February 7, 2013

Bits Bucket for February 7, 2013

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

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Comment by goon squad
2013-02-07 04:15:38

Asia Times Online - Paying the bin Laden tax

“Bin Laden, of course, is long dead, but his was the 9/11 spark that, in the hands of George W Bush and his top officials, helped turn this country into a lockdown state and first set significant portions of the Greater Middle East aflame. In that sense, bin Laden has been thriving in Washington ever since, and no commando raid in Pakistan or elsewhere has a chance of doing him in.

Since the al-Qaeda leader was aware of the relative powerlessness of his organization and its hundreds or, in its heyday, perhaps thousands of active followers, his urge was to defeat the US by provoking its leaders into treasury-draining wars in the Greater Middle East. In his world, it was thought that such a set of involvements - and the “homeland” security down payments that went with them - could bleed the richest, most powerful nation on the planet dry. In this, he and his associates, imitators, and wannabes were reasonably canny. The bin Laden tax, including that $120 million for Inauguration Day, has proved heavy indeed.

In the meantime, he - and 9/11 as it entered the American psyche - helped facilitate the locking down of this society in ways that should unnerve us all. The resulting United States of Fear has since engaged in two disastrous more-than-trillion dollar wars and a “Global War on Terror” that shows no sign of ending in our lifetime. (See Yemen, Pakistan, and Mali.) It has also funded the supersized growth of a labyrinthine intelligence bureaucracy; that post-9/11 creation, the Department of Homeland Security, and, of course, the Pentagon and the US military, including the special operations forces, an ever-expanding secret military elite cocooned within it.”


Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-07 06:54:04

Bin Laden is dead. Long live Bin Laden.

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-07 06:56:12

Osama was a godsend to the military industrial complex.

Comment by goon squad
2013-02-07 07:22:00

Invisible hand of free market:

“contractors make up 70% of the Pentagon’s costs for delivering services”


Comment by Spook
2013-02-07 07:51:39

You think the war on terror is a good scam?

Just wait until they start the “War on UFOs”

Comment by rms
2013-02-07 08:25:59

Just wait until they start the “War on UFOs”

+1 First the Milky Way then the Universe. Empire!

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Comment by In Colorado
2013-02-07 09:15:04

That was the basic premise of “The Forever War”

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Comment by aNYCdj
2013-02-07 10:57:20

Dang Spook i thought a War on Ebonics would be a great way to spend money, and maybe get some good results out of it..

Sad to realize they wanted bad results from a trillion dollars spent.

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Comment by Avocado
2013-02-07 11:09:49

yep, those “socialist” are always good for wars and corporate profits (at all time highs). How anyone can think O is a socialist is just nuts.

Comment by joe smith
2013-02-07 07:11:52

Bin Laden won.

He cost America 10k+ lives and at least $10 Trillion USD.

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-07 07:36:43

I assume you are just referring to the accounting costs, not the myriad headaches of dealing with new security measures at all levels of life…

Comment by goon squad
2013-02-07 07:46:31

Having your preteen kidz get molested by TSA agents is just an externality of the price we have to pay to secure our freedoms and restore our future and take America back. Now go put another ribbon on your car and make sure your flag lapel pin isn’t crooked. LOOSERS!

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Comment by Albuquerquedan
2013-02-07 14:15:43

It is a plan to induce early puberty and help raise the birthrate of the country. I think Glenn Beck covered it. (sarcasm).

Comment by joe smith
2013-02-07 08:05:59

You can’t walk into most federal buildings or courts around here without a handful of U.S. marshalls being all up in your business. I don’t mean just having to go through metal detectors or getting “wanded”, I mean hovering over you and asking you questions.

Last week I had to go to Court of Federal Claims, a sleepy, boring, nondescript building. I took a short-cut and cut across the garden/terrace area off the 15th street courtyard. I think this really pissed off some of the marshalls… when I came into the building they looked at me like I was carrying a bomb, when all i had on me as a redweld with copies of a motion.

Sadly I can’t remember the pre-9/11 world and how much better it was, since i never had to do “adult things” before 2005ish. It would probably piss me off if I could remember the 80s and 90s and how you could just walk right onto an airplane or right into a court house.

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Comment by mattR
2013-02-07 08:38:38

We used to walk into the DC Capitol building and walk around pre 9/11. No, I’m not kidding.

Comment by Carl Morris
2013-02-07 09:08:19

It would probably piss me off if I could remember the 80s and 90s and how you could just walk right onto an airplane or right into a court house.

It would. I don’t have much to do with courthouses, but not being able to take kids to meet friends at the gate and see the airplanes and all that is just sad. And almost having to throw away my Swiss army knife that I’ve had since I was a kid almost every time I travel is quite irritating as well. When it’s always on you, it’s hard to remember to leave it home.

Comment by MiddleCoaster
2013-02-07 10:54:27

I have had three mini-Swiss Army knives confiscated since 9/11 because I forgot I had them in my purse or carry-on (twice), or because someone’s interpretation of the rules differed from that of others and it wasn’t worth it to me to contest it (recently). :roll:

Comment by aNYCdj
2013-02-07 11:27:57

I do Joe…..90% of the jobs i got in my life was just that walking in and asking for it…It showed Initiative

Today you cant even hand a resume to the receptionist, with passing security and then they wont be bothered coming down and taking you back upstairs Just file on line….no human contact

and i am a people person…..

Sadly I can’t remember the pre-9/11 world and how much better it was

Comment by zee_in_phx
2013-02-07 11:31:03

you thinks its bad going into a federal building while white, imagine FWM - flying while Muslim - i have stories from friends that would be simply hilarious if it didn’t involve actors who had the full backing and force of the US gov. behind them.

here are two minor examples:
- guy getting randomly checked ‘twice’ at the gate after he was given the full protocol at the main security line.
- this other friend is pretty much on a 1st name basis with the TSA agent at the international arrival gate because his job entails lots of overseas travel, but he has to go thru secondary screening each and every time he flies back - forget about making any connecting flight; the secondary screening can take anywhere from 4 - 6 hrs - and this after spending 18 hr cooped in a cylindrical metal pressurized canister is no fun.

and these both are US citizens and have been here for well over 3 decades.

Comment by snowgirl
2013-02-07 15:41:23

“It would probably piss me off if I could remember the 80s and 90s and how you could just walk right onto an airplane or right into a court house.”

I got majorly patted down, scanned, etc in ‘91 when I went into the Thomas P. O’Neil Jr. Federal Building in Boston w/2 Kuwaiti nationals. They were trapped here during our invasion of Iraq or at least their families advised them they were safer here. They were all over us and I very, very much look and sound like a Boston girl.

Comment by Avocado
2013-02-07 11:11:05

of course he won, we (CIA) trained him very well) and he went up against George Bush.

Comment by measton
2013-02-07 14:02:47

He could very well have been working for the CIA and US military industrial complex. Remember we needed an excuse “another pearl harbor” to get the American people behind a war in Iraq, neocons said it themselves.

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Comment by ahansen
2013-02-08 00:15:10

LOL, avo

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Comment by scdave
2013-02-07 08:15:56

Nice post Goon…

And let there be no doubt…This was all “BUSH”….The bad a$$ Decider….

Run from him all you like neo’s and the rest of you republicans…. Pivot off all you want but you own this lock-stock & barrel….

You were riding high in the saddle with your ten gallon hat 2000-2008 now weren’t you…Now, the music has stopped and the back-biting is in full swing….

You tried to shed your skin and morph into the “tea-party” and that didn’t work now did it…Elections have consequences…What you were blind to see is that it was going to be a death blow…Bye-Bye….

Comment by AmazingRuss
2013-02-07 08:35:00

The party of fear.

Comment by Northeastener
2013-02-07 09:09:00

Elections have consequences…What you were blind to see is that it was going to be a death blow…Bye-Bye….

Whatever. There will always be a constituency to the right of the socialists and communists in the Democratic Party. And for the record, if Clinton had done the job properly during his administration, then 9/11 wouldn’t have occurred and history would have been quite different regarding Afghanistan and Iraq. Yes, that’s right: Clinton had many opportunities to take out Bin Laden and failed.

From an NBC report in 2004 on why the Clinton administration didn’t take out Bin Laden even though they were tracking his movements in Afghanistan via Predator drones:
“We were not prepared to take the military action necessary,” said retired Gen. Wayne Downing, who ran counter-terror efforts for the current Bush administration and is now an NBC analyst.

Gary Schroen, a former CIA station chief in Pakistan, says the White House required the CIA to attempt to capture bin Laden alive, rather than kill him… “It reduced the odds from, say, a 50 percent chance down to, say, 25 percent chance that we were going to be able to get him,” said Schroen.

A Democratic member of the 9/11 commission says there was a larger issue: The Clinton administration treated bin Laden as a law enforcement problem.

Comment by goon squad
2013-02-07 10:49:55
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Comment by Avocado
2013-02-07 11:23:20

lol! Clinton, elected in 93????? People sure love to re-write history.

The first contact with Bin Laden was in 1979, when the new graduate from the Univ. of Jedah got in touch with the U.S. embassy in Ankara, Turkey. With the help of the CIA and the U.S. Armed Forces intelligence services he began to organize in the early 1980s and network to raise money and to recruit fighters for the Afghan mujahidins that were fighting the Soviets. He did this from the city of Peshawar in Pakistan, bordering Afghanistan.

==now the facts:
Reagan helped create the Taliban and Osama Bin Laden. Reagan fought a proxy war with the Soviet Union by training, arming, equipping, and funding Islamist mujahidin fighters in Afghanistan. Reagan funneled billions of dollars, along with top-secret intelligence and sophisticated weaponry to these fighters through the Pakistani intelligence service. The Talbian and Osama Bin Laden — a prominent mujahidin commander — emerged from these mujahidin groups Reagan helped create, and U.S. policy towards Pakistan remains strained because of the intelligence services’ close relations to these fighters. In fact, Reagan’s decision to continue the proxy war after the Soviets were willing to retreat played a direct role in Bin Laden’s ascendancy.

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Comment by Northeastener
2013-02-07 12:02:55

And Clinton had him under direct surveillance by Predator Drone in Afghanistan in the late 90’s, well after attacks on US foreign interests had been connected to Bin Laden and the Clinton administration failed to do the job…

Comment by Michael Viking
2013-02-07 12:22:35

I don’t get it. Where do your “facts” dispute the claim that Clinton had the opportunity to take out bin Laden and didn’t?

And from what Ben posted below, it seems like Carter got us involved there, so maybe Reagan was forced to continue his mess, kinda like lots of folks excuse Obama’s blunders as being necessary because of things Bush did?

I know Carter wasn’t to blame though, because he’s a Democrat and whatever he did that sucked was because the retarded Republicans Nixon and Ford had done something before him…On the other hand, naturally Nixon takes full blame for his actions regardless of the fact that he was trying to fix Johnson’s Vietnam (or other) mistakes, right?


Comment by Northeastener
2013-02-07 12:27:27

The enemy of my enemy is my friend… as Ben pointed out, Afghanistan was a trap for the Soviets and it worked. The fact that Bin Laden was part of that is inconsequential to the fact that after Bin Laden turned against US interests, the Clinton administration had ample opportunity to remove him as a threat and failed to do so.

In 1980, the cold war still existed, as it had for almost 35 years prior. The Soviet Union was the preeminent threat to the US. By 1998, Bin Laden and Al Qaeda was the preeminent threat, under the guise of “terrorism”.

Comment by Avocado
2013-02-07 12:35:44

I blame the guy who let Bush off on his DUI and cocaine charges. If those would have stuck, there would have been no 8 yrs of Bush. Wait, I blame pappa Bush, for having kids. Wait, I blame Harvard!! yeah Harvard!!

Comment by Michael Viking
2013-02-07 14:11:59

Are you sure you don’t blame that drunkard Kennedy who killed somebody while drunk and then ran off?

You’re obviously another person with a twisted mind where twisted ideas seem straight and straight ideas seem twisted. You’ll always find what you’re looking for.

Comment by nickpapageorgio
2013-02-07 15:47:28

Who cares who was President during 9/11, anyone would have retaliated, you just would have been light millions of protesters and human shields if a communist like Obama was in the White House. As long as the President is down with the struggle of having our country Fundamentally Transformed, the left is silent.

Just look at the drone program, Guantanamo Bay, Afghanistan, Libya etc. In fact, authoritarians like Obama are a substantially greater threat to humans when given the power to kill. Bush looks like a cub scout by comparison.

Do you know we just sent the Muslim Brotherhood 60 F-16’s and 200 Abrams tanks? You know, but you don’t care.

Comment by Northeastener
2013-02-07 16:27:44

Do you know we just sent the Muslim Brotherhood 60 F-16’s and 200 Abrams tanks? You know, but you don’t care.

When the ME goes to hell in a handbasket, the Israelis (and us) will be cursing the day we allowed the most advanced and lethal main battle tank ever fielded in the hands of Egyptians and the Muslim Brotherhood.

It boggles the mind.

Comment by nickpapageorgio
2013-02-08 00:10:59

Yes it does.

Comment by jonkoktosten
2013-02-08 01:06:04

It’s almost as if we are providing that weaponry to facilitate a credible attack against Israel.

Comment by scdave
2013-02-07 11:56:40

if Clinton had done the job properly during his administration, then 9/11 wouldn’t have occurred ??

Thats hilarious…Blame someone else…Yeah…If Clinton did his job, Bush would not have been able to be a criminal and bury this country in two wars…Okay…I buy that for what its worth…But, a criminal, he is, no less…

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Comment by Michael Viking
2013-02-07 12:11:18

Thats hilarious…Blame someone else

I know a lot of people here like to blame Bush for things Obama’s doing even though he’s been in office for years. Do you also find that hilarious?

Has any Democrat done something bad in your eyes that was their fault? or is there always some stupid Republican predecessor to blame?

Maybe you have an obi-wan error and actually the Republicans are having trouble because of their stupid Democrat predecessors…?

Comment by Avocado
2013-02-07 12:37:09

why does the stock market always do so much better under Dems as POTUS? I bet the neo-cons dont believe that either.

Comment by scdave
2013-02-07 13:48:16

I know a lot of people here like to blame Bush for things Obama’s doing even though he’s been in office for years. Do you also find that hilarious ??

Well, Mr. V., only when the facts work through the bias rhetoric do I consider it hilarious which was exactly what I meant from Neasterners post blaming Clinton for Bush starting two wars and there by taxing the F09$ out of us to pay for it for who knows how long…

Has any Democrat done something bad in your eyes that was their fault? or is there always some stupid Republican predecessor to blame ??

Listen up Nit-Wit…Its a 90% + chance that I have voted more times for republicans than you have okay….

Comment by Michael Viking
2013-02-07 14:14:09

Listen up Nit-Wit…Its a 90% + chance that I have voted more times for republicans than you have okay….

LOL. I’m not sure this is something to be proud of, but at any rate I like how this data point is somehow supposed to mean your opinion is fair/valid.

Comment by Michael Viking
2013-02-07 14:16:47

why does the stock market always do so much better under Dems as POTUS?

Probably because of their Republican Houses and or Senates? Seems just as likely.

Comment by Avocado
2013-02-07 15:41:14

so logic says: keep a Dem in the white house.

yet, you want to defy it???? Why?

Comment by Avocado
2013-02-07 15:42:48

And let me remind you Bush had all 4 branches if u include sp court. in gop control for 6 yrs. how did that play out? Not much fiscal conservation….

know your party, make smart decisions

Comment by scdave
2013-02-07 15:43:34

but at any rate I like how this data point is somehow supposed to mean your opinion is fair/valid ??

The Facts/Jack…Something you tend to Lack…Bush started Two wars…

Has any Democrat done something bad in your eyes that was their fault? or is there always some stupid Republican predecessor to blame?


Comment by Albuquerquedan
2013-02-07 14:19:00

Actually, I remember reading a NY Times article that Sudan offered to turn him over to us before 9/11 during the Clinton Administration and we refused to take him because at that time we could not make a criminal case against him.

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Comment by Avocado
2013-02-07 15:45:24

durn… that GOP controlled congress!! more concerned with Monica then OBL…

Comment by Albuquerquedan
2013-02-07 14:24:23
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Comment by Northeastener
2013-02-07 09:11:23

Bin Laden won.

He cost America 10k+ lives and at least $10 Trillion USD.

But he didn’t live to see the end result of his “victory”. Put another way:
The dead only know one thing… it is better to be alive. - Joker from Full Metal Jacket

Comment by joe smith
2013-02-07 09:25:17

He lived to see us fight two needless wars, our “allies” toppled in numerous countries, our debts balloon, our values sacrified via torture/renditions/drones, and thousands upon thousands of soldiers maimed or killed. He also saw the rise of many more potential terrorists and networks of terrorists that arose in response to the U.S.’s continual “war on terror”.

Bin Laden absolutely saw enough to know that he won. And he read about it while apparently living in relative comfort and peace near the military academy of a two-faced U.S. “ally” (Pakistan). Bin Laden was not stupid, I’m sure he also understood that while all this was going on, ‘merkans were bickering over taxes while demanding massive SS/medicare expenses and funding for the military industrial complex.

Bin Laden also won because the U.S. still has a war on drugs that keeps prices high and keeps narcotraffickers flush with cash so they can continue helping fund terrorist groups.

Heck, what is life expectancy in Afghanistan/Pakistan anyway? It’s possible bin Laden lived a pretty normal life span for that part of the world.

Comment by aNYCdj
2013-02-07 11:55:24

The Taliban destroyed the poppy fields….so we had to change that attitude real quickly!

U.S. still has a war on drugs that keeps prices high and keeps narcotraffickers flush with cash so they can continue helping fund terrorist groups.

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Comment by Northeastener
2013-02-07 09:17:03

I’ll go back to what I have said before: Anyone who has read Sun Tzu’s Art of War knows that war is to be fought quickly, because long, drawn-out affairs are expensive and no state can afford it.

Why is it the General Staff of our armed forces, for the most part graduates of US Military Academies where Sun Tzu is required reading, forgot this lesson? Why is it the politicians and civilian leadership of our country ignored the lessons taught by one of China’s greatest generals almost 2500 years ago? Hubris, plain and simple…

Comment by joe smith
2013-02-07 09:34:28

General Staff of our armed forces, for the most part graduates of US Military Academies where Sun Tzu is required reading


I don’t think this is true anymore. A lot of the generals these days, if not the majority, are not annapolis/west point/usafa grads. Getting to the top has changed and while many are from combat arms, a lot just play good politics advance through rather beurocratic type positions.

Most academy grads also leave the military after their service commitments are up. This is in part because the service academy grads have a higher market value than your average ROTC or OCS officer. The ones who stay can get pretty good assignments, but most of my brothers’ classmates are “5 and out” (a little less for nuke sub guys, a little more for pilots, etc). My dad was 5 & out because West Point is one of relatively few schools with a nuclear engineering major and the army was more limited what they could pay him compared to bechtel or GE. And when you work with the corps of engineers you quickly realize that the contractors get all the benefits of big projects.

IMO, free college @ an academy should require more than ~5 yrs of service

Comment by Carl Morris
2013-02-07 09:51:16

IMO, free college @ an academy should require more than ~5 yrs of service

To me that statement is a symptom of college being overpriced. Also, the longer you make the commitment, the worse you can run the whole system and still have enough people to keep it going. I prefer to see the military have to compete with the civilian sector for people as much as possible. Forces them to suck a little less.

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Comment by joe smith
2013-02-07 10:46:07

The bill for USNA/USMA/USAFA comes to around $400,000 per graduate. Free to the students (they get a stipend to buy uniforms, supplies, etc.), paid for by Dept of Defense.

It would be cheaper to close the academies and find officers through ROTC or OCS and just offer scholarships. I doubt this will happen, though. And perhaps it shouldn’t.

Comment by Northeastener
2013-02-07 10:19:15

A lot of the generals these days, if not the majority, are not annapolis/west point/usafa grads.

While I agree with you in principle, many of the upper echelons of leadership involved with Iraq and Afghanistan are grads of the military academies. Many on the list below have served as Joint Chiefs, directly advising the Secretary of Defense and the President on strategy.

David Patraeus - West Point graduate
John Allen - Naval Academy graduate
Stanley McChrystal - West Point graduate
Raymond Odierno - West Point graduate
Michael Mullen - Naval Academy graduate
Martin Dempsey - West Point graduate

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Comment by oxide
2013-02-07 09:43:06

Yeah, because Sun Tzu’s examples of armies fighting each other in the fields with slings and arrows are directly applicable to modern wars with heavy artillary and millions of civilians, guerilla warriors, and a lot of pesky oil infrastructure gumming up the battlefield.

Comment by eight pieces of chicken
2013-02-07 09:53:27

Human nature. It never changed.

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Comment by Carl Morris
2013-02-07 09:54:17

Human psychology is constant.

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Comment by Albuquerquedan
2013-02-07 10:19:49

Exactly. That is why the Viet Cong and Uncle Ho were able to use it so well in Vietnam against us.

Comment by Northeastener
2013-02-07 10:36:10

And why the Mujaheddin were able to use it so effectively against the Soviets in Afghanistan…

Comment by Ben Jones
2013-02-07 11:27:55

‘And why the Mujaheddin were able to use it so effectively against the Soviets in Afghanistan’

As usual, the story is much deeper than most realize:

‘Interview with Zbigniew Brzezinski, President Jimmy Carter’s National Security Adviser - Le Nouvel Observateur, Paris, 15-21 January 1998′

‘Question: The former director of the CIA, Robert Gates, stated in his memoirs ["From the Shadows"], that American intelligence services began to aid the Mujahadeen in Afghanistan 6 months before the Soviet intervention. In this period you were the national security adviser to President Carter. You therefore played a role in this affair. Is that correct?

Brzezinski: Yes. According to the official version of history, CIA aid to the Mujahadeen began during 1980, that is to say, after the Soviet army invaded Afghanistan, 24 Dec 1979. But the reality, secretly guarded until now, is completely otherwise Indeed, it was July 3, 1979 that President Carter signed the first directive for secret aid to the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul. And that very day, I wrote a note to the president in which I explained to him that in my opinion this aid was going to induce a Soviet military intervention.

Q: Despite this risk, you were an advocate of this covert action. But perhaps you yourself desired this Soviet entry into war and looked to provoke it?

B: It isn’t quite that. We didn’t push the Russians to intervene, but we knowingly increased the probability that they would.

Q: When the Soviets justified their intervention by asserting that they intended to fight against a secret involvement of the United States in Afghanistan, people didn’t believe them. However, there was a basis of truth. You don’t regret anything today?

B: Regret what? That secret operation was an excellent idea. It had the effect of drawing the Russians into the Afghan trap and you want me to regret it? The day that the Soviets officially crossed the border, I wrote to President Carter. We now have the opportunity of giving to the USSR its Vietnam war. Indeed, for almost 10 years, Moscow had to carry on a war unsupportable by the government, a conflict that brought about the demoralization and finally the breakup of the Soviet empire.

Q: And neither do you regret having supported the Islamic fundamentalism, having given arms and advice to future terrorists?

B: What is most important to the history of the world? The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire? Some stirred-up Moslems or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the cold war?

Q: Some stirred-up Moslems? But it has been said and repeated Islamic fundamentalism represents a world menace today.

B: Nonsense! It is said that the West had a global policy in regard to Islam. That is stupid. There isn’t a global Islam. Look at Islam in a rational manner and without demagoguery or emotion. It is the leading religion of the world with 1.5 billion followers. But what is there in common among Saudi Arabian fundamentalism, moderate Morocco, Pakistan militarism, Egyptian pro-Western or Central Asian secularism? Nothing more than what unites the Christian countries.’

Comment by Northeastener
2013-02-07 12:13:55

The money shot…

It isn’t quite that. We didn’t push the Russians to intervene, but we knowingly increased the probability that they would.

More from Sun Tzu… written 2500 years ago:

The clever combatant imposes his will on the enemy, but does not allow the enemy’s will to be imposed on him.

If we wish to fight, the enemy can be forced to an engagement even though he be sheltered behind a high rampart and a deep ditch. All we need do is attack some other place that he will be obliged to relieve. If we do not wish to fight, we can prevent the enemy from engaging us even though the lines of our encampment be merely traced out on the ground. All we need do is to throw something odd and unaccountable in his way.

If we used these strategies successfully against the Soviet Union, why is it we failed to see them being used against us by Bin Laden and Al Qaeda?

Comment by Ben Jones
2013-02-07 12:47:52

‘why is it we failed to see them being used against us’

Blow-back means big profits for these people. Like Pepe Escobar suggested the other day, the US govt knew arms/Islamists were going to flow from Libya into Mali. It’s the perfect setup to invade a place you wanted all along.

Comment by Northeastener
2013-02-07 15:50:03

Not sure why, but that post made me think of “It’s a trap!” and “All your base are belong to us.

“Somebody set up us the bomb!”

“For great justice”

Comment by Northeastener
2013-02-07 10:34:44

Sun Tzu’s examples of armies fighting each other in the fields with slings and arrows are directly applicable to modern wars

You show your ignorance of what lessons are contained in “The Art of War”. Here are a few quotes as to what one could take away… and note the value of the lessons hasn’t changed in 2500 years, regardless of the tactics and weapons available.

“Engage people with what they expect; it is what they are able to discern and confirms their projections. It settles them into predictable patterns of response, occupying their minds while you wait for the extraordinary moment — that which they cannot anticipate.”

“Treat your men as you would your own beloved sons. And they will follow you into the deepest valley.”

“All warfare is based on deception.”

“There is no instance of a country having benefited from prolonged warfare. ”

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Comment by joe smith
2013-02-07 11:29:22

“Know your enemy” etc etc.

Sun Tzu is good reading for anyone. I see it pitched for lawyers and businesspeople all the time in “recommended reading” lists. It’s a frequently quoted by risk management people too.

Rumsfeld’s “known unknowns and unknown unknowns” thing was along the same lines, though obviously not directly from Art of War.

There are also a ton of counter-insurgency books that were written far back in European history. Either Petraeus or McCrystal was especially fond of a French treastise on counterinsurgency.

Comment by joe smith
2013-02-07 14:37:13

Speaking of Rumsfeld… nice house. I guess being a “public service” does pay off.


Comment by joe smith
2013-02-07 10:43:27

If anything, the Art of War is more relevant today, since it really isn’t about the physical acts or static technology constraints of war at all.

Reading books like AOW is an exercise in opening the minds of 18-22 yr olds. It’s part of the liberal arts education at a place like West Point or Annapolis, not used as a replacement for all the other things they need to know (which are largely taught in summers and then reinforced throughout the year). For USNA there is plebe summer, the PT cruise after plebe year, then a war game simulation for youngsters (sophomores), etc.

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Comment by joe smith
2013-02-07 10:54:11

Sea Trials is for plebes, the YP cruise is for youngsters. I mixed that up.

Comment by sfhomowner
2013-02-07 10:15:30

long, drawn-out affairs are expensive and no state can afford it.

Who cares whether we can afford it? These companies are very happy: http://www.businessinsider.com/top-25-us-defense-companies-2012-2?op=1

Comment by aNYCdj
2013-02-07 11:53:35

Exactly NE….we need to make sure we put plenty of women on the front lines… kill enough of them and the men will get scared and figure out a way to end the war quickly…equal rights you know.

Maybe Kissinger should have had a long talk with Nixon and made sure women were also drafted for Vietnam…

Comment by Northeastener
2013-02-07 12:44:15

we need to make sure we put plenty of women on the front lines

If it’s good enough for the Israelis…

Honestly, I don’t know why it’s such a big deal. Most women won’t willingly chose combat occupations like Infantry unless they are extremely fit and out to prove something. Other combat specialties like Armor, Combat Engineer, or Artillery need more mechanical, spatial, and computer skills than upper body strength or size… the only area where the average woman falls short.

Yes, you won’t see many female Navy SEAL, Army Ranger, Marine Recon, Army SF/Delta operators just by virtue of the physical requirements. But the rest? No complaints from me. Though I can’t imagine being on extended patrol during “that time of the month”. Talk about uncomfortable…

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Comment by Carl Morris
2013-02-07 13:57:08

Other combat specialties like Armor, Combat Engineer, or Artillery need more mechanical, spatial, and computer skills than upper body strength or size… the only area where the average woman falls short.

The only problem I have with that is that I was in the ultimate MOS where strength and size shouldn’t matter (02 series), yet they frequently mattered a lot in my unit. And it caused problems because for every person in the unit that can’t do that task somebody else has to do double. It will be an interesting experiment if they only select women who can do EVERYTHING a man does in the same MOS. Otherwise it’ll just be another typical PC disaster.

Comment by Northeastener
2013-02-07 14:58:28

A gun bunny private needs to be able to carry a large powder charge or haul artillery shells from an ammo carrier to a magazine. An armor private needs to be able to haul main gun shells from an ammo carrier to the tank magazine, load main gun shells, and replace thrown tracks and track wheels, etc.

These particular tasks are strenuous and require upper body strength. Having said that, if a woman private can’t meet the grade, she’ll get a no go and eventually have to switch to an occupation with less physical requirements. Women want equal treatment? Let them meet equal task standards.

For what it’s worth, I carried an M60 and then an M240 machine gun at various points in my infantry career. These machine guns were 25lbs unloaded. Add 25 lbs of body armor, ammo, and load-bearing gear in addition to a rucksack with another 80-100lbs of gear and I was easily carrying 150lbs of equipment… up and down mountainous terrain in places like NTC. Sorry, but I haven’t met a woman yet that could do that… and aside from the radio, the crew-served machine gun is the greatest casualty producing weapon an infantry platoon carries.

I know Ahansen disagrees, but I never met a female body builder in my time in service and 100% of the women I know couldn’t meet those physical standards for upper body strength… let them compete, sure. But they don’t get a go unless they meet the task requirements and fitness standards.

Comment by Carl Morris
2013-02-07 15:13:01

I met one woman who could definitely do that sort of thing better than I could, in the National Guard oddly enough. If she or someone like her wanted to try it, it would be interesting to watch how all the other issues got dealt with. Problem is, at least in my experience they always lowered the standards to get the results they wanted. For this particular experiment it’s critical they don’t do that, even if that means the numbers look bad.

Comment by polly
2013-02-07 15:54:09

As far as I know, women don’t serve in the front line units in the Israeli military. Only support. Things may have changed since I got my information since it is about 20 years old. But, generally, they get drafted at 18 and serve in the reserves until their 40s.

Comment by Albuquerquedan
2013-02-07 16:07:26

It is true. They served in combat roles when Israel first became a country but it was decided that they eroded the overall combat effectiveness of the military and they were removed. Those that do not study history are doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past.

Comment by Northeastener
2013-02-07 16:07:41

According to a Nat Geo article, 8 countries allow women in combat roles: Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Israel, New Zealand, and Norway.

According to the article, women in the IDF are open to combat roles in Artillery, Air Defense, and Rescue. It doesn’t say anything about Infantry, but the other nations listed do allow it. One example provided is France, which allows women in the Infantry… only 1.7% of Infantry personal are female.

Comment by Albuquerquedan
2013-02-07 16:55:30

You are right PCness did catch up to the IDF in 2000. This is the present situation is Israel:

More than 90 percent of all positions in the Israeli military are available to women, a proportion exceeded only by Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Finland, whose armies have much lower female participation. Still, fewer than 3 percent of Israeli women soldiers serve in active combat roles and the army’s elite fighting units are closed off to them.

If you read wikipedia you will see that they were removed from any combat roles for a long time an the article said it was concerned about rape but I have read accounts that it also was because of the impact a women’s death had on the unit and that Arabs were much less likely to surrender if an Israeli unit had women.

Comment by Albuquerquedan
2013-02-07 17:05:14

I am not sure why but the other post did not work. But yes in 2000, the rules were changed in Israel but that does not alter the historical experience.

Comment by ahansen
2013-02-08 00:58:12

Listen up you misogynist dolts-

If you go to my book’s FB site, there is a photograph of me (female, 5′1″ 105#) power-lifting my 200# mastiff on one shoulder. Age 48 at that time. Not that I’d ever want to join the military, but seriously, the faux concern on this site just cracks me up.

Now in my (out-of-shape) sixties, I regularly carry 75# bags of feed 100 yds to the feed shed from the truck. I’ve backpacked with a 50# pack for weeks on end. And at age 9, I passed my junior lifeguard’s test by carrying my 15 -year- old male classmate out of the water and 100 yards up the beach to the lifeguard’s station.

And I’m nothing, repeat NOTHING, compared to some of the women I’ve seen in the weight rooms, on the track, on construction sites, and in various gyms over the years. Oh, and how about those young moms with three kids perched on their hips for years on end?

Why are you guys so threatened? Women in “elite” units, especially tiny women, can get into places men cannot, just as they do in firefighting units. Sometimes you WANT someone who can slip through the fence instead of climbing over it. Literally AND figuratively.

If women want to get themselves blown up while killing people they don’t know, I say good riddance. Get ‘em out of the genepool along with their male underlings.

That is all.

Comment by Northeastener
2013-02-07 09:41:55

As recently posted on zerohedge: Russian Flyover Prompts Japanese Fighter Jet Scramble As Abe Opens Second “Disputed Island” Front

Japan has had 20+ years of deflation, a looming demographics problem, a massive government debt problem, not to mention a radiation problem. So what is the solution by the latest administration? Push nationalism to distract the populace from domestic problems.

We have always been at war with Eastasia…

Comment by AmazingRuss
2013-02-07 10:02:25

…and this will be the force behind WW III as more desperate, failing countries use that ploy.

Comment by goon squad
2013-02-07 04:28:36

Politico - Sequester: Some in GOP want deal

“Top House Republican aides privately concede that the politics of allowing the cuts to hit — layoffs, furloughs and a stalled economic recovery — are tough to stomach and they would prefer to make a deal, on their terms of course.

Speaker John Boehner signaled the growing GOP discomfort at his weekly news conference: “Let me make clear: I don’t like the sequester.” Boehner’s words are a sign that, while some Republicans are comfortable with steep and immediate reductions in federal spending, leadership would prefer to avoid them.

“I think it’s taking a meat ax to our government, a meat ax to many programs and it will weaken our national defense,” Boehner said. “That’s why I fought to not have the sequester in the first place. But the president didn’t want to have to deal with the debt limit again before his reelection.”

A top GOP leadership aide, speaking anonymously to divulge internal thinking, laid out 10 options that the House GOP leadership would be willing to accept, along with savings estimates developed by GOP policy aides, in order to avoid the sequester.

But any deal to avoid it comes with a major caveat: if Boehner doesn’t get the cuts he’s looking for, he’s more than willing to let the sequester go into effect.”


Comment by joesmith
2013-02-07 05:14:32

If you bought a house since 1998, you made a big mistake, you couldn’t find a buyer at half the price if you tried. Sell today before the shadow inventory his the market and process crater by 65 percent.

Comment by joesmith
2013-02-07 05:18:27

Ugh, Swype owned me.

His =hits, process=prices, etc.

Comment by Ol'Bubba
2013-02-07 05:28:34

Hey Exeter-

Can you do me a favor and list the various handles you’ve used here over the past year or so?

Comment by joe smith
2013-02-07 07:26:24

Realtors are Liars (TM)
Darrell in Pheonix
Housing Pimp
Pimp Watch
joe smith

Comment by eight pieces of chicken
2013-02-07 07:50:27

Don’t forget.

Tears of Joy

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Comment by Pimp Watch
2013-02-07 20:18:55

Bubba….. I’m alpha-sloth.

Comment by Martin
2013-02-07 06:13:18

The shadow inventory will hit the market very slowly. Like this spring when there is very less inventory all around, they may release 5-10% of their stock to sell at higher prices and not to crater the RE prices. We are looking at a long drawn pain for 10 years or so.

I hope Sequestration happens, DC market gets the major brunt of it and RE comes to at least some sanity in DC metro area. I’ve been waiting not for more than 10 years to buy in DC area in a decent school district. I’m afraid my kids will finish school even before I can buy in DC area. They are already in Grade 5 and 4 and 10 more years of pain means they will be in College. Sequestration is my final bet.

Comment by Pimp Watch
2013-02-07 06:23:29

“The shadow inventory will hit the market very slowly. ”

Now is that your decision or someone elses?

And why did you decide this?

Comment by Martin
2013-02-07 07:23:31

I hope it hits the market all at once but the people in power will do the opposite based on their track record. They will try to use their small brains and prolong this mess.

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Comment by inchbyinch
2013-02-07 10:26:40

Gotta agree with you. I would not be surprised if they keep this mess going until some of us 50+ (yo) are dead.

Comment by Pimp Watch
2013-02-07 12:47:45

Whatever you do, DO NOT buy housing now. You’ll be underwater the instant you do and you’ll never recover financially.

Comment by PeakHubris
2013-02-07 09:48:55

The problem with the shadow inventory is that builders are building to make up for the dearth of homes for sale. This makes it impossible to absorb the shadow inventory without prices CRATER!!!!!ing.

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Comment by brother_jimmy
2013-02-07 12:59:11

Interesting. We keep hearing all this nonsense about pent up demand to form households. Why doesn’t the media look at the other side of the coin- household destruction that will come from boomers moving in with their kids or into assisted living facilities? My best guess is that these two forces (Gen Y & boomers) will largely cancel each other out, and with lower household formation we could be stuck with a perpetually larger inventory, especially if owning second/vacation homes becomes less popular, which is the direction it seems to be going.

Comment by rms
2013-02-07 19:29:35

“Why doesn’t the media look at the other side of the coin- household destruction that will come from boomers moving in with their kids or into assisted living facilities?”

The NAR ads are the income backbone of the popular media. Next up is the Automotive industry. Buy! Spend! BUY!!

Comment by Avocado
2013-02-07 11:29:12

Banks run this country, of course they will take it slow and do all they can to make $$ with the cooperation of the gov.

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Comment by azdude
2013-02-07 06:45:23

they will trickle the shadow inventory as they feel. since taxpayers foot the bill for the losses why should they get in a hurry?

Or maybe they will just sell it all to blackstone and you will have a new slumlord from wall street?

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-07 07:00:49

Who is the conspiratorial “they” in your post? I thought most of the shadow inventory was in the hands of greying early Baby Boomers who are trying to move on to retirement housing because their nests are empty and ownership costs are pointlessly high. Do you know of some other source of shadow inventory which is controlled the men who fly around in black choppers?

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-07 07:08:04

“by the men”

Should finish my first cup of joe before posting!

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Comment by azdude
2013-02-07 07:08:13

fannie and freddie have the taxpayers by the b@lls. Who else has a pile of MBS?

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Comment by Bigguy
2013-02-07 07:12:31

And how do “they” work it out with the home builders? In PHX there was a big pop due to investors last year and building went crazy overnight. The investors ain’t there at the builders prices. What happens when those sharks gotta keep swimming and eat?

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Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-07 07:38:22

“What happens when those sharks gotta keep swimming and eat?”

Low downpayment, low-interest, high conforming loan limit, federally-guaranteed FHA lending happens forever?

Comment by oxide
2013-02-07 08:04:43

I guess when you come down to it, the “they” is the staff at the loan servicers and the foreclosure courts. Maybe this is all one giant Occam’s razor. They are tricking out inventory because they don’t have enough staff to go any faster? Boring reason, but it’s as likely as reason as any other. And as azdude says, Fannie Taxpayer owns the risk so there’s no incentive to increase staff.

This would especially apply to homes in good condition. Homes in bad condition will either be reno-flipped or go to the Wall street slumlord.

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Comment by Albuquerquedan
2013-02-07 08:16:21

They could add staff if they wanted to but it would depress the markets. That is how most of these things work, they use sins of omission not commission, no paper trail. No one advertised for illegals to come to America, they just failed to take any effective to stop them, like making e-verify mandatory.

Comment by Rental Watch
2013-02-07 10:18:03

It’s the judicial foreclosure process…plain and simple. If it were something else, you wouldn’t see such a huge divergence between:

The time to foreclosure in judicial states vs. non-judicial.

The percent of homes in the foreclosure process in judicial vs. non-judicial states (per LPS, 5.92% for judicial vs. 1.96% in non-judicial as of the end of October).

The number of loans in delinquency/foreclosure (non-current loans) in judicial vs. non-judicial.

If the major bottleneck were servicers and lenders, there wouldn’t be such a stark contrast between judicial and non-judicial statistics.

The problem is political…only two judicial states, IL and NJ have made a significant change that will allow foreclosures to happen faster (in these two cases, for vacant and abandoned foreclosures can move through the process very quickly starting late Q1/mid-Q2).

And at the Federal level, they are making it HARDER to foreclose, not easier (120 days delinquent required before starting the process, no dual tracking, needing to exhaust all other alternatives before foreclosing, etc.).

Comment by sfhomowner
2013-02-07 11:09:30

They are trickling out inventory because they don’t have enough staff to go any faster?

If there were big bucks to be made by foreclosing en masse, it would be a done deal.

Comment by Rental Watch
2013-02-07 12:34:48


If there were big political points to be scored by allowing foreclosures to happen faster, the laws would change quickly to allow it to happen.

Comment by Max Power
2013-02-07 12:40:43

Rental Watch nailed it. It’s not some massive conspiracy to keep inventory hidden to ensure prices rise and they can sell it for more. It’s the foreclosure laws in the individual states that dictate how quickly a foreclosure occurs. That said, I’m sure there are some examples of servicers that drag their feet for many reasons (understaffed, errors, poor processes, etc), but that is not what’s driving how quickly foreclosures occur. It’s the laws in the state. Everything else is relative noise.

I’ll reference Phoenix specifically since that’s where I live. Builders are ramping up like crazy here in response to the lack of inventory for sale. So how does it benefit a bank or servicer to try to hold off inventory if it just triggers builders to fill the void? The end result of that is even more inventory and ultimately lower prices.

Comment by Rental Watch
2013-02-07 12:52:58

“I’m sure there are some examples of servicers that drag their feet for many reasons”

Lots of crossing T’s and dotting I’s so they don’t get more billion dollar lawsuits thrown at them?

Comment by polly
2013-02-07 14:12:20

“That said, I’m sure there are some examples of servicers that drag their feet for many reasons (understaffed, errors, poor processes, etc)”

That and the fact that once they forclose, the trust that issued the bonds no longer needs them to service the loan since the loan doesn’t exist. I don’t think those agreements put the servicer in charge of deficiency judgements. That gets outsourced to a law firm.

Comment by Max Power
2013-02-07 15:56:56

Agreed. A law firm handles any pursuit of a deficiency judgment, but in AZ those are extremely rare. Once the foreclosure happens, the only thing left to happen is the sale of the property by the bank. And that assumes that the bank bought the house back at the foreclosure auction.

I’m a nerd so I’ve actually spent a fair amount of time looking up properties on the Maricopa County website. I’ve yet to find one that was foreclosed on more than 2 months prior and wasn’t listed for sale. I realize that’s somewhat anecdotal, but I’d love it if someone that claims this is common could give me a single example.

It’s relatively fast, cheap and easy to foreclose on someone who’s stopped paying in AZ. Judicial foreclosures are extremely rare.

Comment by Rental Watch
2013-02-07 17:00:34

I often wonder what the distribution is of the time between foreclosure and resale in a place like AZ.

In other words, AZ has about 180 days as the time for a bank to resell. Lightening fast would be 110-120…this is how fast the private sector resells foreclosures in AZ (who are motivated almost entirely by speed).

Add 30 days for a seller who wants a fair price, and not just a rapid sale, and you can easily see how 150 days is a very reasonable average for a bank’s resale process.

So, my question is related to the composition that gets you to 180 days on average…is it 9 at 150 days, and 1 at 450 (lawsuits, paperwork problems, etc.)? or most at about 180 because it takes the bank an extra month to get on the market?

Comment by Ben Jones
2013-02-07 17:07:46

‘I’ve yet to find one that was foreclosed on more than 2 months prior and wasn’t listed for sale’

I wrote a long reply to you, then I remembered that in the foreclosure biz, if you know something others don’t, it’s gold. So I erased it.

Comment by cactus
2013-02-07 10:36:06

most of the shadow inventory was in the hands of greying early Baby Boomers’

It will turn to termite infested junk and by the time it goes for sale won’t be worth much

have to be torn down or major rehab $$. Excess inventory problem solved

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Comment by sfhomowner
2013-02-07 11:07:04

Do you know of some other source of shadow inventory


Realtytrac and/or foreclosure radar will give you an idea of how many REOs there are in a certain area. Then compare that to the number of houses for sale.

There is a “they” and they (the banksters) do not have our best interests in mind.

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Comment by Rental Watch
2013-02-07 12:51:13

There is a process with each REO that doesn’t allow instant listing once it is on the books of the lender. There is a potential eviction process, repair of life-safety issues, etc.

In other words the REO number rarely get to 0 in any particular market.

The problem that I have in comparing the REO is that most sites don’t have any historical yardstick (ie. I don’t know what “normal” is). This is ESPECIALLY the case with the average time to re-sell. As you’ll see following, if you could ascertain how long it took a bank to resell REO in, say 2000, you could have a better sense as to whether banks are slow playing their process, or just proceeding as usual.

Without that data, I think you just need to look at the metrics, and make some educated guesses.

In any event, if I pick on Stockton, and go to Foreclosure Radar, you see for December:

72 homes going back to the bank (adding to REO)
892 homes in the REO pool
242 days for a bank to resell (on average), vs. 128 days for a “3rd” (meaning a flipper). This 242 days has ranged from as little as 195 days, to as long as 288 days over the prior 12 months.

What regulations are there for a bank that differ from an flipper when dealing with a foreclosed home? Reinstatement rights? Obligation to get appraisal before re-selling? Obligation to have a certain kind of sale process? Obligation to complete certain kinds of inspection/safety reports before re-selling? Anything?

All-else equal, it looks like banks are 4 months slower than a private individual when reselling homes, but the AMOUNT of REO isn’t growing, so generally, in any given month, they are getting rid of about as many homes as they are taking in, and over the prior year or so, they have been selling more than they have been taking in generally.

The data generally looks to me like just a slow, bureaucratic process. IF they were purposefully trickling them out, I think you would tend to see an increase in the number of REOs on the books over time, which isn’t happening.

Again though, without knowing how long the process took banks during good times, it is hard to say definitively whether the banks are withholding, or whether their process is simply slower.

Comment by sfhomowner
2013-02-07 10:43:13

I’ve been waiting not for more than 10 years to buy in DC area in a decent school district. I’m afraid my kids will finish school even before I can buy in DC area.

I feel ya. 10 years is a long time to be waiting. We started “waiting to buy” in 2002. I didn’t like the feeling of being in limbo for so long.

Do I worry that the value of my house will craaater? Not really. Had we paid cash for it I might stress about that. But for the price of a new car (30K total to close) and 3.5% interest rate and monthly PITI cheaper than rent, I couldn’t be happier. But I was ready to “settle down” years ago: 2 kids, a partner, a stable job with seniority, a city I love, etc. If the rest of my life was in limbo, I would never have even considered buying.

Comment by Carl Morris
2013-02-07 11:11:46

I was still in my 30s when this started. My wife is a few years older than me and because of that we’ll be eligible to live in a 55+ community in only about 6 more years. I have a feeling that I’ll be seriously considering it before it’s over.

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Comment by Brett
2013-02-07 11:27:50

Is she a cougar?

Comment by Carl Morris
2013-02-07 11:36:06

No, only a few years older :-). We were peers in the army (actually I outranked her because she went to college before joining).

Comment by Pimp Watch
2013-02-07 17:01:55

“Had we paid cash for it I might stress about that.”

So now that you’ve got 2x your costs into a depreciating asset as a result of borrowing, you have less stress?

You need help.

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Comment by Martin
2013-02-07 06:18:45

Joe, looks like 3 major issues are going to hit the middle class soon to bring the RE down other than shadow inventory:
–Gas prices are going high again: I dunno why in Jan-Feb?
–2% hike in SSN means smaller paychecks for many.
–GDP was negative. If Sequestration is added, we’ll be in recession.

RE this winter (2013 Nov-Dec) would be priced 10-15% lower from today’s prices if the above are not addressed.

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-07 07:05:53

“I dunno why in Jan-Feb?”

The FOMC just reinstated its commitment to QE-to-infinity.

My wife commented to me just yesterday on how our gasoline prices have climbed by $0.50/gal in record time. Since I regularly read national-oriented news stories, I know prices are climbing across the U.S., not just in California.

QE3: Fed Primes Pump, Americans To Pay Even More At Gas Pump
By Ed Carson
Posted 09/13/2012 02:17 PM ET

The Federal Reserve announced a third round of quantitative easing Thursday afternoon, and it is big: A net $40 billion a month in additional purchases of mortgage-backed securities. And policymakers said additional accommodation will continue “for a considerable time after the economic recovery strengthens.”

But the impact of a big, open-ended QE3 is not so clear. The hope is that additional Fed action will lower interest rates, but they’re already at rock-bottom levels. Treasury yields actually have moved slightly higher after the Fed announcement.

Stocks have rallied, with the major averages up about 1% in mid-afternoon trading. That makes Wall Street happy — but what about Main Street? Ordinary Americans can expect to see higher gasoline prices. Quantitative easing also pushes up commodity prices — both by boosting demand for financial assets and by weakening the dollar.

Crude oil prices have been trending higher, and were up $1 to nearly $98 a barrel in mid-afternoon trade.

That will quickly filter down to gasoline prices at the pump. Gas prices moved back to $3.847 a gallon last week, the highest since April. They’ve risen for 10 straight weeks in part on anticipation that QE3 was coming. Gas prices could once again threaten the $4 level — it’s already well over that mark in California. And that’s with no major supply issues or feared disruptions around the world.

Comment by azdude
2013-02-07 07:20:32

time for some hyper mileing again. I will use less fuel if they want to gouge.

changed the oil in the little chevy eco-tec over weekend. couple of beers and she was running like new. used a synthetic 5w/30. she purrs like a kitten. I have a 5 speed tranny so back to lots of coasting and killing the motor @ long stop lights. I have no more money for wall street futures gamblers.

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Comment by Carl Morris
2013-02-07 09:13:03

I have a 5 speed tranny so back to lots of coasting and killing the motor @ long stop lights.

Ugggh, speaking of which, I had a new BMW loaner car yesterday that kills the motor for you at lights and then starts it back up as soon as you start to let off the brake…kinda like a golf cart. It wasn’t horrible, but I didn’t like it. When a light turns green I want instant response, and that little half second of delay was pretty annoying.

Comment by oxide
2013-02-07 10:30:59

I once rented a Honda Civic hybrid. It did the same thing, and the delay annoyed me too. That’s a large reason why I didn’t spring for a Prius. I’ll wait for a pug-in hybrid that is an actual car and not a PR stunt.

Comment by mathguy
2013-02-07 12:32:22

you have no idea… the 50mpg my wife gets is no where near annoying in her prius. The electric motor responds instantly. Gas may lag a half second if you floor it. The accelleration then beats other econocars up hills or onto the freeway.. The prius is amazing and I’m not a crunchy granola nut either.

Comment by goon squad
2013-02-07 07:26:29

That should cut down our wait time to get a table at Applebee’s :)

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Comment by Martin
2013-02-07 07:29:36

Why the inflation figures (CPI etc.) exclude food and energy? They are the major part of our everyday lives. Even housing was excluded during RE boom days. Why don’t we get it adjusted as COLA in our paychecks?

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Comment by joe smith
2013-02-07 07:41:28

there is no good reason. the official reason is that food/energy prices can vary widely across regions and across seasons. it makes *some* sense to the extent that you want inflation to be a measure of “what a dollar buys” over a period of years and thus exclude week to week or month to month variations. but there are other ways this could be accomplished while still including energy/food. so it’s a cop out. some econometrics profs will flat out state this but they are usually not the people who are fed governors.

Comment by MightyMike
2013-02-07 09:00:54

Food and energy are not excluded from the CPI. They are excluded from something called the core CPI. Since the prices of food and fuel tend to be volatile the core CPI is used to measure long run inflation.

Comment by joe smith
2013-02-07 09:46:42

i thought it was pretty clear we were talking core cpi, but now i can see why not.

Comment by Rental Watch
2013-02-07 10:21:05

If they are worried about volatility, why don’t they use rolling averages for food/energy, and still include it in the core CPI?

Comment by joe smith
2013-02-07 10:58:19

exactly - it’s not a good reason. it wouldn’t be hard to price energy and staple food items in different markets around the country and come up with a seasonally-adjusted rolling avg.

Comment by joe smith
2013-02-07 07:14:05

I don’t really disagree with you, but I’m not the one with the crystal ball. You’ll have to get specifics from RAL/PimpWatch/Exeter/etc.

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-07 07:27:59

“If Sequestration is added, we’ll be in recession.”

My subjective probability is over 50% that we are in for a sequestration head fake followed by another big relief rally on Wall Street, just like when the Congress struck the New Years Eve fiscal cliff punt deal.

Comment by Martin
2013-02-07 07:45:57

I’m thinking it is more than 60% likely that Sequestration would happen. Republicans may not get another chance after this and this time the “Taxes” are not holding them.

Btw, if it doesn’t happen, the rating agencies will downgrade US debt which will be dangerous too.

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Comment by Albuquerquedan
2013-02-07 08:54:22

I think so. From what I am hearing most Republicans know they cannot stop cuts to the defense but the only way they get discretionary spending cuts is to let it happen. The only thing Obama wants to put on the table is increased taxes which is a no go. Unless he puts entitlement cuts on the table with no tax increases, I say it happens.

Comment by Albuquerquedan
2013-02-07 09:29:12

It is pathetic that the republican party allowed Obama to run up the debt of this country to $16 trillion to prevent around $40 billion dollars in taxes on the wealthy per year. However, when Obama got that tax increase, he lost most of his leverage on the republicans. The cuts in defense spending in Simpson Bowles are not that much different than what is going to happen with the automatic cuts. Obama is going to wish for the days when all he had to do to get most of the spending he wanted was agree to extend the tax cuts for the rich.

Comment by In Colorado
2013-02-07 09:33:27

Unless he puts entitlement cuts on the table with no tax increases, I say it happens.

Which “entitlements” are you talking about? SS is fully funded by the payroll tax. Any cuts in SS will simply be gobbled up by the rest of the budget.

Medicare is another beast. The real problem is that our healthcare procedures cost 2X+ of what they cost elsewhere in the 1st world.

Comment by Albuquerquedan
2013-02-07 11:46:03

Which “entitlements” are you talking about? SS is fully funded by the payroll tax. Any cuts in SS will simply be gobbled up by the rest of the budget.

The trust fund is going broke for social security and taxes will only pay 75% of the benefits in a few years. Declining wages and the low interest rates for the trust fund are the major causes but unless you see interest rates being allowed to rise quickly the trust fund will be depleted. The demographic excuse is just that since the trust fund should have funded the retirementof the baby boomers but cheap money, outsourcing and open borders, all government policies, destroyed that possibility. That said we need to do something or one month people will be getting $1,000 a month and the next month it will be $750.

Comment by Avocado
2013-02-07 12:40:10

“Which “entitlements” are you talking about? SS is fully funded by the payroll tax. Any cuts in SS will simply be gobbled up by the rest of the budget.”

neo-cons, keep repeating “entitlement cuts” but have no real numbers to back it up.

There is a website that lets the user try to balance the budget. Impossible, you will find out even if we shut down the gov. too many promises made.

Comment by In Colorado
2013-02-07 13:18:42

The trust fund is going broke for social security and taxes will only pay 75% of the benefits in a few years.

A few years? More like 20, last time I checked. And as others have pointed out here, it’s not that hard to fix.

Comment by Albuquerquedan
2013-02-07 13:24:58

Actually, around 20 is when the fund will run out. Obviously, prior to that the fund will be taking in less than it pays out. As far as it being easy to fix, I agree if we fix it now, so why don’t we do that instead of kicking the can down the road? Where is the proposal from Reid or Obama?

Comment by Albuquerquedan
2013-02-07 13:45:30


If you do the math for 2011, it appears the taxes collected paid about 79% of the benefits paid. So my guess that it would be about 75% within the next few years seems pretty accurate, in fact we may be there now. Certainly, the point is not 20 years in the future but the trust fund being exhausted is 20 years in the future without changes. The longer we wait the tougher it will be.

Comment by Carl Morris
2013-02-07 14:00:44

There is a website that lets the user try to balance the budget. Impossible, you will find out even if we shut down the gov. too many promises made.

I checked out one of those sites and it was easy to balance the budget. It just wasn’t politically feasible.

Comment by Avocado
2013-02-07 14:04:14

What did Bush do for 8 yrs? Why does Reid have to fix? What are the other 500 clowns doing all day? 40+ yrs to break it, might take 40+ to fix it.

you cant borrow your way to prosperity.

Comment by In Colorado
2013-02-07 14:21:25

Actually, around 20 is when the fund will run out.

If we do nothing to fix it that will be when we have to pay 75 cents on the dollar.

I agree that is has to be fixed. There are many ways: means testing, raising caps on income subject to SS, make unearned income pay SS tax, raise the retirement age, fudge the inflation numbers to keep COLAS down, etc.

But, I have learned over the years that “cut entitlements” means but one thing: reduce SS payouts immediately. For millions, SS will be their only source of retirement income. Cut it and all you’ll get for your troubles will be a tsunami of seniors applying for SNAP cards, which will be financed via the Fed’s virtual printing press.

Comment by Avocado
2013-02-07 11:36:49

““If Sequestration is added, we’ll be in recession.”

that is exactly why it wont happen, baby steps and delays, but not full blow Sequestration.

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Comment by localandlord
2013-02-07 08:13:44

“If you bought a house since 1998, you made a big mistake, you couldn’t find a buyer at half the price if you tried.”

I bought a house in 2002 and sold it in 2004 at a 32% profit. Was that a mistake?

I bought a house in early 2005 and have already gotten 90% of the purchase price back in rent.

‘Course I could have put the money in the bank and recieved $20 - $117/month in interest. And I wouldn’t have had use of the 500sf of above ground storage that came with that house. How much would that cost at a mini warehouse?

I wouldn’t have the hundreds of dollars worth of produce I grow in the garden every year, either. Guess I’m a looser.

Comment by cactus
2013-02-07 10:30:51

Sell today before the shadow inventory his the market and process crater by 65 percent.”

Sell everything and take all take all your money and buy treasuries that way you will only lose half as much

Comment by oxide
2013-02-07 05:26:31

Let’s just say I’m glad I missed yesterday’s conversation. :roll:

Meanwhile, Republicans in Congress — well everyone in Congress, actually — want to ramp down the role that Fannie and Freddie and FHA play in the mortgage market:


Republicans Seek FHA Changes as Prelude to Housing Overhaul

By Cheyenne Hopkins & Clea Benson - Feb 6, 2013 (Bloomibergi)

…”“Given their high loan to value, low credit score policies and high rates of default, it’s an open question whether FHA has now morphed into Countrywide,” [Jeb] Hensarling [R, TX] said.

…The FHA could fall as much a $16.3 billion short of cash it is required to keep on hand to cover all projected future losses.

…”Representative Brad Sherman, a Democrat from California, said a previously passed bill in the House on FHA would strengthen the agency. He said his current concern is with their underwriting standards. “We certainly want FHA to be guaranteeing loans to creditworthy borrowers but they certainly themselves can make those changes,” Sherman said in an interview. “If we need to nudge them, we’ll nudge them.”

…At the same time, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have begun to post quarterly profits after drawing $190 billion in taxpayer aid, shifting lawmakers’ focus to the more immediate financial shortfall at the FHA.

…’The FHA has already taken some steps to shore up its finances. It raised the annual premiums that borrowers pay to insure their mortgages against default, boosted down payment requirements and premiums for loans greater than $625,500, and required more scrutiny of loan applications for buyers with weak credit or high debt loads.


I still don’t like that $625K figure. It must be to cover California. I admit, I don’t understand why California prices are so high.

Comment by polly
2013-02-07 14:15:07

You may be glad you missed it, but I don’t have access to pubmed anymore. I missed you.

Comment by snowgirl
2013-02-07 05:34:04

So this idea has been bouncing around in my head for a while. I’ll be away from my computer for a while but if anyone comments or clears up my fuzzy thinking, I’ll definitely be looking to see what people thought later today.

I’ve been wondering since most loans are backed by Fannie/Freddie, ownership is unclear on so many properties due to MERS issues, and with MBS there would only be servicers instead of single mortgage holders on individual properties, is it possible that at least a portion of the shadow inventory might just be left to deteriorate permanently with no plan to ever bring them back online? Isn’t it really the tax payer that takes the hit if that happens (assuming more bail outs along the way)? Taking a huge section of inventory permanently out of play might solve a lot of problems for the industry, albeit not for us taxpayers.

Comment by ecofeco
2013-02-07 07:34:17


Comment by Martin
2013-02-07 07:35:08

Snowgirl, It is quite a possibility that a bulldozer will be used to flatten out many of the communities not inhabited yet and older sections/houses. Then the new construction starts with new jobs and material from Home Depot. Good times will come again for all.

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-07 07:35:33

“… is it possible that at least a portion of the shadow inventory might just be left to deteriorate permanently with no plan to ever bring them back online? Isn’t it really the tax payer that takes the hit if that happens (assuming more bail outs along the way)?”

Maybe I am missing it, but I thought that was the whole point of slapping federal guarantees of principle on F&F debt — to transfer the housing losses from Megabank, Inc, who made the loans, on to the U.S. tax base, which is, effectively speaking, Hank Paulson’s toxic Superfund SIV.

But I might be missing it…

Comment by joe smith
2013-02-07 09:48:28

in certain areas of the country there wouldn’t be buyers at any price and there will always be some empty houses that will rot away. think of places like oil city, detroit, parts of upstate NY, decrepit parts of many cities etc

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

I’m not a millionaire and even I wouldn’t live in CA.

There is so much wrong with that state it would take days to list it all.

Comment by whirlyite
2013-02-07 08:36:35

Are you serious? California is the Garden of Eden reincarnate. That’s what I hear from all the ex-pats who have moved to my neck of the woods anyways…

Comment by Albuquerquedan
2013-02-07 08:55:29

Before or after the fall?

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Comment by Avocado
2013-02-07 11:41:52

CA is huge! Big difference between living in Montecito and Modesto.

I cant think of a nicer place to live (all year) and I have traveled to 28 countries.

LA, central valley, sac, San Jose, are all gross… (but they still beat 70% of America)

Comment by Avocado
2013-02-07 11:46:09

Can we start a list of better places to live outside of CA, year round (not 2 weeks out of the year)?

I’ll put Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, and maybe even Santa Cruz against any town in the world.

Yes CA is expensive. We call it supply and demand.

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Comment by sfhomowner
2013-02-07 12:01:02

I’ll put Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, and maybe even Santa Cruz against any town in the world.

I considered moving to both Santa Cruz and SLO when housing prices started getting crazy here. Both are beautiful, have good surfing and great weather. But not urban enough for me. Santa Cruz is ridiculously anti-dog, which was a deal breaker for me (no dogs downtown, not even on leash!, can’t let your dog run on most beaches) and SLO is just too far from any major airports.

Comment by Avocado
2013-02-07 12:43:58

SLO has an airport, so does Santa Maria and SB is 90 mins away. Oakland is a bout 3 hrs. SFO 4?
What is urban? Applebees on every corner? How about ratio? good eats/people and simple parking? to each his own.
How often do you fly?
I visit SF once in a while for the chaos, like NYC or Vegas.

Comment by sfhomowner
2013-02-07 12:54:06

SLO has an airport, so does Santa Maria and SB is 90 mins away. Oakland is a bout 3 hrs. SFO 4?
What is urban? Applebees on every corner? How about ratio? good eats/people and simple parking? to each his own

SFO is 18 minutes from my house. We fly 3-4 times a year and my family visits here frequently.

There is not a single Applebees in the entire city of San Francisco. Our fast food is burritos. Or the multitude of high-end food trucks (not your roach coach variety, either, but some of the best food you’ve ever tasted).

Comment by Avocado
2013-02-07 14:09:20

I would save a lot on sunscreen if i lived in SF, but have to spend it on black colored clothing and parking. lol!

I know your city and it is dirty, cold and crowded. Yes, safe-ish for single women and gays (nothing wrong with that). We call it the “city of creative misfits.”
I have been to some great parties there back in the day when the art scene was real and I had a gallery.

Comment by rms
2013-02-07 20:34:29

“Yes CA is expensive. We call it supply and demand.”

Government mortgage guarantees underpins the high prices on the Central Coast. The region’s household median income is about $34k while the median 3/2 rancher is roughly $450k; it just doesn’t add up. Yank the guarantees and SLO prices would drop like a stone, IMHO.

Comment by sfhomowner
2013-02-07 11:57:52

LA, central valley, sac, San Jose, are all gross

Apparently I’m not the only one that think SF is a great place to live. We are happy AND gay. Wheeeeeee….

California’s City by the Bay has been revealed as the happiest city in America according to a new global survey calculated by GFK Custom Research.

Worldwide, the city ranked seventh between Madrid in sixth place and Rome in eighth while praised for its high number of shopping centers, culture locations, and outdoor attractions.

San Francisco was in fact the only U.S. city to make rank, however.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Sydney, Australia
Barcelona, Spain
Amsterdam, Netherlands
Melbourne, Australia
Madrid, Spain
San Francisco, U.S.A.
Rome, Italy
Paris, France
Buenos Aires, Argentina

In first place, the world’s happiest city was revealed to be Rio de Janerio where travellers seeking not only beaches but apparently smiling faces should look no further.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2274231/Worlds-happiest-cities-San-Francisco-Americas-number-city-rivaling-Rio-Jenerio-first.html#ixzz2KF0nc6Si

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Comment by Avocado
2013-02-07 12:47:31

Thrive: Finding Happiness the Blue Zones Way. Using databases that measure quality of life and personal well-being, Buettner set out to pinpoint the happiest spots on Earth. (Copenhagen came in first.) The only U.S. city to make the author’s “happy” list was San Luis Obispo, whose acronym, appropriately, is SLO.

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. – The Happiest Town in the Whole USA is surrounded by lush hills that at this time of year are so intensely green, they practically sparkle. A refreshing breeze wafts in from the Pacific, just 10 miles away. There’s no need for a car, since the downtown is infinitely walkable. And if you do drive, traffic jams are rare.

Comment by Albuquerquedan
2013-02-07 13:53:01

Homeowner, I just looked at the criteria for the list. There is nothing about being happy in the criteria. There are things like the ability to shop, cultural attractions etc. Which do make it a fun place to visit, I was there in August and did have a good time. Reconnected with friends who were ironically from the area but had left but were also visiting. Sorry, I would like to know how many people really are happy using criteria such a rates of depression, suicides, etc. Seems more like a travel guide than a real attempt to determine who is happy.

Comment by Avocado
2013-02-07 14:12:04

“Thrive: Finding Happiness the Blue Zones Way” - odd name for a travel guide.

Sorry, you cant live in SLO, it is expensive and you better bring your own job.
Gee, that sky i blue today! ;)

Comment by sfhomowner
2013-02-07 14:27:38

Gee, that sky i blue today!

Nothing like the blue blue blue of a California sky. More than 20 miles from the ocean and I start to feel landlocked.

Comment by Avocado
2013-02-07 15:57:06

You spend more time in your SF traffic and looking for parking all yr, than you would driving from SLO to one of 4 international airports all with in 4 hrs drive, 4x a yr.
Or just use the wonderful, small town, SLO airport. Or heck SM airport has free parking, YES FREE! and $39 to Vegas. Used to fly to Honolulu for $199- might again some day.
I can be at the Pismo pier before you can get out of your apartment building. fact. (beaches in SF are cold and grey AND lousy surf AND whitey is all around) and I drive by 4 wineries on the way to the coast or I can bike to Avila in 45 mins (nicest bike trail in America). gods country! You brought a knife to a gun fight. I did not build SLO, just know it smokes SF for quality of life. I shouldn’t even be promoting it. We dont need any more retirees.

stay dry and stay warm this summer. lol!

Comment by MightyMike
2013-02-07 19:05:11

Of well, some people prefer life in a big city and some prefer a small town. The two of you remind of the theme song to that old TV show “Green Acres” in which the husband talks about the virtues of small town farm life and the wife wants to remain in NYC.

Comment by Pimp Watch
2013-02-07 21:08:14

SLO is a dump all the way north to Monterey.

Comment by rms
2013-02-07 23:47:52

“SLO is a dump all the way north to Monterey.”

-1 Not true.

There is a huge disconnect between median household income and home prices, but it won’t last. I expect the region to really crater when market forces return.

Comment by oxide
2013-02-07 05:47:29

White House: Congress to get classified drone info


[note -- if you go to the link, be warned. The pic of Andrea Mitchell is not how you want to start your day.]

“Today, as part of the president’s ongoing commitment to consult with Congress on national security matters, the president directed the Department of Justice to provide the congressional intelligence committees access to classified Office of Legal Counsel advice related to the subject of the Department of Justice White Paper,”

…White House spokesman Jay Carney said Obama was engaged in an internal process deliberation to determine how to balance the nation’s security needs with its values.

… “He thinks that it is legitimate to ask questions about how we prosecute the war against al-Qaida,” Carney said. “These are questions that will be with us long after he is president and long after the people who are in the seats that they’re in now have left the scene.”

The last part makes sense, as the memo relies on Bush-era Supreme Court cases and legislation for its justification, notably the 2006 Hamdi (or is it Hamdan) case and the 2001 AUMF against Al-Quaida. From what I read of the memo, it does sound pretty dicey and hand-wavy as to what “imminent” and “public authority” means. But I’ll have to leave it to the legal experts.

By the way, a White Paper memo is not a set policy. It’s generally a proposal, often serving as a straw man to be deliberately ripped down and then used as starting point for further discussion. I presented a white paper to some bosses just yesterday and, as expected, half of it was shot down.

I’m curious as to when this memo was written, and if this is what was used to justify the drone killings of the two (?) American A-Q members.

Comment by goon squad
2013-02-07 09:21:38

The Nobel Peace Prize president indeed :)

Let’s have some more fake boo-hoo photo ops like you did right after Newtown.

But no tears when your drones blow up a bunch of stoopid Pakistani kidz.

Comment by Avocado
2013-02-07 11:47:49

Can O be a Darwinist and a Communist? Pick one.

Comment by goon squad
2013-02-07 12:53:22

Pick one

Obama is implementing Sharia law AND forcing all the heteros into gay marriage. Not sure how he can have both simultaneously, but if it was on the Drudge Report it must be true :)

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Comment by Albuquerquedan
2013-02-07 14:43:37

Actually, he is forcing heteros to marry gay imams. You have to read the story carefully. ( this is sarcasm: An alert for those who live in oxygen deprived areas).

Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-02-07 05:59:00

“Get what you can get for your house today because it’s going to be much less tomorrow for many years to come.”

Comment by zekeinvabeach
2013-02-07 06:17:30

Housing prices in my area are up 10% since 2012 and no inventory other than repos/short sales/dogs that have been on the market forever. Prices for used homes now at 90%+ of bubble pricing with new construction exceeding sq ft bubble pricing. New is selling quickly with no specs available. Used homes in desirable areas selling in weeks. No inventory available but that will likely change.

Recently retired and strongly considering selling SF and purchasing an upscale cluster home (condo). Visited several in VA and NC and the new financing super deal for seniors is a Reverse Morgage. Agents are pushing 20% plus down will get you a conventional and you can get the reverse the same day with any down $ over the 20% returned (less fees). After that NO MORGAGE PAYMENTS EVER!!! EVER!!! CAN YOU BELIEVE IT? FREE MONEY!!!

If the UHS can be believed, it is a popular option for the golden age crowd. A segment with ample down payments, good credit scores, stable incomes and apparently senility. I think there may be a lot of golden agers without any gold when assisted living becomes necessary. But it is good for the housing/morgage/RE industry so a little collateral damage is acceptable. After all they will not be around for very long.

And so it continues…………………………..

Comment by joe smith
2013-02-07 07:17:51

Hampton Roads area: #1 in foreclosures in VA.

Your market is going to crash for real. I don’t necessarily agree that all markets will crater, but Hampton Roads is generally a crap*y place anyway, plus the sequester is coming, plus Hampton Roads expanded wildly during the bubble, plus you already have a ton of homes in the f/c process down there.

Reverse mortgages and the fact people can sell them and make a career of it just show how sick the U.S. is. Baby Boomers are seriously a sad generation, the worst ever in U.S. History I’m including the period when a lot of Southerners owned other human beings as chattel.

Comment by oxide
2013-02-07 07:39:23

That’s a pretty damn hefty statement you just made, Joe. You sure you want to stick to it?

Comment by joe smith
2013-02-07 07:47:24


at my old job we did Hud and Freddie foreclosure for MD, DC, VA.

hampton roads was — by far — the #1 location for VA foreclosures. i got to learn a lot about procedures in chesapeake, hampton, norfolk, virginia beach, etc. people in fairfax, arlington, alexandria still largely have jobs. and i rarely saw any foreclosures in the nice areas, e.g. loudoun county.

also, have you ever been down to virginia beach/norfolk/newport news? its full of many new-ish subdivisions of cookie cutter homes on small lots, town houses, and mcmansions. many half-finished building projects (now abandoned). land is plentiful as well, so absolutely nothing suggests housing should be expensive there. most new owners are underwater and will be for a long time, especially because the dependence on defense contractor jobs.

FWIW, my brother’s first assignment out of annapolis was down in norfolk and he bought a house in chesapeake in 2003. luckily for him, he got out about even when he sold in 2008 upon finishing his service commitment. his house was a typical cookie cutter POS of early-2000s vintage.

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Comment by joe smith
2013-02-07 08:08:44

also, teaching jobs and the schools down in hampton roads were apparently terrible enough that his wife moved back to philly suburbs 2 yrs ahead of him to get back on the job track there.

Comment by oxide
2013-02-07 08:12:10

I was in the area about 12 years ago but I wasn’t focused on housing at the time. As for the condo/townhome/McMansion phenom, this whole darn country looks like that. When is the last time someone built a “normal” — as in, what we grew up in — type of rambler/rancher/split level SFH? 1981?

Comment by rms
2013-02-07 08:30:08

“When is the last time someone built a “normal” — as in, what we grew up in — type of rambler/rancher/split level SFH? 1981?”

There’s more money to be made in “move-up” housing than first time buyer “starter homes.”

Comment by joe smith
2013-02-07 07:57:14

oh, and as far as baby boomers being the worst?

yeah, as i explained yesterday, baby boomers have caused a lot of destruction around the world and here at home. as a cohort, they’ve ruined the U.S. economy and took a big dump on the same future generations that will have to pay for baby boomers to receive their SS/medicare benefits.

worthless generation.

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Comment by Arizona Slim
2013-02-07 08:26:14

Worthless? All 76 million of us? Every single, solitary one of us?

Comment by San Diego RE Bear
2013-02-07 09:09:53

There are two exceptions Slim. :D

Comment by joe smith
2013-02-07 09:51:30

as i said above, i don’t mean the type of people you see on HBB, who tend to be super-resourceful, well-read, knowledgable about news and government etc.

Comment by HBB_Rocks
2013-02-07 09:52:57

Funny how the guy who so often brags about hiding income to improve his own lot has the gall to call baby boomers selfish.

He’s going to break the cycle by doing the same thing!

Comment by Albuquerquedan
2013-02-07 09:57:11

Joe thinks if you repeat a lie often enough it becomes the truth, he is the real story about the health of Gen Y:


Comment by Ben Jones
2013-02-07 10:07:33

‘who tend to be super-resourceful, well-read, knowledgable about news and government’

You forgot to mention we fly around the world doing good for the environment.

Comment by Albuquerquedan
2013-02-07 10:12:48

And if you look at wikipedia about the SAT test you will see they added 100 points to their scores just so they would not look so stupid compared to their parent’s generation:

1995 re-centering (raising mean score back to 500)

The test scoring was initially scaled to make 500 the mean score on each section with a standard deviation of 100.[28] As the test grew more popular and more students from less rigorous schools began taking the test, the average dropped to about 428 Verbal and 478 Math. The SAT was “recentered” in 1995, and the average “new” score became again close to 500. Scores awarded after 1994 and before October 2001 are officially reported with an “R” (e.g. 1260R) to reflect this change. Old scores may be recentered to compare to 1995 to present scores by using official College Board tables,[29] which in the middle ranges add about 70 points to Verbal and 20 or 30 points to Math. In other words, current students have a 100 (70 plus 30) point advantage over their parents.

[edit] 1995 re-centering controversy

Certain educational organizations viewed the SAT re-centering initiative as an attempt to stave off international embarrassment in regards to continuously declining test scores, even among top students. As evidence, it was presented that the number of pupils who scored above 600 on the verbal portion of the test had fallen from a peak of 112,530 in 1972 to 73,080 in 1993, a 36% backslide, despite the fact that the total number of test-takers had risen over 500,000.[30]

[edit] 2002 changes – Score Choice

Comment by MiddleCoaster
2013-02-07 11:03:31

So, you didn’t read my response to your absurdly exaggerated claim? Or you chose to ignore it?

Comment by Albuquerquedan
2013-02-07 11:50:52

To whom is this directed and what response?

Comment by MiddleCoaster
2013-02-07 16:23:38

Not you, Dan. The originator of this section, Joe “Gen X/Y are the only worthwhile people” Smith. He’s been foaming at the mouth about how eeeeevol all us Baby Boomers are.

Comment by Albuquerquedan
2013-02-07 16:31:37

I thought it was Joe but I was not sure. I think he likes his generation because he can compete with them, when he goes up against a baby boomer he gets his arrogant butt kicked.

Comment by ahansen
2013-02-08 02:53:16

Actually, the SATs were rewritten in 1974 (IIRC) so the perfect score on both sections was raised to 1600 from 1400. (And a 700 on the math portion was subjectively rated back then, therefore essentially unattainable.)

Boomers with overall “lower” SATs were actually more adept than subsequent generations who scored “higher”.

Comment by oxide
2013-02-07 07:35:51

Thanks for the local market info!!

Where are the jobs to support pricing that is 10% off peak? My nabe is still at 30% off peak and anything lower and/or short sale needs a lot of rehab.

Are you saying that seniors are selling the old home, buying the condo with the cash, and then reverse mortgaging the condo that day? Or are the bank and senior both buying the house from each other and selling it to each other and therefore paying a mortgage to each other at the same time, resulting in no net payment for either? Wow, the stuff they come up with.

Comment by sfhomowner
2013-02-07 11:53:10

Where are the jobs to support pricing that is 10% off peak?

The link that someone posted yesterday kept me up late last night. (mapping america, ny times).

Looking at the map that shows the demographics of people (down to the actual number per census block) that make over 200K, it makes sense that some places like Manhattan and SF can support such ridiculous prices.

Comment by Avocado
2013-02-07 11:57:05

there are no jobs. but prices in my area on the low end are up 20-25% too. but we never have jobs in my area. people move here with money.
Like Santa Fe, NM or Catalina or Carmel, do you think people move there for the jobs?

Comment by Arizona Slim
2013-02-07 08:24:55

A dear elderly friend took out a reverse mortgage on her house in 2006. She was not of sound mind when she signed the papers, but what the heck. It was just another gullible senior signing her house away.

After an injury suffered in a fall, she had to move out of the house. Wells Fargo Bank caught wind of when they got the mail forwarding notice to my friend’s son’s house in northern AZ.

Her family did a little cosmetic fixup on the place — pretty much continuing what she had started when she got hurt — and tried to sell. No takers.

Place was foreclosed on during the summer of 2009. It finally sold during the first-time homebuyer tax credit frenzy of early 2010.

Comment by Pimp Watch
2013-02-07 09:04:48

Get out and get out soon.

Comment by scdave
2013-02-07 16:20:02

Interesting post zekeinvabeach….

Comment by Arizona Slim
2013-02-07 06:20:48

Slim’s in a storytelling show tonight. In between prospecting for work and other tasks, I think I can squeeze in another rehearsal or too.

Comment by Arizona Slim
2013-02-07 08:27:14

Oopsie-daisy. Show nerves making their presence known already. I should have said “or TWO.”

Comment by scdave
2013-02-07 06:22:56

The Elephant in the room for California;


Comment by palmetto
2013-02-07 07:07:14

methinks a number of elephants are going to stampede all at once.

Pity about the USPS Saturday delivery, but I really do understand it. To me, however, it just might be the catalyst for the stampede or dominoes falling or however you want to put it.

And I think people realize this, there’s a certain tension and short-temperedness in the air…

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-07 07:31:35

Oh yeah…I can feel it, too. Somefing’s gonna give…

Comment by rms
2013-02-07 08:34:17

“Oh yeah…I can feel it, too. Somefing’s gonna give…”

The opening musical note is still being edited, but I’m sure they have Tom Brokaw is standing by, “Nobody could see it coming…”

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Comment by Avocado
2013-02-07 14:17:04

Austerity - better take it real slow….

But wait, O is a socialist! He will never cut gov jobs….wait, he already is…. I am so confused. Sean H, help me!

January 6, 2012, 12:53
Under Obama, a Record Decline in Government Jobs

When Barack Obama ran for president four years ago, he appalled some Democrats by saying Ronald Reagan had been a transformational president.

Three years into his presidency, he has exceeded Reagan in one area: reductions in government jobs.

Over all — including a decline of 12,000 public sector jobs in the Labor Department report for December — government employment is down 2.6 percent over the last three years, compared to a decline of 2.2 percent in the early Reagan years. That is a record.

Comment by Albuquerquedan
2013-02-07 15:37:36

Does that include postal workers, I seem to remember it does but then for other purposes they say they are not government workers?

Comment by Avocado
2013-02-07 18:08:08

if a Dem cuts government jobs it cant be true.
just like if a Rep triples the deficit is cant be true.


i think i get it now, not worth typing…. people are programmed, no changing them.

Comment by mattR
2013-02-07 08:41:29

You know what I would like? The Department of Defense having to pre-fund all their retirement programs. Talk about instant bankruptcy!

Comment by Redrum
2013-02-07 09:19:25

As a sign of just how f’d up the business environment is: a forced degradation in service is seen as a plus. Netflix could have cut their service to 5 days a week at any time… of course, subscribers would have fled in droves. But, now, I guess they can just blame USPS, pocket the savings, and their customers are expected to just take it in the shorts (seriously doubt they will be reducing their DVD/Blu-ray subscription fees ~%17 across the board). And the market sees this as a “win” for them:


Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-07 07:32:39

For a change, how about an article about the central bank that ate pension funds?

Comment by goon squad
2013-02-07 07:09:37

A generation of fat, old, broke loosers:

“Aging baby boomers are fatter and sicker than their predecessors were at the same age, says a new study that’s raising alarms about the future costs of health care and disability.

The study, published online on Feb. 4 by JAMA Internal Medicine, says boomers were less likely to report excellent health and to do regular exercise, and more likely to suffer from obesity, hypertension, diabetes, and other maladies.”


Comment by joe smith
2013-02-07 07:23:50

Not surprising at all. And guess who gets to pay for all these chubby baby boomers becoming disabled (unable to bathe themselves or go up 1 flight of stairs, let alone exercise–LOL ya right)? Yes, this is the future our generation has to look forward to.

Thanks baby boomers, thanks for voting for lower taxes and then spending more and more money on wars (”war on drugs”, “war on terror”), your own pensions, your own entitlements (that we young people will never see), and generally being a bunch of selfish pigs. Also thanks for the smart moves of “cutting spending” which of course included socially-redeeming and useful spending like K-12 ed, support to state universities to actually provide education, etc.

Don’t let the [handicapped accessible] door hit you on the way out!

Comment by goon squad
2013-02-07 07:29:46

Soylent Green is the solution :)

Comment by joe smith
2013-02-07 07:38:04

Responding to my own post to say - I don’t mean this about all baby boomers, esp. the ones who post here. But as a group, Baby Boomers seem particularly susceptible to believing all the memes we chastise here (”Mitt Romney heals sick companies”, “private contractors > evil government”, “taxes are bad”, “terrorists hate us for our freedoms”, “public workers are union goons”, “being rich means you’re a job creator”, etc.)

Comment by Montana
2013-02-07 10:25:40

Most the boomers I know are normal weight but have fat kids and grandkids. YMMV

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Comment by MiddleCoaster
2013-02-07 11:06:37

And don’t forget about our fat parents. You know, the GREATEST Generation! ;)

Comment by oxide
2013-02-07 12:12:54

Those kids and grandkids have grown up with dwarf hybrid wheat, high fructose corn syrup, GMO soybean oil, unpronounceable additives and chemicals, and beef fattened by GMO corn. Activity level is less of a factor in their weight than you would think.

Comment by sfhomowner
2013-02-07 12:48:43

Those kids and grandkids have grown up with dwarf hybrid wheat, high fructose corn syrup, GMO soybean oil, unpronounceable additives and chemicals, and beef fattened by GMO corn. Activity level is less of a factor in their weight than you would think.

Time and research will reveal what is causing the obesity epidemic.

All of the things Oxide mentions are involved, not just in causing obesity, but the plethora of diseases and ailments affecting the modern world: autism, cancers, ADHD, depression, etc.

You can have a squeaky clean diet (organic, no GMOs, gluten-free, etc.) but there is no getting away from the chemicals in our cars, clothes, cosmetics, building materials, water system, air, mattresses, and so on.

The fact that the onus is on the consumer to bring suit against companies (after the damage has been done) to prove that a certain chemical or combination of chemicals is dangerous means that we are all just guinea pigs swimming in a large bowl of toxic soup.

Comment by eight pieces of chicken
2013-02-07 07:28:06

I would invest in Tom Cruise.

Tom Cruise and his hoveround.

Comment by Bad Chile
2013-02-07 07:39:32

A thought I had this morning: it seems to me that the dollar value of the typical white-collar, two-income family car has been rising over the past 1-2 decades.

It seems that all I see is the prototypical median wage office drone driving $50k-$60 cars as soon as the kids hit their teenage years. I understand the desire, and the perception of availability of funds, but it seems that mid-40s to mid 50s should be high time for saving for retirement, paying down housing debt, and putting some aside for college and unanticipated college expenses. And the cars are relatively new. Boggles the mind.

I haven’t dug, but perhaps the snowstorm this weekend will allow me the time to determine the following:

Ratio of Median Income to Median New Car Price over the past 50 years (absolute price);

And again, the same data using a depreciated price of the car. I suspect this will reveal that the median age of cars on the road has stayed relatively constant over the years, despite the significant gains in the past decade in quality.

[I'll admit, I suspect most of these bling-for-show-mobiles are likely on lease, so while the monthly payment is lower, they're living in a state of perpetual car payments.]

Comment by goon squad
2013-02-07 07:53:00

We worked in indirect auto finance for TARP bank back in 2005-2006 right on the cusp of the bubble, and the number of Lucky Ducks trading in 3 year old cars (with loan balances) for new ones and going well above 100% LTV was astounding.

Comment by Northeastener
2013-02-07 09:30:46

I’ll admit, I suspect most of these bling-for-show-mobiles are likely on lease

Luxury car sales are 70%+ leased. I have some friends and family in the auto sales industry and, for the most part, luxury brands rely on leases in their low and mid-market. Same goes for large SUV’s… most of the full-size SUV’s you see are leases.

You also have anyone who has a small business and can deduct auto expenses lease.

Comment by In Colorado
2013-02-07 11:19:50

And again, the same data using a depreciated price of the car. I suspect this will reveal that the median age of cars on the road has stayed relatively constant over the years, despite the significant gains in the past decade in quality.

Actually I recall reading that the average age of a car on the road has been steadily growing.

From wikipedia:

“The median and mean age of automobiles has steadily increased since 1969. In 2007 the overall median age for automobiles was 9.4 years, a significant increase over 1990 when the median age of vehicles in operation in the US was 6.5 years and 1969 when the mean age for automobiles was 5.1 years.”

I believe that the current average (not median) is 10.8 years. 30 years ago most 11 year old cars were getting ready for the junkyard.

Comment by ecofeco
2013-02-07 07:59:02

Oh it’s not just boomers… I see a LOT of overweight X&Y’s.

Comment by joe smith
2013-02-07 08:13:03

houston is pretty hefty in general

Comment by Albuquerquedan
2013-02-07 09:33:38

The x and Ys I see in the gym are more interested in listening to their Ipods than working out. I lift more weight in ten minutes than they do in an hour.

Comment by Avocado
2013-02-07 12:01:21

Real New Mexicans and cowboys build rock walls, they dont lift weights.

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Comment by Albuquerquedan
2013-02-07 12:53:30

I don’t live on a ranch and I never claimed to be cowboy. My gym seems to be pretty full with people that claim to be from NM.

Comment by Avocado
2013-02-07 16:22:39

So is your WalMart, doesn’t make it wise.

Comment by Albuquerquedan
2013-02-07 17:02:09

If you want to lift rocks and think it is wise then do it. See that is the difference between you and I, I do not feel a need to dictate how people live, what kind of vehicle they drive or what kind of light bulb they use. Get your rocks off any way you want, just don’t impose on my freedom.

Comment by Avocado
2013-02-07 18:04:27

stop complaining then

Comment by In Colorado
2013-02-07 11:15:27

What really gets to me is when I see kids who are already morbidly obese. This is especially prevalent with Hispanic kids. What are they going to be like when they are adults?

I’m not the slimmest guy in the world now that I’m in my 50’s, but I was skinny as a rail when I was a kid.

Comment by Carl Morris
2013-02-07 11:37:06

I’m not the slimmest guy in the world now that I’m in my 50’s, but I was skinny as a rail when I was a kid.

Me too…but I think in some ways that was because I didn’t like the food that was available to me as a kid very much.

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Comment by In Colorado
2013-02-07 15:36:31

Well, food wasn’t as junky as today. We didn’t have 12 packs of pop in the fridge, or pop tarts, or pringles, etc. And I actually used my bike to get around, instead of being chauffeured like if I was Richie Rich.

Comment by polly
2013-02-07 16:06:18

I had an hysterically over protective mother and yet, I still remember yelling out that I was going over to X’s yard and spending the last hour before bath time jumping from tree stump to tree stump, or dragging a full 4 person tobaggan with a friend to a wooded area at the end of the street and sledding all afternoon by finding slopes that were bare enough of trees and just dragging it up and down the hills all day or raking up a huge pile of leaves for an hour or two at a friend’s house to be able to jump off the roof of their camper into the pile. We didn’t bring water or snacks with us either.

I don’t think the kids do that a lot these days.

Comment by Avocado
2013-02-07 18:00:53

In the 70’s we certainly had:
12 packs of pop in the fridge and The Pop Shop in so cal.
pop tarts
and vegetables came in a can
and moms cooked out of a box

i say, it was the exercise.

Comment by aNYCdj
2013-02-07 18:03:41

Lots of kids in the 2 apartment buildings the next block over yet none will walk a block and ask to shovel the snow tomorrow

Comment by Avocado
2013-02-07 16:05:22

we never had free refills either and yes, we played outside after school until dinner. Kids today are not nearly as active.

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Comment by Avocado
2013-02-07 11:59:41


and my spelling is awful!!

Comment by joe smith
2013-02-07 13:12:28

on the intertubes, loosers is actually the credited spelling :-P

Comment by rms
2013-02-07 20:50:59

And then there’s lösers (where ö = ooo).

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Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-07 07:12:01

Why do politicians and top bankers always take the heat when a housing bubble collapses? Is it really fair to pin the blame for a mania and its aftermath on a small group of highly-connected insiders?

ft dot com
Last updated: February 6, 2013 4:27 pm
Canada housing cloud cast over Carney
By Ed Crooks

Desperate times demand desperate measures. When Jordan and Russ Macnab, estate agent brothers in Vancouver, Canada, had a glamorous single-bedroom apartment, priced at over C$600,000, that was stubbornly refusing to sell, they decided on a marketing innovation: the “crib crawl”.

They rented a limo bus, stocked it with drinks and snacks, and took a party of possible buyers on an evening tour to see the apartment in question and about half a dozen others, in a mobile viewing party.

The experiment was not a complete failure: the Macnabs attracted a lot of interest, and are developing a television series based on their idea. They are planning their second crib crawl next month.

As a way to shift slow-moving inventory, however, it was a flop. Not one of the apartments they showed found a buyer. Vancouver, which until last year had Canada’s strongest growth in house prices, is now its weakest region. The number of homes sold in the greater Vancouver area dropped by 23 per cent last year.

“It’s a bit of a stalemate at the moment,” says Jordan Macnab. “Buyers are waiting for it to crash, and sellers don’t want to give it up.”

The lack of buyers is sobering evidence that Canada’s housing boom, which began in 2000 and bounced back to life after the financial crisis of 2008-09, is now over.

Nervousness about the outlook for house prices, and the effect on the economy if they slump, is casting a pall over the last few months in office of Mark Carney, the Bank of Canada governor who will take over at the Bank of England on July 1.

Mr Carney, who will appear to face questions before the British parliament for the first time on Thursday, was courted by UK Prime Minister David Cameron’s government partly on the strength of Canada’s relatively strong performance compared with other large economies. Just as he is leaving, the shine is coming off that record.

Worries about Canada’s house prices and rising consumer debt prompted Moody’s, the rating agency, to cut the credit ratings of six of the largest Canadian banks last month.

Construction is still booming. Toronto is putting up more skyscrapers over 150 metres tall than any other city in the western hemisphere. But the demand for homes is fading.

The Teranet/National Bank of Canada index of average house prices has been falling for four consecutive months; its weakest performance since early 2009. Nationally, average prices were still up by 3.1 per cent in the year to December, but in Vancouver they were down 2 per cent.

Paul Ashworth of Capital Economics, a research company, believes other cities are likely to follow.

“Everybody is hoping for a soft landing,” he says. “Maybe we’ll just get a few weak spots like Vancouver and apartments in Toronto. But I am not convinced.”

Comment by Ben Jones
2013-02-07 08:02:44

Realtors reflect on the changing nature of Roncesvalles Village

‘A quick search of the online Multiple Listing Service gives clear evidence that in Roncesvalles Village you aren’t likely to break into the housing market for much under $700,000. The increase in housing costs in Roncesvalles Village, which is a neighbourhood centred around Roncesvalles Avenue, has spilled over into surrounding neighbourhoods and increasing the cost of homes there as well, Chaddah said. “The rising tide lifts all boats,” he said.’

‘Chaddah, a veteran agent with 26 years experience, explained he has seen the neighbourhood transition to a more “upscale” neighbourhood. “Frankly, a lot of that has to do with branding,” he said, explaining that even the neighbourhood’s name, Roncesvalles Village, was coined by the real estate industry to get around the stigma that was at one time attached to the Parkdale neighbourhood. “By jettisoning Parkdale for Roncesvalles Village the value has grown by leaps and bounds,” Chaddah said.’


So they change the name and it grows ‘by leaps and bounds’. Dang, those realtors are like alchemists! Like the condo marketer in Vancouver, who came up with a slogan and the condo tower sold out in 2 days.

Comment by In Colorado
2013-02-07 15:33:43

Dang, those realtors are like alchemists!

That’s because the used the Realtor’s Stone. The Japanese shoud make a show about them: The Full BS Alchemist.

Comment by oxide
2013-02-07 12:18:58

Stalemate… this is EXACTLY what we had in 2006. Mexican standoff. Everyone who can buy has already bought.

What kind of loans did the Canadians use to buy? Do they have NINJA ARM neg-a, I/O crap? Did they have grace periods as short as two months? Did the banks sell MBS — and worse, CDS — up the food chain? How their bubble pops will depend on that.

Comment by brother_jimmy
2013-02-07 13:18:21

And the secondary effect is what happens to the Phoenix market, which has been a haven for Canadian investment dollars.

Does Phoenix start going down again? Do Canadians lock in their gains (or losses) and head back home?

My guess is that “Property Wars” is as much a proxy to the direction of the market, just like “Flip this House” was in 2007.

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-07 07:16:53

It’s going to get very difficult for the recent wave of investors in high-end coastal California housing to unload their speculative purchases once the all-cash Canadian and Chinese investors are knocked out of the picture by collapsing real estate bubbles back home.

The same thing happened a few years back to California-based speculators who used to make residential investment purchases in flyover country from Boise to Bentonville before the collapse of California housing prices trapped their equity underwater forever.

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-07 07:20:47

It is so fascinating to see the echo of the 2007 U.S. housing bubble collapse play out in other countries, with a half-decade lag. Some posters here have regularly predicted for years already that this would occur (pats self on back…).

China’s Crazy Real Estate Market: Is The Bubble Bursting?
BY Michelle FlorCruz | February 01 2013 5:43 PM

Shao Tian first came to Beijing from her hometown of Nanjing in 2006 for university. After moving back home for a few years, she then moved permanently to Beijing in early 2011 to pursue a job offer from a foreign media company.

The 24-year-old went looking for a place to live that would fit within her budget. And that’s when her problems started.

While staying with a friend, Shao frantically scoured Beijing’s tough, expensive real estate market. After several visits to apartments with substandard living environments, her patience was wearing thin; the places she had seen were barely livable, and still beyond her budget. Then she decided to meet a different real estate agent from the one she was using, and settled on an apartment unit that was 500 yuan ($80) above her initial budget. But it seemed like the best she could do.

“Just when I thought I was lucky to have found this second agent and agreed on a deal with him, he started calling someone to talk about the contract, and told me that was my ‘real direct agent’,” Shao recalled.

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-07 07:23:12

The haters steadfastly refuse to acknowledge that like global warming, the U.S. economic recovery is real, as evidenced by rising U.S. share prices on the DJIA, NASDAQ and S&P500 exchanges.

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-07 07:24:45

7 gut checks before the stock market’s opening bell
February 7, 2013, 8:15 AM
By Shawn Langlois
Doug Kass is starting to get that 1987 feeling.

Good morning.

In 2000, GMO market strategist Jeremy Grantham burnished his reputation by waxing bearish about U.S. stocks before the bubble pop.

He’s been a relentless critic of the last two Fed chairmen, blaming both Ben Bernanke and Alan Greenspan for their role in creating asset bubbles by keeping interest rates at low levels. And he’s at it again, with a stark warning. In this quarterly letter to clients, he accuses the Fed of trying to “badger” people into making sketchy investments just to prop stocks. So be ready for some “exciting crashes.”

Good stuff. But maybe he’s just another one of those guys that hates rising stock prices. Cullen Roche of the Pragmatic Capitalism blog says that a distaste for market rallies is “a perfectly common reaction, but it’s also totally unreasonable and almost certainly misguided.” Stocks are setting up to give more fodder for the haters today.

Comment by azdude
2013-02-07 07:48:12

rising stock markets are good for selling into. If you get to greedy you end up selling into a sinking ship and have to get out in front of the market. people like usual will wait to sell thinking they will make more money.

Comment by Carl Morris
2013-02-07 09:21:50

Kass irritates me to death…mostly by understanding the game and being right when I and the fundamentals want him to be wrong. But so far at least I’d have a lot more money if I just did what he said.

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower©
2013-02-07 10:19:40

“…mostly by understanding the game and being right when I and the fundamentals want him to be wrong.”


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Comment by Carl Morris
2013-02-07 10:23:05

If he’s gone bearish, my guess is that it probably really is time to get out. As opposed to how I’ve said it for years not understanding the game…

Comment by goon squad
2013-02-07 07:54:38

global warming

Cueing up ABQ Dan and Bluestar…

Comment by joe smith
2013-02-07 08:11:55

bluestar and allena owning nostradan is one of the highlights of BLB

the pwning that RAL and FPSS laid on oxide when she announced her home purchase was #2, IMO. FPSS in particular was harsh.

Comment by oxide
2013-02-07 16:32:30

My landlords pwned me far more than RAL and FPSS ever did.

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Comment by Pimp Watch
2013-02-07 20:54:25

No my friend. The seller of that shack you occupy is who owned you.

Comment by Albuquerquedan
2013-02-07 08:22:23

But doesn’t a heated conversation add to the warming? Actually. bluestar and I have, now, a common interest. I think that the heated kettle letting off steam makes a lot of sense. We know that increased solar activity leads to a stronger magnetic field and lower activity leads to a weaker field. Now, the question is whether the weaker field leads to more heat surging into the stratosphere. I think we will both be looking for the same events.

Comment by Bluestar
2013-02-07 11:31:32

There should be some real fireworks on Friday when the EPA releases their Climate Change Adaptation Plan.http://thehill.com/blogs/regwatch/energyenvironment/281721-epa-to-issue-climate-change-plan-friday-

I’m sure the internet will be ablaze with comments. I’ll wager the primary counter argument will be, “there is too much uncertainty to do anything yet” followed by “the climate sensitivity to CO2 is low so we have plenty of time even if it was a problem” with a last ditch defense of “well it was warmer xxx,xxx years ago so AGW is a hoax”.
I can tell just from the name of the report includes the keyword “Adaption” that this is not a plan to stop burning fossil fuels.

On a related note I see Duke Energy has decide to scrap one of it’s nuclear plants in Florida. Luckily they will be able to dump the losses onto the Florida rate payers. Love the part about how long it might take to rehabilitate the land around the plant.


Duke Energy, based in Charlotte, N.C., says it is starting a closing process that may take 60 years before the nuclear site is decontaminated and dismantled. And it is considering whether to build a new, natural-gas-fueled power plant to replace the power lost. Duke says it will return to customers $835 million from an insurance settlement because they were forced to pay for higher-cost replacement power. But Duke also said it will seek to recoup from customers its $1.65 billion investment in the plant, 70 miles north of Tampa.

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Comment by Albuquerquedan
2013-02-07 12:59:30

Your side really needs to get its timing down, seems like everytime you announce something a major snow storm is hitting. As far as the excuses you said, they all are true. It is your side that said would we be at a minimum 1 C warmer by now, until you can explain why it has not happened there are too many unknowns.

Comment by Albuquerquedan
2013-02-07 13:10:08


If you overestimated the stock market increase from 1988 to now by 150% you would get laughed off Wall Street. When the models work we can make policy decisions, but right now we have nothing to use.

Comment by Bluestar
2013-02-07 15:20:58

Re: EPA report;
The timing will be perfect if we get a huge weather related disaster! Millions without power, transportation shut down, dozens die in weather related incidents. You might be surprised by how the public sees this as more climate weirding and the Government reports from the last few weeks will all sound pretty reasonable. Heck the last time we had a weather disaster (Sandy) we re-elected a Muslim socialist president for another 4 years. Maybe this time he will appoint Hansen as head of the EPA!!

Are we headed for another dust bowl?

February 7th, 2013 By BLAIR FANNIN
COLLEGE STATION – U.S. cattle numbers continue to shrink and Texas is no exception as the Lone Star State has experienced a 22 percent decline over the past three years, according to a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service livestock specialist.

Comment by Albuquerquedan
2013-02-07 16:16:41

Only the believers of climate change not the ones that still think we need warming. Droughts and hurricanes help to convince people of warming but snow storms, not so much.

Comment by Albuquerquedan
2013-02-07 16:33:23
Comment by Avocado
2013-02-07 17:55:20

John Stewart covers this well. “it is cold at my house, today… therefore there must not be global warming.”

If only the Fox crowd watched JS for balance and BS control.

Comment by Avocado
2013-02-07 17:58:20

Obama, the Darwinian, communist, socialist, war-monger, Muslim, christian, black, white, golfer, body-surfer, corporate puppet, attorney, academic, man of the people.

the perfect politician, no one likes him!

Comment by ecofeco
2013-02-07 08:02:26

DOW holding over 12K for a year now.

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-07 07:30:29

Dump your housing stocks now, or look forward to some schooling in Benjamin Franklin’s dear school for fools.

Feb. 7, 2013, 9:21 a.m. EST
Move out of housing stocks ASAP
By Jeff Reeves

Homebuilders and housing stocks have been on a big run lately. The SPDR S&P Homebuilders ETF (XHB) is up over 40% in the last 12 months, more than tripling the broader S&P 500 index.

High-fliers in the sector are up even more dramatically, including almost 140% gains for PulteGroup (PHM) and almost 90% gains for Ryland (RYL).

But the music is going to stop for housing stocks even if their individual earnings and broad real estate data continue to improve. Much of the optimism is already priced in, and year-over-year growth is going to rapidly become less impressive.

Comment by goon squad
2013-02-07 07:36:06

Less flesh for the 0.1% maggots to feed on:

“The productivity of U.S. workers fell more than projected in the fourth quarter as the economy shrank, pushing labor expenses up and showing companies are approaching the limit of how much efficiency they can wring from employees.”

Love the word choice there, “wring”, that’s pretty illustrative of what the 0.1% producers parasites think about their Lucky Ducky workforce.


Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-07 07:45:44

“…approaching the limit of breaking point on how much efficiency blood they can wring from employees.”

Comment by ecofeco
2013-02-07 09:47:27

Marie Antoinette didn’t get it either.

Comment by measton
2013-02-07 14:28:39

marie antoinette didn’t have preditor drones, automatic weapons, electronic surveilance.

Comment by In Colorado
2013-02-07 15:31:40

Not to mention a substantial portion of the downtrodden population that supported her husband’s poverty creating policies

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Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-07 07:41:20

Could anyone who thinks they understand “productivity” please check my logic?

Lower productivity => less output per worker, with no reduction in costs => lower corporate profits => lower share prices.

Is that about right?

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-07 07:43:05

Feb. 7, 2013, 9:08 a.m. EST
U.S. productivity sinks 2% in fourth quarter
Workers put in more time but output barely increases
By Jeffry Bartash, MarketWatch

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — U.S. businesses did not produce goods and services as efficiently at the tail end of 2012. Workers put in more time but companies barely increased their output, the Labor Department said Thursday.

Productivity fell at a 2.0% annual rate in the October-to-December period, according to the agency’s preliminary assessment. The decline — the sharpest in almost two years — partly reverses a revised 3.2% gain in the third quarter.

Comment by Albuquerquedan
2013-02-07 07:54:00

Yes, assuming that the multiple does not expand.

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower©
2013-02-07 09:43:14


Comment by Albuquerquedan
2013-02-07 10:00:00

The price/earnings multiple.

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Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower©
2013-02-07 10:54:19

Why would a drop in productivity (and profits) be expected to lead to an increase in the P/E ratio? I’d think if anything, the adjustment would be to bring the P down in line with E, but I honestly don’t understand the never-ending disconnect between P and economic fundamentals…

Comment by Albuquerquedan
2013-02-07 11:10:55

It would not automatically lead to an increase in the p/e ratio. However, other things are at work such as a shift of assets from bonds to stocks that could raise the p/e ratio. Lower productivity could lead to higher inflation which might increase that shift raising the p/e since inflation is bad for bonds. I am not predicting this will occur just saying that falling profits do not automatically lead to a decline in the stock market. There are a lot of variables to consider besides that one but it is probably the most important one in the long run. However, two sayings come to mind, “we are all dead in the long run” and the market can stay irrational longer than you can stay solvent.

Comment by goon squad
2013-02-07 08:17:05

Productivity = the depth of penetration of the 0.1%ers’ rape of the American middle class :)

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower©
2013-02-07 09:46:34

When plankton dies, so do whales.

Comment by ecofeco
2013-02-07 09:50:40

Much like Congessionaland MSM math, “losses” and ” saving/spending” are all based on mythical scenarios used to manipulate opinion and actions.

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower©
2013-02-07 09:51:44

It looks like “the multiple” didn’t go up…

Feb. 7, 2013, 10:52 a.m. EST
U.S. stocks drop after economic data
By Polya Lesova, MarketWatch

NEW YORK (MarketWatch) — U.S. stocks dropped on Thursday after data showed a small decline in weekly jobless claims and a 2% drop in U.S. productivity in the fourth quarter.

Extending losses, the Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 101 points, or 0.7%, to 13,885.

The S&P 500 slipped 9.56 points, or 0.6%, to 1,502.48, with energy and consumer discretionary the biggest decliners among the index’s 10 major industry groups.

Comment by goon squad
2013-02-07 07:43:44

Memo to the John Galt bootstrappers: guess what? Even if they don’t get insurance, you will still be paying for the Lucky Ducks’ health care when they use the emergency room as their primary care physician and don’t pay the bill!

“The number of Americans projected to gain insurance from the U.S. health-care law is eroding, by at least 5 million people, as the Obama administration struggles to implement the $1.3 trillion overhaul amid Republican opposition.

About 27 million people are expected to gain coverage by 2017, according to a report today from the Congressional Budget Office. The CBO had projected when the law passed in 2010 that 32 million uninsured people would be on a health plan within a decade, and a year later raised its estimate to 34 million.”


Comment by ecofeco
2013-02-07 11:01:54

Some states are refusing to set up a risk pool.

Comment by In Colorado
2013-02-07 15:30:01

you will still be paying for the Lucky Ducks’ health care when they use the emergency room as their primary care physician and don’t pay the bill!

What I don’t get is why don’t hospitals just set up a low cost, non ER, clinic, staffed by Nurse Practitioners to deal with the uninsured Lucky Duckies and keep them out of the ER?

Comment by Carl Morris
2013-02-07 15:50:16

The ER isn’t really set up for keeping people out, is it? Seems like it would require a completely different way of organizing the ER.

Comment by In Colorado
2013-02-07 16:44:20

They could be screened. Got a cold or bad cough? Step that way. Have a concussion? Step this way.

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Comment by Spook
2013-02-07 07:46:45

Hey Joe Smith, thanks for the invite. Give me a week or two and we can plan a Baltimore HBB council.

Ive got some wild stories to tell from my time here on the Russian front.

Comment by joe smith
2013-02-07 07:53:03

cool, I look forward to it

Comment by goon squad
2013-02-07 08:12:46

Confirmation of the squad’s correct prediction that it’s gonna get worse, and then it’s gonna get more worse:

“Americans remain deeply pessimistic about the nation’s economic future nearly four years into the recovery, and the vast majority think it will take “many years” for things to return to the way they were before the downturn, according to a poll released Thursday.”

Guess what, loosers? Things will not be returning to the way they were.

“Nearly one in four respondents said they were laid off at some point during the past four years, and even larger numbers said they had immediate family members or close friends thrown out of work.”

See also the Romney meme: repairing sick businesses

“Many of those who found new jobs were forced to settle for less. Nearly half said they took a step down in status from their previous jobs, while 54 percent said they have had to accept lower pay. Often, the pay cuts were severe. One-third of re-employed workers said they swallowed salary cuts of more than 30 percent, while another third said their pay went down between 11 percent and 20 percent.”

What those loosers need are $350,000 starter homes, right?

“Even though the economy has recovered more than half the 9 million jobs lost during the Great Recession, the survey found that Americans perceive that the economy has descended to a new normal.”

For all except for the 0.1%, of course :)

“Fewer than one in five agree that jobs, careers and employment opportunities will be better for the next generation.”

Welcome to the recoveryless recovery. The future belongs to Lucky Ducky!


Comment by ecofeco
2013-02-07 11:03:53

Race To The Bottom!

May the luckiest duck, win!

Comment by In Colorado
2013-02-07 14:29:10

Our new national motto: “At least I have a job”

Unless if course you’re a lucky ducky, in which case you have three p/t, no benefits, minimum wage jobs and you work 70 hours a week. In that case the motto is: I’ll work until drop dead because they’re gonna kill social security.

Comment by sfhomowner
2013-02-07 14:48:47

Our new national motto: “At least I have a job”

Last year when I had to have surgery my motto was “at least I have health insurance”.

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Comment by measton
2013-02-07 14:32:49

Like I said, I knew no one who lost a job in 2008-2012. Now I know 3 with job losses, and one planning for a month long unpaid vacation. Who should I believe the gov or my own lying eyes?

Comment by polly
2013-02-07 16:27:16

Sorry, but the plural of anecdote is not data.

Comment by measton
2013-02-07 20:26:56

True but sometimes data is not data but propaganda.

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Comment by Salinasron
2013-02-07 08:59:25

Just a few notes:

1. Texas governor is running ads to get CA businesses to relocate to Texas. He is planning a visit to Ventura area to woo a tech company.

2. Went by HomeDepo last Saturday and the lot was completely full. Don’t have a clue why but most were walking out with small purchases. It was first weekend after pay day.

3. A friend went to a car lot on Sunday to look at used cars. When talking to the dealer he mentioned paying $9K down and financing 3K for two years to raise his credit rating from 630. The dealer said that the car company and associated lenders wouldn’t lend anything less then $7500 and the rates would be between 10%-18%. Gotta love those banks getting the money for free and lending at those rates to the how much a month crowd. My friend could afford to pay all cash but he tried one more tack, a secure loan. Minimum loan $4K at 10% per bank quote.

Comment by Bluestar
2013-02-07 09:45:22

Funny thing. Rick Perry’s has a pet slush fund called the Emerging Technology Fund that has been busy picking “winners and losers”
and has a higher failure rate than the Dept of Energy. It’s running out of money again so Rick Perry needs $132 million to restock his Emerging Technology Fund this year.

“The number of jobs created by companies funded by the Texas Emerging Technology Fund declined 14 percent last fiscal year compared with 2011.”


Rick is a good old boy who manages to scratch out a living by being a humble public servant for 25 years. Poor thing, he’s been forced to accept his state retirement pension for years. We don’t actually know how much he gets because it’s none of our business though.

“Pensions of former Texas lawmakers can be kept secret: Judge
By Mark Lisheron | Texas Watchdog, February 5, 2013

AUSTIN – Texas District Judge Lora Livingston Tuesday ruled the state is not obliged to tell the public how much it pays in pensions to former members of the Legislature.”

Comment by Montana
2013-02-07 10:34:50

I swear, there are “tech startups” who exist purely for getting grants.

Comment by In Colorado
2013-02-07 11:06:01

I’ve worked at a few where from the day I started I knew there was no hope of it being successful. The principals paid themselves well. When the money started to run out they either raised more money or simply moved to the next tech startup.

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Comment by ecofeco
2013-02-07 11:09:16

“I swear, there are “tech startups” who exist purely for getting grants.”

Fact. And by the thousands.

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Comment by joe smith
2013-02-07 10:47:13

Rick Perry makes George W Bush look extremely intelligent and responsible.

Comment by ecofeco
2013-02-07 11:10:57

Scary ain’t it?

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Comment by Arizona Slim
2013-02-07 11:24:41

Believe me, I was no fan of George W. Bush’s presidency. I also didn’t find much to like about him personally.

However, he’s a lot smarter than he is given credit for being. He was/still is very well read.

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Comment by MiddleCoaster
2013-02-07 11:35:26

The serfs have no right to know where their tax dollars go.

Comment by measton
2013-02-07 14:34:34

That’s amazing? What an FU to the public and tax payer. He could be getting a million dollars a year?

Comment by HBB_Rocks
2013-02-07 10:24:00

California, Colorado (and Denver individually), Michigan, New Hampshire (totally random), and Florida run television ads here to get people to visit.

Comment by ecofeco
2013-02-07 11:07:49

“The dealer said that the car company and associated lenders wouldn’t lend anything less then $7500 and the rates would be between 10%-18%”

And he believed them? :lol:

If true, walk. He can get that loan from his bank. If he can’t better terms anywhere else, take the 9k and find something used and nice. Plenty of little car lots willing to deal.

If it’s all about just building credit, he can buy other things for less money and accomplish the same thing.

Comment by In Colorado
2013-02-07 11:08:09

The dealer said that the car company and associated lenders wouldn’t lend anything less then $7500 and the rates would be between 10%-18%.

So they aren’t handing out cheap auto loans to people with poor credit after all?

Comment by cactus
2013-02-07 12:58:24

1. Texas governor is running ads to get CA businesses to relocate to Texas. He is planning a visit to Ventura area to woo a tech company.”

what company I wonder ?

Comment by joe smith
2013-02-07 14:29:24

This was discussed the other day w/r/t Maryland vs Virginia, but when a state can convince a company to move, it usually involves incentives that make the deal a “looser” for the “winning” state. Same thing happens when a state begs a company to stay and starts cutting tax breaks.

The thing is, the deals look like they make sense in the short term and the politicians aren’t around for the long term.

Comment by cactus
2013-02-07 21:37:11

in Oxnard figures. Why stop at Texas just move all the way to China? Afraid they will rip off your designs ..

Haas Automation Inc., which was founded by Gene Haas with a single machine in 1983, has expanded over the decades to become the largest machine tool builder in the U.S. with a 1-million-square-foot facility in Oxnard.

Rick Perry speaks during the Reagan Foundation Centennial GOP Presidential Primary Debate in Sept. 2011 at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley.
Haas Automation Inc. in Oxnard will host a visit from Texas Gov. Rick Perry on Feb. 12, as the governor kicks off a campaign in California to lure businesses to his state.

Perry likely has chosen Haas because the manufacturing giant and its site selection company, which negotiates packages with state and local officials on incentives and other deals, have been requesting proposals from Texas, North Carolina and Nevada, at least, for a possible expansion outside California.

“I hope it doesn’t alarm anyone. We haven’t made any decisions, and I hope people understand we want to stay in California,” said Peter Zierhut, vice president of European operations for Haas, a maker of computer-controlled machines.

“Yes, we’ve considered all our possibilities, and that includes talking to people in other states,” Zierhut said. “California has not been too bad to us, but as a growing company, it’s reasonable we listen to people when they come to us.”

Perry’s office announced new radio ads Monday and said they will run on six stations in the San Francisco, Sacramento, Los Angeles, Inland Empire and San Diego markets.

The ads are being paid for by TexasOne, a public-private partnership, and tell businesses to “come check out Texas” for its “low taxes, sensible regulations and fair legal system.”

Read more: http://www.vcstar.com/news/2013/feb/04/texas-governor-sets-sights-on-haas-automation-in/#ixzz2KHLpUWRT
- vcstar.com

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower©
2013-02-07 10:16:52

This article, written of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1%, completely misses how U.S. economic policy under central bankers Ben and Tim have led to the greatest disparity in the U.S. wealth distribution since the days just before the Great Depression.

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower©
2013-02-07 10:18:15

Feb. 6, 2013, 10:26 p.m. EST
Geithner, the underappreciated finance guy
Oft-criticized former Treasury secretary did good job under duress
By Jeffry Bartash, MarketWatch
WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — Two cheers for Tim Geithner.

Say what? Wasn’t the former Treasury secretary a lackey of Wall Street and no friend of the little guy (or gal)? Lots of people think so. Twitter and other Web hot spots were aflame again Wednesday with sniping about Geithner in the wake of news that he’s taken a job at the Council on Foreign Relations. See: Twitter users rush to name Geithner’s forthcoming book.

Liberals are bitter he didn’t severely punish banks for financial misdeeds or do more to help ordinary folks in need, such as underwater homeowners who owe more on their mortgages than their properties are worth. Conservatives believe he pushed for too much regulation and federal intervention in the economy.

And who can forget about the tax-payment boo-boo that almost sank Geithner’s nomination in 2009 and earned him the derisive nickname “Turbo Tax Tim”?

In the light of history, the criticism might have merit. Yet it largely misses the point. Geithner — along with Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke — played a decisive role in 2008-09 to prevent the U.S. from sinking into another Great Depression.

Together they led the way to shore up a keeling banking system, restore calm on Wall Street, and fend off radical initiatives from the left and laissez-faire cries on the right that could have stunted even the mild recovery that has taken hold.

Simply put, Geithner was handed a loudly ticking time bomb with the potential to blow up the economy. He did a good job under incredible pressure to defuse the crisis with the limited government tools available to him at the time.

Comment by goon squad
2013-02-07 10:39:34

Corporate profits at all-time highs.

Share of wealth owned by top 0.1% at all-time high.

See above Washington Post link detailing average Americans’ opinions about the alleged recovery.

Comment by ecofeco
2013-02-07 11:14:24

…but they will continue to vote against themselves ’cause “progressives” are commies.

We have the government we deserve.

Comment by In Colorado
2013-02-07 14:22:57

Exactly. We are being conditioned into believing that we have to kill SS to save the country.

It’s a 1%er’s wet dream.

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Comment by joe smith
2013-02-07 14:59:43

“We are being conditioned into believing that we have to kill SS to save the country.”
The Glover Park Group did its job.

Comment by ecofeco
2013-02-07 11:12:51

Hey! Don’t forget to give Alan G the credit he deserves as well!

You know they called him the Maestro, right?

Comment by joe smith
2013-02-07 10:31:48

Following up on something from yesterday… I logged into my tumblr last night on the train. No ads on my account dashboard. In fact, no ads at all anywhere.

They are definitely doing something with sponsored posts or “suggested posts”, though. I’m sure it’s disclosed in their TOS but I didn’t have time to read that. All I saw was a bunch of posts on topics vaguely related to things I’ve searched or tagged before, interspersed with my own posts and “likes” and “reblogs”.

Comment by Spook
2013-02-07 10:57:23

Somewhat new JHK podcast. They stopped for a while and it looks like The cohost Duncan Macrary may be taking over the franchise:

“For this pilot episode of A Small American City, Kunstler joins host Duncan Crary for a special, introductory conversation about small cities, Troy, N.Y. and the urban fabric. From 2008 to 2012, Crary and Kunstler produced the popular podcast series, The KunstlerCast, a weekly conversation about “the tragic comedy of suburban sprawl.” During their run, the two often used Crary’s home city of Troy, N.Y. as an informal laboratory to illustrate and observe the urban design, energy and economic issues of the times.”


Comment by snowgirl
2013-02-07 15:55:29

I’d say Troy is one of the hardest hit areas in the upstate area.

Comment by polly
2013-02-07 14:34:31

Hey, everyone in New England and areas just a bit south,

Take care with this storm. They are comparing it to 1978. I remember 1978. We were out of school for two solid weeks. The roads were closed to anything but emergency vehicles for days. We had to drag a sled (with an emptied out toy box tied to the top) to the supermarket for groceries. It was a total mess.

Tell your kids to bring some of their school books home on Friday. I went ahead two months in my math homework and my brother learned his multiplication tables over that storm.

Comment by aNYCdj
2013-02-07 14:51:25

Don’t forget to park on the left side of the road, because snow plows, plow to the right….

Comment by Arizona Slim
2013-02-07 16:42:04

I was a University of Michigan student during the great 1978 blizzard.

And the U-M PTB shut the place down! Snow day!

That was, ISTR, the second time in U-M history that the Ann Arbor campus was closed due to a snowstorm.

Wouldn’t you know it: I had a paper due. So, I strapped on my cross-country skis and headed over to campus with it. Turned it in to the envelope on the instructor’s door.

Then I went skiing around Central Campus, where I met one of my profs. He was out for a walk in the snow, and we had a great chat about proper XC ski waxing.

Good times, good times.

Comment by joe smith
2013-02-07 14:45:50

I just realized that Chris Matthews, Cokie Roberts, John Roberts, Thomas Friedman, Wolf Blitzer, Candy Crowley and about half the media elite in the DC area all live within a mile of each other.

Talk about living in a bubble.

Karl Rove also lives within blocks of Alan Greenspan/Andrea Mitchell.

I was surprised to see where Ted Koppel lives (not that close to the other media elites). I think he has the nicest house out of anyone except maybe Thom Friedman.

Comment by joe smith
2013-02-07 14:49:42

Rove is literally 2 blocks from Greenspan. LOLz.

Comment by goon squad
2013-02-07 20:42:45

Can we drop a dirty bomb on these coastal elitists maggots? Not a “terrerist” radioactive one, maybe just a bomb with the concentrated scent of cat piss x1000. One that never washes off, even with a tomato juice bath. So that every media appearance (microphone-pimping) they show up at for the next five years the host and all fellow guests display visual revulsion i.e. “you smell like cat piss” LULZ!

Comment by joe smith
2013-02-07 14:56:27

This is Koppel’s. That zillow estimate is low and doesn’t take into account that his property backs up to the Potomac.

10717 Ardnave Pl, Rockville, MD 20854
Bathrooms:9 bathsSingle Family:8,215 sq ftLot:87,120 sq ftYear Built:2001Last Sold:Aug 1998 for $355,000
Zestimate: $3,518,637

Comment by joe smith
2013-02-07 15:01:13

Yeah, that zestimate is way low. This is a house down the street from there that’s currently for sale for more than that (and will probably sell for its listing price). It’s half the size of Koppel’s. http://www.zillow.com/homedetails/9906-River-View-Ct-Potomac-MD-20854/37269504_zpid/

OK, I’m finished replying to myself… :-P

Comment by polly
2013-02-07 15:23:11

Justice Sotomayor is definitely outside the bubble. She lives in a condo on U street. Talk about a job where you really can take out a 30 year mortgage no matter how old you are. Guaranteed for life unless you want to quit.

Comment by joe smith
2013-02-07 16:09:19

Interesting, I used to park my car up by Logan Circle at between 11th and 12th between Rhode Island and Vermont Ave, a couple blocks south of U St. If you stay the west of 11th, there are some very very nice houses in there. When you go east you start to get near Howard U and its hospital campus

Comment by polly
2013-02-07 20:32:45

She said it was the “East Village” of Washington DC. She’s probably right. At least what the East Village used to be. Haven’t been to that part of NYC’s downtown in a while.

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Comment by Spook
2013-02-07 15:11:44

Check out the hypocracy. A black male who THOUGHT he was ripping off two black male criminals is gonna get the death penalty because it turns out his victims were actually cops.

As part of their under cover works, these two cops looked like and acted like young black male criminals. Then when an actual young black male criminal TREATS THEM like a young black criminal, he gets a death sentence?

(((shakin my head)))

I say the families of the cops should sue the department for not paying black male undercover detectives more money since they are more likely to be killed because nobody really cares when young black males who look and act like criminals get killed;

Unless they turn out to be undercover cops.

Instant karmas gonna get you.


The man, Ronell Wilson, shot and killed two undercover detectives — James V. Nemorin and Rodney J. Andrews — during a failed gun-buy operation on Staten Island in 2003. A federal jury found Mr. Wilson guilty of murder and handed down the first death sentence by a federal jury in the city in more than half a century.

Comment by aNYCdj
2013-02-07 18:01:38

What to do …OH what to do….yeah keep the cop killer alive so he can watch his kid grow up

Judge Garaufis noted that over the course of his life, Mr. Wilson had been issued nine I.Q. tests. The methods of the testing varied, but Judge Garaufis found that because eight of those tests showed him to be at least three points above the benchmark for legal retardation, which is 70, Mr. Wilson was not retarded.

sexual affair with one of his prison guards at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn and that she is now eight months pregnant with his child

Comment by Albuquerquedan
Comment by Avocado
2013-02-07 17:41:11

lots of criminals doing damage to lots of people: http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2012/08/no-bankers-in-jail/

lets go after ALL of them

Comment by Avocado
2013-02-07 17:44:19

Ronald Reagan on Immigration - President of the U.S., 1981-1989; Republican Governor (CA)

“1986 reform legalized 3 million undocumented immigrants”

huh? wuh? I thought… he …was… a Republican??? huh

he tripled the deficit too. sorry to rain on your parade.

know your party.

Comment by Housing Fraud Alert
2013-02-07 17:04:59

Realtor Defrauded Bank


Comment by aNYCdj
2013-02-07 18:30:18

A Florida judge has approved the adoption of a 22-month-old baby girl that will list three people as parents on her birth certificate — a married lesbian couple and a gay man.


Comment by Resistor
2013-02-07 20:53:12

That’s great. Thank you for sharing. Stories like this inspire me. There is not enough love in this world.

Just so I am clear, do you intend to start blaming the gay community for your credit card debt?

Comment by AnnGogh
2013-02-07 19:13:28

I thought we were going to be able to buy a home after 2011 but now when can we buy?

Comment by Pimp Watch
2013-02-07 20:41:17

If you buy now you’re going to lose alot of money. ALOT of money.

Comment by ahansen
2013-02-08 03:10:13


Comment by AnnGogh
2013-02-07 19:44:15


KONG (AP) — For many of the richest people in Hong Kong, one of Asia’s wealthiest cities, home is a mansion with an expansive view from the heights of Victoria Peak. For some of the poorest, like Leung Cho-yin, home is a metal cage.

The 67-year-old former butcher pays 1,300 Hong Kong dollars ($167) a month for one of about a dozen wire mesh cages resembling rabbit hutches crammed into a dilapidated apartment in a gritty, working-class West Kowloon neighborhood.

The cages, stacked on top of each other, measure 1.5 square meters (16 square feet). To keep bedbugs away, Leung and his roommates put thin pads, bamboo mats, even old linoleum on their cages’ wooden planks instead of mattresses.

“I’ve been bitten so much I’m used to it,” said Leung, rolling up the sleeve of his oversized blue fleece jacket to reveal a red mark on his hand. “There’s nothing you can do about it. I’ve got to live here. I’ve got to survive,” he said as he let out a phlegmy cough.

Read more: http://www.myfoxny.com/story/21021301/hong-kong-poor-in-cages-shows-dark-side-of-property-boom#ixzz2KGuUvbiF

Comment by rms
2013-02-08 06:36:50

Those metal cages allow one to lock their belongings inside while they’re at work making iPhones for the underwater mortgagees a half a world away.

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