The Times They Are a-Changin’

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Remember when it was considered reprehensible for the leader to deliver hectoring speeches that threatened to invade country x if it didn’t bend to his will? Now that’s called spreading democracy.

4:12 am on November 1, 2005

The Times They Are A’ Changin’

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Here in the North, spring is the prime season for selling one’s home: the ugly, brown winter is gone; everything is green and bloomin’ and ripe for showing off the landscape; and people are starting to bust out of their winter hibernation. So, at this time of year, I start to see all of the “open houses” on Sundays. I drive a mile down a semi-main side street that is often littered with open house signs on Sunday afternoon – typically one or more sign on each corner. Well, this Sunday I noted something I have never seen before: instead of open house signs I saw a half-dozen “Foreclosure Sale on this block” signs in their place. So as the bread dries up and the circuses stop coming into town, I guess it’s time for the clean-up to begin. But still, I hear people telling me how they have been flipping houses profitably (during the bubble), and amazingly, they talk about flipping more as if they do not get it at all. for sale.bmp

I have a family member who works for one of the local municipalities here, and he remarks that before last year they would send out a crew of a couple guys 2x per month to do water shut-offs (folks not paying their bills) and foreclosure and/or eviction clean-ups from the front lawns of houses. He says that foreclosures/evictions and non-payment of water bills have increased so exponentially that they now run a crew of two guys to do that work on a full-time basis. He lives in an area of large brick ranches, and no less than 5 or 6 homes immediately surrounding him have been vacant for some time. The reason? Borrowers owe more on the homes than they are worth (via equity borrowing of course), and they want a bigger and better house, so they buy it, then they cannot sell their old house because of the debt vs value conundrum, so they walk away and let the bank take it. Easy as pie, as they say.

I have a nephew who sells TVs at Circuit City, and the story is always the same: middle class couple making $30-50k walk in and plunk down $5-10k on a TV and video/surround sound equipment, either on a credit card or the store’s “take home now, no interest or payments for [blank] days” credit policy.

The bread and circuses are good.

1:53 pm on May 1, 2006

The Times They Are A-Changin’

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A funny blog from the LA Times today about its decent story on the Pasadena, California, Ron Paul movement. I especially like the Yorktown analogy! (And thanks to Danny, and to Kerrol Dennis.)

_____

Come writers and critics
Who prophesize with your pen
And keep your eyes wide
The chance won’t come again

11:29 am on December 1, 2007