Archive for December 25th, 2005

Two Funny Items

From KipEsquire’s A Stitch in Haste:
The simple truth is that the reason there are so many "starving artists" is because most artists suck.
Kip has a bigger point, but the line struck the soft tissue in my sense of humor.
Also, Wizbang had a name the caption contest for the picture below that was particularly good this week. Check it out.
My favorite: When asked, Santa said the trial separation with Mrs. Claus was going swimmingly.

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Wake Me Up From This Nightmare

French Guard
I’m French! Why do think I have this outrageous
accent, you silly king-a?!

What Monty Python Character are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

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I seldom link to Instapundit, but this was down my alley. Professor Reynolds has gotten wind that Markos Zuniga, the guy who runs the Daily Kos blog, is lamenting Bay Area real estate prices. Here is what Steve Bartin of Newsalert said:
How ironic,a guy who supports a party that promotes Fannie Mae,Freddie Mac,land-use restrictions,zoning,open space laws,and unions is unable to buy a house in the very Blue area of Northern California.All this from a guy who’s got a law degree.What is it about Blue America that hates people that aren’t rich??? Attention Markos Moulitsas Zúniga :did it ever occur to many in Blue state America that Houston(that doesn’t have zoning) is a lot more affordable than let’s say Berkeley,California.Also,Houston residents don’t have a state income tax that they are paying.It appears Kos can’t afford the very values he promotes,which is regulation of markets which leads to artificially high real estate prices.
Bartin doesn’t have commenting, so I’ll air my thoughts here. First, Houston Texas DOES have zoning, as does every single one stop sign hamlet in our country. He might have meant "restrictive" zoning, but he’d be wrong there too. Second, I support Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac and anyone who believes in home ownership in this country should too. They are a big reason why 30-year fixed rate mortgages are standard issue in the USA and virtually unheard of elsewhere. However, the point remains that Texas has done a far better job of respecting property rights and managing things with fiscal sanity far better than most of the larger states that have large urban areas and multicultural populations. It is very valid to call a liberal out when he complains about economic conditions that policies he champions have created.
As for what Kos said, I have mixed feelings. In part he says the following about prices:
So I’m getting a little frustrated with the Bay Area real estate market, and for the first time in years I’m casting about the rest of the nation to see if there’s anywhere else where I could possibly live.
He then solicits suggestions from his readership as to where might be a better place with his climate, cultural and other preferences. Many comments were nice and helpful, and some were moon bat conspiracy theories as to why everything is the fault of the Republicans.
On the one hand, in light of how this is likely to spread out among the right side of the blogosphere that Kos wants to move, when did it become forbidden or ridiculous for a liberal to notice how crazy housing prices have become? On the other hand, how is it that an attorney and the operator of arguably the most successful website of its kind, cannot afford to live in Berkeley? On the former point, I can relate- we considered moving an hour north this past summer because they raised our taxes by a ridiculous amount. If he wants to move because of the principle of the thing, I can understand. However, on the latter point, I am less inclined to give Kos the benefit of the doubt. If you have a law degree and a second unrelated venture that is phenomenally successful (the rate for a one week blog ad on his site is $5,000.00) but still cannot afford to live in your town, that is a rather unflattering statement on your smarts.
In our case, we decided to stay in put for a variety of reasons. My older brother, who lives 10 minutes away, is in chemotherapy and it is unwise to be far at this point. But more importantly, you cannot beat the cultural & ethnic mixture of our town due to our proximity to New York City. I want to raise my children in this environment, costs be damned. I would imagine that is why Kos will find it hard to duplicate Berkeley. There’s only one New York, and there’s only one Berkeley. He won’t find it in Colorado, Arkansas or Portland.
If I were to advise Kos (and I won’t) I’d tell him a number of things. First, stay put and get good buyer broker who can find a bargain, foreclosure, or a fixer upper. Failing that, he should have his buyer broker him find a duplex or three-family with ample rental income so his mortgage payment won’t be such a tough nut to crack every month. If down payment is a problem, he should really be ashamed of himself. No, not because he may or may not have it (no shame in that), but because Kos is a veteran and eligible for a VA home loan. Veteran Administration mortgages are zero-down loans that allow you to finance most or all of your closing costs. He doesn’t need a dime upfront. No veteran does. All he needs to do is produce his DD214 form and he’s on his way. A competent real estate &/or mortgage broker is what this guy needs, not an interstate relocation.
If Kos knew me, he’d own his own home in Berkeley right now.

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Merry Christmas

May your stockings be stuffed this year!

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