Saturday, September 29, 2007

Re: The Great Flood

So far, State Farm has been great. We are using their Preferred Service Plan, which is basically you pay your full deductible up front, and from then on you pay nothing. Once the general contractor and the flooring contractor get involved, State Farm pays them, not us. The only thing(s) we pay are any upgrades that we want (counter tops, flooring, carpet, etc).

You pay the deductible to people who dry out the house. However, I was told by the operations manager guy that came out a couple of times during the process that their bill ALONE would probably end up twice what my deductible was (State Farm will pay them the difference). So right then, I'm ahead of the game....

State Farm gave us a list of 4 or 5 general and flooring contractors to choose from. If you don't have a preference, the next ones in the rotation are chosen for you. While they won't "endorse" any one over the other (since they all have to meet certain standards for State Farm), one of the State Farm guys who works in this program told me about each one, so I got a sense of them.

State Farm is also paying for any increase in our electric bill during the dry out time (our usage went WAY up...3076 kwh the month before to 4800 this month), any increase in our water bill, eating expenses since our kitchen will be torn up and not usable, and for any days we have to stay in a hotel or extended stay place.

So far they are getting high marks from me....

Friday, September 28, 2007

LJ/Noah and the Great Flood

Are the adjusters treating you fairly or is it still too soon to tell?

Still a little groggy...

Had some gum work done today under conscious sedation. Total success but I'm moving a little slowly.

Re: That's what I'm talking about...

There you go. 80 years ago.

Re: It's Rudy and Hillary

I'll take it, too. Rudy's been hitting me up for $$$ for months. Guess I'll get out the checkbook.

It's Rudy v Hillary

Says JPod. I'll take that.

"That's what I'm talking about."

I thought that phrase was recently coined; it wasn't. Listen to Pinetop from 1929 in today's Bleat.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Re: Your Candidate

Ugh. I'm McCain and then least on this survey.

McCain's Energy Policy

Who knew the crusty "maverick" would be the most sensible? From today's NRO:

We have in use today, a zero-emission energy that could provide electricity for millions more homes and businesses than it currently does. Yet it has been over 25 years since a nuclear-power plant has been constructed. The barriers to nuclear energy are political not technological. We’ve let the fears of 30 years ago, and an endless political squabble over the storage of nuclear spent fuel make it virtually impossible to build a single new plant that produces a form of energy that is safe and non-polluting. If France can produce 80-percent of its electricity with nuclear power, why can’t we? Is France a more secure, advanced, and innovative country than we are? Are France’s scientists and entrepreneurs more capable than we are? I need no answer to that rhetorical question. I know my country well enough to know otherwise.

Who is your candidate?

Quiz. My answer(s) in comments.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

GM Strike

GM able to get "union-aligned trust" to take some of its health care liabilities.

From Reuters:

The agreement allows GM to shift more than $50 billion of retiree health-care liabilities to an independent union-aligned trust -- a breakthrough expected to allow Detroit automakers to cut in half a labor-cost gap against Japanese competitors.

If GM couldn't manage the costs, how well will this "trust?" Good for GM but those UAW folks better start saving.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Re: Re: Pokes

Who knew LJ was a closet jihadist?

I'm still not sold on the Pokes' Offensive Line. We'll see.

Doesn't Dr. Skip (Bayless) still have a voice in Big D? He was a real homer under Landry but never seemed afraid to speak truth to power after the Landry decapitation.

Hindsight Bias

Nice article on the subject today at TCS.

From the part on Afghanistan and Iraq:

In hindsight, most people made the right decision about Afghanistan and Iraq. That is, in hindsight, most people are in favor of invading the former and against invading the latter.


In fact, the unexpectedly low cost of invading Afghanistan may have been one of the reasons for the unexpectedly high cost of invading Iraq. The Bush Administration probably based its expectations of the latter on the outcome of the former.

For now, it is not clear what is the best strategy in Iraq. Some argue that the larger the role that Americans take in the war, the less incentive for the Iraqi government to address difficult issues. Others argue that without a major American presence, security will deteriorate and the country will sink into sectarian violence. Years from now, we may know the answer to these and other questions. And with hindsight bias, we will wonder how those who were on the wrong side of the issue could have been so blind. Meanwhile, real decisions have to be made with imperfect information.


The one lesson we could learn from our European betters finally arrives. From the DMN:

NRG Energy and CPS Energy filed with regulators Monday for licenses to build two new nuclear reactors at the South Texas Project, the first nuclear power application in nearly 30 years.


The Nuclear Regulatory Commission expects applications for about two dozen new licenses in the next couple of years as power companies attempt to take advantage of federal loan guarantees for nuclear reactors. The NRG application may test Americans' appetite for the pollution-free energy that carries a risk of radioactive spills.

But of course:

NRG's other partner at the South Texas Project, the city of Austin's utility, hasn't decided whether to invest in the new reactors and won't make that decision for a few months, spokesman Ed Clark said.

Re: Pokes

I can barely listen to "The Ticket" because it is almost 24/7 "boys". My radio choices are very limited and especially in the mornings, I find myself listening to this station that I think is Arabic. During part of my morning drive, they have what I think is the adhan (muslim call to prayer) which for some reason I find somewhat soothing. Then a speaker saying who knows what, then music. For all I know, the speaker is spewing some bin Laden type musings - or it could be a commercial. I did hear a station promo once that said "Dallas....Houston", so perhaps it is carried in H-town.

Anyway....back to the Cowboys. Sunday night I did what I normally do - I watch their games until it seems like they will win, then I turn it off.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Myth of the Rational Voter

This is a tough read...lots of charts and math (neither of which is my strong suit) but worth the read so far.


Watched that game last Romo...are the Pokes for real? I'm not yet sold but the OL surprised. LJ, the radio buzz in Dallas must be going nuts.

Re: Single-payer Portent

From a reader citing this:

“On March 1, 2008, the level of subsidy will begin to be reduced, which will gradually lead families toward independence. Program participants will pay a portion of the cost, which will begin at $50 per month and incrementally increase each month thereafter until the program concludes on March 1, 2009...

and of course FEMA/HUD, both admin agencies with bush appointees at helm. Years of Rep controlled Congress could have made changes if they'd wanted to...”

Me: Well, I'm happy that the winding down seems to have commenced. Should have been transferred to HUD a long time ago (not that my faith in HUD far exceeds my faith in FEMA but, working often with HUD, faith in HUD does exceed faith in FEMA). FEMA should be for the quick in and out, HUD for the long-term. I realize there are those who will likely need assistance for about...forever.

It appears my clients' tenants will have received two full years of free rent and a third year that will average one-half of the total rent for the year if the increments are also $50.00 and good for them.

The Republican controlled Congress, the GWB Agencies, and GWB are precisely those upon whom I lay the blame. Can't point the finger anywhere else.

Single-payer portent

Ok, I’m getting a little ticked now.

We all remember August 29, 2005. Of course, that was the day Katrina hit. By November, my gracious clients had purchased two brand new 3-2 homes in Austin. They then leased them to two Katrina families for whopping $600 per month for three years with three one year options AND an option to purchase at any time at the price my clients paid for the homes WITH ALL rent paid to be applied to the purchase price.

Play one’s cards right and that means one rents for six years and has an automatic $43,200.00 down payment to apply toward the purchase of a six year old home that was built for about $170,000. In other words, the tenants get $43,200.00 PLUS any appreciation over six years in INSTANT equity. Finance the balance over 30 years at a high 7.5% and the payments, less tax and insurance, would be about $890.00 per month.

Yes, yes, Scooter, you mentioned all this in 2006. Why the capital letters? Why so upset?


I certainly don’t blame the families here. I'd keep my nose in the trough/mouth at the teat as long as possible, too. I’ve even kinda lived it recently with all the tests my Dad went through in his last months on Medicare. But having lived through all the inefficiencies imbedded in that system (rough guess, maybe $5000-$9000 in unneeded tests), this FEMA thing continues to depress.

Heaven help us if we go single-payer health care.