Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Links 05/06/2009

Vacant foreclosed homes spawn blight, crime – The San Francisco Chronicle

Next door to Jeffrey Cash's tidy East Oakland bungalow sits a boarded-up foreclosed house that has been vacant for months, attracting locals who shoot dice in the driveway, smoke crack on the porch and dump debris in the yard, he said.

Shaved Heads Keep Barbers Idle as Drought Sears California – Bloomberg News

One customer waited six months to get a $10 haircut, then asked to have his head shaved so he could wait another six months, said Armando Ramirez, a barber in Firebaugh.

“People come in and say, ‘Hey Armando, how about I give you a dollar for a cut, it’s all I have,’” said Ramirez, 63, who has owned his shop for four decades. “Saturday is supposed to be my busiest day, but I’m lucky if I get one customer before I go to lunch.”

San Ramon Valley school officials claim victory for Measure C – The Contra Costa Times

San Ramon Valley school district officials were claiming victory Tuesday for Measure C, a property parcel tax measure that would raise money for the district in these troubled economic times.

The Credit Card Monster Is Hungry (Video) – Clusterstock

33% of Homeowners w/Mortgages Are Underwater – The Big Picture

Nationally, 22% of all homes are underwater, then consider the total of homes purchased with credit. Back out the mortgage-free homes, and we get 33% of all mortgaged homes are underwater. This is significant in terms of the results of the stress tests, and the banks ability to withstand further deterioration of their balance sheets. (For stress test purposes, homes without mortgages are not relevant)

The Onion stopping its editions in S.F., L.A. – The San Francisco Chronicle

The Onion's papers, Web site, video and audio reports mimic the authoritative style of the mainstream press with irreverent, sometimes over-the-top news parodies. When President Obama was elected, the headline was, "Black Man Given Nation's Worst Job."

Recent online stories included "Shirtless Biden Washes Trans Am in White House Driveway" and "Area Girlfriend, Boyfriend Achieve Perfect Mother-Son Relationship."

Hannah's memo said readership was healthy and rising in San Francisco and Los Angeles, but "advertising in both cities has been abysmal."

Bank of America needs 34 Billion in Capital – Calculated Risk

Wells Fargo needs 15 Billion in Capital – Calculated Risk

Sitting on the Widow's Peak – Minyanville

The flies in the sustained recovery ointment are two-fold, which is why I’m of the view that this is a bear market bounce. First, rampant inflation requires legitimate demand for goods and services coupled with the healthy velocity of money, neither of which can be artificially manufactured by the litany of government acronyms or tough talk from the Beltway.

Second is the unavoidable reality that the cure for an imploding debt bubble isn’t the inducement of more debt but rather the destruction of it. That is the single greatest flaw in the “all clear” thesis—we’re swimming backwards against a growing tide of credit dependency and the cumulative imbalances that have built since the turn of the century.

We were never allowed to take our medicine following the bursting of the tech bubble and the gains thereafter were a function of credit induced growth rather than legitimate economic demand. They were masked by the falling dollar and skewed by the spending habits of a slimming margin of society, which was lost on most Americans but not on foreign holders of dollar denominated assets.