Friday, October 23, 2009

Soupy Sales dies at 83; slapstick comic had hit TV show in 1960s --

Soupy Sales dies at 83; slapstick comic had hit TV show in 1960s -- Sad day--he was funny, a good person, and a very creative and original comedian.

Behind the War Between White House and Fox -

Behind the War Between White House and Fox - "...officials at the White House had decided that if anything, it was time to take the relationship to an even more confrontational level. The spur: Executives at other news organizations, including The New York Times, had publicly said that their newsrooms had not been fast enough in following stories that Fox News, to the administration’s chagrin, had been heavily covering through the summer and early fall..."
The New York Times says that the White House decided to go after Fox News because Fox was doing too good a job of covering the White House. Fox broke stories that the other major media outlets initially ignored, and then when the stories proved to be true and big, were forced to cover. So, when Fox started leading the way for the rest of the herd, the White House decided to try to demonize and isolate Fox, in the hope that stories broken there will stay there and will not be picked up by the New York Times, et al.

How do you like that, Obama lovers? Is this the new tone you were looking for?

Interactive map: where are the foreclosures?

AP news - knoxnews.comCalifornia, Florida, Arizona, Nevada, and Florida account for well more than half the total

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Shadow Budget | Feature | Chicago Reader

The Shadow Budget | Feature | Chicago Reader: "We recently came into possession of hard evidence of what we've long argued: that the city produces two annual budgets, one released to the public, covered by the media, and debated by the City Council, and the other forged behind closed doors by the Daley administration, shared only in pieces with certain aldermen, and never fully disclosed to citizens. Both budgets are funded by taxpayers.

For the last few years, we've been trying to force the city to open up that shadow budget, which is funded by property taxes diverted into Chicago's tax increment financing program."

And another part of the secret budget is the zillions of condo and townhome associations around the loop.

55-and-over community wants to evict family with 6-year-old - St. Petersburg Times

55-and-over community wants to evict family with 6-year-old - St. Petersburg Times: "With her mother gone, her father a mystery and no other relatives to speak of, Kimberly's living arrangement seemed simple. Except for this: She was breaking the law. And now her case has drawn national attention.

The Stottlers' home, under the management of the Lakes Homeowners Association, was designated 55-and-over. Children could live there for no more than 60 days a year.

The association, which said its bylaws worked to preserve the age-restricted community, wanted Kimberly gone. But the Stottlers' attempts to sell their house stalled. Kimberly had no place else to go."

Thanks to Beth for this updated story, which is full of heartbreaking detail. There is a line in the Cormac McCarthy novel No Country for Old Men that goes something like this: "If the rule that you follow has led you to this, of what use is the rule?"

And that about sums up my feeling on these 55 and over age restrictions. I have always believed that seniors' communities should not have been granted exemption from age discrimination laws. But legislators responded to their voting power and industry lobbying. The irony is that seniors are constantly filing complaints about discrimination against them. You can find people 80 years old bagging groceries. But seniors in these retirement communities are the first to use the law to go after kids, no matter what their circumstances or how badly it will hurt people.

Well, enjoy your freedom from the laughter of children, you bunch of creeps.

Obama Quarterly Approval Average Slips Nine Points to 53%

Obama Quarterly Approval Average Slips Nine Points to 53%: "In fact, the 9-point drop in the most recent quarter is the largest Gallup has ever measured for an elected president between the second and third quarters of his term, dating back to 1953."
After reading this comment, I think he deserves it:

President Barack Obama says his family is like a lot of others — in which the men "need to be knocked across the head every once in a while" in order to see imbalances between the time moms and dads put into raising children. "There's no doubt that our family, like a lot of families out there, were ones in which the men are still a little obtuse about this stuff," Obama said Wednesday in an interview with NBC.

This sort of man-bashing just drives me up a tree. Speak for yourself, pal. So he is a loving but lazy father whose narcissism has driven him to obsess about climbing the greased pole of politics, and to dump the child raising responsibilities on his busy wife? Live with it. But don't pretend that this is the way men act toward their family responsibilities. It is the way you act.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Can't beat those tangible assets

Deserted shopping mall bleak symbol of Fed bailout | Reuters: "The Fed finds itself in the unusual situation of being an Oklahoma City landlord after it lent JPMorgan Chase $29 billion to buy Bear Stearns last year.

That money was secured by a portfolio of Bear assets. Crossroads Mall is the only bricks and mortar acquired through bailout. The remaining billions are tied up in invisible securities spread across hundreds, if not thousands, of properties.

It is hard to be precise because the Fed has not published specifics on what it now owns. The only reason that Crossroads Mall has surfaced is that it went into foreclosure in April."

There is an oil well in the parking lot, but the Fed doesn't own the mineral rights. Other than the fact that the property seems to be worthless, we taxpayers got a heck of a deal.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Simi shuts family's haunted house attraction : Local News : Ventura County Star

Simi shuts family's haunted house attraction : Local News : Ventura County Star: "A popular haunted house in Simi Valley that attracts thousands of children each Halloween has been shut down because the city deemed it an unsafe structure.

Haunted Halls has been operated by Cindy Fike and her family outside their Sebring Street home for the past eight years. But what makes it popular — a covered wooden maze with steel poles, dark and spooky scenes, and volunteers that startle visitors — is the reason it was given a 72-hour notice Friday to be taken down.

Responding to an anonymous complaint, the city said the 1,200-square-foot “amusement building” didn’t have a permit."

What kind of person would complain about this?

In Hawaii, school's out for recession

In Hawaii, school's out for recession: "HONOLULU (AP) - At a time when President Barack Obama is pushing for more time in the classroom, his home state has created the nation's shortest school year under a new union contract that closes schools on most Fridays for the remainder of the academic calendar.

The deal whacks 17 days from the school year for budget-cutting reasons and has education advocates incensed that Hawaii is drastically cutting the academic calendar at a time when it already ranks near the bottom in national educational achievement."

Monday, October 19, 2009

Daley Unveils Some Budget Plans -

Daley Unveils Some Budget Plans - "Faced with a $550 million budget deficit, Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley on Monday said that all non-union city workers would take nearly five working weeks of unpaid leave next year to save the city money.

Daley announced plans Monday to save $114 million by requiring 3,600 non-union city workers to take 24 unpaid days off, eliminating 220 vacant jobs and cutting expenses like travel and supplies by $20 million."

That's the equivalent of a 9% pay cut. Note that union employees are exempt. Daley's hail Mary strategy was that failed Olympic bid. Now the bitter reality of the city's financial picture has to be faced.

Seeking Legal Representation - RFP - HOA Class Action Lawsuits | Deer Ridge Owners - Deer Ridge Mountain Resort - Gatlinburg, Tennessee

Seeking Legal Representation - RFP - HOA Class Action Lawsuits | Deer Ridge Owners - Deer Ridge Mountain Resort - Gatlinburg, Tennessee: "The following is a standard, automated email that I plan on sending to 200-400 law firms in Knox, Blount and Sevier Counties with the goal of soliciting the best legal representation in our upcoming class action lawsuits concerning Deer Ridge Mountain Resort."
Any takers?

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Mass. town uses goats to clear meadow, save a buck |

Mass. town uses goats to clear meadow, save a buck | "Under a pilot program in Andover, Lucy McKain's dairy goats will rotate their grazing around the meadow for an all-you-can-eat buffet of grass, brush and other growth. The goats can clear as much as a half acre every three days at no cost."

The story of the Gömböc

The story of the Gömböc
Fascinating little shape.

Homeowners group seizes control of Scottsdale Estates clubhouse - The Daily Breeze

Homeowners group seizes control of Scottsdale Estates clubhouse - The Daily Breeze: "In the latest twist in a long-running power struggle, a dissident homeowners group has seized control of the clubhouse at Carson's Scottsdale Estates town house complex.

The group has been trying to wrest control of the homeowners' association from board President Cyd Balque for the past year, after she orchestrated a $40 increase in condo dues.

Armed with 349 signatures - and accompanied by a locksmith and private security guards - the group seized control of the Scottsdale Townhouses Association office on Thursday night."

Looks like somebody stormed the Bastille. Thank to Fred Pilot for this link.

Five statues + HOA = big trouble

Neighbor against neighbor: "When she and her husband, Glenn, decided to buy a house in Willamette Landing, a planned development in South Corvallis, the statues went up on the porch and in the yard before the furniture was even unloaded.

'I wasn't going to move anywhere without my statues,' Wolf said.

Now those statues have become the focal point of a long-simmering dispute that has pitted the Wolfs against their homeowners' association board, stirred up ill will among the neighbors and prompted an effort to recall three of the five board members."

Thanks to Beth for the link to this story about a home with five statues on the lawn ranging from 6 inches to 3 feet. The folks thought they were OK bringing these in, but the BOD doesn't like them. And they are off to HOA Conflict Land. As Mr. Wolf aptly put it, ""There's a sociological thing that happens when people are put in charge," Glenn Wolf said. "But when it's a homeowners' association, they're really not answerable to anybody. There's no one you can complain to except them."

And that about sums it up.