February 5, 2013

Bits Bucket for February 5, 2013

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

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Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-05 01:19:42

Risk off!!!!!!!!!!

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-05 01:20:55

Xie says U.S. dollar will rise
Commentary: Noted Chinese economist Andy Xie says the dollar is entering a bull market, but not due to any merits of its own. Read his Caixin column on why emerging markets are in trouble as a result.

Comment by michael
2013-02-05 08:15:03

not good for the sacred DOW!

Comment by bink
2013-02-05 04:44:28

But I’ve already captured Australia and that’s like, 2 bonus armies every turn.

Comment by joesmith flacco
2013-02-05 05:26:12

Great game. Anyone else here have a conquerclub account? Want to play a game? I like the new beta New Zealand board a lot.

Comment by Bad Chile
2013-02-05 07:42:19

I spent my summers as a kid playing Risk with a couple friends, maybe 3 or 4 games a day. I haven’t played since then, so I’m pretty out of it…so there is an on-line version? Sweet! Must resist!

I’ve already got a throwback “classic” game I picked up a few months ago to play with my boys. They are both under 4 years old. I have a few years to go before they understand the game, methinks….

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Comment by joe smith
2013-02-05 08:00:32

It’s free


Very simple interface. There are dozens of different boards and you can also modify the rules, the number of players, and so forth.

I generally play my turns on the train to/from work or else right before going to bed. (There is a 24 hr time frame for turns).

Other players generally are working around their schedule and maybe in Australia, Europe, China, etc. So it’s not a big time-waster, since the other players’ schedule forces you to wait.

If you join, let me know, maybe we can join one of the same games.

Comment by michael
2013-02-05 08:17:47

i was a big avalon hill gamer…this looks interesting.

Comment by ecofeco
2013-02-05 08:37:07

Pretty cool.

Loved Risk. The better basics strategy game.

Comment by zee_in_phx
2013-02-05 08:54:31

Any Civ fans here… used to escape to it for endless hours in the dorms, the original version on the 3.5″ floppy disks.

Comment by Carl Morris
2013-02-05 09:29:04

I spent my summers as a kid playing Risk with a couple friends, maybe 3 or 4 games a day. I haven’t played since then, so I’m pretty out of it…so there is an on-line version?

There’s a free app to play it against about 4 computer foes on iDevices called Lux Touch. Something I’ve enjoyed while killing time waiting on people or airplanes for a few years now.

Comment by Spook
2013-02-05 10:03:19

What do you do if your opponent knocks all the peices onto the floor and sets the board on fire?

Comment by Bad Chile
2013-02-05 10:26:45

The old “nuclear option”…

Comment by Bad Chile
2013-02-05 17:51:47

Thanks for the info - just created an account. Bad Chile, of course…

Now, time to go get me some land - they’re not making any more of it, you know. ;-)

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower©
2013-02-05 13:17:54

There has never been a better time for individual investors to load up on stocks! Come on in, folks, the water is perfect!!!

Feb. 5, 2013, 11:37 a.m. EST
Suckers or saviors? Small investors buy up stocks
Fund flows offer no guide to future stock moves, says one analysis
By William L. Watts, MarketWatch

FRANKFURT (MarketWatch) — Are mom and pop stock investors late to the party again?

Individual investors at long last have begun pouring money back into U.S. stocks as indexes hit five-year highs. But hopes the renewed flows will extend the rally, which pushed the Dow Jones Industrial Average back to 14,000, are tempered by fears the recent participation by retail investors may be marking a market top.

For a start, the data on investor stock flows isn’t a reliable guide to market direction, according to one analysis.

“It’s not a signal about where the market is heading,” said Brad Barber, a finance professor at the Graduate School of Management at the University of California, Davis, whose research focuses in part on investor psychology. He noted that on some occasions fund flows have peaked just as the market prepared to tank.

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-05 01:21:55

Are we now due for a replay of the “beggar-thy-neighbor” stage of the Great Depression?

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-05 01:24:13

Why No One Will Win the Currency War
With Japan, China and the U.S. all pursuing weak-currency policies, other major economies are retaliating. The WSJ’s Deborah Kan speaks to James Rickards of Tangent Capital Partners about whether the drive to devalue will set off a trade crisis.
2/5/2013 1:37:14 AM7:12

Comment by michael
2013-02-05 08:24:37

and people thought WWIII would be fought with nukes.

Comment by Albuquerquedan
2013-02-05 08:48:28

They are negotiations by other means.

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Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-05 19:29:25

Nukes cover paper.

Comment by ecofeco
2013-02-05 08:59:40

That will now be WW4.

We are in the middle of WW3 right now.

The Cool War is a science fiction novel by Frederik Pohl published in 1981.

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Comment by Avocado
2013-02-05 09:59:47

There is a war memorial in Atascadero, CA, the last plaque reads, “The Global War on Terror 1979 - “

Comment by Arizona Slim
2013-02-05 10:30:52

There is a war memorial in Atascadero, CA, the last plaque reads, “The Global War on Terror 1979 - “

How does one declare global war on a noun?

Comment by michael
2013-02-05 11:28:11

you mean like poverty?

Comment by Avocado
Comment by ahansen
2013-02-05 23:40:07

“Reserve your brick”?!

For a moment I thought this memorial was making an ironic statement, but it appears to be unintentional. I particularly liked the plaque on the left, which at first glance appears to be a soldier about to rape a hapless female.

Comment by X-GSfixr
2013-02-05 09:15:23

Seems like the pooh-bahs in other countries are worried about the natives getting restless. So they devalue, in order to protect their jobs/exports.

Except here. More people will end up under the bus, as our pooh-bahs exploit the opportunity.

Comment by Avocado
2013-02-05 10:07:00

Gosh! I was just going to put some cash in a Brazilian bank for the high rates! I was hoping for a weak dollar.

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Comment by Northeastener
2013-02-05 12:37:12

Seems like the pooh-bahs in other countries are worried about the natives getting restless.

You mean like Argentina? They are seeing 30%+ annual inflation and the government just implemented price controls on groceries (according to zerohedge).

Me thinks this will be a global problem soon enough.

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Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-05 05:35:40

Japan’s economic policy sparks Davos fears of ‘currency war’
January 27, 2013 3:08pm

DAVOS - Japan’s controversial new economic policy emerged as one of the hot topics at this year’s Davos forum, with talk of currency wars and strong rebuttals from Japanese officials.

The new government in Tokyo, led by Shinzo Abe, has pushed the Bank of Japan (BOJ) to step up efforts to battle nearly two decades of deflation and sluggish growth in the world’s third-largest economy.

The BOJ on Tuesday unveiled a new inflation target of two percent and a massive program of asset purchases to pump money into the economy, sparking accusations it had bowed to political pressure and compromised central bank independence.

The new government policy has also led to a steady decline in the value of the yen against other currencies—boosting exports—but other countries have expressed concern that Tokyo is pursuing a beggar-thy-neighbor approach.

No less an authority than German Chancellor Angela Merkel got the ball rolling in Davos when she complained—in typically under-stated fashion—that she was “not without some concern about Japan right now.”

She also appeared to warn Tokyo that its actions were not going unnoticed on the world stage, saying there was an increasing awareness of what she called “political influences or manipulations of the exchange rate.”

This sparked a furious reaction in Tokyo with Finance Minister Taro Aso telling reporters that such accusations were “completely off the mark.”

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-05 05:37:57

Updated January 23, 2013, 10:32 a.m. ET

As Rhetoric Heats Up, Currency War Risks Rise

Guido Mantega is finally getting some company.

In September 2010, the Brazilian finance minister caused a mini commotion when he declared that the world was gripped by a “currency war.” Mr. Mantega complained that the hyper-loose monetary policies pursued by advanced countries, coupled with the exporter-backed exchange-rate manipulations of China, were deflecting unwanted “hot money” into emerging market countries and forcing them to take retaliatory currency-weakening measures of their own. Those remarks, which evoked the specter of the vicious cycle of beggar-thy-neighbor policies that exacerbated the Great Depression, triggered much debate and even provided the title for a bestselling book by investment banker James G. Rickards. But at the time economic pundits mostly dismissed it as an alarmist reading of what was really just a post-crisis policy realignment.

Two and a half years later, Mr. Mantega’s bandwagon is getting some fellow riders. With the yen having lost 13% of its value against the dollar in four months as the Bank of Japan has caved into demands from new Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for looser monetary policy and with the U.S. Federal Reserve well into a new round of open-ended “quantitative easing,” currency-war warnings are coming thick and fast. And they’re coming from figures that might be expected to take a more sober view of the world.

In separate speeches Tuesday, outgoing Bank of England Gov. Mervyn King expressed fear that the global financial system was facing a wave of competitive currency depreciations and Deutsche Bundesbank President Jens Weidmann chastised the Bank of Japan for policies that “could lead to an increasingly politicized exchange rate.” That followed similar warnings this month about the fallout from Japan’s actions by St. Louis Fed President James Bullard and European Central Bank board member Benoit Coeure, and a complaint from Jean-Claude Juncker, Luxembourg’s prime minister who heads the Eurogroup of finance ministers, that the euro was “dangerously high.”

Emerging market governments are also piping up. Among others, Russian and South Korean central bankers have warned that other countries may follow Japan’s lead and weaken their currencies.

By the reckoning of the Royal Bank of Scotland’s RBS.LN +3.38% foreign-exchange strategy team, 2013 could see this current round of “currency fracas morph into something more internationally combustible.” So, in preparation for a global currency war, they came up with a matrix showing which central banks have the most “intent” and/or “capacity” to intervene. The top scorers on both counts: the banks of Chile, Thailand, Malaysia and, somewhat surprisingly, Sweden.

It might be tempting to dismiss all this as mere hyperbole. The situation is far less severe than the brutal currency wars of the 1930s, which were intrinsically linked to trade restrictions that governments used to protect their national industries and which drained world trade to a trickle. For now at least, governments are too respectful of the World Trade Organization to go down that route.

But a strongly held view exists that extreme monetary easing and proactive currency strategies, which lie outside the purview of WTO regulations, represent protectionism by another name. Either way, we are at risk of a series of tit-for-tat measures doing great harm to the global economy. The end result could be an all-out trade war or a wholesale loss of confidence in paper money, along with surging inflation.

Comment by Prime_Is_Contained
2013-02-05 07:40:09

The end result could be an all-out trade war or a wholesale loss of confidence in paper money, along with surging inflation.

I disagree that a currency war can cause either of these effects.

Exchange rates set only that: the rate of exchange. In other words, it’s a zero-sum game: they can move competitiveness from one place to another, and they can move inflation from one place to another.

But they don’t create or destroy either.

Contrast this with the real trade wars that occurred during GD-I. Adding friction to international trade can do real harm to production and industry.

Comment by frankie
2013-02-05 07:48:06

And who have been benefiting from a weak Euro

the Greeks no,
the French no,
the Spanish no

it’s a mystery, perhaps we should ask that global exporting super power the Germans.

Comment by Avocado
2013-02-05 10:12:48

“surging inflation”

Does that mean higher interest rates?…. then we all know what happens to housing prices when mortgages are back at 6%. Maybe we will see that recession sooner than we thought.

Comment by Northeastener
2013-02-05 12:39:58

Does that mean higher interest rates?

The FED has already explicitly stated that they won’t raise rates until U3 unemployment is under 6%. Currently at 7.9%.

We have a ways to go before the FED starts raising rates and me thinks high inflation will not help employment… rather, it will hinder it.

ZIRP foreva! Or is it NIRP given inflation?

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Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-05 05:40:38

The Great Paper Chase: Let The Currency Wars Begin!
January 15, 2013

In the game of Paper Chase, a group of “hares” sets off through the thicket, leaving a trail of torn-up paper as a proxy for their scent. The “hounds” are then charged with following the scent and beating their cotton-tailed adversaries to a predetermined finish line. The winners have the privilege of choosing the next hares. An eerily similar game has been played in the currency markets ever since the Tripartite Monetary Agreement of 1936.

Prior to the 1930s, it was the broad custom for paper currencies to be backed by a physical asset - usually silver and gold. However, the severe economic downturn caused many countries to question the discipline of such a system, and when faced with the choice of economic survival or jeopardy, the path of least resistance was currency devaluation. After five years of beggar thy neighbor policies, the United States, Britain and France came to the same conclusion that the W.O.P.R did in the movie “War Games” - “the only winning move is not to play.”

Despite the painful lessons of the last currency war, central bankers, politicians and pundits refuse to heed the lessons that Henry Morgenthau Jr, John Maynard Keynes, Matthew Broderick and Ally Sheedy learned from the harshest master - reality. The only winning move is not to play. This is why it came as no shock when we heard today that the President of the Euro Group declared the euro “dangerously high.”


Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-05 05:42:49

Up and Down Wall Street | THURSDAY, JANUARY 17, 2013
Japan’s Volley in Currency Wars a Real Worry
Forget the fiscal cliff. Competitive devaluations pose an even bigger threat to the global economy.

The most important recent global macroeconomic development has nothing to do with the fiscal cliff or the debt ceiling in the U.S. Arguably, it is the sharp shift since last year in Japan to pursue policies that explicitly and aggressively aim at producing inflation.

After two so-called lost decades of deflation, Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party led by Shinzo Abe was swept back into power on a program of fiscal and monetary stimulus, in particular to lower the value of the yen to restore the international competitiveness of the nation’s export-dependent industries.

The financial markets have responded as policymakers had hoped. The Nikkei 225 is up a rousing 21% since early November on the prospect of the Japanese economy would invigorated by a cheaper yen, which fell over 10% against the dollar in that span.

For investors who keep score in greenbacks — which would describe most readers of this column — the elixir of a weaker yen has had a negative side-effect in terms of currency losses. The iShares MSCI Japan Index exchange-traded fund (ticker: EWJ), quoted in dollars, is up only about half as much as the Nikkei. But the WisdomTree Japan Hedged Equity ETF (DXJ) — which is supposed to hedge currency shifts — captured more of the gain in the Tokyo market, about 15% over that span.

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-05 05:45:52

BOJ Adopts Abe’s 2% Target in Commitment to End Deflation
By Toru Fujioka & Masahiro Hidaka - Jan 22, 2013 3:10 AM PT

The Bank of Japan made its strongest commitment yet to end two decades of stagnation, shifting to Federal Reserve-style open-ended asset purchases while disappointing investors by delaying the program until next year.

Governor Masaaki Shirakawa and six of nine board members voted for a 2 percent inflation target, to be achieved “at the earliest possible time” — a pace not sustained in Japan since the early 1990s. While judging that the economy is “relatively weak,” and that consumer prices will be flat for the time being, the BOJ refrained from adding immediate stimulus.

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-05 05:49:01

Apologies for the many posts on this topic, but I want to make clear that the global economic landscape recently experienced a high-magnitude tectonic shift, with the aftershocks only beginning to be felt.

Comment by joesmith flacco
2013-02-05 05:55:36

Can you flesh this out a little bit more?

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-05 06:01:49

Watch out what you wish for.

Comment by joe smith
2013-02-05 07:37:37

I meant can you yourself write a summary that is more than just a catch phrase (beggar thy neighbor). I’m not sure if I’m missing a profound point or if you’re just linking to stories that prove that, yes, nations want some inflation to devalue their currency and increase exports/reduce imports, etc. And how this can’t work because if everyone does it, it has unintended consequences which far outweigh the intended ones.

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Comment by Prime_Is_Contained
2013-02-05 07:44:53

it has unintended consequences which far outweigh the intended ones.

And what are these “unintended consequences”?

My personal belief is that this “currency wars” will be far different in consequence than historical experience. But I’m still forming my opinion of what it will be like, so I would welcome other perspectives.

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-05 07:54:39

“Beggar-thy-neighbor” refers to a downward spiral such as occurred during GD1, where nations tried individually to increase their share of international product markets by devaluing their own currency. Eventually, when everyone plays this game, you have no winner and plenty of loosers with worthless fiat on their hands.

Comment by joe smith
2013-02-05 08:06:45

OK, I was just checking to see if you were getting at something new.

I think you can say something similar for austerity. If everyone tries it, no individual nation will get the effect it is seeking. The spillover effects will be too great. Yes, waste will be cut, but even in an austerity program where you cut *only* wasteful spending (this is impossible) you will run into problems if everyone is doing it. I’m not saying it can’t be done, but perhaps suggesting that nations would need to coordinate with each other, which gets to be problematic for some of the reasons people fear One World Government.

One benefit of austerity compared to stimulus is that the side effects of spending cuts are a little more predictable/manageable/visible than the side effects of stimulus. Along the same lines, the side effects of devaluing your currency seem tough to predict. I bet you that even Bernanke would admit this (I think he has, but I am not sure).

Comment by ecofeco
2013-02-05 09:27:44

That because it’s austerity for the poor and not for the rich, who demand THIER bad judgement be forgiven.

Comment by joe smith
2013-02-05 09:54:53

“That because it’s austerity for the poor and not for the rich, who demand THIER bad judgement be forgiven.”

Even if you had a “perfect” austerity program (whatever that means, if it is even possible), if every nation is cutting spending at the same time, you are going to have issues. You can’t just pretend that you exist in a vac.

Comment by ecofeco
2013-02-05 12:21:03

Yep. Race to the bottom.

This is why you should NEVER have an accountant in control. They will “save” you right out of business.

Comment by joe smith
2013-02-05 12:56:01

“This is why you should NEVER have an accountant in control. They will “save” you right out of business.”

Depends. A lot of accountants these days can get you “something for nothing” if you’re willing to structure your financial dealings to take advantage of loopholes for the well-to-do or for corporations.

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-05 19:36:14

“I think you can say something similar for austerity. If everyone tries it, no individual nation will get the effect it is seeking.”

I thought the effect everyone was seeking was to convince creditors that fiscal profligacy had given way to a new era of fiscal discipline that would make it easier for a country to make good on its debt obligations.

Of course if the result is high unemployment, low average workforce productivity (including unemployed people doing nothing for society) and widespread social unrest, the whole strategy can easily backfire.

Comment by Prime_Is_Contained
2013-02-05 07:12:55

Are we now due for a replay of the “beggar-thy-neighbor” stage of the Great Depression?

Is it bad if I kind of hope so?

How this would actually play out in our current economic climate is a fascinating question…

Any guesses?

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-05 07:56:17

Just make sure you are hedged.

For instance, why not buy ten investment homes and a hundred ounces of gold, to buffer against the risk of future dollar devaluation?

Comment by Albuquerquedan
2013-02-05 08:18:35

I would have a more diverse group of metals, include palladium and platinum and silver. Where are you buying those investment houses? I am not sure that there are many places in the U.S. where it would work or where it would exceed inflation, of course if you are using OPM at a low fixed rate, there are very few investments that have the leverage as real estate.

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Comment by Bill in Los Angeles
2013-02-05 21:41:09

My platinum allocation in my precious metals is small compared to gold. Platinum is making a charge now. I can sell one of my platinum Eagles for $1767 at my local dealer. Instead I bought a few of the quarter oz gold American eagles.

Comment by Avocado
2013-02-05 10:23:00

why do all the uber-doom and gloomers have to eventually tell us all to buy gold at these bubble levels?

Kinda takes the fun out of it.

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Comment by Bill in Los Angeles
2013-02-05 22:30:47

“all these bubble levels?”

Tell me, what signs do you see that the dollar will rise, while we are in this (ahem) currency war?

Who cares what the valuation of precious metals are? If you’ve been buying regularly once a month for over a dozen years, your average cost would be way low anyway.

Gold has a 5,000 year history. Which currency has over 2,000 years of history other than gold?


Comment by Prime_Is_Contained
2013-02-06 12:45:57

Tell me, what signs do you see that the dollar will rise, while we are in this (ahem) currency war?

Au contraire—I have a strong faith that our currency warriors are better fighters than theirs.

And the inflation that they produce with their efforts appears to be created elsewhere, so there is little reason to believe that we cannot “win” this war.

Comment by rms
2013-02-06 18:24:43

Au contraire—I have a strong faith that our currency warriors are better fighters than theirs.

And the inflation that they produce with their efforts appears to be created elsewhere, so there is little reason to believe that we cannot “win” this war.

+1 And Americans will be the second most hated people on the planet before this party is over.

Comment by Northeastener
2013-02-05 12:45:58

Just make sure you are hedged.

I just increased my hedge… picked up a slightly used SIG P220 in .45. Nothing like solid German/Swiss engineering to help hedge against inflation (or any other disaster you can think of).

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Comment by Bill in Los Angeles
2013-02-05 21:42:56

The Austrian Glock 17 is also a good deal - I have that in Arizona.

My next purchase (a goal in early April) will be a colt AR15. I have a colt 45 1911. The colt 45 is legal in Cali. But I leave it in AZ.

Comment by joesmith flacco
2013-02-05 05:24:02

If you are a home debtor, sell quickly! Your losses are crushing and grow with each day. Your house will be worth less each day. Expect a 65 percent craaaaater-ing.

Source: ral-cut-paste-script.txt

Comment by Rent Free
2013-02-05 06:06:27

He lives in your head…… rent free.

Comment by hazard
2013-02-05 07:12:47

“He lives in your head…… rent free.”

That can not be as comfortable as living in a house rent free.

Rent free, as free as the wind blows
As free as the grass grows
Rent free to follow your heart

Rent free and life is worth living
But only worth living
‘Cause you’re rent free

Stay free, where no bills divide you
You’re on a Robo signed ride
So there’s no need to hide

Rent free and life is worth living
But only worth living
‘Cause you’re rent free

For Some Homeowners in Foreclosure, a Rent-Free Approach …

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/01/business/01nopay.html?pagewanted=all - - Cached - Similar pages

May 31, 2010 … “Instead of the house dragging us down, it’s become a life raft,” said Mr. … This type of modification does not beg for a lender’s permission but is …. “I need another year,” he said, “and I’m going to be pretty comfortable.” …

Comment by Blue Skye
2013-02-05 07:09:53

Simple truths. The biggest global expansion of credit in history, manifested by unsustainable house prices, peaked. The wealth created by credit is a fragile facade and its collapse will trap and crush debtors. Play at your own risk.

Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-02-05 07:23:46

Yes Sir indeed.

Comment by ibbots
2013-02-05 07:24:37

There exists the possibility that TPTB inflate their way outta this mess. In that case, leverage is generally beneficial.

Comment by joe smith
2013-02-05 07:40:54

ibbots might be on to something, but what is the chance that TPB can really thread the needle and make this work? I’d agree it’s higher than 0%, but I wouldn’t guess 50%. Maybe 20%ish?

I think the success or failure of the inflation strategy depends on things the PTB can’t control - stability of the ME/oil producing nations, the pace of change in automation vs labor, the aging and middle-classing of China, etc.

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Comment by rms
2013-02-05 08:23:17

“…the aging and middle-classing of China…”

FWIW I can’t wait that long. :)

Comment by Albuquerquedan
2013-02-05 08:46:11

The aging is going to happen. Whether they will continue to increase average wages to what we consider middle class is in doubt. Numerous countries have rapid expanding economies until they hit a wall where they can no longer dominate industries such as textiles. With China running out of cheap energy (domestic coal), no longer having cheap wages and running into expensive environmental problems with air and water, you may be waiting for Godot.

Comment by Blue Skye
2013-02-05 10:44:02

Inflation and leverage…..

That is what got us to where we are now. Is that going to be the fix? It is either going to end soon or continue to make things worse until it ends later. Leverage is not your friend when the fat kid gets off the teeter totter.

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Comment by Northeastener
2013-02-05 12:48:55

Is that going to be the fix?

Define fix. If you mean a way for the bankers to end up owning real estate that was previously the domain of the middle class, then yes, we are well on the way to a fix.

Comment by hazard
2013-02-05 05:37:11

Posted: 6:03 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2013

Post exclusive Foreclosure mess

Non-profit offers hope for abandoned homes

Nonprofit stepping in to relieve owners, bank, neighbors

By Kimberly Miller

Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

At the end, nobody, not even the thieves, wanted the little concrete block home on Tortuga Drive in suburban West Palm Beach.

Its copper pipes had been ripped from the walls, leaving jagged gashes like knife wounds in the drywall. What remained of the electrical wiring, also harvested for the copper, hung from holes punched in the ceiling. The air conditioner and pool pump were long gone. Weeds grew chest high in the yard.

The Gramercy Park house, where Ronald and Paula Sills lived for nearly 30 years, had plunged through the cracks of Florida’s foreclosure process and America’s wrecked mortgage system.

Both the owners and bank had walked away.

“No one wants the liability,” said Gail Vorpagel, a senior code enforcement officer for Palm Beach County. “This type of situation, it’s becoming more prevalent.”

Sometimes people die, leaving homes so upside down in their mortgage that heirs turn up their noses. Sometimes the homes are so looted during Florida’s lengthy foreclosure process, the banks don’t want them. Sometimes homes get lost in the tangle of bank failures and mortgage transfers.

The outcome is usually the same — castoff homes with mounting code enforcement and municipal liens deteriorating in neighborhoods trying to make a comeback.

But Vorpagel is working with a new nonprofit group trying to stem the damage done by decaying houses.

Called Neighborhood Champions, the group researches the ownership and mortgage trail of the abandoned homes, attempts to obtain the deed, pay back taxes and liens, and get the lender to extinguish the mortgage. After fixing up the homes, Neighborhood Champions plans to sell, rent or donate them.

The Sills’ home is the first the group has tackled.

“We have banks that have been sold so many times that they don’t even know what inventory they have,” Griffith said. “The problem is so big there are homes that just get forgotten.”

Vorpagel thought the Sills’ were dead after she did some investigating and couldn’t track them down. Griffith found them in Kentucky, where they had moved to be closer to their son.

Paula Sills, 62, said she and her husband were pursued relentlessly in 2007 to refinance their home through lender Beneficial Florida. Ronald, 66, had recently suffered a heart attack and hospital bills were mounting.

“He did this whole high-talking thing and kept calling me at work and at home,” Paula said about the bank representative. “He finally managed to talk us into this.”

They took out a $163,486 mortgage.

“We were soon up to our necks with something we couldn’t begin to pay,” she said.

In the fall of 2008, Beneficial Florida filed for foreclosure. It was the early days of the housing crisis, before the courts became overwhelmed. The case moved swiftly. By July 2009, the bank won a foreclosure judgment for $180,347 against the Sills’. A foreclosure auction was scheduled for Aug. 10, 2009.

But for reasons not revealed in court filings, the bank canceled the auction, voided the foreclosure and released the Sillses from the mortgage.

Paula Sills, who had already moved to Kentucky at that point, said the bank didn’t want the home because it had been damaged by looters and had plummeted in value. Griffith said there are many reasons lenders abandon a foreclosure action. They may realize they don’t have the correct paperwork or that taking the home back is too costly.

Comment by Bad Andy
2013-02-05 08:28:11

So why not advertise this fact. I’d take a gutted home almost regardless of neighborhood, fix it, and sell it or rent it. Free would sell in all but the very worst of this county.

Comment by oxide
2013-02-05 09:06:08

Actually it sounds like this is open to anybody. If you find a trashed house you like, I guess you can research the paper trail and approach the bank or tax lienholders to acquire the house. The money goes into the research time, i guess.

Comment by zee_in_phx
2013-02-05 09:08:06

well, free isn’t exactly free. depends on what the land is worth, and if its more than the cost to demolish the house, and covers the carrying cost of taxes/insurance than it may work, but sometimes no one even wants the land depending on what’s around it. But if you have a concerted effort to uplift the neighborhood, i.e getting the city involved than it may work, but than you are looking at the whole area and need deeper pockets.

Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-02-05 09:18:41

“depends on what the land is worth”

Not much.

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Comment by ecofeco
2013-02-05 09:32:27

“The outcome is usually the same — castoff homes with mounting code enforcement and municipal liens deteriorating in neighborhoods trying to make a comeback.”

Saw this during the S&L disaster. Saw lots of buildings eventually demo’d. Many that needed to be.

If there is one thing I’ve seen in common all over this nation, it’s that maintenance is rarely done on buildings over X number of years. (x=depends on region)

Comment by Hi-Z
2013-02-06 07:43:54

“He did this whole high-talking thing and kept calling me at work and at home,” Paula said about the bank representative. “He finally managed to talk us into this.”

Oh the horror of it all! So many victims!

Comment by Prime_Is_Contained
2013-02-06 12:47:28

Oh the horror of it all! So many victims!

I thought that quote was awesome as well.

Like lambs to the slaughter…

Comment by hazard
2013-02-05 05:45:18

Mi bruk dis week

I’m broke this week

Posted: 7:38 a.m. Monday, Feb. 4, 2013

The VW ad is racist? This Jamaican says, “Kiss mi neck!”

By Carol Rose

Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

When my husband sent me an email last week about the Volkswagen Super Bowl ad, the message line said “VW Yard Style.”

“Yard” is another name for my native Jamaica, and I immediately knew this was something I’d like. I loved it! The ad was laugh-out funny. Everyone in my family loved it, including my American children, as do all other Jamaicans I know.

But online, some commenters are claiming it’s racist because it features a white guy from Minnesota cheering up his dreary office colleagues with a Jamaican accent. And all Jamaicans are black, right? Wha dat?

http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/entertainment/television/the-vw-ad-is-racist-this-jamaican-says-kiss-me-nec/nWC2M/ - 87k -

Comment by Spook
2013-02-05 10:07:35

I thought it was hillarious, and so did all my Jamaican friends.

“no need tu be ah bumpah clot mon”

Comment by hazard
2013-02-05 11:14:49

Nuff respect

Comment by ahansen
2013-02-05 23:57:37

Not only was it NOT mean-sprited, that was the whole point of the ad. It’s a German car… get it? Germans are supposedly uptight white guys? What would be a fun follow up would be to put a black Jamaican dude into a stereotypically white-bread Alpine setting, like oh, say, bobsledding….

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-05 05:51:17

Why do gloomsters come out of the woodwork every time the stock market seems to have finally come out of the doldrums?

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-05 05:53:02

I keep reading articles talking about a “market top.” Don’t those normally happen around mid-October?

October: This is one of the particularly dangerous months to invest in stocks. Other dangerous months are July, January, September, April, November, May, March, June, December, August and February.

- Mark Twain

Comment by oxide
2013-02-05 07:49:27

I thought it was “sell in May and walk away.” September and October crashes are too dicey to time.

Comment by Montana
2013-02-05 11:16:50

Ooh, sounds like he got burned a few times.

Comment by oxide
2013-02-05 12:44:15

I don’t know if Clemens played the market at large, but he got hosed when he invested in a prototype typesetting machine which never really got off the ground. Much of the cynicism in A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court was attributed to his business failures at the time he was writing it.

At one point Clemens was so in debt that he had to hoof on a lecture tour in Europe to make the money to pay his debts. He did it too.

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Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-05 06:00:05

For those of you not versed in Russian, privet (”privyet”) is an all-purpose personal greeting (not tied to a time of day) — somewhat akin to zdravstvuityeh, though far easier on the tongue.

7 gut checks before the stock market’s opening bell
February 5, 2013, 7:36 AM
By Shawn Langlois

Privet, Mr. Blankfein

Good morning.

What Friday giveth, Monday taketh away. After the worst day of the year for stocks, there seems to be some cracks in the bullish veneer as calls for a market top, including the one detailed below, are getting louder.

Maybe this whole “great rotation” thing is a big misunderstanding.

After all, despite yesterday’s big drop, stocks are still overbought and have “a long way to fall before even sniffing oversold levels,” according to Bespoke Investment Group.

Of course, predicting disaster is a great business, so you can expect more and more doom and gloom to pile up should the slide continue. But it doesn’t look like it will. At least not today. The retrenchment back toward 13,000 on the Dow might have to wait.

Comment by palmetto
2013-02-05 06:12:15


Thanks. I thought it was a hedge, the plant kind, not the financial kind. As in “privet hedge”.

Comment by azdude
2013-02-05 08:04:47

there are privet trees around this area. Fast growers and spread like weeds.

Seems like people who have a lot of money are well connected to the inside information surrounding the FED and companies.
By the time any information hits the retail investor the big boys have already traded on it. If you are buying common stocks you are taking huge risks. The smart money doesnt want you to have any money.

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Comment by joe smith
2013-02-05 08:32:58

Privet is invasive. There are good reasons not to use them as hedges if you are in exurban or rural areas. However, in the city it’s not like privets will randomly start to colonize whole areas… unless we’re talking about Detroit (in which case they’ll probably be burned down by arsonists anyway).

I use privets for hedges at my house and some of my parents’ (urban) rentals because they are extremely durable for the same reason they’re invasive. They’re not bothered by heat, by cold, by salt (thus great for front hedges near sidewalks/streets), by draught, or by pollution. They grow quickly enough that any storm/wind damage is quickly patched up.

Anyway, enough about privet… it has its uses.

Comment by ecofeco
2013-02-05 09:33:33

“Why do gloomsters come out of the woodwork every time the stock market seems to have finally come out of the doldrums?”

“Pump-n-dump” for shorts.

Comment by Neuromance
2013-02-05 09:58:40

Why do gloomsters come out of the woodwork every time the stock market seems to have finally come out of the doldrums?

The only way anyone makes money in the stock market is to convert their stock into currency (sell it).

Comment by palmetto
2013-02-05 06:10:24

I guess that’s the “change” in the “Hope and Change” meme. Impeach the SOB. Just. Impeach. Him.

“The paper states that the U.S. would be able to kill a U.S. citizen overseas when “an informed, high-level official of the U.S. government” determines the target is an imminent threat, when capture would be infeasible and when the operation is “conducted consistent with applicable law of war principles.”


Comment by goon squad
2013-02-05 06:47:13

Expect nothing less from our Nobel Peace Prize president :)


Comment by hazard
2013-02-05 07:01:12

Mi caan stan fi wait pon di bus.

Comment by palmetto
2013-02-05 07:15:34

“Expect nothing less from our Nobel Peace Prize president”

And the best people can do is stare at such an article with dull, bleary eyes and shrug. Not even so much as a call to a Senator or Representative, or a discussion with a friend, let alone a protest.

I was talking to an “acquaintance” (someone I know, but don’t have enough regard for to consider a buddy) the other day regarding the shamnasty. His response? “Uh, the people I feel sorry for in this are the young folks. I’ll be gone when it all comes down”.


No, I didn’t say that, but that’s how I felt. He has children. You’d think he’d be concerned about it. I don’t have kids, but I do have nieces and a nephew that I care about. This dick and the millions like him is why we’re in the shape we’re in.

Yeah, I get that people are stuck in their woes. Many people have horrific aspects to their lives we never get to see, and they put a good face on it. They’re just trying to survive. I get all that. But, dammit, make a phone call, express some outrage at least, talk to friends, etc. There’s plenty that you can do without being some martyr hero or heroine.

Comment by goon squad
2013-02-05 07:35:35

make a phone call, express some outrage

The last time we did that was when the TARP bailout vote was on the floor of the House. Our only protest beyond that was to close accounts and stop doing business with TARP banks. And oh yeah, we did donate $100 to Ron Paul in 2007 (the December 16 “Tea Party” money bomb, before the Tea Party got astroturfed and Kochnitized).

Since then, we just give up. We don’t give a sh*t about making the world a better place for your kids. To quote Jim Morrison, “I just wanna get my kicks before the whole sh*thouse goes up in flames”

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Comment by palmetto
2013-02-05 09:21:22

So, you at least did something, goon. Here’s the deal: you have to keep doing it. It’s frustrating, but it’s pretty much “pound that rock” and all that. Eventually the rock gives up. It really does.

And there are other things that can be done as well, on a personal level. You are probable more effective than you think, because the gig is rigged to make you feel hopeless, ineffective and that all is lost. And it’s especially designed to make you feel that way, just when you’re being most effective.

Even posting here, makes people think.

Sure, you’re a cynic. Like me. And you know what that means. You’re a closet idealist. Don’t lose your ideals. You’re intelligent and funny and all that. You do have an impact on people, you just don’t get to see it most times.

Comment by Montana
2013-02-05 10:18:14

Huh, Congress did get the message on shamnesty the last two times. I was pretty proud of that effort.

Comment by ahansen
2013-02-06 00:24:04

What do you propose we do about American citizens on foreign soil who are actively plotting to nuke American citizens on American soil?

Serious question, palmy.

Comment by joe smith
2013-02-05 07:35:51

Impeach him so we can end up with someone even worse?

America gets the government it deserves.

Back when America was a largely white and middle class nation, for some reason it started electing politicians who were spineless and *eager* to serve corporate masters. This led to very, very bad policies that have played out just as badly as you’d expect. Open borders, union busting, permissive accounting, gutted financial regs, tax breaks for the .1%, etc. All for the benefit of the .1%, who curiously can now fund candidates with near complete secrecy thanks to Super PACs.

Look at the GOP the last 2 times out. They didn’t learn from W, they gave us two more born-on-third-base 0.001%ers with demonstrably stupid social and foreign policy views and a skewed view of how to fix the U.S. economy. Corporations are people too, y’know? (Not to mention, the GOP zealously screwed over any outside voices such as Ron Paul. The broke the rules of their own convention to do so, demonstrating a deep-seated hate for their own constituency.) The GOP brand is ruined for anyone under 40. Obama not perfect? Oh well, he’s demonstrably better than McCain and Romney because at least he isn’t going to appoint pro-Citizens United judges or legislate against abortion, gay marriage, etc. It’s a small consolation prize, but at least it’s something better than the complete garbage candidates the GOP nominated.

The Baby Boomers have just been a godawful generation, easily the worst in U.S. history, which is saying a lot because there were slaves in the South for several generations of our nation. The Baby Boomers enslaved 300 million of us with greed, obtuse vapidity, and stupidity, so I think that is an even more impressive (heinous) accomplishment.

Comment by goon squad
2013-02-05 07:50:57

America gets the government it deserves

It’s gonna get worse, and then it’s gonna get more worse :)

You’ll see.

Comment by Avocado
2013-02-05 17:05:57

Obama is a genius, surronded by bough and paid for puppets of big business.

We are lucky he stands up to them,…sometimes.

Bush spent all the money and cut all the revenue….now we deal with the pain.

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Comment by MiddleCoaster
2013-02-05 12:58:11

Ahem. As a Baby Boomer, I must call you out on your vast, and vastly exaggerated, rant against the largest generation in U.S. history. This country was already on its way into the crapper when I entered high school in 1970. There are millions of Boomers doing good works and not expending their energy making the U.S.’s problems worse. Because our generation is so populous, there are bound to be more really bad and destructive and greedy people than in previous generations. But to state that we are collectively THE problem is just ridiculous. Reagan, Cheney, Rumsfeld, etc etc etc are not Baby Boomers. Neither are the Koch brothers, Richard Mellon Scaife, George Soros and a helluva lot of other finance types. The oldest Boomers are now about 66 years old. Sheesh.

Comment by goon squad
2013-02-05 13:04:54

Why can’t you stop making excuses and just admit you’re still bitter about not getting into Onwentsia? And maybe ask Joe Smith about that, if anybody on HBB knows somebody who knows somebody that could get you into Onwentsia, it’s probably him.

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Comment by MiddleCoaster
2013-02-06 09:56:14

You’re probably right about that. ;)

Comment by ahansen
2013-02-06 00:39:16

Thank you, MiddleCoaster. It’s easy to forget that a good portion of the Boomer population has been adamantly (and vocally) opposed to the policies foisted upon us by the PTB for the last forty-five years or so.

And not a few of us have put our arses (and our fortunes) on the line time and time (and time and time) again to try to effect a more equitable society over those forty-five years. It’s not as if we were handed an utopia by “The Greatest” who sold US out, so knock it off with the generation-bashing, joe brat. We’ve been at it longer than you have…. ;-)

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Comment by Albuquerquedan
2013-02-05 08:01:22

Now, I know why Obama did not pick Hillary as VP if you are using criteria that vague. It would have crimped Obama’s overseas travel plans.

Just look at who is invited to the immigration debate. You can be sure that GS supports open borders. It all ties together, on the big issues of globalization, Obama is no different than either Bush:

Comment by goon squad
2013-02-05 08:25:37

Yup. We posted the same article. The third-worldization of neighborhoods doesn’t affect the 0.1%, they are immune. See also the daily stream of cars down Colorado Route 82 from the trailer parks of Carbondale as the Sons of Aztlan commute to service the needs of the pigmen in Aspen.

Comment by In Colorado
2013-02-05 08:57:10
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Comment by In Colorado
2013-02-05 10:06:50

Actually, I prefer Professor Pyg to the Pigmen. He’s far less harmful (plus he has Batman to deal with)

Comment by oxide
2013-02-05 08:52:51

Did anyone read this actual document? And remember, this document is not final policy.


The white paper is WAY out of my league, but I was able to fumble through it. We need the lawyerly types to peruse it.

Comment by ecofeco
2013-02-05 09:35:44

I’m not sure what’s new about all this. The CIA has been able to this since WWII.

Comment by Housing Analyst
Comment by joe smith
2013-02-05 07:24:18

Queens… pwned.

Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-02-05 07:25:45

And as it spreads every wider, prices fall ever lower.

Comment by aNYCdj
2013-02-05 07:30:19

When will that 65% collapse happen? I wanna buy in queens…..lalalalala

Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-02-05 07:33:31

It’s well on its’ way.

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Comment by Avocado
2013-02-05 17:08:29

too many people with cash, 65% will never happen. 15% down, maybe.

But I dont live in Detroit, were it could drop 97%, I still wont move.

Comment by Pimp Watch
2013-02-05 17:30:01

65% is on the conservative side for CA. It would still be overpriced after a 65% decline.

Comment by joe smith
2013-02-05 08:13:38

It will affect different areas of Queens differently. I’m willing to bet that prices will craaaaater (TM) far more in the dicey areas than in Astoria, Jamaica Estates, Douglaston, etc. Not that prices won’t sag across the board, just that the *biggest* declines will be in all the marginal areas that gentrified and became drastically overpriced in 90s and 00s. A lot of people in Douglaston probably own their house outright. To the extent ethnic neighborhoods like Astoria (Greek) still retain their character, I wouldn’t expect the craters to be as deep.

TL;DR version: Have fun buying a place in some cr*phole like Long Island City or Jackson Heights… since you love ebonics, I’m sure you’ll love it when you can buy there. But they’ll probably want you to have a J-O-B to approve the mortgage, so you might want to get started on that.

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Comment by aNYCdj
2013-02-05 11:35:03

Its obvious JOE you’ve never been to Long island City recently….or Jackson Ave….good luck finding anything cheap today.

Even Queens plaza is being upscaled…new 20 story building NYC dept of mental health has rented almost the whole building and building #2 is going up…..you should see Court square around the Citibank building….luxury condoze

Now if you are talking the projects north of the 59th st bridge that’s still a crime ridden area…but not for long….

Even Sunnyside has few apartments since the big houses are still rent stabilized.

Comment by sfhomowner
2013-02-05 12:52:15

Yawn. Wake me up when a decent 2 BR in Manhattan sells for less than half a million.

In the meanwhile: http://observer.com/2012/09/brooklyn-is-the-second-most-expensive-place-to-live-in-the-u-s/

I wouldn’t live in Long Island City, but have friends who do, and apparently it’s getting gentrified might quick.

The weird thing about gentrification is that it happens slowly slowly and then BOOM one day you wake up and there are artisanal bakeries and shi shi cafes and clothing stores that have only 5 things for sale.

Comment by joe smith
2013-02-05 12:59:23

Long-standing areas might see prices drop, but I think the biggest craters will be in the NEWLY built areas that were built during the boom years.

With all these foreclosures coming, do you think LI City will be a little more susceptible than, say, Jamaica Estates? I do.

Comment by aNYCdj
2013-02-05 07:23:35

Updated: February 4, 2013
ALTOONA, BLAIR COUNTY - Another popular chain restaurant in the Altoona area has closed.

The doors to the Altoona Hooters were locked on Monday one day after a large crowd gathered there to watch the Superbowl. Management was unavailable for comment on the sudden closing.

Because the chain restaurant was generally open for lunch, some local customers were stopping by only to find out that the restaurant had shut down. The sudden closing came as a big surprise to both employees and regular customers.

Employees were notified by e-mail on Monday that the restaurant had closed its doors permanently. A mass text message from the management notified some employees that they no longer had jobs.

This closing follows the recent shutdown of other restaurants in the region. Included on that list are La Scalla’s near Bellmead, the U.S. Hotel in Hollidaysburg , and the Pizza Factory in Lakemont. The head of the Blair Chambers of Commerce says the restaurant closings may be due to competition from new restaurants opening in the area. Other factors leading to the closings could be the economy or the trend of more people eating at home.

According a posting on-line a number of the employees and loyal customers of the Altoona Hooters will be gathering out side of the restaurant on Monday evening to show the public how unhappy they are with the sudden closing.

Comment by joe smith
2013-02-05 08:27:31


“Employees were notified by e-mail on Monday that the restaurant had closed its doors permanently. A mass text message from the management notified some employees that they no longer had jobs.”

Another thought:

PA, outside of Philly and its burbs, is dying. I grew up in PA (Main Line outside of Philly) and it was well known at the time that the only state with older demographics than PA is Florida. I’m not sure why PA has so many aging-in-place old people, but it does. And most of the small towns you’d see driving out to Pittsburgh or State College were dying off. Anyone with ambition and an education left after H.S. Most of the rest left eventually for jobs.

The only reason there was any significant economic activity in central PA for a while was Congressman Murtha who was a notorious pork barrel king. He’d load up random spending bills with lots of projects for contractors in his district.

The death of central and western PA does make it attractive as an “Oil City lifestyle” possibility.

Comment by Arizona Slim
2013-02-05 08:33:23

PA, outside of Philly and its burbs, is dying. I grew up in PA (Main Line outside of Philly) and it was well known at the time that the only state with older demographics than PA is Florida. I’m not sure why PA has so many aging-in-place old people, but it does. And most of the small towns you’d see driving out to Pittsburgh or State College were dying off. Anyone with ambition and an education left after H.S. Most of the rest left eventually for jobs.

Count me as one of those kids with ambition and an education who left PA. Not to mention the fact that, when I came of age in the late 1970s to mid 1980s, the PA economy stunk to high heaven. That’s why I’m in Arizona. The job market was a lot better here in the 1980s.

These days, the job market stinks everywhere. Including AZ.

Comment by Arizona Slim
2013-02-05 08:31:22

I’ve never patronized Hooters. But I’ve heard that the waitresses were the main attraction, not the food.

As for the people eating more meals at home, I plead guilty to that charge. Back when my business was doing better than it is now, I would eat out at least once a week. Not these days. Going out is an event.

However, I’m not weeping crocodile tears over the lower going-out frequency. When I was growing up, my family seldom ate out. We’re talking like once or twice a year, and that was it. And we weren’t the only family in the neighborhood that had such a policy.

More recently, I’ve been making quite the effort to become a better cook. And you know what? It’s a lot of fun! Much more fun than going out to a restaurant for mediocre food and indifferent service.

Comment by Spook
2013-02-05 10:18:33

My number 1 complaint of restaurants is they are often TOO LOUD.

Comment by In Colorado
2013-02-05 10:34:03


They’re expensive
The food is unhealthy (especially at the chains)
The food is boring

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Comment by mattR
2013-02-07 12:56:28

Mine is that there is now at least one TV, if not a whole wall of them, at even “nice” restaurants.

Hey, I’d like to eat and have a conversation without 10 sports channels and CNN on in the background, thanks.

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Comment by mathguy
2013-02-05 14:12:47

My wife and I just found an AMAZING place to go here in San Diego, for all you San Diego HBBers. I almost don’t want to share it, in hopes that it stays small, reasonably priced, and available without reservations with a minimal wait. The secret location however is named Pomegranite. They serve Russian cuisine(Georgian) including borsch, and suchlevakia (or something like that), with most dishes having some kind of pomegranite seed influence included. We had the pomegranite braised chicken breast as on of our family style entrees over the weekend. I can honestly say it was either the best or one of the best chicken dishes I have ever had. Each full entree is around $15 . We also had the stewed leg of lamb.. unbelievable.. We were too full to have it last time, but the time before we finished the dinner off with an ice cream topped with habanero chocolate sauce… omg.. really. The waitresses would stop by literally every 3 minutes on rotation to refill water glasses and check on us. At the end of the (our)evening, in celebration of one of the groups in the restaurant that had a birthday, the wait staff handed out free shots of vodka. Literally about 60 shots of vodka to all the patrons that were there. I HAPPILY left a 20% tip. The walls were covered in short notes from previous patrons, and at the end of our meal the waitress handed my wife and her parents some markers and invited them to add a message to the wall. My father in law graced the wall with an arabic inscription that basically said “Mathguy and family were here, great food”.

2 days later my wife was feeling tired and suggested we hit outback steakhouse for an easy meal. They had “free bloomin onion day”. $20+ per entree. Slow service, they brought us 1 piece of bread, onion was greasy, overcooked with bad oil, food was brought out lukewarm. They served my unseasoned steak on a (cold) 14″ plate by itself (12 oz sirloin), didn’t clear the dishes from the table, refilled our water 1 time after we asked. I grudgingly left 10% instead of 8% after my wife prodded me not to be stingy. The only item I liked was the blue cheese pecan salad.

I’ll just say that Pomegranite will be getting my business instead of outback, and I can’t recommend them enough.. intersection of Texas st and el cajon blvd..

Comment by Arizona Slim
2013-02-05 15:19:19

Thanks for the info! I have a friend who’s now living in SD. I’ll pass the recommendation on to her.

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Comment by Albuquerquedan
2013-02-05 15:53:36

I actually have Russian friends in San Diego. I will pass it on to them, in case they are unaware of the place. Thanks.

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Comment by Avocado
2013-02-05 17:13:49

How can you even consider Russian food, with all that Delicious Mexican food every where??

Sure steamed cabbage and potatoes can be good….but….

Outback - only get a cheeseburger there!! That bloom’n onion thing is nasty! Mine was free, and I wanted my money back.

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-05 23:28:04

“They serve Russian cuisine(Georgian) including borsch, and suchlevakia (or something like that), with most dishes having some kind of pomegranite seed influence included. We had the pomegranite braised chicken breast as on of our family style entrees over the weekend.”

Ochen horror show. Spacebo!

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Comment by In Colorado
2013-02-05 09:12:51

Our local Hooters is right next door to the Harley dealership on I-25. I doubt either is doing well these days.

Comment by Arizona Slim
2013-02-05 09:15:10

A few blocks away from the Arizona Slim Ranch is a huge vacant lot. It used to be home to Harley Davidson of Tucson. Which is now somewhere along I-10.

Not sure how well it’s doing, but it was a lousy neighbor when it was here. Too many loud parties for this area’s taste.

Comment by palmetto
2013-02-05 09:26:40

Bwahahahaha, that’s what I call “synergy”!

Comment by In Colorado
2013-02-05 09:31:50

That was my thought as well. Never been to either one, so for all I know they’re packed with fat, middle aged guys.

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Comment by Montana
2013-02-05 10:23:19

Worse - boomer graybeards.

Comment by ecofeco
2013-02-05 10:09:55

Remember Hooters Airlines?

My how the mighty have fallen. Literally.

Comment by nickpapageorgio
2013-02-05 12:41:23

They still have a Hooters Casino in Las Vegas, used to be the Old San Remo.

Comment by ecofeco
2013-02-05 15:38:10

Did not know that.

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Comment by ahansen
2013-02-06 00:59:44

LOL, eco. (,)(,)

Comment by goon squad
2013-02-05 07:42:13

Just to prove that South Florida doesn’t have a monopoly on all the good crime

Denver Post - Denver police looking for armed robber who may be a pre-teen:

“Police in Denver are seeking the public’s help in identifying an armed robber who may be as young as 12, according to a Crime Stoppers media release.

At about 4 p.m. on Jan. 26 an armed robber, between the ages of 12 and 15, tried to stick up The Treasured Scarab at 25 E. Dakota Ave, according to Crime Stoppers.

The armed robber is described as a Hispanic male, about 5-feet 2-inches tall with a heavy build. He attempted to rob a cashier at gunpoint, police said.”


Comment by oxide
2013-02-05 09:17:17

I gotta wonder about these would-be criminals. The Treasured Scarab is a run-down shack on Antique Row which sells Victorian — 1960’s jewelry. What is there to rob? Maybe the kid was a fan of Antiques Roadshow?

Comment by palmetto
2013-02-05 10:05:45

ha-ha, yes! I can answer this, being in the “stuff” business in Florida, which is and has been a destination some of the most violent and vilest foreign nationals from south of the border for decades.

A lot of the folks in the “stuff” business in Florida tend to be older, mom and pop types who do the antique and collectible show circuit, for example. They are vulnerable, but in recent years have caught wise to what goes on. It is not unusual, if you set up at a show in South Florida, for example, to hear management make an announcement about a gang or highwaymen casing a show, and to be careful on the way home. They select their prey, and wait until the end of the show as mom and pop pack up their unsold goods in the van, and they will follow this couple, hoping for them to turn onto one of the less travelled routes back home. And they’ll stick ‘em up, if they can. BANG! Little tap on the back bumper. Generally, they were thought to be from Colombia. Usually they’re looking for gold, silver, jewelry, anything that could be easily fenced, melted down, shipped back home, etc. This started back in the 1980s, in fact.

Now, we have the Mexicans and Central Americans getting into the act. They don’t do the shows, that territory belongs to another group. But they WILL case the antique and collectible malls and shops. Most of the time they just shoplift and they’ll usually just give up if some clerk or dealer follows them around with a big smile and offer of help, even better if you start showing them stuff. This is a little more aggressive.

It’s a shame, too, because there are those non-criminal Mexicans and Central Americans who are genuinely interested in pre-Columbian pottery, South American and Mexican art and jewelry, religious figures etc., who will go to these venues with a real intention to buy. Sometimes the shop personnel will freeze up when they walk in.

Comment by ecofeco
2013-02-05 10:13:46

Hearing almost the exact same M.O. from some of my retail store friends.

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Comment by Montana
2013-02-05 10:26:09

Is this why the big box store clerks ask if you’re “findin’ everything okay?” the moment you walk in the door?

Comment by ecofeco
2013-02-05 12:23:39

Exactly Montana. It lets the crooks know they’ve been noticed.

Retail security 101. Any salesperson who isn’t doing it is failing at their job in more ways than one.

Comment by polly
2013-02-05 15:37:06

You don’t really understand how horrible that is until you’ve had the help stand in between you and the stuff you are trying to look at. Happened to me in NYC once. It was just a tourist trap t-shirt/etc. place a bit south of Times Square. I saw a shirt that I thought would be a funny gag gift for a relative and went inside. Well, it was late and they decided that I was there to steal something. Guy got out from behind the counter and stood almost exactly between me and the shirts I wanted to look at. I shifted a bit to get around him and he moved to block me. Happened several more times until I blew up at him and the other guy in the store. I don’t think I have ever been that angry in my life, and if the next day hadn’t been Sunday, I would have had to call in to work sick, that is how bad the withdrawal from the adrenaline and cortisol made me feel.

Exactly how people who are regularly subject to that sort of behavior because of their race get through life without have regular public melt downs is beyond my comprehension.

Comment by ecofeco
2013-02-05 15:46:05

While not a minority myself, I do run into plenty of racism against me at various retail places staffed by minorities. Nothing overt, just petty little crap that makes me realize they will never have a better job.

If I have time, I just leave.

But seriously, shoplifting is a HUGE problem for ALL retail stores. Even employees are a problem.

Comment by Prime_Is_Contained
2013-02-05 19:55:24

Well, it was late and they decided that I was there to steal something.

polly, it’s clear that they really really didn’t want to sell you a shirt.

Two other possible explanations jump to mind, though:

- it was late, and they may have been trying to close up; maybe they already ran the register totals.

- they never want to sell shirts, because their real business is money laundering.

Comment by polly
2013-02-05 20:29:36

You don’t pay rent for a store right on Broadway if you don’t intend to sell stuff. And they weren’t in the process of closing up. I checked for that on my way in.

They just saw a youngish person in a raincoat and a slouchy bag and decided I was up to no good. Like I said, you can’t imagine the fury when you are essentially accused of stealing for no other reason than your physical appearance.

Comment by Spook
2013-02-05 10:23:09

My alltime favorite are the criminals who hold up donut/coffee shops and get popped by the cops who just happen to show up as its in progress.

2nd best is criminals who hold up Dollar stores.

Comment by eight pieces of chicken
2013-02-05 11:47:45

Robbing a dollar store can be very handy if strip club is your next destination.

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Comment by Neuromance
2013-02-05 12:44:43

Not terribly surprising. A fascinating book, “Monster” by Kody Scott aka Sanyika Shakur details his rise through the LA gang world. He killed his first man at 12, and earned his nickname by disfiguring a robbery victim at 13. That act led a TV commentator to say that “Only a monster could have done this.” Scott was pretty stoked by that description and the nickname stuck. Scott was a neighbor of Stanley “Tookie” Williams, a well known gang leader who was ultimately executed for some of his murders:


Also, Scott was associated with Tupac Shakur, Suge Knight and Orlando Anderson. While the Tupac murder remains officially unsolved, Scott names Anderson as the shooter. Anderson is deceased as a result of a separate attack.

Comment by rms
2013-02-05 07:46:07

It seems like Google Maps and the MLS was just too much information for the general public to carry around. A neighborhood’s crime history, demographic distribution, financial snapshot, etc., would be easy information to gather and sort. Too bad. Knowing more about where one might enter into their largest financial commitment would be a good idea in a fair and just society.

Comment by ecofeco
2013-02-05 10:17:41

Crime maps are still available by just googling the city you want to research.

But they are done independently now.

Tax records still available as well from the same place as always: the local tax assessor’s office.

What is “too much” is people doing their own research. You can’t fix stupid.

Comment by sfhomowner
Comment by ecofeco
2013-02-05 15:40:07

Good find!

Comment by ahansen
2013-02-06 01:12:21

A theft was reported 4.6.12 about nine miles from here….

Comment by Prime_Is_Contained
2013-02-06 13:38:46

LOL. That’s pretty awesome.

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Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-05 07:58:03

The bubble is roaring back to life!

Market Pulse Archives
Feb. 5, 2013, 8:30 a.m. EST
Year-on-year house price gain hits six-year high
By Steve Goldstein

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — U.S. home prices grew 0.4% in December to stretch the year-on-year gain to 8.3%, the strongest advance since May 2006, CoreLogic said Tuesday. CoreLogic said 46 of 50 states registered gains for the year. Arizona has the strong year-on-year appreciation at 20.2%, though prices are down 39.8% from the peak. Nationally, prices are down 26.9% from the April 2006 peak. CoreLogic’s pending index forecasts a 1% monthly drop in January, reflecting a seasonal winter slowdown.

Comment by Pimp Watch
2013-02-05 08:14:59

Yet housing demand is at 1997 levels…. and falling.

I’m going to ask 40k for my 1997 Honda Civic. Anyone interested?

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-05 10:19:56


Reminds me of the sad tale of my broke neighbors, the ones who hold a garage sale about once a month to raise cash.

They sold their nice late-1990s model Toyota Camry yesterday. My wife helped them advertise it online, and she neglected to ask my advice about how to price it. So the car sold for $2000 in one day.

A quick glance at the Kelley Blue Book online suggests they lost over $1000 by not asking me.

Comment by Avocado
2013-02-05 10:33:30

inventory is low, and prices are going up. yes, it is being manipulated. But it is what it is. In CA on the coast, multiple offers the first week for the low end. Fact.

ya cant stop it. banks win.

Comment by Pimp Watch
2013-02-05 12:56:09

Sales are at 1997 levels, prices are falling. Yes, this is truth. But it ’s fact. In CA on the coast, the price declines are going to be magnificent. Fact.

Look out below. Buyers lose.

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Comment by Avocado
2013-02-05 17:18:08

Sales on homes under $300k are not falling on the CA coast. call any realturd.

ignorance is bliss…. or in your case frustration.

2011 buyers are doing OK.

I am a renter, but it it Bubble 2.0 here on the beautiful central coast. no one moves here for the jobs, maybe that is why.

Comment by Prime_Is_Contained
2013-02-05 19:58:53

are at 1997 levels, prices are falling.

Yes, sales are at 1997 levels, but prices apparently are going up, amazingly enough, at least according to the best-available data (CS, CoreLogic, etc).

Comment by Pimp Watch
2013-02-05 20:04:12

Not according to CS. CS posted back to back month to month declines in Oct and Nov.

Comment by Arizona Slim
2013-02-05 08:34:23

Yup, that bubble is indeed roaring back to life. NPR was just crowing about it.

Comment by ecofeco
2013-02-05 10:26:01

As I’ve said, the S&L disaster lasted about 6 years.

HOWEVER, this does NOT mean this latest mess is over. We really won’t know until next year.

Comment by goon squad
2013-02-05 07:59:21

Who will win the race to the bottom? (obviously the 0.1% will, they always do)

Wall Street Journal - Party Eyes ‘Red-State Model’ to Drive Republican Revival


Comment by joe smith
2013-02-05 08:16:50

A lot of the practices that are part of the red state model can’t work when all your neighboring states are doing them. What you end up with is *every* state giving tax breaks to corporations promising to “create jobs”. Then the jobs never appear or only appear long enough to meet the conditions of the tax break. (Yet, of course, the tax break amounts are predicated on the jobs being permanent, good jobs.)

Maryland is a blue state but already does a lot of these things, fighting with Virginia over defense contractor jobs. The numbers show that the state that “wins” the job usually loses money and, of course, the difference is made up by other taxes/fees or else just financed via bonds.

People getting hosed by “People” (Remember, corporations are people too!)

Comment by goon squad
2013-02-05 08:32:27

The “winner” will be the state with the greatest number of part-time, no-benefit, minimum wage jobs.

Comment by X-GSfixr
2013-02-05 09:41:58

Our local idiot, Sam Brownback, decided to cut income taxes for everyone.

Boom! $800 million dollar hole in the budget. Budgets have been cut since he came into office, so they need to generate more revenue.

His proposal to fix this?

-Cancel a sales tax cut
(Kansas, for years was 3%…..now it’s around 7.5%. Add in local sales taxes of various kinds, and the total rate is around 9.5% in the KC metro. No exemptions for food and/or medical).

-Discontinue income tax reductions for taxes property tax and interest on residences.

-While continuing “incentives” for business to remain in the state
(Funny, but the plan was to attract business to a low-tax paradise. Why do they need incentives to stay???)

Many of the red-state, Galtian boot-strappers are on the warpath over this.

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Comment by joe smith
2013-02-05 09:59:08

“-Cancel a sales tax cut
(Kansas, for years was 3%…..now it’s around 7.5%. Add in local sales taxes of various kinds, and the total rate is around 9.5% in the KC metro. No exemptions for food and/or medical).”

This is insane, 9.5% in KC? And sales tax is the most regressive of taxes.

Thank God the cut the income taxes for top brackets. (sarc)

For comparison’s sake, DC sales tax is 7, MD is 6. When I lived in NYC it was 8.25.

Comment by X-GSfixr
2013-02-05 12:41:52

I’m not lying. I’ve got my expense report right in front of me.

Kansas State Sales Tax = 6.3%, plus……

County Taxes (about every big county in the state) = 1%

Special Taxes/Local Sales Tax = another 1-2%

My favorite (From the Kansas Department of Revenue calculator:

Special Tax District “OLAC1″ = 10.15%

(It doesn’t say where this is, but I’m assuming that this is the “Destination Shopping District” around the Bass Pro Shop megastore at 119th and I-35)

Runner up: Zip code 66102, AKA “The Legends” in Wyandotte County = 9.925%

(Another “destination”……by the NASCAR track, and the new soccer stadium)

And so, the plan becomes clear……..run mom and pop, and all of the small town retailers out of business, and run them into “Destinations”.

Comment by MightyMike
2013-02-05 12:14:45

The “winner” will be the state with the greatest number of part-time, no-benefit, minimum wage jobs.

So these states win by making most of their people losers, or is that loosers?

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Comment by goon squad
2013-02-05 12:37:31

The 1%er “job creators” pay lower state income taxes. And whatever relief the Lucky Ducks get in lower state income taxes will be exceeded by the increase in sales taxes because the poors spend most if not all of their incomes. So yes, they are loosers.

Of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1%.

Comment by X-GSfixr
2013-02-05 12:43:48

No they do it by making all of their “producers” winners.

Get with the Rand-speak. :)

Comment by Prime_Is_Contained
2013-02-06 12:42:41

Of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1%.

Awesome line, goon. Is it original, or can you point to a source?

Comment by goon squad
2013-02-05 08:04:09

Doing “God’s Work”, working to turn USA into a third-world sh*thole

Bloomberg - Goldman’s Blankfein to Join Obama Immigration Meeting


Comment by In Colorado
2013-02-05 09:08:13

Enabling cheap labor is just good business sense. And what’s good for business is good for society … just ask the folks in Beijing … of course you might have to wait for them to stop coughing from the smog before they can answer.

Comment by ecofeco
2013-02-05 10:46:13

…or wait until the labor riot du jour is over.

Comment by goon squad
2013-02-05 08:09:58

Businessweek - We’re Driving Less, but Spending More on Gasoline:

“Last year the average U.S. household spent just under $3,000 on gasoline, or about 4 percent of its income, according to the Energy Information Administration. With the exception of 2008, whn oil peaked at $144 a barrel, that’s the highest share of income that’s gone to gasoline since the early 1980s, when it was closer to 5 percent.”


Comment by joe smith
2013-02-05 08:18:01

Makes you wonder why we don’t build refineries here in anymore. We have more energy sources but less refineries.

Comment by Albuquerquedan
2013-02-05 08:29:11

1. Environmental laws, even the cleanest refinery raises major issues.
2. Existing refineries are upgraded to increase production capacity.
3. Demand is pretty stagnant.

Refineries are actually closing, I think it was Delta that bought a closed refinery just so it had a better hedge on jet fuel prices.

Comment by joe smith
2013-02-05 08:38:35

I think Delta bought a refinery (or two) that used to belong to Lukoil. I believe it was in South Philly, right off of 95 near the stadium complex. I don’t think that refinery was unusable, I think Lukoil was having major financial issues and wasn’t able to maintain it or replace some critical parts?

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Comment by joe smith
2013-02-05 09:17:04

oops, it was ConocoPhillips that sold the Philly refinery to Delta.


But the gem of the story? Here it is:

“Delta said that it would spend $150 million to acquire the Trainer refinery, which has been shuttered for six months, after receiving $30 million from the state of Pennsylvania as part of a deal to support job creation. ”

LOL @ Pennsylvania’s Romney-esque “job creator” governor… just LOL.

Comment by mattR
2013-02-07 13:09:45

The environmental angle is a red herring. The real reason is that refineries need to be built next to ports - you know, near navigable water. But the RICH PEOPLE live near water, and they don’t want a stinkin’ refinery.

Concern over land values by the 1% makes it impossible to build refineries, not environmentalists.

Comment by X-GSfixr
2013-02-05 09:44:51

But…but……according to “free-market” ideology, aren’t prices suppsoed to go down when demand goes down?

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Comment by eight pieces of chicken
2013-02-05 09:56:10

Demand is up outside USA and Europe.

What about bearded Gideon Gono’s policies?

Comment by In Colorado
2013-02-05 10:41:34

Prices do drop when demand is week, at a whopping 3 cents a week, but rise 20 cents or more a week when demand picks up.

Gee, I wonder why?

Comment by In Colorado
2013-02-05 10:43:11

Oh, and when prices bottom out, they stay there a week or two. When they max out in the spring, they stay high for months.

Comment by oxide
2013-02-05 11:18:34

Because it’s a needs industry. Last week I surmised that if there were a 50% drop in demand, then oil companies will simply double gas prices and make the same profit on the 50% of demand that’s left. Evidently, we’re not far off from that.

Comment by Avocado
2013-02-05 10:35:59

Ask Exxon if they like their record profits.

Comment by Albuquerquedan
2013-02-05 08:33:29

This was the point I made yesterday, while we had $147 briefly in 2008, we later had $35 oil. The average gasoline price in 2008 was less than in 2012 and so far it looks like we may exceed that in 2013 despite predictions to the contrary made earlier:

A gallon of gasoline cost (PDF) an average of about $3.64 in the U.S. during 2012, the highest average price ever for one year.

Comment by goon squad
2013-02-05 08:59:08

Washington Post - Washington rated the worst for traffic congestion — again:

“When it comes to traffic congestion around Washington, even the good news is bad, and it goes downhill from there.

The city that so hungers to be No. 1 at something — usually on a gridiron or diamond-shaped field — has again risen to the top as the most congested metropolitan area in the United States, a place where the average driver burns 67 hours and 32 gallons of gas each year sitting in traffic.”


Comment by joe smith
2013-02-05 09:48:47

Bikes and trains > sitting in traffic. I drive only if I know for sure I’m going to be stuck at work until some ungodly hour. I have a bike at home to get to the Camden Yards station in B’more and another one that I keep at Bikestation DC or in the parking garage under our offices.

Know what else this story leaves out? DC’s parking situation is atrocious. 99% of the streets downtown are 2 hr parking limit or else completely restricted to residents of a certain zone. And from March-October, street sweeping rules are in effect. Two days a week parking is completely impossible because the half of the cars that are on one side of the street now have to move somewhere else… and there is nowhere to go.

Looking for a parking spot can take half an hour, easy. No thanks.

Comment by joe smith
2013-02-05 09:53:09


D.C. Bikestation is pretty awesome and very inexpensive ($100 for the full year). You can access it 24/7 and they’re staffed during the day so you can call them and leave a message if you need them to look at your bike while you’re at work during the day. “Hey this is Joe Smith, my bike’s in rack ____, the blue Specialized, I had some problems shifting/need routine maintenance/have a flat/etc”

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Comment by joe smith
2013-02-05 10:02:33

You can also get a ticket in D.C. for out of state tags if you merely park on a public road in the District overnight. As in, if I stayed the night in DC at a friend’s house I could get ticketed for my tags, which are Maryland tags. (Of course if you park in a private space or at a hotel, you are OK)

Even though you can get out of the ticket (by demonstrating you still live in MD and were just parked there the 1 night) it must be a pain to go through the process.

Comment by Spook
2013-02-05 10:39:12

Hey Joe, the DC parking over night thing really depends on the area. Around the Universities they are full on Gestapo. But in some of the wealthier upper NW neighborhoods, they don’t even bother.

As a former contractor, I am all too familiar with the politics of parking in DC.

Its a major cash cow for the city and now its automated. The parking enforcement and some police cars have cameras mounted on each side of the trunk facing down towards the licence plate. They just slowly drive up and down residential streets late at night with the computer scanning all plates and printing out tickets; or worse, calling for a boot when they get a hit.

The good old days of hiding in plain sight because you have a legal parking space are over.

They are checking any and all cars for anything outstanding and its all done by robot.

You can have your car broken into and a ticket on your windshield in the same night.

(((shakin my head)))

Comment by joe smith
2013-02-05 12:47:18

I haven’t been flagged for Maryland tags in DC yet, but sometimes when I drive I see other legally parked cars

God forbid they work a night job in DC and thus are always parked there overnight, making it look like they are living in DC without tagging their car as such.

And why do people avoid/delay changing their tags to DC? Ridiculous fees. I believe it is a couple hundred dollars.

Comment by joe smith
2013-02-05 12:53:51

Another thing - it’s a question of “when” not “if”…

Eventually DC is going to create areas on each block where only electric powered vehicles can park. They’re going to create charging stations where you can swipe your debit card and charge your battery while you’re working, overnight, whenever you want.

So basically a wretched refuse with a Kia will have further-restricted parking options so that people driving Teslas can have prime real estate. The government will be constricting the remaining parking rights of J6P to favor people with 60k+ Tesla sedans and roadsters. And it will be obvious that Tesla will then become (even moreso than now) the “hot” car, because unlike a Merc or Audi, a Tesla means you’ll be able to find parking.

I bet you Tesla will heavily fund these “charging stations” (free parking giveaways) up and down the coasts and maybe in Chicago. The can pay the gov’t for the right to appropriate spots that used to be public property and thus gain an advantage over their competitors. Under the guise of “going green”.

Comment by Carl Morris
2013-02-05 14:55:09

And then the loosers will swoop in with their used Leafs and converted 914s…

Comment by ahansen
2013-02-06 01:21:44

:-) Carl.

It’s almost like they don’t want poor people in cruddy old cars hanging around DC or something….

Comment by goon squad
2013-02-05 10:49:55

Bicycles and public transport are for socialists and homosexuals.

“Real American” rugged individualists drive F-350 with truck nutz.

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Comment by Albuquerquedan
2013-02-05 15:35:03

So if you are a socialist who is also a homosexual, you use the bike rack on the front of the bus?

Comment by whirlyite
2013-02-05 11:41:21

67 hours a YEAR? I wish! We work four ten hour days so I commute approximately 200 days a year with a 2 hour daily RT (1/2 hour in the morning, 1-1/2 hours in the evening). How many hours stuck in traffic each year is that?!?

Comment by joe smith
2013-02-05 11:58:38

I think when they mean “stuck in traffic” they mean literally sitting there. Crawling. Stop and go.

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Comment by whirlyite
2013-02-05 12:26:25

Okay, I’ll grant you that. By that criteria, let’s call it one hour a day literally stuck in traffic for me.

Comment by mattR
2013-02-07 13:14:00

You’re just a taker. You realize that gas taxes only cover 50% of VDOTs operating budget, right? 50% comes from general funds.

Every once in a while, some politician suggests raising the gas tax to pay for more road infrastructure, and people go nuts. They then complain about the traffic for 2 hours. While sitting in it. So they can drive to their McMansion in East Loudoun county.

Comment by ecofeco
2013-02-05 10:47:22

Don’t you just love voodoo, er, supply side economics?

Comment by ecofeco
2013-02-05 10:52:33

Refineries were closed on purpose to raise prices.

As for the old canard about “envormental regs”, it’s bullcrap.

There has been only one or two proposals to build new refineries in DECADES and they were approved, but the companies backed out.

Why? See first sentence.^

Comment by Albuquerquedan
2013-02-05 11:22:40

Sorry, Eco but environmental costs of refining do matter. It is better to refine crude overseas than build here. However, I do not think that the environmental regulations on refineries are excessive. In fact, in places such as SLC they should be more strict. However, between NIMBY and environmental regs it is cheaper to expand output at existing sites. Refineries did close due to the profit margin on gasoline getting slim. But think of this, when oil was about $10 a barrel gasoline was $1 a gallon. Not with the world price about $116, gasoline is about $3.65. Of course, taxes were and are major part of both prices. However, the bottom line is crude is up 12 times and gasoline less than 4 times. The problem is we have run out of cheap oil not excessive margins in gasoline.

Comment by Albuquerquedan
2013-02-05 11:33:44

More evidence of this is that major oil companies have sold off or spun-off refineries. Exxon is making its money producing crude. The late 90’s were the great time to own a refinery. Everybody driving SUVs, crude oil cheap and produced by small oil companies.

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Comment by ecofeco
2013-02-05 12:26:27

“Sorry, Eco but environmental costs of refining do matter.”

Let’s just say I’ve heard it from the horse’s mouth.


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Comment by mattR
2013-02-07 13:15:28

It’s NIMBY. Refineries need to be near bodies of water. Rich people pay a lot for water view. No refineries get built. Exxon makes more money. Everybody is happy. Except not rich people, and they don’t count, you know.

Comment by goon squad
2013-02-05 08:22:25

Infinite growth in a finite ecosytem will only lead to disaster. You’ll see :)

“Food prices that doubled in the past 10 years are more the result of population growth and increased demand for protein-based diets than any cyclical reasons, according to Sunny Verghese, chief executive officer at Olam International Ltd. (OLAM), the Singapore-based commodities trader.

Three of the biggest annual gains in food prices in the past 20 years occurred since 2007, with the United Nations Food & Agriculture Organization’s global food price index climbing to a record in 2010.

The United Nations’ Food & Agriculture Organization has said global food output must rise 70 percent by 2050 to feed a world population expected to grow to 9 billion from 7 billion now and as increasingly wealthy consumers in developing countries eat more meat.

High food costs contributed to civil unrest across the Middle East and North Africa in 2011, toppling governments in Tunisia and Egypt. The U.S. State Department estimates that surging food prices triggered more than 60 riots worldwide from 2007 to 2009. In India, about 60 percent of what people spend is on food, compared with 70 percent to 80 percent in Africa, 45 percent in China, 9 percent in Europe and about 10 percent in the U.S., according to Olam’s Verghese.

“When you have 50 percent price inflation in the core commodities and 70 percent of your consumption basket is spent on food, then you have a serious problem,” Verghese said.


Comment by In Colorado
2013-02-05 09:04:50

I was watching an old rerun of Star Trek: Enterprise last night on Netflix. The episode was the one were some Ferrengi pirates are ransacking Enterprise. One of the rules of acquisition that was quoted stated that without infinite growth, business would fail and die.

I do find it comical how in the future that humanity has someone overcome its natural greedy instincts and Earth is transformed into some sort of Utopia. Like that’ll ever happen.

Comment by goon squad
2013-02-05 09:54:10

transformed into some sort of Utopia

The future Utopia (for everyone except the 0.1%er PIGS) will be like the living standards of the fourteenth century. Life expectancy will only be 35 years, but at least everyone will have their own i-phone :)

Comment by ecofeco
2013-02-05 10:56:01

“I do find it comical how in the future that humanity has someone overcome its natural greedy instincts and Earth is transformed into some sort of Utopia”

Even in Star trek, it wasn’t overcome, just shunned and punished more thoroughly. Much like slavery is today.

Or treated with superior medicine as the mental illness all sociopathic acts are.

Besides, you don’t put sociopaths in charge of a star ship. :lol:

Comment by Carl Morris
2013-02-05 11:23:10

So you’re saying in the future they finally fix the officer promotion system?

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Comment by ecofeco
2013-02-05 12:29:50

Well, curing mental illness goes a long way to fixing a LOT of things.

To paraphrase Carlin: “Think of how crazy the average person is. Now realize that half are even crazier.”

Comment by X-GSfixr
2013-02-05 09:48:14

Yeah, but they aren’t figuring the cutbacks in meat consumption in formerly developed countries that turn into “cat food/bait” eating countries.

Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-02-05 08:25:23

My sister and BIL in Oxnard, CA bought a house in 2011. They’re already underwater.

Comment by joe smith
2013-02-05 09:40:21

Do they ever discuss it with you?

Do they know your outlook on housing (the 65% crater and yada yada yada)?

They must have asked your advice at some point, since you do building estimates?

Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-02-05 09:57:12

What are you yapping about?

Comment by joe smith
2013-02-05 10:17:19

It’s a straight forward question: Did your BIL and SIL discuss their being underwater with you? And did you tell them not to buy ahead of time?

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Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-02-05 10:19:19

Oh. Now it’s a straightforward question.

Are you a liar?

Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-02-05 10:38:13

It is?

Comment by Pimp Watch
2013-02-05 15:37:40

Yeaup…. he’s a liar.

Comment by Avocado
2013-02-05 10:39:14

hmmm… Nov 2011 was a good time to buy if you did your homework. but Oxnard can be very sketchy. Some real gangs there and Spanish is the first language.

Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-02-05 10:42:04

Apparently not considering they’re underwater $100k+.

Comment by Avocado
2013-02-05 12:43:04

that was very hard to do buying in 2011, was it a $3m home with a dock?

your story does not make sense? what is the street?

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Comment by Pimp Watch
2013-02-05 13:29:26

Nothing makes sense to a liar.

Comment by In Colorado
2013-02-05 10:45:24

Compra hoy o te quedaras sin casa para siempre!

Comment by Arizona Slim
2013-02-05 10:55:07

Por supuesto!

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Comment by ecofeco
2013-02-05 10:57:36

I know someone who bought a house last year… while their job was in question.

Seriously. WTF?

Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-02-05 11:03:19

I’d call their mental state into question. That goes for anyone buying a house at these massively inflated prices.

Comment by Avocado
2013-02-05 12:44:50

I know someone who pd $260k in Arroyo Grande in mid 2012, comps are now just over $300k. he reminds me weekly.

the low end is crazy here. as cheap as rent with 10% dn

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Comment by Pimp Watch
2013-02-05 13:27:49

And couldn’t find a buyer for a fraction of the inflated price he paid.

Don’t you wish you were him?

Comment by cactus
2013-02-05 11:22:56

I know somone who offered 1.2 Million for a home in Santa Clara CA and the seller laughed at the offer

I advised this buyer to move down here Ventura Co.

they said No

OK I guess thats why certain areas are sky high

I live in Moorpark and not one of the Engineers I work with would consider moving there. Has to be Thousand Oaks, Westlake or Newbury park maybe Calabasas.

Comment by joe smith
2013-02-05 13:05:48

Why “maybe” on Calabasas? Isn’t Calabasas actually the nicest out of all of those?

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Comment by cactus
2013-02-05 19:07:01

Calabasas most expensive

Newbury Park is the nicest IMO much cooler

Comment by Pimp Watch
2013-02-05 14:21:09

There isn’t a house on the planet worth 1.2 million. He should have taken it while he had a chance.

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Comment by Bronco
2013-02-05 17:56:42

Santa Clara County or the actual Santa Clara city? Santa Clara city sux!

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Comment by Carl Morris
2013-02-05 11:24:23

I know someone who bought a house last year… while their job was in question.

Seriously. WTF?

Sounds like they had to hurry while they had the chance in order to avoid being priced out forever.

Comment by joe smith
2013-02-05 12:00:51

We just had an HBBer in here asking if he should buy *immediately after* his company in Austin (a bubble market) had done a massive round of layoffs, including gutting R&D. He was pissed his rent was going up ~$100. So therefore considering buying a condo. LULZ.

Comment by Arizona Slim
2013-02-05 13:19:25

And we haven’t heard from him since.

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Comment by oxide
2013-02-05 14:47:51

Brett in Austin tends to come and go from HBB anyway. It doesn’t seem to relate to anything we said. To his credit, last time he gave some hints that he was considering moving as an option — hopefully to an apartment that’s not downtown.

I did a bit of online looksie for Austin apartments. You can cut 40% of your price just by moving out 5 miles from downtown, in almost any direction. It’s a real option for him.

Comment by cactus
2013-02-05 11:18:36

Oxnard, CA

why there ? Ocean front view or somthing ?

Comment by Albuquerquedan
2013-02-05 11:37:47

I use to know someone that lived in Oxnard. When I first visited her house is seemed to be in an upscale neighborhood. Over the years I saw gang graffiti and signs of too many people living in the houses in the neighborhood.

Comment by Avocado
2013-02-05 12:46:23

OxBalls is 75% hispanic and windy. and no good beaches.

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Comment by joe smith
2013-02-05 13:07:28

It’s the toilet of that area. Oxnard is pretty close to Santa Barbara but you’d never know it.

Comment by Arizona Slim
2013-02-05 08:39:10

Here in Tucson, the new owner of a rowdy student apartment complex promised the neighborhood and the city that the kiddies would behave better. Promise broken. City council member and neighbors of the complex are officially ticked off. Story below:

Mega-dorm developer reneges on promises, neighbors fume:
But new owners of The District say accord was misunderstood

BTW, I go to acting school right across the street from this place. I’ve never witnessed a moment of trouble from The District.

Neither has the acting school’s owner. And she’s acutely sensitive to the shortcomings of the neighborhood. Even more so than I am about my neighborhood, if you can imagine such a thing.

Comment by joe smith
2013-02-05 09:22:02

Are these major streets they want to put a speed bump on?

Comment by Arizona Slim
2013-02-05 09:27:41

No, they’re side streets.

Comment by ecofeco
2013-02-05 10:58:41

I HATE speed bumps. Rumble strips are better for everyone.

Comment by goon squad
2013-02-05 08:39:54

Maybe they can save some £ by bathing less like the French

“Household water and sewage bills in England and Wales will rise by about 13 pounds ($20.50), or 3.5 percent, a year starting in April to keep pace with inflation.

The average annual bill will be 388 pounds, taking into account inflation of 3 percent or higher, regulator Ofwat said today in a statement on its website.”


Comment by goon squad
2013-02-05 08:48:05

The fake Recovery®, as created by the criminal bankster Federal Reserve, the Wall Street pigmen, and their 535 stooges on the Hill

“The U.S. housing market, entering its busiest season, is tipped so far in favor of sellers that almost a third of listings in areas from Washington, D.C., to Denver and Seattle are under contract in two weeks or less.

A plunge in U.S. home listings to a 12-year low is driving up prices and preventing transactions from returning to historically normal levels. Many potential sellers are holding off until values rise more, while investors are snatching up distressed properties before they reach the market. Builders, reporting their best orders in years, can’t increase production fast enough. As buyers seek to take advantage of record-low mortgage rates, the supply and demand imbalance threatens to further limit deals as the key spring selling season approaches.”


Comment by ecofeco
2013-02-05 12:37:24

Oh there’s nothing fake about the recovery… for the top 10%.

Comment by goon squad
2013-02-05 12:44:35

We were at an Audi dealership yesterday looking at a used Honda. They had a R8 GT on the showroom floor looking very blinged out. One of the sales staff told us they sold two of them in the past month to cash buyers. MSRP $196,800 :)


Comment by Avocado
2013-02-05 12:51:20

no one cares if it is fake or real, it is all about the timing and making money.

who cares who is manipulating if YOU benefit.

making money is Darwinistic

Comment by goon squad
2013-02-05 09:06:16

Need to see more stories like this. Shed some light on these PIGS and watch them scatter like cockroaches. 4,000 nooses hanging from 4,000 lampposts would be a nice happy ending to this story :)


Comment by ecofeco
2013-02-05 12:38:31

whoa :shock:

Comment by ahansen
2013-02-06 01:42:00

“Now that we’ve got your attention with our Superbowl commercial”

Love it. Called it. Bravo!

Comment by goon squad
2013-02-05 09:12:18

More COEXIST propaganda in the Washington Post. How about some journalism reporting on the “rabid hate” of blood streaming down the back of George Zimmerman’s head? And note they use the photo of Trayvon looking about twelve years old. How about a more recent photo of him standing six feet tall and flashing gang signs on his Twitter handle as “no limit n*gga”.


Comment by joe smith
2013-02-05 10:08:16

To be fair, from the recordings of Zimmerman calling 911, it seems he has some judgment issues (not surprisingly he was also a foreclosed homedebtor and a current/former “loan officer”).

I think part of the problem was also that FL cops are probably an amateur hour operation who would be slow to respond, so Zimmerman felt the need to take matters into his own hands. Stupid, IMO. If you’re in a good neighborhood here, the cops are all over any call like white on rice.

Comment by goon squad
2013-02-05 10:19:21

We don’t want details, we want the MEME.

The big bully half-Peruvian with a German-Jewish surname Whitey murdered innocent lil Trayvon, therefore Whitey gonna pay.

Comment by michael
2013-02-05 12:01:44

and don’t forget that the MSM also altered the 911 call…next thing you know they will be intentionally igniting SUV gas tanks to…oh wait.

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Comment by Cracker Bob
2013-02-05 10:44:21

5′-2″ or 6′-4″, Zimmerman had no reason to track this guy down for walking home in his Dad’s subdivision. The cops instructed this would-be Barney Fife not to follow the kid.

Let’s face it, even if you hate the urbans, you have to admit that Zimmerman behaved like an idiot.

Now we are going to have to put up Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton for the next year clogging-up Orlando media. Worse, the Cracker Barrel in Sanford will be so packed with spectators that the regulars will have to eat elsewhere. Thanks alot George.

Comment by Albuquerquedan
2013-02-05 11:00:23

Cracker Bob, yes, Zimmerman acted like the only training he had was watching “Neighborhood Watch” but following someone you think is committing a crime is not a crime in this country. The dispatcher may have advised him not to follow Trayvon but that is just advice and not a lawful order of a police officer. Trayvon had a cell phone, he could have reported that he was being followed to the police and allowed them to deal with that person. Instead if Zimmerman is telling the truth, Trayvon decided to use deadly force without the clear need to use it. Once Zimmerman feared for his life even if he was being an idiot, I do not think what he did was criminal.

Comment by AmazingRuss
2013-02-05 11:14:28

Criminally stupid.

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Comment by joe smith
2013-02-05 12:36:32

It is criminally stupid.

I think the particularly area in question has lazy/inept cops, to say the least. Still, when you confront the kid and escalate it, as a 30something guy who should know better? That’s dumb. What crime could he have been committing? Trespassing? Stole a candy bar from a convenience store? I mean, seriously.

Comment by Cracker Bob
2013-02-05 11:18:54

You have a point. I did not say that Mr. Zimmerman was an idiot. The actions leading up to this tragedy were idiotic when put in a time-line. At what point did he go from neighborhood watch captain to Paul Kersey?

However, the onus was not on Trayvon to call the police and ask for help; his persuer was already on the phone with the same police and taking (or disregarding) instructions.

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Comment by Albuquerquedan
2013-02-05 11:44:52

“However, the onus was not on Trayvon to call the police and ask for help; his persuer was already on the phone with the same police and taking (or disregarding) instructions.”

I believe the onus was on Trayvon, before he used deadly force against Zimmerman to talk to the same police. That is assuming that Zimmerman is telling the truth that he was attacked by Trayvon. If the situation was reversed, I think that most of the people attacking Zimmerman now would be attacking Zimmerman for escalating the conflict against Trayvon who was only trying to protect his neighborhood.

Comment by Cracker Bob
2013-02-05 12:09:27

As in every trial, the defendant is considered innocent and Mr. Zimmerman deserves the same right. However, it seems that many (especially white folks) consider Trayvon to be guilty of something. He will never get to defend himself. Picture this story if the kid had been white and the watch captain been black; I would think that Fox News acolytes would explode in anger.

There are probably only two people who know what really happened; and, one of them is dead. I can imagine that, right or wrong, George Zimmerman would like to re-wind the clock to the moment the cop on the phone tells him not to follow the perp.

Comment by goon squad
2013-02-05 12:57:29

Hey Cracker, according to the coastal elitist Media/Academia Race Hustlers Industrial Complex, Zimmerman is already guilty. These are the same clowns who ran with the Tawana Brawley story until it was discovered to be a lie. What they call “social justice” is really a coordinated campaign to induce self-hatred in white people and fuel the existing hatred and resentment that minorities have for Whitey.

And we didn’t come to this correct conclusion from listening to Rush Limbaugh. We observed it firsthand in the classroom as an undergraduate liberal arts major.

Comment by Cracker Bob
2013-02-05 13:08:17

The big difference is that in the Tawana Brawley case, nothing happened. Something very bad happened in this case.

How Al Sharpton is on TV amazes me. There are so many other more educated and eloquent black speakers that NBC could have hired. I watch Morning Joe on MSNBC in the AM, but no other time. NBC should be ashamed at putting that thug on the air. Chet Huntley must be rolling in his grave.

Comment by Spook
2013-02-05 13:21:19

Forgive me if Ive described this before, but it has been my experience that smart white people know how to “investigate you” without you realizing it (until they are gone)

I much prefer this type of white behavior in contrast to white people just calling the police on me.

Situational awareness has save me a lot of racial trouble.

Comment by goon squad
2013-02-05 13:23:45

educated and eloquent black speakers

You mean like how Biden described Obama as “articulate and bright and clean” during the 2008 primaries? LOLZ

Comment by Cracker Bob
2013-02-05 14:21:40

“You mean like how Biden described Obama as “articulate and bright and clean” during the 2008 primaries? LOLZ”

No; I meant that if you are really looking to fill a spot with a black person, why go to someone who just generates anger. On the other hand, if you just want to generate buzz or ratings, then perhaps you should go to a loud, hateful blowhard. It seems to be successful for Fox.

Comment by ecofeco
2013-02-05 14:43:29

Trayvon. No weapon.

Zimmerman. Gun.

Even in the gun happy, Galt state I live in, that’s a conviction.

The clincher? He is ON RECORD following Trayvon. That’s stalking.

There are NO other details required. None. Those are the facts.

Comment by Albuquerquedan
2013-02-05 15:06:57

So if Trayvon was trying to kill Zimmerman with any weapon or method, he could not use a gun? Sorry, the law does not work like that. Self defense allows you to respond to any form of deadly force with deadly force. Bring a knife to a gun fight, it is just too bad if I am endangered by you.

Comment by MightyMike
2013-02-05 18:25:51

I believe the onus was on Trayvon, before he used deadly force against Zimmerman to talk to the same police. That is assuming that Zimmerman is telling the truth that he was attacked by Trayvon. If the situation was reversed, I think that most of the people attacking Zimmerman now would be attacking Zimmerman for escalating the conflict against Trayvon who was only trying to protect his neighborhood.

A conflict between young black male and a person of lighter complexion ends in one of them dying. So people who generally vote for Democrats take the side of the black kid and people who generally vote Republican take the side of the other guy. That’s a pretty sad situation. I’d prefer to have more information. I haven’t been following this case very closely, but I seem to remember that that last thing that I read was that there was one witness who supported Zimmerman’s story and another who blamed him for shooting without casue. I have a feeling that we may not ever hear what really happened. Nevertheless, a lot of people will decide in their minds that he is guilty or not guilty based on their prejudices.

Comment by ecofeco
2013-02-05 14:45:22

“…following someone you think is committing a crime is not a crime in this country.”


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Comment by Albuquerquedan
2013-02-05 15:03:23

No, Eco the intent does matter. Following someone, one time because you think they have committed a crime does not meet any definition of stalking, I have ever seen.

Comment by polly
2013-02-05 16:15:27

It is pretty common for laws to require that a person’s belief to have to be reasonable if it is to mitigate what might otherwise be an offense. Seeing someone you don’t recognize doesn’t create a reasonable belief that they have committed a crime. Seeing someone wearing clothes you don’t like doesn’t create a reasonable belief that they have committed a crime. Seeing someone who is young outside at night doesn’t create a reasonable belief that they they have committed a crime. Etc.

That being said, following someone walking down the street once isn’t stalking no matter what you believe about their past, current or future behavior. Following someone walking down the street once is called…wait for it…walking down the street. Now, Mr. Martin can’t tell us what else Mr. Zimmerman was doing and Mr. Zimmerman has an obvious incentive to lie about what happened. But just the single act of following someone isn’t anything no matter what the motivation.

All that being said, the reports from FL all seemed to point to their particular version of the “stand your ground” statue being a disaster where prosecutors actually were too scared to consider bringing charges even when the cops thought they had evidence that the rule shouldn’t apply to the situation they were investigating. Cutting off that possibility before the facts are known or before it has been determined whether the facts can be known? That is irresponsible.

Comment by Albuquerquedan
2013-02-05 16:28:03

Actually, Polly if it a specific intent crime your actions do not need to be reasonable to negate the mens rea. The reports are too conflicting on whether the prosecutor had sufficient evidence to charge. I think we should allow the process to go forward but I see nothing to suggest that this case was as clear as many make it out to be. If Zimmerman is telling the truth and I agree he has a reason to lie, stand your ground is really not even implicated since he claims he was attacked from behind and has no time to retreat so we have really a run of the mill self-defense claim.

Comment by Albuquerquedan
2013-02-05 17:01:49

“Actions” should be “beliefs” in this case. But the key to this case should be whether the jury believes his story that he was attacked from behind. If so, he should walk since nobody has the right to bash your brains out on the sidewalk because you were following them, even if your main reason to believe that he might be committing a crime was that you are a racist. However, in this case the fact that he was wearing a hoodie is over stressed but the fact that he had a gold grill on his teeth in his facebook picture is not talked about. If stranger comes into my neighborhood with a gold grill on his teeth and a hoodie, his gangsta look would get the attention of all my neighbors. But maybe that is because I live in a white Hispanic hood.

Comment by polly
2013-02-05 17:27:59

Your undestanding of mens rea is really pretty poor. In homicide all the intent needed is intent to do harm. You don’t have to have a mental state that says “I intend to murder you with no justification.” Whether you are protecting yourself is irrelevant in deciding whether you fulfilled all the elements of the crime. Stand your ground and all other types of self-defense are justifications for your behavior and intent that mitigate guilt, but they don’t mean you didn’t kill that person with intent to harm them. You don’t even get talk about the various defenses against a crime (self-defense, duress, insanity, etc.) unless the mens rea and the action is already taken care of.

Comment by Albuquerquedan
2013-02-05 17:38:34

Polly, I said specific intent crimes. Homicide is not a specific intent crime but attempted homicide would be. However, the intent we are talking about goes to the stalking charge which was the crime I was talking about and you addressed when you said that he had to be reasonable.

Comment by Albuquerquedan
2013-02-05 17:44:39

That should be common law homicide.
BTW, I scored in the 99% on the bar exam on the multi-state part since my understanding of all the first year law school classes is quite good. My understanding allowed me to pass the CA bar on the first attempt while I was working and did not have time to study.

Comment by Albuquerquedan
2013-02-05 17:51:52

P.S it is very clear from your statement you were addressing the stalking so nice try addressing the mens rea for a homicide:

“It is pretty common for laws to require that a person’s belief to have to be reasonable if it is to mitigate what might otherwise be an offense. Seeing someone you don’t recognize doesn’t create a reasonable belief that they have committed a crime”.

Comment by In Colorado
2013-02-05 11:41:57

Isn’t there a Cracker Barrel at every other freeway off ramp in the South?

Comment by Cracker Bob
2013-02-05 11:46:32

That would be Utopia.

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Comment by Albuquerquedan
2013-02-05 12:01:35

Cracker Bob, I have eaten at the Cracker Barrel, they have several in ABQ. However, even the veggies are deep fried. Once in a while to eat there is fine, but I hope you are not too much of a regular. I think they should have punch cards so after ten visits you get a free visit to a cardiologist.

Comment by Avocado
2013-02-05 12:58:01

I like the nob hill area of ABQ. But the schools in NM are awful. Even the public HS in wealthy Santa Fe had only a 40% grad rate. I did some work there, the hallways were SPanish speaking only, please.

Comment by joe smith
2013-02-05 13:16:41

My dad grew up in NM and would basically agree with this. He grew up in Belen and then ABQ. Bad facilities, not a lot of extracurriculars, students mostly disinterested. Easy to be in the top part of the class but if you wanted to make something of yourself, you had to make your own path. Had a big influence on him when he had a choice of where to live and raise kids.

Comment by Albuquerquedan
2013-02-05 14:31:18

New Mexico is a state with many contrasts. It has either the highest or the second highest number of PhDs per capita while it has a serious problem with drop outs.


It is interesting Joe that you accuse me of not being able to accept minorities when I have no trouble living in NM. I grew up in Vermont but I decided to live in NM. I have been invited and attended numerous Pueblo feasts, Navajo ceremonies and my neighborhood is primary Hispanic, albeit from Hispanic families that have been in this country for centuries. I have great neighbors and leave my home for weeks at a time without worrying about my house. You seem to have more a problem living in a mixed area than I do. I guess you want to have a narrative that I reject immigration due to racism. However, I like different cultures but I do not want subcultures to take over this country. Also, I believe that there is no reason for substantial immigration due to a labor surplus and a population that exceeds the carrying capacity of the land in many parts of the country.

Comment by goon squad
2013-02-05 16:46:33

ABQ Dan, the “some of my best friends are ____” doesn’t work. Once you’re stamped with the scarlet R of Racist®, you will always be one until the Registered Race Hustlers® of the coastal elitist Media/Academia Race Hustlers Industrial Complex grant you redemption after you have done sufficient penance.

And more importantly, opinions are not allowed to originate from flyover. Opinions may only originate from New York City, Washington, or Los Angeles. Therefore, your opinion on this subject is irrelevant.

Go directly to Diversity Training. Do not pass GO. Do not collect $200.

Comment by Albuquerquedan
2013-02-05 17:09:37

Thanks for the clarification. As I working class white guy, I went to a state school which I could pay for without loans so I did not develop the white guilt that an “elite” school would have taught me. I rely on your expertise on the subject to know when I crossed the line.

Comment by MightyMike
2013-02-05 19:14:25

I guess you want to have a narrative that I reject immigration due to racism. However, I like different cultures but I do not want subcultures to take over this country.

Well, those Navajos and Hispanics in New Mexico certainly know all about different cultures coming in and supplanting their culture.

Comment by goon squad
2013-02-05 19:52:16

Our peoples got off the boat post-1865, didn’t own anybody, never whipped anybody, but according to the coastal elitists, we are owing some repamarations bigtime.

Whitey gonna pay. And pay and pay and pay.

And since we live in Colorado, we’re already repamarating for the Messican War back in eighteen hundred fourty and some sh*t.

So thankful every single day we wake up knowing we did not breed and bring more mini-humanoids into this world. Those of you who did, your kidz deserve the worst of everything that the future has in store for them.

It’s gonna get worse, and then it’s gonna get more worse. You’ll see :)

Comment by brother_jimmy
2013-02-05 09:38:37

Now that the DoJ is finally going after S&P, accusing them of “misleading about MBS and it’s objectivity”, when will they finally start to go over former foreclosed owners who lied on their mortgage applications? Seems it wouldn’t be difficult to see who had federally guaranteed mortgages with foreclosures on properties listed as “owner occupied” when they were indeed investments.

Comment by eight pieces of chicken
2013-02-05 09:50:52

How come DOJ is not going after Moody’s?

Comment by joe smith
2013-02-05 10:09:45

*conspiracy theory*

Doesn’t Berkshire Hathaway own Moody’s?

Comment by joe smith
2013-02-05 10:11:05



We suspect Moody’s investors will also be interested to know that CEO Raymond McDaniel dumped 100,000 shares of stock at $29 a share the day the Wells Notice arrived. And that Berkshire Hathaway (BRK) sold ~678,000 shares that day and another ~300,000 or so in the week that followed.

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Comment by Albuquerquedan
2013-02-05 10:40:14

How come the SEC is not bringing a civil complaint against either one of them but DOJ which is the only one that can bring a criminal complaint is only bringing a civil complaint against S&P? To me this does not pass the smell test. Is the purpose of it to punish the collusion of S & P in working with banks to create the last bubble or to warn all the agencies not to downgrade U.S. debt? I think it is the latter and thus the action is not to avoid bubbles but to keep the present treasury bubble from being popped.

Comment by Bluestar
2013-02-05 17:09:35

S&P upgraded Greek debt in Dec. so why would the USA worry about what S&P says? S&P ratings are about as good as a CBO forecasts, Ha!
As far as I can tell the DOJ does what Obama want’s and the SEC is packed with lawyers and analysts just waiting to snag a high paying Wall St. job after they get their ticket punched at the SEC.

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Comment by goon squad
2013-02-05 10:12:36

A generation of fat, old, broke LOOSERS!

“Despite growing up at a time of great innovation in health care, the 78 million people born in the United States between 1946 and 1964 aren’t looking all that healthy today, according to a new study.

Medical advances have led to the longest life expectancy ever, but U.S. baby boomers have higher rates of chronic disease, more disability and lower self-rated health than did their parents at a comparable age.”


Comment by hazard
2013-02-05 11:30:35

Mi caan stan fi wait pon di bus - I don’t like waiting on the bus

Comment by Avocado
2013-02-05 12:59:04

opposite of “tight-ers?”

Comment by goon squad
2013-02-05 13:20:24

Double o “loosers” is the correct internet spelling of “losers”.

Comment by MiddleCoaster
2013-02-05 13:21:11

Well duh, we were the first generation to have McDonald’s to hang out in after school. The entire packaged snack food industry was created for us. This is actually good news for the generations following the Baby Boomers, as we start dropping from all our first-world diseases like cardiovascular disease and diabetes!

Comment by ecofeco
2013-02-05 15:14:05

Not a lot of lead, tetraflouroethylene, or “pink slime” back in their parenet’s days either. (among thousands of other chemicals deemd “safe for consuption” by an ever castrated FDA)

Comment by Cracker Bob
2013-02-05 14:49:47

Woo-Hoo! Suck it gen-X’ers. We are taking it with us.

Comment by Albuquerquedan
2013-02-05 16:02:42

Actually, the bumper sticker that said we are spending the kids inheritance use to be funny. Now, I think it is actually the truth. I don’ t think that future generations will inherit nearly as much from their parents unless they are in the 2%. Thus, wealth will be even more concentrated in the future.

Comment by In Colorado
Comment by nickpapageorgio
2013-02-05 12:37:11

No worries, the Marxist in Chief will make sure that I pay for it after it’s forgiven. Doesn’t matter that I had my own Sallie Mae jail time and paid them off in full. Move along…nothing to see here.

Comment by In Colorado
2013-02-05 15:02:24

So did I. But I only owed $5000 (even though I went to a private school), which I quickly paid off.

Comment by goon squad
2013-02-05 13:12:16

What those kidz need are $350,000 “starter” homes :)

Comment by ecofeco
2013-02-05 15:19:39

You need someplace to park your Beamer/Audi/Lexus/Caddy.

Comment by X-GSfixr
2013-02-05 12:58:26

How the “producers” think…..

Sat in on a meeting recently. My favorite quote:

“We were looking into becoming an investor in this project, but we could only guarantee a 7% ROI…….”

So the project may not happen. Along with all of the jobs the project would generate (temporary and permanent).

Comment by joe smith
2013-02-05 13:20:37

So true. I was putting together client development materials last week. I mentioned previously that after NDAA came out, ever PE and VC shop started salivating over acquiring “small businesses” so they could make a killing. To J6P a single digit ROI might seem good, but the Big Boyz *need* the tax breaks, giveaways, favorable legal status, and rent-seeking advantages.

Comment by joe smith
2013-02-05 13:29:10


Comment by X-GSfixr
2013-02-05 14:18:57

They can sit back and demand 7% plus returns, even if it means everyone else has to take subpar/no returns in the process.

So much for the “bigger pie” propaganda.

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Comment by In Colorado
2013-02-05 15:01:02

Of course it’s a bigger pie … for them.

Rule of acquisition #211: Employees are rungs on the ladder of success. Don’t hesitate to step on them.

Comment by Arizona Slim
2013-02-05 13:24:35

Anything over 5% is gravy. And those “north of 5%” ROIs have this nasty habit of falling back to earth.

Comment by X-GSfixr
2013-02-05 14:21:03

This is 7% ROI/year, over 20-30 years. A commercial development.

Like the Mafia, they get their full cut, no matter what.

Comment by Rental Watch
2013-02-05 16:22:35

5% on what?

I’ve said before, I’ll say again, it depends entirely on your cost basis.

If you say that cost basis is irrelevant, then I don’t think we are thinking about ROI in the same way.

Comment by Rental Watch
2013-02-05 13:18:46

Often times I get people asking my opinion about RE (since they know that I invest in it for a living).

Today, I got a question about it from the woman who cuts my hair (shoeshine boy anyone?). Apparently she knows lots of people who are buying homes to rent…and that the market is “hot”. She wanted my opinion, because she was thinking about it…

Long story short, I think I convinced her otherwise, noting:
1. If she only has one tenant, a bad tenant can cause a lot of damage;
2. One major repair can sink her;
3. If she wants to be a landlord, she should have no fantasy about the work involved (and laws she needs to understand);
4. If she wants to be a landlord, she will need to own close to her own home (and that if the market tanks, it will likely mean that her own home will tank in value too…no diversification);
5. If she needs out, she won’t be able to sell quickly, especially if the reason she needs out is that the market is tanking;
6. It will be expensive for her to get out (6%);
7. If you want to be successful owning home rentals, you need scale and full time management, to help balance out the bad events, and have appropriate attention paid to the physical assets…it is very difficult to do with one home;

Etc. etc. etc. The conversation lasted about 45 minutes.

At the end of the conversation (when I was talking about the downside risks), she recounted stories from the past bubble of people who lost their own home, and one person she knew who committed suicide.

How short memories are!!!

If she wanted a hedge against inflation, and something with some income, I encouraged her to consider REITs, noting;
1. If she needs out, with the click of a mouse and $9, she can be out;
2. That the dividend yield is only part of the cash generated by the REITs (they only pay out between about 50% and 70% of the cash they generate); BUT
3. That there probably isn’t any GREAT deals out there to buy REITs today, that they are pretty fully priced, and that if she went that route, she should find the best management team available, invest, and then ignore it for a decade.

I think I convinced her against buying a home using the equity in her own home for a down payment…I hope I did.

Comment by Arizona Slim
2013-02-05 13:22:43

At the end of the conversation (when I was talking about the downside risks), she recounted stories from the past bubble of people who lost their own home, and one person she knew who committed suicide.

I know of two economy-related suicides. One was here in Tucson. The other involved a friend’s grandson. At the time of his death, he was in Hawaii.

Comment by joe smith
2013-02-05 13:31:08

“buying a home using the equity in her own home for a down payment”

Sheep will get sheared. Time will tell if she is a sheep.

Comment by ecofeco
2013-02-05 13:32:23

My opinion is very simple: I will NEVER landlord.

I’ve seen the nightmares others have gone through.

Comment by Arizona Slim
2013-02-05 14:43:36

Hearing my former landlady talk about her nightmares was all the discouragement I needed. No landlording for this skinny Arizonan, TYVM.

Comment by Avocado
2013-02-05 17:21:59

The key to being a good landlord is being a jack of all trades, get rid of the carpets, and buying well. I was one for 3 yrs, no problems.

Comment by Pimp Watch
2013-02-05 13:38:47

Given your inability to be honest, why would anyone ask you anything?

Comment by hazard
2013-02-05 14:21:28

“Long story short”

Too late.

Comment by mattR
2013-02-07 13:26:11

In 2004, my Korean haircutter was trying to sell a $1 million dollar home in the Virginia suburbs to the Vietnamese woman who owned the barber shop. I told her that housing was in an unsustainable debt bubble and would be coming down shortly. When she asked why I thought this, I told her it was because the lady cutting my hair owned a million dollar house.

I still hear about how right I was from the owner, and the Korean barber doesn’t work there anymore. Probably got rich flipping McMansions.

Comment by hazard
2013-02-05 14:13:23

A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

Quotes relating to the adoption of the Amendment

Thomas Jefferson

No freeman shall ever be debarred the use of arms.

George Mason

[W]hen the resolution of enslaving America was formed in Great Britain, the British Parliament was advised by an artful man, who was governor of Pennsylvania, to disarm the people; that it was the best and most effectual way to enslave them; but that they should not do it openly, but weaken them, and let them sink gradually.

Patrick Henry

Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect everyone who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are inevitably ruined.

James Madison

In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself. A dependence on the people is, no doubt, the primary control on the government; but experience has taught mankind the necessity of auxiliary precautions.

Comment by ecofeco
2013-02-05 15:33:11

To paraphrase an old saying: “Never bring a gun to a nuclear war.”

Small squad with assualt rifles vs one humvee with 60 cal. and grenade launcher. Game over right there.

The US gov will never be overthrown for a long, long, long, time and they are NOT afraid of gun fanatics.

I prersonally like guns. I just don’t like crazy, jingoistic, ignorant people with guns.

Comment by Carl Morris
2013-02-05 16:04:25

Remember how when we rolled into Baghdad in 3 days and nobody could stand up to us? And then it turned out that was the beginning of the war rather than the end? Yes, you’re right, nobody can stand up to the US Army head to head. That’s why you don’t do it that way.

Comment by Albuquerquedan
2013-02-05 16:39:33

asymmetric warfare.

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Comment by AmazingRuss
2013-02-05 21:50:47

…except the military and control structure will never ‘go home’.

You’d end up with a bunch of religious whackjobs in your little army too, and become the taliban, with executions of gays and all that fun stuff.

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Comment by mattR
2013-02-07 13:27:51

Since you’re so afraid of the power and reach of the US military, so much so you have to pack dozens of arms in your man-shack, I’m sure you only vote for politicians that restrict its size and budgetary excess. Right?

Comment by Avocado
2013-02-05 17:25:22


Comment by hazard
2013-02-05 17:46:30

Newtown Resident Bill Stevens Speaks Out on Gun Control
http://nj1015.com/newtown-resident-bill-stevens-speaks-out-on-gun-control/ - 68k - Cached - Similar pages

Comment by goon squad
2013-02-05 16:49:36

We have been enjoying the articles and links here very much, thanks to HBB poster Spook for sharing a few months back!


Comment by hazard
2013-02-05 17:09:26

“I suspect the trigger will be economic. But certainly firearms issues will drive millions of otherwise complacent individuals away from any love of government. The current push to disarm us is laying the groundwork for broader, stronger resistance to government tyranny, in whatever form it comes.”

“And you never know what could serve as a trigger. The whole Arab world burst into flame when one obscure fruit vendor set himself on fire. Right now, the hacker world is on the verge of rounding on the government because one of their own — young, promising, brilliant Aaron Swartz — was driven to suicide by a maniacal federal prosecutor. There’s a lot of crossover between hackers and gun owners. Interesting”

Comment by Rental Watch
2013-02-06 00:53:02

ANTONIN SCALIA: What the opinion Heller said is that it will have to be decided in future cases. What limitations upon the right to bear arms are permissible. Some undoubtedly are, because there were some that were acknowledged at the time. For example, there was a tort called affrighting, which if you carried around a really horrible weapon just to scare people, like a head ax or something, that was I believe a misdemeanor. So yes, there are some limitations that can be imposed. What they are will depend on what the society understood was reasonable limitation.

Comment by X-GSfixr
2013-02-05 14:50:05

Had lunch with a couple of my Republican, Limbaugh-listenings, dittohead buddies.

Of course, the talk turned to the crappy economy. And of course, it’s all due to that Socialist, parasite-loving, bootstrapper/producer-hating, gun-banner in the White House.

I’ve been finding plenty of opportunity lately, of throwing monkey-wrenches in the Ditto-head world view over the past couple of months……that illegal immigration is a bigger friend of the Republicans business supporters that it is the Democrats, why are we (supposedly) torturing people, when we as a nation have the resources/technology to make it totally unneccesary, That all of these mass murders aren’t propaganda by the MSM to support Obama’s quest to “take all your guns”, why “Clinton forced the banks to make loans to poor people, who borrowed too much money” is only 5% of the issue at best, the officially-labeled recession/defacto depression, etc..

The root cause of the crappy economy? Abortion. If we had 40 million more Americans, sales wouldn’t be so crappy.

Okay, sure, that’s the problem.

Except 20 million illegals are here in their place. And those 40 million extra Americans would need something called “jobs” to be able to buy anything. We’ve already got 50 million un/under employed Americans as it is.

In fact, by their creation and management of the current economy, the poo-bahs have engaged in defacto infanticide, because the 20-30 somethings are all into survivalist/bunker-mode, instead of getting married, buying houses, and having kids.

Really, I need to go build my own bunker. With a no-down, Obama underwritten, Liar Loan. And watch Zombie movies, AKA training films on what to do when the welfare/food stamps get cut off.

Comment by Arizona Slim
2013-02-05 15:21:07

Only thing that’s missing is the reference to an Obamaphone.

Comment by ecofeco
2013-02-05 15:35:18

…and the Escalade.

Comment by X-GSfixr
2013-02-05 16:16:06

I figured it was only a matter of time. But we only had an hour lunch.

In case anybody missed it. I did a quick check of local sales tax rates in the Kansas side of the KC metro area.

As noted, the two “destination” entertainment/shopping areas had sales tax rates of 10.15% and 9.925%. Including wide swaths of the adjacent counties. No exemptions for anything, includes food and medical. The rest of Johnson County is 7.5-8.0 percent.

Call it the “Trickle-Over Plan”. Cut taxes on the locals, and tax the crap out of the out of town visitors. They’ve been doing the same in/to the hotel industry for a while now.

The -fixr is going to do a calculation for his total tax bill. The list includes.

-Federal and State income (basically a trickle up program, since income taxes are transferred to the “producers” to keep jobs here, instead of moving them to china or Mehico).
-Social Security (x2 on my 1099 stuff)
-Sales taxes (call it 8% on all purchases)
-Fuel taxes (drove 30K miles this year…..lots of fuel taxes)
-Property tax on vehicles (a bunch around here)
-$20/month in taxes on my cellphone

Do you make the calculation for “Lucky Duck” status before or after taxes?

Comment by goon squad
2013-02-05 19:25:50

Only thing that’s missing is the reference to an Obamaphone

Know. Your. Meme.

Know it, love it, live it!

For-profit, private-sector, government contractors are 70 percent of the Pentagon’s costs for services (per Washington Post article January 14).

But in Drudgeworld, food stamps and Obamaphones are bankrupting this country. The meme has legs, the meme runs.

Got it?

Comment by Bluestar
2013-02-05 15:59:59

Feel better yet?
Including dividends, the S&P 500 gained 135% from March 2009 through January 2013, during what people remember as the “Great Recession.” It gained the exact same amount from 1996 to 2000, during what people remember as the “greatest bull market in history.
^Lesson: Don’t short Democrat Presidents.

Start with a dollar. Double it every day. In 48 days you’ll own every financial asset that exists on the planet — about $200 trillion.
^Don’t tell Ben!!


Comment by Albuquerquedan
2013-02-05 16:15:41

I thought Obama took office in January, why not start then? Also use the price of gasoline on that date. You will find that if you convert the money into gasoline you can buy less gallons now then when he took office. Zimbabwe had the best stock market measured by nominal gains for a long time. I am not interested in bubble economies, I am interested in economies that work for mainstreet and we do not have that.

Comment by Bluestar
2013-02-05 16:25:42

Hind sight is 20/20 dude. It’s just like climate cycles :)

Comment by Albuquerquedan
2013-02-05 16:43:18

Use the morning fix and we need to hit 17,000 for a double, use the afternoon and it is about 16,000. In any event, great for the .02% but for rest of us, not so much when you consider the Fed easing made houses more expensive and the our basics more expensive without giving us meaningful pay raises:


Comment by Bluestar
2013-02-05 17:17:57

Remember every time the value of existing housing rises another big chunk of underwater home owners start to break even or gain equity. At the same time the mortgage holder’s credit rating improves and billions of bad debt on bank balance sheets disappears. As long as everybody plays the game it’s all good!

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Comment by AmazingRuss
2013-02-05 21:54:00

Economics with no quantifiable metrics, so you can bellow about how OBAMA has ruined everything without anybody bothering you with facts.

Comment by Avocado
2013-02-05 17:30:06

Darn those commies!!! Just imagine how far along we be if we did not have all that debt Bush left us!

Comment by Bluestar
2013-02-05 16:23:27

Major USDA report* out. Lot’s of warnings about shifting seasons weeds and water. It’s says we spend $11 billion a year to kill weeds?


I’m going to put this report in the “AGW/climate change” column.
*56 authors from the federal government, universities, the private sector and other groups.

Comment by joesmith flacco
2013-02-05 17:13:23

Clearly the work of 56 parasitic socialists

Comment by Albuquerquedan
2013-02-05 17:22:59

So when is this global warming suppose to resume? This is another study that presumes we will be warmer by at least 1-2 C over the next forty years. I am still waiting for a year .1c above 1998, never mind being during a non-el nino year, in the next twenty years, which was my original requirements.

So bluestar, I explained my criteria for reconsidering whether climate change is primarily driven by man. So how long do we have to go without exceeding 1998 by a least .1c before you admit that the models are wrong?

Comment by Bluestar
2013-02-05 18:08:59

While you worry about bragging rights over .1C record global record there are more pressing issues in our own backyard. Texas is about to set a all time drought record.
“There are 19 water systems spread throughout the state with less than 180 days of water supply left, according to the TCEQ. Twelve water systems have less than 90 days of water and three have less than 45 days.”

Rick Perry just set aside 2 billion dollars out of the budget to spend on the effects of the current drought. A drop in the bucket, pun intended.


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Comment by Albuquerquedan
2013-02-05 18:35:41

The Southwest is known for droughts that last for hundreds of years, the Anasazi civilization collapsed because of one.

Comment by Albuquerquedan
2013-02-05 19:44:21

BTW, I guess the millions of illegals that reside in Texas are not having any impact on the water supply.

Comment by BYL
2013-02-05 19:02:01

“reconsidering whether climate change is primarily driven by man”

So if humans are only 30 or 40% of the contribution, no biggie, right?

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Comment by Albuquerquedan
2013-02-05 19:31:39

Actually, my estimate is about 14%. I did not say that it is not important but to do an accurate cost/benefit analysis you need to have models that actually work. Also, you need to know what the climate is doing. For example, if nature is moving toward an ice age, putting co2 into the atmosphere might even be a good thing since an ice age would kill billions of people and destroy more habitat than warming. I think that the best way to protect the environment in the U.S. and the world is to limit immigration to the U.S. since without immigration we would actually lose population and each American places a much higher demand on the environment than the average world citizen. I also think that the way China treats its environment is a crime against humanity but we do not address that issue. No, I see another agenda going on where global warming is used to promote globalization .

Comment by Albuquerquedan
2013-02-05 17:31:45

P.S. so if the existing computer models say a 2 degree C warming, I think that the real result will be .28 C or 1/7 of that result. Early this week, there was an article about how NASA was now admitting that the warming was 25% caused by the sun and that was not in the models. I think that the impact of the PDO and AMO is similarly not reflected. Nobody that believes in the models predicted an almost 20 year period without warming, it is in fact impossible according to the models since the amount of co2 in the air has increased faster than the models predicted and if co2 is the primary driver of climate, we should be at least 1C above 1998.

Comment by Little Al
2013-02-05 17:44:12

Holy Moly
Ay alguien alla que tiene interes en ofertas relacionado a nuestra cognicencia de las condiciones de precios de casas en relation de
un barometer de como jugar con la S&P 500?
Pardon, just trying to get a read on savvy infestors
or such sort, blending their irony in with other issues, Brazil, Housing Starts, Bernanke Put, iron ore demand for China, Nouriel Roubini on Cnbc,
overbought American stocks, timing next big rebound.
This is getting interesting. Lots of money to be made with a true read. But who has one?

Comment by hazard
2013-02-05 18:09:01

Posted: 12:54 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2013

Cops say West Palm woman rented out neighbor’s foreclosed home, collected more than $13,000 in rent

By Sonja Isger

Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

A West Palm Beach woman is accused of commandeering her neighbor’s empty and foreclosed-upon home, renting it through Craigslist and collecting more than $13,000 in rent before the owner discovered the ruse and called the cops.

Nathalie Heil, 30, was booked into the Palm Beach County Jail on Friday. Facing charges of grand theft and fraud, she was released Saturday after posting $6,000 bond.

But Heil said she believes she has ownership of the house, stating that she filed what’s called “adverse possession” papers. The arcane Florida law, created hundreds of years ago, states that if a person claiming adverse possession stays in a home for seven years, paying taxes and caring for the property, they can take permanent ownership.

Andre De Palma Barbosa, the 23-year-old Brazilian now known as the “Boca Raton squatter,” used adverse possession to move into an empty foreclosed 7,000-square-foot mansion in Boca Raton in December.

As for Heil, she said the owner of the property at 314 Vallette Way abandoned the home over six years ago.

She assumed that as soon as she filed her papers with the courts, the property was hers.

“Legally, I thought it was right,” she told the Palm Beach Post.

Heil said she’s received death threats since the story first ran on the Post’s website Tuesday afternoon.

“I’m freaking out,” she said. “I have a full-time job and I’m a single mom.”

West Palm Beach police were tipped off to the situation Friday morning, when they got a call from Kelly Keefner, who manages the 314 Vallette Way property for her father-in-law, Juan Cedeno. Keefner told police the home is in foreclosure, and for that reason she had not checked on the property in the last eight months. She said when she stopped by in late January, the place looked lived-in.

Keefner returned to the home with her husband and met April Wehle, 24, and Talia Williams, 25, who said they had been renting the home for $1,500 a month since mid-June. The women said they found the place through a Craigslist ad placed by Heil, who lives next door at 312 Vallette Way.

The women told police they’d paid a total $13,500 in rent by check to Heil and spent another $500 to make various repairs, according to Heil’s arrest report. The home sits south of downtown and just blocks south of the Mango Promenade historic district, tucked between S. Dixie Highway and S. Olive Ave. south of Okeechobee Boulevard.

After confirming Cedeno’s ownership — the county property appraiser lists him as the owner of record since 2007 — police said they confronted Heil when she went to the home to collect rent. Heil told police she had gone to the county courthouse and “completed paperwork giving her possession of the residence.”

Police said they found no such paperwork, and property records name Cedeno as the owner.

After her arrest, Heil said she was told to “show up for court with the paperwork.”

“I legally subletted my house,” she said, noting that Wehle and Williams still live there.

“There’s three sides to every story,” she said.

People who rent property from Craigslist should be cautious, said West Palm Beach-based Realtor Laura Pearlman, who did not speak specifically about the Heil case.

“Craigslist, that’s like a haven for scam artists,” Pearlman said.

Pearlman said she had to file a report with police last year after someone used Craigslist to list without permission a five-bedroom property that was being advertised by her company. She urged prospective tenants to research a property before renting.

“Don’t give money to anyone unless you know it’s going to the owner or the property management company or a realtor,” she said.

Comment by hazard
2013-02-05 18:17:55


Posted by dinop at 2:47 p.m. Feb. 5, 2013 Report Abuse

I applaud you Natalie. It’s hard to make a buck out there.

Posted by CheeseusSonofdog at 2:57 p.m. Feb. 5, 2013 Report Abuse

Who did she defraud? The owner, Juan Cedeno, has 8 foreclosures against him. He obviously got mortgages and then refused to pay when values declined. The ultimate deadbeat. The bank is to blame as well, as like most, they are refusing to foreclose. The bank filed in 2008 and never filed for the final auction. That is five years folks. If anything, this woman saved the bank big money by having an occupant preventing copper theives to come in and strip the home, or kids to vandalize it.

This story shows the truth about the housing market we have. Banks are refusing to foreclose. Homeowners refused to agree to the mortgages they willing signed up for. Homeowners who have stolen thousands from the rest of us when they don’t pay their mortgage, insurance, hoa and taxes. The deadbeats are the ones who ripped us all off. I respect this woman for taking advantage of the situation. It is time a taxpayer got some back.

Posted by CheeseusSonofdog at 3:01 p.m. Feb. 5, 2013 Report Abuse

Let me add, Juan says he hasn’t checked on the home in 8 months. Yet foreclosure was filed against him way back in 2008. My guess is he was renting it the whole time and not paying his mortgage. Figure he stole several times as much than this young lady did. Why isn’t he being called out as a theif?

Posted by formerlyv at 5:14 p.m. Feb. 5, 2013 Report Abuse

Agree with Cheeseus - the real crook here is the owner and the bank. She might have not had the right to rent the property but by doing so she saved the neghborhood from a blighted rundown property. Unlike the deadbeat Cedeno and the uncaring bank.

Comment by Resistor
2013-02-05 21:01:39

“Craigslist, that’s like a haven for scam artists, Pearlman said.”

LOL, that is some Mel Brooks material right there.

Comment by CRATER!!!!
2013-02-05 19:44:31


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