Mar
18

Subprime shanty towns




Posted at 19:33 by Brad

But remember, the most important issue of this election is whether Barack Obama condemns his pastor vigorously enough. Otherwise, white people might get scared and will be forced to vote for another crazy, incompetent white guy who will make things even worse.

UPDATE: Wow. This is a pretty big interest rate cut:

The Federal Reserve, continuing an aggressive series of actions to try and right the struggling economy, cut a key short-term interest rate three-quarters of a point Tuesday for the sixth time in six months.

The central bank cut the federal funds rate, which is used as a benchmark for a wide variety of business and consumer loans, for the third time this year and the sixth time since the economy began to sputter last fall.

The move comes after a tumultuous week in the financial markets that has seen the Fed, under Chairman Ben Bernanke to inject itself in unprecedented fashion, helping to engineer a takeover of venerable Wall Street investment bank Bear Stearns, which collapsed under the weight of bad mortgage-related securities.

The problem with these sorts of steep rate cuts, of course, is that eventually the Fed will run out of bullets in its arsenal. The Treasury Department and Congress are going to have to do something as well. If ever there was a good time to impeach Bush to prevent him from further fouling things now, it would be now.

105 Comments »

  1. Me said,

    March 18, 2008 at 19:37

    I’ve said this repeatedly: this whole “controversy” is just the cable networks talking to themselves. You can tell it’s nonsense whenever people start demanding a denunciation or apology that they have absolutely no intention of ever accepting. This will disappear quickly, especially since most people have bigger things to worry about, as evidenced by the video above.

  2. Cruel Jest said,

    March 18, 2008 at 19:38

    Hey. Who is that kid on the bike? Seems to be livin’ pretty high for a supposed “homeless” kid. I bet he has coutertops and shit, too.

  3. Hattie said,

    March 18, 2008 at 19:46

    Wow! Anyone listened to McCain in Iraq? He’s a total stumblebum sounding more & more like Bush.
    Yes, he’ll fix things real good for us.

  4. OB-GYN Kenobi said,

    March 18, 2008 at 19:48

    Is this the “invisible handjob” that Adam Smith was talking about?

  5. Red said,

    March 18, 2008 at 19:50

    Why is it that every time a bunch of regular Joes and Janes go out and invest in something, it turns out to be a bubble and most of them wind up losing big? Lots of regular people were investing in the stock market when the tech bubble popped. This is worse, though, because nobody expected to live in their stock portfolios.

    The invisible hand of the market gives handjobs to those at the top and an extended bird finger to the rest of us.

  6. Some Guy said,

    March 18, 2008 at 19:52

    Please. The media won’t believe that he REALLY doesn’t accept the endorsement until he Rambo’s up and guns down the entire congregation, duel-welding M60s and screaming, “JESUS LOVES YOU AND AMERICA!” over and over, ignoring the screams and the blood splatters.
    http://www.thedailyshow.com/video/index.jhtml?videoId=162950&title=last-tango-in-cleveland

    McCain is Bush 3.0. This of course means that he’s going to win 40%+ of the vote. This will shame our Nation for decades to come.

  7. Joe Max said,

    March 18, 2008 at 20:00

    These “Hoovervilles” (should we call them “Bushtowns”? That’s a meme worth spreading around) are only the tip of a looming iceberg. There are for more people losing their homes than the headcount of that place. A lot of people who were in those houses did have jobs and income, but not enough to pay their escalating mortgages. They lose the house, but not the job, so many end up staying with friends or family so they can keep the job and look for a rental. What’s going to drive the growth of Bushtowns are the people who rent that will be forced out of rental homes by people who lost their owned housing, but still have more income than current renters and are willing and able to pay higher rents. (My wife and I manage an apartment building and we see this beginning to happen.) So landlords raise rents and drive out lower middle class tenants, whose wages are stagnant and who are already squeezed by high fuel prices.

    The trickle down is going to happen over the next several months, and the Dems need to hang it on the neck of the GOP like the dead, stinking albatross it is. If there is ever a time for an “it’s the economy, stupid” general election campaign, this is going to be it.

  8. tontocal said,

    March 18, 2008 at 20:01

    “There but for the grace of god…….”

  9. g said,

    March 18, 2008 at 20:02

    These “Hoovervilles” (should we call them “Bushtowns”?

    Absolutely.

  10. Mom in Maine said,

    March 18, 2008 at 20:03

    Bushvilles. Or Shrubtowns.

  11. g said,

    March 18, 2008 at 20:05

    Dubyaville

  12. JGabriel said,

    March 18, 2008 at 20:12

    Can you smell the irony?

    New York Times:

    There was talk Monday that with their life savings nearly depleted, some [Bear Stearns] executives had moved quickly, putting their weekend homes on the market.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/18/business/18bear.htm

  13. t4toby said,

    March 18, 2008 at 20:15

    Welfare for the Rich,
    Capitalism for the Poor.

    Welcome to America. You’ve been sold a dream that doesn’t exist.

    Never has, never will.

  14. WereBear said,

    March 18, 2008 at 20:16

    Aww! Poor BS executives.

    Too bad the real estate market also stinks.

  15. Snowwy said,

    March 18, 2008 at 20:22

    Just goes to show you the idiocy of the Bear Stearns executive staff. Wouldn’t any fool with access to the kind of info they’ve got have sold any disposable real estate a *year* ago?

  16. Snowwy said,

    March 18, 2008 at 20:23

    And BTW, I add my vote for “Bushtowns”. Rolls right off the tongue, it does.

  17. owlbear1 said,

    March 18, 2008 at 20:31

    I liked the suggestion in an earlier thread of “Chimpytowns”.

  18. Legalize said,

    March 18, 2008 at 20:31

    Bushtowns.

  19. Gary Ruppert said,

    March 18, 2008 at 20:33

    The fact is it’s time for us to rise up and overthrow the greed-crazed parasites who created this disaster. Comrades, we have nothing to lose but our chains.

  20. Sniper said,

    March 18, 2008 at 20:34

    Bushtowns is good. And someone carrying their worldly goods in a beater would be driving a Bushbuggy.

  21. Sniper said,

    March 18, 2008 at 20:34

    Chimpytown is too cheerful – too much like Funky Town.

  22. Jamey said,

    March 18, 2008 at 20:37

    Re rate cuts and the fed: When you’re a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.

  23. Candy said,

    March 18, 2008 at 20:48

    Just goes to show you the idiocy of the Bear Stearns executive staff.

    This has become a rather frightening theme over the last few years. The people who are supposed to have inside information, education, and the position to know what the situation really is and what to do about it seem to have absolutely no clue.

    I was a single, unemployed mom during the buildup to the Iraq war. I kept hearing about weapons of mass destruction and Iraq having links to the 911 attacks, and I just knew it couldn’t be true. I’m no mideast scholar but none of it made any sense. It became very obvious to me that either the cheerleaders of the war were dumber than dirt and totally unlearned on the issues or were being willfully misleading. i’m still not sure which is the truth – I suspect some combination of the two – but either is terrifying!

    The same is true of the economic and financial situation. For example, it should have been readily aparent to anyone with an IQ above room temperature that the housing market was ridiculously inflated. The whole thing was obviously not going to last. And yet the financial gurus who were supposed to understand these things carried on as if things were just going to get bettah and bettah!

    One of my jobs was processing home equity loans. People were buying new construction and taking out a home equity loan at the same time. You’d think this would seem like a really bad fucking idea to anyone with even a modicum of common sense, but nope! And yet, I would think, what do I know? I’m a peon second class. Must be more to it than meets the eye. Yet, here we are! If the people we rely on to understand and fix these things are indeed less prescient than I am, we are in a hell of a fix. I’d almost rather they are evil and there is a great conspiracy than think what seems obvious, that they are truly just too stupid to do their jobs.

  24. Candy said,

    March 18, 2008 at 20:53

    For a second there, i thought I saw a comment by a long-departed troll . . .

    must have been hallucinating. Or someone (ahem) took action really fast.

  25. Dan said,

    March 18, 2008 at 20:54

    No nicknames. Bushtowns. We want people 100 years from now to know who was responsible. Someone get that up on Wikipedia now.

  26. MrWonderful said,

    March 18, 2008 at 20:54

    Candy–

    I was going to say the site-oppo, viz., I’d rather they be stupid and inept than consciously calculating and conspiratorial. But I’m not saying that. I don’t what I’d rather. I’d rather they all go jump in a lake! As if.

    Bushtowns, yes, so as to associate the Chimpster’s name with ignominy and badness-meme and etc.

  27. D.N. Nation said,

    March 18, 2008 at 20:55

    Thomas Sowell told me that it was these people’s own dumb fault. That makes me sleep better at night. Yep. Certainly does.

  28. Candy said,

    March 18, 2008 at 20:56

    Mr. Wonderful, I agree – either option is extremely un-good.

    Bushtowns is perfect.

  29. g said,

    March 18, 2008 at 20:58

    Thomas Sowell hasn’t had to sell his weekend home.

  30. MileHi Hawkeye said,

    March 18, 2008 at 20:58

    “People were buying new construction and taking out a home equity loan at the same time.”

    Got to have all new furniture, new clothes and two new cars to fill the garage of your McMansion, don’t ya’ know. American excess–got to love it!

    I’m just glad that I was taught better (and I’m not stoopid).

  31. mikey said,

    March 18, 2008 at 21:02

    I don’t pretend to understand most of this stuff, but isn’t a lot of the problem due to very cheap money being available on a very liberal basis? Kind of created a credit habit not unlike a heroin addiction, where once you start living beyond your pay-as-you-go means you will continue to need credit to support your basic requirements, and if you are unable to continue to receive inexpensive credit you don’t just go back to living on your income, you now lose everything?

    So by driving down interest rates, aren’t they pretty much just guaranteeing that the problem will be that much worse in a few months, when consumers can no longer afford Hummers and big screen tvs?

    mikey

  32. Candy said,

    March 18, 2008 at 21:04

    Yeah, it helped that I was raised largely by depression-era grandparents. They never bought anything on credit, and the only thing they ever bought on an “installment plan” was their house, and it was paid off in much less than 30 years. If only I’d stuck with that principle myself, I’d have come to less grief. But I’ve learned all my lessons. I’d rather do without than get into debt again. And I am. Doing without, that is. :-)

  33. Candy said,

    March 18, 2008 at 21:08

    Exactly right, mikey.

    Interesting commentary on the solution being worse than the problem in the Telegraph today.

  34. nightjar said,

    March 18, 2008 at 21:09

    The problem with these sorts of steep rate cuts, of course, is that eventually the Fed will run out of bullets in its arsenal.”

    That and the 20 dollar Hamburger.

  35. gbear said,

    March 18, 2008 at 21:10

    Candy! I’m at work now and found the info about the peer-to-peer lending company. It’s called Prosper Credit Company and it’s run by a guy named Chris Larson. It sounds like an American version of Africa’s People’s Banks. Investors lend money to the bank and the bank lends it to people who the uppity banks won’t lend to. It sounded like a great program from what I heard on the radio.

  36. WFB said,

    March 18, 2008 at 21:12

    The invisible hand gave me a prostate exam.

    Go with Bush Forest or Bush Hills — a gated community.

    Bushwood!

  37. Jennifer, home with the flu said,

    March 18, 2008 at 21:14

    The next time a Republican talks about an ownership society, we need to remind everyone, loudly, that what he means is that he will own you.

    I still like Chimpytowns, but for historical purposed agree that Bushtowns is better for keeping the albatross on the neck where it belongs.

  38. gbear said,

    March 18, 2008 at 21:14

    but Blanch, Bush wouldn’t!

    I like bushtown. It has a timeless sound to it.

  39. JGabriel said,

    March 18, 2008 at 21:14

    WereBear:

    Aww! Poor BS executives. Too bad the real estate market also stinks

    Yep. Selling into the same markets you fucked over, with an asset whose price is plummeting due to your own business practices.

    That’s desperation.

    And irony.

    And poetic justice.

    It’s a consequence that would be laughable, if the cause weren’t so damaging to the rest of us.

    .

  40. steve evfuture said,

    March 18, 2008 at 21:16

    The other big problem is that when the rates are cut, there is no profit for the lender. Then they are stuck trying to lend to more people to make up the difference and I believe that is what got us in this mess in the first place.
    These rate cuts, at best, will make things look good for a couple of weeks, but the ship is sinking.

  41. Candy said,

    March 18, 2008 at 21:17

    gbear, I did ask my more investment-educated friend about it, and he didn’t seem to know anything much about it. From the little bit you’ve mentioned, it seems like it could be an opportunity to make money and maybe even to do some good in the world, but I’m very risk-averse – I hate gambling – so it also sounds like something that should be very carefully vetted.

    A quick gazoogle turned up this interesting short article:

    Prosper

  42. JGabriel said,

    March 18, 2008 at 21:18

    Snowwy:

    And BTW, I add my vote for “Bushtowns”. Rolls right off the tongue, it does.

    I’m afraid I have to agree. It’s comes to the tongue much more easily than the name I was considering for them:

    Greenspan Grottoes(tm).

    .

  43. Legalize said,

    March 18, 2008 at 21:18

    It’s times like these that make me glad I used my alleged Xmas bonus to pay off credit card debt. I’m also happy to not have a mortgage, kids, or a car payment hanging over me. If it comes to it I can ride my bike to work, and while it’ll be a little sweaty in the summer, I’ll be able to buy more clean shirts with the loot I’ll save on gas.

    On the bright side, we’ll probably all become more self-reliant in the coming months. I plan on *gasp* cooking for myself from time to time, and maybe growing some tomattos and green beans.

    Now, if only I could figure out how to grow cat food.

  44. gbear said,

    March 18, 2008 at 21:20

    I’ve always thought that all the big suburban mcmansions were going to wind up being used as communal co-op housing for boomer seniors anyway. Get a half-dozen people who can’t afford to live alone and want the companionship and support of other seniors. Maybe pool their resources for the cost of a nurse if they can afford it. Kind of do-it-yourself assisted living.

  45. JGabriel said,

    March 18, 2008 at 21:21

    Candy:

    I’d almost rather they are evil and there is a great conspiracy than think what seems obvious, that they are truly just too stupid to do their jobs.

    Why choose? The probability of both being true is ever so much higher than the likelihood of just one.

    .

  46. actor212 said,

    March 18, 2008 at 21:22

    This upcoming recession is eerily similar to the one that hit Japan in the late 80s, early 90s.

    That, too, was based on real estate speculation (they bought Rockefeller Center in NYC, you might recall).

    Their central bank dropped prime to zero, and the prime rate actually went to negative numbers at the retail level: banks gave you money to borrow money!

    They’re still not out of the woods.

  47. SamFromUtah said,

    March 18, 2008 at 21:24

    I’ve always thought that all the big suburban mcmansions were going to wind up being used as communal co-op housing for boomer seniors anyway.

    I could see that – if they replaced every tenth McMansion or so with some kind of corner store and/or clinic or whatever, those developments might actually have a goddam use.

  48. Candy said,

    March 18, 2008 at 21:26

    Now, if only I could figure out how to grow cat food.

    you could get a breeding pair of mice . . . I couldn’t handle that, but it’s the only option I can think of.

  49. Legalize said,

    March 18, 2008 at 21:29

    And the Japanes didn’t have a personal debt crisis at the time.

  50. Smut Clyde said,

    March 18, 2008 at 21:35

    This upcoming recession is eerily similar to the one that hit Japan in the late 80s, early 90s.
    Remember how we jeered at the Japanese government when their bubble burst (or rather, how the pundits laughed on our behalf), for their refusal to make tough decisions? Every time they bailed out another failing bank or big corporation, rather than forcing it to restructure, it was another demonstration that the Japanese economy was entangled in crony capitalism and sheltered from the discipline of the market-place. “They’re throwing good money after bad”, we said.
    Fortunately the US Fed has learned from their example.

  51. roac said,

    March 18, 2008 at 21:38

    Chimpytown is better BECAUSE it sounds like Funkytown. YouTube is holding its breath waiting for that video.

  52. tontocal said,

    March 18, 2008 at 21:40

    Latest from Saint “Foreign Policy Expert™” McCain?:

    Speaking to reporters in Amman, the Jordanian capital, McCain said he and two Senate colleagues traveling with him continue to be concerned about Iranian operatives “taking al-Qaeda into Iran, training them and sending them back.”

    Pressed to elaborate, McCain said it was “common knowledge and has been reported in the media that al-Qaeda is going back into Iran and receiving training and are coming back into Iraq from Iran, that’s well known. And it’s unfortunate.” A few moments later, Sen. Joseph Lieberman, standing just behind McCain, stepped forward and whispered in the presidential candidate’s ear. McCain then said: “I’m sorry, the Iranians are training extremists, not al-Qaeda.”

    http://thinkprogress.org/2008/03/18/mccain-iran-al-qaeda/

    Doofus.

  53. Fed Cuts Slashes Three-Quarters Off Interest Rate » The American Mind said,

    March 18, 2008 at 21:42

    [...] reaction I stumbled upon this well-trafficked Left-wing weblog who wants to fix the economy by impeaching Bush. Talk about a one-trick pony. Yeah, adding political uncertainty to the financial will bring about [...]

  54. Susan of Texas said,

    March 18, 2008 at 21:51

    The above link sez: Talk about a one-trick pony. Yeah, adding political uncertainty to the financial will bring about confidence.

    Frankly, I’d feel a helluva lot better knowing Bush wasn’t trying to fix the mess his administration got us into.This wasn’t an accident, a natural disaster, or an unforseen by-product. They knew exactly what they were doing when they sliced and diced mortages, leverage to the hilt, and bailed themselves out when the party ended. We’ll have massive inflation and Bush will be gone.

  55. t4toby said,

    March 18, 2008 at 21:51

    Now, if only I could figure out how to grow cat food.

    Dude.

  56. t4toby said,

    March 18, 2008 at 21:54

    Teh Sadly is a ‘Well-trafficked Left-wing blog’?

    I thought we were a Hotbed of Godless Liberals (or, to simplify, Fascists).

    I guess you learn something new every day…

  57. Smut Clyde said,

    March 18, 2008 at 21:56

    That’s all very well, but what with all that traffic, people keep leaving the door open, which lets out the fever-swamp miasma and ruins the echo-chamber acoustics.

  58. gbear said,

    March 18, 2008 at 21:57

    Mice reach sexual maturity by 4-6 weeks. However, females should not be bred for the first time until they are 8 to 12 weeks old.

    Yes, for god’s sake, give those female mice a chance to have some childhood memories before tying them down with motherhood.

  59. t4toby said,

    March 18, 2008 at 22:03

    I had fever-swamp miasma once. It felt like Pastor Swank and K-Lo were having a ‘prayer meeting’ in my pituitary gland. While Jonah took pictures.

    It is a fate I would only wish upon every member of the Bush ‘government’.

  60. tontocal said,

    March 18, 2008 at 22:03

    I stumbled upon this well-trafficked Left-wing weblog…..

    Will the right wing never cease in their debasement, nay, their outright defamation of us!!??…..(sniff)

  61. Robert M. said,

    March 18, 2008 at 22:03

    A few moments later, Sen. Joseph Lieberman, standing just behind McCain, stepped forward and whispered in the presidential candidate’s ear.

    When Joe Lieberman, fearless supporter of whatever Bush wants at the moment, is your foreign policy eminence gris–perhaps it’s time to step back and re-evaluate some of your campaign choices.

  62. Fozzetti said,

    March 18, 2008 at 22:03

    Someone at KOS suggested raising the minimum wage quite a bit. He said that would help, perhaps even solve our problems. I’m skeptical, but in favor of min wage raising. The one congress & Bush ok’d hasn’t gone thru yet, you know.

  63. Olexicon said,

    March 18, 2008 at 22:03

    FunkyTown?

  64. tigrismus said,

    March 18, 2008 at 22:17

    You can’t impeach! You go into surgery with the surgeon you’ve got, not the surgeon you might wish to have, no matter how many patients he’s lost because of gross incompetence, no matter that he’s never successfully performed the operation you need, no matter how drunk he now looks. Now put on this mask and breathe deeply!

  65. Jennifer, home with the flu said,

    March 18, 2008 at 22:17

    Olexicon – a play on my suggestion that the shantytowns of teh coming economic apocalypse be called “Chimpytowns”.

  66. tontocal said,

    March 18, 2008 at 22:19

    I’m just waiting for the President to visit and tell them that he knows how hard it is for them to put food on their families.

  67. gbear said,

    March 18, 2008 at 22:22

    You can’t impeach! You go into surgery with the surgeon you’ve got, not the surgeon you might wish to have, no matter how many patients he’s lost because of gross incompetence, no matter that he’s never successfully performed the operation you need, no matter how drunk he now looks. Now put on this mask and breathe deeply!

    We just had a great example of that this week in the Twin Cities. Some guy went under the knife to have a failing kidney removed and the surgeons screwed up and removed his good kidney instead. I feel so sorry for this guy.

    http://www.startribune.com/lifestyle/health/16769816.html

  68. Sean Hannity said,

    March 18, 2008 at 22:23

    “What bothers me the most about these people is their disturbing lack of patriotism!”

  69. Candy said,

    March 18, 2008 at 22:25

    I’m skeptical, but in favor of min wage raising. The one congress & Bush ok’d hasn’t gone thru yet, you know.

    The manager at Perkins told me, in response to my inquiry as to the humongous rise in entree prices, that they “had to raise prices because the minimum wage went up.” Believe it or not. I gave him an earful, but didn’t really blast him because it was oh so obvious he’d been told to say that.

  70. LD said,

    March 18, 2008 at 22:31

    I have to say that the .75% is propably on the lighter scale, weren’t markets betting for 1 or even 1.25% drop?
    As for the future american home, I have to say bushtown has the down side that bush can also mean shrubbery.

    How long do you think it takes before the interest rates are cut again?

  71. Smut Clyde said,

    March 18, 2008 at 22:35

    If you go back to the classics, the run-down developments had names like “Belly Rave”.

  72. Jennifer, home with the flu said,

    March 18, 2008 at 22:35

    Interesting article on what’s likely to happen to many of the McMansion developments in the coming years. I particularly enjoyed the speculation on the third page about how well the McMansions will fare when split up into apartments, like inner-city housing stock was in the 50s – 80s.

  73. Candy said,

    March 18, 2008 at 22:42

    Jennifer, I suspect they won’t fare well at all. I think most of them are made on the cheap, with poor materials and all corners cut. There was an article in the Des Moines Register – I’m too lazy to look for it – about people who are already having major systemic and structural problems with houses that were built in the 80′s. I see no reason to believe that any of those hideously ugly McMansions of more recent days will be in any better shape in 20 years.

  74. Uncle Mike said,

    March 18, 2008 at 22:48

    Why is it that conservatives claim that throwing money at a problem is not the solution, until it’s their own nuts (or their friends’ nuts) in the fire, then it’s a $600 stimulus check here, an interest rate drop there…

  75. Bitter Scribe said,

    March 18, 2008 at 22:53

    McCain is Bush 3.0. This of course means that he’s going to win 40%+ of the vote. This will shame our Nation for decades to come.

    Just so he doesn’t get 50%+.

  76. reverter said,

    March 18, 2008 at 22:57

    Have you ever been to Chimpytown?

  77. g said,

    March 18, 2008 at 22:59

    My mom lives in a McMansion of sorts – it was built in the early 90′s as a spec house, in the “best” part of town in her small E. Texas town. She and dad moved there from the northeast when they retired.

    So far, it’s had to have a roof job; they needed to install gutters and rebuilt the soffits around the roof. The vinyl tile in the kitchen was installed on a damp concrete slab, they had to pull it up and reinstall ceramic. The lot is built on a slope, and they had the uphill neighbor’s retaining wall give way. Then their own retaining wall gave way onto the downhill neighbors. Some of the doors get stuck.

    And from an aesthetic point of view, the house is just ugly. Palladian windows slapped on for no reason, strange fluted pilasters flanking each door – and you could tell the fluting was done onsite with a router, rather than being real millwork.

  78. tontocal said,

    March 18, 2008 at 23:01

    boomchickaboom Whah don’ you take me to….

  79. gbear said,

    March 18, 2008 at 23:04

    Jennifer, thanks for that Atlantic article. I live in an inner city neighborhood that has been in redevelopment for about 7 years and has a big old brewery building smack in the middle. A developer recently bought it and I was wondering if this whole downturn was going to put him off. They seem to be going ahead with it and that article would seem to be a green light to continue.

    http://collections.mnhs.org/visualresources/image.cfm?imageid=67466&Page=3&Keywords=schmidt%20brewery&SearchType=Basic

    Of course, very soon I won’t be able to afford the taxes here….

  80. Rugged in Montana said,

    March 18, 2008 at 23:04

    I’m just waiting for the President to visit and tell them that he knows how hard it is for them to put food on their families.

    Our President is a War President of the USA of America and he has the best business education in the world (Yale, Harvard, Andover) so you needn’t worry your little LIE-brul heads over the economy. As a jet pilot hero of the Iraq War, he plans his economic strategy like he plans his jet missions, they’re *supposed* to be confusing so that the enemy doesn’t know what you’re doing (DUH!!). Do you think it would be a good idea to let Al Kydah know what we’re doing with our economy? No, I didn’t think so! It doesn’t look like it makes any sense cause he’s doing that on purpose, idiot communists! He knows EXACTLY what he’s doing, pretending that we’re in an economic meltdown and then he’ll turn around and ZAPP! kill all the terrorists who were coming to kill us cause they though we were too weak to fight them with a tiny dollar. You LiE-bruls are SO stupid! Then again, you don’t have an MBA from Andover like American Patriot George W. Bush has, right?

  81. Susan of Texas said,

    March 18, 2008 at 23:07

    Jennifer, that article is interesting. There are at least six large apartment buildings being built in my inner city neighborhood, while the outer exurbs are losing people. (And large apartment buildings are rather rare here.) A rail line is finally being built in the city as well.

    People are tired of commuting on overcrouded roads perpetually being repaired, watching the gas gage sink as they crawl into town.

  82. Susan of Texas said,

    March 18, 2008 at 23:08

    Gauge, not gage. Argh.

  83. Jennifer, home with the flu said,

    March 18, 2008 at 23:08

    Candy – precisely, they won’t. They’re huge (4,000 – 7,000 sf) pieces of shite.

    I remember back when I was looking for a house. It had to be cheap because I didn’t make a lot of money. It had to be in a safe neighborhood, because I live alone. It had to be in an area where values were not likely to decline. But I added to that that it had to be well-built, which pretty much ruled out any new construction. I ended up buying the house I live in now, 950 sf and built in 1941. I’m within walking distance of my bank, my grocery store, and the best independent bookstore in the city (only 6 blocks away). Sure, when I bought it, the kitchen and bathroom were pretty pitiful. Not unusable, just leaving a lot to be desired. But my house payment was only $435 a month, less than rent. My neighborhood is 4 blocks from the most prestigious “old money” neighborhood in the city, where the housing stock was built in the same time period but typically was about twice as large – everything on that side of University Avenue sold for about 2 or 3 times as much as on this side of the avenue. I still can’t fathom how I was able to buy the house so cheap, other than times were different then (it didn’t seem all that cheap at the time) and folks looking for a prestige address didn’t even bother with our neighborhood.

    Meanwhile, most of my friends insisted they wanted brand new homes with all the amenities. They paid more, live miles away from anything, and 15 years later, the houses look worn and dated and are literally falling apart. Meanwhile, I’ve fixed up my place, added on to make it a more comfortable 1500 sf, and even with the market in the toilet, it’s worth 4 times what I paid for it and a good $120K more than I’ve got in it. While I was building the addition, the carpenters said the house is so solid that they didn’t think a tornado could take it down, which is an exagerration but still, they’ve worked on homes of all ages.

    People can be real dumbasses when it comes to buying homes. I’ve seen it before so many times…girlfriends of mine house shopping as if they’re just buying a new outfit. Of course it didn’t hurt that thanks to my background in architecture I knew what the old construction techniques were vs. the new, but still….I’ve got at least 5 friends who have said “I wish I had listened to your advice before I bought.”

  84. Jennifer, home with the flu said,

    March 18, 2008 at 23:11

    Damn, gbear, that’s a kick-ass building!!!! Man, I’d LOVE to be involved on a development project on something like that!

  85. gbear said,

    March 18, 2008 at 23:15

    It’s two blocks from my house. There’s an old bottling building in between my house and the brewery (I used to listen to bottles clinking down the line at night) that is being turned into artist’s lofts. It is definitely going to be a kick-ass development when it’s done, so I’m hoping that the next great depression holds off for a bit.

  86. tontocal said,

    March 18, 2008 at 23:19

    Rugged:

    Does this mean that you’ve also finally vanquished the Islamohomos who have been lurking around your compound?

  87. Liberal Masochist said,

    March 18, 2008 at 23:26

    I am partial to Bushwood myself: Gambling is illegal at Bushwood, Sir, and I never slice.

  88. Rugged in Montana said,

    March 18, 2008 at 23:40

    Does this mean that you’ve also finally vanquished the Islamohomos who have been lurking around your compound?

    No. They’re really wiley. Everytime I run topside to catch them, they manage to hide somewhere (sneaky bast*rds). I was yelling at them a lot last night. My neighbor dropped by this morning and said I was keeping him awake. Heh. I was keeping HIM awake? I aked him if he’d help me set up a trap to catch the Isalmahomos, but he’s busy with something (didn’t catch with what, he mumbles). So…terriffic. They keep creeping around and he won’t even help me catch them! They don’t seem to be around his house, so I guess he figures it’s MY problem. Neighbors. What good are they?

  89. g said,

    March 18, 2008 at 23:52

    The McMansions are gonna have a hard time attracting poor folks. They’re not connected to public transportation. The central city housing stock became attractive to poor people because they could afford them AND they could live there without having to own a car. How can someone who can’t afford the rent afford a car? Why would they want to live in a place that was too far from work or the store? Poor folks can’t even get out to these neighborhoods to look at these rental properties, much less live in them.

    And if they DO rent, let’s say to moderate income people, a 3000 sq. foot house on a culdesac, remodeled into 4 apartments (or 6, or 8) is going to also have to support 8+ cars to park. That alone is going to make the neighborhood’s unattractiveness escalate. They’ll be digging up those front lawns for parking, and you’ll end up with a lot of vinyl sided horrors planted in a sea of concrete. The landlords will end up burning them down for the insurance, or they’ll stay vacant while vandals strip the fixtures – although PVC plumbing doesn’t bring the resale dollars that copper would!

    Go here for a look at what we’re in for.

  90. Susan of Texas said,

    March 19, 2008 at 0:05

    Has anyone seen what happens to empty houses, at least here in warm climates? Mold, mildew, insect and rodent infestation, accelerated physical decline. Nature takes over too, with weeds and creepers gradually reclaiming the land.

    If we’re very lucky, they’ll be turned into farmland eventually, hopefully before trucking become too expensive.

  91. g said,

    March 19, 2008 at 0:28

    Here’s a pretty amazing set of aerial photos.

    Move your mouse over them to see the before and after. 1949 vs. 2003 in a major US urban city.

    I’m trying to find some context – the website is a little disorganized. One of the things I remember about the last time I visited Detroit was how the downtown residential neighborhoods were starting to “green up” again, because the lots had become overgrown; brush and junk trees like alianthus had taken over pavement and buildings, and as the buildings fell away, entire blocks looked like meadows.

    Here’s another site with photos of the abandoned St. Cyrils and the neighborhood.

  92. tontocal said,

    March 19, 2008 at 0:31

    Rugged:

    Sorry to hear about your predicament with your ‘sorry-ass’ neighbor. Even though, as I suspect, he might be a ‘LIE-brul’, keep in mind that he seems to live by one of the ‘golden rules’ that conservatives most tend to cherish; “it isn’t a problem until it becomes my problem.™”

    Oh, and also, you might trying performing your reconnaisance in a non-descript burka. As you’ve noticed, these Islamofascist terrorists are all homos so you should be able to waft around and spy on their positions with a minimum of notice.

  93. Smut Clyde said,

    March 19, 2008 at 2:45

    Will the right wing never cease in their debasement,
    I thought that is where RiM keeps his computer.

  94. Interrobang said,

    March 19, 2008 at 4:58

    g, that mouse-over picture is fantastic. I’m probably going to use it somewhere. Thanks! I’ve spent about the last three years writing a book on the decline and eradication of intra- and interurban streetcar systems in North America, and suburban sprawl is a huge chapter in that story. Get rid of the streetcars and everyone has to buy a car, and from there, you can sell them on an entire car-based lifestyle. A crash was inevitable; we now know cheap gas isn’t forever.

    Ironically, Detroit used to have one of the better streetcar systems in the northeast US. There’s also a pretty obvious ulterior motive in that the freeways that now cut up Detroit like straight-razor slashes were routed through what were historically some of the best-structured and best-functioning historically black communities in the city…

    Apple pie — it’s as American as racism and profiteering at the expense of the common good…

  95. Lord Thunderin' Jesus said,

    March 19, 2008 at 7:03

    Dubyaville

    Fleitzuitburg

  96. Lord Thunderin' Jesus said,

    March 19, 2008 at 7:05

    McFleitzuitberg

  97. Lord Thunderin' Jesus said,

    March 19, 2008 at 7:06

    East Chimperton Falls

  98. lobbey said,

    March 19, 2008 at 9:02

    And from an aesthetic point of view, the house is just ugly. Palladian windows slapped on for no reason, strange fluted pilasters flanking each door – and you could tell the fluting was done onsite with a router, rather than being real millwork.

    The uglyness of the houses in the new urban areas of N.Amerca, and unfortunately, the UK are beyond belief. I may have mentioned this before, but when I lived in Calgary, I once got lost in the ‘burbs. Estate, after estate of crappy, huge houses, that all looked the same, it was like some modern day hell. The houses were about 1m apart, and all looked roughly the same. There was no public transport, some neigbourhood mini-mall, nor a pub or bar within 2km’s. I’m no expert either, but the houses looked pretty shabbily put together, compared to my 1900 built house in Holland. ]

    When these types of houses were being built in the UK in the ’80′s, someone referred to them as; “… the slums of tomorrow…”, but was laughed at, doesn’t seem so funny now.

  99. bjacques said,

    March 19, 2008 at 12:46

    At least J. G. Ballard will live (barely) long enough to see it–half-finished developments of empty, crumbling modern houses and empty swimming pools. Actually, he did see it already, in Shanghai (where he was born) in 1937, during the temporary evacuation of the international settlement there during a batle between the Chinese and the invading Japanese, then again in 1943, when the Japanese completely cleaned Shanghai out by shipping all foreigners to internment camps, then a third time, seeing the settlement after the Japanese abandoned the internment camp.

  100. bjacques said,

    March 19, 2008 at 12:48

    Those places will be written off first, then occupied by anyone who has a car or a truck–American pikeys.

    Carny folk! Knights of the road!

  101. bajaboy said,

    March 19, 2008 at 19:15

    “The problem with these sorts of steep rate cuts, of course, is that eventually the Fed will run out of bullets in its arsenal”

    Apparently, another problem with this kind of attempt to help homeowners is that the lenders are taking the interest cuts and absorbing them, without passing them on to the buyers, in order to recoup losses caused by their own rapacious greed.

  102. Mo's Bike Shop said,

    March 20, 2008 at 3:45

    Bush Camps

    Now, if only I could figure out how to grow cat food.

    With the upcoming cut-backs in municipal services, the cat food should grow just fine on it’s own.

  103. peanutbutter said,

    March 21, 2008 at 19:10

    I’ve seen “Bushburbs”, which I think makes a number of good points.

    I’m a tad iffy on this video clip, tho. I mean, there have always been shantyvilles in and around Los Angeles. You just need to know where to look (and to *look*; most people won’t even do that). So is this new? Dunno. Has it grown dramatically in the past year? OK, if so then yeah. But their mere existence? Hm…

  104. Randal said,

    July 14, 2008 at 16:50

    Oh my gosh, what a disgusting piece of lying a** propaganda. I knew the BBC was filled with deceitful libs yearning for their godless communist paradise, but sheessh, what sort of idiot would believe the crap from this report?

    Nobody’s home is taken away unless he can’t make the payments. If he lacks money for payments, then he needs to move somewhere with a lower mortgage. End of story. If dumb enough to have accepted an adjustable rate mortgage, hiedy hoe, time to live in the real world.

  105. Randal said,

    July 14, 2008 at 16:55

    PS: White people have no FEAR of Obama because of his preacher of 20 years. Are you blind?

    Rather, they realize that Obama is also a raving lunatic, America hating racist. End of story.

    And the evidence is abundant. You libs would realize that if ever willing to break free from the liberal sources of deceitful information such as BBC, NPR, ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN.

    Just read his own stinking book. My gosh already, we have reached a point where all a man need do is promise everyone can have abortions and that he cares enough about the poor to take money away from the middle-class, and libs fall at his feet.

    Very frightening time to watch the great masses of un and mis-informed actually voting to destroy freedom, handing over the reigns of power to control freaks like those in the Democratic Party who are never happy until instructing every person in the nation how he must live.

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