Saturday, October 18, 2008

Performer at State Fair injured during stunt

Performer at State Fair injured during stunt: "A man performing the act the 'Human Speed Bump' was injured after being run over by a car during his act at the Arizona State Fair around 6:20 p.m. according to the Arizona Department of Public Safety."
I wonder what he was expecting, given the title of his act.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Ben Smith's Blog: The tolerant Left: "A spokeswoman for the Manhattan District Attorney confirms the authenticity of a story circulating on conservative blogs: that during a (rare, and small) McCain rally on Lexington Avenue and 51st Street in Manhattan last month, a hostile local grabbed a woman's sign, broke it and hit her in the face."
What will these folks do if by some weird set of circumstances The One finishes as "The Two"? The 10,000-strong party in Grant Park that Obama has arranged will turn instantly into a major civil disturbance of some sort, that's for sure.

Credit trickle slows construction | | The Tennessean

Credit trickle slows construction | | The Tennessean: "Local cities and counties are delaying millions of dollars in bond issues, waiting for municipal debt markets to calm down. Meanwhile, some local businesses are putting off expansions or new construction projects because of trouble getting loans.

Despite actions taken in recent weeks by the federal government to head off a deeper economic crisis, the impact of the credit meltdown still is being felt on Main Street."

The ability to borrow money is central to construction, from single family home improvements to government buildings. The article talks about cities relying on reserves or delaying projects, but if things don't loosen up there will be cancellations.

MyFox Orlando | Central Florida 7th grader called racist for wearing Palin t-shi

MyFox Orlando | Central Florida 7th grader called racist for wearing Palin t-shirt
The next four years should be interesting.

Condo boards want banks' 'free ride' to end |

Condo boards want banks' 'free ride' to end | "The suggestions reflect a growing sense of despair among condo owners who find themselves going up against lenders who are benefiting from a $700 billion bailout. Robaina said he was initiating discussions with South Florida's Congressional delegation about whether any of the rescue funds could be directed to the battered condo communities, many of which were at the center of speculative buying during the boom."
As I expected, now the idea is being floated that condos should get bailed out too. This article details the complaints condo owners have about banks, especially when they don't foreclose in order to avoid having to pay the delinquent owner's condo fees. Thanks to Fred Pilot for the link.

Evictions to resume Monday :: CHICAGO SUN-TIMES :: Politics

Evictions to resume Monday :: CHICAGO SUN-TIMES :: Politics: "Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart says he'll end his prohibition on foreclosure evictions Monday now that new language has been added to court orders aimed at protecting renters who are not properly informed their landlord has lost the property.

The Sun-Times reported this week that Cook County judges began using a new court document for foreclosure evictions that specifically names tenants living at the foreclosed property and states how long they are allowed to remain in units -- the length of their lease or 120 days, whichever is shorter -- before deputies are allowed to haul out their belongings."

After Obama takes office, he and the Democratic Congress will take care of these situations. I expect a national moratorium on foreclosures until they set up a way to restructure all the loans so foreclosure becomes next to impossible.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Pew Research Center: Who Knows News? What You Read or View Matters, but Not Your Politics

Pew Research Center: Who Knows News? What You Read or View Matters, but Not Your Politics: "The survey, conducted April 30-June 1 among 3,612 adults ages 18 and over, found that about half of Americans (53%) knew that the Democrats have a majority in the House of Representatives, while 42% could identify the secretary of state (Condoleezza Rice)."
What hope is there for responsible electoral democracy this year? We live in a nation where almost half the population doesn't know the Democrats control the House of Representatives. I suspect that if you asked that question of the "undecideds" it would be even worse.
Bush Calls For Panic | The Onion - America's Finest News Source: "WASHINGTON—In a nationally televised address to the American people Wednesday night, President Bush called upon every man, woman, and child to spiral uncontrollably downward into complete and utter panic...During the address, Bush laid out a historic five-point plan for panic that he hopes will help the American people fall apart as quickly as possible. The plan—which many are calling Bush's most well-thought-out proposal to date—calls for citizens to abandon their daily routines entirely, and engage in a weeklong period of bloodcurdling screaming, arm flailing, dry heaving, and gnawing on one's fingers while rocking back and forth in alternating bouts of maniacal laughter and gentle sobbing."

HOA: We're not 'a pack of Nazis' - Bay News 9

HOA: We're not 'a pack of Nazis' - Bay News 9
Then maybe you should stop acting like one.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

JS Online: Brookfield condos lose fight with city over street upkeep: "Brookfield - A federal judge has ruled in favor of the City of Brookfield, dismissing a lawsuit by four condominium associations that challenged the city's requirement that the complexes be built on private roads maintained at the cost of the associations...The groups alleged it was discriminatory for the city to take over and maintain streets in single-family residential developments while refusing to do the same for multifamily developments. But Adelman ruled that the city had a legitimate interest in reducing public works costs. Shifting part of that burden onto condominium associations “with the means to provide their own services” is not unconstitutional, Adelman said."
Mandatory privatization is the point. That's why cities favor CIDs. More property tax payers without the expense.

As condo owners are foreclosed, complex fails to pay gas bills --

As condo owners are foreclosed, complex fails to pay gas bills -- "A condominium complex near Des Plaines is locked in a battle with Nicor Gas over unpaid bills totaling $244,000, a problem a property manager blamed on a high number of foreclosures.

The foreclosures have dried up the collection of assessments—fees paid by condo owners to cover the cost of shared utilities and other expenses, the manager said.

But poor management by the condo association also has contributed, a Nicor spokeswoman said.
I expect a lot more of this in the next few years.

Metro home sales up, but prices plunge | | Detroit Free Press

Metro home sales up, but prices plunge | | Detroit Free Press: "The median price on a house or condo sold in Detroit last month plummeted 57%, to $9,250, from $21,250 a year ago, according to figures released Monday by Realcomp, a multiple listing service based in Farmington Hills.

Foreclosures represented two-thirds of sales in Detroit in September, and they boosted sales by 81% as buyers laid claim to 1,019 homes.

For the wider metro area, the median sale price was down 34%, from $129,000 a year ago to $85,000 last month."

Detroit median housing unit price: $9,250.
Detroit metro area median housing price: $85,000

Last one out, turn off the lights.

Note to self: Taser no good on wild boars
An object lesson for us all.

US confronts possibility of long, deep recession : National News : Knoxville News Sentinel

US confronts possibility of long, deep recession : "A recession is typically defined as a period in which the economy shrinks for two quarters in a row. In the 2001 recession, the quarters weren't even consecutive.

But in the 1970s, the recession stretched on for a year and a half. Nearly 2.2 million people lost their jobs. By the end of 1974, the Dow Jones industrial average had lost more than 40 percent of its value. At the same time, the nation was focused on the Watergate scandal and the vacuum left by President Nixon's resignation in August 1974.

The economy began to recover in spring of the next year. But inflation, which had eased as the oil embargo was lifted, spiked again. By 1980, prices were rising at an annual rate of 13.5 percent."

The point of this article is that we haven't had a deep recession since the early 1970s, and many people don't know what it feels like. I am astounded by the depth of political ignorance this year, as people get ready to vote but don't even know the Democrats control Congress, and I guess the economic ignorance is much worse.

Pre-debate talking points: Raising expectations - Yahoo! News

Pre-debate talking points: Raising expectations - Yahoo! News: "A copy of Obama surrogates' pre-debate talking points slipped out inadvertently on a campaign press list this morning, in case you want to skip hearing them repeated ad nauseum on the cable news, they're posted in full after the jump."
Interesting inside look into the way the campaigns try to spin the press coverage.

MyFox New York | Brooklyn Middle School Ordered To Remove Obama Poster

MyFox New York | Brooklyn Middle School Ordered To Remove Obama Poster: And on it goes...

Metro State clears teacher in Palin essay flap : Updates : The Rocky Mountain News

Metro State clears teacher in Palin essay flap : Updates : The Rocky Mountain News: "A special investigation of part-time Metropolitan State College instructor Andrew Hallam has determined that he had not violated any college policies in assigning an essay on Republican vice president nominee Sarah Palin to one of his English classes.

'The investigation concluded that Hallam must learn to curb the use of vulgar language in class, and that the introduction of controversial topics must have a substantial relationship with the subject of the class,' according to a news bulletin released by the college Tuesday.

'While discipline is not warranted, appropriate mentoring is recommended.'"

So, maybe he can do a little less swearing while he uses his English class as a forum for his lefty politics? That's it? The essay assignment in question, that was OK with the college after all: "He allegedly told them to write an essay that would contradict "the fairy tale image of Palin" as presented at the Republican National Convention." -- Obama maps rescue for middle-class U.S. -- Obama maps rescue for middle-class U.S.: "Highlights of his plan include:

• A temporary tax credit of $3,000 for each new job companies create in the United States over the next two years.

• New legislation that would allow families to withdraw 15 percent of their retirement savings — up to a maximum of $10,000 — without facing a 10 percent tax penalty this year (retroactively to Jan. 1) and next year.

• A 90-day foreclosure moratorium for homeowners who are making a good-faith effort to pay their mortgages.

• Calling on the Federal Reserve and the Treasury to work to establish a facility to lend to state and municipal governments."

So state and local governments bring up the end of the line. Don't see the nation's condos and HOAs there.

Pasadena woman facing eviction is found dead in burning home - Los Angeles Times

Pasadena woman facing eviction is found dead in burning home - Los Angeles Times: "A series of financial setbacks left Wanda Dunn facing eviction from the house in Pasadena where her family had lived for generations.

Dunn, 53, told neighbors that she would rather die than leave.

Early Monday, the day of her expected eviction, firefighters pulled her body out of the house as it burned. She apparently had set it on fire before shooting herself in the head, authorities said.

'We knew it was going to happen,' said Steve Brooks, who lived across the street. 'It was nobody's fault; it was everybody's fault.'"

That makes two of these in the last week. Tragic.

Daily Herald | Waukegan store clerk fatally shoots robber, may face criminal charges

Daily Herald | Waukegan store clerk fatally shoots robber, may face criminal charges: "Walles said it's unclear why the clerk had a gun at the store, but confirmed there have been numerous theft and other disturbances at the location in the past two years. 'That's one of the things we are reviewing in the case,' he said. 'But, at this time, we are unclear on why the clerk had a gun in the store.'"
Indeed. What a puzzle. And this Walles is a Waukegan police commander. Let's see if we can contribute to the solution of his conundrum, shall we? Hmmmmm.

Play the "Jeopardy" theme...

The answer: A gun.

The question: What is the best way for a store clerk in a bad neighborhood to protect himself against robbers and other miscreants?

If you want to debate whether he should have shot him, fine. I don't know how it all went down. But don't insult people's intelligence with all this public dithering about why there was a gun in the store. I have driven right past that store and if I worked there I would want a pistol nearby.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Soros Explains The Credit Crisis -

Soros Explains The Credit Crisis - "With his near real-time critique of the credit crisis, George Soros has saved financial historians a lot of work. If he's right, the summer of 2007 and all of 2008 will be the topic of many an academic paper, much like how Ben Bernanke made a career out of studying the Great Depression. Soros sees this as a monumental time. It's not just a bursting housing bubble, he says. It's the end of a quarter-century of credit-driven economic expansion. We're in a whole new world"
Excellent review published in May, 2008, of the Soros book that went to press in March. Soros predicted what just happened, so it is worth taking a few minutes to read this review.

BBC NEWS | Science & Environment | Predators could be superweed fix

BBC NEWS | Science & Environment | Predators could be superweed fix: "A superweed spreading throughout the UK could be brought under control by introducing plant-eating predators from Japan, scientists believe."
I'm sure this will end well. Attack of the Killer Knotweed, followed by Knotweed Meets the Sap-Sucking Psyllid.
McClatchy Washington Bureau | 10/13/2008 | More lawsuits trip up bloggers on Internet: "The Citizen Media Law Project has tallied 280 legal actions against bloggers and other online publishers nationwide. Compared with the millions of blogs out there, that might not seem like a lot. But the numbers have been trending steadily upward, from a mere four lawsuits in 1997 to 89 last year.

Although only a handful of cases have resulted in verdicts or settlements, a few have been eye-popping enough to give even the average basement- residing poster pause."

Yes. $11.3 million will give you Mary Feldman eyes for sure.
Money Central - Times Online - WBLG: Ten people who predicted the financial meltdown
Take a look at No. 10. Hint: his initials are R.P.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Royal Bank of Scotland under state control - Times Online

Royal Bank of Scotland under state control - Times Online: "The Chancellor will move to take control of the Royal Bank of Scotland today by injecting £20 billion of taxpayers’ money.

The Government is also expected to take over HBOS in the most dramatic extension of state ownership in the British economy since the war. The bank’s rescue takeover by Lloyds TSB appeared to be on the brink of collapse last night.

As governments around the world scramble to prevent the collapse of the global financial system, Alistair Darling will unveil plans for a £40 billion “recapitalisation” of the banking sector."

Marx said capitalism would collapse and be replaced by socialism. Maybe he was right after all. I hope not.

Foreclosure-proof homes? - Los Angeles Times

Foreclosure-proof homes? - Los Angeles Times: "A U.S. District Court judge in Cleveland tossed out 14 foreclosure cases Oct. 31 on the grounds that the bank suing to repossess the properties, Deutsche Bank National Trust Co., didn't actually own them. Deutsche Bank held debt securities that were linked to the mortgage loans on the properties, not the mortgages themselves. And the judge ruled that a security backed by a mortgage is not the same as a mortgage.

That's a distinction that could make all the difference in the world -- especially to the millions of Americans facing potential foreclosure in our crumbling housing market."

What if I have a mutual fund account that has some MBS shares? Do I get somebody's back porch or something?