Links and Minifeatures 02 15 Wednesday

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Carnival of Liberty. Recommended: oxford University Press Blog, Combs Spouts Off



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I've had a chance to fool with zillow.com a bit now. More than once person I've read in the last few days was disturbed by how much they knew about their personal residence. What I can observe is that it appears to be based upon public sale records which anybody can look up, either at the county recorder's office or through the title company of your choice. The Multiple Listing Service has all of this information, and more. Furthermore, zillow does seem to consistently overvalue properties where I have access to better or confirmatory data, here in San Diego County. Since I don't have MLS access outside of that and my other sources are substantially less informative, I'm hesitant to regard anything outside San Diego County as being confirmed. Nonetheless, for those homes within those confines, when it's telling me that houses are worth more money than than they have priced at for several months still unsold, as it did for literally every overpriced home I checked, something is wrong, and my money is on the GIGO factor being wrong, not the market.



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I just got spammed - by a spammeister soliciting my business. I'm not going to respond, but here is the text of the email, which came under the title "mailing Dedicated Server". I think it's someone who wants me to pay them to send spam, but I thought I'd share this little factoid and let my readers decide for themselves what this person is up to. If there's a governmental agency that would be happy to have this information, let me know.



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Last Amazon talks about extending NATO membership to Israel. I do think it's a good idea, but of late NATO has become more irrelevant. The europeans need it more than they ever have, but they don't realize that they need it, and therefore such membership would be largely symbolic. I also think that France and other NATO members with large Islamic populations would do everything they could to prevent it. Israel and NATO is a good fit, but I just can't see France, Germany, and Italy mustering the intestinal fortitude. It would likely be the death blow for the original NATO (although I thing the eastern european members would stick).



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Looks like State of Flux has figured out what "peoples of the Book" means. Basically, Christians, Jews, and Zoroastrians. An argument can be made based upon requirements set down in the Koran for most other major religions, but those are the only religions explicitly named, and the only ones generally recognized. A good muslim is required to treat honorably with peoples of the book, but this requirement seems to be more honored in the breach.



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Looks like AARP has come out in favor of investing the social security trust fund - but in GNMA securities, and by the government, not by individuals controlling their own investments.



Are they trying to sink social security? Yes, GNMA usually pays more than treasuries, and that gets it out of Congress' direct control. On the other hand, think supply and demand. When the supply of money for something rises, the price, aka interest rate, falls. Because it's earmarked, the rates drop, probably ending up below the price of treasuries. Mortgage providers everywhere rejoice. Treasury prices rise, as there's less money there, so Treasury investors rejoice.



And of course, the people who are forced to contribute these taxes have no control over them. Has anybody considered that the AARP has got to know how badly off social security is, as evidenced by their die-hard resistance to allowing younger folks to control some of the money that is being extorted from them?



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Q and O makes an excellent point about the monopolistic public education system in the US. Yes, it's been made thousands of times before. It needs to be made again and again and again, until it changes.



As I reported Monday, US News and World Report had an excellent profile of one company that is working.



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neo-neocon has a very good article about the nature of propaganda. Just because it's rah-rah doesn't mean it's wrong or incorrect.



And Robert Frost is still spot on in his definition of a liberal. Now, as then, it was an observation on the meta level.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Dan Melson published on February 15, 2006 8:55 PM.

The Biggest Risk was the previous entry in this blog.

Fear and Greed, or How Did The Housing Bubble Get So Big? is the next entry in this blog.

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