Posted by: Timothy Ellis (The Tim)

Tim Ellis is the founder of Seattle Bubble. His background in engineering and computer / internet technology, a fondness of data-based analysis of problems, and an addiction to spreadsheets all influence his perspective on the Seattle-area real estate market.

28 responses to “Weekend Open Thread (2012-02-24)”

  1. softwarengineer

    The Best News Story Came Not From the News Story, But from a Bubblehead Type Blogging It

    “In 2006, coming to the end of the mortgage fraud cycle, the new homes built were 1,780,000. In other words, Yahoo finance writers continue to be the equivalent of a Faux news propagandic story teller group….”

    http://finance.yahoo.com/news/home-sales-dip-4-straight-150209041.html;_ylt=An5.1rL__Q9AC1v8iexumTaiuYdG;_ylu=X3oDMTQzbWUxZmY1BG1pdANGaW5hbmNlIEZQIEp1bWJvdHJvbiBMaXRlBHBrZwMwNWExMTU3ZC1mN2M1LTMxNmEtOTYwNi02ZDlkNDRkYWE1YTYEcG9zAzEEc2VjA2p1bWJvdHJvbgR2ZXIDOTcwOTNjODAtNWVmYy0xMWUxLWJmZmUtMGRlM2FiY2IwY2Mx;_ylg=X3oDMTFvdnRqYzJoBGludGwDdXMEbGFuZwNlbi11cwRwc3RhaWQDBHBzdGNhdANob21lBHB0A3NlY3Rpb25zBHRlc3QD;_ylv=3

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  2. Blurtman

    “Gingrich pledges $2.50 gas, Obama: ‘it’s easy to make phony promises'”

    http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Politics/Latest-News-Wires/2012/0224/Gingrich-pledges-2.50-gas-Obama-it-s-easy-to-make-phony-promises

    Ha, ha, ha,…. Oh, that is too rich.

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  3. Kary L. Krismer

    RE: Blurtman @ 2 -$2.50 cent gas would just delay our transition to greener energy sources. I was just reading one study on the Canada shale oils which said the biggest impact on that wasn’t the nature of the oil, but that it would reduce prices, extending the transition.

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  4. Natalia Orinko

    “..but that it would reduce prices, extending the transition.”

    What about natural gas? Supposedly the US has a 500 year supply. Japan is switching from gasoline to natural gas as fast as they can. Why don’t we do the same?

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  5. Natalia Orinko

    This person says that it’s not that gas is going up in price, but rather the dollar is going down in value.

    http://www.americanthinker.com/2012/02/gasoline_prices_and_dollar_prices.html

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  6. Blurtman

    Mannfm11 posts some interesting stuff. He has his own blog, but doesn’t update it too often.

    “I don’t know that many can see this monetary policy is flowing directly to the banks through the back door. Watch prices move. I don’t believe this is private, outside the bank action, but direct green light money into markets out of the banks. Bernanke gives them more rope, they run more corners. Being the ECB is also doing this, we have a double green light.

    The price of anything only goes up if the supply on the market is limited. When I was getting my head ripped off trying to trade oil (I came to the market with an eye dropper while others had super tankers), I saw 2000 contract positions show up and positions over 1000 were common. The entire US demand for oil is less than 20,000 per day, so maybe you get the point. These positions would be devoured in maybe 45 seconds when the market was going good. People or outfits that wanted a sizable position on the other side would take large chunks. Who buys 2 million barrels of oil? Or sells it? How often does it happen and what happens when someone that can take delivery, but maybe doesn’t want to has an overwhelming long position against shorts that can’t make delivery or don’t want to?

    Obama is blaming speculators. I believe a lot of it is the banks themselves. Not just USA banks but banks in Europe as well. Rockefeller interests run US foreign policy. Note the neocons run both the Democrat and Republican foreign policy. Iran is a trading strategy as much as a foreign policy strategy.

    Note 2008. We went to around $144 then the bubble burst. We can’t have it both ways that demand was driving that bubble when it turns out we were awash in oil 30 days later. No, the big banks were suddenly impaired and they had to drop their positions.

    Quasi governmental organizations like banks shouldn’t be allowed to directly participate in leveraged commodity markets. Goldman can acquire a few billion in XOM, then influence the oil markets, drive the price of both and take their profits out on XOM. They got the green light to trade in markets to allow them to hedge this trade, which would indicate they would be short oil. What do you think the chances are they are long XOM and short CL? Right now, I would say 99 to 1 against.

    It has been my observation that oil trades up to a fibonnacci. I believe if we get much past $110 we are going back to $144. The next stop is $233. I believe a good portion of the US population quits driving with $7 gasoline. The banker don’t care. As in Greece, all he wants is his pound of flesh.”

    http://market-ticker.org/akcs-www?post=202483#discuss

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  7. Kary L. Krismer

    By Natalia Orinko @ 4:

    “..but that it would reduce prices, extending the transition.”

    What about natural gas? Supposedly the US has a 500 year supply. Japan is switching from gasoline to natural gas as fast as they can. Why don’t we do the same?

    I don’t know. If I could buy a 4×4 with CNG (compressed natural gas) I would! I’ve even thought about converting my 89 Ranger.

    There have been some sold in CA and NY, but not many.

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  8. Kary L. Krismer

    By Natalia Orinko @ 5:

    This person says that it’s not that gas is going up in price, but rather the dollar is going down in value.

    http://www.americanthinker.com/2012/02/gasoline_prices_and_dollar_prices.html

    That’s part of it. A weaker dollar relative to other currencies causes the price of oil to go up. I haven’t been following the value of the Euro. It might be countering that somewhat in that if it is even weaker, demand in Europe would be dropping due to even higher increases than what we’ve had.

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  9. Pegasus

    Interesting Site. I wonder when they will post the banker arrests?

    http://occupyarrests.moonfruit.com/

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  10. redmondjp

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 7:

    By Natalia Orinko @ 4:
    “..but that it would reduce prices, extending the transition.”

    What about natural gas? Supposedly the US has a 500 year supply. Japan is switching from gasoline to natural gas as fast as they can. Why don’t we do the same?

    I don’t know. If I could buy a 4×4 with CNG (compressed natural gas) I would! I’ve even thought about converting my 89 Ranger.

    There have been some sold in CA and NY, but not many.

    Yes, but when you run out of fuel out in the boonies on a Sunday afternoon, there is no walking back to the nearest gas station with a 5-gallon can!

    I worked on the instrumentation (including fuel gauge) on LNG-converted Kenworth trucks. We used two different tank vendors, and both had problems with the fuel gauges not being accurate at low tank levels. This is bad. Driver thinks he (she) has 1/4 tank, and then the engine quits. Use lots of cusswords, try to get all the way off the road, call dispatch, then wait for class 8 tow truck (one of the BIG ones) to come haul you back to the yard where the fuel compressor is.

    Oh, and you also have to have on-board hydrocarbon detectors and alarms. Big problem if you’re parked in the garage and have a fuel system leak.

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  11. softwarengineer

    RE: Blurtman @ 2

    The CBS Market Monitor news had another allegation [wild?] that $3 gas was more likely than $5 gas soon because the Iran tensions could weaken quickly, theoretically, blowing the psychological scare away in a flash.

    There’s only one thing for sure, “the rich get richer”….

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  12. Kary L. Krismer

    By Pegasus @ 9:

    Interesting Site. I wonder when they will post the banker arrests?

    http://occupyarrests.moonfruit.com/

    And here I’ve been thinking they haven’t accomplished anything. ;-)

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  13. Kary L. Krismer

    RE: redmondjp @ 10 – I wouldn’t want my only car to be CNG, just like I wouldn’t want my only car to be plug-in electric. Most of my trips though are under 100 miles.

    Your mention of leaks has concerned me. All of the consumer refill devices I’ve seen have been intended for in garage use. I wonder how they deal with that?

    As to the gas gauge, I wonder if it’s temperature sensitive, like propane gauges? What you really should have is some sort of a built in weight scale.

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  14. softwarengineer

    RE: redmondjp @ 10

    And for Subcompact and Midsize Cars

    The propane gas tank absorbs the trunk, like hybrid batteries….wear do you put the empties after the de-stressing parties, so you can drive home legal; let alone a suitcase?

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  15. redmondjp

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 13 – Kary, dual-fuel systems are much more complex (in today’s world with the tight emissions standards) and as SWE has mentioned above, you’ve got to put the additional fuel tank(s) somewhere as well. I don’t see dual-(petroleum) fuel systems ever going into production. Way more complicated than the dual-fuel gas/propane setups as used in the days of carburetors.

    The leak issue is real. Just look at how many houses explode from natural gas leaks now – most recently that one up in North Seattle, and that one in Bellevue a few years back (both from underground natural gas line leaks). Your best insurance is to install hydrocarbon gas detectors which you can get for about $50-60 and plug into a wall outlet.

    Natural gas is lighter than air so it will accumulate near the ceiling, while propane will settle on the floor as it is heavier than air. So mount an outlet a foot below the ceiling for the natural gas detector, and plug into a standard wall outlet for propane. Good advice for anybody who has any type of gas appliances in their home or garage.

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  16. Pegasus

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 12 – Wait until it gets warmer and the political conventions start. You ain’t seen nuthin’!

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  17. No Name Guy

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/welcome-housing-non-recovery-three-simple-charts

    Good stuff……..

    Teaser snip:
    “Below is some more hard data where you won’t find the much anticipated, ‘any minute now’, housing recovery. While the first chart shows the annualized new home sales sold data, which came in at meaningless 321K in January on expectations of 315K, and a meaningless drop from an upward revised 324K, all this shows is that 3 years after the “recovery”, there is zero improvement in housing. In non-SAARed terms, there were just 22K homes sold in January. Naturally, this is to be expected because as long as the government continues to prevent true price discovery, there will be no real housing market.”

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  18. Kary L. Krismer

    RE: redmondjp @ 15 – I wasn’t thinking dual fuel.

    Thanks for the advice on detectors. I’m actually home today waiting for the furnace guy to make my furnace a bit more earthquake safe. I’ll ask him about detectors.

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  19. Kary L. Krismer

    By Pegasus @ 16:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 12 – Wait until it gets warmer and the political conventions start. You ain’t seen nuthin’!

    Too bad they aren’t holding one in Chicago, just for old time’s sake. The Democrats would be particularly interesting, since it would put their new mayor in a tough position.

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  20. Dirty Renter

    Yesterday, I received a fortune cookie which went as follows: ‘You have a flair for adding a fanciful dimension to any story.’ I’m saving it for Blurt or Ray, in case we ever have a Seattle
    Bubble get-together. That is, unless Blurt is carrying an assault rifle.

    Last week, I took my wife to her stylist and had an hour to kill, so I went grocery shopping in the adjoining store. It was named Hung Low. It’s on 15th street, if you’re ever in the neighborhood…which I think is called Burien? You can’t make this stuff up.

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  21. Tatiana Kalashnikov

    Buffett says he was dead wrong on housing market

    http://www.sacbee.com/2012/02/25/4290122/buffett-says-he-was-dead-wrong.html

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  22. wreckingbull

    RE: redmondjp @ 15 – I’m all about wood gasification. No bulky tank needed – all I need in the trunk is my Husqvarna 359. Run out of fuel on a long trip? Just pull over and buck some timber. :)

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  23. Blurtman

    The Geography of Government Benefits
    The share of Americans’ income that comes from government benefit programs, like Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, more than doubled over the last four decades, rising from 8 percent in 1969 to 18 percent in 2009.

    http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2012/02/12/us/entitlement-map.html?src=tp

    Even Critics of Safety Net Increasingly Depend on It

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/12/us/even-critics-of-safety-net-increasingly-depend-on-it.html?_r=1

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  24. Kary L. Krismer

    RE: Blurtman @ 23 – If you look at the breakouts the largest two are SS followed by Medicare. That would indicate it’s the aging of America at work. Medicaid (income based) I think was third, and the others were relatively small.

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  25. Pegasus

    RE: Blurtman @ 23 – Social Security except for payments out to non-contributors such as disability is nearly OK and should surprise no one. Easily fixed and mostly previously identified as to its current state. Unfortunately the money collected for a generation has been spent by Congress on earmarks and boondoggles for a select few. Most of the crying over the state of Social Security comes from those that benefited the most and can see their cash cow is being shut off as the government now repays the loans to the trust fund(2.6 trillion) from the general fund. Boo freaking hoo. The shortfall can easily be fixed by withholding on higher incomes and non-wage incomes such as dividends and interest and perhaps by extending the retirement age again. Extending the retirement age is the least damaging to the elite and so it is the one most talked about.

    Medicare is different in that the public has not made very large contributions over their lives while medical costs have exploded way beyond the rate of inflation. Medicare can be fixed by controlling costs. Each year Congress gives out a “Doc Fix” at the last minute while swearing they won’t do it again to keep the doctors happy and in a luxurious lifestyle that they have grown accustomed to. Not every doctor needs to become a multi-millionaire by age 45. The medical profession used to be all about helping people and now it is about fleecing them.

    Those that benefit the most from Medicare are not the recipients of that care but the purveyors of that care. Medical costs need to be the same or close to the same for everyone and prices need to be advertised in advance. Try asking your doctor how much those tests that he is recommending are and you will get the picture. Go to an emergency room for a nosebleed and see how many thousand they charge to stop something already stopped. We need to stop having someone pay $40,000 for the same operation that someone else pays only $2700. Usually the one getting stuck with the $40,000 dollar billing is the one who can least afford it and probably is the one without insurance. The whole system exists uncontrolled to fleece the public and the fact that most people had insurance that paid for most of the bills kept them from really paying attention while the system was looted. Now that their insurance and medical costs have risen dramatically during a time that their incomes have not they are finally paying attention.

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  26. Kary L. Krismer

    By Pegasus @ 25:

    Unfortunately the money collected for a generation has been spent by Congress on earmarks and boondoggles for a select few.

    I’m not sure what the alternative is. Have the money sitting idle, buried in a coffee can (outside the economy) for years and years? Have the SSA loan the money to business entities? Who would pick and approve the entities which could borrow?

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  27. Pegasus

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 26 – The Social Security Trust is an “off-balance sheet item” that unfortunately allows less scrutiny as the funds travel down through the rabbit hole into the ether. Obviously the money needed to be invested somewhere and up until recently the US government was a safe investment. Unfortunately anytime more money gets loaned it gets spent. Historically Congress is horrific for spending and for bad investments with little or no accountability. It just gave them another source of funds to blow. Unfortunately there is no one that can be trusted to directly invest the funds prudently. Opening it up to private business investments would just mean it would be looted directly by the bankers in an even more rapid fashion. We hear about how it is broke while it has 2.6 trillion dollars. The government will pay that debt, borrow more or print to cover it. Unfortunately the money may be worthless when they do.

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  28. Kary L. Krismer

    RE: Pegasus @ 27 – I only read that once, but I’d probably agree with all of that.

    Even so, the real problem was all the spending, not that the government spent the SS money. If most years they’d limited the deficit spending to the exact amount of the SS surplus, that would have been a lot better than what did occur.

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