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Open Thread for Night Owls
Steve Yoder writes:
Call it the Big Selloff—America is headed toward a future in which fewer people own the spaces they call home. The effective homeownership rate, which excludes borrowers whose homes are underwater, stands at 62 percent, down from 69 percent in 2006, according to a 2010 report by the New York Federal Reserve.

As more people move from owning to renting, apartment vacancy rates have fallen fast, from 8 percent in 2009 to 5.6 percent in third quarter 2011. That’s pushed up rents in all markets by 2.5 percent, including apartments and single-family homes, to an average of $846 nationwide, according to Local Market Monitor, a home price forecaster. For a two-bedroom dwelling, the average rent was at $1,020 in June 2011.

Those trends are just the beginning, concludes a July report from investment bank Morgan Stanley: the United States is becoming a nation of renters and home ownership will keep falling. And that, say some experts, could be good for the country.

This dramatic change, triggered by the 2008 housing collapse, has shifted people’s views of home ownership. The number of those who consider a home a safe investment fell from 83 percent in 2003 to 66 percent this year, according to a survey by Fannie Mae and two other organizations. In another poll last April, commissioned by real estate data firms RealtyTrac and Trulia, 40 percent of renters questioned said they plan never to buy a home. Another reason—many baby boom retirees don’t want the burden of home repairs, rising property taxes and other responsibilities.

All very interesting. But for many working Americans, according to the the Center for Housing Policy, affordable housing, owned or rented, is out of reach. For instance, the center's latest edition of Paycheck to Paycheck took a look at five categories of workers we see a lot of during the holiday season: delivery truck drivers, mail carriers, retail salespersons, retail assistant managers, stock clerks.

Despite sizable declines in home prices since the peak of the housing market in 2006 only one of these five jobs—mail carrier—earns enough to afford to buy housing at typical prices nationwide. ... Rent for a two bedroom apartment is almost as difficult to afford, with only mail carriers and assistant managers able to afford to the national average fair market rent.

These findings underscore the fundamental gap between wages for retail workers and
the cost of housing.  Even after record home price declines, retail workers do not generally earn enough to afford to buy a median-priced home.  With rents actually increasing (modestly), these workers face considerable difficulties affording their housing costs.

It is also worth noting that housing prices in the third quarter of 2011 – the most recent data available—were essentially the same or higher than they were in the fourth quarter of 2009 in 58 percent of the metro areas studied.

Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2003:

I went to see The Two Towers last night, and I enjoyed it immensely – although not quite as much as the first Lord of the Rings movie, for esthetic reasons I won’t bother with here.

My real problem with the movie—the one I do want to talk about—is political, and it applies to the entire Lord of the Rings saga. As much as I love and admire Tolkien’s books, and Peter Jackson’s brilliant adaptations, I think it’s probably unfortunate these particular stories are being re-injected into the popular culture at this particular moment in history.

My fears were best captured in a single scene from The Two Towers, in which the traitorous and lecherous Grima Wormtongue accuses one of King Theoden’s bravest soldiers of being a "warmonger." This at a time when the foul orc brigades of the evil wizard Saruman are overrunning Theoden’s kingdom.

The scene is unquestionably effective—and true to the spirit, if not the precise text, of Tolkien’s original. But it also comes dangerously close to an Ann Coulter view of the world, in which anyone who seeks to avoid war is, by definition, either a traitor, a terrorist stooge, or both.

The entire Lord of the Rings saga can—and has been—interpreted the same way: As a parable for our times, a mythic lesson in the virtue and necessity of moral clarity in the face of evil. ...

Tweet of the Day:

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Regardless of who you think has the best chance, which of the top three GOP candidates do you most want to see face Barack Obama in November?

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Comment Preferences

  •  Man on Dog is still frothing at the mouth (13+ / 0-)

    about teh gays

    The Future Will Be an Eternal Loop of Watching Rick Santorum Whine about Gays

    Let's direct our fury right now at the distant future people; the ones who were apparently too lazy to use their time machines to come and warn us in 2006, when useless Sen. Rick Santorum was losing his Senate seat by double digits, that we'd still be watching videos of this fucking guy whining about gay marriage six years later when he was a top-tier candidate for a presidential nomination! Then we could've just killed ourselves then and there instead of naively expecting any trace of human progress.

    "He's the one, who likes all our pretty songs. And he likes to sing along. And he likes to shoot his gun. But he knows not what it means" - Kurt Cobain

    by Jeff Y on Thu Jan 05, 2012 at 08:33:46 PM PST

  •  It's all part of the plan (17+ / 0-)

    You sell the house to someone who can't afford it, profit on the closing, profit on selling the loan for as long as possible, tank the housing market, foreclose on people, let the wealthy buy up all the open property, rent said properties to the same people for slightly less than what the mortgage was with no equity, pump it all back up again, wash, rinse, repeat...But remember, it's the poor people's fault...

    There are only 2 things in life I believe about religion: There could be a God and I'm sure as heck not him.

    by Irixsh on Thu Jan 05, 2012 at 08:36:23 PM PST

    •  Yup (10+ / 0-)

      The Wall Street greedheads bundled those crappy loans and sold them off just as fast as they could. Knowing (and not caring) full well what was going to happen later on.

      And yet, the Right Wing Noise Machine has the mental midgets who make up the Republican base convinced that the economic meltdown was caused by poor people, Barney Frank and Chris Dodd.

      "He's the one, who likes all our pretty songs. And he likes to sing along. And he likes to shoot his gun. But he knows not what it means" - Kurt Cobain

      by Jeff Y on Thu Jan 05, 2012 at 08:42:33 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Sad part is, it happens almost every 15 years (5+ / 0-)

        and always right after a good 6 year stretch of compassionate conservative presidents. And it is so obvious, it's not even like it's being hidden.

        There are only 2 things in life I believe about religion: There could be a God and I'm sure as heck not him.

        by Irixsh on Thu Jan 05, 2012 at 08:45:58 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I was just telling someone today that (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JeffW, Eric Nelson, OLinda, KenBee

          I am looking to buy a small house with a small mortgage payment.  I can't afford to rent.

          •  Smart Thinking (0+ / 0-)

            Rent money is lost money. Neighbourhoods with the highest percentage of ownership are generally the best to live in, one main reason all owners have a vested interest in supporting a good community and hence maintain property values, protecting their investment.
            Low how prices make it easier for people to get into the home ownership market, best way to keep them low, keep investors, people who own more than one home out of the market by penalising them with higher property taxes.
            Which is fair as low ownership ratio communities generally have higher crime rates, poor education results and generate very little income.

  •  see, there's your problem there: postal workers (9+ / 0-)

    privatize it, get rid of the union workers, the managers who are probably crooked unionists as well, and Boom!

    problem solved.

    Then get that remaining housing into Mitt's friends hands and go on about your business..oh, but be back between 1pm and 4pm in case our plumber can get there to fix the terlt you've been whining about for two weeks now....



    ..squinting all the while in the glare of a culture that radiates ultraviolet consumerism and infrared celebrity...Russell Brand

    by KenBee on Thu Jan 05, 2012 at 08:39:02 PM PST

  •  other (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SoCalSal, KenBee, Aunt Pat

    because our democracy would prosper if we were to have two statesmen competing for the WH job and the current GOP field has none.

    •  Buddy Roemer, man (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      A Republican of integrity on a mission to divorce money and politics!

      Of course he is ignored and despised by the wingnuts, but hey, it did say regardless of who has a chance...

      Everything Right is Wrong Again - TMBG (lyrics)

      by GreenPA on Thu Jan 05, 2012 at 11:54:32 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Totaly agree. (0+ / 0-)

        Roemer toes the party line on too many issues to get my full enthusiastic support, but his stance on campaign finance reform... welll, he;s the only one ever TALKING about campaign finance reform and thats earned him a podium at exactly none of the debates.

        What does it say about the GOP, the media, and our electoral system when a candidate, whose only major difference from someone like Huntsman is his stance on campaign finance reform, is so marginalized while absolute bat-sh*t wingnuts without a snowball's chance in the center of the sun of winning the nomination like Bachmann get massive media coverage.

        "There is one rule for the industrialist and that is: Make the best quality of goods possible at the lowest cost possible, paying the highest wages possible." - Henry Ford

        by sixeight120bpm on Fri Jan 06, 2012 at 07:03:46 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Filed under Damnation with Faint praise (12+ / 0-)

    Georgia State Rep: ‘I’m Afraid’ Of Romney’s Mormon Faith, But ‘It’s Better Than A Muslim’

    One obstacle that Mitt Romney may face as he asks for the support of Republican primary voters is bigotry against the Mormon faith.

    A Marietta Daily Journal story published yesterday demonstrates the bigotry that Romney may have to overcome. The Journal quotes Republican state Rep. Judy Manning saying that she’s scared of Romney’s Mormon faith. But at least he’s “better than a Muslim”:


    “I think Mitt Romney is a nice man, but I’m afraid of his Mormon faith,” Manning said. “It’s better than a Muslim. Of course, every time you look at the TV these days you find an ad on there telling us how normal they are. So why do they have to put ads on the TV just to convince us that they’re normal if they are normal? … If the Mormon faith adhered to a past philosophy of pluralism, multi-wives, that doesn’t follow the Christian faith of one man and one woman, and that concerns me.”

    Response: If you "got it" you wouldn't be a republican

    by JML9999 on Thu Jan 05, 2012 at 08:43:05 PM PST

    •  Yeah, and they all know Barack Hussein Obama (7+ / 0-)

      is a secret they gotta go with Mittens anyway.

      I love right wing logic.

      "He's the one, who likes all our pretty songs. And he likes to sing along. And he likes to shoot his gun. But he knows not what it means" - Kurt Cobain

      by Jeff Y on Thu Jan 05, 2012 at 08:47:30 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Mormon's are clearly Christians (0+ / 0-)

      Recently there has been a strange "no true Scottsman" noise from right-wing Christianity denying that Mormons are indeed Christians, that I find truly bizarre.

      My definition of a Christian faith is one that features Jesus Christ, as Mormonism does.

      If your religion dictates that Jesus Christ is sleeping at the bottom of the ocean and one day will awaken to crush the work with his mighty tentacles... you are a Christian.

      Apparently these folks are using a different definition though I doubt they could articulate it.

      Everything Right is Wrong Again - TMBG (lyrics)

      by GreenPA on Fri Jan 06, 2012 at 12:06:53 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  No, it's not xian. (0+ / 0-)

        It's a splinter religion, ala buddhism to hinduism.

      •  with respect... (0+ / 0-)

        from a christian fundamentalist point of view, Mormonism is blasphemy. they may follow Jesus, but thier Jesus is a very different man from the one followed by bible believing christians. The Mormon bible is quite different from the bible accepted by christians and contains a lot of theology that evangelicals see as very, very wrong.

        Its been awhile since I was part of that evangelical fundamental base (I like to think I grew out of it), so I can't remember the specifics offhand, but its essentialy like saying Jews, Muslims and Christians are all basicaly the same because they all have Abraham in common.

        Just a little insight from someone who crashed the gate and escaped the cult.

        "There is one rule for the industrialist and that is: Make the best quality of goods possible at the lowest cost possible, paying the highest wages possible." - Henry Ford

        by sixeight120bpm on Fri Jan 06, 2012 at 07:13:11 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  But many evangelicals say Catholics aren't... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          ...real Christians.

          The surest way to predict the future is to invent it. — Stephen Post. [Me at Twitter.]

          by Meteor Blades on Fri Jan 06, 2012 at 05:48:44 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Never encountered that particluar claim (0+ / 0-)

            It doesn't surprise me, though its more of a stretch. You gotta think like a fundamentalist. The bible is the literal word of God (to them), any change, deviation, or alternative theology is blasphemy. and if you engage in blasphemy, you are a false prophet an not a christian. It comes down to the basic foundational intolerance of the evangelical church.

            "There is one rule for the industrialist and that is: Make the best quality of goods possible at the lowest cost possible, paying the highest wages possible." - Henry Ford

            by sixeight120bpm on Fri Jan 06, 2012 at 06:01:41 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  Politics and religion don't mix. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sixeight120bpm, JeffW, Meteor Blades

      We should keep religion, all religion,  out of politics.

  •  Category of Non-Renters? (17+ / 0-)

    GOP candidates for President.  Well, except for Rick Perry . . . but the State is picking up the tab for his "rental."


    Newt's bathroom ~


    And Mittens' weekend "cottage" (when he's not in the one in California):


  •  why are ther over 250 votes in the poll (5+ / 0-)

    and only 15 comments?

    I think someone is stuffing the ballot box. ACORN! ACORN! I tell you!

    •  now it is 450 and 25 comments (0+ / 0-)

      nto good at math, but I think the % of comments is actually shrinking now.

      I am so bored tonight. and this place is dead. crikey

      •  A lot of people are probably (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JeffW, live1, KenBee

        just stopping by to vote before bed, at least on the East Coast; just got in from late night grocery shopping here on the West Coast so thought I'd stop in before shutting down the computer for the night.

        Now to try to end the wars we ask our gay and straight soldiers to fight. -- Chris Hayes (modified)

        by Cali Scribe on Thu Jan 05, 2012 at 10:04:07 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  My grandparents owned a 4-flat... (13+ / 0-)

    ...on Chicago's Southwest Side, until 1970. They made improvements, replacing fuses with circuit breakers, and a coal-fired boiler with a gas-fired boiler and hot water heater. They sold the place and moved into an apartment building owned by someone else, so I have to think it was sold at a loss. When Calamity Jean and I were looking for a house in the late 1980's, everyone was telling us to buy a two-flat, and let the tenants pay the mortgage and taxes. I said no thanks, remembering all the work my grandparents put into that old building, and how little they got out of it. The mom-and-pop owners are being replaced by wealthy owners, like a former coworker of mine and her psychiatrist husband, and management companies.

    Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

    by JeffW on Thu Jan 05, 2012 at 08:49:32 PM PST

    •  San Jose has an affordable housing program..... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      ....a somewhat rare occurrence in this day and age.  It's been in place since 1988.

      Here's the pdf about it:

      I guess I'm in an informative state of mind right now.  Please feel free to HR me for my informative nature.

      "To know what is right and to do it are two different things." - Chushingura, a tale of The Forty-Seven Ronin "It was like that when I got here." - Homer Simpson

      by rbird on Thu Jan 05, 2012 at 10:47:57 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  When the campaign starts (7+ / 0-)

      Obama needs to not only go after Mittens on his business record, but also his crappy record as gov of MA.

      If I'm not mistaken, MA was something like 48th in the country in job creation when Mittens was gov. And this was one of the main reasons why he didn't bother to run for a second term.

      "He's the one, who likes all our pretty songs. And he likes to sing along. And he likes to shoot his gun. But he knows not what it means" - Kurt Cobain

      by Jeff Y on Thu Jan 05, 2012 at 08:59:41 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Jeebus, I would love to be writing ads (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      KenBee, mideedah, JeffW, Eric Nelson, noweasels

      for Obama if Mittens is the nominee. It's not that "the ads would write themselves"--Romney himself has written all the ads the President would ever need, they lack only production & time buys. Talk about found money...

      snarcolepsy, n: a condition in which the sufferer responds to any comment with a smartass comeback.

      by Uncle Cosmo on Thu Jan 05, 2012 at 09:46:38 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Your blast from the past tonight (11+ / 0-)

    rang a bell for me. I lurked for what I thought was about a year before I finally got an account on this site (I was shy back then). Billmon's diary was among the first diaries I remember reading here. So now I know. I must have found this place in January of 2003. I still don't remember what link brought me here. I'm just glad I found it.

    Score Card: Marriages won by me, 1. Marriages destroyed by me, 0.

    by Steven Payne on Thu Jan 05, 2012 at 08:56:12 PM PST

  •  sugar cane diplomacy (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    KenBee, Eric Nelson

    Wiki Leaks - Sugar Cane Diplomacy

    Ugly Americans: Republican-Tea-Libertarian party of "I've got mine and you are on your own" - - NEVER ELECT REPUBLICANS

    by anyname on Thu Jan 05, 2012 at 09:00:42 PM PST

  •  CA - cuts to health care (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    KenBee, wsexson

    1/5/2012 Cuts to CA Health Care Programs

    Ugly Americans: Republican-Tea-Libertarian party of "I've got mine and you are on your own" - - NEVER ELECT REPUBLICANS

    by anyname on Thu Jan 05, 2012 at 09:01:29 PM PST

    •  Path2Health started up in Calif 1/1/12 (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      anyname, Eric Nelson

      Path2Health for people 19-64 who don't qualify for Medi-Cal

      You may qualify for Path2Health if you are ALL of the following:

          * A resident in one of the 34 CMSP counties
          * A U.S. Citizen, qualified alien, or Legal Permanent Resident with date of entry 5 years of more before your application date
          * Income that is at or below 100% of the Federal Poverty Level
          * Not eligible for other public insurance programs such as Medi-Cal
          * Between the ages of 19 and 64

      and how come there is no google link to Path2Health and Daily Kos?

      Somebody better diary this so we can parse this out, I think it's a good thing..and dental!

      freakin dental.

      Man, to think of all the money I diidn't have that I did spend on dental..

      not all counties, but mostly northern cal.


      ..squinting all the while in the glare of a culture that radiates ultraviolet consumerism and infrared celebrity...Russell Brand

      by KenBee on Thu Jan 05, 2012 at 09:19:50 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Since The Lord of the Rings is my favorite (5+ / 0-)

    book ever, nothing else even comes close, I need to comment even if this was written years ago.  The right wing loves to interpret the book as being about "moral clarity."  I saw that sort of thing, if not exactly those words, in a column by Kathleen Parker at the time the movies came out.  Essentially, the right wing tried to own the books.  It's pretty ridiculous.  Most fiction works of that sort have a pretty simple good vs. evil story line.  If someone stops there in looking at a book, they're missing, well..., just about everything.

    •  I had similar misgivings at the time (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      congenitalefty, OLinda, Mgleaf

      but Viggo Mortensen - God bless him - showed up on Charlie Rose wearing a "No Blood For Oil" tee shirt, and Mr. Rose was annoyed and foolish enough to ask Mortensen to defend that statement. The discussion was lively.

      All great mythic tales are about Courage, Wisdom & Love. Good vs Evil is merely a staged setting for the larger message. The audience. on balance, perceived this, consciously or unconsciously.

      In the end, I believe that the films did more to breath courage into  the millions who marched in worldwide opposition to war, than to validate the lies of the NeoCons.

      Have you noticed?
      Politicians who promise LESS government
      only deliver BAD government.

      by jjohnjj on Thu Jan 05, 2012 at 10:35:40 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  and in terms (0+ / 0-)

      of the framing LOTR TTTs' cultural commentary in 2003 when it came out, as the war machine was ratcheting up and the propaganda and the march to well underway, the scenes in that particular movie of elderly men bent at the knees and shoulders, and of the young children too weak to hold weapons and support the helmets on their heads as they prepared to be likely slaughtered, were absolutely harrowing.

      that was powerful film-making, the near-silent, slow motion scenes of these people not at all ready to be soldiers for whatever reason being sent out to do whatever good they could spoke much more of sympathy with the regular folks of Iraq than it did of the glory of the American war machine...

  •  500 Poll Votes and 30 Article Comments (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    OLinda, live1, Aunt Pat

    Diarist is moving out of blogging into broadcasting territory.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Thu Jan 05, 2012 at 09:02:26 PM PST

  •  teevee (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    KenBee, JeffW, Eric Nelson, congenitalefty

    trash talking commercials

    Wife Says... have to teach her (baby in shopping cart) to walk she is taking up valuable cart space - Walmart Commercial
    This man is dangling raw meat over a pack of hungry wolves it will determine who will eat and who will go home hungry - NFL Sports Commercial
    Wife Says...If we don't get rid of this bundle (husband holding infant in his arms) it's going to take us down - Vonage Commercial

    Ugly Americans: Republican-Tea-Libertarian party of "I've got mine and you are on your own" - - NEVER ELECT REPUBLICANS

    by anyname on Thu Jan 05, 2012 at 09:03:19 PM PST

  •  A note to those who go looking for why I (16+ / 0-)

    will seem to have disappeared off the face of the internet: I'm going to be away from my computer until next Thursday. I am/will be fine -- just going on a trip.

    Don't destroy the place while I'm out.

  •  My father bought his first house in California (12+ / 0-)

    for a years wages , redondo beach , across the road from the beach . He was a blue collar worker who balked at the thought of spending a years wages on a house .
    For me to buy that same house today I would need to spend a lifetime of wages . I could not even rent it .

    "Drop the name-calling." Meteor Blades 2/4/11

    by indycam on Thu Jan 05, 2012 at 09:05:57 PM PST

  •  I voted for Ron Paul (in the survey)... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    live1, KenBee

    ....because then at least there'd be a debate about issues and philosophy. I'm no fan of Paul's but he has the bizarre virtue of being largely consistent, and I believe the contrast would actually make people in America think a little harder about why we revolted, formed a government, and established a strong federal government in a written Constitution.

    Some people are intolerant, and I CAN'T STAND people like that. -- Tom Lehrer

    by TheCrank on Thu Jan 05, 2012 at 09:07:50 PM PST

  •  The reality is that not even the mail carrier (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    KenBee, milton333

    can afford that 176k number....up until the late 70's early 80's the golden rule was 3x you income....if the home was more than 3x your income, no loan for you...and foreclosure was not commonplace.

    The incredible thing is now Bernarke is suggesting that the Gov't becomes the landlord as a way of not flooding the market with foreclosures...which will kill prices and rents even further.

    Either way look for prices to continue to drop and the rental price spike won't last long...

  •  Rents are really increasing in the past 5 years (5+ / 0-)

    We use to get a notice that our rent was going up every 3-4 years, now it is annually.  And the increases are used to be rent might go up every 3 years by 10 dollars a month, then 15...ours just went up 30 dollars. But I will never, ever complain. The reason being we currently rent a large townhouse that comes with a one car garage on the ground level, second floor is a huge kitchen, huge living room, smaller dining area, 3rd floor are 3 small bedrooms, one small bathroom and 2 large walk in closets.  

    We pay 600 dollars a month. But 10 years ago, the rent was only 475. So people are always moving out of this complex because they say the rent are too high for this county.  What people complain about most are annual increases. Keep in mind Wages are very, very low here. It is a small college town and the only ones making a half decent living are professors, state employees or those employed in the medial profession. This area is heavily populated by retirees and seniors and older seniors at that. Doctors offices are flooded with patients and there are enough doctors and dentists.  

    But we know our rent is very very reasonable but if you were to ask people in our town, they would say it is rather high as most jobs are food service, retail or other low paying jobs.

    •  If you can afford it, mazel tov! n/t (0+ / 0-)

      Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

      by JeffW on Thu Jan 05, 2012 at 09:22:18 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  As of right now, we are able to do, one never (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JeffW, KenBee

        knows what the future will bring, so we go month to month and year to year. Our landlord is very good to us as we are long time and good tenants. He has replaced the carpeting, most of the appliances and gave us a new bathroom when all we needed was a need medicine cabinet. I just wish they would quit raising rent annually but they say the rent and taxes continue to rise. What Republicans do not tell people is everytime there are budget cuts to states and tax cuts, states raise taxes but mostly local townships, cities, boroughs raise taxes. OUr wingnut governor is cutting school funding so our school taxes go up to compensate for these dumb Republicans cutting education deeply.

    •  Ours stayed the same for a couple (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      KenBee, OLinda

      of years, but this year went up $150/month. We're staying afloat for now thanks to help from mom-in-law, but we may have to consider moving by the time our lease runs out in September (unless we can find a really cheap condo that she'll be willing to help us buy).

      Now to try to end the wars we ask our gay and straight soldiers to fight. -- Chris Hayes (modified)

      by Cali Scribe on Thu Jan 05, 2012 at 10:09:56 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yikes that is a huge increase, sorry to hear that (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        if we had that big of a rise in rent, we would have to move out as well.  

        Maybe we are lucky as they have been raising rent about 15 dollars a month every year for the past 4 years..then there was the 30 dollar increase this year.

        We moved here in 99 and the rent was 475 and now it is 600...but they gradually got to the point....which was much better than a sudden increase.

    •  Should have voted for (4+ / 0-)

      "The Rent is Too Damn High" guy.

    •  I live in a small city in Iowa (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      And the economy seems similar to your town--$8-9 an hour jobs or professional jobs, and that's it.

      I think that rents here though are higher than yours.  My son rents a small 4 room, two bedroom house for $650, and your sort of place would easily go for around $850.

      The good news is that there are dozens of nice houses for sale for c. $50,000 or so.  And the disconnect between cheap houses and expensive rents imho can only be explained by buyers not qualifying.

      Maybe you should just look into buying if you can.  If your town is like mine, it would truly be cheaper to buy.

      But I'm sure you've heard all this before.

      •  our home prices are higher, a decent house (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        that is a small 3 bdr that is move in ready with few repairs needed is probably 120-130k.  It used to be the cheapest homes in the area that were newer and move in ready were 150k at the very least...that has dropped considerably.  

        Our landlord also builds new homes....3 bdr, one bath, one car garage, central air,  unfinished basement and they go for about 140k.

        Our rent is less than our neighbors next door who just move in..they are probably paying over 700 or more..but since we have been here 12 hrs, that makes a big difference as the rent increases are adjusted depending on how long one lives in the units.

        Our landlord and landlady own 500 rental units iin a very small college town, ie they own half or more of the town...seriously. LOL

    •  I don't know how to compound... (0+ / 0-)

      ...but 475 to 600 in 10 years is a trivial increase: even without compounding it's 2.6% a year.  On a year-to-year basis it's much less.

      But nobody's buying flowers from the flower lady.

      by Rich in PA on Fri Jan 06, 2012 at 07:31:00 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Rule Is The Big Thing Is It? Or is The (0+ / 0-)

    big thing something else, something ruler-less but controlling, or is it?

  •  Is a house really that terrible an investment? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JeffW, KenBee

    It seems like most of the problems in the housing market are due to deceptively structured loans and the idea that you should buy what you will one day be able to afford, instead of buying what you can afford.

    Otherwise, what's so terrible about seeing a house as a place to live and a low-interest savings account, instead of viewing it as a high-return investment vehicle?

    If we can simply get rid of the fraud (Dear AG Holder: Do your fucking job) and educate Americans about buying within our means, a house seems like a fantastic investment.

    •  It's not an investment at all (9+ / 0-)

      It's a place to live.  A place that's mine.  Where I can paint, and hang pictures of my kid, and he can scratch at the floor and ruin the finish.  And I can tinker with a new ceiling fan, or stenciled paint, or something else that catches my fancy and makes my place feel mine.  I can plant veggies in the garden, rose bushes out front, and spend the spring digging in the garden while my son plays in the yard.  

      It's where I raise my family, escape from the world.  It's home.

      I've rented.  I hated being able to hear the neighbor puking in his bathroom after partying all night.  Having another neighbor complain that the volume on our movie is too high.  Combating the roaches that are probably feasting on another neighbor's cookie stash.  Not having anywhere to park.  Getting my car dinged in the parking lot.  Living in white rooms.  Having the landlord periodically inspect the premises.  

      There's nothing wrong with wanting to own a home.  There's a problem in seeing one as an investment vehicle.

      Thought is only a flash in the middle of a long night, but the flash that means everything - Henri Poincaré

      by milton333 on Thu Jan 05, 2012 at 09:48:38 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Excellent information of average rental costs (7+ / 0-)

    for two bedroom dwelling being $1024 a month.

    I just read a heart breaking article about a fellow trying to live on $13,000 on a  Social Security Disability Pension.

    (This combined is SSD with state aid for food stamps, and heating assistence.)

    I have a very close friend who has a $24,000/year SSD stipend but even with Medicare Part D, and Medicare which substract over $200 a month form this before it gets to him has an additional $600 in meds that are co-pays or not on the Medicare Formulary.  

    Plus 20% copays, and 50% on mental health, along with med test and a few MRI, or emergency hospitalizaitons for kidney stones, and $50 a quarter for BiPap masks and tubing (even just at 20% copay) or stuff, leaves him unable to pay his hospital and medical bills, destroys his credit, and makes it impossible to get credit for say auto payments, or even qualify for rental, first, last month, and security.

    Maybe he shouldn't have a smart phone for him and his son, but it was the only way he could figure out how to stay in his son's life after a viscious probate battle etc. etc.

    It's just so sad, I can barely speak.

    Plus, I just had one of my own sons, best friends over helping me pack and move boxes, and to here how incredible bleak, hopeless, ashamed, lost, and confused they are to discover that they are virtually unemployable, and many seem unable to imagine any forward path, where they could even escape the humuliation of living with their parents, and begging grandma for help each month.

    Several excellent young people, I've known since they were 3 months old in the most elite Harvard University Daycare, who seemed liked the promising future of our planet are now so hopeless that they seem to be on the edge of losing everything to escapism with drugs, nihilism, or even suicide.  Some are children of Harvard and MIT professors, one who is now CEO of one one of the largest companies in the world, and grew up in houses valued at $2 to 20 million dollars. One whose doing flashcards in English, Hebrew, and Mandarin when she was 3 years old.

    But, now feel like embarrassing failures who have hope of achieving lifestyles that will not be shameful to their parents.

    My point being, if these are the kids that had every opportunity, what must it be like for kids of more modest income parents.

    Or, kids trying to grow up in households attempting to live on $13,000 to $24,000 where the parents are on SS, SSD, or where both parents are working 2 or 3 part time jobs, since many companies will not allow employees to work more than 20 to 30 hours even at minimum wage, because, then they qualify as full time employees apparently, requiring certain benefits.

    I heard another horror story of one of my friends disabled friends, who broke his back in a terrible accident, and has lost bowel control, requiring unpredictable urgent visits to the bathroom, since it was phone bank work at a call center this seemed to be working out, ok, until he mentioned he might have to move, and then they quickly manufactered a for cause firing.  The only reason I could think of is perhaps, this avoided them having to pay unemployment or some other kind of potential cost.  Or, perhaps, it was just retaliation by mean supervisors trying to intimindate remaining employees, not to deviate from employers plans.

    I don't even recognize this level of savage disregard for our fellow citizens and young people as the same country as I grew up in.  

    Yes, we new it was a myth, part of me believed the USA was the best, most good, and most compassion country in the world, where if Superman did exist, he would certainly be an American fighting for truth, justice, and the American way.

    Now, we read that last year 875,000 people were arrested in the US for marijuana offenses, (losing their elegibility for student aid, housing or other benefits).  

    The US apparently has the highest percentage incarceration rates in the word, and that contrary to what people think our infant mortality, and many other meausre of the quality of our health care often place us 17 th to 35th in quality of health care.

    How sad.

    How unbelievable tragic, hateful, even savage, and self-destructive we've become as a society to the weakest and poorest, or unlukiest amongst us.

    1% may think they are winning, but they are often one heart attack, stroke, divorce, depression, or unlucky break to destitution, and even after bankruptcy and losing everything the IRS will chase them for impossible amounts, accuring quarterly penalies, and compounding interest of 12%.

    Is there anything that can be done?

    My expectation and hopes for political leadership have pretty much degenerated to the prospect of vote for the Democrats because, on a lot of things, the GOP will likely be much worse.

    Yes, many will vote, and even volunteer to work their butts off for this prospect, but, it does not seem to arouse the electric and contageous excitement of 2008.

    One Goldman Sach's prediction I read a while back is that one reputable computer projection indicated it may be 2020 before employment returns to our historical levels but, even that "optimistic" scenario based on obsolete data before China has the upside capacity utilization to fill any demand increase more cost effectively than the US.

    According to free trade theories, and Micheal Portor's Competitive Advantage of Nations this is good because, the nations most efficient at fullfilling demand should do it free resources in less competive nations to do something else.

    But, with mobile capital, technology, the global systems will seek a steady state "equilibrium" at the global average wage.

    With 5% of he population the US still consumes 23% of the world's non-renewable resources.  So for use to equilbrate standards of living with Chinese working now working at about $3,000 a year, may been an additional 75% reduction in material standard of living.

    Granted the transition to alternative non-material standards represents spiritural and cultural opportunities.

    But, imagine for the moment that a plausible, and maybe even probably more likely scenario to this optimistic Goldman Sach projects of the US getting back to full employment by 2020, might be that average wage in the US, falls by 25% per decade for another 2 to 3 decades.

    And, then we discover that the average Asian graduate of high school scores higher on math skills than the average US college graduate.

    And, based on the ability to fill out a detialed job application for their modern factories they fond American literacy rates near 50% of applicants compared to 98% in Japan, Singapore and the other four Asian Tigers.

    So our workforce is not even anymore the "most highly skilled."

    If we could acheive a more realistic objective bipartisan understanding of our real situation, in the US, might we suddenly realized in shock that we can no longer afford to keep 2% ( or is it 3%) of our population incarcerated at a cost of $50,000 per year per prisoner.

    We have to learn to "just say no to stupidy and cruelty to our own  citizens.

    It may have been "fun" for some while it lasted but we just can not afford it any longer.

    Same for these preposterous hysteronic over the possibility that Panetta may try to take $400 billion out of the Pentagon budget over 5 or 10 years.

    If you look at defense spending as a percentage of GNP over the last 80 years, you see we are near a historic high approaching 7% if you include all the off book stuff, when in the past even at the height of the cold war we got by fine with 4%.  

    We should be looking to take $200 billion a year out of denense reinvest that in solar and sustainable energy and infrastructure projets to prevent unemployment on further demand collapse spirals.

    Sorry, to such a long comment in someone elses post, but, this is heart breaking, and I can no longer contain myself.

    Consider this my equivelent of occupywallstreet.

    Please forgive me MB for setting up a camp site right in the middle of your park.

    But, I fear we are on the edge of an abyss so deep that once we are over the edge there may be no way to get back.  And, many opportunities we may have to create a better future for ourselves, our children, fellow citizens here and around the world, may be slipping through our fingers while we let the GOP dominate and choose our political themes with banalities, that are so crass and stupid, it is an international embrassment.

    Can we imagine what frightend friends around the globe must think, when at a time of global crisis like this Santorum, one of the top three candidates for the GOP nomination for president is responding to a question about why should the state interevene in the private bedroom affiars of consenting adults by responding "what if there were three men?"


    The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

    by HoundDog on Thu Jan 05, 2012 at 09:32:46 PM PST

    •  Geez Dog, you need a hug! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      HoundDog, kyril

      {{{{{HoundDog}}}}}, crikey, there's some funny stuff to laugh at while everything turns to crap around us!

      Can't think of anything other than stupid pet tricks, and baby noises and least we can laugh at the reeper  candidates...but I miss Bachmann and Palin already. we need the turkey interview again.

      Ah, that's not helping I'm sure, it would be nice if they had good candidates like...well,  no, not him, the Borax dude...I know, bring back Ike.

      When I was little I remember the family divide over Ike or Adlai.

      I wore the 'I like Ike' button...cause it rhymed probably, and my grandad had one too.

      Bring back Ike.

      Meanwhile, these clowns, geez, I got to laugh to keep from crying.

       And I don't know which to reference, the knight with no arms and legs in the Monty Python sketch saying: "Have at you!" or the Toshiro Mifune flic where he rushes up to the beaten, wounded, exhausted fellow samurai and says a whole sting of Japanese harsh sounding phrases...translated on screen as 'Brace Up!'

      Anyway, keep yer pecker up (your chin, brit speak) and best wishes.

      ..squinting all the while in the glare of a culture that radiates ultraviolet consumerism and infrared celebrity...Russell Brand

      by KenBee on Thu Jan 05, 2012 at 09:49:16 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks for cheering me up KenBee. And, btw way (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        KenBee, kyril

        I greatly appreciate your generosity, with giving tips, and recs to some of my comments and post, just even for moral support, even when they lack worthy substance.

        I love Monty Python.  And, I got so immersed in this wallowing in despair that I missed David Letterman's monologue and top 10 list.

        And, even though it is often conceptual lame, I even laugh when he keeps running the video of the monkey riding a dog, as a substitue for the beauty queen riding a stallion.

        It's not even really funny, but when every laughs at his feigned embarrassment, or brazeness that he even does this, and gets away with it become a social bonding catharsis.

        Probably just further evidence how desparate we are now for any kind of comic relief.

        Cheers my friend.

        The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

        by HoundDog on Thu Jan 05, 2012 at 09:59:59 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  'Suck it up Buttercup' just wouldn't (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          HoundDog, kyril

          work on the internet, can't do subtlety very well, look at the trouble I got in above snarking about the letter carriers, :>

          Just heard from my sister in Humboldt county, they had another grow house burn...for the second freakin time!!!!

          News guy interviews firefighter, asks when he can go into the scene to film it, firefighter says it's too dangerous a neighborhood, (too many grow houses), cranky about outsiders. Sounds like Mexico sorta kinda.

          That's just inviting a fed tact squad sweep isn't it?

          They have been poked in the eye by the local Fed atty and the other local politicians, but Humboldt is getting so invested in illegal and legal and semi legal pot farming, they are not happy about any legalization, they adjust so fast, and it costs them  money and marketshare, legalization not without controversy there.

          What a great country for the bold entrepreneurs!

          Well, at things aren't boring!!!

          See, there's another use for surplus housing They don't know what to do with, Grow Houses™, by BofA, your Happy Place Banker™

          ..squinting all the while in the glare of a culture that radiates ultraviolet consumerism and infrared celebrity...Russell Brand

          by KenBee on Thu Jan 05, 2012 at 10:11:38 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Well, maybe thats why it seems you can get a 3 (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            KenBee, kyril, JeffW

            bedroom, house there with 10 acres for about the price of an 8x10 foot studio apartment in Boston.

            But, I was looking just south of Mount Shasta in that valley there between the Coastal Moundains and the Rockies.

            Or in the foothills.  

            Housing and rental prices seem to have fallen over 40% there in the last five years.  

            But, then folks ask, well why is everyone leaving?  It never occured to me that the area my be overrun by illicit elements.

            The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

            by HoundDog on Thu Jan 05, 2012 at 11:32:07 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  Thank you (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JeffW, kyril

      That was a well written assessment of the state of things as I see them as one of those children of the "more modest income parents." Things are indeed looking bleak, even to those of us who have not yet abandoned aspirations to a better financial position than our parents, and still have faith that this can be achieved through hard work and necessary sacrifice. One thing that has helped me have a positive outlook these last few months however, is witnessing Occupations and realizing that there are others who can see the same flaws in the system. Kinda gives me some hope that better heads will someday prevail. Thanks for Occupying this thread, it helps me want to fight, to see that others out there feel the same way.

    •  I don't understand how kids make it nowadays (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kyril, JeffW

      When I was 20, I had 2 roommates and we all earned the minimum wage, which meant we each took home about $60 wk, full time.

      But we rented a small house that cost $60 month, our total weekly grocery bill was $25, lights were maybe $25 a month, etc., etc.

      And each one of us had a car and we always had money in our pockets for beer or our favorite substance, movies, whatever.  Our total monthly expenses per person were never over $100.

      I went on to a private catholic university and tuition was $800 a semester for undergrad and was $1000 a semester for law school.

      My point being--1 minimum wage worker netted enough in 1 week to rent a house.  Try that now.

  •  Ownership on the decline and now feudal era.. (6+ / 0-)

    ..stratagem being pushed today:
    Think Progress Justice

    New Hampshire Republicans are taking textual originalism to a whole new level: three lawmakers have proposed a bill that requires that all legislation find its origin not in the U.S. constitution, but an English document crafted in 1215.

    When the legislature reconvenes this month, Republicans want their colleagues to justify many new bills with a direct quote from the 800-year-old Magna Carta: House Bill 1580 [snip]

    “All members of the general court proposing bills and resolutions addressing individual rights or liberties shall include a direct quote from the Magna Carta which sets forth the article from which the individual right or liberty is derived,” is the bill’s one sentence.

    Ever since 2010 midterms republicans really and truly are doing their damnedest to take this counrty straight backwards..literally.

  •  Separated at birth? Andy Kaufman's Latka &... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AaronInSanDiego, tardis10, kyril

    It seems curiosity has killed the cat that had my tongue.

    by Murphoney on Thu Jan 05, 2012 at 10:00:47 PM PST

  •  I really did it (6+ / 0-)

    I nuked my Facebook account tonight! I am good for the moment, but dreading the possible withdrawals over the next few days. Thank goodness it will be warming up around here this weekend- maybe I can get some yard work done to distract myself.

  •  More free spech for bullies (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    KenBee, tardis10, kyril, Eric Nelson

    Tennessee follows Michigan in trying to preserve bullying on religious grounds:

    •  I too demand to be able to practice my religion (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JeffW, marina, kyril, Eric Nelson

      and I'm gonna need a lot of practice: My fundamentalist sect practices making sausage out of bullies, all proceeds go to God™

      Unbelievable, tennessee.

      ..squinting all the while in the glare of a culture that radiates ultraviolet consumerism and infrared celebrity...Russell Brand

      by KenBee on Thu Jan 05, 2012 at 10:15:47 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Have you read this diary? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    basket, kyril

    It's very good.  I recommend reading this thought provoking diary.

    It is a terrible thing to see and have no vision. ~ Helen Keller

    by Pam from Calif on Thu Jan 05, 2012 at 10:39:15 PM PST

  •  In Memoriam, Birthday, IGTNT, Pet Rememberances (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    annieli, kyril

    We, the collective we, blogs, showmeprogress, theygaveusarepublic, americablog, dailykos, c&l, jesus general, rude pundit et al should be offering space on our blogs for a one or two line sentence.  I certainly would plunk down $20.00 dollars to remember my Dad for three days on a blog.  It is a great idea for scholarships to netroots, or any blog struggling.  We need each and every one of us.  Just my thoughts.

  •  Affordable housing... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    OLinda, kyril

    Median home price $176,000, $960 rent?

    Where is that?  In the middle of the Nevada desert?  North Dakota?

    Those are un-realistic numbers an must be averaged in with places where nobody lives.

  •  The best part of the 'Blast from the Past' (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tardis10, OLinda, kyril, Eric Nelson

    in tonight's post?

    For those who did not click that link, the diary was by billmon.

    Right here? The diary comments.

    Check out the first comment on that diary.


    You need your own blog. Now.

    Posted by Rich (the orginal, from Seattle) at January 5, 2003 12:44 AM



    * * *
    I like paying taxes...with them, I buy Civilization
    * * *
    "A Better World is Possible" - #Occupy

    by Angie in WA State on Fri Jan 06, 2012 at 02:10:45 AM PST

  •  Spent the day in Chicago, amazing how many new (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kyril, Oh Mary Oh

    buildings have gone up

    A paper at the AEA conference by Lisa D. Cook called The Color of Lynching that shows:

    Data on lynchings have increasingly been employed in economics research. Historical lynching data sets are difficult to use due to measurement error, particularly with respect to the race or ethnicity of the victim. This paper summarizes recent researchers’ efforts to correct and extend data related to race and ethnicity of lynching victims, especially with respect to unpacking the “white” category. A systematic examination of the revised data reveals that historical data sets overestimate the share of whites among lynching victims and underestimate the share of Chinese, Hispanic, and Native American victims by nearly 50 percent.
    and a paper that shows  
    the unintended consequences of allowing widespread access to criminal records are higher recidivism rates among ex-offenders...Thus, while public access to criminal records may be a cost-effective method of deterring first-time offenders, a broader examination of the social costs as related to ex-offenders is needed. The Digital Scarlet Letter: The Effect of Online Criminal Records on Crime Dara N. Lee

    Präsidentenelf-maßschach; Warning-Some Snark Above"Nous sommes un groupuscule" (-9.50; -7.03) "Sciant terra viam monstrare."

    by annieli on Fri Jan 06, 2012 at 02:15:00 AM PST

  •  I voted Mitt for the President's opponent. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Because I think that the President will represent the 99% more vigorously in ways that actually matter*,  in the face of someone who so thoroughly represents the privileges and the power that comes from extreme wealth and from Wall Street.  

    Mitt is Mr. 1%.

    Let the President fight for the rest of us.

    *(like the way he appointed a watchdog with teeth yesterday)

  •  GOP V.P. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    his name will be on the list he is surgeon - to attack Affordable Health Care Act

        John Barrasso

        Sen. John Barrasso, R-WY chair of the GOP policy committee Senate Republican conference

    Ugly Americans: Republican-Tea-Libertarian party of "I've got mine and you are on your own" - - NEVER ELECT REPUBLICANS

    by anyname on Fri Jan 06, 2012 at 03:01:48 AM PST

  •  10 Years Ago On This Date (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kyril, JeffW, Lensy

    Al Gore as Vice President certified his defeat by George W. Bush as he confirmed the results of the electoral college.

    He concluded by asking God to bless the new President and Vice President.

    My Atheism is further confirmed.

  •  Who's the worst person in Congress? (0+ / 0-)

    The preliminary round had 4 parts and you can still vote in any of them

    Part 1 A-C

    Part 2 D-H

    Part 3 H-P


    Part 4 P-W

    Semifinals next week!

    Follow me on Twitter @PeterFlom

    by plf515 on Fri Jan 06, 2012 at 03:44:14 AM PST

  •  Scarborough gets even worse (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    He's literally shouting down the others at his table this morning--not letting them get a word in edgewise. Don't his producers ever listen to him?

    Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum viditur.

    by MrMichaelMT on Fri Jan 06, 2012 at 03:53:56 AM PST

  •  Even when I had a decent-paying job I (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kyril, Eric Nelson, JeffW

    couldn't have afforded even the '2 br rent'.  The only reason I even have a mortgage is because said mortgage is only $500 a month.  And I only have that because I had accumulated unearned wealth (I played the stock market for a while during the tech bubble, and got to take advantage of those ridiculously low tax rates on capital gains) at the time to plow into a major downpayment.

    The lack of affordability of housing shows that 'minimum wage' should be at least double what it is throughout most of the country.

  •  The Poll question. (0+ / 0-)

    The answer (my answer) depends upon the "frame" (of mind) in which the question is asked and answered.

    If asking from the "good of the country" p.o.v., the answer is Huntsman.

    If asking from the "good of the Democratic party" p.o.v., the answer is anybody but Huntsman.

    Huntsman appears to me to be the only GOP candidate who isn't completely insane, even though he's a Republican.

    "The most potent weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed." ~ Steven Biko

    by Marjmar on Fri Jan 06, 2012 at 06:55:09 AM PST

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