Daily Digest

Daily Digest 6/2 - Land Of The Rising Silence, Home Ownership Declines in Philly, Fukushima Water May Overflow

Thursday, June 2, 2011, 10:49 AM
  • With Deals Turning Scarce, Car Buyers May Want To Wait
  • Land Of The Rising Silence
  • Outlaw Josey Wales - Part 4
  • Home Ownership Declines In Philadelphia
  • Wild Which-Way Wednesday
  • Greece, Please Do The Right Thing: Default Now
  • Fukushima Radiated Water May Overflow
  • Japanese Elderly Offer to Take Over Fukushima Nuclear Cleanup

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Economy

With Deals Turning Scarce, Car Buyers May Want To Wait (sueami)

With the effects of the earthquake in Japan rippling through the industry and causing shortages, prices are rising for both new and used cars, and fewer models and options will be available come summer, especially for the hybrids and fuel-efficient vehicles that Japan produces.

That's prompted many experts to voice something rarely said in the sales-happy auto industry: With consumers facing the toughest market in recent memory, if you can, put off purchases until things sort out, probably early next year.

Land Of The Rising Silence (JRB)

The Japanese are great at setting, communicating and achieving goals like that 15-percent cut [of electricity use this summer]. In contrast, we tend not to discuss, or make plans, or even face up to issues — like the nuclear mess in Fukushima — that require solutions more complicated than the March of Dimes.

Outlaw Josey Wales - Part 4 (JimQ)

Ultimately, GDP fell 3.1% between the 3rd quarter of 2008 and the 3rd quarter of 2009. The government response has amounted to throwing $7 trillion ($4.2 trillion increase in national debt, $700 billion of TARP bailouts, $200 billion of losses taken by Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac, $100 billion of losses taken by the FDIC, and the Federal Reserve increasing their balance sheet by $1.8 trillion) of your tax dollars at the problem. As a side benefit, they have thrown senior citizens under the bus by paying them 0% on their savings, not providing a cost of living increase to their social security for two years, and hitting them over the head with 10% levels of inflation on food and energy.

Home Ownership Declines In Philadelphia (June C.)

Since 1997, almost 13,000 units - primarily condos and apartments - have been built or rehabilitated downtown and in adjacent neighborhoods, the Center City District reports.

And since 2000, the district's numbers show, the population of Philadelphia's expanding core has climbed to 93,000, from 78,900.

    Crash Course DVDOwn the Crash Course Special Edition Set with Presenter’s Pack (NTSC or PAL)

Wild Which-Way Wednesday (Ilene)

The good news from all this is just a repetition of the previous theme: “bad news is good, and good news is better”. This has dominated bullish thinking as they believe interest rates will remain low offering little competition for stocks. Naturally, another round of $7 billion in POMO Tuesday just threw gas on the fire." (chart by Dave Fry)

Greece, Please Do The Right Thing: Default Now (pinecarr)

The big banks' loans to Greece were predatory by design.

Environment

Fukushima Radiated Water May Overflow (pinecarr)

Tokyo Electric Power Co. has been manually pumping water into overheating reactors after cooling systems broke down and much of that has overflowed into basements and trenches. The water is rising at a rate that means it will overflow as early as June 6, Bloomberg calculations from the company’s data show.

Japanese Elderly Offer to Take Over Fukushima Nuclear Cleanup (Brian T.)

"I am 72 and on average I probably have 13 to 15 years left to live," he says. "Even if I were exposed to radiation, cancer could take 20 or 30 years or longer to develop. Therefore us older ones have less chance of getting cancer."

Article suggestions for the Daily Digest can be sent to dd@PeakProsperity.com. All suggestions are filtered by the Daily Digest team and preference is given to those that are in alignment with the message of the Crash Course and the "3 Es."

20 Comments

saxplayer00o1's picture
saxplayer00o1
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States Pour Money Into Medicaid; Dagong Lowers Japan Credit

"California will have to pay the federal government an estimated $912.3 million in interest over the next two years for money the state has borrowed to pay unemployment benefits. The first payment comes due Sept. 30 — for $319.5 million.

The high cost of the state's unemployment was spelled out Wednesday in the state Employment Development Department's semi-annual report on the status of the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund.

California's trust fund, which is made up primarily of employer contributions, has been in the red since 2009, when the state paid out $11.3 billion in unemployment benefits but only collected $4.8 billion in receipts. So the state has been borrowing from Uncle Sam to make the payments. As of May 6, California owed the federal government $10.9 billion.

A lot of other states are in a similar boat. Thirty states and the Virgin Islands owe the federal government a total of $44.1 billion for money they borrowed to pay unemployment benefits over the last three years. But California's $10.9 billion tab is by far the greatest. Pennsylvania is a distant second at $3.8 billion."

"Spain's government had to pay out higher rates today to auction off nearly €4 billion of bonds amid deep concerns in the European debt markets over Greece.

Demand was strong for the Spanish government bonds as investors applied for a total of €10.3 billion of debt, but the government had to offer higher returns.

Debt markets appeared nervous after Moody's Investors Service sharply downgraded Greece's debt and warned that the odds of a Greek debt-default were 50-50.

The Spanish Treasury sold a total of €3.953 billion in three and four-year government bonds. It sold €2.753 billion three-year bonds with an average annual return, or yield, of 4.037%, up from 3.568% at the last comparable auction on April 7."

"NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- States are gearing up to spend nearly 19% more of their money on Medicaid as enrollment rises and federal stimulus funds dry up.

Governors have proposed spending $15.9 billion more on Medicaid in fiscal 2012, according to a survey released Thursday by the National Governors Association and the National Association of State Budget Officers.

At the same time, they are slashing spending on higher education by $5 billion, on public assistance by $3.5 billion and on K-12 education by $2.5 billion.

State officials have been wrestling with rising Medicaid costs since the Great Recession began driving more people to the government assistance program. Enrollment is projected to rise 3.8% in fiscal 2012, which would represent a 17.3% increase over a three-year period.

Since early 2009, federal stimulus money has helped states cope with the steep downturn in tax revenue. All told, states used $135 billion in emergency stimulus support.

But that funding is now ending, leaving states to shoulder their Medicaid burden alone. This is forcing states to cut provider payments, limit spending on prescription drugs and reduce benefits since the federal government is not allowing them to kick participants out of the program.

The disappearance of federal support is wreaking havoc on state budgets, contributing to a collective $75.1 billion in shortfalls for the coming fiscal year."

  • Other news, headlines and opinion:

Moody's Downgrade Puts Greece in Debt-Rating Hall of Shame Alongside Cuba (Moody's Downgrades Greece Rating to Caa1)

Portugal, Ireland Bond Risk Rises to Record, Default Swaps Show

China's Dagong Lowers Japan Credit Rating

Japan Debt Downgrade 'Unavoidable' Even After Vote, Mizuho Says

Monetary Base Rises 16.2% On Year In May (Japan)

Tepco debt swaps facing 53% chance of defaulting

Europe's Stress Tests to Be Delayed

Palm Beach County school board starts work on $2.5 billion budget that cuts 745 positions, creates one upaid furlough day

Greece's Credit Ratings Freefall Is 30 Times Average Rate, Evolution Says

Ivory Coast says to miss June debt coupon payment

Talks between city of San Jose, cops break down; 156 more layoffs loom

Jobless rate to top 7% until 2016, budget officer warns (Canada)

States See Uptick in Revenue, Costs

Moody's downgrades outlook on RI bonds

Auto bailout: US taxpayers may lose $14B

More job seekers give up, reducing unemployment

Fed May Signal Balance Sheet Will Stay at Record

Rice Soaring 50% in Thailand as Thaksin Seeks Votes in World’s Top Shipper

Greek default could bankrupt ECB

Treasury to sell $66 billion in bonds next week

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saxplayer00o1
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Moody's Warns on US Debt

"The prices of longer-dated U.S. debt hit session lows on Thursday after Moody's Investors Services said the U.S. risks a credit rating downgrade if the legal borrowing limit is not increased."

"Moody’s Investors Service said today that if there is no progress on increasing the statutory debt limit in coming weeks, it expects to place the US government’s rating under review for possible downgrade, due to the very small but rising risk of a short-lived default. If the debt limit is raised and default avoided, the Aaa rating will be maintained. However, the rating outlook will depend on the outcome of negotiations on deficit reduction. A credible agreement on substantial deficit reduction would support a continued stable outlook; lack of such an agreement could prompt Moody’s to change its outlook to negative on the Aaa rating."

"European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet warned on Thursday that a Greek failure to stabilise its economy on its own would increase pressure for the international community to do it.

The ECB chief suggested creating a second stage of bailouts under which the eurozone would take limited control of a member country's economic policies if it was not able to successfully implement adjustment programmes."

Tepco debt forgiveness is risk for Japanese bank ratings, S&P warns

......................Close your eyes and open your mouth, Mr. Trichet. Greece has a nice surprise for you.

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Farmer Brown
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saxplayer00o1

saxplayer00o1 wrote:

"The prices of longer-dated U.S. debt hit session lows on Thursday after Moody's Investors Services said the U.S. risks a credit rating downgrade if the legal borrowing limit is not increased."

"Moody’s Investors Service said today that if there is no progress on increasing the statutory debt limit in coming weeks, it expects to place the US government’s rating under review for possible downgrade, due to the very small but rising risk of a short-lived default. If the debt limit is raised and default avoided, the Aaa rating will be maintained. However, the rating outlook will depend on the outcome of negotiations on deficit reduction. A credible agreement on substantial deficit reduction would support a continued stable outlook; lack of such an agreement could prompt Moody’s to change its outlook to negative on the Aaa rating."

"European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet warned on Thursday that a Greek failure to stabilise its economy on its own would increase pressure for the international community to do it.

The ECB chief suggested creating a second stage of bailouts under which the eurozone would take limited control of a member country's economic policies if it was not able to successfully implement adjustment programmes."

Tepco debt forgiveness is risk for Japanese bank ratings, S&P warns

It is a pretty sad testament to how upside down and downright crazy things have become when not increasing debt is seen as credit-risky and the opposite, increasing debt, is seen as the most credit-worthy thing to do. It is also pretty sad that the only alternative Moody's even considers is increasing the debt limit.  They do not even consider cutting expenses as an alternative!  I guess they cannot be blamed since our fearless leaders are too afraid of cutting anything. 

Imagine if personal credit-ratings were computed the same way:  gee, you're debt to income level is 800%.  If you do not increase your debt limit by taking out another credit card, with which you can then pay interest on all your other cards, we are going to downgrade you! 

I guess it makes sense, in la-la-land.  In la-la-land we can just keep adding debt, because everytime we add debt, we are able to use that debt to pay our obligations on all the prior debt!  Shazaaaam, Timmy and Benny, we're off the hook!

Seriously, how much more rediculous can/will this get????!!!

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rhare
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Are we beginning to hear the war drums?

Quote:

"European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet warned on Thursday that a Greek failure to stabilise its economy on its own would increase pressure for the international community to do it.

This is the statement that really worried me.  I wonder how long until the IMF or other bankers decide they can dictate policy (even more than they already are) over the US.  I'm really hoping that much of the US will wake up to this crap before we are all beholden to unelected international politicians.

This is the type of stuff that starts wars..... Frown

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Tommygun
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short video on Capitalism

Interesting video on capitalism by David Harvey: The Crisis of Capitalism

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saxplayer00o1
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Spanish-inspired protest grips Athens (Video)

Spanish-inspired protest grips Athens (Video)

=====================================

  • Check out the Greek headlines in order. Sort of explains why a few people might be getting just a little unhappy:

Greece deeper into junk territory as Moody's cuts again

Greece agrees to more cuts and tax rises as price of next bailout

Greek assets could be security for bonds - sources

EU should control member states' budgets, says bank boss

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Damnthematrix
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Three arrested, accused of illegally feeding homeless

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/local/crime/os-homeless-feedings-arrests-20110601,0,7226362.story

Three arrested, accused of illegally feeding homeless

Orlando Sentinel

June 2, 2011

Members of Orlando Food Not Bombs were arrested Wednesday when police said they violated a city ordinance by feeding the homeless in Lake Eola Park.

Jessica Cross, 24, Benjamin Markeson, 49, and Jonathan "Keith" McHenry, 54, were arrested at 6:10 p.m. on a charge of violating the ordinance restricting group feedings in public parks. McHenry is a co-founder of the international Food Not Bombs movement, which began in the early 1980s.

The group lost a court battle in April, clearing the way for the city to enforce the ordinance. It requires groups to obtain a permit and limits each group to two permits per year for each park within a 2-mile radius of City Hall.

Arrest papers state that Cross, Markeson and McHenry helped feed 40 people Wednesday night. The ordinance applies to feedings of more than 25 people.

"They intentionally violated the statute," said Lt. Barbara Jones, an Orlando police spokeswoman.

Police waited until everyone was served to make the arrests, said Douglas Coleman, speaking for Orlando Food Not Bombs.

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Damnthematrix
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and how are things going in Florida...?

http://miamiherald.typepad.com/nakedpolitics/2011/05/scott-signs-bill-forcing-drug-tests-on-welfare-recipients.html

Scott signs bill forcing drug tests on welfare recipients

31 May 2011

Floridians will have to submit urine, blood or hair samples for drug testing before receiving cash benefits from the state, under a bill Gov. Rick Scott signed into law today.

"The goal of this is to make sure we don't waste taxpayers' money," Scott said. "And hopefully more people will focus on not using illegal drugs."

Taxpayers will reimburse welfare applicants for negative drug tests. Positive tests will carry an immediate ban on Temporary Assistance for Needy Families for six months. A second positive test will result in a three-year ban on state assistance.

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rhare
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So, is this being on the otherside of government force?

Damnthematrix wrote:

Three arrested, accused of illegally feeding the homeless

-- and --

Scott signs bill forcing drug tests on welfare recipients

So, are you for or against these actions?  The way I see it, these laws are probably the result of someone who thought the government should "require" a permit to feed the homeless.......

Damnthematrix's picture
Damnthematrix
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only in America.....

rhare wrote:
So, are you for or against these actions?  The way I see it, these laws are probably the result of someone who thought the government should "require" a permit to feed the homeless.......

Actually.......  my first reaction was only in America...

Of course I'm against them......:(

Mike

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VeganD
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Unbelievable

Damnthematrix wrote:

http://miamiherald.typepad.com/nakedpolitics/2011/05/scott-signs-bill-forcing-drug-tests-on-welfare-recipients.html

Scott signs bill forcing drug tests on welfare recipients

31 May 2011

Floridians will have to submit urine, blood or hair samples for drug testing before receiving cash benefits from the state, under a bill Gov. Rick Scott signed into law today.

"The goal of this is to make sure we don't waste taxpayers' money," Scott said. "And hopefully more people will focus on not using illegal drugs."

Taxpayers will reimburse welfare applicants for negative drug tests. Positive tests will carry an immediate ban on Temporary Assistance for Needy Families for six months. A second positive test will result in a three-year ban on state assistance.

This is blatantly discriminatory. If the state is worried about drug dependent people selling their food stamps (which of course could happen) why not have more food banks and soup kitchens??? Or let kind strangers feed them in public places.  Maybe because the JP Morg wouldn't get their cut on the electronic transaction fees. There are OTC meds, one or two food products and many prescription meds that caue false positive drug urine testing in particular. Meaning the person is "clean" but tests "dirty" through no fault of their own, just because the state chooses to use a cheaper test.  6 month to three year ban for taking nyquil the night before the test. Wild.

http://www.onsitescreening.com/pdf/Cross-Reactivity%20Manual%20by%20Generic%20Name.pdf   (false positives at the end of the list)

I seriously doubt Florida will pay for repeat testing and more expensive testing to rule out false positives.  So many (people taking a decongestant, appropriate pain meds or an antidepressant in particular) may be at risk for getting denied food without cause.    I wonder if they will be testing children too.  I guess this is really an effort to drive out people with substance use disorders (I wonder if they will test for alcohol too, breathalyzing people who apply).  I expect there will be resistance to this. I hope to get time later today to forward this to the local medical societies.

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rhare
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Hypocrisy of those that use force of government against others

Damnthematrix wrote:

Of course I'm against them......:(

Do you not see the hypocrisy and arrogance here?  Your all for the state forcing people to live and behave the way you think they should but against the state using force when it doesn't match your beliefs.

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dickey45
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Maybe it's me but I don't

Maybe it's me but I don't see how requiring energy efficiency in buildings is compared to requiring permits to feed the hungry.  We ALREADY have building codes for efficiency.  If we didn't people would be tempted to build insulation less homes with single pane windows to save money....

rhare's picture
rhare
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Nanny State

dickey45 wrote:

Maybe it's me but I don't see how requiring energy efficiency in buildings is compared to requiring permits to feed the hungry.  We ALREADY have building codes for efficiency.

They are exactly the same thing. The government is involved to save us from ourselves. In the Florida case they are saving the citizens from too many people in the park.  In the Houston version of this it's to save the homeless from poorly prepared food.  In the building codes it is to save us from unscrupulous builders.

All of these make the assumption that only the government can care for us.  That people have to be coddled or they will make stupid mistakes like buying houses with no insulation.

dickey45 wrote:

If we didn't people would be tempted to build insulation less homes with single pane windows to save money....

Why do you assume that would occur?  Do you not believe people will watch out for their own best interest? Besides, if we have government to protect us why do we still have shoddy houses built?  contaminated food? bad doctors?  ponzi schemes? insider trading?  All these are heavily regulated areas yet government still fails to protect us.

Government involvement tends to:

  • Stifle innovation by requiring things be done only the way the government says.
  • Favours larger companies/organizations over smaller entities.
  • Limits consumer choice.
  • Provides a false sense of safety.
  • Builds dependency.
  • Promotes less personal responsibility.

The big problem with regulations like those advocated, is that we end up with creeping and ever larger government involvement.  You want building codes, but you don't want permitting for people to feed the homeless? Unfortunately once you begin giving up your decision making and responsibility to government it's a slippery slope when you may give up far more than you intended.

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Damnthematrix
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Nanny State

rhare wrote:

They are exactly the same thing. The government is involved to save us from ourselves. In the Florida case they are saving the citizens from too many people in the park.  In the Houston version of this it's to save the homeless from poorly prepared food.  In the building codes it is to save us from unscrupulous builders.

And as I have pointed out here before, it works in Australia........  nobody's died in a cyclone (hurricane to you) since the 1972 Cyclone Tracy event which destroyed Darwin....... and caused all building codes to be severely rectified.

rhare wrote:
All of these make the assumption that only the government can care for us.  That people have to be coddled or they will make stupid mistakes like buying houses with no insulation.

Which they do all the time......

dickey45 wrote:
If we didn't people would be tempted to build insulation less homes with single pane windows to save money....

Save money?  Have you ever run an aircon?  I SAVE MONEY because I educated myself on how to build properly over and above the building code standards.  Ignorance is bliss, but it's a huge pain in the hip pocket......

dickey45 wrote:
Why do you assume that would occur?  Do you not believe people will watch out for their own best interest? Besides, if we have government to protect us why do we still have shoddy houses built?  contaminated food? bad doctors?  ponzi schemes? insider trading?  All these are heavily regulated areas yet government still fails to protect us.

Well I would put it to you that in America they are not regulated enough!!!  Above instances as quoted by you very rarely occur here in our "over regulated nanny state"!

Government involvement tends to:

  • Stifle innovation by requiring things be done only the way the government says. THAT"S just plain wrong... You are assuming (in this particular argument) that I am advocating the guvmint force everyone to build houses just like mine, while I KNOW there are many ways to skin a cat..
  • Favours larger companies/organizations over smaller entities.  Rubbish.  It's the largest building companies here that continuously lobby government to reduce standards.
  • Limits consumer choice.  Consumer choice in energy efficiency is limitless... the way I did it is just one way.
  • Provides a false sense of safety.  False?  Ask all those people who just survived Cyclone Yasi...
  • Builds dependency.  More rubbish.  I actually think it does the complete opposite by making you less reliant on the Matrix.
  • Promotes less personal responsibility.  Maybe that's because most people these days have zero idea how to be responsible...

rhare wrote:
The big problem with regulations like those advocated, is that we end up with creeping and ever larger government involvement.  You want building codes, but you don't want permitting for people to feed the homeless?.

Who said that?  Wasn't me....

rhare wrote:
Unfortunately once you begin giving up your decision making and responsibility to government it's a slippery slope when you may give up far more than you intended.

It seems to me, that from reading this site every day, it is Americans who have given up much of their freedoms, and not Australians.

Mike

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dickey45
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Having just finished

Having just finished building our house, yea, I would have saved money here and there but the building code didn't give us credit for having a BASEMENT - which doesn't get as cold as a crawlspace.  We would have saved about $300 by simply NOT insulating the basement and stairwell. Yeah, I think I know a couple things about it, the costs involved, etc.

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rhare
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Lots of arm chair political commentary from down under.

Damnthematrix wrote:

Save money?  Have you ever run an aircon?  I SAVE MONEY because I educated myself on how to build properly over and above the building code standards.  Ignorance is bliss, but it's a huge pain in the hip pocket......

But it's your hip pocket when you make the choices and it should be your choice.  Your arrogance in this respect is amazing.  You figured out what was important to you and how to build your house, but anyone else should be forced to follow your beliefs!

Damnthematrix wrote:

Stifle innovation by requiring things be done only the way the government says. THAT"S just plain wrong... You are assuming (in this particular argument) that I am advocating the guvmint force everyone to build houses just like mine, while I KNOW there are many ways to skin a cat..

No it's not wrong.  As soon as government starts picking which technology should be used - either via regulation or subsidies, they handicap any newer technology or method.  The problem is regulations end up listing acceptable methods, techniques, requirements, and so any new idea is dead because some bureaucrat can't check off an item on a form.

Damnthematrix wrote:

Favours larger companies/organizations over smaller entities.  Rubbish.  It's the largest building companies here that continuously lobby government to reduce standards.

Generally most large companies are not pushing for reduced standards, they are pushing for standards that favor them over their competitors.  Just look at the industrial farming.  They push for onerous paperwork that are much easier for a large corporate farm  to comply with than the smaller family farm.  It's becoming a problem for nearly every industry. anyone trying to start a small company is at a huge disadvantage to the larger players because many and ever growing regulations.

Damnthematrix wrote:

Provides a false sense of safety.  False?  Ask all those people who just survived Cyclone Yasi...

I think you're making a pretty huge leap to assume that building codes were responsible for no loss of life.  How about the fact that people had adequate warning and got out of the way.

[quote=http://www.naplesnews.com/news/2011/feb/03/cyclone-yasi-australian-terror-ruin-no-deaths-huge/]

Officials said lives were spared because, after days of increasingly dire warnings, people followed instructions to flee to evacuation centers or bunker themselves at home in dozens of cities and towns in Yasi's path.

Quote:

But even if stronger buildings are responsible, it should be up to the individual how to best protect themselves.

Promotes less personal responsibility.  Maybe that's because most people these days have zero idea how to be responsible...

Quote:

Did you consider that we have government telling people they don't have to be responsible?  No need to worry about that house your building, the governments watching out for you.  No need to think about energy issues, nope, the governments got it all under control.  Food secuity and safety - oh we have the government inspecting everything, no need to think about if the food is safe or where it comes from.  Lose your job and previously preferred a plasma TV over saving, no worry, government will save you.  We send this message that you no longer have to take care of yourself and low and behold, people don't.

rhare wrote:
The big problem with regulations like those advocated, is that we end up with creeping and ever larger government involvement.  You want building codes, but you don't want permitting for people to feed the homeless?.

Who said that?  Wasn't me....

Good, then consider your self lucky and you can sit on your high horse!  Perhaps you should stop bashing those of us in the US who are concerned about our freedom loss and then telling us we need more regulation and control by government to save our freedoms.  I'm most amazed at how much political commentary you put out about the US from your home in Australia. 

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Arthur Robey
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Thatched Houses

Thatching is an ancient method of roofing a house. (Ask Margaret). It has a high thermal insulation value and low cost.

There is no way that you could get a Municipality to OK a thatched roof in Australia. There would be flared nostrils at such an outlandish idea.

Because real estate is the de facto religion, the building regulations in Australia are anal retentive 

But we will learn that a house is a place to raise kids, nothing more. And like all commodities, the cheaper the better.

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Damnthematrix
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Posts: 3998
Arthur Robey

Arthur Robey wrote:

Thatching is an ancient method of roofing a house.

Ever seen a thatch roof in a hurricane....??  ;)

Mike

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