Category Archives: News

Happy Birthday, WaMu!

Washington Mutual died on its 119th birthday.

Reuters: WaMu is largest U.S. bank failure

Washington Mutual Inc was closed by the U.S. government in by far the largest failure of a U.S. bank, and its banking assets were sold to JPMorgan Chase & Co for $1.9 billion.

Thursday’s seizure and sale is the latest historic step in U.S. government attempts to clean up a banking industry littered with toxic mortgage debt. Negotiations over a $700 billion bailout of the entire financial system stalled in Washington on Thursday.


The transaction ends exactly 119 years of independence for Washington Mutual, whose predecessor was incorporated on September 25, 1889, “to offer its stockholders a safe and profitable vehicle for investing and lending,” according to the thrift’s website. This helped Seattle residents rebuild after a fire torched the city’s downtown.

Maybe I should have deposited that check this morning.

Hang up and drive!

Effective July 1, drivers in California will not be allowed to use their mobile phones while driving, unless they have a hands-free device or are using the walkie-talkie feature.

Things to note:

    The fine will be $20 for the first offense, and $50 for subsequent offenses. Penalty assessments can be added on, dramatically increasing the fine.
    You can be pulled over for driving and talking.

The city of Beverly Hills already has big signs up warning people about the coming date. I can’t wait to see those people pulled off to the side of the road for this; we might even get some cop-slapping video action. More details at the DMV’s website.

The Importance of Diversification, Even in Planning

The best quote: “I thought I’d bought a home in Pleasantville,” says Talbot, who moved from New York last year. “I never imagined in my wildest dreams that stuff like this would happen.”

Charlotte Observer: New suburbs in fast decay

Foreclosures lead to vacancies and crime

Liz Chandler And Ted Mellnik, Posted on Sun, Dec. 09, 2007

A band of new suburban neighborhoods that held promise for thousands of Charlotte families is now struggling with crime, blight and falling home values.

These neighborhoods were hit hard by the wave of foreclosures rattling the nation. Damage is most visible in starter-home subdivisions across northern Charlotte, and in pockets in the east and southwest.

The best of them show subtle signs: Vacant houses. Overgrown weeds. Trash piled at the curb.

The worst of them already resemble decaying urban neighborhoods that keep police and housing inspectors busy — and cost Charlotte millions to repair.
Continue reading The Importance of Diversification, Even in Planning

President Bush Signs Energy Bill

Auto fleet averages are going up to 35 mpg by 2020 (25 mpg today) and standard light bulbs are being phased out in favor of fluorescents and LEDs.

Washington Post: President Bush Signs Energy Bill

President Bush on Wednesday signed into law legislation meant to reduce U.S. reliance on foreign oil by raising fuel-efficiency standards for automobiles, ordering a massive increase in the use of biofuels and phasing out sales of the ubiquitous incandescent light bulb popularized by Thomas Edison more than a century ago.

The bill, the product of a year of rhetoric, lobbying, veto threats and negotiations, won final approval yesterday in the House of Representatives on a 314 to 100 vote, and Bush moved quickly to make it official. At a signing ceremony, Bush said the bill would “address our vulnerabilities and dependence” on imported oil, saying that the bill offered the country a chance to cut pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, and even reduce the likelihood of terrorist attacks.

Lawmakers said the energy bill will reduce America’s heavy reliance on imported oil and take a modest step toward slowing climate change by cutting about a quarter of the greenhouse-gas emissions that most scientists say the United States must eliminate by 2030 to do its share to avert the most dire effects of global warming.

I’d gladly switch my S2000 for an electric S2020.