Interesting & Important News & Analysis, July 11, 2019

So, this next one is a must read for residential landlords and managers and those who want to be.

Residential-income-producing-property investors sooner or later read about, hear, or experience nightmare tenants. They exist. However, nightmare landlords exist as well. They give decent landlords and managers a bad reputation. There are landlords who are otherwise decent but who always attempt to maximize their incomes without thinking about the bigger picture and how it can come back to bite them.

The following linked article is one-sided in favor of tenants. It makes no mention of nightmare tenants, just as the vast, vast majority of pro-landlord articles never mention the nightmare landlords.

Regardless, read the linked article so you’ll know what the Tenant Movement is about and doing. Then, consider how to work things.

Should you fight it tooth and nail or work with it? My mixed-economy recommendation is to work with it before it moves to pull the rug out from under all non-publicly owned housing.

The best way to begin working with the Tenant Union Movement and with your decent tenants in general is to not seek to maximize your profits in some shortsighted way but keep your profits completely reasonable after plowing income back into the property in repairs and maintenance. Be prepared to show any tenants or union how your profits are completely reasonable and justified.

‘There’s More Of Us Than Landlords’: Tenant Organizing In The Trump Era


Hail two meters deep in Guadalajara, Mexico was unheard of until now.

Freak hail storm strikes Mexican city of Guadalajara


Trump on homelessness in America:

“We may intercede. We may do something to get that whole thing cleaned up. It’s inappropriate. Now, we have to take the people and do something. We have to do something.”

Trump on blight of homelessness in U.S. cities: ‘It’s disgraceful’

It is disgraceful, but it’s disgraceful that we haven’t lifted everyone up. Instead, we’ve concentrated on lifting the rich even higher under the guise of trickledown economics, which doesn’t work but only makes things worse. So, what is the “something” we have to do in Trump’s eyes? What’s his motivation?

Is he more concerned with appearances or with the plight of the poor? If it’s the former, he shouldn’t be reelected while there are others who are focused on lifting the poor for the sake of the poor rather than because of bad optics, as they say.


China dictatorship to Trump: Mustn’t say democracy.

China on Tuesday rebuked Donald Trump for “gross interference” in Hong Kong’s affairs after the US president said protesters who stormed the city’s legislature wanted democracy for the financial hub.

China slams Trump’s ‘gross interference’ in Hong Kong


Of course:

The extradition bill controversy has given fresh momentum to Hong Kong’s pro-democracy opposition movement, awakening broader concerns that China is chipping away at the rights guaranteed to Hong Kong for 50 years under the “one country, two systems” framework.

Chinese state media denounces ‘arrogant’ Hong Kong protesters after attack on government HQ

I think Xi is the arrogant one.


Transitioning US to 100% renewables by 2030 will cost $4.5 trillion: Wood Mackenzie

How much will it cost not to?


U.S. Oil Companies Find Energy Independence Isn’t So Profitable

In the last four years, roughly 175 oil and gas companies in the United States and Canada with debts totaling about $100 billion have filed for bankruptcy protection. Many borrowed heavily when oil and gas prices were far higher, only to collectively overproduce and undercut their commodity prices. At least six companies have gone bankrupt this year, and Weatherford International, the fourth-leading oil services company, which owes investors $7.7 billion, is expected to file for bankruptcy protection on Monday.

“The psychology has turned,” said David Katz, president of Matrix Asset Advisors, a New York investment firm that owns Occidental shares. “When you talk to investors they are concerned about oil companies spending money on something that will be in decline. There are more concerns that electric cars and hybrid cars are going to get more and more popular.”


Plastic Watch: G20 Issues Pathetic Declaration


‘Precipitous’ fall in Antarctic sea ice since 2014 revealed

The vast expanse of sea ice around Antarctica has suffered a “precipitous” fall since 2014, satellite data shows, and fell at a faster rate than seen in the Arctic.

The plunge in the average annual extent means Antarctica lost as much sea ice in four years as the Arctic lost in 34 years. The cause of the sharp Antarctic losses is as yet unknown and only time will tell whether the ice recovers or continues to decline.

But researchers said it showed ice could disappear much more rapidly than previously thought.


The Essential Principles of Climate Literacy


Seattle City Council votes to reduce barriers to building ADUs

Well, we can’t just keep sprawling.


Wow, they really cracked down. However, Long-term rentals and the unhoused must take priority over vacationers and travelers looking to save over hotels and motels.

LA’s new Airbnb rules are now in effect—here’s what you need to know


Column: From San Diego to Sacramento to Washington, housing politics are on fire


Jun 25, 2019: Economy, Trade, Tariffs, Jobs: Cohen Talks About Factors Impacting Apartments Market

CoStar Vice President of Advisory Services Michael Cohen spoke with some of the multifamily industry’s most active players about economic factors that may influence the apartments market in the coming months during the Connect Apartments conference, held earlier this week in Los Angeles.

Cohen kicked off the event with “a largely positive outlook for the U.S. economy, which is a key driver of demand for the apartment sector,” reported Ben Johnson of Connect Commercial Real Estate.


Williamsburg’s Historic Church of the Annunciation School May Be Altered for Apartments


G20 Members Dole Out Coal Subsidies Despite Climate Crisis Talk

A new report documents G20 member states giving $63.9 billion in subsidies per year to King Coal, while professing the urgency of the climate crisis. The study says this may “underestimate the actual amounts of support provided,” due to lack of transparency in finance figures.


US produces far more waste and recycles far less of it than other developed countries

The US represents just 4% of the world’s population, but it produces 12% of global municipal solid waste. In comparison, China and India make up more than 36% of the world’s population and generate 27% of that waste.

While Americans recycle just 35% of their municipal waste, Germany, the most efficient country, recycles 68%.

A truckload of plastics flows into the ocean each minute, and tiny particles of plastics are thought to be present in the bodies of most people – with their health effects unknown.

We were burying it or exporting it. We shouldn’t be doing either.


Atlanta unveils affordable housing plan

The plan includes 13 initiatives and 45 action items ….


U.S. Slaps Import Duties of More Than 400% on Vietnam Steel

Vietnam says it’s working to reduce its trade surplus with the U.S., and is already cracking down on Chinese manufacturers who are rerouting their goods via the Southeast Asian nation for export to the U.S. in order to bypass higher tariffs.


Could a smart office building transform your workplace?

“What really interests me is connecting the human and the building,” says founder Maciej Markowski. “It’s ridiculous that it’s easier to order from a restaurant across town than it is from the in-house restaurant or easier to find someone on LinkedIn than it is to find someone in the building, or that’s it’s easier to complain about an Amazon delivery than it is about a printer that doesn’t work.”

Philip Ross, chief executive at UnWork, says AI will increasingly be able to suggest new ways of working based on our past behaviour, such as identifying the kind of spaces we favour when faced with particular tasks. A truly smart building could also lead us in new directions. “It might suggest three people to have lunch with today,” says Mr Ross. “It begins to create the kind of social networks we all want.”

Who eats lunch?


Inside ‘The Alfred,’ the latest Loop office building to turn into apartments


Robots to displace transport and manufacturing workers in vast numbers

… tens of millions of existing jobs will be lost with human workers displaced by robots at an increasing rate.”
Why? Capability and cost

Two of the main reasons for the increased uptake in robotics, according to Oxford Economics, are that robots are becoming more capable and they are becoming cheaper.

Will that trend ever end?


Wow, an economist who gets it!

In Praise of Demographic Decline

Much conventional commentary laments the inevitable consequence that the “working age” population, often rigidly defined as people aged 15 to 64, must decline as a ratio to those aged 65 and above. If fertility rates cannot be coaxed higher, it is often argued, immigration must be embraced as the only answer to impending labor shortages.

But in a world of rapidly expanding automation potential, demographic shrinkage is largely a boon, not a threat. Our expanding ability to automate human work across all sectors – agriculture, industry, and services – makes an ever-growing workforce increasingly irrelevant to improvements in human welfare.


The Dangerous Folly of Lafferism

Mr. Laffer’s argument was that higher taxes discourage work, so raising taxes results in less government revenue. Or, as Mr. Laffer preferred to think about it, cutting taxes could increase government revenue.

Instead, the new honoree unleashed nearly four decades of mostly runaway deficits and exploding national debt.


We, the US, shouldn’t be doing this.

Hondurans describe nightmare of life under US-backed ‘dictatorship’

In downtown Tegucigalpa, average Hondurans told The Grayzone’s Max Blumenthal that the US-backed Juan Orlando Hernández government is a “dictatorship” that is destroying their lives and forcing many to immigrate.


There Are Alternatives to Caging Immigrants in Dehumanized Conditions

We talk with Vicki Gaubeca from Southern Borders Community Coalition about the conditions in the immigration prison camps, the Border Patrol’s FB page, and proposals for humane treatment of refugees.


How about a distraction?

Kaycee can dance and then some!

Señorita – Shawn Mendes & Camila Cabello | Kaycee Rice Choreography

Me encanta cuando me llamas Señorita🥀 This was something different for me, creatively. I love this song and I just wanted to create something subtle and that reflected how the music was being portrayed♥️


Buyout of Hundreds of Homes in North Carolina Town Cheaper Than Protecting Them From Future Storms, Study Says

“We have used a very conservative approach to estimating the costs,” the authors wrote. “We assume that owners will receive full, assessed value for their property and that all properties will be fully viable for 30 years (given the exposure to storms and hazards of the target area, this is highly unlikely even with coastal protection). Finally, we assume that the properties will appreciate in value over the time period, again, a generous assumption.”


Exceptional Alaska Heat Wave Threatens All-Time Records, Notably in Anchorage

Incredibly, wildfire smoke could hold down high temperatures during this heat wave. Smoke particles scatter and absorb sunlight before it can warm air near the ground, leading to a slight cooling effect.
Latest in a String of Warm Records

This potentially historic heat wave is only the latest chapter in a long saga of Alaskan warmth.

June was both the warmest and driest on record in Anchorage, according to the National Weather Service, continuing a warm June trend this decade.


Study: Climate change can be reversed by planting a forest nearly double the size of the U.S.

A new study suggests that human beings could save themselves from the worst ravages of climate change by planting a forest nearly double the size of the area of the United States.

“There’s about 800 gigatons of carbon in the atmosphere. Before humans were around, it would have been about 500,” he said. “Restoration would take it down to about 600 gigatons, so that would be sort of taking the current 400 ppm of CO2 down to almost 300 ppm, which is right about where we were at the start of the Industrial Revolution, so it’s a pretty big chunk.”

If we couple planting trees with greatly improving the soil’s ability to capture carbon, we can whip global warming. However, that doesn’t mean we should stop ending carbon burning and the plastics, chemical, and nuclear industries in terms of pollution. We need to end global warming but also all other types of pollution while cleaning up the pollution we already released.


HP, Dell to Shift Up to 30% of Laptop Production From China, Report Says


Hundreds of aftershocks follow Ridgecrest earthquake, California’s strongest in 20 years

… retrofit homes built prior to 1980 and the advent of modern building codes, which may be more vulnerable to earthquake damage, and consider earthquake insurance ….


A $15 federal minimum wage won’t cost Americans jobs, new study says

Dozens of Democratic-held cities and states have increased the minimum wage floor over the years, well above the current federal minimum of $7.25 an hour. Recent research suggests the worst-feared consequences of minimum wage hikes did not come to pass: Employment did not decrease in places where wages went up, and there was actually a residually positive effect on wages for other lower-income workers.

At the very least, the minimum wage should be indexed to local price inflation. I don’t mean a small basket of goods either. I mean the actual cost of decent living in the given area.


I agree with the following linked article with the exception of the notion that supranational government can never be truly democratic. In fact, humanity is destined for a unified democracy. The fact that there isn’t a “demos” that is sufficiently in agreement right now for a European-wide democracy doesn’t mean the people won’t continue realizing more and more what must become the human-wide consensus. For example, greed and violence have to go.

The European Union Is an Antidemocratic Disgrace


I’m not endorsing everything the article states, but it is worth reading because global warming is a moral issue.

I Am a Carbon Abolitionist

The future of our species and planet depends on creating a mass social movement motivated by moral arguments, not statistics.

… transformation will require actions in every sector of the economy, from shutting down coal plants, to stopping oil exploration and fracking, building large-scale renewables and storage, creating a twenty-first century grid, electrifying transport, greening buildings, creating circular economy industries, making agriculture sustainable, re-foresting and re-wilding, changing consumer behaviors, and so on. Doing this will require every policy tool at our disposal, from carbon taxes, to public investments, creating incentives to go zero-carbon, eliminating fossil fuel subsidies, new regulations, and outright bans on certain things. And we will also need to address the inequities that such large-scale transformation will inevitably create, from coal miners in West Virginia, to farmers in Bangladesh, providing support, jobs, and opportunities to those whose livelihoods and lives will inevitably be affected by both the transition and the climate damage already done.


This is a housing issue, among others. It’s a risk-management issue. How we mistreat others will come back to haunt us.

What a Pediatrician Saw Inside a Border Patrol Warehouse

Dolly Lucio Sevier evaluated dozens of sick children at a facility in South Texas. She found evidence of infection, malnutrition, and psychological trauma.

Sevier spent years cultivating a physician’s empathetic-but-detached habits of mind. During her medical residency, an 8-year-old rescued from near-drowning arrived at the hospital. For the first time, Sevier had to insert a breathing tube down a child’s throat. Vomit began filling his esophagus and lungs. “Suction,” she commanded without missing a beat, surprising even herself, she told me. It’s what she was supposed to do—how she was supposed to act.

At Ursula, traumatized children with untreated illnesses sat before her. She probed, pressed, and listened. She took notes; she entered their data into a spreadsheet; she compartmentalized. She thought about a social event she’d promised to attend at 6 o’clock.

At 5:53, the guard with the surgical mask brought in the 3-year-old Sevier had requested to see, holding her by the armpits, like a puppy. Thin and subdued, the girl was crying but didn’t turn away. “Underweight, fearful child in no acute distress,” Sevier wrote. “Only concern is severe trauma being suffered from being removed from primary caregiver.”

After the exam, the child lingered, and Sevier offered to hold her. She climbed into the doctor’s lap and fell asleep in less than a minute. The squalor, the lighting, the agents, and the event that evening fell away from Sevier’s consciousness. As if in rebellion against her careful training, her mind shut down, she told me. And for what seemed like an eternity, she sat in vacant silence with the child.


Interest Rates Just Keep Falling. Economic Orthodoxy Is Falling With Them.


Do you control pollution at your properties? Do you allow smoking in or on your premises?

A Chinese professor explains what air pollution does to your health

… when the smoke particles go into your heart and even your brain, they’re also damaging your cognitive skills.

… Richer people can afford to buy defensive equipment, at home and in the office, but poor people cannot. Richer people now spend 80% of their time indoors where air quality is much better than outdoors. But poor people don’t have the capacity or the money to buy that equipment, so their exposure level is much higher. So the development of that defensive technology enlarges the environmental inequality between the poor and the rich.


Here’s what happens to credit card debt after death

Get organized

If you know before someone dies that you will be the personal representative or executor, you should start putting systems in place to make your job easier when the time comes. Start by organizing all the person’s financial accounts. If you’re a court-certified representative or surviving spouse, you can also request a copy of the deceased’s credit report, which lists all accounts in their name.


Cost-benefit analysis does not work well for wicked problems like climate change

… traditional cost-benefit analysis, when applied to wicked problems like climate change, very seldom provides unbiased, complete information. Its indiscriminate use sends us signals that are often biased, in too many cases incorrect, and sometimes even downright dangerous.

… Costs for making improvements can be easily overestimated, and benefits underestimated or ignored.
… In 2017, the US Department of Agriculture estimated that monetary costs of raising a child to the age of 18 in the US (excluding the cost of a college education) was $233,610.

Let’s say you received an offer to buy your just-turned-17 daughter for $250,000. By accepting the offer, not only would you recoup all the costs you incurred under her upbringing, but you would also avoid the $12,978.33 cost of raising her for the final year until she turned 18. Indiscriminate use of cost-benefit analysis gives us a clear answer: Sell your child. Would you?


… more Americans (23%) now identify socialism with social equality rather than with government control over the means of production (17%). [Source]

That 23% doesn’t know the definition of socialism. Capitalism is private ownership requiring zero democracy. Socialism is non-private ownership. The issue that’s left is democracy. What is public ownership that leaves out the public, the people, the voters, deciding? That’s why socialism infers democracy. Non-private ownership that is not democratic is state capitalism, not socialism. State capitalism is anti-democratic dictatorship. Also, there is no such thing as democratic capitalism.


This is how long everyday plastic items last in the ocean

… fishing line is the worst offender, taking up to 600 years to biodegrade, while disposable diapers will take as long as plastic bottles – 450 years – to break down.

Plastic shopping bags will take up to 20 years to break down, while styrofoam takeaway coffee cups take 50 years, and cigarette butts take 10.


While we need more trees, what’s Bolsonaro been doing?

Brazil deforestation exceeds 88% in June under Bolsonaro


Why So Many Latino Men Join the Border Patrol that Dehumanizes Latinos

Border Patrol agents cite wanting a better life for their families (ironically), just doing their jobs, and wanting to protect their country outside of ethnic loyalties. But that still doesn’t explain why they go out of their way to perform despicable cruelty or why they would be vocal members in a group that disparages women and migrants.


America’s housing market is competitive, unequal, and often just getting by. Just like us.

It’s not just that there’s not building enough to keep up with population and household growth: there’s not even building enough to keep up with homes becoming obsolete.


Confirmed: 2 Billion Records Exposed In Massive Smart Home Device Breach

A team of self-styled “hacktivist” security researchers, with an impressive track record of exposing breach after breach as part of a web-mapping project that searches for vulnerabilities within online databases, has disclosed one of the biggest to date. The researchers in question, Noam Rotem and Ran Locar from vpnMentor, found that a user database belonging to a Chinese company called Orvibo, which runs an Internet of Things (IoT) management platform, had been left exposed to the Internet without any password to protect it. So far, so appalling. But it gets even worse when you discover that the database includes more than 2 billion logs containing everything from user passwords to account reset codes and even a “smart” camera recorded conversation.

… “it’s clear that there is nothing secure about these devices. Even having one of these devices installed could undermine, rather than enhance, your physical security.”


What the Latest Construction Spending Report Says About the U.S. Economy

Spending on new housing is down only about 4% since the peak last year. Single-family housing construction has dropped by about 7.5%, while multifamily construction is up about 10%. Encouragingly, the decline in new single-family home-building seems to have stopped in December, while strong demand for new homes suggests builders may soon increase supply. The boom in apartments shows no signs of slowing down.


I don’t know about Putin. I’m not a Russiagater, but the rest is certainly interesting to say the least.

How Britain can help you get away with stealing millions: a five-step guide

… if you want to create an impenetrable weapon for committing fraud: first, forget about the supposed offshore centres and come to the UK; then take advantage of the super-easy Companies House web portal; then enter false information; and finally make sure that information is plausible enough to deceive a casual observer.

I know what you’re thinking: it cannot be this easy. Surely you’ll be arrested, tried and jailed if you try to follow this five-step process. But if you look at what British officials do, rather than at what they say, you’ll begin to feel a lot more secure. The Business Department has repeatedly been warned that the UK is facilitating this kind of financial crime for the best part of a decade, and is yet to take any substantive action to stop it.

That is not to say that the government has taken no action. It is illegal to deliberately file false information in registering a company, and punishable by up to two years in prison. In late 2017, Companies House at last alerted prosecutors to the activities of one persistent offender. The target of the prosecution was Kevin Brewer, for the crime of trying to inform politicians about how easy it is to create fake companies.

He was summonsed to appear at Redditch magistrates’ court and, on legal advice, pleaded guilty in March 2018. After adding together his fine, and the government’s costs, he is £23,324 the poorer – quite a high price to pay for blowing the whistle. He is paying it off at £1,000 a month, and remains the only person ever convicted of spoofing the UK’s corporate registry, which is quite a remarkable demonstration of Companies House’s failure to do its job.

Following his conviction, Brewer’s company National Business Register was removed from the list that Companies House publishes of company formation agents, which had been a key source of new business for him. “There are company formation agents on that list who have permitted huge amounts of fraud, and I’ve been excluded for trying to expose it. I find it incredible that they should turn a blind eye,” he told me. “Is it deliberate? Are they actually trying to get this money into the UK? I don’t want to believe it, but I can’t explain it any other way.”


When the Music of the “Wealth Effect” Stops

A couple of guys have an idea and got some angel funding, and with this funding they developed their idea. And so a year later, they get $2 million from VCs. And these two guys hire some people and pay their salaries with this money, and they rent an office and pay the lease, and they use this money to buy computer equipment and furniture and mood-lighting and some craft brews to put into the corporate fridge in case of an emergency.

And after 10 months, they’ve spent most of the $2 million, and now they are able to raise $4 million from VCs, and they hire more people and put more craft brews into the corporate fridge and buy more computers and pay more salaries and payroll taxes, and the like. They spend every dime that investors give them. And before they run out, they get more money.

Then the service they’re working on is ready to go live, and they raise $50 million and hire more people, and buy more beer, and much of the new money they raised is dedicated to advertising to launch their product, and so they buy ads for $40 million ….

… worst-case scenario, investors are out $10 million, that the company spent. But this $10 million entered the economy and was recycled, and boosted GDP likely by more than the $10 million through the multiplier effect.

In this worst-case scenario, these investors used their money to provide a stimulus to the real economy. It worked like a wealth tax, where some percentage of their wealth is removed from their wealth for the benefit of the economy. Investors call it a capital loss, but that’s what it does: it boosted the economy at investors’ expense.

… these things come in cycles. And when the cycle turns, that’s the moment when new money no longer wants to bail out the old money, and cash-flow negative companies begin to topple.

The money investors had put into these companies was spent long ago, and is gone. This is when the pain of the capital loss comes to the foreground. It tends to involve trillions of dollars; and if it gets messy, tens of trillions of dollars globally. But these losses, that suddenly show up, had been spent in prior years to boost the US and global economy, and this money was recycled but is now gone, and investors get to grapple with what really happened.

This is how financial crashes that happen far from the real economy can trigger deep recessions in the real economy, because all this investor-funded stimulus spending suddenly stops, and these people that got paid with this money are being laid off, and the offices become vacant, and the tax revenues slow down, and with these people getting laid off, they stop spending money ….


Housing first: How Finland is ending homelessness

In recent years, Finland has been one of the few countries where homelessness has decreased. The Finnish success has been explained by this national strategy, targeting the most vulnerable, long-term homeless people. …

The Finnish example shows that homelessness is not a law of nature. It is possible to decrease and even end homelessness. It is a question of recognising housing as a basic human right and having a determined government who will lead the way.


Memory loss isn’t just an old person’s problem – here’s how young people can stay mentally fit

A recent study showed that a group pausing to take photos at regular intervals had poorer recall of the event than those who were immersed in the experience. And an earlier piece of research suggested that photos helped people remember what they saw, but reduced their memory of what was said. It seems that the key factor in these situation is attention – actively taking photos may distract and distance someone from aspects of an experience, meaning that less is remembered.


Recession Signals: Home Sales Trend Lower in All Four Regions

As 2018 ended, several historically reliable housing indicators pointed to a possible recession in late 2019 or early 2020. Movements in mortgage rates, existing single-family home sales, inflation-adjusted house prices and residential investment’s contribution to economic growth all resembled patterns that preceded the last three recessions (starting in 1990, 2001 and 2007) by about a year.1 Through early 2019, these housing-related forecast indicators remained consistent with the possibility of a late 2019 or early 2020 recession.


Co-Living and Student Housing Collide, as People Struggle to Afford Rent in Expensive Urban Markets

Co-living is a growing trend in the most expensive U.S. housing markets, where tenants in a single apartment share common areas such as the kitchen. The model is similar to student housing, where students also share suites of bedrooms with shared kitchens. It shouldn’t be surprising that some of the largest co-living developments are filling up with students, especially with graduate students, who have a lot in common with the young professionals who tend to live in co-living properties.


SoCal Earthquake: … Experts Warn Get Prepared

In a news conference Saturday, officials said there were no reports of building collapses after Friday night’s quake, and no lives were lost.

“No known fatalities at this time,” said Kern County Fire Chief David Witt. “We’re prepared and ready to go.”

The quake in Ridgecrest — about 125 miles northeast of Los Angeles — struck at 8:19 p.m. It left roads cracked, buildings burned, and caused damage to water and gas lines. The temblor came a day after a 6.4-quake hit the same area of the Mojave Desert.

Scientists with the California Institute of Technology told reporters that after the back-to-back temblors, the odds of another earthquake of magnitude 7 or higher in the next week are now nearly 11%, according to preliminary estimates.


All landlords and managers should take note.

Motel 6 to Pay $10 Million for Sharing Guest Data With ICE

Some of the 1,400 branches of the discount hotel chain allowed ICE agents to bang on doors during early morning hours to question and detain guests.

Apparently, Motel 6 should have asked ICE for a warrant.


Alaska’s Heat Wave Fuels Dangerous Smoke, Melts Glaciers

… 354 wildfires covering 443,211 acres in Alaska as of Sunday morning [June 30] ….

“This very warm weather, on top of the warm May, the very early snowmelt, then we had those two weeks of lightning strikes — it’s the classic setup,” Thoman said.


Georgia couple who ran insurance scheme ordered to pay $150K to fire victim

A judge has ordered a fraudulent insurance adjuster and her husband to pay back the $150,000 they stole from a Henry County woman who lost her home in a fire.


Vermont Sues DuPont, 3M, Others Over Chemical Pollutants

The health risks associated with these chemicals include altered growth, increased risks of certain cancers, lowered chance of pregnancy and increased cholesterol levels, Donovan said.


Law to Study, Combat Florida Red Tide Takes Effect

The 15-month bloom began in the Gulf of Mexico and spread to the waters off the Atlantic coast. In addition to killing massive amounts of sea creatures, it caused respiratory problems in people and hurt coastal tourism.


Historic Flooding Prompts Arkansas Governor to Order Levee Review

… flooding revealed many weaknesses in the state’s levee system.


THE EMPLOYMENT SITUATION — JUNE 2019

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 224,000 in June ….

However, the entire report makes clear that things have change little overall. The previous 2 months were also revised downwards. Wage gains are barely above inflation. There’s still plenty of labor slack and little inflationary pressure.


From the Green Revolution to GMOs: Toxic Agriculture Is the Problem Not the Solution

Mason discusses the nature of modern farming by referring to the endless cornfields of Iowa. One hundred years ago, these fields were home to 300 species of plants, 60 mammals, 300 birds and thousands of insects. Now, there is almost literally nothing – except corn – in what amounts to a biological desert. The birds, bees and insects have gone.

It’s a type of farming where so much toxic agrochemicals are used that they have ended up in soils and sediment, ditches and drains, precipitation, rivers and streams and even in seas, lakes, ponds, wetlands and groundwater. A type of agriculture that is responsible for undermining essential biodiversity, human health and diverse, nutritious diets.


The Green New Deal wants farmers to restore the land, not keep wrecking it

Regenerative agriculture might sound at first like a subtle variation on organic. But if the term “organic” highlights what’s absent—no chemical fertilizers, no pesticides—”regenerative” goes a step further, advocating for practices like adaptive multi-paddock grazing, in which ruminants like cows and sheep are slowly rotated across a property, so they graze on and fertilize one section of the farm at a time while allowing the rest to naturally regrow and replenish. Methods like this require more hands-on planning involvement from the farmers, but they’ve been found to restore soil health, capture carbon, and help ranches thrive over the long term.

Markegard defines regenerative as “producing more life than you take.” The essential practices are keeping the soil covered with a diverse set of plant species, limiting how much the soil is disturbed by aggressive practices like overplowing, and using livestock to both “kick-start and enhance” the carbon cycle by naturally controlling crops and adding nutrient-rich manure back to the soil. Approaches like that of the Markegard Family Farm are still a tiny niche in the broader agricultural landscape. But interest in regenerative methods has been growing, thanks in large part to evidence suggesting that such practices can cheaply sequester carbon in the soil, while simultaneously solving challenges like erosion and water retention.


Profits for the few (who don’t live near the pollution) over the health of locals who often can’t afford to move:

EPA: Factory Farms Don’t Need to Report Emissions

While media attention last month focused on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) decision to relax emissions standards for coal-fired power plants, the agency quietly issued another controversial rule—this one related to emissions of hazardous substances from industrial animal agriculture.

The Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) requires facilities like factories to report emissions of hazardous substances to local officials, but on June 4, EPA administrator Andrew R. Wheeler signed an amendment that exempts farms from reporting air emissions from animal waste. Previously, farms had been required to report ammonia and hydrogen sulfide emissions over a certain threshold to local agencies. The same farms haven’t had to report emissions to federal authorities since 2018, when Congress passed the Fair Agricultural Reporting Method (FARM) Act.

Groups that represent industrial agriculture interests, such as the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, see the ruling as a win for farmers, who they said were required to submit to time-consuming reporting of “routine” emissions. But environmental groups say it’s another example of the agency and policymakers siding with corporate polluters over the interests of people living near factory farms.


When water demand rises, this Montana town invests in forests

The natural filtering process that rain and snow undergo in seeping through forest canopies and forest beds, slowly toward streams and lakes, is so effective that five major cities in the United States – New York, Boston, Seattle, San Francisco, and Portland, Oregon – can pump unfiltered water from distant pristine watersheds to customer homes.


Trump wants to nominate Judy Shelton to the Federal Reserve’s board. She’s for returning to the gold standard. That disqualifies her. The US could not function monetarily or financially on the gold standard. That’s why we went off the thing in the first place.

One of Trump’s latest Fed board nominees has a questionable track record — in politics

She blasted the Fed for its loose monetary policy when Barack Obama was president, but now that Mr. Trump is in office and demanding lower interest rates, she has concluded that lower rates are in order. The great cause of her career has been a dubious one: the gold standard, which advocates such as Ms. Shelton see as a restraint on central bank currency manipulations, but which opponents — correctly — see as an arbitrary limitation on liquidity that almost strangled the world economy to death in the 1930s.


As families flee Paris, fingers point at Airbnb

With 65,000 listings for a population of 2.2 million in the 20 districts that fall within the city’s limits, compared with 50,000 for the 8.5 million people spread across New York’s five boroughs, Paris is Airbnb’s single biggest market.


Wondering why low mortgage rates haven’t goosed the housing market? Here’s the answer

Stagnant or even falling wages are making it tougher for Americans to get mortgages to buy homes, evan as loan rates fall ….


While everyone is saying, “rates, rates, rates” …

Fed Sheds $38 Billion in Treasuries and MBS in June, Dumps MBS at Record Pace, Exceeding “Cap” for First Time


Before you read the following, I want to state clearly that I am not a Trotskyist, Marxist, or violent revolutionary, etc. I’m including the linked article and quote because if you don’t want a violent revolution, you have to disarm their arguments by actually housing the homeless and giving a living income to everyone. I have made clear that I am first and foremost a democrat. I won’t go further into that here and now, as I’ve mentioned it and explained it endlessly before on this blog.

Over 20 percent of homeless residents in Chicago are employed, with many holding a college degree

The Chicago Coalition for the Homeless (CCH) annual study released in July found that an astonishing number of homeless people in Chicago are employed and many have a college education. Using the most current census data, the CCH found that 86,324 Chicago residents were homeless in 2017. Of this number, 13,929 or 21 percent of homeless adults over 18 have a job, and 28 percent hold an associate’s or bachelor’s degree.

The total number of homeless people in Chicago has risen significantly over the past several years. CCH found a total of 80,384 Chicago residents were homeless in 2016, and 82,212 in 2015. The 2017 numbers also reveal that the number of employed homeless residents has increased over the past two years, from 14 percent in 2015.

The numbers blow apart the myth that by working hard and earning a college degree, workers in the US can prosper under capitalism. Furthermore, it tears apart the political fiction fed to the US working class that the Democratic Party is more aligned with its interests than its counterpart in the Republican Party.

How has the number of employed homeless workers increased in the US’s third-largest city, while the media and main political parties have declared that the US economy has been supposedly “recovering” since the official end of the economic recession, which began with the stock market crash of 2008?


Strong Jobs Report Eases Fears of Damage From Trade War

I wouldn’t call it a strong report but simply not weak.

The recent period of very low unemployment has started to help a broader group of workers, as companies have had to search for new sources of talent. Mr. Guggisberg said his clients, which include warehouse and logistics companies, were dropping educational requirements, training workers who lack experience and easing up on drug testing.

Pool Scouts, a Virginia-based pool maintenance and repair company, is experiencing the challenge firsthand. Even after raising pay, the company’s franchisees have seen higher turnover this year for hourly workers, who typically earn $12 to $18 an hour. And when they need to replace people, hiring can be a struggle.

“We’re seeing much higher no-show rates” for job interviews, said Kevin Wilson, chief executive of Pool Scouts’ parent company, Buzz Franchise Brands. “We’re going to interview you, we set up a time for you to come in, and you just don’t show.”

For Mr. Wilson’s company, which also owns franchise businesses for swim lessons and home cleaning, the strong economy is creating a problem that may be less obvious: People have become reluctant to become franchisees, because they have steady jobs and don’t need to take the risk of striking out on their own.

“We’re having a lot of people go through the process and then say, ‘You know, I’ve got it pretty good at my job, I just got a raise,’” Mr. Wilson said. “There’s just not that incentive there anymore to make the jump, as opposed to the economy we had two, three, four years ago.”


Los Angeles ‘Big One’ quake fears revived by major shocks

“People in southern California know that they live in earthquake country, but because they haven’t experienced strong shaking in many years they become complacent,” said John Bwarie, a Los Angeles-based community resilience expert.


Mexico’s President, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, is taking a great deal of heat over ramping up the National Guard at Mexico’s Southern border. However, he has increased jobs in the North for refugees and is spending money to help Central American countries increase jobs while improving the environment there. He’s doing his best to strike a balance between Trump’s demands and refugee needs. Obrador’s Mexico doesn’t have the financial resources the US has. His means are limited; otherwise, he’d spend more helping Central America, as the US should.

Mexico extends $100 million reforesting program to Honduras


Months of aftershocks could follow big California earthquake

… scientists believe the continuing sequence could produce more than 30,000 quakes of magnitude 1 or greater over six months.


Visualizing 150 Years of U.S. Employment History


If you don’t support the government subsidizing renters, you’ll end up seeing public housing. One way or another, the people are going to demand and end up with housing.

A Housing Economy for the Many

A variety of real-world factors complicate a simple supply-and-demand understanding of housing costs. As economist Christine M.E. Whitehead argued in a 2012 article, the housing market is characterized by inelasticity of supply; the lag time and financing required for new construction preclude prompt response to demand for new units. But what makes housing most distinctive is that its value depends heavily on the location of the land under it. Land in desirable locations is scarce, and you can’t produce more of it. This bears directly on the housing market. Nearly 80 percent of the UK population lives in urban areas that make up just 8.9 percent of the land mass. (In the United States, 67.2 percent of the population lives on just 3.5 percent of the land.)

Perhaps the history of British housing accounts for the unwillingness of so many writers in the UK to accept market-based thinking at face value. In the postwar era, the UK did not leave housing to the market. Instead, the government built plenty of council (public) housing, instituted rent controls for private housing, and passed planning laws to regulate development. Property taxes were high, and mortgage regulation was tight. The result was that most Britons—but not, in many cases, black Britons—were better housed than ever before.

Starting in the 1970s, however, council housing began to be privatized, rent control was phased out, planning laws were weakened, and housing benefits were lowered. In addition, in the 1980s financial deregulation resulted in the liberalization of mortgage lending; for banks, housing replaced industry as the major focus of loans.


Maintenance Myths for Beginner Landlords

When it comes to maintenance, your first instincts can easily lead you astray. Here are a handful of property maintenance myths that you might believe, though they are hurting your ability to optimize your investments.


Tsipras took over from the conservatives in 2015 as Greece was at the peak of a financial crisis which had ravaged the country since 2010. Initially vowing to resist deeper austerity, he was forced into signing up to another bailout months after his election, a decision which went down badly with voters. [Source]

“… he was forced …”? He was not forced. He simply caved, as he had always planned to do. That’s why Greece has suffered and why he lost.


Phoenix area leads large metropolitan employment

From May 2018 to May 2019, nonfarm employment rose in 29 of the 51 metropolitan areas with a 2010 Census population of 1 million or more, while employment was essentially unchanged in 22 areas. The largest over-the-year percentage increases in employment in these large metropolitan areas occurred in Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, Arizona (+3.2 percent) ….


Yanis Varoufakis shreds Alexis Tsipras.

How Syriza’s capitulations allowed the Greek right to escape the dustbin of history

The moment I walked into the office of Alexis Tsipras, he told me he had decided to fold, to ignore the people’s No, and to side with New Democracy in order to pass through parliament the bills by which Greece would, again, surrender to the troika.


ShakeAlert app did not alert Los Angeles residents of weekend quakes

This test of ShakeAlertLA indicates more user education and preparedness is necessary before the next earthquake. USGS told The Verge that the confused response to the lack of ShakeAlert notifications is “excellent feedback” for future improvements of the app. In a tweet on July 4, the City of Los Angeles responded to concerns and said the alert threshold will be lowered.


The lurking dangers in the internet of money

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire has been quoted as saying that, while Facebook is free to issue a transaction tool, it cannot replace sovereign currencies, which could misused, even to finance terrorism. “Sovereignty must remain in the hands of states, not private companies that respond to private interests,” he reportedly said, and called on central bank governors of G-7 countries to prepare a report on what guarantees to demand from Facebook to avoid risks.

There are larger questions of whether a successful libra will erode the regulatory powers of governments and central banks. Bank of England Gov. Mark Carney has noted that: “Libra, if it achieves its ambitions, would be systemically important,” and, therefore, needs to be scrutinized by central banks and financial regulators. Independent observers have also expressed concern. One of Facebook’s original co-founders, Chris Hughes, has called on global regulators to intervene to slow the progress of the cryptocurrency, since it could allow corporations involved in the scheme to wield power over nation states.

What I haven’t seen anywhere is the issue of credit (lending) and interest charges.


Kentucky River Strewn With Dead Fish Following Fire at Jim Beam Rickhouse

While authorities say tap water is safe to drink in the region, some Frankfort residents have reported a “slight taste and odor issue with tap water,” the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet reported.


California Expanding Early Quake Detection and Warning System

Like in Japan, the California network is designed to detect the fast-moving seismic P-waves that are unleashed by earthquakes and can reach a sensor before the ground starts moving in a given area. Many animals are able to feel P-waves, according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).

In general, communities farthest away from the epicenter of a quake would receive the most advance warning.

The “ShakeAlertLA” app was not activated for either of the Ridgecrest earthquakes because the projected intensity of shaking for Los Angeles County was below required thresholds, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

As a link above already pointed out, they are going to lower the threshold so that the quakes that just happened would have activated the app.


US Won’t Impose Rule to Protect Against Coal Ash Spill Costs

Environmental Protection Agency officials said Tuesday that modern industry practices and recently enacted regulations are sufficient to shield taxpayers from potential cleanup costs.


A new due-diligence item to add to your checklist:

Ridehailing Blamed for Rise in Traffic Congestion, Deaths


Research Shows Suburban Population Near Natural Gas Storage in 6 States

“From a public health perspective, this new spatial method lets us determine precisely how close people live from a potentially hazardous pollution source or other hazard” said Jonathan Buonocore, Sc.D., co-author on this study and Research Associate at Harvard C-CHANGE.

The report says two-thirds of gas storage wells across the U.S. are currently doing a job they were not designed to do, which is withstand cycles of high-pressure gas injections and withdrawals—many through a single pipe without backup safety valves to prevent blowouts (i.e., ‘Aliso Canyon-type’ wells).


Trump Washes His Hands of Climate Change

A recent Gallup poll of attitudes toward environmental issues found 65% of Americans think environmental protection should take priority even if it risks curbing economic growth, versus just 30% with opposite priorities. That spread has been widening since 2015 and is now the widest since 2000. Meanwhile, 59% of respondents view Trump as doing a “poor job” of protecting the nation’s environment ….

Make America clean again.


The bottom must be lifted up. The EU is designed to prevent that.

A second referendum would be Labour’s route to Syrizafication

As many in the Labour leadership know their programme cannot be implemented within the EU. Moreover working-class and poorer voters were much more likely than middle-class voters to vote for Brexit, and for good reason. They voted against a political system that had ignored their interests for far too long. For Labour to go over officially to the side of elite resistance to Brexit will send a clear message that the demands of working-class voters are less important than those of the middle class or of big business.

McDonnell chose to push publicly for a more militantly pro-EU stance on Sunday, the very same day that Greece’s Syriza government got turfed out of office by the Greek electorate. Syriza too abandoned its early radical promises and spent years doing the EU’s dirty work instead. For Corbyn’s Labour Party, backing the second referendum opens the road to Syrizafication.


Interesting:

Hawaii to combat climate change with carbon-injected concrete

The state is using technology from Canadian startup Carbon Cure, which sources CO2 from industrial facilities and converts it into a mineral that is injected into concrete, replacing some of the cement mix. A field test in May showed that the technology was workable for flat surfaces — in fact, Sniffen said contractors found it easier to work with than traditional concrete. Now it is being tested to see if it will work for more intense projects, including a rockfall protection wall and bridges.


Apartment rental demand soars as more millennials believe it’s cheaper than owning a home

“For millennials and many Gen Xers, buying a home is no longer just a decision based on housing and housing costs — increasing pressure from student loans and the rising cost of child care are having a significant impact.”


Good or bad for landlords?

Former HUD Secretary Julian Castro
Julian Castro served as the head of the Department of Housing and Urban Development under the Obama administration. His views on mortgage policy are unclear, but a Castro presidency could push affordable housing initiatives to the forefront of any effort to reform the housing finance system.

On his campaign website, Castro calls for an increased investment of at least $45 billion annually for affordable housing funds financed by the mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

He also calls for expanding the Housing Voucher Choice Program and creating a renter tax credit.

Would that “$45 billion annually for affordable housing” also be available for the development of rentals?

Where the 2020 Democrats stand on banking issues


There’s a 72 percent chance of a major Bay Area quake by 2043


How To Get A Tax Break By Investing In Poor Areas

For long-term investments in economically distressed community areas, the tax on the capital gain itself can be deferred for a number of years. Further, the amount of the capital gain, which ultimately will be taxed, can be reduced.

Finally, the appreciation in the qualified opportunity zone investment itself can be permanently excluded from tax. Taxpayers who have realized capital gains, whether from the sale of marketable securities, real estate or other investments, can defer and in some cases reduce their taxable gain by reinvesting the sale proceeds in qualified opportunity zone investments.


Lightyear One debuts as the first long-range solar-powered electric car


Understanding the Seismic Vulnerability of Manufactured Homes

Although manufactured homes represent only a small percentage of total housing units in the seismically active western U.S. (just 4% in California, for example), the raw numbers are still significant. In this article we discuss the seismic vulnerability of manufactured homes and describe AIR’s approach for accurately modeling the impact of ground shaking on these structures.


The following block-quoted material is good general advice with the exception that it doesn’t mention that you should read your insurance policy. It should tell you what you need to do to submit a claim. Also, where your policy and the laws and regulations concerning insurance differ, the law and regulations will override the specific policy language that differs. To be clear, the policy can’t require something the law or regulations prohibit unless a court of jurisdiction has ruled against the statute(s) or regulation(s). You may always seek legal representation and/or employ a public adjuster. Finally, be aware that no list can cover every contingency.

Tips for Filing Insurance Claims and Insurance Company Information Following Weather Events

Before calling your insurance company, please have available your policy number and other relevant information to expedite processing your claim. If you can, take photographs or video of the damage before clean-up or repairs. After you’ve documented the damage, take steps to prevent further damage to your property (cover broken windows, leaking roofs and damaged walls). Do not have permanent repairs made until your insurance company has inspected the property and you have reached an agreement on the cost of repairs. Save all related receipts, including those from temporary repairs. Ask what documents, forms and data you need to file the claim. Keep a diary of conversations with the insurance company and your insurance agent including names, times and dates of the calls or visits and contact details. Cooperate fully with the insurance company. Be certain to give the company all the information it needs. Incorrect or incomplete information may cause a delay in processing your claim.

If the first offer made by the insurance company does not meet your expectations, be prepared to negotiate. If there is a disagreement about the claim, ask the company for the specific language in the policy in question and determine why you and the company interpret your policy differently. If you believe you are being treated unfairly, contact [insurance commissioner’s office].

Be advised that home repair fraud increases following a major storm. Protect your investment by getting more than one bid from contractors and requesting at least three references. Ask for proof of licenses, building permits, insurance and bonding. Record the contractor’s license plate number and driver’s license number, and then check for any complaints with the Better Business Bureau. Be wary of contractors who demand up-front payment for repairs. If the contractor needs money to buy supplies, go with the contractor and pay the supplier directly.


Why U.S. Apartment Rentals Will Continue to be a Good Investment Choice

For-sale housing may recover, but full return to the prior peak homeownership rate is not anticipated. Apartment living is generally a more manageable expense and flexible living arrangement than a single-family home. It is now cheaper to rent than buy in more than half of all counties nationwide.

Student loan debt—standing at $1.5 trillion, and growing—adds a complication, particularly for the millennial generation. The average net worth of younger millennials is negative. A home mortgage requires top-tier credit and conservative debt-to-income ratios. The current system for rating credit and qualifying for a home loan may continue to be restrictive. Consequently, first-time buyers now represent only 30 percent of all sales, down from the long-term average of 39 percent.


If you supply your tenants with smarthome features, you should be aware of the risks.

Hacking our boss’s smart home


Inside the West’s failed fight against China’s ‘Cloud Hopper’ hackers

The campaign also highlights the security vulnerabilities inherent in cloud computing, an increasingly popular practice in which companies contract with outside vendors for remote computer services and data storage.

“For those that thought the cloud was a panacea, I would say you haven’t been paying attention,” said Mike Rogers, former director of the U.S. National Security Agency.


Kearney, Nebraska, Swamped with Flash Flooding


New Orleans Floods as Potential Tropical Storm Approaches (PHOTOS)


Washington D.C. Faces Flash Flood Emergency (PHOTOS)


High Tide Flooding Forecast to Get Worse


Mozilla Blocks UAE Bid to Become an Internet Security Guardian

While each browser company makes its own decisions about who it allows to become a certifying authority, Mozilla is seen as a leader in this area. Security experts say competitors, such as Google’s Chrome browser and Apple’s Safari browser, tend to follow its lead.

Thayer said in his announcement that even without a smoking gun that showed DarkMatter had misused certificates, the risks demonstrated by the reports were too great.

“While there are solid arguments on both sides of this decision, it is reasonable to conclude that continuing to place trust in DarkMatter is a significant risk to our users,” he said.


Think liability!

Founder of Warehouse Living Space Testifies on Deadly Fire


Attorney general warns of home repair scam

Indiana law bans contractors from promising to pay or rebate any part of an insurance deductible.


Southern California Quakes Push Interest in Coverage

CEA policies, which are sold through participating carriers, go into effect immediately for everyone except for residents of the stricken area. Those residents can buy a policy now, but coverage does not go into effect until after a 15-day period following the initial temblor.


Mining Firm Vale Must Fix All Damages from Deadly Dam Collapse: Brazil Court


A Global Pollution Observatory Hunts for Hidden Killers

Between productivity losses and health care, pollution costs some $5 trillion a year, more than 6 percent of global economic output. That’s just from tallying what’s known. The vast majority of the more than 140,000 chemicals and pesticides that have entered the environment since 1950 remain largely untested, but could pose a threat. Pollution, as epidemiologists understand it today, is any substance in the air, water, or soil that can harm human health.

… Not only did the Lancet report find that pollution is “the largest environmental cause of disease and death in the world today,” it also determined that preventing global pollution is a “winnable battle,” and it torpedoed the “old wives’ tale” (Landrigan’s words) that doing so hurts economies. (For example, the EPA has found that since 1970, every dollar spent on air pollution control in the US has brought back about $30 in benefits.) Because investigating air, soil, and water pollution had previously been so piecemeal, the report “surprised many of us who have spent our careers studying pollution,” says Landrigan. “It was clear our work needed to continue and expand.”

… Satellite imaging allows researchers to “collect enormous volumes of data in a matter of hours that would’ve taken months or years if you had to rely solely on ground sampling.” The EPA’s classification, first in 1997, of lingering, easily inhaled PM2.5—particulate matter with a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometers, about 3 percent the diameter of a human hair—has made pollution much more quantifiable. And biomonitoring technology can now measure hundreds of chemicals in the human body. Just in the past decade, says Landrigan, “we’ve learned that particulate air pollution causes not just lung disease, but also heart disease and stroke and chronic kidney disease and diabetes and possibly even dementia.”


David Attenborough: polluting planet may become as reviled as slavery

The attitude of young people towards tackling the environmental crisis is “a source of great hope”, David Attenborough has told MPs, as he predicted that polluting the planet would soon provoke as much abhorrence as slavery.

“People are understanding that to chuck plastic into the ocean is an insult. To have the nerve to say: ‘This is our rubbish. We’ll give you money and you can spread it on your land instead of ours, in the far east,’ is intolerable. And for some reason or other young people understand that. And that’s a source of great hope to me.”


The Quake to Make Los Angeles a Radioactive Dead Zone

Diablo cannot withstand an earthquake of the magnitude now hitting less than 200 miles away.

… Diablo’s owners hid the existence of the Hosgri Fault just three miles from the site. …

In the wake of the 2011 explosions at Fukushima, the NRC staff compiled critical reforms for American reactors, including Diablo. But the Commission killed the proposed regulations. So nothing significant has been done to improve safety at two coastal reactors upwind of ten million people that are surrounded by earthquake faults in a tsunami zone like the one where the four Fukushima reactors have already exploded.


Lightfoot pauses water meter installations after city finds spikes of brain-damaging lead in homes

Mayor Lori Lightfoot put the brakes on Chicago’s aggressive water meter program last month after another round of city testing found spikes of brain-damaging lead in more than 1 in 5 metered homes sampled, the Chicago Tribune has learned.

The decision by Lightfoot comes after five years of denials by former Mayor Rahm Emanuel that the nation’s third-largest city has a widespread problem with lead in drinking water.

Chicago continued to install water meters under Emanuel even after two of his top aides revealed they had known since June 2018 that a city study had found high concentrations of lead in several homes where the work has been conducted in recent years.


Trickbot Trojan Now Has a Separate Cookie Stealing Module

“I think they are separating each functionality into separate modular components,” the researcher told us.

This would offer finer control over each feature and make the malware leaner. It would also allow flexibility in adjusting the malware capabilities according to the purpose of each campaign.


New Backdoor and Malware Downloader Used in TA505 Spam Campaigns

TA505 used spam emails containing .DOC and .XLS documents to disseminate its new malware, with the payloads being dropped on compromised machines via VBA macros executed after opening the malicious attachments — a small number of spam samples also used malicious URLs leading to FlawedAmmyy RAT downloads according to Trend Micro.


Microsoft Discovers Fileless Astaroth Trojan Campaign

As Microsoft Defender ATP Research’s Andrea Lelli concluded, “abusing fileless techniques does not put malware beyond the reach or visibility of security software. On the contrary, some of the fileless techniques may be so unusual and anomalous that they draw immediate attention to the malware, in the same way that a bag of money moving by itself would.”


It’s not the main reason why we should all care and stand up against this, but the horrific mistreatment innocent little children are receiving at our borders engenders risks for all of us. Even if there were zero risks to any of us, we should still not allow mistreatment anywhere.

At ‘Kids In Cages’ Congressional Hearing, Mother And Human Rights Advocates Share Stories Of Cruelty At The Border


Lawsuit: White couple evicted tenant over black visitors

The federal Civil Rights Act and state and federal fair housing laws prohibit landlords from discriminating because of race, whether of the tenant or the tenant’s guest, the ACLU said.


The housing market is about to shift in a bad way for buyers

“So far there’s been a lackluster response to low mortgage rates, but if they do spark fresh buyer interest later in the year, U.S. inventory could set new record lows this winter.”

I won’t be holding my breath.


U.S. has its wettest 12 months on record – again


Low-rent housing experiences downturn in supply

The supply of units renting for less than $800 declined by 1 million (4.9%).


If taxes aren’t high enough, everything government does to support the quality of life in the area, including statewide, suffers.

States Expanding Opportunity Through Wealth Taxes

State and local governments depend mainly on income, sales, and property taxes. Low- and middle-income taxpayers pay a larger share of their income in sales and property taxes than the wealthiest taxpayers do. The opposite is generally true for state income taxes but, in most states, total state taxes ask the most of taxpayers who can least afford it. States can address the problem by strengthening their taxes on wealth, as many did this year.


Nice overview:

Freddie Mac CHOICERenovation construction / renovation loan: 2019 guidelines


All work and no play makes Tom a dull boy.

Blake McGrath – Let You Love Me – ft Sean Lew & Kaycee Rice

Choreography by Tessandra Chavez Directed & Filmed by Tim Milgram Music by Blake McGrath Dancers: Sean Lew & Kaycee Rice