Saturday, September 06, 2008

World's deadliest spider discovered in Britain inside a box of Tesco bananas | Mail Online: "The world's deadliest spider forced a supermarket to close after a terrified worker spotted it under a box of bananas.

The highly-venomous Brazilian Wandering Spider - a species responsible for killing more people than any other arachnid - was eventually captured by RSPCA officers.

Victims usually die within an hour of being bitten by the spider, which has a 4in leg-span and is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the planet's most venomous animal."

Take a look at the ugly mug on this guy. It's enough to make you swear off bananas.

Daily Herald | Council to weigh in on host of home association issues

Daily Herald | Council to weigh in on host of home association issues: "As some of the readers of this column may be aware, in early 2008 I was appointed by the Illinois legislature as chairman of the Condominium Advisory Council, consisting of two other laypeople (Shelli Lulkin and George Panagakis) and four legislators (Reps. Harry Osterman and Angelo 'Skip' Saviano, and Sens. Pam Althoff and Mattie Hunter). Our engagement is to advise the legislature as to necessary changes and new laws needed to improve the quality of life of residents of condominium and homeowners associations."
This is a column by Buffalo Grove attorney Jordan Shifrin explaining the task of the Condominium Advisory Council, which he chairs. He explains what issues he thinks are important and how to have some input into their deliberations. Well worth reading. I have always found Jordan to be a voice of reason, so I think he is a good choice for this position.

Friday, September 05, 2008 Worldwide Worldwide: "Sept. 5 (Bloomberg) -- Foreclosures accelerated to the fastest pace in almost three decades during the second quarter as interest rates increased and home values fell, prompting more Americans to walk away from homes they couldn't refinance or sell.

New foreclosures increased to 1.19 percent, rising above 1 percent for the first time in the survey's 29 years, the Mortgage Bankers Association said in a report today. The total inventory of homes in foreclosure reached 2.75 percent, almost tripling since the five-year housing boom ended in 2005. The share of loans with one or more payments overdue rose to a seasonally adjusted 6.41 percent of all mortgages, an all-time high, from 6.35 percent in the first quarter."


BBC NEWS | UK | Northern Ireland | Wilson row over green 'alarmists'

BBC NEWS | UK | Northern Ireland | Wilson row over green 'alarmists': "The Environment Minister Sammy Wilson has angered green campaigners by describing their view on climate change as a 'hysterical psuedo-religion'."
Paging Al "The Debate is Over" Gore.

Mark Hemingway on Community Organizing on National Review Online

Mark Hemingway on Community Organizing on National Review Online: "Obama spent three years in housing projects in Chicago and — according to his book, Dreams of My Father — even he couldn’t explain what he was doing. “When classmates in college asked me just what it was that a community organizer did, I couldn’t answer them directly,” Obama wrote. Indeed, who could say what a community organizer does?"
Sarah Palin's devastating comment that a small town mayor is sort of like a community organizer, except with actual responsibilities, has caused the Obama campaign to squirt blood from its collective ears in rage. But I think she has a point. If you have a mayor and city council who listen to your problems, why would you need a community organizer? The fact is, these folks are essentially trying to duplicate the roles of elected officials and in most cases undermine them.

I have met many community organizers over the years and I know what they do. They are overwhelmingly socialists or at least far to the left. Their activities are mainly of the "politics of protest" variety. Read the bible of their icon, Saul Alinsky, who wrote "Rules for Radicals." Their work mainly consists of trying to get ordinary people angry at the government and business institutions in their neighborhoods, and using that manufactured discontent to disrupt those institutions enough to force concessions from them. Those victories give the community organizers credibility that they try to leverage into a permanent power base. Community organizers also get involved in local politics. Some community organizers use their power base to run for elective office themselves. Give me a minute and I'll think of an example...

Cats on a bank-owned roof: Bobcats claim foreclosed house | L.A. Land | Los Angeles Times: "A postcard from Lake Elsinore: 'Taking advantage of a slump in local real estate, a family of bobcats has moved into a foreclosed Lake Elsinore home, lolling about on fences and walls and riveting an entire neighborhood.'"
Meow. Somebody call the HOA.

Associations see foreclosures, renters as pressing issues --

Associations see foreclosures, renters as pressing issues -- "What's on the minds of community association residents these days? Foreclosures, renters, secretive boards and sloppy managers are high on a long list.

That's what they told the Illinois Condominium Advisory Council at a recent public hearing in Naperville.

The council has been assigned the task of identifying major challenges to associations and making recommendations for legislative change to the General Assembly. Made up of lawmakers and association veterans, the council is conducting a series of public hearings around the state before preparing its report by year's end."

Illinois doesn't have an active owners' rights organization that I know of, as they do in California, Nevada, Arizona, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia, Florida, Texas...well, you get the idea. I wonder if the way assessments are collected is the reason. Here there is no non-judicial foreclosure, and we have statutory authority for condos and HOAs to collect overdue assessments using eviction court. The owner stands to lose possession instead of ownership.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Homeowner associations in disrepute | ®

Homeowner associations in disrepute | ®: "Across the United States, homeowner associations are falling into disrepute. People hate them. But what's the alternative?
Most planned communities include common areas and amenities like swimming pools, tennis courts and clubhouses, all of which must be maintained. Somebody has to hire tradesmen, pay the bills and maintain standards. And who better than the residents themselves?
In theory, it's a great idea. Unfortunately, it no longer seems to work in practice — if it ever did."

Fred Pilot forwarded this piece, written by an HOA officer from Arizona. I imagine some law firm will draft a response to protect the rice bowl.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Republicans propose borrowing, cuts to balance California budget - Los Angeles Times

Republicans propose borrowing, cuts to balance California budget - Los Angeles Times: "Among the bills given final approval by the Senate was a hard-fought, complex measure by Sen. Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) that aims to spur future growth in California in ways that reduce commute times and greenhouse gas emissions.

The bill, SB 375, links regional greenhouse gas reduction goals to transit funding to discourage local governments from approving far-flung subdivision developments. It won the support of environmentalists and the building industry. The Senate passed the measure 25 to 14.

Sen. Tom McClintock, a Republican from Thousand Oaks who voted against the measure, likened it to centralized Soviet planning. He said it would force people to live in urban cores near train stations.

'Most people prefer the quiet, tree-shaded neighborhood,' said McClintock."

Fred Pilot sent this link to a report on recent measures passed by the California senate. This one is an anti-sprawl measure. I wonder what happens to demand for California housing when instead of the California Dream house in the suburbs you get an urban apartment.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Some bugging out over 'killer' wasps -- "The female cicada killer digs a hole about three quarters of an inch wide and about two feet deep and goes hunting for cicadas. After catching a bug and stinging it with paralyzing venom, the cicada killer pulls it into the hole, lays an egg on it and waits for her babies to emerge and munch on the powerless, still-paralyzed cicada."
That's what they do when they aren't busy chasing exterminators across the lawn and down the street. Those things are huge.

What properties is Paul Hogan hiding? | The Daily Telegraph

What properties is Paul Hogan hiding? | The Daily Telegraph: "AUSTRALIAN Crime Commission target Paul Hogan has gone to great lengths to keep his fortune a secret - with his multi-million dollar US property portfolio hidden in a complicated web of private trusts, Hollywood lawyers, agents and accountants.

Hogan's American mansions have been squirelled away in a secret trust account that the Crocodile Dundee star named Brentwood-Westridge Trust - after the street (Westridge) and upmarket Los Angeles neighbourhood (Brentwood) where he and wife Linda Kozlowski once lived."

Slip another mansion on the barbie.

Association cuts down Kihei man’s attempt to conserve water with artificial Grass - Maui News

Association cuts down Kihei man’s attempt to conserve water with artificial Grass - Maui News: "KIHEI - When Maui County asked South Maui consumers to cut back on water use, homeowner Wolfgang Bayer replaced his front lawn with artificial grass estimating it will save 20,000 gallons of water a year. But he did not submit a landscaping plan and get approvals first from the Kilohana Ridge Homeowners Association. The association issued a notice of violation with a $100 fine. 'I felt what I was doing was the right thing. I wanted to make a point. I agreed to be the guinea pig and go and get this done,' Bayer said. Association President Connie Lappin said it's not a problem of saving water but of following association rules and submitting plans. 'Any project of any scope requires approval,' she said."

Bed-Stuy Banana: Satans Demonic Daughter and the Block Association: "The Head of the Block Association 'Satan's' demonic daughter, Numerous times for years walks her dog leaving Urine + Stool in Front of My Home. Your a Noise, 'Gossiping,' hateful, Evil, Jealous lying, Orthopedic 'PHONY HYPOCRITE.'"
But on the bright side, you can be Satan's demonic daughter and still be allowed to join the block association. Can't accuse them of discrimination.