So after a long hiatus, I am back to writing for BiggerPockets. My latest article asks whether or not you can trust the Zestimate that Zillow provides for home values.
My answer: For the most part, no.
Zillow releases data saying they are very accurate, but my take, based off of several examples I've seen including one recent one in particular is that they are piggybacking off of list prices, which as of today, are usually pretty close to sales prices:
As an example, we just sold a small two-bedroom home. We ended up going over budget on the rehab and therefore failed to “BRRRR out.” The Zestimate was at $83,500, but my valuation of the comparables made me believe it was worth more.
Overall, I think Zestimates are a good way to get a ballpark idea of value. But they should never be relied. For the rest of my case, check out the article.
So I recently graduated from UMKC's real estate program, which meant I was receiving emails from UMKC on the regular. And most weren't from the real estate department. Most were infused with the type of drivel one would come to expect. For example, this article I saw a while back from a professor of some sort of grievance studies program,
I recently helped facilitate a training on white fragility. We asked white folks to share a story of a time when they were fragile in discussions of race, racism, or whiteness. We struggled to share examples. It’s not that we aren’t fragile, but rather, our reluctance to share is an example of our fragility. I shared a story of a time when I didn’t intervene when a colleague said something racially problematic. It was an easy story to tell. It was someone else’s racism and my reluctance to challenge white solidarity was peripheral...
"Problematic," "fragility," "whiteness".... that's a lot of buzzwords.
But of course, it get worse,
Whitesplain (noun): The act of a white person disagreeing with someone who isn't white or more likely, with a white hipster liberal who loves getting offended on other people's behalf.
And by the way, if someone is "divorcing you" because you won't "deconstruct your whiteness" or some other intellectual-sounding gobbledegook which effectively means nothing, thank God such a nutcase is no longer part of your life.
This kind of thing really makes me wonder if those hoax papers were even necessary to prove the insanity of the grievance studies' departments. Oh how the Humanities have fallen. Now they mostly just leach of the reputation of other departments.
The United States' is the middle of a horrific drug epidemic as best illustrated by this catastrophic chart:
And most of this was spurred on by the Sackler family and their company Purdue Pharma; which created and marketed Oxycontin and Oxycodone; which are basically just heroin. And lots and lots of people got hooked and then turned to black tar heroin crossing the border from Mexico after their prescription ran out. (For more on this, see Sam Quinones' book Dreamland.)
Indeed, Purdue Pharma actively downplayed the risks of addiction, as Kaiser Health News notes,
Purdue turned the records over to the Florida attorney general’s office in 2002 during its investigation of the company. Additional Purdue documents from the Florida investigation detail how the company targeted patients and allayed addiction worries.
Yet despite this clear criminality that has wrecked havoc across America, the Sacklers will not only avoid prison but stay rich as well,
Their fortune will drop below $1.5 billion based on the terms of the proposal, which envisions the family paying at least $3 billion in cash. Purdue would file for bankruptcy, handing itself over to a trust controlled by the states, cities and counties that have sued.
Better than what Jeffrey Epstein originally got (not the suicide he later received). But still, not anywhere near enough...
This is a great video by CGP Grey on "how to be miserable," which of course, is a good way to realize what we should stop doing; like that "Not-To-Do-List" from Tim Ferris. CGP Grey lists seven things to do if you want to be super miserable:
- Stay Still
- Screw with your Sleep
- Maximize Your Screen Time
- Use Your Screen to Stoke Your Negative Emotions
- Set Vapid (Vague, Amorphous, Pie in the Sky, Irrelevant, Delayed) Goals
- Pursue Happiness Directly
- Follow Your Instincts
And yes, unfortunately, huge numbers of people are doing this today. Indeed, I have at times in the recent past and it hasn't served me well at all.
A little late on this news, but here's my general feeling about the departed neocon warmonger:
I found this article from Business Insider to be quite illustrative about what really matters and what really makes people happy. It reviews a Harvard study that followed 800 people for their entire lives to see what habits and mindsets were held by those who lived longer and happier. And which habits and mindsets did the opposite.
Some of the advise is obvious (especially the first point) and some may conflate correlation and causality (the second point, for example), but overall, I think it's a good list. Here's how Business Insider sums it up:
• Avoid smoking and alcohol: Duh.
And if you're trying to stop smoking to check the first item off the list, go here.
If you enjoyed my father's presentation on building a real estate business, check out the Q&A session for the same presentation, which also has a lot of helpful information:
I've been very hard on fact checkers and quite frankly, they deserve it. They really are little more than opinion pieces and about as biased as opinion pieces tend to be. Indeed, the fact that none of them from Politifact to Snopes have a comment section is a big giveaway. After all, studies have found that comments significantly affect the way people view an article. It's almost as if they just want people to take their word for it.
Now Snopes was a bit better. They started out by looking into urban legends and those chain emails (before descending into using company money on prostitutes and lavish vacations, of course).
Now they've taken on The Babylon Bee, a Christian satirical site, in one of the dumbest moves I could have possibly imagined. After multiple "fact checks" on satire (like this one) they issued a "study" showing that "many people believe satirical news." Of course, the study just asked people if a sentence describing a satirical headline was real or not. They didn't actually note to anyone the source. Remember when everyone thought it was funny if someone didn't realize an article from The Onion was satire? I guess this is a threat to democracy now or something.
The Babylon Bee, for their part, has stuck to lampooning Snopes over and over again. Good for them. But what's more interesting (and damning) is a review of their work on the Russiagate hoax. A breakdown of their reporting finds that Politifact and Snopes flagged "only 4% of fake news stories from Mueller" as false. As an article on (the admittedly partisan) Gateway Pundit points out,
67 of the wrong articles come from Sharyl Atkkisson’s list, 23 are from Timothy Zebel’s book “The Fake News Epidemic”.
Well done guys!
Can we move past the stupid idea these "fact check" sites are anything more than opinion writers now please? Thanks.
Here is my father's presentation on real estate investment that he gave for the Oregon Real Estate Investor's Association along with our Operations Officer Amanda Perkins. It's a good presentation, so if you're looking to get into real estate investment, make sure to check it out:
So The Huffington Post has an article up noting that "Over 40 People Have Been Arrested As Potential Mass Shooters Since El Paso." Most of these were for posting things online about potential shootings, although some of them seem like were not at all serious. And while no one should post that stuff, should it really be illegal too? And as I've noted, since you're about six times more likely to die from peanuts than mass shootings (most of which are apolitical and some leftwing) this seems like these arrests are mostly either being done as an ad hoc response or to gin up more hysteria and fear.
For instance, the FBI has a long history of using informants to either commit or incite acts of terrorism; most of which they stop beforehand (but not always). For instance, the FBI recently stopped a "bombing suspect" who was going to engage in "white nationalist terror." There's a bit of problem with this though. According to his family,
We as a family are extremely distraught about this situation with our son Jerry Drake Varnell, but what the public must understand is that he is a paranoid schizophrenic and is extremely susceptible to different types of ideology that normal people would deem immoral. Underneath his condition, he is a sweet-hearted person and we are extremely shocked that this event has happened. However, what truly has us flabbergasted is the fact that the FBI knew he was schizophrenic...
Back in the late 2000's, I said the Patriot Act and things like that would be turned away from Muslims and onto American citizens. And I was right. The genuine Left (i.e. Glenn Greenwald not Rachel Maddow) will probably be the next target.
In this video from around 2010, Andrew Napolitano points out that most of these stopped Muslim terror plots back then were basically the same thing. After 9/11 (which, I should note, the government catastrophically and pathetically failed to stop), the government took credit for stopping 17 of the 20 terror plots that were foiled. (The other three were by vigilant American citizens). The only problem; they set up all 17 of them.
Resist the hysteria everyone. Yes there are major problems with white nationalism (as there are with communists/Antifa and radical Islam), but those dangers pale in comparison to giving the state too much power. Remember, these are the same people that lied us into the Iraq War amongst many other such sins.
"Every day is a new life to the wise man."
The Righteous Mind
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