Monday, June 21, 2010

Back to the Grind

Our weekend travels are over and Debbie's mom is safely back in Michigan. Today we are back to normal-ish. It was great to do something different for a few days and the weather cooperated the entire time. It was fun showing off the little corner of New Hampshire that we live in (at least for the next 60 days or so). I plan on working on photos tonight and maybe getting them uploaded tomorrow. I think we got some good stuff.

I got on to Facebook for the first time in over a month. I found out some news that I probably would never have known otherwise, so it was probably worth the hour or so invested. I still have a hard time getting excited about the whole "social networking" thing, probably due to being anti-social and having to deal with people at various jobs who used terms like "networking" to mean being a parasite looking to take credit for other people's work. I'm not doing anything extreme like getting rid of my FB account, but once a month will most likely be all I will make time for.

I've added a new link over on the right. Be warned about a couple things: First, the name of the blog will likely trigger filters if you are reading this at your place of employment. And the "colorful metaphors" are liberally sprinkled through his posts as well. Second, have some Prozac or alcohol (or both) if you dive into the archives. What he says needs to be said, and he is probably not far off in his predictions, but it's tough to process if you still buy into the American Dream.

States are starting to see the reality of their situation: If nothing is done, pension obligations will wipe out all but a couple states' budgets in the next few years. In some cases, they already have. As drastic as these changes may seem, they are just a bit of trimming around the edges compared to what needs to happen.

Fanny and Freddie continue to eat tax money, and everything they do just makes the housing situation worse. Keeping foreclosed properties in inventory ratchets up the losses, but unloading that same inventory forces down property values causing losses elsewhere. The bottom line is that there are more houses than households, many of the houses are in the wrong place, and nearly all are still grossly overpriced.

Green shoot!! Unemployment falls! Woohoo! What? Oh. It only went down because the current method of calculating unemployment doesn't count people who have "given up" looking for work, not because employment actually went up. That and hiring for the census where we pay people $15/hour and $.50/mile to have conversations like this:

which is almost too close to reality to be funny. Trust me. In any case, all those people are supposed to be done by the end of June, although the office here in Concord, New Hampshire seems to be doing everything they can to drag the jobs out into the fall.

In other unemployment news, Michigan has been bumped from its top spot as the worst possible place to look for a job by Nevada. Is Vegas about to crap out?

Bank failures are running double what they were this time last year, hitting 83 on Friday. Commercial real estate failures are starting to bite big time. Not that residential real estate loans are any less in the soup. The wheels are certainly coming off the bus.

And because we refuse to ever learn anything, you can now purchase ETF's containing the same crap that blew up the world economy. The managers, who make money no matter what happens to your investment, are using the same line of bullshit to sell these ETF's as they used to sell the underlying assets right up to the day they all turned into a giant steaming turd. Why? Because they know people will be stupid enough to do it all over again in a vain attempt to "make up lost ground."

Well, it's off to do something more productive than blogging.

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