Monday, September 26, 2005


Here are a few things that are interesting but don't merit their own posts:

(1) Jack Shafer goes totally nuts about one New York Times article, devoting two different columns in Slate to attacking it. It's like he's stealing my job--I'm the one who flips out about random articles and blogs about them; he's supposed to be completely original and write the stuff that I then blog about. Someone tell him, or this could be trouble.

(2) Big anti-war protest in DC this weekend. I thought about going to the rally on Saturday, but had doubts about it accomplishing anything (see post below) and thought my time would be better spent elsewhere. Here's the Washington Post's coverage of it--sign in to see the video. In related news, everyone's favorite lightning rod Cindy Sheehan happily managed to get herself arrested today. Here's Sunday's smaller rally at CNN.

(3) On a non-partisan topic, I'd be interested to hear what everyone has to say about this article, whether it's better to buy or rent in different circumstances. The last few sentences--about home ownership making people feel successful--was the most salient point in the whole article. Does anyone think housing prices in overheated markets are going to start going down soon? In Northern Virginia isolated houses and townhouses are starting to become reasonable again, but it still costs $600,000 to buy a nice house with a yard within 25 miles of DC.


At 9:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree, all Cindy Sheehan is doing, is emboldening Al Qaeda.

At 10:36 PM, Blogger Jackscolon said...

I agree that you have better things to do than attend the Cindy Sheehan-love in. Although I'll pay you to attend if you walk around carrying a Big Mac and say things like, "See these shoes? They're awesome. Made in China- you'll never guess how little I paid for them..." The anti-war rally isn't about being anti-war, it's a huge liberal party where they all hang out and orally stimulate each other.. you know, like speeches and such.

As to housing costs in overheated markets, there is no sign of abatement here in Central Florida. Houses and planned communities are filling up as fast as they can build them. Our club just forged an alliance (always wanted to use that phrase) to build a new golf course and like 1000 homes with a national community planner business. Ridiculous. I think the key is the population shift. Areas of the country that attract the former denizens of the rust belt will keep up the pace of appreciation, whereas eventually they'll have to give away waterfront housing in Cleveland and Detroit to homeless people. Or something.

Oh, and the difference between you and Jack Shafer is that he writes more than one article every two weeks. Zing!

At 10:13 AM, Blogger RedHurt said...

I didn't find the article about housing to be terribly informative. It felt like a very long way of saying, "sometimes you save money by renting." They referenced some method to prove it, but never really explained what that was. I don't dispute the point - I just didn't see much to discuss in what they said. It probably is cheaper, especially in the mid to short term, to rent than buy. Here in Colorado, I'm paying twice as much for my house as I did for an apartment, but that's comparing apples to oranges. I could probably rent then house I'm in for $200-$400 less per month, and that's just not worth it. So in areas like DC I bet this is quite a good idea, but here in CO buying still seems smarter to me.

I think the clear solution is to buy your apartment. complex.

At 10:43 AM, Blogger J. Morgan Caler said...

1) The NYT article and the Slate response have gotten a lot of talk her at UVA. I think his critique of the article, however, is pretty weak. He is complaining that it is not rigorous enough to prove anything, but since that wasn’t the point of the article, I don’t know what that amounts to (other than filling pages).

2) Still thinking about your very important question from the previous post (how do we combine sophisticated critiques with action?), especially in light of the protests this weekend.

3) I don’t know what to think about this. My sense is that there are very few people for whom buying a house is financially advantageous right now and that there are very few people for whom renting an apartment is financially advantageous right now. The former, I think, are only those people who could use the tax break because they make a lot of money and for whom the added expenses would not compromise other investment activities. The latter, I think, are only those people who get their maximum (or close to their maximum) tax refund anyway by merit of their income or other deductions and do not have enough non-committed income to make substantial, multiple investments. For everyone else in the middle, it is probably wise to maintain the status quo for now. As jackscolon pointed out, there is still a lot of activity in the new housing market, but, it is mostly due to previous home owners moving on or up. Very few people right now can break into home ownership and come out ahead.

At 3:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let's agree that Cindy Sheehan is not a major thinker, organizer or leader.

But, in reply to another "anonymous"--I doubt she is emboldening Al Qaeda.

I'll tell you what would embolden me if I were Al Qaeda--the governmental response to hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. No Bush-bashing here, though I don't like him; pick a government level, any level.

Think about it. If things went so badly with something that was so foreseen--how much chaos could Al Q. cause with something unexpected?

At 3:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, what is up with the New York Times anyway? The whole site seems to be loading more slowly since they went to subscription only for some pages. Is that just me?

At 4:50 PM, Blogger CharlesPeirce said...

Yeah, I thought the statement that Cindy Sheehan was emboldening Al Qaeda was off the wall--if we do or don't do things because of what Al Qaeda will think, then the terrorists have won. We have to do or not do things because they're moral.

Re: NYT: mine is fine.


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