I loved this one. A blogger called up the Wisconsin governor pretending to be one of his billion dollar benefactors and actually got put through. Not only that, he had a 20 minute conversation with Gov. Walker about the current battle over removing the collective bargaining rights of Wisconsin’s public employees. The gov says he’s not going to address the call as it was just a prank. Me, I’m laughing out loud at how easily his true agenda was outed. You’d think if the Koch Brothers gave him so much money he’d at least recognize their voices over the phone. I wonder if they’ll get put through the next time they really do call him. LoL!
It was announced today that Wikileaks has been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. Yup, Norweigian lawmaker Snorre Valen nominated them for the award. It’s important to note that Valen didn’t nominate Assange personally. And I appreciate that because let’s face it, Assange can be, well, kind of a dick. I’ve watched his interviews and followed his progress. He likes sticking it to people. And if I’m honest, I like watching him do it. I believe that he did us a great service. He showed us our government in it’s meanest form. Duplicitous, obnoxious and arrogant. I never blamed him for publishing the things he did because let’s face it, if our government wasn’t doing nefarious things they’d have nothing to hide. Transparency is what keeps them honest and the gross lack of it over the past 10 years has been a crime. So I guess I’m saying, I hope they win.
~ Stephen Colbert (via Twitter)
So I’m reading the news today and I’m fascinated by the emerging story of Julian Assange being offered bail by Michael Moore. A more unlikely pair of allies I can’t imagine. And Moore isn’t alone. Turns out there is a cadre of Brits ponying up to help foot the bill. Big names like socialite Jemima Khan. You know, Hugh Grant’s ex. So basically in the space of about a week Julian Assange has gone from being the most wanted man in the world to a cause celebre. Kind of like Haiti.
I’m thinking that a major motion picture can’t be far behind, so I started casting it in my head. The part of Julian Assange will be played by Alexander Skarsgard of True Blood. Michael Moore will be played by Kevin Smith of course. And Jemima Khan? Well Julia Roberts resurrect her Charlie Wilson’s War look, and do it in her sleep. What do you think?
“Russia is a corrupt, autocratic kleptocracy centred on the leadership of Vladimir Putin, in which officials, oligarchs and organised crime are bound together to create a ‘virtual mafia state’…”
“We have a lot in common. I think we can work with them.”
— US State Department
George Bush wakes up today and reads this article. Thinks to himself,
Didn’t I pardon that there Scooby before I left office? Somebody shut that whiny bitch up!
The democratic representative from Florida came out with a doozy this week. He’s frustrated, and rightly so, that nothing coming out of the House is being taken up by the Senate. Here’s his quote direct from TheHill.com (and paraphrased a bit by moi):
It doesn’t make a difference if the Republicans in the Senate are blocking everything they can. At this point, if you put a cure for cancer up in the Senate, it would get filibusters
Sad but true Congressman, sad but true.
I was falling over laughing this week about the insane details coming out about John Edwards infamous “Mistress Cover-up”. This man has got to be the dumbest lay ever. First he falls for a new agey California filmmaker. Then he decides he’ll just cheat a little bit on his wife. Did I mention she’s suffering from incurable cancer? Shades of Newt Gingrich anyone? Well the story goes on. Turns out the idiot mistress gets pregnant and Edwards campaign manager sends her into hiding so that Edwards can maintain his bid for president. His former aide who accepted responsibility for the child’s paternity also goes into hiding with her and his wife. Are you still with me? Well they spend the entire pregnancy camped out in high end hotels and flying around the country in private jets all on the dime of a 99 year old private donor named “Bunny” Mellon. To the tune of $700,000 sent via chocolate boxes with notes saying, “This is the save the nation.”. Obviously Bunny had no idea what she was paying for. In the end they spent over a million dollars and it all came out anyway. These things always do. What next? Well the aide is morally indignant enough with Edwards actions that he has written (and is flogging) his own book, The Politician. Yeah, the guy who lied about paternity is pissed because Edwards didn’t tell America the truth. Somebody get that guy a mirror, “Hello pot? This is the kettle, you’re black!”. Oh and did I mention he has photos and a sex tape of Edwards and his mistress safely stashed away? American scandal. It just doesn’t get any better than this!
So… Are you a homeowner? Have you used Zillow.com to check the supposed value of your house? Do you believe what they tell you? Well I sure as sh*t wouldn’t. Here’s why…
As many of you know The Frogette and I recently sold our San Francisco condo, and although the price wasn’t what we could have made a year earlier, we did well—a combination of buying well below our capacity and a market region that hasn’t completely cratered. But…if Zillow were the definitive guide to our home’s value, not only would we have taken a bath, but the new owner would have realized a 15% appreciation in just the time between when we accepted an offer and today.
What Zillow did was to torpedo their estimate of our condo’s value, dropping it 25% in the 3 month span from Nov 2008 to Feb 2009, with no evidence of a corresponding drop in our area. In fact, when the condo across the hall sold well above market in Mar 2009, Zillow did nothing. They didn’t even count it as a comparable.
Here’s the time-line:
- Early Jun 2009 – We decide to sell, Zillow’s estimate is 20% below the eventual asking price
- Late Jul 2009 – The condo goes on the market, Zillow’s estimate is 16% below asking
- Late Aug 2009 – An offer is accepted, Zillow’s estimate is still 10% below the sale price
- Late Sep 2009 – Escrow closes, Zillow’s estimate (even with MLS data to the contrary) is still 7% below the sale price (but they’re dragging it up almost daily)
- Late Oct 2009 – Now… a month since the close of escrow, Zillow finally has their estimate at the sale price, and guess what? That price is almost exactly what you would get if you drew a straight line across that huge valley on the graph.
It seems pretty clear. Zillow isn’t just reporting real estate prices and statistics, with maybe a zippy algorithm here or there to get a good bead on property values, they are blatantly trying to manipulate the market, for what reason…I have no idea. You can draw your own conclusions, but we’re very glad that potential purchasers of our condo, paid little or no attention to Zillow, and with good reason I’d say.