March 28, 2014

Bits Bucket for March 28, 2014

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

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Comment by Housing Analyst
2014-03-28 02:46:24

“A house is a depreciating asset and a loss that never stops losing”

Comment by Bill, just South of Irvine
2014-03-28 06:47:43

At least since FHA, Section 8, equal housing opportunity and the other “progressive” programs started.

Comment by 2banana
2014-03-28 05:31:15

At what point does RICO come into play?


A Whole Lotta Democratic Corruption Going On | March 28, 2014 | Michelle Malkin

Has Nancy Pelosi seen a newspaper lately? (Pro tip, hon: Like the Obamacare monstrosity, you have to read it to find out what’s in it.) I’d love to see her face in the wake of the veritable epidemic of Democratic corruption now sweeping the country. Pelosi’s blink count must be off the charts.

I’m going to make it easy on Pelosi and put all of the latest cases in one handy rogue’s gallery reference list. But let’s not be naive. It’s clear to me that the Barack Obama/Eric Holder DOJ is clearing the decks before the midterms. Prediction: The FBI’s GOP corruption shoe will drop right before the elections for maximum distraction and damage. For now, let’s take stock of the jackassery:

–The Dirty Democratic Mayors’ Club: Charlotte, N.C., Mayor Patrick Cannon, who bragged about partying with the Obamas to help grease the wheels for city projects, was arrested this week on federal corruption and influence-peddling charges. He’s accused of accepting gobs of cash payoffs and Las Vegas trips.

The bust follows former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin’s conviction in January on corruption charges; former Trenton Mayor Tony Mack’s February conviction on cash bribes for a downtown parking garage; and former San Diego mayor and serial groper Bob Filner’s disgraceful resignation after conviction on sexual harassment-related charges; former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick’s conviction on extortion, bribery and conspiracy charges; and former Birmingham, Ala., Mayor Larry Langford’s corruption and bribery conviction.

–California state Democratic Sen. Leland Yee, gun grabber by day, alleged arms-trafficking gangsta by night: Yee made a decades-long career out of sanctimoniously demonizing gun owners and railing against the Second Amendment. He was arrested this week on corruption charges after an FBI sting found probable cause to believe Yee had conducted wire fraud and engaged in a conspiracy to deal firearms without a license and illegally import firearms. The Chinatown pol went so far as to discuss “details of the specific types of weapons” with a prospective donor. Yee is currently a candidate for California’s secretary of state office.

–Pennsylvania state Democratic Sen. LeAnna Washington, party animal: This week, a judge ruled that the Keystone State could proceed with a trial against Washington, who reportedly forced her legislative staff for eight years to use taxpayer time and money for an annual birthday party whose proceeds were diverted to her campaign account. She is charged with felony theft of services and felony conflict of interest. More than a half-dozen former employees blew the whistle. “I am the f—ing senator,” she screamed at one staffer who objected. “I do what the f— I want, and ain’t nobody going to change me.”

–Rhode Island state Democratic House Speaker Gordon Fox, multiple-raid target: The powerful Democrat, beloved by the left for his gay-marriage activism, announced last weekend that he is stepping down from office after FBI raids on his home and work office. Fox is the target of several criminal investigations by the U.S. attorney’s office, FBI, IRS and state police. Mum’s the word so far on the nature of the alleged criminal activity involved.

–California state Democratic Sen. Ronald Calderon, all in the corrupted family: Calderon is on a paid leave of absence after being hit with a 24-count federal indictment for bribery and corruption. His brother also was charged with multiple counts of money laundering and influence peddling. Prosecutors allege the legislator accepted nearly $100,000 in bribes, plane trips, gourmet meals and golf games in exchange for political favors. He also is accused of paying his daughter $39,000 for a phony office job and paying $40,000 in “consulting” fees for a campaign website that didn’t exist.

–California state Democratic Sen. Roderick Wright, lying liar: Also on paid leave, the entrenched Los Angeles-area politician is now fighting his January conviction on felony perjury, false declaration of candidacy and fraudulent voting charges. Wright claimed to live in a rented room in an Inglewood home within his district, but the jury found his true residence was outside the district in upscale Baldwin Hills. The jury found he lied on candidacy declarations and voter registration documents and fraudulently voted in five elections.

–New York state Democratic Assemblyman Bill Scarborough, shady jet-setter: The FBI and state authorities raided his home and offices as part of a probe into his travel voucher practices. He blamed a “tabloid hit job” by the New York Post over questionable per diem claims totaling $60,000.

–Illinois state Democratic House Rep. Keith Farnham, child porn probe suspect: After sponsoring two bills to increase penalties for child porn possession, Farnham was the subject of state and federal raids last week on his home … for possession of child porn. Over the weekend, he resigned his seat citing “serious health issues.” There’s a euphemism.

Remember: Nancy Pelosi famously promised to “drain the moral swamp” and end the “culture of corruption.”

Comment by Blackhawk
2014-03-28 06:41:22

Yeah. They’re clearing the decks now ensuring these stories don’t break during the election season.

The Republican scandals will break two weeks before the election.

Comment by MacBeth
2014-03-28 07:29:49


Comment by Dolly Llama
2014-03-28 10:29:44

Let’s RICO them….while at it let’s Round up W, Cheney and Rumsefeld for all the deaths and destructions they directly caused.

Comment by jose canusi
2014-03-28 11:40:08

Amen, Dolly. Punishment should be equal opportunity.

Comment by 2banana
2014-03-28 05:35:58

As long as they vote democrat - all is good.


Biden: Millions of Illegal Aliens Are “Already American Citizens in My View”
Top Right News | 03-28-2014 | Brian Hayes

Vice President Joe Biden, in a speech to the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce’s 2014 Legislative Summit, on Thursday said the “11 million” illegal aliens in the United States “are already Americans.”

“Eleven million people living in the shadows I believed are already American citizens,” Biden said. “These people are just waiting, waiting for a chance to be able to contribute fully, and by that standard, 11 million undocumented aliens are already Americans in my view.”

Comment by goon squad
2014-03-28 06:37:46

Si si puede!

Comment by j-j-j-joe
2014-03-28 07:04:01

They’re the ones having kids. White kids born today are in the minority. Even for millenials, whites are only a slight majority. This is the real reason it’s over for the GOP in the long run. They’re done here. And I say this as someone who isn’t particularly happy about the Dems having that long run majority.

Whatever happens in 2014 and 2016 are just blips in the timeline. The reality of 2030, 2040, and beyond is basically inevitable.

Comment by albuquerquedan
2014-03-28 07:13:20

The reality of 2030, 2040, and beyond is basically inevitable.

Sorry Joe, there is nothing inevitable about 2040. It is not even clear to me whether we even be a façade of a democracy by then.

Comment by Blue Skye
2014-03-28 09:18:35

You don’t have to be in a minority to be “progressive” or “conservative”. Susan B. Anthony voted Republican!

(joking about the voting thing)

Comment by MightyMike
2014-03-28 08:00:09

So Biden says “already Americans in my view” and these people make their put the words “already American citizens in my view” in quotes. These right-wing websites are just so lame. They make dumb people dumber.

Comment by albuquerquedan
2014-03-28 09:48:01

What is dumb is calling them Americans. They even fly Mexican flags.

Comment by jose canusi
2014-03-28 11:41:58

And murder and rip off American citizens, with great alacrity. They’re just a reflection of the scum political class.

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Comment by 2banana
2014-03-28 05:41:01

Well, that is one way to avoid the obama housing bubble v2.0


Couple Lived On $1.2m Yacht In Palm Beach While Collecting Welfare And Food Stamps - March 27, 2014

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn.- A nationwide warrant is out for a Minnesota couple who allegedly received over $167,000 in public assistance while living on a $1.2 million yacht in Palm Beach, Florida, reports CBS Minnesota.

“These rich folks ripped off the system,” Attorney Mike Freeman said at a Friday news conference. “We are going to do every darn thing we can to make sure they do hard time,” said Freeman.

Colin Chisholm III, 62, and Andrea Chisholm, 54, are facing one count of wrongfully obtaining public assistance of more than $35,000, which is a felony charge. The couple’s whereabouts are currently unknown.

“I’ve never ridden on a yacht that nice, and I bet most of us haven’t, but they were living on it while they were collecting public assistance,” said Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman.

Comment by Bill, just South of Irvine
2014-03-28 06:51:48

Welfare and food stamps belong to crack mothers and the lazy. How dare they!

Comment by AbsoluteBeginner
2014-03-28 07:15:32

Reminds me a bit of that Leona Helmsley lady. The little people get sent to the back of the line.

Comment by MacBeth
2014-03-28 07:32:47

“I’ve never ridden on a yacht THAT nice.” {emphasis added pour moi}.

LOL! Jealousy is most unbecoming, Mr. Freeman.

I suggest counseling.

Comment by oxide
2014-03-28 07:43:52

Good catch!

Comment by polly
2014-03-28 19:33:13

Please. You don’t have to own a yacht to have been on a yacht.

I remember being on yachts twice, though there may be others I an not remembering. Once was a party thanking volunteers for a charity. The other was a friend’s wedding. Total direct cost to me? Zero.

Comment by Blackhawk
2014-03-28 05:41:51

Energy Boom Spurs Growth - Yahoo News

New 2013 census information released Thursday shows that cities are the fastest-growing parts of the United States, and a majority of the metro areas showing that growth are located in or near the oil- and gas-rich fields of the Great Plains and Mountain West.

Neighboring cities Odessa and Midland, Texas, show up as the second and third fastest-growing metro areas in the country. Sara Higgins, the Midland public information officer, has a simple explanation: oil. “They’re coming here to work,” Higgins said.

Energy production is one of the fastest-growing industries in the United States, the Census Bureau said. The boom in the U.S. follows the use of new technologies, such as hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, to tap oil and gas reserves.

“Mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction industries were the most rapidly growing part of our nation’s economy over the last several years,” Census Bureau Director John H Thompson said.

Like I’ve been saying, there’s plenty of opportunities in the areas where the oilfields are growing. The President could spurn growth all over the country if he opened up public lands, but he won’t. My hope for this country is that the next President will.

Comment by Housing Analyst
2014-03-28 05:46:47

Why? Demand is falling and has been for years.

Comment by 2banana
2014-03-28 05:52:34

They’re coming here to work,”

The free sh*t army laughs…

Comment by j-j-j-joe
2014-03-28 06:11:37

“But young adults are not more Democratic solely because they are more racially diverse. In recent years, young white adults, who previously aligned more with the Republican Party, have shifted Democratic. From 1995 to 2005, young whites consistently identified as or leaned Republican rather than Democratic, by an average of eight points. Since 2006, whites aged 18 to 29 have shown at least a slight Democratic preference in all but one year, with an average advantage of three points.

[Graph: Party Affiliation of Non-Hispanic White 18- to 29-Year-Olds, 1995-2013]

Young whites first shifted to a pro-Democratic position in 2006, perhaps because of frustration with George W. Bush and his policies. Barack Obama’s presidential campaign also may have attracted younger whites, given the candidate’s relative youth, particularly since Republicans nominated the much older John McCain as their presidential candidate. Young whites are not as high on the Democratic Party now as they were in 2008, but they remain more likely to prefer it to the Republican Party.”

Comment by goon squad
2014-03-28 06:35:52

Permanent Democrat Supermajority

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Comment by LolaLOL
2014-03-28 07:38:25

Permanent .1% Oligarchy.

Comment by albuquerquedan
2014-03-28 09:46:13

Yes, supported by the pliable majority. Bread and circus, or SNAP and sports. It is the Roman Republic again.

Comment by the zima guy
2014-03-28 06:15:51

Yep. The free sh*t army of banksters, corporate executives, government employees and lawyers have always laughed at the serfs who do the manual work.

Comment by Blackhawk
2014-03-28 06:16:01

Yeah. It’s amazing how people say they want a job, but if it’s not exactly what they want, they stay home. I’d move to Texas in a heartbeat if I needed a job.

Comment by inchbyinch
2014-03-28 08:06:24

I’m job hunting. My skill sets are both specialized, and based on general Acct’g skills. What I see everyday are ads so narrow, the person you’re replacing could only fill it (maybe). ALL the ducks must line up. It’s insane. And don’t get me started on all the applicants applying for 1 position.
Networking is my strongest hope, and I am so-so at the game. I’m working at improving my need to be me. lol

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Comment by Blue Skye
2014-03-28 09:27:12

You could sell the house and never have to work another day in your life.

Comment by MightyMike
2014-03-28 09:51:39

ALL the ducks must line up. It’s insane.

What you’re saying is that you’ve experienced the opposite of what Blackhawk is saying. Employers claim that they want to hire people but don’t actually do it.

Comment by rms
2014-03-28 11:34:29

“Networking is my strongest hope, and I am so-so at the game.”

Don’t forget your two best friends. :)

Comment by inchbyinch
2014-03-28 12:09:58

Blue Skye
And do what, Blue? Where can I rent for $650/mo and $150 for all the utilities? Not gonna happen. Owning outright has been a lifesaver. A paid off roof, and you’re suggesting I raise my expenses?
P l e a s e.

At $25,000 /yr rent expense, I could hardly survive on the sale proceeds the rest of my life. Unless we moved in with my 80 yr old mother,we’ve got to live somewhere.

Can’t fit on a boat like you. Fishing sounds like a hoot, I’ll give you that.

Comment by Blackhawk
2014-03-28 12:29:08


It all depends where you live. I’m touting areas where the oilfield industry is booming. North Dakota, Texas, SE NM, and a few others.

Depending on where you live, you might not be able to take advantage of the economies that are growing. So, if you want to find a job, you might have to sell, or rent it out, or leave the family and go out to find the work.

I know it’s hard for some to do, but if you can’t find anything where you’re at, you might want to look in other areas.

This is one draw back to owning a house. You don’t have mobility. I own because I know I never intend to leave the Phoenix area.

Comment by Blue Skye
2014-03-28 14:32:15

“we’ve got to live somewhere”

Yes you do! You don’t have to live someplace crazy though. Houses rent for that $650 a month you mention here. I rented one on 400 arces for $400/mo for years, and it had a fine roof.

You are retirement age but house poor to the tune of half a million.

Comment by Housing Analyst
2014-03-28 14:56:13

“And do what, Blue?”

Execute an opportunity to recover your losses.

Comment by inchbyinch
2014-03-28 18:30:18

Thanks for the advice, but eventually something will stick. I’ve been interviewing in downtown Los Angeles and taking the commuter train is starting to be a reality. I’ve never commuted so damn far in my life, but our home is peachy keen, and I’m staying put. My husband has a fantastic Glaucoma doc hooked up to UCLA.(Saved his sight.) We’re So Ca people.

I am not retirement age. Don’t rush it for me, it’s bad enough being my age. Man, does time fly. Just yesterday I was 39.

Comment by Housing Analyst
2014-03-28 18:36:29

You’re stuck for certain.

Comment by In Colorado
2014-03-28 06:51:25

New 2013 census information released Thursday shows that cities are the fastest-growing parts of the United States, and a majority of the metro areas showing that growth are located in or near the oil- and gas-rich fields of the Great Plains and Mountain West.

What’s going to happen when the next bust rolls in? I remember we used to discuss in this very forum how real estate crashed in Colorado’s oil rich western slope the last time the oil boom ended.

Colorado is very familiar with the boom and bust nature of having an economy that is dependent of the cycles of the oil industry. It’s why for the past 20 years there has been a concerted effort to diversify the state economy.

I remember one bust in the late 80’s when my in laws couldn’t give away their Littleton, CO home, not even for 150K. They later sold it during the next boom for about 220K. Today, its zEstimate is 540K.

Comment by Blackhawk
2014-03-28 07:28:01

In the oil patch they’re talking about a 20-30 year boom.

Comment by Housing Analyst
2014-03-28 07:32:58

Did “they” mention that crude oil demand has been falling every year since 2006?

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Comment by Blackhawk
2014-03-28 07:44:05


Why do you think that’s true, if it is?

Could it be related to the worldwide economic recession?

Comment by Housing Analyst
2014-03-28 07:52:24

If? It is true.

Comment by albuquerquedan
2014-03-28 09:50:47

It depends on whether you are talking about U.S. or world demands. World demand goes up virtually every year and is much higher than 2006 and will go up again this year by over 1%.

Comment by Housing Analyst
Comment by In Colorado
2014-03-28 08:27:04

In the oil patch they’re talking about a 20-30 year boom.

They ALWAYS think that. Until the next bust shows up.

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Comment by X-GSfixr
2014-03-28 09:48:02

When I worked at one of the bizjet OEMs in the early 80s, you could put a “line position” deposit on a new bizjet for about $25K. Brokers (who were working a mini “carry trade) and newly minted millionaires from the oil patch were the primary buyers.

Recession hits in 1981, oil prices collapse, and a two year backlog disappears overnight. All of the oil patch millionaires walked from their deposits, along with the brokers…….seems like the brokers were selling most of their airplanes on order to the oil patch guys who didn’t want to wait two years.

By the end of 1981, the company had at least 31 unsold “white tails” jammed on the ramps and parked in hangars, looking for buyers. At the time, that amounted to several months worth of deliveries.

After that “near death experience”, they revised their contracts, to make it extremely punitive financially to back out on a delivery. This worked for a while, until the Greater Recession hit, and they found themselves competing for sales against used aircraft that were (and are) selling for 50-75% markdowns from their 2007 prices.

Comment by MacBeth
2014-03-28 07:37:16

“Give it away for $150,000″.

That’s quite the statement. Are you a realtor?

Comment by In Colorado
2014-03-28 08:33:07

Just saying there were no takers. It was also less than they paid for it. Then when the next boom hit a few years later it sold in just a few days for a nice profit.

I remember well the gloom days in Denver in the late 80’s. We considered moving there at the time, as houses, at least compared to San Diego prices at the time, seemed dirt cheap, I would say about 1/3 the cost per square foot. Alas, there was a reason for that at the time: There were no jobs and high unemployment in the Centennial State during that period.

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Comment by oxide
2014-03-28 06:57:49

I went to find some numbers to help the discussion. 1. As of Feb 2014, 10.5 million unemployed (3.8 million longe-term more than 27 weeks)

2. As of Dec 2012, 1.7 million jobs (direct and indirect) were created by the oil and gas industry. 1 million of those in Texas. Project to rise to a national total of 3 million by 2020.

3. As of January 2014, renewables are ~143K solar + 80K wind, + 200K hydro + 5K geo + 14K biomass + 51K biodiesel = 493K jobs (direct and indirect)

3a. As of January 2014, ethanol industry: 470K (direct and indirect)

The growth in all of these energy sectors is not enough to soak up the unemployed, or to soak up college grads with loan debt. At the same time, it does rather feel rather stupid to extend unemployment benefits if there are jobs to be had somewhere. Then again, who can afford to relocate to a lower paying job, out of an underwater house, with a spouse with a job and kids in tow? I can think of several types of program which could encourage mobility, but it would be too complex to enforce. It’s much easier to borrow from China to pay for another 3 months of UE benefits.


Comment by Blackhawk
2014-03-28 07:25:05

UE Benefits are the key subsidy that allows the sedentary to stay that way. I’m a sexist. All able body men should have maybe 3 months of UE benefits, then nothing. Single women with kids should get more.

It’s an unfortunate truth. Whatever the government subsidizes, the more that problem becomes.

Comment by Housing Analyst
2014-03-28 09:46:07

Keep that lie alive! Work it!

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Comment by Blackhawk
2014-03-28 12:32:26

You’re slightly delusional today. What’s up with that? And what do you think is a lie?

Comment by Housing Analyst
2014-03-28 14:47:13

Work it boy work it.

Comment by j-j-j-joe
2014-03-28 06:03:43

The biggest leveraged buyout in history looks like it is finally going bust for good.

It involves 2 of the biggest PE firms (KKR & Tex Pacific) plus Goldman who bought out a Texas utility with borrowed money… finally the thing ran into the ground. Very juicy stuff.


“Formerly known as TXU, Energy Future was taken private in October 2007 in the largest leveraged buyout ever, and has struggled to manage its debt of more than $40 billion ever since.

The sponsors of the buyout, who include KKR, TPG, Goldman Sachs and others, are expected to recover very little, if any, of their roughly $8 billion investment.

Energy Future Holdings is expected to reveal in an annual report that it did not receive an auditor’s opinion that it could survive as a going concern, which would trigger a default on loans and push the company into Chapter 11.”

Comment by 2banana
2014-03-28 06:33:51

If there are no bailouts coming for this.


Comment by j-j-j-joe
2014-03-28 06:50:23

Goldman got fed money.

And an electricity producer was ruined, is in a state of utter disarray.

“But… but… invisible hand of the free market”

Comment by 2banana
2014-03-28 06:53:46

Goldman got fed money

“But… but… invisible hand of the free market”

You do not see the irony in your own short statement.

Crony capitalism, friends of obama and socialism lite does not EQUAL = a free market

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Comment by mathguy
2014-03-28 12:58:59

more likely than not some company like goldman puchased a majority interest, then loaded the company up with debt to “free up capital”, probably also making the loans themselves, and probably at above market rates.

Comment by rms
2014-03-28 06:55:23

“Comment by j-j-j-joe”

National Stuttering Association

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Comment by LolaLOL
2014-03-28 07:54:39

I was staying at a hotel and there was a big banner for the NSA convention. I was sorely disappointed it wasn’t spies.

Comment by Housing Analyst
2014-03-28 06:35:57


Comment by Muggy
2014-03-28 06:53:56

Joe may be an alpha among his boutique buddies, but make no mistake: in the world of Big Law, Tier Two Joe is pure beta. Like MGTOW betas, he has to say that his position is one of choice, not necessity.

So sad that Joe has to watch these juicy deals from the sidelines.


Comment by j-j-j-joe
2014-03-28 07:13:29

I’m in litigation, not corp. I’ve worked at firms that do lit and have higher hourly rates than Skadden or some of the other big corp firms. (Not as high as Wachtell Lipton, but then again, no one is–they pay first yr’s over 300k. but also work them for 2500+ billable hours which means 80 hr weeks.)

Any millennial is in like the _5th tier_ of biglaw. Odds of making equity partner are like 5%. Which is why I’ve been saving like a champ for the past 2 years. Boomers don’t want to divide the pie and why should they? There is only so much work to go around and they can simply hire more associates to do the work without diluting their shares. To make equity partner you need to continuously generate business and not have it stolen from you by a rainmaker.

I’m going to start my own firm probably about a year from now, only taking cases I want and then go from there. I see that as much better than spending another 5 years and $2 Mil to earn the right to buy shares in a firm that sucks the life from me.

Another fun fact: Most partners in biglaw are either nonequity or else they have a small slice of equity but essentially service partners, so their compensation isn’t tied to billing receipts. A lot of these guys are one or two paychecks or a divorce away from financial ruin, even if they make 300-500k. Expensive house, expensive cars, kids in private schools, wife that needs “maintenance”, etc. These people are fools, IMO.

TL;DR version — There are a few rainmakers at any given BigLaw firm that have lives worth living. They keep everyone else on the treadmill. The only way to win as an associate is to save up a ton of money in your first 5-10 yrs and then use your skills to go build your own thing.

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Comment by Northeastener
2014-03-28 07:53:15

There are a few rainmakers at any given BigLaw firm that have lives worth living. They keep everyone else on the treadmill. The only way to win as an associate is to save up a ton of money in your first 5-10 yrs and then use your skills to go build your own thing.

That statement applies equally to other areas of the economy… the old “you’ll never get rich working for someone else” theory.

Comment by oxide
2014-03-28 07:53:20

I’m surprised that private equity is still trying the leveraged buyout schtick. I thought that only worked if they bought out a company that had juicy assets, like union penions or extra inventory/portfolio or high-pay American employees,* to harvest. That’s how Romney did so well. Back in the ethical and moral days, there was plenty of low-hanging fruit for Bain and other capital to choose from. Now that’s all gone, companies are all lean so it’s slim pickens. Not surprising that somebody finally picked a rotten one.

*All of which are products of ethics and morals. It’s not hard to see that ethics and morals have been liquidated for quick cash.

Comment by j-j-j-joe
2014-03-28 09:50:18

Oxide, the “try the schtick” because it’s not their personal money on the line. There’s no mystery about why the do it. If a company fails 5 yrs down the road, there is no way to get back all the fees, executive compensation, and “golden parachutes” paid out during the meantime. And the creditors can’t get that money back once it is paid out.

Comment by polly
2014-03-28 10:35:21

What Joe said, but to directly address your question, it is easier to milk a company if it has lots of assets, but you can milk it with just a bit more effort if you can get it loans to raise cash that will then be siphoned off as fees, etc. Since you can still sell shares in a corp loaded down with loans, the end game (sell the shares in an IPO after you have taken all the money) is still viable.

Comment by 2banana
2014-03-28 06:09:15

You gotta wonder how the press would be reporting on this differently if a republican was in the white house and had just spent $6 trillion in borrowed dollars and nationalized 15% of the US economy…


AP poll shows ObamaCare support hits new low … of 26%
HotAir | March 28, 2014 | Ed Morrissey

Democrats who still think that defending ObamaCare makes for a great midterm strategy will be shocked, shocked by the latest AP-Gfk survey results. The rest of us … not so much. Support for the law dropped to a record low in this polling series, and even the slight improvement in the perception of its implementation leaves it far below the Democratic base numbers:

Public support for President Barack Obama’s health care law is languishing at its lowest level since passage of the landmark legislation four years ago, according to a new poll.

The Associated Press-GfK survey finds that 26 percent of Americans support the Affordable Care Act.

Comment by Housing Analyst
2014-03-28 06:40:44

Deep six that POS law pronto.

Comment by Bill, just South of Irvine
2014-03-28 07:00:31

All but one Republican voted against that “progressive” program and that was Judge Roberts. No one read the 2000 page bill. How could the American public ever be so dumb to vote in such a sorry bunch of retards into congress to pass such an unconstitutional tird?

Comment by 2banana
2014-03-28 07:02:11

Because the free sh*t army votes…

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Comment by Housing Analyst
2014-03-28 07:04:41

“Because the free sh*t army votes…”

…. with one hand on their ass and the other on your wallet.

Comment by Bill, just South of Irvine
2014-03-28 07:21:24


Comment by MacBeth
2014-03-28 07:44:39

26 percent?! TWENTY-SIX?

Wow…that’s a powerful testament to the Lolas and Zsa Zsas of the world, including those that frequent the HBB. Run with it, babes.

Viva La Socialisma!

Comment by Blackhawk
2014-03-28 07:59:33

No need to wonder. “Every. MSM ” newscast would lead with these stats and the talking heads would be smiling ear to ear. The only exception would be Fox News. They wouldn’t be smiling so much.

Comment by MightyMike
2014-03-28 09:40:20

Obamacare didn’t nationalize 15% of the economy. That’s nonsense.

Of course, in every other developed country on the planet, the government plays a much larger role in health care and health care is only 8% - 10% of the economy.

Comment by albuquerquedan
2014-03-28 06:41:48
Comment by j-j-j-joe
2014-03-28 06:52:41

“But… but… they’re STUDENTS, not employees.”

The NCAA is really the worst org ever. Being a “student” isn’t even in the top 10 priorities of most D1 college fball or bball players.


“In a CNN story that aired in January, Willingham said her research of 183 football or basketball players at UNC from 2004-12 found 60 percent reading at fourth- to eighth-grade levels and roughly 10 percent below a third-grade level.”

Comment by Bill, just South of Irvine
2014-03-28 07:03:29

Those people become multimillion dollar NBA stars. They move into well-to-do nabes and bring the culture that led to the fourth grade reading level. Just like the average California lotto millionaire.

Comment by Dolly Llama
2014-03-28 07:20:53

I liked the essay, short and almost concise. Corey Booker became a senator with a lesser body of work.

Comment by MightyMike
2014-03-28 09:42:44

Is there a writing requirement to become a sentor now?

Comment by Dolly Llama
2014-03-28 09:58:50

Oh, you are right. Able to read from a teleprompter is the only requirement these days I think.

(Comments wont nest below this level)
Comment by MightyMike
2014-03-28 10:07:20

I can see you’re concerned with the really important things - teleprompters, birth certificates. czars, etc.

Comment by oxide
2014-03-28 10:18:47

“These days?” You do remember who the consummate telepromter-reader and line-memorizer was, right?

Comment by Dolly Llama
2014-03-28 10:37:40

Teleprompter yes, don’t care about the BC and Tzars.

Too young to remember those days. Can we talk about “now”?

Comment by albuquerquedan
2014-03-28 07:21:13

I am not sure why this would surprise you most people have known for years that the college players do not meet academic standards. But you know what happened when the NCAA tried to increase academic standards? They were called racists since the higher academic standards prevented many star players from being eligible to play and has a disparate impact on minorities. We do not to need to create unions, we need to have college athletics be about true student athletes and let the pro teams create minor leagues for the other players.

Comment by Dolly Llama
2014-03-28 07:47:10

Without these poor dumb black kids, how would the white coaches and white athletic administrators rake in those millions?

Comment by Rental Watch
2014-03-28 09:28:13

My understanding is that this ruling will not affect public university student athletes.

Why not?

On another note, I heard on the radio that Stanford’s basketball players LAST week (no excuse for the game last night) were in the middle of finals, and were taking finals in the hotel on Wednesday, with coaches overseeing.

I’m guessing they are a lot more “student-athlete” than a whole slew of public schools…yet they will be subject to this ruling, while schools like UCLA and Florida won’t?

Comment by sleepless_near_seattle
2014-03-28 10:39:42

My understanding is that this ruling will not affect public university student athletes.

That’s correct. But if the appeal fails and this holds it will be interesting, if you’re deciding between USC and Alabama for example, whether the money wins out over the allure/history. Guess it depends on how much money.

The next question becomes, does the NCAA kick private schools out or kill scholarships as an unintended consequence?

Comment by MightyMike
2014-03-28 11:22:43

My understanding is that this ruling will not affect public university student athletes.

Why not?

I think that it has to do with the laws regarding collective bargaining.

Comment by Bill, just South of Irvine
Comment by Blackhawk
2014-03-28 07:39:16

“But I am extremely confident that before I die sometime in the next 40 or 50 or whatever years, that the relative value of physical gold and silver will be up many orders of magnitude when this all unwinds at some point in coming years or decades.”

Many orders of magnitude!!

Comment by 2banana
2014-03-28 07:13:46

Time to scrap the mortgage interest deduction: Simplify the Tax Code and Lower Tax Rates for All
Washington Examiner | 03/27/2014 | Philip Klein

In the coming weeks, Americans will spend an average of 13 hours and $210 to prepare their federal taxes. Beyond the compliance burden the federal tax code imposes, it also distorts economic activity and discriminates against some taxpayers in favor of others. But one of its most egregiously unfair provisions is also among its most popular - the mortgage interest deduction.

In theory, the mortgage interest deduction is supposed to encourage home ownership, a questionable goal for government to begin with. The purpose of taxes is to raise money to finance government services, not to manipulate human behavior or economic activity.

When lawmakers tell taxpayers that they can keep more of their money – but only if they spend that money the way politicians want – it’s just as much an exertion of government power as a spending program.

Allowing individuals to deduct mortgage interest payments drives up taxes on other Americans given the need to recoup the lost revenue, or, alternatively, adds to the deficit. The mortgage interest deduction itself drains $100 billion annually from the U.S. Treasury. When other tax policies meant to encourage home ownership are added - including the deductibility of state and local property taxes and the exemption of capital gains taxes from selling a home - that number rises to $175 billion.

The authors took a detailed look at the distribution of existing tax benefits for home ownership and found that the benefits do more to help wealthier Americans purchase larger homes than they do to encourage lower-income Americans who otherwise would be renting to purchase homes in the first place.

The study found that in Atlanta, Denver, Detroit, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Seattle and Washington, D.C., 80 percent of taxpayers earning more than $100,000 claimed the deduction, compared with just 25 percent of those earning less.

A family with a household income of $500,000 with $1 million in mortgage debt being financed at 4 percent would generate $16,000 per year in tax savings, according to the authors’ calculations. In contrast, a household earning near the national median income of $51,000 with a home worth $221,000 (the median price), would receive tax savings of one-tenth that amount.

There are several leading objections to scrapping the mortgage interest deduction. One is that it would drive down home prices. Another is that American homeowners already purchased homes and did tax planning on the assumption that the tax benefit would be in place.

Recently, House Ways and Means Chairman Rep. David Camp, R-Mich., offered a comprehensive tax reform proposal that would allow individuals with existing mortgages to keep the deduction as is, while gradually reducing the cap to $500,000 for new mortgages. Another idea proposed by the authors is to change the deduction to a flat rate tax credit, to “limit the subsidy provided to upper-income taxpayers while simultaneously expanding it at the lower end of the income distribution.”

Comment by Northeastener
2014-03-28 07:59:01

That MID is the only reason I got some money back from the government this year. If it weren’t for the personal MID deduction I would have owed thousands more after paying in well over $20,000 in Federal taxes alone.

Keep in mind with two kids and a mortgage, I try and keep my taxes owed to the IRS come April near 0.

Comment by Bill, just South of Irvine
2014-03-28 22:04:42

The number that really counts is the total taxes you paid over the year to the thugs. Lower that, and the amount you owe on April 15 as much as possible.

Comment by Muggy
2014-03-28 08:11:05

“allow individuals with existing mortgages to keep the deduction as is”

Another generational screw. Rep. David Camp, age 60.

Comment by Rental Watch
2014-03-28 09:36:01

They should phase it out for EVERYONE over time (including those with current mortgages).

Drop the threshold by 25k per year, while increasing the standard deduction with inflation.

Every year more and more people have their deduction more limited until it’s less than the standard deduction.

Doing it as they suggest would further distort the market in the near term (creating a disincentive for people to sell and lose their “grandfathered” deduction–empty nesters on average would choose to keep a bigger house for longer than otherwise), and the distortion of the MID will never fully go away.

Comment by Blue Skye
2014-03-28 15:58:46

You might be surprised. After they took away the deduction for credit card interest, credit card debt went parabolic.

Comment by Neuromance
2014-03-28 07:31:11

Run the poor and unsophisticated through the ringer a few more times, as long as Uncle Sugar or Aunt Janet pays us for the privilege.

I realized QM was a trojan horse as I watched be whittled away. QM was a triumph of lobbying. A brilliant approach really.

The people who get meetings with politicians, and influence them, are their big donors. And they are the ones who ultimately write the rules.

Housing risk high in spite of Qualified Mortgage rule
Edward J. Pinto, Stephen D. Oliner | The Hill

The [National Mortgage Risk Index] shows that recent mortgage loans would not perform well under stress, despite the common perception that mortgage credit is tight, with only the highest-quality borrowers able to get a loan.

n February, the index indicated that 11.6 percent of recent home purchase mortgage loans, roughly one in nine, could be expected to default under severe stress. To put this number in context, in 1990 − before the loosening of lending standards that culminated in the meltdown in the housing market – the NMRI was at about 6 percent. Thus, the current level is nearly double what would be consistent with reasonably solid underwriting standards. This is largely due to a decline in down payments and a rise in DTIs.

The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) is the prime source of this risk.

Despite this unsafe risk profile, all of the loans covered by the NMRI meet the definition of a Qualified Mortgage (QM) set by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

QM’s illusory safety net is especially worrisome for lower-income borrowers who continue to be placed in high-risk loans they may not be able to afford.

Federal housing policies continue to place borrowers, particularly lower-income borrowers, in harm’s way… ”

Comment by X-GSfixr
2014-03-28 09:14:18

As noted by one of the local Sports Talk shows…..

Median Family Income (June 2013): $52,100 (and dropping)

Paycheck for Miguel Cabrera per AT BAT in 2014: A little over $49,000.

Comment by In Colorado
2014-03-28 09:49:31

Which is why I don’t pay to attend sporting events. I also don’t buy cheap beer or pickup trucks, so they don’t get me through advertizing either.

Comment by sleepless_near_seattle
2014-03-28 13:17:32

Which is why I don’t pay to attend sporting events.

And why would you? Potential for violent, entitled, alcohol fueled fans next to you; high food and alcohol prices; paying $20-50 for parking.

Not to mention, with large panel TVs these days the experience is much better from home. My concern is that they’re going to catch on to this and start making each game a $100 pay-per-view event at some point to view it at home.

For the time-being, however, it seems there are enough people who DO pay to attend.

Comment by albuquerquedan
2014-03-28 09:25:01

From WUWT, this has been my point for years, now I know short hand to describe myself and differentiate myself from Rush, who is a denier:

In climate science, the real debate has never been between “deniers” and the rest, but between “lukewarmers,” who think man-made climate change is real but fairly harmless, and those who think the future is alarming. Scientists like Judith Curry of the Georgia Institute of Technology and Richard Lindzen of MIT have moved steadily toward lukewarm views in recent years.

Comment by albuquerquedan
2014-03-28 09:28:21

BTW, when people talk about a consensus of 97% they are lumping lukewarmers with the alarmists.

Comment by X-GSfixr
2014-03-28 10:07:46

Don’t know why anyone is worried about it. Other than a few enclaves where the 1%ers and “producers/creative people” live, we are all going to be living in mud and sod huts, and hedge-fund owned rental crapshacks with no water or electricity in 20 years anyway.

IOW, the problem is taking care of itself, without any kind of government intervention.

Comment by X-GSfixr
2014-03-28 09:36:12

Another indefinite delay on the project my SIL is working on. According to the press releases, for “Systems issues”.

Last week it was “waiting for good weather”. (Initial phase of project was supposed to have been completed 6 months ago. Then the end of December. Everybody is working 60 hour weeks)

Of course there is the PR spin, and then there is the real story. Like this screwed up documentation. Like the fuselage redesign, because the state of the art, all composite one is too heavy, pretty much like every all composite airplane usually is. Like the disassembly/reassembly of the project multiple times, because the left hand has no idea what the right hand is doing. Our aviation OEMS have forgotten how to build/certify airplanes. See Boeing 787. See Hawker Horizon business jet. Or in the case of the Eclipse Jet, didn’t have a clue from the get-go.

Sure they have their “Expert Systems” and such, but the reality is that there is a ton of “Tribal knowledge” in any manufacturing business that isn’t written down anywhere. Especially if the guys involved recognized that the “Expert system” is a means to replace them with “Help Desks” in Bangalore/Shanghai.

OEMs have dumped all of the old timers with experience, and replaced them with newbies and contractors, who will bail on the project as soon as a better job comes along. Mentors are so 20th Century.

As I’ve noted before the country is paying to make the same mistakes all over again, because all of the old guys who would see something and throw the “BS flag” have been sent packing. Or have been replaced by engineers who have been employed by their vendors, who have different priorities (mainly not admitting problems, due to the liability/contract concerns).

The sky is darkening, because thousands of chickens are coming home to roost.

Comment by sleepless_near_seattle
2014-03-28 13:10:31

Those aren’t chickens. They’re vultures.

Comment by albuquerquedan
2014-03-28 09:39:05

Scrap Register)
Updated: 2014-03-28 14:58

Chinese gold demand experienced a very strong 2013 by nearly every measure, setting a new record high with opportunistic buying on price dips. The question is: can Chinese gold consumption continue to grow, and what is driving it?

Barclays thinks the overall fundamental trend remains intact and expect growth to continue to continue, albeit at a slower pace year-on-year.

Much of the gold imported by China to feed this voracious appetite has come from Western vaults as destocking and outflows from gold ETPs. Given that Chinese buyers prefer to hold physical gold, the flow of gold from the West to the East will likely remain a theme.

Even without any new official figures on central bank holdings, Barclays bottom-up fundamental analysis shows growth across jewellery and investment-related bar and coin demand. As per Barclays the demand will continue to grow, albeit likely at a slower pace than recently.

Barclays has revised our gold price forecast for 2014 up to $1250 an ounce from $1205 an ounce,after taking into account gold’s year-to-date performance.

“We have not changed our overall view and still believe that its next move will be lower. Palladium has similarly outperformed so far this year, hitting several year highs, due to possible supply concerns. However, we still expect market fundamentals to push palladium even higher by year-end,” Barclays added.

This year, China became the world’s largest gold consumer, building on 2013’s blockbuster year. But since much of the strength in buying in 2013 can be attributed to price-sensitive buying, the question is, can Chinese gold consumption continue to grow? In our view, the answer is yes, albeit at a slower pace year-on-year, which we address in this month’s focus, said Barclays.

Comment by 2banana
2014-03-28 10:39:22

Funny how these things always seem to happen in right-to-work states.


BMW plans $1 billion expansion in South Carolina
Yahoo News | 28 Mar 2014 | JEFFERY COLLINS

GREER, S.C. (AP) — BMW is celebrating its 20th anniversary of building cars in the United States by investing $1 billion in its plant in South Carolina to build two of its new X-series vehicles at the facility that ushered in a wave of foreign automakers building Southern plants.

The German automaker announced Friday it will create another line at the plant, producing the X7, a larger SUV with three rows of seats similar to a Cadillac Escalade. The company will also make the X4, a sportier version of the X3 coupe and plans to build a plug-in hybrid version of its smaller X5 SUV.

The $1 billion will be spent through 2016 at the plant in Greer, just down Interstate 85 from Spartanburg. BWM says it will hire 800 additional workers, bringing total employment at the plant to 8,800 people. The Greer plant will make 450,000 vehicles a year by 2016, becoming the largest of the company’s 28 plants around the world.

Almost 300,000 BMWs were made in South Carolina last year, and more than 2.6 million vehicles have rolled off the plant’s assembly lines in the past two decades.

Mercedes-Benz followed with a plant in Alabama a year later, and in the past two decades, Nissan, Toyota and Volkswagen have all followed with plants built in rural Southern locations

Comment by Ethan in Norfolk VA
2014-03-28 11:01:39

My Honda Accord was built in Kentucky or something. Been crazy reliable, just passed 222,400 miles yesterday. Showing it’s age though. Paint is going away, windshield leaks (from bad replacement job), and motor sounds like hamster wheels. Needs new suspension and I need to put a subwoofer back in it, but the transmissions are known to fail so I’m kind of reluctant to put money in it. Bought it new, but won’t buy my next vehicle new.

Comment by 2banana
2014-03-28 11:04:11

The point is, ladies and gentleman, that debt — for lack of a better word — is good.

Debt is right.

Debt works.

Debt clarifies, cuts through, and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit.

Debt, in all of its forms — debt for life, for money, for love, knowledge — has marked the upward surge of mankind.

And debt — you mark my words — will not only save Teldar Paper, but that other malfunctioning corporation called the USA.


We’re in a private debt crisis that could lead to the next economic collapse: Richard Vague
Nicole Goodkind - Daily Ticker - 3/28/2014

The U.S. is in the midst of a private debt crisis.

As of March 2014, American consumers owe $11.52 trillion in debt, an increase of 1.6% from last year. The average household owes $7,115 on their credit cards and the average indebted household owes $15,252. Americans owe $8.05 trillion in mortgages (the average mortgage debt being $152,209) and $1.08 trillion in student loan debt. When combined with corporate debts the U.S. collectively owes about $28 trillion in private debt.

“Every major crisis of our lifetime has been caused by a rapid increase of our private debt,” says Richard Vague, chair of the Governor’s Woods Foundation. “They all were a function of runaway private lending.”

People focus too much on government debt, argues Vague, when they should be attempting to quell private debt.

“There’s reputed to be 10 million mortgages that are still underwater,” he says. “There’s perhaps a half or ¾ of a trillion in second-lean loans that are still a problem and haven’t been dealt with. Those to us are logical candidates for restructuring programs.”

Comment by Housing Analyst
2014-03-28 15:20:00

“10 million mortgages that are still underwater,”

And those are the loans made just from 2004 to 2008. Add in the 2009-2013 vintage and we’re up to 20 million underwater debtors.

Comment by Blue Skye
2014-03-28 15:52:01

“Every major crisis of our lifetime…”

Richard, you haven’t lived long enough to see a real debt collapse crisis, but buckle up.

Comment by goon squad
2014-03-28 18:08:03

i decided to take a nap after skiing winter park today. i woke up feeling like i was suffocating. then i realized i was suffocating on a very large pile of money. all that money that’s left over after ‘throwing money away on rent’ every month. trees at mary jane were sick this morning under six inches of new pow pow…

Comment by Bill, just South of Irvine
2014-03-28 22:02:01

That’s the way GS! You are doing the right thing!

Comment by Housing Analyst
2014-03-28 18:28:15

Why pay a massively inflated price for a house today when you can buy later for 75% less?

Comment by goon squad
Comment by Little Al
2014-03-28 20:04:08

Ay Romeo. The ape is dead.

An interesting aspect of the housing debacle that I haven’t heard mentioned lately is the rate that inflation has devalued the dollar in the last 7 years.

The new normal is now normal and America seems to be clawing its way out of its economic funk, and we just might have an economic
resurgence just in time for Hillary’s triumphant victory in 2014.

I made 2500 dollars this week in the stock market. That’s probably the second best week in the three years I’ve been playing. Guess I’m up at least 14 in that time. I’m not quite sure.

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