Saturday, March 22, 2008

Ex-Homecoming Queen Accused Of Beating Sister With Leg In Trailer Sent To Rehab - Pittsburgh News Story - WTAE Pittsburgh

Ex-Homecoming Queen Accused Of Beating Sister With Leg In Trailer Sent To Rehab - Pittsburgh News Story - WTAE Pittsburgh: "A former Norwin homecoming queen accused of attacking her sister with a prosthetic leg and threatening to burn down a neighbor's trailer was ordered on Wednesday to go to rehab."
That headline is one you don't see every day. I guess all's well that ends well. But did they have to slam the trailer population that way? I mean, aren't we ready to leave behind our cultural stereotypes about people who live in manufactured housing communities?

On the other hand, maybe if they stopped pulling off each other's wooden legs people would think better of them. Just a thought.

My Way News - Obama Aide: Bill Clinton Like McCarthy

My Way News - Obama Aide: Bill Clinton Like McCarthy: "Hillary Rodham Clinton's campaign is trying to clarify comments by former President Clinton that seemed to question Barack Obama's patriotism - comments an Obama aide likened to Joseph McCarthy.

Clinton's campaign said the comments were being misinterpreted and quickly posted a clarification on its Web site. But retired Air Force Gen. Merrill 'Tony' McPeak said he was disappointed by the comments and compared them to those of McCarthy, the 1950s communist-hunting senator.

The former president made the comments while speculating about a general election between his wife and Republican John McCain.

'I think it would be a great thing if we had an election year where you had two people who loved this country and were devoted to the interest of this country,' said Clinton, who was speaking to a group of veterans Friday in Charlotte, N.C."

Bill Clinton escaped again and found a microphone where he could stand and wave his finger at people. With friends like him, Hillary doesn't even need all those enemies she has.

Friday, March 21, 2008

The SouthtownStar :: Crestwood :: Midlothian :: Oak Forest :: Posen

Family tormented by condo association over flooring: "An Oak Forest family can breathe a sigh of relief now that their condominium association has decided not to pursue possession of the family's home in a dispute over the kind of flooring the family installed.

But the family's potential legal woes aren't necessarily over. The association may pursue recovery of $1,400 in attorney fees incurred when the family requested a hearing with the association board over the matter."

These folks removed the carpet and went with hard flooring to accommodate a child with asthma, because the carpet was holding dust and so forth. The association decided to ban hard flooring and require carpeting. Why do they think is this their business anyway, given that it is inside the unit and might reasonably be seen as the owner's concern? Who knows. But they decided to sue these folks.

Legislative report: Get tough on condo, homeowner associations -- South Florida

Legislative report: Get tough on condo, homeowner associations -- South Florida "A newly released, bipartisan legislative report could lead to extensive changes in state laws protecting the millions of owners in Florida condo and homeowner association communities."
A bipartisan consensus that Florida needs to "get tough" on condo and homeowner associations? can this be true? Haven't we been assured by the industry that there are no problems here except for a few malcontents?

Check out this sentence: "The nine-member committee wrote its report after hearing "horror stories" from unit owners in five cities between January and early this month."

My guess is that when denial and denunciation have finally proved futile, the industry will jump on board and act like they have been interested all along in reform.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Urban Dictionary: jingle mail

Urban Dictionary: jingle mail
I am always amazed at the way people are able to use the English language creatively to express the essence of a complex experience. News - Attorney General calls for condominium commission to protect condo owners News - Attorney General calls for condominium commission to protect condo owners: "Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, in formal testimony to the Judiciary Committee today, urged establishment of a state board to assist condominium unit owners by ensuring that condominium associations abide by their bylaws and state laws, and tighter licensing requirements for condominium managers. Blumenthal, joined by state legislators and condo unit owners, said that a Connecticut Community Association Commission would review condominium unit owner complaints concerning violations of condominium bylaws or state condominium laws by the association’s board of directors, officers or professional managers."
Question: at what point can we hear the last of the industry claim that everything is fine and no government oversight or regulation is needed? How many states have to act on this before the industry will acknowledge the facts?

America's new subprime shanty-towns - Boing Boing

America's new subprime shanty-towns - Boing Boing: "In this chilling BBC clip, a newsteam ventures to one of LA's new shantytowns made up of people who've lost their homes in the subprime meltdown and now live in tents, improvised shacks or RVs on abandoned land."
Thanks to Mystery Reader for the link to this horrifying story. Yikes.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Spring clean of outdated laws...including right to banish noisy brass bands | the Daily Mail

Spring clean of outdated laws...including right to banish noisy brass bands | the Daily Mail: "A little-known law backing irritated householders who try to shoo away a noisy ensemble is one of hundreds of pieces of legislation being scrapped by the Government. The 1839 law, which allows for a 40-shilling fine on street musicians who decline a request to move on, was introduced to deal with a proliferation of Victorian brass bands and street organs."
Well, there goes the neighborhood.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Seeking a right to dry, clothesline users are causing flaps | | Star-News | Wilmington, NC

Seeking a right to dry, clothesline users are causing flaps | | Star-News | Wilmington, NC: "They say they only want to protect their 'right to dry.' And in three New England states, advocates for clotheslines - strung across the yard, draped with socks and sheets - are pushing for new laws to liberate residents whose neighbors won't let them hang laundry outside.

Homeowners' associations, which enforce bans on clotheslines at thousands of residential developments across the country, say the rules are needed to prevent flapping laundry from dragging down property values. But in an age of paper over plastic, as people try to take small steps to protect the environment, more residents are chafing at the restrictions. And some lawmakers in Vermont, New Hampshire and Connecticut are taking it a step further, seeking legislation that would guarantee the freedom to let one's garments flutter in the breeze."

So now the hippies who transplanted themselves to New England are taking on the HOA industry monolith. The "right to dry" is found in which amendment, exactly?

Monday, March 17, 2008 | News Update: Maine vodka named best in nation | News Update: Maine vodka named best in nation: "FREEPORT - Cold River Vodka, a triple-distilled small batch vodka made from Maine potatoes, has been rated the best domestic vodka and 47th among the world's top 111 spirits in 'Kindred Spirits 2' by F. Paul Pacult."
Even though I was born in Maine, I have a hard time believing that this vodka is better than Tito's Handmade Vodka, which is from Texas. I guess I need to find a bottle of Cold River and give it a try one of these days. Tasting is believing.

Daily Herald | Association issues for future thought

Daily Herald | Association issues for future thought
This is Jordan Shifrin's column, and it is a particularly interesting one. He is thinking about issues of the "near and intermediate future." I suggest reading the whole thing. > News > Business -- Keeping the peace > News > Business -- Keeping the peace: "Homeowners who feel they've been wronged by the associations that oversee many of California's housing developments may find solace in proposed legislation that would establish a state-level bureau for resolving such disputes."
But why is the California legislature getting involved, given the state of bliss that prevails in 99.999% of all HOAs, according to the industry? How can it be that the legislature is convinced the situation is bad enough to warrant oversight? Maybe they are getting so many complaints from aggrieved owners that they don't believe the lobbyists' "everything is wonderful" line.

Sunday, March 16, 2008 U.S. U.S.: Big Las Vegas developments in trouble: "March 15 (Bloomberg) -- Two Las Vegas housing projects have each missed an interest payment in recent weeks on about $765 million of debt and are holding talks with lenders, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing development partner Focus Property Group. The Inspirada and Kyle Canyon Gateway ventures, which include Toll Brothers Inc., KB Home and Lennar Corp., have received default notices, the newspaper said, citing Focus Chief Executive Officer John Ritter. The 2,000-acre Inspirada project was expected to develop as many as 13,500 homes over the next seven years, though only about 162 homes have been sold so far, the Journal cited Ritter as saying. He now expects the project to last between 10 and 15 years because of a severe housing downturn in Las Vegas, the Journal said."
Being near a failed real estate development is bad news. I say that as one who lives a mile or so from two of them, courtesy of bankrupt Neumann Homes.

San Diego's Caped Crusaders - FOX6 San Diego

San Diego's Caped Crusaders - FOX6 San Diego: "Don’t be alarmed if you see two masked men walking the streets of San Diego over the next few days. Not if they go by the names Mr. Extreme and Shadow Hare. The duo call themselves “Real Life Superheroes.” This week, their mission is to find the suspect accused of attacking people with a skateboard in the Chula Vista area. Mr. Extreme and Shadow Hare patrol during the day and night warning community members to be on alert. “Be careful on the streets,” says Mr. Extreme to a couple walking their dog, as he hands them a home-made wanted flyer, with a composite sketch of the skateboard suspect. “You don't know what this guy is capable of.” Mr. Extreme is the President and Founder of Extreme Justice League, a division of the global “Real Life Superheroes” movement, with a membership of roughly 200 people."
Maybe in this era of declining real estate values, volunteer superheroes make more sense than private security services. Something to think about if you live in a budget gated community.