TAKE 10 SECONDS TO GUIDE THE F.E.C.

Please click here before noon today. Right now, small-dollar contributions to presidential candidates are matched by Uncle Sam (if the candidate agrees to abide by spending limits). The F.E.C. tomorrow considers a new rule that would exclude small-dollar contributions given through the web. Bad idea.

HOUSING PRICES

Craig Johns: ‘How come it’s considered a disaster that gas prices keep rising, but it’s also considered a disaster that housing prices keep FALLING? As someone who doesn’t own a house, I’d love it if housing prices kept falling, because then maybe I could own one. I find gas prices’ continuing rise much less irksome than America’s over-priced housing.’

☞ Reason enough to live in your car. At least for now.

SAVING WATER

John Grund: ‘Also good, and less trouble than mounting a new urinal, are dual-flush toilets that use a small amount of water for solids and an even smaller amount for liquid waste.’

☞ Smart.

George Mokray: ‘I always used a plastic gallon jug instead of a brick inside my toilet tank – that is, until we got low flush toilets. [Meanwhile], check out No Drought in Clayton County, GA (as excerpted from the Atlanta Journal Constitution on Daily Kos):

Clayton County officials say their area is the only one in Metro Atlanta not struggling with severe drought. “It’s raining every day in Clayton County,” said Michael Thomas, general manager of the Clayton County Water Authority. “We’re putting 10 million gallons of water a day back in.”

Drought fears struck Clayton more than 20 years ago, and county officials started to think ahead. The result: an elaborate series of 21 man-made wetlands and reservoirs that allows the county to collect 10 million gallons of wastewater a day and eventually convert it to drinking water.

While Atlanta residents may have less than 80 days left of water from Lake Lanier, Clayton citizens are well beyond 250 days, Thomas said.

Construction of the wetlands has cost Clayton about $15 million in bond money. The county will spend $10 million on the fourth phase, but that will come from water and sewer fees, which have been increased for next year.

Thomas says those fees are saving taxpayers in the end. The wetlands not only take up less land, they require less work. Since building the wetlands, the water authority has cut its maintenance staff from 13 to 5. Workers previously had to check 20,000 sprinkler heads daily; now, they take an occasional sample and mow grass twice a year.

The wetlands also have reduced the water authority’s monthly electric bill by 60 percent. Officials say they will save another $25,000 on monthly electric costs once the fourth wetland phase is finished.

“It’s all natural. Nothing is pushing the water, so there’s no power,” Thomas said. “It all flows from gravity.”

Matt Ball: ‘I assume you know that a great way to save water is to not eat meat. Click here and here.’

☞ I’m telling you, man, it’s those pigs in blankets. Now this is a meatless hot dog that packs a punch. (With enough ketchup, anything tastes good.)

FMD

Michael Fang continues from Monday (since which time FMD has fallen still further): ‘Don’t get me wrong – I’m not trying to talk you out of your position. It’s just that I think a distinction needs to be made between averaging down on a mutual fund as a long term investment, vs. averaging down on an individual stock – which may or may not come back. [True!] For those who really can objectively evaluate the stock when sitting on a big unrealized loss, all the better. But for myself, I feel I can’t be 100% coldly objective unless I kick the stock out of my portfolio for the 1-month probation – it is hard for me to tell what is rationalization and what is calculation when I have funds committed. I believe that in speculating (or investing), being brutally honest with oneself is critical when holding the stock, but one must also be willing to forgive oneself once the stock is out of the portfolio – no matter what the stock does subsequently.’

☞ Like I could ever be so sane.

 

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