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Messages - el jefe

the family separation and people in cages stuff probably hasn't had time to show up in the polls yet.  correct me if I'm wrong, but it only got big mainstream attention in the last day or two.  pollsters work with three day rolling averages and then take another day to analyze.
welp, let's win back a bunch of state legislatures and see if the republican controlled supreme Court has a change of heart about whether partisan gerrymandering is ok.
despite all the speculation, scotus basically punted on all the gerrymandering cases

the only way this could have been worse is if they had explicitly held the partisan gerrymanders to be ok, which thankfully they did not

right now I'm thinking of roberts' willful stupidity in response to proposed metrics.  he was basically like "I don't understand that.  it must be bolesheeyit!"  also thinking of people who said the supreme court doesn't matter.

isn't worrying about people's sensitivity to choice of words pretty much the core of political correctness?
Politics and Current Events / Re: Trumpocalypse
too bigoted for the baptists.  that's saying something.
General Discussion / Re: home buying advice
that is a good strategy.  thanks for the idea.
General Discussion / Re: home buying advice
well up there you guys don't have any sunlight 9 months of the year, so you're not missing much
General Discussion / Re: home buying advice
Lol, iow, details are getting fuzzy and I don't recall exactly how interest worked - I think we ended up paying less.

Also, idk if your banks do this, but ours insist on insuring the mortgage holders, and it is just part of your payment every month/two weeks. The insurance, which was relatively cheap, would have paid off the mortgage entirely if one of us had died or become too disabled to work.
we have something called PMI (private mortgage insurance), which you're required to buy if your down payment is less than 20%.
General Discussion / Re: home buying advice
thanks for all that

in particular...

"Paying every two weeks as opposed to once a month reduces your length of mortgage paying way more than you might think."

that is fascinating.  hadn't thought of it and I totally buy it.  similar to the distinction between interest, apr, and apy.  also, I assume you pay less overall in interest, unless the terms or amortization somehow prevent that.
Politics and Current Events / Re: Israel
Israeli lawmaker proclaims supremacy of 'Jewish race'

Likud's MK Miki Zohar says Jews are the smartest in the world, so know Netanyahu isn't corrupt

totally normal, not at all proto fascist stuff happening in israel because of, uh, failures of palestinian self government or something i guess
tell him the populations that are genetically closest to ashkenazim are palestinians and germans
General Discussion / home buying advice
I'm doing this for the first time, and I'm hoping for advice.  I'll write out what I think I know.  please tell me if it's flawed or incomplete.  also, please feel free to add any other advice you have. 

my understanding of the whole thing is based mostly on the book, Home Buying For Dummies.  I've complemented that with googling specific issues for elaboration and other points of view.

we think we know what we want in a house, and roughly *where* we want it. we have a pretty good understanding of our finances and what we can really afford.  I think I have a rough but decent grasp of what the buying process looks like, overall.

here are key points I want to bounce off people


loans and lenders

mortgage brokers vs lenders:
- brokers are a mixed bag.  can save you time and headache, and generally find you a good mortgage, but you pay for it with a ~1% markup on the loan.  if you use them, be sure to look closely at them and their terms - and don't be afraid to shop around with other people while you're talking to them.  ....   because brokers are middlemen, they are charging you for something you can theoretically do yourself.   still, there are some good ones, and working with one can still be a good move.

type of loan:
fixed costs more but is nice and predictable.  ARMs, on average, will *tend* to save you money, IF you budget properly to handle changes in rates and payments.

DO NOT use an ARM just to get a bigger loan than you can qualify for with a fixed.  set your loan amount based on what you can afford with a fixed.

in general, remember what you qualify for =/= what you can afford

pay a little more now, to pay a lot less long term.  seems like a no-brainer.


house status

foreclosure, at auction:
don't touch, if you're not an expert.  these are a legal and financial minefield.  possibly a good deal, but very high risk.  don't think of doing it unless you are a professional flipper / investor or someone who knows what they are doing, not just wrt repairs and inspecting, but also legally and financially.

foreclosure, owned by bank:
avoids most of the dangers with auction foreclosures.  but the prices tend to be competitive with non-distressed houses.  so typically not much of a bargain.

possibly a good deal, but complex and time-consuming.  also there is a risk of wasting a large investment of time, if a buyer with a better offer scoops you.

can be a good deal, IF you have a reliable ability to judge what needs to be done and are realistic about what it will cost in time and money.  people, especially newbs, tend to grossly underestimate both.

for sale by owner:
possible great deal that cuts out middlemen, and which some realtors won't show you.  trade offs are possibly messier negotiations or stingey sellers

realtors and agents

contrary to popular belief, the buyer's agent doesn't work for the buyer.  they are paid by the seller.  and they make more, the higher the price the buyer pays.  laws, the need to get you to agree to the deal, and the need for good referrals will tend to discourage them from blatantly backstabbing the buyers.  also, they do a lot of important and annoying work for you, behind the scenes.  but they do have significant conflicts of interest.  and in subtle ways they can screw the buyer out of thousands of dollars, e.g. by not advising you well in negotiations, by tipping off the seller than you're in a hurry or have your heart set on the house (thus weakening your negotiating position), or by rushing you to finish the deal.

certainly don't work with agents who have relationships with the sellers or sellers agents.

minimize these conflicts of interest by getting an exclusive buyer's agent.  this is someone with a written guarantee that they have no relationships with sellers, sellers' agents, brokers, etc., and promises to work in your best interest.

house prices

highest in summer, lowest in winter.  slow but generally steady gain over the long term (2008 notwithstanding).  but levels and trends are very region-specific.

individual houses typically go on the market significantly higher than what they end up selling for.  obviously asks will be higher than bids.  but also many sellers start off very unrealistic, and need time to learn what the market thinks their house is really worth.  thus, some houses for sale are "ripe" and some are not.  amount of time on market is a rough guide, though some sellers start off realistic, and others stay in denial for a year or more.

bidding and under contract

be as informed as possible at every step.  take a hard look at comps, appraisals, inspections, and terms.  make sure you're satisfied with accuracy and understand what's in all of them.

negotiations are a complex, stressful, and scary process.  be patient, punctual, and diligent.  be assertive, but not unreasonable.  don't fail to empathize with the seller, if only to have a good understanding of the situation.  but never be totally afraid to walk away.


then, what?

once you have bought the house, turn around and sell it for twice what you paid.  if no one wants to buy it, then raise the price higher.  say it's just going to keep getting higher and higher if they don't BUY NOW.  next, try yelling at them to buy your house.  keep yelling louder and louder until they buy it.  eventually i assume someone will have had enough and buy your house at a ridiculous markup.  the perfect crime.
tried to google the story and got the video for ice ice baby
Imprisoning a 4-month-old child for months

Abolish ICE
feeling some pretty visceral hatred right now
that's not even clear to English speakers listening to him in English
wasn't there a story about how interpreters don't know how to translate trump's gibberish?
Meep, seriously, start making plans to get out.
I think with the family history in Argentina, she could claim her family is exiled fascists. that would be points in her favor with ICE.
Why should immigrant children get kennels when we can't even provide for our homeless vets?
besides, the vets didn't sign up to help immigrant children, they signed up to help the very animals who are now on the street too
love all the progress.  the advances in antivirals and cancer immunotherapy blow my mind.

but I don't care because this country is going straight to hell.  I hear the number of American flags is at an all time low.  *watches fox news showing a chart of the declining number of american flags*  *shakes head bitterly*
Politics and Current Events / Re: in a 5-4 decision
I propose winning the senate this year, then the presidency in 2020, and hanging on to at least one of them until kennedy, ginsburg, and Thomas all retire or pass on.  I don't hear Thomas ' s name mentioned much in retirement speculation, but he is no spring chicken.  maybe people don't realize he's 70, because black don't crack.
why are you being so mean to us, canada?  why?  *sniff*
this just proves that putin is our friend
Politics and Current Events / Re: in a 5-4 decision
purge everyone who thought the supreme court wasn't important
maybe amateurish handling of NK plus steady drip of multiple scandals. 

and/or maybe the congressional gop's inability to agree among themselves how hard to fuck over dreamers.

and/or the trade war
something good has been happening the last few weeks.  looks bigger than noise.

I have lost track of major politically related events, such that I can't even guess what might be behind this.  but I'll take it.