Friday, February 25, 2011

Why Wal-Mart is in the toilet

Wal-Mart is having a tough time. They eliminated many brands over the past few years, so I am not sure why their management is expressing surprise. Who was the genious that decided to have two brands of everything: their crappy "Great Value" brand or the marked-up brand that you truly want and wind up going to HEB to get?

Thursday, February 24, 2011

China theme parks shutting down

Instapundit links to this about an abandoned park in Florida. In an amazing coincidence, a similar park outside of Houston has just shut down.

Don't know what to make of this. Just an interest coincidence? Most likely just economic reality smacking some bad ideas.

Odds of China attacking Libya

From Bloomberg,
SHANGHAI (AP) — China National Petroleum Corp. says its facilities in Libya were attacked, and that its employees have been evacuated back to China.
I think the odds are low.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Halliburton evacuates Dubai

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - Feb. 29, 2011 /PRNewswire/ - David J. Lesar, CEO of oil and energy services giant Halliburton, has ordered an immmediate evacuation of all Halliburton employees and their dependents from Dubai. "This order takes effect immediately," Lesar said. "The violence in Dubai over the past few days makes it clear that it is not safe for us right now. We will re-group in Houston and evaluate our options."

Military actions at Dubai International Airport may delay the evacuation. Halliburton has chartered an Airbus A-340 from Emirates to evacuate its employees, but the airport remains shut down due to military actions within the airport perimeter. The flight was scheduled to leave this evening and arrive in Houston late tomorrow.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Kiwis walloped

The New Zealand quake was really, really bad. We don't usually see this kind of devastation in western countries after an earthquake.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

So it ain't the fault of those damned Joos after all

I am watching the horrible events in places like Bahrain, Libya, Iran and Yemen just like you. These people are getting shot down, and not once have I heard any rants about Joos from these people being mowed down.

Hmmm. So maybe the key to peace in the Middle East is not the annihilation of Israel, but the establishment of democratic principles where the people decide who their leaders are.

Who could have known?

The world will be a better place when this douchebag is pushing daisies.

Vancouver's set to blow

This is crazy.
Burnaby Condo Presale Lineup – More Shameless RE Promotion Presented As ‘News’ By Global TV
Not as crazy as the San Diego condo developers who paid male and female models to pose seductively in windows in order to attract the suckers, but still crazy. Hey Canadians, didn't you see what happened in places like Phoenix and Las Vegas and San Diego 5 years ago?

Friday, February 18, 2011

What would MacIver do?

I have never heard of these people and they may be right about the Wisconsin teacher unions, but I would just like to say that Wisconsin locals have the most annoying accent of any region in the US. Youse guys in the frozen tundra are friendly and salt-of-the-earth and I like your cheddar, but would you cheeseheads clear your sinuses out or something?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Renting vs Buying

Carrying on from the previous post. Here's MLS #5870274, a snout house near my old 'hood. 1500 square feet, built in 2006.
The house looks OK, a small, boring but decent starter. They're asking $66k. Assuming 10% down, that's $337.00/mo for a 30-year fixed. Figuring in 3% property tax and $90/mo insurance, PITI runs $592/mo.

You can rent a similar snout house, in the same general area, for $1250/mo.

There are many examples like this. Which is why I think that in much of the country, outside of the most egregious bubblezones, real estate is very close to the bottom.

The option ARM non-explosion

I've said for years that the spike in option ARM recasts was not the big story. There's no point in paying for a declining asset like a house, even at low interest rates. Would you keep paying for a house that's lost half its value? Me neither.

Bloomberg confirmed that today.
This was the year thousands of U.S. homeowners with option adjustable-rate mortgages were supposed to default as their payments spiked. Low interest rates and a surge of early delinquencies mean the numbers probably won’t be as bad as forecast, softening the blow to a housing market where prices have resumed falling.
What it boils down to is these people walked years ago.

The big story now is jobs and financing for the sea of empty affordable houses. I am not sure anything can be done in places like Las Vegas and Florida, but in much of the rest of the country it is approaching the point of buying being less than renting.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Bimbo Fud

For some reason, FUD brand hot dogs don't sound enticing to me.
Ditto for the Bimbo brand of snack products.

Paging Julian

Julian Assange promised to blow the lid off a major US bank by the end of January.

The deadline passed 10 days ago. So where's the dirt?

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Permanent Unemployment

The "official" unemployment rate is swinging between 9-10%. Obama says his priority is job creation. Many of those long-term unemployed are people who once made their living off the real estate bubble. Except for people who used to work in the trades, they have no real skills.

I am not sure that anything can be done to get these people back to work.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Blizzard watch in Houston

As of 8:00 pm, not a flake of snow.

Winter sucks.

Some people say that they enjoy winter weather. They enjoy the brisk temperatures. The changing four seasons. The cycle of life.

Bullcrap. This sucks. This is the third winter in a row we've gotten snowfall and there is nothing nice about it. Fact.