“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Serving up false optimism in housing

Someone will have to explain to me how, in an economy built on the consumer, you get an economic expansion when consumers continue to lose personal wealth. If 23% of all mortgages are now under water and the number will be 30% in a year, there will be no recovery. That implies a further expansion of government deficit spending and borrowing. That borrowing will put upward pressure on long term mortgage rates, slowing a housing recovery.

Wages are not rising and the real unemployment and underemployment rate is near 20%. Huge sectors of manufacturing continue to go east. One only needs to look at auctions of manufacturing plants and notice that most of the purchased machinery is packed into overseas shipping containers. Sure there are great manufacturing companies in the US, but they are mainly filled with machinery and few workers. Labor intensive manufacturing is long gone, but medium intensity labor plants are also going fast.

The economic models that discouraged US manufacturing were obscured by over-investment and employment in housing. It was buoyed by increasing housing prices and excess savings from Asia being recycled to US consumers. That model is bust.

No significant recovery in housing, declining medium intensive manufacturing, and unsustainable deficit spending are hardly the ingredients necessary for a sustainable recovery. The idiotic obsession of the Obama Administration with health care reform is tinkering with a system that works for 85% of all US citizens. The priority should be with the economy first, second and third, but then Obama does have another agenda.


Underwater Mortgages Reach Epidemic Levels 247wallstreet

Posted: August 11, 2009 at 6:00 am

Underwater mortgages hurt home sales and increase delinquencies and foreclosures.

People who have to pay their mortgage holder to sell their homes are less likely to be sellers. A home sold for $200,000 when it has a $250,000 mortgage is a home that the owner may not be able to afford to sell.

People living in homes with monthly mortgage payment that stretch their abilities to cover their living costs may stay in homes that they believe have a lot of equity and where a sale will eventually bring them a profit. That hope for a bonanza may encourage them to go through the agony of making large payments. People who have no hope of making money on their homes are more likely to be willing to abandon them or be kicked out.

Both of these trends make it more likely that the housing sales pace will continue to be slow and property values will not recover.

Real estate research firm Zillow says that 23% of mortgages are now underwater. The company adds that the number could be 30% a year from now. One of the major reasons for the trouble is that home values fell 12.1% year-over-year in Q2 to a Zillow Home Value Index of $186,500, resulting in a total 22.3% drop in value since the market peaked in mid-2006. Twenty-two percent of all transactions in June were foreclosures, a possible sign that people are not willing to fight until the end to save their houses.

The news is particularly bad for the federal government which has touted its program to keep people in their homes by helping them reduce their monthly payments. The program has been a failure, at least up until now. The reasons for that may point again to the fact the lower payments do not lower the principal amounts owed on home loans giving owners little hope that they will ever get any financial value for their property.

There have been some signs of a revival in the home sales market recently, especially in several of the hardest hit markets. Those signs may be false indicators showing only the most modest improvement in regions where home values are down 50% or more and the prices are now so low they they are creating a ripple of activity. The Zillow numbers say that the uptick won’t last.

Douglas A. McIntyre


  1. On the other hand, maybe increased "activity" will tend to start pulling housing prices upward.

    Houses "bubbled" up too high, then they probably overreacted too low. They might rise a little faster than some are expecting.

    Then, Maybe not.

  2. I'm, really, more concerned about gasoline prices. The bottom quintiles fight those every day.

    I'm afraid a return to $3.00 gasoline is going to put the qieetus on any nascent recovery.

    BUT, Construction is a "Big" Industry.

    Hell, it's too late to try to think. G'nite.

  3. By Annys Shin
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Wednesday, August 12, 2009
    The pile of economic data indicating that the worst of the recession is over just keeps growing. In the past few weeks, the government has reported that businesses last month shed the smallest number of jobs in nearly a year. The savings rate, after rising rapidly, held steady at levels not seen in at least five years. And from April to June, productivity surged to a six-year high.

    But the same data also explain why any recovery isn't going to feel like one anytime soon for millions of Americans. Its existence will be confirmed by statistics, but, over at least the next year, the benefits are unlikely to materialize in the form of higher wages or tax receipts or more jobs.

    "It's going to be a recovery only a statistician can love," Wells Fargo senior economist Mark Vitner said.

  4. ...Another piece of encouraging news -- the July jobs report -- showed the unemployment rate edging down to 9.4 percent from 9.5 percent as the pace of layoffs slowed. But the rate also fell largely because more than 400,000 people dropped out of the labor force and therefore were not counted as unemployed.

    Another disturbing development was that the number of people out of work for 27 weeks or longer reached a record 5 million, accounting for a third of the unemployed. That suggests to some economists that those job losses were caused by structural changes in the economy and that many of those people won't be called back to work once the economy picks up. The longer people are out of work, the harder it becomes for them to find jobs and the more likely they are to exhaust savings or lose their homes to foreclosure...

  5. The US does not need more of the same old with consumers buying Chinese manufactured goods using credit cards backed up by Chinese savings of US dollars from subsidized exports to US consumers.

    Increases in spending in the US should come from business investment in new US factories, built with tax incentives and changes in tax laws that are neutral as to where the goods are manufactured.

  6. Deuce

    Do you ever sleep?

    Meanwhile, in other news
    Big Fires Up Our Way

  7. Re: training police and military for insurrection

    Alea iacta est

  8. Your observation about a recovery in a consumer economy points out the conundrum that we find ourselves in.

    In my corner of the woods, "price reduced" is the little corner banner across the thumbnail photo of most advertised homes. It appears that sellers are now downsizing their expectations for return on investment. 15% seems to be the average reduction. A friend of mine thinks he's about $50k underwater. Bought at $295k. Fire sales and short sales are very bad news for comparable sales evaluations and it only takes one to wreak havoc on sales in a neighborhood.

    Unfortunately, while interest rates are low, the banks seem to look for any reason not to make a loan. You better have spotless credit history in this market. With unemployment near 10%, you can be assured that many, many people, even those with jobs, suddenly find themselves with less than stellar credit reports.

    In the general credit market, consumers are finding their credit limits rolled back by as much as 75%.

    The pendulum has swung away from the wide open days of easy credit. Lenders are afraid to lend and consumers don't want to buy. Not like they did, anyway.

    Government seems to be schizophrenic as one agency calls for spending while the financial watchdogs insist that banks recapitalize or risk Federal takeover.

    Are we now a post consumer economy? It's too early to tell. The range of economic predictions are all over the map. No one has a crystal ball, only biased opinions and a dearth of leadership.

  9. Rat

    whats with all the cheese cake?
    (not that I mind)

  10. All the girls I've never known, gag.

    Better than photos of National Forests or more cowboys and horses, I thought.

  11. The new normal is that an average American is worse off than he was ten years ago. The bankers, business and industry breakers are doing just fine.

    In 1896, Jay Gould, railroad baron in the U.S.A., said, "I can hire one half of the working class to kill the other half."

    Hyperbole with a depressing ring of truth.

  12. And as hard as I try, duece, I find it hard to place the blame on the Talibam for the course of our economic travails.

    That decade of economic mismanagement and faulty navigation, it came on the Texican Yankee's watch.

    The vast transfer of wealth, to the Sauds, done without a murmur of discontent or a program implemented to change that reality.

    Even after we did not declare a "War on Islam".

  13. And for viktor,
    Camille Paglia!

    With the Republican party leaderless and in backbiting disarray following its destruction by the ideologically incoherent George W. Bush, Democrats are apparently eager to join the hara-kiri brigade. What looked like smooth coasting to the 2010 election has now become a nail-biter. Both major parties have become a rats' nest of hypocrisy and incompetence. That, combined with our stratospheric, near-criminal indebtedness to China (which could destroy the dollar overnight), should raise signal flags. Are we like late Rome, infatuated with past glories, ruled by a complacent, greedy elite, and hopelessly powerless to respond to changing conditions?

    What does either party stand for these days? Republican politicians, with their endless scandals, are hardly exemplars of traditional moral values. Nor have they generated new ideas for healthcare, except for medical savings accounts, which would be pathetically inadequate in a major crisis for anyone earning at or below a median income.

    And what do Democrats stand for, if they are so ready to defame concerned citizens as the "mob" -- a word betraying a Marie Antoinette delusion of superiority to ordinary mortals. I thought my party was populist, attentive to the needs and wishes of those outside the power structure. And as a product of the 1960s, I thought the Democratic party was passionately committed to freedom of thought and speech.

    But somehow liberals have drifted into a strange servility toward big government, which they revere as a godlike foster father-mother who can dispense all bounty and magically heal all ills

  14. A guy from Deutschbank said, "We loaned to everyone who was "credit-worthy" and we still had money left over."

    Sometime, when I'm really ambitious (if ever again) I've gotta think about that for awhile. It's NOT just a throw-away line. It, really is an Important statement.

    Democracratic Capitalism always swings to extremes. It unleashes the "Animal Spirits" in the risk-takers, and entrepreneurs. Overall, society benefits, Greatly.

    In the short term you have booms, and recessions, and, every so often, Depressions.

    We were all set up for a "Depression," this time. We avoided That, maybe; but we're still in for a doozy of a recession. A "Double Dip" is not unlikely.

  15. A LOT of people are working 4 days. They don't count as unemployed, but they won't be back to "spending" any time, soon. Also, there won't be any "new" hiring until they're back to 5 days.

  16. The folks I've gotten to know, at Walmart, tell me that a 35 hour week is now 'normal' scheduling.

  17. First the Unions rolled out, now the Churches join the fray.

    Fiesty will be an understatement, before it's done.

    By Ed Stoddard:

    DALLAS (Reuters) - Liberal religious groups announced on Monday they are teaming up with President Barack Obama in a national campaign to counter the surprisingly vehement conservative opposition to his plan for overhaul of the U.S. healthcare industry this year.

    Organized by liberal-leaning evangelicals, some mainline Protestant clergy, and some Catholic groups, it will include Obama participating in a call-in program with religious leaders streamed on the Internet on August 19, prayer meetings and nationwide television ads.

    "As a pastor I believe access to healthcare is a profoundly moral issue," Rev. Stevie Wakes of Olivet Institutional Baptist in Kansas City, said in a news teleconference announcing the "40 days for Health Reform" campaign.

  18. WASHINGTON (AP) - Militia groups with gripes against the government are regrouping across the country and could grow rapidly, according to an organization that tracks such trends.
    The stress of a poor economy and a liberal administration led by a black president are among the causes for the recent rise, the report from the Southern Poverty Law Center says. Conspiracy theories about a secret Mexican plan to reclaim the Southwest are also growing amid the public debate about illegal immigration.

    Bart McEntire, a special agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, told SPLC researchers that this is the most growth he's seen in more than a decade.

    "All it's lacking is a spark," McEntire said in the report

    Drudge and Breitbart are looking for the most outlandish of opinions, quoting the Southern Poverty Law Center, as if their perspective was unbiased.

  19. And see, those Russian subs really are looking for pirates, in the Atlantic. - Bruno Waterfield - ‎1 hour ago‎

    Russian warships and nuclear submarines have been scrambled to carry out an Atlantic sea search for a missing cargo vessel that is thought to have been hijacked by pirates or gangsters.

  20. He was just rollin' the dice, trish.

  21. Actually, I Don't believe this is the "new normal." I think it's the "normal" for the next 5 to 10 years.

    That Volt technology is a "paradigm changer." Sending a fourth to a Half Trillion Dollars overseas for oil, Every Year, has been a Tremendous Drag on our Economy. It's Wrecked the Dollar, and Destroyed our "Savings Rate."

    Spending another $200 Billion, annually, "protecting" the oil flow hasn't helped, either.

    If we can get away from that horrible paradigm a Lot of good things can happen.

  22. allen rolled snake eyes, again.

    Like he did stating the Geneva Conventions authorized summary executions.

    Just ain't reality.

    Besides, Training is everything and everything is training, or at least it was in the 193rd Inf Bde, back in the day.

  23. Ten years can be the balance of someone's lifetime, rufus.

    I'd bet on a longer transition, closer to twenty years. It'd take that long just to begin to see signs of a reversal in the cultural trends, if the foundation for that transformation was being laid, today.

    It is not.
    We have yet to see any plans, let alone started pouring concrete.

    How long ago was it, that Ed Sullivan would not broadcast Elvis gyrating his hips?

    There you go, a timeline of transformation, from Elvis on Sullivan, all the way to Britney and Madonna.

  24. Those churches in Dallas. They be black. Just an observation.

    Rat...I am in Scottsdale. You guys are having a cool down.

  25. Cloudy skies, gag.

    One of the fifty days a year.

  26. While many church going Christians are black folks, that's a fact, gag.

  27. Our system is called "Capitalism." Note the "root" word, "Capital."

    It's, totally, dependent on our financial institutions knowing how to manage "Capital." This means, "making Good Loans, and Not making Bad Loans."

    Our Banks Screwed Up. They had more money than they knew what to do with, and, "they didn't know what to do with it."

    I'm not sure they will the "next time," either; although, I suspect they'll do better.

  28. From "Trough to Peak?" You're probably right, Rat.

    I guess I'm thinking more like "from trough to an occasional glimpse of the Peak." Or, at least, from the depths of despair to a realization that "salvation" is out there, somewhere.

    And, yep, it can be a long time if you're living through it.

  29. More tests at the Mayo? Or are you here recreating, though this is not the best time of year, here, for that.

  30. Like the Chavez-sez story I mysteriously couldn't get Ash to bite on, though he bit on the bases brouhaha the day previous: Straight from the Department of Silly Shit.

  31. Reuters put the top authorized limit at 800 US troops, not 1,400.

    So, I'd assume it is in that range. A lot more than were authorized in Salvador. But then we had airbases and influence in that region, galore, during the Carter & Reagan era.

    Now we're rolled back to rented space in Hondoland and Colombia,

    Referencing that decade of feckless mismanagement.

    The only ray of sunshine, provided on July 2000, when President Bill Clinton approved the $1.3 billion aid package known as “Plan Colombia”.

  32. Never have been to Mayo for tests, Rat. I just stayed at the Courtyard nearby it once. Nice and quiet with a good jogging trail through the desert.

    Here for business but will be out on Grayhawk tomorrow afternoon.

    I wonder why the media is downplaying all the turnover of Obama's minions. Paglia says Pelosi must go. I never thought I would here her say that.

  33. I wanna work for the Department of Silly Shit.

  34. It's one of the lesser known government agencies, and they do churn it out.

  35. I want to be in charge of suggestions.

  36. Good to hear that you are not in need of our outstanding health care facilities, here in Scottsdale.

    The multi-term Mayor of Scottsdale, back in the day, was Herb Drinkwater. He had the liquor and cheese store at Scottsdale & Shea.

    The local politicos would come up through the Jaycees, proving their mettle managing our local Rodeo and Parade, the Parada del Sol.

    Scottsdale was a "Cowboy" town, In fact its' motto: "The West's most Western Town". Herb guided the cultural transition from ranches to townhouses, golf and medicine.

    Took about twenty years to kill off the cowboy culture. Though some physical remnents of it still remain. They still hold the Rodeo and Parade, but it's not the 'thing' it used to be.

  37. Rat said:
    "And for viktor,
    Camille Paglia!"

    She's my girl! Thanks for that.

    Rufus said:
    "I'm, really, more concerned about gasoline prices. The bottom quintiles fight those every day."

    Ah, yes. The bottom quintiles.

    "Did you hear about the Quintiles, dear?"


    They can't afford to get gas."

    "Why don't they just eat more beans?"

    "They can't dear. All the beans are being used as bio-mass to make alcohol."

    "What do they do with all the alcohol?"

    "Rufus drinks it."

    "Why does he do that?"

    "He trying to get up enough nerve to go to Confession."

    "That makes sense."

  38. So, trish, you think it would be silly shit foolish to have US bases in Colombia?

    just wonderin'

  39. Keeps everyone occupied while the Department of Hey, Shit Happens does its thing.

  40. I want to be in charge of suggestions.

    Wed Aug 12, 10:29:00 AM EDT

    Soon as I get my foot in the door, I'll put in a word for you.

  41. Now Scottsdale is a
    "Most Livable" city.

  42. So, trish, you think it would be silly shit foolish to have US bases in Colombia?

    just wonderin'

    Wed Aug 12, 10:35:00 AM EDT


  43. ok, so I guess we are in agreement then 'cause my thought when I saw the original story was "Why would the US want 7 bases in Colombia?

  44. We ought to see if we can rent this place, again.

    Sure was nice.
    Good airstrip, modern housing, reasonable beach.

  45. We don't need a base in Columbia. We can be in the area with some really big fighter jets in just a few hours

  46. "We don't need a base in Columbia."

    But we DO need to learn how to spell it. : )

  47. Hell of a hotel they built on our little beach.

    The photos at the bottom, the thatched shades are what I remember.
    Not the hotel in the 2006 photos.

    Ain't that somethin'.

  48. Here's how you remember: It is pronounced cole-ome-bia.

  49. "ok, so I guess we are in agreement"

    Let's celebrate. Come a respectable hour, the drink is on me.

  50. No problem, gag. And the good nation of Colombia thanks you for it.

  51. I have many women in my life who get great joy out of correcting me. Join the crowd.

  52. You're a natural asshole, Victor; But, THAT ONE made me Smile.


  53. If you get bored and want to see some horse outfits, drive down Rio Verde Drive, to the river.

    That's where the "big boys" migrated to, after Scottsdale transformed.

    The old ranch house and stables at the very end of the road, off the pavement, is where we used to run the Packing and Dude Horse business. Where I learned I did not want a career as a horse shoer, either.

  54. Back when the Rio Verde Drive was still named Dynamite and was not paved.

  55. hmmm, bases for leisure sake.

    There is is place, up in the Rocky Mountains near my Dad's Cabin, where the Air Force officers go to fish on private lakes. It is called Farrish Memorial. When I was younger I'd be out quietly fly fishing when pretty regularly Air Force jets would come screaming in hugging the mountain sides. Buzzing their buddies up fishing I believe. I haven't seen it happen in a bunch of years though. Busy buzzing others off in far away lands I'd guess.

  56. "hmmm, bases for leisure sake."

    If we were going in that direction, I'd definitely nominate Cartagena.

  57. Rufus said:
    "You're a natural asshole, Victor..."

    I do believe that's the nicest thing you've ever said to me, Rufus. Let's meet for drinks later tonight. Trish's buyin'.

  58. I would not attribute the pilots behaviour to there being pilots on the ground.

    The K-T Ranch house was often buzzed by both A-10s and F-15s.

    Once riding down canyon side, in the Matazell mountains, 2 A-10s flew by, maybe 50 feet from the canyon face, 30 feet below us.

    Quite the racket. Doubt they even knew we were there, until they were.

  59. It was pretty awesome when those planes flew by so low, so fast, in such an unexpected place. I was hoping they'd do it this year so my kids could experience it.

    It may have been just training for all I knew but they did seem to head off toward Farrish. I'd hate to be a bad guy experiencing those suckers flying about.

  60. How'd the horse react? I'd rather not be on a canyon face on a horse when they passed by.

  61. I know many of you here just hate the idea of the US being party to international treaties but:

    U.S. wins blockbuster WTO ruling over China

  62. But even if the Guard and Police forces were to recieve Civil Disturbance training, by the military or other Federal agency, what of it?

    The Guard has often been used in both crowd control and civil insurrection missions, historicly.

    Four dead in Ohio
    Gotta get down to it.

    Why not consistently train them to standard for those missions?

    Save some lives, with proper training.

    This is a typical AZ hillside

  63. trish,

    which part...the Roman...the modern one...both?

  64. Gotta know when to hold 'em,
    and know when to unass the AO.

    The saddle horses just kinda trembled, then settled. It was the young pack mule that totally lost it.

    The mule jumped, slid then tumbled about forty feet down the slope, where it lodged against a boulder outcrop, on its' back. Four hoofs flailing in the air.

  65. Good point, allen.

    Viktor says I'm buying for everyone this evening, not just Ash because he agrees with her/US/the Colombians.

    Let me know what you'll be having.

  66. Arizona, Photos from the Tonto:

    This next onefrom cliff dwellings overlooking the Salt River, in what is now Roosevelt Lake:

    This, an agave planton a hillside:

    While the comments are allabout the quality of this photo, of Four Peaks:

    Again, we see a river, while heading into the Sierra Ancha.

    Maybe a little more water than Afpakistan, but then those linked pictures are from the civilized areas. Not the back of beyond.

  67. Mogollon Rim - Aspen Springs corral & tackroom.

    The most important work you and I will ever do will be within the walls of our own homes. Harold B. Lee (1899 - 1973)

    This is the corral & tackroom at Aspen Springs on the Houston Brothers Trail above the Mogollon Rim (pronounced mug-ee-yon) north of Payson. I'm not sure about the history of this place. This is near the fireplace and chimney. This is in the region immortalized by Zane Grey in his novels. The Houston Brothers used this trail to move their cattle between summer & winter grazing areas. This is real Old West cowboy country. This is North of the General Crook Trail used by the US Army in the Indian wars. This is in the Coconino National Forest

  68. Skull Mesa approach to the fort.

    The is the view looking south at the approach to the fort on the hill at the Skull Mesa Ruins in the Tonto National Forest north of Cave Creek Arizona. A very difficult 8 mile hike here from the Spur Cross Ranch Trailhead. This was a Verde Hohokam settlement 800 years ago. It is a pueblo and a fort.

  69. This is Mt. Ord in the Mazatzal Wilderness in the Tonto National Forest on the way to Payson. The Mount Ord turn-off is at MP 222 on the Beeline Highway (AZ 87). This is in the old burn area about 1/2 way up. Pronounced Maht-a-zal. The Mazatzals are an incredible wilderness between Phoenix and Payson.

    Century Plants - Mountain in background

  70. Tonto Creek in the Hellsgate Wilderness - trout stream.

    Tonto Creek near Hellsgate Wilderness south of Payson, AZ. Great hiking and great trout fishing.

  71. What's that you've got up your Arse, Doctor Obama?

    President Obama's Town Hall Meeting in Portsmouth New Hampshire Public Radio

    "And finally -- this is important -- we will require insurance companies to cover routine checkups and preventive care, like mammograms and colonoscopies -- (applause) -- because there's no reason we shouldn't be catching diseases like breast cancer and prostate cancer on the front end.

    That makes sense, it saves lives; it also saves money -- and we need to save money in this health care system."

  72. doug, if the Canadian System spent as much per capita as the US does, currently, their survivor rates would increase.

    But they have decided that doubling their health care spending, to achieve marginal improvements, is not in the best interest of all their country.

    So there are two different lessons, at least in the Canadian model.
    First is that the Canadian government spends within its' means.
    Second that single digit, 9% improvement does not really justify a doubling of expeditures per capita.

  73. It's the funding available for medical services, as much as it is the management system for delivering that payment.

    Given an apple to apple comparison, the Canadian System could be a statisicly better performer. From a societal cost benefit perspective.

  74. Third is your dumb ass assumption that Canadians don't lead a more healthy lifestyle than our Third World (BLUE) Ghettos.
    ...but you fail to mention that, being a dumb ass that likes to argue more than you like to address reality.

  75. Perhaps your prostate is crammed up your ass as is the brilliant Marxists?

  76. doug, I am not a supporter of the Canadian System, but they deliver more than adequate service at half the price per resident.

    So, sure, if we decide to spend twice as much, per head, we better get a 9% improvement in performance. And we have decided to do just that, so far.

    Now I'd subnit that the United States could continue to spend twice as much per capita as the Canadians, and still figure a way to cover all of US, instead of letting at least 45 million of US go under or uninsured.

  77. ah, Doug the ever pleasant gentleman is still worried the Death Panels will choose to Euthanize him and he just luuuuuvs to shell out his hard earned cash to the health industry. Wouldn't want those boyz to sail on small yachts now would we?

  78. That silent scream, Doug, should give way to mad laughter.

  79. Doug Said:

    "because there's no reason we shouldn't be catching diseases like breast cancer and prostate cancer on the front end."

    I'm sure the President meant "detect." And any time I've had a colon******** ( I can't even bear to write the word) it has been from the other end.

    Seriously, though, the Canadian experiment has yet to go through one full cycle. As they near the end of the first cycle the costs are increasing dramatically.

    As I've said many times before, the increasing costs are not sustainable. The first major case of rationing was exposed last week.

    Vancouver Coastal Health to cut surgeries, NDP critic says
    Globe and Mail - Brennan Clarke - ‎Aug 10, 2009‎
    The Vancouver Coastal Health Authority is planning to shut down nearly one-quarter of its operating rooms and cancel thousands of elective surgeries between ...

    Mr. Dix, MLA for Vancouver-Kingsway, said documents leaked to him by "health authority sources" propose cutting 6,250 surgeries, about 24 per cent of all scheduled procedures, to the end of fiscal 2009-10.
    Aug 10, 2009 - Globe and Mail

    This is only the tip of the iceberg.

  80. That Volt technology is a "paradigm changer".

    That Volt technology produces a $45,000 machine with a 40 mile range using a Li battery that begins losing its effective life the moment it's manufactured. A product that would sink like a stone in a free market unsupported by tax eating subsidies and green marketplace coercion.

    It's a chunk of Government Motors kludge.

  81. I wanna work for the Department of Silly Shit.

    And I thought all along you did already.

    Goes to show what they say about assumptions.

  82. This is a typical AZ hillside.

    Reminds me of the Dragoons. Cochise's burial place. His body cast down from a cliff by his followers and never found. Per the legend I heard. Spirits still dwell there.

  83. Linear

    Got your message and I left an answer. Sorry to be late but I've been busy preparing for the big "Pinks" weekend in Seattle this coming weekend.

  84. We have about 260 Million cars on the road. They, on average, use about 550 gallons/gasoline/year.

    They, on average, are driven a little less than 40 miles/day.

    Let's say gasoline is back up to $4.00 gal in 2011 when the Volt really starts ramping up.

    It's going to cost $2,200.00/yr for gasoline for that car. Even if gasoline Never got more expensive (you wanta bet on that?) that car will use $39,600.00 in gasoline in 18 years.

    The Volt will probably use about $3,900.00 in gasoline for a Savings of $35,700.00

    You could replace the battery pack once, and still be $25,000.00 Ahead.

    Of course, if gasoline goes to Five, or Six Dollars/Gal, which it very well might, the savings will just be that much (25 to 50%) more.

    The paradigm shift is you can have the savings of an EV, and still jump in your car and drive up to Omaha to see Grandma.

    LT, I don't know if you're worried about your Exxon Stock, or just like to be insulting, and argumentative; but you're Way out of line on this one.

    10:1 is Definitely a "Paradigm Shift."

  85. Rufus said:

    "It's going to cost $2,200.00/yr for gasoline for that car. Even if gasoline Never got more expensive (you wanta bet on that?) that car will use $39,600.00 in gasoline in 18 years.

    The Volt will probably use about $3,900.00 in gasoline for a Savings of $35,700.00

    You could replace the battery pack once, and still be $25,000.00 Ahead."

    Rufus, isn't there something missing from your calculations? What is the cost of the electricity to charge the batteries?

    And what is unsubsidized cost of the batteries and what is the cost of their dispoasal?

  86. Rufus, isn't there something missing from your calculations? What is the cost of the electricity to charge the batteries?

    And what is unsubsidized cost of the batteries and what is the cost of their dispoasal

    He's using mat's math, Viktor. We're not supposed to notice, and if we do, we're being insulting and argumentative.

    And, way out of line.

    The Volt is kludge wrapped in hoopla.

  87. You are Absolutely correct, Victor. I did leave out the cost of the electricity. It was an oversight. It wasn't intentional.

    They are predicting that the electricity will be a little less than $0.03/mi for the forty miles, orcall it, $1.00/day. That Does sound cheap, but these cars will, normally, be charged at night when electricity is less expensive.

    Figure 350 days, that would be $350.00/yr, or $6,300.00 in 18 years. So, I guess I should have made that "Total" Savings of $29,400.

    I'm figuring you would probably have to change the battery pack once in 18 years, for a probable cost of $10.000.00 (some guessing, here, of course. It could be more, or less. Who knows?)

    So, we're at Probable Savings of $19,400.00. Also, keep in mind that maintenance should be quite a bit less. The Electric drive train is simpler, and should last a lot longer.

  88. I would, also, expect the cost of the car to decline over the first few years, as the parts become "commoditized."

    This car is, I would bet a Million Dollars, going to set of a panic of other auto companies "getting on board."

    The reason I think this is, "This is the First EV that I would consider buying." I know I don't represent, "everybody", but I don't think I'm "That Far" out of the mainstream, either.

  89. No, LT, Victor actually pointed out an error in my "costing."

    I am happy he did. It would be embarrassing to find out that I had been going around spouting false figures. I've tried to answer the question. I think I'm fairly close, now. At least, about $7,000.00 closer than I was.

  90. Oh, the lithium batteries will be "recycled," I suppose. At least, that's what I've read.

  91. The magic batteries are the weak link in the saga of the Volt, but rest assured that Government Motors is still a step ahead of Nissan, which does not plan on the E85 capacity, for its' "Leaf", just batteries.

    Tom Swift Jr, solved the electric car challenge with atomic batteries.

    Tom Swift Jr, 33 volumes of American exceptionalism. From 1954 until 1971, then the cultural and societal changes did him in.

  92. Tom Swift and his Ultrasonic Cycloplane.

    "There's part of Bud's wrecked plane!" Hovering his new cycloplane, the DRUMHAWK, in turbulent skies above the wilds of the New Guinea jungle, Tom Swift Jr. points to the sheared-off wing of his friend's plane. The area, flanked by two extinct volcanoes, is as forbidding as the deserted native huts clustered in sinister shadows.

    Without Tom's latest aircraft, which uses ultrasonic rotating drums to provide lift, a rescue attempt would be impossible. Battling violent weather conditions, the young inventor lands the DRUMHAWK and organizes a rescue expedition

  93. Rufus said:

    "They are predicting that the electricity will be a little less than $0.03/mi for the forty miles, orcall it, $1.00/day. That Does sound cheap, but these cars will, normally, be charged at night when electricity is less expensive."

    Up here, electricity costs about 5 cents per KW/hr for the 780 kw/hr/mo. and 8 cents per KW/hr after that.

    What do you pay? How many KW/hrs/mile does it take to move the Volt?

  94. This site has a lot of the cover art, that was used on those Tom Swift Jr early editions.

    Hardcover books, with the glossy paper dustjackets.

  95. Cost is critical

    Kruse won’t say whether the $10,000 price tag for the batteries floating around the media is correct. If so, the 16 kilowatt-hours (kWh) worth of energy in the GM battery pack would put the price at $625 per kwh of capacity. But the cost of the Chevy Volt battery should drop sharply once production ramps up, several experts say

    Channeling our departed friend, mat, still mia.

    “Right now the price [for lithium PHEV batteries] is beyond what is required for a sustainable business,” says Ann Marie Sastry, a University of Michigan battery materials expert. “But automotive companies are going to take the risks and assume that [government] policies will help out.”

    Rent seeking, and more tax eating.

    But don't despair, rufus.

    General Motors has talked about a $40,000 price tag for the Volt. That may be too costly for most Americans. The Obama administration has talked about a $7,500 tax break for PHEV buyers.

    Tax eaters to the rescue!

    A123Systems has applied for $1.8 billion in funding from the US Department of Energy to build a lithium battery factory in Detroit big enough to supply a half dozen auto companies and employ 14,000 workers.

    Last week, the National Alliance for Advanced Transportation Battery Cell Manufacture, a consortium of more than a dozen US battery developers, announced it was seeking up to $2 billion to fund a major lithium battery manufacturing facility

    Who'd guessed that kludge was flammable?

    Safety and cost remain top concerns, however. Lithium-ion batteries using cobalt chemistry, popularly used in laptop computers and cellphones, have in the past shown a propensity to overheat, resulting in a few laptops going up in flames.

    That must not happen in a car, all agree

    So while the search goes on for a powerful but stable and reliable battery chemistry, automakers are developing sophisticated battery management systems to monitor lithium cells for signs of impending failure. GM announced last week it will make its own computer-monitored pack to hold the LG Chem cells.

    Never mind that a few $billion dollars invested in Li battery production by Government Motors could effectively delay or stall developments of the advanced battery systems we're all waiting for. BTW, mat never could answer my simple question: "Where's the battery, mat?"

  96. "And I thought all along you did already."

    Alas, dream unfulfilled.

    One scotch, neat, barkeep.

    And something for Ash. Put a hair in it.

  97. At this point I believe I heard the spokesman say they were building ten vehicles a month.

    So there is still a ways to go before the production model is rolling.

    And yes, there will be subsidies.
    And if it succeeds in helping to wean US from Islamic oil, all the better. If it does not, well we've wasted more on worse adventures.

    The key to the story is the ethanol capabilities, more so than the batteries.

    Running the little cars to come on 15% gasoline and 85% ag products.

  98. I knew you were going to make me go look it up. Victor, they seem to be using $0.11/kilowatt/hr.

    Volt Article

    We pay about $0.10 kilowatt hour where I live. I, honestly, don't know if we're getting a break for off-peak hours, or not.

  99. Euphemisms: "thermal incident"

    And because some battery chemistries in early stages of development -- "immature cells," Harlow calls them -- aren't as stable as others, the facility is designed to be able to safely handle a battery pack that experiences what engineers euphemistically call a "thermal incident." That's a battery fire that can't be extinguished and can burn for hours until all of the battery material is consumed.

    The place to put your money is on the companies developing the sophisticated battery management systems to monitor lithium cells for signs of impending failure.

    Kludge piled upon kludge.

  100. Well, we could surely do a lot of subsidizin for the $250 Billion we're spending in the Middle East, Plus the $300 Billion/Day we're shipping out of country for the oil to run our present fleet.$550,000,000,000.00/$7,500 = 73,333,333 Cars.

    73 Million Cars

    And, That's just One Year.

  101. Yeah, NOBODY, EVER died in a gasoline fire. Give me a break.

  102. Sometimes the best way to listen to the last word in an argument is over your shoulder.


    A double Bushmills, neat, barkeep.

    And fill rufus's glass while your at it. Trish is payin'.

  103. And I'll have what he's havin, barkeep.

    And see that cute little number down at the end of the bar? Put it on her tab.

  104. And at midnight, eastern, Linear, something for you, over at my joint.

  105. 'specially, when you're losing.


    Make mine a Bud Light.

  106. I get reimbursed if yer a furriner.

    Anyone without US citizenship, load up.

    The rest of you shall kindly restrain yourselves.

  107. ...single malt scotch...a fine Honduran smoke...and...a beautiful woman...the hour is is good...Sweet

  108. "Honest, barkeep, I'm Russian."

    "Did you see The Hunt For Red October?"


    "Well, you sound like Sean Connery doing a Russian accent."

    "But that would still make me a furriner."

    "Good point. What'll you have?"

    "A triple Bushmills, my good man."

  109. Midnight Hour...with the incomparable, late Paul Butterfield on harmonica...

  110. Yes, viktor, I WAS going to add: No phony accents, turbans, manjammas, PLO get-ups, or shiny Russian mafia suits. Will not work.

  111. Now I don't want to hear a negative word out of you, viktor, pertaining to any policies of the USG for, like, a week.

    Triple Bushmills...The Mothership needs a little something in return.

  112. You folks enjoy. The dog must be walked.

  113. viktor,

    O Yeah! Cohen, like Scotch, is an acquired taste.

    A beautiful lady I know thinks this is a love song

    She thinks so because of this

    We saw him a Chastain (Atlanta) last summer. I have not banished the thought ;-D

  114. a hair in my drink???

    ...trish, darlin', it seems ya been reading more of that, errr, literature today.

  115. ...Cohen the poet...viktor, remember this Suzanne

    He has the habit of revising lyrics. Performers routinely change the lyrics. You never know what you will get from one performance to another, e.g. Hallelujah.

  116. ash,

    Re: hair in drink and certain light reading

    Now, that was funny, ash ;-D

  117. NOT that kind of hair.

    It's a line from Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid.

    I mean it, viktor! None of yer war whining. You might even say something nice, like, "Hey! We killed a couple of dozen guys who needed killin'!"

  118. Or:

    "This might not be a triple decker shit sandwich after all!"

  119. trish,

    Re: NOT that kind of hair

    I thought that was a line from the Clarence Thomas hearing...but I could be mistaken...

  120. That the dog that likes barbecue?

    Wed Aug 12, 10:22:00 PM EDT

    The same. She's a fabulous little mutt, sweet as hell and smart.

  121. "I thought that was a line from the Clarence Thomas hearing..."

    That, too. : )

  122. A sumptuous garden salad with about a pint of cottage cheese...a glass of that saucy little Cabernet by Two Buck Chuck...

    I'm nodding off...

    Will try to catch the midnight showing, vik. For now, it's nap time.

  123. Sweet dreams, linear.

    God, but I do need to go home and be a normal person living a normal life again. I have forgotten what that's like.

  124. Trish said:

    Now I don't want to hear a negative word out of you, viktor, pertaining to any policies of the USG for, like, a week.


    "I mean it, viktor! None of yer war whining. You might even say something nice, like, "Hey! We killed a couple of dozen guys who needed killin'!"'


    Check these out.

    Canadian Snipers

    Oblaggge Him!

    When it comes to love of killin' bad guys, I take second place to no one.

    You know, the other day I was having dinner with Charles Manson and he said, "Am I crazy or is that Trish a real pistol?"

  125. One of my favorite bumper stickers of all time was on a Toyota pick-up with a commemorative Somalia plate: I love killing tangos.

  126. No, but you can make a good go of it. That's the plan and we're sticking to it.

  127. I dunno, viktor, I've seen sniper footage before and that's pretty close.

    Just looks

  128. Trish said:

    "Now I don't want to hear a negative word out of you, viktor, pertaining to any policies of the USG for, like, a week."

    A week? Hmmm.

    You know what, Trish. I'll even do better than that.

  129. Well bless your heart, viktor.

    That's some value-added on the Bushmills.

    Must sleep. Ciao.

  130. Good night, Trish.

    I'm up and refreshed. Full of piss and vinegar.

    Just left your blog, viktor. Thanks for the clip.