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Saturday, April 30

Our Money's worth?

We all know it hurts to pay for gas today. And it's so nice that the car people are telling us just how great it is to get umpteen million miles to the gallon.

But here's an interesting table that brings the true cost home of what you are getting for what you pay. This doesn't take into account factors like detours, getting stuck in traffic, etc. We all know it's expensive but when you really look at the true value you're getting for your money...

It just shows simply how many miles you get for each dollar of gas you put into your car. Take these numbers into account the next time you "run to the store" or just take the kids to whatever.

To make you really nostalgic (or ill), the lower table is from a million years ago, or so, when gas was affordable.
Admittedly, most cars then got 5 to 15 miles per gallon, but...still...(My "Little Honda 50" got over 70 mpg then and its predecessor, my pride and joy, an Indian, got 40!)

Republicans Behaving Badly

Part #6,112,954 of a never-ending series.

It's been a busy week for the Republicans. For starters, Donald "Beware My Mighty Hair Helmet of Doom!" Trump went full-bore Birther, stealing Sarah Palin's thunder quite effectively and putting himself on top of the heap of mental midgets and social misfits euphemistically called 'the GOP candidate field.' He crowed about how his crack team of experts in Hawaii were about to make startling revelations about Obama's birth certificate.

Unfortunately, President Obama beat Trump's experts to the punch by tossing his official long form birth certificate (the one that Hawaii keeps in sealed records) out to the hyenas. It settles the matter once and for all, right?

Wrong. No sooner had he finished his press conference than one so-called 'expert' was calling it a forgery, while other members of the Tea Party/John Birch/Racist/Moron Axis merely said "So what?" and doubled down on their lunacy. Tom Tancredo actually made sense when he opined that the Release was timed to make the Republicans look bad. Good job, Tommy-gun. Nice of you to figure that out.

In this guise, Obama's birth certificate becomes another cudgel to bash Republicans with. Continuing to vent their inner racism like this only makes them look stupider, which has the effect of improving Obama's chances of re-election. Great tactical thinking, actually.

In fact, Trump then went after Obama's school records, his arguments buttressed by elderly asshole Pat Buchanan. Seriously, guys, 'affirmative action?' Can't you do any better than that? Why not just start yelling "uppity ni**er" and get it over with? Lord knows enough of the dingbats and assholes in Iowa and the Deep South are saying it, because 'everyone knows' that a dark-skinned man can't possibly be successful without help or an evil conspiracy at his back.

Mittens Romney doesn't have these questions raised about him, and his Dad George was born in Mexico. Johnny-Mop McCain wasn't born in the United States - he was born in the Panama Canal Zone, and no one questioned his citizenship. Gee whillikers, I guess it must A Black Thing, and I couldn't understand.

Still on the racist meme, we have yet another example in Oklahoma, where a female state legislator announced that minorities (read black people) don't work as hard as whites and therefore are a drag on the economy. A Maine cabinet member had to resign after saying much the same thing.

But let's get back to Trump, the Carnival Barker, the guy so fake his hair is not his own and is so crooked his valets have to screw his pants on in the morning. Let's be honest here - he makes himself such an easy target. He delivered a speech laced with the word 'fuck' to a group of old ladies and old men in Las Vegas a couple days ago, and two bits of that deserve special note:

1. He stated that he would slap a 25% tariff on Chinese imports.

2. He would tell OPEC that he, not they, would arbitrarily set the price of crude.

Those got some cheers, but the people who actually use their brains to do things other than keep their skulls from imploding pointed out two glaring problems with this. One, that a high tariff might induce China to call in the note they hold, thereby ruining our economy; two, that a government fixing the price of anything is a government intrusion into the free market (and that's socialism/communism/whatever). Further, OPEC can always turn off the taps.

And I know Trump's old enough to recall the gas crisis in the 70s. After all, he was old enough to get college and medical deferments to avoid serving in Vietnam (although he states he just had a high draft number, and didn't get picked). News flash, Trump - don't lie if you don't have all the records locked away so others can't find them.

I don't see the allure of Trump anyway. He's in with the Mob, declared bankruptcy a number of times, committed adultery and his hair is not his own. Ross Perot had more gravitas than Trump does, and Perot came by his money honestly.

And this has been this week's episode of Republicans Behaving Badly.

Good day.

Thursday, April 28

WTF is going on?

Special report: The day America took leave of its senses By Rupert Cornwell in Washington, via the Independent:

Has there ever been a more absurdly surreal moment, even in US politics, that unchallengeable theatre of the absurd and the surreal? One moment, we were watching a property magnate, with one eye on the presidency, the other on his reality TV show ratings, and puffed up like a bullfrog, rejoicing on an airport tarmac in New Hampshire that America's President of two years had finally made public his birth certificate.

Here'sThe Donald Trump Press Conference In 99 Seconds from businessinsider.

Here you can watch Obama run to Oprah to explain everything -- (rumor has it that she's trying to get the donald on her show for a make over)

and now the aftermath of these unprecedented storms in the south

And THE most difficult news story for me to handle today was Nine Americans Killed In Attack By Afghan Officer

This snarky piece on gold that caught my eye was a pleasant distraction: BUY GOLD - Commentary: When the apocalypse comes, we’ll have all the gold

I KNOW! We need a Royal Wedding to take us away from everything!!
(Can't wait to see the do -- I hope it's not up)

How are you all coping these days?

Saturday, April 23

If Jesus sees his shadow tomorrow...

will we have 6 more decades of x-tianity?

With the dollar tanking (down to 74 - things are really getting bad and the media isn't reporting it), maybe a little respite from reality?

PMWLMAO @ number 2!

(Stock up on food...NOW! Canned goods, dried meats, grains, bullets!)

Wednesday, April 20

Philosophy Corner: Why the GOPers Aren't Lying

"What bullshit essentially misrepresents is neither the state of affairs to which it refers nor the beliefs of the speaker concerning that state of affairs. Those are what lies misrepresent, by virtue of being false. Since bullshit need not be false, it differs from lies in its misrepresentational intent. The bullshitter may not deceive us, or even pretend to do so, either about the facts or about what he takes the facts to be. What he does necessarily attempt to deceive us about is his enterprise. His only indispensably distinctive characteristic is that in a certain way he misrepresents what he is up to.

"This is the crux of the distinction between him and the liar. Both he and the liar represent themselves falsely as endeavoring to communicate the truth. The success of each depends upon deceiving us about that. But the fact about himself that the liar hides is that he is attempting to lead us away from a correct apprehension of reality; we are not to know that he wants us to believe something he supposes to be false. The fact about himself that the bullshitter hides, on the other hand, is that the truth-values of his statements are of no central interest to him; what we are not to understand is that his intention is neither to report the truth nor to conceal it. This does not mean that his speech is anarchically impulsive, but that the motive guiding and controlling it is unconcerned with how the things about which he speaks truly are.

"It is impossible for someone to lie unless he thinks he knows the truth. Producing bullshit requires no such conviction. A person who lies is thereby responding to the truth, and he is to that extent respectful of it. When an honest man speaks, he says only what he believes to be true; and for the liar, it is correspondingly indispensable that he considers his statements to be false. For the bullshitter, however, all these bets are off: he is neither on the side of the true nor on the side of the false. His eye is not on the facts at all, as the eyes of the honest man and of the liar are, except insofar as they may be pertinent to his interest in getting away with what he says. He does not care whether the things he says describe reality correctly. He just picks them out, or makes them up, to suit his purpose."

- On Bullshit, by Harry G. Frankfurt (Princeton University Press, 2005), pp. 53-56.

THANK YOU HELLMANS! I make my own mayo -- BUT - I will go buy the 2 songs you recently featured in your commercials... by Tim Myers & VV Brown

Your "Love Notes" ad campaign folks have picked some great tunes!

VV Brown's song L.O.V.E.

(She sings Shark in the Water)

Their new commercial features this overly catchy tune by Tim Myers (MAKE IT STOP MAKE IT STOP)

Tuesday, April 19

First, there's the Mainstream version:

"Last Supper was a day earlier, scientist claims"
"Christians have long celebrated Jesus Christ's Last Supper on Maundy Thursday but new research released Monday claims to show it took place on the Wednesday before the crucifixion."
Read the rest at the link.
Now comes PoLT's version:
In the first place, Jesus' name was Jehoshuah. Whether he was "Christ" is open to interpretation. (Maybe we all are.)
He was born in 14 B.C., using our present system of counting days.
He and some of his followers might very well have had a last supper because he was leaving. WHEN it happened, your guess is as good as mine.
He wasn't crucified and died (to purge us of Original Sin, ya' know.) He had pissed off the BANKERS (in those days they called them "moneylenders" and figured he'd better blow town). There's no such thing as Original Sin.
He needed a good long rest before the trip he was to make and went to sleep for 96 hours (maybe to prepare for the density change).
When he awoke, a large crowd had gathered, he said, "I shall return" or words to that effect, and was lifted up by an anti-gravity machine to a spaceship which then zoomed off.

Monday, April 18

I'd like my federal tax receipt please...

A funny thing happened on the way to the post office to mail the returns today. I started wondering what percentage of the taxes we pay goes to fund all these wars "we" keep getting ourselves into; what percentage goes to education; what percentage goes to social security, etc.

When I go to the grocery store, my receipt shows me the totals for meat, dairy, produce, etc. Wouldn't it be nice to see the same from the IRS at the end of the tax year?

I WANT A RECEIPT FOR MY FEDERAL TAXES. I would like to know EXACTLY how our tax dollars are allocated.

I can't believe we've never asked for this before.

When I returned home, I searched around to see if there was any way to get this information.

Much to my surprise, there IS a movement underway for a TAXPAYER RECEIPT and hopefully, will be introduced in the senate

Ezra Klein has been following this:

I’m glad to see the Taxpayer Receipt gaining some momentum. The center-left think tank Third Way and the liberal journal Democracy have both joined up to promote it (and here), there’s an online tax-receipt calculator that you can test-drive right now, and Sens. Bill Nelson, Scott Brown and Lisa Murkowski have teamed up to introduce the idea in the Senate. So, hopefully, this dead-obvious reform — your grocery store has been hip to it for quite some time — is close to happening.

Here's the online tax-receipt calculator... JMJ!

Just finished watching the Valerie Plame/Joe Wilson movie Fair Game -- very painful.

I want a tax refund -- 20% x 10 years.

That's a nice chunk of change I could be using for one of the kid's college tuition bills.


Friday, April 15

Some Shenanigans

With all the depressing news coming out of Washington DC and elsewhere, I really get a lift when something wacky and inspired happens.

Today is a great example.

Everyone knows about the so-called "Path to Prosperity" plan cobbled together out of Simon Legree's biography and the collected works of Ayn Rand by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-ufrickincrazy). But what you may not have known is that there is an even more draconian budget plan lashed together by barbed wire by the "Republican Study Committee," headed by Rep. Jim Jordan (R-ugonnadrinkthatkoolaid).

Jordan's budget was to be voted on first, as an amendment to the proposed FY 2012 budget. A simple majority was required, according to House rules.

Under ordinary circumstances the Democrats and those Republicans who aren't completely nucking futs would vote No.

And here's where the fun begins.

The Democratic caucus - all 172 of them - started flipping their votes from No to Present. The GOP leadership started looking at the vote total as the time limit started to run out, and panicked.

The RSC amendment was on the verge of actually passing.

And chaos erupted on the House floor, as GOPers started scrambling to flip their own votes from Yes to No. The RSC amendment failed, 119-136, at the last minute.

This exercise in craziness highlighted the divisions between the Republican factions, and would have given the Democrats the heaven-sent opportunity to hang a draconian guaranteed-to-fail budget right around John Boehner's flabby neck. "Here's your albatross, and you don't get wafers with it."

It made me laugh so hard I startled the cat. High marks to the Democratic leadership for spotting the opportunity and exploiting it to the fullest.

Those Eyes

Those eyes.

Those creepy, soulless, dead eyes.

These are the eyes of (p)Rick Scott, the Republican Governor of Florida.

He wanted to cut funding for nursing homes and rehabilitation centers, places that enable the developmentally and mentally disadvantaged to live somewhat normal lives, with due supervision and care. Public outcry forced him to walk that back.

He and his Tea Bags are slowly lowering the bar of regulation in the state, seeking to ensure that the ground will be fertile for large businesses and developers to rape the land and leave a ruined environment for succeeding generations. They have also lowered funding for education while raising rates for higher education, cheerfully ignoring the fact that modern industry and business needs an educated worker and not a mindless prole, kept docile by Victory Gin and endless fear about being cut off with not even minimal benefits.

But you have to admire him, and the others of his greasy ilk. He's come up with a way of being at least somewhat accessible while still denying people who oppose him a voice.

Scott uses social media a lot - FaceBook and Twitter. In fact, he recently had a 'town hall meeting' over social media. This is inspired - you can still claim to be open to taking flak from anyone, while at the same time able to shut out anyone who may disagree with you.

When he does have to go somewhere to face voters in reality, he shows some skill in that as well. His budget proposal (in other words, 'his blueprint for destroying Florida') was revealed at a meeting in a church in the heart of the reddest parts of northern Florida. These people love him - for what, I have NO idea.

But then I'm a realist, a rational thinker, and a Classic Republican.

And every time I think of the 'modern' Jefferson Davis/John Birch/Raving Lunatic Republican Party, I think of (p)Rick Scott.

And those dead, soulless eyes.

An Open Letter to John Boehner, R-OH

Posted to his Speaker of the House web page:

I'm a lifelong Republican, and I admit to anyone who asks that I'm completely disgusted with my Party and your leadership of it.

I'll use my own economic situation as an example. Say for example (and why not?) that I'm running a deficit. Accruing more debt is not in the cards, so I have to take care of that. Are we agreed so far?


Now, I cut back on spending - take fewer trips, economize, etc. But that's only half of the equation. To erase debt, one must increase revenue as well as cut spending.

In my case, that would entail working longer for overtime, asking (politely) for a raise, or getting a second job. As my debt is erased, I can start laying aside money for a rainy day or even invest it. This is called a budget surplus.

Time to face reality, Mr. Speaker, no matter how unpopular it might be with the upper one percent of the income bracket. Cutting spending will only take us so far, and giving away the savings thus earned in the form of tax cuts is counterproductive - even Reagan learned that eventually.

Raise taxes on the upper quintile of the income bracket, get rid of the salary cap on Social Security, and you'll erase the deficit that much faster. Don't, and you'll drive the country into penury, as your colleague Mr. Ryan seems intent on doing.

I'm a Republican, but I'm also a realist. At long last, can you and the other members of the GOP caucus finally face reality?

Thursday, April 14

"For only $239 a month..."

I turned on this "box" in my living room for the first time in a number of weeks or so mainly because I subscribed to Netflix and can watch all the really great programs I missed growing up in the 90s and 00s (What ever happened to good TV, like Beany and Cecil!) Talk about disappointment.
Oh there were a few decent programs to watch or rewatch but by and large it does seem to be a veritable photonic desert aimed at intellectually dehydrated wanderers.

But what caught my eye in particular was a commercial. Yep. Those things that supposedly act as an oasis for business in Newton Minnow's vast desert. This one implored you to go out, be a man and "rent" a new, gas guzzling Jeep. I say rent because that's all today's leases are, a way for car companies to make even more money for themselves and banks than by simply selling a car to own. But, people are ever the fools and think what they see in the electronic desert is gospel.

The commercial was a standard run-of-the-mill type to me until the disclaimer near the end, you know the one where they run the blurb about terms at 3 times the normal speed or place it on the screen so tiny and so short a time that no one short of Johnny Five could read it let alone understand it.

The pitchman claimed this new life changing Jeep could be yours "for the VERY WELL QUALIFIED" for a mere $239 per month with some disclaiming terms about a down payment, tax and license written in 2 point type for 30 milliseconds on my screen. Then it ended and I presume thousands of George Romero's minions ran out and signed leases for new Jeeps.

But as I thought about the commercial (ignoring the next program, whatever was running at the time) I wondered about that heavily emphasized disclaimer of "VERY WELL QUALIFIED." Phoning a friend who frequents the desert, he told me that usually the terminology is for "well qualified" wanderers and that the "very" must have some significance that escaped him. SO I decided to call a banker (friend) of mine to ask about this apparently new tactic.

Evidently, the banks are now SOOOO worried they will lose money (yeah, right) on bad loans, they had to take steps to make sure the riff-raff, undesirables, unemployed and probably even those non white, sometimes female people didn't take advantage of the gracious godliness of the lenders.

I asked him how that bail out thing was going for PNC (the usury organization he works for). He said they were able, with the help of the government funds (I said, the tax payer funds but he just continued) to acquire a few small banks and make other investments they normally would not have made. I thanked him for his truthiness and hung up.

You see, while the banks have to make sure the people they lend money to, in order to make even more money, must be the utmost, most up-standing, financially secure individuals in these great Corporate States of America, the same certainly doesn't apply to banks.

When the banks had their "little problem" and needed big bucks from Uncle George and Cousin Barry through us, you would have thought those negotiating with the hard luck banks would make sure their clients were as upstanding and dependable as the people the banks want as clients. But you'd be wrong.
It's ok for the government to dole out billions to banks that showed no responsibility; banks that wouldn't lend money to themselves because they are so irresponsible with their finances. Yet, Timmy Geithner gave them our money at zero percent interest knowing they more than likely would never pay it back. get that gas guzzling Jeep from a Company we bailed out because it couldn't manage to be credit worthy, only people who can show they are more dependable than banks can get loans from the banks...nice hypocrisy guys. Makes me want to rush out and rent a vehicle so you can take more of my money. However I ain't "VERY WELL QUALIFIED." My credit rating is probably around 800 and the banks want 801 much to my displeasure (of course my credit rating here is pure fiction, you understand!) I guess I'll have to settle for that used Yugo Barry wants me to buy.

Thanks Georgie, Barry and Timmy, Larry and Hank. Maybe we can repay your kindness and concern and offer the requirement to politicians the banks now require of us. When the War of 2012 starts, maybe we, the lessors, can make sure those who seek to become Congressional lessees of the public, are "VERY WELL QUALIFIED" for a change. (You have to say that last part very, very fast and it should only be on the screen for a half-second!)
You can go back to Jerry Springer, now.

AI Update

ART Intelligence, i.e. American Idol

I'm just tuning in for the first time this season. Quite the eclectic group of judges, producers, etc. J-Lo you should cut those happy pills in half -- Steven who dresses you in the morning? (nice blouse, btw) -- Randy Randy Randy, can I be your best friend!

Some great male artists out there.

This guy Casey is my pick from last night

Anybody following this season?

Tuesday, April 12

Stupidity, Thy Name is The History Channel

Coming on the heels on a sensationalistic and largely crap "miniseries" on the Kennedys (which will be shown on Reelz, guaranteeing that no one will see it at all), The History Channel will show a piece of flaming dog feces known as The Naked Archeologist.

This 'show' (or, in other words, 'a collection of beer farts and explosive diarrhea') centers on the eponymous 'archeologist' and 'journalist' Simcha Jacobovici, who claims on very thin evidence to have found The Nails.

That is, the nails that were used to nail a Certain Jewish Eschatological Preacher to a cross way back in about 33 CE.

Hands up all those who think The History Channel's finally gone over the edge?


Early in the morning, fifty years ago today, a Soviet R-7 intercontinental ballistic missile lifted off from its launch stand in Central Asia.

Riding atop that missile was a human being, a Soviet Air Force officer named Yuri A. Gagarin. He shouted, "Poyekhali!" as the control bunker reported that he had lifted off.

The word means "Let's go!"

He was only aloft for 108 minutes, but for that time was the loneliest human being in history, beyond hope of rescue if anything went wrong. He did this voluntarily, and is remembered for his bravery as well as for his groundbreaking flight.

There have been nearly four hundred manned space flights since Gagarin flew, but he was the first. The United States is slowly handing off its manned space program to private industry, leaving us grounded while the Russians - and now the Chinese - maintain a presence up there.

We mustn't allow ourselves to fall stagnant, to narrow our visions and limit our horizons like this.

So, Poyekhali!

Let's go!

Monday, April 11

"TRUE BLUE: Why we must replace O with a D"

The following is a post by Joe Cannon at CANNONFIRE:
TRUE BLUE: Why we must replace O with a D

Glenn Greenwald -- who may be the best political writer we have right now -- has put together a series of headlines which demonstrates why the Democratic party must unhitch itself from the Obama wagon. I reproduce the image to the left.

At the end of last year, this blog devoted some space to the idea of re-creating the "New Deal" movement. A real life upheaval forced me to put that project on hold -- temporarily. I would like to get back to it.

But we've run into a problem of nomenclature. The Roosevelt Institute has a newly-prominent site called New Deal 2.0, which does excellent work. I do not want any hint of competition with those folks. Alas, they won't get down to the business of creating an actual movement.

They complain about Obama, but they do not push for his replacement. Their attitude seems to be: "If a challenger shows up, maybe we'll support him."

That's not good enough. We must scream for a challenger to show up. We must make it happen.

And no-one else seems to be doing that. We need a genuine grass-roots uprising -- Wisconsin gone national. If someone else starts such an enterprise, I'll join. Until then, I'm going to try to push on forward with a drive to revive the spirit of FDR.

So...please share any ideas you have regarding a new name for this initiative. We need something short, catchy, and redolent of the Democratic party's best years.

Incidentally, this issue marks the place where I part company from our friends at Corrente. Those guys remain mired in the romance of a third party. Even if such a party existed, any attempt to run a progressive third party candidate would be a fiasco akin to the 1948 run by Henry Wallace. (Wallace received 2% of the popular vote.)

No, we must burrow within. We must retake an existing party with a proud past -- and a not-so-proud present.

The most spectacular political achievement of our lifetime was the takeover of the Republican party by its libertarian or neo-liberal wing -- a takeover which began pretty much the day after Nixon declared "We're all Keynesians now." Give the Randroids credit: By eschewing the third party route (yes, I know that a Libertarian party exists -- and I wish it well!), by doing the patient, long-term work of infiltrating and commandeering the Republican infrastructure, they have succeeded in their project of radicalizing the nation.

Naturally, when faced with such a success story, many liberals and progressives will use all of their intellectual powers to come up with reasons not to emulate a strategy with a proven track record. That's the way too many liberals think. They love to come up with clever new reasons to fail.

Let's make this simple:

Henry Wallace, Ralph Nader, Barry Commoner and others went the third party route. The trick didn't work.

The hard-core neo-liberals decided to infiltrate an existing "legacy" party. The trick worked amazingly well.

What lesson do we draw from this? Which battle plan do we emulate?

If you count yourself as "too liberal for Obama," you must ask yourself a hard question: Do you simply want to carp and complain from the sidelines? Or do you want to see your ideological colleagues rise to a position where they can wield actual power and get things done?

Most progressives seem to feel comfortable only as carpers and complainers. That's why they traditionally counsel us to "Think globally and act locally," which is another way of saying "Impotence is cool."

Me? I want to see a true blue Dem take power and get things done.

Woah! Hey...maybe that's our new name...


Whaddya think?
Click through for comments and suggestions. PoLT

Days of Future Past

Just got back from a vacation in the summer of 2015. (They haven't repossessed my tyme machine just yet.)

I thought I'd share a couple of pictures I took during a tour in Washington.
I'll post a few more pictures once they make it through the portal. The ones of the dilapidated National Archives and the Abandoned Smithsonian were particularly poignant!

What was really interesting were the new statues of Ayn Rand where the Jefferson Memorial used to be and St. Ronnie's enormous bust where the Washington monument once stood.

I almost forgot. The new D.C. Creation Museum is right next to the National Church (used to be RFK Stadium). Services are held around the clock by rotating Reverends. Attendance wasn't optional. I didn't have my National I.D. card so the trip was cut short
Oh, and I really loved the new gold covered Glenn Beck U.S. Mint. You can see the new U.S. motto on the buildings in the pictures. I couldn't get pictures of coins with it on, they were too small for my macro lens.

The future looks to hold a wealth of changes!

(Click to enrage)

Monday, April 4

The Audacity of Fact

Funny thing about what some people call "facts"...and what really is.

Saturday, April 2

The GreaterFool has a few scathing, eye-opening and EXTREMELY urgent posts about the REAL estate markets in Australia & Canada ( and CHINA -wtf?)

(Garth Turner is the GreaterFool for those unfamiliar with him.)

Start here to read about the Home Buyer's Strike that is gaining some strength in Australia

(THIS IS EXACTLY WHY I RIPPED UP MY REAL ESTATE LICENSE IN 2003. I could not "sell" another wide-eyed, but truly blinded buyer -- especially the young couples -- the worst investment of their lives)

And, then this post where he screams loud and clear to the youngins in Canada...GROW A SET

While our spent youth drink the LePage-Re/Max Kool-Aid, the deluded citizens of Vancouver continue to bombard me with reasons why the Chinese will eventually eat all of it. Here’s one now:

Dear Garth: I enjoy reading your penetrating and insightful commentaries on the Vancouver real estate scene. As much as I wish all you have predicted would come true, my reason begs to differ. I am of Chinese origin (from Taiwan), but unfortunately the wrong kind for the Vancouver housing market. In a few clearly futile recent attempts at house browsing I encountered, almost exclusively, hordes of Chinese buyers, sellers and realtors streaming through house after house, whose language I understand but with whom I apparently share little in common. These are people who can easily put down $5 million in cash to buy a house with no questions asked, whereas I rely on a wage easily represented by that 31 to 1 price-to-income ratio for Vancouver.

This brings me to my question. All the predictions you and other respondents made at your column about an impending bursting of the bubble seem to be based on one number, namely this price-to-income ratio of 31 that cannot sustain the current housing market. But if I just step into any weekend open house in Vancouver, my logic tells me that the correct ratio to use should be instead the Vancouver house price versus the Chinese millionaires’ income, which is more like one-to-one. And in this picture, Vancouver houses are really dirt cheap and has ample room to grow another several hundred percent.

I also know there is practically an endless supply of Chinese millionaires for the size of the Vancouver market, and they ALL want to buy houses here, driven by several factors:

The same mass hysteria that emptied all the Chinese supermarket shelves of salt during the recent Japanese nuclear scare.
All East Asian governments have recently implemented severe laws cracking down on property speculation, making gambling in Asian real estate not profitable any more.
Vancouver continues being ranked the number one city to live in the world by The Economist. There is a Chinese obsession with rankings.
Vancouver has excellent educational resources. There is a Chinese obsession with education.
Vancouver is one of the best North American cities for keeping up an East Asian style of living.
Buying with cash, these millionaires can afford to sit out any temporary downturn without lowering their house price, unlike in traditional bubbles.
I wish all your predictions would come to pass tomorrow so finally I would be able to borrow frrom the bank up to my eyeballs and get maybe 200 square feet of house somewhere in New Westminster. But from what I said above and from what I read in the Chinese newspapers, I do not believe it will ever happen. Maybe you are trying to prevent a mass panic by not giving the picture I am painting?

Isn’t it time to get real and talk about the real price-to-income ratio as I described? And isn’t the right question to ask what the BC government plans to do in the face of this runaway situation that will eventually drive every non-Chinese-millionaire out of a house? Nothing? This “bubble” is not like all the ones before, and relying on it to burst by itself because of the phony price-to-income ratio is unrealistic. I can see this ratio go to the hundreds if nothing is done about it. So please help me out here.

See what I mean? Delusional. The yellow peril thing is being played to the hilt by local real estate marketing groups like The Key, and repeated ad nauseum by the Vancouver media. There has not been a single hard number generated in the past three years to show the extent of Mainland Chinese money flowing into the city’s housing market. Just a short swim away, Victoria’s real estate board has found that 90% of buyers there are Canadian, and eight out of 10 live in BC.

Are Chinese buyers gobbling up some houses? Without a doubt. Are they responsible for runaway prices? Hardly.

Grab a mirror, Van City. Take a hard look. You’re house junkies. Get over it.

Now look at this. And tell me how it ends.


Friday, April 1

The End - Will There Be A Mighty ... Wind??

When all else fails...CRANK UP THAT VOLUME...and go ROCKIN' AT MIDNIGHT with the Honeydrippers!

(remastered version - 2007 - part of a Robert Plant remasted series)

To Plant's horror, "Sea of Love" became Plant's biggest-selling single. According to Plant, the original single was "Rockin' at Midnight," with "Sea of Love" as the "B" side. The single was eventually "flipped" because radio stations were playing "Sea of Love" far more than Rockin' at Midnight. Plant feared his career would be ruined by this, and that people would think of him now as a "crooner", instead of the rock and roll singer he'd always been. As a result, when he would be asked about The Honeydrippers in years to come, Plant would refer to The Honeydrippers as having been "put to sleep." "Rockin at Midnight" is a remake of a 1954 Elvis Sun single called "Good Rockin' Tonight".

I'd give anything to see the Saturday Night Live episode from 12/15/84. The band performed "Rockin' at Midnight" live, and featured Brian Setzer on guitar and Paul Shaffer on piano.

No one can touch Jeff Beck's guitar magic though. He's the 'cherry on top' as the song fades...