January 30, 2013

Bits Bucket for January 30, 2013

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

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Comment by frankie
2013-01-30 03:10:05

A former slaughterman has been sentenced to life imprisonment after murdering his landlord and mutilating the body because he was asked about rent arrears.

Karl Bestford, 35, stabbed to death Simon Meech at his rented flat in Bensham, Gateshead.

He denied the charge but a jury at Newcastle Crown Court took two hours to deliver a guilty verdict yesterday.

The court heard how Bestford had argued with his wife on July 28 about his seven months of rent arrears and debts of £11,000 after two county court judgements.


One of the reasons why I am not and never will be a landlord.

Comment by alpha-sloth
2013-01-30 06:11:25

Lesson: Never argue with a ’slaughterman’.

Comment by rms
2013-01-30 09:03:57

A former girlfriend said, “Butchers really love large breasts.”

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower©
2013-01-30 19:53:30

Lesson: Never invest in rental property with the plan to moonlight as a landlord.

Comment by Jess from upstate SC
2013-01-30 06:43:01

Meeting this man after dark would be risky, I must say . He does look like a hog-killer monster……
After Christmas , and before tax refund time is the toughest time for landlords to collect rents, it’s often better to just let it ride a while. Land lording is not a picnic in the park , and not for the faint-hearted. Talking will get one out of most bad situations, though not all .
Never turn your back to an Irate tenant ,I personally do all my landlord talking from the porches .

Comment by whirlyite
2013-01-30 07:47:34

Yikes! Guy looks like the ‘Shropshire Slasher’.

Comment by goon squad
2013-01-30 09:49:11

The Dead Kennedys: “Let’s Lynch the Landlord”


Comment by Weed Wacker
2013-01-30 13:54:49

Eddie Murphy “C-I-L-L my Landlord”. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hZ0up_MjsLk

Comment by aNYCdj
2013-01-30 11:10:31

Don’t know about UK, but you want someone out asap….DON’T ASK FOR BACK RENT….its that simple…..possession cases get the fast track and tenants have almost no defenses. pay or move…..72 hours

Comment by joe smith
2013-01-30 11:39:09

For once, you are correct.

Comment by Avocado
2013-01-30 11:36:29

leaving your house could be even more dangerous…

Comment by frankie
2013-01-30 03:15:08

Sweden’s government-funded employment agency on Monday launched a campaign encouraging unemployed Swedish youths to look for summer jobs in crisis-stricken Mediterranean countries including Spain and Greece.

The jobs, most of them in the hotel and entertainment sectors, will mainly serve Swedish tourists.

“We hope our Swedish youths will get every single one of these jobs. These companies have had good experience of young Swedish workers,” said Kristina Gaerdebro Johansson, a European Employment Services (EURES) advisor at the Swedish agency.

Hundreds of jobs in Greece, Spain, Italy and Cyprus — all popular tourist destinations for Swedes — will be marketed at a special event organised by the country’s employment agency and EURES in the southern city of Malmoe next week.


The number youths aged between 15 and 24 out of work in October rose to 56.6pc, compared with 22.1pc in the same month four years ago, statistics service ELSTAT said.

Greece’s jobless rate has almost tripled since September 2009 as the country’s debt crisis emerged, and is more than double the average rate in the 17-nation euro zone, which stood at 11.8pc in November.


Spain’s unemployment rate has hit a modern day record, and joblessness among young people has topped 55%.

Official data showed that the jobless rate in the last three months of 2012 rose 1% to 26%, or 5.97 million people.

The figure, the highest since the mid-1970s, follows Spain’s prolonged recession and deep spending cuts.

The impact has been acute for 16 to 24-year-olds, who saw the rate in the last quarter of 2012 surge to 55.13% from 52.34% in the previous three months.


I think the Swedes are just rubbing salt into the wound.

Comment by Combotechie
2013-01-30 06:16:22

The good news for Spain and Greece is the Swedes spend much-needed money in these countries when they go there on vacation.

The bad news is the Swedes who go to these countries to work may piss off the unemployeed residents of these countries enough to cause a backlash against the Swedes, and this backlash may be enough to disuade the Swedes from vacationing there. And if the swedes do not vacation there then they are not going to be spending money there.

A touchy situation that could easily be exploited by somebody who wants to drive wedges between the countries involved.

Comment by ecofeco
2013-01-30 08:34:00

“…by somebody who wants to drive wedges between the countries involved.”

You’ve just nailed the heart of the whole Eurozone problem.

There seems to be some very concerned interests that the Eurozone should be made to fail. Who and why is yet to be discovered, but the long and ongoing efforts to discredit the validity of the Eurozone in any way possible, is undeniable.

Comment by oxide
2013-01-30 12:51:15

It seems to me that the cost of living in an apartment for the summer would eat up any income they make from these lucky ducky equivalent jobs. Or are they doing major summer shack-ups?

Comment by Resistor
2013-01-30 04:24:22

Ex, caught your post at the site I linked last night.

Excellent, nice work.

Comment by Pimp Watch
2013-01-30 06:02:22

NP. ;)

Comment by Overtaxed
2013-01-30 05:22:47

You know, I really feel like sometimes that the old adage “good help is hard to find” is a gross understatement. Finding anyone to do anything is hard, good people are like 1 in a million.

Couple of stories from “happy homeownership” I thought I’d pass along. First, our water softener went to heaven when we moved in (a Rainsoft, big dollar price) and I never bothered fixing it. I was getting very tired of hearing my wife complain about the rust all over everything and the “chalk” (calcium), so, finally I broke down and called a few vendors/dealers.

Now, for those of you who don’t know, water treatment is typically sold door to door, and, as such, expect snake oil salesmen with wild claims and displays in your house. I had steeled myself for the experience.. :) Here’s what happened:

Vendor 1 (Kinetico) - Set an appointment right away, came over the next day. Guy was nice, but making some rather outragous claims and continued to try to get me to tell him if I was going to have children. He also wanted my wife to be there, I assume to try to and get her to drive the decision. Anyway, did the water tests correctly, gave me the right hardness levels (no inflation) and made a system recommendation. System cost was 5K installed. Thanked him for his time and realized there’s no way I can justify that kind of cost. Never heard from the guy again (never called me to get my temperature or try to cut a deal, just disappeared).

Local dealer #1 (Independent, sells Autotrol valves) - Set an appointment right way, showed up on time. No song and dance, did the water tests, wrote up an estimate on the spot and seemed very competent. System cost was 2K installed. Sounds good, right? Well, I had a few questions after he left and wanted to make sure some things were included in his quote. Spent 10 days trying to get him via e-mail and phone; no luck. Gave up.

Rainsoft - No call back after 2 calls to the local dealer and one to HQ

Culligan - No call back after 2 calls to the local dealer

So then, after that, I decide; “I’m just going to buy a softener and have someone install it for me”. I’ll shorten this because there’s no brand names, but, after 4-5 calls to plumbers to try to get a price/quote, I gave up.

Final solution. Buy a GAC filter and softener online based on Fleck valves, 1K, no sales tax, delivered to my front door. Install myself; 5-6 hours, lots of cursing, and some scratches and bruises from dragging the thing around. About 100 bucks in parts (pipes, glue, valves, etc). Also, I’m sure my job is better than anyone else would do because I care more (in use outdoor boxes sized correctly for the transformers, air gap drain hard piped, etc).

Where am I going with this? I was very willing and able to pay someone to do this for me. But I’m not going to chase you to pay you 1K for a few hours of work to do an install. And I’m not going to pay 4X for your magical water softener. This experience reminded me why I love doing everything online; the folks I bought the device from were very responsive, helped me size it and program it, and made sure the delivery was scheduled for a good time that I could receive it.

I just don’t understand all these local folks, how can you expect to stay in business if you don’t call back? Or try to sell (you know, call the customer back, make a deal, talk financing; whatever it is that you do to sell a really expensive device) your high end systems? The folks that I actually got to come out must be the worst sales people on earth, not even no follow-up, won’t return a call from a customer who’s obviously interested and able/willing to buy.

There is a HUGE divide, BTW, between the trades (plumbing, HVAC, etc) and the online/connected world. Try to get a carpenter to e-mail you some pictures of his work. Or send a plumber a Visio of a change to get his comments. The “expected technology level” for most of these contractors is somewhere around the abacus; which, in this world, is not going to fly. Just a contractor that’s responsive to e-mail would, in my experience, be a shock. Buying a house? Well, get ready for phone tag and lots of face to face meetings for no reason. :)

BTW, to wrap my story, the device is installed and working perfectly. Saved about 800 bucks off the cheap quote, but, frankly, wish I hadn’t; installing it was a PITA and I would have paid their install charges to avoid all the cursing. :) But I’m not going to beg anyone to take my 800 dollars; and, I learned a lot more than I expected to about water treatment! Nice soft water, happy wife, extra cash in the bank account and all my wounds will heal; what’s to complain about, right?

Comment by SV guy
2013-01-30 05:35:56

I’ve got a Fleck 9000 twin tank unit at both of my homes. You will be very happy with your unit.

As to the technology disconnect with the trades, realize you were dealing with a certain subset of the industry that doesn’t usually attract the best and brightest. The leading edge of the industry is very tech heavy (3-D modeling, etc.).

Comment by Overtaxed
2013-01-30 05:44:56

I love this blog. Not, “I have a softener too” but a specific model and some experience. :) 95% of people who own these things probably couldn’t tell you what color the tank is. You know what kind of valves you have. I wonder if the people who typically frequent here are just, in general, “better researchers” than the general populace (well, I know that’s true; how about the general populace of people similar to each of us in job, earnings, etc)?

I got a Fleck 7000 2CF GAC filter in front of a Fleck 7000 1CF softener. Water isn’t that hard here (8-10GPG) so I didn’t really need a 7K based softener, but I needed the bigger GAC filter for flow, so I figured I’d keep the valves the same. Pretty impressive looking, I’ll tell you that; a whole different ballgame that the old timer models!

Comment by Overtaxed
2013-01-30 05:55:47

“As to the technology disconnect with the trades, realize you were dealing with a certain subset of the industry that doesn’t usually attract the best and brightest.”

I agree; however, I’m not looking for technical excellence here, I’m looking for basic competency. Having an e-mail address and answering your voice mails is not exactly rocket science. 20 years ago it was hard (anyone here ever use Pine for e-mail, wowsa!), but now? How can you be a productive member of society if you can’t open an e-mail and look at a PDF?

BTW, I’m sure you’re right as to the cause/reason for this. However, the trades have to get over it (or hire someone to help them with the technology). How much time do they waste driving all over creation because they can’t look at a PDF? Or open some JPG pictures? Especially the big boys (in my example above); how does sending in a “I’d like to be contacted” form to Rainsoft and Culligan NOT result in a phone call/e-mail?!

Comment by polly
2013-01-30 07:37:28

Obviously, I can’t know exactly what the situation is in your area, but maybe they are making as much money as they need without doing the things that you consider good customer service. If most of the potential sales are willing to call and wait for a call back (whenever it comes) and don’t get all riled up about them not being responsive to e-mails, then changing their business practices to satisfy the very few people who will buy and install themselves instead of using them is not efficient for them. You could be dealing with a simple issue of economics - especially if they don’t feel they can recruit enough good employees to expand in your area and therefore only care about keeping the ones they have busy, not getting all the work that is out there.

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Comment by michael
2013-01-30 08:15:53


Comment by salinasron
2013-01-30 08:44:16

I’ve been in this area going on 9 years now and have had poor experience with all the trades. If you meet enough people over time and ask enough questions you will finally uncover the knowledgeable people in the trades. I recently had to have a fire inspection system done on a piece of commercial property for an absentee landlord. The monitoring company said they could do it and came from SJ for a cost of $115/hr plus $75 travel. After three hours he found two deficiencies but didn’t have the parts and would have to come back at added cost. Got the parts local and one you could only get at one distributor and they would put both parts in for $105/hr. It took that idiot 3 hours doing something that should have taken an hour. Bottom line is that the PIV install was set way too tight and after a week the monitor went off with ‘active tamper on PIV’. I went back to the place where it bought the PIV and the gentleman said that they install them, rate $95/hr. He came over, took off the cap, put a volt meter and adjusted on the ground for the right tolerance, put it on, the meter cleared, turned it off, the meter set off alert, turned on the water flow again and all cleared within a half hour. I also learned that they do the monitoring here for $35/month vs the $55/month out of SJ. An expensive lesson but I gained some knowledge.

Comment by sfhomowner
2013-01-30 12:03:44

Between the neighborhood email lists and Yelp, I have been very fortunate to find good services.

It helps that so many people in the Bay Area are online and participating. I ask for a recommendation on the local parent’s listserve, then check the recs against yelp.

There are a lot of things I don’t like about yelp, but crowd sourcing recommendations is mostly pretty awesome.

Comment by Steve J
2013-01-30 13:44:42

Pine Is Not Elm…

Comment by salinasron
2013-01-30 08:25:39

When I bought my house it came with a $500 home owners policy furnished by the seller. Covered was the repair of a recirculation pump on the water heater followed by the water heater itself. Cost was over $2200 but my cost was $60 for each visit (2 visits). I wanted a to have a three valve system put in on my water softener so that I could disconnect without turning off the water and have a separated bypass besides the one on the tank. The plumber said the cost would be over three hundred dollars plus parts. No way. Did the job, all copper lines except hoses to the softener myself. It’s about a one hour job but the good ball valves were the most expensive part. Labor quality here is poor and costs are high.

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Comment by Avocado
2013-01-30 11:43:09

I love those polices the first year of ownership. $50 deduct, no worries from garage door opener to HVAC. I ALWAYS make the Realturd pay for it.

Comment by sfhomowner
2013-01-30 12:07:34

We got the same deal. Covers all the appliances. The clothes dryer in the house is as old as Methuselah and it makes a racket.

Is it worth dealing with the insurance? Can I pick my own dryer and they will install it for $60?

How broken does it have to be? The dryer works, but is not energy efficient, takes a long time, and you have to shout over it when it’s running.

Comment by oxide
2013-01-30 08:41:22

Contractors are getting better about going electronic, but they still prefer the phone calls and in-person visits. I don’t blame them. You never know what may be in a house — I’ve had contractors find and/or fix something else important when they were there, which they would never know to look for if I sent pix.

However, I agree that e-mail is really good for logistics. It’s too easy to forget stuff over the phone.

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Comment by Pimp Watch
2013-01-30 06:04:38

GAC columns are great….. so long as you keep the oxidizer away from them. Ion exchange? Not so great.

Comment by Blue Skye
2013-01-30 06:45:20

While the adsorption process of activated carbon is beneficial in removing many pollutants, it’s not really a “softner” is it?

Comment by Overtaxed
2013-01-30 06:49:54

No, it’s not. Softening the water is done via ion exchange, either sodium or potassium is traded for the hardness minerals. The GAC filter, in my case, is to get rid of the chlorine that’s in the water supply; it will eat the softener resin and, also, it does some nasty stuff in the house (particularly in the shower, where you breathe it in). Downside is that now your water supply has no bacterial control once in the house; not sure this is really a problem (I grew up on well water which, by definition, has no chlorine), but it’s something to be aware of.

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Comment by Pimp Watch
2013-01-30 06:53:36

That’s a costly way to soak up the oxidizer. I would come up with a way to strip it instead. Besides…. CL2 doesn’t hang around very long. Adsorbing it equals cha-ching. :mrgreen:

Comment by Blue Skye
2013-01-30 07:00:11

I expect that the reason you do not need chlorine in well water is because you are drawing it from an environment free of oxygen. The biggest danger is if anerobic bacteia enter the well from surface water or your septic. Those nasties don’t need or like oxygen. City water is oxygenated in the treatment process. You could let that city chlorine work on your plumbing periodically by oepning the bypass on the softner system and flsching all the lines.

Comment by palmetto
2013-01-30 07:13:33

“Downside is that now your water supply has no bacterial control once in the house; not sure this is really a problem”

I know of only one person around here who complained about this, claimed she got an infection due to bacteria in the water once it entered the home. In Hillsborough County, they’ve switched from chlorine to chloramines (combo of chlorine and ammonia, but not in any amounts to react like mustard gas, or so they say)

What state are you in, Overtaxed, if you don’t mind my asking? Because the water softener companies are hyperactive in my neck of the woods. They’re usually knocking on the door before you even put the phone down.

Comment by Overtaxed
2013-01-30 10:17:20

I’m in FL Palmy, which, from what I heard, has those “hyperactive sales teams”.

I have a feeling that the big problem here was 2 fold:

I wanted to communicate via e-mail; I had my initial meetings and told everyone to please e-mail me information. I did, however, give them my phone number and they didn’t contact me that way either.. So, maybe not.

I asked way too many questions. I’ve had a water treatment system just about continuously since I was born. I’ve rebuilt valves. I know how to program them for max salt efficiency. I know how to do the plumbing and electrical work. And, I wanted them to do it as I would (IE, correctly and to code) and I think they thought I was just going to do it myself (and they turned out to be right). What they didn’t realize is that, yes, while I know how to do it, I didn’t want to do it. And, it took me hours to do what I pro could do in 1/2 (or less, if I’m being honest) the time. Just because I know how to do something doesn’t mean I don’t want to hire someone to do it for me, but I think that these companies see “educated customers” as “non-buyers”. Sadly, this industry is filled with quackery.

The one that surprised me is the local small vendor. He was on the ball. His price was not out of the ballpark. He was quoting good gear. He just would NOT call/e-mail me back to answer some questions; not a good sign IMHO.

Comment by oxide
2013-01-30 11:07:47

There are a few ways to do business. You can be on-the-ball and work for a good price and make profit on volume. Maybe that’s why the small vendor didn’t call you back. As Polly said, he has enough business and didn’t need yours.

The other way is to charge twice as much and win only about half your contracts (from the stupid half of the client spectrum), thus making the same profit. The responsiveness is part of the high price.

My ill-fated foray into private sector was of the second type.

Comment by Pimp Watch
2013-01-30 06:50:30

No… unless you have money and spare liquid phase carbon to expend.

He mentioned he bought a soften in addition to the GAC column.

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Comment by joe smith
2013-01-30 08:14:12

I can’t be bothered with the sales pitches of most of these contractors. Like you, they usually asked for my wife to be there. But my wife doesn’t care about most of this stuff and involving her just confuses things.

I use a local guy who makes his money doing big projects (hotel remodels, restaurant remodels). I buy all the supplies and leave them in my garage. He has the access code and I let him do the work whenever he wants, even if that means 7am on a Saturday morning or 8 pm on a weeknight. He fits it in between jobs or when he can borrow certain tools from his work site. Sometimes I have to wait a few weeks or a month. But I’d rather wait and get the job done properly than rely on someone I don’t have a relationship with. Also, I always pay him cash immediately upon completion, plus throw in some extra for any little things he needs to pick up for the job. He’s cheaper than the price I’d get from anyone else plus he’s done work for basically all the family businesses for the entire extended family, so he has an incentive to keep good relations. I also recommend him to well-off people I know, because I know he’ll be able to get “full price” out of them. My uncle (who is an a**hole) owns the restaurant of a country club and recently hired someone else to do a major project… this guy was pissed. My uncle said he did it because Chris was starting to price things out too high and he wanted to put him in his place.

Also, when we’ve remodeled each room in our house, I demo or prep the work so he doesn’t need to waste time on that part of the work. When he remodeled my basement, I handled the demo myself and had it hauled away in a 20 yr dumpster. His time is valuable and the job was easy anyway. When I’m older I wouldn’t want to do this, but I found it fun and invigorating. I always have extra energy.

Comment by ecofeco
2013-01-30 08:47:45

I can sum it up, Overtaxed, as I see the same thing in every industry, every day: Everyone wants your money, but even when they offer product and services at the right price, they make it hard for you to actually give them money.

I cannot empahzie this enough: they make it hard for you to give them money.

WTH is up with THAT?

Comment by Carl Morris
2013-01-30 09:19:20

The average person isn’t that bright and/or has “issues” that detract from their competence. It’s a C- world out there.

Comment by joe smith
2013-01-30 09:39:17

By the time they are middle aged, most Americans have a few of these issues which commonly override whatever potential they could have had:

Substance abuse issues

Legal issues (BK, foreclosure, tax liens, judgments)

Relationship/marriage/divorce issues

Kid$$$$ issues

Personality issues

Health issues

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Comment by Avocado
2013-01-30 11:53:13

That is why most smart, old men just stay quiet. Too frustrating to try to change the world.

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Comment by sleepless_near_seattle
2013-01-30 14:18:57

It’s a “the beatings will continue until morale improves” world!

I’m trying to fight it off, but I’m definitely becoming the curmudgeon my old man was. :-)

Comment by rms
2013-01-30 09:06:54

“You know, I really feel like sometimes that the old adage “good help is hard to find” is a gross understatement. Finding anyone to do anything is hard, good people are like 1 in a million.”

+1 So true.

Comment by Montana
2013-01-30 09:42:16

I had the same problem when I wanted to get lawn sprinklers installed. One guy wanted me to come out to his shop, instead of him coming to check out my place. Another showed up and walked the property with me, but spaced out actually doing the estimate. Someone else didn’t call back. Meanwhile I no longer have the extra money to burn.

Comment by Overtaxed
2013-01-30 10:21:23

Perfect example. You certainly could that yourself (you probably have already), but you’d rather someone else does it for you. And, by the time you fight long enough to run these guys down to do it for you; you’d already be done doing it yourself.

I don’t get it. Yes, people get busy, and that I understand. But, honestly, if I’m busy and someone wants to e-mail rather than call, that’s a godsent because now I can do 2 things at once. Instead, these guys spend all their time on the road to “do estimates” and when the money comes out, they are nowhere to be found?!

Comment by In Colorado
2013-01-30 14:45:54

The thing about installing sprinklers in the great white north is that the pipes have to be buried really deep. Sure, you can rent a machine to do that, but it’s a chore.

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Comment by Pimp Watch
2013-01-30 21:15:25

How deep can the frost line possibly go in CO? 2′?

Comment by ahansen
2013-01-30 23:24:10

105# woman VS 75# trencher. Who’s gonna win?

Comment by In Colorado
2013-01-30 10:20:13

I just don’t understand all these local folks, how can you expect to stay in business if you don’t call back?

I think that a lot of these trades people were spoiled rotten during the bubble. They had more work than they could handle, overcharged for it, ignored customers and still got their butts kissed. They really believe that they piss perfume.

Comment by Overtaxed
2013-01-30 10:25:13

I suspect your right. And they don’t want to come plumb a single sink for 100 bucks, they want to plumb an entire house for 5000 bucks. Makes sense for some of the trades, and I get that. Unfortunately, what they are doing is cutting their own heart out in the pursuit of these big jobs, they miss the small ones that, almost without question, have dramatically more profit in them.

It’s a hard problem, and I understand that. However, in my example, if the guy I liked had e-mail me and said “I’m slammed, can you wait a few weeks for the install and I’ll knock 50 bucks off” my answer would have been “Yes, shoot me an e-mail when you have a date”. Easy.. Keep the guys scheduled and busy.

Lots of people are willing to wait (well, except for plumbers) for the trades. Schedule your jobs, communicate regularly and effectively and you’ll keep a constant stream of business. But; apparently that’s just not how it works for most of these guys.

Comment by In Colorado
2013-01-30 10:58:17

I have found motivated tradesmen via my wife’s place of employment (the local library). Quite a few of her coworkers have husbands who are tradesmen and who will do a small job and not rip us off.

I remember receiving a flyer in the mail from a roofer who would inspect my roof for “only” $100 (regular price was $150). The flyer had a nice glossy, color picture of him and his family, including their golden retriever, posing in front of their well manicured McMansion (I’m certain he drove an F-350 turbo diesel). I suppose that such a tactic works with oldsters (look Leroy, he has such a nice family, let’s call him).

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Comment by oxide
2013-01-30 14:15:04

The kid-and-dog pictures seem especially popular with the duct cleaners.

I’ve had good success with Angie’s List.

Comment by Pimp Watch
2013-01-30 12:18:22

“Unfortunately, what they are doing is cutting their own heart out in the pursuit of these big jobs, they miss the small ones that, almost without question, have dramatically more profit in them.”

Not really. The profit is in roughing in and trimming out….. the manhours are in retrofitting existing. Shit breaks while you’re working on it, access issues, clearance problems. Nobody wants retrofit work for good reason.

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Comment by SV guy
2013-01-30 18:17:10

So right Ex. A remodel is a PITA. Try a competitive bid ‘Historical Remodel’ (mid 7 figures). What a F-ing nightmare.

Don’t ask me how I know.

Comment by Pimp Watch
2013-01-30 19:53:50

heh… “historic remodel”. What a friggin’ nightmare and wouldn’t you know my next assignment is on the historic register. It’s a real beaut. I’d love to tell you about but I must preserve the customers privacy. Big big dollars(millions) for very little work using a single material that is unique in its’ shape and sole sourced from a single supplier. They’re the only outfit in North America that has this stuff and it’s all salvaged from previous demo’s. If the structure were mine I’d put the headache ball to it and put it right back in the ground but they want to restore it for whatever reason.

Comment by Martin
2013-01-30 05:42:22

Looks like the Sequestration is going to take out all the excess fat out of DC contractors. I’m thinking RE prices will suffer all across DC metro this spring. Probably 10-20% down and no takers. Reason being slashed spending this year and for 10 years to come. The party going on for last 12 years seems to be over for DC metro residents.

Comment by Blue Skye
2013-01-30 06:07:03

I wonder what makes you think the spendthrifts in DC would ever let such a thing happen. They never have observed any boundaries in the past. What they do produce with reliability is drama.

Comment by Avocado
2013-01-30 11:55:11

I agree, the GOP had full control under Bush for 6 yrs and they spent like Paris Hilton at Fashion Island. There are no fiscal conservatives. All smoke and mirrors.

Clinton/Obama is as close as they come.

Comment by sleepless_near_seattle
2013-01-30 14:21:22

It’s too bad people have forgotten history when they squeal about today’s happenings. It’s purposeful “ignorance,” IMO.

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Comment by oxide
2013-01-30 06:22:02

I agree that Northern Virginia has a long way to fall, but I’m not so sure about the Maryland side. A comparable house in the NoVa counties costs 25% more than in Montgomery County MD. But I think in both states, the outer McMansion burbs are toast, if they aren’t toast already.

Comment by joe smith
2013-01-30 07:38:43

This has never made sense to me. Yes, Northern VA has some good schools, particularly Thomas Jefferson HS. But otherwise, I’d expect to see Montgomery County valued higher bc of its overall great public schools. There are only so many kids that can go to Thomas Jefferson HS after all.

(TJHS regularly places more students into Ivy undergrad schools than any public H.S. in the nation. Still, it’s a bit insane to move to NoVA to take advantage. Most kids would be better off dominating at some mediocre HS rather than going into the sausage grinder that is TJHS so they can end up in the middle of the class and get into Penn or Cornell.)

Comment by oxide
2013-01-30 08:44:08

Penn and Cornell, oh god forbid.

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Comment by Albuquerquedan
2013-01-30 09:07:22

LOL. Maybe they will even have to use the backdoor into Cornell and go to the agricultural college. You know if he had a son, he would act like Joe.

Comment by joe smith
2013-01-30 09:09:02

My point is, at TJHS you have to work hard to even finish in the middle of the class. Check out the demographics of TJHS sometime. See http://www.usnews.com/education/best-high-schools/virginia/districts/fairfax-county-public-schools/thomas-jefferson-high-school-for-science-and-technology-20461

Minority: 50% (almost all asian or south asian)
Economically disadvantaged: 2%

Now imagine you’re at some random HS in Rockville or Germantown. You can easily finish in the top 10%, perhaps quite a bit higher. Yes, colleges will be a lot more lax with TJHS, but IMO you’re still better off being in the top few % at an average MoCo school. The middle-of-the-class kid at TJHS still needs a 1450+ SAT to make up for the middling class rank and justify the admission. Top schools balk at taking people outside the top 5% or 10% because it lowers a key data point that is reported to US News.

Comment by Albuquerquedan
2013-01-30 09:16:54

Of course, given the alumni, I guess there is a good reason not to attend Cornell.


Comment by joe smith
2013-01-30 09:20:20

Cornell ag is one of the state schools like the labor relations or hotel school. I don’t think it would be that easy to get into from out of state. And if you did, you’d be paying $50k/yr in just tuition.

I plan to send my kid to Baltimore Polytech Institute for HS. Top 25% and decent SATs usually yields a very nice scholarship to Johns Hopkins, just in case the kid can’t get into a top Ivy and doesn’t want to go to Annapolis or West Point (especially if I have a daughter)


Polytech has a high % of first and second generation immigrants, which makes its minority numbers and disadvantaged numbers look high. And white parents typically send their kids to Gilman, Boys Latin, or Notre Dame (for girls) so college recruiters look at Poly as a way to admit “disadvantaged” kids who succeeded in a diverse environment.

Comment by joe smith
2013-01-30 07:40:28

Is this possibly because NoVA housing is generally newer? I’m wondering where these numbers come from and if they are apples-to-apples comparisons of the same types of houses, or just some generic “median price” measurement.

Comment by Martin
2013-01-30 08:17:53

NOVA housing is newer plus REtaxes in NoVa are way lower than in MD. A house that costs say $300K in PG county has a tax of $7500. A TH in PG county that is listed for $150K has a tax of $5500. Whereas in NoVa the taxes are close to 1% of the assessed price.

More people like to buy in NoVa due to taxes, new built, lot of defense contractors in NoVa, space well planned with more highways/spacious roadways, close proximity to Dulles Airport and many small local businesses like food/stores etc. flourish due to high population say in like Fairfax or Loudon COunty.

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Comment by joe smith
2013-01-30 08:43:05

Anything near Dulles is a traffic nightmare. The Greenway (toll road) is so mismanaged that the state of VA wants to take it back from the private contractor that runs it now. IIRC, the toll is something like $5 and many people only drive a few miles on it. $5 for 2-3 miles is nuts.

I think it might be the property taxes thing. MoCo property taxes are like Baltimore City taxes. I think the rate is about 2%, so prop taxes on a 300k house would be 6k in MoCo. In VA they might be 4 or 5k.

So you save a couple thousand a year but pay 50-100k more for the house (not including interest). Seems like a bad deal, but many people simply must avoid taxes at all costs… even if it results in their mortgage being 100k more.

Comment by qt
2013-01-30 09:20:06

No that’s true. I live in MoCo MD and the property tax rate is closer to 1%. The problem with MoCo is some area are really expensive like Potomac and Bethesda and some area are not. So the prices may average out. The schools in the nice area are top notch but not all the schools in MoCo are highly rated.

Comment by joe smith
2013-01-30 09:25:21

It looks like MoCo property taxes are actually below 1%.



Also, I now see why some people move to Talbot despite the commute to jobs. 0.4% property tax rate… wow.

Comment by oxide
2013-01-30 08:33:46

A few months ago I did apples-to-apples comparisons of individual types of homes on Zillow: new condo, 60’s-70’s SFH, outer McMansion. It was only anecdotal, but IMO it’s better than median pricing.

NoVa housing is not newer. The Beltway ring is all the same 60’s-70’s housing. And come on Martin, do you really think there isn’t a high population in MoCo, or that there aren’t any food stores in MoCo??? Nor am I sure you want to compare how “well planned” the highways are in NoVa.

No, it’s the jobs and commute. Taxes may be an issue, but most people would rather pay the taxes than brave the American Legion Bridge every day.

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Comment by Ben Jones
2013-01-30 06:27:12

‘going to take out all the excess fat’

It’s only a reduction in planned increases. I’ve read this is only going back to 2007 spending levels. But the pigs are squealing, aren’t they. Maybe a little of what the rest of the country (world) has been experiencing.

I kinda see it as part of the empire decline I’ve mentioned. We’ve been fooling ourselves for a while now. Let’s see, we can spend (borrow) $12 million/hour in Afghanistan, basically so we don’t have to admit we lost. But we can’t keep illegal aliens from running around in the millions.

Comment by Blue Skye
2013-01-30 06:52:18

I am not following the news, but can you explain how it is only a reduction in planned increases and at the same time going back to 2007 spending levels?

Comment by Ben Jones
2013-01-30 07:06:46

It hasn’t been decided, so there’s all these scenarios. Check out this gibberish:

‘Brian Friel, a federal business intelligence analyst with Bloomberg Government, told The Federal Drive with Tom Temin and Emily Kopp today that the new legislation both delayed sequestration and reduced its potential effect. “We were looking at $109 billion in potential sequestration prior to the passage of this bill,” he said. “Now we’re looking at $85 billion as the ceiling, because Congress took $24 billion of the original $109 billion and shifted it. So, $12 billion of that cut has now been taken care of through a change in the tax code. The other $12 billion is being dealt with by changes in the budget caps for 2013 and 2014, so kind of pushing out the potential effect of the cuts so that they can be dealt with later. It’s basically a 22 percent reduction in the potential threat of sequestration, which will potentially take place in March unless Congress and the White House can agree on further reducing the potential impact of it.”

‘Currently, the government is operating under a 2012 countinuing resolution, which runs out in March. “The way they structured those cuts is they reduced what they called the discretionary spending caps for non-security and security spending both for 2013 and 2014,” Friel said. “So, $8 billion of that $12 billion has been shifted out into 2014 in the form of lower overall caps for that year.” That leaves only $4 billion in potential cuts for 2013, split 50-50 between defense and non-defense spending.”


And meanwhile, we borrow all this money from places like China, then proclaim we’re doing this “Asian pivot” in our global military strategy to counter China. If I was watching this from another country, I’d be tempted to guess these people in DC are delusional idiots that couldn’t fight their way out of their own embassy.

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Comment by palmetto
2013-01-30 07:21:20

“If I was watching this from another country, I’d be tempted to guess these people in DC are delusional idiots that couldn’t fight their way out of their own embassy.”

Why qualify with “from another country”?

Benghazi actually proved they can’t fight their way out of their own embassy. Chris Stevens was one of the delusional idiots, working for other delusional idiots.

Comment by palmetto
2013-01-30 07:23:47

oh, that was sarc, sorry Ben, I need more coffee. lol.

Comment by palmetto
2013-01-30 08:07:12

“Asian pivot” in our global military strategy to counter China.”

Not to mention all of a sudden getting more interested in Africa’s natural resources, which I’m sure is also to counter China.

Bwahahahaha. For decades we’ve been pouring money into various “humanitarian” endeavors in Africa to “elevate” it, only to see the money end up in the coffers of murderous strongmen and tribal interests, while drought and famine and suffering balloon. China says eff that, don’t elevate, EXCAVATE! And moves in. Unca Sammy don’t like that.

Comment by Albuquerquedan
2013-01-30 08:41:01

I want the same test done on Ariel Sharon to be done on all the people involved with the U.S. budget, I bet the results are not as positive. (I know it is bad taste).


Comment by goon squad
2013-01-30 06:58:46

We don’t believe it. One day a week furloughs from April through the end of September sounds like a real possibility. Less discretionary spending, but not the “CRATER” as some predict.

Comment by oxide
2013-01-30 07:45:49

Applebees and car dealerships are going to take the hit, not house prices. Especially in the outer McMansion exurbs.

Comment by Pimp Watch
2013-01-30 07:49:22

Uh huh… Ok Ms. realtard.

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Comment by goon squad
2013-01-30 07:55:12


Chain restaurants that advertise on TeeVee and end in apostrophe s make “food” that we wouldn’t feed to our dog. Would love to see a new chain called Diabetes, at least there’d be some truth in advertising for that :)

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Comment by joe smith
2013-01-30 08:34:27

I go to this place all the time… they run adds and have an apostrophe in the name. But the food is great and the teevee commercials are so bad they’re good. E.g…. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GcXC3uSPFTU

Comment by In Colorado
2013-01-30 10:26:32

Would love to see a new chain called Diabetes, at least there’d be some truth in advertising for that

Their mascot could be “DiaBetty” from the Simpsons:


Comment by rms
2013-01-30 12:41:09

“Their mascot could be “DiaBetty” from the Simpsons:”

+1 LOL!

Comment by Steve J
2013-01-30 13:51:24

Less traffic one day a week will probably benefit a few people.

Comment by joe smith
2013-01-30 07:59:43

I saw a number floated that there would be one-day/week furloughs for 23 weeks. This was for civilian DoD employees.

Expected cost savings: $5BB.

A drop in the bucket, really.

We burn through 5 bil in Afghanistan in no time, with no real results to show for it.

Comment by Martin
2013-01-30 08:24:28

I think they shouldn’t target Federal employees. They have already been taking no raises for 2 years. Whereas Contractors are handing out raises and bonuses as if there is no GD2 going on. One of my friend works with Delloitte and he said he has been getting raises of about 8-10% for the last 4-5 years and then around 10-12% bonus. All this is tax payer money being handed out freely.

Contractor payout amount should be checked. There is a lot of wastage going on rather than Fed employees have to go thoriugh furlough. Not to mention many wasteful programs going on in many agencies and spending billions in aid to Pakistan/Egypt or wars.

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Comment by goon squad
2013-01-30 08:39:00

Contractor payout amount should be checked

No, it shouldn’t be. It’s not cheap to “retain talent”.

And contractors are the Producers, the Job Creators.

Federal government employees are just parasites.

Comment by joe smith
2013-01-30 08:45:03

Private contractors donate lavishly to PACs and super PACs with names like “Keep America Strong” and “American Crossroads GPS”.

Federal employees donate, but they don’t have nearly the pull that contractor executives do.

Comment by ecofeco
2013-01-30 09:10:07

You mean “privatising” might actually have been just a scheme all this time to scam money from the government while actually costing the taxpayers more?


Comment by scdave
2013-01-30 09:32:27

We burn through 5 bil in Afghanistan in no time, with no real results to show for it ??

The Afghan government would probably disagree….They love that american cheese…

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Comment by Pimp Watch
2013-01-30 07:27:34

“The party going on for last 12 years seems to be over for DC metro residents.”

In a big way. They just don’t know it….. yet.

Comment by joe smith
2013-01-30 07:28:29

Sequestration will be political drama but ultimately will be semantics.

Like oxide said, exurban mansions are toast. But then, why would you want to buy one? You’re still far from the good jobs *and* you get the liability for maintenance and property taxes.

I’ve really never understood why you want to buy near DC without a DC job in the picture. Rent is your friend.

Comment by Pimp Watch
2013-01-30 07:37:32

“Rent is your friend.”

Especially since DC rental rates are half the monthly carrying costs of buying at current inflated asking prices of resale housing.

Comment by joe smith
2013-01-30 08:01:57

And especially since he’s talking about buying a house for his kids for some strange reason. Because, you know, kids will definitely find a job closeby and want to live in the house for 20 yrs…

BTW, in DC area, even if you can find something 10-15 miles from a job, the actual geography of transportation is more important than raw distance. Driving 10 miles can take 20 minutes or 80 minutes, depending on what roads you need to use and what time you go.

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Comment by sfhomowner
2013-01-30 12:13:08

exurban mansions will be the new ghettos

Comment by Pimp Watch
2013-01-30 12:14:50

….. and don’t forget inner cities.

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Comment by WT Economist
2013-01-30 12:05:23

It used to be spending in DC went up in Republican Administrations (Reagan, Bush II) and down in Democratic Administations (Carter, Clinton) since Democrats like to spend on other things.

The cuts didn’t happen in Obama’s first term, but may now.

Comment by frankie
2013-01-30 05:48:29

I think I’m suffering from Weltschmerz


Comment by alpha-sloth
2013-01-30 08:11:27
Comment by ecofeco
2013-01-30 09:11:54

*snerk* :lol:

Comment by goon squad
2013-01-30 07:07:47

Bloomberg - Economy Unexpectedly Shrinks as U.S. Defense Spending Slumps:

“The economy in the U.S, unexpectedly shrank in the fourth quarter, restrained by the biggest plunge in defense spending in four decades and dwindling inventories as household purchases picked up.

Gross domestic product, the volume of all goods and services produced, dropped at a 0.1 percent annual rate, weaker than any economist forecast in a Bloomberg survey and the worst performance since the second quarter of 2009, when the world’s largest economy was still in the recession”


Comment by palmetto
2013-01-30 07:16:34

“unexpectedly shrank”

There’s that word again: unexpectedly

Comment by Ben Jones
2013-01-30 07:34:36

‘weaker than any economist forecast in a Bloomberg survey’

Sounds like they are surveying the wrong economists.

‘and the worst performance since the second quarter of 2009, when the world’s largest economy was still in the recession’

I’m sure we’ll see an emergency press conference from Bernanke to assure “the markets” that there will be low mortgage rates until 2025. After all, the cure for a housing bubble, fueled by cheap loans and lax regulation, is more cheap loans, reaffirming too big to fail policies and for the public to spend more on housing. Dang, these bubbles are the gift that keeps on giving.

Comment by azdude
2013-01-30 07:47:26

maybe they should give the money to the people and stop giving it to banks to tinker in the casino markets?

The FED is throwing money at the banks but they arent getting much of a return.

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Comment by measton
2013-01-30 13:52:00

Looks like all that talk about rising interest rates was an attempt to shake people out of treasuries before the GDP starts falling again. Combine declining defense spending with rising payroll tax and falling incomes and falling state and local spending and what do you get?

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Comment by ecofeco
2013-01-30 09:17:05

What did I say?

Expect more “unexpected”! :lol:

Comment by goon squad
2013-01-30 07:12:52

Bloomberg - Facebook Seen Reporting Faster Revenue Growth on Mobile Ads:

“Facebook Inc. (FB) Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg is reaping benefits of a deeper push into mobile advertising at the social network he founded almost a decade ago.

Results due after the close of trading today will probably show that revenue rose 34 percent to $1.52 billion last quarter, according to analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg. That would be the first growth acceleration since Facebook sold shares to the public in May. Revenue climbed 32 percent in the preceding two periods, a slowdown from earlier quarters.”


Comment by goon squad
2013-01-30 07:46:48

How many HBB readers have intentionally clicked on a mobile ad? We never have. The only clicks we’ve made are from “fat finger syndrome”, and happen on ad-choked, sh*ttily-designed websites like the Denver Post.

Comment by Carl Morris
2013-01-30 09:26:19

Sites are designed to generate unintentional ad clicks these days.

Comment by alpha-sloth
2013-01-30 10:06:44

generate unintentional ad clicks

Yep, it looks like blank margin, but when you click on it to focus on the page, suddenly you’ve ‘opened’ an ad. I’m seeing that more and more, just recently.

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Comment by Carl Morris
2013-01-30 10:41:59


Comment by oxide
2013-01-30 12:59:19

I’ve noticed a 2-3 second delay for the ad to show up. (5-10 years ago, the banner ads showed up first.) And when the ads do show up, the text of the article and the ads shifts around to make all the content line up and be pretty.

I bet people think it’s their slow Internet connection and it takes time to fully download. Now I think the designers want you to click on article text, which shows up first and is placed where the ad is GOING to eventually be. And you’ve clicked on an ad.

Comment by goon squad
2013-01-30 14:38:49

^ this


Comment by michael
2013-01-30 09:27:05

i’m not even sure what a mobile ad is…is that the stupid thingies that pop up on my free pandora app?

Comment by Montana
2013-01-30 10:08:14

Newspaper sites are the worst.

Comment by sfhomowner
2013-01-30 12:19:05

Can’t stand the new trend of putting everything in lists where you have to click on 10 different pages, all with pop-up ads, to read the Top 10 of whatever.

For example http://images.businessweek.com/slideshows/2012-09-26/americas-50-best-cities#slide51

How SF makes #1 in this list of best cities without mentioning the cost of housing is beyond me.

Comment by rms
2013-01-30 12:53:01

“How SF makes #1 in this list of best cities without mentioning the cost of housing is beyond me.”

+1 Agreed. How “cost of living” can be excluded from the rankings is amazing, but there must be enough readers with disposable money, or the author(s) are trying to make me feel like a left-behind loser.

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Comment by goon squad
2013-01-30 12:56:11

putting everything in lists

That’s half of MarketWatch’s content right there.

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Comment by goon squad
2013-01-30 07:21:46

Washington Post - Deep spending cuts are likely, lawmakers say, with no deal on sequester in sight:

“Less than a month after averting one fiscal crisis, Washington began bracing Tuesday for another, as lawmakers in both parties predicted that deep, across-the-board spending cuts would probably hit the Pentagon and other federal agencies on March 1.

An array of proposals are in the works to delay or replace the cuts. But party leaders say they see no clear path to compromise, particularly given a growing sentiment among Republicans to pocket the cuts and move on to larger battles over health and retirement spending.

Though the cuts would hamper economic growth, especially in the Washington region, the forecast is far less dire than with other recent fiscal deadlines, and financial markets are not pressing Washington to act.”


Comment by joe smith
2013-01-30 07:34:40

This is just drama. They want to paint a bleak scenario so they can congratulate themselves and declare “victory” when they end up kicking the can again.

All they’re going to do is cut increases in military spending. Republicans would *never* allow the defense budget to actually decrease in real terms. And, increasingly, Dems are willing to play along.

Comment by Ben Jones
2013-01-30 07:46:16

‘This is just drama.’

What’s really going on? How can we call having hundreds of bases in hundreds of countries (on money borrowed from overseas) ‘defense’? We tend to forget the industrial part of military industrial complex. Here’s an example: scdave mentioned that the new jet fighter could shoot down several potential enemy fighters. But when was the last time the US was in that kind of a fight? This jet will probably end up costing over a trillion bucks; all borrowed.

We’re “developing” a new amphibious vehicle to land marines on coast lines. When was the last time we did that? All this as DC contemplates cutting Social Security and Medicare. I recently posted a story that described the US government as a well armed pension plan with a health care business on the side.

Comment by joe smith
2013-01-30 07:50:30

The JSF seems like a jobs program, plain and simple. There was some hope that the price to US taxpayers would be reduced because of large purchases by “friendly” nations. But many of the friendly nations have scaled back purchases. In our daily updates, I always see line items about UK, Australia, and Canada trying to opt out. Who wants to take their place and get F-35’s? A very questionable list of nations including most of the Arabian peninsula countries. Nominally they are “allies”. At least until they start using them on their own people…

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Comment by Ryan
2013-01-30 11:01:41

You forget something about all of this. Send these jets to whoever wants them:

1. How many could they possibly take?
2. Suppose they aren’t friendly anymore, just cut them off from maintenance supplies, soft & hardware upgrades.

This really isn’t as big of a deal as you make it. This doesn’t even begin to touch on training and capability of foreign nation pilots. Egypt has the most up-to-date F-16s thanks to FMS, do you think they are a threat to anyone?

Comment by joe smith
2013-01-30 11:17:51

Ryan, counterfeit parts are a big reality in the contractor world. The other day at our monthly meeting, our liaisson with GD/Honeywell was droning on and on about new requirements in maintenance contracts for DoD contractors to verify they are using non-counterfeit parts.

Parts for these aircraft *can* bet counterfeit. There are so many subcontractors involved that leaks happen regularly.

How many F-35’s would Saudi Arabia or Egypt need in order to do some pretty nefarious things? Some of the big selling points of the F-35 are how it can evade detection. I don’t think these are easy issues. Moreover, middle east dictatorships are not lacking for money, they could easily buy more F-35s than cash-strapped countries like UK, France, and Australia.

Comment by Ryan
2013-01-30 12:19:23

Fair enough; parts can be sought elsewhere.

Software and training updates are a different story though, I think you would agree.

Comment by alpha-sloth
2013-01-30 08:48:21

a story that described the US government as a well armed pension plan with a health care business on the side.

National defense, care for the elderly and the sick, seem like the things that government should do.

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Comment by Ben Jones
2013-01-30 09:16:10

‘the things that government should do’

You aren’t paying attention. Everybody is forced to pay into the ‘pension plan’, and the government takes the money and spends it. It isn’t just for the ‘elderly and sick’. This rip off is so successful, they expanded it to rich and poor alike. About that ‘defense’:

‘One of the most successful programs of U.S. indoctrination involves the Department of Defense. Most Americans honestly believe that the Department of Defense is really about the defense of the United States, when, in fact, the entire national-security state apparatus — e.g., the military establishment and the CIA — has absolutely nothing to do with defense.’

‘So, if the Department of Defense has nothing to do with defense, what is there for? The entire military-intelligence apparatus is for the purpose of invading and occupying other countries, interfering in the affairs of other countries, supporting pro-U.S. foreign regimes, including brutal dictatorships, and intervening in disputes between other nations.’

‘That’s what passes for “defense.” Do you see how effective the indoctrination has been?’


The other little problem is with spending on interest so high, and mammoth obligations, there isn’t anything left for highways, regulation enforcement, you know, little stuff.

Comment by In Colorado
2013-01-30 10:37:56
Comment by Ryan
2013-01-30 11:06:37

It’s interesting that this is brought up regarding DoD not having anything to do with defense. I don’t know if any of you recall, IIRC, back in August a US SOF soldier was killed in Mali in what appeared to be a traffic accident when a vehicle went off a bridge. I believe I posted the link to it some time back.

In any case, based on this, I brought it up a few times a while ago that Mali was next. When this SOF guy died in Mali, nobody ever even asked why we have special ops guys on the group in Mali. They weren’t there for defense, as always, they are there stirring the pot.

Consider this as well: Every Embassy across the world has a contingent of CIA people there. What purpose could that possibly serve?

Comment by X-GSfixr
2013-01-30 11:40:50

There are “Special Forces” (Green Berets, ). And there are “Special Forces”(Army’s Rangers and Airborne, Navy “SEALS”, and the ultimate “Special Force”, the USMC’s amphibious Brigades)

The Rangers and SEALS are “Snake-eaters/head knockers” for the most part……go in, blow stuff up, get out.

The Green Berets are/were intended to be like the Peace Corp………mingle with the locals, helping to train soldiers, work civil engineering projects in “Friendly” or “Trying to Decide” countries.

Then, if all of this friendliness and foreign aid supplied by Uncle Sugar failed to enlighten the locals to the benefits of a friendly relationship with the US, they had the training to just blow the place up and leave.

There are currently five “Special Forces Groups” (that we know of), detailed and trained in languages for specific regions (Pacific, sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, etc.)

Comment by oxide
2013-01-30 13:19:12

What do the Brigades do?

And if they were the ultimate special forces, then why was it SEALS and not Brigades who were sent to get bin Laden? BL was an ultimate target. Too amphibious? Not a sarcastic question… I just don’t know.

Comment by MightyMike
2013-01-30 18:30:31

‘So, if the Department of Defense has nothing to do with defense,…

I guess they were more honest in the old days, when it was called the Department of War.

Comment by scdave
2013-01-30 09:57:39

scdave mentioned that the new jet fighter could shoot down several potential enemy fighters. But when was the last time the US was in that kind of a fight? This jet will probably end up costing over a trillion bucks; all borrowed ??

Yes, that is what I read somewhere…As far as the cost, I would rather us concentrate our resources on technological advances in the air..Something we are likely superior at then any of our potential adversaries…And, I agree with you about the bases overseas and on our own soil for that matter…I would pare the military boots by 1/2…Ditto with the Boot’s hardware…Close 1/2 the bases in the U.S….Double the size of the National Guard & Coast Guard…Require 6 months National Guard training for all high school graduates…That would be a resource we could draw on in a national crisis…

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Comment by ahansen
2013-01-30 12:34:29

The US maintains military bases in what, 119 foreign countries around the world? So how many foreign military bases are there here in the US?

The export of security and military related hardware (drones and intel, specifically these days) is about all the US has left of its international trade. To the extent we manufacture anything at all anymore, weapons and weaponry comprise a major chunk. If we don’t perpetuate warring so we can sell war machinery to other governments, our economy is dead in the water, so to speak….

Comment by X-GSfixr
2013-01-30 12:45:57

It’s not just the airplane itself…..although the software problems you run into trying to make a stealthy airplane flyable by the average USAF fighter jock are significant.

They are also networked/data linked to AWACS, satellites and the sensors on other aircraft. In the F-22’s case, it can send targeting information to the “second string” (F-15s, F-16), so that they can shoot at target’s beyond the range of the F-15s/-16s radar/sensors.

Both aircraft F-22 and F-23 can “Super Cruise”, fly beyond the speed of sound without using afterburner. As far as I know, nothing in the Russian or Chinese Arsenal can do that, now or within the next 10-20 years.

Then there’s the cost/benefit analysis…..what’s cheaper to maintain air superiority, ten expensive but greatly superior aircraft, or fifty F-15s, that will require a lot more aircrews, maintenance techs (and their benefits/pensions), parts, weapons, Ground Support Equipment…….

Part of the reason we have so many people in the DOD is because several groups of people are running this analysis, and (hopefully) will come up with an unbiased recommendation. You/we can’t afford to make a major mistake on this decision.

Military-wise, you can’t do squat without air superiority. Ask the Brits how close they came to getting kicked out of the Falklands by the Argentinian Air Force (who weren’t flying state of the art aircraft). Basically, it came down to how many Exocets the Argentinians had, and their mistakes in fusing their bombs with too much delay.

Then of course, there is the position that by not being able to guarantee air superiority, a lot of our current military expeditions probably couldn’t/wouldn’t be happening.

Comment by measton
2013-01-30 13:57:09

I’m not sure this is drama. There will be declining revenue for the Federal Gov. The pigs want to have a bigger piece of the pie so they have to cut payments to the masses. The problem of course is that cutting medicare or medicaid would result in the politicians not getting re elected. The solution is to set up a system that results in the cuts being made without politicians in the future having to go on record as making those cuts. I now think we are about to see a big hatchet job to medicare and other social programs. The military will be cut but some national emergency will result in the restoration of payments. The Medicare cuts will come out of physician and hospital payments and not out of high priced drugs. Again the elite have seized control of the economy and they are ringing the wealth out of every piece of the economy. The goal is to create a US with a large poor and demoralized and politically weak workforce willing to work for bread.

Comment by ecofeco
2013-01-30 09:22:01

At least we aren’t wasting our money on high speed trains and infrastructure inmprovements.

You know. Commie/socialist crap that might, god forbid, actually benefit J6P.

Comment by Ryan
2013-01-30 11:07:37

I agree, we need to work in infrastructure. Not so much on the (Not so) high speed trains though.

Comment by aNYCdj
2013-01-30 13:29:37

NYC still cant get a subway built after 40 years…….the 2nd ave subway should have been running years ago….

Why cant they find $5-10 billion and say get it done hire the people start work at 5 location not just 1…..

It can be done in 1994, the Northridge earthquake in Southern California damaged four bridges on the Santa Monica Freeway in Los Angeles. C.C. Myers, Inc. won the contract to replace them. The contract specified that the work had to be completed in 140 days, and the State of California, understanding the loss to the LA economy that was caused by the freeway being down, offered a $200,000 per day bonus for each day prior to the 140 days that the bridge opened.

With the cooperation and extra effort from Caltrans, the City of Los Angeles, the workers, and even the citizens of LA, the company completed the job in 66 days, a full 74 days ahead of schedule. The $14.8M bonus is the largest early completion bonus paid by Caltrans. The closure of the freeway was estimated to cost the economy of the area as much as $1M per day.[5]

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Comment by ecofeco
2013-01-30 15:51:01

Skimming costs money! That’s why.

Comment by oxide
2013-01-30 14:24:28

Agree on the high-speed trains. Some years ago there was a lot of talk about a high-speed train that would run diagonally across Ohio from from Cincinnati to Cleveland. What a joke. Googlemaps tells me there is already a 4-lane highway (71). Totally unnecessary.

Now, a high speed rail from Boston to DC would be useful. Get that up and running, and then they can look at other routes.

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Comment by joe smith
2013-01-30 15:46:01

“a high speed rail from Boston to DC would be useful. Get that up and running, and then they can look at other routes.”

That’s the only route that’s worth it. In fact, that’s the only route that keeps Amtrak in business now, both because it has high revenues and because it’s a PR tool. The PTB use the Acela. Heck, Joe Biden basically lived in Acela (formerly the Northeast Corridor line) for decades, since he insisted on living in the Philadelphia/Wilmington suburbs (Claymont, DE) and not moving to D.C. like most Senators.

Comment by Skroodle
2013-01-30 22:02:59

Texas toyed with the idea of a triangle hifgh speed rail connecting Dallas/Fort Worth-Austin-San Antonio-Houston.

Southwest Airlines hired a lot of lobbyist to kill that plan.

Comment by nickpapageorgio
2013-01-30 23:40:29

As long as they keep convincing people that flying in an overcrowded riveted gas can is the way to go, we will unfortunately never have a high speed rail system.

Comment by sleepless_near_seattle
2013-01-30 14:10:41

financial markets are not pressing Washington to act.

Oops. Did they mean to say that out loud?!

Comment by goon squad
2013-01-30 07:24:31

Washington Post - Private job survey shows hiring increased in January to 192,000:

“Payroll processor ADP said Wednesday that employers added 192,000 jobs in January. That is more than December’s revised number of 185,000, which had initially been reported at 215,000.”


Comment by qt
2013-01-30 07:52:06

Most of these jobs added are service jobs. Not gonna help the real estate or economy. I guess QE7 is coming

Comment by joe smith
2013-01-30 08:29:09

Aggregates *always* hide the real trends. “Jobs were added.” Oh really? What type of jobs? What do they pay? Where are they located? (Probably fairly “high cost of living” areas)

I hate how news organizations generally report these types of “statistics” without any real analysis. It’s 1984-ish government-speak.

Comment by goon squad
2013-01-30 09:12:58

Home health aides, cashiers, wait staff, et cetera.

Yes, a few good jobs in the oil patch, but mostly Lucky Ducky jobs.

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Comment by joe smith
2013-01-30 09:27:09

“few good jobs in the oil patch”

Which will probably last for 10-20 yrs at most, all the while driving up COL for actual local residents.

Comment by goon squad
Comment by Carl Morris
2013-01-30 09:54:35

I think it will be a miracle if they last that long. Everybody I know that has even thought about working up there assumes it’s very temporary.

Comment by Montana
2013-01-30 10:11:36

driving up COL for actual local residents.

The spouse’s family is from far east MT. They had their pick of cheap crapshacks after the 80s boom went bust.

Comment by ecofeco
2013-01-30 09:23:42

“Most of these jobs added are service jobs.”

Welcome to last 4 recessions.

Comment by joe smith
2013-01-30 07:32:50

filed under: The Mittens Plan a/k/a corporate america hates american workers

Summary: One private equity group sells a 25% stake in one of its investments to another private equity fund. Why? Because if you own less than 80% of a company, you’re not on the hook for the pensions if you enter bankruptcy. Guess what happened? The selling PE group filed for bankruptcy soon after reducing its stake to 75%….


The federal Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. is suing the Renco Group — parent of bankrupt RG Steel — for allegedly attempting to “evade liability” for the steelmaker’s pension obligations.

The agency is seeking $97 million from the New York holding company, which created RG Steel in 2011 to buy the Sparrows Point steel mill and other facilities. RG Steel rapidly failed and sought bankruptcy protection last May.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in New York on Monday, alleges that Renco sold 24.5 percent of the steelmaker, of which it had been sole owner, in January 2012 with the “principal purpose” of avoiding pension liabilities. It sold the stake to Cerberus Capital Management LP, a New York private equity firm, in exchange for financing it needed to remain open.

Comment by joe smith
2013-01-30 07:41:37

More from the article:

“The Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors in the RG Steel bankruptcy case also alleged in court documents that the January 2012 transaction was done to avoid pension obligations.

The committee is seeking court approval to sue Renco’s founder, Ira Rennert, for allegedly worsening RG Steel’s finances in order to improve his own.

RG Steel had two pension plans with 1,354 retirees and future beneficiaries, according to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. The agency said the $97 million it is seeking from Renco is for unfunded benefit liabilities, unpaid minimum funding contributions and termination premiums.”

Comment by ahansen
2013-01-31 01:34:33

Thanks for this, joe. Good info.

Comment by ecofeco
2013-01-30 09:27:27

Thank god only corporations are people who have rights. Not like some godless commie/socialist countries in Europe who think they can interfere in the manifest destiny of profits!

Comment by joe smith
2013-01-30 09:44:00

My only surprise in reading that report was that they sold 24.5% of RG Steel instead of just selling 20.01%.

I guess they thought the extra 4.5% made it look less obvious?

I really would’ve loved to have been a fly on the wall for that discussion between Renco and Cerberus. Cerberus must’ve gotten a *great* price for helping Renco flout its legal responsibilities.

Comment by ecofeco
2013-01-30 10:34:27

Seriously, with name of the original hellhounds… :lol:

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Comment by oxide
2013-01-30 11:32:46

Joe, what are the chances that the gov will ever be able to prove intent that the sale was simply to evade the pensions? Seems to me that Renco can just say that one day they needed cash and decided to sell..

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Comment by Steve J
2013-01-30 13:57:13

You just don’t sell 24% of a company like a few shares of Apple stock.

Comment by joe smith
2013-01-30 15:47:39

I have no idea what chance the gov’t has. It really depends on whether they want to put the resources into the case and whether they can get one or two credible witnesses to testify. Even then, I’d bet the case will settle.

Comment by Neuromance
2013-01-30 09:44:51

This concept of corporate personhood and money is speech means one important thing:

The physical embodiment of the corporate person, the CEO, has a lot more speech than you or I do.

Comment by goon squad
2013-01-30 07:38:10

Wall Street Journal - Winter Lull for New Households and Homeownership:

“The pace of household formation slowed in the fourth quarter of 2012 and the percentage of Americans who own homes continued to fall, according to Census figures released Tuesday.”

The “pent-up demand” will be unleashed on Monday, after the Souper Bowl, as it does every year :)


Comment by joe smith
2013-01-30 07:46:37

file under: joe 6 pack is screwed

Summary: Ridiculously high % of people have no emergency savings.

Link - http://www.baltimoresun.com/business/consuming-interests-blog/bal-consuming-interests-more-than-onethird-of-marylanders-have-no-savings-to-cover-emergencies-20130129,0,530106.story?track=rss

“If you lost your job, do you have enough savings to cover basic expenses at the federal poverty level for three months?

A new report released today by the Corporation for Enterprise Development found that 36 percent of Marylanders don’t.

Among them are residents with income below the poverty line, which is defined as $23,050 for a family of four. But the report noted that 13 percent of households here earn $80,197 to $125,376 annually and don’t have three month’s worth of savings, either.”

Comment by joe smith
2013-01-30 07:51:57

“13 percent of households here earn $80,197 to $125,376 annually and don’t have three month’s worth of savings, either

I meant to highly this sentence ^^^^

Comment by goon squad
2013-01-30 08:59:24

We know and work with some of these. And know what they all have in common? A big azz mortgage and kidz. We endured a work luncheon a few weeks ago and got to listen to them discussing paying $20-50K lot premiums for mountain views in some new Toll Brothers exurb, so they can look at the mountains they can no longer afford to go skiing in. LOOSERS!

Comment by AZtoORtoCOtoOR
2013-01-30 12:09:08

“A big azz mortgage and kidz.” And those kids are entitled to their own room and the newest IPOD to go along with their smart phone.

My 8th grade daughter feels mistreated since I won’t provide a smart phone since “all” her friends have one. Funny thing, when doing some research with her friends, those that have money, don’t supply their kids with smart phones. OTOH, the family that lost their house in the CA bubble a few years ago and just purchased a house this month, their 8th grade daughter got a new iPhone for christmas.

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Comment by eastcoaster
2013-01-30 12:57:45

Bill Gates was on the Today show this morning. Matt Lauer asked him when he allowed his kids to get cell phones. He said not until 13 - and they complained all the time about how all their friends have them.

I hear it all the time from my almost-9-year-old son. Too bad. He’s not getting one (until he’s a latchkey kid when he starts middle school). Even that’s a little early than I prefer, but I will feel better since he’ll be alone for about 2 hours every day then.

Comment by Carl Morris
2013-01-30 15:04:46

My son is 12 and when we upgraded to the iPhone 4s a year or so ago we went ahead and added a third line and put him on one of our old iPhone 3g models. Figured it might be useful for special occasions. It would be but he never remembers to take it with him, and totally doesn’t care about it. Go figure…

But it has been useful on a few occasions where we knew we’d need communication and made him take it.

Comment by sleepless_near_seattle
2013-01-30 15:17:56

and totally doesn’t care about it.

That’s great. I can also see where having one with them for emergencies is not a bad thing. Assuming, of course, the battery is charged and it’s on when you need to reach them.

Comment by sfhomowner
2013-01-30 15:25:39

My 12-year old has my old cracked screen iphone. No texting allowed though.

I would not have even considered it but it makes me feel better when my kid has to take public transit to and from school.

Comment by Carl Morris
2013-01-30 15:31:13

We don’t pay for texting and therefore he’s under strict orders not to give his number out to his friends. We’ll know within a month if he violates that :-). We know that once they have his number nobody will be able to stop them from texting him even if he begs them not to.

Comment by Combotechie
2013-01-30 07:58:19

Hey, cash is king when there’s a shortgage of the stuff. If people who are asset rich but cash short are a bit desperate for the worthless fiats then the advantage in any transaction goes to the guys with the cash.

Should be a no brainer but for some reason it isn’t.

Comment by Albuquerquedan
2013-01-30 09:39:43

But they are re-priming the pump where if you need money you borrow against your house so the asset does matter.

Comment by scdave
2013-01-30 10:06:10

then the advantage in any transaction goes to the guys with the cash ??

Which explains why the banks & big corporations are kicking ass….Thank You FED…

Comment by michael
2013-01-30 09:22:42

would love to know what percentage of them borrowed money to live in a house during the past 5 years.

Comment by ecofeco
2013-01-30 09:30:26

Gee I wonder why?


Real inflation - 10%

Real raises - 0 (just palin, 0)

Comment by Montana
2013-01-30 10:17:21

Actually, plenty of people regard their credit cards as their emergency stash. Not I.

The recommendation used to be 6 months’ savings…what happened to that? Were people starting to feel marginalized?

Comment by ecofeco
2013-01-30 10:36:50

With avg time between jobs now pushing 1-2 years, yeah, 6 months is pushing your luck these days, but most people are lucky to have 1 month in the bank.

Lucky Duckies!

Comment by oxide
2013-01-30 11:37:22

Mortgages and rents are taking up more and more % of our income. Why? Because it’s a needs industry and we all know that people will pay.

As for six months for households, what about all those businesses? I was stunned in 2007-2008 when credit froze up and “businesses couldn’t get the 30-day loan to make payroll..” wtf…Looks like the businesses don’t have 3-6 months in cash either.

Comment by sleepless_near_seattle
2013-01-30 15:14:52

LOL. I’m with you, but people here sure came to the defense of businesses last time this was brought up.

Where’s that “Don’t Buy What You Can’t Afford” video? Employees count in that too.

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Comment by Arizona Slim
2013-01-30 15:20:41

Where’s that “Don’t Buy What You Can’t Afford” video? Employees count in that too.

Which is why I’ve never employed anyone.

Comment by sleepless_near_seattle
2013-01-30 16:10:06

Which is why I’ve never employed anyone.

Great segue, as I was planning to add the story of a friend in Seattle. Has his own business and ten years in decided he should consider getting help. The thought of employing and insuring someone, and in some ways creating a dependency, however, kept him up at night.

He decided to suck it up for two more years and, since he was profitable, to save to be able to cover the employee if things turned south instead of relying on borrowing if he couldn’t make payroll. Finally hired her last year and by all accounts it’s working well.

Comment by howiewowie
2013-01-30 17:07:30

In our case, 3 years of wife being unemployed did the trick. Hard to save up ANY money whatsoever making 40 grand a year with two small children and a wife in school. Of course, the wife’s been working full time for a year and a half now and we have very little saved, only a few hundred $$$. After she found work, we moved out of the small condo into a house, which cost more rent $$$ and we had to get a second car, which cost more $$$ and more paid for childcare, etc…

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower©
2013-01-30 20:04:39

“Summary: Ridiculously high % of people have no emergency savings.”

And the subset of these who work for the federal government are going to find themselves really hammered if the sequester comes to pass.

Comment by palmetto
2013-01-30 07:48:47

Hilarious. The Seattle police had a gun buyback and dealers showed up to purchase guns. LMAO. Now THAT’s what I call creative commerce. Not to mention saving the taxpayers money.


Great opportunity for the gun dealers. The PD does all the publicity, just show up with a little table and a sign. No problema!

They’re advertising a gun buyback around here this weekend. Wonder if the dealers will show up?

Comment by Ben Jones
2013-01-30 07:50:22

I have an idea; why doesn’t the government go to gun shows and pay people not to buy guns?

Comment by palmetto
2013-01-30 08:01:10

Or the government could do one of those farm subsidy things and pay the arms manufacturers NOT to produce, LOL.

Comment by goon squad
2013-01-30 07:59:55

On a related topic, the Times reports about living in gun free utopia Chicago:


Comment by joe smith
2013-01-30 08:26:04

I don’t see why this surprises anyone. In major cities (say, the top 30 or 40 in population) the vast majority of the killings are criminals attacking other criminals. There is relatively little violent crime against average people in average areas. In the areas I have lived in, it’s well known where these corridors of activity are… and these are the areas where gun violence occurs. For example, in Baltimore and Washington, most of the violent crime occurs along the major corridors for drug movement in and out of the city. Route 40 (Pulaski Hwy/Orleans St) in Baltimore is a perfect example. DC has similar corridors. The cities are not dangerous, certain areas of the city *are* dangerous at certain times of day. Going there is an occupational hazard, but if you’re not involved in that “occupation” you should be fine.

Comment by Carl Morris
2013-01-30 09:31:58

Yet it’s critical that J6Ps choice in firearms be restricted in order to reduce that sort of thing.

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Comment by joe smith
2013-01-30 11:22:36

I don’t think you’re accusing me of saying this, but in case you are, my spin would be that background checks are not an unreasonable restriction on J6P. Making people apply to do concealed carry isn’t an unreasonable restriction either. The last “restriction” I would say is that I don’t see why a private citizen needs high capacity magazines.

Overall, I think this should be handled state by state.

Comment by Carl Morris
2013-01-30 11:32:31

Yeah, I was making a more general statement regarding AWB sorts of things. But I’m OK with background checks, and I’m not really sure how I feel about concealed carry. I think the danger presented by civilians owning high capacity magazines is overstated. The lethality comes from removable mags and semi-auto functionality IMO. And I consider that a feature, even though it does get horribly misused on occasion.

Definitely agree on the state by state thing. People don’t get so stressed about their rights if they know that’s the tradeoff of living in some states and they can move to another state if they don’t like it. The stress comes from the political process being used to force the urban will onto the rural population nationwide.

Comment by X-GSfixr
2013-01-30 11:52:27

We have many people on this site holding up Chicago as an example of how gun bans “don’t work”.

Sure they work. Take a look at Japan or Great Britain, or any number of other countries, and see how many firearms deaths of all kinds they have there.

The difference is Chicago is surrounded by armed-to-the-teeth, Second-Amendment loving die-hards, and no defensible/enforceable borders.

Give me enough money, manpower, and martial law, and I can enforce a gun ban anywhere in America. Now whether it would be economically wise to turn Chicago into West Berlin is another question.

So, please, quit using this stupid, apples to polar bears comparisons.

Comment by Carl Morris
2013-01-30 12:01:53

Not sure I’m following your point. Is it that if you put a wall around Chicago and imposes totalitarian rule that you could reduce gun violence in Chicago?

Comment by Ben Jones
2013-01-30 12:09:18

‘Give me enough money, manpower, and martial law, and I can enforce a gun ban anywhere in America.’

You go Chairman Mao! Of course, you aren’t planning to walk up to those doors yourself. You expect some guys dressed up like GI Joe to do it for you. Even then, Joe would find himself “surrounded by armed-to-the-teeth, Second-Amendment loving die-hards.”

You know what’s silly? This idea that anybody is going to take any legal guns. Heck, the Democrats can’t get enough support amongst themselves for that. Besides, it’s amusing that a government sending really high powered weapons to every corner of the globe can suggest a ban at home.

Comment by X-GSfixr
2013-01-30 13:09:01

You are missing the(rhetorical) point.

No guns = No gun homicides. Fact.

It’s a lot easier to kill people with a gun, than it is a knife/sword/fist/whatever. If for no reason, a lot of people don’t want to be that close to someone they are killing. That’s just common sense.

Holding up Chicago as “proof” that gun bans don’t work is just stupid. We have all sorts of examples of places where more “aggresive” means of enforcement has resulted in fewer deaths by guns.

The only genuinely stupid statements in this whole debate are coming from the Second Amendment crowd. Nobody is going to be “Taking guns away”. Unless “taking away” means trying to come up with some way to keep the whackos and criminals from getting them.

I’ve been trying to tell my gun nut friends this for several years. There is a significant part of the population who thinks too many whack jobs are getting access to too many weapons. With every massacre, their numbers are getting larger. At some point in time, if massacres continue, there will be enough people out there to force thru a solution you may not like.

The NRA should have gotten out in front of this a long time ago, and worked toward a mutually beneficial solution. Instead, we get “Arm all the teachers” bull$hit.

I was in a Sporting goods mega-mart a few days after the latest school shooting. Anything that looked like an “assault rifle” was flying out the door. Pretty damn sad commentary about the mentality of some people, if you ask me.

Comment by In Colorado
2013-01-30 14:24:33

You go Chairman Mao!

C’mon, Ben, you know that was rhetorical.

Comment by Happy2bHeard
2013-01-30 15:03:31

“We have many people on this site holding up Chicago as an example of how gun bans “don’t work”.”

I think it is a prime example of how gun bans don’t work in a country awash in guns.

I don’t see the sense in having military weapons available to the masses. ISTM, the ability to resist government oppression lies more in the will of the government to oppress than in the ability of the populace to resist. Syria has a very large will to oppress. Egypt faltered and the government fell.

But there are so many military-style weapons out there now, that it would take a supreme effort to enforce a ban - an effort that our government may not be willing to make.

I find the saying, “if guns are outlawed, only criminals will have guns” amusing. Formerly law-abiding gun owners would be turned into criminals if their guns are outlawed and they don’t give them up. I think that is not what the pushers of this meme really intend (I could be wrong).

Comment by nickpapageorgio
2013-01-31 00:10:39

I think there are a number of people on this site that are just afraid of guns. They think a gun will jump off the table, stand up and start shooting. They actually think the NRA is an organization working against them, when in reality they should be down on their hands and knees thanking the NRA each and every day.

“It’s a lot easier to kill people with a gun, than it is a knife/sword/fist/whatever.”

Not if you are a big roid head, hopped on drugs or have some training. For women, old people and those of small stature, the gun is the only weapon that will save their lives if a larger/stronger person attempts to assault them.

Comment by rms
2013-01-31 08:37:33

“I think there are a number of people on this site that are just afraid of guns. They think a gun will jump off the table, stand up and start shooting. They actually think the NRA is an organization working against them, when in reality they should be down on their hands and knees thanking the NRA each and every day.”

Hey Nick, you mean sort of like a HELOC just sitting there waiting for a signature; who is going to sign it? Apparently lots of people.

Comment by joe smith
2013-01-30 08:19:17

When they do gun buybacks around here, they have a sheriffs taskforce and ATF on hand. Seattle PD must not be used to serious crime or else that article is exagerrating. They make Seattle PD seem like it’s an amateurish operation.

Comment by palmetto
2013-01-30 09:01:23

“They make Seattle PD seem like it’s an amateurish operation.”

“Seem” being the operative word. Who’s to say that the chief of Seattle PD didn’t drop a dime to the local gun dealers? In the interest of saving a little taxpayer money. Takes the financial burden off them, and the guns off the streets.

“they have a sheriffs taskforce and ATF on hand.”

Oh, heck, yeah, what good is it if you can’t make it more expensive and heavy-handed on the taxpayer. Typical ham-fisted Washington area MO. Which operation is more amateurish, really?

Comment by joe smith
2013-01-30 09:31:06

Well the entire war on drugs is ham-handed. But apparently they pick up a lot of people who have active warrants at these buy backs. Most of the warrants are drug offense related or deal with probation offenses related to drug offenses.

In the last yr of so, there have also been a few “amnesty” days where people with open warrants can turn themselves in and settle their issues in a streamlined fashion, in the process saving the sheriffs office and US Marshalls a lot of time and resources.

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Comment by oxide
2013-01-30 09:22:08

Would these on-the-spot sales be prevented by eliminating the gun-show loophole for background checks?

Comment by Albuquerquedan
2013-01-30 09:49:05

While it is called the gun-show loophole most of proposals seem to eliminate the ability of private owners to sell there guns to another person without reporting whether it occurs at a gun-show or not.

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Comment by Ben Jones
2013-01-30 09:55:53

‘eliminating the gun-show loophole’

So a property right that’s always existed is called a loop hole. BTW, if the govt closes gun shows entirely, the black market would explode. Wouldn’t that be great.

I was thinking about tobacco the other day. Lots of people in the government would like to make that illegal (even though the government profits from tobacco more than everyone else combined). Think of the children! So why don’t they make it illegal? They sure shut down the pot, cocaine and heroin trade, right?

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Comment by scdave
2013-01-30 10:11:10

So why don’t they make it illegal ??

RJR ??

Comment by joe smith
2013-01-30 11:25:20

I don’t have a problem with guns shows, but I don’t think the requirement to run a background check is an unreasonable restriction on ability to purchase. If they can run the bg check at the show, so be it. If not, they should be able to run it within a week or less and then arrange delivery/pick up of the firearm.

Comment by sfhomowner
2013-01-30 12:36:03

You need a license to drive a car, and in order to get that license you need to pass a test.

Anyone here have a problem with that? Or does anyone believe that the government should just get out of the car registration and driver’s license business altogether?

Is requiring cars to be insured totalitarian? Requiring seatbelts and airbags?

I’m not trying to be snarky, but I am truly curious as to what are the arguments against licensing and registering all guns, like we do cars.

Gun deaths to exceed car accident fatalities in 2015

Comment by Ben Jones
2013-01-30 12:49:06

‘what are the arguments against licensing and registering all guns’

Whoa, you guys have sure backed down a bit. At first it was ‘ban this list of guns, now’! Now it’s ‘will you please sign here’?

Again, the number of black market guns would soar. Then there is the idea that a lot of us don’t trust the Feds, so why would I support something like that? But most of all, what would it accomplish? What mass shooting would have been stopped by such a system?

Here in Arizona, people carry firearms on their hip. If you want to get all law-sy, how about requiring everybody carry a gun?

Comment by oxide
2013-01-30 13:12:35

sfhomowner, the problem is that you don’t have to drive a car. There are buses and taxis if you don’t want to go through the hassle of owning a car.

The gun rights have a constitutional Amendment behind them, but the definitions are too fuzzy. “Arms” could be anything from a musket to a nuke. “Well regulated militia” could be anyone from crazed prepper buddies to the National Guard. Where do you draw the line?

Comment by Steve J
2013-01-30 14:00:47

It’s been legal to grow tabacco for several years now.

Comment by In Colorado
2013-01-30 14:22:16

Whoa, you guys have sure backed down a bit. At first it was ‘ban this list of guns, now’! Now it’s ‘will you please sign here’?

I think that making it harder for felons and kooks to buy guns is a good idea.

Comment by In Colorado
2013-01-30 14:28:47

Here in Arizona, people carry firearms on their hip. If you want to get all law-sy, how about requiring everybody carry a gun?


Comment by Ben Jones
2013-01-30 14:47:10

‘I think that making it harder for felons and kooks to buy guns is a good idea’

I think it’s illegal for felons to buy guns. Did you hear Biden say they ‘didn’t have time’ to go over background checks for lies?

Anyway, the US govt probably sells more guns than the rest of the world combined. Ruthless dictator? Islamic jihadist? no problem, do you want a tank? Heck in Libya the US scattered around 10,000 surface to arm missiles they can’t find.

I can just hear the conversations:

Sir, the Mexican drug cartels are killing thousands with high powered rifles.

But those weapons are illegal in Mexico.

Yes, but they manage to get them anyway.

Well, have we tried selling them more assault rifles?

No, but that might work, I’ll get right on it.

Comment by Carl Morris
2013-01-30 15:11:43

I’m not trying to be snarky, but I am truly curious as to what are the arguments against licensing and registering all guns, like we do cars.

If you believe that an armed populace functions as a 4th branch of government and a check and balance on the other 3, then you would see licensing and registration as a way for the other 3 to get an upper hand if checks and balances gave way to armed conflict for control of the country. Part of what gives an armed populace at least some chance of opposing their government if necessary is the government not knowing where the arms are.

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower©
2013-01-30 20:10:36

“…how about requiring everybody carry a gun?”

A gun in every household? Utah town drafting a resolution

By Benjamin Wood, Deseret News
Published: Monday, Jan. 7 2013 10:00 p.m. MST

Jason Olson, Deseret News archives

Officials in Spring City are considering a resolution recommending that all households in this rural town of roughly 1,000 people own a gun and participate in gun training.

SPRING CITY, Sanpete County — Officials in Spring City are considering a resolution recommending that all households in this rural town of roughly 1,000 people own a gun and participate in gun training.

Councilman Neil Sorensen proposed the issue during last week’s City Council meeting. At the time, Sorensen suggested enacting an ordinance that would require gun ownership. But after some discussion, a preliminary vote was taken and the council unanimously agreed to pursue a resolution that would just recommend that every home in the city own a gun.

A draft of the resolution will be written prior to February’s City Council meeting and a public hearing will be held before final action is taken.

“We’re talking about the wording for it now,” Sorensen said. “We don’t like big government so we’re not going to force anyone.”

Comment by Ben Jones
2013-01-30 21:12:57

‘Part of what gives an armed populace at least some chance of opposing their government if necessary is the government not knowing where the arms are.’

These are all trip wires. The government shouldn’t focus too much on rifles. Because if they ever try to take those, their biggest problem will be IED’s.

“Gen. Carter Ham, the head of the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM), made an unusually blunt admission last week regarding the failure of U.S. military training to instill respect for human rights in a Malian army now accused of massacring Arabs and Tuaregs as it fights its way north into rebel-held territory. “We didn’t spend probably the requisite time focusing on values, ethics, and a military ethos,” Ham acknowledged, saying that most U.S. training for the Malians focused on tactics, strategy, and “technical matters.”

“In 2012 the United States delivered bilateral security assistance to 134 countries — meaning that every country on Earth had about a 75 percent chance of receiving U.S. military aid. Once you weed out places like North Korea and Vatican City, you are pretty much assured of receiving military aid no matter how large or small your country, no matter how democratic or despotic your regime, no matter how lofty or minimal your GDP.”

“Take the fun quiz: which of the nations below were slated to receive U.S. military assistance in 2012:

Czech Republic
The Bahamas
Costa Rica
Cape Verde
The Gambia
Sao Tome and Principe
Trinidad and Tobago

Well, all of them, of course.”


Comment by nickpapageorgio
2013-01-31 00:15:43

“Anyway, the US govt probably sells more guns than the rest of the world combined. Ruthless dictator? Islamic jihadist? no problem, do you want a tank? Heck in Libya the US scattered around 10,000 surface to arm missiles they can’t find.”

We are in the process of sending 60 F-16’s and 200 Abrams tanks to the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. Good times.

Comment by ecofeco
2013-01-30 10:10:00

Gun show background checks?

There you go taking our guns away!!

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Comment by joe smith
2013-01-30 15:58:01

I don’t know if it’s feasible. And will they run prints as part of the bg check? I don’t want to take away people’s 2nd amendment right in general, but there are some people who should not own certain types of weapons. For example, if you have a violent felony conviction. Even if you took a plea deal on a violent felony, I think you give up your right to own certain types of weapons (if nto all weapons).

This really shouldn’t be that controversial… it’s routinely applied as a parol condition.

Comment by aNYCdj
2013-01-30 19:20:16


I dont think anyone has a problem with this since black people never go to gun shows. Now how do we solve the black problem with tons of illegal and unregistered guns.

I don’t have a problem with guns shows,

Comment by jane
2013-01-31 03:21:02

Oxy, do you even know what you are asking with that question? Please explain to us what you are asking.


Typical Fed. Blathers on smugly on things about which they have abysmal understanding.

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Comment by AZtoORtoCOtoOR
2013-01-30 11:53:08

I think it is a good idea for any gun transfer (sale or gift) to include a background check. If I am selling a gun, then I don’t mind meeting at a dealer to run the background check on the person buying the gun. I would at least know that the person I am selling to is not a felon. Also, if I am buying, I don’t mind a background check and a check on the serial number so I know that I am not buying a stolen gun or one that the police are looking for that might have been involved in a crime. The ban of certain rifles available now and the high capacity magazine is stupid and is just someone’s pet peeve.

I think the govt. is missing a real opportunity here. I say add a sin tax to guns and ammo. Repubs can still buy their guns and ammo and dems get more tax money to grow the govt.. Everyone feels like a winner.

Comment by AZtoORtoCOtoOR
2013-01-30 11:59:18

Forgot to add, I think the other approval the govt. needs to add is if the buyer is in a relationship - they must have their partner’s approval. That would bring a screeching halt to a lot of gun sales in a hurry. As my dad often said - “this isn’t something your mother needs to know about”.

Comment by joe smith
2013-01-30 16:00:18

“I think the other approval the govt. needs to add is if the buyer is in a relationship - they must have their partner’s approval.”

This would never happen. It would be a logistical nightmare and wouldn’t pass constitutional muster.

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Comment by Albuquerquedan
2013-01-30 08:07:46

With the GDP contracting it does not look like interest rates are going up anytime soon, the worse part of the report is only consumption seems to be increasing particularly spending on houses. Exactly, the wrong direction for the country seems like we just want policies that increase the consumption of Chinese made goods.

Comment by Albuquerquedan
2013-01-30 08:11:23

Drudge has a link to the WSJ article, part of the report which you do not find on the yahoo link:

There were some bright spots.

Despite the uncertain prospects, Americans opened up their wallets during the holiday shopping season. Personal consumption expenditures advanced 2.2%, compared with 1.6% in the third quarter.

The housing market continued to be a positive contributor as well. Residential fixed investment, which includes spending on home improvements, grew by 15.3% in the fourth quarter and was the seventh consecutive gain.

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower©
2013-01-30 10:35:33

What is Drudge, btw?

Comment by Rental Watch
2013-01-30 10:46:11

Right leaning (”lean” is not a strong enough word) news aggregator.

Drudgereport dotcom

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Comment by Carl Morris
2013-01-30 10:48:59

But also highly influential on the left as well as right, and the site that broke the Lewinski story and wouldn’t let it die back in the day.

Comment by Rental Watch
2013-01-30 10:58:21

Don’t get me wrong, it is one of my auto-loads on my web browser, but like anything, I am careful to read the articles (and seek counterpoints when opinions), and not just the headlines.

Comment by Rental Watch
2013-01-30 11:09:00

By they way, another aggregator that I really like is newsmap.jp…good stuff.

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower©
2013-01-30 11:41:20

I prefer to get my right-leaning news from the WSJ and Heritage Foundation blog and use Google as a news aggregator…

Comment by alpha-sloth
2013-01-30 19:57:15

the site that broke the Lewinski story and wouldn’t let it die back in the day.

Which was a total waste of time for everyone involved. So what if the pres got a bj from someone other than his wife? It’s laughably unimportant in every respect.

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower©
2013-01-30 20:05:54

“It’s laughably unimportant in every respect.”

Apparently you are not a card-carrying member of the Moral Majority!

Comment by Ben Jones
2013-01-30 20:29:57

‘alpha-sloth…’It’s laughably unimportant in every respect.’

I remember this child most. The coroner said this baby contorted from the CS gas so violently, it’s muscles broke it’s bones. CS is BTW not even legally used in war.


Of course, a “person” like alpha thinks blowing hundreds of innocent brown children to bits is OK if Obama does it. I’ll ask you again alpha, isn’t there some racist, fascist blog you can go post on?

Comment by Pimp Watch
2013-01-30 20:40:18

Of course, a “person” like alpha thinks blowing hundreds of innocent brown children to bits is OK if Obama does it.

And there it is. All the “look at what Bush did” is whitewashed and forgotten now that Obama takes license and liberty to do the same and worse.

These people are the problem. And it ain’t just Alpo.

Comment by ahansen
2013-01-31 02:05:57

I sure must have missed something, because that sounds like 180 degrees from alpha to me.

Drone targeting vs “Shock and Awe” carpet bombing maybe? (Sometimes rhetorical points go seriously weird when taken out of context.) Alpha seems one of the most consistently vocal anti-military posters on this blog, and he took huge flak from some of our less morally-outraged “Patriots” during the “Shock and Awe: push to war in Iraq. So what gives?

Comment by Pimp Watch
2013-01-31 10:55:49

ehhh…… The shock and awe campaign occurred years before this blog was even thought of.

Comment by scdave
2013-01-30 10:12:38

consumption seems to be increasing particularly spending on houses ??

They seem to be consuming stocks at a pretty decent pace…

Comment by palmetto
2013-01-30 08:51:37

Psst, goon, check it out. FBI has raided the doctor connected to Menendez’ underage sex trips to the Dominican Republic. LOL, what a cheap-ass, the prostie was supposed to get $500.00 for “sleeping” with the Senator, but he “stiffed” her and she only got $100.


I used to live in Miami and I’ve lived in this area for quite some time. I used to wonder why even the Mexicans have such a low opinion of the Cubans. And I mean low, really nasty stuff.

Say, in all this political drama, who’s using who, I wonder? I’m talking the Jeb Bush-Marco Rubio nexus. A little birdie keeps telling me that Rubio will try to stick it to Jeb big time. Like to see who’d win that one.

Comment by goon squad
2013-01-30 09:15:58

What a turd. But even if he gets bumped from office over this, he’ll land in some well-paying lobbying/consulting gig. They always do :)

Comment by joe smith
2013-01-30 09:45:54

look no further than Chris Dodd… Senate Banking Cmte –> “friends of Angelo” beneficiary –> primary challenged in CT –> lands in much better job as head of the MPAA

Comment by Albuquerquedan
2013-01-30 09:20:13

At least he must have been using his own money, if it was on the government’s dime he would have gone upscale.

Comment by In Purgatory
2013-01-30 09:29:29

and she only got $100.

Would a war party senator have paid more?

Comment by ecofeco
2013-01-30 10:24:30

If it was some famous celebrity who shall not be named, would even have been a female?

Comment by Neuromance
2013-01-30 09:55:22

Stiffing hookers has always been considered extremely poor form and bad luck. Deep down, most people realize it’s difficult, dangerous work for women in tough circumstances. See the Secret Service agent who tried to and got himself and a bunch of his buddies fired and their clearances yanked. Wouldn’t be surprised if this incident has some blowback.

What the Secret Service could learn from drunken sailors
By Roberto Loiederman, Published: April 26, 2012
Washington Post

There’s another major difference: One of the Secret Service agents did something no self-respecting seaman would have done.

When I worked on ships, seamen were a superstitious lot. When there was a bad storm, while the ship pitched and rolled, the crew, unable to eat or sleep, would gather in the messroom and grumble. Anyone who remembers Coleridge’s ancient mariner knows that seamen don’t blame the wind and tides for bad weather and rough seas. Rather, they blame a fellow member of the crew — someone who has, say, killed an albatross. During storms, they’d mumble darkly that a crew member had “Jonah’d” the ship — done something wicked, while ashore, that caused the seas to rise up and take revenge.

Inevitably, someone would point out that the likely cause of the foul weather was that one of our crew had committed the worst sin of all: not paying a whore.


Comment by Steve J
2013-01-30 14:05:34

$100 is the going rate in the DR…

Comment by salinasron
2013-01-30 09:06:27

You definitely get what you pay for. My wife took her PT turbo ‘05 convertible into the Walmart in Gilroy in early Nov. for an oil change. She drove the 17 miles home, no problem. The next day she went half a block and the check engine light went off; and she drove it home. It sounded like the turbo was going out (turbo’s very sensitive and need quality oil and changes between 3K-5K miles). I didn’t trust any garages in the area so I let it set idle until last week trying to figure out what to do with it.(two years ago I went to a recommended garage (local) payed $300 dollars for repairs supposedly on the turbo, drove it to Bakersfield where the turbo went completely out due to crappy repairs. Took it to my garage in Bako who does foreign cars with turbos and had it repaired at a cost of $2500. The turbo and heads come as a package which added to the expense.
A week ago a buddy showed up with a code reader and the code was for excessive idle suggesting to me a leak in the vacuum system somewhere. I opened the hood and found the crankcase vent hose disconnected but did notice the rubber was deteriorated and it should be replaced. I opened the air filter box and it was full of oil, the filter partially oiled and not put properly in place, and the vent filter completely soaked in oil. After cleaning all the oil out of where it shouldn’t be I replace the crankcase vent line, the vent line to the air filter box, the ventilation filter and the air filter. Then I jacked up the car and the Fram filter in place didn’t look quite right (haven’t checked numbers for sure yet). I removed the filter and drained the oil that had 17miles on it and looked like it had been used for 30K ugly and black. I refilled with the mobil 1 and had it towed a local AAA approved repair shop. The shop owner said to look at it would be $95 dollars per hour but since I had made these repairs that they would reset the check engine light and that I should take it for a drive (if the light doesn’t come back on that I would save myself $95).I drove it for 20 miles hight speed and everything was a smooth as silk. Let it cool for 30 minutes and then drove it back to the shop. Everything works great.
Now here is something that I did learn in the process. AutoZone says that they check and reset for free. Well, not in CA. The BAR (Board of auto repair) does not allow it and you have to take it to a repair shop to have a faulty code removed after repairs. Gotta love these A-holes.

Comment by Albuquerquedan
2013-01-30 09:10:01

Thanks for that tip. I did not know that Autozone could not do that in CA.

Comment by ecofeco
2013-01-30 10:28:50

I’ve found the dirt cheap oil change shops employ “teh stoopid”.

I hate to stereotype, but most mechanics ARE scum sucking thieves and liars.

Which is too bad as they don’t have to be to make good money.

Comment by Arizona Slim
2013-01-30 10:52:45

It’s not just the oil change shops. Here’s a Tucson bike shop job that we spoke-heads are supposed to get all excited about:

Mail order bicycle shop moving to Tucson; looking for new employee

Key details:

Compensation starts at $11 to $12 per hour DOE.

Contribution towards individual health insurance, which most likely means a HD policy requiring you to burn through several of your own thou before the coverage kicks in, if it does.

Comment by ecofeco
2013-01-30 12:19:41

Yeah, $12hr is going to get someone stable.

Not. :lol:

Granted, it ain’t rocket science, but there is defintately an art to repairing and tuning a bike. God knows I’ve built enough of them.

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Comment by Arizona Slim
2013-01-30 13:35:06

It gets worse. I’ve been doing some dialing for dollars (aka prospecting for business).

One of my calls went to one of those oh-so-hipster digital studios Downtown. I know the guy who owns the place.

Despite the Mac-worshipping coolness that emanates from his studio, he’s a pretty decent fella. The kind of person who’d be fun to collaborate with if scientific/technical copywriting was needed.

Well, cue up the “number disconnected” message.


I double-checked what I’d just dialed. Sure enough, the number showing on my caller ID was his.

I checked the website. Still up. And the disconnected number is displayed prominently on it.


I can’t say that this year has started like a racehorse out of the gates, but at least my phone’s still connected and I do have a client project to work on.

Comment by In Colorado
2013-01-30 11:12:56

I had a turbo charged car once. The turbo died a week before the warranty expired. When I found out how much it would have cost to repair it out of warranty (thousands) that scared me away from Turbos for good.

Comment by Carl Morris
2013-01-30 11:26:59

It can happen. But there are usually much cheaper ways to fix the problem than doing it the dealer way at dealer prices if it’s on your dime. I heard the turbo horror stories in the early 80s and was nervous about them, but every one of my daily drivers has been turbocharged since I started buying my own cars. It’s just too much fun being able to turn them up. And the reliability has been pretty good so far. By the time I’ve broken one I was ready to put on a bigger one anyway.

Comment by X-GSfixr
2013-01-30 12:05:14

When buying a turbo powered car, never buy one that doesn’t have water or oil cooled bearings. And if it’s oil cooled, always use Mobil 1, or a similar synthetic oil.

(I prefer oil-cooled…….a water cooled turbo can still turn, even with a failure in the car’s cooling system…..won’t kill it immediately, but will shorten it’s life)

If you run the car/truck hard/under a heavy load, it’s recommended that you let the engine idle for a couple of minutes (to cool the turbo and bearings) before you turn the car/truck off.

Comment by Avocado
2013-01-30 11:57:33

After 30 yrs, I still change it myself. Use synth, change every 7500 miles, buy good filters online. WallMart Penzoil $26. I dont trust those guys.

Comment by joe smith
2013-01-30 16:02:45

Yeah, I don’t trust anyone else to change my oil or filters either. I only use mechanics I personally know. Too many things can go wrong if you have some random franchise place repair your car.

Comment by Arizona Slim
2013-01-30 09:09:51

Bubbles, bubbles, they cause economic troubles…

Deficit Delusions: Putting to Rest the Clinton Legacy

Comment by goon squad
2013-01-30 09:28:10

Firedoglake is commie.

Comment by Albuquerquedan
2013-01-30 09:33:07

I actually have pointed that out about both W and Clinton. They only had any success due to their respective bubbles and Bush actually caught a bad break by having most of the tech bubble come apart on his watch. Of course, it is the Fed that caused both the housing and tech bubble but the bubbles were useful to cover up the destruction of our producing economy. California is even more of a bubble economy than the U.S. I think that about 2% of the population pays about 50% of the income taxes and they generate that income when tech is in a bubble. One of the reasons I do not think the CA budget will be balanced this year since the mini-tech bubble has deflated, which will reduce tax revenue much more than people leaving, although that is occurring.

The bubbles just keep getting bigger and we are in the mother of all bubbles, the bond bubble. When you combine the rising debt of the government and now the renewed growing debt of the consumer and figure what will happen when interest rates rise, 2008 will look like the good old days.

Comment by scdave
2013-01-30 10:19:16

and figure what will happen when interest rates rise ??

If they rise due to high inflation along with high unemployment….

Houston, we have a problem….

Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-01-30 10:21:09

“Falling housing prices to dramatically lower levels is bullish optimism and will accelerate the economy.”

Comment by In Purgatory
2013-01-30 10:21:43

Back in 2011, BlackRock’s Larry Fink revealed one of the great unspoken truths of capital markets, namely that “markets like totalitarian governments.” They also like authoritarian socialism, sprinkled in with a healthy dose of nationalization, because as Bloomberg reports, one of the biggest beneficiaries of over ten years of the “glorious socialist revolution” in Venezuela, coupled with over 1000 nationalizations by the bed-ridden and roughly 15 times deceased Hugo Chavez (if one believes all the rumors), is none other than Goldman Sachs, which generated some 681% in returns due to “aligning its interests” with those of the unshakable Venezuelan ruler.

Comment by ecofeco
2013-01-30 10:39:20

Fascism in its many guises.

What billionire doesn’t like it?

Comment by Steve J
2013-01-30 14:12:49

Chavez kick out Heinz. Expect Kerry to extract revenge.

Comment by Steve J
2013-01-30 14:14:27

Chavez also changed the oil companies split from 40% to 17%. That’s the real reason Bloomberg is down on Chavez.

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower©
2013-01-30 10:37:12

Move along, folks. Nothing to see here…

GDP unexpectedly shrinks, decline seen temporary
By Lucia Mutikani
WASHINGTON | Wed Jan 30, 2013 11:47am EST

(Reuters) - The economy unexpectedly contracted in the fourth quarter, suffering its first decline since the recession ended more than three years ago as businesses scaled back on restocking and government spending plunged.

Gross domestic product fell at a 0.1 percent annual rate after growing at a 3.1 percent clip in the third quarter, the Commerce Department said on Wednesday.

Comment by X-GSfixr
2013-01-30 11:17:33

Gasoline prices are up 30 cents/gallon locally since Christmas.

In January.

Yeah, it’s a “free” market. The banksters/1%ers are free to screw everyone else, in every way they can imagine.

Mom was complaining the other night while making dinner. Says she has to throw out/modify all her old recipes, since measurements like “one can of green beans” circa 1965 is different than the same can today…..as in, the 2013 can has half the content of the 1965 can (according to her calibrated eyeball)

Comment by Avocado
2013-01-30 11:59:33

I’d through out all the old recipes.

Comment by Avocado
2013-01-30 12:05:30


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Comment by In Colorado
2013-01-30 12:40:12

Gasoline prices are up 30 cents/gallon locally since Christmas.

Same here, though the rise started just over a week ago.

Comment by In Colorado
2013-01-30 18:10:27

I’m starting to think that this “bad news” is just another head fake to keep on kicking the can, as they are already blaming it on the “fiscal cliff”

Comment by X-GSfixr
2013-01-30 11:07:39

None of the scumbag management/bean counters at Boeing can’t say they weren’t warned……by their own engineers.


One of the points made bears highlighting. It’s not that doing things “in-house” at Boeing wasn’t profitable/a money loser per se. It’s that it was (in bean counter language) more “profitable” transferring the costs/risks to the sub-contractor.

What never comes up in the bean counters equations, is that once that in house expertise/experience is thrown under the bus, It’s damn near impossible to get it back, and you are at the mercy of your contractors at that point.

Comment by ecofeco
2013-01-30 12:23:08

Those managers wouldn’t be related to the some ones from Morton Thykol, would they?

Comment by ecofeco
2013-01-30 12:24:38

Additionally, bean counters should NEVER control your business.

They will save you right out of business.

Comment by X-GSfixr
2013-01-30 13:23:08

I think they all go to the same schools.

For starters, absolutely zero value is placed on experience, “tribal knowledge’, etc.

Say you have an employee who is highly skilled, but at the top of his pay grade. Current management-think is to replace him with a $10/hour newbie, let someone else pay to train him, and if he does the job 50% as well as the “skilled help”, well, that’s good enough.

Even if you end up hiring the skilled guy as a part-time temp, it’s a win-win, because you’ve shifted a bunch of your costs onto the (newly minted) contractor.

Of course, if the contractor dies/moves elsewhere/tells you to pound sand because he’s too busy with other contracts, you’ve just put yourself at a competitive disadvantage. And even this assumes the $10 hour guy doesn’t bail at his first opportunity.

Comment by oxide
2013-01-30 14:38:58

it’s a win-win, because you’ve shifted a bunch of your costs onto the (newly minted) contractor.

Not to mention that newly minted newbies tend to soak up fewer health insurance dollars.

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Comment by aNYCdj
2013-01-30 19:51:08

A Morton Thiokol engineer, whose anguished pleas to delay the launching of the space shuttle Challenger were ignored a year ago, filed a $1 billion personal injury and damage suit against the company today and accused it of ”criminal homicide” in the death of the seven crew members.

The engineer, Roger Boisjoly, accused Morton Thiokol of fraud, negligence, manslaughter, racketeering, defamatory statements and untruthful testimony to a Presidential investigating commission and Congress, among other wrongdoings. Plan for $10 Million Claim


Comment by Ben Jones
2013-01-30 11:10:56

‘Dave Tina, president of the Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors, said the federal Mortgage Relief Act has made it easier for homeowners to short sale their homes rather than just walk away and leave them for the bank to foreclose on. “With all the banks cooperating, an average of 90 days is more the norm (for short sales),” Tina said. Tina said that as soon as a short sale sign is posted, the home is sold within weeks. “Let me see 3.5 percent on a house, down 50 percent, down from ‘04 and ‘05 (prices),” he said. “I think that’s a great opportunity to buy.”


From the comments:

‘Short sales are NOT short! We have been stuck trying to short sell our home for almost eight months….and I know others who are in the same situation. The biggest thing is that banks are NOT cooperating, as is claimed in the story. We had multiple offers for our home within 24 hours of listing, but the bank has stretched this out and it has been an aggravating process.’


‘ I have offers on short sales going on well over 9 months and was just notified that one of the properties I was going to buy and have been waiting on for the approval from the bank — the owner was offered a loan modification / principal reduction and is now not going to sell. Banks are CERTAINLY not cooperating…. especially if they are Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac owned loans…NOBODY would rather buy a short sale then a foreclosure. Nevada AB 284 made it MUCH harder for the banks to foreclose on homes and there are THOUSANDS of homeowners in Las Vegas living rent free in their homes that have not made a Mortgage Payment in over three years.’

‘That’s the REAL reason short sales are up and foreclosures are down. Due to AB 284, inventory of homes in Las Vegas has been decimated and buyers who can afford to own a home at today’s prices are getting shafted.’

Comment by Arizona Slim
2013-01-30 11:21:46

I have a friend who is a real estate agent in CA.* She reports similar woes there. Not to mention the bulk sales to infestors who hope to make a killing in the rental market. (Good luck, infestors.)

*Yes, I know. Slim has gone over to the dark side. But she’s a longtime friend.

And, sotto voce, I’m not sure that her going into the real estate field is a good idea. She takes rejection *very* personally, and that’s not a good thing if you’re in sales.

Me? I just cop a grumpy, resentful attitude and just keep on prospecting. I call it bitchin’ while I’m pitchin’.

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower©
2013-01-30 11:37:55

“…buyers who can afford to own a home at today’s prices are getting shafted.”

It’s really all about the noncompetitive banking sector shafting buyers.

Comment by Avocado
2013-01-30 13:04:29

its all about the 3% dn and 3.5% mrtg

then the limited inventory (gov intervention and foreclosures just sitting) in CA is driving up prices.

Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-01-30 11:46:33

“That’s the REAL reason short sales are up and foreclosures are down.”

And that’s the real reason for Californias uptrend in shorts and foreclosures down.

All this delay makes the coming correction much more deep.

Comment by Pimp Watch
2013-01-30 12:02:15

Coachella Valley, CA foreclosures drop as economy, short sales rise


California short sales up up up!

California housing prices down down down!

Comment by In Colorado
2013-01-30 12:32:19

I wouldn’t expect anything to sell in the Coachella Valley, especially not near the stinky Salton Sea. That has to be the least desirable area in all of SoCal

Comment by Rental Watch
2013-01-30 14:14:10

“California housing prices down down down!”

Do you even read the articles you post?

“Another reason foreclosure activity continues trending downward is because home prices and values continue to rise, giving homeowners who owe more on the property than it’s worth less reason to allow the property to fall into foreclosure, desert real estate brokers and agents said.

DataQuick reported that the valley’s median price — half sold for more, half for less — rose 21 percent year-over-year to $218,000 in November. That followed a 26 percent jump in October and a 19 percent increase in September.”

Not all of the change in median can be explained by a change in the mix of home sales…

Comment by Pimp Watch
2013-01-30 15:51:21

Do you always misrepresent the articles posted?

Why of course you do. You’re a serial misrepresenter and a NARscum mouthpiece. YOU are liar.

Now…. Let’s enjoy this material quote from the article;

About 33 percent of single-family homes sold in November were bank-owned or short sales.

Again… YOU are a NAR mouthpiece and a liar.

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Comment by Rental Watch
2013-01-30 17:52:17

“About 33 percent of single-family homes sold in November were bank-owned or short sales, down from 57 percent in November 2011, CDAR reported.”

Yes, you are right, there is less distress this year than last.

Still nowhere does it say that prices are falling.

Comment by Pete
2013-01-30 17:58:52

“Do you always misrepresent the articles posted?”

How can you misrepresent something by quoting it? The rise in median home price is a fact. You may have a point (if this is the one you’re trying to make) that more short sales, if they continue, might help bring home prices down. But I can’t see what RW misrepresented. Seriously, if you’re going to expend energy accusing someone of lying, you might as well identify the lies for those not smart enough to see it.

Comment by Rental Watch
2013-01-30 18:05:10

Here is the December data:


For single family, 26% of sales this December were REO/Short Sales, representing a total of about 150 distressed sales.


46% of sales last December being REO/Short Sales, representing a total of approximately 309 distressed sales.

They also have price data.

Less distress, rising prices.

Comment by Pimp Watch
2013-01-30 18:11:01

Misrepresenting the quote is the name of our NARscum liars game.

Prices are falling. Yesterdays CaseShiller demonstrates that.

If you bought a house 1998-2013, you’ve lost alot of money. If you buy at current inflated asking prices, you’re going to lose alot more.

Proceed at your own risk.

Comment by Rental Watch
2013-01-30 18:23:30

BTW, interesting that if you take out the distressed sales, you have an INCREASE in the non-distressed sales year on year…more NON-banks are willing to sell. “Normal” sellers are slowly crawling out of their hole.

363 NON-REO/Short Sales last December
429 NON-REO/Short Sales this December

Comment by Pimp Watch
2013-01-30 18:30:36

Only liars quote NAR.

Indio, CA shows falling rents, falling prices MoM and sales collapsed a whopping 20% YoY.


Nice try though. Liar.

Comment by Rental Watch
2013-01-30 18:52:41

YOU QUOTED NAR! I simply showed the WHOLE quote.

Comment by Pimp Watch
2013-01-30 18:57:37

Your a narscum liar and you got busted again.

Comment by Rental Watch
2013-01-30 19:09:45

I sure hope you don’t have to argue any points for a living…

Comment by Pimp Watch
2013-01-30 19:21:22

We know you lie to earn a living. You even lie about what you do for a living.

Comment by Rental Watch
2013-01-30 14:05:28

All the discussion is about the banks slowing things down in CA (obstructing short sales, etc.).

I get it.

However, despite the banks pace, non-current loans are on a steady downward trajectory in CA, meaning the distress is leaving the system.

Banks usually make up a tiny percentage of sale activity…they will make up a tiny percentage of sales activity again (sooner in non-judicial than in judicial states).

Where are all the “normal” sellers?

Comment by Schmendrick
2013-01-30 19:26:07

Since the article is about short sales in Las Vegas, I thought I would step out from behind the lurking curtain to add an anecdotal data point. We submitted a cash offer for a single family home in Vegas in August. It was a short sale but the former owner had gone through bankruptcy and “surrendered” the house so our offer went to the bankruptcy trustee. The trustee accepted our offer in early September and forwarded it to the bank. Since then we have been waiting and other than a request to update our proof of funds documentation we have not heard from the lender. Our bid is about 35 cents on the dollar compared to the original price of the new home in May 2006 (which was pretty close to the peak in Las Vegas, and coincidently about the time we sold our previous home.) It works out to about $75 per sq ft. vs. $210 per sq ft when it was new. For what it’s worth, we sold our home in the DC suburbs in 2006 for about $250 per sq ft. Thanks to Ben and the rest of you folks for confirming my beliefs back then that those prices were not going to last.

Comment by Schmendrick
2013-01-30 19:37:03

Note to self: Paragraphs are your friend.

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower©
2013-01-30 11:39:21

Jan. 30, 2013, 12:26 p.m. EST
When the Fed meets, the bulls charge
Large percentage of S&P 500 gains tied to Fed Days
By Tom Bemis, MarketWatch

SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) — When the Fed meets, the bulls charge.

So argues Justin Walters, co-founder of Bespoke Investment Group, who found that an investor who bought the S&P 500 SPX -0.05% at the close the day before every Fed meeting since December 2008, and sold at the close on the day of the meeting, would have seen gains of 23.69%.

That number accounts for nearly a third of the S&P 500’s total gains of 73.6% since the Fed effectively introduced zero interest rates in the depths of the credit crisis.

“Fed days are one of the strongest days in the market,” said Walters. “I don’t see anything else accounting for a third of the [S&P 500’s] gains,” he said.

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower©
2013-01-30 12:03:24

“That number accounts for nearly a third of the S&P 500’s total gains of 73.6% since the Fed effectively introduced zero interest rates in the depths of the credit crisis.”

Makes you wonder whether the Fed will ever again allow interest rates to increase above current historically-low levels, and what will happen to those massive stock market gains if they ever do.

Comment by In Colorado
2013-01-30 12:25:35

I think that as long as inflation remains where it’s at, that interest rates won’t change.

Comment by Avocado
2013-01-30 13:02:58


has it ever stayed the same??

I think if the polar ice caps don’t melt, the sea wont rise.

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Comment by In Colorado
2013-01-30 14:09:14

Well, roughly where it’s at. If it hist 30% or more, then the low interest rates party will end.

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower©
2013-01-30 13:43:20

Damn weather is messin’ up economic growth again.

The down move on the meeting announcement is telling. The Fed is nearly out of bullets, yet is still shooting away. Mr Market seems to infer that the justification for the Fed to keep QE-to-infinity in place is the important news from the meeting, rather than continuation of the policy.

Jan. 30, 2013, 3:03 p.m. EST
Fed maintains aggressive easing stance
Though strains in markets ease, central bank sees downside risks
By Greg Robb, MarketWatch

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — The Federal Reserve on Wednesday maintained its aggressive bond-buying policy given the downside risks to the economic outlook.

In a statement after a two-day meeting, the Fed said it would keep buying $85 billion a month in mortgage bonds and Treasurys.

“The Fed is going to keep the pedal to the metal until they see improvement in the labor market,” said Scott Brown, chief economist at Raymond James Investment Services.

The central bank noted weak growth in the final three months of last year, saying that the pause in activity was due to weather and other transitory factors. Although strains in global financial markets have eased somewhat, the Fed continues to see downside risks to the economic outlook,” its statement said.

Officials didn’t say how long the bond purchases would last; the vote was 11 to 1.

While the markets were reading the statement for signals that bond purchases could end sooner rather than later, there were “none,” Brown said.

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower©
2013-01-30 13:45:10

Did you take the opportunity to sell the rally?

Comment by Avocado
2013-01-30 13:01:20

If Bush, a Texan, with all 3 branches + pus sup crt, in his control for 6 yrs did nothing to stop illegal immigration, you can bank on nothing being done. follow the money, big biz loves cheap labor.

Easier to blame O than use your brain.

Comment by Ben Jones
2013-01-30 13:05:10

Bush is from Connecticut.

Comment by Avocado
2013-01-31 09:15:27

Gov of texas, lives in texas.

Comment by In Purgatory
2013-01-30 13:38:27

big biz loves cheap labor.

And dems love gullible voters.

Comment by In Colorado
2013-01-30 14:08:05

Everyone wins!

Comment by Avocado
2013-01-31 09:17:51

Yeah, those Fox News viewers are not gullible, lol!

just saying, know your party… they are not against illegal immigration AND certainly NOT FISCALLY CONSERVATIVE!!

Comment by CRATER!!!!
2013-01-30 13:19:10


…. that was the sound of housing prices collapsing in your neighborhood.

Comment by X-GSfixr
2013-01-30 13:41:18

You know what makes the whole “Gun” argument pointless?

Nobody needs to come and take your guns. The majority of the population will be economic slaves to Wall Street/Banksters/Hedge funders and their government partners a long time before that happens.

-25% of the population is there already
-25% of the population are “Free Market” cheerleaders, AKA “Useful Idiots”
-25% of the population has positive net worth, but are running out of ways to protect it.
-25% of the population gets their paychecks from the oligarchs/kleptocrats.

The Banksters have bombed Pearl Harbor. We’re retaliating by ignoring the banksters, and putting random Italian immigrants in death camps.

Comment by 2banana
2013-01-30 13:45:18

And 49% pay no income taxes and get free cheese from the government…

Comment by In Colorado
2013-01-30 14:06:58

Agreed. The whole “take away the guns” thing is another head fake, to distract us from the ransacking of our country.

Comment by Carl Morris
2013-01-30 15:29:03

I remember what made America unique a couple hundred years ago was that the average J6P *could* afford a gun. And that’s what made us different from the countries where the people were not able to take control of their government.

Sounds like what you’re saying is that instead of taking the guns, we’ll just wait until the masses can’t afford them any more.

Comment by moral hazard
2013-01-30 15:39:23

“You know what makes the whole “Gun” argument pointless?”

Comment by mathguy
2013-01-29 17:24:29
“You guys might be interested in this:”


“Apparently full military urban assault training is now happening in US civilian urban areas. This has been reported in both Miami and Houston.”

“Note: They were apparently using blanks, but it seems the general population was not warned that this would be taking place.”

Comment by moral hazard
2013-01-30 17:57:34

“Nobody needs to come and take your guns. The majority of the population will be economic slaves”

Were slaves aloud to have guns? I guess not, pretty hard to have complete control over someone if they have guns.

What were slaves not allowed to do?


Thing slaves were not allowed to do :

•go outside after dark
•gather in a group of three or more
•leave their owners property without a written pass
•own weapons
•learn to read or write
•speak in their own language because the slave owners thought they were making a plot
•allowed to go to church
•allowed to talk about the bible
•stare at a white person
•speak without permission

http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_were_slaves_not_allowed_to_do - 74k -

Comment by Andrew Cuomo
2013-01-30 20:53:41

You sir, are now on the “list”. When it’s time to disarm (for your own safety and because we decided you need to) we will come knock knocking on your door to take your gunz.

Do not resist. For every gun confiscated, we will give you a warm hug (and empty promise) that when seconds count, the police are just minutes away.

Registration and confiscation worked out so well for the Jewish residents of 1930’s Warsaw, let’s do it here :)

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower©
2013-01-30 23:06:07

The more I read here, the less interested I am in any kind of top-down government-sponsored disarmament.

I don’t personally own any guns, but I know which neighbors do, and I am happy they live nearby.

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Comment by whirlyite
2013-01-30 14:21:44
Comment by In Colorado
2013-01-30 15:08:19

And thus the militarization of our police continues

Comment by Rental Watch
2013-01-30 14:24:55


Serious topic for discussion:

1. Lots of people who should have never been buyers during the bubble were given debt to buy (strawberry pickers as the most extreme example);
2. This pulled a lot of people OUT of the permanent renter pool, and moved them into the “owner”/debtor pool.
3. Post crash, many of these folks were foreclosed, and went back to being renters…however, with HARP/HAMP, etc. lots of these “never should have been buyers” are able to stay in their home.

What are the implications?

I’ll go first:

1. The median income of renters was artificially increased, as many lower income folks were no longer renters…allowing median rents to be higher generally than they would have been without the bubble.
2. As the higher income renters start to buy (and they will), and new entrants in the economy with lower incomes start out renting, the median income of renters will trend back to a more normal level…making it HARDER for landlords to maintain their rents.

I haven’t looked at any data in this regard…just a gut feel/theory. It is striking when you think about how many people who are currently “owners”/debtors are still in their home, but never should have been there in the first place…

Comment by In Colorado
2013-01-30 15:07:06

Hmmm… I’m thinking that it would have been the other way around, that higher income renters would have jumped into the pool during the bubble (buy now or be priced out forever). But who knows?

Comment by Rental Watch
2013-01-30 15:12:04

I think when prices go up, everyone wants to jump in the pool. But, what made things really crazy is that for the first time (ever?) lower income folks were able to get loans that they couldn’t get before–mainly because they could easily lie about their income to get the debt.

So, overall, the excess demand came from lesser credit, not better credit.

Comment by inchbyinch
2013-01-30 17:18:16

We are so glad we bought this house in late Sept 2012. Yeah, we still overpaid, but the neighborhood is up $70K-$120K for no reason other than inventory games. I hate these engineered low interest rates and the fools who drool over them.

Our credit union is at 1.95% new or used car and no payments for 90 days, and equally cheap mortgage traps. It’s insane. Money is so cheap and nobody questions why. That’s why I love the HBB gang.

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Comment by Pimp Watch
2013-01-30 20:22:47

Yes your tears of joy will become your pool of hopelessness.

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower©
2013-01-30 20:00:57

“…the excess demand came from lesser credit, not better credit.”

And so it continues.

By the way, what do loans in excess of $625,500 have to do with affordable housing?

FHA to tighten underwriting, raise premiums
Bid to boost capital reserves also includes changes to reverse mortgage offerings
By Inman News, Wednesday, January 30, 2013.

The Federal Housing Administration will issue a series of changes to FHA mortgage programs this week designed to bolster the agency’s capital reserves in the hopes of avoiding a taxpayer bailout.

The changes will limit the ability of some borrowers with low credit scores to qualify for loans, and raise minimum down payment requirements and premiums for borrowers taking out mortgages larger than $625,500.

The agency reported a $16.3 billion deficit in a report to Congress in November, raising the specter that FHA will require a taxpayer bailout next year for the first time in its 78-year history.

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Comment by Resistor
2013-01-30 16:00:26

So busy… missin’ the HBB lately.

Comment by Arizona Slim
2013-01-30 16:09:33

We’re the same old rowdy bunch we’ve always been. Welcome back.

Comment by m2p
2013-01-30 20:44:17

And I missed your name change. That’ll teach me to go out of town.

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower©
2013-01-30 20:15:56

Is it safe at this point to say the sequester is dead in the water? Or will the Republican Congressmen step up to put another nail in the coffin of the nascent economic recovery?

Last updated: January 30, 2013 10:06 pm
US economy slips into reverse
By Robin Harding in Washington

The US economy shrank 0.1 per cent at an annualised rate in the fourth quarter of 2012, the first contraction in three years, rattling financial markets and highlighting the danger of across-the-board federal spending cuts due in March.

Much of the fall in gross domestic product was due to a big reversal in business inventories and a plunge in federal defence spending which each knocked 1.3 percentage points off growth. That suggests the broader economy remains on a weak but stable growth path of 1 or 2 per cent.

But the first reported decline in the US economy since the end of the recession in 2009 checks mounting optimism and highlights the uncertainty caused by political battles in Washington over fiscal policy.

Solid growth in demand – especially in business investment, which shrugged off tax and spending concerns to rise by an annualised 8.4 per cent – point to a reasonably health economy.

The US Federal Reserve said on Wednesday that “growth in economic activity paused in recent months, in large part because of weather-related disruptions and other transitory factors”, suggesting that it read little into the data.

In a largely unchanged policy statement, the central bank kept monetary policy on hold, saying it will continue to buy $85bn of long-term securities a month until there is a substantial improvement in the outlook for the labour market.

“Frankly, this is the best looking contraction in GDP you’ll ever see,” said Paul Ashworth, chief US economist at Capital Economics in Toronto. “First-quarter GDP growth is going to be pretty weak because of the expiry of the payroll tax cut. But there is nothing in these figures to change our view that US GDP growth will accelerate as this year goes on.”

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower©
2013-01-30 23:29:59

Jan. 30, 2013, 8:25 a.m. EST
Is this the biggest triple top ever?
By John Nyaradi

As the S&P 500 challenges new all-time highs, it approaches significant resistance levels that represent a major turning point in U.S. stock market history.

The chart below depicts the trading activity in the S&P 500 Large-Cap Index during the past 20 years. The most obvious pattern is that our recent arrival at the psychologically important level of 1,500 is our third attempt at testing that overhead limit.

We have been here twice before, in 2000 and 2007, and both times the S&P failed to make a sustained breakout above that level. On both occasions, significant bear market declines ensued shortly thereafter.

In 2000, the S&P 500 peaked at approximately 1,522 in March of 2000. By October of 2002, it had fallen to a low of 768 for a decline of approximately 50% in the bear-market decline we now call the “tech wreck.”

In October of 2007, the S&P 500 peaked at 1,565 before falling to the Hadean low of 666 in March of 2008. That bear-market decline, which we now know as the Great Recession, resulted in a 50% retracement from the October 2007 high.

So now we’re back at this critical level and the big question is, “Will history repeat or rhyme, or will the market be able to move higher this time?”

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