September 26, 2013

Bits Bucket for September 26, 2013

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

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Comment by ahansen
2013-09-26 02:01:05

Yesterday I attended a Valley Fever symposium in Bakersfield that was sponsored by House Majority Whip, Kevin McCarthy. In attendance were the heads of CDC and NIH (both of whom I had an opportunity to speak with privately) as well as an impressive line-up of multi-disciplinary world authorities on this increasingly troubling and little-publicized public health issue.

Valley Fever is caused by inhalation of fungal spores released from arid fossil soils during excavation, mining, agriculture and other human and climatic activities. Here’s a good overview:

What struck me most in the various presentations was how the incidence of Valley Fever seems to correlate with both the timing and the locations of housing bubbles in the American southwest. The epicenters for contagion are Phoenix and the Central Valley of California (for which the disease is named,) but as the popular press has stated, you can (and apparently do) catch it simply by breathing while you’re driving down I-5.

Antelope Valley , the high desert south of the Central Valley and just to the north east of Los Angeles, is another rapidly-developing center of reported cases. As is San Francisco when the dust clouds from the valley blow north.

Just another little gift from the housing boom.

Comment by CeeCee
2013-09-26 09:48:32

That’s a very interesting observation! Thanks for the article, too. A lot of times, the media completely misrepresents public health issues and the risks of contracting certain diseases. This is a very important problem that needs to receive more awareness.

Comment by Middle Coaster
2013-09-26 10:27:53

Fascinating stuff, Allena. Media attention may be sparse, but even here in the flatlands of the Midwest, coccidiomycosis is well known to infectious disease docs. Getting a travel history in someone with a respiratory illness should always involve questions about visiting or living in the desert Southwest and California.

Comment by ahansen
2013-09-26 15:03:44

This is incredibly reassuring, Middle, because many dox in non-Central CA aren’t even aware of the symptoms. Are there any known areas of contagion where you are?

My personal theory is that it lies dormant in the ancient soils of dry lake beds or swamps until the spores are dispersed by excavation, drought, winds, etc. Another school of thought posits it’s “stored’ in the desiccated bodies of desert mice, so along with Hanta, plague, rabies, dengue and the like, now we have another reason to go after the local ground rodents.

What most concerns me (other than the lack of concerted research and readily available testing) is that the vets at the symposium suggested that the spores may also be animal-to-animal transmissible through ingesting contaminated milk and organic produce. Worse, the latency period during which one remains asymptomatic can be twenty years or more….

Stay tuned.

Comment by Middle Coaster
2013-09-26 15:13:55

As far as I know there is no local source of valley fever. Am surprised that it isn’t on the short list of differential diagnosis everywhere in the western U.S. It is hard to diagnose and may require an open lung biopsy, which is not an insignificant procedure. If it is transmissible by ingesting, in addition to inhaling the spores, that would be bad news.

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Comment by ahansen
2013-09-26 18:50:36

There is a skin test- essentially the old Spherusol patch test used for TB– available to test for antigens, but it was so seldom used that when the company that manufactured it was sold to a congolomerate, the new parent corp chose not to manufacture it any more. Negotiating the FDA hurdles to re-introduce it was one of the topics discussed at the symposium.

As more and more people present with symptoms (let alone chronic infection) the health costs are projected to skyrocket. Currently, one of the largest clusters is found in Central California prisons — which has the litigation attorneys drooling at the possibilities. It’s a fascinating medical detective story for our time; right up there with autism spectrum disorders.

Comment by GinGary
2013-09-26 15:19:00

I thought people chose to move to those places to cure their respiratory problems.

Comment by ahansen
2013-09-26 18:52:31

Not any more. With the influx came the seeds of future destruction as land was cleared to accommodate them.

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Comment by Bill, just South of Irvine, CA
2013-09-26 20:16:31


I remember back when I was 20, one December in Fresno. There was a dust storm (odd in Fresno, but they happen). The president of CSU, Fresno back then became ill with Valley Fever.

Later I remember living in the high Mojave desert. A colleague caught valley fever (more likely there because of the constant wind and mining tailings and whatever in the dirt). He was out for weeks. When he came back to work he was never quite the same.

Scary stuff. But I love the desert. Occasionally I happen to be back home in Phoenix when a dust storm hits. In such cases I don’t even go outside. I stay indoors. The Air conditioner filter works very well to filter it all out. I just consider it a festive occasion to see the sky a different color and marvel at the power of mother nature.

Comment by JingleMale
2013-09-26 02:11:41

Public home builders are dropping land option deals like a hot rock. New home sales have tanked and stalled in Sacramento. Six months ago, they were falling over each other to get dirt under contract. Times keep on changing…….

Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-09-26 02:56:08

heh. Rental Pimp.

Comment by oxide
2013-09-26 05:08:11

DC keeps building. Last weekend I went to a nearby “lifestyle center” at one of the edges of town where there are still a few open fields between the developments. No more. Now those fields are covered with major builders like Ryan and Pulte and half-constructed garage mahals. In another section, the fields across the road from the blueberry patch is covered with close-packed single family homes which were built very quickly. Building had stalled in Frederick but has since started up again, on the same open tracts of land. The major drag closer in to the city is going to fill with high-rise mixed-use condos and shops. One building even has a sign notifying us of a “change in density,” which I take to mean that they decided to add more floors of condos.

Meanwhile, the inner-ring suburbs of cold-war housing, with yards, is deteriorating into flophouse rentals. Lots of older cars, Home-Depot style fix-up, and white vans. Presumably all those guest workers who did construction in 2004 are now working on their own homes, or the homes they rent from another hombre.

Comment by goon squad
2013-09-26 05:37:42

a lot (alot) of older sfh in the 80210 getting scraped and replaced with shiny new duplexes and triplexes that take up the entire lot

Comment by Middle Coaster
2013-09-26 10:32:48

Pulte is building out a mini-subdivision of six or seven houses near me, in a cul de sac that has just one opening, onto a busy street . That lot sat empty through housing boom and bust, until this summer. Rotsa ruck to anyone trying to make a left turn out of that street.

Comment by oxide
2013-09-26 12:41:40

In my neck of the woods, the popular remodel is to build a second floor on top of the ramblin’ rancher. Sometimes they unify the outside with siding or fake stucco, sometimes they put scrap siding just on the upper floor. Ugly either way. I wonder what they do inside. Do they just add 4 beds and a bath upstairs and leave the tiny kitchen downstairs? A 7/3 with a small common area is pretty good flophouse potential.

When watching HGTV, I learned a new term: “Flaglot.” It’s self-explanatory. They now build houses two deep and your house is in the back. Your driveway past the front house is the flagpole and your land and house is the flag. That’s how they are able to fit 5 McMansions on what used to be one lot with an old house.

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Comment by Middle Coaster
2013-09-26 13:34:07

Zoning standards? They don’t need no stinkin’ zoning standards!

Comment by sleepless_near_seattle
2013-09-26 14:41:57

They now build houses two deep and your house is in the back.

Now? They’ve been doing so around here for at least 15-20 years, maybe longer.

Homeowners lookin’ for cash love it because they get paid to split their lot. City loves it because they’ve been pumping infill. Developers love it because they get to develop. Win-win-win!

Comment by scdave
2013-09-26 06:38:45

Jingle…You have any link information on this or is that kinda the word on the street ??

Comment by Jingle Male
2013-09-26 07:33:02

Word on the street. More land escrows cancelled in the last few months than were ever cancelled in the same period over the last 30 years. The “Pubs” got over enthusiastic. Of course when sales pick up in 2014, they will all try to get the deals back….

Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-09-26 07:34:48


Sales aren’t going to “pick up” in 2014 or any other time until prices fall back to mid 1990’s levels. Demand has already fallen to 1997 levels. And prices will follow like they always do.

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Comment by Rental Watch
2013-09-26 09:32:54

I just dropped an e-mail to a friend in that area…I will pass on what I hear.

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Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-09-26 09:34:24

Yeah. Like it’s going to have any credibility here?


Comment by United States of Moral Hazard
2013-09-26 10:05:07

“I just dropped an e-mail to a friend in that area…I will pass on what I hear.”

Oh, ok. You do that. We’ll be all ears. I mean, Kool-Aid tinged anecdotal evidence and hearsay always goes over so well here.

Comment by Rental Watch
2013-09-26 10:07:28

The guy has been a consultant to builders in the Sac area for the past 20+ years. Believe what you want.

Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-09-26 12:34:53

And I’ve been building for 20+ years. Your “consultant” lies to you. And youre a sucker for it every time.

Comment by Rental Watch
2013-09-26 13:54:09

My friend has confirmed that there has been some recent cancellations. Will try to speak real time with him for color.

Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-09-26 17:51:06

BS has color now…. You go Liar.

Comment by ahansen
2013-09-26 19:28:29

I’m curious to hear his observations, Rental. Has Jerry Brown cut out the 12% Sacto subsidies?


Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-09-26 07:06:37

Maybe it’ different this time, but the last time the homebuilders’ stock prices tanked, they were the proverbial canaries in the housing market’s coal mine.

What Are the Homebuilder Stocks Trying to Tell Us After Falling 20% Since May?
Profit Confidential
Thu, Sep 26 2013, 12:28 GMT
by Michael Lombardi

The U.S. housing market is “hot;” home prices are going up and up. At least that’s what the mainstream’s saying.

The S&P Case-Shiller 20-City Composite Home Price Index, considered a key indicator of the U.S housing market, increased to 159.18 in July. In June, it stood at 158.20. Since the beginning of the year, the index of home prices in 20 major cities in the U.S. economy has increased by roughly 7.5%. (Source: Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis web site, last accessed September 24, 2013.)

Why isn’t this bullish news pushing up homebuilder stocks? Or more importantly, what are those leading indicator stocks trying to tell us by collapsing 20% since their May high?

As I continue to write in these pages, I am skeptical of the rise in home prices in the U.S. housing market. I believe the rebound in the housing market activity is a direct result of the Federal Reserve’s easy money and nothing else.

To have real growth in the housing market, you need buyers who are going to actually live in the homes they purchase. This analogy can also be used for other commodities. For example, to assess the condition in the copper market, if you see increased buying by companies that make copper products, this suggests there’s demand. On the contrary, if you see speculators, then you can assume they will bail as soon as they make some money on their trade.

The U.S. housing market has accumulated too many speculators. It is well documented in these pages how institutional investors are buying homes, fixing them up, and then renting them out.
For the housing market, one key indicator I follow is the activity of first-time home buyers—and they’re just not there in this recovery.

Take existing-homes sales for August, for example. First-time home buyers only accounted for 28% of all the sales in the housing market for that month. In July, they accounted for 29%. A year ago, they made up 31% of the sales. (Source: National Association of Realtors, September 19, 2013.) The number of first-time home buyers entering the housing market continues to fall—a bad omen for the recovery. On average, first-time home buyers should account for 40% of all existing-home sales.

And mortgage rates have been rising. As rates increase, it makes homes less affordable for many buyers.

In September the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI), which tracks the sentiment of homebuilders, was unchanged after hitting an almost eight-year high. The chief economist at the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), David Crowe, said, “Following a solid run up in builder confidence over the past year, we are seeing a pause in the momentum as consumers wait to see where interest rates settle and as the headwinds of tight credit, shrinking supplies of lots for development and increasing labor costs continue.” (Source: “Builder Confidence Unchanged in September,” National Association of Homebuilders, September 17, 2013.)

Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-09-26 07:39:24

The dead cat bounce is behind us. The housing price correction is coming right down the barrel. We’re all looking right at it.

Look out below and if you’re thinking of buying…. sit tight while prices resume their decline.

Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-09-26 02:59:35

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

Good idea.

The housing price correction was delayed……. for a while. If you have a house, dump it. If you were thinking of buying. Don’t do it. Prices have a very long way to fall to get to the bottom (1996 price levels).

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-09-26 07:08:02

You seem alot more optimistic than FPSS, who often suggested here that housing prices would retrench to 1983 levels.

Perhaps he mean in inflation-adjusted terms, in which case you could both prove correct.

Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-09-26 07:23:03

We’re a bit more realistic in our analysis although I believe a rollback to 1983 prices is entirely possible.

Comment by Pete
2013-09-26 12:07:20

I actually think your 1997 prediction is reasonable, if you account for inflation. If you go to inflationcalculator dot com, it shows that 100K in 1997 is equal to 147K today. But IIRC, you are keeping inflation out of your equation.

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Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-09-26 12:32:42

Inflation adjusted? Prices roll back to early 1980s.

Comment by Pete
2013-09-26 16:14:36

If so, then housing becomes more affordable, which is a good thing. But if the crash is as bad as you say, it will mean another round of investors snapping those suckers up at rock bottom prices, as most of the traditional potential buying pool will be not be in a financial position to take advantage.

Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-09-26 17:49:28

“Another round at rock bottom prices?”

They overpaid by 200% at the last false bottom. And there are tens of millions more empty houses they didn’t buy.



Comment by Pete
2013-09-26 21:14:50

If prices fall to ‘83 levels, that would be considered rock bottom by 99.9% people with money to throw around.

Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-09-27 04:34:03

People “with money” aren’t interested in depreciating losses like houses. That’s why they have the money.


Comment by Blue Skye
2013-09-26 12:57:22

1982. For good reasons.

Comment by mathguy
2013-09-26 11:34:46

You can’t make up for in volume what you lack in delivery. Stop spamming and think a little harder about what you post HA. I’m not saying you shouldn’t refute and debunk, I’m just saying if you keep shouting at a full room, you’ll soon be shouting at an empty room.

Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-09-26 12:37:25

I got a bulletin for you…. take your own advice…. you and your hookers.

Comment by MacBeth
2013-09-26 04:21:05

What shouldn’t be discounted is the mindset of California, which appears to trend toward frenetic, ramblin’-gamblin’ man.

The Get Rich Quick meme likely dates back to the 1840s Gold Rush days.

Comment by 2banana
2013-09-26 05:26:34

And housing is in a another bubble…


The Late, Great Middle Class | September 26, 2013 | Victor Davis Hanson

The American middle class, like the American economy in general, is ailing. Labor-force participation has hit a 35-year low.

Median household income is lower than it was five years ago. Only the top 5 percent of households have seen their incomes rise under President Obama.

Commuters are paying more than twice as much for gas as they were in 2008. Federal payouts for food stamps, unemployment insurance and disability insurance have reached unprecedented levels.

Meanwhile, the country is still running near-record budget deficits and is burdened by $17 trillion in aggregate debt. Yet the stock market is soaring.

How can we make sense of all this contradictory nonsense? Irony.

Comment by Ben Jones
2013-09-26 07:18:04

I woke up thinking about this “American Exceptionalism” stuff the politicians have been going on about. Sometime before 2005, I read a Federal Reserve paper that put total US govt obligations at $100 trillion. Recently I’ve read it’s at $200 trillion.

That’s a heck of a party! What was happening here? How does it tie in with this exceptional stuff? A lot of people forget that GW Bush ran on a “humble” foreign policy. That went out the window with Sept. 11 2001. Remember how we were told to go shopping? Boy, have we gone shopping!

And revenge? We’re the world beaters at revenge, even if it’s people who don’t even know us. We do it real expensive too. A million bucks a missile is nothing to us; send em’ 20 of those little firecrackers, just for the TV news.

So we’re shopping, revenging, buying houses and cars and vacations. Running up quite a tab. But I find it most interesting that those people pandering for our approval, politicians, explain how they think we are more exceptional than the next guy. Because somewhere in there is a nugget of what’s really happening here. And if pride goeth before a fall, what happens after a self-righteous, murderous, spending spree of historic proportions?

Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-09-26 07:27:20

“And if pride goeth before a fall, what happens after a self-righteous, murderous, spending spree of historic proportions?”

Beautiful truth, uncommon vision.

Comment by oxide
2013-09-26 07:44:01

More like, the prideful get the righteous to take the fall for them. Waiting for karma is like waiting for Godot.

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Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-09-26 07:47:24

You don’t have the maturity and patience. That’s why you committed financial suicide.

How far underwater are you so far? $100k?

Comment by Ben Jones
2013-09-26 07:53:59

‘Waiting for karma is like waiting for Godot’

I’m not waiting for anything. I’m asking questions. What do you feel like when you hear a politician tell you “America” is exceptional? Do you smile? Drive a little faster? What if you knew a person that told you every day, “you are SOOO good looking”? I’m just really curious how we got to this place.

Comment by the golden boy
2013-09-26 08:21:18

Not long ago I told an woman she’s very exceptional, I got laid that day.

Comment by Pete
2013-09-26 16:03:27

“What do you feel like when you hear a politician tell you “America” is exceptional? Do you smile?”

Yes, because it’s funny. I think most of us here are embarrassed when we hear that, I’d even say that half the population is averse to the notion. They just aren’t the ones who are guaranteed to vote. I remember Obama’s inauguration speech in ‘08 when he said dramatically, “We will not apologize for our way of life”. That was aimed right at people who smile when someone mentions American exceptionalism. And I don’t think it’s unique to America either, it’s just that in the recent past, we’ve been the biggest and baddest.

Comment by United States of Moral Hazard
2013-09-26 08:11:59

The politicians are impossibly nauseating. Boehner is flapping his jaws today, talking about a spending problem, but where was his outrage when they were building the gold-plated health club for he and his buddies? Oh, that doesn’t count, because it wasn’t a wedge issue where he could strut around, and boldly display his partisanship.

Comment by cactus
2013-09-26 08:33:40

And if pride goeth before a fall, what happens after a self-righteous, murderous, spending spree of historic proportions?”

I think we will find out, 4th turning crisis etc.

When its all over I believe there will be no more growth and no more getting rich off investments and other peoples labor .

a different economy for a flat growth world. I just hope there is not a big war..

Comment by AmazingRuss
2013-09-26 11:28:55

War is always the solution to that problem.

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Comment by mathguy
2013-09-26 11:39:10

cactus: investment and return are not bad things. There will always be people who see a glimmer of gold in a pile of mud and know how to go get it. Without those people, you get far less gold. Ever heard the term hitch your wagon to a shooting star?

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Comment by cactus
2013-09-26 16:44:07

Ever heard the term hitch your wagon to a shooting star?’

yes I joined a start up back in 2000 that went public a few years ago.

I still think its ending though the growth investment reward model of America. Sadly it will just move overseas.

Comment by Army No Va
2013-09-26 09:13:21

We are exceptional sales people. We send these electronic bits and get oil and many other things for it! Our exceptionalism will truly be tested when the dollar is reduced in status. So will our std of living.

Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-09-26 09:24:57

And the remnibi will be elevated?

You don’t know what you’re talking about.

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Comment by Army No Va
2013-09-26 17:05:43

Just like we replaced the British pound. The R wil have to be gold and then oil backed. Then ga me over for the $

Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-09-26 17:47:14

You’re in for the surprise of your life.

Comment by In Colorado
2013-09-26 07:22:02

There’s nothing “ironic” about it. It is the expected outcome of 40 years of intentionally hollowing out the economy. Remember when we were told that offshoring would be good for us, because we would all move into better paying “service jobs”. Turns out that flipping burgers and punching cash registers doesn’t pay better than the old factory jobs that were exported.

Comment by rms
2013-09-26 11:05:26

“Most real interest rates for consumer purchases somehow remain exorbitant. Banks obtain their money cheaply and lend it out expensively. No wonder that so many Wall Street and banking executives — Timothy Geithner, Jack Lew, Peter Orszag, Gene Sperling, Larry Summers — revolve in and out of the highest levels of this “no revolving door” administration.”

+1 The is thoroughly infested with these neo-con financial termites.

Comment by Pete
2013-09-26 12:11:35

“Commuters are paying more than twice as much for gas as they were in 2008″

We’re also paying less than we were in 2007. Imagine that.

Comment by 2banana
2013-09-26 05:31:23

More evidence of deflation of the things you want…(like iphones).

But the world is in a housing bubble - who is buying all those houses at inflated prices?


Prostitution: Sex doesn’t sell
The Economist | May 25th 2013

An old industry is in deep recession

TIMES are tough for Debbie, a prostitute in western England who runs a private flat with other “mature ladies”. She does two or three jobs a day. A year ago she was doing eight or nine. She has cut her prices: “If I hadn’t, I wouldn’t still be open.” She says that she can now make more money doing up furniture and attending car-boot sales than she can turning tricks.

George McCoy, who runs a website reviewing over 5,000 massage parlours and individuals, says that many are struggling. Sex workers tell him they have been forced to hold down prices. Like other businesses, massage parlours and private flats are suffering from rising rents and energy costs. Even Mr McCoy’s website is under the cosh: visitor numbers are down by a third.

In part, this reflects the sluggish economy. Overall consumer spending at the end of 2012 was almost 4% lower than its 2007 peak. And Vivienne, an independent escort in the south who works part-time to supplement her income as a photographer, says paying for sex is a luxury: “Food is more important; the mortgage is more important; petrol is more important.” She is offering discounts out of desperation, reckoning it is better to reduce prices by £20 ($30) than to have no customers at all. Another woman says that some punters are just as anxious to talk about the difficult job market as they are to have sex. The days of being able to make a full-time living out of prostitution are long gone, reckons Vivienne, at least in larger towns and cities. “It’s stupidly competitive right now,” she laments.

Comment by In Colorado
2013-09-26 07:17:36

I read somewhere that a visit to one of Nevada’s legal brothels can cost up to $1000. And that they too are struggling to find business.

The days of being able to make a full-time living out of prostitution are long gone, reckons Vivienne, at least in larger towns and cities. “It’s stupidly competitive right now,” she laments.

Booty calls and friends with benefits must be a drag on business.

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-09-26 07:24:31

Excessively high prices = too many vacancies.

Same at brothels as in housing.

Comment by Combotechie
2013-09-26 07:46:21

If you are going to be a hooker working in a brothel then you had better be the best looking hooker else you will seldom get work.

I have some inside dope on some of what goes on in one brothel in Pahrump, NV and it’s not all that it seems to be. For one thing most of the girls are in the red - they owe more to the brothel than they are able to make from the clients. The brothel charges the girls room and board and also subtracts (if my memory serves me correctly) forty percent of their fee. The only way they can make up for the room and board - the overhead - is to get work. But if there are fifteen or so hookers to choose from and only one client comes in then only one of the fifteen hookers gets the work, which means if you are a hooker in thsi brothel then you had better be the most desireable hooker else you will not get work UNLESS more than one client comes in through the door - which happens but doesn’t happen often enough.

So - the end result - The Most Desireable makes some very big bucks and the less desireables get to do without.

Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-09-26 07:59:22

The traditional hookers are finding tough times.

The housing hookers are finding tough times.

They are one and the same and a distinction without a difference.

Right Housing Hookers?

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Comment by Combotechie
2013-09-26 08:15:28

Oh, one more thing:

It isn’t as if the Most Desirable hooker is spending a lot of time servicing her clients: Ten minutes-or-so seems to be all that is needed to do the trick (pun intended).

After the ten-minutes-or so has passed Most Desireable is then ready for another ten-minute-or-so client.

The brother owners love her and the other hookers hate her.

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Comment by Combotechie
2013-09-26 08:17:26

brother = brothel

Comment by United States of Moral Hazard
2013-09-26 08:36:59

$1000 for ten minutes? Uhhh- I don’t think so, Tim! I’ve no interest in hookers, but if I did, I’m not spending $1000 for ten minutes. I think you are way off on the time thing. The more I think about it, though, I think I’d be more willing to spend $1000 to not have to sleep with one of those disease bags. No thanks.

Comment by Combotechie
2013-09-26 09:34:49

“I think you are way off on the time thing.”

The fees are not associated with time, they are associated with services rendered.

If a highly skilled hooker can render her services in ten minutes-or-so (and I understand that they can - maybe even less than ten minutes) then she will be able to perform more of these services - not perform them on the same client (who has already been throughly done in) but on other clients, as in the next one that comes through the door.

Comment by United States of Moral Hazard
2013-09-26 10:18:38

“The fees are not associated with time, they are associated with services rendered.”

I’m not sure this is entirely true. In fact, I seem to recall during the Elliot Spitzer drama they were citing what he was paying the girls “per hour.” I think you’re mistaken, but maybe you have first hand experience. I’d bet that prostitutes are not only frequented by old men who are spent immediately following their first…

Comment by Combotechie
2013-09-26 10:38:45

No first hand experience but I did get to see a “menu” of services offered and the prices charged for these services. The charges were based on the services, not on the time spent receiving the services.

The information supplied to be was by a guy I used to work with in Southern California who tranferred to Las Vegas and ended up working in Parumph. His work now and then had him working in Cheri’s, a brothel located in Parumph, and it was there that he discovered - saw and heard for himself - the goings on in this particualr brothel.

There may be brothels that charge by the hour but in this particular brothel they charge by the service that is performed - and some rather hefty charges at that.

Comment by Combotechie
2013-09-26 10:52:35

For some interesting reads Google-up “brothel prices”.

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-09-26 09:30:10

“But if there are fifteen or so hookers to choose from and only one client comes in then only one of the fifteen hookers gets the work, which means if you are a hooker in thsi brothel then you had better be the most desireable hooker else you will not get work UNLESS more than one client comes in through the door - which happens but doesn’t happen often enough.”

There is a very simple solution to this problem of too few clients. If the proprietors simply served free alcohol out in the front waiting area, before allowing the clientele to inspect the merchandise, then there would soon be plenty of customers wearing beer goggles. The ‘high vacancy’ problem would end overnight.

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Comment by Carl Morris
2013-09-26 08:24:32

Booty calls and friends with benefits must be a drag on business.

So you’re saying prostitution becomes less viable when we can create a co-op and prostitute for each other?

Comment by Pete
2013-09-26 16:39:46

If it’s free, I don’t think it’s prostituting, but yes, it would. Learning the value of the hand might save a few thousand as well.

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Comment by frankie
2013-09-26 12:30:12

Going rate at the low end is £40 per half hour (about $60) in a low end knocking shop in the North West of England. There is a massage establishment just up the road from me and I believe that’s what they charge.

Comment by the golden boy
2013-09-26 12:49:54

It might be cheaper in England because of the ladies from Eastern Europe?

Is it legal though?

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Comment by frankie
2013-09-26 17:49:18

In the United Kingdom, prostitution itself (the exchange of sexual services for money) is legal,[2] but a number of related activities, including soliciting in a public place, kerb crawling, owning or managing a brothel, pimping and pandering, are crimes.

In England, Wales and in Northern Ireland it is an offence to pay for sex with a prostitute who has been “subjected to force” and this is a strict liability offence (clients can be prosecuted even if they didn’t know the prostitute was forced).

It is illegal to buy sex from a person younger than 18, although the age of consent for non-commercial sex is 16.

Comment by oxide
2013-09-26 09:25:09

I’ve heard stories of young women seeking arrangements and phone apps for random meetings, i.e. providing the same services for free. That’s gotta cut into business. Maybe the mature ladies should take a cue from corporations and hire interns.

Comment by aNYCdj
2013-09-26 10:02:49
Comment by Combotechie
2013-09-26 10:16:16

I noticed that the terms “generous” and “sugar daddy” are used quite frequently in these ads which suggests to me that these services or relationships or whatever that are being offered may be just a bit more costly than free.

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Comment by rms
2013-09-26 11:08:14

She has cut her prices: “If I hadn’t, I wouldn’t still be open.”

+1 That’s [open] in a literal sense. :)

Comment by frankie
2013-09-26 12:20:51

One consequence of the economic downturn that has gone largely unreported is the struggle some Italian men now face to woo women with the care and attention - and the lavish expenditure - their predecessors were once renowned for.

In the queue at the ice cream parlour the two businessmen jiggled anxiously and salivated like school boys as they stared at the myriad flavours of coloured gelato.

When it came to their turn though they looked a little deflated, even a little ashamed as they asked the impatient waitress in small voices for a “gelato piccolo”.

“Yeah, everything’s downsized here,” said the taller man ruefully, looking down at his modest single scoop of chocolate ice cream.

“No money for anything now - not even for women,” he added as he licked his spoon thoughtfully. “The day of Casanova is over. One woman only - and that’s already too expensive.”

Comment by azdude02
2013-09-26 05:35:05

A house will get you some equity so you can get that dream vacation you always wanted. Got equity?

Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-09-26 06:07:57

Got cash?

Comment by 2banana
2013-09-26 06:10:41

Liberate that equity!

Liberate future equity now!

Housing only goes up!

Comment by United States of Moral Hazard
2013-09-26 08:39:26

Do you realize that you have to start paying back that vacation the following month? I see you always gloss over this inconvenient fact. How does it feel to have to pay this month for that Red Lobster visit last January?

Comment by rms
2013-09-26 11:24:06

“Do you realize that you have to start paying back that vacation the following month? I see you always gloss over this inconvenient fact.”

FWIW, American consumers don’t have to pay their bills; household balance sheets are “repaired” in bankruptcy court. Welcome to the “New World Order” where the world’s brown and yellow proletariat produce our consumer level chit, and we pay ‘em with printed dollars backed by Superman (mild mannered Ben Bernanke) and Wonder enriched white bread.

Comment by 2banana
2013-09-26 05:35:42

For ’tis the sport to have the engineer
Hoist with his own petard…


Laborers’ Union: Fix Obamacare or Repeal It; ‘We’re Getting Our A– Kicked Here’
Cybercast News Service | September 25, 2013 - 1:02 PM | James Beattie and Michael W. Chapman

Terry O’Sullivan, president of the 600,000-plus-member Laborers’ International Union of North America (LiUNA), often referred to as the Laborers’ Union, said that if Obamacare is not fixed, then “it needs to be repealed.”

At a convention in Las Vegas of the AFL-CIO, with which the Laborers’ Union is affiliated, O’Sullivan took to the podium to endorse a proposition and then launched into a criticism of Obamacare, how it is hurting union members’ health coverage, and demanded it be fixed, adding that if it is not fixed, labor will make the issue a “big fricking deal.”

He continued, “We can’t have the unintended consequences for the proud men and women that we represent to be collateral damage in the health care fight in this country. We’re getting our a– kicked here, there, and everywhere when it comes to retirement security—and now our health and welfare funds are under siege.”

Comment by WT Economist
2013-09-26 06:50:04

The better off union members, like the better off executives, and today’s seniors who get anything but are unwilling to pay for everything complain.

About anything being done for the serfs and younger generations.

Put the repeal of Obamacare AND Medicare AND the exclusion of employer-funded health insurance from taxable income up for a vote. Not separately. Together.

Comment by cactus
2013-09-26 09:22:29

Zero sum economy one group wins another loses

or a receding tide sinks all ships but each group will fight that

Comment by Army No Va
2013-09-26 09:23:57

Why weren’t the demo senators up with ted cruz then?????

Comment by AbsoluteBeginner
2013-09-26 06:08:03

Spatula City!!!

Comment by goon squad
2013-09-26 06:11:07

Bad racist, bad

Washington Post - Cokie Roberts on MSNBC: ‘Some Tea Party anger is racist’

“Responding to a question about whether Tea Party opposition to Democrats might subside a bit if Hillary Clinton jumped into the presidential race, “Morning Joe” panelist Cokie Roberts proclaimed, “I also think — and just calling it — that some of this Tea Party anger is racist and that having a non-black person on the ticket will defuse it to some degree.”

Comment by scdave
2013-09-26 06:51:26

Wasn’t that obvious from day one ?? Thats why the 2nd term was so important…Thankfully It basically has caused the todays GOP to implode…

‘Some Tea Party anger is racist’ ?? Ya think;

Ted Nugent Declares ‘I Will Either Be Dead or in Jail’ if Obama Is Re-elected

Still waiting Ted….Which is it ??

Comment by the golden boy
2013-09-26 07:05:52

Still got 3 years to go. I think he will explode.

Comment by aNYCdj
2013-09-26 07:09:27

dave … biden was chose to keep ohdebama alive…

you hurt dis guy then Im de boss…….

Comment by the golden boy
2013-09-26 07:07:06

Cookie Roberts is as racist as any tea partier, but she hides it very well on TV.

Comment by MightyMike
2013-09-26 07:54:38

Does she express her racism on the radio, or do you know her personally?

Comment by the golden boy
2013-09-26 08:09:18

I know many rich white liberals who say the same things like she said but are closet racists. Of course, they’re not out and about racists, their racism is subtle but you can see it clearly underneath the facade.

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Comment by the golden boy
2013-09-26 08:15:01

And all white people are racists.

Comment by aNYCdj
2013-09-26 08:53:04

Trayvon brought all the Black racists out of the closet….millions of them

Comment by MightyMike
2013-09-26 09:49:26

So you actually have no idea whether she’s a racist. You’re just making an assumption based on a stereotype.

Comment by the golden boy
2013-09-26 10:07:07

Aren’t we all?

Comment by MightyMike
2013-09-26 13:02:58

Do yoy mean is everybody in America a racist? I don’t think so. On the other hand, if that was the case, Cokie would be correct in accusing the tea party people of being racists.

Comment by In Colorado
2013-09-26 07:10:45

having a non-black person on the ticket will defuse it to some degree

They’ll find plenty of others reasons to hate Mrs. Clinton.

Comment by the golden boy
2013-09-26 07:28:17

You bet. She will be hated more than Bush and Obama combined. BTW, what about Bill Clinton? BIll was hated more than Obama IMO. I do hate Obama and I hope he rots in hell for all the drone killings of brown moosleems children in Paki and Afghani. I guess it doesn’t matter what I say because I am a tea party racis. Funny thing is I am not a tea partier nor a white. Rich white liberals are so funny…LOL..XOX

Comment by aNYCdj
2013-09-26 08:59:12

Nobody black will be elected for 40 years..we will have a Vietnamese whose parents escaped on the last boat or an Indian, or even an Asian first

Just like here Dinkins screwed it up so badly, that when Thomson tried to run this year he was beaten badly.

Comment by the golden boy
2013-09-26 07:16:21

Since they are racis, what they say don’t matter….Is that right, Ms. Cookie?

I am sure she has to protect the status-quo which has been very good to her and her ilks.

Comment by Hi-Z
2013-09-26 07:36:33

It is amazing how so many people think they know what the Tea Party is all about. Cokie Roberts and people like her do not. TP spokesmen have not expressed any of the hateful things attributed to it by TP haters. The TP message has always been “stop spending, reduce national debt, recall Obamacare”. The other sh** has been dreamed up.

Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-09-26 07:37:35

Who the hell is cookie roberts?

Comment by Ben Jones
2013-09-26 08:25:31

‘Cokie Roberts is the third child and youngest daughter of the late ambassador and long-time Democratic Congresswoman from Louisiana Lindy Boggs and of the late Hale Boggs, also a Democratic Congressman from Louisiana. He was Majority Leader of the House of Representatives. Her sister, the late Barbara Boggs Sigmund, was mayor of Princeton, New Jersey and a candidate for U.S. Senate from New Jersey. Her brother Tommy Boggs is a prominent Washington, D.C. attorney and lobbyist.’

For a long time in ancient Rome, they didn’t have kings. But their politicians became royalty. There were certain families that, having become senators or generals, held a status of entitlement to power.

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Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-09-26 09:19:29


For a long time in USA, they didn’t have kings. But their politicians became royalty. There were certain families that, having become senators or generals, held a status of entitlement to power.

Comment by MightyMike
2013-09-26 07:58:20

She didn’t say all that tea party people are racist, just some of them. I happen to know to know a few “anti-government” Fox News viewers who espouse the standard tea party positions who also are racist, so it’s a quite reasonable statement.

Comment by Bluestar
2013-09-26 10:02:37

Why are Tea Party groups trying to ban Smart Meters?

“Anti-smart meter organizers have gathered enough signatures to force a resolution onto a November election ballot that would end the use of smart meters in the Texas town of Fountain, according to the Gazette of Colorado Springs. ”

Google “Tea Party Smart Meters”

When I see stuff like this I loose any respect I have for them. While one can agree to lofty principles like liberty and freedom the rest of their ideology is stupid. I give Ron Paul the credit for starting the movement. Ron Paul is to blame for losing it too. As it turns out Ron Paul failed a key test of his ability to lead this country when Rick Santelli hijacked it in 15 min. CNBC stole it and FOX devoted 6 hours a day to promote it - grass roots?. The TPs outsized influence in state primaries means they aren’t going away. Maybe after a few counties try succession we can judge them in a different light.

Comment by the golden boy
2013-09-26 10:32:29

There is no Texas town of Fountain. The article is for Colorado. The main article from Gazette doesn’t say anything about tea party or tea partier.


Now go back and collect your paycheck from Ministry of (Mis)Information. I don’t get it why so many seemingly reasonable people stoop to such a low level.

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Comment by Bluestar
2013-09-26 11:56:36

I admit I didn’t research that link. I apologize.

What happened when you googled “Tea Party Smart Meters”?‎‎‎‎‎

Do I get a bonus for making you look like a fool?

Comment by the golden boy
2013-09-26 12:42:52

Do I get a bonus for making you look like a fool?

You only made a fool out of yourself at best. I think you outed yourself as a dishonest political hack and a paid member of the vast left wing conspiracy.

Comment by AmazingRuss
2013-09-26 16:02:44

Same thing happened to them as happened to the environmentalists. They started getting a little traction, and were quickly overwhelmed by loons.

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Comment by MightyMike
2013-09-26 10:03:24

TP spokesmen have not expressed any of the hateful things attributed to it by TP haters.

I’ve seen a lot of these tea party people interviewed. Many of the like to say there are no leaders or spokesmen because it’s a true grass roots phenomenon.

In reality, it’s more a of a mood than a political movement.

Comment by AmazingRuss
2013-09-26 16:01:24

The Tea Party was just fine until the religious nuts took over. Now it’s about way more than spending. They’re teabaggin’ for Jesus!

Comment by aNYCdj
Comment by Combotechie
2013-09-26 06:44:50

Thank you sir, may I have another?

Everybody I work with that has sought advice from financial advisors about retirement options have been told by the advisors to cash out their pensions (meaning take the pension in a lump sum rather than taking it via a monthly allowance) and then turn this lump sum over to them - the financial advisors - for handling. Every one of them.

Because this advice is universal it is interpreted as being solid. This advice, by coincidence, also happens to be lucrative to the advisors, but this point seems to have become lost on most of the people I have talked to.

So, what do the advisors plan to do with the cashed-out pensions? Why, invest it, of course.
Invest it where?
Much of it will be invested in mutual funds?
What are some of the names of these mutual funds?

American Funds seems to be the name of one of the the funds that keeps popping up, and Americans Funds will charge up to five-and-a-quarter percent fee that will immediately be extracted from money invested with them and this fee will end up being kicked back to the advisors.

So the advisors not only get to extract fees up front they also get to extract fees on the backside. And for doing what? For investing OPM into mutual funds, that’s what - which is something the owners of the OPM can do for themselves at a lot cheaper price (think Vanguard).

Most of the people I work with do not know this and they do not care to learn because most of them have convinced themselves that they should put their trust in their financial advisors in the same way many of the people who know of Donald Trump put their trust in Donald Trump.

This gaining of confidence by the advisors is a process that takes maybe an hour or two via a seminar of some sort or maybe just by a one-on-one meeting. Whatever the case, the conversion process is complete, no other homework needs to be done by the supplier of OPM; After and hour or so the advisor is annointed with the staus of financial guru and total trust (and lots of money) ends up being placed into his hands.

Many years from now the retiree may discover that he has been hosed but that is then and this is now. In the meantime he gets to feel happy and at the same time the financial guru gets to feel VERY, VERY happy.

Comment by Jim A
2013-09-26 08:20:17

“My advice is for you to give me your money.”—Is anybody surprised by this?

Comment by Combotechie
2013-09-26 08:40:31

“Is anybody surprised by this?”

The argument goes something like this:

You worked hard for the company and the company put part of what money you made for them in a retirement account that in fact belongs to you. Even though the money belongs to you the company doesn’t want to give you this money - they want to keep back as much of it as possible so they can make more money off of it.

It’s your money but they only want to dribble it out to you a little bit at a time.

And when you die, what happens to the money then? Why, the company keeps it, thats what. It’s your money but the company wants to keep as much of it as they possibly can.

Do not allow them to do this to you. Cash out the money that rightfully belongs to you and turn this money over to me, your newest and most trustworthy best friend.

Comment by cactus
2013-09-26 09:30:00

Most of the people I work with do not know this and they do not care to learn because most of them have convinced themselves that they should put their trust in their financial advisors in the same way many of the people who know of Donald Trump put their trust in Donald Trump.”

Just Lazy possibly stupid as well

Comment by Combotechie
2013-09-26 09:44:01

Or throughly convinced.

Comment by 2banana
2013-09-26 09:50:19

It may make some sense.

Do you expect your company to be around 30 years from now faithfully writing the monthly pension check?

Is your pension fund fully funded?

If not - might be better to get your money out now.

Comment by Combotechie
2013-09-26 10:06:40

“It may make some sense.”

It just might - the cashing-out part, not the turning over of the cashed-out money to a financial guru part.

IMHO the decision should be based on an equation that has many variables, such as:

Age and health- which translates to longevity. The longer you live the more annuity payments you should expect to receive.

The viability - the health - of the company. Will the company be around long enough to make good on what it owes you?

The amount of what you would receive from you pension if you cashed it out. This amount is based on one’s age, years of service, and the interest rate that is currently being used for the calculations. IIRC the interest rate used to be based on the 30 year Treasury rate but now it’s not; Instead higher corporate rates are being phased in - or have already been phased in - and this higher rate lowers the amount of the buyout.

Comment by Carl Morris
2013-09-26 10:35:47

“It may make some sense.”

It just might - the cashing-out part, not the turning over of the cashed-out money to a financial guru part.

Yeah, kind of like the case each major party makes for why you shouldn’t support the other major party. It makes sense right up until the part about how it would be so much better if you supported them instead.

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Comment by Middle Coaster
2013-09-26 11:37:24

One of many reasons I trust my financial advisor: she ran the numbers and concluded it would be better to take the monthly payment than the lump sum. Of course, Dear Employer has now frozen any further benefit accumulation in the defined monthly benefit plan.

Comment by Professorlocknload
2013-09-26 11:50:22

Works the same for Social Security, except the money invested there is instantly spent up front, replaced by an IOU Treasury Bond, rather than traded for equities, hedge fund ETF’s, and yes, T-bonds the “value” of which is to be whittled down over time by adviser fees and inflation.

Take it out another notch, most folks don’t realize that when they “cash out” and deposit the money into a bank, the money is no longer really theirs. It has been entrusted to the banker. And no, the FDIC, in the event of run by a relatively small percentage of depositors, is not solvent.

Going one more tier into the ether, one may determine dollars themselves are not really money, since they are backed by no more than the financial advisers in Congress, the Fed and Treasury.

Not only are dollars not money, they are ever depreciating IOU’s backed by political hacks. Dollars are credit, as it were. Marking any market entity to dollars is, in essence, marking that entity to debt.

Don’t bring this up at your next company pension marketing soiree though. The CFA’s will send you out for refreshments, then lock the door behind you!

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-09-26 07:11:41

House Republicans open two-front war on ObamaCare
Published September 26, 2013

House Republicans are poised to open a two-front war on ObamaCare, pushing for a vote this weekend on a bill that would delay the health care law in exchange for raising the debt ceiling — a week after handing the Senate a separate bill that would defund the law.

A senior House source told Fox News that the tentative plan is to debate and vote on the emerging debt-ceiling bill on Saturday. That bill is expected to cover a lot of ground, with provisions to raise the debt ceiling, tee up future tax reform, approve the Keystone pipeline and, perhaps most important to Republicans, delay ObamaCare by one year.

This comes as the Senate deals with a measure that would keep the government open past Sept. 30 in exchange for defunding the health law. The Senate voted Wednesday to advance the bill and, if Democrats can clear one final hurdle on Friday, Majority Leader Harry Reid plans to strip out the ObamaCare measure and send it back to the House.

At that point, House Republicans would be faced with a choice.

They could continue to push for anti-ObamaCare provisions in the budget bill. This, though, risks a government shutdown on Oct. 1, as Democrats refuse to go along with any budget bill that defunds the health law. GOP leaders are also exploring adding face-saving options — like the repeal of a tax on medical devices, which many Democrats also oppose — to the stopgap spending bill.

But as an alternative path, Republicans could simply pass a “clean” budget bill, and immediately shift their attention to the fight over the debt ceiling — using that as leverage to push for a one-year delay of the health law.

Comment by goon squad
2013-09-26 07:34:08

An interesting piece from the Washington Post discussing Canadian business executives’ opinions that having a nationalized single-payer healthcare system is not incompatible with capitalism and job creation. And that the way the USA system operates is batshit crazy.

Comment by the golden boy
2013-09-26 07:54:44

Again another sophomoric article that talks the outcome but completely ignores the ingredients that make the US health system most expensive and inefficient in the world.

Comment by Carl Morris
2013-09-26 08:33:14

An interesting piece from the Washington Post discussing Canadian business executives’ opinions that having a nationalized single-payer healthcare system is not incompatible with capitalism and job creation.

Is using a regulated utility rather than an open market for our power grid incompatible with capitalism and job creation? Not in my opinion. I think capitalism thrives with a dependable infrastructure that is not gamed by the capitalists. Health care should be part of that.

Comment by oxide
2013-09-26 08:38:39

Utility execs would beg to differ with you.

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Comment by Carl Morris
2013-09-26 08:45:49

In what way? Because they are chomping at the bit to get deregulated so they can get rich off screwing the public Enron-style?

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-09-26 07:16:44

Can anyone who follows such stories comment on how the sizes of these punishments for financial wrongdoing compare with the magnitudes of the crimes?

ICAP Libor settlement only scratches the surface
September 25, 2013, 6:02 PM

ICAP Europe Ltd. (UK:IAP -2.45%) was fined $65 million Wednesday by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission for allegedly manipulating the London Interbank Offered Rate.

The interdealer broker is just the latest financial firm to be charged for manipulating rates. The U.S. regulator coordinated the charges with the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority on similar charges.

The charges are just the latest in the global investigation by regulators and has ensnared several high-profile banks, including UBS AG UBS , Barclays PLC (BCS -1.27%) and Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC RBS.

UBS admitted to rigging rates and paid U.S., U.K. and Swiss regulators a total of $1.5 billion. Two former traders were charged for criminal conspiracy for allegedly being at the heart of the scheme in the fallout.

Barclays PLC was fined $453 million by U.S. and U.K. authorities on allegations the British bank manipulated rates. Barclays Chief Executive Bob Diamond lost his job over the scandal as well as the firm’s Chairman Marcus Agius and COO Jerry del Missier.

Royal Bank of Scotland PLC was punished for its role in the global interest-rate rigging scandal with fines amounting to $612 million. Several people at the firm were fired over their roles in scandal.

In total, that’s more than $2.5 billion in fines paid by banks to regulators over Libor manipulation. A report by Morgan Stanley estimated fines by the government will total as much as $14 billion through 2014. Banks could end up paying as much as $35 billion including civil charges for manipulating Libor, according to a report out in July by analysts at Keefe, Bruyette & Woods.

“I am certain we are not done with Libor,” said Andrew Verstein, law professor at Wake Forest University and financial regulation expert.

Experts believe there are more civil charges to come.

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-09-26 07:22:23

The bad news: A government shutdown could whack stocks down by 5%.

The good news: A 5% whackdown of stocks could create a great dip buying opportunity.

In other news, the Fed is considering the thought of lashing itself to the mast, in order to convince markets it is serious about tapering QE3. (Does a mechanical taper resemble a mechanical bull?)

Bulletin » Fed’s Stein backs ‘mechanical’ taper tied to data

The Tell
The Markets News and Analysis Blog
Here’s what happened to the S&P 500 last time the government shut down
September 26, 2013, 8:48 AM

Stocks marked their first five-day decline of 2013 on Wednesday, partly due to worries Congress won’t be able to avoid a shutdown, or even more problematic, manage to raise the debt ceiling in time to avoid a default by the U.S. government.

Still, the underlying mood seems to be one of relative calm: Sure, the government might shut down. Sure, the U.S. might even come to the brink of default. But in the end, cooler heads will prevail and a last-minute compromise will be reached.

Time will tell, of course. But Sam Stovall, chief equity strategist at S&P Capital IQ, notes that it was just a week ago Wednesday that the consensus proved quite wrong about the Fed’s tapering program. That raises the question of whether the crowd is making the wrong bet once again. He writes:

Could this majority, who we think expects Congress to arrive at an 11th hour agreement, be wrong again? With a mid-term election year right around the corner, it may behoove one party to allow the unthinkable to occur, so long as the other party got the blame. We believe the likelihood of another shutdown grows.

That’s depressing. But at the same time, Stovall argues that while Congress could force the S&P 500 (SPX +0.55%) to endure a 5%-plus drop, it could end up as a “gift” to investors.

Comment by Jim A
2013-09-26 08:25:58

Certainly my plan. I reallocated money OUT when the no-taper bump happened, and I intend to put money back in when the shutdown gives Wall Street the vapors…The titans on WS seem to think either:
1.) Washington politicians CAN’T be that dumb or,
2.) We’ve bought and control them thoroughly enough that they won’t do that.
They don’t realize the extant to which the inmates are running the asylum at the moment. There are just too many people who HAVE to shut down the government, even for just half a day to prove that they’ve done everything that they can to get their way.

Comment by oxide
2013-09-26 08:36:57

Fed’s Stein backs ‘mechanical’ taper tied to data

Greg Robb WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) -
“The Federal Reserve should develop a “mechanical” approach to tapering by tying reductions in asset purchases to the unemployment rate, said Federal Reserve Governor Jeremy Stein on Thursday. “For example, one could cut monthly purchases by a set amount for each further 10 basis point decline in the unemployment rate,” Stein said in a speech to the Center for Financial Studies in Frankfurt, Germany. This would help reduce uncertainty and market volatility, he said.”

In other words, if you create a job, you lose your gravy train. WTF. Reduce uncertainty…riiight. All the unemployed can have the certainty that they needn’t even bother to apply for a job.

Comment by Professorlocknload
2013-09-26 14:06:35

Yeah, peg monetization to a rigged statistic. Then, re-rig the stat when you want to create more fiat. Genius!

Human Action replaced by a magic formula?

Comment by Resistor
2013-09-26 14:33:08



Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-09-26 07:29:14

Q. What’s an $11 bn fine to a firm with annual profits in the $30+ bn range?

A. A token slap on the wrist.

Sept. 26, 2013, 9:59 a.m. EDT
Why investors shrug at J.P. Morgan’s fines
By Sital S. Patel

NEW YORK (MarketWatch) — “Literally nobody cares.” That was one reaction from a Wall Street bank analyst on the news of a possible $11 billion fine J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. is facing from regulators. The impact of this size of a fine would basically wipe out a little more than a quarter’s worth of earnings for the firm, say analysts.

“When people take a step back, on a pretax, pre-provision basis, J.P. Morgan (JPM +0.68%) makes about $30 billion to $35 billion a year,” said Paul Miller, bank analyst at FBR Capital Markets.

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-09-26 07:31:14

Cracks in the bubble may eventually lead result in air loss.

Sept. 26, 2013, 10:00 a.m. EDT
Pending home sales fall 1.6% in August
By Ruth Mantell

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — Sales contracts on homes fell 1.6% in August — a third month of declines — led by drops in three of four U.S. regions, according to data released Thursday by the National Association of Realtors. NAR cited higher interest rates and prices, among other factors. “Moving forward, we expect lower levels of existing-home sales, but tight inventory in many markets will continue to push up home prices in the months ahead,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. Despite the recent drop, the pending-home sales gauge in August was up 5.8% from the year-earlier period. By region, pending home sales in August fell 3.5% in the South, 1.6% in the West and 1.4% in the Midwest. Meanwhile, pending sales rose 4% in the Northeast. A sale is listed as pending when the contract has been signed. Sales are typically finalized within one or two months of signing.

Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-09-26 07:44:39

And remember….. three back to back months of falling demand in the months that are supposed to be skyrocketing every year.

And if NAR is reporting these declines, you know they’re skewed to make them look better.

Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-09-26 07:53:25


“Existing Home Sales Debacle, As Larry ‘Baghdad-Bob’ Yun Confirms Overstatement”

Comment by jose canusi
2013-09-26 07:54:09

Good catch here. This puppy’s going down and this is the start.

Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-09-26 08:03:39

“Realtor charged with kidnapping, rape of woman he met online”

Comment by Taxpayers
2013-09-26 08:04:03

YUN now a bull-bear
2 face
“Sharply rising mortgage interest rates in the spring motivated buyers to make purchase decisions, culminating in a 6½-year peak for sales that were finalized last month,” said Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the Realtors. “Moving forward, we expect lower levels of existing home sales, but tight inventory in many markets will continue to push up home prices in the months ahead.”

Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-09-26 08:05:56

And another one


Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-09-26 08:07:00

“Milford realtor charged with fraud”

Comment by Housing Analyst
Comment by aNYCdj
2013-09-26 09:00:16
Comment by cactus
2013-09-26 10:04:37

warrior wasps they can wipe out entire bee hives in less than a day

Comment by 2banana
2013-09-26 09:45:54

“taxpayers are likely to lose around $10 billion”

It is good to be a FOO (friend of obama).


Government sells more GM shares
AP via 7 News | 26 Sept 2013 | TOM KRISHER, AP Auto Writer

NEW YORK - The U.S. government is starting another phase of selling off its General Motors stock after cutting its stake in the automaker to just over 7 percent.

The Treasury Department says it still owns 101.3 million GM shares. It got 912 million shares, a 60.8 percent stake in the company, in exchange for a $49.5 billion bailout of GM in 2009. So far taxpayers have recovered about $35.4 billion. That means they’re still around $14.1 billion in the hole.

To break even, the remaining shares would have to sell for nearly $140 each. At the Thursday morning trading price of $36.92, the government would get about $3.7 billion more. So taxpayers are likely to lose around $10 billion on the deal.

Comment by Suite Joey Blue Eyes
Comment by goon squad
2013-09-26 10:55:50

f-350 have truck nutz and make loud vroom-vroomy noise

tesla and prius is for socialist and homosexual

Comment by Carl Morris
2013-09-26 11:59:09

tesla and prius is for socialist and homosexual

Hah hah…two very different demographics for those two cars :-).

Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-09-26 12:38:48

Liberace has entered the building!

Comment by 2banana
2013-09-26 13:15:35

Wow - that was a heck a subsidy while it lasted.

No wonder people used to build houses where the risk of flooding was high.

They didn’t have to pay for the risk.


New flood insurance rates spark anxiety in Gulf
AP | 24 Sept 2013 | Tamara Lush

When Colin and Joyce Elston bought their Florida dream home in May, they were confident they could afford the three-bedroom, two-bathroom ranch with a pool and a backyard overlooking the Intracoastal Waterway.

Now they are not so sure.

The retirees said they had enough in savings and investments to pay the mortgage and the $1,482 yearly flood insurance on the home, which sits on palm tree-lined Paradise Boulevard on Treasure Island, a barrier island in the Gulf of Mexico.

But within two months of moving in, they received a stunning surprise: Due to a recently passed federal law, their flood insurance was slated to jump from less than $1,500 to $12,000 a year.

The rate hikes, which go into effect on Oct. 1, are due to the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012. The measure was passed to keep the National Flood Insurance Program solvent after an onslaught of claims from Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Essentially, what it does is remove federal subsidies from properties in flood zones.

The Elstons and others who bought property in flood zones after the act was signed into law on July 6, 2012 will see their premiums increase nearly tenfold. Residents and businesses that already owned property in flood zones will see incremental increases of 25 percent annually.

Comment by Resistor
2013-09-26 18:30:03

For the uninitiated, here is what it looks like:

Comment by 2banana
2013-09-26 13:17:48

First Time Home Ownership? The Crazy World Of Obamacare And The FHA
Confounded Interest | 09/26/2013 | Anthony B. Sanders

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (aka, Obamacare) may be the worst piece of legislation ever passed by Congress and signed by a President .. and that covers a lot of ground.

To pay for the elderly, the poor and illegal immigrants, Obamacare requires the healthy and young to foot the tab.

Obamacare premiums will skyrocket for young males. But unless young males want to pay for birth control and other mandated expenditures, they may want to pay a penalty … which is less than the cost of Obamacare premium. That is why President Obama and “navigators” are scouring college campuses to get you to do something that is NOT in your best interest.

Of course, young people are faced with higher taxes (Obamacare) and declining median household incomes. My suggestion if you want to eventually buy a home? PAY THE OBAMACARE PENALTY AND DON’T BUY GOVERNMENT INSURANCE! And you will have the FHA to insure mortgages for the slim down payment that you may have accumulated.

But wait! The FHA is crawling to Treasury to plead for $1 billion to $1.5 billion to plug a budget shortfall, according to three people familiar with the agency’s finances. So we may see Congress push the FHA for an increase in the down payment from 3.5% to 7.5%. That will further dampen young people’s home ownership hopes.

Comment by michael
2013-09-26 13:25:38

am i the only peson on the planet that absolutely has no desire whatsoever to have an “office” in his house?

Comment by inchbyinch
2013-09-26 14:44:14

No, but we both have a home office and don’t take the write off. We use to pay rent on an outside office.
We have friends that want to come home from work and be done with it. Refuse to even entertain the idea of a home office. You’re not alone. There is more to life than your profession.

Comment by michael
2013-09-26 15:45:23

i will admit…i could see a use for one if you were self-employed.

Comment by AmazingRuss
2013-09-26 21:17:39

If you don’t have to go to an office someplace else, it’s pretty handy.

Mine has shrunk over the years, down to a recliner and a laptop.

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-09-26 14:02:37

‘…a QE “trap” of their own making…’


Richard Koo says ‘vicious cycle’ taking hold as Fed faces ‘QE trap’
September 26, 2013, 1:24 PM

A “vicious cycle” of rising interest rates and economic weakness has already emerged and is likely to intensify as the Federal Reserve attempts to extricate itself from its program of quantitative easing, Nomura chief economist Richard Koo warned in a note on Thursday.

The Fed has nobody to blame but itself, according to Koo, an expert on Japan’s own Great Recession. which began in the 1990s.

Koo contends the rise in the 10-year Treasury yield from around 1.60% to as high as 3% in the wake of Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke’s hints earlier this summer that the Fed could begin to taper this year will impact interest-rate-sensitive sectors such as housing and automobiles.

That’s where the vicious cycle comes in. As was on display last week, worries about rising rates can lead to hesitance at the Fed, prompting policy makers to temporarily shelve tapering, Koo says.

While rates might subsequently decline, providing markets with temporary reassurance, renewed talk of tapering would likely follow stronger economic data. Then rates would rise again, repeating the process. Koo said that while he had previously warned of just such a scenario, he didn’t think it would occur so soon.

This, he says, is the real cost of quantitative easing:

Had the Fed not implemented QE, long-term rates would not have risen so early in the rebound, and the economic recovery would have proceeded smoothly. Now, any talk of ending QE pushes long-term rates higher and throws cold water on the economy, making it more difficult to discontinue the policy. That raises the possibility that by buying longer-term securities the central banks of the US, the UK and Japan have placed themselves in a QE “trap” of their own making and will be unable to escape for many years to come.

I have previously described QE as a policy that is easy to begin and hard—even scary—to end. The recent drama over tapering signals the start of the less-pleasant second part.

Koo says no country has injected so much liquidity “and lived to tell about it.” All nations that did something similar have experienced hyperinflation and a serious currency re-deonomination, he noted, but said he thinks a continued QE “trap” is a more likely fate for the U.S. economy.

Comment by the golden boy
2013-09-26 14:46:33

So there’s no free lunch?

Bunch of effin cluess clowns run the world. May be it’s a feature not a bug.

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-09-26 23:31:52

No free lunch until the next world…

Comment by phony scandals
2013-09-26 16:25:25

McDonald’s to offer salad, fruit as options instead of fries

Published: Thursday, 26 Sep 2013 | 4:46 PM ET

Want a side salad with that Big Mac?

McDonald’s says it will start giving customers the choice of a salad, fruit or vegetable as a substitute for french fries in its value meals.

The world’s biggest hamburger chain was set to make the announcement at the Clinton Global Initiative in New York City, where CEO Don Thompson was slated to speak late in the afternoon.

The fast-food company also said it would use the packaging for its Happy Meals to promote healthier options. It said all advertising to kids will include a “fun nutrition or children’s well-being” message.
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Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-09-26 23:25:53

The good news: It appears the Republicans may come up with a measure to avert an October 1 government shutdown.

The bad news: The measures sets the stage for the first-ever U.S. debt default on October 17.

The silver lining: Higher interest rates will soon follow, providing retirees and other savers with a better return on their fixed-income investments.

House Republicans explore strategy to avoid federal government shutdown
By Lori Montgomery and Juliet Eilperin, Published: September 25 | Updated: Thursday, September 26, 10:03 AM

With federal agencies set to close their doors in five days, House Republicans began exploring a potential detour on the path to a shutdown: shifting the fight over President Obama’s health-care law to a separate bill that would raise the nation’s debt limit.

If it works, the strategy could clear the way for the House to approve a simple measure to keep the government open into the new fiscal year, which will begin Tuesday, without hotly contested provisions to defund the Affordable Care Act.

But it would set the stage for an even more nerve-racking deadline on Oct. 17, with conservatives using the threat of the nation’s first default on its debt to force the president to accept a one-year delay of the health-care law’s mandates, taxes and benefits.

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-09-26 23:27:20

Video: Budget expert Stan Collender, author of “The Guide to the Federal Budget,” explains why he’s certain that the government will shut down next week

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