Sunday, February 28, 2010

It's OK to Walk Away From Your Home -

Is he right?  This from the Wall Street Journal:

Millions of Americans are now deeply underwater on their mortgage. If you're among them, you need to stop living in a dream world and give serious thought to walking away from the debt.

No, you shouldn't feel bad about it, and you shouldn't feel guilty. The lenders would do the same to you—in a heartbeat. You need to put yourself and your family's finances first.

ROI: When It's OK to Walk Away From Your Home -

Friday, February 05, 2010

Hayek vs. Keynes Rap

I wasn't expecting this! A "rap" about economics. And it for the most part accurately sums up a century of argument. Does the government need to control the economy as Keynes thought, or is that a "fatal conceit" as Hayek thought?

I'll give you one hint though, for the last half century or so, America has been dominated by Keynesian thought (under both Republican and Democratic rule). The "bailouts," the TARP, the "stimulus" are all Keynes ideas. But for brief periods In the past, the economy has flourished under Hayekian free market ideas.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Guilty until proven innocent

Here’s the complete text of the proposed “code enforcement” law I talked about at last city council meeting.  I think this will work, I had to scan it in.  The city isn’t responding to any questions about it so far.

In addition to the other complaints, I also noticed something odd in the law.  On page 8 it says you don’t have to pay the fees if you can get a Notice of Compliance.   But look at page 12, it says you have to pay all the fees before you can get the Notice of Compliance!  And if the director doesn’t feel like giving you the notice of compliance for any reason, his decision is final and can not be appealed!  Ever.

And this is the just the “enforcement” procedures.  We haven’t even considered what rules they are going to be enforcing.  But suddenly, Manteca would be a giant Homeowners association with the code enforcer the chief busybody who can demand to inspect your home any time he feels like it? 

completeC12.pdf - Google Docs

p.s. I almost forgot, notice how many times it says if we don’t notify you of any violation, even if it’s the city’s mistake, you’re still guilty or if there’s a fine or fee, you still owe it even if we forget to notify you or for any reason you don’t get the notice.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

From “Enforcement” law:

scanpg7 Here’s page 7.  Read the second paragraph “Authority to Inspect.”  You thought I was kidding?  (click on image to enlarge)

Enabling law on agenda tonight

There’s an odd item on the “consent” calendar at tonight meeting of the Manteca City Council called Administrative Enforcement Provisions.  (Consent Item 12 CC)

Only the introductory remarks are on the city’s website.  The PDF file doesn’t include the actual language of the new law.  But after obtaining the actual text, a couple things got my attention:

  • The law involves “code enforcement” and claims to be needed to protect the “health and safety” of the people of Manteca.
  • Section 1.10.040 – Authority to inspect.  Grants just about any city employee the authority to enter upon any property or premises within the city to ascertain whether … this code, … uniform codes, or … state codes are being obeyed.
  • In other words, the code enforcer doesn’t even need a reason or any suspicion of any violations.  He can simply demand entry to any home or business in Manteca at any time?
  • The code enforcer is permitted to set up scientific equipment and take photographs and to take “samples.”  In other words, he can enter your home, take pictures, and if he sees anything interesting, he can simply take it?
  • If you refuse to permit entry, they can attempt to get an “administrative inspection warrant” and then charge you a fee for their trouble.
  • The procedure for administrative hearings ends with failing to comply with the administrators decision is a misdemeanor.
  • Further, a companion ordinance will establish a $100, $200, and $500 fine for every citation.  In the definitions a citation is a document issued by an enforcement officer … for violating … this code or … state code.  You don’t get a hearing, you don’t get to plead your case to a judge, the “officer” can simply look at you or look at your home, and issue you a fine. 

I don’t usually write things before the meeting but this law is so outlandish, I don’t even know what else to say about it it’s shocking.  Has the constitution been repealed and I wasn’t notified?  I’m still reading.  I urge you to find out about this regulation and tell the council what you think.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Grammy Awards 2010: The 21st century arrives, finally.

gal_gagaIn case you missed the “Grammy’s” it was a hell of a performance.  You know how they’ve been complaining “where’s my rocket car?”  You know, how the future “in the year 2000” didn’t turn out like “they” predicted.  Well, if I were transported from then to the year 2010, this is what I was expecting stage performance to look like.  Finally I’m not disappointed!  

Maybe there’s something about American creativity.  It seems like the most “depressed” times economically are fonts of creativity.  Think 1939 and the movies.  Wizard of Oz lost the Oscar because it was a spectacularly creative year.  Maybe there’s hope. 

If you get a chance check out the video of the opening by something called “Lady Gaga” (pictured) and the performance by “Green Day.”  I don’t know if they are any good but they put on some kind of performance – and the thing I caught my eye is they are working on a Broadway musical called American Idiot.  hmm.

Grammy Awards 2010: Elton John and Lady Gaga duet as they sing Your Song and Speechless | Mail Online