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Commerce Department unveils stronger-than-expected starts data

BY Ken Clark

Analysts were expecting a boost in November’s residential construction data, but not this much of a boost.

The Commerce Department’s residential construction report released Tuesday morning showed housing starts at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 685,000 — that’s 9.3% higher than the revised October estimate of 627,000 (revised from a previously released figure of 628,000). It’s also the highest level of starts since April 2010. 

Compared with last year’s near-record low, total housing starts were up 24.3%.

Single-family housing starts were up a modest 2.3%, coming in at a pace of 447,000, according to the government figures.

Building permits also showed strong improvement in November. Privately owned housing units authorized by building permits in November were at a rate of 681,000. This is up 5.7% from October and up 20.7% from the same month a year ago.

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Readers respond to delay of light bulb phaseout

BY HBSDEALER Staff

An article in HCN Monday about Congress’ move to delay enforcement of the 100-watt incandescent bulb phaseout generated several comments, many positive.

Here are some of the responses:

“Finally, a small glimmer of sanity in Washington — listening to the majority of consumers/voters rather than forcing a political agenda.

“Yes, make the delay permanent. Please let me choose when and where in my home to use new bulb technologies versus the traditional incandescent technologies. As the new bulb technologies continue to evolve and improve, I will eventually switch to 100% usage of the new bulb technologies once I perceive that the value-proposition (including all factors: light quality, energy savings, eco considerations, price, etc.) warrants doing so. But that should be my free-market decision, with the bulb manufacturers working hard to improve bulbs so that product performance and value drive the change, not a government mandate."
— Anonymous

"We need to be progressive and get rid of wasteful products."
— Frank Douwes
Chinook Lumber

“What a brave group of legislators we have taking on the light bulb instead of the economy! I wonder how many fancy $25 light bulbs you can sell to the millions of people who are losing their homes because of these idiots in Washington.

“We better fix the economy, the deficit and the out-of-control Washington spending first. Let me buy whatever light bulb I want.”
— Bill Snyder
Builders FirstSource

"[The enforcement delay] should be permanent. Control of the individual to this degree is far beyond the scope of our constitution. I for one don’t want the mercury-filled “non”-light bulbs in my home. And years from now when the health impacts are elucidated, the Feds are immune from liability! If this nation was serious about energy, we wouldn’t be nibbling around the edges, telling consumers what light bulbs they have to buy.”
— Anonymous

"The reprieve should become permanent. It’s none of the government’s business what kind of bulb people want to use. They need to butt out."
— Bill Youngblood 

“There should be no delay in eliminating the non-energy-efficient 100-watt bulb.”
— Anonymous

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C.KLUMB says:
Dec-20-2011 05:01 pm

it's amazing to me that there
it's amazing to me that there are those who see no problem with our government dictating what kind of light bulb we use. Even those that are greener than most must understand that human behavior in using energy cannot be controlled. Thirty minute hot shower anyone or should the government tell us to limit showers to five minutes? Or maybe dictate how many baths we can take a week? Buddy Klumb

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Nevada sues home foreclosure firm

BY Brae Canlen

The state of Nevada has filed a lawsuit against a Florida firm responsible for more than half of the nation’s annual foreclosures, claiming that it defrauded homeowners and turned them out of their houses without due process.

On Dec. 16, Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto filed the suit against Lender Processing Services Inc. and its subsidiaries — collectively known as LPS — a Jacksonville, Fla., firm that processes foreclosures for a number of banks and lending institutions. The lawsuit includes allegations of widespread document falsification, forged signatures, deceptive statements made by LPS, misrepresentations about LPS’ fees and services, and evidence of an overall press for speed and volume that required employees to execute and/or notarize up to 4,000 foreclosures a day.

“The robo-signing crisis in Nevada has been fueled by two main problems: chaos and speed,” said Attorney General Masto. “We will protect the integrity of the foreclosure process. This lawsuit is the next logical step in holding the key players in the foreclosure fraud crisis accountable.”

The Office of the Nevada Attorney General recently indicted Gary Trafford and Gerri Sheppard as part of a separate, criminal investigation into the conduct of robo-signing scheme, which resulted in the alleged filing of tens of thousands of fraudulent documents with the Clark County Recorder’s Office between 2005 and 2008.

LPS is also being investigated by California Attorney General Kamala Harris for its foreclosure practices.

In an article in the Los Angeles Times, LPS said it has been cooperating with the Nevada Attorney General’s Office for more than 14 months and it would defend itself vigorously against the charges. 

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