Monday Open Thread (2010-11-08)

Here is your open thread for Monday November 8th, 2010. 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

    Here’s a Fishy MSM News Story of Foreclosures and Blaming it All on the Banks’ Fraud

    That sounds unbelievable, article in part:

    “…The Cascos say they never missed a subsequent payment, so they were horrified when the bank decided the smaller payments weren’t enough and foreclosed on their modest Long Beach home….”

    I’m guessing the rest of the story is they lowered their payments temporarily, but then jacked them up to cover losses….that’s when the foreclosure occurred. I’m usually not on the banks’ side, but this home buyer account sounds fishy as Hades.

  2. 2

    RE: softwarengineer @ 1 – I read that and thought the same thing. It made me wonder if the reporter was just trying to write an article with outrageous one-sided facts, or was just really stupid, or both.

  3. 3

    This is really hard to believe. A bunch of politicians in DC had a knee-jerk reaction based on incomplete facts and vilified a company without any apparent basis. Who’d have thunk it? /sarcasm

  4. 4
    Scotsman says:

    Update on this coming winter:

    “Thanks to some great climate data from the National Weather Service and KIRO 7 Chief Meteorologist Rebecca Stevenson, the tale of
    the fall and winter of 1949/1950 may offer us some eerie insight on what is to come over the next few months.

    The tale starts here. As we’ve been telling you on this blog, we are in the midst of a moderate to strong La Nina. This event
    typically brings us cooler and wetter conditions across Western Washington during fall and winter. In 1949 and 1950, it was a
    moderate to strong La Nina, just like we’re experiencing right now.

    61 years ago today, November 4, 1949, we recorded 74 degrees in Seattle. That is the same temperature we saw yesterday and it
    still stands as the latest 70 degree day on record for the city.

    Here is where it gets interesting. What followed that warm November day was the coldest month on record for Seattle. January 1950
    averaged a temperature of only 24.9 degrees, well below the average 40.9 degrees we typically see in January.

    January 1950 was a very impressive month of weather. We saw the most consecutive days of 25 degree or lower temperatures and also
    recorded the all-time lowest temperature in Seattle of 0 degrees on January 31st. It was also an unbelievable month of snow for
    the city. On January 13, 1950 Sea-Tac recorded 20 inches of snowfall! That day still stands as the all-time highest daily
    snowfall on record for the city. On January 26, 1950 there was 10 inches of snow recorded at Sea-Tac. That ranks number 3 on the
    list of snowiest Seattle days.

    While there is no guarantee that we will see a winter like 1950, it’s hard not to take notice of the similarities. As a kid
    growing up, I was always taught that we learn from history. (Cue dramatic music) If history does indeed repeat itself, we are in
    for a whopper of a winter!

    -Sam Argier, Morning Meteorologist/”

  5. 5
    David Losh says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 2RE: softwarengineer @ 1

    What he said is they had a $50K short. That’s the same story that was on this blog a couple of weeks ago when the people refused to pay the $40K in penalties, and interest, they caught up the $100K in missed payments, but not the servicing penalties.

  6. 6

    RE: Scotsman @ 4 – You think you’re pretty funny, don’t you? ;-)

    And don’t pretend you don’t know what I’m talking about.

  7. 7
    Dirty_Renter says:

    Saturday, I listened to the most humorous and insightful hour of radio I’ve heard in decades.
    It was a program following the life and death of a $1,000 MBS investment named ‘Toxie’.
    It was on NPR’s This American Life.
    It was a fantastic trip down the housing bubble and ensuing financial crisis. I was a little sad when Toxie passed on…to the place where money goes to die.

  8. 8
    Blake says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 3
    quote: “This is really hard to believe. A bunch of politicians in DC had a knee-jerk reaction based on incomplete facts and vilified a company without any apparent basis. ”
    ??? It was a whitewash!
    You mean BP? They seem to have a amazingly bad statistical record for accidents – especially relative to their peers. Must be just random, eh? What’s sad is that in our country it seems like we do not have the stomach to blame or hold anyone accountable. Lying, fraud, disasters… oh well. We’ll appoint a blue ribbon commission to cover-up – errr – make everyone feel like they’ve looked deeply into the problem and discovered – – “we’re all really to blame!” I think this is due to the incredible concentration of power in our society: these groups are always able to evade responsibility – – both the individuals, but also those odd legal creations “corporations.”

    Loved the quotes from Yale Prof. Perrow at the end: (I have degrees in Industrial Engineering and Statistics and really admire his work on organizational failure. We ignore these organizational failures at our own peril! Financial crisis, oil spills, wars/intelligence failures… nothing to see here! Just random happenings…)

    (snip): One of the nation’s top technological disaster academics said the spill commission — appointed by President Barack Obama — was a “cover-up” from the White House. Charles Perrow, a Yale University professor who wrote the disaster sociology classic “Normal Accidents”, said the investigation was overlooking BP’s track record of disasters that have come after cost cutting. “There’s a long history of dollars versus safety at this organization,” Perrow told The Associated Press. He referred specifically to BP’s 2005 Texas City oil refinery explosion in which federal officials cited a culture of cost-cutting at the expense of safety. In 2006, BP’s lack of leak detection caused a massive pipeline spill, the largest on Alaska’s North Slope to date.
    … our system is broken folks! (Thanks for the reminder Kary!)

  9. 9
    One Eyed Man says:

    RE: Blake @ 8

    Nice Avatar photo. Do you do any kayaking on the sound Blake?

  10. 10
    One Eyed Man says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 6

    Wasn’t that movie, “The Day After Tomorrow” kind of the same story taken to the extreme? And here I thought that movie was a crock.

  11. 11
    Hugh Dominic says:

    Good podcast.

    NPR interviews an agent at Freddie Mac whose job it was to put subprime borrowers into houses. Hilariously, his rent vs. buy calculator does not allow you to enter a home appreciation rate lower than zero. On the podcast, he apologizes for what he did.

  12. 12
    David Losh says:

    RE: Dirty_Renter @ 7

    Thanks for putting this link. I wanted to hear the whole whole thing, and was going to look it up.

  13. 13
    Blake says:

    RE: One Eyed Man @ 9
    Re: Kayaking
    Don’t get out into the Sound much… Mostly Lake Wash. My gal and I want to get dry suits soon so we can brave the colder water, waves and weather. That pic of me was taken in July paddling out of Roche Harbor towards Stuart Island… 3 nights of camping and paddling ont he islands. Sublime!

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