This afternoon I attended the fabulous above panel convened by the New America Foundation to address an even more hopeless topic than the last New America Foundation panel I attended last week, which is the mortgage crisis. I did not learn much, nor did I expose myself to any new line of argument that might lead me to a more hopeful view about the future of America’s housing crisis than I had then, but I did realize I harbor an irrational bias against men who wear statement-y glasses like this gentleman Tim Fernholz of the American Prospect (and soon of the National Journal) who actually seems like an eminently decent fellow with no incorrect opinions I could glean in a brief post-panel encounter. The financial system that just doled out $144 billion in bonus money to its top talent remains insolvent, the Obama Administration remains incapable of acknowledging this reality and so the federal agencies charged with regulating it remain paralyzed, and Republicans remain awesomely full of shit. But the afternoon was not entirely unproductive because the New America Foundation is conveniently located close to numerous chain retailers and I finally got some Christmas shopping done, which would have been a far less efficient task were the economy not so awful that attractive women’s apparel is really, really fucking cheap this year.