In other news... (humorous news items)

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby eSOANEM » Mon May 18, 2015 10:40 am UTC

Angua wrote:She'll stay an American citizen as well presumably. The American's only make you give up the other citizenships if you become one later on.


I was pretty sure the US generally don't like dual citizenship but that they don't actually really do anything to enforce it other than occasionally throwing a hissy fit if you try to enter or leave the US on a non-US passport (my dad new someone born in the US who also had British passport because of his British wife).
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby mathmannix » Mon May 18, 2015 1:27 pm UTC

When I went to the website of the Kingdom of North Sudan, I saw a few things. One is the link thereon entitled "Digital Freedom" - because if you have your own country, why not make it a data haven? Secondly, you can apply online for citizenship until September 19, 2015. So... if I do this, will I lose my American citizenship? Or is that only the case if I were applying for citizenship in a country that the U.S. recognizes? (I assume it's true in that case, like if I were to apply for French citizenship, but I don't really know if it's true even then...)
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby eSOANEM » Mon May 18, 2015 1:45 pm UTC

Even if you apply for French citizenship, you won't lose your US citizenship (based on what my dad said about his US-born UK-wife friend); the US just won't recognise it. Meanwhile all the sensible countries will recognise both.
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby Tirian » Mon May 18, 2015 1:56 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:Obama to limit the military equipment police departments can purchase:

http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSKBN0 ... 8?irpc=932

I have serious doubts that the limitations will go far enough to make any real difference.


The banned list includes: tank-like armored vehicles that move on tracks, certain types of camouflage uniforms, bayonets, firearms and ammunition of .50 caliber or higher, grenade launchers, and weaponized aircraft.


Am I to presume that there was a list of military equipment that was not appropriate for resale to civilian police departments before and these items weren't on it?

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby Thesh » Mon May 18, 2015 2:03 pm UTC

The previous list was as follows:

ICBM's or other devices designed to allow law enforcement to deliver nuclear weapons to regions outside their jurisdiction.
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby Tyndmyr » Mon May 18, 2015 5:29 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:The previous list was as follows:

ICBM's or other devices designed to allow law enforcement to deliver nuclear weapons to regions outside their jurisdiction.


I would *love* to hear the discussion around that. Because you *know* someone probably was against it.

That list, in general, seems reasonable. Not because camo is bad or anything, but because confusion with military is undesirable in general. The caliber restriction on weapons is the only thing that doesn't seem to fit. There's edge cases for those*. But the rest does seem like a bit of overkill for police departments.

*Large caliber weapons are frequently used in rural communities for dealing with big bears and stuff, for instance. Not yer every day patrol officer, but swat sniper, animal control, special jobs like that. .50 is a reasonably common big caliber. Banning larger than .50 would have been more reasonable, though.

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby Angua » Mon May 18, 2015 6:32 pm UTC

I have four passports, one ofwhich is American, so they definitely don't have a problem with it. They will refuse to let US born citizens into the US without a US passport though. I have managed to fly out of hte US on a different passport because I sent mine in to be renewed (which requires a face to face so had to do it in the bloody US).

The US is so backwards when it comes to many things. It really screws over people in the Caribbean because there's only one embassy but you need a visa which you need to get in person in order to just fly through Puerto Rico on your way to somewhere else.
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby krogoth » Tue May 19, 2015 1:16 am UTC

Thesh wrote:The previous list was as follows:

ICBM's or other devices designed to allow law enforcement to deliver nuclear weapons to regions outside their jurisdiction.


Other types of nukes are ok though right? There is nothing as exhilarating as busting down a door with a handheld tactical nuke.
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby Coyne » Tue May 19, 2015 3:31 am UTC

Thesh wrote:Obama to limit the military equipment police departments can purchase:


"No tracked vehicles? Extra justification for mine-resistant vehicles? I suppose that means no nukes for school security departments, WTF?"

----

This is from a kind of sick joke I've been using after the stories went around about schools getting MRAPS and grenade launchers. As a result, I posit an arms race, which will result in school districts getting multi-megaton nukes for defense of the students. Of course that is silly, but...

Think about it. You are a school district security officer, charged with protecting children. How do you plan to use a grenade launcher to do that? Are you expecting a military invasion at the school? Do you think you can use grenades to punish bad kids? Or kids' bad parents?

Seriously, as a school security officer, what mentality leads you to the conclusion that you need a grenade launcher? Beyond just one-upping the school district next door? If that's your concern, what do you plan to do when the district next door gets a howitzer?
Last edited by Coyne on Tue May 19, 2015 3:40 am UTC, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby Thesh » Tue May 19, 2015 3:35 am UTC

I don't get how they expect to anyone police a city without access to helicopters with 30mm chain guns and 70mm rockets.
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby Coyne » Tue May 19, 2015 3:41 am UTC

Thesh wrote:I don't get how they expect to anyone police a city without access to helicopters with 30mm chain guns and 70mm rockets.


Exactly. We need our nukes!
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby krogoth » Tue May 19, 2015 4:05 am UTC

Coyne wrote: Do you think you can use grenades to punish bad kids?


Have you seen anime where they force you to hold water buckets outside the classroom for being a nuisance or tardy? let's step it up a notch!
No more running laps as punishment, it's time to test your luck crossing the mine field!
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby Coyne » Tue May 19, 2015 4:37 am UTC

krogoth wrote:
Coyne wrote: Do you think you can use grenades to punish bad kids?


Have you seen anime where they force you to hold water buckets outside the classroom for being a nuisance or tardy? let's step it up a notch!
No more running laps as punishment, it's time to test your luck crossing the mine field!


Sounds over the top, just about like grenade launchers.

Maybe that's how the school districts were planning to use the grenade launchers. "Late for class? How about a little broken field running?"
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby KnightExemplar » Tue May 19, 2015 3:48 pm UTC

http://www.slate.com/blogs/moneybox/201 ... _data.html

RadioShack is dead, but its saga is ongoing. Last week, the company’s name was auctioned off for $26.2 million to Standard General, a hedge fund that earlier this year bought hundreds of RadioShack store leases. With the latest purchase, though, Standard General also got RadioShack’s collection of consumer data—that means the names, addresses, email addresses, and purchase histories of potentially tens or even hundreds of millions of RadioShack customers


Rich’s issue is that when RadioShack collected this sort of data (you know, before it went bankrupt), its privacy policies stated things like: “We will not sell or rent your personally identifiable information to anyone at any time” and “We pride ourselves on not selling our private mailing list.” Rich adds that statements like these would “likely be considered very important to many customers” and that people “who provided their personal information to RadioShack would likely be very concerned if it were to be transferred without restriction to an unknown purchaser for unknown uses.”


Dunno if this is "serious" enough to be in the "dark" thread. So I'm putting it in this thread instead.
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby KrytenKoro » Tue May 19, 2015 4:18 pm UTC

KnightExemplar wrote:http://www.slate.com/blogs/moneybox/2015/05/18/ftc_radioshack_consumer_privacy_letter_court_should_protect_people_s_data.html

RadioShack is dead, but its saga is ongoing. Last week, the company’s name was auctioned off for $26.2 million to Standard General, a hedge fund that earlier this year bought hundreds of RadioShack store leases. With the latest purchase, though, Standard General also got RadioShack’s collection of consumer data—that means the names, addresses, email addresses, and purchase histories of potentially tens or even hundreds of millions of RadioShack customers


Rich’s issue is that when RadioShack collected this sort of data (you know, before it went bankrupt), its privacy policies stated things like: “We will not sell or rent your personally identifiable information to anyone at any time” and “We pride ourselves on not selling our private mailing list.” Rich adds that statements like these would “likely be considered very important to many customers” and that people “who provided their personal information to RadioShack would likely be very concerned if it were to be transferred without restriction to an unknown purchaser for unknown uses.”


Dunno if this is "serious" enough to be in the "dark" thread. So I'm putting it in this thread instead.

I have absolutely no legal knowledge of this field, but is there a reason why the privacy policy wouldn't still apply? If SG managed to purchase it without it applying, wouldn't whoever sold it to them be hugely liable?
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby Forest Goose » Tue May 19, 2015 4:35 pm UTC

KrytenKoro wrote:I have absolutely no legal knowledge of this field, but is there a reason why the privacy policy wouldn't still apply? If SG managed to purchase it without it applying, wouldn't whoever sold it to them be hugely liable?


Here's some applicable law:

https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/11/332
https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/11/363#b_1_B
http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/PLAW-109pu ... 9publ8.htm

Here's the consumer privacy ombudsman's report for this case:

https://consumermediallc.files.wordpres ... 229126.pdf
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby Tirian » Tue May 19, 2015 4:49 pm UTC

Standard General also got RadioShack’s collection of consumer data—that means the names, addresses, email addresses, and purchase histories of potentially tens or even hundreds of millions of RadioShack customers


If RadioShack had hundreds of millions of customers, they wouldn't have needed to file for bankruptcy.

To get ahead of the news cycle, I'll just confess. I bought rechargeable batteries from Radio Shack twenty years ago -- maybe even the recharger! Thank goodness I've moved and changed e-mail addresses since then so the grid will take a little longer to track me down.

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby Djehutynakht » Tue May 19, 2015 7:49 pm UTC

Re Citizenship:

The US wouldn't care. Nobody views this guy as serious. They'd simply regard the North Sudanese citizenship as made up, or illegitimate.
Take for instance, this man who has, at least in theory, decided that he is wholly independent from the United States.

I like this man. He's funny. He's interesting. He's doing what he truly loves in interesting fashion. He rides in parades in the local town. He issues awards to the local pizza place. But the US doesn't take him seriously. Even though it's ostensibly on their soil, they don't go after him. And he pays his taxes ('foreign aid', I think).

North Sudan is a bit trickier, because, technically, there's no legal reason why you shouldn't be allowed to set up a country in that area, and this guy may or may not be a bit more resistant about admitting, in the end, that this is for fun. I dunno. But for now they'll treat him just as they treat the thousands of others.
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Onto more important news.

It rains spiders in one Australian town.


This reaction I found pretty golden:

It was beautiful, he said. "But at the same time I was annoyed because ... you couldn't go out without getting spider webs on you. And I've got a beard as well, so they kept getting in my beard."

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby CBusAlex » Tue May 19, 2015 8:05 pm UTC

ObsessoMom wrote:Also, on what planet does "disputed territory" = "territory NEITHER of the disputing parties wants"?


This one.

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby ObsessoMom » Tue May 19, 2015 9:54 pm UTC

Thanks.

I've been trying to think of a humorous way to combine the idea of land that nobody wants with the Rohingyas, who are people without a country...but that will take a far more talented comedian than myself. So far I can't crack a smirkle.

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby elasto » Wed May 20, 2015 4:28 pm UTC

Was this news story posted at the time? Texan arrested for paying his property taxes with $1 bills folded so tightly it took six minutes to unfold each one...

Mainly posting it cos it reminded me of this logic puzzle... :D

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby sardia » Wed May 20, 2015 5:49 pm UTC

elasto wrote:Was this news story posted at the time? Texan arrested for paying his property taxes with $1 bills folded so tightly it took six minutes to unfold each one...

Mainly posting it cos it reminded me of this logic puzzle... :D

That's not why he was arrested. He was arrested for refusing to leave the premises and then resisting arrest. He was asked to leave because he was being an asshole("disrupting operations").

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby Mambrino » Wed May 20, 2015 7:12 pm UTC


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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby Coyne » Wed May 20, 2015 8:25 pm UTC

So lets see. $600. Can he fold as fast as they can be unfolded? Bet not, but just for argument let's suppose he can. So 3600 minutes to fold them; 60 hours. At minimum wage, he turned his $600 tax bill into a $1035 expenditure of money, time and effort.

It's obvious he hates taxes, but that's cutting off your nose to spite your face.
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby Tyndmyr » Wed May 20, 2015 9:18 pm UTC

I'm having difficulty imagining any series of folds such that it would take six minutes to undo them. A dollar bill simply isn't that big.

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby Quercus » Wed May 20, 2015 9:41 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:I'm having difficulty imagining any series of folds such that it would take six minutes to undo them. A dollar bill simply isn't that big.


Indeed. As it stands that article is more about a crowning achievement in origami than about protesting taxation :)

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby DaBigCheez » Wed May 20, 2015 9:44 pm UTC

Coyne wrote:So lets see. $600. Can he fold as fast as they can be unfolded? Bet not, but just for argument let's suppose he can. So 3600 minutes to fold them; 60 hours. At minimum wage, he turned his $600 tax bill into a $1035 expenditure of money, time and effort.


Is the US/Texas minimum wage not $7.25/hr? $1035 seems to assume a $17.25 minimum wage; it'd be $435 if using $7.25/hr.
EDIT: I'm an idiot, of course he used the $600 in actual bills as well, so that's why - 600 + 435 <_<

(Side note: "but if you spent the time working instead, you'd have - " comparisons tend to annoy me somewhat. Mostly because in my contexts, they tend to come up in relation to "grinding cash" in video games, and the inevitable "or you could just work an extra 2 hours and buy $money!". Work hours are not always a perfectly-elastic, perfectly-fungible commodity, and sometimes things have value to a person beyond the monetary...)
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby ObsessoMom » Wed May 20, 2015 9:45 pm UTC



"Those attending the vigil are asked to wear a cow onesie and bring a candle."

Aw. Now I wanna go.

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby krogoth » Thu May 21, 2015 2:27 am UTC

ObsessoMom wrote:


"Those attending the vigil are asked to wear a cow onesie and bring a candle."

Aw. Now I wanna go.


It was all a devilish ploy to sell more candles and cow onesies
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby Carlington » Thu May 21, 2015 3:32 am UTC

Give more of your earnings to your cow-pitalist oppressors?
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby Coyne » Thu May 21, 2015 5:19 am UTC

DaBigCheez wrote:(Side note: "but if you spent the time working instead, you'd have - " comparisons tend to annoy me somewhat. Mostly because in my contexts, they tend to come up in relation to "grinding cash" in video games, and the inevitable "or you could just work an extra 2 hours and buy $money!". Work hours are not always a perfectly-elastic, perfectly-fungible commodity, and sometimes things have value to a person beyond the monetary...)


Well...don't get over-focused on the value I used to make the point. The simple bottom line is he spent 60 hours (at minimum) of his personal time folding 600 one dollar bills, so he could annoy someone else. I don't know about you, but I don't have that time or energy to waste on being an ass.
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby krogoth » Thu May 21, 2015 5:33 am UTC

Maybe he has a habit of folding dollar bills while watching tv or something? it could have been he already had them and then thought, well now I have a good use for them.
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby Diadem » Thu May 21, 2015 10:54 am UTC

Coyne wrote:So lets see. $600. Can he fold as fast as they can be unfolded? Bet not, but just for argument let's suppose he can. So 3600 minutes to fold them; 60 hours. At minimum wage, he turned his $600 tax bill into a $1035 expenditure of money, time and effort.

It's obvious he hates taxes, but that's cutting off your nose to spite your face.

I don't know about that. Sure it costs $1035 and gets you arrested. But how much can you raise for your 'legal defence'? How much will Fox pay you to appear on their shows? How much is the inevitable book deal worth? I don't think this is necessarily a bad investment at all.
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby Quercus » Thu May 21, 2015 10:56 am UTC

ObsessoMom wrote:


"Those attending the vigil are asked to wear a cow onesie and bring a candle."

Aw. Now I wanna go.


Given the typical quality of novelty onesies this worries me from a fire safety perspective.

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby krogoth » Thu May 21, 2015 12:23 pm UTC

The real danger is the american cops thinking another herd got out and are starting fires and they'll have to put them down...
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby ObsessoMom » Sat May 23, 2015 1:46 pm UTC

These were police in Northeast England, who apparently didn't know that adding "aerial support" (i.e., a great noisy terror in the sky!!!) to a situation involving a loose cow is not conducive to calm containment.

Maybe I should have posted this to the police moosbehavior thread.

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby Xenomortis » Sat May 23, 2015 2:23 pm UTC

I don't get it, I've never thought a cow to be dangerous enough to public safety that shooting it would be justified.
Then again, I grew up somewhere where driving herds of cows off the road was just one of those things you sometimes had to do.
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby KnightExemplar » Sun May 24, 2015 7:58 am UTC

It always amuses me to see articles about how profitable it is to own a trailer park in America.

http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle ... investment

“We were a family park when we first started. [But] about 20 years ago, I couldn’t get on the property because a drug dealer had separated from his girlfriend in the park across the street ... and there was a long line of cars because she was undercutting her boyfriend.”

Lee, 70, says she was advised that if she took in sex offenders the drug dealers would leave. “So, I started taking in sex offenders, and I have a very clean property. Sex offenders are watched by the news media, the TV, the sheriff’s department, probation, the department of corrections ... so when they are in there, the drug dealers and the other people don’t like to be around.”

Sex offenders have been good for Lee financially, with park occupancy running at “1,000%”. She rents trailer pad spots for about $325 a month. The trailers are either owned by the tenant or rented from a third party. Many trailers are divided into three bedrooms, for which tenants are charged $500 a month per room.


I only have one friend who lived in a Trailer Park. And she lived on the other side of the country. I was invited to her modest wedding. (For which I was very honored to be one of the few guests invited). I can't say that I thought too much of the situation back then (granted, I was sitting in a hotel and we never really met at her place). It does make me curious what life is like in a trailer park, but these sorts of subjects are always hard to discuss ya know? As the article notes, it is very hard to discuss the situation of trailer-park housing without accidentally insulting the tenants.

Later, I learned of the fact that Warren Buffet has been investing heavily into trailer parks. Since then, I've had a casual interest in the economics of trailer parks and mobile homes. I'm glad to finally see some solid numbers in an article.

I think the discussion of the Sex Offender trailer park was specifically mind-opening. I know that a lot of sex-offenders got their status off of nonsense. That's just one of the tags in today's culture that gets you marked for life. I've actually thought about the pathway for felons / criminals the past couple of weeks on and off... and I think housing and jobs that explicitly cater to those folk need to exist. There needs to be a way to climb out of the status of "convicted felon" and put your life back together. A few years of being clean with a good job and a house (even in a mobile home) ought to be enough to bootstrap a person back into a successful life.

---

Now the video associated with the article makes it a bit more clear about what is going on. The $500/month figure is about trailers that sell to individuals. So the individuals split a trailer into three rooms, and then rent out the space to three different individuals for $500 each. When you own a trailer in a "sex offender park", and you know your tenants have no where else to go... I guess that's what happens. But its not like anyone at a trailer park is actually paying $1500 (which seems to be the implication in the quote above).

Still, the discussions of trailer park pads were pitting the price from $350/month to $550/month for the pad... not counting the $20k or so for the trailer. Assuming the "trailer" is a down-payment, this would be roughly equivalent to a $110k house. (A condominium has condo-fees associated with it... which can be as much as $250/month. Since condo-fees change from community to community, its hard to actually compare the fixed $500ish/month cost of a trailer-park pad to a condo).

The general "personal finance" estimate is to spend no more than 1/3 of your income on housing. If you're spending $500 on a trailer park pad, that's targeting an income of $18,000/year... still slightly above the minimum wage. I don't think the standard advice of "1/3rd of your income on housing" actually scales down very well (it's not like you can spend less money on food / living expenses). Still, at least the math works out in theory, although I've never thought about how a budget of a person on minimum-wage looks like.

-----------------

I did a quick check on Washington Post, and here is their article on Trailer Parks. It seems like trailer parks are especially lucrative because counties are beginning to ban them across the country.

Weissman, a University of Michigan economics graduate, attributes his newfound calm to the supply-demand equation in the trailer-park industry. With more of the U.S. middle class sliding into poverty and many towns banning new trailer parks, enterprising owners are getting rich renting the concrete pads and surrounding dirt on which residents park their homes.


[David Protiva] noticed that until 2008, most people coming into his parks were moving up; they owned nothing before buying a trailer. Since 2009, half of his residents have come to him from conventional homes, moving down, he says.


Weissman and Shlachter take pride in improving the lives of residents in some of the more rundown parks they’ve bought. And they say owning trailer parks has taught them what it’s like to be poor in the United States. Many tenants can’t get bank accounts, because they have wretched credit. Instead, they use prepaid debit cards that charge a fee of as much as $4 to load just $20 onto them.


If there really is a supply-crunch of low-income housing in America, then there's the real problem. I know most people look down upon low-income housing. From inner-city ghettos, to trailer parks. Heck, even apartments that are built in residential neighborhoods "bring down" the property values of homes across suburbia. Furthermore, with huge swaths of the population buying homes on 5x leverage or more (aka: 20% down or less), small changes in property value have a huge effect on your net worth. So the need to "protect your investment" is real.

Still, if the country fails to build more low-income housing, there will definitely be long term harm.

Oh yeah, and if anyone has the wrong idea about trailer homes...

Two hours after the deal closed, while Shlachter was heading out to surf on the California coast, the park manager called to tell him his new asset had made the national news. A SWAT team had descended on a trailer whose owner was suspected of blowing up a house nearby for the insurance money and flattening part of a subdivision in the process, killing two. The trailer owner and two others were charged with arson and murder.

Later, a squatter on meth chased the park manager with a metal pipe. The county health department delivered a stack of violations eight inches high.

“When you stop maintaining anything, it goes bad,” Shlachter says. “When you stop maintaining a mobile-home park, it goes real bad, real fast.”
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Angua
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby Angua » Sun May 24, 2015 8:53 am UTC

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby Tirian » Sun May 24, 2015 2:19 pm UTC

"I ask myself, most of these young people who voted yes are products of our Catholic school system for 12 years. I'm saying there's a big challenge there to see how we get across the message of the Church," he added.


I hope his "reality check" leads him to the realization that they HAVE been getting across the message of the Church. Irish Catholic and Protestant and secular voters alike voted to love their neighbors as themselves, which is the second of Jesus' Two Commandments. But the notion that he needs to shepherd the society of today and not the societies of several millennia ago is novel and refreshing.


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