Brief asides


POSTED: Monday, November 09, 2009


Home buyers got a good thing going

To buyers in the market for a home: The timing's right, so hop to it.

The government has extended its homeowners tax-credit program: Buy a principal home (not a second or vacation dwelling) before May 1 and take up to $6,500 off your federal tax burden; first-time home buyers get a maximum $8,000 credit. Also financially beneficial is the fact that 30-year home loan rates have dipped below 5 percent again after weeks of increases. Late last week, that average rate fell to 4.98 percent, while the average rate on a 15-year, fixed-rate mortgage dropped to 4.40 percent.



Tell us what you really think

The medium is the message, and New Zealand artist Sam Mahon sure knows how to deliver it memorably. Mahon considers New Zealand Environment Minister Nick Smith soft on pollution created by dairy farms. So he sculpted a bust of Smith out of cow manure and sold the work for $2,220, the highest bid from among 112 people who wanted to buy the protest art. Smith maintained a sense of humor about the dubious tribute.



Finalists for HPD chief are as diverse as Hawaii

The changing face of Oahu might be glimpsed in its finalists for top cop.

Diversity is rich in the six finalists for Honolulu's next police chief, which includes a woman, an African-American, two Asian-Americans and a native Hawaiian.

The experience range also is diverse—ranging from juvenile services to district commanders—as are the finalists' home zones: one mainland candidate currently serves on the Phoenix police force; another is on the Chicago force.

The new chief, to succeed Boisse Correa whose contract was not renewed, is expected to be named by Thanksgiving.