the close of 2004. Naturally, it did not forget the help. Last year, Morgan Stanley paid out 59% of its revenues in employee compensation, up from 46% in 2004.
Why No Outrage? - WSJ.com

Banksters can owe 33x their assets and that's normal.
But let a regular person owe 2x their assets and out come the flails.
And no one seems interested that the profit of one must needs come at the expense of the other.
Why is one group deemed "smart" and the other "stupid"?
I just don't get it!

All these smart companies run by smart people and Nobel-Prize winners are in the hole for much more than the lady here.. who is the classic example of the "capra espiatoria".. the hapless goat that assumes and expiates the sins of its masters, in this case the true believers of the current financial religion.

I read a good comment about conservatism somewhere (in relation to such "traitors" to conservatism as Bush and McCain) to wit: "Conservatism cannot fail, it can only BE failed". And so we see here that the US financial system grounded on debt cannot fail, but can only BE failed, by its very victims! This is the "common wisdom".
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Old 07-22-2008, 11:26 AM   #49
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Actually, they're letting the house burn.
Eh, I liked my description better. More entertaining that way.
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Old 07-22-2008, 11:28 AM   #50
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Many are quick to blame this woman's personal habits. If you read the story, she had appendicitis.
IIRC (I aint gonna read it again) she had a hysterectomy and later had appendicitis. Unless I'm mistaken, 90+% of the time a hysterectomy is due to existing cancer or precancerous conditions? Also, there are several studies that show a strong correlation between smoking and appendicitis, and a strong correlation between smoking and high BMI's and longer recovery times from both surgeries.

Did she have short term disability insurance? Wouldnt that have been smart if she was standing on a house of financial cards and living paycheck to paycheck?

Quote:
Why is one group deemed "smart" and the other "stupid"?
I just don't get it!
I dont think theres much favor for either group. It takes two to tango though.
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Old 07-22-2008, 11:32 AM   #51
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Many are quick to blame this woman's personal habits. If you read the story, she had appendicitis.

No one wants to take their frustration out on these people:

Why No Outrage? - WSJ.com

Banksters can owe 33x their assets and that's normal.
But let a regular person owe 2x their assets and out come the flails.
And no one seems interested that the profit of one must needs come at the expense of the other.
Why is one group deemed "smart" and the other "stupid"?
I just don't get it!

All these smart companies run by smart people and Nobel-Prize winners are in the hole for much more than the lady here.. who is the classic example of the "capra espiatoria".. the hapless goat that assumes and expiates the sins of its masters, in this case the true believers of the current financial religion.

I read a good comment about conservatism somewhere (in relation to such "traitors" to conservatism as Bush and McCain) to wit: "Conservatism cannot fail, it can only BE failed". And so we see here that the US financial system grounded on debt cannot fail, but can only BE failed, by its very victims! This is the "common wisdom".
True, but such entities are the system. While it's a nice thought to hold them to the same standards as the woman in the article, the simple truth is that they're not. Whether they ever will be in the future is up to the politicians in Washington, D.C., the SEC, the Federal Reserve, etc.... They are allegedly accountable to the voters.
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Old 07-22-2008, 11:37 AM   #52
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For all we know, this lady was a 1-pack a day smoker but started smoking a lot more recently. Or, was just nervous about having her picture taken for a big news article so she went for the cigarette. Or, she could be a 5-pack chimney who smoked away any hope she had of ever getting ahead of her bills. I'm not saying she's not responsible for her own actions, but it's interesting how we all read our biases into what we see.
I added the bold to Marquette's text. We see a woman with a lit cigarette regardless of our biases--it's right there between her fingers.

I think we should add the NYTimes to the list of people who are at fault for this woman's financial condition and our take on it. They could have run a photo of her standing in front of her house without smoking materials. They could have run a head shot. They chose the one of her smoking....
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Old 07-22-2008, 11:40 AM   #53
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Or maybe nobody managed to get off a shot of her without a cigarette.

In any case, my opinion is that her problems are 70% bad judgment, 20% pressure from sales and societal issues, 9% bad luck and 1% smoking.
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Old 07-22-2008, 11:43 AM   #54
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I added the bold to Marquette's text. We see a woman with a lit cigarette regardless of our biases--it's right there between her fingers.

I think we should add the NYTimes to the list of people who are at fault for this woman's financial condition and our take on it. They could have run a photo of her standing in front of her house without smoking materials. They could have run a head shot. They chose the one of her smoking....
No, my point is, and has been, she's at fault for her own mess. There are plenty of people that are deciding how she got into that mess (armchair quarterbacking). An editor can choose material to reinforce biases. That's likely not the "best" picture of the set and it's certainly not the only picture.

Frankly, I don't think I'd care if she ended up in some miserable condition like being forced to rent or live in a shelter as a result of her actions... there's certainly nothing newsworthy in the article (headline news "Some people make bad decisions"). but, I wouldn't have it any other way if I was in the same boat.
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Old 07-22-2008, 12:18 PM   #55
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No, my point is, and has been, she's at fault for her own mess. There are plenty of people that are deciding how she got into that mess (armchair quarterbacking). An editor can choose material to reinforce biases. That's likely not the "best" picture of the set and it's certainly not the only picture.

Frankly, I don't think I'd care if she ended up in some miserable condition like being forced to rent or live in a shelter as a result of her actions... there's certainly nothing newsworthy in the article (headline news "Some people make bad decisions"). but, I wouldn't have it any other way if I was in the same boat.
She is responsible for her own condition. Some people might say that she didn't know any better. Even little children know you can't spend money you don't have. Consequently, I place the blame at her feet.

Now, does pointing the finger get her out of her mess? No, it doesn't. What it should do is create such a feeling of shame on her part that she never wants to feel it again. This, in turn, will hopefully get her to swallow her pride and ask someone to teach her how to get out of the mess she made. Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be much shame (but rather substantial pride according to many of these stories) in being a debtor.
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Old 07-22-2008, 12:23 PM   #56
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During all that time she was recouperating, with QVC and her credit card in front of her, she never seemed to take the time review her finances or talk to her credit card agencies who were charging her 28%? She could couch-surf shopping programs, but she could not call up a credit counselor or even a debt consolidator ( shudder). She couldn't even buy one of Suzie Orman's (shudder) books, which would have at least been on her level.

She had plenty of choices.
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Old 07-22-2008, 12:24 PM   #57
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During all that time she was recouperating, with QVC and her credit card in front of her, she never seemed to take the time review her finances or talk to her credit card agencies who were charging her 28%? She could couch-surf shopping programs, but she could not call up a credit counselor or even a debt consolidator ( shudder). She couldn't even buy one of Suzie Orman's (shudder) books, which would have at least been on her level.

She had plenty of choices.

Now that you are all done crapping on her, can we have a good, old-fashioned hanging?
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Old 07-22-2008, 12:51 PM   #58
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Now that you are all done crapping on her, can we have a good, old-fashioned hanging?
Nope. I wonder whether people like the woman in the article ought to be cut off from credit cards until she proves that she can be responsible. What this woman needs is someone who can say no to her, since she apparently can't say it to herself.
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Old 07-22-2008, 12:52 PM   #59
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And no one seems interested that the profit of one must needs come at the expense of the other.
Why is one group deemed "smart" and the other "stupid"?
I just don't get it!

All these smart companies run by smart people and Nobel-Prize winners are in the hole for much more than the lady here.. who is the classic example of the "capra espiatoria".. the hapless goat that assumes and expiates the sins of its masters, in this case the true believers of the current financial religion.
How is the profit of one made on the "expense" of the other? True, she is directly paying for the interest given by the money, but if it didn't HELP her, she could walk away. In other words, she is providing a service for the CC companies by paying interest and the CC companies are providing a service for her: credit. THIS is the backbone of free trade and our society. If her paying money for their profit is a problem for anyone, then I see there no difference between that and car companies EXPLOITING those who need to ride an SUV but can't afford it (or the gas prices). The pricing in this situation is done for the service provided, it is NOT a one way street.

Also, I am not willing to pass the blame off onto the person alone. Notice I am not claiming that the CC companies were being conned into letting a woman who needs money from them into defaulting on their money. I am not portraying them as victims, they are also perpetrators in the crime. The BIG DIFFERENCE is that when it comes down to being accountable for one's actions, the CC companies (not actually CC companies, but the banks who issue the CCs) can falter, lose millions/billions of dollars, cost billions more of losses in stock prices, lay off tens of thousands of workers and noone sheds a tear at that (Bernanke does seem to like to bail out his banker buddies though). In other words, they do eventually become accountable for their actions. Now, all I ask is that the other partner in the deal does as well.
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Old 07-22-2008, 01:24 PM   #60
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CA, it's a matter of degree. Responsible borrowers yield little income for banks and CC companies. Less-responsible borrowers yield more income. The biggest profits are to be made by getting people to sign to the $23k-at-3%-becomes-$48k-at-16%-type loans.

Credit is not "the backbone of free trade."
If credit is "the backbone of our society", well it's time for a visit to the chiropractor.
Companies don't really want to cut off credit to people like this woman. For every one that defaults, there are two more that try to keep up exorbitant payments. If it hasn't been working out for lenders in the aggregate, this woman would not STILL BE RECEIVING CC OFFERS, as is mentioned in the article.

Some people here keep talking as if this woman were blaming someone else.. but she isn't! She fully states that it is all her fault. Maybe someone else somewhere is whining, but they are not the subject of this article, so cut her at least that slack. That is "all I ask".
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