The Bush administration’s hope to counter falling house prices and rising mortgage defaults is the “Hope Alliance,” which is planning to give homeowners more breathing room to pay bills. Houston Chronicle reports: “Against a backdrop of surging defaults and administration officials’ prodding of the mortgage industry, the plan will allow seriously overdue homeowners to suspend foreclosures for 30 days while lenders try to work out more affordable loan terms. The Hope Now alliance, which includes lenders, investors and nonprofit groups, said last week that it helped nearly 8 percent of subprime borrowers in the second half of 2007 _ more than its original estimate. The group said it helped 545,000 subprime borrowers with spotty credit in the second half of last year, compared with its January estimate of 370,000. That works out to 7.7 percent of 7.1 million subprime loans outstanding as of September.” REWIND BACK TO AUGUST.
New York City’s Center for Architecture is holding this exhibit featuring an unlikely international partnership in the drive for responsible development.
“Co-Evolution displays four visionary projects – the results of collaborations between Danish architects and professors and students from leading Chinese universities. The exhibition confronts the environmental challenges related to rapid and extensive urbanization in China and illustrates the value of international and interdisciplinary collaboration.”
An interesting debate on land use in Edmonton brings memories of “The price tag for professional sports,” among other things. The Edmonton Journal editorial reports: “With apologies to urban affairs expert Mark Rosentraub for stripping away the nuance, that’s the crux of what he thinks Edmontonians should know about building a downtown arena complex. The professor of urban affairs at Cleveland State University is the keynote speaker today at a conference entitled The Role of Sports and Entertainment Facilities in Urban Development being held at the Crowne Plaza-Chateau Lacombe. It is sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce and University of Alberta faculty of phys. ed. and recreation.”
Medha Patkar —Defender of the Poor
image courtesy of WorldProutAssembly.org
We’ve been following this one for a couple of days. New concepts and suggestions from Medha Patkar may pave the way, literally, for opportunity in India’s impoverished cities. My News India reports: “The National Urban Development Struggle Committee has given a call to pave way for democratic process of planning to fulfil aspirations of urban poor and give them equitable share of land. The two-day meeting of the Committee under the aegis of National Alliance of Peoples Movement that concluded in Hyderabad on Wednesday had 84 participants from 20 organisations across seven states. The meeting deliberated on issues being faced by various categories of urban poor- slum dwellers, hawkers, unorganised workers, small traders. In the name of urban renewal projects, infrastructure development like roads, flyovers, SEZs, poor were being alienated from land, housing, livelihoods, basic services across cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Hyderabad, participants reported.”
Oil industry, much? Bloomberg (who could probably cover the losses himself) reports: “‘It was a tough quarter in North America,’ Chief Financial Officer Fritz Henderson told reporters today in Detroit. ‘Volumes were down, and there was tougher pricing because we had a full incentive load for our pickups.’ The record $38.7 billion annual loss is the third consecutive for Chief Executive Officer Rick Wagoner. Wagoner said overall automotive earnings are expected to improve this year as growth in Asia, Russia and Latin America as well as gains from the buyouts offset a U.S. slowdown.”
Obama uses the force to summon his lightsaber.
—image courtesy of ThatOtherPaper.com
With Obama closing the gap and “Superdelegates” (who are like regular delegates, except super-er) feeling queezy that they may have to decide on something, the only question is: Who gets the red lightsaber? CNN reports: “Because superdelegates are not required to make their presidential preferences public and are free to change their minds, it is difficult to pinpoint the exact number of superdelegate supporters either candidate has at any given time. Democratic superdelegate Sam Spencer said he’s not entirely comfortable with the decisive role superdelegates could play in this election. ‘I think the best people to decide who our nominee should be … should be actual voters in primaries and caucuses,’ Spencer said on CNN’s American Morning. ‘I think superdelegates are somewhat outdated, and it’s not the most democratic way of doing things … we may have to go to the lightsabers.” (Editor’s note: NAC is still waiting on confirmation of that last quote).