Weekend Open Discussion

This is the time and place to post observations about your local areas, comments on news stories or the New Jersey housing market, open house reports, etc. If you have any questions you wanted to ask earlier in the week but never posted them up, let’s have them. Also a good place to post suggestions, requests for information, criticism, and praise.

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429 Responses to Weekend Open Discussion

  1. grim says:

    From the Press of Atlantic City:

    Assembly approves paid-leave legislation

    A bill to provide paid leave for people who need time off to care for members of their immediate family cleared the Assembly on Thursday.
    But it did so on almost completely partisan grounds. Republicans said the New Jersey Family Leave Act would further undermine businesses and tax residents, while majority Democrats said it would provide needed relief for families.

    Bill sponsor Assemblyman Nelson T. Albano said Thursday that the measure, which passed 46-30, was repeatedly amended to favor business interests and rejected arguments the economy could not support the bill.

    It had been talked about for a dozen years, he said, asking, “When is it going to be the right time?”

    He added that working families needed help.

    “They have to take care of their parents. And if they want to spend some precious time with their new-born infants, guess what? – they have mortgages they have to pay, too.”
    Assemblywoman Marcia A. Karrow, R-Warren, Hunterdon, said it would create a new glass ceiling with employers now reluctant to hire women of childbearing age.

    Assemblyman Jay Webber, R-Morris, Passaic, voiced other Republican concerns.

    “This state works best when the people of New Jersey care for each other and not when the legislators try to take care,” he said.

    Business groups generally opposed the bill, saying it would cause costly problems, while labor groups were generally in favor.

  2. grim says:

    From the Star Ledger:

    Corzine tries to soften blow to towns

    Gov. Jon Corzine told municipal officials yesterday he is open to phasing in $168 million in state aid cuts to cities and towns over two years, but he warned such a move would prompt other cuts in his proposed $33 billion budget.

    “I am more than willing to work it out over a couple of years,” Cor zine said. “But I hear people talking of four years, five years — that’s not going to happen. If we restore this aid, it is going to have to come out of somebody else’s hide. This is a zero sum game at this point.”

    Reminded after the meeting that Senate Democrats reviewing the budget say they want to avoid the municipal aid cuts, Corzine said: “Should we take more out of charity care? Should we take it out of higher education? I hope they will listen broadly to the communities of interest who are having to deal with the cuts, because it is not just the municipalities.”

    Corzine raised the possibility as he spent nearly an hour in Trenton addressing more than 150 mayors and officials from towns with populations over 10,000. The governor’s proposed budget would cut $132 million in aid to towns with populations over 10,000 and slash $37 million in aid to towns with populations under 10,000.

  3. grim says:

    From the Record:

    Trump insists bigger is better

    Donald Trump — renowned for his “Art of the Deal” style — made a dramatic offer Thursday to Governor Corzine and to the residents of Lyndhurst, Rutherford and North Arlington:

    Accept thousands of additional residences and as much as 2 million square feet of office space — with no affordable housing — or be stuck with the current controversial EnCap plan.

    “If this [new plan] isn’t approved, then we’re going to build what is approved,” Trump said, referring to the EnCap plan, which he described as “bad master planning, bad job, wrong entrance points, wrong everything.”

    “What I’m doing, by the number of units I’ll propose, is I’m getting everybody back to whole,” Trump said. “This gets the state and the towns off the hook.”

    Trump’s plan calls for a combination of high-rises and mid-rises that would contain office and retail space, along with residences. It would dwarf the current EnCap plan.

    And if Rutherford Mayor John Hipp maintains his opposition to any housing in his borough, it will be at his own peril, Trump said.

    “If Mayor Hipp doesn’t want to participate in the job, if he wants to take his area out, taxes will double and triple in his town,” Trump vowed. “I don’t think he’s going to want to do that. If Mayor Hipp doesn’t want to take advantage of the big tax boon that this job will provide, he’d be voted out of office in the next election, if not sooner.”

    If the towns do things his way, Trump said, everyone will prosper.

    “Most of the housing is in Lyndhurst, and Lyndhurst will get so much money from this job that their taxes might be cut in half,” Trump said with his trademark grandiosity.

  4. grim says:

    From the Record:

    Corzine warns more budget cuts could come

    The looming recession is taking a toll on the state’s revenue, Governor Corzine says, and he is preparing to make even more cuts to the budget legislators are now reviewing.

    Corzine also plans to put aside promoting his strategy of using major toll hikes on highways to restructure state finances and manage the long-term debt load until after the budget issues are dealt with.

    The governor made both disclosures during a meeting Thursday with The Record’s editorial board in Hackensack.

    Corzine, a former Wall Street executive, said there are strong signs a recession would hurt state revenues, which would lead to additional budget cuts.

    “If anything changes from where we are as it relates to this budget, it’s that we’ll end up coming back a month and a half from now and saying we don’t have the revenue to support what we are financing now,” Corzine said.

  5. grim says:

    From the Long Island Business News:

    Subprimes invade the middle class.

    Subprime mortgages in Long Island’s poorest neighborhoods are slipping into delinquency or foreclosure at rates that top 40 percent, but it’s the spread into middle-class areas that has economists on red alert.

    Nearly 18.5 percent of the 41,000 subprime mortgages in Nassau and Suffolk counties are either in foreclosure or at least 30 days delinquent, according to statistics compiled by the Long Island Association. But a growing number are in relatively upscale communities such as Massapequa, where 26.4 percent of the loans are either late or already in foreclosure.

    Other middle-class problem areas: Long Beach, with 28 percent of loans late or foreclosed; East Meadow at 24 percent; and Wantagh at 23 percent.

    “It seems that people, especially in Nassau, paid for homes and can’t meet their payment,” said Pearl Kamer, the LIA’s chief economist.

    Not surprisingly, low-income areas have suffered the most defaults and late payments. Troubled loans in Wyandanch lead the Island at 43.5 percent, followed by Mastic Beach with 43.1 percent. Shirley and Mastic were next at 38.4 percent.

    And local economists predict the numbers will get worse. Housing prices in Nassau County have remained flat over the past 12 months ending in February, and they have dipped just 5 percent in Suffolk. Kamer believes prices could slide another 15 percent to 20 percent before hitting bottom.

    “Once these foreclosed homes come to market, there will be a downward pressure on housing,” Kamer said, adding that the Long Island market hasn’t suffered nearly as much as other regions of the country.

  6. grim says:

    From Bloomberg:

    European Consumer Prices, Labor Costs Rise More Than Forecast

    European consumer prices and wages rose more than economists forecast, leaving the European Central Bank with little room to lower interest rates as economic growth slows.

    Consumer prices in the euro area rose 3.3 percent in February, the European Union’s statistics office in Luxembourg said today. That is faster than a Feb. 29 estimate and the median forecast of 42 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News. Labor-cost growth accelerated in the fourth quarter to the highest since 2006, a separate report showed.

    Economists have pushed back their forecasts for possible interest-rate cuts this year as food and energy costs soar. ECB President Jean-Claude Trichet last week quashed speculation of a rate reduction by stressing the bank’s commitment to price stability even as economic growth cools.

    “The inflation outlook is deteriorating and the major driver there is what is happening to oil prices,” said Jacques Cailloux, chief euro-area economist at Royal Bank of Scotland in London. “There is a clear risk inflation in March could reach 3.4 percent.”

  7. SG says:

    From Economist,

    If at first you don’t succeed
    Trying again to solve the credit crunch

    THIRD time lucky? The credit markets almost seized up in August, December and again this month and on each occasion the Federal Reserve has led a rescue attempt. Ben Bernanke’s latest effort led to a bout of euphoria on Wall Street, with the S&P 500 index managing its biggest one-day increase in over five years on Tuesday March 11th. The trouble is, every time the Fed has doused the flames somewhere in the credit markets, they have flared up somewhere else soon afterwards. Owing to the unusually complex nature of this crisis, that may well happen again.

    The fear is that the financial markets have entered a negative spiral with being forced to sell bonds and loans, whether or not they believe the borrowers will eventually repay. The problems are exacerbated by the demise of the securitisation market, and fears about counterparty risk. Both those factors are making banks less willing to lend—even to worthy borrowers. They will become even more cautious the deeper America’s economy tips into recession.

    When banks get more nervous about lending, that tends to have wider consequences. Companies will find it more difficult to borrow; weaker ones will accordingly get into trouble. Nor is it likely that the full impact of tighter lending standards on consumer demand has been felt. David Bowers of Absolute Strategy Research, a consultancy, reckons that the credit crisis has also undermined the willingness of foreigners to finance America’s current-account deficit.

  8. bairen says:

    Australia’s PM got hammered at Scores when he was the opposition party’s foreign affairs spokesman.

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080314/ap_on_fe_st/odd_australia_drunken_premier;_ylt=AsTZqvTqViX_iU9f_0HZ6sihOrgF

    Wonder if he knows Spitzer? Prostitution is legal in Australia. Maybe Spitzer should have done an overseas “fact finding tour”

  9. bairen says:

    #5 Long Island has crazy prices too. I wonder how long before we can substitute L.I and those towns with NJ and Chatham, Summit, Warren, etc?

    Just because people bought houses pre 2004 doesn’t mean they are not underwater. Many people tapped the equity spigot for cars, vacations, remodeling, etc.

    And even if they didn’t tap their equity, with the rate prices have dropped and the recent increase in lending standards and fees, I think we’ll be back to 2003 prices, maybe 2002 by the end of the year.

    I could be wrong. I really expected this party to start winding down around Jan 2004, but then IOs, negative arms, and teaser rate arms spread and kept this party rolling till the Summer of 2005, with noticeable price declines only in the last year.

  10. grim says:

    bairen,

    I’ve been seeing an interesting scenario playing out lately.

    Trapped by overimprovement.

  11. bairen says:

    #10 Sounds sad. Good way to cause a divorce.

    Tap 50 to 80k in home equity to redo bath and kitchens and “add 100k in value”. In 2008 discover improvements worth 0 but debt remains. Fight. Yada yada yada. Call divorce attorney.

  12. grim says:

    CPI out at 8:30am.

    Any predictions?

  13. bairen says:

    #10 Wonder if HGTV will get sued by some “trapped by overimprovement” households who fell for their 30k in upgrades adds 80k in value type shows.

  14. 1987 Condo Buyer says:

    Given my past experience..”1987 Condo buyer”…your house is worth $0.00 until you somebody actually buys it and the check clears (and perhaps you move the money overseas!)

  15. Clotpoll says:

    grim-

    Me too.

    I have yet to meet a homeowner who considered the concept of seasoning before undertaking massive home improvement projects. Even more striking is how many owners thought the improvements could be made, then the cost recouped (or even a profit generated) in an immediate sale.

    It’s pure insanity how many people made outsize, out-of-scale home improvements that were the very definition of diminishing returns. In many cases, I’ve seen improvements that clearly rendered the home both anomalous within the context of its neighborhood and unmarketable in the higher price range required to recoup even the raw cost of the job.

  16. bairen says:

    #12 grim,

    I predict grossly understated. Maybe CPI will show 4.1 annual.

  17. Clotpoll says:

    grim (12)-

    Whatever the number is, it will be bogus.

  18. Clotpoll says:

    Do they make monthly CPI announcements in Zimbabwe?

  19. Mikeinwaiting says:

    GRIM 12 Have to parrot Clot the number is bogus.Did hear some talk of m3 supply last night on Kudlow.Brown English gentlemen he was spot on.Wonder where that number is now
    someone had posted a link to the charts a while back.

  20. njrebear says:

    cpi is 0. Hurrah!

  21. grim says:

    The stage is set for Benny to cut.

  22. grim says:

    From Bloomberg:

    Insurer Losses From Subprime Collapse Approach Katrina Claims

    The collapse of the subprime mortgage market will lead to record losses for insurance companies, overtaking Hurricane Katrina, the worst natural disaster in U.S. history.

    The amount of asset writedowns and credit losses reported by the industry has reached at least $38 billion, just short of the $41.1 billion in claims from Katrina, which killed more than 1,500 people and left more than half of New Orleans homeless in 2005, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

    American International Group Inc., the world’s biggest insurer, reported the largest quarterly loss in its 89-year history because of the decline in investments linked to mortgages. Chief Executive Officer Martin Sullivan told shareholders last month that more losses are possible amid the most depressed U.S. housing market in a quarter century. The KBW Insurance Index ended 2007 with its worst quarter in five years and fell another 15 percent this year through yesterday.

    “This is a bigger event than Katrina,” said Robert Haines, an insurance analyst at New York-based CreditSights Inc. “This is a much more unprecedented event.”

  23. John says:

    Housing is on the back-burner. Oil, metals, food are all squeezing people and 2009 raises and bonuses will be crap. People can sustain a 100K hit in paper home value loss easier than a stagant paycheck with heating oil, food, gas, groceries and transportations expenses moving up at double digit increases. The property ladder was perceived as the way to wealth now people are hanging on and that is going to shut down spending real quick.

  24. HEHEHE says:

    Hey the guy they have cooking the CPI numbers must be back from vacation.

  25. BC Bob says:

    “People can sustain a 100K hit in paper home value loss easier than a stagant paycheck with heating oil, food, gas, groceries and transportations expenses moving up at double digit increases.”

    I disagree. They would rather pay more at the pump and more for lettuce than have their lines of credit shut down. Their equity lines were their crutch. With this disappearing, what next?

  26. make money says:

    CPI out at 8:30am.

    Any predictions?

    BS number. not even a fraction of what it should be.

  27. grim says:

    From the APP:

    5 from Monmouth charged in $4M mortgage defrauding scheme

    Four men and one woman, all from Monmouth County, were charged today with a conspiracy to defraud mortgage lenders of over $4 million, authorities said.

    The investigation, which led to the charges, uncovered a conspiracy to file fraudulent mortgage applications to obtain financing for seven different value inflated properties — six in Monmouth County, and one in Florida, authorities said. Excessive fees were also charged. Funds from the closings were then funneled into various shell corporations. Of the seven properties that were utilized in this scheme, the lenders have already foreclosed upon six, authorities said.

  28. BC Bob says:

    Ironic, at least to me, that every nation pegged to the dollar is experiencing rampant inflation. Now if they just purchased our blackbox, their inflation predicament will magically disappear.

  29. grim says:

    I sure hope those inflated properties weren’t used by appraisers as comps to support other local valuations.

  30. 3b says:

    #3 grim: I wonder where exactly Mr Trump believes the demand will come from for all this residential/commecial real estate?

  31. BC Bob says:

    “I wonder where exactly Mr Trump believes the demand will come from for all this residential/commecial real estate?”

    3b,

    Come on, are you a rookie? All the pant up demand on the sidelines.

  32. njpatient says:

    16 bairen
    17 clot

    Good calls both

  33. HEHEHE says:

    Damnit, If I’d known Gartman would be on Squawkbox I’d have gotten up earlier.

  34. 3b says:

    #15 clot Some one I know spent a huge amount of money on a remodel, whcih did not increase living space, lots of bells and whistles.

    This person is a professional, and has a reputation as “savvy”.

    Anyhow to make a long story short, this person has finally come to the reluctant realazation that the real estate party is over.

    However, this person said and I quote it does not really matter, because when I sell the house in 20 years I will get all that money I spent ont the improvements back.

    I was absolutely dumfounded. Now you why I get cranky sometimes.

  35. chicagofinance says:

    HEHEHE Says:
    March 14th, 2008 at 9:04 am
    Damnit, If I’d known Gartman would be on Squawkbox I’d have gotten up earlier.

    You can get the videos on the CNBC site….

  36. chicagofinance says:

    BTW – Ratigan christened him Dr. Suess last night….

  37. 3b says:

    #31 BC Bob Sorry.I forgot. And it is right next to NYC too.

  38. BklynHawk says:

    #15- Recouping home improvement investments. I actually wrote a paper on this for b-school for a pricing class. All the literature and resources I could find showed that the best you could do was recoup 60-70% of the money you put in to bathrooms and kitchens. Other rooms were less down to about 30% (if I remember correctly).

    Also, the “experts” on flipping strongly recommended to make sure the improvement was in line with style and type of neighbor’s bathrooms and kitchens. So, if everyone has normal ceramic tile, don’t put in travertine.

    You’ll get even less of your money back.

    JM

  39. chicagofinance says:

    Real possibility that we get a super sugar rush in stocks this morning….

  40. chicagofinance says:

    Bost: I always thought that Trump was a bad businessman, but if you have heard any interview with him in the last 12 months, you realize that he is utterly a clueless hack. Started rich and went from there….just Jim Dolan of real estate….

  41. 3b says:

    I guess we will not have to worry about gas prices declining when the March CPI#’s come out.

  42. gary says:

    Consumer inflation, which had been pushing relentlessly higher, posted its mildest reading in six months in February as the costs of energy and food moderated.

    LOL!!! Oh, my, God. This reminds me of Baghdad Bob telling the world that the infidels were being slaughtered in droves.

  43. grim says:

    Baghdad Bob? Isn’t he the head of mortgage securities analysis at S&P now?

  44. Rich In NNJ says:

    From MarketWatch

    SUBPRIME TODAY

    Consumer prices flat, core rate also unchanged
    Carlyle Capital rallies on compensation hopes
    Average credit card interest rates fall to two-year low
    Two senior executives at Impac Mortgage resign
    Feb. euro-zone consumer inflation hits all-time high
    Most economists in survey say recession is here
    Freeze in auction-rate field finds its way to Silicon Valley
    Money-market rate for pounds soars most since August, BBA says
    Northern Rock revamp due next week
    UBS says to publish watchdog subprime probe
    AIG urges ‘fair value’ rethink

    Details to headlines at above link

  45. 3b says:

    #40 chgo: Yeah but he does have a thick head of hair.

  46. chicagofinance says:

    Very nice….

    The Rev. Jeremiah Wright, who for decades ministered at Obama’s Trinity United Church of Christ on the South Side of Chicago, has also preached about the vast influence of “rich white people” and slammed Clinton from the pulpit for never having experienced the suffering of African-Americans.

    “Jesus was a poor black man who lived in a country and who lived in a culture that was controlled by rich white people,” Wright preached in one Christmas sermon.

    “The Romans were rich. The Romans were Italian, which means they were European, which means they were white. And the Romans ran everything in Jesus’ country.”

    But Obama was different, Wright said.

    “He ain’t white, he ain’t rich, and he ain’t privileged. Hillary fits the mold,” he said.

    “Hillary never had a cab whiz past her and not pick her up because her skin was the wrong color. Hillary never had to worry about being pulled over in her car . . . Hillary ain’t never been called a n—–.”

  47. make money says:

    Bost: I always thought that Trump was a bad businessman, but if you have heard any interview with him in the last 12 months, you realize that he is utterly a clueless hack. Started rich and went from there….just Jim Dolan of real estate….

    Funny, I always thought the same thing. If you make many deals then then eventually some of them will work out. He’s a master of branding his name though. It was his branding and promoting TRUMP and not his actual RE investments and deals that made him who he is today.

  48. JP & NY Fed providing funding for Bear. Uh oh.

  49. make money says:

    Baghdad Bob? Isn’t he the head of mortgage securities analysis at S&P now?

    BC,

    That’s BI.

  50. make money says:

    JP & NY Fed providing funding for Bear. Uh oh.

    Why would they do that according to SEC Bear is fine!

  51. HEHEHE says:

    Thanks Chi. I saw him on Fast Money.

    how about JP Morgan and the Feds bailing out Bear Stearns?

  52. njpatient says:

    34 3b
    “when I sell the house in 20 years I will get all that money I spent ont the improvements”

    Maybe he’s going to wrap that part of the house in plastic for 20 years so it’s “like new”. C’mon – how many of us would LOVE to have a completely unused 1987 kitchen?!?

  53. From Minyanville, The SEC is looking to revise how companies report losses. Mark to model for everything!, yay.

  54. Clotpoll says:

    Bear circling the drain…Fed and JP Morgan stepping in.

  55. njpatient says:

    “It was his branding and promoting TRUMP and not his actual RE investments and deals that made him who he is today.”

    True.

    “Started rich and went from there….”

    Also true.

  56. grim says:

    njp,

    Granite = Formica
    Stainless = Harvest Gold
    “Timeless” = Bu!!$h!+

    We’re going to look back at this trend and laugh at ourselves in 15 years.

  57. Sean says:

    re: (25) the death of the HELOC crowd.

    For the HELOC crowd, Vacations, new cars will all take the hit this year.

    I have a few prime examples in my company, and in fact I heard of one this morning.

    An employee here cancelled his expensive vacation in April which I believe was a an expensive Cruise citing and I have to quote this one “housing issues”.

    This is a guy who got married in 2004 and purchased a home in West Caldwell around peak in 2006. I would say he maxed his Heloc to 110%.

  58. Bear says liquidity position in the last 24 hours had significantly deteriorated.
    Even with $200bil available they had liquidity problems, that can’t be good.

  59. njpatient says:

    chi
    I’ll resist the urge to post quotes from McCain’s spiritual advisor, Rod Parsley.
    Or John Hagee.

  60. Clotpoll says:

    3b (34)-

    “…when I sell the house in 20 years I will get all that money I spent on the improvements back.”

    At least your pal finally understands the concept of seasoning.

    Although I have to say, giving himself 20 years to recoup is not exactly a daring call. :)

  61. njpatient says:

    58 tosh

    It isn’t.

    It’s really, really bad.

  62. grim says:

    How about the Avocado Green trend, good lord what were they thinking.

    (It is worth noting that I am a fan of the Formica “Boomerang” pattern)

  63. Clotpoll says:

    I bet Jimmy Cayne is rolling a Cheech & Chong-sized fatty right now…

  64. Rich In NNJ says:

    Bear Stearns liquidity problems happened in a couple of hours… puh-lease!

  65. Ed Sanders says:

    Grim, Bairen, Clot,

    Lately I’ve noticed that in most of the foreclosure stories I’m seeing in the papers and on the internet, the sap isn’t a recent purchaser, but someone who refi’d/Heloced — anybody seen stats on foreclosure rates for those types of properties?

  66. Jaw says:

    Did no one here care about the stimulus package for buyers posted in the earlier thread?

    http://www.wsbtv.com/news/15575616/detail.html

  67. Sean says:

    re: bear

    I believe the Fed put a limit of 20% on that 200 Billion which any one bank could borrow.

  68. BC Bob says:

    “Congressman Barney Frank, Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, plans to hold a hearing next month to address the “downward pull” mark-to-market accounting is having on the economy.”

    From # 53,

    Barney Frank and the downward pull. I lost my bagel. You can’t make this s*it up.

    I’m very confused, am I witnessing a comedy or a tragedy?

  69. Clotpoll says:

    Ed (66)-

    Haven’t seen any stats; however, equity-stripping, via serial refinancings, is certainly a contributor to the problem.

    Sadly, when you dig into many of those stories, the root cause of it is medical problems.

  70. Clotpoll says:

    BC (69)-

    Both.

    Now, please excuse me while I short the living daylights out of BSC.

  71. 3b says:

    #60 clot: Yeah maybe in 20 years, granite, travertine and stainlesss steel will have made a come back. Especially with the weathered and beaten look.

    I am still waiting for Harvest Gold and Avocado to make a grand come back.

  72. njpatient says:

    62 grim
    Mrs. Patient and I refer to that as “old person green”

  73. #68 – That’s still 40 big. I’m also assuming that the had AAA rated stuff still left.

  74. njpatient says:

    70 clot

    “Sadly, when you dig into many of those stories, the root cause of it is medical problems.”

    That is often true, and a f*cking travesty.

  75. BC Bob says:

    Every hedgie, across the universe, has been pulling their prime brokerage businees out of Bear. The put action, the last couple of week, had ominous signs written all over it.

    Pret will claim that’s anecdotal, his blackbox indicates that Bear is on a hiring rampage.

  76. John says:

    Word of the Day

    Total Housing Expense

    The sum of a homeowner’s monthly mortgage principal and interest payments, hazard insurance premiums, property taxes and homeowner’s association fees, plus monthly debt service. Monthly debt service consists of payments on credit cards, installment loans and other debts. A borrower’s total housing expense is used in the calculation of a back-end ratio, which is used to qualify a borrower for a loan.

    A borrower’s total housing expense as a percentage of his or her total gross monthly income (the back-end ratio) generally cannot exceed 56%; however, that limit can vary slightly based on the lender, loan program and market conditions. For a borrower whose back-end ratio exceeds the limit, compensating factors such as a good credit history, a low loan-to-value ratio, and substantial net worth might be considered by underwriters in granting approval for a mortgage.

  77. njpatient says:

    64 tosh
    key graf:
    “.P. Morgan said it is working closely with Bear Stearns on securing permanent financing or “other alternatives” for the company”

  78. Hobokenite says:

    re:Bear

    Looks like one of my new years predictions will be coming true shortly.

  79. njpatient says:

    “Barney Frank and the downward pull. I lost my bagel. You can’t make this s*it up. ”

    BC
    I gotta change my shorts now.
    Jeebus.
    Next week: the “downward pull” sales of housing is having on the value of housing.

  80. njpatient says:

    “Pret will claim that’s anecdotal, his blackbox indicates that Bear is on a hiring rampage.”

    I hear it’s only Bear’s non-NYC offices that needed financing.

  81. grim says:

    Other alternatives?

    JP Chase Stearns? Morgan Chase Bear? Bear Chase Fed?

  82. HEHEHE says:

    Does Barney Frank have ANY sort of financial background? What kind of f*cking make believe land does he live in? Apparently he’s advocating the make believe accounting the government uses now be used by business. Wasn’t he all up in arms over Enron? The people who run this country suck. I may have to follow Jim Rodgers to Singapore.

  83. #82 – Their tower on Madison is right next 270 Park. That has to be worth something.
    Also Bear could wash dishes until they pay JP backsies.

  84. skep-tic says:

    “Trapped by overimprovement.”

    Yes! People do not understand that some of the dollars that go into remodling are consumed. You do not get 100% of your money back because once it goes into your house it is used. These same people probably believe putting new rims on your car and driving it around for a year causes the car to go up in value

  85. Clotpoll says:

    Bear Dead? Dead Bear?

  86. Clotpoll says:

    HE (83)-

    “Does Barney Frank have ANY sort of financial background?”

    Does having a male hooker ring run out of your apartment qualify?

  87. grim says:

    Love it.

    This morning, March 14th:

    Bear admits its liquidity ‘significantly deteriorated’

    Four days ago, March 10th:

    Bear Stearns’ Greenberg: Liquidity Talk Is ‘Ridiculous’

    Bear Stearns’ Alan “Ace” Greenberg, a former chief executive who currently serves as chair of its executive committee, told CNBC that the liquidity rumors surrounding the company are “totally ridiculous.”

    “It’s ridiculous, totally ridiculous,” he told CNBC.

    (Hat tip Calculated Risk)

  88. 3b says:

    #81 njpatient:I hear it’s only Bear’s non-NYC offices that needed financing, yes and more specifically only California

    After all we here are in a sea of wealth.

  89. Clotpoll says:

    Gotta love those new short-on-downtick rules.

    It’s legalized piling on!

  90. Clotpoll says:

    patient (81)-

    pret laying low lately. I think the shield he’ll be carried out on is being prepared.

  91. HEHEHE says:

    “Does having a male hooker ring run out of your apartment qualify?”

    I wonder how he priced his level 3 ASSets?

  92. Clotpoll says:

    HE (93)-

    “I wonder how he priced his level 3 ASSets?”

    I think it was the model for Emperors Club VIP’s pricing.

  93. skep-tic says:

    so European CPI for Feb was 3.3% (due to high food and energy prices) but U.S. CPI was 0% (due to moderating food and energy prices). Makes sense

  94. BC Bob says:

    “It’s ridiculous, totally ridiculous.”

    [88]

    IB’s, scoundrelly liars.

    George Steinbrenner actually had more credibility, everytime he spewed a vote of confidence regarding his manager.

  95. make money says:

    Yesterday: Everything was fine!

    Today: Brother can you spare a dime!

    “Schwartz said “market chatter” had undermined Bear’s liquidity”

    Damned market.

    Just price everything to the model.

    Why don’t we hang these crooks for treason.

  96. Clotpoll says:

    Now JP Morgan/Bear merger rumors flying.

    Talk about acquiring on the cheap…on the surface, this looks like the kind of set-up in which Dimon ends up skinning somebody alive.

  97. njpatient says:

    91 clot

    Until yesterday’s Field Day At The Asylum, we’d been short on appearances by all of the loonies. bi and reinvestor showing up less and less as well.

  98. 3b says:

    #95 skeptic:but U.S. CPI was 0% (due to moderating food and energy prices). Makes sense

    how are we going to explain March CPI #’s.

  99. Clotpoll says:

    Ten years ago, LTCM’s 5 billion $$$ bobble nearly wiped out everything.

    Even time and inflation-adjusted, where does that place today’s events?

  100. Al says:

    So with raging inflation how would you explain stock market drop in the last 3 month???

    Is it expectation of DEPRESSION ??

    Because once you get to hyperinflation stage, there is no reason to keep stocks – only valuables are commodities and land.

    Companies will go bankrupt, manufacturing disappear and economy will be destroyed.

    If you think I am too Grim – well I lived through one of the highest hyperinflations in the world – and people were saying “it can not happen here.”

    And Fed is well on their way to hyperinflation. Once foreign coutries un-peg oil and their economies from dollar there will be nothing to prop it.

    All Fed cares is for their friends on wall street:

    JPMorgan Chase, Fed to aid Bear Stearns

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/23630319/

    NEW YORK – JPMorgan Chase says that in conjunction with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York it will provide temporary funding for Bear Stearns.

    The funding will be provided as necessary for up to 28 days. During that time, JPMorgan Chase will also help Bear Stearns find permanent financing.

    And it is already

  101. JLB says:

    #25: Average credit card interest rates fall to two-year low

  102. make money says:

    Hey don’t look at the DOW

  103. 3b says:

    #97 mm: Because Kudlow says they are true Ameiricans.

    And well you know free market capitalism or kinda sort of free market cpaitalism…….

  104. BC Bob says:

    “Why don’t we hang these crooks for treason.”

    make,

    Better yet, let them continue to babble, then take the other side of the trade.

  105. scribe says:

    clot,

    What do you mean by “the concept of seasoning”?

  106. Kelly says:

    #70 – Clot

    According to some survey less than 1/3 went to medical bills.

    From the WP

    “Last year, 34 percent of borrowers said they used their home equity lines to pay off other debt and 29 percent used them for home renovation, according to a survey of lenders by BenchMark Consulting International. Another 31 percent used them to pay for other things, such as medical bills, weddings or vacations”

    Here is the article – bottom of 2nd page –

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/02/22/AR2008022202987_2.html?nav=rss_email/components

  107. grim says:

    Now JP Morgan/Bear merger rumors flying.

    Damn, I was only kidding. I knew I should have added a disclaimer.

  108. Al says:

    And another nice piece:

    Dollar losing clout around the world
    Even in South America workers prefer euros, other local currencies

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/23616851/

  109. Outofstater says:

    Holy sh##.

  110. grim says:

    What do you mean by “the concept of seasoning”?

    The blend of seasonings and spices necessary to make Spam taste like filet mignon.

    We’re all going to be needing that recipe.

  111. make money says:

    Bear shares down 45%

  112. RentininNJ says:

    Stainless…
    We’re going to look back at this trend and laugh at ourselves in 15 years.

    Of course
    How often do people buy a new refrigerator or stove?
    Can you imagine what these stainless appliances are going to look like in 10 years? People will wish they had avocado appliances and pink toilet.

  113. make money says:

    grim112,

    See what you did? The power of njrereport i smore influential then the FED.

    It seems like the investors are looking at our CPI projections.

  114. Al says:

    grim Says:
    March 14th, 2008 at 10:06 am
    Now JP Morgan/Bear merger rumors flying.

    Damn, I was only kidding. I knew I should have added a disclaimer.

    I am a bit scared – almost every negative prediction on this blog in the last 3 years came true…..

    (Except Westfield’s housing prices coming down, Of course!!)

  115. JLB says:

    A tragedy but if one took asset allocation and shuffled it towards intangibles they will be in big trouble and that includes medical, it is very sad! But don’t worry, The Fed is coming!The Fed is coming!

  116. BC Bob says:

    #25: Average credit card interest rates fall to two-year low

    jibble [103],

    Great news. Charge it up and then try to tap your hel.

  117. x-underwriter says:

    John Says:
    A borrower’s total housing expense as a percentage of his or her total gross monthly income (the back-end ratio) generally cannot exceed 56%;

    I was an underwriter in the mid 90’s and then in the early 00’s. I had to get back into it because of the tech downturn in 2001 and 911 related issues.

    In the 90’s, everything was full doc with a max of 36% total DTI. 40% was the absolute ceiling that you didn’t go over. Fast forward to today, its an astonishing 56%. I don’t know how these people make it. Same houses, but now 56% of your income goes out the door for credit and housing vs 36%. That’s progress for you.

    A sign of the times though, I now work as a business systems analyst for a major mortgage company on their sub-prime application . The current DTI limit the system sets is 50%. I just got the order to write a specification that changes this system max to 45%. This along with changing the max loan amounts to about 1/2 what they currently are. NJ properties are now limited to a max LTV of 80%. A year ago it was 95%.

  118. Sean says:

    re: CPI is Zero.

    The food and beverages index rose 0.4 percent in February.

    I gather they didn’t buy sirloin with $60 dollar bottles of French Beaujolais and instead went right for the Boone’s Farms and canned spam?

    Transportation declined .7 percent, what is everyone riding greyhound instead of flying?

    The index for gasoline declined 2.0 percent.
    Where are they buying their gas in Mexico?

  119. Al says:

    About Stocks Market – here goes Fed – a Knight in shining armor on a white hourse – instead of sword he welds a printing press.

  120. njpatient says:

    108 Kelly

    % of borrowers is not the same as % of amount borrowed.

    Catastrophic medical bills cost a heck of a lot more than vacations.

    Also, as to the 34% who used it to “pay off debt” – what debt?

    I’ll try to dig up the Harvard study that showed ~50% of bankruptcies in the US related to medical bills, which I posted a couple of weeks ago.

  121. Gold up over $1k for Mar, Apr, May + delivery.

  122. Al says:

    Let’s just Imagine for a second:

    OPEC contries have an emergency meeting, and decide not to accept payments for oil in DOLLARS ANYMORE…..

    What is going to happen??

  123. skep-tic says:

    #88

    hopefully Greenburg didn’t write any stupid emails where he talked about Bear’s liquidity problems more than 24 hrs ago

  124. Clotpoll says:

    scribe (107)-

    “Seasoning” is the concept that improvements made to a home do not add an immediate, recoupable dollar-for-dollar value to a home. In order to recoup the max on an improvement, it must “season” (a fancy way of saying some time must pass).

  125. JLB says:

    #118: I was agreeing with you and pointing out that the same ones who went heloc crazy are the ones who go cc crazy.

  126. Rich In NNJ says:

    Due to this blog,

    From MarketWatch

    Consumer sentiment slips in March to 16-year low

    .S. consumer sentiment slipped in March, but not as much as expected, according to media reports Friday. The University of Michigan/Reuters consumer sentiment index dropped to 70.5 in March from 70.8 in February, above the 69.0 expected by economists. It’s the lowest in 16 years. The current conditions index improved to 84.6 from 83.8. The expectations index fell to 61.4 from 62.4, also the lowest since early 1992.

  127. JLB says:

    Clot: what is that new phrase realtors are using about home renovations, value added living or something like that? I’m sure you have heard it, they use it to justify the high end renovations that don’t pay out.

  128. njpatient says:

    re bankruptcy/medical bills

    “Medical bills make up half of bankruptcies”
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6895896/

    http://www.law.harvard.edu/news/2005/02/03_bankruptcy.php

    You’ll note that the study highlights the fact that having health insurance doesn’t do much good:
    “Our study is fairly shocking,” explained Steffie Woolhandler, associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, in an interview with the Chicago Tribune. “We found that, too often, private health insurance is an umbrella that melts in the rain.”

  129. njpatient says:

    grim – help out of moderation at 130?
    (just links to Harvard study)

  130. BC Bob says:

    “The Fed is coming!The Fed is coming!”

    [117],

    Another bunch of dolts. That’s OK, they are serving a gift on a silver platter. Unfortunately, not to be served to homeowners/prospective homeowners.

    You forgot to add that Bush is speaking today. He will focus on our agenda of a strong dollar. Got Gold?

  131. Clotpoll says:

    SDS to the moon. I live for days like today.

  132. BC Bob says:

    Pret,

    Can you do some data mining and pull up my post, regarding Bear and jobs on WS. I believe it was in Sept.

    http://bigcharts.marketwatch.com/interchart/interchart.asp?symb=BSC

  133. BC Bob says:

    “I live for days like today.”

    Clot,

    It sure beats the alternative; working.

  134. Clotpoll says:

    JLB (129)-

    Dunno. Most of the Realtors still in the game fall into two camps right now:

    1. Dead Man Walking. Walking in circles, that is…like the prison scene in Midnight Express. These agents don’t talk, they drool and mumble.

    2. Same As It Ever Was. Been there, done that. One or two housing collapses teaches agents like this that you don’t speak in platitudes and sound bites. They come back to bite the speaker.

    “Value add”? Save it for your resume posting at monster.com.

  135. Clotpoll says:

    BC (134)-

    You think sitting here- wondering what kind of payload the Fed will stuff into its money-cannon next- isn’t working?

  136. 3b says:

    Well with Bear Stearns falling on the knife. Here will come the massive layoffs there that our youg pret was so skeptical of.

  137. BC Bob says:

    Clot [136],

    Point well taken.

  138. CB in SJ says:

    Debt Collectors Try to Put on a Friendlier Face

    So many people are in so much debt that the government says bill collecting is one of the fastest-growing businesses. By 2016, employment in it is projected to exceed half a million workers, up 23 percent in a decade.

    http://tinyurl.com/2tp84j

  139. njpatient says:

    previous link is about bankruptcy and health cost.

  140. skep-tic says:

    “OER [owner’s equivalent rent] accounts for 31% of the core CPI and the +0.1% result for OER in February has only been matched once since 2004. Moreover, OER peaked at +4.3% on a year/year basis in Jan 2007 and is now running at +2.7%. We could see a further deceleration of as much as a full percentage point over the next year or so, which would shave 0.3 percentage points from the core reading all by itself.” –David Greenlaw, Morgan Stanley

    the question here, I think, is whether the OER actually reflects housing costs, given that for many people, due to ARM resets, housing costs are rising rapidly

  141. Ann says:

    On overimprovement:

    I did see some overimproved homes, not sure what the def of overimproved is, but basically people who renovated a smallish house to the nines, usually because they or their brother could do it, and then wanted a huge amount for it, but it was still a smallish house.

    But then again, the people who hadn’t improved in 50 years were also delusional.

    There must be a middle ground here. Some set of time after which it is worthwhile to upgrade, even cosmetically.

  142. make money says:

    http://www.marketwatch.com/quotes/?sid=11420

    What up the with the ten year note? Is Bergabe lowering rates to zero on tuesday?

  143. Ann says:

    46 chifi re Obama’s minister

    I am in shock this morning on that story. I usually vote Dem, but how did we get this far with Obama and not know this? He can never win the general now. And he can’t distance himself from it. It’s not private. When you go sit in a church each week, in public, you own it. For twenty years? Not just something stupid you did in your youth.

    Any other thoughts from people who vote Dem out there?

  144. Kelly says:

    njpatient –

    I think I found the study that you are referring to – however if you look at the numbers they are really not that huge – less than the price of a kitchen remodel –

    “Cancer was the most expensive diagnosis, with average out- of-pocket expenses of $35,000,” said Steffie Woolhandler, a professor at Harvard Medical School and an author of the study. Death caused by any disease totaled $17,283 on average, followed by neurological diseases at $15,560 and mental disorders at $15,478. ”

    source – http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=10000103&sid=aolabyFcYBVY&refer=us

    I know these numbers do not include the loss of wages from the illness. The amount one gets from disability is miniscule and can not even come close to paying the average mortgage.

    Question – since you do not have to lose your home by filing bankruptcy for those with huge bills – would it be better to file bankruptcy and keep the property rather than HELOC than pay off the bills?

    Also I wonder what the relationship is to the number of foreclosures due to medical bills paid off through HELOCs. All of the stories I have read are from people who already underwater or close – then the illness happened.

  145. make money says:

    Well with Bear Stearns falling on the knife. Here will come the massive layoffs there that our youg pret was so skeptical of.

    no need for layoffs. This is only a 24 hour crisis and after a small non-disclosed capital injection it’s business as usual.

    If Swatz says it it must be “true”. Justr ask Standard and Poors and the SEC if you don’t believe me. it’s not like they are in bed together with Kirsten, Cramer and Spitz.

  146. Mike NJ says:

    Just called some buddies at Bear to check in on them. Seems the trading floor is DEAD. No one is trading with them, hence no money will be made. I worked there for 6+ years and I can honestly say it could not happen to a better bunch of douche bags. If JP Morgan steps in they will gut the place as there is plenty if froth when you combine both firms. And what is not froth is dead wood as Bear’s money lines have evaporated in FI sector.

  147. skep-tic says:

    “Question – since you do not have to lose your home by filing bankruptcy for those with huge bills – would it be better to file bankruptcy and keep the property rather than HELOC than pay off the bills?”

    you do not always get to keep your house when you file for bankruptcy. it depends on the homeownership exemption for the particular state you live in and how much equity you have in your house. some states have low exemptions (such as $40k), so if you live in one of those, you will probably lose your house.

  148. 3b says:

    #138 BC Bob: Any thoughts on what kind of cuts we will see at Bear?

  149. 3b says:

    #138 BC Bob: Any thoughts on what kind of cuts we will see at Bear?

  150. Mitchell says:

    Question to Ed Sanders in case you dont read the post in the other thread.

    I’m sorry if you don’t agree.

    However judging from the state’s situation and overall economy of NJ and loss of new business, jobs, income, etc. NJ would have probably gone into recession even if the rest of the country wasn’t.

    It not that I don’t think Corzine is doing enough Its that I believe he is doing it in the wrong order. His priorities are backwards. He gets to the real problems but creates a bigger mess before the clean up crew tries to come in and clean things up.

    I have one observation. Comparing all the previous Gov’s of NJ. When they first started office and ended in office. What did you pay for Property Taxes, Tolls, Income Taxes, and What did you get back in Homestead rebates.

    If you answer that question honestly you will find that Corzine screwed everyone and is now trying to act proactive at a cleanup.

    Nothing has been cut yet so you cant say he cut any spending. He just didn’t override his butt buddy before him.

  151. BC Bob says:

    Mike,

    Bear is stuck between a rock [northern] and a hard place. Their model is busted.

  152. 3b says:

    #147 MM There will be layoffs there, guranteed. ANd if JP Morgan takes them over, they will gut the place.

  153. chicagofinance says:

    BSC – I am so nowhere near that thing…Jamie Dimon making like Warren Buffet….SOB is so much more the Spitzer-chimera than Spitzer ever was…..you lay low and just slaughter people….the people with real ball$ can control when they shoot their wad….

  154. Clotpoll says:

    CNBC announcement: Fed allowed JP Morgan to take Bear’s beer cans and deposit bottles to the window. Bear was not on the list allowed to come to the window directly.

    Someone should alert the Fed to the fact that you can’t polish a turd.

  155. make money says:

    http://www.marketwatch.com/news/story/euro-zone-cpi-hits-new-all-time/story.aspx?guid=%7BFFEF5E05%2D4CD9%2D447B%2DBBB9%2DDE86E3D4A475%7D

    Euro Zone inflation hits all time high!

    Stupid Europeans they don’t know that you can obligorate inflation with a simple lie called the CPI.

  156. JLB says:

    #145 Ann: I totally agree. I vote Dem and I do not want to vote for Hillary but when I started finding out about Obama, I felt it could not be ignored! And it gets worse than what his pastor said because now they are finding out that church has many Muslim members and Obama did not have to do anything but go to two Sunday sermons to “walk down the aisle” and become a member…so there really is a question on his honesty when it comes to his religion…

  157. RentininNJ says:

    JP Morgan taking Bear Stearns collateral to the discount window.

  158. Victorian says:

    Finance Gurus:

    With the dollar in free-fall and high inflation – it logically makes sense that commodity prices would go up.
    So, the currencies which stand to make most out of this situation are the ones backed by commodities.
    Would it make sense moving your money to a basket of these currencies?

    Please excuse my ignorance if i have missed an obvious point.

    Also, has anybody out here dealt with Everbank.

    I just want to park my downpayment money somewhere safe, till this storm blows over (I hope).

    Thanks for all the inputs guys.

  159. chicagofinance says:

    There is a $hitload of short covering happening RIGHT NOW…..

  160. make money says:

    #147 MM There will be layoffs there, guranteed. ANd if JP Morgan takes them over, they will gut the place.

    If that happens Swartz will blame Grim.

  161. Mitchell says:

    #3 GO DONALD TRUMP! Educate those government morons.

    Trump is not in the business to lose money and Corzine is losing him money.

    Trump for Gov of NJ will turn the state around.

  162. Vince says:

    After, Carlyle it is Bear Stearns, rest of the gang to follow. The whole business of derivatives and leverage is misused in the finance industry..

  163. make money says:

    Trump for Gov of NJ will turn the state around.

    nothing can turn NJ around.

  164. loose money says:

    Ladies and Gentleman,

    Man formely known as make money has not been making any money in years and does not see any money coming his way in the near future hence the name make money does not accurately reflect todays situation.

    by the way 9 of my rents are 2 weeks late and there is no pmnt in sight.

  165. ledward says:

    #168, feel sad abt dollar, abt US future. Is it because of Bush? Or no matter who in the office, it would be end up like this anyway.

  166. Mitchell says:

    #56 Grim

    We did a stained concrete living room floor and the neighborhood is raving about it. Cost $120.00 total. Easy enough to carpet or hardwood over if needed. Real easy to clean and maintain too. Looks a hell of a lot better than tile is what we hear. Who knew?

  167. Mike NJ says:

    #171

    Wife going back to work any day now?

  168. gary says:

    BC Bob [174],

    Whatever he had for breakfast is now laying on the floor next to the empty rye bottle.

  169. loose money says:

    Wife going back to work any day now?

    My wife and my 2 yr old daughter. What did you think I was gonna get a job.

    I’m albanian and Albanian men work as a last resort only.

  170. loose money says:

    Bush says US is economic envy of the world

  171. Mitchell says:

    Sweat Equity is king in any remodel but knowing where to get items for pennies on the dollar is priceless.

    The items themselves are incredibly cheap if you know where and how to get them. If you go to Home Depot or Lowes then you pay nearly 80-95% more than I do for the same items. Of course some items cant be purchased outside the store but you get what you can.

    Friend of mine paid $40.00 for $15,000 worth of granite. Million dollar home had a fire and well granite holds up in a fire so he got the counter tops. With that granite he will be able to finish 2 maybe 3 bathrooms and an outdoor BBQ area all with granite for $40.00.

    I cringe when I see someone busting up decent cabinets when they will go well in another home of lesser value or go well in a garage for storage.

    We just picked up fabric that costs $30.00 a yard in any store a good $600.00 worth for $3.00. If the wife makes one pillow and sells it for $35.00 well you get the picture. In all we probably have $2400 worth of fabric that costs us $14.00.

    Think outside the box to where you get your items and you will find something good every now and then.

    House Fires on very expensive homes are one place to look for a deal.

  172. Kelly says:

    njpatient

    From the MSNBC article – “The study estimates medical-caused bankruptcies affect about 2 million Americans each year, counting debtors and their dependents, including 700,000 children.” So that would be about 1.3 million adult Americans – including spouses. So if we took a high estimate of 1 million families filing per year. (I wonder what the composition is of families filing vs. singles.) At the 70% homeownership levels this would be approx. 700,000 homeowners per year filing bankruptcy for medical reasons. This was also during the bubble when it was easy to extract money from the home. Does my math look correct?

    Also note that one of the medical reasons given was in the 54% was “pathological gambling addiction.”

  173. chicagofinance says:

    Victorian Says:
    March 14th, 2008 at 10:58 am
    Finance Gurus:
    Please excuse my ignorance if i have missed an obvious point.

    I just want to park my downpayment money somewhere safe, till this storm blows over (I hope).

    vic: the obvious point is that everything you are interested in doing is in direct conflict with your main goal……..

  174. JLB says:

    March 14 (Bloomberg) — Before Ben Bernanke shovels more cash into the U.S.’s money trap, he should read “Greenspan’s Bubbles,” a damning account of how his predecessor inflated two asset bubbles that mutated into $11 trillion in home mortgage debt.

  175. Sean says:

    re: (135) Any of that Coffee’s for closers! type of sales motivation going on in those real estate offices? I may have to rent Gengarry Glenn Ross this weekend.

  176. Stu says:

    Who the hell cares about Obama’s religion. Grow up people.

    I’d rather see a Muslim in office than a habitual liar who is so week that she can’t either contain her husband or show enough strength to dump his cigar inserting rump.

    We’ve had enough Bush and Clinton already.

  177. skep-tic says:

    I find the quoting of Obama’s pastor to be along the lines of all of the random gossiping of Mormon church doctrines w/r/t Romney. You can highlight a few weird doctrines/sermons in any church, but it doesn’t mean that everyone in the congregation agrees.

  178. John says:

    Funny thing about realtors they are always positive. Ran into a realtor today and she was so happy that she just got a bunch of listings. To me getting new sellers is a bad sign, she needs a bunch of buyers!!

  179. Ann says:

    JLB

    I’ve been a Hillary supporter during the primaries. She’s not perfect, but least I know what I’m getting with the Clintons. I don’t see myself voting Republican. And there is no way I will vote for Obama in the general if he gets the nom. I’ll stay home

    And don’t even get me started on the media coverage of this. Hillary gets killed for Ferraro’s comment and this gets polite coverage instead of total outrage.

    This, on top of Michelle’s comments, and Michelle’s thesis at Princeton (although she was very young then, so that I could give her a pass on, because I wrote dumb stuff in college too). Give me a break, BO had it so hard in life. He’s doomed. Way to go Dems.

    Sorry for the pol talk, I know it’s an RE blog.

  180. Sean says:

    re: Safe Haven.

    Anyone been to Switzerland with a suitcase full of cash lately?

    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601085&sid=aeOYYi8PVJG8

  181. 3b says:

    #178 Bush says US is economic envy of the world.

    Makes you want to cringe!!

  182. Ann says:

    185 skep-tic
    I don’t know. What church you belong to does matter. It does say something about what you believe.

    Even from a political standpoint, let’s just say Barack used that church to propel himself into local and Illinois politics, fine. Well, he can’t have it both ways.

    I’m just mad at the Dems that this hasn’t been out before now and now we are this far. That’s the problem with having a candidate who hasn’t been through a real race.

  183. Victorian says:

    #181(Chi) – LOL! Now, that i go back and read it, you are correct!

    I should have qualified it as “somewhat safer”.

    But, my main question was – is there a fault in my logic in terms of moving money to a commodity backed basket of currencies?

    I guess, they are vulnerable to their respective central banks actions – to keep up with the falling dollar.

    As far as i can understand, the US is the biggest global consumer. If the dollar falls, imports become more expensive and hence the US will buy less. Therefore, it is in the interest of the other countries to keep their currency low (which is what China is doing for a long time).

    Where does this all end up?

  184. Ann says:

    184 Stu

    Ok, fine, lots of people don’t like Hillary, But let’s say Obama is the nominee and it’s a McCain/Obama race. Obama can’t win now. That’s what makes the Dems so stupid on this choice.

  185. skep-tic says:

    #190

    Ann– I know tons of Catholics that vote Democratic across the board. Do they believe that people who get abortions are going to hell? Are they homophobic? In favor of abstinence only prior to marriage? Women must obey their husbands? My point is that churches are often pretty loose communities, not cult-like groups that believe every word of doctrine to the letter

  186. Mitchell says:

    #169 I’m an optimist after being a pessimist for a long time living in NJ.

    NJ can be turned around.

    Lets take Trump. He shares a similar interest with the people in this forum and in the state of NJ. Real Estate. Realtors should want him and home owners should want him. Actually they need him. He makes his real money from development. The building is cheap compared to what you can sell it for but if there are no buyers than its losing money monthly. Trump would make NJ a developers dream. A strong NJ economy means jobs and money and his places sell for more. If NJ economy is in the dumper he takes the money elsewhere. I don’t think Donald would be interested in having trump towers built in a slum so Trump for Gov of NJ.

    Now some people think Trump is a hack or idiot but then we all know who Trump is and I would bet Trump doesn’t know the name of anyone on this forum. Nobody here except grim is a TV celebrity. ;) Trump isn’t getting his investing advise on this forum either and is not anxiously awaiting Clots next post. Although I believe Clot has decent insight to investing. Some call Trump a hack or whatever I’m sure he has been called worse. Every investor makes a mistake but he moves forward still. I would think he makes more rights that wrongs.

    There is a guy in our neighborhood. Nobody liked the poor guy because he is successful (Drives a hummer, NXT, and an escalade) and everyone at a party likes to gossip about the guy. I got to know him and while he is a bit unusual he is incredibly resourceful. I learned more from this guy in one day than every person at those parties. Come to find out he isn’t richer than anyone else in the neighborhood but he certainly knows how to get a deal a hell of a lot less than anyone else I met before. While they are busy spending a few grand he manages to get better items at a fraction of the cost they paid. I find the sooner you learn to ignore the name callers the sooner you can learn that some people have something to offer the name callers dont. The name callers are usually the biggest losers.

  187. Victorian says:

    190# Ann-

    The question to be asked should be – has Religion influenced any of Obama’s actions until now?
    I dont think the Manchurian candidate theory works. He had bared it all in his autobiography – for crying out load, it is named – “Dreams from my father”. I dont think he is trying to hide anything.

  188. JLB says:

    #192 Ann: AMEN! Clinton has a better shot against McCain than Obama. The problem Obama has is he joined that church to disguise his muslim ties so he would be acceptable to run for office and now he is between a rock and a hard place–he either sticks with his church,pastor,black value system, etc. or he admits to his muslim ties and that sheds a whole new light on his “friendship” with a known terrorist and the “friendships” he has in Indonesia…

  189. JLB says:

    #194 Vic: yes, and spitzer broke up prostitution rings, will you ever peek behind the curtain?

  190. Stu says:

    Ann,

    Obama can win and probably will. He is way less polarizing than Hilary and his lack of experience makes it much less likely to be able to dig up dirt on him.

    And if I am not mistaken, Geraldine was working for Hilary. Obama’s pastor was not working for Obama. How can you way what the man’s pastor says against him with such vigor.

    My rabbi has been known to say all kinds of crazy crap. He actually encouraged me to right my hebrew high school thesis on comparing the willingness of Eastern Europe to murder innocent compatriots during the Holocaust to how Americans fall foolishly for fashion and consumerism. I guess I can’t run now.

    It was an interesting paper indeed. Read Milgram and it will explain it all.

    We are all truly sheeple.

  191. JLB says:

    #193 Actually most Christians are homophobic which is why gays can’t marry, direct correlation value system to policy. Start imagining how a black value system could influence policy and you will understand why people want to know what Obama stands for

  192. tim says:

    Our family is all Democrats and have voted Democrat our whole lives. I voted for Obama and contributed to his Campaign. I cant stand Hillary, I think she is the devils spawn.
    I WANT MY $200.00 BACK.

    I am voting for MCCAIN even though were Democrats and will remain that way.

  193. JLB says:

    #197: Ummmmm, are you sure Obama’s pastor wasn’t working for him? I think an investigation has been opened on that exact topic.

  194. njpatient says:

    Looks like I’m out of commission for the rest of the day

    Have a good one, fellas!

  195. skep-tic says:

    “Start imagining how a black value system could influence policy”

    What is a black value system?

  196. Jill says:

    Stu #184: Thank you. As for everyone else, I haven’t seen similar outrage over McCain’s embrace of John “Catholicism is a whore religion” Hagee or Rod “This nation was founded in part to vanquish Islam” Parsley.

    I guess the EIOKIYAR* rule applies.

    *Everything Is OK If You’re A Republican

  197. Ann says:

    Stu,

    Do you mean BO will win the nom? Yeah, most likely, the way it looks now. Win the general? I’ll bet my mortgage on it (joke), but seriously, no way. All Hannity has to do is play this guy on a loop and it will be the biggest landslide in history.

    This pastor is part of Obama’s campaign, on some sort of committee.

    Regardless of the role of this guy in the campaign, his book is named after one of this guy’s sermons. He was married by this guy, had his children baptized there, gave 20K in 2006, has been a member for 20 years. Personally, I don’t think BO believes it. I think he used the church for his own state political ambitions. But you can’t have it both ways. If Hillary went to some church where the lead pastor spouted off racist stuff for twenty years, would that be ok?

    And yes, if you ran for office, your HS thesis and rabbi would also come back to get you.

  198. BC Bob says:

    “#193 Actually most Christians are homophobic”

    jibble,

    You want to stop your crap right now.

  199. Stu says:

    All this Muslim Obama terrorist talk is really disconcerting. I figured most of us here were above this trash.

    If you want to debate something Hilary has pointed out about Obama with substance, go for it. Rehashing fabricated garbage that Hilary’s team has leaked to the likes of the NY Post is so kindergarten at best.

    Come on, speech plagiarism, that picture of Obama in African garb, Hilary’s tears…If you want 4 more years of Bush and his lying, you’ve found it in Hilary and the way she is running this campaign. Ignore the crap and look at the people running. Obama has not stooped to the low level of Hilary in this campaign. Agreed, he has not said much, but at least he is not fabricating lies that play to the ignorant populous. I’ll take ‘hope’ and ‘optimism’ to ‘lies’ and ‘pessimism’ seven days a week.

  200. tim says:

    DID HILLARY FIRE HER CRAZY AUNT??

    Barack Obama has referred to his former pastor, Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright, as “an old uncle who says things I don’t always agree with” (ABC News via Jim Geragthy). Without using so many words, the rest of us would call him the “crazy uncle” (or aunt). To that extent, he’s right, everybody has at least one in their family (and no, my siblings don’t have children, so it’s not me – um, yet).

  201. Ann says:

    203 Jill

    There was Catholic outrage about Hagee’s remarks and McCain did have to address them. But honestly, I don’t really care what the Repubs do to themselves. Let McCain lose the Catholic vote.

    My point is, as a Dem, we are guaranteed to lose with Obama now.

  202. BC Bob says:

    Here we go with the same BS.

    Have a great weekend.

  203. Rich In NNJ says:

    Ditto 205

  204. Ann says:

    193 skep-tic

    Yes, the Catholic vote is not monolithic. But what a voter does with their vote is different than a candidate, who is held to a higher scrutiny.

  205. Rich In NNJ says:

    Bob (209)

    You’re right.

    I’m out too.

    Good weekend all.

  206. tim says:

    IF obama didnt agree with his Uncle, then why did he contribute 22k to support his crazy uncles black value system.

  207. JLB says:

    #204: obama’s biggest downfall isn’t even his religion or pastor although that is important, in that, it speaks to his character. His big downfall is the land deal with his buddy that is going to jail and how he got the land for a song and was then accountable to this guy which affected some of his votes in Chicago. Is he the dirtiest politician? no. BUT, McCain will look like a choir boy (with experience) next to him.

  208. Stu says:

    Damn this country is so friggin religious. I laugh when I think about our attacks on the Taliban and then see the same exact influences here at home.

    People need to live and let live.

  209. Ann says:

    195 JLB
    I don’t think Obama joined the church to cover his Muslim ties per se. I think he joined to become a political leader in Chicago, and then the state, and he needed a prominent black minister to get him there. Well, you can’t have it both ways.

    Who knows what he is in his heart.

  210. gary says:

    Can anyone direct me to a real estate and economics blog?

  211. ithink-ithink says:

    religon:
    god hears all of you but isn’t listening.

  212. skep-tic says:

    #211

    Kerry was Catholic. Did any democrat hesitate to vote for him because they thought he might be anti-abortion, etc?

    again, this Obama stuff seems very similar to the Romney questions: Americans are uncomfortable with someone who belongs to a church they do not consider to be mainstream. No one scrutinizes all of the weird stuff that is said in mainstream churches.

  213. Stu says:

    I choose we all just agree to disagree and let McCain win as the Democrats destroy their party once again over tiny non-substantial issues.

    Now lets get back to the doom and gloom of real estate, can we?

  214. skep-tic says:

    “McCain win as the Democrats destroy their party once again over tiny non-substantial issues.

    Now lets get back to the doom and gloom of real estate, can we?”

    agree on both points

  215. John says:

    Delayed quote dataAdd to portfolio
    C 20.25, -0.83, -3.9%) plans to shed hundreds of billions of dollars worth of assets to reorganize the firm, The Wall Street Journal reported on its Web site Friday, citing an analyst meeting with Citi Chief Executive Vikram Pandit. The CEO also told analysts Citigroup is reviewing its leadership and plans to make changes before an investor meeting in May.

  216. loose money says:

    Moody’s cuts WaMu to ‘Baa3’, outlook negative.

    Standard and poor says we hit bottom. What does moody know. They must be a bunch of communist!

    http://www.hemscott.com/news/latest-news/item.do?newsId=61518964459028

  217. PeaceNow says:

    “loose money”

    Hmm. Didn’t you mean to rename yourself “lose money”? Just sayin’. Maybe your money is “loose,” i.e., not attached to anything.

    Ann, JLB, Stu—Please take your discussion to some appropriate POLITICAL blog.

  218. loose money says:

    no need to worry citi will not be experiencing layoffs! Ask Pret, he knows!

    Delayed quote dataAdd to portfolio
    C 20.25, -0.83, -3.9%) plans to shed hundreds of billions of dollars worth of assets to reorganize the firm, The Wall Street Journal reported on its Web site Friday, citing an analyst meeting with Citi Chief Executive Vikram Pandit. The CEO also told analysts Citigroup is reviewing its leadership and plans to make changes before an investor meeting in May.

  219. Ann says:

    220, 221

    Agreed, President McCain it is.

  220. Stu says:

    I’ll start the bidding with this from Seeking Alpha:

    Subprime Write-Downs More Than 50% Done? Write-Ups Coming Next?

    http://tinyurl.com/229m66

    “We will get a better idea of the real loss rates realized in the sub-prime portfolio next 18 months. Given all the action in Washington, it is very likely that the losses realized will be significantly less than what a 100% default rate with 100% severity would imply.

    What does this mean to Morgan Stanley’s bottom-line: Potentially billions of dollars of write-ups over the next 2-3 years as these securities start trading based on intrinsic valuations.”

  221. John says:

    Obama belongs to a made up religion run by a racist nut. Comparing it to the catholic church which basically is directly tied to the 12 apostles and Jesus is crazy.

    Obamas religion is the same as christian scientists, Jehova witneses, 7 day adventorists, holy rollers, born agains etc. It is a lot of made up stuff and crazy interpetation of the bible.

  222. lose money says:

    Hmm. Didn’t you mean to rename yourself “lose money”? Just sayin’. Maybe your money is “loose,” i.e., not attached to anything.

    Proves that you don’t need to be able to spell to actually lose money!

  223. Kelly says:

    Also note from MSNBC – “Illness and medical bills were cited as the cause, at least in part, for 46.2 percent of the personal bankruptcies in the study.”

    Notice the hedge words – in part – I wonder how many people of these people were already one paycheck away from being in trouble. I am going to try to google around and try to find more bankruptcy stats – % families vs. singles, % renters vs. homeowners, average age of filers, type filed, etc.

    Personally I wish no one had to file due medical expenses. However there will always be people who have to file because of the financial losses due to the medical problems. Medical bills are only a fraction of the expenses incurred in health problems.

  224. Stu says:

    Enough with the religion already. Can’t we take a hint people?

  225. skep-tic says:

    so does this accelerating turmoil on Wall St. cause anyone to bring forward their presumed housing bottom? I think we are definitely going to see double digit price drops for 2008 the way things are going

  226. skep-tic says:

    #230

    Kelly– Elizabeth Warren (Harvard Law prof) is the leader in the field of studying consumer bankruptcies. I would start with her books/articles

  227. Stu says:

    I will not make anymore bottom predictions until we see how the Spring/Summer selling season pans out.

    I know I keep repeating it, but we have yet to experiencing a Spring and Summer with little to no available credit. How this impacts housing prices is unknown as there is no historical comparison to follow.

    It is quite possible that everyone just sits tight, but hyperinflation will make sitting tight a virtual impossibility for many.

  228. Victorian says:

    Stu:

    Would love to have your opinion on #191 – basically about moving money to commodity backed currencies.

  229. 3b says:

    #234 Stu:It is quite possible that everyone just sits tight, but hyperinflation will make sitting tight a virtual impossibility for many.

    If they cannot get financing, deos nto matter, and if the kob market continues to decline (and it will, it matters even less.

    There is not a whole lot of reasons or general confidence out ther right now to committ to purchasing a house.

    And of course another big property tax increase this year.

  230. skep-tic says:

    #230

    I actually did a lot of research on this topic when I was in law school (much of it reading Warren’s research). You are right that it is overly simplistic to say that bankrupcies are usually “caused” by illness. It is more accurate to say that illness is often the straw that breaks the camel’s back since these families are usually stretched before the illness happens.

    What Warren has done is looked at the reasons people are so financially stretched. A lot of it is housing debt, driven by people attempting to purchase homes in communities with good schools.

  231. Apocolypse Boy (kettle1) says:

    AL 124

    Let’s just Imagine for a second:

    OPEC countries have an emergency meeting, and decide not to accept payments for oil in DOLLARS ANYMORE…..

    What is going to happen??

    you dont want to play that game! There is a high probability that it would crash the US financial markets overnight or over a matter of days. There are about 4 trillion dollars in bank resevers around the world that are held primarily for purchasing oil. One the dollar is no longer accepted for oil, the banks will need to dump all of those dollars onto the market so that they can buy a currency that can be traded for oil.
    Consider what would happen when a few trillion dollars gets dumped on the market. The value of the dollar goes to Wiemar/Zimbabwe levels.
    Even if only a few of the larger banks decided to dump their dollars you will have the same effect. This will happen because once one bank dumps dollars, all of the other banks will jump out to, as the first bank to dump will get the highest value for their dollars and the last bank in will be the loser as the dollars will be worth little at that point. The later in the cycle a bank dumps their dollars, the less they are worth.
    Think of it as a criticality event. Everything is fine as long as no one dumps dollars. but once one large bank does so it pretty much forces all the other banks to do so as well.
    This scenario is not the most likely to occur. What will happen first is that opec changes to a basket currency trade. This will have a huge negative effect on the US but it may not nuke the US dollar like opec dropping the dollar would.

  232. lose money says:

    Exactly 10 years ago, BSC CEO James Cayne refused to join NY FED’s efforts to bailout Long Term Capital, bolted out of the meeting. See what happened?

    One question as I’m a little confused.

    IF the fed is acepting the MBS and the CDO’s as a collateral on a 28 day $200 Billion loan, then what happens if Citi says we are gonna default on our loan and the fed is stuck with the paper valued at 90%.

    Isn’t this a bailout as the fed will now own your mortgage and be able lower the principal for the borrower as well.

    These BS will bail out the bagholders and borrowers for 200B.

    After 28 days Bergabe will offer another 200B and so on until US gov’t owns all the bad paper.

    It makes you think. What’s worth more a bad mortgage paper or a subprime currency?

  233. Apocolypse Boy (kettle1) says:

    more from last post

    the basket currecy oil trade is already occurring. Russia and Iran have both set up burses to trade oil on a basket of currencies. My guess is that they want to ease away from the petrodollar and avoid a sudden transition. the dollar getting nuked in a sudden drop of the petrodollar would hurt everyone, not just the US, so while the oil producers want to move away from the dollar, they want to do so in a way that will not collapse markets.

  234. 3b says:

    And on a lighter note I offer an early:

    Beannachtai na Feile Padraig!!

    Happy St. Patrick’s Day!!

    Will not be posting most of the next 3 days, as these are my high holy days.

  235. lose money says:

    This scenario is not the most likely to occur. What will happen first is that opec changes to a basket currency trade. This will have a huge negative effect on the US but it may not nuke the US dollar like opec dropping the dollar would.

    Why not? OPEC countries are our long time allies?

  236. Kelly says:

    Here are some interesting findings from the bankruptcy – health care study –

    From the Harvard study sited in the MSNBC article –

    “Under the rubric “Major Medical Bankruptcy” we included debtors who either (1) cited illness or injury as a specific reason for bankruptcy, or (2) reported uncovered medical bills exceeding $1,000 in the past years, or (3) lost at least two weeks of work-related income because of illness/injury, or (4) mortgaged a home to pay medical bills. ”

    #2’s and 3 are pretty negligible – If you filed for $1000 in medical bills or due to missing 2 weeks of work you were probably living on the edge already. Any set back could have caused financial disaster for these people.

    “Medical debt was also associated with mortgage problems. Among the total sample of 1,771 debtors, those with more than $1,000 in medical bills were more likely than others to have taken out a mortgage to pay medical bills (5.0 percent versus 0.8 percent). Fifteen percent of all homeowners who had taken out a second or third mortgage cited medical expenses as a reason. Follow-up phone interviews revealed that among homeowners with high-cost mortgages (interest rates greater than 12 percent, or points plus fees of at least 8 percent), 13.8 percent cited a medical reason for taking out the loan.”

    So it really is a small number of people who used HELOCs to pay off health problems. People with 12 percent mortgages in this time period would illustrate that they already have serious financial issues prior to the medical expenditures.

    Here is the link to the actual study –

    http://content.healthaffairs.org/cgi/content/full/hlthaff.w5.63/DC1

  237. Stu says:

    Victoria (191):

    IMO, it may be too late to play the currency game. There are a lot of retarded adages out there, but one that seems to ring true is that once you notice that everyone is doing it, it is too late. Lead the herd, don’t follow it.

    If you think the US economy is going to continue in a downward trend, then go short and leave enough in reserve in case you bet wrong.

    If you are afraid of going short, then you could always invest in a company that does most of its sales in Asia or Europe. Aflac and Nokia are two examples of this.

    Ultimately, you are already behind the eight ball. The time to have made these decisions were last August, when the credit crisis was beginning. In August, the upside to our economy looked extremely limited. Today there is much greater upside than there was 6 months ago.

    Ultimately, you must figure out how risk averse you are. I think most here are conservative so they’ll have to settle with trying to keep up with inflation. On the bright side, there are tons of sheeple who don’t even manage to do that. They’re locking their money up in ING savings accounts making 3% interest.

    I can not and will not give investing advice, it is too dangerous. Do some research, read some investment sites or join an investment club. This will help you understand the financial options that are out there.

    Disclaimer: Don’t take any financial advice from me. I support the black value system.

  238. Clotpoll says:

    Sean (183)-

    “Any of that Coffee’s for closers! type of sales motivation going on in those real estate offices? I may have to rent Gengarry Glenn Ross this weekend.”

    I keep things that way around here…even when things are going good. :)

  239. Kelly says:

    Thanks skep-tic -the Harvard study I cited above was done by Elizabeth Warren and others.

    Clearly the people were already on the edge – and disability pay is so low in compared to the average wages. My husband was out of work for a month due to a back injury back in ’03 and he only received 1/3 of his net income. Luckily we were not living pay check to pay check.

    I think without the equity cushion with the rising costs of health care and insurance these numbers will become much, much higher in the future.

    I also found on another site – but can’t find it in the study – is that 56% of the respondents owned homes. This indicates higher filings by non-homeowners than by homeowners – but we know the housing bubble was the cushion for many people – a second income if you will.

    Also this study only focused on Chapter 7.

  240. SG says:

    Exciting day for News reporters.

    Anyway, coming back to RE.

    I was wondering if we have any information on breakdown of houses for sale by price range. May be something like this over a period of time would be great going forward as well.

  241. Apocolypse Boy (kettle1) says:

    lose money,

    what is your question?

    If the OPEC countries nuke the US market, then you have a global recession at minimum, as a lot of non-US banks are going to get hurt by the sudden collapse of the dollars value while they have substantial US dollars in their reserves. On top of that you just destroyed the largest consumer in the world. That alone would cause a global recession.
    I do not have a source, but i have read that china has suggested that they would consider pressuring OPEC not to take this route, as their massive dollar reserves would be devastated as would their #1 trade partner.
    A sudden collapse of the US dollar and therefore market whether caused by OPEC for bergabe will be a global event and everyone will be hurt. The US empire is falling, it can either happen quickly or slowly. Slowly is in everyones best interest including the OPEC countries that hate out guts.

  242. Clotpoll says:

    (172)-

    “We did a stained concrete living room floor and the neighborhood is raving about it. Cost $120.00 total.”

    I didn’t know a trailer could support that kind of weight.

  243. Clotpoll says:

    BC (174)-

    “What did Joe Lewis have for breakfast today?”

    Syrup of Ipecac?

  244. Kelly says:

    Another interesting stat I found –

    The US bankruptcy rate (6.9 per thousand) for the year 2004 is more than twice as high as the Canadian bankruptcy rate (2.6 per thousand).

  245. 3b says:

    #244 Stu: In August, the upside to our economy looked extremely limited. Today there is much greater upside than there was 6 months ago.

    ??

  246. Clotpoll says:

    Ann (204)-

    “And yes, if you ran for office, your HS thesis and rabbi would also come back to get you.”

    This explains why only sociopaths now run for office.

  247. Ann says:

    253 Clotpoll

    Ha! So true.

  248. Ann says:

    241 3b

    Yes, Happy St. Patrick’s Day to everyone!

  249. Mitchell says:

    #250 LOL.
    Clot – You should have been a comedian.

    I think Trailers in NC are worth more than homes in your neck of the woods now. And there are buyers for them.

  250. Clotpoll says:

    vodka (238)-

    Your understanding of a large variety of doomsday scenarios is extremely troubling.

  251. scribe says:

    Clot,

    Thanks for the answer.

  252. Clotpoll says:

    lose (239)-

    “What’s worth more a bad mortgage paper or a subprime currency?”

    Refer to BC Bob’s post yesterday, referring to the newest word in the world of financial terminology:

    Shitswap

  253. John says:

    HOLY COW – LOOK HOW LOW ING CDS WENT TODAY!!

    6 Month 3.00% 03/14/08 Open Now
    9 Month 2.75% 03/14/08 Open Now
    12 Month 2.75% 03/14/08 Open Now
    18 Month 2.75% 03/14/08 Open Now
    24 Month 2.75% 03/14/08 Open Now
    30 Month 2.75% 03/14/08 Open Now
    36 Month 2.75% 03/14/08 Open Now
    48 Month 2.75% 03/14/08 Open Now
    60 Month 3.25% 03/14/08 Open Now

  254. Stu says:

    3b,

    #244 Stu: In August, the upside to our economy looked extremely limited. Today there is much greater upside than there was 6 months ago.

    I’m not saying the economy is about to turn, but what I am saying is that the odds of it turning today are significantly better than it was 6 months ago. At some point, the economy will recover a bit.

    That’s all I’m saying.

    Personally, I’m aligned for a flat economy (corporate bond fund) and a drop in commercial real estate.

  255. 3b says:

    #255 Go Raib Mile Maith Agat!! Many thanks!!

  256. Victorian says:

    244- Stu
    ROFL – “Disclaimer: Don’t take any financial advice from me. I support the black value system.”

    Thanks for the advice. Yes, I realize that i am so far behind the ball, i do not even see the numbers :).
    Ah well, all i can hope for, is that the Fed gives us few more days like Wednesday to get in the market.

  257. Outofstater says:

    Bernanke: Tell us something we don’t know!!!! We get it!!! Enough with the laundry list of the freeeekin’ obvious!!!
    I gotta eat lunch.

  258. 3b says:

    #261 Stu: Agree to disagee. But I think the economy looked a whole lot better six months ago, then it does now.

    I do not see any sign of recovery, and predict we are only at the begining of a severe downturn.

    I am even more pessismistic on the economy then I thought I could be.

  259. skep-tic says:

    #251

    “The US bankruptcy rate (6.9 per thousand) for the year 2004 is more than twice as high as the Canadian bankruptcy rate (2.6 per thousand).”

    Kelly– I wouldn’t read to much into this stat. Consider:

    (1) 2004 was the year before the 2005 Bankruptcy reform act hit the U.S. Thus there was a surge of filers in 2004 who otherwise would not have Ch. 7 as an option.

    (2) The U.S. and Canadian bankruptcy systems are very different. In Canada, you do not go to court for consumer bankrupty. You go to a trustee who is a licensed professional (not gov’t employee) who works out a “proposal” regarding repayment with your creditors. There is no real equivalent to Ch. 7 in Canada, which may be why fewer people pursue bankruptcy there.

    (3) Americans’ and Canadians’ use of credit overall is very similar (think about it: they get the same financial products marketed to them that we do). It is not the case that Americans are in general profligate while Canadians are responsible. Their increasing use of consumer credit has in general mirrored ours over the last 30 yrs.

    There’s a law professor named Pottow at the Univ. of Michigan that has done a comparison of U.S. and Canadian consumer bankruptcies if you’re interested in more detail on this topic

  260. Stu says:

    3b,

    At some point, the market prices in the current/future state of the economy. Considering M3 numbers, the market is down somewhere between 20 and 30% since August. That is the upside I was referring to. Just cause there is upside, doesn’t mean there is less downside ;)

  261. Confused In NJ says:

    Bill Clinton isn’t doing anything more with Hillary, then Putin just did in Russia with his surrogate. Hillary claims to have White House experience based upon her working intimately with Bill’s issues. If that logic were true, then Bill conversely becomes the new co-President, because Hillary’s experience was based upon a co-Presidency. Putin would be proud.

  262. Stu says:

    Skep (266),

    (1) 2004 was the year before the 2005 Bankruptcy reform act hit the U.S. Thus there was a surge of filers in 2004 who otherwise would not have Ch. 7 as an option.

    I remember this keenly.

  263. Stu says:

    Confused (268),

    Working ‘intimately’ might not be a good description.

  264. John says:

    JPM with the FED will get Bear through till 4pm today no problem. It will be one long weekend for Bear cause come 9:30am Monday shareholders will want to know what is going on. If they decide on a bail out plan to save bond holders and firm and wipe out the common shareholders the huge issue will not only be ma and pa kettle but Bear was huge on giving employees Stock in the bonus scheme and they had a ESOP, the workers are going to get slammed. I don’t really care about the traders buy joe shmo ops guy in metro tech is goint to get his balls stapled to the side of his cube come Monday if they can’t right side the SS Bear by Monday.

  265. Stu says:

    Bloomberg:

    Borrowers Find What Citigroup Says Isn’t What It Does

    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601109&sid=aIGRziUnaXjE&refer=home

    ” March 14 (Bloomberg) — Real estate developer John Wimmer paid Citigroup Global Markets Realty Corp. almost $1 million last year to lock in a 5.6 percent mortgage rate on the refinancing of six commercial properties.

    At the November closings, Citigroup, citing plummeting demand for mortgage bonds, boosted the rate to 7.123 percent.

    “I was very upset,” Wimmer said in a phone interview from his office in Hales Corners, Wisconsin. “We had many proposals to lock the rate with other financial institutions and we picked Citigroup because of their reputation and strength.”

    Wimmer sued. So did a developer in Kentucky after Prudential Mortgage Capital Co. invoked the “material adverse change” clause in their loan agreement to raise his rate.

    Banks have used the clause after calamities such as the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, to free themselves from lending obligations. With the spreads between commercial mortgage- backed securities and 10-year U.S. Treasuries at their widest in at least 12 years, banks are applying the concept to avoid lending at money-losing rates, scuttling deals, leaving borrowers at risk and casting doubt on contracts that have already been negotiated.”

  266. Apocolypse Boy (kettle1) says:

    CLot,

    I believe in “plan for the worst, hope for the best”.

    But you have to be aware of the worst in order to even consider it. Unfortunately i did not become aware of some aspects of the financial situation until i found this blog. Like many others here i have learned quit a bit from some of the regulars.

  267. Stu says:

    Who you calling regular?

  268. Apocolypse Boy (kettle1) says:

    I wasnt referring to anyone in particular, but i suppose a few would be Bc bib, ChiFi, JB (of course), CLott, etc….

  269. 3b says:

    #271 John:if they can’t right side the SS Bear by Monday.

    And even if they do, it will still be quite painful for the average Bear employee.

    And there will be substanial layoffs.

  270. chicagofinance says:

    Wonderful….Mr. Index man exposes himself as the Howard Beale of 2008. I would argue his paranoid delusion and narcissism harkens all the way back to 1974.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601103&sid=aJel7LiQ_Xns&refer=us

  271. John says:

    NEW YORK (Dow Jones)–Bear Stearns Cos.’ (BSC) troubles graduated from problematic to crisis size in the past week as fellow banks and customers changed their concerns from worries about profit declines stemming from its large mortgage exposure to sheer ability to fund its businesses.

    With Bear Stearns now making history as the first investment bank to require a Federal Reserve bailout, indirectly through J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. (JPM), its problems are far from over.

    “Once this happens, no one will deal with them,” said Joseph Rizzi, a veteran banker who focuses on risk-management. He equated the crisis of confidence to the one that caused Barings Bank to collapse after its massive trading scandal. “The remaining franchise value, customers and employees, will evaporate,” he said.

    Over the weekend, business heads below the top executive level scrambled to reassure clients who were pulling their accounts that Bear Stearns was a victim of false liquidity rumors, sending out memos and making calls that showed its exposure to subprime mortgages and other deteriorating assets was lower than many competitors.

    They had gone through the same exercises last summer when rumors about Bear’s viability exploded following the collapse of two subprime-mortgage-stuffed hedge funds. Bear executives at the time laid out details of how they no longer relied on short-term funding, and the crisis gently subsided.

    But businesses ranging from financing of hedge funds and of smaller brokerage firms to corporate finance continue to experience some erosion. Investors in big hedge funds also began pressuring hedge fund managers who used Bear Stearns as a prime broker to consider alternatives, said people who work with prime brokers.

    Traders and insiders said fears about Bear’s precarious position escalated late last week as some banks began demanding additional collateral from the company and refused to engage in credit-swaps with the bank.

    As those rumors spread, clients who had already been nervous about Bear’s ability to survive escalated their concerns and began moving business away.

    “We experienced some pretty broad cash outflows in a number of areas,” Bear Chief Executive Alan Schwartz said in a conference call with analysts and investors on Friday. The areas ranged from prime brokerage to counterparties who were making collateral calls because of a decline in the collateral value.

    “There was obviously a lot of concern in the market,” Schwartz said. “We had a significant amount of outflows.” The outflow activity continued at about the same level on Friday following the announcement of the quasi-bailout, he added.

    Schwartz declined to comment directly on the firm’s prime brokerage clients.

    “Every hedge fund manager in town is saying, `Get my stuff out of there!'” said a former Bear Stearns employee who said he talked with bank insiders.

    Fears also spread among large clients with unsecured credit lines who feared they would lose additional access to credit with other banks.

  272. John says:

    I have at least 20-30 friends at Bear and they are getting taking out to the woodshed. Unless they go bankrupt they have to do the 60 day notice. So if they start chopping heads early April they are out the door come early June, good luck job hunting in the summer when no one is at work in a dead market with no one wanting to add headcount in a crazy election year. If they are lucky they will land a job by Sept with a 20K paycut and it will be too late in the year to get any bonus in 2009. It will be like 2011 before they are even back at their 2007 salary at best.

  273. rhymingrealtor says:

    Sign of the times:

    Posted on Dollar Days storefront.

    Due to an increase in costs some items may cost more than $1.00 DOH!

    KL

  274. skep-tic says:

    so my question is: why can’t what happened at Bear this week happen to any of several diff’t other banks?

  275. Stu says:

    Skep-tic:

    Wamu?

  276. njpatient says:

    Wednesday:

    NEW YORK (Reuters) – Bear Stearns Cos (BSC.N: Quote, Profile, Research) Chief Executive Alan Schwartz on Wednesday dismissed recurring speculation that the investment bank faces a cash crunch, saying it has hefty cash reserves that have remained little changed this year.

    Schwartz, in a televised interview on CNBC, also said he is comfortable with the range of analysts’ earnings estimates for the fiscal first quarter ended Feb. 29. Results for the quarter are due next week.

    “We don’t see any pressure on our liquidity, let alone a liquidity crisis,” he said.

  277. BC Bob says:

    Is pret Schwartz’s lap dog. Go back to the tape.

    pretorius Says:
    March 10th, 2008 at 11:22 am
    Chicagofinance,

    “there is a decent shot that this will snowball”

    People on this blog have been predicting massive layoffs for months, and so far layoffs have been mild in light of the size of this financial crisis.

    http://njrereport.com/index.php/2007/09/25/august-existing-home-sales/ (see posts in 30s for some examples of layoff expectations last fall)

    It is too early to conclude that the job market has escaped the worst of this economic slowdown.

    However, eventually people need to let go of incorrect calls and stop insisting these calls are correct but just haven’t happened yet.

  278. John says:

    citigroup is a teenager again, it is around 19 a share. Ouch.

  279. 3b says:

    #280 John:It will be like 2011 before they are even back at their 2007 salary at best.

    Actually if ever. Chances are if they are 40+, there career on the “street” is over.

    I know young pret frowns on these stories. But a good friend of mine long time big league head hunter in one fo the big firms tells me almost nothing is going on right now in the way of the “street” looking for people, Form the junior level all the way up.

    She has over 20 years in the business.

  280. chicagofinance says:

    Stu: sorry man…gotta keep pushin’ the agenda….did you actually see some of the garbage spewing forthwith from that clown that Obama holds in high regard….

    Bear in mind Mr. Wright’s church (a.k.a. Obama’s church) gave an award to Louis Farrakhan for lifetime achievement. You know Stu, the man that blames you personally, not Jews in general, but you specifically as a Jew in the United States or in Israel for slavery in North America. Stuff such as Lehman Brothers is originally founded as a Jewish slavery importation business and the investment bank owes African-Americans reparations etc….

    Op-Ed from WSJ
    Obama and the Minister
    By RONALD KESSLER
    March 14, 2008; Page A19

    In a sermon delivered at Howard University, Barack Obama’s longtime minister, friend and adviser blamed America for starting the AIDS virus, training professional killers, importing drugs and creating a racist society that would never elect a black candidate president.

    The Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., pastor of Mr. Obama’s Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, gave the sermon at the school’s Andrew Rankin Memorial Chapel in Washington on Jan. 15, 2006.

    “We’ve got more black men in prison than there are in college,” he began. “Racism is alive and well. Racism is how this country was founded and how this country is still run. No black man will ever be considered for president, no matter how hard you run Jesse [Jackson] and no black woman can ever be considered for anything outside what she can give with her body.”

    Mr. Wright thundered on: “America is still the No. 1 killer in the world. . . . We are deeply involved in the importing of drugs, the exporting of guns, and the training of professional killers . . . We bombed Cambodia, Iraq and Nicaragua, killing women and children while trying to get public opinion turned against Castro and Ghadhafi . . . We put [Nelson] Mandela in prison and supported apartheid the whole 27 years he was there. We believe in white supremacy and black inferiority and believe it more than we believe in God.”

    His voice rising, Mr. Wright said, “We supported Zionism shamelessly while ignoring the Palestinians and branding anybody who spoke out against it as being anti-Semitic. . . . We care nothing about human life if the end justifies the means. . . .”

    Concluding, Mr. Wright said: “We started the AIDS virus . . . We are only able to maintain our level of living by making sure that Third World people live in grinding poverty. . . .”

    Considering this view of America, it’s not surprising that in December Mr. Wright’s church gave an award to Louis Farrakhan for lifetime achievement. In the church magazine, Trumpet, Mr. Wright spoke glowingly of the Nation of Islam leader. “His depth on analysis [sic] when it comes to the racial ills of this nation is astounding and eye-opening,” Mr. Wright said of Mr. Farrakhan. “He brings a perspective that is helpful and honest.”

    After Newsmax broke the story of the award to Farrakhan on Jan. 14, Mr. Obama issued a statement. However, Mr. Obama ignored the main point: that his minister and friend had spoken adoringly of Mr. Farrakhan, and that Mr. Wright’s church was behind the award to the Nation of Islam leader.

    Instead, Mr. Obama said, “I decry racism and anti-Semitism in every form and strongly condemn the anti-Semitic statements made by Minister Farrakhan. I assume that Trumpet magazine made its own decision to honor Farrakhan based on his efforts to rehabilitate ex-offenders, but it is not a decision with which I agree.” Trumpet is owned and produced by Mr. Wright’s church out of the church’s offices, and Mr. Wright’s daughters serve as publisher and executive editor.

    Meeting with Jewish leaders in Cleveland on Feb. 24, Mr. Obama described Mr. Wright as being like “an old uncle who sometimes will say things that I don’t agree with.” He rarely mentions the points of disagreement.

    Mr. Obama went on to explain Mr. Wright’s anti-Zionist statements as being rooted in his anger over the Jewish state’s support for South Africa under its previous policy of apartheid. As with his previous claim that his church gave the award to Mr. Farrakhan because of his work with ex-offenders, Mr. Obama appears to have made that up.

    Neither the presentation of the award nor the Trumpet article about the award mentions ex-offenders, and Mr. Wright’s statements denouncing Israel have not been qualified in any way. Mr. Obama nonetheless told the Jewish leaders that the award to Mr. Farrakhan “showed a lack of sensitivity to the Jewish community.” That is an understatement.

    As for Mr. Wright’s repeated comments blaming America for the 9/11 attacks because of what Mr. Wright calls its racist and violent policies, Mr. Obama has said it sounds as if the minister was trying to be “provocative.”

    Hearing Mr. Wright’s venomous and paranoid denunciations of this country, the vast majority of Americans would walk out. Instead, Mr. Obama and his wife Michelle have presumably sat through numerous similar sermons by Mr. Wright.

    Indeed, Mr. Obama has described Mr. Wright as his “sounding board” during the two decades he has known him. Mr. Obama has said he found religion through the minister in the 1980s. He joined the church in 1991 and walked down the aisle in a formal commitment of faith.

    The title of Mr. Obama’s bestseller “The Audacity of Hope” comes from one of Wright’s sermons. Mr. Wright is one of the first people Mr. Obama thanked after his election to the Senate in 2004. Mr. Obama consulted Mr. Wright before deciding to run for president. He prayed privately with Mr. Wright before announcing his candidacy last year.

    Mr. Obama obviously would not choose to belong to Mr. Wright’s church and seek his advice unless he agreed with at least some of his views. In light of Mr. Wright’s perspective, Michelle Obama’s comment that she feels proud of America for the first time in her adult life makes perfect sense.

    Much as most of us would appreciate the symbolism of a black man ascending to the presidency, what we have in Barack Obama is a politician whose closeness to Mr. Wright underscores his radical record.

    The media have largely ignored Mr. Obama’s close association with Mr. Wright. This raises legitimate questions about Mr. Obama’s fundamental beliefs about his country. Those questions deserve a clearer answer than Mr. Obama has provided so far.

  281. G$ says:

    A provocative take on the Spitzer ‘affair’ (apologies if previously posted):

    Eliot’s Mess

    March 14th, 2008

    The $200 billion bail-out for predator banks and Spitzer charges are intimately linked
    By Greg Palast

    While New York Governor Eliot Spitzer was paying an ‘escort’ $4,300 in a hotel room in Washington, just down the road, George Bush’s new Federal Reserve Board Chairman, Ben Bernanke, was secretly handing over $200 billion in a tryst with mortgage bank industry speculators.

    Both acts were wanton, wicked and lewd. But there’s a BIG difference. The Governor was using his own checkbook. Bush’s man Bernanke was using ours.
    This week, Bernanke’s Fed, for the first time in its history, loaned a selected coterie of banks one-fifth of a trillion dollars to guarantee these banks’ mortgage-backed junk bonds. The deluge of public loot was an eye-popping windfall to the very banking predators who have brought two million families to the brink of foreclosure.
    Up until Wednesday, there was one single, lonely politician who stood in the way of this creepy little assignation at the bankers’ bordello: Eliot Spitzer.
    Who are they kidding? Spitzer’s lynching and the bankers’ enriching are intimately tied.
    How? Follow the money.
    The press has swallowed Wall Street’s line that millions of US families are about to lose their homes because they bought homes they couldn’t afford or took loans too big for their wallets.
    Here’s what happened. Since the Bush regime came to power, a new species of loan became the norm, the ‘sub-prime’ mortgage and its variants including loans with teeny “introductory” interest rates. From out of nowhere, a company called ‘Countrywide’ became America’s top mortgage lender, accounting for one in five home loans, a large chunk of these ‘sub-prime.’
    Here’s how it worked: The Average Family, with US average household income, gets a $200,000 mortgage at 4% for two years. Their $955 monthly payment is 25% of their income. No problem. Their banker promises them a new mortgage, again at the cheap rate, in two years. But in two years, the promise ain’t worth a can of spam and the Averages are told to scram – because their house is now worth less than the mortgage. Now, the mortgage hits 9% or $1,609 plus fees to recover the “discount” they had for two years. Suddenly, payments equal 42% to 50% of pre-tax income. The Averages move into their Toyota.
    Now, what kind of American is ‘sub-prime.’ Guess. No peeking. Here’s a hint: 73% of HIGH INCOME Black and Hispanic borrowers were given sub-prime loans versus 17% of similar-income Whites. Dark-skinned borrowers aren’t stupid – they had no choice. They were ‘steered’ as it’s called in the mortgage sharking business.
    ‘Steering,’ sub-prime loans with usurious kickers, fake inducements to over-borrow, called ‘fraudulent conveyance’ or ‘predatory lending’ under US law, were almost completely forbidden in the olden days (Clinton Administration and earlier) by federal regulators and state laws as nothing more than fancy loan-sharking.
    But when the Bush regime took over, Countrywide and its banking brethren were told to party hardy – it was OK now to steer’m, fake’m, charge’m and take’m.
    But there was this annoying party-pooper. The Attorney General of New York, Eliot Spitzer, who sued these guys to a fare-thee-well. Or tried to.
    Instead of regulating the banks that had run amok, Bush’s regulators went on the warpath against Spitzer and states attempting to stop predatory practices. Making an unprecedented use of the legal power of “federal pre-emption,” Bush ordered the states to NOT enforce their consumer protection laws.
    Indeed, the feds actually filed a lawsuit to block Spitzer’s investigation of ugly racial mortgage steering. Bush’s banking buddies were especially steamed that Spitzer hammered bank practices across the nation using New York State laws.
    Spitzer not only took on Countrywide, he took on their predatory enablers in the investment banking community. Behind Countrywide was the Mother Shark, its funder and now owner, Bank of America. Others joined the sharkfest: Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch and Citigroup’s Citibank made mortgage usury their major profit centers. They did this through a bit of financial legerdemain called “securitization.”
    What that means is that they took a bunch of junk mortgages, like the Averages’, loans about to go down the toilet and re-packaged them into “tranches” of bonds which were stamped “AAA” – top grade – by bond rating agencies. These gold-painted turds were sold as sparkling safe investments to US school district pension funds and town governments in Finland (really).
    When the housing bubble burst and the paint flaked off, investors were left with the poop and the bankers were left with bonuses. Countrywide’s top man, Angelo Mozilo, will ‘earn’ a $77 million buy-out bonus this year on top of the $656 million – over half a billion dollars – he pulled in from 1998 through 2007.
    But there were rumblings that the party would soon be over. Angry regulators, burned investors and the weight of millions of homes about to be boarded up were causing the sharks to sink. Countrywide’s stock was down 50%, and Citigroup was off 38%, not pleasing to the Gulf sheiks who now control its biggest share blocks.
    Then, on Wednesday of this week, the unthinkable happened. Carlyle Capital went bankrupt. Who? That’s Carlyle as in Carlyle Group. James Baker, Senior Counsel. Notable partners, former and past: George Bush, the Bin Laden family and more dictators, potentates, pirates and presidents than you can count.
    The Fed had to act. Bernanke opened the vault and dumped $200 billion on the poor little suffering bankers. They got the public treasure – and got to keep the Averages’ house. There was no ‘quid’ of a foreclosure moratorium for the ‘pro quo’ of public bailout. Not one family was saved – but not one banker was left behind.
    Every mortgage sharking operation shot up in value. Mozilo’s Countrywide stock rose 17% in one day. The Citi sheiks saw their company’s stock rise $10 billion in an afternoon.
    And that very same day the bail-out was decided – what a coincidence! – the man called, ‘The Sheriff of Wall Street’ was cuffed. Spitzer was silenced.
    Do I believe the banks called Justice and said, “Take him down today!” Naw, that’s not how the system works. But the big players knew that unless Spitzer was taken out, he would create enough ruckus to spoil the party. Headlines in the financial press – one was “Wall Street Declares War on Spitzer” – made clear to Bush’s enforcers at Justice who their number one target should be. And it wasn’t Bin Laden.
    It was the night of February 13 when Spitzer made the bone-headed choice to order take-out in his Washington Hotel room. He had just finished signing these words for the Washington Post about predatory loans:
    “Not only did the Bush administration do nothing to protect consumers, it embarked on an aggressive and unprecedented campaign to prevent states from protecting their residents from the very problems to which the federal government was turning a blind eye.”
    Bush, Spitzer said right in the headline, was the “Predator Lenders’ Partner in Crime.” The President, said Spitzer, was a fugitive from justice. And Spitzer was in Washington to launch a campaign to take on the Bush regime and the biggest financial powers on the planet.
    Spitzer wrote, “When history tells the story of the subprime lending crisis and recounts its devastating effects on the lives of so many innocent homeowners the Bush administration will not be judged favorably.”
    But now, the Administration can rest assured that this love story – of Bush and his bankers – will not be told by history at all – now that the Sheriff of Wall Street has fallen on his own gun.
    A note on “Prosecutorial Indiscretion.”
    Back in the day when I was an investigator of racketeers for government, the federal prosecutor I was assisting was deciding whether to launch a case based on his negotiations for airtime with 60 Minutes. I’m not allowed to tell you the prosecutor’s name, but I want to mention he was recently seen shouting, “Florida is Rudi country! Florida is Rudi country!”
    Not all crimes lead to federal bust or even public exposure. It’s up to something called “prosecutorial discretion.”
    Funny thing, this ‘discretion.’ For example, Senator David Vitter, Republican of Louisiana, paid Washington DC prostitutes to put him in diapers (ugh!), yet the Senator was not exposed by the US prosecutors busting the pimp-ring that pampered him.

    Naming and shaming and ruining Spitzer – rarely done in these cases – was made at the ‘discretion’ of Bush’s Justice Department.
    Or maybe we should say, ‘indiscretion.’

    http://www.gregpalast.com/elliot-spitzer-gets-nailed/

  282. Jill says:

    GS: Palast rocks. (He’s a sex symbol for middle-aged women, too. It’s that Bogart thing he’s got going, combined with snark — irresistable!)

  283. Apocolypse Boy (kettle1) says:

    this is an article from 2005, but it gives a good view of how congress really works. It was somewhat enlightening for me int hat i am clearly not pessimistic enough.

    URL: http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/story/7539869/four_amendments__a_funeral

  284. skep-tic says:

    #290

    among other problems with this theory, Spitzer was attempting to broker a bailout of the bond insurers. He has not been itching to take down Wall St since becoming governor

  285. Stu says:

    ChiFi:

    I have to agree with your point. Quite honestly, I haven’t had time to read much about it. I’ll wait to see what Obama’s response is now that it is REALLY blowing up and he’ll have to address it.

    Like Ann, I’m surprised that something this obvious (if true) has not surfaced until now. I still can’t stand Hilary though. Look’s like Iraq might eventually take down the US. Who would have thought it?

  286. Rich In NNJ says:

    He better stop with all the negativity or RE101 will be all over his ass…

    From FXStreet.com

    Bernanke says foreclosures not limited to subprime


    “Last year, about 45 pct of foreclosures were on higher-rated prime, near-prime or government-backed loans.”

    Full text at link above

    Once again, 45% were prime, near prime or government-backed. 45%. Last year. This year…

  287. njpatient says:

    “among other problems with this theory, Spitzer was attempting to broker a bailout of the bond insurers.”

    Not really accurate.

  288. Stu says:

    Yes Rich,

    When Moody’s made their statement that Subprime writedowns are nearly over, I listened carefully to make sure they isolated subprime. Same thing goes for Bernanke’s speeches. He goes one step further to emphasize that there is more to this than subprime.

    We still have Helocs, credit card debt, auto loans, college loans and the dreaded derivatives which could make subprime look, well, sub prime time.

  289. Stu says:

    It’s Friday and there is more market turmoil than regularly scheduled.

    Gotta funny feeling that the markets are gonna sell off another one percent prior to the close due to uncertainty.

    It looks like my decision to sell my remaining longs after the one time 4% gift pop was wise.

    I will now stroke my ego by patting myself on my hairy back.

  290. BC Bob says:

    “Bikini-clad pole dancers, mini- skirted hostesses and a deal on foreign exchange await customers at Passapoga, a Santiago nightclub, who pay with U.S. dollars.”

    “The dollar has lost a quarter of its value against the peso in the past three years, increasing U.S. travelers’ expense for hotels, taxis and restaurants in Chile. Passapoga is discounting the exchange rate to discourage Americans from cutting back on nightclub visits. Drinks and exotic dances cost customers the same price in dollars as in 2004.”

    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601109&sid=aSKU9QT1i3mA&refer=home

  291. njpatient says:

    297 Stu

    Don’t forget ARMs

  292. Mike NJ says:

    John,

    Bear stopped the ESOP around 2001, right when I got there. I liquidated my whopping 7 shares when I left in 2006. That being said, I agree completely that those folks in Metrotech in the back-office and IT will be absolutely hammered. Bear has many, many people who have worked there for 20+ years while they pined for retirement (similar to NJ State Union workers if you ask me). It was very difficult to convert your ESOP into normal retirement savings and so I doubt many people did it. Those are the ones I feel bad for, not the traders with restricted stock options out the wazoo. Those guys got paid plenty over the years. The low guy on the totem pole just had his ESOP and profit sharing for the last 7 years or so to get by on in retirement.

    Monday will be very telling.

  293. chicagofinance says:

    Stu Says:
    March 14th, 2008 at 3:04 pm
    It’s Friday and there is more market turmoil than regularly scheduled. Gotta funny feeling that the markets are gonna sell off another one percent prior to the close due to uncertainty.
    It looks like my decision to sell my remaining longs after the one time 4% gift pop was wise.
    I will now stroke my ego by patting myself on my hairy back.

    S-Man: thinking the exact same thing about 5 minutes ago….

  294. chicagofinance says:

    MNJ: know a Bear 25+ years back-office guy that lost about $175K in ESOP money in the last week.

  295. chicagofinance says:

    S-man….guess we were wrong….short-covering instead…..

  296. Stu says:

    Obama Tries to Allay Jewish Concerns

    http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5hFDaWFFhmzFqxz7TFHrTxmW015gAD8VD36A00

    For an Islamic Terrorist, he sure seems to be abandoning his ideals. I guess once he’s in office, then he’ll start quoting the quoran and hording us into boxcars.

    Please don’t let race and religion alter your votes people. We need an open mind to repair the damage that our last 8 years of foreign policy has destroyed.

    And to stick with real estate, check out Hilary’s position on housing and her ARMs freeze. She’s talking about nullifying valid contracts. That’s some leadership. I suppose it derives from the contract she had with her husband in regards to her standing as second or third lady. She used New York and her so called hubby and the sheeple can’t see it.

    I suppose as Republican’s come, it could be worse than McCane. He’s a liberal when matched up against his predecessors.

    And it looks like my call on the 1% swing in the market was 100% wrong ;)

  297. Apocolypse Boy (kettle1) says:

    at least we arent alone…

    France’s sordid housing crisis
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/crossing_continents/7290139.stm?ref=patrick.net

    Look through some property websites and you can see the advertisements: the phrase you are looking for is contre services – when a room in an apartment is offered, sometimes “free”, in exchange for services. Sometimes the service is perfectly innocent – cleaning the apartment or washing clothes, to defray some of the high cost of renting property.

    But sometimes it is not: instead the requests are sexual, demeaning, bordering on the perverse. “Sex twice a month,” is one blunt demand. Another asks for someone “open in spirit and elsewhere”. “Flat in exchange for libertine services,” goes another. Ondine Millot – who in her day job is the court correspondent for the French daily paper – spent six months researching these advertisements and the people who place them, for an article which exposed the trade in property-for-sex.

    “I was very surprised to find out that this kind of thing was going on,” she says. “We called a lot of men, I made something like 50 phone calls. Most of the ads that were ‘against services’, where no amount was specified for the rent, were men that were looking for sex in exchange for housing.” But the problem is not just hidden away on websites.

    Take a quick look through the bookshelves of any decent-sized newsagent, and tucked between the biographies of the former French First Lady and the former American First Lady is the extraordinary account of Laura D. Her book, My Dear Studies (Mes Cheres Etudes), details the anonymous young woman’s slide from being a fresh-faced undergraduate, to a poverty-stricken student, to a 19-year-old selling her body to pay the rent.

    “Laura”, when I meet her at her publisher’s, is charming, if desperately concerned to keep her identity secret, to spare her parents the horror of knowing how their daughter fell. But she is also angry. It was, she says, the astronomical cost of property that sent her on to the streets. “Rent was over 70% of my budget,” she says. “Looking at friends, people I know, they live in places that are unhealthy, squalid. Or they negotiate with landlords who rent them rooms and who sometimes abuse them.”

    Sex for rent is the extreme end of an extreme problem which is catching swathes of France’s most vulnerable people – the young and the poor – in its grip. France, the government admits, is in the grip of its worst housing crisis since the end of World War II. Of course, sky-high property prices are hardly exclusive to France. But some combination of circumstances has left the French – and especially the Parisian – rental market horribly stretched between supply and demand.

  298. Stu says:

    Girl Scouts Say Cookie Sales Down

    Girl Scout and Brownie troops say cookie sales are noticeably down this year as their customers struggle to pay for groceries, gasoline and home heating fuel.

    Becky Santos, leader of Brownie Troop 74 in Barrington, said her group sold 300 boxes outside a Wal-Mart recently, down from 500 in the same location last year. Sue Cusack, the troop’s co-leader, said she and her daughter also made fewer door-to-door sales, with some repeat customers buying one box instead of two.

    Jan Arsenault of Barrington said she scaled back her purchase because of the economy but couldn’t resist two boxes.

    Not Samoas. Please lord, NOT THE SAMOAS!!

  299. Stu says:

    My gift for all of you:
    Free 12-oz. Cup of Premium Drip Coffee at Starbucks

    Tomorrow from 10 am until noon local time, visit your local Starbucks to receive a 12-oz. cup of premium drip coffee for free.

  300. Al says:

    Not Samoas. Please lord, NOT THE SAMOAS!!

    Love Samoas. I’d heloc my house to buy them.. Ohh wait, I rent… NO saoas for me…

    On the sad note – it looks more and more probable that my company will be bough by private equity firm…… I guess Good-buy New Jersey.

    (If I do loose this job I am not looking at another job in NJ – my rent has lost job clause – I am free to live within 14 days since my official lay-off note).

    So as I said before there goes my plan to buy a house here. No job – NO salary – NO house.

  301. spam spam bacon spam says:

    grim Says:
    March 14th, 2008 at 10:07 am
    What do you mean by “the concept of seasoning”?

    The blend of seasonings and spices necessary to make Spam taste like filet mignon.

    We’re all going to be needing that recipe.

    You called…?

    I’m always good in a pinch ;)

  302. chicagofinance says:

    Stu Says:
    March 14th, 2008 at 3:30 pm
    Obama Tries to Allay Jewish Concerns

    http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5hFDaWFFhmzFqxz7TFHrTxmW015gAD8VD36A00

    For an Islamic Terrorist, he sure seems to be abandoning his ideals. I guess once he’s in office, then he’ll start quoting the quoran and hording us into boxcars.

    Stu: I expect no less than a public comment of comdemnation of Farrakhan, and further that he flat out identifies where he specifically disagrees with the VOLUMINOUS quotes of his contemptable pastor…….regardless of the fact that this should been done well before now.

    I think it tactically displays his amateurism….which is his biggest flaw at this juncture of his career…..

  303. Confused In NJ says:

    306. Stu

    You were being fecetious, but you may actually be closer to reality.

  304. JLB says:

    #310: okay, that is one of the saddest posts I have read lately, “No job-No salary-No house.”

  305. Confused In NJ says:

    Maybe Spitzer can rent out his Manhattan place for Sex for Rent.

  306. Stu says:

    I agree with you again Chifi. This is getting habit forming.

    You do realize, and it is inexcusable, but he might be protecting what little bit of the black vote he has left. I too wish he would denounce Farrakhan, but that would probably cause him to lose (not loose) the election. Of course, he would get the full Jewish vote ;) All 2% of us ;)

    Politics are so scummy.

  307. RentininNJ says:

    Not Samoas. Please lord, NOT THE SAMOAS!!

    Short Samoas long spam

  308. Clotpoll says:

    Pardon me, there’s a Visigoth at my door…

  309. BC Bob says:

    Al,

    What industry are you in?

  310. Al says:

    JLB Says:
    March 14th, 2008 at 3:50 pm
    #310: okay, that is one of the saddest posts I have read lately, “No job-No salary-No house.”

    Hey it is reality… Without job and salary it is kind of hard to pay mortgage – no matter how low it is.

    I might as well buy a house somewhere with cash, for about 20% of what it cost in NJ, get a crappy job and enjoy life instead of NJ traffic.

    but asgain so far it is not final and I hope that with current equity markets situation the deal will fall apart.

  311. Al says:

    Chemical development/nanufacturing….

  312. Confused In NJ says:

    316. Stu

    Obama may have figured out the only way to solve the Mid East crisis is Policy Change.

  313. Al says:

    manufacturing

  314. Stu says:

    Al,

    I heard North Carolina is a nice place to live ;)

    I hope your luck turns and quickly.

  315. Clotpoll says:

    If McCain is smart, he’ll immediately begin ripping Obama to shreds over his support/non-support of Israel. Unwavering support of Israel is absolutely required to win plenty of Christian votes…it’s not just about getting the Jewish 2%.

  316. Confused In NJ says:

    It is interesting that we backed IRAQ from the fall of the Shah of IRAN until we decided they were the enemy. So pattern is there to change our minds.

  317. grim says:

    I suppose this is as close as the NBER comes to saying the R word without officially saying it.

    U.S. faces severe recession: NBER’s Feldstein

    The United States is in a recession that could be “substantially more severe” than recent ones, National Bureau of Economic Research President Martin Feldstein said on Friday.

    “The situation is very bad, the situation is getting worse, and the risks are that it could get very bad,” Feldstein said in a speech at the Futures Industry Association meeting in Boca Raton, Florida.

    “There’s no doubt that this year and next year are going to be very difficult years.”

    NBER is a private sector group that is considered the arbiter of U.S. business cycles. Feldstein is also a Harvard economics professor and former economic advisor to President Ronald Reagan.

    Answering questions from the audience, Feldstein said the downturn could be the worst in the United States since World War Two.

  318. Confused In NJ says:

    325. Clot

    Next election will be at a time when Country is recognizing it is in a Depression, and just like Weimar Republic, we’ll vote for whoever makes us think they have the answers. Just like Weimar, we may not like the end result.

  319. Confused In NJ says:

    327.Answering questions from the audience, Feldstein said the downturn could be the worst in the United States since World War Two.

    Feldstein is too optimistic, this contrived Depression of massive theft, will be greater than 1929.

  320. gary says:

    grim [327],

    Try telling that to the f*cking idiot asking $589,000 for the sh*t-stained, 3bd/1.5bth split in Maywood.

  321. nnj guy says:

    #330

    Commenting on something is one thing, but public swearing on a price that you don’t like is another.

    Do you swear at the price constantly when you go to mall? If you don’t, you shouldn’t do that here too.

    This page is being bombarded by whiners in general. True but biased at the same time.

  322. John says:

    Another WaMu washout
    Almost lost in the hubbub surrounding Bear Stearns’ (BSC) brush with insolvency was Friday’s downgrade of another troubled mortgage player, Washington Mutual (WM). WaMu shares dropped 12% after Moody’s cut the Seattle lender’s senior unsecured debt rating to Baa3, the lowest investment-grade level, from Baa2.

    Moody’s cited “the rapid deterioration of the residential housing sector in the first quarter of 2008 and the resulting increase in expected provisioning needs on WaMu’s residential mortgage loan portfolio.”

    Moody’s said it now believes WaMu is likely to have to set aside more than $12 billion for future loan losses – and that full year 2008 net losses could eliminate WaMu’s $6 billion regulatory capital cushion.

    “Although in the fourth quarter the company raised a significant amount of hybrid capital and reduced its dividend, we believe WaMu’s necessary provisioning could reduce capital to a point that would lead to further downgrades in 2008,” the firm said. “There are actions management can take in 2008 to address this, including raising additional capital, reducing assets and further cutting the dividend. However, the negative outlook reflects the uncertainty around the company’s ability to replenish capital.”

  323. John says:

    Barrons and Saturdays WSJ will be a rare very very interesting weekend edition. there was so much bad news with Bear that a lot of other bad news got passed over on.

    It is still amazing how high housing prices are. The second shoe is dropping which is that the Wall Street salaries will prop up the LI/NJ commuter housing market. Hello, it ain’t happening. 2009 bonuses are GONE and lots of people will lose their jobs before this right sides.

  324. Rich In NNJ says:

    Bam!

    Glen Rock
    SLD 28 AMHERST CT $680,000 8/2/2005

    SLD 28 AMHERST CT $517,000 3/14/2008

  325. Clotpoll says:

    confused (328)-

    Muslims and blacks will be scapegoated before the Jews, in that case.

    I learnt that from watchin’ 24.

  326. 3b says:

    #331 NNJ:This page is being bombarded by whiners in general.

    And these so called whiners have turned out to be right all along.

  327. gary says:

    nnj guy [331],

    Let me try to re-phrase it:

    Endeavor to enlighten the mortal stipulating $589,000 for the sullied and blemished, 3bd/1.5bth abode in Maywood.

    Is that better?

  328. Rich In NNJ says:

    -3% per year

    Allendale
    SLD 22 HILLSIDE AVE $380,000 12/27/2000

    Updated kitchen
    SLD 22 HILLSIDE AVE $489,000 3/14/2008

  329. Rich In NNJ says:

    Engelwood Cliffs
    SLD 100 PERSHING RD $2,900,000 12/20/2006

    ACT 100 PERSHING RD $3,495,000 9/17/2007
    PCH 100 PERSHING RD $3,250,000 10/19/2007
    PCH 100 PERSHING RD $3,188,888 1/3/2008
    EXT 100 PERSHING RD $3,188,888 1/3/2008
    ACT* 100 PERSHING RD $3,188,888
    U/C 100 PERSHING RD $3,188,888
    SLD 100 PERSHING RD $2,750,000 3/14/2008

  330. 3b says:

    #334 RichL: In prestigious, Blue Ribbon, Train town, (actually 2 train town) close to NYC, Ridgewood wannabe, Glen Rock?

    A 163K price cut or almost 25% in 2.5 years?

    Horrors!! This cannot be

  331. lisoosh says:

    #331 Don’t mess with Gary.

  332. Rich In NNJ says:

    Glen Rock
    SLD 136 FAIRMOUNT AVE $545,000 2/24/2005

    SLD 136 FAIRMOUNT AVE $530,000 3/13/2008

  333. 3b says:

    #337 gary: And you get Hackensack H.S., And yes they do have metal detectors in the their high school.

  334. BC Bob says:

    Glen Rock
    SLD 28 AMHERST CT $680,000 8/2/2005

    SLD 28 AMHERST CT $517,000 3/14/2008

    Rich,

    You sure this is Glen Rock, NJ and not Glendale, AZ? How can this be? Down 25% in Bergen County?

  335. Rich In NNJ says:

    Paramus
    SLD 166 HAASE AVE $495,000 6/18/2005

    SLD 166 HAASE AVE $410,000 3/13/2008

  336. 3b says:

    #337 gary Sullied? Try tarnished; it sounds nicer.

  337. 3b says:

    #344 BC Bob: I am going to be crying in my pint glass all weekend. Not Glen Rock,and now Paramus another desireable town, and low taxes too.

    I thought we were bubble wrapped?

  338. BC Bob says:

    “This page is being bombarded by whiners in general.”

    Come again? The ship is returning to the pier, empty. Only the bulls will whine about this?

  339. Rich In NNJ says:

    All pulled from today’s Hotsheet.

    Later!

  340. Clotpoll says:

    gary (337)-

    For that delightful home, brimming with the hearty aromas of cabbage and fecal matter?

  341. gary says:

    3b,

    Hmmm…. sullied does appear to be a smidge brusque. My regrets. ;)

  342. Apocolypse Boy (kettle1) says:

    WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — A second bank has failed this year, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. said Friday. The FDIC and the Commissioner of Missouri’s Division of Finance closed Hume Bank in Hume, Mo., on Friday, the federal banking regulator announced.

    It was the second bank to fail this year, the FDIC said. The first was Douglass National Bank in Kansas City, Mo., on Jan. 25.

    The FDIC didn’t give a reason for the failure.

  343. John says:

    So Bear marked down their loans by 40% to cover for the fall in underlying value of the homes that back the loans as collateral and housing is hitting MLS at only 5-10 below peak values. Sellers are crazy.

  344. Clotpoll says:

    Look at SDS, GLD and other horsemen of the Apocalypse. I ain’t whining, no sir.

    All disclaimers. I now have all weekend to throw away money on tournament basketball.

  345. gary says:

    Clotpoll [350],

    Be good, or else you’ll get scolded, too!!

  346. BC Bob says:

    3b [347],

    Pionta Guinness, le do thoil

  347. Clotpoll says:

    vodka (352)-

    “…the Commissioner of Missouri’s Division of Finance closed Hume Bank in Hume, Mo., on Friday, the federal banking regulator announced.”

    Damn. I thought that bank was finished when Jesse James robbed it.

  348. njrebear says:

    Apocolypse Boy (kettle1),
    Isn’t it 3 now? :)

  349. 3b says:

    #349 Rich: No come back, check those sheets again.

    There has to be some mistake. We are bubble wrapped. We are a sea of wealth, sophisicated, savvy highly educated inhabitants

    It was not supposed to happen here Pant up demand, no more write downs.

    Just a few dirty renter losers and anti American wnnabe homeowners complaining. All is well, Kudlow said so!! Please dont go!! Recheck those numbers!! Come back WAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!

  350. Clotpoll says:

    BC (356)-

    “le do thoil”

    Is that Gaelic for “you’re a tool”?

  351. manhattanexile says:

    Re (181):

    Short the dollar!

    FDPIX

    The investment seeks daily investment results that correspond to the inverse of the daily performance of the US Dollar index.

  352. Apocolypse Boy (kettle1) says:

    actually i also found this

    Federal Reserve Board of San Francisco, dated in 2005, which shows that between 1971 and 2004, there were 4,371 institutions which failed. Dividing that 33 year span into the 4,371 failures, we get over 132 units a year failing….that comes to an average of 11 failures a month.

  353. BC Bob says:

    Happy St Paddy’s!!

    Murphy told Quinn that his wife was driving him to drink. Quinn thinks he’s very lucky because his own wife makes him walk.

  354. 3b says:

    #356 BC Bob: Go Dte tu an Cead (Long Life to You!!!)

    Enjoy your pints!! I will certainly enjoy mine!!

  355. 3b says:

    #360 Clot: It means Please.

  356. JLB says:

    #347: If only someone would bubble wrap you and your pint glass. You are such a bottom feeder…there is no way you have children or even a wife….the news about our economy is not good and it is not just housing, or maybe you just don’t understand what underpins our monetary policy? You are doing the jig at the funeral of many famlies’ dreams (did you not see some of the posters losing their jobs? have a little consideration). We can only hope you find some class in the bottom of that pint glass!

  357. gary says:

    Lotsa scolding going on here today. Just sayin’.

  358. Wag says:

    gary (368)- Truth hurts.

  359. BC Bob says:

    “We can only hope you find some class in the bottom of that pint glass!”

    [367],

    From a jackass that posts this;

    “#193 Actually most Christians are homophobic”

  360. bubbles says:

    Grim and all !!

    I leave country for 10 days and look what happened’s???

    1. DJ is crashing
    2. Trump thinks Lynhurst is CATS Miauuuu
    3. Bear Sterns is for sale at Wall Mart Blue Light Special
    4 CLIENT number 9 has resigned.
    5. And 4.5K hooker is a new star?

    What did you do GUYS??

  361. bubbles says:

    365 I cant get to Glen Ridge listing??

  362. JLB says:

    #370 Before Christ Bob: what about that statement bothers you so much, do gays have the right to marry?

  363. bubbles says:

    Grim, not to nag you but can we plaese have LOWBALL Update???

  364. 3b says:

    #367 JLB: Where do you come off accusing me of not caring or giving a damn. Well I do, and my heart goes out to Al and any and all innocent people who will be or may be hurt by this.

    Long time posters know that has always been my stand. I do not give a dman about anyone who bought a house they could not afford, plain and simple.

    Nor do I care about those who HELOCED and spent all their equity,and are now crying.

    I went through a lay off, fortunately I had the wherewithall to save over they years and live within my means. And so I came through it. We did not cry, we did not blame anybody and all the rest. We went about doing what need to be done.

    Nonetheless it was painful,as I spent many years there, and gave that place my heart and soul.

    To boot I had to start over in a related but quite different field from the one I spent so many years in.

    I have a wife I have children. And we teach our children the value of a $, and how to save etc. And more importantly how to be good decent kind kids.

    As far as class I am one of the classiest people I know. I was ridiculed, bullied, challenged gossiped about for selling my house a few years back. So were my spouse and children.

    Through it all maintained my calm and sense of decency. A f far cry from the idiots I and my family had to listen to.

    All because I had the knowledge.information , and experience, and gut feeling to see where this thing was going.

    My heart goes out to all innocent people who will suffer becasue of this, but JLB, do not point the finger at me.

    Any reasonanble person could have and should have seen it coming.

    You want to start yelling at people. Start with Mr. Greenspan.

  365. BC Bob says:

    [373],

    I don’t get into politics, race, sexual preferences nor religion on this site. I would not stoop myself into your rat hole with a response to your rubbish.

  366. Wag says:

    JLB (373)- Countless other blogs appreciate the idiocy and nonsense you spew. Please make use of them.

  367. JLB says:

    #375: “You want to start yelling at people. Start with Mr. Greenspan”
    Agreed!
    where we don’t agree is you do not know what the situation is with some of these people being foreclosed or sold short…maybe they made a good income and had savings and then lost their job while they battled health issues, or maybe, (as in a situation I am familiar with) both parents were killed and due to the perfect storm of mistakes the extended family is trying to get out of a property with some profit in order to support their children…be careful to assume in this environment that everyone experiencing loss deserves it due to poor judgement.

  368. JLB says:

    #377: Ain’t nothing gonna wag this dog!

  369. lisoosh says:

    3b – don’t tear yourself apart at his drivel. Pulling the whole “cry for the children” routine is the ultimate straw man. I very much doubt that while being luckily in the right place at the right time to profit from the run-up he gave one seconds thought to a single individual or family torn apart or put into reduced circumstances due to extreme prices. It’s the ultimate in hypocracy and self indulgent self righteousness. And absolute bull.

  370. lostinny says:

    Wow this is what I get for being at an all day meeting. I can barely keep up around here.

  371. Rich In NNJ says:

    From MarketWatch:

    QUOTES OF THE DAY

    ‘Ridiculous, absolutely ridiculous.’
    — Bear Stearns CEO Alan Schwartz, March 10, addressing speculation
    over liquidity crunch

    ‘[O]ur liquidity position in the
    last 24 hours … significantly deteriorated.’
    — Schwartz, March 14

    ‘[T]o protect against the possibility that the rumor
    could be true.’
    — Schwartz, March 14, on why Bear Stearns turned to J.P. Morgan

    ‘I should walk over and make
    a bid for their building, which
    is really nice.’
    — Barry Ritholtz, Ritholtz Research

  372. movinBC says:

    Is there a reliable way of figuring out what someone should expect to pay in taxes in any given town? (Other than ask a Realtor for the info on each specific property…?)

    Moving to Bergen Co in the near future, and we’re trying to decide where our $ will go further. Thanks in advance.

  373. Clotpoll says:

    Right about now would be a good time for a public service announcement about feeding trolls.

    Especially passive-aggressive ones that bounce between teary-eyed tales of woe and racially-tinged invective.

  374. cooper says:

    #378 JLB- suggestion: Lithium
    to the meager percentage of absolutely innocent people who truly got caught up in this economic mess unknowingly… my heart goes out to you

  375. kettle1 says:

    383 movinBC

    do search on the property you like or a similar to see the tax records

    http://tax1.co.monmouth.nj.us/cgi-bin/prc6.cgi?&ms_user=glou&passwd=data&srch_type=0&adv=0&out_type=0&district=0201

  376. t c m says:

    #289 chicago –

    thanks for posting that – very informative

    i don’t think there is any way he can seriously distance himself with what this pastor says and believes – he has gone to his church for years – if he didn’t agree with him, he would have stopped going to his church ages ago – comparing him to a crazy uncle is equally dishonest – you don’t choose your uncle, you do choose which pastor to listen to week in and week out, year after year. his sermons are full of HATE – and Obama sat in the pews and came back for more.

    no wonder his wife is such a downer.

  377. t c m says:

    ann –

    i think you’re right about dem’s losing the election if obama gets the nomination.

    all that has to happen is a right wing group gets hold of footage of this pastor spewing all this crazy hateful stuff, and run it – mccain can distance himself from these ads publically saying that he wants to run on the issues only (wink wink nudge nudge)

  378. movinBC says:

    #386 – Thanks much, kettle1… super helpful link!

  379. Confused In NJ says:

    335.Clotpoll Says:
    March 14th, 2008 at 4:26 pm
    confused (328)-

    Muslims and blacks will be scapegoated before the Jews, in that case.

    I learnt that from watchin’ 24.

    Only time will tell, “They came to take him away and I said nothing”, is like Dominoes.

  380. Confused In NJ says:

    Obama can’t possibly be a Racist. In Modern America, only White Christian Heterosexual Males can be classified as Racist.

  381. 3b says:

    #380 lisoosh: So true. My apologies for meltdown. Should have known better.

  382. NJGator says:

    Here’s what Obama himself has to say about his pastors comments…

    On My Faith and My Church
    Posted March 14, 2008 | 04:28 PM (EST)

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/barack-obama/on-my-faith-and-my-church_b_91623.html
    ——————————————————————————–
    The pastor of my church, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, who recently preached his last sermon and is in the process of retiring, has touched off a firestorm over the last few days. He’s drawn attention as the result of some inflammatory and appalling remarks he made about our country, our politics, and my political opponents.

    Let me say at the outset that I vehemently disagree and strongly condemn the statements that have been the subject of this controversy. I categorically denounce any statement that disparages our great country or serves to divide us from our allies. I also believe that words that degrade individuals have no place in our public dialogue, whether it’s on the campaign stump or in the pulpit. In sum, I reject outright the statements by Rev. Wright that are at issue.

    Email
    Print
    Comments
    Because these particular statements by Rev. Wright are so contrary to my own life and beliefs, a number of people have legitimately raised questions about the nature of my relationship with Rev. Wright and my membership in the church. Let me therefore provide some context.

    As I have written about in my books, I first joined Trinity United Church of Christ nearly twenty years ago. I knew Rev. Wright as someone who served this nation with honor as a United States Marine, as a respected biblical scholar, and as someone who taught or lectured at seminaries across the country, from Union Theological Seminary to the University of Chicago. He also led a diverse congregation that was and still is a pillar of the South Side and the entire city of Chicago. It’s a congregation that does not merely preach social justice but acts it out each day, through ministries ranging from housing the homeless to reaching out to those with HIV/AIDS.

    Most importantly, Rev. Wright preached the gospel of Jesus, a gospel on which I base my life. In other words, he has never been my political advisor; he’s been my pastor. And the sermons I heard him preach always related to our obligation to love God and one another, to work on behalf of the poor, and to seek justice at every turn.

    The statements that Rev. Wright made that are the cause of this controversy were not statements I personally heard him preach while I sat in the pews of Trinity or heard him utter in private conversation. When these statements first came to my attention, it was at the beginning of my presidential campaign. I made it clear at the time that I strongly condemned his comments. But because Rev. Wright was on the verge of retirement, and because of my strong links to the Trinity faith community, where I married my wife and where my daughters were baptized, I did not think it appropriate to leave the church.

    Let me repeat what I’ve said earlier. All of the statements that have been the subject of controversy are ones that I vehemently condemn. They in no way reflect my attitudes and directly contradict my profound love for this country.

    With Rev. Wright’s retirement and the ascension of my new pastor, Rev. Otis Moss, III, Michelle and I look forward to continuing a relationship with a church that has done so much good. And while Rev. Wright’s statements have pained and angered me, I believe that Americans will judge me not on the basis of what someone else said, but on the basis of who I am and what I believe in; on my values, judgment and experience to be President of the United States.

  383. PeaceNow says:

    JLB—as I learned in law school, as far as the state is concerned, marriage is a civil contract, not a religious one. Just sayin’. There are many alternative churches—and synagogues—in the US that are perfectly willing to perform same-sex wedding ceremonies.

  384. lisoosh says:

    Finally watched the pastor video. Actually found it kind of funny. A black pastor preaching to a black congregation about how much his candidate of choice is like them and gets them and how the other candidates aren’t and getting all worked up and hallelujah’d in the process. I’m pretty sure Hillary has never been called a n…., and yeah, most of the political establishment does consist of rich white guys. With connections. It’s true. As a not rich white woman that bums me out. And yeah, lots and lots of people are a lot smarter than Mr. Proud to Be a “C” in the White House. I don’t get the consternation, not from THIS particular speech anyway.

    I get deeply offended by the Farrakan crowd (can usually spot them in a heartbeat, they usually start by talking about how all the Jooos are rich and secretly control the world), but didn’t get a Farrakan vibe here, although somewhere saw they had some connection which would disturb me. Heard he blamed the US for 9/11. Well, so did Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson and a large percentage of evangelical America, or has everyone forgotton that already?

    Don’t know if I would support Obama or not. Haven’t made that decision yet. But THIS tempest – the usual bull.

  385. kettle1 says:

    oh, and clotts extended family….

    http://funtasticus.com/20080313/armed-america-portraits-of-gun-owners-in-their-homes/

    its all in good fun clott :)

  386. All Hype says:

    Now that I am so warm and fuzzy on the inside with the BSC collapse today, it’s time to pick a fight with another blogger…..

    Where’s that Reinvestor guy at?

    I will take still_looking as a worthy replacement!

    Bring them on!!!

  387. chicagofinance says:

    lisoosh Says:
    March 14th, 2008 at 8:11 pm
    I get deeply offended by the Farrakan crowd (can usually spot them in a heartbeat, they usually start by talking about how all the Jooos are rich and secretly control the world), but didn’t get a Farrakan vibe here, although somewhere saw they had some connection which would disturb me. Heard he blamed the US for 9/11. Well, so did Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson and a large percentage of evangelical America, or has everyone forgotton that already?

    Don’t know if I would support Obama or not. Haven’t made that decision yet. But THIS tempest – the usual bull.

    l: Given your background, I think you are being forgiving to a fault. The Trinity United Church of Christ awarded Louis Farrakhan for his lifetime achievement.
    Obama’s church. I WANT A RESPONSE.

    When I was at Cornell in the late 1980’s I had two specific friends in this regard that left a major impression on me. One was an Afican-American New Yorker who went to the elite Trinity High School in Manhattan. She was one of my best friends freshman year. That was until the Farrakhan crowd got ahold of her. She began to make anti-semitic remarks in front of me. We ceased being friends. A couple of years later I saw her on campus and we had a cordial conversation until I mentioned where I was living. She look at me wide eyed….”oh….you live among the Jews…” I walked off.

    My other friend is from Flatbush and is still one of my best friends. He was derided as an oreo for hanging out with me. The whole Cornell experience left him jaded to the point that he refused to date any women of color. He ended up marrying an Irish woman after dating only whites and asians since college. His attitiude? &uck those idiots.

  388. chicagofinance says:

    NJGator Says:
    March 14th, 2008 at 7:48 pm
    Here’s what Obama himself has to say about his pastors comments…
    On My Faith and My Church
    Posted March 14, 2008 | 04:28 PM (EST)

    Gate: What is your opinion here? He says quite a bit, but I expect more. It feels very carefully worded to the point of hedging. I am really angered about this situation and he needs to take this up a notch. He may alienate some people who happen to actually agree with Wright, but so what? Any hedging in my mind means that he doesn’t really mean what he is saying and is pandering…..not that he is a racist and anti-semite mind you, just that he doesn’t think it is that big a deal….AND IT IS!

  389. chicagofinance says:

    lisoosh Says:
    March 14th, 2008 at 8:11 pm
    Heard he blamed the US for 9/11. Well, so did Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson and a large percentage of evangelical America, or has everyone forgotton that already?

    l: I apologze for piling on…..the above idiots are not the personal religious leader of any presidential candidate….even W. is smart enough to keep some of the wackier $hit to himself…

  390. Clotpoll says:

    vodka (398)-

    Thanks. Some good pointers there. When it hits the fan, it is going to be very necessary to avoid being rounded up in the first sweep of the population…

    Fortunately, I have 330 pine acres in the Mississippi hill country, a signal worked out with my Mom, brothers and immediate family…and a well-secured cache that packs a little more pop than the rusty grenade launcher in my garage.

  391. Everything's 'boken says:

    re 403
    ‘personal religious leader’

    My father was a preacher. He, I’m sure would be described so too. Late in life, he became a creationist. What is one to do? Fortunately, I’m not running for office.

  392. t c m says:

    chicago,

    don’t you think that no matter what obama says now, it will only look as if he’s saying it for political expediency. i mean, does anyone really believe that obama wasn’t aware of this man’s belief system, and where he was coming from – considering how close they seemed all these years? is it possible that obama was so bamboozled by this guy? how come no one else has a problem finding out what he stands for , but obama somehow couldn’t figure it out?

    in light of the things that i’ve heard and read about this pastor, a lot of what obama says in the statement above (#395) doesn’t make sense.

  393. lisoosh says:

    Chi – a lifetime award to Farakhan is something I WOULD want to know a h@ll of a lot about. I have come into contact with that crowd (on the wrong side of it obviously) on more than one occasion. They are foul, and shameful especially considering the support that the Jewish community historically has given to civil rights in this country, and the shameful history of racism that Jews faced in the not so distant past. My father grew up in the years of university quotas (and had to shelve a medical career because of them) and country clubs that banned Jews and I have heard more than enough first hand stories to know that time isn’t THAT far away. The Farakhan crowd and their ilk are typical of people who think that the only way to pull themselves up is to push down others.

    THAT SAID – judgements are being made based on ONE not particularly inflamatory speech, or at least not that inflamatory unless one WANTS to see it that way. A quick Google found plenty of quotes from the Pastor that are in no way racist or inflamatory. So at the very least judgement has to be reserved without at least a more in depth investigation. And the judgement made is being made of a member of his congregation who has NO record of such statements.
    If there is evidence of Obama sharing Farakhans sentiments, or repeating his ideas, or making statements which are truly racist, not ones declaring frustration at one races position, but actually putting down others – that is something I take seriously. But I need evidence, direct evidence to make that judgement. I would want that for myself, I am willing to do that for another.

    One thing that I have found striking. When reading many of those articles take a look at the comments sections. So many times I will read “he should go back to Africa” or calling his wife “first Lady of Kenya”. Those same people would NEVER dare say the same thing about a white candidate, no matter what they said. I have to ask myself how many people have a pre-concieved notion or bias and are looking for verification.

    I know that I have had my share of headaches from being in a minority, and with a difference that is not obvious to the naked eye. I have absolutely no idea what it is to be treated suspiciously because of color. Or to be pulled over multiple times (my white friend was, while driving a popular “black” car, she was shocked). My husband watched some “gotcha” show on ABC recently. 3 white kids trashing a car, only 1 person called the police. 3 black kids SLEEPING in a car in the same neighbourhood, 3 calls to 911. 3 black kids trashing a car – the switchboard was jammed. HE was shocked.

    There IS racism in this country, both outward and latent. I do wonder how much of the outrage is over what Clot calls the backlash over the “uppity black”.

    So maybe I am being lenient. Maybe I am being generous. I know that a minority can be just as racist as a majority, I’m not naive. But I do know that I can’t penalize someone for frustration without treading very carefully. I haven’t walked in their shoes. Sometimes it is easy to think that you/I would handle a situation a certain way, until we actually fall into it and find that we are not so different.

    Hope that answers your question. And thanks for your semitic support.

  394. lisoosh says:

    chicagofinance Says:
    “l: I apologze for piling on…..the above idiots are not the personal religious leader of any presidential candidate….even W. is smart enough to keep some of the wackier $hit to himself…”

    Bush, McCain, they all make their own little pilgimages to Robertson and Falwell. And don’t forget what Billy Graham would say behind closed doors.
    There are bigots everywhere.

  395. lisoosh says:

    Clot – I haven’t decided if you are someone who may one day be very useful to know, or someone to walk away from very very quickly and without making any sudden movements.
    :-).

  396. lisoosh says:

    Chi – See I read an interview like this one from De Speigel, last year, an outlet without an axe to grind, and a whole different perspective appears:

    http://www.spiegel.de/international/0,1518,471221,00.html

    And Spiegel have been consistently one of the most balanced outlets I have come across when dealing with the Middle East. They are very sensitive to racism. Maybe the guy is a master disembler, I don’t know.

  397. Clotpoll says:

    soosh (409)-

    Both.

    “I haven’t decided if you are someone who may one day be very useful to know, or someone to walk away from very very quickly and without making any sudden movements.”

  398. t c m says:

    lisoosh-

    i think the issue isn’t that he was just a passive – member of the congregation, obama said himself he was his “spiritual advisor” – (i’m not sure what that means)

    he also seemed to seek him out – his marriage and the baptisms –

    he claims he didn’t want to leave the church because he was close to the members of the church – the same members who listened to the same hate speech – that’s not very comforting….

    you also contradict yourself:
    you say, “But I do know that I can’t penalize someone for frustration without treading very carefully. I haven’t walked in their shoes….”

    but then you say “And don’t forget what Billy Graham would say behind closed doors….” how do you know what people say behind closed doors – besides this pastor said it into a microphone on tape!

    now i feel like i’m piling on, but you seem overly forgiving in one instance, and pretty cynical in the other.

  399. rhymingrealtor says:

    Chifi,

    There are many people who join a church or congregation to feel part of a group.It is human nature to want to belong. To want to celebrate rites of passages Such as births, deaths, marriages. I know most who join churches are believers, but some are not,some are there for reasons sited above and other reasons that are hard to explain, such as everyone wants to belong somewhere. I got a little of that feeling when he stated it was where he was married, where his children were baptized. Without offending any religous people here it is possible to enjoy belonging to your church without believing the nonsense they spew – again no offense to the believers.

    KL

  400. rhymingrealtor says:

    TCM,

    Being an agnostic, what is said in post 395 makes sense to me.

    KL

  401. Tim says:

    If Obama is telling the truth and has never seen any racism from this preacher, then how is he going to see the evil in our enimies when he couldnt spot it in his own mentor, the man who married him and baptized his children. I THINK OBAMA IS LYING, HE SEEMS TO SMART TO HAVE THE WALL PULLED OVER HIS EYES.

  402. t c m says:

    #414 –

    really? how so?

    i would think that being agnostic, none of this stuff would make sense to you.

  403. Frank says:

    What’s the chance Bear will not open on Monday?
    Citi is laying off thousands starting Monday.

  404. t c m says:

    question:

    do all candidates have “Religious Leadership Committees”?

    what does a Religious Leadership Committee have to do with being the president? (in this country)

  405. rhymingrealtor says:

    TCM

    What I mean is I think it is possible to belong to a church, and not believe. This is in no way an endorsement for Obama, I have not yet made up my mind, but I do not put much weight on what somebody’s pastor says.
    KL

  406. R Patrick says:

    417

    They are? Hoe come my pay check is pink this week?

  407. t c m says:

    #419 –

    well, i don’t know –

    i just couldn’t be so close to a pastor that preached that stuff and honored farrakahan. i would stop going to that church.

  408. Happy Camper says:

    Same story here…

    When I was at Brown in the late 1990’s I had two specific friends in this regard that left a major impression on me. One was an white New Yorker who went to the elite Trinity High School in Manhattan. She was one of my best friends freshman year. That was until the republican crowd got ahold of her. She began to make anti-minority remarks in front of me. We ceased being friends. A couple of years later I saw her on campus and we had a cordial conversation until I mentioned where I was living. She look at me wide eyed….”oh….you live among the Mexicans…” I walked off.

    HC

  409. NJGator says:

    Chifi 402 – Regarding Obama’s comments, I think all politicians hedge. My cousin, who is very much Jewish, lived in the same apartment building as the Obamas for years (until the family moved to a house after he won his senate seat). She feels very warmly towards Obama, his wife and his little girls. Not once in all the years she has known him has she ever thought that he harbored any anti-semetic feelings. I put more stock in that first hand account than any recent sensationalistic news story.

    And BTW, on an unrelated note, here’s a bit of interesting trivia about said cousin:

    Ex-wife to take half of Nobel $1m
    Independent, The (London), Oct 21, 1995
    Chicago – Rita Lucas, ex-wife of Robert Lucas, this year’s winner of the Nobel Prize in economics, is no fool when it comes to economics herself. Under a clause in their divorce settlement seven years ago, she will get half of her former husband’s $1m award. The clause was due to expire at the end of this month. AP

    Some of you may recall that when Robert E. Lucas, Jr. won the Nobel Prize in economics in 1995 for his work in developing rational expectations theory, the prize was split between Lucas and his ex-wife, Rita. Rita Lucas, very cleverly, had calculated that her husband to whom she was getting a divorce, would have the money from the Nobel Prize. That was included in the divorce agreement and the provision was that Lucas had to win the prize by December 1995. And guess what? He won the prize just in time — for splitting it with Rita. One year later and he would not have had to split the money.

  410. Mikeinwaiting says:

    HAPPY CAMPER That was until the republican crowd got ahold of her. She began to make anti-minority remarks in front of me.
    So being a Republican is the same as that Farrakhan hate crowd.It is 1 of the 2 major political parties in the US get real.Your left leaning liberal bias makes you as guilty as your make believe friend at Brown.
    All Mexicans are bad, all republicans are racists. You are full of it liberal shill.

  411. lisoosh says:

    “t c m Says:
    March 14th, 2008 at 10:18 pm
    lisoosh-

    “i think the issue isn’t that he was just a passive – member of the congregation, obama said himself he was his “spiritual advisor” – (i’m not sure what that means)
    he also seemed to seek him out – his marriage and the baptisms”

    I don’t know what “spiritual advisor” is supposed to mean exactly either. Best to actually ask. As to the marriages – using the pastor of the church of which you are already a member I wouldn’t exactly call “seeking out”. It would be a little odd to marry elsewhere.

    “he claims he didn’t want to leave the church because he was close to the members of the church – the same members who listened to the same hate speech – that’s not very comforting….”

    We don’t know how much “hate speech” there ever was. The tape I saw was not what I would call hate speech, he did not denigrate any other races, perhaps there are others. At the end of his speech he talked about NOT being racist or biased. I would imagine that the church, like any other, is a community within itself and an extended family for its members. Families are strange things and they tend to indulge their own.

    “you also contradict yourself:
    you say, “But I do know that I can’t penalize someone for frustration without treading very carefully. I haven’t walked in their shoes….”

    but then you say “And don’t forget what Billy Graham would say behind closed doors….” how do you know what people say behind closed doors – besides this pastor said it into a microphone on tape!”

    I’m not sure where the contradiction is. You have the minority pastor of a minority community detailing his frustrution to his congregation that the nations leaders are polar opposites of what they feel themselves to be – that they are not represented. And then detailing how person X does represent them. He made a big deal about Bush only being in the White House because he was rich and white and connected and that Obama is smarter – ALL of which is probably true.

    As for Graham, his anti semitic statements to Nixon were legend for years, and always refuted – until the tapes came out – so we know exactly what he said behind closed doors. And exactly what Nixon was saying too. And all of it was vile.

    As for contradiction – I don’t see how you can compare a pastor with a small congregation to “Americas Preacher” who had the ear of multiple Presidents. Graham had enormous power, this other guy next to none. What on earth did Graham have to overcome at that stage in his life? He was an evangelical rock star.

    “now i feel like i’m piling on, but you seem overly forgiving in one instance, and pretty cynical in the other.””

    Can’t I be both? I’m actually very cynical. I never got the early annointing of Obama. I can see why he would be pushed to prominence in order to present a different face of the Democratic party, I can see the youth appeal (Gen Y is positively entranced). I can see potential, but he lacks seasoning in the political arena, I actually wish he hadn’t run this time. I think most of the candidacy has been on a wave of media attention.

    I’m also cynical enough to have seen this kind of campaign diversion before. Build a person up and then find something to tear them down with. Find some dramatic and easy to remember to “define” them.
    I’m forgiving in that I don’t want to allow titillating stories and 2 minute snippets and 10 word sentences define the candidates for me. I don’t want Rush Limbaugh, or Sean Hannity, or Ann Coulter or the New York Times or Maureen Dowd to tell me what to think. They want ratings, they want eyeballs and dollars, nothing more, but that has become the shape of elections these days. It’s all about victimhood. Rush’s victims are white men. Seans victims are the comatose and the unborn. Ann Coulters victims are the Christian right. This pastors victims are his congregation. And on and on it goes, everybody being painted into a corner of paranoia.

    Oh well. Enough for tonight.

  412. BC Bob says:

    Just back from the Big East. To the dismay pf many, there was no talk of Obama. It was all Bear and apple carts. Sorry for the off topic post.

    “Fed Efforts Foiled By Banks as Residential Mortgage Rates Rise”

    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=aMaXTX_3tq9w&refer=home

  413. rhymingrealtor says:

    Great writing once again lishoosh.

    KL

  414. Tim says:

    Question: Does Obama have a Cousin who wants to impose sharia law if elected.

    Answer: Yes

    The plot thickens…..could he be a well placed sleeper cell

    http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/632615/is_barack_obama_a_racist_or_guilty.html?page=2

  415. Quandry says:

    Grim, your forum jumped.

    Fun while it lasted.

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