Saturday, December 06, 2008

SignOnSanDiego.com > News > North County -- Owners of deteriorating condos still waiting for viable repair plan

SignOnSanDiego.com > News > North County -- Owners of deteriorating condos still waiting for viable repair plan: "For some families living in the building at the Mira La Paz condominium complex, it's a situation that they say has dragged on for too long.

Years ago, experts found that the six-unit building, part of a 175-unit complex, was settling unevenly because of faulty foundations. One side of the building has sunk as much as 8 inches, its occupants say.

So far, no one has been able to figure out how to fix it."

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When the solution may involve lifting the entire building and refilling the foundation, the pucker factor is pretty high for everybody involved.

Forrest J Ackerman, writer-editor who coined 'sci-fi,' dies at 92 - Los Angeles Times: "Forrest J Ackerman, who influenced a generation of young horror-movie fans with Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine and spent a lifetime amassing what has been called the world's largest personal collection of science-fiction and fantasy memorabilia, has died. He was 92.

Ackerman, a writer, editor and literary agent who has been credited with coining the term 'sci-fi' in the 1950s, died Thursday of heart failure at his home in Los Angeles, said John Sasser, a friend who is making a documentary on Ackerman."

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A sad day--to see Forry go after all these years.

Bloomberg.com: Worldwide: "President-elect Barack Obama said he’ll make the “single largest new investment” in roads, bridges and public buildings since the Eisenhower Administration to lift the sagging economy and create jobs.

Obama, in his weekly radio speech today, said his plan to create or preserve 2.5 million jobs will also include making public buildings more energy efficient, repairing schools and modernizing health care with electronic medical records."

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Obama is trying to be the Lincoln/Roosevelt/LBJ sort of president who sees a problem and decides that the only answer is a massive federal government initiative of unprecedented proportions. If you have a superficial understanding of history that makes sense, but if you look closely at all three of these presidents you see that the myth doesn't live up to the reality. You see great accomplishments and...some things that were either not so great or deeply disturbing. Lincoln ended slavery and saved the union, but his record on civil liberties is terrifying. Roosevelt's New Deal was modeled directly on Mussolini's Fascism, and it seems clear now that it was WWII, not the New Deal, that lifted the US economy out of the Great Depression. He also gave away Eastern Europe to Stalin. LBJ's Great Society programs included some monumentally wasteful and destructive efforts, along with great progress in civil rights.

But what did they all have in common? Good intentions backed by the power of the federal government. And Obama has both. What he lacks is what his three role models may also have lacked to some degree: a sense that he and the government he will soon be running have limits to what they can accomplish.

update: I added this photo. The poor guy looks older already, and he hasn't even been elected yet (the electoral college vote is 12/15). He was supposedly giving up his Blackberry for security reasons, but look at his hands: he has TWO of them, along with a huge pile of paper. I'm saying a prayer for him tonight because I don't see how anybody can live up to the expectations he and the voters have placed on his office.

Friday, December 05, 2008


Climate scientists say 2008 will be coolest year of the decade | Environment | guardian.co.uk But this does not, they say, mean that global warming is slowing. Nothing can disprove that. We could be watching battles between woolly mammoths and sabertooth tigers in the driveway and still the scientists would tell us it doesn't disprove global warming.

It was 6 degrees here in Lindenhurst this morning.

In West Hollywood, town houses chic and sheathed - Los Angeles Times: "When architect Lorcan O'Herlihy masterminded the color palette for the Formosa 1140 town houses in West Hollywood, he drew inspiration from Hollywood hot spot Formosa Cafe down the street.

He designed a metallic skin that wraps around the building in shades of red. The skin helps diffuse light and heat, provides privacy for outdoor walkways and gives the building a funky geometric look."

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Funky and geometric, indeed.
Deficiencies in Illinois Condo Act cited : SearchChicago Homes : Condo watch: "The Condominium Advisory Council, in preparation of submitting recommendations to the governor and Illinois Legislature regarding changes to the Illinois Condominium Act, held a series of hearings across the metropolitan area seeking input from the public.

At one on Chicago's Far North Side, about 30 interested individuals affiliated with condominium associations as board members, unit owners, managers and consultants provided their thoughts and suggestions on amending the act. What follows is a summary of the remarks made by these various contributors."

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It's mainly a list of processes that, in their view, need to be refined. But how about this one: "••An office of ombudsman should be established at the state level to hear unit owner complaints against boards. Other than lawsuits, which are too expensive, the only apparent recourse, voting improperly acting board members out of office, is inadequate. The new state ombudsman could be funded by a yearly fee paid by all associations. As an alternative, it was suggested that a separate court be created for condo associations where unit owners could bring complaints against boards." And this one is just completely bonkers: "••Several people spoke against manager licensing, which they contended would be an added financial burden for associations with no assurance that management would improve." So we should just continue along with anybody setting him or herself up as a property manager, without even the minimal credential of a professional license? We don't even let people sell hot dogs or give haircuts without a license. These people are handling (and too often mishandling) millions of dollars of other people's money, and regulating their lives.

FT.com / China / Economy & Trade - Chinese property hunters to raid US

FT.com / China / Economy & Trade - Chinese property hunters to raid US: "SouFun, the biggest real estate website in China, is organising a trip next month to look at properties in California and possibly Nevada. Liu Jian, the company’s chief operating officer, said about 300 people had expressed interest in the idea in the three days since it was advertised, though the company would take only a small group on the first trip...“The US market absolutely terrifies me,” said one Shanghai-based real estate executive. “However, there are plenty of people here who think this a great time for bottom-fishing.”"
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Bottom-fishing? I guess our condos and hoa units are just so many carp.

Ripoffs: Not Even Money Saves You From Foreclosure

Ripoffs: Not Even Money Saves You From Foreclosure: "I recently lost my home to foreclosure. The sad part is I tried for the last 30-40 days before the foreclosure to buy my home from the mortgage company for more than the balance owed on the mortgage. By this time, the mortgage had been referred to a local law firm, which wanted almost $20,000 in fees above the balance of the mortgage. They would not negotiate at all. A friend was helping me try to save my home, but the $20,000 in fees on top of the $100,000 owed was insurmountable."
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Thanks to Mystery Reader who sent the link to this sad story. In HOA and condo foreclosures we hear often of attorney fees being many times more than the amount of assessments owed. Now here is a mortgage company foreclosure where the fees prevented redemption.
Bloomberg.com: Worldwide: "U.S. governors will ask that any federal stimulus plan for the states include as much as $100 billion in aid to help cover the swelling costs of social services, Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich said.

Forty-eight governors met with President-elect Barack Obama today to press their case for a federal package to help them weather the U.S. recession that began in December 2007."

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Blagojevich is still a free man, amazingly. Maybe they let him do the talking to the press on this pathetic request because they figure that soon he will be doing the perp walk anyway. Or perhaps I am just getting my hopes up.

In any event, Fred Pilot sent this link to the latest sad episode in the Great Bailout Debacle. States are taxing bodies, unlike banks and insurance companies and auto manufacturers. They are governments that make most of the laws we, and they, live by. For them to go begging to Washington for federal tax dollars is a joke.

Bloomberg.com: California to pay bills with IOUs?: "California, the world’s eighth-largest economy, may pay vendors with IOUs for only the second time since the Great Depression, State Finance Director Mike Genest said."

Bloomberg.com: Worldwide

Bloomberg.com: One in ten!: "One in 10 American homeowners fell behind on mortgage payments or were in foreclosure during the third quarter as the world’s largest economy shed jobs and real estate prices tumbled.

The share of mortgages 30 days or more overdue rose to a seasonally adjusted 6.99 percent while loans already in foreclosure rose to 2.97 percent, both all-time highs in a survey that goes back 29 years, the Mortgage Bankers Association said in a report today. The gain in delinquencies was driven by an increase of loans with payments 90 days or more overdue."

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Holy default, Batman!
Milwaukee neighborhoods could print own money -- chicagotribune.com: "Residents from the Milwaukee neighborhoods of Riverwest and East Side are scheduled to meet Wednesday to discuss printing their own money. The idea is that the local cash could be used at neighborhood stores and businesses, thus encouraging local spending. The result, supporters hope, would be a bustling local economy, even as the rest of the nation deals with a recession...It's not a new concept—experts estimate there are at least 2,000 local currencies all over the world—but it is a practice that tends to burgeon during economic downturns. During the Great Depression, scores of communities relied on their own currencies.

And it's completely legal."

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This is one of those apparently simple little ideas that could get complicated in a hurry, but it sounds like fun.

Thursday, December 04, 2008


Property-tax collections climb as home prices fall - USATODAY.com: "Property taxes are rising across the USA despite the steepest drop in home values since the Great Depression.

Home values dropped 17% in the third quarter compared with the same period in 2007, reports the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index. At the same time, property tax collections across the USA rose 3.1%, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis."

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My assessment went up this year, even though obviously my house isn't worth as much as it was a year ago.

I can imagine a tax revolt against public and private local taxation. People are getting hit from all sides and it seems the demands increase even if they give you less. I hope they march past my house because I am ready to grab a pitchfork and a torch and join the crowd.

Buyers flock to condo auction, ready to snap up bargains - MarketWatch: "LOMBARD, Ill. (MarketWatch) -- Voices shout dollar amounts across the packed hotel ballroom until the bids stop flowing, the hammer falls and the auctioneer cries, 'Sold!'
Backed by applause and the sounds of a live rock band playing 'Money (That's What I Want),' the winner marches through the crowd to claim his prize -- the $416,000, three-bedroom condominium unit he's just bought for $260,000. At the back of the room, a bartender stands poised to serve customers drinks during a brief intermission."

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I'm sure he read the CC&Rs carefully from front to back before getting drunk. Would any libertarians care to explain how this mob scene constitutes a contract to conform to all the rules and regulations that exist now or might be adopted in the future?
Tallahassee homeowners association files for bankruptcy | tallahassee.com | Tallahassee Democrat: "The homeowners association of an upscale Tallahassee neighborhood has filed for bankruptcy to get out of paying lawyers’ fees after losing a lawsuit against two of its members, a lawyer for the couple said."
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Nice try, but the association's members can't get out of paying the judgment brought upon them by their elected leadership's bad decision to sue the members. Bankruptcy of the association just means that, if necessary, the judge will appoint a receiver to impose a special assessment on the owners, secured by a lien on their units, which will be sold to pay the assessment if necessary.

This little bankruptcy maneuver has been tried before by associations that lost lawsuits. No dice.

Thanks to Fred Pilot for this link.

Home prices are now undervalued, economists say - MarketWatch
The enormous volume of foreclosure homes being dumped by failing banks has driven home prices below their "fundamental valuations." So say the economists. And they also say there is "no end in sight to the downward spiral of house prices."

I other words, your house isn't worth a bucket of warm spit. Now get out there and borrow some money and buy some stuff. Merry Christmas.

The Associated Press: Chicago would get $1.1B in parking meter lease: "The proposed lease in Chicago is the latest for a city that has already cut deals to lease other property to raise money — including Midway Airport and the Chicago Skyway."
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Daley is privatizing transportation infrastructure all over the place. The parking rates are going to double immediately. It is politically unpopular to raise tolls and parking rates, so instead you sell--excuse me, "lease"--the facilities with the understanding that the price you received for the facilities (in this case, the parking meters) is justified only if the private company is going to double the rates. The private company knows it, and the city knows it. But the idea (for the Daley Machine) is that the morons who vote--and that's what the Machine thinks they are--don't get that the government in effect just doubled their parking rates. Instead they will blame the selfish, evil, profit-seeking corporate insect. I guess they are right, because despite waste, incompetence, graft, corruption, and criminal convictions, the voters keep trotting off and re-electing Daley, et al.

Ah, privatization--the gift that keeps on giving to local government.

Bloomberg.com: News

Bloomberg.com: Plans to help mortgage market: "The Treasury, which already has a program to buy mortgage- backed securities issued by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, could step up those purchases to drive down interest rates on some loans to 4.5 percent, the official said on condition of anonymity. The plan is preliminary and could change.

The deliberations come as President-elect Barack Obama pledges fresh action to help American homeowners, and follow a $600 billion initiative announced by the Federal Reserve last week to buy mortgage debt. Mortgage applications surged by a record last week and the average rate on a 30-year fixed-rate loan dropped to 5.47 percent, the lowest level since June 2005, the Mortgage Bankers Association said yesterday."

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Sure--let's all borrow more money and things will be fine.

The Libertarian Moment: Despite all leading indicators to the contrary, America is poised to enter a new age of freedom. - Reason Magazine

The Libertarian Moment: Despite all leading indicators to the contrary, America is poised to enter a new age of freedom. - Reason Magazine: "We are in fact living at the cusp of what should be called the Libertarian Moment, the dawning not of some fabled, clich├ęd, and loosey-goosey Age of Aquarius but a time of increasingly hyper-individualized, hyper-expanded choice over every aspect of our lives, from 401(k)s to hot and cold running coffee drinks, from life-saving pharmaceuticals to online dating services. This is now a world where it’s more possible than ever to live your life on your own terms; it’s an early rough draft version of the libertarian philosopher Robert Nozick’s glimmering “utopia of utopias.” Due to exponential advances in technology, broad-based increases in wealth, the ongoing networking of the world via trade and culture, and the decline of both state and private institutions of repression, never before has it been easier for more individuals to chart their own course and steer their lives by the stars as they see the sky. If you don’t believe it, ask your gay friends, or simply look who’s running for the White House in 2008."
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Here is Nick Gillespie answering the "Libertarianism is Dead" argument (see below for that).

Wednesday, December 03, 2008


How the financial collapse killed libertarianism. - By Jacob Weisberg - Slate Magazine: "The best thing you can say about libertarians is that because their views derive from abstract theory, they tend to be highly principled and rigorous in their logic. Those outside of government at places like the Cato Institute and Reason magazine are just as consistent in their opposition to government bailouts as to the kind of regulation that might have prevented one from being necessary. 'Let failed banks fail' is the purist line. This approach would deliver a wonderful lesson in personal responsibility, creating thousands of new jobs in the soup-kitchen and food-pantry industries.

The worst thing you can say about libertarians is that they are intellectually immature, frozen in the worldview many of them absorbed from reading Ayn Rand novels in high school. Like other ideologues, libertarians react to the world's failing to conform to their model by asking where the world went wrong."

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This article got a lot of attention from libertarians who, of course, claim he doesn't grasp the subtle nuances of libertarianism. But I think the true believers in free markets have some major soul-searching to do. I have been arguing for a long time now that the libertarian defense of CIDs is misguided. Their theory tells them that private repression is actually freedom because it is based on contract law. They see these entities as superior to, and eventual replacements for, municipalities. The fact is that the nation's private governments are at even greater risk than the cities and counties, who have it hard enough right now.

Homeless encouraged to move into foreclosed houses - Telegraph

Homeless encouraged to move into foreclosed houses - Telegraph: "In Miami, an anti-poverty activist group called Take Back The Land not only matches up the homeless with empty properties but provides them with second-hand furniture, cleaning supplies and gardening assistance.

Some property owners in Atlanta, where officials describe foreclosures as an 'epidemic', have gone so far as to pay homeless people to live in their abandoned homes as a security measure.

Meanwhile, poverty campaigners in Cleveland, Ohio, are negotiating with the city authorities to allow homes people to move into and repair empty, dilapidated homes.

'We're matching homeless people with people-less homes,' said Max Rameau, a co-founder of Take Back The Land."
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Coming to an HOA near you: the homeless.

UNCOVERED: Federal Bailout Application Form

UNCOVERED: Federal Bailout Application Form
This is form EZ-CASH, so let's get those condos and HOAs applying ASAP.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Local government nightmare | The San Diego Union-Tribune

Local government nightmare | The San Diego Union-Tribune: "the budget stress now felt in the state Capitol is about to become the norm for every last local government in California.

These governments – cities, counties, school, water and fire districts, redevelopment agencies and more – have been somewhat insulated from the revenue downturn so far because most are largely reliant on property taxes. These levies are lagging indicators of the economy's strength, since they depend on annual assessments and a drawn-out payment system. But beginning with the 2009-10 fiscal year, Beacon forecasts a plunge of more than 10 percent in property tax revenue."

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Think this won't have any impact on HOAs?
Deer gets revenge after hunter shoots him - Yahoo! News: "The buck rose up, knocked Goodman down and attacked him with his antlers in what the veteran hunter called '15 seconds of hell.' The deer ran a short distance and went down, and died after Goodman fired two more shots."
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Don't mess with Bambi.

USATODAY.com

USATODAY.com:Cities cut back, citing shortfalls: "Battered by record foreclosures and falling tax revenue, cities are laying off workers, raising fees and closing libraries and recreation centers. 'Almost every city in the country is feeling the impact,' says Chris Hoene, director of policy and research at the National League of Cities. A survey in September found that city finance officers expect revenue from property, sales and income taxes to decrease 4.3% this year, Hoene says.

The problem will be worse next year, he says, because there is a lag between current economic conditions and when they affect city revenue. 'Local officials know that if things are tight now,' he says, 'tougher choices are coming.' The survey found that 79% of cities expect their finances to worsen in 2009."
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The housing boom comes full circle.

Monday, December 01, 2008


Retiree Havens Turn Younger to Combat the Housing Bust - WSJ.com: "At 'active adult' developments across the U.S., residents are debating whether to scrap the age restrictions that have helped define their way of life for almost five decades. Proponents of 'age desegregation,' as it's known in the industry, say opening the doors to people under 55 is the only way their once-idyllic enclaves can stay afloat amid a worsening economic climate."
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The lure of seniors communities mystifies me. I can't understand wanting to be surrounded by nothing but old people. But who knows...maybe in 10 years I'll change my mind and join the "Get off my lawn" demographic.
Lawsuit on political signs may help clarify confusion about HOAs
An opinion piece on the significance of the Colorado banning-signs-despite-a-state-statute case.

New Condominium Laws: A Lot to Digest - Business - MiamiHerald.com

New Condominium Laws: A Lot to Digest - Business - MiamiHerald.com
Some of the changes to the Florida Condominium Act.

Research on mice links fast food to Alzheimer's | Science | Reuters

Research on mice links fast food to Alzheimer's | Science | Reuters: "LONDON (Reuters) - Mice fed junk food for nine months showed signs of developing the abnormal brain tangles strongly associated with Alzheimer's disease, a Swedish researcher said on Friday.

The findings, which come from a series of published papers by a researcher at Sweden's Karolinska Institutet, show how a diet rich in fat, sugar and cholesterol could increase the risk of the most common type of dementia."

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I think anybody who ate as much fast food as they fed those mice would be dead long before dementia set in.

Credit card industry may cut $2 trillion of lines: analyst - Yahoo! News: "The U.S. credit card industry may pull back well over $2 trillion of lines over the next 18 months due to risk aversion and regulatory changes, leading to sharp declines in consumer spending, prominent banking analyst Meredith Whitney said.

The credit card is the second key source of consumer liquidity, the first being jobs, the Oppenheimer & Co analyst noted.

'In other words, we expect available consumer liquidity in the form or credit-card lines to decline by 45 percent.'"

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Merry Christmas, ho ho ho.

I suspect the big toy for Christmas 2009 will be hand-carved wooden soldiers. Carved by parent, that is.

RBS to be taken over by British government: Financial News - Yahoo! Finance

RBS to be taken over by British government: Financial News - Yahoo! Finance: "LONDON (AP) -- The British government will take over Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC with a majority stake of almost 60 percent after the shareholders of the nation's second-largest bank shunned an emergency share issue."
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Just $31 billion, that's all. The bank's share value has dropped by 85%.

David Holwerk: It takes an entire state to make a budget debacle this big - Bee Opinion Columns - sacbee.com

David Holwerk: It takes an entire state to make a budget debacle this big - Bee Opinion Columns - sacbee.com: "Yep, ultimately the blame for this mess falls on us, the citizens of the great state of California.

After all, we elected the governor and the members of the Assembly and Senate. We passed the various initiatives that have hamstrung the state's ability to deal with falling tax revenues. We elected a governor who simultaneously promised to cut taxes and end crazy deficit spending.

And now, with schools, community colleges and universities struggling, with the prisons overflowing, with truly needy disabled people likely to lose the support they depend on, with cities and counties broke, we can't seem to grasp the seriousness of the moment."

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Fred Pilot sent this along. It seems like a cliche to say, "we, the people, are ultimately to blame." But in this case it is just a fact. The people of California have voted directly for many of the measures that are destroying the state, they elected the representatives who are presiding over the annual budget debacle, and they seem unable to grasp that the ship is sinking.

The same could be said for the citizens of Illinois, New Jersey, New York, and a few other states that are facing insolvency with an oblivious public.

Fannie Mae Taps CFO: Former Hartford Finance Chief David Johnson - - CFO.com

Fannie Mae Taps CFO: Former Hartford Finance Chief David Johnson - - CFO.com
The article goes on to describe the major scandals that erupted at Cendant and Hartford when Johnson was CFO for those companies. I'm sure he just happened along at the wrong time. Both times.

Birmingham Mayor Larry Langford arrested on federal charges - Breaking News from The Birmingham News - al.com

Birmingham Mayor Larry Langford arrested on federal charges - Breaking News from The Birmingham News - al.com: "A special grand jury for several months has been investigating county bond deals and Langford's financial dealings. Langford was Jefferson County Commission president 2002-06."
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Jefferson County is likely to file for bankruptcy protection.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Op-Ed Contributor - What They Hate About Mumbai - NYTimes.com

Op-Ed Contributor - What They Hate About Mumbai - NYTimes.com: "The terrorists’ message was clear: Stay away from Mumbai or you will get killed. Cricket matches with visiting English and Australian teams have been shelved. Japanese and Western companies have closed their Mumbai offices and prohibited their employees from visiting the city. Tour groups are canceling long-planned trips.

But the best answer to the terrorists is to dream bigger, make even more money, and visit Mumbai more than ever. Dream of making a good home for all Mumbaikars, not just the denizens of $500-a-night hotel rooms. Dream not just of Bollywood stars like Aishwarya Rai or Shah Rukh Khan, but of clean running water, humane mass transit, better toilets, a responsive government. Make a killing not in God’s name but in the stock market, and then turn up the forbidden music and dance; work hard and party harder."

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Impressive essay by an NYU journalism professor who is headed back to Mumbai to have a beer.

Lawyers call for international court for the environment - Telegraph

Lawyers call for international court for the environment - Telegraph: "Stephen Hockman QC is proposing a body similar to the International Court of Justice in The Hague to be the supreme legal authority on issues regarding the environment.

The first role of the new body would be to enforce international agreements on cutting greenhouse gas emissions set to be agreed next year.

But the court would also fine countries or companies that fail to protect endangered species or degrade the natural environment and enforce the 'right to a healthy environment'."

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I wonder what position our multilateralist, internationalist, global-warming-believer incoming President will take on this.
Homo Ludens: ARCHITECTURE OF FEAR: "I am reading Mike Davis’s magnificently detailed Planet of Slums. \Davis describes two trends which have defined how people have lived in the last 30 or so years. The first is the inexorable movement of the world’s population from country to city. In 1950, there were 86 cities in the world; there are now more than 400. The urban workforce has more than doubled in my lifetime. Given the extraordinary numbers of people in every part of the world required to shift these percentages, this is one of the most extraordinary and exponential developments in human history. The second, which Davis iterates and reiterates in Planet of Slums, is as fundamental: the rate at which the richest in the world have got richer and, by consequence, the poorest have got poorer."
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The writer of that blog is a Mike Davis fan. Urban theorist Mike Davis is a Marxist who believes the world is in the late stages of capitalism. This means an increasingly intolerable division between rich and poor, and that in turn will lead to revolution by the proletariat against the bourgeoisie. Cities are the place for that to happen because that's where the contrasts between rich and poor are the most intense. Gated communities are the perfect example of fortified wealth, from his perspective. Not being a Marxist myself, I find him a bit overwrought, but he puts together the best examples of the worst situations.

Trinidad and Tobago's Newsday : newsday.co.tt :

Trinidad and Tobago's Newsday : newsday.co.tt :: "Police yesterday seized approximately $170,000 worth of marijuana from a house at a gated community in East Trinidad."
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Those gates come in handy sometime.

The price of dissent on global warming | The Australian

The price of dissent on global warming | The Australian: "Global warming is part of a natural cycle and there's nothing we can actually do to stop these cycles. The world is now facing spending a vast amount of money in tax to try to solve a problem that doesn't actually exist.

And how were we convinced that this problem exists, even though all the evidence from measurements goes against the fact? God knows."

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David Bellamy is a scientist who has written 35 books. He has been a dissenter on the global warming theory since the mid-1990s.

Many people speak casually about this issue, accepting the conventional wisdom that of course we are destroying the planet. What they never take seriously is the consequence of that belief. If you believe in human-caused global warming, you should believe governments must immediately mandate radical changes. It may even be too late for any of that, if you listen to Al Gore. But that isn't what people say, or what they do. That disconnect between the theory people claim to believe in and their own actions suggests that maybe they don't really, truly, believe it in the first place.

In other words, maybe all of us, including Al Gore, are global warming skeptics.

The Gillette News-Record: Today

Convicted HOA fund embezzler now facing state charges after doing federal time: "She testified Wednesday that she wouldn’t have taken the plea deal in federal court if she had known she’d later face state charges. “I was assured there was going to be no state charges,” Deliramich said.

Local prosecutors waited until she finished her federal sentence before bringing state charges.

In his ruling, District Judge Michael “Nick” Deegan said there was no deal because there was never a meeting of the minds, or common understanding, between the two attorneys. Deegan believed both lawyers were telling the truth. This probably was a misunderstanding, he said.

The decision means the state can pursue its case against Deliramich. She has pleaded not guilty to 11 felony counts ranging from forgery to embezzlement. If convicted, she could face up to 10 years in state prison for each count.

The charges came to light in 2003 when the homeowner’s board realized that four unauthorized loans had been made from First Interstate Bank. Deliramich, 56, allegedly forged board members’ signatures to obtain the loans."
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Another HOA embezzlement case--thanks to Fred Pilot for this link.