Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Police Squad!

Leslie Nielsen was well-known for the Naked Gun movies, but I still think the Police Squad! series was better.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

One way I wasted time when I was a kid.

You are standing in an open field west of a white house, with a boarded front door. There is a small mailbox here.



It's hard to believe that just 2 years ago Europeans were gloating over the collapse of the US financial system. They thought they found the magic elixir of economic policies, and the Euro would rule the world.

Now residents of Ireland are on the hook for $135 billion. It is not possible to re-pay this money. It's not possible for Americans to re-pay the trillions of debt incurred by our political leaders. It's all coming down and in my opinion it's all coming down fast... About 18 months between Iceland and Greece, about 6 months between Greece and Ireland, Portugal in the next few weeks, with Spain, Italy and France about to be placed into the breech.

(Yeah, I know Iceland doesn't use the Euro, but their financial mania was related to the crap going on in Europe. Speaking of Iceland, I remember "Hoz" from the Housing Bubble Blog gloating over his Icelandic CD's. Safest place to put your money!)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Great Houston Real Estate Bust

This sentence from an article in the Chron this past weekend jumped out at me. Describing the year 1984:
Barton Smith, who did his doctoral research at the University of Chicago on the supply of urban housing, found — to his surprise - that Houston had almost a quarter million vacant housing units.
I assume that's for both Harris County and the city. I can't find the census data for that year, but off the top of my head I think the metro population in 1984 was in the range of 3 million. Assuming 3 people per household and a million housing units, the vacancy rate was in the neighborhood of 20-25%. Looking at the charts from the Housing Bubble Bust site it shows 19 consecutive quarters of grinding housing price declines, from Q4 1983 to Q2 1988.

That was a depression. On the other hand, if you were lucky enough to work outside the oil patch for companies like Continental Airlines or Compaq, you made out like a bandit. My best friend bought a very nice 4-bedroom 3-year-old house in 1988 for just a hair under $50k.

Sunday, November 14, 2010


eBay seller attempts to offload house. No current bids.
You are bidding on a small single family home. This house has no delinquent taxes owed. Current tax bill is $600 per year , making operating costs low. House features maintenance free wood siding . Not bad shape , really just needs to be cleaned out. Large 50X122 lot . 1 Bedroom , 1 Bathroom , Living room , Kitchen . Kitchen and bathroom intact. Tenants can't move in 20 family members , the property is just too damn small , it appeals to a quiet older single person that will probably pay their rent on time , Ideal rental to own . $600 per month income potential.
Pencil me in as "skeptical."

Friday, November 12, 2010

What happened to Mish?

I see this:

Thursday, November 11, 2010

How Russians deal with pirates

How sad what the Russians did to these poor fishermen.

kOOktrails over LA and NYC

For Pete's sake, they're contrails from commercial airliners. Get a grip, people.

Time to get the scissors out

A snip snip here, a snip snip there.
The plan would gradually increase the retirement age for full Social Security benefits — to 69 by 2075 — and current recipients would receive smaller-than-anticipated annual increases.
OK. I wasn't counting on it anyway.
Equally controversial, it would eliminate the current tax deduction that homeowners receive for the interest they pay on their mortgages and impose a 15 cent-a-gallon tax on gasoline.
Why are these items controversial? I've long said the mortgage tax deduction is welfare for the wealthy and people in bubblezones who pay too much for a house. As far as the gas tax, at the very least it should have kept pace with inflation.
It would impose a three-year freeze in the pay of most federal employees and a 10 percent cut in the federal work force. Congressional pet spending projects, known as "earmarks," would be eliminated.
I suspect this 10 percent cut in the federal work force will be along the lines of Clinton's reduction: No real reduction, just turn a bunch of government workers into private contractor employees that overcharge the government for work. I'd start with getting rid of the TSA, and turn that 10 percent cut into a 25 percent cut.

It's fun to go through this document from the Government Printing Office (PDF file). I bet you can go through each line and spot literally hundreds of billions that could be shaved from the budget.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Pearl Drops

Today's commercials just aren't as interesting as they were when I was a kid.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

A proposal to my friends who work for the state government

I've seen your comments from last night, grousing about Rick Perry "touching" your retirement benefits and complaining about how stupid us voters are. So I have a proposal for you: Let's exchange retirement plans. Perry's giving you such a raw deal, right?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Is Obama A Keynesian?

Hey, I made this joke almost two years ago, but this is so much better.

Monday, November 1, 2010


Meh. These are just hipsters.

Now these people are smug.

Dems are gonna have their asses handed to them tomorrow because they lost touch. If Republicans govern in a similar fashion, picking up from 2004 and concentrating on petty grievances and distracting nonsense (i.e., gays in the military, Obama's birth certificate, flag burning, etc.) they will get their asses handed to them in 2012.

Every single thing they should do for the next two years should be about private-sector job creation. When they author a bill, the key question should be, "Does this create jobs?" If not, it deserves to be tossed.