Saturday, December 22, 2007

Weekend Summary

Around the Horn

Psssst, Buddy, Wanna buy a house cheap?: Well they're at it again. Those folks who track the housing market are tracking Las Vegas and they tell us that housing prices are down as are sales of new and existing homes. So if you are tired of getting sleepy in your tepee, now would be a good time to lasso up a homestead. The news is not as bleak as the media and market trackers would have you believe, unless you're a speculator. Problem was that like the tech stock boom, housing prices in Las Vegas continued to get higher than a wino on Two-Buck Chuck. That led to speculators and flippers who moved from flipping fingers during road rage incidents to flipping houses in the hood. Then Crash! Bam! Alakazam! the bubble burst.

The above paragraph is for pessimists. Optimists see that thousands of new hotel rooms are coming on line within the next 24 months or so. A rule of thumb is that every room supports two and a half jobs. The population of Las Vegas has topped two million and is still making like the energizer bunny. My contrarian mind tells me that now would be a good time to either hold or buy but not sell. As Longtime Vegan Kenny Rodgers used to say, "You gotta know when to hold, know when to fold em. Know when to walk away and know when to run." Who'd a thunk Kenny would have been able to predict the future Las Vegas housing market?

Oh my. The economic sky is falling!: The headline in the local paper trumpets, "Jobless rate rises in month. Unemployment in November at highest level since May 2003." The item tells us that the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose two tenths of a percentage point. I guess that is because all those elves will be laid off after Christmas toys are delivered. Hello! A five percent rate of unemployment means that 95 % of workers are working. But dadgum it, if you put it that way, it ain't news.

Caesars dealers get together: Some 560 dealers at Caesars Palace have decided to affiliate with a union of labor , not matrimonial. After all the years of Caesars dealers being sans union, what had been the impetus for organizing. I can name that tune in four letters - t-i-p-s. Another high end casino on the Strip changed the way the way dealers' tips would be distributed and shock waves rocked the paranoid work force. Can the same thing happen at Caesars? Depends who you ask. Executives say it has not ever been discussed. Union organizers say, "Liar, liar, pants on fire." Looks like for the moment at least, the organizers have won a hand.

Heat is on in Las Vegas: Premium gas in the Valley of the Dollars has become more expensive than bottled water. As prices of petrol continue to rise, some folks are actually paying attention to Al Gore's rantings about global warming and the need for renewable energy. Where better to tap solar energy than in Las Vegas where the sun shines 400 days per year (that's like giving 110%). A company that makes solar power equipment recently announced plans to do so among the casinos and the largest solar photovoltaic power plant in the country recently opened at your neighborhood air force base. So why aren't there more federal subsidies to encourage such clean industry? And why doesn't Nevada Power encourage locals to build and farm solar power for their homes? To quote Tevya from Fiddler on the Roof, "I'll tell you why! I don't know." Although ours is the perfect community for the next big musical, "Solar Panels on the Roof."

A little blogging music maestro.... how about, "The Heat is On."

Dr. Forgot

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