American Apathy

National Apathy

The other day a bumper sticker on a passing car gave me the words to an unexplained and desperate emotion that a lot of Americans share today:
“I love my country, but I am afraid of my government”.

Over the years there has been an ever consuming cancer of complacency devouring the very foundation of our great country. Although, we are peripherally aware of the hideous way politicians are acting while at the helm of this run-away legislative train, we fail to voice our objections to over legislation. Perhaps we are like the proverbial “deer in the headlights”, frozen, not knowing what to do about it?
We elect our representatives to listen and vote in our interest, which should take precedence over their own personal preferences. The elected officials should work in concert with their constituency and if a personally-conflicting issue should arise, the vote of the constituency‘s convictions should be their priority. We should hold them to that unyielding duty.
Our elected representatives should lead by example and remain above reproach with an extraordinary idealist convictions and possess an unwavering sense of integrity, anything less is unacceptable.
Politicians should be paid by their constituency and not the federal government. Their housing and benefits should be determined by the people they represent, and not the federal government.
It is not at all doubtful that most elected officials have the highest of intentions when they were first elected. Surely they were determined to make a difference. But the very nature of the beast of politics is counter productive to that end. Once they were elected and in office, they must play the political game to make that difference. Longevity is the key to power in order to make a real difference. Thereby their efforts become corrupt in the simplest form of the word:“Harmed by errors or alteration“
Indeed, the system itself erodes the personal integrity and dilutes the moral conscience of politicians and the longer they serve, the more diluted and out of touch they become as they grope for the assimilation of power. The constant demand to stay in office long enough to achieve goals is a “catch 22” situation. This is the cancer eating away at our freedom and democracy. That scares me!
It is a conflict of interest to vote yourself a pay raise that is obvious to everyone, but it keeps happening! We make our congressmen employees of the government upon their election to represent the state. Where does their loyalty lie? The temptation of power can be a tremendous motivator and a reason for self-serving selective memory. The lines of loyalty naturally then get blurry. That scares me!
I was amazed to find out there are no laws restricting a convicted felon from holding elected office in congress. Additionally, we allow them to make laws for us to abide by. Sometimes politicians act as though they are above the law. Politicians can openly trade their votes for favors in congress in the name of traditional negotiations despite of what their constituency wants them to do. That scares me too!
Living in the political bubble of Washington DC insulates politicians from reality. When they get special benefits, it further throws them out of touch. When lawmakers make a six figure income, it skews what the normal median income feels like. Why shouldn’t they live like they are above the law? And that scares me.
Because of our national apathy we have failed to stand up on our hind legs and shout “That’s enough” we will continue to roll over, like an old hound dog, to have our belly scratched. Until we learn that wishin’ and hopin’ will never make things better?
If our government continues to spend money like water the coffers will eventually run dry. If they continue to rob retirees of a livable social security income cost of living increases, making higher Medicaid premiums and raising taxes to pay for government bailout policies, Americans will be forced to leave our precious country and to live elsewhere or become homeless. That’s happening already.
Small businesses and entrepreneurs chasing the illusive American dream shouldn’t continue to be held captive by federal restraints levied on to them by government. Today’s governmental controls and added burdens have created an adversarial atmosphere to upstart businesses that might be marginally capitalized.
Our government is headed toward a state of socialism. The national health care bill is just another nail in America’s coffers. Don’t believe me? Why then are the proponents of the new health care bill trying to BULLDOZE the bill into law against over 70% of American support? Ask your doctor’s opinion. Ask him about rationed medicine. Examine who is against this bill. Surely this must be the beginning of Socialism in America.

Yeah, I love my country, But I am afraid of my government!

Spaseeba balshoye, (Russian for Thank you and goodbye)
da svidaniya

JR Hafer, 

Chinese drywall

Gassing the Chinese drywall problem

FORT MYERS, Fla. – Oct. 9, 2009 – According to Sabre Technical Services, the Chlorine dioxide gas used to eliminate anthrax from government buildings also can be used to eliminate the sulfur gases and organisms in Chinese drywall. The gas can penetrate drywall, studs, insulation and other materials to oxidize sulfur compounds and deactivate them into inert sulfate.

The basic chemical reaction is not new. Chlorine dioxide has been used for 50 years to deactivate sulfur compounds. The question, however, was whether the gas could penetrate deep enough to fix the problem. Sabre says it conducted tests on houses in Fort Myers, however, and by using spore strips (biological indicators), it found that the gas did indeed penetrate deep enough to fix the problem.

While the gas dissipates without residue, it has bleaching effects, and residents are urged to remove their belongings from infected houses. Firms can charge between $10 and $15 per square foot for the procedure, but it takes as little as a few days compared to removing sections of drywall and replacing them.

However, the gas solution is still premature for homeowners. It will not become an effective method for resolving the Chinese drywall problem unless government officials approve its effectiveness and insurance companies are convinced that it’s viable.

(Source: Builder (10/09) Burney, Teresa)
© Copyright 2009 INFORMATION, INC.
(Used with permission)

What makes Chinese drywall Toxic?

What makes Chinese drywall Toxic?

By JR Hafer


We’ve all heard of the imported Chinese drywall and its toxicity in emitting dangerous sulfur gases in some homes. But do you know the cause of it? Perhaps, you may be muttering to yourself, “who cares” right? The answer is; those who will encounter harmful health problems from the purchase of the dream house they have always wanted. Or perhaps, one who might have purchased a foreclosed property at a fantastic deal. There are many scenarios that may cause us concern over the toxic drywall situation.


The suspected culprit that makes the imported Chinese drywall toxic may be “fly ash”. I know now your asking, what the heck is “fly ash”?


I understand that fly ash is the derivative of burned sulfur coal at power plants that generate electricity. Fly ash accumulates in the bottom of furnaces and smoke stacks.  The contents of the “coal ash” or fly ash is determined depending upon the type and source of coal.


The contents of the ash, depending upon the coal, may be arsenic, beryllium, cobalt, lead, manganese and mercury, along with many other compounds like dioxins.


In the past, fly ash was generally released into the atmosphere. However, government mandates now require the pollutants to be captured and discarded. About 43% is recycled and used as supplements in some building products like Portland cement and some bricks.


In some countries, the fly ash produced by the sulfur coal burning electricity generating plants is discarded in public landfills, along with, maybe, e-waste and who knows what else. Perhaps this occurs near the gypsum mines, where there is a seepage and contamination of the run-off into streams and soil. Of course this is just speculation on my part. But this much I do know: fly ash or coal ash containing sulfur contaminants is suspected to be used in the manufacture of Chinese drywall as well. 


The health concerns may be a bleeding nose, upper respiratory problems, a skin rash, skin sores, headaches, eye problems, and scores of others afflictions. 


If you have a rotten egg smell in your home, or your mirrors are getting darker, jewelry quickly tarnishing, copper products in appliances turning black with corrosion, then you may have the toxic drywall in your home.


Other indications are electrical surges, constant wiring and appliance problems, including your air conditioner, or perhaps when you reach to turn on the light the switch may be hot, or gives a tingling sensation to your fingers, which is an indication of wiring problems. These too can be telltale signs.

You may want to check the AC condenser and the copper coils in your refrigerator works.  If they are black or very dark, you may want to contact someone about your concerns.


Heat and humidity are activators of the toxic sulfur gasses. There has been some suggestion that fires have been caused by toxic drywall due to the corrosive affect on electrical wiring. Also, there are concerns of some sort of radioactivity involved in this drywall.


The question is just who do you contact. Below are some suggestions:

1-     Contact your builder. Tell him your concerns and what you suspect. Ask him to check out the problem as soon as he can schedule an inspection. 

2-     Contact your county code department. They can direct you to someone who can do an independent test on your drywall.  

3-     There are a few companies that are becoming experts on the toxic drywall, and can give you advise as well do the remediation of the problem.


Just like Don Babinsky said, “I’m a firm believer that everyone involved with this ugly issue has been victimized by an unfortunate set of circumstances, which is to say that nearly everyone involved had only the best of intentions originally”.

(Don is with DriRite Corporation. He is an authority on Chinese toxic drywall. His company does remediation of the toxic drywall).


Real estate professionals should know the symptoms and how to spot indications of toxic drywall so he / she can recommend action, including an inspection.


It is my belief that knowledge is important and the use of it is essential. However, the harvesting of knowledge without use of it is a waste of time. I hope this information has been worth your time and is helpful to you. 


If you have any questions, concerns, comments or suggestions please feel free to contact me at:

Don Babinsky on Chinese Drywall

I’m a firm believer that everyone involved with this ugly issue has been victimized by an unfortunate set of circumstances, which is to say that nearly everyone involved had only the best of intentions originally. A tremendous amount of pressure was put on the supply-chain to get that house built thru that time era.

So, the entire industry has suffered yet another devastating sucker-punch at a time when it could least afford it. Sadly, this situation has not just resulted a “black eye”…many are hemmoraging…and realtors are caught in the crossfire of this battle.

The parents of a child with chronic illness trapped with no ability to leave… the retired couple who unwittingly moved into a “sick” home with subsequent zero support from their builder… the stigma of a beautiful neighbourhood with reactive drywall issues (and the resulting plummeting property values)… the list goes on and on.

As one involved in the professional remediation of such homes, one single, definitive point needs to be made…

“Regardless of how or why reactive drywall came into the structure, the leading health and construction experts all agree that the reactive drywall MUST be removed in it’s entirety, with particular attention to HEPA micro-cleaning of the entire interior shell prior to installation of the new gypsum.”

Very few homeowners will be either able or willing to invest $70,000 + in remediating their home in such a manner. Will the government be? Only time will tell.

The clock keeps on ticking.

Smoke and Mirror Politics
Anyone who knows me knows I am not an alarmist or a trouble maker, but they will also tell you that I am someone who will speak my mind too.

Perhaps this is not the way to do it, but I am going to stand up and shout about an issue which has been so obvious and nobody else sees it or will say anything about it. Am I the only one who sees this travisty happening?

I doubt it will it will make a difference, nobody reads this thing anyway, and I am off my meds too, that’s my excuse.

The health of the American economy is directly tied to the real estate market. The real estate market supported and propped up the economy for six years, even though indicators said the health of the economy was in a slump the real estate market was artificially inflated and on fire.
While the “Tail wagged the dog”, the last administration showed the world that the president of the United States can lie and lead America down the outhouse trail to dine, without questions or too much of a challenge.

Although I didn’t vote for him, I had hopes that the Obama group would bring a whole new persepective and realism within the capital beltway. The politicians in Washington all live in a bubble and have absolutely no idea what is happening in the real world.

Show me ONE honest poor politician, just one… and I’ll show you a politician who I will believe to have the common man’s interest at heart.

The US congress and the administration claim to be aware of this fact, and promise to do something. After all, isn’t that what we elected them to do?

We are being fed a bunch of smoke and mirror deception. The United States Government, Wall Street and the major Banks are defrauding America. We are letting them lie to us for their self-serving professional political and greedy reasons.

One of the largest Banks who has been gobbling up other banks and financial institutions over America over the last few years, bit off more than they could chew when they bought out the largest mortgage lender who was under investigation for making so many fradulent and misrepresented subprime loans. Now the Giant “Gobbler” is taking money from Government “handouts” while lying about making mortgage loans.

The truth is this Bank is only making enough loans to say they are doing so. That is a joke. So, what’s going on? Are we going to continue to believe this smoke and mirrors? Yeah Probably…

Helloooooo, anybody out there? ………….

What is a “Short Sale”?
By JR Hafer
Perhaps you have a question you’re curious to ask: What is a short sale? Simply stated, a so-called “Short Sale” is: When the owner of a house (or any real property) owes more on the mortgage than what it is worth.
Since there are more foreclosures on the market and the list continues to grow exponentially, lenders will agree to accept a lesser amount as a total payoff, in most cases.
The cost to a lender to foreclose on a house can amount to as much as $40,000 to $50,000 after it is all said and done. These lenders realize it would be better to accept a lesser amount, rather than to pursue the expensive foreclosure process. They know there isn’t much chance to recoup the cost of foreclosure anyway. The additional cost to the lender, after foreclosure, is enormous. For example; the cost of insurance, taxes, homeowner’s fees, repairs and most likely vandalism make the opportunity of short sales an attractive alternative to foreclosure. The short sale has become a necessary evil for the lenders. It has also become a great opportunity for potential buyers to purchase a house at a deep discount.
The downside to the short sale is the time it takes to get the short sale process completed. It can take up to three months or more just to get an answer regarding your offer to purchase.
When the lender receives your offer a series of negotiations start which may produce a counter-offer rather than the acceptance of your original offer. Negotiations between your Realtor® and the lender can last a relatively long time depending on financing considerations, your financing, your pre-approval and other conditions and concessions you may have asked for.
Make sure you understand that short sales have no determined time limit and your lender’s interest rates may change substantially before you get an acceptable figure nailed down. Only after a solid dollar amount has been agreed upon can your lender start the underwriting process. Therefore, you should consider that additional time in your closing time projection.
Remember, when you enter into a “Short Sale” purchase attempt, the listing price may not be sufficient to pay the total of all liens and the cost of sale. The sale of the property at full listing price will require the approval of a third party (the lender). However, although the contract is between you and the seller, the bank must agree to accept a certain percentage of the amount owed. Also remember, the listing price may be an approximation of the amount that the lender may or may not settle for. Therefore, a “low-ball” offer is probably not realistic and could possibly even become counter-productive toward your effort to purchase the house in a short sale.
A short sale may be beneficial for you to consider. However, if your purchase schedule is limited and your time constraints will not allow for the time it takes to get an offer accepted, in some ways, you may find your efforts to be a waste of time for you and your Realtor®. So follow his advice.

Chinese Toxic Drywall

Imported Drywall, A Toxic Situation
By, JR Hafer

Very few people outside of the drywall industry actually realize how huge the toxic drywall affair really is. For the most part, government studies are ongoing and the builders involved continue with a wait and see mindset.
The truth of the matter is; certainly, no one knows what to do about the problem of defective toxic imported drywall.The circling lawyers overhead can certainly smell the money when a potential lawsuit presents itself.
This toxic poisonous drywall situation will involve more than a few thousand people who now find they are having health problems with unpleasant living conditions in a mere 100,000 homes built with the contaminated noxious materials in southern Florida.
Homeowners should be aware of any signs of potential problems that may “run up red flags”, not only those who built new homes from 2004 to 2007, but also those who have added living area, remodeled, refurbished or made repairs and used any type of drywall between 2001 and 2009.
There are many tell tale signs that may indicate toxic drywall problems. Are your mirrors turning darker? Is your jewelry tarnished more than usual? Are you having electrical and air conditioning problems? Are your electric switches getting warmer than they should be? How about sparking of light fixtures? Is there a “rotten egg” aroma in the air or smoke alarms going off? Is the copper wiring in your house getting darker and darker and bath fixtures becoming more and more tarnished? These are but a few indications of potential problems.Additionally, serious health problems can be caused by the defective toxic drywall, such as reoccurring nosebleeds, asthma-like symptoms, lung damage, stroke, and neurological damage causing palsy.
The sulfur “rotten egg” smell and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons are also known to cause skin irritation and various lung problems. These are all things to be cautious of. No one has yet formulated a viable plan. However, I can tell you if you suspect that your house has defective drywall, you should get out of your home until you get your drywall tested. Just like breathing bleach and ammonia, it can damage your lungs permanently. Naturally occurring sulfur compounds are emitted when the heat and humidity levels rise in your house.There has been no deaths, as of yet, confirmed. But I suspect it will be a lot like the asbestos problem, it took a long time for health concerns to become evident. I predict the health risks will be ever increasing and the toxic drywall problem will remain with us for a very long time.Abandoned houses and foreclosed homes with toxic drywall will continue to be on the rise in the near future and most likely a good number of them will be remarketed, perhaps, increasing exposure to toxic drywall.
Recently, builders have considered replacing the toxic drywall in affected houses. However, the replacing of the drywall, electrical wiring, plumbing and fixtures isn’t enough. Builders are now discovering that the wood in the houses is certain to have absorbed the toxic gaseous materials, as well. There is also evidence of radioactive emissions from these materials. Where does it stop?
Builders and suppliers, along with government agencies, are going to find out along with the public, that this imported Chinese toxic drywall may be a greater more complicated deal than they ever expected. Remediation of the toxic drywall will be most difficult. Health problems and lawsuits are surely to follow.It will indeed be a problem of great proportion with multi-culpability attached to it.

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