Why save the housing market?

From the New York Times:

No End in Sight

A year into the financial crisis, the news is grim and there are signs of even worse troubles ahead. The mortgage bust continues and has begun to spread to loans for construction and commercial property, as well as credit cards and auto loans.

There may soon be more bank failures and a spate of corporate bankruptcies. That means that unemployment will almost certainly rise — employers have shed nearly half a million jobs this year — and those who keep their jobs will have to cope with fewer hours, measlier raises and evaporating bonuses.

The country cannot afford more delay and more posturing. Before the crisis gets any worse, Congress must take several steps.

Lawmakers need to start crafting the next stimulus bill — without repeating the mistakes of the last one.

Congress also needs to ensure that a $4 billion grant to states and cities to buy up vacant properties is quickly and efficiently distributed.

Congress also cannot wait to see if its anti-foreclosure measures work. It must begin to vet other ideas and be ready to move quickly if the crisis worsens. Most important, lawmakers should be ready to reform the bankruptcy law so that homeowners can have their mortgages modified under court protection.

The work doesn’t end there. The Bush administration and federal regulators need to develop a framework for resolving future financial failures before they occur. That is essential for rebuilding confidence in the system.

Millions of Americans are already suffering. And we fear millions more will be hurt before this crisis ends. They cannot wait until after the election for help.

This entry was posted in Economics, Housing Bubble, National Real Estate. Bookmark the permalink.

205 Responses to Why save the housing market?

  1. grim says:

    From the Herald News:

    Warehouse closing to cost 164 their jobs

    A Totowa-based distribution and consolidation company says it plans to close down its operation on Route 46 and lay off 164 workers.

    D&R Management Corp. has told New Jersey officials that the closure will occur around Sept. 26 and affect shipping and receiving, clerical and maintenance, stocking and other workers. The company reported the layoffs in a July 24 letter to the state Department of Labor and Workforce Development as required by the federal WARN Act.

    Several North Jersey trucking and logistics companies have endured hard times in recent months as the industry has suffered from high gas prices, fierce competition and declining business due to a drop in consumer spending.

  2. NJl$ord says:

    1st

  3. grim says:

    From the Press of Atlantic City:

    Atlantic City casino profits fall 16.5 percent in ‘ugly’ quarter

    In a double whammy, both casino revenue and profits fell during what one gaming analyst bluntly called an “ugly” second quarter.

    Competition from Pennsylvania slot parlors, the sluggish economy and high gas prices continue to push down earnings for an industry mired in a prolonged slump.

    Gross operating profits plunged 16.5 percent to $247.3 million and net revenue slipped 3.3 percent to $1.15 billion in the second quarter compared with the same period in 2007, according to figures released Tuesday by the New Jersey Casino Control Commission.

    Even more alarming, an analysis by casino consulting firm Spectrum Gaming Group of Linwood shows that operating profits are down 31.2 percent and revenue is off 9.1 percent compared with the second quarter of 2006, before Atlantic City began los-ing business to the new Pennsylvania slot parlors.

    “It was an ugly quarter,” said Joseph Weinert, Spectrum senior vice president. “I think it’s important to look at these results on top of last year’s, which were also ugly. When you look at where the industry is now compared to where it was in 2006, it’s lost a third of its profits, which is a staggering amount. The industry is caught in a perfect storm of Pennsylvania, economic unease and high fuel prices.”

  4. grim says:

    From the Record:

    Which town is facing a $322 avg. tax bump?

    The average Lincoln Park taxpayer is looking at roughly a $322 tax increase this year, under the $16.9 million municipal budget approved last night.

    After receiving word recently that the state Department of Community Affairs (DCA) had approved its levy cap waiver request to exceed state-imposed spending limits by a little less than $400,000, the Borough Council approved the budget by a 5-2 vote/

    Council members Lou Pepe and Ann Thompson voted against the spending plan.

    This year’s budget will impose a $321.81 tax increase for municipal purposes on a home assessed at the borough average of $164,425, Chief Financial Officer Kerry Geisler said.

  5. grim says:

    From the APP:

    Fire commissioners’ property doesn’t sell in second auction

    The township Board of Fire Commissioners will have to decide what to do with a surplus piece of real estate after an auction Tuesday attracted no bidders — the second time that has happened in recent months.

    The minimum acceptable bid price for the 2 acres, zoned for a single-family home at the corner of Baird Road and Gaston Mill Court, was $250,000. The commissioners have owned the property since the mid-1990s and planned to use it for a fire substation, but neighbors successfully sued to block the firehouse in their neighborhood.

    The auction opened at 2 p.m. Tuesday at the firehouse in Clarksburg, but no one showed up except Board Attorney Joseph D. Youssouf, who would have conducted the auction, and a newspaper reporter. At 2:35 p.m., Youssouf ended the proceeding.

    In December, the fire commissioners had the property appraised for $330,000. But that price attracted no bidders in an April auction.

    So, based on input from local real estate agents, the commissioners dropped the minium bid to $250,000.

    “It’s certainly disappointing,” Markunas said. “I was hoping an attractive lot like that would have been picked up quickly. I guess it’s indicative of the real estate market and the economy in general.”

  6. grim says:

    From the WSJ:

    Rising Cost of Debt Stokes Fears
    On Freddie’s Prospects
    By DEBORAH SOLOMON, SERENA NG and SUSANNE CRAIG
    August 20, 2008; Page A1

    Freddie Mac was forced to offer unusually rich terms to investors in a $3 billion auction of its debt, raising anew concerns about the health of the mortgage giant, a vital prop for the U.S. housing market.

    Investors increasingly believe the U.S. government will take steps to rescue Freddie Mac and its sibling, Fannie Mae. The Treasury Department recently received authority from Congress to bail out the two companies, although it stopped short of doing so. Both now play a dominant role in financing mortgages. A rise in the companies’ borrowing costs could translate into higher mortgage rates for consumers, prolonging the housing slump.

  7. grim says:

    From the Philly Inquirer:

    Housing starts fall to January 1991 level

    Housing starts fell 11 percent in July from June to their lowest level since January 1991 as builders tried to rein in construction to reduce inventory.

    The Commerce Department reported yesterday that starts were 29.6 percent lower than July 2007, while building permits dropped 17.7 percent month-over-month and 32.4 percent year-over-year.

    Permits for single-family homes fell 5.2 percent month-over-month and 41.4 percent from July 2007.

    Mark Zandi, chief economist with Moody’s Economy. com, of West Chester, said the housing collapse pushed the nation into a recession at the end of 2007.

    “Starts will continue to fall through the end of the year, likely hitting a 50-year low,” said Zandi, an economic adviser to the presumptive Republican presidential candidate John McCain.

    “The good news is that the lower construction will soon cut into the mountain of inventory weighing on the housing market,” he said.

    Regionally, the Northeast saw the biggest monthly drop in overall permits – 63.4 percent – caused mainly by New York City’s June burst. However, it had the largest increase in single-family starts month to month (11.3 percent) and the smallest annual decline (26.6 percent).

    “The real issue is not what the one-month low will be, but when will activity simply stabilize,” said Joel L. Naroff, chief economist at Commerce Bancorp Inc.

  8. NJl$ord says:

    why don’t we say socialize this and that? This way we would be all happy.

  9. grim says:

    From Bloomberg:

    Fannie, Freddie Bailouts May Hinge on Debt Rollover

    Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s success in repaying $223 billion of bonds due by the end of the quarter may determine whether they can avoid a federal bailout.

    Fannie, based in Washington, has about $120 billion of debt maturing through Sept. 30, while McLean, Virginia-based Freddie has $103 billion, according to figures provided by the government-chartered companies and data compiled by Bloomberg.

    Rising borrowing costs and evidence that demand for their debt was waning last month led Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson to seek the authority to pump unlimited amounts of capital in Fannie and Freddie in an emergency. Their interest costs are again increasing amid concern that credit losses are depleting the capital of the beleaguered mortgage-finance companies.

    Rolling over the debt “is the single most important factor to their ability to remain liquid,” said Moshe Orenbuch, an analyst at Credit Suisse in New York. “So far, they’ve been able to do that.”

  10. grim says:

    From the WSJ:

    Apartment Buildings Lose Their Immunity To Housing’s Chill
    Job-Loss Worries Pressure the Sector; Rent Rates Decline
    By NICK TIMIRAOS
    August 20, 2008; Page C10

    For the past year, apartment buildings have been one of the few bright spots in the real-estate industry as people forced out of the home-buying market by foreclosures or the credit crunch have turned to renting.

    But now the specter of job losses is beginning to spread the gloom into that sector as well. As would-be renters are doubling up in apartments or moving in with friends and families, rents and occupancy rates are beginning to fall in many cities.

    “In many markets, our new prospects are beginning to resist the current and increasing levels of market rents we’ve enjoyed over the past quarter,” David Neithercut, chief executive of Equity Residential, told investors during this month’s earnings call. While the Chicago-based apartment owner, one of the largest in the U.S., reported an increase in funds from operations of 1.5% last quarter, it lowered its estimates for comparable-property revenue growth.

    For investors, concerns about falling rents and rising vacancy has resulted in a decline in prices for apartment buildings. The “capitalization rate,” which measures the relationship between the price and cash flow of properties, dropped one-quarter of one percent from the second quarter of 2007 to second quarter of this year, according to Real Capital Analytics Inc., a real-estate research firm. The cap rates are now at levels last seen at the end of 2004, the firm says.

  11. grim says:

    From MarketWatch:

    American Woodmark profit down 97%

    Kitchen cabinet maker American Woodmark Corp. said Wednesday that its fiscal first-quarter net profit fell 97% to $156,000, or a penny a share, from $5.1 million, or 34 cents a share, a year earlier. Net sales in the quarter declined 16% to $139.2 million. The group said its margins were also hit by rising fuel prices and raw materials costs.

  12. reinvestor X says:

    I, for one, am not prepared to sound a requiem for our great nation. The world is littered with those who’ve attempted to count the USA out. It ain’t happening.

    We’re the best there ever was and will be. Our economy will survive just fine. I, and most Americans, are not prepared to lie down and die just because of a steady drumbeat of negativity. What this nation needs right now is a steady conservative hand at the helm. We need someone who is unswerving in their faith in America. O is a liberal who hates and blames America first. Someone like that would put America haters like the brooding Roubini or the very arrogrant Peter Schiff in charge of something. (Both of these guys always have smircks on their faces. I hate them. I’d love to wipe those damn smircks off their faces. Punks.) I’m a little disappointed in M, but I like his stance on the war and know he will maintain and expand tax cuts. We need more tax cuts. I really wish I could vote for our current president for a third term.

    The Dem party has no solutions as evidenced by the liberal banter that goes on here.

  13. grim says:

    I, for one, am not prepared to sound a requiem for our great nation. The world is littered with those who’ve attempted to count the USA out. It ain’t happening.

    We’re hardest on the ones we love. When the criticism stops is when you should worry about the USA being “counted out”.

  14. tbw says:

    “Competition from Pennsylvania slot parlors, the sluggish economy and high gas prices continue to push down earnings for an industry mired in a prolonged slump.”

    BS…NJ did this to themselves with the smoking ban. Any other place you can smoke.

    I don’t smoke, but think NJ govt was way too big when creating that ban. I am all for individual property rights, let the marketplace decide where to smoke, drink, be merry…but everyone was like “oh thats a great idea NJ, I dont want to breathe second hand smoke. wah wah wah. Save me NJ govt…I dont want to pump my own gas either!! wah!!!”

  15. BC Bob says:

    “why don’t we say socialize this and that? This way we would be all happy.”

    Speak for yourself. You think our kids and grandkids will be happy? They did not sign up for this. What happened to free markets and accountability?

  16. painhrtz says:

    I thought all of you would get a kick out of this broadcast email I received from a NNJ agent who handles REOs:

    Too Many Experts
    It can be difficult to make an informed homebuying decision when confronted by advice from too many “experts.” If you have just found the house you want to buy, you are probably feeling completely thrilled and confused at the same time. You trust the agent who helped you and feel that the advice you received is solid. But you also want to get opinions about the house from your best friend, your parents, and your Uncle Chuck, who has an inactive real estate license.

    If you get input from too many sources, you could find yourself even more confused than you already are. Your best friend can provide moral support, but might not know the market in your area. Your parents may go into shock because they feel that they got so much more house for their money 30 years ago–and it cost them a fraction of the price you are going to pay.

    Even though Uncle Chuck passed the real estate exam, his insights won’t be as relevant as those of a professional who is currently working the market. It’s not that you shouldn’t consult your family and friends–just don’t go overboard. Rely on the advice of professionals you trust–a structural inspector, loan officer, and a good real estate agent, so that you can feel comfortable about having made an informed decision.
    Read this online and get more information: Too Many Experts

    Perfect! Please don’t take advice from others just listen to the agent he/she is of course the expert and has no vested interest in the sale. HE/She has been showing you houses because they just like helping people.

  17. cooper says:

    i must say articles like this make my stomach turn. when will we take responsibility for our actions? at what point does the action of the fed reinforce our unaccountability? or did we pass that point already? im tired of all the finger pointing and sick of the BS. i work hard and live within my means because i appreciate the value of a dollar(now i sound like my father) but c’mon! we are here because of artificially inflated market conditions(either by the consumer, the fiduciary or the gov’t) why would adding more artificial support help?

  18. HEHEHE says:

    Drunk Fat Toad!!

  19. scribe says:

    Pain, #18

    Translation: Tune out the noise.

    Too much “advice” can be paralyzing.

    If you’ve ever had to make a major decision, everybody’s got an opinion.

    Listen to everyone, but know your own mind.

  20. Shore Guy says:

    # 12

    “We need more tax cuts.”

    I agree. Just as soon as we are running in the black and we have paid off our debt, we can cut taxes 30-odd percent, as we will no longer be paying interest on all of the not-paid-for tax cuts of the past.

    A tax cut without a concurrent cut in spending is just a loan.

  21. scribe says:

    From RealtyTrac this morning:

    Do New Mortgage Rules Make Borrowers Safer?
    Peter G. Miller

    You could hardly miss the headlines this week: More than 1,000 news outlets covered new rules from the Federal Reserve designed to “protect” America’s mortgage borrowers. At least that’s what the Fed’s news release said and many news reports did not delve much deeper.

    That’s unfortunate because the new standards are a mixed bag: They provide more borrower protections in some situations but in other ways it’s the same old story: The most toxic loan formats remain largely untouched.

    “The new rules,” says Michael Calhoun with the Center for Responsible Lending, “do not cover nontraditional or exotic loans that had a major role in today’s massive foreclosures, such as payment-option ARMs or interest only loans that don’t meet the subprime definition.”

    [snip]

    What’s New
    Last December, the Federal Reserve announced a series of proposed changes to HOEPA using its authority under Section 129. After hearing thousands of comments, the Fed published its final rules last week.

    Higher Priced Loans
    To start, the Fed effectively revised the definition of a “high cost” loans. They are now “higher priced” loans, a definition designed to be more inclusive.

    A loan is higher-priced, says the Fed, if it’s a first mortgage or deed of trust and has an annual percentage rate that’s 1.5 percentage points or more above a Freddie Mac index. A second mortgage or trust that’s 3.5 percentage points above the index will also be regarded as a higher-priced loan.

    In effect, the 8 percent standard is out, replaced by a tougher benchmark that will impact far more loans and borrowers.

    The Fed says the new rules for high-priced loans are designed to “prohibit a lender from making a loan without regard to borrowers’ ability to repay the loan from income and assets other than the home’s value. A lender complies, in part, by assessing repayment ability based on the highest scheduled payment in the first seven years of the loan.”

    “Verifying information is crucially important to borrowers, lenders and mortgage investors,” says James J. Saccacio, chief executive officer at RealtyTrac.com, the largest source of foreclosure properties and data. “No longer will lenders be able to qualify subprime borrowers on the basis of some fantasy low-ball number that rapidly changes and then leads to hardship and financial distress.”

    “No less important,” says Saccacio, “the Fed has created a standard that could well lead to substantial claims against lenders who violate the rules. Lenders had wanted borrowers to first demonstrate a ‘pattern or practice’ of multiple violations under the new rules before they would be able to collect damages, a difficult and expensive claim to prove. The new standard effectively says any scammed borrower can go to court.”

    Stated Income Loan Applications
    The new standards for higher priced mortgages “require creditors to verify the income and assets they rely upon to determine repayment ability.” Stated-income loan applications — applications where the borrower estimates income and the lender doesn’t check are out, but only for borrowers who need “higher priced” loans.

    Prepayment Penalties
    Stiff prepayment penalties — often thousands of dollars for even a modest mortgage — have been a major problem for borrowers. The new standards for higher-priced loans “ban any prepayment penalty if the payment can change in the initial four years. For other higher-priced loans, a prepayment penalty period cannot last for more than two years.”

    The rules also say the penalty will not apply if the source of the prepayment funds is a refinancing by the creditor or its affiliate. This is important because “loan-to-own” lenders frequently charge prepayment penalties to refinance their own toxic mortgages.

    The Fed says its prepayment rule for high-priced loans “is substantially more restrictive than originally proposed.” That’s true. What’s also true is that prepayment penalties are allowed whether a borrower simply refinances (a “soft” prepayment penalty) or is forced to move (a “hard” prepayment penalty). If someone in the military is relocated they could face a massive prepayment penalty under the new Fed guidelines.

    Escrow Accounts
    The rules for higher-priced loans will “require creditors to establish escrow accounts for property taxes and homeowner’s insurance for all first-lien mortgage loans.” Since unpaid taxes can result in foreclosure this is an excellent standard because typically it’s easier to pay taxes over the course of a year than in a single huge sum.

    The standards above all apply to “higher-priced” mortgages, meaning they do not apply to Alt-A or prime financing. Whatever the benefits of the 2008 standards, the reality is that they do not apply to millions of loans made before the new rules go into effect.

    The higher-priced benchmarks will also never apply to the overwhelming majority of loans to be made in the future and they will not apply to any loans for at least a year because the new standards only become effective on October 1, 2009. The escrow account standards do not kick-in until April 1, 2010, for higher-priced mortgage loans secured by manufactured housing.

    General Rules
    While the Fed changes largely deal with higher-priced mortgages, broader regulations that apply to all loans have also been developed.

    “Companies that service mortgage loans are prohibited from engaging in certain practices, such as pyramiding late fees,” says the Fed. “In addition, servicers are required to credit consumers’ loan payments as of the date of receipt and provide a payoff statement within a reasonable time of request.”

    This rule surely makes sense but it also raises a point: Does the Fed mean lenders were ever allowed to pyramid late fees?

    The Fed also says that “creditors must provide a good faith estimate of the loan costs, including a schedule of payments, within three days after a consumer applies for any mortgage loan secured by a consumer’s principal dwelling, such as a home improvement loan or a loan to refinance an existing loan. Currently, early cost estimates are only required for home-purchase loans. Consumers cannot be charged any fee until after they receive the early disclosures, except a reasonable fee for obtaining the consumer’s credit history.”

    In addition to expanding the use of good faith estimates, the 2008 standards will impact lenders who charge “application” fees. The reason for an application fee, often $300, is that the lender can keep the money if the borrower goes elsewhere or decides not to get a loan. However, the new language says that application charges are prohibited before the delivery of a good faith estimate, meaning that borrowers will have a better chance to understand their loans before writing a check.

    More here:

    http://www.realtytrac.com/news/Press/newsletter-articles.asp?a=b&ItemId=4886&accnt=185057

  22. Sean says:

    re: #9 Fannie and Freddie the spreads continue to increase. With this latest whopping debt rollover of $223 Billion there is no way the govn’t is going to reneg on paying, the Chinese and Russians, the Japanese and the Koreans who have been financing our lavish lifestype won’t appreciate it.

    A high school teacher of mine used to say it didn’t matter how much money the government borrowed or printed because it was a measure of how much faith Americans had in their future.

    We’re about to find out.

  23. Cindy says:

    (317) 9:46 P.M. Tues. Stu..

    “Mets are mounting an 8th inning rally! Let’s see if Delgado is really getting out of his slump or will hit into a double play.”

    AP Sports News: today

    “Carlos Delgado hit a go-ahead double off the left-center fence to end New York’s long stretch of bases-loaded futility, and the Mets broke loose in the eighth inning to rally past Atlanta 7-3 Tuesday night.”

    Stu – maybe the slump IS over…Good luck with your team.

  24. bi says:

    200,000 crowd is not good enough? O camp needs another million man march

    http://www.reuters.com/article/politicsNews/idUKN1948672420080820?sp=true

  25. Victorian says:

    Everybody is turning American…

    “HK shares recover on China stimulus hopes”
    http://www.reuters.com/article/rbssFinancialServicesAndRealEstateNews/idUSHKF07941020080820

    Hey, we beat China for the gold on this one!!

  26. John says:

    Bond of the day. I guess SOV is lumped into the same bed at Wamu. But when I worked there fresh out of school at the original main Independence Bank Home office in Brooklyn there was a beautiful picture of the building by the General Counsels office with a view of Manhattan that show no bridges, the damm Brooklyn Bridge was not even built yet when they had the big Brooklyn main office. SOV overpaid for Independence and took a imparement charge. However, that sent them into cost cutting back in 2006 and 2007 and cut back their ability to go crazy lending money in 2006/2007. Perfect timing to me.

    SOVEREIGN BANCORP INC 4.80000% 09/01/2010 SR NT
    Basic Analytics
    Price (Ask) 87.000
    Yield to Worst (Ask) 12.270%
    845905AU2

  27. Victorian says:

    Oil is creeping back up…. Futures up almost 2%

    Should be good for a wee pop in the DOW.
    http://www.bloomberg.com/markets/commodities/energyprices.html

  28. John says:

    You kidding that was every half black half white person they could find.

    bi Says:
    August 20th, 2008 at 9:04 am
    200,000 crowd is not good enough? O camp needs another million man march

  29. make money says:

    Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae paid the highest ever risk premium in August auctions paying 113bps and 125bps above comparable treasury bonds respectively. Foreign investors, especially central banks of Asia seem less willing to accept the implicit government guarantee and may be looking for U.S. to inject more equity. Freddie Mac sale was oversubscribed and Asian investors (mostly central banks) took a higher share (30%) of the debt than they did of Fannie Mae (22%) the previous week but less than they did in May (41.3%)

    Reuters: Foreign central banks (some of the largest purchasers) may have dumped nearly $11 billion from their record holdings of the debt of U.S. government agencies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in four weeks, to $975 billion. Central banks bought just 37% of Fannie Mae’s $3.5 billion issue in August down from 56% in May’s $4 billion offering of the same maturity. Asia accounts took just 22% of the notes, down from 42% in May.

    Setser: NYFed custodial holdings of Agencies for central banks has fallen. The spreads the Agencies can afford to pay are too small to compensate reserve managers for the reputational cost and political fallout managers would face should the Agencies ever default. And foreign investors may be unwilling to rely on the governments implicit guarantee without any structural changes in the agencies.

  30. John says:

    I was at the game last night, first inning was great and eight inning was great, Mets played a lot of sloppy ball and threw way too many pitches in between. But weather and game ending was great. Other than the fact I could not find my town car on Roosvelt Ave after the game and played cell phone tag with driver, it was a pretty good time. Cindy Says:
    August 20th, 2008 at 8:45 am
    (317) 9:46 P.M. Tues. Stu..

    “Mets are mounting an 8th inning rally! Let’s see if Delgado is really getting out of his slump or will hit into a double play.”

    AP Sports News: today

    “Carlos Delgado hit a go-ahead double off the left-center fence to end New York’s long stretch of bases-loaded futility, and the Mets broke loose in the eighth inning to rally past Atlanta 7-3 Tuesday night.”

    Stu – maybe the slump IS over…Good luck with your team.

  31. make money says:

    Vic (26),

    They have surplas money. All they are doing it is giving it back. They’re not printing and borrowing.It’s completely different.

  32. Stu says:

    Delgado might actually be back after all. Perhaps some of his spark might rub off on the next hitter in the 4-spot, Beltran. Church will be back soon too and all that is left to complete the series run will be Wagner. It’s AMAZING what a difference a week and a half can make.

  33. Victorian says:

    32 – True.

    But just saying that the argument of de-coupling and emerging markets carrying the baton has become a bit tenuous. They are feeling the heat too.

  34. NJLifer says:

    If I get an appraisal done by an appraisal company, does it include foreclosure prices, or is it based off of the same data that realtors use to do their comps (i.e. NJMLS)?

  35. SG says:

    How did we get into this mess?

    Dear Mr. Berko: Can you explain to me in simple English how this banking crisis happened? I believed that U.S. banks were the strongest in the world, and now they seem to be collapsing while banks in Europe and Asia remain healthy. My brother, who lives and works in the Netherlands, says U.S. banks have “sloppy management and lending practices,” which is why they are in trouble. I’d like your thoughts.

    R.D. Harrisburg, Pa. Dear R.D.: Your brother is right as blue skies and sunshine. But he neglected to tell you that the U.S. consumer is the dumbest and most gullible in the industrialized world. I think the only reason most Americans don’t own a camel is that corporate America has yet to figure out how to finance one for $100 down with payments of $25 a month and then securitize the loan.

    Camel Loan!!!

  36. ac says:

    http://www.app.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080820/NEWS/808200400

    Probe of raises sought

    Rules to end increases for worthless degrees

    By ALAN GUENTHER
    STAFF WRITER

    State Senate President Richard J. Codey wants the state Attorney General to investigate New Jersey public school educators who receive taxpayer-funded raises after getting bogus online degrees.

    In another development, state Education Commissioner Lucille Davy did an about-face and said her department now will draft rules to stop superintendents from being paid extra for worthless diplomas — and sticking taxpayers with the cost of tuition.

    She had said as late as Friday that she lacked the authority to stop boards of education from handing out raises for diploma-mill degrees. But she apparently changed her mind after she received a letter on Tuesday from Codey, D-Essex, who demanded action.

    “It’s completely and utterly ridiculous that people at the top of our educational system are being paid, rewarded in fact, for a degree that for all intents and purposes comes from a fake university,” Codey wrote to Davy.

    Codey cited a story published Sunday by the Asbury Park Sunday Press in which Freehold Superintendent H. James Wasser said he did not understand why his $2,900 Ed.D. from Breyer State University was a source of controversy.

    Breyer State has been thrown out of the African nation of Liberia as well as Idaho and Alabama, where education officials called it “an apparent diploma mill.”

    Wasser told the Press, “The only thing I would probably do differently, is now that I am aware of this word “accreditation,’ I would probably thoroughly research that.’ ”

    “Herein lies the perfect example,” Codey said in a prepared statement, “of why our administrators should receive degrees from accredited universities — to save us the embarrassment of having educational leaders who are unaware of such qualifications to begin with. At the very least, this is stupidity. At the worst, it may be criminal.”

    Wasser declined to comment on Codey’s statement or letters.

    The mayor of one of the eight Freehold Regional District towns said administrators who received bonuses for questionable degrees should pay the money back.

    “On behalf of my constituents, I am concerned that these degrees (from Breyer State University) were obtained inappropriately,” Howell Mayor Joseph DiBella said. “They should return the tuition and have their salary advances overturned.”

    Unaccredited schools

    Meanwhile, the Press has uncovered two more public school employees with online degrees from unaccredited schools.

    In Weehawken, Joseph T. Little, the school district’s director of curriculum and instruction, has received raises totaling $5,500 since 2002 after paying $1,281 for a Ph.D. from St. Regis University. The school was closed after federal agents raided the Washington state-based online diploma mill in 2005.

    Also, Harold Persaud, a public school counselor in Paterson, paid $1,236 for a St. Regis Ph.D. He said Tuesday that “I have never used the degree for nothing.”

    At the Weehawken School District, Superintendent Kevin McLellan said he did not know if Little would continue to be paid an extra $1,000 each year in a salary boost for his St. Regis degree.

    “Ninety-five percent of his course work for his Ph.D. was completed at Rutgers,” McLellan said.

    Rutgers University is accredited by federally recognized agencies.

    St. Regis is not.

    When asked why Weehawken didn’t wait to pay Little until he earned a degree from an accredited school, McLellan said, “I don’t know. . . . This story just broke right now. I think everyone has their day in court.”

    Little, paid a salary of $124,484 in 2007, could not be reached for comment.

    After receiving the letter from Codey, Kathryn Forsyth, spokeswoman for Education Commissioner Davy, said the education department will draft new rules that will prevent school superintendents from asking taxpayers to pay for bogus online degrees.

    But she said legislation would be needed to crack down on lower-level administrators.

    Codey said he would introduce the necessary legislation in the fall.

    Meanwhile, in Paterson, Persaud — a licensed social worker — said he destroyed his degree when he found out that St. Regis was not an accredited university.

    He said he no longer worked for the Paterson school district. However, on Tuesday, Persaud was listed as a substance abuse counselor at the Great Falls Academy in the Paterson public schools, according to its Web site.

    Records show he was paid $58,065 by the Paterson schools in 2007. Before ending an interview, Persaud said he was now selling real estate in Queens. He did not respond to e-mails asking why Paterson schools still listed him as an employee.

    Great Falls Principal Zatiti Moody could not be reached for comment.

  37. Stu says:

    Thank you everyone for the car advice from last night. If Honda America does not make good, then we will threaten with lawyers.

    The crazy thing is that NJGator’s family has been purchasing and servicing all three of their cars from this same dealer for decades. The money lost by not making her brother whole will cost them a lot more than what it will cost them to maintain the good relationship.

    We’ll report back to the curious here what the final results are.

  38. bairen says:

    What was the NYT saying back in 04 as the bubble was really taking off and lending standards were lower than a pols morals?

    I don’t know since I don’t read that rag, but I’m guessing probably cheerleading the price surge as the RE ad revenue rolled in.

  39. Victorian says:

    “Forget $100 a Barrel – Oil Will Plummet to $30”

    Bi Unmasked!!! – He is a columnist on Seeking Alpha.

    http://seekingalpha.com/article/91100-forget-100-a-barrel-oil-will-plummet-to-30?source=front_page_most_popular_articles

  40. Cindy says:

    California IS reducing inventory…44.8% were foreclosures – Man..that’s a ton.

    Sanford Nax – Fresno Bee Business pg. 1

    “Fresno County Home Sales Surge”

    “The 547 homes sold in Fresno and Clovis in July were the most sold in almost three years, the president of the Fresno Assoc. of Realtors said Tuesday.”
    “Real estate experts attribute the burst in sales to declining prices. Houses are simply more affordable – nearly 60% of the households in Fresno County could afford an entry-level house last quarter, up from 56% in March and 44% in June of 2007.”

    “DataQuick Information Systems substanciated the association’s data with its own findings. DataQuick, whose numbers cover a wider territory, said Tuesday that 645 existing houses changed hands in Fresno County last month, up 27.8% from a year earlier and an increase of 10% from June.”

    “A total of 39,507 new and preowned homes were sold statewide last month. That’s up 12.3% from July of 2007 and up 12.2% from June’s total, DataQuick said.”

    “Foreclosed homes accounted for 44.8% of all homes sold last month.”

  41. lostinny says:

    37
    There’s a morning show doing a piece on this right now. I find this all to be pretty disgusting. I don’t know how someone working in EDUCATION can be so ignorant as to not know that getting a degree from an accredited school is a must. This is something we drill into the students. How is it that a Superintendant of schools doesn’t know this? I don’t believe it for a second.
    “Herein lies the perfect example,” Codey said in a prepared statement, “of why our administrators should receive degrees from accredited universities — to save us the embarrassment of having educational leaders who are unaware of such qualifications to begin with. At the very least, this is stupidity. At the worst, it may be criminal.”
    Shouldn’t these people in leadership positions have these degrees before they are appointed? Unreal.

  42. SG says:

    From FT.com

    US house prices: when will they stop falling?

    by Mickey Levy

    It is not just the rapid decline in home prices but the uncertainty about how much further they will fall that stands out as one of the largest negative factors hanging over the economy and financial markets. The current pace of adjustments suggests that uncertainty will begin to abate late this year and early 2009.

    When will we see “the light at the end of the tunnel” on these adjustments? Let’s consider the magnitude of existing imbalances and extrapolate recent trends. Over time, house prices and their rental equivalent value should generally converge. From the mid-1990s through 2005, home prices soared above a measure of rental equivalence. With the dramatic declines in the Case-Shiller index, prices remain approximately 14 per cent above a measure of rental equivalence. At their recent pace of decline, by year-end, national home prices will have fallen a total of nearly 30 per cent and be close to rental equivalence. This expected decline would involve larger declines in the problem regions.

  43. SG says:

    Patrick Creadon’s interview with NPR’s Marketplace.

    A look into mounting national debt

    The country’s national debt is on its way to hitting $9 trillion next year. How did we get here? Stacey Vanek-Smith talks to Christine O’Malley and Patrick Creadon, who produced and directed the documentary IOUSA.

  44. Nom Deplume says:

    [25] bi,

    You do know that the 200,000 (supposedly. German papers said it was a fraction of that) were there for a rock concert, don’t you?

    In effect, Obama went to the crowd, the crowd did not come to Obama. I can only imagine that a good percentage of the crowd was saying to themselves “was hat er gesagt?”

  45. HEHEHE says:

    “Wasser told the Press, “The only thing I would probably do differently, is now that I am aware of this word “accreditation,’ I would probably thoroughly research that.’ ”

    It’s great when a school superintendent, if he’s actually being honest which I doubt, doesn’t understand what accreditation means.

  46. 3b says:

    #43 SG: This expected decline would involve larger declines in the problem regions.

    And our region is a problem region.

  47. Clotpoll says:

    John (31)-

    You should’ve driven your dafunkmobile & parked it on Roosevelt Av. Then, you’d have a good new story to tell us this AM

  48. SG says:


    Long period of frugality needed for the U.S. economy

    LONDON: Looking for the foundations for the next bull market in U.S. stocks? Wait until you see consumers who save much more, have a lighter debt load and can actually sell their houses. In other words, bring a book: it may be a bit of a wait.

    David Rosenberg, the U.S. economist at Merrill Lynch in New York, has three conditions he is looking for before he becomes more positive on U.S. stocks: a rise in the personal savings rate to about 8 percent; a decline in the number of houses on the market to about eight months of supply; and a big drop in the amount that debt payments sap from American household budgets.

    The good news: All three of these conditions would only represent a return to historic norms.

    The bad news: The economy is a long way away from its historic norms.

  49. bi says:

    here is a serious talk about investment. 1) chinese market has crashed and i thinnk now is the time to take a serious look.

    2) as i mentioned a few days ago. GDX is trading at the lower end since inception. even if you are pro-choice, it is not the time to abort it.

    all disclaimers apply.

  50. Clotpoll says:

    ac (37)-

    You can tell this guy is a PhD, just from the way he talks:

    “Also, Harold Persaud, a public school counselor in Paterson, paid $1,236 for a St. Regis Ph.D. He said Tuesday that “I have never used the degree for nothing.”

    Why the people of this state are not armed and marching on Trenton is selfsame proof of what idiots we all are. Until we overthrow the gubmint, we deserve whatever happens to us.

  51. SG says:

    I think in NJ, we didn’t see similar gains or losses as compared to CA, FL, AZ or NV, was partially due to our high Property Taxes. Taxes have to be paid every month and cannot be deferred, hence during boom, price appreciation seem less compared to other areas. Similarly in downturn, the percent price declines are lesser. Some think that as immunity of our area, but they are wrong.

    At the end of the day, until affordability comes back, houses will remain on market without selling. If you need to downsize or move to cheaper areas, reduce the prices and don’t wait for turnaround. This is going to be ugly in 2009.

    #43 SG: This expected decline would involve larger declines in the problem regions.

    And our region is a problem region.

  52. Clotpoll says:

    bi (49)-

    I have my marching orders for the day now:

    1. Stay away from China.
    2. Short GDX

  53. bi says:

    52#, at this moment, GDX @36.65, FXI @ 41.
    I expect GDX to 40+ FXI to 50+ in 2 weeks.

  54. SG says:

    bi (49)-

    Are you becoming contrarian? If you are long GDX, that is confirmation that Bear market will continue.

  55. 3b says:

    #51 SG In My town from 2000 to begining of 2006, house prices more than doubled. We were seeing appreciation rates of 15 to 20% some years. In addition since every one was high on real estate, the town borrowed huge amounts of money for school construction/renovations.

    Nobody seemd to care, as the belief was this spending will make our houses worth even more.

    So that to me at least would make my town and many others in this region, a problem region.

  56. bairen says:

    #49

    There goes my position in EWY and PKX. Taken out as collateral damage.

    Thanks bi!

  57. gary says:

    3b,

    Find me a 4/2.5 split in Ramsey for 475K. C’mon, I know you can do it! :)

  58. 3b says:

    #57 gary: How about the one I found for you in River Edge, it is on a cul-de-sac too.

    What are you trying to say, River Edge is not prestigious enough for you? (just kidding)

  59. Clotpoll says:

    SG (54)-

    Maybe bi is practicing Costanza Theory.

  60. Clotpoll says:

    FNM, FRE getting shelled again today.

  61. bairen says:

    http://money.cnn.com/2008/08/15/lifestyle/luxe_in_flux_Gumbel.fortune/index.htm?postversion=2008082008

    The luxury market loses its luster

    “This is a crisis of values,” says YSL CEO Valérie Hermann.

    Yo Valerie, Are you talking about merchandise pricing, stock options, morals?

  62. SG says:

    Council pulls ordinance rezoning Elon property

    “COAH regulations require us to build another 900 (affordable) homes in our community. The cost will be immeasurably horrific on the quality of life. COAH will destroy our community. It is the single greatest threat” to Howell, the mayor said.

    Councilwoman Angela Dalton said that in order to get builders to construct 900 affordable housing units, township officials would have to permit the builders to construct thousands more market rate units in order to subsidize the construction of the units with restricted prices.

    Councilman Robert Walsh said, “We are not against COAH. It is just that our round three obligation requires us to build 900 (affordable) homes. That is an unfair number. It’s an economic burden. Where do they come up with the number for Howell?”

  63. Victorian says:

    60 – Clot.

    This should make raising capital a teensy bit tough.
    This weekend should be interesting.

    Viva la SKF.

  64. John says:

    They should hang you for treason. Ok, I am going overboard, but since 9/11 I can’t buy a Japanese car during wartime, it makes me feel guilty. If you don’t like Honda, don’t keep buying them. I never buy the same car brand twice, it is so boring. Isn’t the point of buying a new car the fun of having a new car. I had a neighbor who always leased camry’s once and said I like having a new car every three years, she got mad once when I did not know she had a new one, they all look alike to me, I mean the camrys not the Japanese people.

    Stu Says:
    August 20th, 2008 at 9:40 am
    Thank you everyone for the car advice from last night. If Honda America does not make good, then we will threaten with lawyers.

    The crazy thing is that NJGator’s family has been purchasing and servicing all three of their cars from this same dealer for decades. The money lost by not making her brother whole will cost them a lot more than what it will cost them to maintain the good relationship.

    We’ll report back to the curious here what the final results are.

  65. Tom says:

    17:

    I guess their surround sound campaign isn’t working to drown out all the contrary voices. Guess you should just listen to your agent since they can’t get enough people telling you what you should hear.

  66. bi says:

    56#, bairen, i am also big fan of taiwanese market.
    taiwan has new government which is more pro-business and has better relationship with mainland china. they reduced the restrictions on foreign investment.
    it is expected there will be more money flowing from mainland china. think about it. what will happen with a small market like taiwan with huge money inflow.

    all disclaimers apply.

  67. kettle1 says:

    make money, et al

    While we may be handing out money left and right, both M2 and M3 are deckining and have been declining since about Feb/Mar 08. The money supply is activly deflating. This could a temperary drop in the money supply, bu the drop has been very steep and there is an estimated 10 trillion in debt left to disappear before the show is over. if the FED cannot keep up with the printing presses now i do not see them being able to do so later.

    the MSM and politicians talk about inflation in gas prices, food prices and so one. But you do not hear the MSM and Pols talking about home price inflation. And to borrow someone else’s analogy; If the price of cookies at your local bakery goes up because the baker pays more for flour, you do not talk about cookie price inflation.

    Monetary inflation is a net increase in the money supply and all measures tell us that the total money supply (M2 and M3) of american dollars is currently decreasing at a rapid rate

    consumer price increases can come from many places. Consider that as a global economy many of our products come from china. China, Russia, Saudi, and others are actively fighting REAL inflation, an expansion of their total money supply. SO it is possible that the price increases we are seeing in the US are a trickle down effect due to our global interconnection. We are seeing China’s inflation in the prices of their imported goods.

  68. John says:

    I was going to but some Russian women in a Jap SUV t-boned my sable like week kamakize style and I ended up in an American Town car driven by an Indian after watching the mostly spanish mets beat Ted Turners commie southern team last night.

    Clotpoll Says:
    August 20th, 2008 at 10:06 am
    John (31)-

    You should’ve driven your dafunkmobile & parked it on Roosevelt Av. Then, you’d have a good new story to tell us this AM

  69. SG says:

    Report Calls New Jersey No. 1 in High Taxes

    The Tax Foundation, a nonprofit research group in Washington that has kept tabs on taxes since the Great Depression, put New Jersey at the top of per capita taxes for a third year running.

    The report confirmed what many residents have long felt in their pocketbooks.

    “Really, we don’t see any reason why anybody would be surprised,” said William Ahern, a spokesman for the Tax Foundation, which favors lower taxes.

    New Jersey residents pay an average of 11.8 percent of their income to taxes, just edging out New York at 11.7 percent, according to the report. Connecticut is third with 11.1 percent.

  70. gary says:

    3b,

    I’m not worthy enough to live in River Edge. :)

  71. bairen says:

    #66 bi,

    You are killing me. Taiwan is one of my backup plans since I can get permanent residency there.

  72. Against The Grain says:

    #64
    “I can’t buy a Japanese car during wartime”

    Honda Accords and Civics are built in the US, unlike many vehicles sold by the Detriot Three which are built in Mexico and Canada.

  73. HEHEHE says:

    Oil, Gas Insiders Bet Energy-Stock Bull Is Primed to Resume Run

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB121919236284255211.html?mod=yahoo_hs&ru=yahoo

    All Disclaimers

  74. HEHEHE says:

    Five Things You Need to Know: Not Your Father’s Stagflation

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB121919236284255211.html?mod=yahoo_hs&ru=yahoo

  75. HEHEHE says:

    Sorry Wrong link:

    Five Things You Need to Know: Not Your Father’s Stagflation

    http://www.minyanville.com/articles/stagflation-macleod-oil-gold-PPI-fannie/index/a/18591

  76. skep-tic says:

    NYTimes should stick to what they do best (Styles).

  77. John says:

    I don’t care where it is built, I care where the profits are gong. I don’t like Accords in General as they are so boring. They are just a Japanese Ford Taurus. Heck the Westhamphampton yacht and tennis club does not even let Japanese or American cars in their front parking lot. Go German, Italian or England baby, the Jap cars are just empty sushi cans in the world of high end cars.

    Against The Grain Says:
    August 20th, 2008 at 10:42 am
    #64
    “I can’t buy a Japanese car during wartime”

    Honda Accords and Civics are built in the US, unlike many vehicles sold by the Detriot Three which are built in Mexico and Canada.

  78. #67 – ket. I was coming to similar conclusions about a month to a month 1/2 ago. I think mish from globaleconomicanalysis may be right and we’re going to get deflation no matter what the Fed wants.
    It may still be a bit too early to jump on that bandwagon, but all of the credit the Fed has been pumping out is not reaching the consumer. Prices only have one way to go.

    Also, Am I reading the low on FRE correctly? Did it really hit $2.95?

  79. 3b says:

    #70 gary: We have lots of inventory, we are desperate;we will make an exception.

  80. HEHEHE says:

    Option ARM fallout to surpass subprime mess
    Significant payment shock likely for many loans resetting in 2010-11

    http://www.inman.com/buyers-sellers/columnists/tomkelly/option-arm-fallout-surpass-subprime-mess

  81. ricky_nu says:

    ok so Fannie and Freddie equity goes bust, they get nationalized, then privatized. 2 questions:

    1. What does this do to mortgage activity, and for how long?

    2. What does it do to the marginal cost of a mortgage (assuming govvies remain unchanged, which they shouldnt)

  82. Nicholas says:

    Meticulus accraditation standerds fore superintendeds is importent. I where crushed valor pants.

  83. Clotpoll says:

    vic (63)-

    I think Col. Klink had better postpone his golf game and find his supersecret PPT decoder ring.

    Buckle your seatbelts.

  84. skep-tic says:

    re: teacher’s credits.

    A variation of this ridiculous policy exists in NY as well. When my wife was teaching, her union offered free BS underwater basket weaving type classes that lasted a few hrs and were good for 1/2 credit. By taking a bunch of these classes over the years, you could really bump yourself up on the payscale.

    However, if you wanted to go take some classes at a real university that were actually relevant to what you teach, you had to do this out of your own pocket. Basically, the union completely undermined the entire concept of higher pay for higher education creditials by offering these free BS classes which were mostly completely irrelevant to teachers’ jobs. It was obvious that most people in the system just looked at having more credits as an excuse to get paid more rather than as a means to improve your skills (for which you might justifiably argue that you deserved higher comp)

  85. Clotpoll says:

    John (68)-

    “I was going to but some Russian women in a Jap SUV t-boned my sable…”

    You might want to think of that as a mercy killing.

  86. Orion says:

    (78) toshiro

    Yes, $2.95 this morning. Trading volume high.

  87. Clotpoll says:

    barien (71)-

    Maybe you can get there in time for the invasion.

    After the Olympics ends, invading Taiwan will be China’s next big project.

  88. lostinny says:

    84 Skeptic
    How long ago was this? I’m curious as to where your wife worked (different unions do do different things). I don’t know of any classes that are free. However, there are classes for reduced costs. Now, all classes must be related to education. NY State requires a minimum number of credits/degree for teaching even if the district doesn’t.

  89. Clotpoll says:

    Liar!:

    August 20, 2008 10:34 AM EDT

    Fannie Mae’s (NYSE: FNM) CEO and President, Daniel Mudd, told National Public Radio, that the U.S. Treasury has not offered any help and Fannie has not asked for any and that the company has more capital than it ever has in its history. He also said that the private mortgage market is “gone” and business is robust.

    Shares of Fannie Mae are down 16%, while Freddie Mac (NYSE: FRE) is currently down more than 20%. As the exec made the comments, Fannie stock bounced slightly off its lows of the day.

  90. RentinginNJ says:

    It was obvious that most people in the system just looked at having more credits as an excuse to get paid more

    A cop friend of mine salary included an adder of $100 per college credit held per year. It didn’t matter what they were in, how you earned them, or if they added up to a degree. The $100 was about 8 years ago, so I’m sure it’s richer now.

    So, if you took 3 credits in Wine Appreciation, you would earn $300 extra per year, every year, for the rest of your career.

  91. John says:

    I agree, my only complaint is she did not do a double t-bone and get rid of my other junker too. Trouble is Russian oil money = Russian women in jumbo 2008 Lexus SUV = me getting t-boned, it is like the butterfly effect. She should have at least worked the kinks out of my back afterwards and gave me some vodka. She claims she was gong 30pmh and broke my dashboard and glove box she should at least have thrown me a tug for my loss.

    Clotpoll Says:
    August 20th, 2008 at 11:29 am
    John (68)-

    “I was going to but some Russian women in a Jap SUV t-boned my sable…”

    You might want to think of that as a mercy killing.

  92. kettle1 says:

    Make,

    Dont fear. Given that you are heavily into gold, in real deflation you still maintain your overall wealth as cash and cash equivalents will fair best.

    The scarier question is as the US dollar deflates will the dollar gain in value relative to the rest of the world or will it only increase in value locally. if the dollar only increases in value locally then things get ugly as this could cause a disconnect between the US economy and the global economy

  93. Nicholas says:

    My wife is an early childhood education major and Maryland has continuing education requirements for professional day-care workers.

    Every two years you have to take at least one “continuing education” course for a total of so many credit hours. She took hers in finger-painting and construction paper cutouts one year. They were not free but I think you could claim them on your taxes.

    It really feels self-defeating as to why they would make it a requirement to take finger-painting classes. I’m not a teacher and don’t pretend to know the complexities of connecting with 4 year olds on a developmental level though.

    My wife has been bringing home construction paper cutouts on a weekly basis for quite a few years and I’m starting to think its becomming a fire hazard with all that flamable glue/paste.

  94. kettle1 says:

    clot,

    china wont invade Taiwan, it will be a hostile take over. China will assert political dominion over Taiwan, the US will say “you cant do that, we have a fleet in the area” China will simply reply; “how many dollars would you like sent back to the treasury????

    Game over and china now controls Taiwan.

  95. kettle1 says:

    Oh and i just need to post more often, since apparently Bi is keep stats.

    Bi are you going to post a monthly or quarterly poster ranking report?

  96. bairen says:

    #87 Clot,

    Doubt it will happen with Taiwan’s new gubermint. Japan is also considering defending Taiwan if China attacks.

    I’ve also read that technically Taiwan is U.S. territory due to Japan’s terms of surrender at the end of WW 2. Taiwan fell under the US military governing control and was never formally transferred back to the nationalist government that was ruling China at the time.

  97. skep-tic says:

    to me, the whole education credits thing (for both teachers and cops) illustrates the main problem with unions: everyone is encouraged to drift to the lowest common denominator (no incentive to do better)

  98. alpha says:

    Quite a revealing article into the mindset of the Editors at the NY Times — clowns who have illustrated once again they’re unqualified to write about ANYTHING of importance.

    The “news” pages pass through this same filter.

    Best for them review new plays and quaint coffee shops in the Village.

  99. Orion says:

    (89) Mudd’s comments: unfriggin’ believable! Crack?

  100. Against The Grain says:

    #77
    #77
    “I don’t care where it is built, I care where the profits are gong”

    No real way to know where the profits are going anymore. When Chrylser was owned by Daimler, the “profits” went to Germany.

    Chrysler will probably soon be swallowed up by Nissan, which is owned by Renault.

  101. kettle1 says:

    Kettle1’s propaganda link for the day

    http://www.zeitgeistmovie.com/main.htm

  102. bairen says:

    The next credit crunch

    http://money.cnn.com/2008/08/18/news/economy/Colvin_next_credit_crunch.fortune/index.htm?postversion=2008082012

    Who knows – we might even find that living within our means and saving a little money actually isn’t so bad

    Blasphemy! Treason! We need reinvestorx to write a rebutal!

    /off sarcasm

  103. skep-tic says:

    #51

    “I think in NJ, we didn’t see similar gains or losses as compared to CA, FL, AZ or NV, was partially due to our high Property Taxes.”

    this is a very interesting idea.

  104. RentinginNJ says:

    to me, the whole education credits thing (for both teachers and cops) illustrates the main problem with unions: everyone is encouraged to drift to the lowest common denominator (no incentive to do better)

    In fact, there can be significant peer pressure in a union to embrace mediocrity. Anyone who goes above and beyond is seen as “making the rest of us look bad” and threatens to raise the bar for everyone.

  105. kettle1 says:

    by thw way, how many popular conspiracy theories can you squeeze into one movie?

  106. Al says:

    skep-tic Says:
    August 20th, 2008 at 12:32 pm
    #51
    “I think in NJ, we didn’t see similar gains or losses as compared to CA, FL, AZ or NV, was partially due to our high Property Taxes.”
    this is a very interesting idea.

    Depends where in NJ. What I see is that I can buy 3(4)/2 almost new construction in CA where I do not have heating bill, within 40 minutes drive from Downtown SF or SD for about 300K. Show me that withing 1 1/2 hours from NYC…

    NJ is more overpriced right now, in additon with highest taxes in the country.

    All houmes I looked at in blue collar central jersey towns were listed art leats x2.5 from what they were in 1999-2000. They were x3 in 2006. Forecosures right now are listed by banks at 200% appreciation from 1999-2000.

    So in NJ banks do not feel the pressure to unload their houses. I am talking about smallish starter homes – under 350K, as houses 400K and up are not achievable dream for someone who have average family income on 100K/year.

    Yes, houses which were sold at 800K might go for 600K now. but for AVERAGE person it doesn’t help at all.

    I’d say right now NJ might be in the 5 most expensive markets in the country – after NYC, SF, SD LA. And it is nto one town in NJ – it is central and north jersey as a whole.

  107. chicagofinance says:

    unmod

  108. NJGator says:

    Chifi 327 previous thread – You are right. Your wife is considerate. I probably would have dumped the soft drink on you. I have to learn how to control that temper : )

    And thanks for your suggestion to Stu regarding my brother’s car. My father opened up a case with Honda corporate this morning, and they should be getting back to him within 2 days on a proposed resolution to the problem.

  109. #107 – I’m not sure about movies, but in book form the answer is a lot.

    fnord!

  110. RentinginNJ says:

    I’d say right now NJ might be in the 5 most expensive markets in the country – after NYC, SF, SD LA.

    Al,

    Actually, according to CNN, NY Metro area is now the least affordable.

    Falling home prices: The silver lining

    New York was the least affordable major housing market in the country, according to the report. It was the first time that a major metropolitan area outside of California was the least affordable home market in the 17-year history of the report. Los Angeles was the least affordable housing market at this point last year.

    In New York, the median home price fell slightly year over year to $481,000 from $510,00. That led to an increase in affordability; 11.4% of households earning the median income of $63,000 could afford to buy a median priced home, up from 6.3% in the second quarter of 2007.

    Despite that change, New York still fell to the least affordable area from second-least affordable last year, according to this survey

    http://money.cnn.com/2008/08/19/real_estate/most_affordable_housing/index.htm?cnn=yes

  111. skep-tic says:

    #108

    Al– interesting you say that because earlier in the thread, someone posted an article that the NYC metro area is now the most overpriced in the country (beating out Cali for the first time in many years).

    I think SG’s original point (that high property taxes kept sale prices down relative to other areas) is very interesting because it suggests that, when all costs are taken into account, owning in the NYC area is actually far more expensive than anywhere else.

    For example, in California, people more often able to “own” by means of teaser mortgages. Their actual cost of ownership month to month was probably much less than in our area. Put differently, there is reason to believe that homeowners in our area are actually much more stretched financially than anywhere else due to the amount of cash going out the door every month (rather than being mostly deferred as it was in places like Cali).

    The problem is that there is no equivalent dam-breaking event in our market to the teaser resets in Cali. The costs here inch up year by year, so perhaps it is easier for sellers to hold on.

  112. chicagofinance says:

    NJGator Says:
    August 20th, 2008 at 12:41 pm
    And thanks for your suggestion to Stu regarding my brother’s car. My father opened up a case with Honda corporate this morning, and they should be getting back to him within 2 days on a proposed resolution to the problem.

    Gates: It is better this way. Now you have an advocate whose primary goal is brand reputation versus black & white negotiations of the dealerships. Not that you will get relief or a better option, and no knock on the dealership either. However, it is always good for the dealership guys to know that when they deal with the Gator family, the Mothership will always be watching in the future.

  113. randy says:

    (16) BC Bob:
    >“why don’t we say socialize this and that? >This way we would be all happy.”
    >Speak for yourself. You think our kids and >grandkids will be happy? They did not sign >up for this. What happened to free markets >and accountability?

    we need to socialize and regulate everything. capitalism runs amok in the long run, the USA is the perfect example of that.

  114. 3b says:

    #108 Al:Yes, houses which were sold at 800K might go for 600K now, and the 600K will go for 400K, ( I am already seeing examples of that in my north Jesey town),and all the way down the food chain.

    No area is immune, and no price range is immune from the large declines.

  115. All Hype says:

    Fannie and Freddie down 17% and 20%. Ouch. Say goodbye to them and hello to taxpayer bailout. The hyperinflation is about to start.

  116. jonbd says:

    69 – So NJ has the highest taxes. How much of this is due to supporting all the union jobs here, such as high paying teaching jobs? And aren’t all the union pensions owners of all the municipal bonds etc. that are putting NJ in further debt? Seems like there are alot of angles there.

  117. Clotpoll says:

    randy (115)-

    Wrong. The problem is, capitalism gets replaced by soci@lism and fascism, masquerading as capitalism with a conscience.

    Want a conscience? Go to church. Capitalism involves people being responsible for themselves and accepting the consequences of their actions.

  118. RentinginNJ says:

    capitalism runs amok in the long run, the USA is the perfect example of that.

    Nothing wrong with capitalism, the problem is our unwillingness to accept the “creative destruction” (i.e. the downside risk) that is a critically important aspect of a well functioning catitalist economy.

  119. bairen says:

    I think people in NJ are living way above there means. There is no way people can have 2 or 3 kids, 2 new cars, and buy houses for over 500k unless the family is pulling in over 200k a year. Just not happening.

    I think lots of our neighbors are racking up credit card debt, not saving for retirement or raiding the retirement accounts, living paycheck to paycheck. As assets deflate and food and other goods go up they will be in for a rude awakening.
    IMHO.

  120. John says:

    Re: In New York, the median home price fell slightly year over year to $481,000, but everyone on this board makes at lest 250K a year so that is less than 2x income. How can you guys say that is unaffordable.

  121. Shore Guy says:

    # 96

    I bet we are twice as supportive of ROC as we were of Georgia, three times even. I bet we huf and puff for days over that island. I bet we will scare China as much as we scared Russia.

    We may even hold our breath untill we turn blue.

    Inasmuch as we have a robust trading relationship with China, and they buy so much of our debt, and we have been denying Taiwan more and more military equipment, we will protest, but will take no meaningful action wnen — not if — PRC recovers control over ROC.

  122. bairen says:

    #122 Clot,

    But wouldn’t that lessen our air of superiority and not allow us to socialize our losses. Where’s the fun and prestige in that?

  123. John says:

    RE “I think people in NJ are living way above there means. There is no way people can have 2 or 3 kids, 2 new cars, and buy houses for over 500k unless the family is pulling in over 200k a year. Just not happening”.

    There is not way you can do it on 200K a year. You need at least 300K.

    2004 = 200K is the new 100K
    2006 = 250k is the new 100k
    2008 = 300K is the new 100k

  124. John says:

    Why is everyone talking about Georgia? I don’t even like Atlanta.

  125. Shore Guy says:

    # 122 “Capitalism involves people being responsible for themselves and accepting the consequences of their actions.”

    At least it used to. Unless it does again, soon, we are doomed.

  126. Shore Guy says:

    #123 “Gold Price Conspiracy?”

    That was an Oliver Stone movie, no?

  127. Shore Guy says:

    http://www.bizjournals.com/phoenix/stories/2008/08/18/daily35.html

    Mortgage applications drop to lowest level in eight years

    Phoenix Business Journal – by Adam Kress

    Even as housing prices drop across the country, fewer people appear close to buying a home.

    The Mortgage Bankers Association reports that the volume of mortgage applications fell last week to the lowest level in nearly eight years. Additionally, the group says applications are down 61 percent from this year’s peak in February.

    The decline in new home construction is a major factor in the drop in activity, the association says. On top of that, fewer people are refinancing existing mortgages.

    On Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Commerce said construction of new homes and apartments in July fell to the lowest level in more than 17 years.

  128. Nicholas says:

    Last time I visited Atlanta they had the distinct characteristic of too many females and not enough males. Going out to a club as a male could be down right entertaining as they would come up to you left and right and start fighting with each other at the chance to talk to you.

    Had something to do with every buisness putting their national headquarters there and recruiting secretarties like mad. Really pushed the demographic since males didn’t want those jobs and Atlanta didn’t seem to have that many manufacturing jobs.

    Atlanta is also considered the “safe” city for hurricane weather which is why companies from farther south and east will put their headquarters there rather then somewhere else.

    As far as the ladies go the majority of them were dark-skinned if that is your kind of thing.

  129. bairen says:

    #129 John,

    How do you think all these posers are paying their bills? I don’t understand it. Seems like everyone in my area lives in a house they paid more than 500k for and drives cars that cost at least 50k each and have 2 kids in daycare.

  130. Shore Guy says:

    # 136

    The bottom line is that many of them are NOT paying bils. At least not with “extra” cash. I know someone paying his mortgage with cash advances on a credit card. Humm, what could possibly go wrong with that approach?

  131. bairen says:

    #137

    Sounds patriotic to me.

    / off sarcsm

    I think we’re heading for major deflation. these prices are unsustainable. Raising standards back to they were in the late 90’s and poof, major correction. and than jack up the prices of all that made in China stuff and food (some of which is made in China) and these baby’s going to fall apart faster than a Mets reliever.

    I’m just optimistically pessimistic.

  132. Nicholas says:

    #136

    I have found that many of those types of people are not saving for retirement and have no contingency plans should something go terribly wrong.

    An injury to one of the earners or unexpected event causes the delicately balanced wheel to go very wrong ending in economic misery, divorce, forclosure.

    I found this article from itulip that talks about the relationship of equity extraction and RE bubbles which was pretty interesting. They make the statement that equity extraction is a reliable predictor of RE bubbles.

    http://www.itulip.com/housingpriceregionscascade.htm

    Previous to this work I only though that rent/mortgage and average income/home-price ratios were the only good indicators of a bubble market. I think that this goes along with what Kettle1 is saying about the money supply increasing and now decreasing but shows it in a different light.

  133. skep-tic says:

    I used to have a couple of neighbors where the wife would complain about having to work after she had a baby. Well, she and her husband both had luxury cars and the wife went shopping every weekend for expensive clothes. Reminded me of that Onion article about the guy working in KFC, “As You Can See from My Expensive Clothes, I Am Not Poor”.

  134. John says:

    bairen Says:
    I don’t know how the sleep at night. My friend who is a consultant makes like $160K tops, he bought a house for 550K with 50K down refinanced right away to blow it out and has a brand new car fancy car. He has three kids under the age of 5 and a stay at home wife who had a low paying 40K job she quit as it is not worth her working. He does not have a dime in the bank and in consulting you can let go at a moments notice. I asked him how he sleeps at night and he said he had balls of steel. My wife thinks he wife is in la la land as all it would take is a screw up at work one day when the boss is in a bad mood and they are out on the street.

    August 20th, 2008 at 2:00 pm
    #129 John,

    How do you think all these posers are paying their bills? I don’t understand it. Seems like everyone in my area lives in a house they paid more than 500k for and drives cars that cost at least 50k each and have 2 kids in daycare.

  135. Jamey says:

    108:

    Who told you to say that? I want ANSWERS!!!

  136. John says:

    re 135 – the darker the berry the sweeter the juice.

  137. Nicholas says:

    My brother’s wife “forgot” to take her contraceptives for over 7 weeks so that she would get pregnant again.

    Her ultimate reason? “I thought you would make me go back to work once the kids were in school like the neighbor down the street.”

    Proper family planning at its apex right there.

  138. Nicholas says:

    http://www.theonion.com/content/node/33490

    Good stuff, 220$ Fubu jacket…

  139. skep-tic says:

    U.S. MBA’s Mortgage Applications Index Fell 1.5% (Update1)

    By Timothy R. Homan

    Aug. 20 (Bloomberg) — Mortgage applications in the U.S. declined last week to the lowest level since December 2000, further evidence that the housing market has yet to reach bottom, as fewer homeowners sought to refinance their loans.

    The Mortgage Bankers Association’s index of applications to buy a home or refinance a loan dropped 1.5 percent from the prior week to 419.3. The group’s purchase index fell 0.4 percent and its refinancing gauge slumped 3.7 percent.

    Higher borrowing costs, stricter loan standards and falling property values are preventing owners from tapping into home equity, raising the risk that consumer spending will slow even more. The worst homebuilding recession in 26 years is likely to remain a drag on growth.

    “Weak home sales continue to weigh on housing starts while weak mortgage equity withdrawals continue to weigh on consumer spending,” said Steven Wood, president of Insight Economics LLC in Danville, California.

    The purchase index fell to 314 after no change the prior week. The refinancing measure declined to 1034.5, also the lowest level since December 2000, from 1074.6 the prior week.

    The share of applicants seeking refinancing fell to 34.8, the lowest since July 2006, from 35.2 percent the prior week.

    **********

    I know we shouldn’t read too much into weekly data, but does anyone have a sense as to whether homeowners are trying to refinance and simply getting denied or just choosing not to refinance since there is no more equity to extract?

  140. bairen says:

    #141

    More like a head like concrete.

    living right on the brink like that is not for me.

  141. make money says:

    Guys,

    Who wants to go take a stab on the number Hank will write on that blank check to bail out Fannie and Freddy?

    I say he starts small! 50 Billion!!!

  142. make money says:

    Fannie and Freddie down 17% and 20%. Ouch. Say goodbye to them and hello to taxpayer bailout. The hyperinflation is about to start.

    Amen brother. AMEN

  143. Nicholas says:

    http://www.theonion.com/content/video/in_the_know_are_americas_rich

    Growing divide between the rich and super rich.

  144. Shore Guy says:

    # 149 “Fannie and Freddie down 17% and 20%. Ouch. Say goodbye to them and hello to taxpayer bailout.”

    I say let them fail. They are supposed to be private, so let them sink. Rather than throwing good money after bad at these outfits, if we have to spend taxpayer $ lets start 8-10 new entities, mandate they never grow above a certain size, put stiff restrictions on what they can buy and resell, and start over.

  145. bairen says:

    #145 Nicholas

    LMAO

    Whatever happened to thrift? conspicuos consumption keeps the poor, poor and the middle income in debt.

    Maybe that’s how the powers that be want it. If we run our households the way they run the gubermint, how can we judge and blame them?

  146. FNM & FRE down big now, 29% & 27% respectively.

    #148 – Over-under on the initial bailout?
    I’ll start very low. Over $5Bil under $7B. Remember, this is for the initial re-capitalization, not the total cost.

  147. make money says:

    http://www.cnbc.com/id/26315169

    Gross says $40B.

    I’m not too far off.

  148. John says:

    Unlike Banking in this instance there is a substantal penalty for not withdrawing early.

    Your brother should learn that once your wife is home from work that long it is easier to fly to the moon than to get her back to work.

    My friend on the train told me his youngest is hitting five and he is thinking of asking his wife to go back to work so he does not have to work so hard. I said to him so your wife will now be working 40 hours a week and doing the majority of the child rearing so you can leave work a little earlier each night? He said yea, I went I hope you have stupid wife.

    Nicholas Says:
    August 20th, 2008 at 2:23 pm
    My brother’s wife “forgot” to take her contraceptives for over 7 weeks so that she would get pregnant again.

    Her ultimate reason? “I thought you would make me go back to work once the kids were in school like the neighbor down the street.”

    Proper family planning at its apex right there.

  149. Stu says:

    $25 billion is my estimate.

  150. Stu says:

    Who here expects Paulson to bail out Lehman Bros?

  151. All Hype says:

    Who here expects Paulson to bail out Lehman Bros?
    _________________________________________________

    Count me in for that. Gotta deal with Fannie and Freddie first, then LEH, then WAMU, Wachovia, and last but not least the Citi debacle.

    When this is all over I am going to load up on Goldman cause they maybe the last one standing!

  152. Who here expects Paulson to bail out Lehman Bros?

    I’m sure he’d like to, I don’t think either the Fed or the Tres. can though. They might be able to help finagle a private buyer, but how many are left?
    That there powder is wet!

  153. All Hype says:

    Oops, add MER after Wachovia!

  154. Shore Guy says:

    A bank or brokerage collapse during one of the conventions?

  155. bairen says:

    #155 john,

    glad you are back. not the same without your words of wisdom.

  156. bi says:

    if mr. o is really patriotic, he should drop the race since he is not ready to handle all the crisis right now: russia, energy, financial system and etc. i would suggest him go back to noble community activities.

  157. make money says:

    All this bailout is making me wann apick up some more Gold.

    I don’t have any dollars to buy it with though, I would have to sell Francs abd buy gold.

  158. RentinginNJ says:

    The next credit crunch
    Our easy access to plastic is about to dry up – and with it our ability to fake living the good life.

    http://money.cnn.com/2008/08/18/news/economy/Colvin_next_credit_crunch.fortune/index.htm?

    (Fortune Magazine) — We made it through the bursting of the Internet bubble and now the bursting of the real estate bubble. Next we may be approaching the end of the most worrisome bubble of all: the standard-of-living bubble.

  159. bairen says:

    #163

    bi,

    M is GW in Depends.

  160. John says:

    Even better GM collaspes during the convention and UAW sends 200K out of work autoworker with their wife and kids to protest. Not that Mr. O looks like he even would know which end of a wrench or a screwdriver you should use.

  161. Clotpoll says:

    hype (158)-

    WaMu, Wachovia on Paulson’s shit list.

    They aren’t part of the fav19.

  162. Victorian says:

    The Reps are trying to play the same trick with M as with GW – that he is a man of the soil.
    If the public get fooled thrice, we deserve the future we are going to get.

  163. All Hype says:

    They aren’t part of the fav19.
    _______________________________________________

    They are not. Here are the Golden Children

    BNP Paribas Securities Corp.
    Banc of America Securities LLC
    Barclays Capital Inc.
    Bear, Stearns & Co., Inc.*
    Cantor Fitzgerald & Co.
    Citigroup Global Markets Inc.
    Credit Suisse Securities (USA) LLC
    Daiwa Securities America Inc.
    Deutsche Bank Securities Inc.
    Dresdner Kleinwort Securities LLC
    Goldman, Sachs & Co.
    Greenwich Capital Markets, Inc.
    HSBC Securities (USA) Inc.
    J. P. Morgan Securities Inc.*
    Lehman Brothers Inc.
    Merrill Lynch Government Securities Inc.
    Mizuho Securities USA Inc.
    Morgan Stanley & Co. Incorporated
    UBS Securities LLC.

    I just think that Wachovia and Wamu have so much toxic Option arm loans that they pass on their bad loans to the Fed so they can be married to another bank on this list. Just a rookie opinion.

  164. skep-tic says:

    from Martketwatch:

    FDIC to offer better terms on thousands of IndyMac mortgages

    By Wallace Witkowski
    Last update: 1:54 p.m. EDT Aug. 20, 2008

    SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) — The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. said Wednesday it will offer thousands of homeowners with bad IndyMac-originated mortgages better terms to rehabilitate the loans. By the end of the week, FDIC said it will send out “several thousand modification offers” to homeowners with IndyMac mortgages that are seriously delinquent or in default. The modifications will cap interest rates at 6.5% and payment options will be designed to keep payments at a 38% housing debt-to-income rate. In July, FDIC was named conservator of failed IndyMac Bank, which was renamed IndyMac Federal Bank.

    **********

    Did you know that mortgages were FDIC insured? I guess this is another example of debt = wealth

  165. kettle1 says:

    Skep 171

    Did you know that mortgages were FDIC insured? I guess this is another example of debt = wealth

    i call that serfdom

  166. Clotpoll says:

    skep (171)-

    Welcome to the Soviet States of America.

  167. Clotpoll says:

    panem et circenses

  168. bairen says:

    #171

    Maybe we can get those FBs to donate a kidney and part of a liver as part of the deal. Maybe a lung or a cornea too. If we are socializing losses we should socialize better health too.

    We can call it the “Keep the keys, lose a kidney deal”

  169. Clotpoll says:

    Let’s see how many IndyMac FBs can even pay the loans with modified terms.

    Meanwhile, I am seriously considering defaulting on my mortgage. I’m with Nat. City, and they’re definitely a candidate for FDIC receivership.

    Gimme some of dat gubmint cheese!

  170. Sean says:

    re: #163 Bi-nominal

    Lets get things straight for once on who has the right advisors on russia, energy, financial system since we all know the president does not make decisions without his cabinet and inner circle or advisors.

    Mr. O has Volker, Buffett and a few other smart white men on his advisory board for economics. Who does Mr. Mc have? Carly Fiorina who can’t get a job and that whiny old fart Gramm who resigned.

    Mr. Mc’s energy advisor Loeffler had to resign too, so I guess with no real Energy advisors we won’t get an energy policy other than drill, drill, drill. Mc is a flipper on the Enegy problems anyway,only a month ago he was anti-Exxon and big oil and all of a sudden after a texas fundrasier he stops bashing oil compaines and becomes a driller.

    As far as Russia Pat Buchanan said it right the first time the American people should be eternally grateful to Old Europe for having spiked the Bush-McCain plan to bring Georgia into NATO. We should avoid shooting wars with Russia at all costs.

    Mc on Foreign Policy has neoconservatives Willaim Krystol and Henry Kissinger none whom have ever picked up a rifle and fought for this country.

    Obama has advisors on foreign policy like Former Secretary of the Navy Richard Danzig,
    Jonathan Scott Gration, a retired two-star general, and and a few others from the washington think tanks who work on dealing with our security and foreign policy instead of a bunch of k-street neocons.

    Johnny Keating 5 for the good of our country, being the great war hero and lifetime member of the k-street insiders club should retire to his ranch or any old fart home before his ticker gives out.

  171. 3b says:

    #171 What an absolute disgrace. Where is realestatedipaerwipe to tell me how proud and glad I should be, to be an American.

  172. John says:

    Well I am headed out soon, going to Paddy McGees for dinner while the view is still good!! I will discuss the recession over surf and turf and check out the talent.

    Trouble with tri-state is that IndyMac, NCC did not do many loans, places like American Home Mortage did a lot of junk loans and you are SOL with that as the Govt won’t bail youout.

  173. bairen says:

    Wonder if we can get the same deal with auto loans?

    Oh I forgot. Everyone pays cash for their 50k cars. this makes sense since they can always tap into the car’s equity if they need it.

    /off sarcasm

  174. Sean says:

    re: #163 Bi-nominal

    Lets get things straight for once on who has the right advisors on russia, energy, financial system since we all know the president does not make decisions without his cabinet and inner circle or advisors.

    Mr. O has Volker, Buffett and a few other smart white men on his advisory board for economics. Who does Mr. Mc have? Carly Fiorina who can’t get a job and that whiny old fart Gramm who resigned.

    Johnny Keating #5’s energy advisor Loeffler had to resign too, so I guess with no real Energy advisors we won’t get an energy policy other than drill, drill, drill. Johhny Keating 5 is a flipper on the Enegy problems anyway,only a month ago he was anti-Exxon and big oil and all of a sudden after a texas fundrasier he stops bashing oil compaines and becomes a driller.

    As far as Russia Pat Buchanan said it right the first time the American people should be eternally grateful to Old Europe for having spiked the GWB/Johnny Keating #5 plan to bring Georgia into NATO. We should avoid shooting wars with Russia at all costs.

    Johnny Keating #5 on Foreign Policy has neoconservatives Willaim Krystol and Henry Kissinger none whom have ever picked up a rifle and fought for this country.

    Mr. O has advisors on foreign policy like Former Secretary of the Navy Richard Danzig,
    Jonathan Scott Gration, a retired two-star general, and and a few others from the washington think tanks who work on dealing with our security and foreign policy instead of a bunch of k-street neocons.

    Johnny Keating #5 for the good of our country, being the great war hero and lifetime member of the k-street insiders club should retire to his ranch or any old fart home before his ticker gives out. He lost his change back in 2000 when his own party tossed him under the wheels of the bus infavor of the county club bible thumping cowboy GWB.

  175. John says:

    I do as I always get them 12 months old at the repo auction for 20K!!!

    bairen Says:
    August 20th, 2008 at 4:25 pm
    Wonder if we can get the same deal with auto loans?

    Oh I forgot. Everyone pays cash for their 50k cars. this makes sense since they can always tap into the car’s equity if they need it.

    /off sarcasm

  176. 3b says:

    #163 bi: Russia is not an enemy yet. But the way we have been bhaving, they will be. And that will be our fault.

    We do not need a repeat of the German Weimar Republic. You do know how that ended I presume?

  177. jmacdaddio says:

    OT Ipod question here – are the models with more disk space worth the extra cost? I’m looking at Ipod Touches with 16GB or 32GB storage and I’m trying to assess whether the 32GB is worth the bump in price. Thanks!

  178. NJLifer says:

    182 3B

    “You do know how that ended I presume?”

    Another Marshall Plan where we foot the bill for rebuilding Europe?

  179. skep-tic says:

    #183

    guess it depends on how much music you want to put on the ipod. I have an 80GB one (not touch) which I really like. I have thousands of songs on it and I’ve used maybe 1/10 of the memory. I could easily put my entire CD collection on it if I ever get the time/motivation to transfer them. I will probably break the thing before I fill it up though, so maybe I just like the idea of having all that memory.

  180. Shore Guy says:

    # 183

    With nearly any computing device, more storage is better. As long as the cost to double the memory is not more than twice the cost of the original, then I would say yes, it is worth the price.

  181. HEHEHE says:

    Options Update: Wells Fargo Put Volume Surges Following Wall Street Speculation
    Put volume spikes on Wells Fargo (WFC), as bearish investors anticipate a plunge

    http://www.schaeffersresearch.com/commentary/content/options+update+wells+fargo+put+volume+surges+following+wall+street+speculation/observations.aspx?click=home&ID=87145

  182. Shore Guy says:

    As long as the cost to double the STORAGE is not more than twice the cost of the original, then I would say yes, it is worth the price.

  183. HEHEHE says:

    Rise in swap spreads points to more corporate defaults
    Ballooning CDS spreads underscore lenders’ concerns; more troubles ahead for insurers, airlines?

    http://www.financialweek.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080820/REG/860853/1036

  184. Shore Guy says:

    For anyone interested in buying out by Dover, this should set your mind at ease:

    ROCKAWAY TOWNSHIP — Picatinny Arsenal within the next year will build a multimillion-dollar fragment containment system that should prevent errant chunks of exploded ordnance from accidentally flying off-base into residential areas, Army officials said Tuesday.

    [snip]

    http://www.app.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080820/NEWS/80820014

  185. eric says:

    you guys see this crap yet?

    http://www.realstorynj.com

    full of misleading information from the new jersey association of pumpers

  186. chicagofinance says:

    Wall Street Woes Hit the Nursery

    http://nymag.com/news/intelligencer/49292/

  187. Shore Guy says:

    # 191

    C-a-n-n-ot r-e-s-i-st.

    H-a-v-e n-o-w s-e-e-n t-h-e l-i-g-h-t. M-u-s-t b-u-y h-o-u-s-e n-o-w. I-n- f-a-c-t, s-u-p-e-r-s-i-z-e m-e i-n-t-o a mc-m-a-n-s-i-o-n. T-w-o o-f t-h-e-m.

  188. make money says:

    investors dumped shares of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for the third straight day, CNBC’s Jim Cramer urged that trading in both stocks be stopped altogether because they were being manipulated by people with insider information.

    “This is an outrage,” Cramer said shortly after the market closed. “It’s very clear that someone knows what’s happening.”

    duh!

  189. victorian says:

    183 – jmac
    I have the 30 Gig Ipod (5th Gen). Half of the space is taken up by the music, and i use the rest as a portable Hard Drive.

  190. bairen says:

    #191 eric,

    Too funny. Wonder how many sheeple will fall for that site.

    i love the stats like NJ is up twice the rate as the rest of the US average so NJ is a great place to buy.

  191. Nom Deplume says:

    [191]

    More propaganda from the NJarheads. Like my former agent who told me, after I mentioned all the declining data, and that the entire state was in decline, told me, “everywhere but westfield.” It was all I could do to keep from laughing at him. And when I saw houses in Brigadoon slashing prices, I was tempted to email him the MSLs and say “Not in Westfield?”

  192. NJGator says:

    Surely Nom, the only declining homes in Westfield are on the tracks.

    Sarcasm off.

    We have friends that are selling their home in Lincoln Park because they want to move on up to prestigious Mountain Lakes. After two price reductions and countless open houses they have finally found a buyer. They were presented with the inspection punch list, and now the husband wants to play hardball about $5000 in requested repairs.

    I hope they will like continuing to live in Lincoln Park.

  193. sas says:

    you better hope you never get sick!!

    “79 Million Americans Struggle to Pay Medical Bills”
    http://tinyurl.com/67jvnw

    SAS

  194. sas says:

    Losing Ground: How the Loss of Adequate Health Insurance Is Burdening Working Families
    http://tinyurl.com/6kv48h

  195. bruiser says:

    John, 78
    “I don’t care where it is built, I care where the profits are gong. I don’t like Accords in General as they are so boring. They are just a Japanese Ford Taurus. Heck the Westhamphampton yacht and tennis club does not even let Japanese or American cars in their front parking lot. Go German, Italian or England baby, the Jap cars are just empty sushi cans in the world of high end cars.”

    You almost had me, but there is no place called The Westhampton Yacht and Tennis Club”. You’re such a wannabe.

  196. Clotpoll says:

    make (195)-

    “This is an outrage,” Cramer said shortly after the market closed. “It’s very clear that someone knows what’s happening.”

    Yeah. It’s a real bummer when the entire American public figures out that the mortgage market is collapsing. No more greater fools to dump worthless paper on.

    The rush to the exits on Fannie/Freddie common is on. Only a m@soch!st would hang on until it hits 0. Lots of their subordinated debt will be a complete loss, as well.

    Like I said before, Klink and Bergabe better cancel their weekend golf plans. This feels like it’s gonna move fast.

  197. NJl$ord says:

    Bloomberg’s political tactics:

    Interviews with architects, engineers and energy experts on Wednesday suggest that Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s proposal to place wind turbines atop the city’s skyscrapers and bridges, as well as off the coastline of Queens and Brooklyn, would be complicated and expensive and barely begin to meet the growth in demand for electricity that is expected in the coming years.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/21/nyregion/21wind.html?ref=nyregion

  198. Wow. That’s drastic, indeed. All I’m happy about right now is we don’t suffer as much from the crisis in Canada. That’s not to say I feel comforted: it is my contention that not only will the crisis come full-weight on us eventually; it is my fear it will linger here longer than in the States. As a Torontian, I don’t believe I speak only for myself when I say I can’t wait till the crisis ends. Until then – best of luck to everyone.

    Your fellow Toronto realtor,
    Jill

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