A few nice mortgage interest rate images I found:
Image by khteWisconsin
(>500 hits) Monarch “Danaus plexippus”
* Warning: this text contains Politics *
Amongst other things, Flicker is a reflection of the world. So for those of you who like taking pictures of our natural world, you may want to consider the following:
As you may know, there is a whole bunch of United Nations proceedings currently taking place and soon a Climate summit of sorts will be held in Copenhagen, Denmark.
The article on the front page of the Financial Times quotes a European Official as saying:
“So far, we thought the problem was the Chinese and the Indians. But now I the problem appears to lie most clearly with the US”. The article goes on to say the problem is specifically with the US Senate holding up global progress on the matter. According to Harry Reid, the US Senate Majority Leader, environmental legislation may very well have to wait until next year in lieu of the all consuming Health Care Reform debate taking place in the US.
There you have it – America is the most internationally renowned environmental pariah on the planet. Now I have a voice, and I have a choice about my opinion on the matter…and here it is – Bologna! Nope! Not on my tax dollar!
Firstly, Mr. Reid’s excuse that the US Senate is too busy right now to deal with the global environmental crisis is abject garbage. Despite the fact that I can’t imagine why any US Senator would think that multi-tasking wouldn’t be part of the job, other evidence also suggests that this is a complete lie.
Take a look at maplight.org/. Maplight offers a searchable database of campaign contributions and other cash payments to Senator’s together with their voting history on legislation that would effect the contributor purchasing legislation. Hmm,…look at those dates!? Hmm,…look at those legislative topics!? My, my, my, isn’t that a lot of money – unrelated to Health Care Reform – for the Senator to take receipt of during the Health Care debate without the party paying the money sitting down with the Senator and giving himher voting instructions or explaining the legislation that they wrote? Yeah it is. And if you don’t think so consider that the Senate is currently considering an amendment or "rider" to the Interior/EPA appropriations bill that would bar the Environmental Protection Agency from using its existing authority to limit global warming pollution from power plants and factories. Then there is Senator Vitter’s currently working on an amendment to gag the President’s well-respected climate change advisor Carol Browner.
A third amendment aims to obstruct EPA’s ability to complete the Renewable Fuel Standards rule and hinder their ability to ensure ethanol fuel blends will not endanger air quality and public health. All told it is probably accurate to say that the Senate is too busy to consider passing effective Climate Change right now. But unfortunately, it is not because of Health Care but rather because of engaging in efforts to the contrary on behalf of polluters so they can line their own pockets.
It gets worse. The primary Global Warming initiative that the U.S. is dragging their feet on is the Waxman Markem Bill. It includes a whole bunch of stuff heralded as the U.S.’s arrival on the scene to fight Global Warming. The bill has a very apt nickname, however, for what it really is “The Coal Preservation Act”. The Bill will increase the amount of C02 in the atmosphere and turns over management of the widely acclaimed Transferable Discharge Permits to Wall Street. The people who brought the Mortgage Backed Security Crisis.
It still gets worse. No not the correlation coefficient between cash paid and voting behavior but the “STOCK Act”. What is this “STOCK Act” that our National Politicians are redoubling their efforts to make sure that it doesn’t even come to a vote? The “STOCK Act” would make Insider Trading (using information not available to the public but gained via their political position) by Congresspersons illegal. Yes folks, American’s not only need to worry that our National Politicians are selling legislation that doesn’t represent the best interests of flesh and blood taxpayers, but that they are making voting decisions based upon what is best for their personal financial portfolios. But don’t despair, there is some evidence that suggests they do vote according to what special interests paid them to do, and then simply make changes to their portfolio accordingly. (Doesn’t take that much time away from the Health Care debate to talk to your broker).
In a review of 6,000 financial transactions our national politicians consistently beat the market rate of return. Warren Buffet isn’t even that good. And once again, U.S. National Politicians found time to fight the STOCK Act while the Health Care Debate supposedly took away focus from its obligation to fight the Global Environmental Crisis.
My message to U.S. National Politicans? Even though you can successfully excuse or spin the “Cash Party’s” machinations away in the minds of the American people, don’t expect the same of the rest of the World. They are not captive to your bologna. They are not pacified with having been given a right to vote that is of increasingly dubious significance. A tip of the hat to the Financial Times for pinning the problem down to the conduct of the US Senate.
2014 – Vancouver – Street Sleeper – 2 of 2
Image by Ted’s photos – For Me & You
Sleeping on a sidewalk in the Downtown East Side (DTES) of Vancouver BC takes on a different sense of survival than is observed in many west side sleepers. A combination of mental issues, drug sale and use, area resident poverty and the resulting community of "Customers With No Cash" combine for a perfect locale to take advantage of people on the edge where living is not comparable to what most of us bring to mind in our own comfortable world. Prostitution and drugs are a large part of this community. One can not help feel sorry and remorseful this exists in self important Vancouver.
The irony of this photo is it was shot about 10 feet from the entrance of BC Housing’s recently opened Orange Hall office (open 10 am to 4 pm Monday to Friday) 297 Hastings Street at Gore Ave. This situation has steadily gone downhill since the Federal Governemt cut back funding for social housing.
BLAH, BLAH, BLAH:
From BC Housing website:
October 3rd, 2014
VICTORIA – The B.C. government is strengthening the non-profit housing sector by transferring provincially-owned properties to non-profit housing providers.
The Province owns approximately 350 parcels of land throughout British Columbia that are currently leased long-term to non-profit housing providers who own and operate social housing buildings on these properties.
The non-profit housing sector has been asking for this step for many years. Having ownership of the land will improve a non-profit’s ability to support better long-term planning and selfsufficiency. Owning the lands they operate on will also help non-profits secure the financing they need to be sustainable.
In order to transfer title, the Province will end these leases, and then transfer ownership of the land to the societies. The properties will be transferred at fair market value. The Province will assist the societies to secure mortgages on the properties. The current operating agreement that BC Housing has with each non-profit society will remain in place. Approximately 115 properties will be transferred by March 31, 2015, and the rest will be transferred over the next three years.
In addition, the Province is looking to transfer ownership of two properties currently managed by BC Housing to non-profit societies. The Province will begin the process by posting Expressions of Interest for Nicholson Tower and Stamps Place in Vancouver shortly.
Tenants will not be impacted by these transfers, and the amount of affordable housing stock will remain stable. Non-profit societies have been providing social housing in B.C. for more than 60 years. Today more than 90% of social housing is managed by non-profit societies.
THE GLOBE & MAIL:
VANCOUVER — The Globe and Mail
Published Monday, Oct. 13 2014
Vancouver won’t solve street homelessness until both the city and province focus on targeting the limited supply of expensive social housing to those who need it most, say experts.
That means help can’t go to anyone who passes through a shelter or an outdoor camp or even to someone who sleeps outside temporarily. In the vast majority of cases, people who become homeless experience it briefly and are able to avoid losing housing again.
But people working on eliminating homelessness do not always understand that the thousands of people who experience homelessness in a year don’t all need expensive subsidized housing. That should be reserved for the chronically homeless, who are not sufficiently helped by temporary assistance with rent or other social supports.
“For nearly 90 per cent of people counted as homeless, they’ll get themselves out of homelessness on their own,” says Tim Richter, who led Calgary’s 10-year plan to end homelessness and is now the president of the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness. “It’s critical to set priorities. It shouldn’t be first-come, first-served.”
One of the region’s most experienced homelessness researchers, former Vancouver city-hall staffer Judy Graves, said the city is reaping the results of city and provincial staff not always setting the right priorities for the past six years. This past winter, Vancouver still had a count of 533 people sleeping outside (less than in 2008, but more than in 2011), even though the province and city have opened up thousands of new social-housing units rented at welfare-level rates.
It’s an issue that is returning to haunt Vision Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson, who promised in 2008 to end street homelessness by 2015, during this fall’s civic-election campaign.
His administration, which has pushed the issue non-stop since he was first elected, has recently exceeded previous efforts by jumping last month into paying for all the costs of converting a downtown Quality Inn to transitional housing, as well as all the costs of a new shelter nearby. Usually the province covers the majority of costs for both of those kinds of housing.
But Ms. Graves said even that unusual effort, accompanied by several hundred other new provincial units about to open, isn’t going to solve the problem by January, 2015.
That’s because the province is only committed to using half of the incoming housing units for the chronically homeless. And city staff also don’t always correctly identify who is the most in need.
“Both the city and province have bought into housing by wait lists,” said Ms. Graves. “It just can’t work. You have to work as though you’re in a disaster zone.”
She said she had doubts that the majority of people who camped in Oppenheimer Park over the summer were homeless, but they got priority for the scarce number of rooms available.
As well, in the early stages of the province’s big social-housing construction push, which will see 14 towers completed with around 1,400 units by the end, non-profit operators were simply moving people from residential hotel rooms into the new buildings.
That meant the housing didn’t go to the chronically homeless and the most in need, but worse, it then allowed landlords in the residential hotels to do renovations, raise rents, or refuse new low-income tenants once the former tenants were relocated to social housing.
That then reduced the overall number of private, low-cost housing units in the city. Ms. Graves said the whole region is experiencing an acute shortage of those kinds of private units now. It has become a game of musical chairs for housing-outreach workers to get a low-cost unit for someone trying to get out of shelters or off the street, she said.
All cities are grappling with constant pressures that create more homelessness at the front end: low working-class incomes that can’t keep up with gentrification and rising rents key among them, said Ms. Graves. That has left cities trying to solve the problem at the back end, trying to house all the people made homeless as a result of many larger forces.
24 HRS VANCOUVER – 16 OCT 14
16 Oct 2014 24 Hours VancouverJANE DEACON Comment at vancouver.24hrs.c
Laura Dilley, PACE Society Action Week, PACE plans to draft housing recommendations for city council before the coming election.
“Oftentimes we will create housing models not including the voices of those we would be housing,” said Dilley.
Rising rent prices that force people out of SROs is a significant factor, as well as landlords who refuse to rent to sex workers out of legal concerns, said Dilley. Low- income housing conditions that require tenants stay in at night or guests to sign in are also significant barriers. She estimates between 10 to 15% of sex workers fall under the category of “survival” or street- based prostitution. For that vulnerable population, simply switching professions is often not an option, said Dilley.
“They’re really forced and entrenched to continuously do that work because they have no options out of it, because we have such stigma in our society that they can’t seek help, they can’t find affordable housing, so they’re really stuck in that situation,” she said.