Mid-Week Open Thread (2009-08-19)

Here is your open thread for the mid-week on August 19th, 2009. You may post random links and off-topic discussions here. Also, if you have an idea or a topic you’d like to see covered in an article, please make it known.

Be sure to also check out the forums, and get your word in the user-driven discussions there!

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About 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. Tim also hosts the weekly improv comedy sci-fi podcast Dispatches from the Multiverse.


  1. 1
    Kary L. Krismer says:

    I don’t remember which thread we were discussing Barney Frank, but this is interesting (even though you can’t really hear what he’s responding to): http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/politics/2009/08/19/barney.frank.town.hall.cnn

    And I guess when you’re in a depression, you start planting trees! http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/environment/2009-08-19-forest_N.htm

  2. 2

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 1

    Yes Kary, assuming global warming turns out true, planting trees is an excellent way to suck the CO2 out of the atmosphere.

    I stumbled on to an interesting related article on how CO2 buildup requires more Oxygen for good health, article in part:

    “…I suggest to you that when the carbon dioxide in the air INCREASES, it is not healthy for your body, and that you suffer, then, from the equivalent of a decrease in OXYGEN in the air you breathe. The percentage of oxygen may be about the same, but you need MORE oxygen when you are breathing in a much larger amount of carbon dioxide.

    To repeat the true science, man “breathes out” carbon dioxide and “breathes in” oxygen. If his “breathing in” process includes roughly double the amount of carbon dioxide as our ancestors (or only 200 years ago) did, that could explain a great deal of the change in degenerative diseases that exist now, in great abundance compared to their almost complete non-existence 200 years ago….”

    The rest of the URL:


    Soooo…even if Global Warming is a fable [I kind of think it isn’t], breathing more CO2 is apparently bad for our health anyway. Therefore, Plant Trees like crazy!!

    Yes, Barny got raving mad when the public held posters of Obama with a Hitler moustache….he lost his cool. When those kind of stressful episodes happen, you just need to relax and take a good breath of refreshing Oxygen…..er, uh CO2, LOL…..

  3. 3
    Slumlord says:

    Seattle Times reports that Greg Nickels is in third place. Hurray!

  4. 4
    TJ_98370 says:

    All right! This is something we all can look forward to..

    We haven’t even cleaned up the mess from the last bubble and there is talk about the next real estate bubble already. Wow!
    US Housing Market Could Be Facing Another Bubble: Shiller
    The housing market, which already has been battered by the worst collapse since the Great Depression, could be setting itself for another bubble, well-known economist Robert Shiller told CNBC.
    With home affordability at a 40-year high, there is “absolutley” a possibility that the housing market will face another bubble in the next five years, said Shiller, an economics professor at Yale, co-founder of MacroMarkets and co-developer of the monthly Case-Shiller home price index…….


  5. 5
    posthoc says:

    RE: softwarengineer @ 2 – Uh… hate to keep picking on you, softwarengineer, but–although it is true that CO2 concentrations have doubled over the last 100-200 years, the idea that oxygen concentrations have somehow decreased as a result is simply not supported by any facts whatsoever.

    N2 and O2 are by far the biggest constituents of earth atmosphere (and #3 is an inert gas, not CO2), outnumbering CO2 by 2000:1 and 500:1 respectively.

  6. 6
    Cheap South says:

    RE: TJ_98370 @ 4

    I am pretty sure he was not referring to Seattle though. Probably Detroit and other ultra depressed markets. With real unemployment at 16.9% (last week’s number – includes people off unemployment), I don’t see how anyone would put money down on a long term investment with the uncertainty of the job market.

  7. 7

    RE: posthoc @ 5

    I didn’t say that, perhaps you’re like me, you make human errors at times [maybe from the CO2?]…LOL

  8. 8

    In other news, Washington Mutual/Chase auctioned off a woman’s home by mistake:


  9. 9
    Flying Ape says:

    This article regarding an ex-Bear Stearns hedge fund manager is interesting.


    Which do you think is the more idiotic move? Assisting the downfall of a financial titan that weathered the great depression with his failed hedge funds OR wanting to reinvest the recouped money in a Florida condo during 2006. I say the later.

    And our tax $ is paying for this moron’s mistakes…..

  10. 10
    Racket says:

    By posthoc @ 5:

    RE: softwarengineer @ 2 – Uh… hate to keep picking on you, softwarengineer, but–although it is true that CO2 concentrations have doubled over the last 100-200 years, the idea that oxygen concentrations have somehow decreased as a result is simply not supported by any facts whatsoever.

    N2 and O2 are by far the biggest constituents of earth atmosphere (and #3 is an inert gas, not CO2), outnumbering CO2 by 2000:1 and 500:1 respectively.

    Two questions.

    1. How do we know that the CO2 levels were 100 years ago? Let alone 200 years ago.

    2. As CO2 levels increase, won’t plants grow at a more rapid pace? Anyone that know a WEED grower will know the answer to this one. …. But are they?

  11. 11
    WestSideBilly says:

    RE: softwarengineer @ 2 – This is one of the most absurd things I’ve read in a long time. A rise of CO2 from 150PPM to 300 PPM is causing a rise in degenerative disease?

    I suppose it could be, if you ignore that we live longer, don’t exercise as much, have much higher rates of obesity, and had a much smaller understanding of diseases 200 years ago.

  12. 12
    WestSideBilly says:

    RE: Racket @ 10 – #1, CO2 levels can be inferred from ice samples extracted from Antarctica, glaciers, Greenland, and other places where the ice has been there a long time.

    #2, CO2 isn’t the limiting factor for plant growth under normal conditions.

    Ironically, there is an article on the site SWE posted stating that plants stop growing below 150 PPM of CO2. Apparently no plants grew prior to 1830?

  13. 13
    Racket says:

    I guess the only way to know for sure is to hop in a Delorean and go back 100 years.

    I am also scared when people base something off of “Inferred” data.

    Hell the age of the ice is even “Inferred” then again how are the measuring the co2 levels in the ice, when its all melting? Poor poor polar bears.

    Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think car exhaust is good for the planet, but I don’t think its going to cause the planet to explode.

  14. 14
    Kary L. Krismer says:

    By Ira Sacharoff @ 8:

    In other news, Washington Mutual/Chase auctioned off a woman’s home by mistake:


    I almost had that happen back in 2007 I think.

    A client contacted us, not wanting to sell until the spring. Prior to meeting with her the second time a few weeks prior to the targeted listing date I did a search and discovered a Notice of Trustee’s Sale had been filed. When asked about it she pulled out a modification agreement, which required her to make four payments and then the arrears would be added to the end of the loan.

    Each month she made the payment I verified it with the bank. But the thing is foreclosure takes 3 months and the agreement required 4 payments, so after the third payment they needed to continue the sale a month.

    We found a buyer for her house, and the closing date was the Tuesday after the original trustee sale date. I spoke with 3 people at the bank, who all verified the payments had been made and the sale had been continued. But none could tell me the new sale date. I spoke with several people at the trustee’s office, and they all told me the sale had been continued, but couldn’t tell me a date. I continued to press for a date, and someone promised to get back to me. The week of the sale I got a call and was informed that the matter had fallen through the cracks, and the sale had not been continued. But for my pressing, the house would have been sold the Friday before the sale, and my client would have exchanged her $50,000 equity for a nice lawsuit.

    I didn’t tell the client about this until after we closed, but when I did it only took about 3 seconds for her face to go into a state of shock as she realized how close she had come to disaster.

    BTW, I think the reason for the problem was the fact that I had talked to 3-4 people at the bank, and several people at the trustee’s office. This was due to turnover! Between people leaving not caring and new people being inexperienced, there’s a lot of chance for error.

  15. 15
    Acerun says:

    Off Topic:


    Crazy story, if you read the comments section the posters solve the mystery.
    Now this is what internet commenters should be doing! ;)

  16. 16
    Kary L. Krismer says:

    RE: Acerun @ 15 – Interesting. I’m a bit skeptical that they solved it, but I guess anything is possible. Much better earlier this week when the ST commentators were speculating that a man who had just discovered that his wife died had killed her. Fortunately the ST removed all those comments. Just yesterday the Sheriff ruled it a suicide.

  17. 17
    Acerun says:

    Ok, back to fun RE news.


    “The combined percentage of loans in foreclosure and at least one payment past due was 13.16 percent on a non-seasonally adjusted basis, the highest ever recorded in the MBA delinquency survey.”

    “As a sign that mortgage performance is once again being driven by unemployment, prime fixed-rate loans now account for one in three foreclosure starts. A year ago they accounted for one in five..”

    It would be interesting to know the break down of prime vs subprime in the Seattle area.

  18. 18
    Kary L. Krismer says:

    By Acerun @ 17:

    It would be interesting to know the break down of prime vs subprime in the Seattle area.

    I’ve seen very conflicting information on that. Part of it may be the way they break it down by locality. For example, one source I saw indicated that Tacoma had above averages sub-prime and Seattle below average. Assuming that’s true (that it varies a lot by local area), then how the data is reported would affect the results.

  19. 19
    AMS says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 14

    Had the home been sold, based on the facts in this case, do you think you could have recovered for the client the $50k?

  20. 20
    Kary L. Krismer says:

    RE: AMS @ 19 – I couldn’t have, because I don’t practice law anymore. I just maintain my license so that I don’t have to take the bar exam again if I decide to return to practice.

    But I would think that would be actionable. She had a contract with them (the modification agreement), had complied with the terms of the contract, and they would have breached it.

  21. 21
    AMS says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 20

    I once had my vehicle stolen. I was already trying to sell it. I *loved* dealing with the insurance company. Did they look over the paint on a stolen vehicle? Check the brakes? Complain about how it drove? It was much easier than selling it to a private person.

    The vehicle was recovered with all kinds of stolen property in it. The police apprehended a few people that were part of a much larger operation. My vehicle was trashed, including extensive body damage, interior damage, and so on. The police asked me to come try and identify property in the vehicle. I was able to recover my garage door opener from the Police, but the rest of the stuff was not my property, and since I was already paid, I left the vehicle for the insurance company to deal with, including the tow bill.

    In any event, some times, but not always, it’s easier to clean up after a “bad situation…” That said, real estate deals are rarely as simple as a stolen car.

  22. 22
    Kary L. Krismer says:

    RE: AMS @ 21 – Well in my situation the sale closed about four days after the foreclosure sale, so the client definitely got her money faster with the sale than by trying to clean up afterward.

    Another thing though. The way the NWMLS rules work, I could have actually owed the buyers’ agent their commission! So that was about an $18,000 swing in income for me ($9,000 in commission I wouldn’t have received in the lawsuit situation, plus $9,000 to the other agent).

  23. 23

    RE: WestSideBilly @ 12

    Funny you should say, “We live longer”

    Not true per the government Census Bureau Report [American lifespans have decreased to 1960s levels recently], but true per the Center of Disease Control report….don’t ask me for the Census Bureau Report URL….the life span contradiction report was conveniently removed from their website about 3 years ago, about the time Bush gave his state of the union and wanted privatization of social security, ’cause we’re living so long…LOL

    My point wasn’t that my website I referenced was any better than US Government websites we trust or the MSM hype we believe….just another possibility….besides, something in the air just might explain all the idiocy in Democrat Congress Michael Moore talks about…LOL

  24. 24
    Tyler says:

    Is Ray Pepper around? I was looking for him in the forums, but I can’t find a username that matches up. I am just trying to get his email……

  25. 25
    Tyler says:

    RE: Tyler @ 24

    Ignore this, I found him.

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