What Happened to Home Sales?

I don’t know if you’ve had enough coffee yet to be able to form up a question at this ungodly hour, but did you happen to catch the data out Wednesday from the Census and HUD New Residential Sales report?  This is the poster child for “Train wreck…”

Sales of new single-family houses in March 2014 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 384,000, according to estimates released jointly today by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. This is 14.5 percent (±12.9%) below the revised February rate of 449,000 and is 13.3 percent (±9.9%) below the March 2013 estimate of 443,000.

The median sales price of new houses sold in March 2014 was $290,000; the average sales price was $334,200. The
seasonally adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at the end of March was 193,000. This represents a supply of 6.0
months at the current sales rate.

This was followed by today’s report on Durable Goods:

New orders for manufactured durable goods in March increased $6.0 billion or 2.6 percent to $234.8 billion, the U.S. Census Bureau announced today. This increase, up two consecutive months, followed a 2.1 percent February increase. Excluding transportation, new orders increased 2.0 percent. Excluding defense, new orders increased 1.8 percent.

Year-on-year, the data shows non-defense growth of 3.7% which might SOUND all peachy-keen, but remember the scoreboard is cockeyed:  the report is in dollars.

And this matters HUGELY because there are 6.1% more dollars sloshing around the US economy than there were a year ago, according to the Federal Reserve’s money stocks report.

Next Tuesday, we’ll get the Case-Shiller/S&P housing figures.  But unless I’m completely out to lunch (which is a real possibility, by the way) what’s happened to housing numbers is something called “deflation.”

And while we’re getting ready to unload federal land onto the Chinese, who have been bailing us out, the ugly truth is that Russia is rubbing our noses in it.

Did you see where Vlad Putin has just come out with a HUGE silver coin to mark the Russian conquest of Crimea?  At this morning’s prices that’s a $675 coin in silver.

So while Russia gloats and we’re swimming in our sewer stuffed with bad paper, the Russians are eyeing more land and China’s gotta be looking at more land deals.  And in case you haven’t figured out that you people are smart enough to see the big pix, that’s what’s happening to home sales, I’m afraid…

More after this…

FDA:  Blowing Smoke?

Electronic smokes are in the sights of the Food and Drug Administration.  As the agency points out on its website:

E-cigarettes have not been fully studied so consumers currently don’t know:

  • the potential risks of  e-cigarettes when used as intended,
  • how much nicotine or other potentially harmful chemicals are being inhaled during use, or
  • if there are any benefits associated with using these products.

Additionally, it is not known if e-cigarettes may lead young people to try other tobacco products, including conventional cigarettes, which are known to cause disease and lead to premature death.

So, naturally, when proposed regulations on e-smokes started to pop, there was an immediate media frenzy.

Here’s an example story to read because Ures truly is about to make a point. 

Unlike the FDA’s screwing the public by taking a useful generic like colchicine  and making it a proprietary, or allowing certain ingredients in vaccines, the FDA approach here (warn and get data) verges on making sense.

Whether this signifies a long-term shift toward reasonable?  Pardon me while I don’t hold my breath, just yet.

Vancouver Island Shakes

A note from Gaye at www.backdoorsurvival.com came rolling in about 10:30 central time last night:

Felt it.  Thought it was an EQ at the moment then though I was going nuts.
———- Forwarded message ———-
Date: Wednesday, April 23, 2014
Subject: 2014-04-24 03:10:13 UPDATED: (M6.7) VANCOUVER ISLAND, CANADA REGION 49.8 -127.4 (567f0)

Globe with Earthquake Location

Magnitude:  6.7 (revised down to 6.6 later – g)

94 km (58 mi) S of Port Hardy, Canada
157 km (97 mi) W of Campbell River, Canada
176 km (109 mi) W of Courtenay, Canada
201 km (124 mi) WNW of Port Alberni, Canada
335 km (207 mi) WNW of Victoria, Canada

Since we’ve had a 7.5 recently down off of Mexico, and a fair number of quakes up in the area from mid-Vancouver Island into the Queen Charlottes (Haida Gwaii) quake which was 7.8 in October of 2012, a skeptical worrywart  (you?) might wonder when will the area from Seattle south to San Diego play catch-up? 

Never, we hope.  But the numbers don’t pencil out like that over the long-term.

Cons and Trutheqences

We all like to believe that every cop is honest, every judge is honest, every prosecutor is honest and people are never framed and sent up for life, just because a prosecutor is looking to put a record on the desk of their boss.  But it happens.

The article this month in the American Bar Association Journal makes one hell of a statement:

“Man whose case was dismissed after ‘Perry Mason’ moment in court sues 5 police officers over arrest.”  All five cops were caught lying under oath.

I’ll spare you the math lecture here.  I’ll only suggest that like other heinous crimes (child or spouse abuse, rape, etc) that likely only a small fraction of events like this one ever surface, let along make it to the mainstream.

Debated in the middle?  Cases like the Rubin “Hurricane” Carter case, which is still being rehashed this week since Carter’s death.

And speaking of legal goings on:  Courthouse News Service reports “Cheerleaders Call Buffalo Bills Rapacious, Unethical and Cheap.” What, in pro sports?  Go ahead…look surprised…


“Daily Bomber” is Back

Time once again to fuse creative writing and blown up headlines, since there’s enough grist for a whole website dedicated to genuinely “explosive” news:

Bomb kills 4 in Pakistan”

Kenya Car Bomb kills four in capital city Nairobi

Hold’er Newt!

Why is it that the number four seems to have popped up in killing, rapes, and murder, and fatal wrecks and such?

Lawsuit over a fire that killed four, then we find murder charges over an I-94 crash, and what about the four Afghan police killed at a checkpoint attack?

My point this morning is that information – consciously controlling the information that gets into your head – is very odd stuff.  Most people just wake up, turn on the television, and grant power to some hung-over news editor on the assignment desk to have made a useful judgment about what is useful to you.

That was how it was, once upon a time up until the mid 1970’s.  That’s when media began to specialize.  Out came shows like Entertainment Tonight (1981), huge ratings followed for the show, and along came the drift from useful, in-depth to today’s slurry of “infotainment” that bleed into any media trying to make a buck (including here).

While I made periodically make jest when I propose new specialized “infotainment” websites like “The Daily Bomber” (which someone actually has in construction, by the way), or this morning’s sure-fire revenue scheme “www.fourpeoplearedead.com”  the sad fact is that information is going through a metamorphosis with the internet allowing people to self-select how and what they want to know about.

All of which has me scurrying to lock up by next great online news site idea: www.16wereinjured.com.  I just know that’s gonna be a winner.