Katy, like bowels,Hurricane evacuation paranoia was a one-time occurrence, something all of southeast Texas felt after the Katrina and Rita fiascos. It's looking like the 2009 hurricane season will be a dud, and as always there's no reason to haul ass if you live more than 30 miles from the coast.
Always wondering "should we
Monday, August 31, 2009
Sunday, August 30, 2009
Saturday, August 29, 2009
Rep. Charles Rangel claimed on mortgage papers that a Harlem brownstone was his principal residence -- even though he was living elsewhere at the time, The Post has learned.Serin did this and didn't wind up in jail and at least Rangel makes the payments. It's pointless for Rangel's political appointments to get worked up over this since it's pretty clear that lying on multiple loan documents is no longer a prosecutable crime.
"It's fraud or a mistake," said David Reed, an author of several popular books about mortgage lending.
"Owner-occupied dwellings -- where you hang your hat -- always get better interest rates and lower down payments than rental properties or second homes," Reed added.
"That's because if a borrower goes south, you're likely to dump your vacation home or your investment property first."
More on Law Hawk:
The terms would be different, however, if the home were properly classified as a second home or rental property because it would have a higher interest rate and additional terms and conditions.So what? Mortgage fraud is no longer being prosecuted. If someone can fraudulently acquire over $2 million in properties, default on the loans, brag about it in a very public way and never be prosecuted, why should anyone get their panties in a wad over what Rangel apparently did?
Rangel is in hot water here, and Democrats are doing their best to ignore this situation. Rangel can't simultaneously claim that he lived in the rent stabilized apartments (of which he owned four units and already admitted to improperly using one as his office in contravention of state law) as his primary residence while claiming that this brownstone was his principal residence.
He is caught in a lie.
A big lie.
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
If You Were Laid Off Without Severance, How Long Would your Savings Cover Your Living Expenses?Half of all working Americans have less than a month's worth of living expenses saved up?
* One Week or Less: 34%
* 2-4 Weeks: 16%
* 1-2 Months: 16%
* 3-5 Months: 14 %
* 6 Months or Longer: 20%
I was in that boat during college. When you're 19 or 20 it's scary but not overwhelming. There are still options at that point when you are totally SOL. I can't imagine being in my 30's, 40's or 50's with only a few weeks of savings. This is the stuff of nightmares. I wouldn't be able to sleep at night.
Like many Malthusian beliefs, peak oil theory has been promoted by a motivated group of scientists and laymen who base their conclusions on poor analyses of data and misinterpretations of technical material.I like the top paragraph.
A careful examination of the facts shows that most arguments about peak oil are based on anecdotal information, vague references and ignorance of how the oil industry goes about finding fields and extracting petroleum. And this has been demonstrated over and over again: the founder of the Association for the Study of Peak Oil first claimed in 1989 that the peak had already been reached, and Mr. Schlesinger argued a decade earlier that production was unlikely to ever go much higher.
Like many Malthusian beliefs, peak oil theory has been promoted by a motivated group of scientists and laymen who base their conclusions on poor analyses of data and misinterpretations of technical material.If I strike and replace just two words it's also valid.
Like many Malthusian beliefs,Malthusians have given us so much. We're all gonna starve to death, we're all gonna roast to death, we're gonna live in a Mad Max world and fight to death over a tank of gas. It's disaster porn and it always fails to take into account mankind's ingenuity.
peak oilglobal warming theory has been promoted by a motivated group of scientists and laymen who base their conclusions on poor analyses of data and misinterpretations of technical material.
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Can you name a US city with more aggressive bums? Thought not. To call them "homeless" is an insult to those who find themselves out on the street but want to rejoin society. These bums follow you around, belittle you, and urinate and defecate right on the streets. Union Square reeks of urine and feces in the morning. The stench on Market Street is unbelievable.
I wrote to Gavin Newsom a few years ago and after 4 months one of his assistants wrote back, only to inform me that these people are drug addicts and alcoholics. Duh.
I don't know how San Franciscans put up with it. One of the most beautiful cities in the world, with (for my way of thinking) absolutely perfect weather, has let itself become a cesspool. With all of the taxes they pay you'd think the streets would be clean at least.
UPDATE: A reader has discovered the problem. (Probably NSFW.)
Sunday, August 23, 2009
Saturday, August 22, 2009
For the third consecutive month, companies that provide support activities for oil and gas exploration and production have been eliminating positions. Over the year, that sector has cut 2,600 jobs or 6.1 percent.Seems to me that if the oil companies were confident in $70+/barrel they wouldn't be cutting back. Hmm.
In other local news, the monied crowd near Rice University are getting their panties in a wad over the Ashby high-rise. At this point, why? The proposed white elephant will never be built. We are awash in see-through condo towers and no one will finance another condo tower in this city for at least 10 years.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
For candidates who are: instead of talking about each other, tell Texans how we can cut school dropout rates and make college education more accessible, and how to pay for it.I'll wager that White's plan involves pumping more tax dollars into the educational system and cranking out more student loan money. That seems to be the forever solution. But the fact is this "solution" is what has caused higher education expenses to soar. The cost to attend our colleges and universities has increased at a far higher clip than inflation, particularly over the past 20 years. By pumping more tax dollars and providing an endless stream of guaranteed student loan money, what incentives do colleges and universities have to reign in costs? Feeding more money into the system in order to make it "affordable" is like feeding money and easy credit into the housing market, and we all know what happened there once the easy money dried up. Bloated prices collapsed.
Starve the higher education beast and college will become affordable again for the masses. It's that simple. And quit saddling 23-year-old kids with $100k in debt for a lousy B.S. degree.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Prosecutors have previously acknowledged that Turner was an informant for several years, paid by the government to spy on radical right-wing organizations.
Steins takes a breath. Life in this $2.5 million house was built on the premise of two incomes, not the income of a divorced mother of three in a tanked economy. Her property taxes are $35,000 a year, the nanny is $40,000 and the gardener is $500 a month.Life is tough on the mean streets of Westchester County when you only make $300,000/yr. She could save $6,000 each year by making her oldest son get off his ass and mow the lawn on Saturday mornings, but that's sooo gauche. Making your kid cut the grass? Ewww! That's what Mexicans are for.
Since the recession hit, Steins worries about how sudden financial insecurity affects her children.
Monday, August 17, 2009
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Saturday, August 15, 2009
Friday, August 14, 2009
- Applied kinesiology.
- Believing that dolphins enjoy being molested and that you are "connecting" with them.
- Paying 50% more for "whole" food.
- Crap circles.
- An economy based upon flipping stocks of companies that have no discernible revenues but plenty of "eyeballs."
- An economy based upon flipping houses.
- Technical analysis. By using the word "technical" it sounds really scientific, when in reality it's no different than reading tea leaves. If technical analysis works, why isn't everyone rich? If it worked, all we would have to do is trade based upon the fantasy signals that are generated. (TxChic57 and I used to get into long arguments about this. She chalked up her success to using various trading "tools" like Bollinger bands. I pointed out the fact that anyone posting on the Housing Bubble Blog in 2005 was savvy enough to make sound investing decisions and you didn't need psuedo-scientific mumbo jumbo to recognize that we were sitting upon an enormous bubble.)
- Anything Alex Jones rants about.
- Keith Olbermann.
- Rush Limbaugh.
- Chariots of the Gods?
- Whitley Strieber and the whole "alien abduction" nonsense that got addle-headed people so frightened in the late 1980s.
- Hal Lindsey.
- Schmucks who refuse to get their kids vaccinated.
- Truthers, birthers, peak oilers.
- Adults who still believe in "ghosts."
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
(French) authorities regularly force men to ditch their Bermudas and parade in skin-tight budgie-smugglers for the greater public good.
Why the enforced parading of Frenchmen's bulges? "Hygiene," says Emmanuel Dormois, a head pool attendant in Paris's 11th arrondissement.
● Mandating all employers to provide affordable health care for all their employees and dependents or pay a penalty.Over on the Michigan Democratic Party website, Brewer is fighting back against the critics.
● Raising the minimum wage from $7.40 per hour to $10 per hour and covering all workers with no exceptions.
● Increasing unemployment benefits by $100 a week, making all workers eligible and adding six months to the time one can receive benefits.
●Cutting utility rates by 20%.
● Imposing a one-year moratorium on home foreclosures.
Greedy, Selfish Chamber CEO Calls MDP Ballot Proposals “Bull$@#*”I don't know how Michigan residents can stand this nonsense. When the local politicians make businesses the enemy, what should residents expect when they leave for friendlier places?
"Rich Studley's reaction is just what you would expect from a greedy, selfish corporate CEO who doesn't care about the suffering of millions of Michigan citizens," said Brewer. "While Rich Studley defends the excesses of his Wall Street buddies, the Michigan Democratic Party is fighting for the people on Main Street with these proposals."
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
You think it’s hard selling a house these days? Try unloading a subdivision. And not just any subdivision, but one with few if any completed homes and a weedy patch where the swim-and-tennis center was planned.Houstonians who rode out the mid-1980s oil depression are very familiar with these failed subdivisions. My recollection is they started appearing in 1983 or thereabouts, and they didn't start filling in again for at least 10 years. Many of the nicer subdivisions up on FM 1960 were wastelands, and now you wouldn't know it.
We have proto-zombie subdivisions forming all over the west side now, along with dozens of new, never-occupied strip shopping centers. How quickly people forget.
Sunday, August 9, 2009
(Our members include) Brazos County, Dallas County, Tarrant County, the Port of Houston Authority, the North East Texas Rural Rail District, American and Continental Airlines, and Scott & White Hospital.So filled with meaningless buzzwords. On that one page there are two "grassroots," two "collaborative," two "innovative" and one "proactive."
Grassroots my butt. Also see running the numbers.
Saturday, August 8, 2009
Scrolling down to the comments I see that one person didn't get it.
anthonyhitt 1 day agoHehe!
Vernon Dozier, based on this interview, gives agents a bad name. I couldn't DISAGREE more with his stance on open houses and how to work with clients. His attitude, fears, emotion and lack of integrity represent the type of stereotypical agent usually portrayed in movies. Vernon, if you read this, join me -- without charge -- for my Open House webinar to see how a professional real estate agent represent sellers and attract clients.
Friday, August 7, 2009
Silent Seeker says:Seems to me Republicans could gain a great deal of traction in the 2010 elections by running against stuff like this. Except they are snout-deep in the trough as well. I don't think anyone in Congress has a clue about how pissed off the citizens of this country are right now.
People are still running around spending. Why shouldn't they? Congress just ordered three elite jets for 'their' convenience. They will tell you that we should be happy as it will give people jobs and downplay the fact that they should be out HITCHING RIDES WITH US to get a sense of what it is like here in the real world.
Sorry for my 'religious' close, but if Christ could be a carpenter and Paul a tentmaker, then I fail to see why those in Congress can't WORK AT A REAL JOB WHILE SUPPOSEDLY SERVING.
Thursday, August 6, 2009
I’m very much Into The Wild, just like Chris McCandless, and I am not very well prepared and didn’t know what kind of crazy adventure this was going to be. And I’m kind of trapped since my van may be slightly damaged in trying to make it out here and also because its not 4×4 it may not make it back up the steep road.Just enough distilled water and honey to tide him over until next weekend when he arrives back at Mom and Dad's house.
Biggest thing is that the creek dried up. That means I have to ride my mountain bike 5 miles back up hill to the little town to buy water but I didn’t save any cash for that, figuring I’l boil the creek water and try living off the land. I’m doing OK for now without food because I’m sort of fasting and doing some cleansing after months of eating whatever my heart desires. I have enough distilled water at the moment.
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Be sure to read the letter from John Chiang attached to the IOU. Five more are on their way to us.
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Chinese asset markets have become a giant Ponzi scheme. The prices are supported by appreciation expectation. As more people and liquidity are sucked in, the resulting surging prices validate the expectation, which prompts more people to join the party. This sort of bubble ends when there isn’t enough liquidity to feed the beast.The Chinese are still not buying goods and services from western countries. From what I've read they are are merely stockpiling raw materials. Stuff like iron ore and coal and oil. They are also piling into the Shanghai Stock Exchange.
How do you spell stock market bubble? S-H-A-N-G-H-A-I. China’s main share market is up 80% this year, and some IPOs have skyrocketed several times their offer price on the first day of trading. Sichuan Expressway soared 300%, repeat 300% on its opening day of trading on Monday July 27, and China State Construction Engineering Corporation surged 70% today, July 29, even as the Shanghai Stock Index plunged 5%. Of course that might just be due to a sell-off in most other stocks so people could climb onto the IPO bandwagon. Chinese investors routinely liquidate existing positions to pile into new issues.China is Japan circa 1990, only very militaristic. The China bulls are delusional.
Monday, August 3, 2009
Casey's next wild ride is partnering with an investor who owns a gold mine. He has invested in equipment that can extract fine gold and has put a claim on 60 acres of government land nearby to search for more. His more basic aim is to live off the land. Citing Thoreau's Walden and Sean Penn's film version of Into the Wild as inspiration, Casey is well-versed in the time-honored dream of living off the grid.Update: He's back in Sacramento and leeching off Mom and Dad again. Right on schedule.
These people are so odious that I sometimes wonder if the Palin's and Obama's aren't privately egging these morons on. The "Birthers" are certainly good for Obama. They're an effective way to smear Obama critics as psychopaths. The Sarah Palin haters are certainly good for Palin's political future. Critics of Palin now appear to be bitter and frustrated old cranks who like to fabricate nonsense and attack children.
I wish they'd all just shut up and go away.
Sunday, August 2, 2009
Why is there such disagreement over oil reserves?The places with large oil reserves are run by undemocratic thugocrats, with rare exceptions such as Canada and Norway. These thugocrats need high oil prices in order to keep the natives from getting restless. Since these thugocrats prohibit free speech and an open press, why should we accept their reporting on oil reserves? It's in their interest to claim that reserves are declining.
All numbers tend to be informed estimates. Different experts make different assumptions so it is understandable that they can come to different conclusions. Some countries see the size of their oilfields as a national security issue and do not want to provide accurate information.
Meanwhile, up in Oklahoma: Cushing oil glut worrisome.
Saturday, August 1, 2009
I am now now at liberty to tell you all a few things. It's nothing earth-shattering but it's going to come out so I'd rather get ahead of the news......I have been, for the last 6 years, on the payroll of the United States government. The job I did for our country was in the area of domestic intelligence gathering. I was not a "spy" or "deep cover." Those jobs are done by people with a far more involved background...Sounds like another bit, only done via Facebook. We'll find out soon enough.
I was simply tasked to watch and listen...as many civilians who apply are similarly tasked. The information I passed along was sometimes as simple as a name or an address on an envelope, the movements or activities or personal information of an individual I might have met. I never carried a weapon, was never involved in so-called espionage work and had a limited area of responsibility....
The fact is much of what is called "intelligence gathering" is that basic. There is a tremendous amount of information processed that in and of itself seems innocuous. So, much of it is gleaned by way of conversation or what is laying on someone's desk. Hence, regular people such as myself, who have other jobs and careers, are perfect for this kind of work.
I became involved in this type of work by way of an introduction..a colleague of mine in the business who had these contacts. We talked and he knew of my deep concern for our country's safety following 911. He asked me if I had interest in talking to the people I eventually went to work for. I remember at the time I wanted to do something..anything.
These people became the only people I would meet or know from this group. My contact with them was by way of telephone and there were simple code words used. It's very easy to beat bugs and taps this way when the kind of information you're passing is native and pedestrian to others. I did this for 6 years, mostly here in California but sometimes in other cities when I was traveling.
So to the point of the story: There will be a significant story breaking Monday concerning a figure in the broadcast industry who ran afoul of American anti-terror laws. This person is someone I helped set up and who has subsequently been arrested. My name will be connected to the story. The reason is simple. Keeping my name out of the story is far more trouble than it is worth.
I did not do "sensitive" work, no lives were at stake in any direct sense and identifying me does not compromise other people or so-called operations. Lastly, I don't care who knows what I did since I am frankly very proud of it and my connection to the government was of a short duration. That's it. Believe it or don't but I wanted to at least get my side of the story out there while I had a chance.
Oh by the way...I want to apologize to Rantz and Ralph..my brothers and crew. I know I've been a raging asshole the last few weeks. I'm sorry I couldn't keep the pressure out of the job. You guys are the best! Best crew I've ever had!!
Update: As I figured. It was another bit.