“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."

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Nobody in Washington is paying any attention to the implications of what they are doing

Global bond rout deepens on US fiscal worries

Agreement in Washington on a fresh fiscal package has set off dramatic rise in yields of US Treasuries and bonds across the world, threatening to short-circuit any benefits of stimulus. The bond rout raises concerns that the US authorities may be losing control over events.

By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard 8:03PM GMT 08 Dec 2010


The yield on 10-year Treasuries – the benchmark price of money worldwide and the key driver of US mortgages rates – has rocketed to 3.3pc, up 35 basis points since President Barack Obama agreed on Monday to compromise with Senate Republicans on tax cuts.

The Treasury sell-off has ricocheted through the global system, triggering bond sell-offs in Asia, Europe and Latin America. Japan's finance ministry braced as borrowing costs on seven-year debt jumped by a sixth in one trading session, while German Bunds punched through 3pc.

The White House deal with Congress will renew the Bush tax cuts for rich and poor alike for two years, as well as adding a further a 2pc cut in payroll taxes and an extension of unemployment aid.

David Bloom, currency chief at HSBC, said it is hard to disentangle whether investors are shunning bonds because they expect US stimulus to boost growth next year, or whether they are losing patience with profligacy in Washington.

"If this is all about growth, that's brilliant. But if yields are rising because people think Amirca's fiscal situation is unsustainable, then its armaggedon," he said.

"The US can get away with this only because it is the world's reserve currency. This would be totally unacceptable in any other country. We think these problems will start to crystallise for the US in the second half of 2011, once the European debt crisis has stabilised," he said.

The warnings were echoed by Li Daokui, a rate-setter for China's central bank. "The focus of the market is still in Europe, but we must be aware that the US fiscal situation is much worse than in Europe," he said.

The US tax deal adds $1 trillion of stimulus over two years, according to BNP Paribas. America's budget deficit will remain stuck near 10pc of GDP, not just in 2011 but also in 2012. This will push gross public debt to 110pc of GDP under the IMF definition, near the brink of a debt compound spiral. The contrast with fiscal tightening in Europe has become starkly evident.

Both Moody's and Fitch warned that the US must map out a credible strategy to control spending. "We have long-term concerns about the US rating outlook and they're not yet being addressed," said Stephen Hess, chief US analyst for Moody's.

Stephen Lewis, from Monument Securities, said the bond rout is a sign that Washington can no longer take global markets for granted. "We have reached the limits of tolerance for budget deficits. There is a feeling around the world that nobody in Washington is paying any attention to the implications of what they are doing, but there is a very real risk that this will backfire if it causes mortgage rates to keep going up," he said.

"At the same time we've seen a loss of confidence in Fed strategy. There is a feeling that the Fed doesn't care about inflation – in fact, wants more of it – and that is certainly not in the interest of bondholders," he said.

The standard rate for 30-year mortgages in US has moved up in tandem with Treasury yields. The rate has been creeping up ever since the US Federal Reserve first signalled plans for a fresh blast of quantitative easing, rising 85 basis points in three months.

The housing squeeze raises serious doubts about the Fed's plan to purchase a further $600bn in Treasuries over coming months, or QE2 as it is known. Fed chair Ben Bernanke stated on Sunday that the explicit purpose of the policy – which he calls "credit easing" – is to bring down yields.

"We're not printing money. What we're doing is lowering interest rates by buying Treasury securities. And by lowering interest rates, we hope to stimulate the economy to grow faster," he said.

US data on foreign holdings of Treasuries and agency bonds are published with a delay, but monthly figures show that China sold a net $24bn in September and Russia sold $10bn. The concern is that investor flight from US debt will overpower the monthly purchases of $100bn by the Fed, making it ever harder for Washington to raise the $1.4 trillion needed next year to cover the deficit.

The rise in yields risks becoming a textbook case of a central bank losing control over long-term rates. The danger is that market fears of future bond losses – whether from inflation or higher default premiums – will neutralise the stimulus, or lead to stagflation.

Tom Porcelli, from RBC Capital Markets, said the Fed rates might be nearer 4pc by now if the Fed had not acted. However, he said there was no justification for QE2 at a time when the economy is growing at more than 2pc, and core inflation – though the lowest since the 1960s – is positive at 1pc. "Nobody believes that we're slipping into deflation anymore. That phase has passed," he said.


  1. Just one question:

    What happens to the housing market as mortgage rates go up?

  2. As the yield on the 10-year Treasury hits a six month high, you can almost hear all the doors slamming over in refi land. While you'd think most borrowers had already refinanced their loans to take advantage of the recent record-low interest rates, many have actually not, and their opportunity is fast falling.

    Refinance applications have fallen steadily since the first week in October, as mortgage rates began to rise.

    Now a $500 billion block of loans has become "clearly not refinanceable" according to Deutsche Bank.

  3. One in five borrowers are underwater and unemployment is close to 10 percent. Rising mortgage rates, because of increased government borrowing, now another $1 trillion with the latest plan from Washington will put more under water.

  4. Stagflation on Steroids.

    This shit is going to get ooogly, and it ain't going to take long.

    The Misery Index is back. High Inflation, High Unemployment, High Interest Rates. Comin' soon to a wallet near yours.

  5. Everybody loves a Party; but I was stunned by the tax deal.

  6. Evidently, everyone else was, too.

  7. Yeah, you can definitely put that deflation trade to bed.

  8. Deflation, and Bonzo are going to bed.

    See if I can sleep till 2020. g'nite.

  9. This brings the total loss since the market peaked in June 2006 to $9 trillion.

  10. The very idea that you and I and all the rest see the implications, while those in DC do not, unrealistic.

    Those fellas are not that ignorant.

    That their objectives are not what you suppose them to be, more likely the case.

    Look to where the trend lines lead, that is the objective of those running the Ship of State.

    It is a bi-partisan objective, indeed the objective, it is systematic more than partisan, the Parties just vehicles of convenience.

    The "Hidden Hand".
    It defies central planning, in politics as well as finance.

  11. Can you change the spam filter?
    ...blogger now like BC:
    Multiple links result in post being eaten.
    Temporarily, or otherwise.

  12. "Nobody believes that we're slipping into deflation anymore. That phase has passed," he said."

    Nobody KNOWS.

    If liquidation of value overwhelms government tinkering, all bets are off.

  13. You're right, doug-o, that great link to the Real Estate news, disappeared!

    Oh well ...

    You and I know, though.

    All that matters, right?

  14. There is no one in DC that can defeat the "Hidden Hand", doug.

    Not even RW Reagan had it in him to change the course. Slowed the beast for a couple of years, that's the best he could do.

    The "Hidden Hand" of Adam Smith capitalism vs the Authoritarian nature of government, its' "Hidden Hand", as it were.

    The Authoritarians eventually lose, but it is a costly trail to take. This political/economic debacle has been 100 years in the making, it is not going away, soon.

  15. Trish: I picture a somewhat stern and remote, grudgingly loving and necessarily omnipotent, version of Dennis Hopper's blind monk in Young Frankenstein.

    Dennis Hopper? Naw, it was Gene Hackman, and he was so funny it hurt.

  16. Stuxnet

    Seems to be effective, if it was the method used in setting back the Iranian nuclear schedule, not a single air raid was needed.

    No global economic disruption caused by military adventurism run amok.

  17. The American Thinker then becomes hyperboloid, about WikiLeaks.

    Blaming the messenger, for the message.

    Foolishness, that.
    The Australians are correct, it was a US failure that caused the leak and the damage done, not Wikilinks.

    Wikilinks is merely following the standard media protocol, publish or perish.

  18. OK, here goes with the links removed:

    Total loss since the housing market peaked in June 2006 - $9 trillion

    Nine Trillion Dollars, that is. .

    Zillow Real Estate Market Reports says 2010 was worse than 2009 for the residential housing market.

    In a report released today, the company says US homes are expected to lose an additional 63 percent more in value this year over 2009-to the tune of $1.7 trillion.
    This brings the total loss since the market peaked in June 2006 to $9 trillion. To put this in perspective, $9 trillion is:

    12 times the cost of the war in Iraq

    900 times the value of the most expensive home in the world

    a little over 9 times the GDP of Australia.

    Zillow says the bulk of this loss happened between June and December after government incentives like the homebuyer tax credits expired.

    Zillow Chief Economist Dr. Stan Humphries says,
    “It’s a testament to the nearly irresistible force of the overall market correction that government incentives can only temporarily hold back the tide, and that the market will ultimately find its natural equilibrium of supply and demand.”

    Home Values

  19. "What happens to the housing market as mortgage rates go up?"

    What happens to servicing interest on Government Debt?

  20. La Habra teachers strike over pay, benefits cuts

    LA HABRA - Hundreds of K-8 teachers went on strike Wednesday at the La Habra City School District, following more than a year of failed contract negotiations and a forced 2-percent salary cut this year.

    The teachers, wearing red T-shirts in a show of solidarity, held up signs and walked picket lines beginning at 7:30 a.m. Wednesday at each of the nine LHCSD schools in a strike action that union leaders say they never wanted, but were forced into.

    Nearly 190 substitute teachers were hired to help out during the strike, each at a cost of about $250 per day.

    By contrast, the district pays teachers about $450 for a day's work, Belenardo said.

  21. .

    That's about $90k salary, with three months off and I assume some decent benefits.

    Doesn't sound like a bad gig Doug.


  22. I'm in a lovely market here.

    The worse out there, the better for here.

    And I'm gonna share the wealth around.

    Moscow is counter - intuitive.

  23. Quirk said...

    That's about $90k salary, with three months off and I assume some decent benefits.

    Doesn't sound like a bad gig Doug.

    Let's start outsourcing teachers...

    I could hire 3 - 5 teachers from several nations to teach for 25 - 38 k a year... (per)

  24. And I've got 110 lots to sell, minus four, reserved.

    A hundred thousand per pancake, I'm sitting pretty, for once!

    I'm still happy as hell, all the while Quirk stamps license plates.

  25. .

    Dave Bing got elected in 2009 as permanent replacement for Kwame Kilpatrick. He's a businessman and a local sports hero. Pretty low key guy. Never hear too much from him and he didn't involved with the November election. He has some major plans for reviving Detroit. Don't know if they will work, but I wish him well.

    One of his plans is to consolidate the city's neighborhoods or in effect shrink the city. It currently has a bureaucracy set up to manage a city of 1.2 million although the population is now closer to 800,000.

    Dave Bing says there'll be incentives for Detroiters to move

    Mayor Dave Bing said this week that he will begin using incentives next year to concentrate city residents in at least seven to nine core areas that will serve as population centers for a newly configured city.

    • Getting Detroiters on board with neighborhood consolidation

    • Mayor assesses Detroit's hopes, frustrations
    In an interview with the Free Press, Bing stressed that no resident would be forced to move, but that those who remain in areas outside the population centers "need to understand that they're not going to get the kind of services they require."
    "We're going to be encouraging them to move and put themselves in a better situation. ... They are much better off moving into a more dense area so that we can provide them with the services they need: that would be water, sewer, lighting, public safety -- all of that," Bing said. "We think that getting our city to be more dense with its population is the right route."

    Detroit Consolidation


  26. Blogger Doug said...

    "What happens to the housing market as mortgage rates go up?"

    What happens to servicing interest on Government Debt?

    Don't worry, be happy as the cure is simple - just hit the print button at the Fed.

  27. .

    And I've got 110 lots to sell, minus four, reserved.

    A hundred thousand per pancake, I'm sitting pretty, for once!

    Congrats on closing the deal with the city Bob.


  28. 100k for a lot in Idaho? I hope it is one honkin' big lot.

    Seem's kinda pricey to me.

  29. .

    Attention! Attention! Attention!

    The 1st Annual Bosco Awards, scheduled for December 15 are being moved back one week to December 22. As part of the delay the awards ceremony (for this year only) will now be called the 1st Annual Bosco Awards and Christmas Special

    The change in schedule will also result in a change in the scheduled entertainment. We had previously planned on having the Red Wings/Maple Leafs Hockey Game on two of the big screen TV's. The game will now be replaced by the continuous running for 24 hours starting at noon on the 22nd of the extended version of "The Christmas Story".

    Peter "Ralphie" Billingsby will be on hand from 11:00 am to noon tipping a few and signing autographs.

    This delay may also result in a couple day delay in putting out the Capricorn Horoscope, unless of course, some other trepidatious soul (not mentioning any names) feels inclined to take on the monumental task of working up the star charts.

    The delay is caused by scheduling/security issues associated with our main surprise guest.

    In addition, there is a matter involving Homeland Security, the ongoing War on Terror, and the Wikileaks scandal. I am unable to tell you more at this time due to ongoing national security concerns.

    On another matter, the ACLU has joined Souls-R-Us in our lawsuit against former Bush Administration officials who are still trying to reclassify as “confidential” and “secret” a large series of posts here at the EB.

    We have at this point obtained an injunction against the government halting their order “That all EB members must stop reading the bar’s archives.” We also concur in the ACLU’s statement branding the government’s position (that “Although the 1st Amendment grants freedom of the press it says nothing about the freedom to read”) as “ridiculous".

    We feel that this strict interpretation of the Constitution, although supported by justices Scalia and Thomas, misses the original intent of the amendment.


  30. Puts the house at over $400 thousand, to pencil that value to the lot.

    The highest price home in Moscow ID on sold for $229 thousand.
    The agent that sold it, has a nice timbered lot listed for sale, @ $63,000.

  31. .

    Seem's kinda pricey to me.

    Bob's throwing in a windrow of alfalfa and a couple of Royal Coachmen on each lot as incentives.


  32. .

    Bob is also open to some kind of exchange deal with lots over at Sunset Memorial Gardens.


  33. Internet class rooms, with the teachers in India.

    Sounds like a wonderful proposal.

    Do away with the physical schools all together.
    Home schooling for everyone.

    Kill the socialist education model with a technological and economical solution.
    Reason enough to provide every dwelling in America with high speed INet access!

    For the children ..
    and for ...
    Their Freedom!

  34. .

    Appealing on many levels rat.

    Although with the Bush and Obama administrations the predictions of 1984 have come to pass. History is being rewritten as we speak.

    With your suggestion you could have the world of Bradbury's Farenheit 451 just by having some government bureaucrat flip a switch.


  35. .

    I suggest we should all start memorizing at least one book just to be safe.

    What would yours be?

    An interesting question?


  36. 944 Mabelle Moscow, ID 83843
    Sold for $177,500
    3Bed 2Bath

    Lots of nice houses for sale, in Moscow, ID., for $225,000 and less.

    Here is one that would be comparable to the houses bob needs.

    1601 Christopher Lane
    Moscow, ID 83843
    $399,500Price Reduced
    4 Bed 3 Bath
    1.00 Acres

    It has been listed for 223 days, now.

    1601 Christopher Lane

  37. There you are, Q, always looking at the down side of the proposal.

    Think of the savings to the taxpayer. In this case, property owners and, one assumes, renters, through trickle down economics.

    Outsource education through the INet. Lots of channel options would be available.

    All done at home and monitored by the parents. No need to involve the "Nanny State" in education, not any longer.

    We have moved beyond brick and mortar buildings, the success of home schooling can not be denied to all of our children.

    Society should follow doug's example, we have the technology to be successful.

  38. .

    Of course, a smart approach would be to gear the book being memorized to the mental capacity of the person doing the memorizing.

    As an example, The Little Engine That Could and Little Black Sambo might be appropriate books for Bob to consider.


  39. .

    You are not a librarian rat, you are a Utopian.

    I admire you're optimism.



  40. sarcasm, sarcasm...I hope on rat's part anyway.

    School is more about socialization than cramming facts into those little heads. Learning how to learn...

    ...god forbid we should produce a whole bunch of blinkered dougs running about.

  41. "School" is all about getting the little bastards out of the house, and having someone else babysit them. Cheap at ANY price.

  42. .

    Blinkered Doug?

    PC Ash?

    Blinkered Doug?

    PC Ash?

    It's a tough one.


  43. Socialization is not a function of the State, ash.

    It is a function of society.

    The two are not interchangeable.

    They should never be confused.

    Look at where the State has interfered the most, with Education. The inner-cities, where the children were bused or the Courts took control of the schools, from the local leaders.

    In almost every case the loss of parental control over the student and their controlled environment became, the worse the end educational product has become.

    The answer is more localized control, as localized as possible to the parental/custodial guardian level , where concern for the student is greatest, the better the student will perform.

    Make the curriculum as open as is available. The varied educational orthodoxies will soon have their Systems on-line. Making a smorgasbord of educational options available to the students of America and the whirled!!!

  44. How do you know when things are bad?

    When the government cannot even print money the right way.

    "More than a billion $100 bills, representing roughly 10 per cent of the entire stock of US currency on the face of the Earth, is being stored in two highly-fortified Government warehouses after printing problems left it unusable."

  45. The people who know how to print US $100 bills the right way are the Russians and the North Koreans.

  46. Was it the "Weimar" that was running the printing presses so fast that they only printed on one side of the bill?

  47. allen said...
    Buddy, can you spare a dime?

    “…problem with new high-tech $100 bills has caused government printers to shut down production of the new notes and to quarantine more than one billion of the bills…

    “…The total face value of the unusable bills, $110 billion, represents more than ten percent of the entire supply of US currency on the planet…

    “…Sorting such a huge quantity of bills by hand, the officials estimate, could take between 20 and 30 years…

    “…the bills are the most costly ever produced, with a per-note cost of about 12 cents – twice the cost of a conventional bill. That means the government spent about $120 million to produce bills it can’t use…

    “…The government says that more than a decade of research and development went into the new security features on the redesigned $100…

    Mon Dec 06, 01:07:00 PM EST

  48. I've got a question about mortgages left over from a previous thread.

    Seems like an agreeable time to re-ask it.

    Why am I being told that I can't get a mortgage without a W2 from a wagepaying job?


  49. Bob is also open to some kind of exchange deal with lots over at Sunset Memorial Gardens.

    I hadn't thought bout that.

    Unca Arly, he of the lapping lip, had a cemetery over by his farm,, but my dear wife is insisting on a jar by the fireplace mantle.

  50. Lets' just avoid all the pros or cons of getting involved in real estate at this time.

    What I have found is that, no matter how much cash you have in the bank, how large your brokerage account or how large your net worth you can not get a mortgage without a W2.

    That is so counter intuitive to my training and understanding of finances.

    It is under reported.

    I'm struggling to understand the "bipartisan" reasoning behind the practice.

    Where does it lead?

    Who does it benefit?


  51. It would seem to me that the "bipartisan" powers that be would be welcoming savers and others who have kept their powder dry to help sop up the excess inventory.


  52. gnossos asked:

    "Why am I being told that I can't get a mortgage without a W2 from a wagepaying job?"

    Here in Canada your income tax statement suffices. I got a mortgage without having a job. I've got my own business and the fact that I paid income tax on income gave the bank enough info. That and the companies financial statements.

    In the US you guys have non-recourse mortgages so just 'cause you have cash in the bank doesn't make it collateral for the mortgage.

  53. Why am I being told that I can't get a mortgage without a W2 from a wagepaying job?

    Because too many banks got burned by self-employed house flippers? Just a guess.

  54. Even with a wage you can burn the bank (flipping or otherwise) because only the house is your collateral.

  55. Even with a wage you can burn the bank (flipping or otherwise) because only the house is your collateral.

    People who have a jobby job are using their home for a number of purposes. One of them is, oddly enough, for a place to live. Those people tend to plow money into maintaining the home. They will also ride out any downturns until they retire. If they're upside-down, they'll just wait. A house flipper just wants to do essentially a day trade, ride the bubble on the way up, then cash out hopefully near the top. Too many of these got a $400,000 load, saw their house decline to #275,000, then just walked. They called it "jingle mail", just send the keys to the bank and go, "See ya!"

  56. .

    Unca Arly, he of the lapping lip, had a cemetery over by his farm,, but my dear wife is insisting on a jar by the fireplace mantle.

    Over time they come to believe they have to keep an eye on you 24/7 (and beyond).


  57. You can easily flip house with a jobby job too. The problem is only the house is collateral for the mortgage. Maybe the banks are using an assumption that jobby jobbers are less likely to skip out...maybe they have some stats to back it up.

    I presume the banks are bound by law to only accept the house as collateral?

  58. Thu Dec 09, 12:57:00 PM EST

    Which is the state of private education in 'Rat's state of Arizona.

    One of it's greatest features:

    Private schools do not have to jump through hoops constructed by local boards of "education"

  59. The story I've been told, by a title insurance employee and by a bank employee, both who claimed they "knew," is that the restriction on mortgage loans is a dictate from the federal government.

    The banks want to loan, but are being held from doing so.

    This has been anecdotally confirmed by the lenders, mortgage brokers, I've spoken to.

    I am pressed for time with other issues and have not attempted to dig into the actual facts; what levers are being used, etc.

    At this point, being told "no" a number of times I've had to move on to other options...

    But the situation still confuses me.

    There are, of course, other mitigating factors as Ash and others have brought up. Recourse or no recourse, etc.

    But what confuses me is the consistent message I get that it's a government edict; the banks would like to loan on the merits as they see them but are restrained.

    I've heard it's was a part of the TARP or other, later, agreements they signed on to. I've heard it's because Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac or the USDA is not buying them...

    As I said, all anecdotal. And no time for me right now to dig down...

    And, as I mentioned before, one of the reasons I just accepted the situation and have moved on, is my mom's broker telling me of another client of his, a retired Microsoft millionaire, who spent 3 months trying to get a mortgage without success...


  60. I've found private schools to be more receptive to Parents desires. I've also found them to be verrrry expensive.

  61. Blinkered Doug's son no longer works for UH for the Air Force.

    Got a step up across the street @ Boeing where the (60 yr old boss) will be grooming him to take over when he retires in two years.

    ...assuming Boeing is still getting some of that military/industrial mullah.

  62. desert rat said...
    Puts the house at over $400 thousand, to pencil that value to the lot.

    The highest price home in Moscow ID on sold for $229 thousand.
    The agent that sold it, has a nice timbered lot listed for sale, @ $63,000.


    Yes, but that lot is suitable for building.

    Bob's pancakes have a feature limiting them to be used only as additions to the
    Federal Park System.

    A Priceless Feature to be sure.

    Moscowvites are already calling it

    "Unca Bob's Pancake Park"

  63. Palin has promised Bob she'll be down shooting a promotional video featuring her taking down a Wolf on the

    Federal Wolf Preserve Park and Hunting Range

    on the back forty.

  64. gnossos,

    The Feds are in the process of balancing the three decades in which they required banks to lend to those with no ability whatsoever to repay,
    with some period of time in which borrowers must show proof of employment in order to qualify.

  65. Blogger Doug said...

    Thu Dec 09, 03:28:00 PM EST

    hee hee!

  66. Here in Canada the Banks have recourse to your other assets and your interest is not tax deductible.

    You guys might think of changing your Banking regs!

  67. Doug,

    re: "balancing"

    I get that. But, again, wouldn't they want the excess inventory dried up by responsible, solvent investors?


  68. They're carrying those loans valued at full bubble valuations.

    Selling that inventory at market prices today would reveal stupendous losses.

  69. .
    I get that. But, again, wouldn't they want the excess inventory dried up by responsible, solvent investors?


    Hell. Gnossos, you read the New Yorker. And not just for the cartoons.

    I wouldn't trust you as far as I could throw you.



  70. The other thing that bothered me were the stories told me by brokers about REO homes, that is bank owned homes, they bid on.

    I wasn't much interested at the time, I was trying to get my mom's house sold in a tough market.

    But now that it's sold, and against the advice of everyone here, I'm interested in re-investing the proceeds back into real estate, I'm remembering those conversations...

    Apparently the REO sales, again anecdotally, I haven't pursued any, are not at all transparent.

    The first story I heard was from the broker who assisted me. She mentioned that she had put in an offer at the listed price on an REO home for a client. Something like 6 weeks later they were told no. No reason given. Another 2 weeks later the property is listed for $100k less than her client's offer. As she said "Go figure."

    The title lady I mentioned earlier was an officer in a respected company. 30 years in the biz. She said she heard and believed the banks in California are dealing REOs "out the back door" to favored individuals... Also with federal connivance. Muttered mention of Chinese money...

    I think back to the Japanese buy up back in the 80s and chuckle a bit.

    But I still wish there was some solid reporting being done on the whys and wherefores.


  71. Quirk,

    I pretty much skip Hertzberg. And most of the front of the book.

    Does that make any difference?

    (And did you note that Ailes hired away Sasha Frere-Jones?)


  72. "She said she heard and believed the banks in California are dealing REOs "out the back door" to favored individuals..."


    This has been going on on a large scale in SOCAL's "Inland Empire" for over two years.
    No doubt elsewhere, as well.

  73. Quirk,

    The best chuckle I got recently from the New Yorker was from a bio of Ntozake Shange nee Pauline L. Williams.

    Most prominently noted for her "For Colored Girls..."

    She decided she needed street cred and needed to get down with her roots.

    So the name change, etc....

    But she kept sneaking back to her, I'm winging this; my memory might make the story better, up scale white prep school for a couple of classes a week.

    Why you might ask?

    "To keep her French sharp."


  74. Son bought a REO here which had only changed hands twice, and only 1 or two additional loans, so it was pretty easy to conclude that hidden icebergs were unlikely.

    Biggest loss was taken by last owners, two guys from New York who took a hit of $300 k in two years, apparently of their own money, as paperwork showed no seconds obtained when they purchased the house showing that recent "gain" in value a few years ago.

    Easy come, easy go.
    Unless it's you.

  75. Buddy's Dream Coming True?

    Senator Blocks Obama Nominee Over Drilling Halt

    Vitter said he wants Carol Browner, Obama's chief energy and climate change adviser, and Steve Black, counselor to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, to testify under oath before the Senate Small Business Committee on a November report by the Interior Department's inspector general.

    That report concluded that the White House edited a drilling safety report in a way that made it appear that scientists and experts supported the administration's six-month ban on new deep-water drilling.

    "Louisianians are distraught by your administration's disregard for scientific integrity, the health of the U.S. economy and domestic energy production," Vitter told Obama in the letter.

  76. Charter Schools, here in AZ, are privately run, publicly funded.

    They receive the same day rate from the State per student that the public schools get.

    Set my daughter to one of the charter high schools. Much more responsive than the public schools, at least in the Paradise Valley School District.

    She graduated in three years.

  77. .

    Hell, Gnossos, I read Mad Magazine.

    When I really want to impress my friends I leave classic copies of the National Lampoon laying around on the coffee table.

    Sasha Frere-Jones?

    Is she that cute Russian spy that got busted a couple of months back?


  78. Stuxnet Redux

    “Here is their problem. They should throw out every personal computer involved with the nuclear program and start over, but they can’t do that…

    “They will just continually re-infect themselves

  79. Stux to be Iran.

    Of course, I read about this short of thing way back in 1984 with William Gibson's "Neuromancer" but its eerie to see science fiction become reality.

    "Boy, that is one mean piece of software. Hottest thing since sliced bread. That goddam thing's invisible. I just now rented twenty seconds on that little pink box, four jumps left of the T-A ice; had a look at what we look like. We don't. We're not there."

    Case searched the matrix around the Tessier-Ashpool ice until he found the pink structure, a standard commercial unit, and punched in closer to it. "Maybe it's defective."

    "Maybe, but I doubt it. Our baby's military, though. And new. It just doesn't register. If it did, we'd read as some kind of
    Chinese sneak attack, but nobody's twigged to us at all. Maybe not even the folks in Straylight."

    Case watched the blank wall that screened Straylight. "Well," he said, "that's an advantage, right?"

    "Maybe." The construct approximated laughter. Case winced at the sensation. "I checked ol' Kuang Eleven out again for you, boy. It's real friendly, long as you're on the trigger end, jus' polite an' helpful as can be. Speaks good English, too. You ever hear of slow virus before?"


    "I did, once. Just an idea, back then. But that's what ol' Kuang's all about. This ain't bore and inject, it's more like we interface with the ice so slow, the ice doesn't feel it. The face of the Kuang logics kinda sleazes up to the target and mutates, so it gets to be exactly like the ice fabric. Then we lock on and the main programs cut in, start talking circles 'round the logics in the ice. We go Siamese twin on 'em before they even get restless. . ."

  80. Selah,

    Just last evening I was attempting to explain the Stuxnet virus and its implications to someone who had never heard of it.

    I soon realized how little I actually understood.

    You and your work came to mind...

    As did Necromancer.

    I'm more than a little envious of your ability to swim in these, to me, murky waters.

    And I'm appreciative of what you're doing for us. Or US as rat might say.


  81. Doug,

    Thanks to you I'm a regular reader of Dr Housing.

    And it's the "shadow inventory" being held back that he illuminates that is a major reason I'm considering purchasing real estate.

    Given the stats he presents it seems to me the only way out for all involved, lenders, municipalities,, dependent on taxing values, is for there to be very significant inflation.

    If you accept that then you want your assets "inflation proofed."

    Real estate, possibly like that your son bought, where the "hit," or much of it, has already been taken would seem to me to be a viable option.

    Especially if you can leverage with a 30 year 4%.

    In the area I'm interested in the PNW much of the "hit" has, in my opinion, been taken.

    In coastal SoCaL, where I'd much rather be, not so much. Actually, in the areas I've been tracking, not at all...


  82. Cut off the dependent class and they do get snippy. British students, who probably have never had a job in their lives, social parasites one and all, are angry because those who actually work will not be carrying them to the level they have become accustomed.

    "The 62-year-old heir to the British throne and his 63-year-old wife, the Duchess of Cornwall, were said by palace officials to have been unharmed in the incident, which occurred when a group of about 50 protesters, some in full-face balaclavas and shouting “Tory scum,” broke through a cordon of motorcycle police while approaching London’s theater district in slow-speed traffic.

    A photograph of the couple, in formal evening dress, showed them registering shock as protesters beat on the side of their aromored, chauffeur-driven Rolls-Royce with sticks and bottles, smashing a side window, denting a rear panel and splashing it with white paint. A Jaguar tailing behind and carrying a palace security detail was so battered that the police ended up using its doors as shields.

    Prime Minister David Cameron called the attack on the royal couple’s car “shocking and regrettable.”

    Other violence across the city center continued into the night, with demonstrators trying to smash their way into the Treasury building at the heart of the Whitehall government district with makeshift rams made from steel crowd barriers, setting small fires and clashing repeatedly with riot police and mounted units that formed cordons outside government buildings. BBC reporters at the scene donned helmets as the rioters threw shattered blocks of steel-reinforced concrete.

  83. Sometimes
    I don't know
    If the cat wants in or out
    She scratches on the screen
    What does she mean?

    So I lean my killing back
    Over the bed
    And open the window
    For this feline queen

    And only hope to ask
    She will not get back at me......

    This feline qween.

  84. You wish is my command oh master of universe. Overseer to all that is…starry like.

  85. Re:

    Prime Minister David Cameron called the attack on the royal couple’s car “shocking and regrettable.”

    Am I to understand that the "Tory scum" Rolls was attacked?

  86. The whistleblowing organisation hosts its website with Swedish internet service provider PRQ - which has been defending cyberattacks in recent weeks - and the latest leaked files have been copied across the internet on hundreds of servers.

    Assange has turned to Sweden because that country's laws are some of the best in the world for protecting the work of freedom of speech campaigners.

    Under Swedish law, WikiLeaks cannot be prosecuted and neither can the people who pass it information.

    Julian Assange

    We need some WikiLeaks on WikiLeaks.

    What's the be that Assange will win the peace prize?

  87. .

    You wish is my command oh master of universe. Overseer to all that is…starry like.

    Thanks, Mel.

    With all the federal lawsuits I'm involved in plus someone scheduling Christmas so close to the 'event' I'm really backed up.

    Now, wait.

    You did mean you would do Capricorn, right?

    I've had people pull these jokes on me before.


  88. Unless you're asking me to do someone else then Capricorn it is.

  89. .

    Sweet Mel.



  90. Fuck you both.

    I know caps.

    Picked a couple up at the Capricorn Ball Room.

    I know caps.

    Frisky, most of them are.
    Very talkitive too.

    blah blah blah

    I'll beat the man from DETROIT, but the woman from Philly I can not beat.


    Just give me a chance.

  91. .

    Ok Bob, what is it this time, the brewski or the drugs?

    "I'll beat the man from DETROIT..."

    Shit Bob, I'd slap you silly if the end result wouldn't be so damned redundant.



  92. I'm happy.

    What else can I say.

    I love you both is what I meant to say.

    And it is lovely to have the daughter up there on horseback.

    She is getting really good.

    And to know what I going to do with my money.


    We need some Christmas music.

  93. hell, Melody, if you can't figure that out, you are no big city girl.

    I'm simple barn yard jealous, is all, like usual.

  94. I'm happy though.

    That was an 8 million dollar vote the other day.

    I'm happy now, and know what to do.

    Exactly, know what to do.

  95. I would appreciate it if you kept the jealousy behind the screen instead of in black and white. If you follow that one simple rule no one will feel uncomfortable and all will be well. Especially with words like that.

    Christmas music