Are home prices still too high?

Wednesday, 31 December 2008 09:29 by The Lunatic


I've been doing a little research on historic real estate price trends.  I don't think that many people realize how much appreciation we really had in home prices from 1998 to 2006 - it was an amazing run! Even with the bottom dropping out of the market, we're still above the 30 year "average trend line":


But as history has shown, real estate prices are cyclical.  Just like the tech stock crash in 2001, the faster the run-up in prices, the further things fall.  Most people who've owned their homes for More...

Categories:   Economics
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Who would want to be the CEO of an airline?

Tuesday, 23 December 2008 05:04 by The Lunatic


I love to fly, and I was a pretty serious “road warrior” for many years.  From the mid-80’s through the late 90’s, I travelled the world on business, racking up over 750,000 flight miles (this is actual miles flown, not counting bonus miles and frequent flyer credits).  I’m sure I’ve added at least another 250,000 miles on various trips since then, so I think I’ve flown more than a million miles in my life.

Whew, that’s a lot of time in an out of airports, going through security, eating those absolutely YUMMY meals they serve up …

I can’t imagine what the world would be like without airlines – it’s a fascinating business that’s indispensible to our modern economy and lifestyle. But for the life of me, I can’t think of a job that would be worse than being the CEO of an airline.

Think of it this way – you have HUGE capital investments, low margins, four different unions you have to contend with More...

Categories:   Economics
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Three Tax Laws That Should Be Changed Immediately

Wednesday, 17 December 2008 02:13 by The Lunatic


Tax reform is coming - again (and again, and again!)  It seems that every few years, the government realizes that the tax code is broken and they make a bunch of changes to "fix" it. More precisely, they usually ADD a bunch of new laws, making the labyrinth of regulations so complex that not even the trustiest and experienced of tax advisors can really say what's what anymore.

There are three tax laws that, in my opinion, should be first on the chopping block:

  • The Alternative Minimum Tax

This is one of the least popular (if ANY tax law can be considered "popular") regulations on the books.  It came about in 1970 as a way to make sure that the wealthy paid some minimum tax, no matter how More...

Categories:   Economics | Politics
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I want to see a "Personal Responsibility" constitutional amendment

Saturday, 6 December 2008 09:42 by The Lunatic


All my life, I've seen these crazy news reports about people suing someone else, often times getting huge sums of money, for something that was partially - or mostly - their own fault.  We all cringe when we hear these stories, but it's a real issue that goes deep into our pockets. Our whole society has a warped mentality that someone else should be responsible for ... your own bad decisions, your health problems, your physical handicap, your depression, your failed investments, your smoking/drug habit, or the fact that your kid can't swim yet she snuck down and found an open door and decided to try a few laps in the hotel pool at midnight (yes, the hotel had to pay).

That "someone else" usually is your employer, your government, your doctor, your neighbor, or the store that sold you the gun which your wife used to shoot your brother (yes, the store owner had to pay).

The cost to society for all this overhead is astonishing.  It's disgusting. I'm not talking just about the money More...

Categories:   Social Issues
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The History of Workman's Law

Friday, 5 December 2008 02:05 by The Lunatic


For the last twenty years or so, my email signature has included the following:

     Workman’s Law:
In the movies, the skeptics of supernatural phenomena are always wrong.
In real life, the skeptics of supernatural phenomena are always right. 

I came up with "Workman's Law" after watching the movie Ghost Busters, somewhere around 1985.  Remember the creepy EPA inspector that wanted to shut down the Ghost Busters? That was the impetus for Workman's Law. He didn't believe in ghosts, he thought the Ghost Busters we're all a bunch of con artists, and everyone from the janitor to the mayor ridiculed him.  In the end, he was horribly slimed by the ghost and the audience applauded and everyone said "WHAT AN IDIOT!"

It's a great movie, but it's not real life!

Workman's Law has held up pretty well since then, I'm happy to say.  Here's a challenge for everyone: find me a movie where the skeptic turns out to be right (ok, I'll admit there may be a few) AND find me a real life supernatural phenomenon. I'll buy the winner a cheeseburger.

Here's a great article posted in The Onion a few months ago: Evolutionists Flock to Darwin-Shaped Wall Stain. I love it!


Categories:   Science
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The religious right has left the building

Thursday, 4 December 2008 06:56 by The Lunatic


I was looking back through some of the comments on my November 4 posting of "Same Sex Marriage - Why is this an Issue?" and I'm amused by some of the banter. 

As a very devout "Born Again Atheist", I don't have much patience for religious ramblings.  Christianity is irrelevant as far as I'm concerned - religion is just a tool to pacify and control the populace, and there are a LOT of weak-minded people that just love drinking the cool-aid.  It's unfathomable that people still believe in this (excuse the expletive) crap.

Religions get their power from telling people pretty much any story that will control the downtrodden (and open their wallets, of course) - with no regard for what the "truth" may be.  Over the years, they've gotten More...

Categories:   Religion
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