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Many Of The Same Warning Signs Have Been Reappearing

A weekend topic starting with a report by Auction.com Vice President of Market Economics Daren Blomquist. “Growing competition from a new breed of foreclosure auction buyer is evident in proprietary foreclosure sales rate data from Auction.com. More than 37% of Tampa-area properties brought to foreclosure auction on Auction.com in the third quarter of 2019 were sold to third-party buyers, well above the overall market rate of 22.8% and up compared to a year ago for the fourth consecutive quarter. ‘Real estate investors purchasing fewer than five properties a year now comprise more than half of all repeat buyers using the Auction.com platform,’ said Ali Haralson, the company’s chief business development officer.”

“Conversely many large-scale foreclosure auction buyers are proceeding with caution given their greater exposure to a home price correction, according to Lee Kearney, CEO of Spin Cos., a group of real estate investing businesses. Kearney began pulling back on his foreclosure auction purchases two years ago because he saw signs of another downturn coming in the Florida markets where he invests. The rate of home price appreciation slowed to a crawl, and he faced increasing competition from other buyers at the auction.”

“‘What you’re finding now in Tampa, the general sentiment is ‘all the stuff is sitting around, margins are declining,’ he said, noting that at one point he was purchasing as many as 50 properties a week. ‘I’m hearing all the same sentiments I was hearing 10 years ago.'”

“Southern California real estate investor Bruce Bartlett saw the warning signs back in 2005 and started selling the ‘meager’ portfolio of properties he had acquired investing part-time. ‘Flippers are the tip of the spear because they have the best information,’ said Bartlett. Home price appreciation has stalled recently in the coastal Southern California towns where Bartlett invests, causing many larger-scale investors to exit those markets. ‘[Investors] are looking at the prices they have to pay to acquire the asset, and they don’t like what they see,’ Bartlett said.”

From Mortgage Professional America. “The real estate owned (REO) market is the ‘rock bottom path’ to homeownership and residential real estate investment. These are properties on which the occupant could no longer pay the note, a short sale could not be arranged, and nobody was willing to buy it at a foreclosure auction. So, the lender that got stuck with it has withdrawn its liens and reduced the terms and conditions of sale to two short words: ‘as is.'”

“Just like any piece of real estate, however, there is a price at which both a buyer and a seller can shake hands. Today, that price might be heading lower as the number of handshakes starts to rise. Foreclosures are trending downward, but ATTOM Data Solutions reports that that is not the case for repossessions, as REOs are otherwise known.”

“‘There were 49,898 U.S. properties with foreclosure filings in November 2019, down 10% from October 2019 and down six percent from a year ago,’ according to ATTOM, which then points out that REOs are heading the other direction. ‘Lenders repossessed 13,996 U.S. properties in November 2019 (REOs), up four percent from the previous month and up 22% from a year ago.'”

From The M Report. “Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) Director Mark Calabria spoke Thursday at the National Association of Homebuilders International Builders’ Show and said housing reform is key to the growth of the industry. ‘Many of the same warning signs that were ignored in the lead-up to the 2008 financial crisis have been reappearing,’ Calabria said. ‘Not only has risk been rising in recent years, but [Fannie Mae] and [Freddie Mac] have also been undercapitalized for too long.'”

“He noted that the GSE’s own or guarantee $5.5 trillion in both single and multi-family mortgages—nearly half the market. Until recently, they were limited to just $6 billion in allowable capital reserves. The U.S. Department of the Treasury and the FHFA allowed the GSEs to retain capital of up to $45 billion combined. ‘This point is absolutely critical: If Fannie and Freddie fail again, liquidity in the mortgage market will dry up. If families are unable to get a mortgage, they are unable to buy houses,’ Calabria said.”

“While he touted the strength and growth of the economy, he said ‘there are reasons to believe the foundation is vulnerable.’ Calabria said the industry has come a long way since 2008 and the Great Recession but ‘that does not mean that all is well today.'”

From Dean Baker. “Tim Geithner might have left his job as Treasury Secretary seven years ago, but his legacy lives on. The Wall Street Journal reported that the financial firm Morningstar had reached a settlement with the SEC over marketing it had done for firms whose bonds it had rated. SEC rules prohibit rating agencies from doing promotional work for firms whose bonds it rates. This is done to prevent the obvious conflict of interest, that it may give better ratings as part of a promotional effort.”

“This conflict of interest is inherent in the rating process as it is now designed. Rating agencies have an incentive to give high ratings as a way to attract business. This was one of the problems that led to the run-up in the housing bubble, the collapse of which caused the Great Recession. Rating agencies gave investment grade ratings to mortgage backed securities that they knew were filled with bad mortgages because they did not want to lose the business.”

“There is a very simple solution to this problem which was addressed in an amendment to the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill inserted by Senator Al Franken. (I worked with Senator Franken’s staff on this amendment.) The amendment would require issuers to contact the SEC, who would then select the rating agency. This would eliminate the incentive to give good ratings to attract more business. The Franken amendment passed with bipartisan support, getting 65 votes in the Senate.”

“Unfortunately, as he discusses in his autobiography, Tim Geithner arranged to have the amendment killed in the conference committee. Ensuring that the corrupt system we had in the housing bubble years was left in place.”

This Post Has 132 Comments
  1. ‘Home price appreciation has stalled recently in the coastal Southern California towns where Bartlett invests, causing many larger-scale investors to exit those markets. ‘[Investors] are looking at the prices they have to pay to acquire the asset, and they don’t like what they see’

    This is an important piece from Bloomquist. (He jumped ship from Attom to Auction.com over a year ago BTW). He’s telegraphing some of the changes I’ve been seeing at AZ auctions. Remember this?

    December 12, 2019

    A report from DS News. “Foreclosure auction inflow data points to a third wave of post-recession distress building in late 2019 and early 2020. A total of 43,232 residential properties nationwide were referred to Auction.com in Q3 2019 for a potential future foreclosure auction, up from the previous quarter and a year ago to the highest level since Q1 2017. The characteristics of the increasing foreclosure auction inflow are distinct enough to label it a third wave of distress emerging in the wake of the Great Recession.”

    “The first and largest wave comprised primarily risky loans originated during the 2004-2008 housing boom. The second post-recession wave of distress emerged in 2018 as the result of a series of devastating natural disaster events—primarily hurricane-related—in 2016 and 2017 in Florida and Texas. The emerging third wave of post-recession distress is showing up in parts of Florida and Texas, but it is also showing up in markets far removed from Florida and Texas (see below for some more geographic details). That’s because this wave is less characterized by geographic concentrations of distress and more characterized by concentrations of distress based on loan type and lender type.”

    “More to the point, the emerging third wave of distress is primarily driven by a rising undercurrent of defaults among government-insured loans and privately held loans. Two sub-categories within the overall government-insured space stand out: VA-backed loans with a 31% increase and FHA-backed loans serviced by mid-market lenders—many of them so-called nonbank lenders and servicers—with a 17% increase.”

    “The Black Knight report shows that the delinquency rate at six months after origination is trending higher for loans originated in 2018 and 2019, with a more extreme upward trend among Ginnie Mae-securitized loans—primarily comprising VA- and FHA-backed loans. The report shows that 3.3% of Ginnie Mae-securitized loans originated over the past 12 months were delinquent at six months, up from 3.1% for loans originated in 2018 to the highest level since 2009.”

    “Among all loan originations, the delinquency rate six months after origination was 1% for loans originated in the first quarter of 2019, up from 0.9% for loans originated in 2018 to the highest level since 2010.”

    “Among 2,410 counties with foreclosure auction inflow into Auction.com in Q3 2019, 870 counties (36%) posted a year-over-year increase in foreclosure auction inflow, including Maricopa County (Phoenix), Arizona; Miami-Dade County, Florida; Los Angeles County, California; and Bexar County (San Antonio), Texas. Also posting year-over-year increases in foreclosure auction inflow in Q3 were all three counties in the Seattle metro area: King, Pierce, and Snohomish; and three counties in the Denver metro area: Denver, Arapahoe, and Adams.”

    “‘Some of the markets with the biggest inflow increases in the third quarter may be surprising given they have been rock stars of the real estate recovery of the last seven years,’ said Jesse Roth, SVP of Strategic Partnerships and Business Development at Auction.com. ‘But those markets may now be victims of their own success, with an unsustainable run-up in home prices pushing the limits of affordability for many homebuyers in recent years. Those financially stretched borrowers now have less equity cushion to protect against foreclosure, particularly if they are in a government-insured loan that came with a low down payment and down payment assistance.’”

    “The inflow geographic trends align with recent foreclosure start data released by ATTOM Data Solutions, which shows that U.S. foreclosure starts in the first nine months of 2019 increased in 14 states and 80 of 220 metropolitan statistical areas analyzed (36%). Among larger metro areas, those posting year-over-year increases in the first nine months of the year included Atlanta (up 23%), Orlando (up 24%), Jacksonville (up 7%), San Antonio (up 8%), Seattle (up 7%), and Denver (up 3%).”

    “Given no other shocks to the economy or housing market, this emerging wave of distress will likely be the smallest of the three that have materialized in the wake of the Great Recession. However, if dangerous rip currents develop in the housing market (think widespread and sustained home price depreciation) or in the larger economy (think recession), this distressed wave could pack a bigger punch.”

    http://housingbubble.blog/?p=2713

    1. ‘A total of 43,232 residential properties nationwide were referred to Auction.com in Q3 2019 for a potential future foreclosure auction’

      So these aren’t REO’s (bank owned). It’s inefficient because often you can’t see inside the shack prior to the auction. Guessing about possible damages and repair costs make it kind of a shot in hte dark. Which probably results in lower bids, but no if you have lotsa newbies jumping in, which is what the first article suggests. But that looks to be over, at least as we stand here in late January. I actually wrote an email to auction.com’s media relations asking about a doubling of auctions in one market I watch. No reply. When I asked an employee in person, she avoided a direct answer.

      Anyway, just where did 43k defaulted shacks come from? It’s way larger than what the GSE’s report as foreclosed in the period. Is it shadow inventory? Have they been a lion all along? Most of the paperwork I go through has Fannie, Freddie, HUD fingerprints all over them. It may be a bank or non-bank made the loan, but it’s guberment backed in most cases.

      1. >> just where did 43k defaulted shacks come from?

        Probably the defaulted properties came from the GSE non-performing loan (NPL) sales, which started due to a rule/law change in 2015. The NPL sales is how taxpayers get shafted with GSE losses through a giveaway to the GSE’s WallSt buddies (*) that buy the NPL at hefty discounts that translate into taxpayer losses. NPL sales do not get counted in the official default rates of the GSEs, which is why CalculatedRIsk blog keeps crowing every month about near record-low default rates. It’s all a gigantic sham and scam.

        (*) US Treasury Secretary Steve Menuchin used to be one of them, and he is now greasing the skids of profit for his other Wall St buddies.

      2. “just where did 43k defaulted shacks come from?”

        HUD held onto one foreclosure I was looking at for over 4 years, denying that it existed (despite court documents from the time proving it had reverted to HUD back in 2015/16), then finally listed it mid-2019. Definitely shadow inventory. No idea what they were doing with the apartment in the meantime, or who was paying the $1500+ per month HOA.

        The first two week bidding window was for owner-occupiers, with FHA financing available. Funny how the price lined up almost exactly with new the FHA loan limit for the area. I think loan limits and the years it took to get them up this high is part of the shadow inventory puzzle.

  2. Rating agencies have an incentive to give high ratings as a way to attract business. This was one of the problems that led to the run-up in the housing bubble, the collapse of which caused the Great Recession.

    If regulators, enforcers, and policymakers weren’t corrupt to the core, ratings agencies CEOs and principle officers would’ve been jailed en masse for their role in the last housing bubble bust. But until there is a top to bottom purge of corrupt elements in the DoJ, the same fraud and malfeasance is going to continue unabated.

  3. “Unfortunately, as he discusses in his autobiography, Tim Geithner arranged to have the amendment killed in the conference committee. Ensuring that the corrupt system we had in the housing bubble years was left in place.”

    Sorry, Real Journalist, but what ensured the corrupt system we had during the housing bubble years was left in place is that under Wall Street puppet Barak Obama and his corrupt AGs Holder and Lynch, not a single individual responsible for the housing bubble bust and subsequent global financial crisis ever faced criminal charges for criminal wrongdoing. When you have that culture of impunity, with both parties complicit in turning a blind eye to captured regulators and enforcers, not to mention a criminal private banking cartel controlling our monetary policy, more 2008-style busts are inevitable.

  4. “The amendment would require issuers to contact the SEC, who would then select the rating agency.”

    Seem like this would open the door partisan politics. Whenever a new administration is voted in the rating agencies would have to install properly registered executive staff for the SEC to choose from.

    1. “We did the right thing, and we’re getting screwed.”

      Every responsible American will be saying the same thing if Fauxahontus or any Democrat occupies the White House.

          1. That’s right RMS. It’s a handout, just like the 2018 corporate tax breaks. The proposal I read had income limits and relief parameters, i.e. relief up to $X for incomes below $Y.

            It’d goose the economy short term most likely. All those freed up loan repayments would get spent on something!

            Its funny to me that the guy in the youtube video is about to lose his mind over loan forgiveness, but I bet he couldn’t give two squats about Amazon not paying any tax, or the other handouts in the recent tax bill, or all the money pissed away for endless wars.

          2. I net hes pissed about it all. The fact that he took the time to show up in person with his wife says hes a Democrat-likely voter.
            And if you tax Amazon and he buys there, yes just paying more for everything. Increased costs of production increase price and decrease competition. So if amazon had to pay more in taxes, they’d be an even bigger gorilla and the guys eking out a living in competition with them would be locked out.
            As for the wars? That’s gonna require guillotines in the streets. Congressmens’marginal cost for the endless wars is way below their marginal cost since they all get reelected.

          3. Sorry for the typos. Spin bike. Last sentence should be marginal benefit vastly outweighs marginal cost.

    1. If Bernie wins the Feb 3rd Iowa caucus, the Fed’s Ponzi markets could see an algo-driven freakout.

        1. In the last 25 years the Government has gone beyond any involvement Government should of taken. Government bailing out the culprits of the 2008 lending fraud blow up, commie health care that holds up fake pricing in health care, trade policies that advanced the gutting of American job base while it created absurd profits of the Globalist, and the creation of Casino Nation based on the removal of the necessary Glass /Steagal Act.

          Now we have Commie presidential candidates wanting to advance this Government involvement that was never the design of the Founders of this Republic and Constitution.

          The voting public could reverse this disaster, and it’s really the Citizens duty to do so. The Politicians aren’t going to do right, so in large part they need to be taken out.
          The sad part is that these Politicians can affect your life, as they already have by their treason up until now.

        2. He’s gonna get Clintoned if his campaign starts getting traction.

          …aaaand it looks like he’s starting to get traction.

        3. He’s gonna get Clintoned if his campaign starts getting traction.

          Pretty much. From what I can see, the DNC hasn’t learned a thing since the last election, and in fact has doubled down on the status quo. At a time when the taking would be easy… if they could see and acknowledge the obvious… but that clearly aint going to happen.

          1. the DNC hasn’t learned a thing since the last election

            It would seem that they see their way of doing business as a feature, not a bug.

    2. The Democrats will blow up there party before they will allow Bernie to win. I think he stands a very good chance to get to the convention with the most delegates. However, not enough to win the nomination and then the games will begin. Trump is his own party. The globalists pawns in the Republican party would vote to impeach, if it was a secret ballot. In my opinion only Bernie and Trump are outside the control of the globalists although Bernie does have some opinions they like, such as open borders. For him, that is a recent development and I think detrimental to his ability to win a general election.

      However, the globalists have to decide would they rather have two terms of Bernie or one more term of Trump. The latter is preventing them from earning billions by importing goods they produce cheaply overseas and sell her. However, the former wants to tax away some of the billions they have already stolen from the American working class. When push comes to shove the globalists would rather have one and done. Bernie owes Trump a solid though. Trump focused attention on Biden’s corruption and made the most viable globalists’ puppet fall in the polls despite all the favorable attention their media could give him.

    3. It’s going to cause a political earthquake if the same proles who grabbed their ankles for corrupt corporate Democrats and Goldman Sachs toadies like Obama and Crooked Hillary in past elections belatedly realize Biden and Fauxahontus are part of the same Democrat Establishment that has been buggering them nine ways to Sunday, and back Bernie Sanders as a middle finger to the status quo.

      https://www.zerohedge.com/political/bernie-sanders-surges-7-point-lead-iowa-times-poll

    4. Anything but Trump would be a black swan event, as the Democrats are notoriously inept at fielding electable candidates.

        1. $250 million spent and Bloomberg does not even have ten percent support. As Hillary showed you get a diminishing return from ads. You need enough money to get your message out but if people do not respond it does not matter how many times you say it again. Talk about someone who will get the gun supporters out for the Republicans and diminish the black vote for the Democrats particularly among the Muslims, Bloomberg is the man.

          1. You need enough money to get your message out but if people do not respond it does not matter how many times you say it again ??

            Your such a right wing hack Adan…Or, do I just smell “fear”…Like I said before, If Bloomberg can get the nomination, the PAC funding for Trump will evaporate..Game Over;

            Mr. Bloomberg has cited his research and spending on the 2018 midterm elections as evidence of his commitment to the party’s success. Democratic candidates won 21 of the 24 races in which he was involved. In most races, the spending focused on digital advertising early in the election cycle and TV advertising closer to election day, when ad reservations were more expensive and Republican groups could not as easily counter their message.

            In an Oklahoma House of Representatives race, which appeared to be a long-shot for the Democrats, Mr. Bloomberg unleashed a wave of last-minute ads that attacked the Republican candidate. Democrat Kendra Horn won by a few thousand votes.

            “I supported 24 candidates who were good on guns and good on environment, and 21 of them won, and that flipped the House,” he said at a recent campaign stop in Philadelphia. “So if it wasn’t for that, you wouldn’t have [Speaker of the House Nancy] Pelosi and you wouldn’t have impeachment.”

            https://apple.news/AilpJZqgAQFqKDWC1kop6tg

          2. Bloomberg & Amy….
            OR
            Bloomberg & Stacy…This may be the ticket…Bring in the Women, African Americans and the Jew’s in Florida…Maybe even some of the PanHandle military retiree’s are pissed after the revelation from Tillerson on what Trump had to say to the Face of our military leaders…Roll Florida…It’s over…

          3. Bloomer is so far behind at this point that I doubt he’ll be a threat to Creepy Joe, Senator Running Deer or Comrade Bernie.

    5. Never forget that Bernie had a heart attack. Who is Bernie going to pick for VP? The voting public deserves to know even before the primaries.

    6. I wonder what the Libertarians think of this. Gary Johnson received 4.5 million votes, and he said he’s not going to run again. Would they side with Trump if Bernie gets the nomination?

    1. Gas prices are cooperating with the lower is better meme. I was at Costco this morning and paid 2.019 at the pump. I guess killing that terrorist general has not resulted in $5 gas.

      1. Down to $2.37 in my neck of the woods.

        Since I started working from home, I only fill up once every 4-6 weeks. At this pace I might never buy another car.

      2. Rest assured, gas prices are going up. The military-industrial complex needs oil to be at least $60 a bbl, and shale plays that are levered to the hilt on borrowed money will start dropping like Wuhan flu victims if oil prices keep dropping. That will slam financial stocks, and the Fed can’t allow that to happen if it wants to keep its Ponzi markets levitated.

  5. This should warm some of your hearts:

    https://www.city-journal.org/future-of-government-unions

    Government-union membership fell again in 2019, continuing a decade-long decline. Workers in public-sector unions now number 7.066 million, representing a drop of nearly 100,000 in one year and the smallest government-organized labor membership in 20 years. Since 2009, when the ranks of government-union members peaked at 7.896 million, public-labor groups have lost more than 10 percent of their membership.

    1. That’s because public employees — and the services they provide — are being cut. To pay for the retirement benefits of past public employees.

      In some states older Republicans should be happy, because the main cause is underfunding of the pensions that had been promised to cut taxes, now leading to the gutting of public services.

      In other states older Democrats should be happy, because the main cause is retroactive pension increases for their union supporters.

      But since everyone in later-born generations are screwed regardless, they have every reason to hate Republicans and Democrats, as I do.

  6. ‘Real estate investors purchasing fewer than five properties a year now comprise more than half of all repeat buyers using the Auction.com platform…’

    ‘Conversely many large-scale foreclosure auction buyers are proceeding with caution given their greater exposure to a home price correction,…’

    Is this the housing bubble shoeshine boy moment, when hairdressers and cab drivers are increasing their real estate investing activity as the big players step back to avoiding HODLing themselves falling knives?

      1. I’ve been watching financial YouTube videos, and some home improvement videos. The almighty YouTube algorithm now thinks I want to flip houses and is sending me 6-minute ads for such.

  7. Is it safe to assume that quarantining numerous Chinese cities to avoid the spread of a raging epidemic will have no spillover effects on the Chinese economy?

    1. The Financial Times
      Coronavirus
      China reports rising death toll from coronavirus
      President Xi Jinping says country faces ‘grave situation’ and Hong Kong declares highest level of emergency
      Medical staff transfer a patient of a highly suspected case of a new coronavirus at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Hong Kong, China January 22, 2020. Picture taken January 22, 2020. cnsphoto via REUTERS.
      Sue-Lin Wong in Shenzhen, Tom Hancock in Wuhan and Primrose Riordan in Sydney
      6 hours ago

      The death toll in China from the coronavirus outbreak mounted on Saturday as the first confirmed cases were reported in Europe, Australia and Malaysia, raising global concern over the spread of the Sars-like disease.

      The virus has also been detected in the US, Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Nepal.

      China’s president Xi Jinping said the country was facing a “grave situation” at a meeting of the elite seven-member politburo standing committee held to discuss how to respond to the coronavirus outbreak, state television reported.

      1. The Chinese are lying. You don’t quarantine almost 50 million people for a measly 41 deaths. It’s probably in the thousands.

        1. The qualifier “confirmed” gets used a lot. But I suspect they are out of people and supplies to make confirmations. So they just deal with a ton of sick people and report only the “confirmed” numbers.

          1. Yup. It’s already completely out of control as far as I can tell. Luckily the fatality rate isn’t as bad as it could be…as long as it doesn’t mutate into something worse.

    2. It’s safe to assume that China’s official economic data will still proclaim that Everything is Awesome! But locking down 56 million people (so far) will tens of millions more on self-lockdown within their skyboxes is of course going to be a big hit to the economy, exempting the companies that make and distribute supplies like N95 masks.

    3. The Wuhan crisis
      The coronavirus discovered in China is causing global alarm
      The possible economic impact worries many, too
      China
      Jan 23rd 2020 edition
      BEIJING AND SHANGHAI

      CHINA’S LEADER, Xi Jinping, often warns officials to be wary of “black swan risks”, meaning sudden unexpected events that can harm the economy. People typically assume he means wobbly banks or trade tensions. But the most immediate threat may be a new, sometimes deadly, virus that appears to be spreading. The outbreak raises dark memories of another one 17 years ago that killed hundreds of people and, briefly, nearly halted China’s growth.

      The main worry is whether the government can control the virus, which can cause severe pneumonia. The bug is known as 2019-nCoV, or more commonly, the Wuhan virus. It appears to have originated in early December in a fish and animal market in Wuhan, a city of 11m people. On January 20th an official said 14 health workers who had treated patients were ill. This was the first clear evidence that the disease could pass from human to human and therefore spread more widely.

      1. From what I’m hearing the top disease research/bioweapon lab in China is right across the river from this market. FWIW…

        1. Yes but the official Chinese story is that it was from a snake. The Chinese claim that they have checked the DNA and that is the reservoir of animals. Our biologists say that it most likely is a mammal. I guess that is what happens if you do not buy US pork and eat anything that does not move fast enough. Of course, the alternative theory is that they were developing a virus to unleash on the world or just the US when they wanted to and they ended up conducting biological war against themselves.

          1. “Yes but the official Chinese story is that it was from a snake.”

            Crazy ideas often take hold in large communities of ignorant people.

            “Our biologists say that it most likely is a mammal.”

            Seems more plausible that a virus jumped ship from a higher animal with a similar enough physiology to humans for us to be a suitable substitute host.

            “Of course, the alternative theory is that they were developing a virus to unleash on the world or just the US when they wanted to and they ended up conducting biological war against themselves.”

            Perhaps a superbug escaped from the biolab and found its way into the wet market? Whether or not this is what happened, it would make for an awesome screenplay!

          2. Perhaps a superbug escaped from the biolab and found its way into the wet market? Whether or not this is what happened, it would make for an awesome screenplay!

            Captain Tripps rides again. Don’t Fear The Reaper. Baby Can You Dig Your Man?

          1. “Crazy ideas often take hold in large communities of ignorant people.”
            Yes, when their government is telling them that is the truth. Maybe it has occurred naturally but it seems like a lab may have given it a little help since it is hard for a virus to jump from a snake to a human. Or maybe they just are wrong. In any event the official Chinese story:

            https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/snakes-could-be-the-original-source-of-the-new-coronavirus-outbreak-in-china/

    4. Why the coronavirus outbreak could trigger a stock-market pullback
      By William Watts
      Published: Jan 25, 2020 12:43 p.m. ET
      Bullish sentiment extremes, overbought conditions leave equity markets vulnerable: analysts
      Getty Images
      A notice informing travelers of a canceled flight to Wuhan, China, is displayed at Japan’s Narita airport on Friday. Wuhan is the center of the coronavirus outbreak.

      The spread of China’s coronavirus is providing stock-market investors with another reason for near-term caution as major U.S. equity benchmarks trade near all-time highs, analysts said, offering a potential trigger for a near-term pullback.

      “Conditions in the broad market are ripe for a pause as sentiment measures and overbought conditions are at extreme levels. However, the missing ingredient to temporarily halt the advance in the market has been a catalyst,” said Jeff deGraaf, chairman of Renaissance Macro Research, in a Friday note.

      1. Why the coronavirus outbreak could trigger a stock-market pullback

        Alternative Headline: Why one more snowflake or one loud sound could trigger the big one on Avalanche Peak.

    5. US citizen trapped at the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak says she’s angry and scared
      By David Culver and Faith Karimi, CNN
      Updated 1:28 AM ET, Sun January 26, 2020
      What you need to know about coronavirus
      Source: CNN Business
      What you need to know about coronavirus 02:29

      Beijing (CNN)A US citizen trapped at the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in China described her fear of living in a city that’s cut off from the rest of the country by transport restrictions.
      Teacher Diana Adama has been living in Wuhan city for three months of her 15 years in China. Wuhan is the ground zero for a new deadly strain of coronavirus — with about 1,000 Americans living in the city.

      1. Years ago I informed my eye doctor I was studying Chinese. She interrupted her routine exam to tell me never to visit China. Her husband was an infectious specialist who had made several paid visits there for professional consultations with government-level organizations.

  8. – Insiders and smart money made out like bandits after housing bubble 1.0 because of crony capitalism.

    https://www.housingwire.com/articles/blackstone-cashes-out-on-invitation-homes/
    Blackstone cashes out on Invitation Homes
    Sells off remaining shares in single-family rental operator for $1.7 billion
    November 22, 2019, 1:58 pm By Ben Lane

    Blackstone’s bet on the single-family rental market is now complete, as it was revealed this week that Blackstone is selling off its remaining shares in Invitation Homes for more than $1.7 billion.

    In the early part of this decade, Blackstone began pouring money into distressed residential real estate, spending billions to buy up foreclosures and other distressed properties, then turning those houses into single-family rental properties.

    – Insiders and smart money now getting ready for the next round of vulture capitalism as housing bubble 2.0 deflates.

    https://www.housingwire.com/articles/47922-blackstone-set-to-launch-largest-real-estate-fund-ever/
    Blackstone set to launch largest real estate fund ever
    Record-shattering $20 billion fund set to make its mark on commercial real estate

    January 15, 2019, 12:56 pm By Jessica Guerin

    Blackstone Group is set to finish raising capital for the largest-ever real estate fund. According to an article in The Wall Street Journal, the $20 billion fund is expected to close in the first quarter of 2019 for most investors.

    At $20 billion, the fund is double the size of those raised by Blackstone’s competitors, according to the WSJ. It’s also about $4.2 billion larger than the fund the firm put together in 2015, Bloomberg noted, adding that the new fund is expected to follow a similar strategy as the last by investing in distressed properties.

    – Insiders and smart money have early access to the Fed’s cheap money, while everyone else has access later, if at all. The house always wins. Seems fair to me.

    “It’s a big club and you ain’t in it” – George Carlin

    – “We don’t need no stinking DTI ratios.” – CFPB

    https://www.bankrate.com/mortgages/cfpb-debt-to-income-rule/
    CFPB moves to eliminate mortgage debt-to-income rule for borrowers
    Natalie Campisi | January 21, 2020

    Heeding the call of some of the largest mortgage lenders in the industry, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is moving to back the elimination of debt-to-income (DTI) requirements in mortgage underwriting.

    This rule was created in response to the financial crisis of a decade ago as a way to prevent lending money to borrowers who might not be able to afford the loan.

    – So, at this point, what housing mortgage criteria are left to loosen? This is beyond scraping the bottom of the barrel. If only banks and lenders were on the hook instead of taxpayers, things would be very different. Maximum moral hazard indeed.

    1. – More details on the last article

      https://confoundedinterest.net/2020/01/23/cfpb-planning-to-eliminate-dti-requirement-from-qm-lending-rules-taking-the-safeties-off-the-torpedoes/
      CFPB Planning To Eliminate DTI Requirement From QM Lending Rules (Taking The Safeties Off The Torpedoes)
      Anthony B. Sanders | confoundedinterest17 | January 23, 2020

      It was back during the banking crisis of 2008/2009 that led Chris Dodd (D-CT) and Barney Frank (D-MA) to introduce the “Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.” This Act created Elizabeth Warren’s Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

      (Housing Wire – Ben Lane) Over the last several months, a number of the nation’s largest lenders and housing trade groups have called on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to make changes to the Ability to Repay/Qualified Mortgage rule.

      More specifically, Bank of America, Quicken Loans, Wells Fargo, Caliber Home Loans, along with the Mortgage Bankers Association, the American Bankers Association, the National Fair Housing Alliance, and others asked the CFPB to do away with the QM rule’s debt-to-income ratio requirement.

      And now, it looks like they’re going to get their wish.

      But, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are not bound to this requirement, a condition known as the QM Patch. Under the QM Patch, loans sold to Fannie or Freddie are allowed to exceed to the 43% DTI ratio.

      Apparently, we learned nothing from the near banking catastrophe of the subprime / ALT-A crisis.

    2. It’s time to offload overpriced investments on greater fools, and wait out the crash until the next bottom fishing opportunity arises.

      1. And when that arises, the only people able to buy are the vulture funds, because credit has dried up for the rest. Credit is only plentiful for the little people at peak prices. When the stuff they can actually afford is available, the lending is not there because they’re “too risky.” Fawking scam – the whole thing.

        1. “…the vulture funds…”

          Are these the folks who received Helicopter Ben’s cash drops when the rest of the global economy was on its back following the 2007-2009 financial crisis?

        1. Ozzie Osbourne: What a great guy! Go here …

          Actual Comments Made about Ozzy Osbourne on the Official Message Board for The Osbournes TV Program – McSweeney’s Internet Tendency
          https://www.mcsweeneys.net/articles/actual-comments-made-about-ozzy-osbourne-on-the-official-message-board-for-the-osbournes-tv-program

          Here’s a snip…

          “Also in 1981, he threw a small puppy into the audience before a show and demanded they tear the legs off this cute little puppy or else he wouldn’t perform that night. They did!”

      1. “Wet markets put people and live and dead animals — dogs, chickens, pigs, snakes, civets, and more — in constant close contact. That makes it easy for a virus to jump from animal to human.”

        I guess China hasn’t discovered modern sanitation just yet?

        Unfortunately, they have adopted modern transportation and tourism. So whatever virulent vectors are unleashed at these breeding grounds of disease are quickly transported to destination cities around the globe.

      2. I saw these pictures before and it is horrifying. These people are sick in the head to think that’s normal. It’s like a mass murder and torture scene.

        1. “It’s like a mass murder and torture scene.”

          To be soon followed by a banquet of dog, snake and bat meat. Yum!

      3. A vegan and fervid supporter of animal rights, in 2010 [British pop singer Morrissey] seemed to indict a whole population when he said to the Guardian, “Did you see the thing on the news about [China’s] treatment of animals and animal welfare? Absolutely horrific. You can’t help but feel that the Chinese are a subspecies.”

        1. ‘The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.’

          – Mahatma Gandhi

      4. A Chinese Restaurant in North Palm Beach Fl. got shutdown in the early 1980s when they got caught with cats in the freezer.

        1. My better half is so picky about food that we usually take a room with a kitchenette while traveling and shop locally for fresh; we rarely visit a restaurant. It’s been a great money saver.

          1. How much extra does it cost for a room with a kitchenette?

            PS Reminds me of the Maui condo we rented on our honeymoon. We enjoyed purchasing some delicious fresh local comestibles and preparing our own meals. The economy was in the toilet, so we got a lot of beachfront condo for the money, too.

          2. Instead of getting a room with a kitchenette, I get one with a microwave and a small fridge. I usually travel by car with a hot plate & some basic picnic type cook ware. Can make almost anything I like that way, and it is nearly always better than the best stuff I could get in any local restaurant.

          3. “How much extra does it cost for a room with a kitchenette?”

            I can’t recall because I always selected an the desirable view rooms when we traveled, and we were a family of four. Now that the kids are in college it’s just the two of us, but the college expenses have pinned-down at the moment. Oh well, still debt free!

  9. “Home price appreciation has stalled recently in the coastal Southern California towns where Bartlett invests, causing many larger-scale investors to exit those markets. ‘[Investors] are looking at the prices they have to pay to acquire the asset, and they don’t like what they see,’ Bartlett said.”

    I wonder in which SoCal towns he invests?

    It sounds like flippers are pulling back in SoCal to avoid HODLing investment homes during a crash. This pullback will naturally help precipitate and exacerbate the crash they seek to avoid. The flipper slice of demand that drove prices to bubble highs will morph into a dead weight of new supply seeking greater fool investors, who are suddenly scarce.

      1. Here’s an interesting comment by that Bruce Bartlet guy …

        A Word of Caution and Experience.
        The iBuying world is still getting fleshed out, but an awful problem in the wholesale market is non-performing buyers. Some person or group says they’re going to buy your home for a negotiated price and the paperwork is signed. But what they didn’t tell you is their goal is to sell it to another investor/flipper for $50k more.

        During escrow your packing your stuff and saying goodbye, but they’re actively marketing your home to other investors. If they find someone who’s willing to pay the extra $30,000 or $50,000 dollars for your home, then they complete the escrow getting the home from you and quickly sell it to this new investor and pocket some quick money.

        But if during escrow they can’t find anyone dumb enough to do that, at the end of your escrow they never show up with the money, they cancel, and they get their deposit back because the deposit was dependent on their getting the property. Leaving you all set to go, expecting to get a check, and getting nothing. Now you have to start selling your house all over again because of these unscrupulous scumbags.
        Unfortunately in California, and many other states, once you enter escrow the buyer pretty much holds all the cards. Do yourself a favor and protect yourself. Make them give you a non-refundable deposit. And not one via escrow, make them put a check in your hands that you can cash today and that money is yours whether the transaction goes through or not.

        It doesn’t have to be a lot of money; it can just be $1000. But the moment an unscrupulous operator has to risk that money, they often backtrack on their offer and go away. Somebody who really wants your house, who thinks they’re getting a good deal, and plans to buy your house, renovate and then resell it will have no problem giving you $1000 dollars because they can make a lot more than that on the flip. It’s just the cost of doing business.

        Here’s the source of his comment:

        From an Insider, How to use iBuyers to Your Advantage
        https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/from-insider-how-use-ibuyers-your-advantage-bruce-bartlett-mba?articleId=6527217236438970368#comments-6527217236438970368&trk=public_profile_article_view

      2. “Mr. Bartlett has been invested in local residential real estate since 1997.”

        He got into flipping at the exact moment the bubble started inflating, and now he’s exiting.

        Hmmm…

    1. If he was against open borders and reparations for blacks, and truly a champion of the people, I might vote for Sanders. Why? Because who else is going to throttle the pigmen of Wall St. and the FED?

      1. By the way, before I get attacked for being a liberal, I was a registered Republican through the end of Bush II’s first term. Then I could no longer vote for him after the disaster he was. I voted for Obama his first term, then realized the disaster he was, and I voted for Trump. I’m a non-partisan swing voter. I don’t care about party.

        1. I have been anti-globalists since the late 1980s, despite my reservations a friend talked me into voting for Bill Clinton in 1992. Clinton did say he was going to crackdown on Chinese trade, instead he freed them from any US review of human rights and WTO review. I engaged in protest voting from then on, mainly voting for Ralph Nader until Trump’s election. On this blog, I consistently trashed both W and Obama.

  10. Has the Fed’s market sedation program ushered in the risk of a financial opioids crisis?

    Global Economy
    Stress index sinks to new low as Fed sedates markets
    Measure tracked by St Louis Fed drops to lowest level on records going back to 1993
    FILE PHOTO: The Federal Reserve Board building on Constitution Avenue is pictured in Washington, U.S., March 27, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo
    The Federal Reserve has repeatedly said its latest round of debt purchases is not the same as its post-financial crisis interventions known as QE
    © Reuters
    Joe Rennison in London and Colby Smith in New York yesterday

    Stress in US financial markets has dropped to its lowest level on record, according to a widely-watched index, after the Federal Reserve sought to ease strains in short-term borrowing with a huge injection of cash.

    The St Louis Fed financial stress index fell to minus 1.6 for the week ending January 17, it said this week — the lowest reading since the index was created at the end of 1993.

    The measure has been negative for several years but has lurched lower in recent months, as the US central bank has tried to boost the amount of cash in the financial system following an unusual bout of volatility in the overnight repo market, where investors borrow cash in exchange for high-quality collateral like US Treasuries.

    That prompted the Fed to commit to buying $60bn of Treasury bills every month, resuming the expansion of its balance sheet, which had steadily shrunk under its previous “quantitative tightening” programme.

    “The Fed’s extremely aggressive response to the repo blowout in September, as well as their timidity in pulling back from that response . . . could be signalling to markets that this is a Fed with a very low tolerance for market fluctuations,” said Blake Gwinn, a strategist at NatWest Markets, who joined the bank last year from the markets group at the New York Fed.

    1. “The Fed’s extremely aggressive response to the repo blowout in September, as well as their timidity in pulling back from that response . . . could be signalling to markets that this is a Fed with a very low tolerance for market fluctuations,” said Blake Gwinn,…”

      – I wasn’t aware that reducing volatility, market fluctuations, targeting stock prices was part of the Fed charter, and in fact, it isn’t. Stealth power grab, esp. since the 2008/9 GFC. Think cancer and you won’t be far off.

      – Stock markets are in the $33-40T market cap., while the Fed balance sheet currently is at approx. $4T. When the market decides that fear and risk-off are greater than greed and risk-on, then the Fed isn’t going to stop the selling. Recall the stock collapses in 2000 and 2008/9. Humpty Dumpty.

      – BTW, the only person that thinks “Not QE” isn’t QE is Powell. QE targeted to long end of treasuries, while “Not QE” targets T bills (short end). The difference is essentially semantics. The Fed is targeting T bills because foreign buyers of U.S. debt are pulling back and the primary dealers are choking on supply, while our Congress and POTUS are spending like drunken sailors (my apologies to the sailors). All of this is monetizing the debt. The Fed balance sheet never normalized and now it’s growing again. It will never go down again, IMHO. Welcome to the banana republic of the U.S.

      – The Fed is NOT the fourth branch of government. They’re unelected and accountable. They can be dissolved by Congress at any time (should Congress decide to do something in the best interests of the American people). There are over 18K Fed employees working against the 99% and for the benefit of the 1% (esp. the banking cartel). Just look at their actions and the resulting destructive influence on the U.S. economy if you think I’m wrong. They are the main driver of income and wealth inequality and inflation, where the dollar now only buys 3 or 4 cents vs. a dollar in 1913 when the Fed was authorized by Congress.

      https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/trump-is-right-to-blow-up-the-fed/
      Trump is Right to Blow Up the Fed
      The Federal Reserve is out of control, acting in ways and with powers that were never explicitly granted by Congress.
      By Christopher Whalen • April 9, 2019

      While the Fed is meant to be independent from the executive branch on a day-to-day basis, it is certainly not independent of Congress or the law. Yet the Fed in recent years has shown a troubling tendency to deviate from its legal mandate and make up new authorities to fit the changing economic situation. Case in point: the dubious notion that we should seek a 2 percent rate of inflation.

      Anybody who cares to read the 1978 Humphrey Hawkins law will know that the Fed is directed by Congress to seek full employment and then zero inflation. Not 2 percent, but zero. Yet going back a decade and more, the Fed, led by luminaries such as Janet Yellen and Ben Bernanke, has advanced a policy of actively embracing inflation. And neither Bernanke nor Yellen bothered to consult Congress when they decided to discard their legal responsibilities.

      Quantitative easing, to take another example, represents a vast inflation of the financial markets and housing, yet Fed officials actually appear in public and talk about the conundrum presented by “low inflation.” The inflation in home prices that occurred during and after the Fed’s purchase of trillions in securities has permanently raised the price of housing in many parts of the country, preventing millions from purchasing homes. Yellen confesses to be “perplexed” by the dearth of home purchases by young families, but she is the cause of the malady.

      Moreover, the Fed’s decision to use excess reserves and repurchase agreements to manage short-term interest rates amounts to the nationalization of heretofore private markets. Is this authorized by Congress? No it is not. Instead the Fed is extending its government-sponsored monopoly over the short-term money markets with little regard for the rights of private investors and financial institutions.

      We should be worried about Fed independence, but not because the central bank is somehow suffering under the tyranny of the executive branch. Rather the Federal Reserve is out of control, acting in ways and with powers that were never granted to it. Quantitative easing, “Operation Twist,” and the explicit 2 percent inflation target are just three example of how the Federal Reserve Board is operating outside of its legal authority.

      It’s high time that President Trump put some new faces at the Fed and started asking questions about what policies it follows and why.

  11. Any thoughts on why The Don is using Jeffrey Epstein’s lawyer for his impeachment defense?

    Curioser and curioser…

    1. Dersh is super creepy and accused of partaking in Epstein’s illicit activities. I question whether his support of DJT on constitutional issues is genuine or the result of a deal.

  12. I hardly have any time to keep up here (gig plus a side gig, and just now Bungie asking if I was free) , but all is well in spiffyland more or less.

    One new thought has popped up enough to catch my attention thanks the guy with the coronavirus nearby in Everett. – How to ‘prep’ for something like that?

    I’ve been (slowly) working towards being prepared for a 2-4 week ‘bug-in’ event – something like a major weather event (snowed in), big earthquake (assuming the house is ok), or Mt. Ranier blows its top. Bugging out makes no sense where I’m location and Casa Spiffy is above average in terms of being able to fortify.

    And I’d say I’m about 60%+ prepared at the moment – deep stocks on all the basic consumables, stocked and pipelined in a sensible manner, and I’m starting to fill out the typical supplies and tools. Some weak spots, like depending on city water being available in the first 24 hours if we wanted to last more than 1.5 weeks.

    But a viral outbreak? Hadn’t thought about that scenario at all. I do have a stash of N95 masks (in case of major forest fire smoke, etc), but nothing else specific.

    I know some of you guys and gals are similar thinkers – any thoughts on how to responds to and/or prep for the coronavirus world tour making an unscheduled stop in Seattle?

    1. Have you considered a water storage solution like a 2000 gallon tank. You can get those for under $1k. It can dual purpose as your irrigation source and as a means for storage in the event the city water was compromised. An underground bomb shelter would be cool too but even my tinfoil hat thinking cant justify going that extreme 😉

    2. If you don’t have water stored, I’d suggest having a look at WaterBrick, or some of the DIY water filter solutions made out of buckets (layer rocks, sand, etc, to progressively filter). Also look at Berkey water filters. Many layers possible.

      Oh yeah, and beer/wine when all else fails!

      Plastic sheeting is another one. If you’re considering sheltering in place, you can set up a room you an tape off the intrusion points to limit contaminants — I recall this being talked about a lot during the anthrax scare years back.

    3. At any given time, I’ve only got 12-18 gallons of distilled water for drinking, which is what I see as out weakest link. I do have a WaterBob, and we have a big deep jetted tub which should let it hold it max 100 gallons, assuming enough warning to deploy and fill it.

      I’m really trying not to be an unrealistic prepper and go off the deep end in preparations, but rather stick to stockpiling things are going to eventually get used up anyway for the most part. Last February, we were snowed in 5 or 6 days because of the hill icing over and we road it out pretty good, but there wasn’t any power or utility interruption.

      I’ve outfitted our garage with floor to ceiling shelving which gives me very good storage space and part of it now looks like a neatly organized mini-Costco as we’ve been figuring out what consumables the household uses.

      Another section is devoted to things like camping supplies and standard preparedness items that make sense. I’ve given myself a small monthly budget for adding to these items, and that limit forces me to be realistic and think about the likelihood of using each thing.

      I’ve thought about getting 200+ gallons in water storage tank(s) as part of the longer term plan, along with something like an Inergy Kodiak power source to keep necessities going if we lost power for a while, along with more basic things like having a cord of wood for the fireplace.

      Since we decided we want to stay and retire here in this house that we bought, we’ve been shifting our thinking to “Ok, if we’re going to be here for 20 to 30+ years, what are the odds of needing to stay put for a while and ride out something at least once during that time frame?”

      And we don’t have go off the deep end fearing zombies or WW3 to realistically think that over a time frame like that we’ll see some sort of disruptive event big enough to merit preparation.

      Although I have to admit as I’m looking at the headlines this morning about the virus spreading, I can’t help but wonder if this could actually be movie worthy/the beginning of a black-swan level event. Usually they’re not, but if they are, then by the time we can confirm it, fecal matter is already being flung all around by the fan.

      1. Let’s be honest – Mercer Island is not really the place you’re going to ride out a plague. You’re in a mass population center. I think you need to be much more remote for that, like out in the boondocks of northern Idaho at least.

        1. You’re in a mass population center.

          True, but after living here for over a decade, and on Mercer Island for 6+ years, I’ve come to the conclusion that bugging in here is a better option in most cases (not all) for 2 main reasons.

          First is the problem with “bugging out” – if something big happens, getting out of the Seattle Metro area to a safe location is going to be a BIG problem. Much bigger than if I was living in Michigan or Texas. There’s only a few usable routes out of the metro area and we’re totally lacking in side-routes and back roads due to the mountains and geography. there is quite the number of choke points (ferries, bridges, etc) if you tried to get to the peninsula or into the mountains. And the usable escape destinations within a few hours drive are all small and would be overwhelmed with all the people here grabbing their camping and hiking gear and making a run for it. I’m in the geographic center and would need to get past the hordes. I could go on, but honestly to match what I have here, I would need a remote cabin or location that is far enough away and not going to be easily overrun by everyone else bugging out, and to have it comparably stocked.

          Now not bugging out for this first reason has its downsides depending on the nature of the event. China or North Korea launches a nuke at Seattle? That’s not going to be fun. Earthquake? well, we don’t get advanced warning – and if a big one hit here, I’d imagine the routes out/in would be compromised.

          The second reason is that my home is unusually isolated and out of the way, even when compared to most other houses here. Mercer Island has the double-edged sword that there are only 2 routes on and off (not counting boats ) – The I-90 Bridges east and west on the north end of island.

          The plus side is that it’s easier to keep out the riff-raff/homeless/etc. The downside is that it’s much easier to get cut off from supplies/aid. I live on a dead-end street off a dead-end street off a dead-end street (really) nestled up against an undevelopable chunk of heavily forest steep terrain and only practically accessible via a 200′ driveway. Most of my immediate neighbors are more than 70′ away vertically (and much more horizontally) and the terrain will deter all but the most dedicated and prepared from coming here via any way but the road & driveway. So there’s a level of ‘local remoteness’ if you will.

          My assumptions and plans are centered on the idea that every once is a while we’ll have sit tight for a week or so, like we did in last Feb’s snow & ice storms.

          TBH – that doesn’t invalidate your point – in a lot of scenarios, living in a remote location would make riding things out a lot easier. I just see that is pretty impractical for my specific location & situation.

      2. The bad thing about the coronavirus is that it’s uncontained and highly contagious. So my guess is most of the planet will get exposed. The “good” news is that it’s “only” fatal in maybe 2% of cases so far, almost all elderly with pre-existing conditions. 2% of 7 billion is a very large number but I don’t think it’s enough to collapse anything except maybe an unstable government or two. I wouldn’t expect it to interfere with food or energy production for very long.

        1. I’m not expecting it to actually impact things here in the US, but looking at the headlines today, it makes a good thought exercise to ask “what will/could be disrupted by something like this?”

          I do believe it is coincidence that there is that virus “research lab” very near to ground zero in China (for now). We now have CRISPR and machines that let us tinker with DNA and gene editing to a level unthinkable just a decade ago, and I wouldn’t be shocked to see something nasty escape the labs in my lifetime.

          1. I’m not expecting it to actually impact things here in the US

            Really? It’s here now…we’re just about a month or so behind China on the exponential curve I think.

          2. Or should I say “I hope it doesn’t disrupt activity here in the US” …

            The news about it is getting worse by the day. What I especially don’t like is that Chinese officials were highly incentivized to keep it under wraps.

            As mentioned welsher it’s unclear just how deadly it will be.. but then time will tell.

          3. Probably got this already, but anti-emetics, anti-diarrheals, pain and fever reducers. If things get really bad, you dont want to go to the hospital or take a loved one there; that’s where the virus is concentrated.

          4. Econ_teacher – those are good ideas.

            One thing I learned to be aware of is the shelf life of various medicines. I once bought a big bottle of generic Tylenol and it sat on a shelf, unopened, for a few years. When I finally did open it, the pills had begun to break down and there was quite the stench. I have no idea if they would have still be effective, but it made the point – “what’s the shelf life of each item?”

  13. George Stephanopoulos Gets Caught Throat Slashing at His Producer to Cut Trump’s Lawyer Off

    Posted at 10:30 pm on January 24, 2020
    by Bonchie

    If you watch the video, Sekulow was about to give some specifics of their defense, which you’d think would be rather newsworthy. But hilariously, the producer accidentally cuts back to Stephanopoulos who can be seen doing the throat slashing signal, desperately trying to tell them to not show Sekulow actually answer the question. Then Stephanopoulos mischaracterizes what Sekulow said and moves on, because of course he does.

    https://www.redstate.com/bonchie/2020/01/24/george-stephanopoulos-gets-caught-throat-slashing-at-his-producer-to-cut-trumps-lawyer-off/

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