Australian lungfish in San Francisco the oldest living aquarium fish The Hill
8 Surprising Lessons a Real Estate Editor Learned Buying Her First House Realtor.com
US judge cancels auction of Gulf of Mexico offshore drilling leases FT
See the Channel Islands’ stunning ecological recovery High Country News
Troubled waters Searchlight New Mexico
The Shitshow in Glasgow The Baffler
Secret Acres: Foreign-owned agricultural land inaccurately tracked by government Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting
What to know about BA.2, new omicron subvariant detected in several US states ABC7. Commentary:
?Not a good signal—somehow in the original ?? epicenter of #Omicron, #BA2 subvariant has suddenly become dominant ~58% now, displacing old BA1 strain. Same thing happened in Denmark ?? where BA2 is now over 65% dominant.
HT @JosetteSchoenma #COVID19 pic.twitter.com/Mf0bChrc89
— Eric Feigl-Ding (@DrEricDing) January 28, 2022
* * *
Some Americans are hesitant about Covid vaccines. But they’re all-in on unproven treatments STAT. Let’s turn this around. There is an enormous unmet demand for treatments, which is not being met. Why the market failure?
Patchwork system for rationing a Covid drug sends immunocompromised patients on a ‘Hunger Games hunt’ STAT. Like every other part of the healthcare system?
* * *
Contextualizing the risks of indirect COVID-19 transmission in multi-unit residential buildings National Collaborating Centre for Environemental Health
* * *
Suggestions for non-pharmaceutical interventions (after
victoryso-called “endemic status” is declared):
LIVING WITH COVID, a 🧵
Since covid isn’t going away (thanks to a series of poor choices over the last 2 years), it’s time to brainstorm what a real exit strategy might look like because “living with covid means accepting more deaths” doesn’t work for me. We can do better.
— Dr. Lisa Iannattone (@lisa_iannattone) January 28, 2022
Bad logic driven by the “mild” talking point disentangled, a thread:
🧵 I’m not sure what I’m about to say has been made clear to ppl w/o a science or #MedTwitter background. It may be a genuine source of confusion (ie good faith questions), so here goes. Many are saying “If #Omicron makes a given person less sick (which appears to be true)…” /1
— Tatiana Prowell, MD (@tmprowell) January 28, 2022
* * *
How to Properly Store Your At-Home COVID-19 Rapid Tests NECN
Where to Buy N95s, KN95s, and Surgical-Style Masks in 2022 NYT
China shrugs off IMF warnings on zero-tolerance COVID-19 approach Channel News Asia
This Is the Evergrande Endgame as China’s Property Problems Spread (podcast) Odd Lots
Venture Capital Becomes a Tech Battleground Between China, U.S. WSJ
China’s middle class is developing a taste for high-end meat, sending imports surging South China Morning Post
Myanmar junta threatens pot-banging protesters with treason France24
Myanmar Has Moved Beyond Aung San Suu Kyi vs. the Generals The Diplomat
Japan’s government should stop training Myanmar’s military Myanmar News
Why South Korea’s Presidential Election Matters to the U.S. Foreign Policy
Squid Game’s Strike Flashbacks Were Modeled on Our Real-Life Factory Occupation Jacobin
Ex-government workers mine for salvation in Afghan mountains Agence France Presse
New Cold War
China backs Russia’s ‘security concerns’ in crisis with west over Ukraine FT
Russia Criticizes U.S. Security Response But Sees Room for Talks Bloomberg
What’s Actually Happening in Ukraine? Antiwar.com. Commentary:
#BREAKING Tribal leaders of Caucasian block states of US and Ukraine, Joe Biden and Volodymyr Zelensky, discuss threat from masses of Russian Slavs on Ukranian border as region edges further towards ethnic war with Biden predicting invasion may come before next year's long rains.
— gathara (@gathara) January 28, 2022
Ukraine and U.S. War Propaganda Black Agenda Report. For example:
This is how Stephen Colbert, the host of one of America’s most-watched late-night programs, is covering the crisis that the US government is actively escalating in Ukraine: pic.twitter.com/oLKS7rqnC2
— Human Rights Watch Watcher (@queeralamode) January 27, 2022
Department of Interior outlines changes enabled by Infrastructure Bill Wildfire Today
Crypto Skeptic Set to Join Consumer Finance Watchdog Bloomberg
The IRS Should Stop Using Facial Recognition The Atlantic
Nancy Pelosi Introduces Landmark Legislation To Provide Aid For Struggling Personal Stock Portfolio The Onion
What Did Clinton Know and When Did She Know It? The Russiagate Evidence Builds RealClearInvestigations. The walls are closing in?
Our Famously Free Press
The NYT’s polarizing pandemic pundit Politico
Imperial Collapse Watch
The Army’s new infantry assault buggy is a useless garbage pile Task & Purpose
For sale: CIA ‘black site’ where terror suspects were tortured in Lithuania Guardian
FedEx, UPS operate large Boeing freighters FAA says vulnerable to 5G Freight Waves
A remote village, a world-changing invention and the epic legal fight that followed FT
Chevron’s Prosecution of Steven Donziger The Nation. Commentary:
BREAKING: Nine international trial monitors — 5 from the U.N. — have now issued two independent reports concluding that Judges Kaplan and Preska denied my right to a fair trial and illegally detained me to help Chevron retaliate over a $9.5b pollution case.
Follow thread. pic.twitter.com/c4PSBu8B2k
— Steven Donziger (@SDonziger) January 26, 2022
L’Affaire Jeffrey Epstein
“It Was Catastrophic”: Inside Prince Andrew’s Misguided Bid to Explain Away Epstein Vanity Fair
This NFT on OpenSea Will Steal Your IP Address Vice
CEO of Miami armored-car company pleads guilty in $140 million ‘dirty gold’ smuggling scheme MarketWatch
The Charismatic Developer and the Ponzi Scheme That Suckered San Diego Bloomberg
Walking America: Washington, DC (Anacostia and Alexandria) Chris Arnade, Intelllectual Int-ing
Seven Reactions to NFIB v. Department Of Labor Law and Political Economy Project
Cricket’s Class Wars Tribune
Routine Maintenance Harpers. Hysteresis?
Antidote du jour (JU):
My friend’s best friend, Dusty the Adventure Dog @ Crater Lake.
I’m in a committed feline romance, but I offered to be the new owner of Dusty if ever the chance occurred, and that was 3 months ago and since, 16 other would-be owners have also expressed an interest, the 17th attempt at adoption happening last night @ our town tow truck xmas lighting party when a woman told my friend that she wanted his dog, and meant it.
See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.
“For sale: CIA ‘black site’ where terror suspects were tortured in Lithuania”
Isolated but handy to a village? It has windowless, soundproof rooms? I don’t suppose that Lithuania could turn them into musical recording studios for the local talent, could they? Yes, it is true that the floor is suffering from inevitable water-damage and they have yet to get some stains off the walls and floors but otherwise any number of bands could record their tracks there. And for all you know, some of the heavy metal bands might even dig that building’s history and be inspired to write a song about it.
I once visited an Irish Arts Center in NYC that was housed in a building that I was told, had been a factory producing armored cars, the sort called Black Mariahs, famous for their use in repressing the kind of civil unrest associated with the Irish struggle for independence, and other radical political initiatives.
What you’re thinking isn’t so far fetched.
Surprising lessons for buying real estate. Be prepared to be outbid and for competing all cash buyers to supersede your best level efforts. The fact that property taxes are extremely high should be a factor into the process of where, and how much to buy. I was starting to research into local markets a year ago, and between the property increases and how quickly homes that appeared attractive went up as pending or contingent just left me stunned. I recognized a tendency of mine to be cautious and perhaps too apprehensive, and just not interested in bidding up the value.
It’s a large financial transaction, and it often troubles me how real estate is made to look easy by flippers. Guess I could use air quotes around look easy.
Real estate editor unaware of basic aspects of real estate transactions — support for the Murray Gell-Mann Amnesia Effect?
My impression was that she knew about the facts ahead of time, but was unaware that the facts applied to sophisticated PMCers like herself. Finding this out took an unexpected emotional toll.
Everybody has a plan, until they get punched in the face – Mike Tyson
How on earth did she get that job ?
This lack of real experience in what writers/journalists write about is typical. Too many people ‘think’ they know what they are doing–but they don’t.
Number “9”: Get to know the neighboring property owners–they will impact your life (barking dogs, amateurish rhythmic pounding on a drumset from the garage at 10pm, whining weed-eaters from landscape maintenance workers at 7am, etc.)–because they ain’t going away!
Tim Dillon’s “it’s a knife fight” rant is pretty funny.
Lesson #5 stood out. Hugh amounts of almost free money have been showered on banks and investment companies to play with, but a couple purchasing a home are niggled to death over what seems to me irrelevant minutia in explaining their finances.
The rest of the lessons are hardly surprising to anyone private party who has tried to make a large purchase lately — like a house or a ‘decent’ used car.
I knew what I was getting into when I bought my home, but when the rubber meets the road it still can shock and surprise. My first winter in this house I learned that the previous owners had over done it on the garage door aesthetics (re: added decorative weight) but underdone it on the garage door openers and opening system. One spring broke entirely in the dead of winter and made the door near impossible to open. Sure it got fixed, but cost me $2000. It’s a real smack in the face. And you know it could and will be coming, but until it does, it’s hard to predict how you’ll react. I try not to think too much about the full cost of interest and upkeep I’m spending on a 200+ year old Greek revival while I realize the author of the article probably would faint if she could spend what I paid on my home.
Glad I don’t watch or pay much heed to Colbert. The smugness on his face, and the air is just thick with his superior brains and being a supposed right minded thinker.
I wish Lambert had not put this in. Here in Oz as light night cheap fill on the TV they put on people like him from the US and last night while I was online, the TV next to me came on with his show and the segment that Lambert showed was nothing to what I saw. He had this black woman on who basically sat there and reeled off CIA talking points and the jokes that Colbert made could have been written by John McClain himself. The best you could say about Colbert is that he is a loyal son of the Empire.
Colbert used to be funny until he turned to the Empire and the Dark Side.
From the very little I see on television, all the talk show hosts and comedians have become scolds. It is good for getting the in-crowd, but gentle humor, maybe with a touch of sarcasm, is the most effective. After humor can be identified as showing the absurdity between what is supposedly said and done, and what is actually said and done. Not by beating people over the head with the wonderful righteousness that is you or them.
It’s everywhere these days….I think it sells (to the degree it does) because a lot of people are scared and some want to be the smug, confident guy on TV who seems to brush off uncomfortable information with a snigger and a wave.
More pat answers. More fictional identities. More virtual power.
Where are all of the fact-check pearl-clutchers accusing Colbert of misinformation? Oh, right, it’s not “misinformation” when you agree with the narrative.
Colbert is a sellout of the highest order. Once capable of genuinely edgy material (see “Strangers with Candy”) now he is nothing more than a shill for the uniparty.
“fact-checkers” are the new “correct-the-record” outfits. They have whatever “facts” you want… for sale. I might almost call them disinformation outfits. / ;)
Not only a sellout but an unfunny and often cringe-inducing one. Did you see that horrific musical skit he did with actors dressed as vaccine syringes?
I remember admiring him greatly during the GWB era slamming the docile press corps at that Correspondents’ Dinner (or whatever its called). Now he is just part of the establishment, with a particularly annoying smugness.
“…unfunny and often cringe-inducing…”
I’ll say. I only watched him a couple times many years ago and that was enough for me. I couldn’t stand his affectations, his stock of cliched facial expressions. His favorite seemed to be the blank look of astonishment. Probably because he had practiced it for many hours in front of a mirror.
There was a scene in PBS’s docu about the opioid epidemic where a PR guy for an opioid manufacture did the same dancing drugs stunt. He was dressed in an opioid costume dancing with others, touting the wonderfulness of his pharma’s opioids. Here’s the long PBS Frontline “Opioids, Inc link. Can’t find the shorter “dancing opioid” scene only link.
Colbert’s writers derivative much?
>>>Actors dressed as vaccine syringes?
My word. How interesting. Were they the guards and was he dressed up as the Red
An image from Alice’s Adventure in Wonderland would be nicely satirical.
But would that be too over the top? Looking at the insanity considered normal, I am wondering if A Modest Proposal would be seriously considered. Being open to comedy or satire requires having some connection to reality.
I was once a pancreas. Pharmacy event at a local theater. Disney-level costume.
I hung around the treat table. Bronx tones: “Hey Honey, you sure are sweet, and I know sweet, ’cause I’m a Pancreas!”
Show of hands! Who actually believed Colbert’s feigned deer-in-headlights shock at Trump’s installation. If Rachel Maddow was our P. J. Goebbels, is Steven our sneering, Pistacio headed Pinocchio, or leering Lord Haw-haw?
Yeah, but he’s an ordained minister and Sunday School teacher! He has god on his side…
I’d suggest that in a perverse way you can’t take the South Carolina out of Colbert since he seems compelled to be a super PMC by way of compensation. Was it something we said?
speaking of selling out–news you might could use
What is Colbert salary?
Deemed the wealthiest late-night talk show host, the actor and comedian boasts a net worth of $75 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth. From 2015 to 2018, Colbert earned $6 million per year on “The Late Show.” In 2019, he extended his contract with CBS through 2023, with a salary of $15 million per year.Sep 22, 2021
Excellent point, this information is appreciated. Reminds me of a line from a Trent Reznor song. “Will you bite the hand that feeds you.”
At least we got John Oliver as well.
Not everyone’s cup of tea, but at least he tries to be better about not just parroting the party line.
It’s interesting that one sees all this vitriol directed at Colbert, who I agree is lame and bad, but nothing – and in fact defence of – Rogan. Both are harmful unfunny wankers, but one cops the flak because he’s a harmful wanker in service of the mainstream/party line, rather than the opposite, even if the latter is still misguided and harmful, albeit with a pretense of socratic irony and the impression of faux-humility which that conveys? I don’t really get it. Why waste time with either of them?
I don’t follow Rogan at all, but in this instance the video or tweet linked above was from Colbert. In all his smarmy, superior goodness. Colbert once upon a time was a funny and witty act on the Daily Show and his own show as well on Comedy Central.
Colbert ain’t George Carlin, for darn sure.
– Contextualizing the risks of indirect COVID-19 transmission in multi-unit residential buildings National Collaborating Centre for Environemental Health
According to the article it is rare that HVAC systems spread SARS-CoV-2.
I call BS. If you are in a building, apartment building or office building, in which a common HVAC system is serving the whole building or sections of the building, you are inhaling Omicron. HVAC systems are spreading the virus efficiently.
Learning to live with the virus means learning to wear a respirator at all times. SARS-CoV-2 is like Santa Claus; i.e., it knows when you’ve been sleeping; it knows when you’re awake. Eat and drink as quickly as you can to minimize the amount of SARS-CoV-2 that you inhale while your respirator is off.
Indeed, we know from studies of infections during quarantines that it doesn’t take much shared air. So now with rampant community spread, I wonder how frequent this is in practice. How do you gauge your risk level in multi-family housing, for example?
If only we had a public health agency national in scope that could conduct this kind of research in the US… Or promulgate public safety information that’s actually timely, accurate, and useful. Oops.
>According to the article it is rare that HVAC systems spread SARS-CoV-2.
Well.. what does “rare” mean? People aren’t taught well enough in k-12 the value of qualifiers. They are often ignored when in reality they often should make you ignore the entirety of the rest of the sentence.
If your spending half your life in a building with shared HVACs it means little that the odds of transmission occurring in any given hour is “rare” relative to a resteraunt
Ye of Little Faith!
Airlines, Railroads, Bus lines, public buildings all change their air filtration systems with rigor and punctuality!
There ALWAYS and FOREVER will be hand sanitizer at the door, and custodial staff diligently wiping things down.
Houston eviction courts are packed again as numbers return to pre-COVID levels [Houston Public Media]
What a country.
Ugh. At least he was honest about hid depravity. Nothing will fundamentally change!
Gotta discipline that labor.
Municipal court bailiffs shot and killed a man resisting eviction yesterday morning in my city.
Tatiana Michelle Prowell, MD, is an American medical oncologist specializing in breast cancer. I am sure she is a very smart person, but she’s not an epidemiologist. Just sayin’
She is claiming that the vaccines are sterilizing, when we know that they are not, sigh.
I’ve read the whole thing, and nowhere do I find her claiming the vaccine is sterilizing.
Tweet 22 down buried at bottom.
Between these 2 things— a harder path for the virus to travel to propagate itself & an abundant supply of meds to serve as a safety net if we do get infected—it won’t be as likely that we’ll get infected or nearly as worrisome when it does happen. So this Face with medical mask isn’t forever. /22
He probably meant to cite tweet 21, but even that was not – in any reasonable assessment – a claim that the vaccines are sterilizing. Her entire tweet thread was reasonable, accurate, and decent. Nowhere in it did she claim vaccines are 100% effective against Covid. She said nothing even close to it. She made an entirely valid, solid argument in favor of masking.
>She made an entirely valid, solid argument in favor of masking
Except she didn’t specify what type of mask to use
Sorry, I meant tweet 21
“And we now have 10B doses of #COVID19 #vaccine administered worldwide (>60% of Earth globe europe-africa population #vaccinated) in a little over a year. Not too far in the future, we will have enough people protected that the virus will have a tough time finding a susceptible person to infect. /21”
which clearly implies a sterilizing vaccine. I am getting quite annoyed with MD’s claiming these vaccines are sterilizing and long-lasting which they are not.
However, she does commendably argue for masking and better ventilation which is a good thing and seem to be the only things that we have available to us that are working.
Well, there seems to be strong evidence that vaccines offer some protection against serious illness. Certainly not sterilising but because it’s not 100% that doesn’t then mean that it’s 0%.
I appreciate that in the US people are justifiably annoyed about health policy vis a vis covid19. Not to mention the grotesque profiteering. I would compare being vaccinated to having an umbrella on a rainy day. You are not guaranteed to stay completely dry. But you are better off with the umbrella!
…Assuming there are no long term health consequences.
What about the spike protein itself being pathogenic?
Yes, it’s not an easy choice to make. I suppose we just have to weigh up the pluses and minuses of vaccination v non-vaccination. On the balance of evidence what looks better for me. So I can understand anybody who decides not to get vaccinated. I don’t understand vaccine mandates and I don’t understand angry anti-vaxx conspiracy theories.
you don’t seem to understand the difference between sterilizing and prevention of severe outcomes. The two are in this case largely unrelated. She is clearly making a claim if sterilizing immunity by saying: “Not too far in the future, we will have enough people protected that the virus will have a tough time finding a susceptible person to infect. /21”
Why resort to rude sarcastic remarks? I wasn’t attacking anybody. Of course I know the difference between sterilising and prevention of severe outcomes. You may be right that Dr Powell isn’t clear about it but what she says has nothing to do with me.
Considering that her explanation of the dangers inherent in “letting it rip”, echo those of Michael Osterholm, one of the country’s preeminent epidemiologists.
Add to that the recent understanding that Covid infection can decimate the kind of T cells that are part of the body’s defense against cancer, Dr. Powell’s area of expertise, I fail to find a worthwhile point in your comment.
Given that some epidemiologists have simply regurgitated CDC talking points and others have aligned themselves with particular political viewpoints, I’d be a bit wary of appeals to “expertise.” Unfortunately, we may all have to think for ourselves here…
Sounded to me like the latest installment in the “Big Bird Does Covid” series.
“Practice virus”???? Seriously??? WTF.
But then I’m one of those “ppl w/o a…#MedTwitter background.”
So, just to see how scientifically deficient I am, I checked out “#MedTwitter” and here’s a tweet that humbled me:
Practice viruses and MedTwitter. Yeah, right.
I’m not sure why this would raise your heckles. Clumsy phrasing maybe, but the point is no different from the one that has been made here several times over the past couple of years. Give the virus free rein to mutate, and the problem will become more intractable over time, which is indeed what we’re seeing. By procrastinating over containing the wild type virus which could have been brought under control relatively easily – hence, I gather, a ‘practice virus’ – we dithered, and the problem has become harder to manage as the virus mutates, and it could become harder still, hence her concern. I think I have that right.
COP 26 Shitshow–
Great article that I thought was going to cover nothing more than the preening conceit of our disastrously bad elites, the Conference of Polluters, until he then showed us the Conference of the People. A favorite quote that reminded me of another:
And from Buenaventura Durruti, Spanish anarchist, liberator of Catalonia:
And from Grace Slick to conclude her song, “Greasy Heart,” satirizing America’s religion of consuming:
Seed shipment from Fedco arrived yesterday, 14 days from order placement.
IIRC, last year they implemented physical distancing practices in their pick/ship operation and it slowed order fulfillment (and I think they may have prioritized commercial grower customers). I think this year was prompter, but it’s also possible that I got ahead of the rush with an early January order.
It’s not too early to be placing seed orders. Perhaps solicit requests from local fellow-gardeners and bundle order/split seed packages to reduce the burden on the shipper.
Years ago a master gardener advised me to sow in trays early and let the trays cold stratify outdoors over the Winter. I didn’t try this until Winter 2021 and it really worked well with seed types that don’t germinate well, or at all, if they don’t experience Winter. For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been setting up trays and setting them out, even in plant types that don’t require cold treatment (annual salvias, for example — but I hope the cold treatment will improve the germination rate from the ~40-50% I have seen in unstratified seeds); it’s a way of getting some of the tiresome work of seed sowing out of the way early, which will leave more time for bed preparation when the soil softens.
(Yes, maybe I’m thinking wrong about ‘bed preparation’. I did recently finish Gabe Brown’s “Dirt to Soil” and I’m going to try to implement his concepts, adapted to home garden scale. A trial this year will be ’tillage radish’ to permeabilize the subsoil and improve percolation. I wonder if the neighbors will be upset if I heavily seed clover. Not sure how to ‘integrate animals’, though the thought occurs that I am a candidate.)
I thought I was getting a jump start on ordering berry bushes since we’re trying to ediblize the yard. Boy was I wrong. Many varieties of small fruit (strawberries, raspberries, currants, etc.) are already sold out for the 2022 season.
re: Strawberries: there are probably at least a few varieties that can be started from seed and give fruit the same year.
Last year I had decent results with “Fresca” strawberries from seed. (Seed source was “SwallowTail Gardens”, but I think it is available from other sellers). My germination rate was about 30%, so 7-8 plants from a $3 packet of seeds.
I was getting blossoms and fruit set even on plants in pots as small as 1 pint, within 5 months of sowing (I aggressively fertilized, which surely helped).
I was growing these to distribute plants to newbie gardeners, and only potted up one into a proper-sized container; it became a W/C plantidote, and gives a good idea of the possibilities:
Fresca is ‘day neutral’ and I was getting blossoms into mid Autumn.
“It’s not too early to be placing seed orders.”
Fer sure, old bean.
I placed my seed order with Experimental Farm Network (they had Cousa squash) 10 days ago, and they are not shipping for a couple of weeks… and OOS of some seeds already.
One of the things of which I am so profoundly grateful in my life is growing up learning how to tend to plants, gardens, greenhouses, and orchards.
The skill of building greenhouses and bee hives and placing trees in orchards and tending to them to force them to fruit – are lessons that were taught to me that I now find invaluable.
I have set aside entire corners of the yard and greenhouses as testing grounds for all kinds of vegetables and fruit that I cross-hybridize myself. Over the years I have come up with quite a collection.
I do not need to order seeds. We have everything I need and always let 2 or 3 of each kind of plant go to seed every late summer and autumn. I have come up repeatedly with my own cultivars in multiple types of vegetables that taste better or produce more fruit.
My family and I canned and stored hundreds of bottles of produce this past summer. My kids sell the preserves of all kinds of berries and fruit in the farmer’s market – and we have all the food we need for the year except for the staples like flour and sugar and some types of fruit.
All organic – all the time. We live next door to large pasture of cattle grazers – and the cow manure is in endless supply for the compost every fall. (All our cows here are antibiotic free – and hormone free).
It is often bittersweet for me to teach the kids – because I remember being a kid with my elders over my shoulder the whole time I am working with them. It is all worth it when they hybridize an awesome rose or poppy or whatever that makes their mother smile.
And we have suddenly an endless line of 4H kids who cannot wait to have a summer of lessons – to learn how to tend to plants to make your family’s food.
This is hard work. But it keeps me young at heart. As much as I am upset by COVID, there are always good things in life to keep you grounded.
“8 Surprising Lessons a Real Estate Editor Learned Buying Her First House”
A really good article this with lots of good information. Of course I cannot wait for the sequel-
‘8 Surprising Lessons a Real Estate Editor Learned Renovating Her First House.’
I have read books from different countries from different time periods and renovating or having major work done on your house has never, ever been an easy or cheap process. The word ‘nightmare’ comes to mind here. I can only imagine how this Clare Trapasso would go discovering this age-old truth but it would make a good if not longer article.
Well, she did say the #1 Lesson is to be ‘Emotionally Prepared”.
Because, I suppose, the potential ‘Trauma’.
Of course, most of us who have ever bought a house were totally house-poor with the first one, maybe all of them, ie after the down payment and the high mortgage payments and then the taxes and insurance not much left for daily life, let alone any retrofitting of the house, which meant, zero available for that essential fix until either years later or failure disaster requiring further debt (like a roof collapse or plumbing failure). Combine this with what the flippers do, which are the cheapest most obvious cosmetic fixes to hide wear and tear and the inevitable other disasters that emerge – mold, lead in plumbing, electrical system failures, toxic insulation. The list is very long. The first house I bought, way back in 1980, on Cape Cod, was built in 1948 and after the interest rate of 13.8 percent at the time and our feeble down payment we were totally house poor, and then, after moving in, our agent told us the house was insulated with UFFI toxic insulation, claimed he didn’t know, and there was nothing we could do. Then we moved to another old house in New Jersey (job change) where again we were totally house poor and I ended up rebuilding the rotting window trim myself, because the work had to be done and that was the only way we could do it. Moved again in 1990 to the west coast, a new house this time, only eighteen months old, basement unfinished, thinking, we will avoid the old house problems, and we did, but a house built in 1990 is a rot sandwich and doesn’t breathe…..in fact almost all houses built 1980 – 2010 are rot sandwiches, built for “:energy efficiency” which means totally sealed up trapping interior moisture behind the walls and resulting in mold, rot, and damage, built with all these new materials that exude gases and are fire hazards or which break down way before promised. Heck there is even an industry out here, firms who go into schools built during those years fixing their rot sandwich problems. (As an aside, these big buildings, so enclosed, are much more likely to retain anything dangerous, like omicron droplets, that something built before 1980 with wood, loose gaps, and drafts). Divorced, rentals for a while, remarried, found a 1910 tiny house in Ballard in Seattle, built by fishermen, nothing square, and ended up rebuilding all of that. New windows, refinished floors, retucked chimney, plumbing replace, electrical replace, all of it. We did an expansion, out the back, eight feet, my wife managed the job as the construction manager while I worked, and at the end she did the tiling of the bathrooms and I put in the finish trim inside. Was it perfect? No. But it sufficed. Now we’re in an even older four-square in Tacoma built in 1904 and this, too, means endless projects. That’s what a house is. Endless projects and work. I bet for every person who manages to ride a real estate bubble such that the sale price covers all those improvements there are 100 who don’t. It’s a matter of luck, being in the right placer at the right time, and having balls of steel, as they say.
This life is all about learning lessons, and by the time we learn them most of us are getting up there in years. I know I am. It surely helps if you are a construction manager or a handyman or a project manager, and it further helps if you have built things yourself. In my case I had some years of work on and around fishing vessels, meaning, everything – plumbing, wiring, construction, weatherproofing – and my wife had worked as a painter for years, inside and outside, so we think (whether true or not) we can handle these things, and we have.
The truth is, though, if you think once you buy the house and close the deal you’re done, you’re wrong, and if when you decide to sell, or have to sell, after a few years, don[t pull out all the project receipts or you’ll see you’ll not get your money back, not really. So the thing about a house purchase – unless you’re a flipper – is that when you buy the place you’re only halfway there, and if you don’t believe me what do you think Home Depot and other such places exist for?
Now we are getting older, and we often take a look at what we might do if we decide to move one final time, and we might even go look at a place or area, but you know what I think? All I can think of, looking at a possible place to buy, is, the WORK. It isn’t the effort of buying and closing on a place. It’s what has to be done afterwards. No wonder so many choose condos, or rentals.
With a condo you are liable to all sorts or HOA related stuff, plus little recourse later if the construction wasn’t up to snuff, plus quality of life is conditional on your neighbours.
With rentals… no security of tenure, if if there are rent controls and so on.
Totally agree I think condos are the biggest scam of all because first you buy it then you rent it with homeowner fees. A good rental can be a blessing but with all these private equity rentala good luck. My main point is that if you buy a house your effort had just begun…
No, as with all things, it depends.
NYC condos are a good deal because if nothing else:
1. Professional managing agents
2. Often but not always, boards not crazy. NYC is full of lawyers…including as condo owners.
3. Competitive market + fishbowl. A broker will suffer reputational damage if they don’t warn a buyer about a known weirdo condo
4. Not as much to fight over except the occasional big building capital charge because no gardens etc.
Most striking part of the Clinton story, to me, was her willingness to straight up lie to her running mate and his wife. You hear these things about how nasty and paranoid and just plain mean she is but there’s not usually such plain evidence out publicly.
Not that it matters. She’s a champion of womens rights or something and always fighting and Orange Man bad.
Best. Candidate. Ever. Most qualified to ever run, and then lose to an unprincipled media and supposed real estate mogul.
Make it stop. Please, when will the Clintons just go away. It’s like bad movie sequels, aka, Jaws2 was mostly watchable but horribly outmatched by the original. Jaws3 is horrible in 3D, making the shark look ridiculous.
If the only cure for the Democratic Party is extermination, then Clinton is the best pilot to fly the plane into the side of the mountain. Perhaps we should all work to make her the DemPrez nominee for election 2024 so she can fly the Good Ship Democrat into the side of the mountain once and for all.
“Hillary 3D!” Please! Make it stop!
“I’m ready for my ‘stamp of approval’ now Mr. Dejoy.” Done in her best Norma Desmond voice.
Ponzi scheme article from Bloomberg. I was able this time to get through or around the paywall edition, through an intermediate So Cal website. While the subject of this winding story is not Madoff-level, she is reprehensible in her actions. And rightly, is now serving a sentence. By the bye, I play golf at a decent level but even I can’t figure the need for a $22,000 golf cart!
But the more curious aspect, is as how a company like Chicago Title does not receive the hammer for their lack of compliance and zero diligence. A lot of curious aspects to this story. This is reporting that Bloomberg Businessweek still does very well.
“Title” companies are really insurance companies. First American, Chicago, Fidelity, Stewart, et al. They provide an insurance product for a price and the title services such as abstracting are to further the insurance business.
New York is, I think, the last state where attorneys are customarily and nearly always involved with real estate transactions. Not so the rest of the country. Whereas an attorney is a fiduciary to you as client, you are but a customer to the insurance (a/k/a title) company.
Appreciate the insight. Sort of the death knell for this scheme, the ring leader basically had one person, employed by Chicago, working on all the title documents. And this unraveled at last, mostly due to a licensing expert in the state of CA determined it was all phony baloney, as he performed his due diligence review for a potential investor.
It says a lot when a venture fund or private equity was starting to line up to invest. Hard to understate how FOMO was apparently the rationale for their investment.
Last I knew, the SE states used Attorneys/ staff as Title Examiners, who wrote attorney title opinions, which then were the basis of an Insurance Policy, issued by the Attorney’s office as an agent for the big national underwriters.
The Owner’s policy insures ownership, subject to exceptions— essentially by paying a one-time premium, generally paid by the Seller–valid for the duration of ownership of the insured buyer.
The Sellers shift the Warranty burden of their conveyance over to the insurance company.
Mortgage policies are generally issued simultaneously (purchase money transactions) and insure Lien Position.
It’s a racket that kept my family clothed fed and warm for decades. Yell FIRE!!
In California I learned to my cost what title companies actually guarantee: nothing more than the chain of ownership back to the original survey, as if descendants of 19th-century cowpokes may descend on you. It’s an expensive, mandated, worthless tax of vestigial rentiers. As for what you’re actually buying, that’s no one’s department.
If I buy a house for cash, am I obliged to buy title insurance?
“…I can’t figure the need for a $22,000 golf cart!”
I think it has something to do with this.
Never a wrong time to watch video clips from the single best golf send up ever.
“$100 says you slice it. Gambling is illegal and I never slice. Damn, I owe you nothing.”
“How do you compare yourself to others. I don’t know, by height”
Thank you, Lambert.
The Vanity Fair feature on Prince Andrew mentions he is good at taking bad advice. That is certainly true about the advice to grant the interview. Andrew’s staff and the wider royal household staff were divided, especially between new, let’s call them diversity and inclusion and touchy, feely, hires, and the usual, but often streetwise, courtiers and civil servants. This led to the resignation of one staffer, opposed, before the interview and another, in favour, after the interview.
It’s never pointed out that Maitlis, a PMC so and so, is a friend and protege of Lord Mandelson of Rio. This was helpful diversion from more long-standing and as dodgy U.K. associates of Epstein, mainly MSM, academia and arts.
Good substack post here by Vinay Prasad: Weathervanes: harmful COVID19 pundits
They go on CNN and blow which every way the wind is blowing
Made me think of Eric Feigl-Ding, amongst others.
Prasad is a very prolific podcaster as well.
His most recent effort is titled Public health failures with Id ethicist Zeb Jamrozik | Mandates, RCTs, masks, deception.
‘Dr. Lisa Iannattone
Since covid isn’t going away (thanks to a series of poor choices over the last 2 years), it’s time to brainstorm what a real exit strategy might look like because “living with covid means accepting more deaths” doesn’t work for me. We can do better.’
This is a really good thread by this Dr. Lisa Iannattone and I really liked it when she pointed out the need for *clean air* in the same way that clean water helped do away with cholera. It’s hard to fault her reasoning but I find it ironic that it is an assistant Professor of Dermatology that is having to tell us the vital need to concentrate on clean air. Of course I also appreciate her latest tweet-
‘“Omicron is so contagious that it can’t be stopped.”
“We’re all going to catch it. It’s inevitable.”
“Omicron is like a natural vaccine, catching it is a good thing.”
Meanwhile on the other side of the world…’
When I think back on all the crap I learned about Covid
It’s a wonder I can think at all
And though my lack of education hasn’t hurt me none
I can read the writing on the wall
They give us those nice bright outcomes
Give us the hope of summer
Makes you think all the world’s a sunny day, oh yeah
I got a been there-done that
I love to take a PCR test
So mama, don’t take my Omicron immunity away
one of your best. bravo.
There must be some way you can make a living doing this….
I think money tends to destroy mirth, look @ Colbert for instance. Therefore i’ll keep my amateur status intact.
You have a choice???
…was looking at a sentence of thirty to life and plea bargained down to 15
The going is weird and possibly going even more weird. But going pro is never what it’s all cracked up to be. Just look at Tom Brady! Yeah it’s puppies and rainbows, but mister 199 of the sixth round came through in the end.
Ryan Leaf turned pro and then that dude cratered fast.
“The Army’s new infantry assault buggy is a useless garbage pile”
This is really an interesting article in that the requirements for what they want are basically schizophrenic. It can’t be done. As far as I can see, they have two options. The first would be to go with something like the United States Colonial Marine M577 Armored Personnel Carrier as seen in the 1986 film “Aliens” as it has the heavy protection, the firepower and it can carry a squad into close combat-
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vLJDlaaB1H8 (13:51 mins)
The other way might be to go for – now hear me out – heavy duty, silenced dirt motorcycles. Think about it. They could carry a soldier’s gear, go over all terrain, can get away quickly if they come across trouble that they cannot handle, can shoot-and-skoot, can turn those soldiers into something like the old mounted infantry where they leave their bikes temporarily behind to mount an operation on foot, and if taught they could repair and maintain their own bikes with tools on hand on those bikes. Certainly they could cover more territory than a squad in one vehicle and could come together quickly if needed.
The ability to knock out the logistics necessary a main line battle tank make them expensive howitzers you can’t move. The basic US strategy is total air superiority to protect our forces. What happens if the US can’t establish that in two weeks when the planes need maintenance?
I was about to comment that it was far to practical for our military. But….
I suggest they use the “Technicals” that have become popular in Africa and ME wars:
A Toyota Tacoma pickup in USA starts at $26,500, so even a fully loaded version would be maybe $50,000, and surely the Pentagon could negotiate a discount for a fleet purchase. As per the article, $214m for 649 vehicles equals $330k per vehicle. Nice savings for the USA taxpayer, and Toyota builds good vehicles.
“$330k per vehicle” … and that’s using “90% off-the-shelf components”!
I’d love to see all new military vehicles tested by the Top Gear trio. Would make a good series as well, I bet.
I’d say horses would make a good choice, but I doubt there’s much grift in the ponies (at least, not the kind of grift we’re discussing here).
heavy duty, silenced dirt motorcycles.
I’d go for mountain bikes. Probably not quite as fast though that may depend on terrain, but no fuel needs , and carrying capacity probably about 25kg + rider. No noise & no heat signature.
Pentagon should be able to source them at < US$100,000 per bike.
there’s a full-size folding MTB used by the US military made by Montague (I’ve coveted the consumer version for a few years now)
Barber Vintage Motorsports just east of Birmingham is a great motorcycle museum with an attached race course. It includes military exhibits.
Do the bikes come with gyroscopes?
Thank you, Lambert, for linking to Chris Arnade’s photo essay “Walking America: Washington, DC (Anacostia and Alexandria): Walking through the Democratic coalition of blacks and highly educated whites.” By coincidence, I just did a little (unplanned) walking through Anacostia myself. For I showed up there early Saturday afternoon (in a big yellow taxicab) only to find that my highly educated white friends were not at home. Now you need to know that I always travel *without* a cell phone (though with an iPad) in order to force myself to interact with random people. So what kind stranger in Anacostia, I was asking myself, would offer me a few minutes of internet connectivity on this bright January day? As I walked around, the residents seemed very friendly, but I decided to enter a little convenience store on 16th Street before I asked for help. I was the only white person around. Almost immediately a cheerful middle-aged guy pulled out his iPhone to set up a hot spot for me: so I FaceTimed my friends, who told me they were delayed and had left their back door open for me. As I left the little convenience store, an old drunk who was sitting outside asked me to buy him a Pepsi. So I went back in and pulled out my debit card (I’d given my last $15 to the cab driver), but someone in the store said, “No, I’ll buy it,” pulled out a few singles, and handed the Pepsi to me. “What goes around, comes around,” this kind stranger said. Then I gave the Pepsi to the old drunk, walked back to my friends’ house, and discovered that they had indeed left the back door open for me.
Thank you, John. Just the tonic I needed today. Open doors and metaphors. All the best to you!
Re “accepting more deaths doesn’t work for me”
Of course medicine does this every day which is why we have DNR orders, hospices and a privatized system where many probably die unnecessarily because they don’t want to burden their families with huge medical bills. The American corporate approach to medicine has ethics that are conflicted at best.
And that would be “system” since many doctors are undoubtedly not happy with the way things are.
One might also ask whether showing indifference to barely studied treatments like Ivermectin is “accepting deaths” in the name of the system. There are good reasons why many distrust what is going on. IM Doc has said that honest communication is the most important thing. However it’s also the last thing we tend to get from our current establishment.
Bridge here in Pittsburgh just collapsed. Its one a major road here, on many people’s route into the city for work. And all of this on the day Joe Biden is coming to town to talk about infrastructure: https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/28/us/pittsburgh-bridge-collapse-biden.html
When I first heard the story I thought it was about Ben Roethlisberger.
Sounds like a Russian plot to humiliate JRB,
But perhaps one should not rush in to judgment in a case like this.
Maybe a domestic actor with political ambitions is behind it.
Or maybe it’s a huge stunt to pressure the Senate Democratic ” ‘No’ caucus” to allow something — anything — to be Built Back Better.
A new opinion piece in the Guardian with the following title:
The Joe Rogan v Neil Young furore reveals Spotify’s new priority: naked capitalism
I predict heavier than normal traffic on this site for the next few days.
Here’s the article btw.
Wow, and written with zero sense of irony. The Grauniad, is shocked, SHOCKED, to find that a for-profit media platform operates in ways that it thinks will maximize profits.
I won’t hold my breath waiting for the Grauniad to start publishing articles from Greenwald critical of the liberal establishment again…
In exciting news NY is about to start climbing the roller coaster again. they have acknowledged there are four identified cases of BA2. Now according to the first report I heard on our so not helpful news media, this is no big deal as it is nothing. I was not recording so I won’t be able to send proof when they are wrong again.
We will have to get past the ceremonial rendering of garments in and around St Patrick’s for the fallen hero, the Nor’easter aka blizzard and the next funeral for hero 2, but after that there will be time to perhaps notice… oh wait there will be rumblings from Russia.
While the blizzard may be less of a manipulation than most of our distractions, I am not sure constant illness and threat of long term disability will be so easily forgotten. I am also not sure our leaders really get how volatile the public is anymore. Although I do think the push for a widened police state like is going on in DC and here in NY is a hedge on their bets.
Covid updates from my humble institution…the undergrads perhaps begin to grok that the reopening plan didn’t have their best interests at heart. Infection rate of somewhere between 23 and 43% – I’d go with the latter based on the numbers that have been posted on their covid dashboard.
Other local anecdata – I’m trying to get a transfer switch installed for my generator. My electrician called yesterday to reschedule because out 16 employees, all but 3 are down with covid and one of those is down with a reaction to his booster. He said one of the guys who was just sick with covid a few weeks ago now has symptoms again.
Oh good grief, Omicron is MILD.
The USA is experiencing a spike in deaths from Covid, but they are mild deaths.
No exploding bodies,no gushing blood.
And heck, all of these people would die anyway, at some point so let’s stop fretting about things we have no control over and get back to normal.
And we’re getting free tests so what more could we want?
Of course here in central NY the tests will sit in a mailbox when the temp is 10º but not to worry.
Let the department sending weapons to Ukraine handle the shipment of tests. They’ll arrive in day after tomorrow’s mail.
What a country, part 2:
Insurance companies In Michigan have slashed catastrophic care coverage [NPR]
The law in question had bipartisan support.
Silicon Valley: If a service is free, you’re the product.
Congress / state legislatures: If a bill is bipartisan, you’re the victim.
More from Michigan Public Radio.
What a country, part 3:
Erratic schedules are a nightmare for America’s workers [CNN]
Oddly, the Return to Normal for the Sake of the Kids™ crowd is silent on this one.
In other for the Sake of the Kids™ news:
“[Gov. Glenn] Youngkin promoted legislation moving through the General Assembly that would let any public or private college or university open a charter school, or convert an existing school into a charter school, with approval of the state Board of Education.
While Youngkin said the bill is centered on colleges and universities, it would also allow private, for-profit businesses to open charter schools using public dollars.
The bill is part of a package of charter school bills that seek to expand the number of schools that operate outside the control of local school boards but are funded with public dollars.”
I am eagerly awaiting the first madrassa’s application shortly followed by a neighbourhood McDonald’s.
Does the bill come with a hotline allowing concerned parents to turn in the teachers of the charter school if their kids hear the wrong words??
Dispatch from the DMZ (Demonetized Zone)
I knew it was gonna be a hot LZ as i’d been sitting on a wallet full of dead presidents on the chair up on a black diamond op, to procure hot chocolate @ the top of the mountain lodge.
Maneuvering through the beverage line, I slid a cup into the slot under a picture of what could be mine if I pressed a button and a lot of whirring later, a cocoa came of it.
Now, I only needed to pay to enjoy and walked up to the cashier with a Jackson in hand and with disdain he uttered ‘get that thing out of here’ in no uncertain terms, so I fished out an Amex card and he simmered down somewhat as Alpine Meadows ski resort accepts di-fi (digital fiat), and I couldn’t blame him really for the outburst, a lowly foot soldier in the War On Cash, who’d been trained to hate the enemy-which was only obliged to give rank of denomination and serial number.
Somebody had told the lowly grunt one time that currency was on our side, but there was no money in it.
Wuk, I seriously do not know how you manage to turn out so many gems. I tip my digital slouch-hat to you.
Yes, he seems to have found his groove!
Thanks for the compliments Rev Kev & juno mas, my imagination is working overtime these days trying to keep up with reality, as we know it.
“The Army’s new infantry assault buggy is a useless garbage pile”
There are dozens of hack shops in SoCal that can build Baja prerunners that run fast and hard and long. Just load up the guns etc and go go go – what???
They appear to have specified the F35 version of a light assault vehicle. Just look at the the list of requirements (Light weight, nimble, armoured—What?) and you knew it was never going to work.
yeah, it’s a bozo mobile and will handle and perform that way – ridiculous
> Baja prerunners
Or, as they are known in the Third World, “technicals.”
The Harper’s piece on routines opens with a goof. Timekeeping in the Middle Ages and Renaissance wasn’t based on clocks; accurate clocks didn’t come along until later. Instead, people lived by “unequal hours” which were defined as 1/12th of the daytime and 1/12th of the nighttime. During the summer, a daytime hour is long and a nighttime hour is short. During the winter, it’s the other way around. This is more practical for an agrarian society where most activities depend on the sun.
The Salisbury Cathedral clock is a large iron-framed tower clock without a dial, in Salisbury Cathedral, England. Thought to date from about 1386, it is a well-preserved example of the earliest type of mechanical clock, called verge and foliot clocks
Salisbury Cathedral clock
They were rare and probably not what we would call accurate but clocks started coming in in the High Middle Ages. I have read that capitalists liked them as it allowed them to pay labours by the hour whereas before they would have to pay for a morning or a day.
Have people been keeping an eye on the antiwork crowd from Reddit? Despite recent screwups, they are in the middle of a critical mass of accelerating growth:
It’s got the feeling of a nascent/growing social movement, still at the early stages of forming its narrative – but has a critical abundance of pissed off people, highlighting and discussing all of the ways they are being screwed over by their employers, among a lot more.
Despite the name ‘antiwork’ (which is almost a misnomer), they seem exactly like the crowd who could turn the Job Guarantee into the first demand of a major social movement – but I don’t see any JG folk there, only UBI advocates (more JG advocates should take interest).
This warrants commenters and NC’s attention.
This was discussed very much in the past by, loosely called, Hippies. Some implemented different concepts of work and are, amazingly, still actually alive.
One of the philosophers of those days was Henry Thoreau:
“Simplify your life. Don’t waste the years struggling for things that are unimportant. Don’t burden yourself with possessions. Keep your needs and wants simple and enjoy what you have. Don’t destroy your peace of mind by looking back, worrying about the past. Live in the present. Simplify!”
Personally, I consider Thoreau one of America’s great economists. Economics can be simple.
The title of the very first chapter of Thoreau’s “Walden Pond” is “Economics”. I read it at 16 and it hit deep, and stuck forever. Beautiful writing, powerful message.
“China backs Russia’s ‘security concerns’ in crisis with west over Ukraine”
This was actually unintentionally hilarious. Blinken actually went to the Chinese and asked them to help put pressure on Russia to help out American expansion in eastern Europe. That is like going to your mother-in-law to complain about your wife – and is just as effective. Idjut!
RT says things that need to be said. But not consistently, and not in all departments. Unfortunately. But they are my first look, ahead of BBC.
> Blinken actually went to the Chinese and asked them to help put pressure on Russia to help out American expansion in eastern Europe.
Reminds me of this cartoon:
From over 50 years ago. I’m afraid it still characterises our dear leaders’ response to covid. Not to mention a nuclear response to Russia and climate change.
“Could easily be accomplished with a computer”
On Joy Buolamwini’s ID.me article, programs like unemployment stimulus and broadband stimulus programs were and are being looted with the help of the very govt. departments that run them.
The key is the mechanism of “borrowing” the states performed — did they borrow amounts that covered all eligible, or was it reactive? Only reactive .. when?
Is anybody checking in broadband stimulus to see if after the providers are given free access to govt. databases if the amount of funding the data says SHOULD be used is Actually used? Providers “keep” the uncalled-upon, is it? That’s Fraud, and it explains the indifference in that it’s being skimmed.
Like that. And ID.me is Happy to enable its diversion.
RE: Channel Islands Recovery
The Channel Islands have truly come back from the brink of destruction. I free-dived off the coast of Santa Cruz in the late 60’s and the feral pigs, rancher sheep and cattle had destroyed the indigenous landscape. Today the eagles, fox and vegetation is returning to pre-Explorer and Ranching ecological balance. It is a travel experience worthy of your time and money. (I’m lucky, I see them every day from ocean view window)
Here’s a link to one of many eagle nests on the island: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZvX4KElPq2k Unfortunately, as seen in the real time Utoob video the nest is empty ( it normally would have a chick or two.) This is the second season that this nest has not had chicks. Something is wrong.
The Nature Conservancy should be given credit for the ecological rebound of Santa Cruz Island, as they bought the island from the private property owners and started the process with their scientists. The National Park is only 25% of island’s terrain.
I thought feral hogs were invincible. Do you know what the Nature Conservancy did?
I posted this yesterday – did not show up – don’t know why? – Trying again (if that’s kosher) Too late – yesterday’s news cycle?
8 Surprising Lessons a Real Estate Editor Learned Buying Her First House’ (link Clare Trapasso – Realtor.com, Jan 19 2022) https://www.realtor.com/advice/buy/what-a-real-estate-editor-learned-buying-her-first-house/
We Moved to California in 2002. Could not afford our first house – and was about to head back east – then realized we could afford a double wide trailer in a ‘mobile home’ park. Looked around and found one we liked in Santa Cruz County: City of Capitola.
Surprise 1. The interest rates for a loan in a mobile home park is much, higher than a regular house – One better have cash to pay a bigger down payment instead of taking a large mortgage
Surprise 2. We had to pay a monthly space rent to the owner of the mobile home park – which was not too high – and was under a rent control agreement with the city, however the rent control of a city is as good as the will to protect it from owner/corporate lawsuits trying to abolish it.
Surprise 3. The will of a city cannot match the power of the land owner – or corporate entities to sue until the rent control laws are eliminated. This happened in both Capitola, and the city of Santa Cruz. Rent control in mobile home parks was eliminated in both cities due to a barrage of lawsuits by wealthy corporate interests ganging up together causing the cities to fold. The structure of our laws is easily exploitable in this regard.
Surprise 4. Rent control abolished, the space rent one then pays in the mobile home park is under no control, will rise unpredictably, once rent control is abolished. Remember the residents of the park own their homes (‘trailers’) – but not the land underneath their homes. What are called ‘mobile homes’ – are not RV’s – they are not ‘mobile’ ours had been in the same spot since it was delivered in 1965. You can’t just move your trailer if the rent is too high.
Surprise 5. Since ‘mobile homes’ are not really mobile (ours rested on cinder blocks) One ever buy one if the residents don’t share ownership – as a co-op or condo, otherwise you will be at the mercy of the park owner – regarding your monthly space rent increases – and park maintenance. Even if it may get contentious – better to have resident home owners in control of these decisions.
Surprise 6. This one was on me: Corporations call the shots in this country – not ‘we the people’ I was way too naive about our system. Hence coming to sites like Naked Capitalism to educate myself.
Surprise 7. We sold our mobile home and now are renters in Santa Cruz. We live in a lower income ‘Tax Credit’ apartment complex – with a priority for artists. Rent is lower than average here . However, ‘Tax Credit’ housing is also under attack by Republican Senators. What saves us is other corporate powers – such as the banks that support Tax Credit housing – because they get ‘Tax Credits’ in funding these places. Therefore, ironically, it was corporate power, in this case, that defeated those senators attempting to abolish Tax Credit housing. Yay corporate America! uh oh.
Surprise 8. The priorities in The United States are more f*cked up then I ever dared to imagine. Of course not only with “buying a first home” Running a country is hard – very hard. Should not be a surprise less painful not to pay too much attention. Sports are more fun.
(Note: John Oliver, in Last Week Tonight did a program about mobile homes in April 2019 that was astonishingly well researched – matching our experience. There are still plenty of smart people around: There’s a whiff of hope for our country perhaps spearheaded by … the immigrants -i.e. John Oliver)