The actual plans for Bin Laden’s “pucca” house


The file also shows that the occupants never paid any property tax, and that the completed building breached several guidelines.

Well, well, too late to fine him now 🙂

[Link to The actual plans for Bin Laden’s “pucca” house]


Resenting Students and Their Windows


The most ridiculous claim is that the very sight of student dorm windows is itself a grave offense that requires action from the zoning code:

Student residences should be built with windows that do not open to limit noise impacts on neighboring residents and with tinted windows that shield from residents' views the type of window hangings that are characteristically found in the windows of AU's student dorms.
At the University of Maryland, I found that the window hangings "characteristically found in the windows" of dorms are in fact window blinds. Does the ANC object to window blinds? Do they demand Roman shades, valances, velvet curtains or simply taupe window treatments?

[Link to Resenting Students and Their Windows]

Destitution North of the Border – Alex Hannaford – National – The Atlantic


Colonias — impoverished communities along the United States' southern border — date back to the 1950s when ruthless property developers created unincorporated subdivisions on agriculturally useless land that usually lay in floodplains. They failed to put in any infrastructure and then sold the plots to people seeking affordable housing at hugely inflated rates of interest.

"Miss one payment," says Lionel Lopez who runs the South Texas Colonia Initiative, an advocacy group for residents, "and you have to start all over again."

[Link to Destitution North of the Border – Alex Hannaford – National – The Atlantic]

Rent vs. Buy Index


Trulia's Q1 2011 Rent vs. Buy Index provides guidance to help you make a smart decision on whether it is better to rent or buy in each of America's 50 largest cities by population. The Rent:Buy Ratio is calculated by using the median list price compared with the median rent on two-bedroom apartments, condos and townhomes listed on

I'm glad we made the economically-wise decision to buy our first house last year.

[Link to Rent vs. Buy Index]

Lower interest deduction better for deficit?


Thirty-year mortgages at 4 1/2 percent require much less in monthly interest payments than do similar loans at 5 1/2 percent or 6 percent. Millions of homeowners who had been paying even higher rates than that have refinanced in the past year – the combined effect of which has been to reduce the estimated amounts of interest being written off now and for the next couple of years at least.

[Link to Lower interest deduction better for deficit?]