May 25, 2012

Bits Bucket for May 25, 2012

Post off-topic ideas, links, and Craigslist finds here.

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Comment by DennisN
2012-05-25 02:29:31

I didn’t see this story posted the other day.

CNN is claiming that ten markets will see house prices rise 10% to 20% by the end of 2013. The biggest rise: Madera CA.

The Madera claim bugs me the most. Most other cities are in Oregon or the Rockies. These others seem more reasonable to me. But Madera?

Comment by Muggy
2012-05-25 05:29:47

Yes, well, with a bunch of GSE stock off limits until after the election and free crack, I mean loans, house prices will probably rise everywhere.

We all seriously misunderestimated the lengths that banksters would go to kick the turd down the road.

Comment by turkey lurkey
2012-05-25 06:32:12

Mission accomplished!

Comment by oxide
2012-05-25 05:56:19

Probably because somebody from the Madera tourist board paid off CNN to include them in their slideshow “news” story. So damn annoying.

But for a serious answer, Madera looks like a ready-made bedroom town for Fresno. All you need is a couple houses to bid from $125K to $150K and there you are: 20% increase.

Comment by Martin
2012-05-25 07:00:53


Here is a sale from DC area. It was sold in 2009 for close to $600K and now listed for 2.2M. Looks like someone is making big money out of it or probably someone bought land at tha price and then built this massive house.

Comment by oxide
2012-05-25 08:37:04

Definitely a land buy, or a teardown. The listing says “just completed.”

And besides, it’s a very McMansion-y looking mansion.
Potomac and North Potomac are known for real estate mansions, not this crap. Just as a McMansion is a blow-up of the 80’s center-hall colonial style, this house looks like a blow up of a regular McMansion. Big tip-off: absolutely no pictures of the yard or landscape.

This is what I mean by a “real” mansion. Look what you can get for the same price. I actually like part of the re-al-TOR blurb “A truly custom home that’s loaded w/ natural light & the opposite of cookie cutter new construction. ” (except I would have chosen better ceiling fans, ick):

This is a more modest mansion:

Homes like this are why I recoil so badly at McMansions. They are so offensive as to be nearly painful.

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Comment by Neuromance
2012-05-25 09:01:02

Get off of 495 and drive west on 193, till you hit Leesburg Pike. THOSE are real mansions, surrounded by forest. I will occasionally see a Ferrari or a Bentley a few times a year. Making that drive, I saw two or three, either parked or being driven. There’s a bit of a comedic mansion on Leesburg pike, fountains out front, but for cryin out loud, it’s on Leesburg pike, and there’s a strip mall down the road.

Comment by The_Overdog
2012-05-25 09:20:11

The Meriden Road house looks like a milk cow on the outside. It’s white with brown spots.

Comment by oxide
2012-05-25 09:31:30

Neuromance, just checked Zillow for Leesburg Pike. No thanks, they still look cookie cutter. I guess my taste runs toward the 4800 sq ft intersting instead of the 7000 sq ft boring. I’d rather live in the cow house.

Comment by polly
2012-05-25 10:15:58

Come on, Oxide. It has 2 acres. Even with a house that big, a lot that size includes a yard.

Comment by oxide
2012-05-25 10:59:25

A-ha! I know what happened. Polly is right: this new house had been empty land. The house was built in somebody’s back yard. You can tell from the satellite pix.

Redfin outlined a “13604″ property (for sale) with a red line. It’s nice, with trees and a guesthouse garage. But look behind that house, to the south. There is a house under contruction, on a splotch of brown dirt. I plugged the 13604 address into Google maps. Google says that 13604 is NOT the red-lined house at all, but the dirt-splotch house south of it. Redfin outlined the wrong house.

The nice house outlined on Redfin had clearly originally been a four-acre property. The owners cut their 4-acre land in half and somebody built this new house on the 2 acres in the backyard.* If you zoom in close enough, the roofline of the dirt-splotch house matches the roofline of the house photos on the Redfin listing.

To answer Polly’s question about the yard: I should have clarified. The house does have a lawn, but no landscape worth showing in the listing. New houses, and new McMaxiMansions in particular, are notorious for having no landscape except for flat sod lawn. Not showing the lawn in the pix is another clue that the house for sale was a new McMaximasion.

*The house next door is the same: a 4-acre property with a huge backyard. Maybe the owners would have wanted to subdivide their land too, but they haven’t because that backyard has no access to a road. The house in question was on a corner lot, so the backyard had access to a road, so they could split it off easily. This is probably why Redfin outlined the wrong house — it’s a new property with a different postal address.

Comment by Neuromance
2012-05-25 18:51:13

Oxide: They’re cookie cutter? Huh. They looked relatively individualistic when I saw them. It’s definitely a nice drive, because Great Falls Park is right there, and the scenery is just fantastic, small streams, small falls.

Comment by polly
2012-05-25 08:41:01

That sounds like a tear down/spec house to me. Might have been empty land in North Potomac, but easily could have been just a normal McMansion or older 4/2 or 5/3.

I think the pictured bathroom is bigger than my living room.

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Comment by Muggy
2012-05-25 03:20:01

I posted this late yesterday:

“Pinellas property values fall, but not as dramatically as feared”

Total BS. My ‘hood is up 4%, and yet I am still surrounded by abandoned and “pre-foreclosure” homes.

Comment by combotechie
2012-05-25 05:36:32

Perception vs Reality.

Marketers create Perception and uses these creations in order to sell. But after the sale is made the marketers no longer have an interest in maintaining these Perceptions so they move on and take the marketing support Perception needs with them, and that’s when Reality sets in.

Comment by Professor Bear
2012-05-25 03:35:05

The international quantitative easing cargo cult is holding out a great deal of hope these days for yet another tectonic shift in the global fiatsco landscape which may result in money dropped into their hands out of helicopters.

Good luck to all who hold out hope for QE3, QE4, QE5, …

Global quantitative easing looms
By Chris Dillow, 23 May 2012

The possibility that central banks around the world will print more money increased this week, which could once more give a lift to commodity prices and, by default, equity markets.

Pressure on the Bank of England to step up its quantitative easing (QE) came this week from the IMF. “Further monetary easing is required,” it said in its regular assessment of the UK economy, warning that the risks to growth “are large and tilted clearly to the downside”. This challenges Monetary Policy Committee member Paul Fisher, who said that the Bank would only consider more QE if the recession worsened.

This could happen, even if the euro crisis doesn’t deepen. Figures released next week could show that UK manufacturers have rejoined their euro area counterparts in recession; that UK firms are still repaying debt; and that consumer confidence and retail sales are low. Nick Bate at Bank of America Merrill Lynch expects the Bank to announce another £50bn of QE in July.

In the euro area, policy easing is even more urgent. Even a small threat of Spain leaving the euro area could lead to massive withdrawals of deposits from its banks. Banks might not be able to plug this gap by borrowing from the European Central Bank (ECB) under its emergency liquidity assistance programme, because the terms of ECB loans under that scheme are often so onerous that it is infeasible as a large or long-term measure. This, says David Owen at Jefferies International, means that “a major policy response is becoming more and more imperative”. He believes this would include the ECB finally adopting full quantitative easing.

Nor are economists ruling out such a move by the US Federal Reserve. Commerzbank’s Bernd Weidensteiner says the possibility of the euro crisis deepening would have “significant adverse effects” on the US economy. This is not just because it would cut its exports, but rather because fears that banks would lose billions of dollars would reduce their lending. The Fed could, he says, react to this by restarting its large-scale asset purchases policy.

All this has at least two implications for investors. One is that it will prolong the squeeze upon real interest rates; although QE is intended primarily to raise real economy activity, it also adds to inflation.

It could also boost commodity prices, as some of the extra money printed is used to buy these. Despite the weakness of western economies, oil and commodity prices are twice as high as they were in 2008-09, which could be a sign that the hope of more easy money is buoying them up.

Comment by Professor Bear
2012-05-25 03:40:11

It seems the whole world is talking these days about the Grexit that wasn’t supposed to happen.

Summer 2012 international financial outlook: TURMOIL IN PERPETUUM.

The Associated Press May 24, 2012, 1:40PM ET
EU running out of time as Greece nears the exit

ATHENS, Greece

European leaders insist they want to keep Greece in the eurozone, but are putting off any agreement on how they hope to accomplish that. Greece says it, too, wants to stay in the eurozone, but until after elections it’s uncertain whether it can implement the austerity that Europe has set as a condition for doing so.

Essentially, both are playing for time — about a month. The question is whether financial markets will wait or force their hand.

Concerns that European leaders lack the political will — and wherewithal — to tackle the continent’s economic problems have worried the markets for weeks. Among the 17 countries that use the euro, seven are in recession. Business confidence is under pressure and banks are feeling the squeeze. The biggest fear is that if Greece cannot be kept in the euro, other larger economies — like Spain or Portugal — might face the same fate.

“The breakup of the eurozone will be a disaster. Greece could leave, and others could leave, and this would be a huge financial tsunami,” said Dariusz Kowalczyk, senior economist at Credit Agricole CIB in Hong Kong. “Europe is not doing enough, and the market may not wait for them.”

Comment by Blue Skye
2012-05-25 05:26:49

So much drama over the Mediterranean welfare queens. They will eventually have to live on what they can afford. It will not be a disaster, it will be a reckoning.

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower©
2012-05-25 05:45:22

It’s happening in California, too. Take it from our supposed tax-and-spend liberal governor’s mouth.

Jerry Brown budget: ‘It affects my mortgage payment,’ worker says
May 14, 2012 | 3:32 pm

Southern California voters weighed in after Gov. Jerry Brown today released a $91-billion budget proposal that includes cutting health and welfare spending and reducing state payrolls by 5% to address the state’s deficit, which has grown to $16 billion.

“For at least three years now, we’ve had furloughs, pay cuts,” said Arturo Camarillo, 49, a deputy labor commissioner in downtown Los Angeles.

“And it was getting better. Last month, I think, was the first month we got back our furlough; we got 100% of our monthly income paid to us. But now we hear this news, it affects me, it affects my mortgage payment again …. It certainly makes us feel sad.”

Brown’s revised budget reflects a steadily worsening fiscal picture for California. Service reductions are expected to be harsher if voters in November reject Brown’s proposed combination of a sales-tax hike and increased levies on high earners. The governor presumes that $8.5 billion of the state’s $16-billion deficit will be filled by his tax measure.

“There’s a dilemma right there,” said Camarillo, “if he’s cutting our salaries and furlough, those taxes would help us.”

Ying Wei, 51, an examiner for the state’s Department of Corporations, supports a tax increase but said she didn’t think salary cuts in previous years “saved that much money.”

“I don’t mind paying a little more tax if it goes a long way,” she said. “But the problems go back many, many years. We need to find better ways to save money, I don’t think cutting here and there will solve the problems.”

Comment by michael
2012-05-25 06:21:25

“examiner for the state’s Department of Corporations”

sounds like a job for mike rowe.

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Comment by Bill in Carolina
2012-05-25 06:28:59

Comparison of state spending

$91 Billion state spending
37.7 Million people (2011)
$2,413 spending per person

South Carolina
$6.6 Billion state spending
4.67 Million people (2011)
$1,413 spending per person

2413/1413 = 1.7 to 1

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Comment by scdave
2012-05-25 07:10:01

Yep….But they may have screwed the pooch this time….The combination of out of control spending & commitments with a recession in the best locations and outright depression in all the others…. Fantasy meets reality…

Comment by MightyMike
2012-05-25 07:41:51

So much drama over the Mediterranean welfare queens. They will eventually have to live on what they can afford. It will not be a disaster, it will be a reckoning.

The unemployment rate in Spain something 20% - 25%. That qualifies as a disaster.

Comment by measton
2012-05-25 08:16:22

Was 20-25%
It is likely rising and if Greece exits it will rise much higher.

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Comment by albuqueruquedan
2012-05-25 08:33:07

Impossible, they spent all that government money creating the green jobs of the future just like California. Wait, I see a pattern.

Comment by Beer and Cigar Guy
2012-05-25 16:26:45

There were well over 20-25 million jobs either created or saved on Barry’s watch and he got a Nobel Prize for it… Just ask Missy- she’ll tell you. If Barry were elected President of Europe, more magic would happen there as well… True story.

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Comment by Steve J
2012-05-25 09:05:56

I hafnium idea Greek shipping magnets paid no taxes by Constituional law. Why are they not creating jobs????

Insecurity Touches the Tycoons of Greece

The New York Times | May 24, 2012 | 02:21 AM EDT

While money pours out of Greek banks and Europe debates whether or not Greece deserves its next handout, the people potentially in the best position to help shore up the nation’s finances are mainly keeping their heads down.

They are among the wealthiest Greeks — whether shipping magnates, whose tax-free status is enshrined in the constitution, or the so-called oligarchs who have accumulated vast wealth via their dominance in core areas of the economy like oil, gas, media, banking and even cement.

Comment by alpha-sloth
2012-05-25 13:49:24

shipping magnates, whose tax-free status is enshrined in the constitution, or the so-called oligarchs who have accumulated vast wealth via their dominance in core areas of the economy like oil, gas, media, banking and even cement.

And now we get a peek at Greece’s real problem. Not out of control welfare. An out of control, and above the law- and taxes- 1% (sound familiar?).

Same story with all the Med-PIGS. The high welfare was a payoff to the masses by their 1%ers to allow them to keep their lofty oligarch positions. Now that the welfare is being cut off, it should be interesting to see the fate of their 1%ers. Their masses aren’t as easily fooled as ours.

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Comment by Anon In DC
2012-05-25 17:04:55

The problem is not the 1% it’s the 99% who think they should live like the 1%. Teachers, construction workers, grocery store clerks, Greece’s version of strawberry pickers (maybe olive pickers) who think their work entitles them to live in nice houses, foreign travel, vacations, etc… While worthy and useful jobs, they don’t mean you get to live high on the hog. Same problem in this country. The credit bubble of the past 30 years inflated the standard of living.

Comment by Itsabouttime
2012-05-25 19:07:21

I call foul. Here’s the reality:

Between 1945 and 1973 productivity increased, and wages increased. From 1973 to 2012 productivity increased, but wages did NOT increase. So, in the “last 30 years” the credit has been average earners effort to stay even. First they doubled the number of adults in the household working for pay. Then they turned to massive borrowing. All through this period, taxes were being cut on everyone, but more so for the wealthy than others. So, of course, now California has a massive amount of infrastructural needs it has deferred fixing (e.g., the levees in the delta which, when they collapse, will make Katrina look like a Beverly Hills pool party), a tax structure prone to boom and bust cycles of state funding, and a toxic aversion to taxes (e.g., even TEXAS taxes oil companies for taking oil out of the ground, but, noooooo, not California).

Nobody loves taxes anywhere, but which is fairer to future generations–tax and spend, or borrow and bequeath?


Comment by irmaron
2012-05-25 07:00:05

“It seems the whole world is talking these days about the Grexit that wasn’t supposed to happen.”

I say BS. This has been planned all along. The monied people I’m sure have been moving their money over the past year will using the media to ease into the exit to avoid a panic run on banks. At some point people will see through all this smoke and mirrors, then we’ll have the second leg down. Unfortunately, the puppet masters can keep things going for a long time.

Comment by oxide
2012-05-25 09:20:50

“The monied people I’m sure have been moving their money over the past year. ”

Ding ding ding, we have a winner!! Delay the shootout at the OK Corrall until after you cash the hell out of Dodge.

Comment by nycjoe
2012-05-25 10:09:41

A wild guess. Like the rest of us, Greece will kick the can down the road until the last check gets held up, maybe next month after the election? From the stories you read about money leaving the country … and a trend in Spain, too … you have to believe they’ve got the drachma machines oiled and ready to go already.

Comment by Professor Bear
2012-05-25 03:44:55

From the standpoint of a casual outsider with absolutely no skin in the game, it appears the Chinese credit bubble is imploding. Will pressure from the Red Chinese government save Chinese capitalism?

May 25, 2012, 4:35 a.m. EDT
China stocks drop in Asia amid credit fears
Hong Kong shares rebound; Nikkei ends down for 8th straight week
By V. Phani Kumar and Virginia Harrison, MarketWatch

HONG KONG (MarketWatch) — Chinese stocks declined in Asia Friday amid concerns weak bank credit could hurt the nation’s growth, while Hong Kong stocks staged a late rebound, tracking gains in Europe after strong German economic data.

The session was marked by choppy trading in regional markets amid lingering uncertainty over the European debt crisis.

China’s Shanghai Composite Index and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index dropped 0.7% each, while Taiwan’s Taiex gave up 0.8%.

The losses came worries that Chinese bank lending may also be slowing in another indication of cooling growth indicators. Bloomberg News reported Thursday that the nation’s biggest banks may fall short of loan targets this year for the first time in at least seven years.

“Weak credit action bodes ill for short-term growth but also raises the odds of government pressure on banks to lend more,” said Dariusz Kowalczyk, senior economist and strategist at Credit Agricole.

Comment by Martin
2012-05-25 06:50:05

China’s economy suffers ’sharp slowdown’

‘Clearly the economy is much, much weaker than most people thought until recently … They have a real mess on their hands’

Comment by Blue Skye
2012-05-25 07:35:58

45 million people starved or beaten to death, that’s what a real mess would be.

Comment by RioAmericanInBrasil
2012-05-25 08:03:25

45 million people starved or beaten to death, that’s what a real mess would be.

For the rich folks…

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Comment by Blue Skye
2012-05-25 09:15:21

Whatever are you talking about Rio? There were no rich or poor among Mao’s victims. Only dying or living.

Comment by alpha-sloth
2012-05-25 13:55:48

45 million people starved or beaten to death

Maybe that’s why they struck down their oligarch (Bo Xilia) who was bringing back Cultural Revolution chic.

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2012-05-25 05:10:40

I have never heard of Cook County Florida. :)

44% of Cook County homes with a mortgage are underwater

Yesterday at 10:11 a.m.

Almost 667,000 homes with a mortgage in the seven-county Chicago area were underwater on their mortgages in March — and 13 percent of those homeowners were also delinquent on their mortgage payments by three months or more.

The paper losses total almost $58 billion in lost equity in Cook, Kane, Lake, Will, DuPage, Kendall and McHenry counties, according to real estate site Zillow’s negative equity report scheduled to be released Thursday.

Read more at the Chicago - -

Comment by MiddleCoaster
2012-05-25 11:03:18

Holey moley. Most of the state’s population lives in those seven counties.

Comment by Muggy
2012-05-25 05:32:09

Lol, Ben… remember a year ago when that one guy from the Fed Reserve was all “I’ve never heard of a shadow inventory” in your interview?

These guys are sounding like those clowns on COPS.

Naw, man, that ain’t my weed. I was holding it for a friend.

Comment by Awaiting
2012-05-25 05:34:21

Rental Watch & Nick
Thanks for the input and data points yesterday. This is surreal. You would think buyers would have learned from the collateral damage of the bubble. This time TPTB have engineered a very tight inventory, which is a new element.

I had a chat with our buyer’s broker (30 yrs in the biz/great at structural stuff)
and he thinks the inventory issue is really about the live frees, double digit millions, concentrated in bubble states.

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower©
2012-05-25 05:48:23

“…live frees, double digit millions, concentrated in bubble states.”

It isn’t only about the ‘live frees’ in bubble states, but also about the nearby ‘rent expensives’ (aka extend-and-pretend policy bagholders).

Comment by turkey lurkey
2012-05-25 06:36:53

“This time TPTB have engineered a very tight inventory, which is a new element.”

This by far, was the biggest problem of the Savings & Loan disaster.

The inventory that was dumped on the market back was devastating to everyone.

Comment by scdave
2012-05-25 07:20:52

The inventory that was dumped on the market back was devastating to everyone ??

It was crippling if you were in any related business…I got through it barely….Many people I know did not…Thanks Volker…

Comment by scdave
2012-05-25 07:22:01

oop’s…Sorry…Not Volker…I morphed all the way back to 1981…

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Comment by Arizona Slim
2012-05-25 07:20:12

In this bubble state, a lot of the houses were bought as in-VEST-ments. They were supposed to appreciate to the moon while being rented out.

And you know what tenants do to houses.

So, when these places didn’t keep on appreciating, and when the in-VEST-ors found that dealing with tenants wasn’t as easy as the late-night informercials and the seminars said it would be, well, buh-bye rental houses. They just abandoned them.

I can take you on a walking tour of my neighborhood and show you a bunch of these places. Including two with those Phoney/Frauddie signs offering move-out cash to the tenants.

Well, Earth to Phoney/Frauddie: The tenants left months ago. But I’d be happy to take that cash if you want me to keep an eye on the property.

Comment by oxide
2012-05-25 13:30:37

Isn’t that the job that Ben has? Securing foreclosed property?

Comment by Arizona Slim
2012-05-25 15:45:35

Ben goes in and gets the place presentable again. I’m talking about pedaling by and making sure that the place isn’t being vandalized, broken into, what have you.

I could also be that bicyclist who periodically rides by rental properties to make sure that the tenants aren’t trashing the place or otherwise causing problems in their nabe. The tenants would never know who I am — I’d be the landlord’s Cycling Intelligence Agency case officer.

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Comment by Pete
2012-05-25 18:39:05

“I’m talking about pedaling by and making sure that the place isn’t being vandalized, broken into, what have you.”

We don’t have the dilapidation factor going on in our area of the central valley, but your reports from Tuscon make me wonder: Wouldn’t it be a good business decision for the banks to to pay people to keep properties at a certain level of cleanliness/saleability. It would be chump change to them, assuming they intend to sell the property at market rates.

Comment by Rental Watch
2012-05-25 15:56:50


I responded to this on yesterday’s feed, but wouldn’t the “live frees” show up as non-current loans, especially those who are 90+ days delinquent?

If so, the number is far less than 10 million, as there are only about 5.5 million loans in the US that are not current, and only about 3.5 million of those are either 90+ days delinquent, or in the foreclosure process.

Where does your 10+ million come from?

And the “live frees” used to be concentrated in bubble states, but more and more they are being concentrated in the judicial foreclosure states.

Comment by Hard Rain
2012-05-25 05:39:08

If you’ve got him in a corner, hit him with the fireplace poker while you have the chance.

Toronto’s housing market rocketing upward in price, height

The Pooles have lost out on four offers and backed out of three others. They say competition at open houses is so intense they’ve seen things get physical. Chris described a recent open house they attended.

“The listing agent is backed into the corner by the fireplace, and somebody is standing there being quite loud saying, ‘I’m going to work with you, I’m going to make sure we get this property, whatever it takes, 120, 130 percent over asking, I’ll do it,’ just to try and intimidate everyone else,” he recalled.”

Comment by alpha-sloth
2012-05-25 06:19:52

, whatever it takes,120, 130 percent over asking, I’ll do it

Heck, I’d love that kind if intimidation if I were the listing agent.

Comment by Bill in Carolina
2012-05-25 06:32:11

Sounds like the days of shoeshine boys swapping stock tips between themselves and their customers.

Comment by combotechie
2012-05-25 06:52:16

Sounds like a nice job for some out-of-work actors.

Comment by palmetto
2012-05-25 06:07:10

Multi-BILLION dollar fraud by illegal immigrants:

“Millions of illegal immigrants are getting a bigger tax refund than you. Eyewitness News shows a massive tax loophole that provides billions of dollars in tax credits to undocumented workers and, in many cases, people who have never stepped foot in the United States. And you are paying for it!”

“So why should undocumented workers receive tax credits for children living in a foreign country, which is a violation of IRS tax rules?”

“If the opportunity is there and they can give it to me, why not take advantage of it?” the worker said.

Comment by turkey lurkey
2012-05-25 06:38:29

…and there goes the “illegals pay taxes too!” argument.


Comment by palmetto
2012-05-25 07:01:26

LOL. Here we are, propping up a culture of blood, sand and death. I about lost it when I read the story yesterday of the woman in Mexico who gouged out her 5 year old son’s eyes in some St. Death ritual. And then I read this AM about the three children abandoned in a shed in Oregon, I guess no one thought to take them in and take advantage of the above loophole. Not to mention the recent stories of human trafficking here in the Tampa Bay area. Where’s LaRaza?

I was walking through a parking lot with a buddy the other day, the lot serves a local thrift store, big box store, county offices, etc. He watched as a couple of mestizo ladies eased out of a brand new SUV with a pile of kids and a couple of baby carriers. He wanted to know how the heck they were able to afford that vehicle. So did I. Now I know.

Yessir, the future of the US.

Comment by Arizona Slim
2012-05-25 07:22:51

I was walking through a parking lot with a buddy the other day, the lot serves a local thrift store, big box store, county offices, etc. He watched as a couple of mestizo ladies eased out of a brand new SUV with a pile of kids and a couple of baby carriers. He wanted to know how the heck they were able to afford that vehicle.

I have neighbors like that. And I’m here to tell you that some of them are indeed in this country illegally. But not all of them.

How do they afford such nice rides? Well, vehicle leasing is one way. Then there’s money laundering. You have to get rid of that drug money somehow.

In this town, there are more than a few car dealers who will help you do just that. Pay cash for a very nice ride, and away you go.

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Comment by palmetto
2012-05-25 07:33:09

“Then there’s money laundering. You have to get rid of that drug money somehow.”

And money from human trafficking as well, I would imagine. The Oregon story is heart-breaking. Reading between the lines, I would say that they weren’t “abandoned” by their mothers. It looks like some kind of trafficking deal gone wrong, and the kids were dumped. Lucky for them. Now they get medical attention and hopefully decent homes. They’ll never find the “mother” or “mothers”. Probably dead or back south of the border.

Comment by Arizona Slim
2012-05-25 08:35:45

And money from human trafficking as well, I would imagine. The Oregon story is heart-breaking.

Some nearby neighbors were involved in that.

They had one of those shuttle vans that plied the Nogales-Tucson-Phoenix route. And let’s just say that they weren’t taking airline passengers to Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport.

About three years ago, their one-van operation started rocking the logo of one of the big shuttle companies here in Tucson. Then, on Tax Day 2010, there was a big federal raid on shuttle companies. The company of the aforementioned logo was taken down.

Interestingly enough, I’ve been trying to get these particular neighbors to keep their damn dog quiet. Thing’s a pug with one of those piercing barks that disturbs this entire block.

Just before the shuttle company raid, they got a letter from my attorney. It was essentially a cease and desist notice about the dog barking. Their attorney wrote back with all sorts of excuses — not our dog, we keep ours in the house all the time, how could we run our day care business with a barking dog, that sort of thing.

Their attorney’s letter made no mention of the shuttle van operation, even though my attorney pointed it out in his letter.

On April 15, 2010, it was as if that dog vanished. It’s gotten somewhat noisier since then, but I think the combination of my lawyer’s letter and the raid got them to stop annoying me.

I noticed that the van disappeared from their property in January 2011. I’ve also observed quite a bit of fixer-upper activity going on there since. Perhaps they’re preparing to sell. We neighbors sure hope so.

Comment by palmetto
2012-05-25 11:03:30

Just another day in the Tampa Bay area for the folks doing the jobs Americans won’t do.

Plant City. Major strawberry pickin’ area. And other agriculture. It might seem that the area is aptly named, and it is, but originally was named for Henry Plant, a Tampa Bay area pioneer businessman. We have a Plant Museum, a Plant High School, among other things.

Comment by scdave
2012-05-25 07:34:36

with a pile of kids and a couple of baby carriers ??

I see it around here all the time…Children having multiple children…I just ask myself, what are you thinking ?? I just conclude that the system is obviously so accommodating in that there does not seem to be enough fear about allowing it to happen…Its appears nonchalant…

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Comment by palmetto
2012-05-25 07:58:57

“Children having multiple children”

I think you’re right, dave. I read a very poignant essay the other day about many of the poorer immigrants to the US and the prodigious reproduction thereof. And I would imagine it also included certain groups of citizens. The point was that they do this, because that’s all they have to offer. Very sad.

And of course, you get what you reward, so that factors in as well.

Comment by albuquerquedan
2012-05-25 10:57:27

I think even the PTB that brought these people in because they saw a labor shortage when the baby boomers retired now may want to enforce the border. I will not be surprised if the Supreme Court mostly backs Arizona except for the employee sanctions. Not because of the constitution, not because the will of the people but because the PTB now see these immigrants as more of a liability than an asset.

Comment by palmetto
2012-05-25 11:17:55

“the PTB now see these immigrants as more of a liability than an asset.”

Yes, the law of unintended consequences. The PTB, I think, is starting to realize that indeed they themselves may not be safe from low functioning, high-violence capacity immigrant groups. There is nothing to stop these folks from shaking down the Wall Street Boyz, or other wealthy US citizens. Nothing, really. And there’s a lot more to the Wal-Mart-In-Mexico story than meets the eye.

Mikey Bloomburg wants ‘em gone from his city, make no mistake. That’s why he made that insane statement about the feds FORCING US cities to take immigrant populations. He must have been snorting his shorts.

Comment by palmetto
2012-05-25 11:41:45

LOL, he made it sound like a reasonable, egalitarian proposal, based on a study by some Mexican based think tank or something. But I say he’s desperate, watching his city descend into a third world crap hole.

Hmm, I wonder if maybe he was threatened by some Raza type. It was just too insane for words, his little speech.

Comment by SV guy
2012-05-25 09:23:44

“Where’s LaRaza?”

on the SCOTUS. Think I’m kidding? Do the research.

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Comment by palmetto
2012-05-25 09:52:48

“Think I’m kidding?”

Not at all. I would imagine LaRaza is second only to AIPAC in terms of ethnically oriented government influence.

Comment by Steve J
2012-05-25 09:13:44

Use of stolen Social Security numbers when filing taxes is such a problem now, the IRS had to create a form.

Comment by Overtaxed
2012-05-25 06:24:08

Sold for 9M 3 years ago, now sells for 25M? ROFL.

If this isn’t some kind of back channel deal I’ll chew my right arm off.

Comment by michael
2012-05-25 06:57:32

so apparently romney made a comment about cutting spending by some very large number over the next certain number of years.

obama came out and said that” would be like pouring gasoline on a prairie fire”?

since i suck at metaphors…what does the prairie fire represent?

Comment by michael
2012-05-25 06:59:05

i guess it’s a similie and not a metaphor…like i said.

Comment by RioAmericanInBrasil
2012-05-25 07:29:44

romney made a comment about cutting spending by some very large number over the next certain number of years….obama came out and said that” would be like pouring gasoline on a prairie fire”?

It was about the tax cuts too.

The president said Romney’s budget - which includes new tax cuts for wealthier Americans - would not be the deficit slayer he claims it would be.

“Oh, by the way, something else he hasn’t told you is how he’d pay for a new $5 trillion tax cut,” Obama said. “That’s like trying to put out a prairie fire with some gasoline.”

Obama Accuses Romney of ‘Cow-Pie of Distortion’ on Debt, Deficits–abc-news-politics.html

Comment by palmetto
2012-05-25 07:50:23

“Obama Accuses Romney of ‘Cow-Pie of Distortion’ ”

LOL! I’m no Romney fan by any means, but Obama’s dropped more than a few meadow muffins himself.

Comment by michael
2012-05-25 08:04:52

it’s just the first time i have heard obama being honest about he economy…referring to it as being like a prairie fire.

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Comment by CharlieTango
2012-05-25 07:00:41


Comment by CharlieTango
2012-05-25 07:02:52

In reply to:
Multi-BILLION dollar fraud by illegal immigrants:

Comment by palmetto
2012-05-25 07:17:44

I know, right? If that isn’t a huge argument for the abolition of the IRS, I dunno what is. And notice how unrepentant that “agency” (and I use the term loosely) is.

Oh, yeah, but it’s Social Security and other “entitlements” for American citizens that are the problem.

Comment by palmetto
2012-05-25 07:23:50

“abolition of the IRS,”

Sorry, I meant the income tax (which to me is synonomous with the IRS). You’ll still need an IRS or some such agency to administer a national sales tax.

I wonder how many immigration attorneys get a cut of that fraud?

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Comment by polly
2012-05-25 10:28:43

Why would an immigration attorney have anything to do with it?

Look I help some friends who claim that credit so I am familiar with it. What you are dealing with is a law, written by Congress, that is practically unenforceable. There is no easy way to confirm that a child lives in the US at least 6 months of the year. The best one I can think of is to send papers confirming registration for school, but even that doesn’t require the kid to be present so you could possibly register a kid living elsewhere.

You could pull out and audit anyone who claims to be supporting more than, say 5 kids, but you are going to waste time auditing a lot perfectly legit (if very fertile) families. You could pull anyone claiming to support a person not their own child (nieces and nephews, grandkids, etc.) but you are going to waste time on a lot of very generous people who are the primary means of support of their extended families. You could send someone out to check for the kids living there, but you are going to spend a lot of time just confirming that the kids are not living there on that one day of the year? You have to confirm they are not there for at least 6 months of the year. It is a bad credit once people figure out how to use it to commit fraud. The answer is to get rid of the credit or require proof of the child’s residence be submitted with the return. The latter requires (horrors) employees to review and process it.

Comment by palmetto
2012-05-25 10:45:25

“Why would an immigration attorney have anything to do with it?”

For the kickback, the vig. Of course, it takes a certain type of immigration attorney to do that, and I’m not under any delusion that all attorneys are angels. Clearly, there are some decent immigration attorneys who are blowing the whistle, or willing to address the problem. And as you yourself know, many attorneys are, shall we say, multi-tasking. Or multi-disciplinary, so to speak.

Spend some time in Miami. Or even Tampa Bay. And read the headlines. Immigration fraud, real estate fraud, securities fraud, Medicare fraud, etc. There are attorneys who do get involved in such things.

Comment by palmetto
2012-05-25 10:55:15

“The latter requires (horrors) employees to review and process it.”

Which is why the income tax, along with the whole disaster of a tax code, needs thrown out, in favor of a national sales tax. It’s the only feasible system in a global economy.

“From each, according to his means”.

What could be more fair?

Comment by Northeastener
2012-05-25 11:00:39

The tax break is ludicrous. All congress needs to do is change the law to limit the number of children you can claim to only those living in the US and directly related to the filers (sons/daughters). Also, limit it to two children… want to have more? That’s on you.

Additionally, requiring verifiable social security numbers for the children as part of that and having a system check for each return that uses that deduction to ensure those social security numbers aren’t claimed elsewhere.

There, fixed. Now we’re not wasting billions on illegals cheating on their taxes. Next.

Comment by oxide
2012-05-25 11:09:24

“From each, according to his means.”

Are you including some kind of minimum threshold in there, palmy? Some people’s “means” equals living on 9 square feet and eating about 150 calories a day.

And why is the sales tax the “only” viable system? The Scandinavians are plenty viable on their tax system.

Comment by palmetto
2012-05-25 11:23:27

“Some people’s “means” equals living on 9 square feet and eating about 150 calories a day.”

So they don’t have to pay anything. That’s a good thing, isn’t it? There’d probably be more money for programs to help them, under such a system.

Comment by palmetto
2012-05-25 11:27:06

“The Scandinavians are plenty viable on their tax system.”

Were. Their tax system rewards immigrant gamers, too, these days. Just ask the Scandinavian schoolgirls who have to dye their hair black to stay under the crimmigrant radar.

Say, did you know that in most parts of Europe I could be thrown in jail for what I just said above?

Comment by polly
2012-05-25 11:41:34

The law does restrict it to children living in the US. This is not a loophole. It is fraud. The article conflated the two. The other restrictions you list are not part of the current rule. Limiting the number of kids to two will get killed by the religious lobby. They like the government paying for lots of kids.

Comment by palmetto
2012-05-25 11:44:56

What polly said.

Comment by oxide
2012-05-25 13:36:11

No, I meant that a national sales tax dispropotionally taxes the poor. The poor have fewer dollars coming in, but they have to spend as many dollars much on food as the rich, so a greater proportion of the poor’s income goes to taxes. we’ve had this discussion before. I suppose you could draw up a huge list of what is or isn’t taxable, but that just leaves open more loopholes.

Comment by palmetto
2012-05-25 14:51:41

“but they have to spend as many dollars much on food as the rich,”

Sigh. Yes, we’ve had this discussion before, ad nauseum. Food is non-taxable, as it is now, unless it’s restaurant fare. So is primary shelter, as I understand it. Those are not loopholes, they are survival necessities.

Yes, for sure there’d be wish lists of stuff to be non-taxable and still room for plenty of political influence and dicking around. But it’s still far better than what we have now, and eliminates the craziness of April 15th and fears of audits for regular folks and the bullying of the IRS, for the most part.

Comment by DennisN
2012-05-25 08:28:56

Repeal the so-called “Progressive Amendments” XVII through XIX.

We’ve already repealed the XVIII so we’re 1/4 of the way there.

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Comment by alpha-sloth
2012-05-25 14:30:06

Wouldn’t we be one-third of the way there, if we repealed one of the three amendments?

Repeal women’s right to vote? Interesting idea. What do you think it would accomplish?

Comment by Arizona Slim
2012-05-25 15:47:11

Repeal women’s right to vote? Interesting idea. What do you think it would accomplish?

It would greatly annoy more than half* of the U.S. adult population. And we might pull a Lysistrata on you.

*Sorry to break the news to you, fellas. In the adult population, there are more of us than you. So there.

Comment by DennisN
2012-05-25 16:01:49

Oops I should have started with the XVI Amendment, perhaps the most heinous of them all. I’m not that great with Roman numerals.

Comment by irmaron
2012-05-25 07:18:06

True story. Kid with Asperger’s goes into the Army. The recruiter tells the recruit not to mention it when he gets to basic. Recruit goes all the way to Iraq. After many months in Iraq the medic has him sent home for discharge. He is put on disability (PTSD) and is placed under conservatorship and not allow to sign financial doc’s. Last Friday he goes to a car dealer who sells him a car @ 18% interest and willing to wait for 2 months to get a $2K down payment (GI schooling not under conservatorship control). Mom finds out and goes to car dealer and says here is your car back; dealer is an a$$hole and says get the … out of here, that’s was a brand new car and now it’s a used car. Mom says that’s not my problem. Mom calls attorney and has legal doc’s sent to dealer’s financial officer who 10 minutes later comes out and says that the contract has been voided. Mom gets to read the contract on the way home and finds that the dealer lied on the paper work and put down that his monthly rent was $300 when it is $1100 so that the figures for the financing would work out. Happy Memorial day.

Comment by Arizona Slim
2012-05-25 07:32:38

This is an issue that is also playing out in my own family.

I’ve already told you the story of my father, the telemarketers, and the junk mailers. He was all to quick to give them money which they did not deserve.

My almost three-week stay with him and my mom got some wheels turning in the right direction. Last weekend, Mom told me that she now has the power of attorney, and I know the lawyer she went to. Pretty reputable guy.

Mom is also screening the calls and the mail now. When I’m there, I do the same thing, and I’m not afraid to confront my dad about the content of the junk mail or the telemarketing calls. He still understands what the word “bull—-” means.

But enough about my family situation.

The larger issue is that there are a lot of people in this society who have no business getting into things like car loans, yet they do. And there are some cases where they don’t have grouchy relatives looking out for them.

I’m not sure what can be done about this. Seems like we already have laws on the books about taking advantage of the vulnerable. Perhaps the problem lies in the awareness of those laws. And their enforcment.

Comment by turkey lurkey
2012-05-25 10:04:51


Or to be more precise, the lack thereof. Free market and government interference/over regulation, don’t ya know? So let’s cut the departments budget.

Did you know that the FBI warned of the mortgage fraud right around 2001 and the White House SPECIFICALLY told them to ignore it and concentrate on “terra”?

Remind me again who was controlling the government then?

NEVER forget that “free market” is code for “free to bung you up the butt without consequence.”

And NEVER forget this:

Comment by Arizona Slim
2012-05-25 10:37:25

Props to the FBI on sounding the warning siren.

Mind you, this was the same FBI that, during the reign of J. Edgar Hoover, spent decades looking high and low for signs of communist infiltration in this country. Not that this didn’t happen, but it was nowhere near as widespread as J. Edgar thought.

In the meantime, organized crime was raging out of control. But, for several decades, the FBI seemed to be asleep on the job.

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Comment by Neuromance
2012-05-25 19:02:53

Slim: It comes down to call screening. If I don’t recognize a number, I don’t answer it. If they leave a message and it’s legit, I’ll get back to them, whoever it is.

Some folks have the mentality that they must answer all calls because it might be a relative with an emergency. Well, I’ve been that relative with an emergency. And the first call of the folks around me was to 911. Then, when I was hanging out in the ER prior to trauma surgery, I decided to call a relative. It wasn’t an emergency at that point and I could have left a message.

If it’s an emergency, the caller better g-dd-mn well be calling 911 and not me. If they’re calling me, they’ve pretty much Darwinned.

I recall an incident of a lady who drove off a slippery road into a body of water. Instead of 911, she called a friend, who couldn’t help. She and her four companions all drowned. That’s a Darwin.

The Point: Tell your parents to screen their calls. If they feel they must rush to the phone and answer it, ask them to at least see if they recognize the number. If the caller leaves a message, they can call back. If the caller doesn’t leave a message, it couldn’t have been that important.

If someone can’t be arsed to leave a message, tough noogies. It wasn’t that important then.

And if it’s an emergency, there’s nothing they can do about it, a la the friend of the woman who called when her vehicle went into the water.

Comment by Muggy
2012-05-25 07:20:31

“Mitt Romney’s education plan has distinct Florida flavor”

Weird, huh? Shouldn’t it have a Massachusetts flavor?

Comment by MightyMike
2012-05-25 07:49:21

Both states have pretty good seafood. Which do you prefer - clam chowder or grilled grouper?

Comment by DennisN
2012-05-25 07:53:48

California recently had a grilled groper for governor.

Comment by scdave
2012-05-25 08:09:58


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Comment by Montana
2012-05-25 09:12:46

Dennis, where ya been?

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Comment by DennisN
2012-05-25 15:59:23

Haven’t had much to say lately. Even the MSM now agrees we had a housing bubble.

Plus I’ve been working up the beater Miata. It was a good winter project. I took a 1996 Miata with 141K miles that seemed destined for the junkyard and fixed it up into a reliable fun car.

Comment by sleepless_near_seattle
2012-05-25 16:48:56

Nice work Dennis. I’m doing the same with my 275k mile Jeep. Not so much a “beater” but definitely some rattles and leaks and loose door hinges and shredded leather steering wheel and non-functional turn signal lever type things going on. Replaced all of those and tuned-up and this thing rides, sounds, and feels so much tighter.

Comment by DennisN
2012-05-25 17:11:41

You can check out the progress of the beater Miata, along with other things, here.

Comment by fishinla
2012-05-25 17:42:42

Nice to see another Miata owner. My first one was a ‘96. I drive an ‘07 now, and just get back from the giant Miatas in Moab multi-club gathering. 200 Miatas all sharing scenic roads in SE Utah, it was a blast.

Comment by sleepless_near_seattle
2012-05-25 17:47:48

Do you still have that SX4? If so, how do you like it? I’ve considered those as I’ve decided that when I do buy again I want an AWD car (probably wagon) with manual transmission.

Comment by sleepless_near_seattle
2012-05-25 17:59:39

Also, when you say “simple green and water,” how did you clean that engine? Wipe it down or did you spray with water? I’ve wanted to degrease mine but not sure it’s the smartest thing to do…

Comment by DennisN
2012-05-25 18:04:43

Heck it was only last summer when I bought my 2011 Suzuki SX4 Crossover. I’ve had it all over the unpaved backroads of Idaho. It’s basically a Subaru Forester for $18K - a heck of a deal. Plus I really like the design better.

The 6 speed is great. The clunky CVT auto is to be avoided.

Comment by palmetto
2012-05-25 10:57:26

LOL, and Massachusetts has a red snapper running for Congress. (Sorry, Liz, I couldn’t resist.)

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Comment by palmetto
2012-05-25 08:01:39

I’ll take both. Clam chowdah for the soup course, grouper for the main. (Of course, I wouldn’t mind some red snapper, either. Both grouper and snapper beat the crap outta cod, IMO)

Comment by Northeastener
2012-05-25 11:03:40

Both grouper and snapper beat the crap outta cod, IMO


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Comment by palmetto
2012-05-25 11:36:22

Aw, I’m just funnin’ withya, Northeasterner. What I wouldn’t give to go down the Cape, plop my butt on a bench at some seaside shack and order a bowl of chowdah, a plateful of steamahs with melted butter for dippin’ and some baked scrod. Heaven. A whole Maine lobstah wouldn’t hurt my feelings, either. Stone crabs and Floriduh lobstah don’t begin to compare.

Comment by Awaiting
2012-05-25 07:30:15

ot, but for all you waiting for EVs folks, this website is great: plug in cars dot com
(25 models coming out)

Comment by palmetto
2012-05-25 07:34:59

No particular comment here, just want to say howdy to one of my fave posters, Awaiting.

Comment by Awaiting
2012-05-25 08:02:16

palmetto- very sweet, but so undeserving. I am very fond of you as well.

Comment by scdave
2012-05-25 07:55:22

There was a time when built in obsolescence promoted the churning of vehicles…Good engineering has now eliminated that to a large degree…So now, to be able to churn, we must find another villain…Its now gasoline…Gasoline bad…Electric good…Lets churn a couple hundred million cars…Just look at the high mileage vehicles that are not allowed to come into this country because of all our reg’s…

Comment by Awaiting
2012-05-25 08:10:22

With all do respect, we can agree to disagree. For a fraction of the cost of operating, and an absolute improvement in air quality, EVs are long overdue. I use to subscribe to the peak oil theory, but I have grown in my perception of EV necessity.

Comment by albuqueruquedan
2012-05-25 08:29:37

They are not overdue because EV cars are not practical and cost too much. Had Obama pushed NGVs instead of EV cars we might have made a significant reduction in the use of gasoline and created many jobs. It is a classic example of the perfect being the enemy of the good. NGVs would have reduced oil imports, reduced pollution and created jobs. But because NGV cars still produce some CO2, he did not support them sufficiently.

BTW, the global warming proponents’ models do not work as their own e-mails demonstrate. Should be warming 1 to 2 degrees celsius per decade but instead we are flat albeit at a high level. Don’t doubt CO2 has some impact but not what they are claiming. A one year Texas drought gets offered as proof when recent (by geological standards) history shows 100 year droughts have occurred and collapsed Anasazi and Mayan civilizations prior to man being able to have an impact.

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Comment by scdave
2012-05-25 08:43:22

I agree about NVG’s…

Comment by Awaiting
2012-05-25 09:11:18

I haven’t followed the global warming debate. I do a lot of work for breast cancer prevention groups. That’s my angle. I live in So Ca. *I know from bad air quality. (*levity)

Time to go electric and get away from the internal-combustion engine.

Comment by albuquerquedan
2012-05-25 09:41:12

I guess my only response is selling a few hundred EV cars a month will not improve the air and that is what we are doing, but selling a few hundred thousand NGv’s a year will help. Thus, getting behind a technology that actually has a chance to help in the pollution front makes sense on all levels. Besides getting behind electic cars when half the electricity is produced by coal is not even going to help.

Comment by turkey lurkey
2012-05-25 10:17:13

A-Dan, check your figures again.

We’re in a transition period. Look at the growth figures.

The first 300 mile electric car has just hit the market. This will bring the flood.

15min full charges are the new standard.

Cost for home solar are dropping like a rock and installs are booming.

The convergence is happening, and it will change everything.

Comment by oxide
2012-05-25 10:20:47

I’ve disagreed with a-dan before, and I will again.

Converting to a new refueling infrastructure is a huge paradigm switch, and takes 15-20 years of concerted effort on a national level. I am against NGV because it’s penny wise and pound foolish. We could take 20 years to switch our gas stations to NGV stations… just in time for us to reach peak NG. Then what? We will have wasted all the resources on conversion to a fuel which is too scarce or expensive to be viable.

And if you think it will take less time or effort to switch to NGV, then I refer you to how long it took just to go from leaded to unleaded gasoline — and that was a comparatively minor switch, in a friendly political environment. I doubt we could switch out of leaded gasoline today, not with today’s fragmented cutthroat business infrastructure and gridlock in downtown DC.

As for our electricity coming from coal: this has nothing to do with the source of the electricity and everything to do with refueling infrastructure.

I’ll also agree with scdave that the Hybrid is probably the way to go during a conversion. Cars with 200 miles sitting in the batteries, and another 300 miles in the gas tank — cool idea. Gradually, as the refueling infrastructure ramps up, people will use gasoline less and less often, and eventually not at all.

Comment by albuquerquedan
2012-05-25 10:27:02

Why don’t you provide actual figures? What is the price of the 300 mile car? How many electric cars are being sold each month? Am I wrong that it is in the high hundreds or maybe low thousands a month even with a $7500 rebate?

Comment by sleepless_near_seattle
2012-05-25 10:27:15

15min full charges are the new standard.

While at first blush that might seem inconvenient compared to today’s fill-ups, I can make a lot of phone calls to clients in 15 mins. Added bonus: I’m not driving whilst making them.

Comment by albuquerquedan
2012-05-25 10:31:57

Just looked at the March figures even worse than I thought combined EV sales in the low hundreds.

Comment by sleepless_near_seattle
2012-05-25 10:33:09

What is the price of the 300 mile car? How many electric cars are being sold each month? Am I wrong that it is in the high hundreds or maybe low thousands a month

Give it time, man! Computing power that once took the size of a football field is now contained in a laptop.

Why the hate of innovation?

Comment by albuquerquedan
2012-05-25 10:39:42

Oxide, I don’t think you understand just how much NG this country and the world have and the possible sources of methane just off our coast both conventional and exotic. Also, most homes have NG and people can fuel up at their home so we do not have to recreate the entire infrastruture. Just enough stations so people have some place to fuel when they are traveling out of their home area.

Comment by albuquerquedan
2012-05-25 10:43:42

I wish that Moore’s law did apply to alternative energy but it has not. I am saying we should do what is possible now and not avoid doing the good while we wait for the perfect.

Comment by sleepless_near_seattle
2012-05-25 11:15:45

There’s a Honda Civic NGV, no?

Comment by Steve J
2012-05-25 12:04:15

Civic NGVs are for sale on eBay for over MSRP.

NGV would great as I already have a house with NG. Being able to fuel up in my garage would be great (and cheaper!).

Comment by Bill in Carolina
2012-05-25 20:16:45

NGV? Non-government vehicle? I guess that’s any brand but GM.

Oh, I just read the later posts in the thread. Natural gas vehicle. Got it.

One nice thing about NGV’s is that, unlike electric vehicles and hybrids with large lithium-ion batteries, no hazmat response is required when an NGV is involved in a major collision. Just a large fireball that quickly dissipates.

Comment by scdave
2012-05-25 08:40:34

Awaiting…I am fully supportive of electric vehicles although I would disagree with the idea that its a fraction of the cost…The Hybrid is more logical along with allowing the high mileage vehicles without all the burdens to be produced here…The argument that its for public safety is a red herring…We allow people to ride motorcycles for god’s sake…What is so safe about that….

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Comment by measton
2012-05-25 09:47:59

Gasoline is bad

1. It funds a lot of bad governments and terrorism
2. It makes our country poorer
3. We have to spend piles of money and lives defending the middle east.
4. It is easlily manipulated
5. Peak oil sure appears to be real when you look at the collapse of production from Alaska to Europe.
6. Then there’s the what happens if Saudi Arabia goes off line for 100 and 1 reasons. How would our economy respond to a doubling of fuel prices.
7. Pollution is a real issue

Electricity can be generated from many fuels, from the sun, the wind, geothermal, hydro etc.

Comment by albuquerquedan
2012-05-25 10:20:11

Yes, electricity can be generated from many sources but they all do not have the same price and people will not pay the cost necessary to eliminate coal as a fuel to produce electricity. All the issues you raise in 1-7 can be addressed by NGVs. Someday the cost of producing electricty from solar will come down sufficiently and I think it will be in the next twenty years. Until then, it makes sense to address all seven issues with a technology that is ready.

To me, government can have a very positive role in fixing a market bottleneck. Until there are sufficient NGVs on the road the private sector will not create fueling stations but until there are sufficient fueling stations consumers will not buy the cars. So our ample Natural gas resources are not being used correctly, NG is being used to make electricity instead as a substitute for gasoline. Ironically, this is causing solar and wind to be in trouble since they cannot compete with NG at the present price. Thus, if you really want to promote solar and wind power, you should be for NGVs not against them.

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Comment by oxide
2012-05-25 12:03:31

Dan, you keep saying that we need to flip that switch to NGV “now,” as if we can do it in a week. Then in 20 years we just flip the swtich to solar. I guess that would take another week, maybe two? Dude, it took 15-20 years just to get the lead out.

As for government having a positive role in fixing private market? Give up now. The government can’t even raise car mileage by one mpg, or put a penny tax on high fructose syrup, or even suggest that Fannie Mae not buy a mortgage at less than 20% down, without the moneyed interests throwing every roadblock in their way and delaying things for years. And you want the gov to change a fundamental fuel? In a week?

Oil is generated from many sources, yet it is sold on the global market at roughly the same price. Why can’t e- be the same? And if the government has power to maniuplate the free market into using NG, as you say, then they have the power to simply ban coal and manipulate them us into using solar. Oh, right, gov doesn’t have either power. Now we’re back at square 1.

I think it’s pretty funny that you want NG to be used in cars… to use it all up quickly to make it more expensive so that solar doesn’t look as expensive in comparison. Well it’s a viable economic idea on paper, but man talk about waste…and I thought “the government” could just fix it all anyway.

Comment by Pete
2012-05-25 18:50:43

“you keep saying that we need to flip that switch to NGV “now,” as if we can do it in a week.”

Natural gas is an excellent bridge from where we are now to 2050. Infrastructure is there. Burns VERY clean compared to gasoline. 100-year supply by most estimates. It’s not THE answer, but it buys us alot of time to get our act together. We should take advantage of that, as we don’t know how long it will take to get our act together.

Comment by Itsabouttime
2012-05-25 20:17:16

100 year supply, with current use profiles. Not nearly that if everything running on oil switches to NG


Comment by turkey lurkey
2012-05-25 10:11:23

scdave, in the city where I live, vehicle emissions will burn your eyes and scratch your throat on the summer due to extreme ozone conditions. You can LITERALLY taste the emissions.

ICEs ARE STILL VERY unhealthy.

Worse, you also support oil companies who dictate the price of your mobility. Plug your car into your solar powered house and you can give them, and the power company, the finger all day long.

Surely you are not saying that self reliance and independence from corporate dictatorship is a bad thing?

Comment by sleepless_near_seattle
2012-05-25 08:20:10

Very cool, thanks Awaiting. I think it was you who shares my interest in the Tesla sedan. I’m also curious about the new Ford Fusion, the white one in their recent commercials with a completely different look.

My prob is that I’m not a simple commuter. I drive all over the NW, so a pure EV prolly won’t work for me just yet. Maybe I can get another 200k miles out of the Jeep while waiting… :-)

Comment by oxide
2012-05-25 09:46:04

I was in Lowe’s last night. There was a display of plug-in car chargers, on the prime end-cap aisle shelf space. I was stunned. Usually a company has to pay the store to display something in the end-cap space… Can there really be that many people with plug-ins that you can buy a charger in Lowe’s? Who is paying to promote the chargers in the end cap space?

Comment by WT Economist
2012-05-25 08:44:29

I reporter applies some simple fundamentals analysis to Facebook’s stock price, and finds it is really only worth $13.80 per share, compared with the more than $33.00 per share it is trading at now. Only 42% of the current price.

What if the same old measures of real value were applied to every stock? Well the S&P 500 is trading at 1321. But it wouldn’t surprise me at all if the average stock was only worth 42% of the current price, leading to an S&P 500 worth 552.

Comment by Arizona Slim
2012-05-25 09:36:37

Thanks, WT Economist.

I pulled most of my long-term money out of stocks in ‘08. Haven’t seen a good reason to return to stocks since them.

Comment by nycjoe
2012-05-25 10:24:15

If you were Zuckerman, would it not be tempting to just sell all your shares, take your $18-20 billion and say, well, that was fun, I’ll do something else now. Guess some people wouldn’t like what that would do to their stock and he would be widely defriended!

Comment by oxide
2012-05-25 13:40:12

Yep, he would be widely defriended, but he’d still have 18 billion, right? That would only emphasize that friending doesn’t have much monetary value, and that would make FB’s stock price drop even more! :grin:

Comment by Rental Watch
2012-05-25 16:30:58

I think it’s pretty ridiculous to compare FB’s valuation to that of the entire S&P.

Facebook made $1 Billion in the past 12 months, and went out at $100 billion. At $14 per share, they are worth about $37 billion, a 37 PE. High, in my opinion, but perhaps justifiable based on their earnings growth prospects.

Google made ~$10.8 Billion in the past 12 months, and are valued at about $200 billion, an 18.5 PE–a reasonable valuation in its own right, without taking a 60% haircut.

Comment by m2p
2012-05-25 08:53:19

Salinas city manager asks Seaside to knock $100,000 off housing loan.

Corpuz says the city can slice $100,000 from his housing-assistance loan — valued at a quarter-million dollars and delinquent — or face prospects of foreclosing on his condo.

Some of you PNW readers may remember Corpuz, he was fired from the city manager job in Tacoma, Washington. The city council held him accountable for the employment and promotion of Police Chief David Brame, who killed his wife and himself in April 2003.
Since 2005, Corpuz was been the city manger of Seaside. Early this year he was hired as the city manager of Salinas, Ca about 20 miles from Seaside.

Comment by turkey lurkey
2012-05-25 10:20:38

Seems like he has an ego that’s headed for prison.

Comment by measton
2012-05-25 10:47:02

The three directors who oversee risk at JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) include a museum head who sat on American International Group Inc.’s governance committee in 2008, the grandson of a billionaire and the chief executive officer of a company that makes flight controls and work boots.

What the risk committee of the biggest U.S. lender lacks, and what the five next largest competitors have, are directors who worked at a bank or as financial risk managers. The only member with any Wall Street experience, James Crown, hasn’t been employed in the industry for more than 25 years.

Probably true of many corporate boards. Put in someone who is only interested in a check and tell them to nod their head.

Comment by X-GSfixr
2012-05-25 12:17:57

Latest News from the “Nickel and Dimed out the Patootie” Award.

Mom had the HVAC guys come out to check her central air yesterday. The work order has a new “line item” I’ve never heard of before:

“Truck Charge”.

WTF is a “Truck Charge”?? You pay for the service truck seperately?? Do I have the option of requesting a car or a bicycle, instead of a truck?

Pretty soon, your grocery bill is going to look like your cellphone contract. A 20 page doc designed wholly to protect the business from any liability whatsoever for selling substandard goods or services.

Comment by oxide
2012-05-25 13:41:26

Might be a fuel surcharge.
Or it could be the charge to come to the house?

Comment by polly
2012-05-25 14:32:22

I don’t know, fixer. My grocery store receipts are pretty long now. A lot of that has to do with shopping the sales. They spell out the amount they think it costs, how much the discount was and the price you paid all out so every item takes 3 lines of printing. Gets annoying, but I would rather deal with a long receipt than pay the prices they think are “normal” for those items. I don’t buy ‘em at those prices.

Comment by Bill in Carolina
2012-05-25 20:23:20

A truck charge is the time cost of getting the service guy to your house. He’s on the clock even when traveling to his next job. They could simply bump up their hourly labor charge to cover this, but someone getting a full HVAC replacement or a major repair would be hit harder that way.

Comment by Arizona Slim
Comment by Muggy
2012-05-25 14:06:17

Guess how much Sean Snaith makes?
(Blood pressure meds, Palmy.)

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower©
2012-05-25 23:02:32

Bullshit sells for a premium in Florida.


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