Weekend Open Thread (2013-02-15)

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Here is your open thread for the weekend beginning Friday February 15th, 2013. 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!

NOTICE: If you have comments to make about politics or economics that do not somehow directly relate to Seattle-area real estate, they may be posted in the current Politics & Economics Open Thread. If you post such comments here, they will be moved there.

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.


  1. 1
    Blurtman says:

    “The question I really want to ask is about how tough you are — about how much leverage you really have,” Warren said. “Tell me a little bit about the last few times you’ve taken the biggest financial institutions on Wall Street all the way to trial.”

    A handful of supporters in the packed hearing room applauded. But none of the witnesses — representing the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and others — offered a response.

    “Anybody?” Warren asked, pursing her lips and raising her eyebrows above her glasses.

    “If a party is unwilling to go to trial — either because they’re too timid or they lack resources — the consequence is they have a lot less leverage,” Warren said. “If [banks] can break the law and drag in billions in profits and then turn around and settle paying out of those profits, they don’t have that much incentive to follow the law.”


  2. 2

    I don’t understand why this Russian meteor event is being called a once a decade event.


    The only thing I know of that is even remotely similar occurred in 1908, but it was much worse. Do these things occur more often over the water or in otherwise un-populated areas, such that they don’t make the news?

  3. 3
    redmondjp says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 2 – I think you’ve got it, Kary. Most of the time, they plunge harmlessly into the ocean or other unpopulated areas largely unnoticed.

  4. 4

    RE: redmondjp @ 3 – Well if that’s the case, you’d think that they’d regularly take out a cruise ship owned by Carnival. ;-)

    (BTW, I read yesterday that only about 20% of you will get the full impact of that joke.)

  5. 5

    On the Tesla story, the “journalist” has responded.


    One claim he tries to make is that the wheels on the car were a different size, perhaps winter for winter driving tires. 19″ vs 21″. I really doubt that the overall diameter of the tires would be so great to make up the difference between his speed claims and those recorded by the car. It’s possible that the size of the 19″ tires was even larger than the 21″ tires, but that’s something that Tesla should be able to easily disclose.

    Also, I really doubt the Tesla rep told him to charge the car exactly one hour at a charging station not owned by Tesla without any regard to what the car indicated its charge was. I would even question whether they told him to sit in the car with the heat on without driving to replenish the batteries. Maybe they did, but that seems like really strange advice. If that helped, you would think that Tesla would have a more direct way of warming the batteries, or that warming the car while driving would have the same effect.

  6. 6

    I’m going to drop this here for your amusement.

    Real estate masturbation ad.
    No, really:


  7. 7

    RE: Jillayne Schlicke @ 6RE: Jillayne Schlicke @ 6 – And I thought no one could outdo Ray’s ads.

  8. 8
    Blurtman says:

    Go, Elizabeth, go! Next, prohibiting the revolving door.

    What a cast of characters, like from a 1930’s gangster B movie. All you need is the whisps of cigarette and cigar smoke in the background, outlandish pinstripes, Edward G. Robinson or Peter Lorre, declorize, and this is a bad 1930’s movie.

    Machin is packing. Perhaps he goes Dorner?


  9. 9
    Blurtman says:

    RE: Jillayne Schlicke @ 6 – He’s probably done porn movies. Crystal meth drove him to realty.

  10. 10

    On the Russian meteor, a lot of the footage of that is from dash cams. I had assumed that they were police dash cams, but apparently the people there have so much distrust in government that a lot of them install dash cams in their cars.

  11. 11
    David Losh says:

    RE: Blurtman @ 8

    Elizabeth Warren is the best person in the right spot, at the right time.

    I have always agreed that banks get away with anything. No matter how much, or little, banks can charge whatever they want, change terms, collect money, and there is nothing a person can do about it, but burn up hours, days, weeks, months, or years crying, because you can’t win.

    Regulators need to do the job they were sent to do.

  12. 12
    Blurtman says:

    RE: David Losh @ 11 – The bank fraud epidemic and lack or prosecutions and captured regulators and governnment officials creates a huge opportunity for enterprising reformers. It is a wide opening upon which to build a poilitical career.

  13. 13
    David Losh says:

    RE: Blurtman @ 12

    Until it comes to financing that career.

    That’s the problem.

  14. 14
    Blurtman says:

    Cowardly Obama refuses to do the right thing. If he were Abe Lincoln, slavery would never have been abolished. A man of weak character and leadership. Perhaps he believes he owes the system something for the benefit he has received from affirmative action.

    “George W. Bush launched the invasion of Iraq that would lead to a nine-year war resulting in 4,486 dead American troops, 32,226 service members wounded, and over 100,000 dead Iraqi civilians. The tab for the war topped $3 trillion. Bush did succeed in removing Saddam Hussein, but it turned out there were no weapons of mass destruction and no significant operational ties between Saddam’s regime and Al Qaeda. That is, the two main assertions used by Bush and his crew to justify the war were not true.”

    One chilling moment in the film comes in an interview with retired General Anthony Zinni, a former commander in chief of US Central Command. In August 2002, the Bush-Cheney administration opened its propaganda campaign for war with a Cheney speech at the annual Veterans of Foreign Wars convention. The veep made a stark declaration: “There is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction. There is no doubt he is amassing them to use against our friends, against our allies, and against us.” No doubt, he proclaimed, Saddam was arming himself with WMD in preparation for attacking the United States.

    Zinni was sitting on the stage during the speech, and in the documentary he recalls his reaction:

    It was a shock. It was a total shock. I couldn’t believe the vice president was saying this, you know? In doing work with the CIA on Iraq WMD, through all the briefings I heard at Langley, I never saw one piece of credible evidence that there was an ongoing program. And that’s when I began to believe they’re getting serious about this. They wanna go into Iraq.”


  15. 15
    David Losh says:

    RE: Blurtman @ 14

    You think? You think we had some business in there unsettle from Bush one, and years of propping up Saddam?

    I think Saddam was ready to cave to other interests in the area, maybe Russia, maybe China, but I think he’d be naming names, and talking tough. Little George just had to get in there by hook, or crook.

    And getting rid of Saddam was another military blunder. We killed his sons, put them on display like we are mob rabble, then hang the guy on TV, where by the way, he died well.

    We gave Saddam better press than George Junior had.

    Cheney lied from beginning to end, and he is still on the circuit today puffing himself up, and slamming Obama. If he wasn’t so unAmerican, with so much blood on his hands, with so much corporate profit from that Iraq war, he would be a joke.

  16. 16
    Blurtman says:

    RE: David Losh @ 15 – War crimes trials are in order. But Barack Obama is too much the coward. A sad appeaser.

  17. 17
    Macro Investor says:

    By Blurtman @ 16:

    RE: David Losh @ 15 – War crimes trials are in order. But Barack Obama is too much the coward. A sad appeaser.

    Blurtman, you are really thick. Obama is doing the job elected for. You and I just aren’t the customers here. The lobbyists are. Why is this so difficult to understand?

  18. 18
    redmondjp says:

    RE: David Losh @ 15 – And let’s not forget the fool they made out of Colin Powell, sending him before the UN with the doctored satellite pictures claiming to show WMD. I don’t think he ever was the same after that.

  19. 19
    David Losh says:

    RE: redmondjp @ 18

    I forgot about Colin Powell, and you’re right they made him a fall guy.

    He has since come out more in favor of Obama, and that had racial spin to it, but you’re right, I think he realizes he was made a fool of.

  20. 20
    David Losh says:

    RE: Blurtman @ 16

    The economy is today’s issue.

    The Iraq invasion had the support of Congress. We all went along with it. If after the fact there were crimes committed they are buried with the dead.

    At this point it would take decades to unravel the mess, and in the mean time we have very pressing global issues economically.

    I’d prefer we went after bankers.

  21. 21

    By redmondjp @ 18:

    RE: David Losh @ 15 – And let’s not forget the fool they made out of Colin Powell, sending him before the UN with the doctored satellite pictures claiming to show WMD. I don’t think he ever was the same after that.

    Do you have proof there were doctored photographs? Remember, Too Damn Insane was purposefully doing things to make it appear he had WMD so that he wouldn’t be attacked. For example, buying protective clothing for troops.

    We’re actually going through many of the same issues with North Korea right now. Satelites don’t really let us know what they’ve done with their nuclear explosions.

  22. 22

    By David Losh @ 20:

    RE: Blurtman @ 16

    The economy is today’s issue.

    Very short sighted. Do you really think that sending drones in to blow up houses in countries where we are not at war won’t have some type of repercussions for the United States later?

  23. 23
    Blurtman says:

    RE: David Losh @ 20 – We did not all go along with it. And there is no statute of limitations regarding war crimes.

  24. 24

    This market is crazy. I just saw an appointment only short sale pop up where they’re apparently trying to create a bidding war (“offers reviewed on Tuesday.”)

  25. 25
    ChrisM says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 21 – Richard Clarke (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_A._Clarke) names names in his book _Against All Enemies_(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Against_All_Enemies) where it is pretty clear the Bush administration pushed for war against Iraq despite the evidence.

    He has some interesting anti-Freeh stories (esp. regarding the Olympic Park bombing) and it is fascinating that Freeh hasn’t specifically denied those Jewell stories.

  26. 26

    RE: ChrisM @ 25 – Thanks for answering. I don’t recall Clarke being very credible himself, but I also don’t recall him dealing with the satellite evidence that Powell testified to. Having said that, I have no doubt that the Bush Administration spun the evidence as hard as they could.

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