Weekend Open Discussion

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

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568 Responses to Weekend Open Discussion

  1. grim says:

    Is it time for a new economic theory?

    Economies of Scale Fail?

    Traditionally, larger companies have been looked upon favorably due to their ability to seize on economies of scale to reduce overall cost structure and increase profits.

    However, at what point does scale begin to add increased risk to the firm that isn’t adequately accounted for?

    At what point do the cumulative/marginal profits generated through scale become eventual losses when viewed in the context of the ‘black swan’ or six-sigma event? I suppose you could look at this as risk not being adequately considered as part of diseconomies of scale.

    Or, maybe more simply, are the extra profits generated through scale irrelevant if they are disproportionately destroyed during crises?

    Is the theory of economies of scale a mirage once you factor in size-based risk? Is this even quantifiable? Is bigger not better at all, but badder?

    Would make for an interesting thesis. Maybe I should go back to school. I don’t think I’ve got the math background to play with this one.

    I would imagine, that based on the types of risk faced by the specific industry, the broader market, and the overall system the firm operates in, that there would exist a “sweet-spot”, balancing risk and scale. Again, not that I’m rehashing “ideal firm size”, but positing a “risk-weighted ideal firm size”.

    At this point I’m just rehashing for the sole purpose of reanalyzing the concept in my own head.

    Economies/Diseconomies of Scale focus on current state, the cost of production now, the price of the product now, the volume expected now. However, it doesn’t take into account the future state, what risk position does this scale put the firm in, in the future? Lets say that a firm that makes widgets decides to expand a factory and hire additional workers, and in doing so can sell more widgets and manufacture them at a lower cost. Super! But this expansion adds additional risk to the firm. By capturing a larger market share, the firm now begins to increase its risk correlation with the broader widget market, and even the economic cycle. Lets say the firm generates an additional $1m a year in profit because of the expansion, but in year 5, the economy goes south, and the firm takes a $6m loss. Had the firm not expanded, the loss would have only been $1m. So net, the expansion scenario resulted in a total loss of $1m over that 6 year period. This increased loss was directly a result of the marginal increase in production increasing risk non-linearly. So, in this completely fictional case, the short-term profit generated by larger economies of scale turned out to be a mirage once risk (and risk-induced losses over the longer term) were factored in. What I’m saying is that the long-term probability weighted losses should be accounted for in the short-term marginal cost of production.

    For those familiar with the typical U-Shaped economies of scale example, where the ideal production volume is the lowest point of the “U” (at which point short-term diseconomies of scale take over), imagine overlaying another function on the graph. This function represents the longer-term risk accounted for over the short term. The new “ideal” position is not the trough of the first function, but the trough of the intersecting functions.

    Or am I just regurgitating something someone said 200 years ago and I forgot reading about. Anyway, the reason I’m so interested in this is because I’ve been thinking about market-based approaches to the “to big to fail” problem as opposed to regulatory approaches.

  2. cooper says:

    from Mish…

    Dear Mr. President, With All Due Respect ….

    Dear Mr. President, I read your New Era $3.6 Trillion Budget Proposal. I also listened to your speech Tuesday night. You made a great campaign speech. However, the campaign is over. You won. And the reason you won is you offered hope as well as a promise of change.

    With all due respect Mr. President, Tim Geithner and Ben Bernanke are offering the same policies as President Bush and Secretary Paulson. Those policies are to bail out banks regardless of cost to taxpayers. Mr. President, it’s hard enough to overlook Geithner’s tax indiscretions. Mr. President, it is harder still. if not impossible, to ignore the fact that neither Geithner nor Bernanke saw this coming. Yet amazingly they are both cock sure of the solution. Even more amazing is the fact that solution changes every day.

    With all due respect Mr. President, Geithner and Bernanke are a huge part of the problem, and no part of the solution and the sooner you realize that the better off this nation will be.

    With all due respect Mr. President, your budget proposal is the same big government spending as we saw under President Bush. The only difference is you promised more spending and bigger government, while President Bush promised less government and less spending and failed to deliver on either count.

    With all due respect Mr. President, it is impossible to spend one’s way out of a problem, when the problem is reckless spending.

    With all due respect Mr. President, you and Congress want to force banks to lend when banks (by not lending) are acting responsibly for the first time in a decade. Mr, President can you please tell us who banks are supposed to lend to? Do we need any more Home Depots? Pizza Huts? Strip malls? Nail salons? Auto dealerships? What Mr. President? What? And why should banks be lending when unemployment is rising and lending risks right along with it?

    With all due respect Mr. President, we were hoping your administration would not carry on the war mongering policies of your predecessor. Instead we see amazingly that you Seek $75.5 Billion More for Wars in 2009. Mr. President, do we really need another $75 billion for wars? Was there nothing in the military budget that could be cut?

    With all due respect Mr. President, The United States spends more on its military budget than the next 45 highest spending countries in the world combined; The United States accounts for 48 percent of the world’s total military spending; The United States spends on its military 5.8 times more than China, 10.2 times more than Russia, and 98.6 times more than Iran. Isn’t that enough Mr. President?

    With all due respect Mr. President, the downfall of every great nation in history has been unsustainable military expansion. Mr. President, the US can no longer afford to be the world’s policeman. You act as if we can. Mr. President, can you please tell us how we can afford this spending?

    With all due respect Mr. President, Fannie Mae Reported A Fourth Quarter Loss Of $25.2 Billion. Can you please tell us where you draw the line on taxpayer bailouts of Fannie Mae? Freddie Mac? AIG? Mr. President is there a line anywhere, on anything? If there is, we would appreciate knowing where it is.

    With all due respect Mr. President, how can you talk about reducing the budget deficit while proposing the biggest budget in history?

    With all due respect Mr. President, how is it possible to talk about reducing health care costs while proposing to increase the health care budget?

    With all due respect Mr. President, you have talked about “hard choices”. Can you please tell us what hard choices you have made other than to throw money at every problem? Sure a few programs have changed but Bush orchestrated the biggest Medicaid/Medicare package in history and you upped it. You upped military spending. You criticized McCain for cutting programs that amount to peanuts, and all you can find to cut out of the budget is peanuts.

    With all due respect Mr. President, your “Era of New Responsibility” is nothing more than a continuation of the Bush administration Era of Irresponsibility. Mr. President, we hoped for more and deserved more. Yet, behind the charade of campaign messages of hope and change, we essentially see the same fiscal irresponsibility and misguided policies as before. Oh sure Mr. President, your budget priorities have shifted a bit, sadly the irresponsible spending did not.

    http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com/

  3. grim says:

    From the WSJ:

    Push Is Made for Richer Jobless Benefits in New York

    New York state’s unemployment benefits are less generous than those in nearby states, but the Democrats in power say they intend to do something to change that.

    The maximum unemployment benefit in the Empire State is $405 a week. Neighboring New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania each grant higher weekly unemployment checks. Nationwide, 30 states pay higher maximum benefits than New York.

    “It’s appalling, especially when you look to our neighbors,” said Susan V. John, a Democratic state Assembly member from Rochester who has proposed several changes in the labor law.

    With New York’s unemployment rate at 7% — its highest in 14 years — the state is under pressure to give more help to those who are out of work. Democratic state lawmakers, now controlling both legislative chambers, have proposed increasing the benefit for the first time in a decade. But since the state’s unemployment fund is already in the red, employers might be on the hook to pay more in taxes to compensate. Adding further strain is an estimated state budget deficit next fiscal year as high as $14 billion.

    That possibility has set the table for a fierce fight from the Business Council of New York State, an organization of 3,000 employers, whose executives say the bills would unfairly penalize businesses that have retained their employees through downturns.

  4. grim says:

    From Reuters:

    Fannie Mae to draw on Treasury after $25.2 bln loss

    Fannie Mae (FNM.P), the government-controlled company seen by President Barack Obama as a key conduit to stabilize U.S. housing, on Thursday reported a $25.2 billion fourth-quarter loss, forcing it to draw capital from the Treasury.

    The housing finance giant said it needs $15.2 billion under a senior preferred stock purchase agreement with the Treasury to fund a deficit in its net worth, which came as the volume of bad home loans soared and falling interest rates hurt the value of its derivatives.

    Fannie Mae’s loss in the fourth quarter grew sevenfold from the $3.56 billion in the year-ago period. For all of 2008, it lost $58.7 billion.

    “We expect the market conditions that contributed to our net loss for each quarter of 2008 to continue and possibly worsen in 2009, which is likely to cause further reductions in our net worth,” Fannie Mae said in a statement.

    Fannie Mae said the deterioration in housing and credit markets reduced the fair value of its net assets to a negative $105.2 billion in December from $35.8 billion at the end of 2007.

  5. grim says:

    From the Hartford Courant:

    Housing Market Continues To Slide In State

    The median sale price of single-family houses in Connecticut declined by a record percentage in January as sellers were forced to lower their asking prices to entice buyers worried about keeping their jobs.

    The 17 percent drop, when compared with January 2008, marked the fourth straight month of statewide, double-digit plummets, and the number of sales fell by more than one-third.

    “It’s not that the market is totally dead, but people have to have a good reason to buy,” said Cile Decker, a real estate agent at Cile Decker Associates in South Windsor. “They aren’t doing it just because it’s time to move up to a bigger house.”

    The lack of buyers is putting sellers in a bind and further pushing down sales across the state, holding off any recovery of the state’s housing market.

    Statewide sales of single-family houses fell 36 percent in January to 1,057, from 1,654 a year ago.

    Hartford County fared the best, with the median sale price of a single-family house falling 7 percent in January, to $205,000, down from $220,000 a year earlier. Sales were off 37 percent.

    Middlesex County dropped the most, with a 29 percent decline to $213,000, from $300,000 in January 2008. Sales were off 42 percent.

    In Connecticut, sales of condominiums in January fell 40 percent, to 354, from 588 for the same month in 2008. That’s the lowest level in 16 years, Warren reported. Despite the dramatic decline in condominium sales, the median sale price in January dipped only 2.4 percent, to $183,500 from $188,000 last year.

  6. grim says:

    From Dow Jones:


    S&P Mulls Ratings Cuts On RMBS By ’06-’07 Jumbo Mortgages

    Standard & Poor’s Ratings Service placed its ratings on a host of U.S. prime jumbo residential mortgage-backed securities issued in 2006 and 2007 on watch for downgrade, citing big projected losses on high-priced homes.
    The affected classes, which total 3,279 from 209 transactions, affect about $172.02 billion of original par amount, but have a current principal balance of $139.96 billion.

    The latest action by S&P follows Moody’s cut on Monday on its ratings of about $30.9 billion of U.S. prime jumbo RMBS transactions issued in 2007.

    Jumbo loans, which were at least $417,000 in the affected years, generally carry higher interest rates because they are too big to be guaranteed by Fannie Mae (FNM) or Freddie Mac (FRE). S&P has said it expects a 40% loss severity on prime jumbo collateral originated in 2006 and 2007.

    Earlier Thursday, Moody’s Investors Service said more than seven in 10 U.S. subprime home loans bundled into securities in 2006 could go bust. The new estimate of loss rates, which Moody’s upgraded for 2005 and 2007 as well, cast a harsh light on the condition of housing finance and means more bad news for the banks and other institutions that bought mortgage-backed securities in those years.

    S&P, meanwhile, said it believes continued foreclosures, distressed sales, an increase in carrying costs for properties in inventory and more declines in home sales will further depress prices and lead to higher losses.

  7. Clotpoll says:

    Sal (477 last thread)-

    “I am not trying to be ignorant, but when this bubble started, didn’t sellers put tomorrow’s price tag? Why not the other way around? Simply asking.”

    Good question. And no, when the bubble started, scores of sellers were unaware of what was being ignited and actually severely underpriced their homes.

    The prices that places were fetching at the beginning of the bubble were nothing like the ones at the end. It never feels like it in retrospect, but it wasn’t a tsunami. It just built…one sale and one area at a time.

    By the time the bubble was well-underway, you did see sellers beginning to “future-price” their homes. What you didn’t see in most “regular” (whatever that is) NJ areas were asking price increments of 25-30% over the most recent comps.

  8. grim says:

    From the Star Ledger:

    Newark gives tax help to builders with unsold homes

    Newark officials, worried that abandoned construction projects will exacerbate the city’s blight problem, amended city tax laws to allow builders to apply for a five-year tax abatement on unsold, one- to four-family homes.

    The changes give developers incentives to finish a project during difficult fiscal times, said Adam Zipkin, chief of staff in the city’s department of economic and housing development.

    The move was welcomed by residents dismayed with abandoned buildings and developers stuck with paying mortgages, taxes and insurance on their unsold homes.

    “We’ve been losing tons of money,” said developer Alray Blackmon, who has properties on South 18th and South 19th Streets that have sat unsold for a year.

    Yet some residents grappling with their own financial troubles had mixed feelings about helping developers.

    “If they’re giving them a tax break, they should give us a tax break,” said Charles Smith, a 32-year-old dog breeder who has lived near Badger Avenue for most of his life, and complained he was struggling to provide for his wife and three children.

    Luis Nogueira, a city real estate broker who lobbied for the abatement changes, said he knows of about 200 unsold properties in the city that could benefit from the plan. Among them are the stalled developments on Badger and Ridgewood avenues, located between West Bigelow and West Runyon streets.

  9. grim says:

    From Bloomberg:

    Citigroup to Be Asked by U.S. to Get Private Capital

    The Obama administration will require Citigroup Inc. to raise private capital and make changes to its board of directors as part of an effort to strengthen the bank, according to people familiar with the matter.

    The plan, which may be announced as soon as today, will involve the Treasury Department converting preferred shares into common stock. The government doesn’t immediately intend to provide additional money after channeling $45 billion to the New York-based company last year, the people said.

    “This gradual step by step process doesn’t work, or has not worked so far,” said Marino Valensise, chief investment officer of London-based Baring Asset Management Ltd., who helps oversee about $45 billion for clients.

    Citigroup Chief Executive Officer Vikram Pandit is trying to bolster confidence after his bank’s stock price sank below $2 last week for the first time in 18 years. The government is supporting the firm because of concern its failure might roil already weak global markets.

    Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said Feb. 25 he wants to avoid nationalizing Citigroup and other large banks in a way that would wipe out shareholders and leave the U.S. in full control. Bernanke said the government might end up owning a “substantial minority” of the bank.

  10. Bob21 says:

    What I don’t understand with the car companies is, why didn’t they put something away for a couple of bad years? Now they can’t survive a bad year without a bailout?

    Reference redistribution of wealth- I would bet the definition of wealthy will change rapidly. For those earning $200,000 (individuals), it isn’t that big a leap (or dive) to $100,000. This is a case of the camel’s nose under the tent. Once he is in they will lower the amount to get even more taxes. Who knows, $25,000 may start to look like big bucks if unemployment gets really bad.

  11. Clotpoll says:

    Bill Simmons, ESPN, 2-27-09:

    I skipped my annual NBA All-Star Weekend column because I was frantically trying to finish my book. At least that’s how I rationalized it. I need to finish this book. I have a deadline. I can’t afford to spend that writing time on anything else. But after reflecting for a few days, I came to a sobering conclusion: The book was a convenient excuse. I could have found time to pump out that column. I just didn’t want to hand it in.

    The Suns might have air-mailed Shaq to Cleveland if the Cavs had been willing to take on his contract.
    See, it wouldn’t have been a typical All-Star Weekend account for me. It would have been about money. You might remember me writing that the NBA was the No Balls Association two years ago. Now it’s the No Benjamins Association. Nobody is rolling in Benjamins anymore. Everyone is scared. Money hangs over everything.

    That’s what I ended up discussing for four solid days in Phoenix. Hands down, it was the most depressing All-Star Weekend I’ve ever attended. Celebrities were scarce. The parties weren’t as good or plentiful. Even the number of groupies seemed lower than usual. It’s not as if everyone was drinking Natural Light and eating Hamburger Helper, but still, when you’re celebrating a weekend with the No Benjamins Association, you know it. We should have been talking about Kevin Durant’s coming-out party, a potentially delicious see-if-you-can-top-this battle between Kobe and LeBron at the game (never happened), whether H-O-R-S-E worked, who might emerge in a wide-open playoff race, even whether the Nate Robinson and Dwight Howard dunk contest “battle” was too contrived … only everything kept coming back to that dark cloud of money.”

    http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=simmons/090227

  12. Clotpoll says:

    Mor from Simmons’ article:

    “When I write that NBA teams are unleashing aggressive promotions on their fans to boost attendance numbers, I’m not exaggerating. My favorites from this season:

    Snowbird Ticket Exchange (Nets): New Jersey season-ticket holders can swap their tickets for a pair of tickets for the NHL’s Panthers if they’re ever in Florida, and vice versa. No, really.

    College Night (Wizards): Every Wednesday, upper deck tickets cost $10 to anyone with a college ID. Come and puke in the upper deck!

    International Night (Grizzlies): Heavy discounts for any game involving a visiting foreign player … which is every game, but whatever.

    Pizza Pack Deal (Pacers): A pair of balcony tickets for 10 games for $60 (plus one free medium pizza from Donatos), or two club seats for $500 (yes, you still get the pizza).

    Guys’ Night Out (Kings): For $55 a person, you get a $40 ticket, a Kings combo meal and a chance to meet Kings cheerleaders before the game! Lap dances not included.

    Bojangles Friday Feast (Bobcats): All you can eat in the upper bowl (chicken, hot dogs, soft drinks, popcorn) for just $35. Or, as it’s also called, the Joe House Special.

    Eat Cheese Curds Until You Throw Up (Bucks): OK, I made this one up. But they do have a “Guys Night Out” where you get two $37 seats, two beer/wine vouchers, two Bucks pilsner glasses and Courtside Club postgame passes ($5 wings!). Yet another reason to move to Milwaukee. By the way, please do not hurl your pilsner glasses at Dan Gadzuric.”

  13. Cindy says:

    http://interfluidity.com/

    Steve Randy Waldman – interfluidity

    “How to fund financial system stabilization”

    “Here is my advice to the U.S. Congress: Put $750B in the budget, right up front, for financial stabilization. But don’t contribute another dime to Giethner and Neal Kashkari’s little slush fund. Allocate funds to the sole use of the FDIC, for resolution of troubled banks as foreseen by Congress under FDICIA.

    See this excellent piece by former bank regulator William Black.(link in article) The government has been flouting the terms of a binding legal regime designed precisely to resolve insolvent and near insolvent banks transparently, at least cost to the taxpayer, in a manner that minimizes both moral hazard and systemic risk. Former Secretary Paulson’s ad hoc let’s-pretend approach has been tried, and has failed. Why not follow the laws?

    We have a new administration in Washington that claims to be committed to the rule of law and good governance. Congress should help the President achieve these goals by funding an accountable FDIC rather than by putting more discretionary funds into the hands of a compromised Treasury secretary.”

  14. Pat says:

    In addition to economies of scale, we would consider the effects of any existing market control (monopoly) when calculating risk discount.

    When pricing a financial instument, if we discount economies of scale for some unknown quantity risk, then a time-weighted factor for decreasing natural monopoly would apply.

  15. reinvestor101 says:

    “That One” is the slickest damn liberal this country has even seen. He’s deliberately putting us conservatives in a bad spot by co-opting us and forcing us into his program. He’s spending all this damn money and we hate it, but some of us need it and can’t turn it down. Anyone who has a principled opposition to this and who turns down the money looks like a damn fool and risks the wrath of their constiuents. It’s like he’s buying off everyone’s damn votes for the next election.

    This is a new kind of liberal. A type we’ve not seen before. He’s trying to position us conservatives against each other and our interests.

  16. Clotpoll says:

    CIndy (13)-

    Never will happen. It makes sense.

  17. Clotpoll says:

    tard (15)-

    C’mon, Tard. Just lay back and enjoy it.

  18. Cindy says:

    (16) Clotpoll -

    I continue my search – remember – I’m a self-professed problem solver. Can’t help myself.

  19. Dissident HEHEHE says:

    Little bird told me major part of C’s cost reductions the past six months has been shipping jobs outside the US. Wait until that hits the fan. Bailing out a company with federal taxpayer money as they ship jobs overseas.

  20. kettle1 says:

    Grim

    Your model has some interesting challenges. Multinational corporations could see the long term negative risk costs grow rapidly due to international politics. You would need to have a dynamic model that was constantly updated for changes in the large scale political land scape.

    For example. You are running your proposed models and Smith&Wesson. Obama now pushes though draconian new gun regulations that have undermined your market growth that was planned for years ago. If the model was static then this would blind side your model. the dynamic plan would be updated with the increases risk of adverse regulatory impacts and recalculate the intersection of the 2 functions.

    another example. You make fertilizer. 90% of your feed stock is directly based off of oil&gas. You would now need to account for middleast politics as well as the global oil supply dynamic.

    Fantastic idea! Shall we add this as a service available though clot Antigua operation?

  21. grim says:

    From MarketWatch:

    Citi shares fall 30%, to $1.71 in pre-open trade

  22. grim says:

    Bank Failure Friday came early.

    U.S. government to own 36% of Citi

    Shares of Citigroup tumbled almost 30% on Friday after it said the government has agreed to a deal to boost its stake in the company to about 36%, and the firm unveiled another $10 billion in fourth-quarter losses.

    itigroup Inc. on Friday said it has reached a deal with the U.S. government that will result in the Treasury Department taking a 36% stake in the troubled bank.
    The company said it will issue common stock in exchange for preferred securities, which will substantially increase its tangible common equity without any additional U.S. government investment.

  23. Dissident HEHEHE says:

    Dear Mr. President, I read your New Era $3.6 Trillion Budget Proposal. I also listened to your speech Tuesday night. You made a great campaign speech. However, the campaign is over. You won. And the reason you won is you offered hope as well as a promise of change.

    With all due respect Mr. President, Tim Geithner and Ben Bernanke are offering the same policies as President Bush and Secretary Paulson. Those policies are to bail out banks regardless of cost to taxpayers. Mr. President, it’s hard enough to overlook Geithner’s tax indiscretions. Mr. President, it is harder still. if not impossible, to ignore the fact that neither Geithner nor Bernanke saw this coming. Yet amazingly they are both cock sure of the solution. Even more amazing is the fact that solution changes every day.

    http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com/2009/02/dear-mr-president-with-all-due-respect.html

  24. Dissident HEHEHE says:

    Grim unmod 23

  25. Cindy says:

    (24) Spot on HEHEHE…

    my two cents…

    We’ll just keep playing “limbo” (how low can you go?) until Mr. Market believes there is a viable plan in place for banks.

    The US of A has been seen by others as a country that respects “the rule of law” and contracts. With this cramdown business and the way they are handling the banks….what do we have now? Hollywood?

  26. grim says:

    With this cramdown business and the way they are handling the banks….what do we have now? Hollywood?

    The Wild West?

  27. kettle1 says:

    HEHE

    the solution MUST change every day. There are solutions that the public would accept and solutions that investors would accept. But no solution that both would accept. Ay solution will be picked apart and shredded by one group or the other.

    until Obama decides to grow a set, and stick it to one group or the other no real plan can succeed and we limp along hemorrhaging cash like some who just had their femoral artery ripped open.

  28. kettle1 says:

    grim

    U.S. government to own 36% of Citi

    doesnt citi now have to divest Banamex per mexican law?

  29. Cindy says:

    (27) Grim – May as well be, Grim. There are laws in place with the FDIC and the bankruptcy courts but – heh- forget those….we are the Wild West now.

    And someone explain to me how my business owner friends are going to be able to expand or hire new employees when they are going to incur the wrath of these new taxes. Aren’t they going to have to slim down and cut costs?

  30. grim says:

    What? Conspicuous consumption is out of style now? Sheeesh! Can’t the youth make up their minds.

    From Bloomberg:

    Arsonists Torch Berlin Porsches, BMWs on Economic Woe

    When Berlin resident Simone Klostermann returned from vacation and couldn’t find her Mercedes SLK, she thought it had been towed. Police told her the 35,000- euro ($45,000) car had been torched.

    “They’d squirted something flammable into the car’s engine block in the gap between the windshield and the hood,” said Klostermann. “The engine was completely destroyed.”

    The 34-year-old’s experience isn’t unique in the German capital. At least 29 vehicles were destroyed in arson attacks this year, most of them luxury cars, according to police. The number is already about 30 percent of the total for 2008. The latest to go up in flames was a Porsche, on Feb. 14, two days after a Mercedes was set alight in a public car park.

    While youths in Athens protest by throwing Molotov cocktails, in Paris by toppling barricades, and in Budapest by hurling eggs at politicians, protesters in Berlin rage at their economic plight by targeting the most expensive cars — symbols of German wealth and power.

  31. kettle1 says:

    On mexico,

    how funny is it that the cartels are buying a good portion of their weapons from the US.?.?.?

    i lay 50/50 odds that the next country we deploy our military to is mexico. if the cartels continue their push with some success they have a real chance at destabilizing the mexican government. at that point the US wont have much choice and may be forced to intervene for our own border security interests. Not a good time to live near that border.

  32. Cindy says:

    (32) Kettle – There is spill over here in the Central Valley. Every time they arrest one of these dudes, they find out he has been deported before or has existing arrest warrants.

    A personal friend had to appear in court a few weeks ago because they finally caught the hit -and -run driver who killed her father on a rural road in the outskirts of Madera over 15 years ago.

    He was taking his tractor from one field to the next when he was abandon after a collision with a speeding car and pronounced dead after lying there for hours.

    Turns out the guy had gone back and forth to Mexico several times. He is currently in our jails but scheduled to be deported…again. Will he serve a sentence in Mexico? – I actually don’t know.

  33. Stu says:

    SRS at 85 in premarket…Gubmint continues to do the wrong thing. More at 11.

  34. Mikeinwaiting says:

    Kettle 32 I have a twofer. Put people to work on a Maginot Line type project along the border & keep that area safe.
    Jobs & security but lets make sure it points both ways to keep us in.

  35. kettle1 says:

    Obama and clan are throwing money out like its mardi gras, yet the best we get is a bumpy plateau in the market? that doesnt bod well

  36. Stu says:

    “Obama and clan are throwing money out like its mardi gras”

    Perhaps they should just throw beads?

  37. safeashouses says:

    Cabbage is the new caviar.

  38. gary says:

    Is this the change and hope the masses voted for? I didn’t realize most people are this easy. If I was 1% more ruthless, I’d be a millionaire!

  39. Dissident HEHEHE says:

    Yep, new plan every week, and each time the pop is smaller and smaller. The rollover and next leg down is coming any day now and it will likely be met by them closing the markets.

  40. Cindy says:

    (37) Kettle – They are so busy appeasing the folks who do not work or pay taxes that they forgot all about those who do. Who in their right mind raises taxes during a recession/depression??? I thought that was tried…

    Are we trying to appease those who buy our debt by showing we have a plan in place to cut the deficit? None of that will matter if this keeps up…

  41. Dissident HEHEHE says:

    “Perhaps they should just throw beads?”

    Show your breasts Stu!

  42. grim says:

    The fact that we even got to “Plan B” means that they’ve got no idea.

    Now that we’re somewhere near “Plan G”, why should we have any confidence at all?

    It was like the lockstep rate cuts of eras long past. The last rate cut didn’t do anything, but the next one is SURE to help!

  43. Cindy says:

    That’s right. No John for days and days. He has sworn us off.

  44. Stu says:

    Why show my boobs when I can share this with you…

    The preliminary fourth quarter GDP reading indicated the economy contracted at an annual rate of 6.2%. The consensus forecast for the preliminary fourth quarter GDP report called for a 5.4% annual rate of decline. The advance report in January indicated the economy declined at an annual rate of 3.8%. Personal consumption during the fourth quarter fell 4.3%. It was expected to decline 3.7% after showing a 3.5% decline in the advance report. Fourth quarter core personal consumption expenditures increased 0.8% quarter-over-quarter, exceeding the 0.6% increase that was expected. The GDP Price Index increased 0.5% during the fourth quarter. The consensus estimate called for a 0.1% decline.

  45. Shore Guy says:

    ” amended city tax laws to allow builders to apply for a five-year tax abatement on unsold, one- to four-family homes.”

    THe other alterantive is to require every builder to post a “demolition bond” for every project built to pay for demolition of the project should the project fail to be completed within a reasonable time of its projected completion date.

  46. d2b says:

    How many times have we bailed out Citi? AIG? GM?

    I’m starting to lose count.

  47. Stu says:

    GDP in graph form…Nothing to see here folks, market is way undervalued. Yeah…right!

    http://bloomberg.econoday.com/showimage.asp?imageid=17236

  48. Dissident HEHEHE says:

    BTW in keeping with the new administrations “transparency” it’s interesting that the FDIC is no longer giving the names of the banks they are listing as troubled, just a number, I don’t know what they are worried about, Indymac wasn’t even on their stupid list when they went under:

    http://dealbreaker.com/2009/02/wheres-dick-bove-when-we-need.php

  49. Clotpoll says:

    stu (35)-

    Warm up that muzzle.

    Today is one of those days I live for.

  50. Dissident HEHEHE says:

    Did John get laid off?

  51. Cindy says:

    Hey – Stu, Clot – You guys are smart!

    (I just thought I’d state the obvious.)

  52. Stu says:

    as of 8:30am DJIA futures currently indicating an open at 7020.

  53. Cindy says:

    (52) HEHEHE – He gave us up for lent.

  54. PGC says:

    #52 HEHEHE

    No, he got religion.

  55. Shore Guy says:

    “46.Stu says:
    February 27, 2009 at 8:39 am
    Why show my boobs when I can share this with you…

    The preliminary fourth quarter GDP reading indicated the economy contracted at an annual rate of 6.2%. The consensus forecast for the preliminary fourth quarter GDP report called for a 5.4% annual rate of decline. ”

    Talk about obscene.

  56. Stu says:

    Hehehe:

    John gave up bond trading and this blog for lent. I do expect him to be about as faithful as your average gay priest, so I would expect to see him pop in this afternoon ;)

    Cindy:
    Not smart…but patient. If you ain’t got no patience, you best not be investing. I get my instant gratification from video poker!

  57. Stu says:

    Shore Guy (57):

    “Talk about obscene.”

    LOL

  58. kettle1 says:

    Re deficits and bailouts:

    The government can spend other peoples money fast enough. but has anyone wondered what japan and china are going to do as their economies collapse? Japan is already dropping like a rock and China just shot itself up with the economic equivilent of an 8 ball.

    In the near future the 2 primary buyers of US debt may not be able to buy our debt even if they wanted to!

  59. Clotpoll says:

    Looks like John is getting crammed down for lent.

    C’mon, you sumbitch…crack back at me, so God will smite you!

  60. Clotpoll says:

    Please, no man boobs.

  61. Stu says:

    “Today is one of those days I live for.”

    Unfortunately, almost every time one of these days comes around, it does not finish with a happy ending.

    Here’s to hoping that the market is Friendly’s today.

  62. RChase says:

    Have any of these jerks considered the backlash from over taxing the “wealthy” $250K and over? Some will simply refuse to put any disposible income into this economy. Bailout these morons and keep shopping? Forget it!!

  63. Shore Guy says:

    Who was it asking about the NYSE delisting rules the other day? It seems that those have changed as well, at least through the end of June.

    http://www.cnbc.com/id/29424925

  64. chicagofinance says:

    kettle1 says:
    February 27, 2009 at 8:11 am
    grim U.S. government to own 36% of Citi
    doesnt citi now have to divest Banamex per mexican law?

    ket: divest is the wrong word….think more Montezuma’s Revenge…

  65. Clotpoll says:

    CNBC dopes now saying things like “Armageddon”. Also lots of “zombie bank” talk. The first place I saw that term was here, close to a year ago. Was that phrase coined here?

    1987 pattern- bad Thursday, worse Friday, Black Monday.

    Is this ’87 redux?

  66. Clotpoll says:

    Hey, Vikram! Come look; I just shit out a bank.

  67. Stu says:

    Kettle1:

    In the past 24 hours, I heard two different interviewees on Bloomberg say that the reported 2% drop in Chinese exports is the most false economic number ever published. Most Asian countries reported export drops between 10% and 40%. Not a single country reported a drop that was not in the double digits.

    There is going to be some serious rioting going on soon over there when the people finally ask, “Where’s the Kung Pao Beef?”

  68. Clotpoll says:

    Stu (63)-

    Happy endings are for body shampoo joints.

    “Unfortunately, almost every time one of these days comes around, it does not finish with a happy ending.”

    Doing my best to replace John’s lowest-common-denominator humor…

  69. chicagofinance says:

    WSJ
    OPINION: TASTE FEBRUARY 26, 2009, 11:55 P.M. ET
    Oops! I’ll Do It Again. And Again. And Again…

    By JAMES BOWMAN

    Beginning next month, the College Board will allow high-school students who have taken the SATs multiple times to submit only their highest score to the colleges to which they are applying. Called “Score Choice,” this policy brings the SAT into line with the ACT, the rival college-entrance examination, and it is supposedly designed to reduce the stress that this examination places on students worried about their futures.

    Of course, Score Choice will also give what many would see as an unfair advantage to those who can afford the time and the money to take the test more than once — and the more they can take it, the greater the advantage. For colleges, it must make the job of assessing their applicants’ abilities more difficult and may thus contribute to the trend toward downgrading or eliminating standardized testing in college admissions.

    But Score Choice is also a manifestation of the do-over mentality whose insidious creep into the larger culture has been made apparent over the past several months by the queue of failed businessmen and financiers who have come to Washington with their hands out, asking to be rescued from the consequences of their own poor answers to life’s examination questions.

    Friedrich Hayek once wrote, in “The Constitution of Liberty,” that a free society depends on the willingness of its people to take responsibility for their actions. Not to do so is not merely to create what we have all lately learned to call “moral hazard,” but to jeopardize the very foundation of our free institutions.

    If we had to point to a cause of today’s all-but-universal sentiment in favor of rewarding the improvident, we might want to look first to the self-esteem movement in education. Many of the financial hotshots now wielding begging bowls must have been schoolchildren in the 1980s, when this curious philosophy took hold of our educators.

    Back then, in Maryland’s Montgomery County, near Washington, the school district banned placing students in alphabetical order for fear that the self-esteem of those whose names began with the later letters of the alphabet would suffer.

    In 1986, California was the first state to introduce self-esteem education as such. It was based on the assumption that constant praise for even the feeblest effort would encourage schoolchildren to do better. In fact, it simply removed the incentive for them to work hard. The de-emphasis on competition in school sports and the grade inflation that has become so unfortunate a feature of the academy since then have had similar effects.

    Studies have shown that, while American students perform poorly compared with many foreigners of the same age, they are top of the charts when it comes to how well they think they have performed. Artificially pumping up their self-esteem produces only self-deception in the first instance and frustration and anger when — or if — the truth must be faced.

    Maybe it is our instinctive recognition of this fact which has made “American Idol” the most popular show on television. There, people are forced to face unwelcome truths about their abilities — most of them from the British judge, Simon Cowell, whose unconcern about treading on people’s vanities makes him sound deliciously naughty in a world based on self-esteem. The loud resentment felt by many of those whose illusions have been punctured is another manifestation of this culture-wide sense of entitlement.

    A friend of mine not long ago listened to her 8-year-old granddaughter play a piece on the piano and suggested to her that she needed to practice some more. The child burst into tears. “Grandma,” she wailed. “You’re not proud of me!”

    We do children no favors by teaching them that they have a right to a favorable outcome in all that they do. It used to be the case that education was thought of not just as the acquisition of knowledge — still less as the acquisition of credentials — but as a form of character building. And one of the ways to build character is to submit students to the same sorts of stresses and failures that adult life does, in order to teach them how to cope with such things.

    There are some signs that the worst may be over. Last summer, after the British Olympic team did better than expected in Beijing, the Labour prime minister, Gordon Brown, gave a speech saying that competition was a good thing after all.

    But much of our popular culture is still wedded to the assumptions behind the self-esteem movement. On her most recent album, the popular chanteuse Joni Mitchell rewrote Rudyard Kipling’s famous poem, “If . . . ,” changing his words,

    If you can fill the unforgiving minute

    With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run . . .

    to her own,

    If you can fill the journey of a minute

    With sixty seconds worth of wonder

    and delight.

    Of course, there are no more unforgiving minutes in the wonder and delight of Ms. Mitchell’s imaginary land of endless do-overs — which gives the lie to her subsequent promise: “Then the Earth is yours and everything that’s in it, / But more than that I know you’ll be all right.”

    No you won’t. If you fail, sooner or later that failure will have to be recognized, confronted and put to rights. Not to do so in a timely fashion is only to spread the consequences of failure much more widely — to the whole educational system in the case of the SATs and the ordinary taxpayer in the case of the bailouts. Both deserve better.

    Mr. Bowman is a resident scholar at the Ethics and Public Policy Center and the author of “Honor, A History” and “Media Madness,” both published by Encounter Books.

  70. Clotpoll says:

    RChase (64)-

    Yeah, right. And tons of private capital are going to start pouring into C, just because the Politburo has “invited” it.

    As if.

  71. Stu says:

    One of the funniest moments on this site was when we all decided to create a post where we tried to imitate John’s style. That was good for about about 36 hours of entertainment. Now we have to rely on the comedy issued daily from the nation’s capitol or is that now spelled capital?

  72. gary says:

    The economy contracted at a staggering 6.2 percent pace at the end of 2008, the worst showing in a quarter-century, as consumers and businesses ratcheted back spending, plunging the country deeper into recession.

    Thank goodness it’s contained to subprime only!

  73. Clotpoll says:

    gary (74)-

    I think this will all be solved if we just round up subprime borrowers and poor people and either quarantine them in the desert or start executing them.

    The only sin in America is to be poor.

  74. kettle1 says:

    Cindy

    Are we trying to appease those who buy our debt by showing we have a plan in place to cut the deficit? None of that will matter if this keeps up…

    we are witnessing an epic act of bread and circus (ala bread and circus). the banks are getting the bread in order to keep foreign investors happy. The circus is for both the people and the investors

  75. Stu says:

    Chifi: Erroneously missing from the “Score Choice,” opinion article is that the real reason they are making such an offer is to line the coffers of the supposedly not-for-profit College Board. How much does the SAT test cost now? $45 a pop at about 99% profit margin? Let’s try to get those suckers to take the exam ten times.

  76. Cindy says:

    (71) Chicago -

    “If you fail, sooner or later that failure will have to be recognized, confronted and put to rights. Not to do so in a timely fashion is only to spread the consequences of failure much more widely -”

    Are you talking about education here or banking?

  77. gary says:

    Clotpoll [75],

    I think the Ob*ma plan is to seize the assets of everyone with a net worth of 50K or greater and distribute them to those with nothing.

  78. NJGator says:

    More 2004 pricing in the Upper Wyoming section of South Orange (with Viking Range!):

    GSMLS 2655810 – 416 Tillou
    LP: $638,444
    Sold 7/14/04 – $635,000

  79. kettle1 says:

    Stu 69

    Its a powder keg heating up. How long until the autoignition point is reached? look at the article below, all the ingredients are there.


    ….Over the last few months, more than 20 million migrant workers have been cast into the ranks of the unemployed, depriving impoverished towns like Tanjia of the much-needed income the workers sent home……

    …..officials have been strategizing about how best to keep large protests and riots from spreading, should the dispossessed grow unruly. This week, more than 3,000 public security directors from across the country are gathering in the capital to learn how to neutralize rallies and strikes before they blossom into so-called mass incidents. At a meeting of the Chinese cabinet last month, Prime Minister Wen Jiabao told government leaders they should prepare for rough times ahead. “The country’s employment situation is extremely grim,” he said….

    ……rural laborers are often viewed as dime-a-dozen workhorses capable of enduring enormous hardship. He Xuefeng, a professor who studies rural life, said many manufacturers believed the most productive workers were spent by 40. “As workers grow older, they can’t work as quickly or accurately, so they are naturally eliminated,” said Mr. He, who teaches at Huazhong University of Science and Technology in Hubei Province. “The financial crisis will simply speed up that process by two or three years and force them to return home earlier……

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/23/world/asia/23migrants.html?_r=1&th=&emc=th&pagewanted=all

  80. Stu says:

    I think the Ob*ma plan is to seize the assets of everyone with a net worth of 50K or greater and distribute them to those with nothing.

    I see it as punishment for allowing the income gap to spread as wide as it did. As usual, the greedy bastards brought this on all by themselves. The real sad thing is, that there is no place for them to escape to with the world markets imploding simultaneously. Poor them (and me).

  81. chicagofinance says:

    In HD….a nice country drive in Branchburg……Hughes-style….

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5bsXOcK9_Cw&fmt=22

  82. Frank says:

    #75,
    “The only sin in America is to be poor.”

    No, the only sin in America is to be rich.
    Mr. 0bama please raise taxes on the rich. Especially rich RE agents.

  83. Barbara says:

    redistribution of wealth can go both ways and it has. Sometimes its going your way, and sometimes its not.
    Just sayin.

  84. Frank says:

    For all you negative bastards out there, the market will be up today.

    And remember one thing, America is the greatest country on earth and long live USA!!

  85. Stu says:

    And don’t give me those bullsh*t top 1% pays 99% of the taxes cr*p again. Everytime I read that it drives me up a friggin’ wall. Let’s look at the real effective tax rates that people pay in their income brackets for a change. Guys making billions pay 10%. Suckers making between 200 and 300K pay 28%. And this is completely ignoring what percentage taxes paid are compared to one’s total wealth. I did my taxes last night and owe Uncle Sam a lot from my shorting gains last year. And this is while avoiding AMT and writing off a new bathroom and kitchen install in my rental unit upstairs. I’ve got my 10K saved for my IRA contribution and don’t qualify for the ROTH or a traditional IRA deduction. Bet I could figure out a way to create a deduction if I sent 10K a year to a Wall Street accountant. So stop yer kvetching already and f’in pay up.

  86. Barbara says:

    I like a consumer tax in lieu of all other form of taxation. Labor should never be taxed, and profit should be encouraged to be put back into the economy (spent). So keep it all until you buy something nice, then fork over some.

  87. JBJB says:

    A NJ town that can actually manage its finances, what a concept. A mayor that actually thinks lower property tax rates is a good thing. I guess it can be done.

    http://www.redbankgreen.com/redbankgreen/2009/02/fair-haven-bonds-win-gold-stars.html#more

  88. Stu says:

    Barb,

    Stop making sense…no one who makes decisions listens to logic. They all still believe in the Laffer Curve and trickle down theory, even as our country trickles down the bowl.

  89. Hubba says:

    Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

  90. Barbara says:

    stu
    all I want from Obama at this point is something decent for my money. Healthcare break, tax break, a new industry with real promise, better higher ed investment options. And if I hear about the pitfalls evils of big govt in healthcare, I’m going to cut a bitch. Everyday I deal with something called corporate beaurocracy with regards to my health insurance. And you know, when the crew ya, there’s no one to call a bitch at, no one to vote out and no competition to turn to.
    Nationalize it.

  91. Barbara says:

    errrrm, should read “when the screw ya”

  92. reinvestor101 says:

    Stinking liberal…a young one at that.

    We need some damn tax cuts. We don’t need big government. Tax cuts have driven this economy and you refuse to understand that.

    “That One” is positioning us conservatives in a very bad spot and you just love that don’t you?

    Stu says:
    February 27, 2009 at 9:26 am
    Barb,

    Stop making sense…no one who makes decisions listens to logic. They all still believe in the Laffer Curve and trickle down theory, even as our country trickles down the bowl.

  93. kettle1 says:

    forget tax cuts. its simpler then that. Spend only what you have, not what you dont!!!!

  94. reinvestor101 says:

    WHAT!!???

    Lady I don’t know what your problem is, but the only solution for health care is from the invisible hand of free market forces. That hand will take care of you. All you need to do is trust the hand and not look to big government.

    Barbara says:
    February 27, 2009 at 9:33 am
    stu
    all I want from Obama at this point is something decent for my money. Healthcare break, tax break, a new industry with real promise, better higher ed investment options. And if I hear about the pitfalls evils of big govt in healthcare, I’m going to cut a bitch. Everyday I deal with something called corporate beaurocracy with regards to my health insurance. And you know, when the crew ya, there’s no one to call a bitch at, no one to vote out and no competition to turn to.
    Nationalize it

  95. Frank says:

    SRS down to 60s today….
    Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

  96. Stu says:

    ““That One” is positioning us conservatives in a very bad spot and you just love that don’t you?”

    Absolutely and the moronic southern governors are just making it worse for themselves.

  97. Barbara says:

    reinvestor101
    glad to see you are back and I do enjoy your schtick. I said SCHTICK.

  98. reinvestor101 says:

    We need tax cuts and just let the invisible hand of the free markets turn this economy around. Talk to the hand and trust the hand.

  99. #32 Arsonists Torch Berlin Porsches, BMWs on Economic Woe

    Woah… woah… I mean, let’s not get crazy here people. I understand burning BMWs and Mercs, even torching Cayennes, but 911s?
    Poor defenseless, lovely 911s? What did they do to you?

    /sniff

    You’ll have to excuse me, I think I have something in my eye.

  100. kettle1 says:

    hmmm 739, nice start point for the S&P

  101. Stu says:

    Yes, and the despots should be shot and dumped into mass graves.

  102. chicagofinance says:

    reinvestor101 says:
    February 27, 2009 at 9:37 am
    WHAT!!???
    Lady I don’t know what your problem is, but the only solution for health care is from the invisible hand of free market forces. That hand will take care of you. All you need to do is trust the hand and not look to big government.

    re: (my favorite joke from high school) Please leave your sex life out of this…..

  103. Sastry says:

    reinvestor…

    You seriously think tax cuts will solve the problem? Who will pay for the 11+ trillion national debt?

    If you want to see how pandering to the greedy rich will result in, look at Brazil and India.

    S

  104. kettle1 says:

    sasrty, CLot,

    Extreme income stratification. Coming to a city near you!

    http://tinyurl.com/c3heew
    (LA/San Fran etc circa 2020?)

  105. ruggles says:

    107 – heck of a view

    That’s Hudson County, right?

  106. skep-tic says:

    Chicago–

    On the 401k issue from last night– my employer doesn’t match contributions. This is usual practice for attorneys at big firms from what I can tell. So by not contributing, I am only giving up the tax deferral, which as I explained last night, I am doubtful as to whether this outweighs all of the other downsides at this point.

  107. kettle1 says:

    When did we all wake up in the twilight zone???

    The Royal Bank of Scotland announced the biggest corporate loss in British history. Its stock shot up 20-25%. The reason for that….the UK government announced that RBS will be allowed to place over $1 trillion in toxic assets in government insured vehicles

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/27/business/worldbusiness/27rbos.html?_r=1

  108. Kettle1 says:

    Understatement of the year? Growth in 2010?

    regulators assume that the economy will shrink as much as 3.3 percent this year, followed by growth of 0.5 percent in 2010, and that unemployment will rise as high as 8.9 percent and 10.3 percent, respectively. That may not be pessimistic enough to truly test the banks, analysts and economists said.

  109. reinvestor101 says:

    grim please unmod 113. I didn’t do nothing wrong. All I used was the word liberal

  110. skep-tic says:

    also, re: 401k brokerage accounts: concept unavailable to me and anyway, have to get approval to trade in individual stocks due to high potential for inside information inherent in my job. Most people who do this sort of thing go through blind trusts, but obviously I am not wealthy enough to make this sort of thing worthwhile at this point

  111. comrade nom deplume says:

    [11] Bob21

    During WW2, Roosevelt wanted to restrict compensation and mandate (in what way, I don’t know) that no one could make more than 25K per year.

    Never knew how far he went with that; MSM never mentions it, and MS historians never teach it, probably for the same reasons they always tell us that Roosevelt “rescued” us from the Great Depression (in some circles, it is still heresy to suggest that WW2 spending pulled us out of the Depression, not Roosevelt policies).

    At least they have the good sense not to try to convince us that Roosevelt cured the Dust Bowl as well.

  112. comrade nom deplume says:

    [11] bob21

    And let’s not forget that, up into some of our lifetimes, the top tax rate in this country was 92% on income over a certain level. This effectively capped normal wage compensation, and gave birth to the tax shelter industry.

    “The most effective way to defeat the bourgeoisie is to crush them between the millstones of inflation and taxation.” Karl Marx

  113. comrade nom deplume says:

    [103] Stu

    Didn’t think you would be the one leading the pogrom?

    Aren’t you concerned some of us despots might shoot back?

  114. Hubba says:

    “The most effective way to defeat the bourgeoisie is to crush them between the millstones of inflation and taxation.” Karl Marx

    So I guess now we know why we are getting the Bush – Obama 1 – 2 punch.

    Need any more evidence that D & R are the same?

  115. Stu says:

    About the 401K issue…

    You are all playing Monday morning QB. Although I agree with all of you that it may be a while before they come back (if ever, depending on the recession/depression scenario). I also feel that you are judging their usefulness at a time when they are at their worst. Were these same arguments being made at the top of the tech and housing bubbles.

    The weakness in the 401k is the same as with any equity based investment vehicle. The public is woefully uneducated in the matters of finance. Say your 401K was replaced with a mattress. Would you be better prepared to retire after working and saving for 45 years? There are very few valleys in the long term performance of the equity markets. We happen to be in one now. The big mistake almost all make is to pull out at these times and miss the rebounds. I cringed when I heard that most companies chose to remove their 401K match as the first cost-cutting measure. The sheeple see it as making sense since they lost all their recent match over the last 10 years anyhow. The smart money knows that the matching amount that goes in now can act like testosterone due to time cost averaging in the long run.

    OK you may now rip me apart! In thirty years, I’ll have made tremendous gains and you will have a mattress stuffed with worthless dollars.

  116. Kettle1 says:

    Stu,

    You mentioned how fudged China’s Economic numbers are. They are doing the same thing with their wheat production, and wheat is one of their primary staples. They have WAY less then they claim and their harvest for the coming year is in jeopardy.

    A large population of hungry pissed off peasants with noting else to do could be a problem

  117. Stu says:

    “They have WAY less then they claim and their harvest for the coming year is in jeopardy.”

    Plus I read of severe drought in their North East. I’m patient.

  118. comrade nom deplume says:

    [118] hubba

    I liken D and R to Venn diagram circles. You don’t have one circle; they mostly overlap but there are significant margins where they don’t.

    So they are not the same. Nor are they perfect. But as I learned in DC, you have to choose a side, lest you become roadkill.

    I give credit to That One for trying to move the debate. It is courageous. But I also will try to keep my ox from being gored. And That One is clearly attempting to move us toward a Rawlsian state, which history has shown us doesn’t work.

    So to the supports of the Messiah, I say be careful what you wish for; you must may get it.

  119. confused in nj says:

    82.Stu says:
    February 27, 2009 at 9:14 am
    I think the Ob*ma plan is to seize the assets of everyone with a net worth of 50K or greater and distribute them to those with nothing.

    Actually, it’s to seize the assets of every US citizen with a net worth of 50K or greater and distribute them to any non US citizen here and abroad.

  120. comrade nom deplume says:

    [66] chifi

    Yes.

    And that is all I can say on the subject. I helped create that monster.

  121. Kettle1 says:

    Stu,

    yep a nasty drought, their water tables have been pumped dry and they are being forced to use the fossil aquifer now. The farms cannot compete with industrial buyers of water as well. The agricultural areas of china are basically facing a water shortage as well as soil depredation.

  122. comrade nom deplume says:

    [122] errata

    supporters even.

    (be glad I wasn’t discussing athletics. True story: A university once sent a fundraising letter to boosters that started “Dear Athletic Supporter”)

  123. comrade nom deplume says:

    [125] kettle

    So maybe a broad ag commodities ETF is in order? Any suggestions?

  124. Alap says:

    Word that the economy, as measured by the gross domestic product, fell at a 6.2 percent annual pace in fourth quarter only added to investors’ worries. Wall Street was expecting a reading of 5.4 percent, while the government estimated a month ago that gross domestic product fell at an annualized pace of 3.8 percent.

    This worries me since the messiah’s budget is largely based on the economy turning around in 2010. They were so off on their estimates here, I can only imagine how off he is on his budget.

  125. veto says:

    Here is qtrly history of real gdp on graph,
    One quarter in 50s we had a 10% qtrly contraction… makes 6.4% seem mild.
    http://tinyurl.com/bftlgw

  126. comrade nom deplume says:

    [110] skep,

    I still get a match (for now), otherwise I would discontinue contributions for 2009-2010.

    Yes, there is an up-front tax hit, but the rationale is to have less in 401(k) accounts at retirement as I expect changes to SS to incorporate means-testing and retirement plan offsets. I am also going to convert my IRAs to Roths in 2010, and I have been loading them up with nondeductible contributions (no tax hit on those) so I can maximize my one-time Roth contribution.

  127. Zack says:

    #119,

    Why assume one is going to live forever..
    A man who has lost his job and needs money to pay his bills now doesn’t want to listen to your justifications about time value of money, dollar cost averaging, blah, blah
    Try telling your thoery to some 50 yr old whose nest egg as lost 50% of the value, does not have a job etc etc.
    You are lucky you happen to be young, but fate might catch up with you when you are in your 50′s with another depression.

  128. comrade nom deplume says:

    [128] alap

    As I posited here before, the deadweight loss on income taxes on the wealthy will be staggering. I expect a one-time blip in 2010 from Roth conversions and front-loading of income (incl cap gains (ha, if any)), then a pronounced dive in receipts from us “rich” as folks dive into deferred comp like never before.

  129. Kettle1 says:

    Nom,

    Can you expand on the Rawlsian state idea. I am embarrassed to abmit i am only vaguely familiar with J rawls

  130. Stu says:

    Zack (131):

    “A man who has lost his job and needs money to pay his bills now doesn’t want to listen to your justifications about time value of money, dollar cost averaging, blah, blah”

    That man was not positioned properly and should have spent more time understanding finance and less time figuring out who should be America’s next Idol.

    That’s all I’m saying!

  131. Pat says:

    re, could you clarify in which situations you do not support big govt. (obviously healthcare) and in which situations (i.e., ass-in-a-sling) you approve?

  132. From Curbed; Buyers forfeiting million $ deposits. The past 2 weeks have seen a lot of horrendous news from the Manhattan and Brooklyn markets.

  133. Kettle1 says:

    Nom,

    off the cuff,

    short wheat – SWEA
    short corn (risky) – SCOR
    long fertilizer – no ETF but try POT,MOS

    short corn is risky given the fundamentals behind it, but i might gamble on it. Also note that the futures market would seem to disagree with me at the moment.

    DISCLAIMER: THIS IS NOT FINANCIAL ADVICE, IT IS PURE SPECULATION BY A HIGHSCHOOL JANITOR

  134. Kettle1 says:

    Nom,

    if you like to gamble look at AGA.

    My personal ideal basket would be a fund that tracks natural Gas, Sulfuric Acid, Potash, and grains. if setup correctly such a fund should lead actual production. a futures etf of sorts.

    but what do i know?

  135. make money says:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hteimSh42Gk

    This is something I thought I’d never see. Ron Paul spanking Volcker. Tall Paul can’t believe the questions and says ” Yes, I have to duck you”

    I love it. They both cool cats just that they are on different sides of the fence these days.

  136. Bob21 says:

    Does anyone here think there will be riots in the US once things get real bad? One interesting thing I saw recently was that the company that makes the CZ pistol also makes a semi-auto version of the Skorpian submachine gun. It is only in .32 but is still a pretty cool item. It is classified as a handgun and doesn’t have the folding stock, but still…

  137. 3b says:

    #136 toshiro: There is a ton of condo inventiry down by me that has not yet or is just coming on the market.

    20 Pine Street, 75 Wall Street, 99 Wall Street, 100 Water Street, just to mention 4 massive ones.

    These are all former office buildings , plus alot more smaller developments, on Broadway, Fulton,John, and Broad streets;for sale signs everywhere you look.

  138. cobbler says:

    stu [119]
    There is nothing wrong with the defined contribution (401K) as such; it just needs to be augmented with the options of the managed investment with some floor – easily done on a scale, and of the annuity-like fund (guaranteed income) – this is essentially similar to the defined benefit plan, but for the individual.

  139. Kettle1 says:

    More on west coast water problems….

    Las Vegas Running Out of Water Means Dimming Los Angeles Lights

    On a cloudless December day in the Nevada desert, workers in white hard hats descend into a 30- foot-wide shaft next to Lake Mead. As they’ve been doing since June, they’ll blast and dig straight down into the limestone surrounding the reservoir that supplies 90 percent of Las Vegas’s water. In September, when they hit 600 feet, they’ll turn and burrow for 3 miles, laying a new pipe as they go. The crew is in a hurry. They’re battling the worst 10-year drought in recorded history along the Colorado River, which feeds the 110-mile-long reservoir. Since 1999, Lake Mead has dropped about 1 percent a year. By 2012, the lake’s surface could fall below the existing pipe that delivers 40 percent of the city’s water.

  140. Nicholas says:

    There are very few valleys in the long term performance of the equity markets. We happen to be in one now. The big mistake almost all make is to pull out at these times and miss the rebounds. I cringed when I heard that most companies chose to remove their 401K match as the first cost-cutting measure. The sheeple see it as making sense since they lost all their recent match over the last 10 years anyhow. The smart money knows that the matching amount that goes in now can act like testosterone due to time cost averaging in the long run.

    I’m not interested in ripping you apart because in truth I believe that “time-cost averaging” works. The problem is that “time-cost averaging” doesn’t work when you have substantial and reliable information that indicates the financial world is cracking open.

    It just doesn’t make any sense to sit there and watch your current investments wither the soul like bad poetry. A scheme is not an excuse to throw away vigilance.

    I moved my assets to cash and I’m waiting for indicators to point me in the direction to begin “time-cost averaging” my investments back into the market. It weakens me when I see that GDP loss numbers get revised by 60+ percent after they first come out. Does that mean I need to revise all GDP in the same manner? I would think so.

    I’m lacking right now good stable indicators that tell me when more favorable winds are moving. So far everything stinks.

  141. #141 – I’ve been surprised at how fast the developers are going from “we’re just peachy” to “oh noes! bankruptcy sailz”.
    Given that there is now a ton of empty office space as well in the city in addition to the condos, these can’t be converted back even if they had the cash to do so. What’s going to happen to all the space?
    This could get very ugly, as well as prove a great buying opportunity in about 2 years.

  142. Kettle1 says:

    Re west coast water

    So she’s planning a $3.5 billion, 327-mile (525-kilometer) underground pipeline to tap aquifers beneath cattle-raising valleys northeast of the city.

    an on going legal battle is behind this.

  143. Stu says:

    Zack (131):

    We can lament all of the things our leaders are doing wrong, but individually we have zero ability to influence it. I focus my time on improving things that I do have some control over. This is why I watch almost no TV.

    My time is much better spent figuring out how to profit from my investments. This will eventually free me up to do less entertaining things, such as watching TV.

  144. Dink says:

    Stu, have you ever given serious consideration to starting your own blog?

  145. Hubba says:

    #142 cobble

    The same way you want the gubbies to manage inflation. We’ll see how that works.

  146. scribe says:

    nom,

    you said: in some circles, it is still heresy to suggest that WW2 spending pulled us out of the Depression ..

    My uncle, who lived through the Depression, will tell you that the only thing that pulled us out of the Depression was all of the manufacturing jobs that were created because of the war effort.

    He doesn’t see the point of building schools and roads – non-productive assets.

  147. Kettle1 says:

    Las vegas is toast based on water issues alone, how does one short a city?

  148. Stu says:

    Nicholas,

    I’m not advocating buying and hold as the best strategy at times like these. Sh*t, I moved all of my growth into bonds near 14K on the DJIA and haven’t changed since (except for a foolish mistake I made, but fortunately felt no pain as I sold out on the Obama Euphoria). Even more than my fortunate profits on my shorts, I look forward to going long and actually prospering with my countrymen, rather than watching that 50-year old Zack was mentioning eat cat food.

    The only difference between him and me is that he chooses not to manage his own investments. Either that, or I’ve been on a hell of a lucky streak spanning almost twenty years.

    And don’t get me wrong, wealth isn’t everything. For me it’s just security. It helps me sleep at night knowing that I can easily make it through my impending layoff without tapping retirement dollars. The 50-year old never considered such a possibility. What a crappy lesson to be learned as his retirement must be delayed. And worst of all, it’s gonna bite him a second time when the market recovers and he has nothing left in it.

    I am forever indebted to my parents for teaching me how important investing is. I have already begun to impart the same knowledge on my son who this morning over breakfast asked what the TurboTax DVD is for.

    I told him that we all have to pay for the garbage man and the police and firemen. The DVD helps me make sure I’m paying the correct amount for these community services.

    Ain’t life grand?

  149. Stu says:

    Scribe:

    I agree with your uncle.

    Dink:

    If I ever get laid off, I’m going to write a book called ‘Chique Cheap!’

    Don’t make enough scratch off a blog. Right Grim?

  150. JBJB says:

    “I told him that we all have to pay for the garbage man and the police and firemen.”

    Unfortunately, “we all” don’t pay for these services. A few of us do, and the way things are going, even fewer of us will be.

  151. jmacdaddio says:

    On another blog I came across a hilarious ad for the Ukrainian military:

    http://www.lobalized.com/2009/02/ukranian-army-ad/

    Any bets on which former “brother” nation gets forced back into the Russian fold next? Tanks make effective bill collectors when you don’t pay for your natural gas.

  152. #150 – scribe – …the only thing that pulled us out of the Depression was all of the manufacturing jobs that were created because of the war effort.

    No disparagement to your uncle, but it was the end of the war that pulled us out of the depression. Had the European and Asian manufacturing centers not been destroyed by the conflict, leaving the U.S. as the sole supplier of a vast array of industrial and commercial goods, we would have been right back to where we were before wage/price controls were put into effect.

  153. HEHEHE says:

    You see this bloodbath?

    Nationwide Layoff Watch: Latham Cuts 440 (190 Associates, 250 Staff)

    http://abovethelaw.com/2009/02/latham_lays_off_440.php

  154. zieba says:

    HEHEH,

    bla bla bla… bla bla…. and then there’s this….(!)
    “Latham could also be setting a precedent in the way it is handling its incoming first years. Just after the firm announced the layoffs, Latham sent out an email to incoming first years offering them a $62,000 stipend (plus the standard $13,000 Bar Exam stipend) for deferring their start date until October, 2010:”

    65K to travel the world or pay off a chunk of law school and eat cup o noodles!

  155. ed anger says:

    RE: “I think the Ob*ma plan is to seize the assets of everyone with a net worth of 50K or greater and distribute them to those with nothing.

    Actually, it’s to seize the assets of every US citizen with a net worth of 50K or greater and distribute them to any non US citizen here and abroad.”

    At least RE101 is schtick (you do realize that, don’t you?) – if this fantasy comment and others are indicative of the intellect and understanding of the general public we’re screwed.

    PS – Grim, fine thesis you laid out in the first comment. Deserves more exposition.

  156. Silera says:

    #178- 75K total – I earn a little less than that working 60 hrs a week.

    I really should just drive into the river.

  157. Happy Daze says:

    I have the urge to watch the movie Eastern Promises.

    http://finance.yahoo.com/tech-ticker/article/195065/Europe‘s-Crisis-Much-Bigger-Than-Subprime-Worse-Than-U.S

  158. skep-tic says:

    #157

    “You see this bloodbath?

    Nationwide Layoff Watch: Latham Cuts 440 (190 Associates, 250 Staff)”

    scary– even worse than predicted

  159. Happy Daze says:

    #151

    Call up ProShares and ask them to open an UltraShort Las Vegas ETF.

  160. HEHEHE says:

    There goes that law school option dream for the unemployed.

  161. Stu says:

    “Las vegas is toast based on water issues alone, how does one short a city?”

    I know, I know, give loans to those who can’t afford them?

  162. comrade nom deplume says:

    [133] Kettle

    Not right now. Too busy.

    The Obamunist Manifesto is giving me more work right now than I can shake a stick at. Unless I wanna end up like a Latham associate (and don’t think that won’t hurt their recruiting when (?) things turn around), I have to put in the hours on work for folks that are paying me.

    At least the lawyers (those not involved in commercial transactions, real estate, or deal work) will work out well under Obamunism, at least until all their clients are dead and their corpses have been picked over.

  163. RChase says:

    Re: Clot at 72

    They are really screwing with/alienating the wrong group of people.

  164. chicagofinance says:

    Home-schooling our 2-year old is starting to pay some dividends.

    Hunter told me he was hungry for lunch, so I asked him what he wanted.

    “Papa…..salad….wif brok-lee….organik dressin…”

  165. SG says:

    The Cycle of Market Emotions, revisited

    One ray of hope is the TED Spread, which is the premium over T-bill rates that American banks pay to borrow from each other. The TED spread reached an alarming 4.68% last October but has now dropped below 1%. That’s a good sign. Leith also sees as positive the fact mortgage financings have risen sixfold in the U.S. in recent weeks. U.S. home affordability is now at a record high. “My guess is we are about 75% of the way through the U.S. housing downturn and we could see a bottom some time this year.”

    So when will we know the worst is over and the recovery has begun? Look to America, which was ground zero for the financial crisis. “Because the U.S. is much further along in its economic cycle than the rest of the world, and because the government response came sooner and has been more aggressive, there is a good chance that the U.S. economy will be one of the first to stabilize,” Leith says.

  166. Victorian says:

    Chi (170)-
    ““Papa…..salad….wif brok-lee….organik dressin…””

    Be careful, he is turning into a gin-uh-ine libruhl.

  167. HEHEHE says:

    Leith = delusional

  168. Stu says:

    “gin-uh-ine libruhl.”

    I’d be happy if my son even looked at a salad without cringing. I have convinced him to eat croutons though. You have to start somewhere I suppose.

  169. Alap says:

    My reporting at the White House suggests the answer is a resounding no. Several senior Administration officials are committed cola drinkers, and without fail they spend their days sipping from a can of Diet Coke, a product of Pepsi’s chief competitor, Coca-Cola. On Monday, as members of Congress and key lobbyists filed into a briefing room for the final event of a daylong fiscal summit, they were greeted with an ice chest full of complimentary Diet Coke, not Diet Pepsi. (Montana Democratic Senator Max Baucus was one of many to grab a can.) Hours earlier, at a breakout session with members of Congress in the Indian Treaty Room, Office of Management and Budget Director Peter Orszag handled not one, but two cans of Diet Coke during the nearly two hour session. Larry Summers, Obama’s top economic adviser, rarely walks anywhere in the White House complex without a can of Diet Coke in his hand. He is well known for interrupting conversations to take another swig.

    But these examples do not even constitute the most damning evidence against Pepsi. Late last year, Obama’s nascent Administration worked out of transition offices in a downtown government building, which was serviced by only Pepsi-brand vending machines, according to three people who worked in the building. Two Administration officials have told me that a group of Obama aides, frustrated by the security gauntlet required to go to the corner store, stocked a refrigerator with Diet Coke in open rebellion against the available options. The pattern has continued at the White House. In his West Wing office, like his previous office at Harvard University, Summers has a refrigerator stocked with cans of the decidedly non-Pepsi beverage.

    OMG! The messiah drinks coke. quickly, short Pepsi!

  170. confused in nj says:

    Amazing how many people are ignorant of the true cost of 12M plus illegals in this Country, and the fact that much of the financial bailout money is protecting foreign ownership of US assets.

  171. Victorian says:

    Scribe (150) -
    “My uncle, who lived through the Depression, will tell you that the only thing that pulled us out of the Depression was all of the manufacturing jobs that were created because of the war effort.

    He doesn’t see the point of building schools and roads – non-productive assets”

    I would actually say that the opposite is true. You manufacture a tank/guns/submarine and watch it get destroyed. How is it different from digging/filling holes? Also, once war is over, how is that a productive asset (economically speaking, not geo-politically). I agree that WW2 pulled us out of depression, but viewed dispassionately, it is nothing but government spending.

    Modernizing schools/roads is not productive? Children exposed to better technology will obviously be more in tune with the world we will live in, and can make positive changes in the future.
    Building Roads/Bridges – Just ask this question to the people on the collapsed Minnesota Bridge.

  172. skep-tic says:

    #177

    “You manufacture a tank/guns/submarine and watch it get destroyed. How is it different from digging/filling holes?”

    because this manufacturing capacity can then be switched to make non-miliatary products. though I agree that saying schools/roads are non-productive is weird

  173. Stu says:

    If only we could ‘change’ our curriculum to encourage more free thought and less memorization in these new schools. And maybe, build efficient rail instead of widen roads?

  174. Victorian says:

    “because this manufacturing capacity can then be switched to make non-miliatary products”

    - Good point. I am not in manufacturing, hence would leave it to somebody with more expert knowledge as to how easy/difficult it is to re-tool factories.

    However, this does re-inforce the point that the government “created” these jobs, regardless of the fact that it was for war. If we can achieve the same, without sacrificing lives in the process (war), that would be great.

    However, another point to be considered is that war did kill off a lot of working age population. This might have created a shortage of labor in the private industry. On the flip side, war also did reduce demand worldwide. This is a difficult question to answer. Any other thoughts?

  175. Victorian says:

    Wow! I did not realize this – but we are just 100 odd points away from a 6 handle on the DOW.

    Whoa!

  176. reinvestor101 says:

    Lady, don’t get cute with me. You have no idea who you’re messing with.

    I’ll gladly answer your question this time and this time only. I never support big government under any circumstances. The government needs to be as itsy bitsy as possible while the invisible hand needs to be a big as possible. Small government and a enormous big hand–that’s the ticket for economic recovery (…and natural male enhancement).

    Now don’t ask me any more questions. I’m not here to educate you.

    Pat says:
    February 27, 2009 at 10:55 am
    re, could you clarify in which situations you do not support big govt. (obviously healthcare) and in which situations (i.e., ass-in-a-sling) you approve?

  177. jcer says:

    We need to invest in infrastructure. Anything that will make American business, or moreover American manufacturing more competitive with abroad. Transportation and telecommunications are a big part of this, lets face fact America came out of WWII a power not only because they had the only manufacturing left but also because it was efficient and the us still had good infrastructure as opposed to Europe where the infrastructure was crazy old and bombed out and the factories were bombed out. Obama’s plan will fail as we can never spend enough government money to reignite consumption of goods and services it is like pissing on a fire. Same goes for tax cuts, rebates, etc. I am sick of the stimulus from both sides being a partisan gift to their constituents. We need to the build the infrastructure we need, we need to try to limit military expenses, soldiers in IRAQ are not helping the economy, we need to increase our domestic product as a global economic malaise is coming we can not be wholly dependent on international trade. We have sat back for the last 30-40 years and watched our country be sold to the highest bidder and our hope for change is this clown Obama?

  178. sas says:

    “how does one short a city?”

    this can be done, and is done all the time, just you don’t see “whats under the hood”.

    SAS

  179. sas says:

    an explanation is way out of the scope of this blog.

    but, its along the lines of a “pump & dump”

    SAS

  180. sas says:

    and they won’t teach you these things at your little Ivy League school, or your wee MBA.

    :)
    SAS

  181. sas says:

    hey reinvestor101,

    nice to see you back.
    hope all is well.

    I love CO2
    SAS

  182. Kettle1 says:

    If only we could ‘change’ our curriculum to encourage more free thought and less memorization in these new schools. And maybe, build efficient rail instead of widen roads?

    ROFLMAO

    lets see, we would wipe out the auto industry as it exists today, cause an entire restructuring of US society into something more akin to the Village Hub spoke model in europe, wipe out the standardized testing industry, force our society to acknowledge that different people have different capacities for success, kill network news CNN Fox, wipe out the consumer economy (well not really that already killed itself), and force politicians to have more substance then what their last name might be or what church they went to.

    LOL, your a funny guy

  183. reinvestor101 says:

    Look, I’ve had it up to here with you. A fresh faced young punk like you should be paying his damn taxes and not using Turbo tax to evade his obligations. Moreover, to teach your son how to do this is simply outrageous.

    I hope you get hit with AMT or better yet, an IRS audit. There’s no doubt you’re a tax cheat in addition to being an unrepetant cheapskate.

    I am forever indebted to my parents for teaching me how important investing is. I have already begun to impart the same knowledge on my son who this morning over breakfast asked what the TurboTax DVD is for.

    I told him that we all have to pay for the garbage man and the police and firemen. The DVD helps me make sure I’m paying the correct amount for these community services.

    Ain’t life grand?

  184. Kettle1 says:

    SAS

    Hmmmmmm, i need to buy you a drink and learn a thing or two then…

    I could add a few cities to that list

  185. Kettle1 says:

    Reinvestor

    I used the Giethner edition of turbo tax, is that ok???

  186. chicagofinance says:

    skep-tic says:
    February 27, 2009 at 10:01 am
    Chicago– On the 401k issue from last night– my employer doesn’t match contributions. This is usual practice for attorneys at big firms from what I can tell. So by not contributing, I am only giving up the tax deferral, which as I explained last night, I am doubtful as to whether this outweighs all of the other downsides at this point.

    skep: If so, then you should use Roth 401(k) option. You are in the same position today, and all future investment gains are not taxed.

    No Roth 401(k), then wait until 1/1/2010 and accumulate all IRA balances and convert them to Roths. I think 2010 is the last huurah for high income earners for a good long time.

  187. reinvestor101 says:

    You know, it’s funny how these damn liberals want to raise taxes on every damn body, yet don’t want to pay them themselves. He’s another young fresh faced punk who has no business being treasury secretary. Paulson paid his damn taxes. Bush paid his taxes. Rove paid his damn taxes. How is it that punks like Stu and Geithner don’t want to pay theirs?

    Kettle1 says:
    February 27, 2009 at 1:40 pm
    Reinvestor

    I used the Giethner edition of turbo tax, is that ok???

  188. Stu says:

    RE,

    No AMT for me this year. Not sure why, but I’ll take it. And as for cheating on my taxes. NOPE! Never been audited and doubt I ever will. My Fed form is close to 52 pages. This usually keeps them away. I depreciate everything, cause I’m cheap. Only wish it wasn’t over 27 years!

    I don’t need no invisible hand providing me a rub and tug neither. I can take care of my own bad self.

    Going out to dinner with the Gator tonight. Paid $1.50 for a certificate good for $25 off a $35 meal. Enjoy your whopper w/ cheese. I’m sure you’ll pay more for it than we will on our 3 course Mediterranean feast.

  189. chicagofinance says:

    skep-tic says:
    February 27, 2009 at 10:06 am
    also, re: 401k brokerage accounts: concept unavailable to me and anyway, have to get approval to trade in individual stocks due to high potential for inside information inherent in my job. Most people who do this sort of thing go through blind trusts, but obviously I am not wealthy enough to make this sort of thing worthwhile at this point

    skep: you can use sector ETFs or else….”get approval”….just because you NEED approval doesn’t mean that you cannot get it….

  190. sas says:

    “i need to buy you a drink and learn a thing or two then”

    its hard for the individual. involves more of a collabration.

    I have to run to my dermatologist for my screening.

    perhaps, i we can dabble with this topic later.

    BTW: I am also starting to lean, that the baby boomer generation may also have undergone one hell of a pump & dump. Too early to tell, now at this point, I am not ruling it out.

    Cheerio
    SAS

  191. Stu says:

    No Roth 401(k), then wait until 1/1/2010 and accumulate all IRA balances and convert them to Roths. I think 2010 is the last huurah for high income earners for a good long time.

    Can not wait to reclassify! I really could use another deduction for 2008 though. I owe way more than I have ever owed before and that is even with $20K worth of improvements in the rental unit. On the bright side, my 10% salary cut should lower my tax bracket next year keeping me away from AMT for a while longer.

  192. zieba says:

    Stu,

    I haven’t been able to find any decent restaurants in NNJ/NYC which accept those certificates. Which one will you be redeeming at?

    ebay live dot com cash back is back. Currently at 8%. There is some money to be made if you can get gold bullion at 25% before the dealers have a chance to jack up the prices.

  193. Outofstater says:

    Anyone have a guess as to what is propping up this market? It makes no sense.

  194. jcer says:

    Zieba, La Fusta(Argentinian) on 1&9 in North Bergen Takes those certificates. Good food, bizarre location.

  195. Shore Guy says:

    Jumping salted nuts Batman:

    http://www.cnbc.com/id/29425513

  196. Stu says:

    Mediterranea tonight in Montclair.

    Dine code gives you 80% off the $10 for $25 restaurant.com certificate. Then Upromise gives me 15% back into the 529K. Credit card gives me 3% back on both the certificate and what we’ll pay for dinner. When you get lucky, I-Dine will give you another 8% off the restaurant bill, not to mention open table, which sometimes gives you $10 towards a $50 open table gift certificate. Then, sometimes Discover Card gives you 5% off instead of 3% I get back in Thank You points I get from Citi which I use 1 for 1 for air travel.

    Got all that?

  197. Shore Guy says:

    “Roths”

    Nice idea but the income limits are too restrictive.

  198. KaPoom says:

    Oh joy!

    The “Citizens Protection Act” has been introduced in the New Jersey State Legislature (Bill A1282).

    This would allow concealed firearms to be carried by permit carrying civilians as currently available in about 30 other states.

    Please email your legislator urging them to support this bill. It’s easy and it only takes 5 mins.

    Go to: http://www.njleg.state.nj.us

    click on “find your legislator”
    under “search legislative members by” click on “municipality”
    click on your town and then click on your district #
    click on your senator’s name then click “contact your legislator”
    select all 3 people in the box and click “select your representative”
    fill out the form and then write (or copy/paste) the following:

    email subject: Please support A1282

    Message: I strongly support concealed carry for the purpose of personal defense and the deterrence of crime in the State of New Jersey. I urge you to support our constitutional right to self defense. Please support bill A1282.

    It only takes a few minutes and maybe our voice can be heard.
    Please support concealed carry reform in NJ.

  199. SG says:

    On all this talk about infrastructure investment for 21st century, I think US is already lagging behind in many respect.

    One area where US was inventor and leader was Telecom, Cell networks and Internet. Today even small states in India are ahead compared to US. I was surprised the India already has lot of Wimax deployments, vs we don’t hear anything in US. I am still paying $45 to cable company for broadband internet. The indian counterparts pay about $15 for Internet.

    http://www.telegeography.com/cu/article.php?article_id=27470&email=html

  200. Stu says:

    “Anyone have a guess as to what is propping up this market? It makes no sense.”

    A lot of hot air. The black day will come. Be patient.

  201. Shore Guy says:

    “Dine code gives you 80% off the $10 for $25 restaurant.com certificate. Then Upromise gives me 15% back into the 529K. Credit card gives me 3% back on both the certificate and what we’ll pay for dinner. When you get lucky, I-Dine will give you another 8% off the restaurant bill, not to mention open table, which sometimes gives you $10 towards a $50 open table gift certificate. Then, sometimes Discover Card gives you 5% off instead of 3% I get back in Thank You points I get from Citi which I use 1 for 1 for air travel”

    Paying full price and saving all of the effort: Priceless.

  202. chicagofinance says:

    Victorian says:
    February 27, 2009 at 1:05 pm
    Chi (170)-
    ““Papa…..salad….wif brok-lee….organik dressin…””

    Be careful, he is turning into a gin-uh-ine libruhl.

    Vic: No way. He’s the only kid on the block with an illustrated pop-up book by Friedrich von Hayek.

  203. Stu says:

    “Paying full price and saving all of the effort: Priceless.”

    No effort whatsoever. That’s the beauty of it!

  204. zieba says:

    SRE: 208

    The restaurant.com deal saves you 80% all that is required is that you purchase a certificate. Granted, the rest of this rube goldber-eque setup is for diehards only.

  205. chicagofinance says:

    Stu says:
    February 27, 2009 at 1:55 pm
    “Anyone have a guess as to what is propping up this market? It makes no sense.”
    A lot of hot air. The black day will come. Be patient.

    OR the hedge funds have shot their load for the 1Q09….

  206. yikes says:

    just digging into today’s comments … but wow, this story is scary

    REPO MEN vs. CAR OWNERS

    shootouts, violence

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090227/ap_on_re_us/repo_violence

  207. Outofstater says:

    #207 It seems like more than that to me. It’s been weird for months. Human nature doesn’t change. Fear and greed are still powerful but this slow motion descent of 50% is just unnatural. Going out to look for black helicopters now…

  208. reinvestor101 says:

    You need an invisible hand slapping you upside your head for all the disrespect you’ve shown here

    You just publicy announced on this damn board that you wrote off a damn kitchen repair on your damn rental unit when it should have been depreciated. Hell, I suspect that you did the repair most likely to the part you live in and you attributed it to the rental unit and that means you’re trying to pull a damn Leona Helmsley.

    Guess what youngster? You’re not going to get away with that little tax cheat stunt. I’m turning you in. Of course, we don’t have to go this route if you cooperate. Did I hear you say you wanted to give me that damn dinner coupon?

    Stu says:
    February 27, 2009 at 1:46 pm
    RE,

    No AMT for me this year. Not sure why, but I’ll take it. And as for cheating on my taxes. NOPE! Never been audited and doubt I ever will. My Fed form is close to 52 pages. This usually keeps them away. I depreciate everything, cause I’m cheap. Only wish it wasn’t over 27 years!

    I don’t need no invisible hand providing me a rub and tug neither. I can take care of my own bad self.

    Going out to dinner with the Gator tonight. Paid $1.50 for a certificate good for $25 off a $35 meal. Enjoy your whopper w/ cheese. I’m sure you’ll pay more for it than we will on our 3 course Mediterranean feast

  209. SG says:

    Intel Downplays U.S. WiMax Adoption

    Nations such as Japan, India, Russia, South Korea, and countries in Europe and Africa are moving aggressively to deploy the fourth-generation wireless communication and data service, according to Sean Maloney, executive VP and chief sales and marketing officer for Intel. Maloney stressed that WiMax and the deployment of broadband for accessing the Internet in general is a “global issue.”

    What I find amusing in this area is lack of competition in US. Normally there is only provider and you are stuck with it.

  210. yikes says:

    clot -

    Mossberg claims the Model 500 is the only shotgun to pass the US Army’s Mil-Spec 3443E test, “a brutal and unforgiving torture test with 3,000 rounds of full power 12 gauge buckshot”. (The updated 3443G specification requires a metal trigger guard, so only the Model 590A1 variants, which have a heavier barrel and use metal trigger groups instead of the standard Model 500′s plastic trigger groups, will fit the requirements.[2])

    nice

  211. Pat says:

    shore says, “paying full price…”

    shore, haven’t you realized yet that it’s the thrill of the hunt?

  212. yikes says:

    morgan was on fire last night, clot

    My biggest warning to everyone has been the destruction of fiduciary money – pension funds, endowments, trusts, charities, etc. The boys on Wall Street have r@ped these funds and filled them with junk. Junk in the form of bogus joint ventures, overpriced assets and derivatives that generated huge commissions. As this unfolds, we will enter something akin to anarchy. In fact, we are at the precipice of anarchy right now.

  213. comrade nom deplume says:

    [204] Shore,

    In 2010, the income restrictions come off for conversions. So for the past few years, I have been plumping up my IRAs with nondeductible contributions.

    In 2010, I convert them to Roths, and only the portion previously untaxed is now taxed, without penalty, upon conversion. Since these funds have gotten beaten down, it is an optimal time to move them.

  214. reinvestor101 says:

    Look, don’t post this sort of stuff. I suspect that this guy Morgan is either Kettle or sas because he likes to scare the shlt out of everyone. Look, everyone is on pins and needles already and we can’t handle much more of these rumors.

    yikes says:
    February 27, 2009 at 2:11 pm
    morgan was on fire last night, clot

    My biggest warning to everyone has been the destruction of fiduciary money – pension funds, endowments, trusts, charities, etc. The boys on Wall Street have r@ped these funds and filled them with junk. Junk in the form of bogus joint ventures, overpriced assets and derivatives that generated huge commissions. As this unfolds, we will enter something akin to anarchy. In fact, we are at the precipice of anarchy right now

  215. Clotpoll says:

    tard (182)-

    …unless it’s bailing out your sorry ass.

    “I never support big government under any circumstances.”

  216. Stu says:

    “In 2010, I convert them to Roths, and only the portion previously untaxed is now taxed, without penalty, upon conversion. Since these funds have gotten beaten down, it is an optimal time to move them.”

    Nom…Same strategy employed here to the T.

    RE: When I say write off over 27 years, that should equate to depreciation. And $5,000 sans appliances ain’t no repair…it’s an improvement. No wonder you’re broke!

  217. #219 – The boys on Wall Street have r@ped these funds and filled them with junk.

    Isn’t this almost an open secret at this point? The only people, seemingly, not in on it are the pensioners and future retirees.

  218. Shore Guy says:

    “Anyone have a guess as to what is propping up this market? It makes no sense.”

    Big ben sucking from above and Timmy G blowing from below?

  219. Barbara says:

    maybe ww2 and The Great Depression just don’t apply to the current sitch. We love this time in American history and in good times and in bad, we over use and abuse its lessons.
    Justine.

  220. Stu says:

    “The only people, seemingly, not in on it are the pensioners and future retirees.”

    Such as the NJ State workers who are aware that Corzine has decided to stop funding their pensions indefinitely, yet no one even said boo. Take away their extra day off after Thanksgiving and they virtually stormed the state house in Trenton.

    Morons…all of them!

  221. Clotpoll says:

    jcer (201)-

    Restaurants that take certificates like that won’t be around within 6-12 months. Those things are like the restaurant industry’s version of crack.

  222. Kettle1 says:

    “Anyone have a guess as to what is propping up this market? It makes no sense.”

    Hope?!

    isnt that why we elected Big daddy O? Everyone is hoping that they can find an empty closet to hide the corpses in and then everyone can go back to partying

  223. Stu says:

    “Restaurants that take certificates like that won’t be around within 6-12 months.”

    I disagree Clot. In good times, you are more correct. In bad times, they have no choice! Now the coupons in the Entertainment book for fine dining. They are the true death knell.

  224. Kettle1 says:

    Uh-oh The BOE is now having to say “we are not zimbabwe”. That sounds a lot like “we are well capitalized”

    Mervyn King, the Governor of the Bank of England, has said it is “impossible to say” how much capital will be required to shore up the British banking system….

    …But, he added, that was a “million miles” away from the idea that Britain in any way resembled somewhere like Zimbabwe….

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/banksandfinance/4838106/Mervyn-King-Impossible-to-say-how-much-capital-needed-to-shore-up-banking-system.html

  225. JBJB says:

    “He’s the only kid on the block with an illustrated pop-up book by Friedrich von Hayek.”

    LMAO, don’t be so sure.

  226. Barbara says:

    Stu,
    I love that little greek dump next to the Mexican restaurant, (in Montclair)the old diner. Best gyro platter ever. OMG I’m so hungry

  227. Clotpoll says:

    yikes (217)-

    You should see what that sucker can do with 00 buckshot. One mean shotgun…and easy to conceal under a fashionable topcoat, to boot. :)

  228. Stu says:

    Recently sold my kid carrier (Kelty) on Craigslist. Listed it at $80. Ended up getting negotiated down to $50. Buyer met me at a Starbucks in Millburn after work yesterday for the exchange. Buyer drove up in a Benz SUV. Didn’t buy a coffee nor did I. I was truly impressed!

  229. zieba says:

    This is only kosher if said ML was purchased on CL/wholesale at an equivalent discount to market.

  230. Victorian says:

    If you think the taxpayer is going to make money out of these deals, think again..

    Taxpayer Beware: Bank Bailout Will Hurt

    It’s a one-page research note from an economist at Deutsche Bank, and it outlines in the clearest terms the kind of solution many bankers are looking for. The basic message: We should forget trying to get a good deal for taxpayers because even trying will hurt.

    The research note offers a solution any banker would love: The government should “estimate the highest price it can pay for the various toxic assets on financial institution balance sheets,” then pay that price to buy them.

    Another economist, Simon Johnson, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sloan School of Management, wrote about this note on his blog.

    “This is a robbery note!” Johnson says. “It’s saying, ‘Guys, either you’ll have 20 percent unemployment or national debt will go up to these dangerous levels, unless you buy toxic assets — not for what they’re worth, not for what the market price is, as much as you can pay.’ ”

    Johnson says his “first reaction was: ‘It’s a spoof.’ My second reaction was: ‘Oh my God.’ ”

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=101224460

  231. yikes says:

    reinvestor101 says:
    February 27, 2009 at 2:18 pm

    Look, don’t post this sort of stuff. I suspect that this guy Morgan is either Kettle or sas because he likes to scare the shlt out of everyone. Look, everyone is on pins and needles already and we can’t handle much more of these rumors.

    eat my ass, buddy.

    prepare yourself or don’t, i could care less. morgan’s been right about … well, lots of stuff over the last few years.

    you, on the other hand, have a track record that is worthless.

  232. Stu says:

    Victorian…nice find.

  233. Stu says:

    “you, on the other hand, have a track record that is worthless.”

    Actually, that would be less than worthless, if you assume that RE101 is leveraged.

  234. Stu says:

    “Reports indicate General Electric (GE 9.00, -0.10) has slashed its quarterly dividend to $0.10 per share from $0.31 per share. In the past, the company had attempted to reassure investors that the dividend was safe, but then issued statements indicating the company would revisit its dividend as necessary.

    In turn, many analysts were anticipating a dividend cut.

    It is estimated the dividend cut could save the company some $9 billion annually, which will help protect the company’s AAA credit rating.”

  235. Stu says:

    Look at C, BAC…

    Oh dear!

  236. Alap says:

    “eat my ass, buddy”

    ah..quote of the day.

  237. Kettle1 says:

    stu,

    give C a break, they are still above $1. they cost about as much as a cup of coffee

  238. Stu says:

    I think the GE drop is the one that will hit home with the sheeple. They are not aware that GE is a bank just yet. They will be made aware through a bailout soon enough.

  239. SG says:

    The Economic Outlook: 2012 and beyond

    The worst is not; So long as we can say, “This is the worst.” (William Shakespeare)

    Its really good article, here are some excerpts From conclusion part,

    So as the economic downturn continues we can see two things: the interest on US treasuries increase substantially to make it attractive and or printing money. Printing money is not so farfetched as many would like to believe. Already countries that cannot find willing lenders are resorting to this.

    So far, all governments are reducing their interest rates to historic lows and at the same time spending a lot of money that they don’t have. It will take at least two more years for the economy to stabilise. Here we should note that by stabilise I mean an arrest in decline rather than outright growth. Once that point is reached we will begin to see the effects of the loose monetary policy: a tremendous rise in inflation which can be accompanied by low economic growth or in other words stagflation.

    Once again I restate my earlier arguments: we need a new “Bretten Woods” agreement where we can address the existing problems and restructure the world’s economic system. If we don’t do this, and soon, we will face protectionism, low economic growth, and even trade wars. We have ignored this problem for a long time and are now paying the price. What would the price be if we continue to ignore the existing systemic problems?

  240. Stu says:

    “What would the price be if we continue to ignore the existing systemic problems?”

    Armageddon, 50 billion at a time.

  241. #249 – I think it’s been brought up before, but regarding your article; Is the dollar’s strength due to flight to safety or the unwinding of dollar denominated contracts creating demand?
    If it’s the later, once the demand wanes we have a problem.

  242. Kettle1 says:

    SG,

    the US wont partake in a new bretton woods. Any such deal would require the US dollar to no longer be the sole global reserve currency. This change will happen anyway, but the US isnt going to go quietly.

  243. #251 – Agreed, on all points.

  244. Clotpoll says:

    stu (246)-

    I think AIG’s 60bn daisy-cutter may register on the sheeple this Monday.

    GE loses money the old-fashioned way: in dribs and drabs.

    Although I think the coming commercial RE collapse may accelerate the losses.

    I now make the bold prediction (channeling bi) that some idiot talking head will call for the return of Neutron Jack.

  245. Clotpoll says:

    tosh (250)-

    …then, we have a problem.

    I love the talking heads who think the move into USD is safe havening. My 15 y/o daughter is smarter than that.

  246. Clotpoll says:

    vodka (251)-

    No, we won’t go quietly. We won’t go at all until every nation on Earth has imported its full share of our two major toxic exports: debt and inflation.

  247. comrade nom deplume says:

    [223] Stu

    I wondered what RE was carping about. You are following tax law properly, near as I can tell. In fact, you may be shorting yourself as some of the depreciation rules are quite liberal for certain equipment purchases. Not for fixtures but that lawnmower and rake you buy to keep the place up, that should be eligible Section 179 property.

  248. Hubba says:

    Bets on a 6 handle before the close?

  249. Clotpoll says:

    Muzzle watch, Stu.

  250. Stu says:

    Section 179 is utilized just fine (Snowblower, electric leaf blower, lawnmower, etc.). Trust me, I weigh RE’s advice just slightly more than I weigh that of Mr. Essex.

  251. Clotpoll says:

    Hubba (257)-

    If we do, I’m all in on a Black Monday call.

  252. comrade nom deplume says:

    [254] clot,

    Hence my heavy move into commodities:

    Wine, booze, diapers and the 3 “b”s (Beans, Bullion and Bullets).

    Folks ask if I invest in metals. I say yes: Lead, Brass and Gun.

    That, and stockpiling anything I think will appreciate dramatically in price due to shortages, inflation, etc.

    They can’t raise prices on things you already own.

  253. Stu says:

    Clot. The muzzle will be applied soon enough. No rush.

  254. comrade nom deplume says:

    [259] stu,

    Funny, Essex was sounding a lot like you earlier in the week.

  255. Stu says:

    “Funny, Essex was sounding a lot like you earlier in the week.”

    I owed it to a momentary lapse of sanity.

  256. Clotpoll says:

    Essex want a milkbone?

    I just like saying that.

  257. Stu says:

    Clot…Is the market open?

  258. comrade nom deplume says:

    May finally have a Nompound in sight.

    A 58 acre property in NEPA that meets all of my criteria and then some (wasn’t looking for the tennis court and pool but they are included). A bit pricey but the existing guesthouse and outbuildings mean no additional capital cost.

    I had planned on finding 11 unrelated co-owners, for a total of 12 people. Estimated upfront investment is 60K for property, acquisition-related costs, and a reserve, with estimated annual upkeep and reserve of $1,200 per partner, which would be reduced by income from farming, horse-boarding, and/or seasonal rentals.

    I figure that, due to existence of main house and guesthouse, each partner gets a total of 2 months exclusive use during non-TEOTWAWKI periods for personal use or rental income.

    Not gonna get rich off of it, but for access to arable land, timber, shelter, and periodic recreational use, for 2K per year over 30 years (or less if income production is good), I figure this is a better use of my dollars than parking them at Citibank.

    At the very least, it provides a GTG topic. So, as stu said, flame away.

  259. Stu says:

    My bad ;)

  260. Stu says:

    Nom,

    First thing we should do is fill the pool with Jello. Once can never have to much Jello.

  261. reinvestor101 says:

    Please. This youngster is abusing the damn IRS. He said he deducted the entire damn kitchen renovation as a repair when it was a person item. He is not following the law. He’s abusing the damn law. Hell, he even admitted to writing off his damn lawn equipment 100%. That’s bullspit.

    He needs to spend some time in the slammer.

    comrade nom deplume says:
    February 27, 2009 at 3:19 pm
    [223] Stu

    I wondered what RE was carping about. You are following tax law properly, near as I can tell. In fact, you may be shorting yourself as some of the depreciation rules are quite liberal for certain equipment purchases. Not for fixtures but that lawnmower and rake you buy to keep the place up, that should be eligible Section 179 property.

  262. Stu says:

    RE…Give it up. I depreciate 50% of all shared items such as the lawn mower. The Bathroom/kitchen redos I get back about $500 per year for 27 years. I did put out almost $20K for the two improvements. But you are the expert in RE investment!

  263. Stu says:

    C and BAC closed at their lows of the day. Crazy!

  264. Sastry says:

    reinvestor101 #271 says:

    He needs to spend some time in the slammer.
    —–
    I don’t want my taxes to be used for incarcerating people. You don’t want to pay any taxes. So, whose money will support it?

  265. All Hype says:

    So today was the last day for me at my job. I did not even have a chance to look at the markets and the business news. My job loss is better news than the rest of the economy. Who wudda thunk it!

  266. skep-tic says:

    #268

    since there is a strong liklihood that the people on this board will be among the first to accept cannibalism once the end times come (post-Memorial Day?), such a partnership may be hard for some to swallow.

  267. reinvestor101 says:

    I think you’re lying and the only way to tell is for you to post the damn tax returns so we all can see what the hell you’re doing. As a matter of fact, I’ll take it one step further and demand that you post them and post them right now.

    Everybody…now watch him refuse to do it. That’s prima facie evidence that he’s a liar and a damn tax cheat.

    It’s very distressing to me the nature of today’s youth.

    Stu says:
    February 27, 2009 at 3:53 pm
    RE…Give it up. I depreciate 50% of all shared items such as the lawn mower. The Bathroom/kitchen redos I get back about $500 per year for 27 years. I did put out almost $20K for the two improvements. But you are the expert in RE investment!

  268. Stu says:

    Wow…that sucks All Hype. Go have a drink with Gary ;) He’ll cheer ya up!

  269. Stu says:

    re…You are a trip!

    I bet when you finally reveal yourself, you’ll look something like this

    http://tinyurl.com/REinvestor101

  270. #275 – Hopefully you’ll find a new gig soon, if you haven’t already.

    You’re not at a hedge in Stamford that had back office lay-offs today, are you?

  271. Stu says:

    “As a matter of fact, I’ll take it one step further and demand that you post them and post them right now.”

    You’ll have to wait until I run for high office. Want to be my campaign manager?

  272. reinvestor101 says:

    Small government privitizing jails is a proper function, particularly when it comes to warehousing wayward youth like Stu here. As to who pays for it, hell let’s just charge Stu. Hell, he’s stolen enough, so it’s only right that he pays.

    Sastry says:
    February 27, 2009 at 4:02 pm
    reinvestor101 #271 says:

    He needs to spend some time in the slammer.
    —–
    I don’t want my taxes to be used for incarcerating people. You don’t want to pay any taxes. So, whose money will support it?

  273. Clotpoll says:

    Stu (273)-

    S&P busted under 740 at the close. Black Monday looms.

  274. Bob21 says:

    skep-tic says:
    February 27, 2009 at 4:05 pm
    #268

    since there is a strong liklihood that the people on this board will be among the first to accept cannibalism once the end times come (post-Memorial Day?), such a partnership may be hard for some to swallow.

    I for one will never resort to cannibalism. A large stockpile of canned goods will do the trick. I hope things don’t fall apart prior to the next NFL season. I would love to see the Giants win another Super Bowl before the country falls apart completely.

  275. Clotpoll says:

    Stu (278)-

    I think Gary has moved to an all-Clonopin after-hours regime.

  276. I for one will never resort to cannibalism.

    Cannibalism? Let’s not get too extreme.

    ….I bet the Quant development team would be tasty.

  277. scribe says:

    tosh, vic

    My uncle’s point is that we need to have manufacturing jobs that produce jobs into the future. Not just build a bridge or a school, and what then?

    Supposedly, the period of time between 2002 and 2007 was the worst ever for the creation of new jobs.

    Tosh – yes, we benefitted from the destruction in the rest of the world.

    But between the crash of ’29 and the start of WW II, my uncle saw all of the efforts to lift the economy out of the Depression, and he says they didn’t work.

    My grandparents owned a mom-and-pop grocery store, but no one had any money. They would get scrip from the county to buy basic things like potatoes and onions, and my grandparents would sign those over to the wholesaler to get more food.

    What my uncle is saying – basically – is that he agrees with Schiff in that he believes we have to get back to making real goods.

  278. we have to get back to making real goods.

    No argument there, I may have been nitpicking earlier.

  279. NJGator says:

    Barbara – Have you tried out Greek Taverna on Bloomfield Ave? A little more upscale, but the food is even better.

    Little Greek Dump – aka Greek Delights is moving to Bloomfield Ave as well – to the space formerly occupied by the Soda Pop Shop.

  280. reinvestor101 says:

    This is the one thing from Morgan’s blog I agree with, but unfortunately, we’re not talking about the same people.

    Somebody has stolen my house value and I either want that value back or somebody’s head should roll.

    Unless we go after the economic terrorist and claw the money back, we will see violence on an unprecedented scale this year. We didn’t have huge shopping malls in 1969, but the downtown shops were all looted and burned. I saw it first hand in Asbury Park, New Jersey. That was 40 years ago . . . one Biblical generation. The malls will be looted and destroyed. Grocery stores the same. I do not see anyway to avoid this . . . IF we stay on the same course we are on.

  281. make money says:

    NBA-No Bejmamins League,

    really cool stuff connecting the economy and it’s fans with players, owners, sponsors, trades..etc

    nice peace of journalism.

    http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=simmons/090227

  282. All Hype says:

    toshiro_mifune says:
    February 27, 2009 at 4:10 pm
    #275 – Hopefully you’ll find a new gig soon, if you haven’t already.

    You’re not at a hedge in Stamford that had back office lay-offs today, are you?
    _______________________________________

    I work in Pharma. I will be fine. I got a great severance and I have 2 interviews next week. Just tough leaving some great people.

    Life goes on….

  283. chicagofinance says:

    Hype: I know pharma/biotech people in NJ/Bos…..let me know if you need any leads after next week…..

  284. scribe says:

    Reinvestor, you said:

    It’s very distressing to me the nature of today’s youth.

    Re,

    It’s very distressing to me, too. I am counting on young people like you to take to the streets and take back the economy from the banking oligarchs, while ending the war in Iraq.

  285. Shore Guy says:

    Wow. The Dow finished above 7,000 for the week. I wonder when that will happen again.

  286. Sastry says:

    Stu says:
    February 27, 2009 at 4:10 pm

    “As a matter of fact, I’ll take it one step further and demand that you post them and post them right now.”

    You’ll have to wait until I run for high office. Want to be my campaign manager?

    ———
    Stu, what is your take on the Limbaughs and O’Reillies of the world pontificating on O’s birth certificate?

  287. chicagofinance says:

    Stu says:
    February 27, 2009 at 2:30 pm
    Recently sold my kid carrier (Kelty) on Craigslist. Listed it at $80. Ended up getting negotiated down to $50. Buyer met me at a Starbucks in Millburn after work yesterday for the exchange.

    Stu: I need to sell a Whirlpool washer & dryer. What would you suggest?

  288. Sastry says:

    scribe says:
    I am counting on young people like you to take to the streets and take back the economy from the banking oligarchs, while ending the war in Iraq.
    —-
    At least the war is ending … 2010, “end of the mission” :)

  289. Kettle1 says:

    shore 295

    2033?

  290. Nicholas says:

    On the topic of WiMax and the US adoption of the technology.

    I think that one of the major reasons that we are behind the curve in adoption of this 4G wireless broadband capability is because the only available WiMax testing laboratory is in Asia.

    In order for countries in the Americas to test and certify their WiMax equipment they need to travel to the other side of the planet, this does not make good economic sense.

    I think we will soon see a WiMax testing and certification facility emerge in the US soon.

    I know more but I won’t tell you…

  291. Qwerty says:

    CNBC’s “House of Cards” airs again this weekend. Missing this report is detrimental to your financial health.

    http://www.cnbc.com/id/28892719

    THE HOUSE OF CARDS
    CNBC presents the definitive report on the defining story of our time. CNBC correspondent David Faber investigates the origins of the global economic crisis, with first person accounts from home buyers, mortgage brokers, investment bankers and investors – most of whom let greed blind them, leading to the greatest financial collapse since the Great Depression.

    SHOW TIMES
    Sunday, March 1st Midnight ET
    Sunday, March 15th 9p ET

  292. grim says:

    BFF? OMG!

  293. Barbara says:

    I think reinvestor is a Wally George throwback. Fun!

  294. Stu says:

    Sastry:
    “Stu, what is your take on the Limbaughs and O’Reillies of the world pontificating on O’s birth certificate?”

    Ratings. Nothing more, nothing less. It is good though for opposing viewpoints to exist.

    ChiFi: Washer and Dryer are a tougher sell due to their size of course. See if your landlord will buy ‘em from ya at a discount. Otherwise it’s Craigslist or bust. Then list ‘em on FreeCycle and they’ll go like hot cakes, if your objective is simply to get rid of ‘em.

  295. Barbara says:

    ChiFi,
    if they are in really good shape, price them at 1/2 the current brand new going and they will sell in no time imo.

  296. safeashouses says:

    #246 Stu,

    I think Immelt is getting advice from Baghdad Bob or Fuld

    1) He claimed they were going to hit their numbers near the end of the 2nd qrt(I think) of 08 and was wrong.

    2) Claimed they were self-funded then had to get cash from Buffet

    3) Claimed he was going to protect the dividend and AAA rating. Now dividend is 10 cents.

  297. Stu says:

    Yes, I remember all of those calls on GE as well.

    I gave a huge presentation today for a project in which I utilized six sigma techniques. Could not help but stop thinking of GE and how far they have fallen every time I mentioned defaults for per million opportunities and other such benchmark comparison metrics. Been cramming for this presentation for a week now.

    Time to relax, pop open a nice Chappellet and kick back with the Gator over some nice seafood sans the little guy. Life returns at 8:30pm when Parent’s survival night at the Little Gym ends :P

  298. safeashouses says:

    Also the US is behind East Asia for cell phones, cameras, and other electronics.

    It’s amazing the cameras and phones our visitors from Taiwan have.

    My sister-in-law looked at the “cutting edge” phone my wife got from AT&T and said they quit selling that in Taiwan 2 or 3 years ago.

    The US leads the world in debt, inflation, and ignorant lard a$$es.

  299. spam spam bacon spam says:

    77: Stu says:
    How much does the SAT test cost now? $45 a pop at about 99% profit margin? Let’s try to get those suckers to take the exam ten times.

    **********************
    My partner writes tests VERY similar to SAT tests and I can tell you it’s VERY expensive to write a test like that. He only gets travel, expenses and a $200/day stipend, but the amount of WORK that goes into every question is enormous.

    I’ve heard that the non-profit test company spends he works for spends about 100K per QUESTION when all the math is done…

    He doesn’t just “write” a question.
    He comes up with one to fit a certain criteria (“what” are we testing, etc) and then if it passes muster, it goes on the test as a pre-test question (is asked, but answer doesn’t count) and then based upon metrics, is either brought forward as a question whose answer is counted or tossed out.

    He does multiple tests a year, each test is updated every 5 years.

    [Just bringing forth some info for ya.]

    (and yeah, the test company he does this for charges $45 to sign up and $10 per test… and if you pass you are certified for 5 years…it is cheap…)

  300. Stu says:

    Our Bugaboo is listed on sale at Craigslist and so far, not a single bid. Three years ago, this thing would have been bid up like a POS colonial in Montclair. Oh well…I suppose I’ll lower the price by $100 and if that doesn’t work…EBAY!

  301. Stu says:

    I hear ya on the SAT tests, but $45 per student/not to mention the PSATs is criminal. How many students per year take one of these two. Has to be somewhere in the 5 million range. Multiply that by $45. That’s a lot of cash for a few hundred questions with very little overhead to grade and administer.

  302. spam spam bacon spam says:

    Sorry, Stu.

    You’re not getting it.

    It’s not the work AFTER the test gets taken.

    It’s the work TO WRITE EACH QUESTION.

    There are so many issues to deal with to make each question “work”, when dealing with advanced topics.

    Sure, it’s easy to ask if 2+2=4, but once you start getting into areas of understanding where you need to test someones’ ability to use cognitive skills, reading comprehension, reasoning, etc, then you are well beyond asking if 2+2=4…

  303. Dink says:

    Stu,

    “defaults for per million opportunities ”

    Defects, not defaults.

    30 Rock had a recent episode that took digs at GE’s Six Sigma program. Having taken Six Sigma courses with my company, it was pretty funny stuff.

  304. Toll getting desperate; cuts asking by %37 on North Side Piers project and offering to make mortgage payments for up to a year if a buyer loses their job.

    Yeah that’s just MI, but still.

  305. Clotpoll says:

    make (291)-

    I like Simmons a lot. You should go into his archives and read the stuff he wrote about Isiah and Dolan. You’ll laugh so hard, you’ll pee your pants.

  306. Clotpoll says:

    make (291)-

    I think you and I are the only NBA fans here.

  307. Clotpoll says:

    Shore (295)-

    Don’t run a victory lap yet. The S&P broke under 740. That is a big trendline breach that doesn’t bode well.

  308. Minou says:

    My husband and I are looking for a home in Westfield, Fanwood, or Scotch Plains. We are currently paying way too much for a rental and it makes sense for us to buy now or so I thought. For some reason it seems that every house we look at goes under contract about a week after we see it. Can anyone explain to me why sales in this area are chugging along while data suggests that the NJ market is dismal? We are still somewhat new to NJ and I am still unfamiliar with the dynamics of region so I can’t make sense of it.

  309. Clotpoll says:

    Nicholas (300)-

    What about Intel? They’re part of the WiMax thingy. What about Alvarion, in Israel? Hell, they ARE WiMax.

    Alvarion has deployed all over the planet. Why can you only test in Asia?

  310. Essex says:

    312….As one who was ‘helped’ a bit by scoring higher on the verbal part of the test….to offset some crummy math score I have two issues with the test. One is the power that it has as a deciding factor in a kid’s future. Two the fact that it measures just two kinds of intelligences….when we know there is so much more to people than math and reading.

  311. Essex says:

    I think desirable areas will still have pockets of strength. After all ‘you’ want to be there.

  312. sas says:

    “remington”

    I prefer Remington.
    make a great shotgun at a reasonable price. I like by barrels long.
    (more accurate for slugs)

    I’m a tad confused. I wonder if you blokes that want a firearm will buy the proper gun for your needs.

    SAS

  313. Clotpoll says:

    safe (323)-

    A 3 handle on a turd.

  314. grim says:

    From AmLawDaily:

    Latham to Cut 190 Associates, 250 Staff

    Latham & Watkins has confirmed to The Am Law Daily that it is laying off 190 associates, or approximately 12 percent of the firm’s associate base. The firm also announced cuts of 250 nonlegal staff, including paralegals. The layoffs are the most dramatic cuts announced so far by an Am Law 100 firm.

    After mounting speculation, firm chairman Robert Dell this morning confirmed that the firm had little choice given the current economic climate. “It’s with profound regret that we’re taking this action,” he says, adding that the depth of this recession was unprecedented. “The health of the global economy is likely to remain poor this year and so staffing levels have to be better aligned with client needs.”

    The cuts predominantly affect the firm’s U.S. offices. New York, the firm’s biggest office with over 350 lawyers, and Los Angeles will be particularly impacted. In London, 12 to 15 jobs are under review.

  315. JBJB says:

    Clot

    I’m a huge NBA fan, grew up in Cleveland and am still a long suffering Indians, Browns, and Cavs fan. The Cavs might be are only hope for a title in the next 10 years..

  316. sas says:

    “Ex-Treasury official confirms gold suppression scheme”
    http://tinyurl.com/btnfzs

  317. sas says:

    about firearms:

    the last thing you want are those cute little foo foo guns (i call’em Jane Bonds).

    They jam all the time and have zero KO power.

    for a women, consider a 9.
    decent gun, with out too much kick.

    my wife is fond of the 9.

    SAS

  318. safeashouses says:

    #325 clot,

    Would have been a 5 handle in 06. I think it started out in the mid 400′s when it was first listed.

  319. sas says:

    saw something interesting near the townhouse on the uws.

    saw a bar/pub offering $20/person all you can drink specials.

    SAS

  320. lisoosh says:

    319 – how many houses have you looked at? What price range? How long in NJ? Which area are you comparing this part of NJ to?

  321. sas says:

    “Hungary on edge of bankruptcy”
    http://tinyurl.com/bnbk7k

  322. House Whine says:

    #326
    Well, I am (or was) a paralegal here in NJ and was “made redundant” today. To be honest, I wasn’t surprised because work had been very slow for many months. No, I didn’t work for a big NY firm though.

    Never before have I posted on a blog but I find myself drawn to this site and really, it was time to post something!

  323. safeashouses says:

    #333 sas,

    Even if you lose the house, you and your cildren are liable for the mortgage amount. Ouch. Wonder how many debt refugees will be fleeing Hungary.

  324. sas says:

    “Never before have I posted on a blog but I find myself drawn to this site and really, it was time to post something!”

    welcome to the dark side.

    SAS

  325. safeashouses says:

    http://money.cnn.com/2009/02/27/markets/markets_newyork/index.htm?postversion=2009022717

    “the New York Stock Exchange said it is temporarily waving its minimum price for listed stocks, due to the unprecedented stock market environment.” snip

    I guess they want to keep the Dow 30 and not rename it the Dow 25?

  326. sas says:

    quiet in here.

    nothing to talk about?

    SAS

  327. skep-tic says:

    #326

    this is hugely damaging for a firm of Latham’s caliber. might seem odd, but layoffs of this magnitude are never really done at firms like this.

  328. kettle1 says:

    SAS

    my take on fire arms.

    1 shotty
    2 rifles
    3 handguns

    a shotgun for slugs, remmington, that can be used for hunting or defense.

    223 rifle is good for target practice, can take small game and can be used for defense

    308 rifle can take larger game and can penetrate basic cover (now becomes concealment)

    1 glock 31, 1 glock 22 and 1 23.

    this set allows all the adults to be armed at the same time if need be and provides a range of capabilities from hunting to close quarters to compact.

    i know you dont like glocks

  329. kettle1 says:

    FDIC is well capitalized i see…

    Bair said the fund’s reserve ratio, a measure of the funds it has compared to the costs it might face to cover bank failures, fell to its lowest level since 1993 during the fourth quarter. “The December figure is the lowest reserve ratio for a combined bank and thrift insurance fund since June 30, 1993, when the reserve ratio was 0.28%

    She said there are limits to what the FDIC can do, and that it may not have the resources to take over a major financial institution.

    http://www.marketwatch.com/news/story/fdic-paints-bleak-banking-picture/story.aspx?guid=%7BAD2B796C-DC21-45AA-97D0-524CEF8FF55A%7D&dist=msr_6

  330. chicagofinance says:

    Essex says:
    February 27, 2009 at 6:34 pm
    312….As one who was ‘helped’ a bit by scoring higher on the verbal part of the test….to offset some crummy math score I have two issues with the test. One is the power that it has as a deciding factor in a kid’s future. Two the fact that it measures just two kinds of intelligences….when we know there is so much more to people than math and reading.

    Essex: I understand what you have identified as limitation, and it makes sense. However, there needs to be an objective indicator that is used to evaluate students. Before people get bent out of shape, please allow me to define “objective”. Objective meaning …same for everyone…. not that there is subjective and biased issues with the test.

    As we know, everyone is in the business of making excuses. The nice thing is that there is really very little way to spin a number…..it is just there, and no one can bs their way past it should it be a piece of $hit….something beautiful about the simplicity and effectiveness of it.

  331. House Hunter says:

    spam spam bacon spam …agreed about the testing, you then have the psychometrics for scoring, PHD level folks, lots of software licenses, customized systems, hand holding level support for customers, etc it is much more expensive than people know.

  332. chicagofinance says:

    not that there is NOT subjective and biased issues with the test.

  333. chicagofinance says:

    House Whine says:
    February 27, 2009 at 7:25 pm
    #326
    Well, I am (or was) a paralegal here in NJ and was “made redundant” today. To be honest, I wasn’t surprised because work had been very slow for many months. No, I didn’t work for a big NY firm though.

    Never before have I posted on a blog but I find myself drawn to this site and really, it was time to post something!

    House: sorry to hear it….post some diatribe here, we would all appreciate it….

  334. kettle1 says:

    CHiFi

    The problem with standardized tests are that their limitations are often ignored. They can be a useful tool, but the way the are currently used in schools is inappropriate

  335. kettle1 says:

    some one better tell frank!!!

    Moody’s said it anticipated a tidal wave of defaults was approaching. It said that in the coming months more than 15pc of speculative-grade bonds and loans – all but the most highly-rated – would default on their debts.

  336. sas says:

    standardized tests are for morons.

    SAS

  337. Minou says:

    #332

    We have been in NJ for one year and 4 months. Our range is about $450,000-$575,000 and we have looked at six houses in the last three weeks (we have been looking longer than that but just giving you the most recent info as it seems most relevant) that are now under contract.

  338. Sastry says:

    House Hunter #344 and Spam Spam…

    There is also the quality assurance of the tests, the security aspects, physical terminals, maintenance, etc. A lot of them are outsourced to the testing centers.

    S

  339. PeaceNow says:

    HouseWhine—my sympathies on your job loss…and also for working as a paralegal. I did it for the worst two years of my life (in litigation, in Manhattan). But I’d bet bankruptcy firms are hiring now. Might I also make a suggestion? Legal secretaries, from my experience, make more than paralegals. Anyway, good luck to you.

  340. kettle1 says:

    Subprime-Mortgage Defaults to Surge

    Moody’s Investors Service announced Thursday that it’s raising its loss expectations for US subprime residential mortgage-backed securities issued between 2005 and 2007, as it believes, without intervention, nearly all already-delinquent loans will eventually default. The company has therefore placed 7,942 tranches of subprime RMBS with an original balance of $680 billion, on review for possible downgrade. Moody’s attributes the higher loss expectations to “the continued deterioration in home prices, rising loss severities on liquidated loans, persistent elevated default rates, and progressively diminishing prepayment rates throughout the sector.”

    http://www.housingwire.com/2009/02/26/subprime-mortgage-defaults-to-surge-report/

    Moody’s just figured this out eh?

  341. kettle1 says:

    S&P may cut $140 bln of prime jumbo mortgage deals

    Standard & Poor’s said on Thursday it may downgrade 3,279 prime tranches of jumbo residential mortgage-backed deals with a market value of around $140 billion, after increasing its loss expectations for deals issued in 2006 and 2007

    The tranches under review are from 209 transactions, which originally had a par value of around $172 billion, S&P said. Around 4.42 percent of jumbo loans in the pool were severely delinquent in January, meaning they were more than 90-days due, in foreclosure or real estate owned, S&P said. Severe delinquencies have increased by 45.60 percent in the past three months, it added.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/bondsNews/idUSN2628683320090226

  342. Essex says:

    I agree with the “numbers” comment in regard to a valid measurement. We do need that type of tool. As I understand it European tests are even more demanding and are instrumental in determining where and ‘if’ a student advances. I am curious how the big dollars that Obama plans to dedicate to education will be spent. We are heading into an era of BIG BIG BIG Government.

  343. kettle1 says:

    BREAKING NEWS!!!!

    The HMS TITANIC considers break-up in bid to stay afloat

    AIG considers break-up in bid to stay afloat

    AIG and the US authorities are in advanced discussions over a radical restructuring that would split the stricken insurer into at least three government-controlled divisions in an attempt to keep it afloat, according to people close to the situation.

    http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/d6ef2b7a-03a6-11de-b405-000077b07658.html

  344. safeashouses says:

    #354 kettle1,

    Better late then never I guess.

  345. Essex says:

    350. Define ‘Moron’.

  346. d2b says:

    Anybody have any experience with trade-ins at a dealership recently? I know that companies are leasing less right now. I’m thinking that they would want to really lowball someone on a trade.

    Has anyone purchase a car in the last two months?

  347. sas says:

    i know you blokes get hot & heavy about the firearms, and nom has some for his compound.

    but one thing you may want to consider for fun, hunting, and “extracurriculars” is Archery.

    and my favorite:
    http://tinyurl.com/bok98k

    SAS

  348. grim says:

    Two banks shuttered by the FDIC so far this evening..

    http://www.fdic.gov/bank/individual/failed/banklist.html

  349. Stu says:

    Yes, defects, not defaults in six sigma. I must have real estate on the brain. Having polished off 3/4 of a bottle of Coastline, I’m pleasantly buzzed. Dinner was quite good, although I couldn’t convince Gator to share a hookah for dessert. We windowshopped around the Church Street area afterwards and all and all it was a pretty pleasant evening. It helps that the rain stopped and must be 60 degrees out. Time to rescue JR. Final bill was $32.75 including tip, not counting the kickbacks.

    When I’m less drunk, I’m going to dig up some stats around the College Boards and their non-profitability.

  350. kettle1 says:

    deloitte thinks GM is toast….

    Deloitte may hit GM with going concern notice, automaker says

    General Motors to burn through $14 billion in 2009. Available cash at end of ’08? $14 bllion
    General Motors posted a loss of nearly $31 billion on Thursday for 2008 and said auditor Deloitte was likely to cast doubt on its viability as the automaker seeks an expanded federal bailout to stay afloat. GM burned through $5 billion in the fourth quarter and ended the year reliant on the first $4 billion in loans from the U.S. Treasury. Quarterly revenue plunged by more than a third to $30.8 billion. The automaker, which asked for up to $30 billion of U.S. government aid, also warned that its pension plans were underfunded by about $12.4 billion as of the end of 2008. GM’s loss for 2008 was the deepest among Detroit-based automakers as industry-wide auto sales dropped to 16-year lows. Ford lost $14.6 billion. Chrysler, controlled by private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management, lost $8 billion.

    http://www.financialweek.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20090226/REUTERS/902269997/1036

  351. Essex says:

    My favorite fun toy…..

    http://tinyurl.com/d4vd5q

    Lots of fun….cheap ammo…and quiet.

  352. sas says:

    “350. Define ‘Moron’”

    yeah, I know my comment was off the cuff
    but, these type of tests limit people people’s mind. It trains them to only be able function and think within a box.

    and people think they score well, they are a success, but they are not.

    There is a reason why they call it a “class”room.

    I might not make sense right now, wife just home a great bottle of red, and we are polishing it off.

    yee
    SAS

  353. kettle1 says:

    Ford will be luck to see 7 million by the end of the year

    Ford sees Feb U.S. auto sales near 9 million annual rate

    Ford Motor Co expects U.S. auto industry sales to drop to about a 9 million unit range on an annualized basis in February as retail demand slipped, the automaker’s chief sales analyst said on Friday. U.S. retail sales for the industry likely fell about 40 percent in February from a year earlier under a decline in U.S. consumer confidence, Ford’s George Pipas told reporters, adding that Ford’s retail results could be slightly worse than that. “The environment continues to be very challenging,” he said. Overall, the annualized rate of retail sales, which had remained relatively stable from October through January, appears to have taken “a step down in February,” Pipas said, adding that sales to fleets remain difficult to predict.

    http://uk.reuters.com/article/motoringAutoNews/idUKTRE51Q4DV20090227?sp=true

  354. sas says:

    “Define ‘Moron’”

    Obama & Bush

    SAS

  355. Essex says:

    As a former SAAB owner I follow the company a little through a newsletter….this is the latest from GM to the customer base.

    Dear Saab Customers, You’ve always known us as somewhat of an unconventional company. From our very first days, when a group of unassuming jet engineers decided that driving should feel more like flying, we’ve had a natural affinity to seek the not-so-obvious path. Buoyed by a curious mix of ingenuity and optimism, we’ve always found our way. Today, our sights are set on a new destination: independence. Last week, General Motors submitted its viability plan to the U.S. Department of Treasury that outlined the corporation’s long-term restructuring goals. In that plan, GM stated that it would actively pursue measures that could result in Saab Automobile AB, including all of Saab’s global operations, becoming an independent company. Saab has had several different types of ownership during its storied history. Recently, the first step toward re-establishing its independence was taken when Saab Automobile AB in Sweden filed for reorganization under a self-managed Swedish court process that will attempt to create a fully independent business entity. The reorganization in Sweden allows Saab to continue operating, while new ownership possibilities are being pursued. Current business is unaffected during this restructuring process. So, what exactly does all this mean? To current Saab owners and loyalists, be assured that all warranties on Saab vehicles remain valid. The warranty for both new and Certified Pre-Owned Saab vehicles are provided by GM and remain intact. GM will support continued availability of parts and service. Prepaid scheduled maintenance also remains in effect on all current product offerings. To those who have recently expressed interest in buying a new Saab, we’ll be there for you as well. All of Saab’s current product offerings remain available. While these times may seem turbulent and uncertain, our cars are just as safe, just as fuel-efficient and just as fun-to-drive as ever. With the full backing of all warranties, you can drive with confidence knowing that your Saab will be covered under its warranty. We are excited by the potential opportunities tomorrow will bring. And we’re eager to start anew. During the reorganization period, your Saab Dealer stands ready to assist you with all your sales and service needs. In addition, Saab Customer Assistance is available at (800) 955-9007. While it may not be the most conventional path to take, for those who know Saab, you’re well aware – we know no other way. With the spirit of Saab leading us, we hope you’ll join us for the ride.

    Sincerely, Mark C. McNabb Vice President Premium Channel General Motors Corporation

  356. kettle1 says:

    Who Will Pay For Obama’s Plans?

    The White House’s $3.6 trillion budget, outlined Thursday, provides a broad plan for government spending during the next decade and a road map for slashing the deficit from $1.75 trillion to $533 billion by 2013. But its true value may be in what it says about how Americans will be taxed during that same period. Specifics of the Obama administration’s budget plan won’t be unveiled until April–standard procedure for a first-year president. But many of the broad strokes are campaign promises finally put to paper, causing worry from some quarters of the business community. “There’s a significant business tax increase suggested in this budget,” says Clint Stretch, a tax expert at Deloitte Tax LLP in Washington.

    http://www.forbes.com/2009/02/26/barack-obama-taxes-budget-business-washington_taxes.html

  357. Dink says:

    Went out to dinner tonight using an Entertainment coupon. This place has been in the book for 3 years running now, but I can’t imagine it staying open for 1 month more. From 6:30 to 8:00 we were the only ones in the restaurant save 2 takeout orders. Plus the food was pretty poor. Felt like we were in the Babu’s restaurant episode of Seinfeld.

  358. kettle1 says:

    Are Germans giving up on the euro?

    Ex-Bundesbank chief Karl Otto Pohl has just said that Ireland and Greece are in danger of defaulting on their sovereign debts and/or may be forced out of the Euro, for those who may not be aware of his Sky interview by my colleague Jeff Randall. “I think there are countries considering the possibility. It would be very expensive,” he said. “The exchange rate would go down, 50 or 60% and then interest rates would go sky high because the markets would lose all confidence.” Professor Pohl said Germany’s political class is afraid their country will ultimately have to pay for the EMU mess. His view is that the burden should be shifted to the IMF (ie. the US, Canada, Japan, Britain). Thanks a lot Karl Otto. You broke it, you fix it. This is more or less what ex-foreign minister Joschka Fischer has been saying in London over the last two days, although his main point is that Russia is now the equivalent of Germany in the 1930s: an embittered nation with a revanchist and dysfunctional leadership class. Mr Fischer now thinks monetary union is beyond saving.

    http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/ambrose_evans-pritchard/blog/2009/02/26/are_germans_giving_up_on_the_euro

  359. safeashouses says:

    An article about Australia’s Macquarie bank and all its infrastructure assets it’s bought.

    http://business.smh.com.au/business/battered-n-bruised-20090227-8kbl.html

    Reminds me of a few North American companies.

    Looks like debt might not always equal wealth.

  360. sas says:

    man, reading all these news posted by the bloggers makes me wanna get back to drinking.

    yikes!
    SAS

  361. Essex says:

    367…SAS there is very little correlation between success in school and success in the ‘real world’. School tends to be it’s own pursuit. The world is full of amazingly rich drop-outs. Fact is we are a nation that encourages a certain ‘anti-intellectualism’ at some level.

  362. kettle1 says:

    SAS

    try this then, a Ukrainian recruiting commercial

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cH_E6YSQqTo

  363. sas says:

    then again with news, a little trick:

    hedge fund clients sometimes pay scriptwriters to panic capital markets with bogus virtual news of arbitraged events injected into the media.

    SAS

  364. kettle1 says:

    translation of the commercial

    Translation:

    girl 1: would u take us for a ride on your BMW?
    BMW-driver: even to the end of the world!
    soldier: hey, i’d like to drown some vodka, girls!
    girl 1: just a second!
    girl 2: where do you live?
    soldier: right here- daytime at work, and at night in the clubs!
    girl 1: which work???
    soldier: contract of course!
    blonde girl: contract?? marriage contract or what?
    girl 3: army contract, stupid!
    BMW driver: hey, don’t you wanna ride on my car?
    girls: forget it, take yourself for a ride!
    narrator: it’s about time for new heroes! with contract based service in ukrainian armed fores!

  365. sas says:

    (378) anyone wanna short a city?

    SAS

  366. sas says:

    (378) anyone wanna short a city?

    SAS

  367. safeashouses says:

    On the bright side Buy Rite liquors in Edison on the corner of Rt 1 and 529 sells OB beer in 6 packs and Taiwan Beer in 24 oz bottles.

    I’ve never seen OB outside of Korean BBQ places and never seen Taiwan beer anywhere but Taiwan.

  368. kettle1 says:

    oops

    Wikileaks cracks NATO’s Master Narrative for Afghanistan

    Wikileaks cracks NATO’s Master Narrative for Afghanistan

  369. Stu says:

    Safeas…Buy Rite is the shiznit on prices. Best we have around here is Bottle King and they are pretty weak on pricing. I’m still looking for a local source of Brother Thelonious that actually has it in stock. Price is no issue.

  370. victorian says:

    Essex (376) -
    “The world is full of amazingly rich drop-outs”

    Survivor Bias?

  371. Sybarite says:

    Stu,

    Give Gary’s in madison a call: garyswine.com

    I’ve gotten thelonius there in the past.

  372. cobbler says:

    [379] kettle
    The soldier had actually been asking for water, not vodka… – the most ridiculous thing that it is a real commercial, with the address and url of the recruiting office, etc.

  373. Essex says:

    387…I am not 100% sure what that means…but I will say that I believe certain types figure out that the ‘system’ is complete bullshit. Populated with all types of underachievers who somehow place themselves into positions of academic authority. Now, I believe many who teach are caring and smart folks that are doing a great service — but they are pushing a notion of conduct that does not jive with reality. Therefore the smart kids figure out early how the game is played and they win.

  374. Essex says:

    I am a big believer in ‘craft’. I have tremendous respect for people who make things and take pride in their work. So that ethic is real to me. All of the other crap is nonsense.

  375. cobbler says:

    SAT: ETS is making some money on SAT I (not much – and less than before because adding the composition part increased the cost, it has to be read by 2 scorers who get about $5 each), losing money on SAT II which take lots of effort to develop, have low fees and are taken by not that many students, and making lots of money on GMAT and LSAT.
    European (continental) tests are very different from here – usually, no multiple choice, few but rather complex questions, need to “show work” – you’ll score a zero if you simply give a number as an answer to a math problem. Don’t know about the U.K.

  376. House Whine says:

    #353
    Your input is appreciated. I don’t even know if I want to stay in the legal profession anyway. It hasn’t exactly been a lot of fun! But you are right about the secretaries and they don’t have to worry about making their billable hours.

    Now at least I will have all the time in the world to read this blog, learn a lot about real estate, finance, and other sundry topics.

  377. spam spam bacon spam says:

    Test yourselves on this….

    Enjoy!

    http://www.uwe.ac.uk/elearning/examples/mcq.pdf

  378. still_looking says:

    Welcome HouseWhine.

    It’s quite an education here! You’ll enjoy it, no doubt. We really have an interesting crew of folks from all fields/walks of life/cultures etc…

    We started looking for a house just at the peak in 05/06… we were directed here by All Hype (a college friend.)

    This blog’s education from (to name a few, tho’ there are many many) Grim, Clotpoll, Nom, Kettle, Stu, Spam, Lisoosh, KL, RichinNNJ, Skep, and so many others kept us from making a huge mistake.

    It kept us from buying a house that might have become the albatross around our necks.

    And saved us ridiculous amounts of money.

    And been a resource for information on all types of information from strollers, to wines, to guns, to car-buying, to managing disputes, finances, investing[albeit with the usual disclaimer!] to restaurants and so much more…

    Welcome! We also on occasion have GTGs- get togethers- to help match the face to the name.

    sl

  379. Clotpoll says:

    Stu (363)-

    I attend meetings of the NJ Education Foundation at ETS/Chauncey Conference Ctr in Princeton every couple of months. Dude, that joint is de-luxe.

    If that’s unprofitable, I wanna be unprofitable like that.

  380. Clotpoll says:

    ETS has done several presentations for us the last few meetings. One is a product, aimed at families and introduced through kindergartners and first-graders.

    Not only is this product something that the family will use all the way through 12th grade, but ETS gets to mine tons of data from it.

    And guess who the big bankroller/beneficiary of all this data is? Video game companies!

    I crap you not.

  381. Clotpoll says:

    whiner (393)-

    You into guns? Whiskey? Cars? Strollers? Armed insurrection?

  382. Clotpoll says:

    whiner (393)-

    There’s this WS guy who posts during the day. He’s kinda goofy/snarky. Don’t let him lure you into any kind of talk about onions.

  383. maplewoodian says:

    Minou (351)

    This supposedly a real estate group but they are mostly busy discussing how much money they made in “shiny” in their fantasy market. So they let newcomers answer this kind of questions.

    Also, according to them, the market has crashed and if you cannot get a lower price is because you did not use their “comp killers” (seriously what happened to those)

    Anyway prices have not gone less than 20% off the peak and some sellers still get offers close to their asking prices–more so the best houses in prime areas. I assume you are looking those.

  384. scribe says:

    House Whine,

    Losing a job sucks, but maybe it will be an opportunity to find your way into a better job or a better career.

    Meanwhile, may I suggest a tasty Yuenling ale?

    I discovered this fine brew at one of our gtgs.

    If you come to you, I will help you drown your sorrows, and remind you of how young you are, and how you still have your whole life ahead of you …

    ps, until proven otherwise, I am declaring myself the oldest person on this blog!

  385. scribe says:

    sheesh

    I mean …

    If you come to one …one of our gatherings, that is …

    I’ve already had my Yuenling for the night!

  386. yikes says:

    market had quite the late afternoon dip, huh?

    hit up costco tonight and loaded up again. we’ve got about a month’s worth of ‘armageddon’ supplies/food/ammo for the ‘bunker.’

    i finally got the wife to buy into the logic that no quick turnaround is coming and 2010 is going to be an epic disaster. the fact that we’re talking about 2010 NOW, in Feb, is scary.

    clot, I’m leaning toward the remington. may test shoot one next weekend (in the woods).

  387. maplewoodian says:

    376 Essex

    you wish
    income, health, longevity is directly related to education

  388. Firestormik says:

    RE: SG
    India?
    This kind of wimax?
    http://sivers.org/images/india-wires.jpg
    Or may be this one?
    http://tinyurl.com/dgco3w

  389. yikes says:

    so this IRA to Roth conversion in 2010 is a big deal, huh?

  390. A.West says:

    Chifi – skip the Hayek popup book and give the kid a von Mises coloring book. I read Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged when I was 9, and it’s been my favorite ever since. Save The Fountainhead for high school though.

    Retard101 – you’re so obviously a fake, it’s not even worth you pretending even more. Yeah sure, you’re as real as a heart attack, whatever you like to type. It’s not convincing, it’s no longer even particularly entertaining. It’s just pathetic.

  391. zieba says:

    Yuengling from Pottsville(dam), PA with a g? If so, Black and Tan is where it’s at.

    I’m surprised John is actually following through on his promise… I thought he’d be back the next morning.

  392. still_looking says:

    z 407

    he’s probably in jail for vegetable abuse.

    sl

  393. A.West says:

    This morning I saw a chilling presentation from David Roche of Independent Strategy. I was already extremely bearish, but this combined with recent policy proposals have sealed the deal.

    Here’s a recent paper that gives an example of his line of thought.

    http://www.instrategy.com/docs/products/Myths_and_realities_of_luxury_living051208.pdf

  394. zieba says:

    I gave up road rage for lent. I thought about giving up the blog but then laughed it off and quickly pecked in “www.njre” and hit enter.

  395. Clotpoll says:

    woody (400)-

    The only fantasy being harbored here is the one you promulgate, in which living in Maplewood is something that a sane person would want to do.

  396. 3b says:

    #400 Maplewoodian: There you go again, a bitter recent homebuyer.

    Housing crash? yes it has happend, did you expect the decline to happen all at once?

    As far as real estate what is left to discuss? It has crushed, and will continue it’s crash. It will be dead for years.

    Good luck with your insane Maplewood taxes.

  397. still_looking says:

    no feeding the troll

  398. chicagofinance says:

    DM at the Irish pub….

    Skip to minute 1:00
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=INLNeY6zTHc

  399. Firestormik says:

    Grim,
    405 is still in mod. India is now a bad word?

  400. maplewoodian says:

    clot (411)
    what is your problem with Maplewood?

  401. maplewoodian says:

    3b (412)
    where do you live? Taxes are high everywhere in NNJ, unless you live in the sticks

  402. cobbler says:

    A.West [409]
    The document from 12/2008 you’ve linked is much less scary than most of the things we are seeing today. What were the main points of Roche’s talk that would indicate a major change from his stand back in Dec.?

  403. Bob21 says:

    I would bet most of the people on this blog are pretty wealthy. At least that is what it seems from reading the posts. Anyone living in NNJ must have a lot of money, right?

    As far as firearms go, I have a few German Walthers and also a couple of Government Model .45 ACPs. That SAS guy is correct in that you should have the right tool for the job- defense, target practice, whatever. I don’t have a shotgun but a Benelli pump is great quality and what I would get if I needed one. Buying the best you can afford is usually the best economy.

    I went to a great Italian resturant this past week, “Al Colle”. The place was pretty much dead though. I think the recession is going to end up wiping out quite a few resturants.

  404. KareninCA says:

    I love standardized tests! they are what I do best! I went to a top ten (actually it was 7th at the time) law school because they so enchant me.

    unfortunately, in order to actually succeed in the real world as a lawyer you have to want to Win, and have fangies, and no amount of prowess on the LSATs grows fangies. the best lawyers I’ve seen were ones who went to crappy law schools but had always wanted to be lawyers and really wanted to practice law and wanted to compete and work hard and win in every setting they entered. if I needed to hire a lawyer I’d hire someone like that, not me, and not one of the dweebs I went to law school with.
    alas, ambition and persistence beat out intelligence any day.

    the economy in California becomes more dreadful by the day; our unemployment rate is now over 10 percent. my elderly neighbor’s son was just laid off (a tech guy in San Jose); this is horrible; I bring her goodies but I can’t really pay her rent for her. her son’s house in Campbell may be one of the next ones on foreclosure.com.

    for home defense, my father (in CT) prefers shotguns that have been cut off to just the legal limit in length. you can crouch down behind something, and you can’t miss.

  405. KareninCA says:

    Clotpoll and grim – I imagine that you’re already familiar with Jim the Realtor’s short clips that are posted occasionally on calculatedrisk. there was a very, very funny one yesterday (2/27) – “High on the Hill” – only 330K for a house on six gorgeous acres outside of San Diego, which, upon inspection, is entirely set up (wiring, ventilation) to be a commercial pot farm. Jim points out that if CA does legalize (out of desperation for taxes), this will be a great business opportunity.
    I don’t know how to post links; you would just go to calculatedrisk and scroll down a little.

  406. bairen says:

    Maplehood is back.

  407. Essex says:

    406…..that is what they tell you….

  408. Essex says:

    In defense of Maplewood…there is some lovely architecture there.

  409. safeashouses says:

    Maplehood,

    Here’s a future Basking Ridge comp killer

    http://www.trulia.com/property/1074728258-19-Valley-View-Dr-Basking-Ridge-NJ-07920

    Bought in Feb 06 for 538k
    Now listed at 469k

    69k loss plus commission and it appears to have some bling bling added to it as well.

  410. Clotpoll says:

    maple (419)-

    That it sucks.

  411. Essex says:

    A blast from the past (2001)…The best measure of an individual American’s worth in today’s new global economy remains the inflation-adjusted hourly wage. During the ’90s expansion (which technically is still underway), this figure rose by a total of just under 6.9 percent, and much of this increase came during the latter half of the decade, which is now widely recognized as having been a bubble, and therefore unsustainable.

    But if the media won’t publish this information, much less put it into historical perspective, at least the Census Bureau itself has. As it made clear in a 1998 report, men between the ages of 25 and 34 in 1987 were the first generation in American history to be doing worse than their predecessors. Not happy talk. But at least straight talk

    http://www.americaneconomicalert.org/view_art.asp?Prod_ID=81

  412. Clotpoll says:

    Karen (423)-

    You’re a smart lady. Spot on.

    I think my attorney eats broken glass for breakfast. She is mean as hell, but I’m glad she’s on my side.

  413. Essex says:

    428…and that is the ‘F’ model….(LOL)

  414. Essex says:

    431….In law you want the ‘dweeds’ in the backroom library doing to research…and the glass eaters on stage winning the case….seldom — I would think — would a third tier law school grad have both capacities.

  415. Clotpoll says:

    Sx (432)-

    “F”. as in, you’re fcuked.

  416. Clotpoll says:

    Just looks like an end unit to me.

  417. Essex says:

    OT: anyone following that sex abuse stuff at ‘prestigious’ Kent Place School in Summit. Man they oughta shake that joint up….damn shame.

  418. bairen says:

    #435 clot,

    They’re duplexes, they’re all end units.

    It’s now listing for what the 2 bdroom townhouses in that place were closing at at the peak.

  419. Stu says:

    Maplewood is a lot like Montclair in that it has a mixture of whites and blacks, but does not have Bloomfield to act as a buffer zone to ground zero when the Newark riots 2 (Electric Bugaloo) break out. Vailsburg is one scary place and I would hate to have it as one of my borders! Maplewood does have a lot of beautiful 19th century colonials just waiting to get looted when TSHTF. At least in Montclair, we’ll know when to plan our exit when Bloomfield is burning.

  420. BklynHawk says:

    #321/Minou-
    I’m looking as well in one town. It seems a lot of decent houses are sitting on the market. But, some are still moving into attorney review. What I’ve noticed is asking prices are coming down pretty much across the board. However, once a house hits the right price for the town, it seems to go pretty quickly.

    Unlike Maplewoodian, I would say prices have dropped somewhere between high single digits and 30% from peak. I’m looking at slightly below the median price for the town according to Zillow, but median price (as has been debated, analyzed, pilloried here) is not always the best gauge for a market.

    Hope that helps. Good luck!

  421. grim says:

    In defense of Maplewood…there is some lovely architecture there.

    As does Irvington, Newark, East Orange, Paterson, Passaic, Plainfield, etc.

  422. grim says:

    From HousingWire:

    Continued Delinquencies Kick Off 2009: Equifax

    Delinquent mortgages are continuing to pile up according to a new report released Friday by Equifax Inc., which showed the number of mortgage holders who were 30-days-past due in January was up 50 percent from last January. Projections indicate, according to the report, that 30-day mortgage delinquencies, which have continued to increase, will result in even more 60- and 90-day delinquencies.

    To add to the economic woes, home equity line of credit 30-day delinquency rates saw an accelerated month-over-month increase, Equifax said, rising 3.39 percent from December to January — the largest jump in 10 years.

    “The rapid increase in unemployment in the fourth quarter of last year may have led to many of the economic ills that the data shows were even more pronounced in January,” said Dann Adams, president of Equifax’s U.S. Consumer Information Systems.

    Adams said that the continued increase in mortgage delinquencies indicates that a housing correction has yet to take hold. “The latest measures such as loan modification programs and declining interest rates have yet to kick in,” he said.

  423. Essex says:

    440. Orange has some amazing places…a lost era perhaps.

  424. safeashouses says:

    #440,

    So does Long Branch, Asbury Park, New Brunswick,

  425. grim says:

    Maplewood sounds like a great place to raise a family…

    From Wikipedia:

    Irvington experienced the crack epidemic of the 1980s and the city still struggles with the aftermath today. The city still has a violent crime rate six times higher than New Jersey overall and a murder rate eight times higher than statewide statistics. As of 2007, the New Jersey State Police reported that Irvington had a violent crime rate of 22.4 incidents per 1,000 population, the highest of all 15 major urban areas in the state.[10] Irvington is more dangerous than Camden, but since it has a population less than 75,000, Irvington wasn’t eligible to rank as one of the most dangerous cities in the country.

  426. grim says:

    Did I ever mention that Irvington was where my stolen car was found?

    On fire..

    Crashed into the steps of a school building…

    During a high speed police chase…

  427. Essex says:

    Grim…you gotta get your dealer to deliver.

  428. grim says:

    Those guys won’t come this far into the burbs, too risky.

  429. grim says:

    Obama hates NJ?

    From CNBC:

    Where the $200,000+ Crowd Lives

    The White House’s budget for fiscal year 2010 calls for tax hikes on wealthy Americans. In this case, that means couples making over $250,000 a year and individuals $200,000 a year. Under the budget plan, these households (about 3 percent of the total) would experience tax increases of $318 billion over the next 10 years. Here’s a look at the states that will be most affected by the tax hike and how they voted in the last presidential election.

    1. District of Columbia

    2. Connecticut

    3. New Jersey

    % of Households Earning $200K+: 7.5%
    Total Households: 3,149,910
    Median Income: $65,249
    Households Earning $200K+: 235,278

  430. Dissident HEHEHE says:

    Grim,

    I missed an exit once and ended up driving through Irvington once. Never made that mistake again.

  431. grim says:

    From the AP:

    Violence between repo men, car owners on the rise

    Alone in his mobile home off a winding dirt road, Jimmy Tanks heard a commotion at 2:30 a.m. just outside his bedroom window: Somebody was messing with his car.

    The 67-year-old railroad retiree grabbed a gun, walked out the back door and confronted not a thief but a repo man and two helpers trying to tow off the Chrysler Sebring. Shots were fired, and Tanks wound up dead, a bullet in his chest.

    The man who came to repossess the car, Kenneth Alvin Smith, is awaiting trial on a murder charge in a state considered a Wild West territory even by the standards of an industry that’s largely unregulated nationally. Since Tanks’ death last June, two other repo men from the same company Smith worked for were shot, one fatally.

    “It’s gotten to where it’s a crazy world out there,” said Smith, 50, an ex-Marine who preaches part-time and sings gospel music. Smith said Thursday that he fired in self-defense after Tanks fired a shot.

    With the U.S. dealing with an economic slide that has cost millions of jobs, the number of vehicle repossessions is expected to rise 5 percent this year. That’s after it jumped 12 percent to 1.67 million nationally in 2008, said Tom Webb, chief economist with Manheim Consulting, an automotive marketing firm. That followed a 9 percent increase in 2007, creating more opportunities for bad outcomes in an industry where armed confrontations and threats happen every day.

  432. Stu says:

    Irvington was once an amazing place to live. I saw a bunch of elderly Jews who still live there to this day on TV a few months ago reminiscing about how things have changed. I’m not sure what is more surprising…that Irvington could fall this far, or that the old folks chose to stay there through the collapse.

  433. Shore Guy says:

    Stu,

    Think Strawberry Mansion in Philly ,etc.

  434. Shore Guy says:

    ” would bet most of the people on this blog are pretty wealthy. At least that is what it seems from reading the posts.”

    I would think not. Most of us are frugal and lacking debt, which may pass for wealthy in today’s world. At best, some of us may be HENRYs.

  435. sas says:

    “hedge fund clients sometimes pay scriptwriters to panic capital markets with bogus virtual news of arbitraged events injected into the media”

    oddly, there was a new article about this topic like 2 or 3 months ago.
    i think if you do a google, you might find it. also, tells some of the made up stories and which news organization does such folly.

    SAS

  436. House Hunter says:

    good articles in Barron’s this morning.
    factoid: if the dow goes to 6800, it would mean from the low of 1932 to the high of 2007 all the gains have been cut in half. Acutally that loss occurred mostly is the last 16 months…Also there is a special 1.4 mil unmployment fund started last year, I believe the way the article reads it is not public or reported in the numbers you see (guess we knew that)

    no buy and hold for me right now.

  437. Essex says:

    Don’t worry folks…once the meltdown hits big time … we’ll all just stay home…telecommute…and hang out on facebook to mingle with friends and family….underground vaults will be all the rage. Big advantage to buying is the ability to customize your home with howitzers and lead lined basements.

  438. Hubba says:

    We missed a great opportunity to the downside this week, most here being RE or Fin folks. O killed the last couple of sectors that were still holding up, healthcare related and education stocks. Took a big beating this week after he announced his 10 year budget plan.

    Damn we are screwed. But lots of potential to the downside.

    RXD with a big move from 60 to 74.

    Anyone know of a good way to short the education basket?

  439. yikes says:

    comrade nom deplume says:
    February 27, 2009 at 3:22 pm

    [254] clot,

    Hence my heavy move into commodities:

    Wine, booze, diapers and the 3 “b”s (Beans, Bullion and Bullets).

    Folks ask if I invest in metals. I say yes: Lead, Brass and Gun.

    why diapers?

  440. Hubba says:

    The “Great Financial Crisis”: A whole new kind of struggle is emerging

    What a bunch of marx1st drivel.

  441. Essex says:

    461…cause if you are so scared ‘yikes’ you might poop yourself?

  442. Cindy says:

    http://baselinescenario.com/2009/02/26/convertible-preferred-stock-capital-assistance-program/

    A tutorial on the new CAP – Capital Assistance Program called…

    “No Wait! You Got it Backwards!
    AKA Convertible Preferred Stock for Beginners

    from Baseline Scenario – James Kwak

    “What’s wrong with this? Well, nothing, if your goal is to give banks money! What you’ve just done is stick the government with the downside risks – we could get paid back in worthless stocks – while the bank shareholders get all the upside potential. You’ve done this by giving the banks, for free, an option that has value.

    Now the bank, AT ITS OPTION, can choose to convert the preferred shares into common, at 90% of the average closing share price during the 20 days ending on February 9 (the day before the Financial Stability Plan was “announced.”)

  443. Cindy says:

    All Hype – Sorry to hear about the job loss. Good luck with the interviews next week.

  444. yikes says:

    Clotpoll says:
    February 27, 2009 at 6:28 pm

    make (291)-

    I think you and I are the only NBA fans here.

    big nba fan here. never really read simmons but that’s a good piece.

  445. AntiTrump says:

    From CNN:

    Where the $200,000+ Crowd Lives
    http://finance.yahoo.com/taxes/article/106659/Where-the-200K-Crowd-Lives;_ylt=A9j8ap7UUKlJrx4BBJBO7sMF

    3. New Jersey

    % of Households Earning $200K+: 7.5%
    Total Households: 3,149,910
    Median Income: $65,249
    Households Earning $200K+: 235,278

    Election Results:
    Obama: 57%
    McCain: 42%

    If only 7.5% of NJ house holds earn over $200K, how the hell do you justify these home prices??

  446. AntiTrump says:

    From NY Times:
    Apartment Buyers Abandoning 6-Figure Deposits

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/01/realestate/01walk.html?_r=1&ref=realestate&pagewanted=print

    “HE real estate market in Manhattan has become so unnerving to buyers that some are forfeiting six-figure deposits rather than close on deals they have made.

    At 304 Spring Street, a sleek condominium building in SoHo with stunning Hudson River views, the buyer for the duplex penthouse recently decided he would not go through with the deal and walked away from a $780,000 deposit.

    At 1120 Park Avenue, a classic prewar co-op filled with multimillion-dollar apartments, it appears that a buyer forfeited a deposit of as much as $1.1 million.

    Real estate agents representing buyers of at least three other multimillion-dollar properties also report clients who knowingly left deposits of more than $1 million or hundreds of thousands of dollars on the table.”

  447. Cindy says:

    http://www.iht.com/articles/2009/02/27/business/wbjoe28.php

    Coming down on AIG…IHT

    “AIG bailout is necessary but infuriating”

    Explains how AIG took advantage of its triple A rating – sold credit default swaps out of London (It does point out that the insurance offices were just doing business as usual.)

    “When you start asking around about AIG and how it made money during the housing bubble, you hear the same two phrases again and again: “regulatory arbitrage” and “ratings arbitrage.”
    The word arbitrage usually means taking advantage of a price differential between two securities – a bond and stock of the same company, for instance – that are related in some way. When the word is used the way people us it in connection with AIG, though, it means something else. It means taking advantage of a loophole in the rules: A less polite – but perhaps more accurate – term would be “scam.”

  448. yikes says:

    Stu says:
    February 28, 2009 at 7:18 am

    Maplewood is a lot like Montclair in that it has a mixture of whites and blacks, but does not have Bloomfield to act as a buffer zone to ground zero when the Newark riots 2 (Electric Bugaloo) break out. Vailsburg is one scary place and I would hate to have it as one of my borders! Maplewood does have a lot of beautiful 19th century colonials just waiting to get looted when TSHTF. At least in Montclair, we’ll know when to plan our exit when Bloomfield is burning.

    LOL, Stu

  449. A.West says:

    AntiTrump,
    That’s what I’ve been wondering all these years. The wife and I have been in Obama’s “rich” category, over $300k income combined for the last few yrs, thanks so our (half)lifetimes of work and dedication, but were shocked to see schoolteachers and other people presumably with modest incomes paying more for houses than we would have ever considered. I guess there really were idiots willing to buy a home based on teaser monthly payments, and there really are that many people in NJ that have royally screwed themselves and whoever owns their loans, and now, my wife and I will be paying more taxes to keep them in their bloated homes

    If (when)the marginal tax rates get too far out of hand, my wife can just quit her $150/k yr job and stay at home and teach my daughter Chinese (her native tongue). There’s some GDP that your taxes to support the lazy and immoral will drive out of the economy, President Obama. Taxes are a restraint on trade, and a disincentive to production, and thus ultimately savings.

    You study, you work hard, you save, you live within your means, and just when you think you finally should be able to enjoy the fruits of your efforts, the government decides that its time to confiscate your income, through taxes, and your wealth, through taxes, inflation, and devaluation.

    No wonder sales of Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged are going through the roof:
    http://www.economist.com/finance/displaystory.cfm?story_id=13185404&fsrc=rss
    China’s going to be screwed too, but at least the cost of living is lower (if you know where to go). If things get bad enough, and the USA turns as communist in deed as China is in name, my family can just move over there and get the same thing (with probably lower taxes) cheaper.

  450. All Hype says:

    Cindy (463):

    Thanks for the kind words. I will be fine. I more worried about the admins and support staff who need to find jobs. Some of these women are the sole breadwinners in the house and provide health benefits.

  451. still_looking says:

    469 AH,

    Dang you beat me to it… I was just about to post that you are gonna be okay….’sides as my l’il brother, you are irresistible and will be employed in no-time-flat! :)

    Now me, on the other hand…. I’ll get fired for ‘voicing the obvious’ at my little gig.

    sl

  452. A.West says:

    Cobbler
    Basically he’s expecting Japan to default on its debt, expecting the developed world financial systems to be run as government capital misallocation schemes, taxes and regulation to rise, deleveraging to last for at least a decade, and basically for economies to move in reverse for a decade. And that gold will be the only solid currency. The key thing for me after listening to his speech is that all of these things have been concerns to me for years. But I had thought of these items as possibilities. Now all of these things are turning into near-certainties, and the hardship is likely to last far longer than even most people at the gloomy NJrereport may expect.

    “The document from 12/2008 you’ve linked is much less scary than most of the things we are seeing today. What were the main points of Roche’s talk that would indicate a major change from his stand back in Dec.?”

  453. Cindy says:

    (469) All Hype – Great – I know you’ll be fine.

    We are up to 10.6% unemployment for CA. Several school districts are laying off teachers. Many will be taking advantage of the lower penalties for altering the 20/1 class size reduction rules – we may lose some teachers over that.

    And as you point out, one wage earner is usually the source for the family’s benefits. Still a lot of pain ahead for many in this state with increased taxes to boot.

  454. RayC says:

    Antitrump

    If only 7.5% of NJ house holds earn over $200K, how the hell do you justify these home prices??

    I wonder how many households this year will make $200k+? I don’t think its going to be 7.5%.

  455. Frank says:

    #472,
    Cindy, CA should ask Mexico for some of their oil money, since half of the students in CA schools are Mexicans. How about they pay to educate their citizens?

  456. Bob21 says:

    473. RayC says:
    February 28, 2009 at 10:55 am
    Antitrump

    If only 7.5% of NJ house holds earn over $200K, how the hell do you justify these home prices??

    I wonder how many households this year will make $200k+? I don’t think its going to be 7.5%.
    xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
    I would bet that the majority are (were) within 30 minutes of NYC.

  457. Bob21 says:

    Essex,
    Do you really have a lead lined basement? What is it for, against nuclear attack?

  458. lostinny says:

    All Hype
    I wish you the best.

  459. lostinny says:

    470 SL
    Now me, on the other hand…. I’ll get fired for ‘voicing the obvious’ at my little gig.

    This is why I always end up on the shitlist at work.

  460. Dink says:

    Maplewoodian, you were asking where did the comp killers go…well here’s one for you

    29 Brookside Rd., Maplewood
    Purchased: 5/21/2007
    Purchase Price: $979,000

    MLS# 2622588
    Sold: 2/24/2009
    Sale Price: $800,000
    (18% under the 2007 purchase price)

  461. maplewoodian says:

    Clot (429)
    “that it sucks”

    what are you a 10 year old?

  462. maplewoodian says:

    (438) Stu

    I see the difference between Maplewood and montclair is irvington and bloomfield.

    Nice thinking

  463. safeashouses says:

    Maplehood,

    Look at this reo future comp killer in Maplewood.

    http://www.trulia.com/property/1074764114-724-Prospect-St-Maplewood-NJ-07040

    Sold june 06 for 800k
    Sold Sept 06 for 835k
    Now listed as bank owned for 369k
    (all figures from Trulia)

    That would be 466k/ 56% off Sept 06 sale price, if it sells at 369k.

    dink, thanks for the idea.

  464. maplewoodian says:

    grim (444)

    what is this. you were supposedly criticizing maplewood and cite wikipedia on irvington. somehow you miss the mark just like the compkillers :)

  465. Dink says:

    Safe, #482

    Wow, if there was some sort of Bubble Hall of Fame created, I’d nominate that house first.

  466. maplewoodian says:

    I don’t think crime will significantly rise anywhere in NJ. Obama channels support to the poor, education, etc, race relations never looked that good and as you already know the amount of high tech monitoring has increased exponentially.

    You can talk as much about guns as you like but that shows your crime tendencies rather than the others.

  467. safeashouses says:

    #484 Dink,

    Amazing isn’t it. And it’s only Feb 09.

    BC Bob may need to get his boots ready.

  468. skep-tic says:

    Pitbull lawyers aren’t always desireable. First of all, I would say they are straight up undesireable for deal work, where you need to reach consensus at some point. I have seem some really aggressive lawyers blow up good deals for their clients because they were so obnoxious. This plays out in litigation as well, since most of the time, litigation settles. Point is, the best lawyers is one who knows how to pick battles, rathern than one who just wants to fight all the time.

  469. skep-tic says:

    what those $200k+ household numbers tell me is that the overwhelming majority of homeowners in the tri-state area couldn’t afford to buy their houses today. that should tell you something about the sustainability of current pricing

  470. CAIBC says:

    for some reason, pricing in this area is still holding up (15% decrease in prices is nothing when compared to the almost 100% rise in prices over the last few years)

    i think its denial – it will take time for the sellers in this area to come around….

  471. Bob21 says:

    485. nutwoodian says:
    February 28, 2009 at 12:08 pm
    I don’t think crime will significantly rise anywhere in NJ.

    You can talk as much about guns as you like but that shows your crime tendencies rather than the others.
    xxxxxxx
    Woodnut,
    Since when does owning or talking about weapons make one a criminal? Something tells me you aren’t an NRA member. Maybe you should just move over to the tree hugger blog next door…

  472. still_looking says:

    for the love of Christ!

    Please. Do. Not. Feed. The. Troll.

    sl

  473. maplewoodian says:

    Bob21 (490)
    I am here to discuss re not guns but if you want to talk about them no prob. Owning or talking about guns is not a crime. But I would be first suspicious of gun owners than the rest

  474. galgon says:

    Scrolling through the TV guide on my DVR I see: Las Vegas Sucker Bets. My wife asks me if that is a show about housing.

  475. cobbler says:

    [451] Stu
    The seniors did not chose to live there; they’d rather not; this was the only place where these low(er) income people were able to get subsidized senior housing.

  476. kettle1 says:

    maplewood

    from FBI stats, gun owners are less likely to commit a crime then the average individual (any crime, not just weapons related).

    you should be more worried about the unarmed neighbor if thats the game you want to play

  477. Essex says:

    476…I wish! Say do you remember the cast iron lined bus that Clint Eastwood drove in the gauntlet? That is what have planned for the family Volvo…..

    http://i366.photobucket.com/albums/oo107/kristelholly/gauntlet_poster.jpg

  478. Essex says:

    497…If we are going ‘stat’ crazy here…a gun owner is more likely to die by their own weapon….so numbers always can be twisted…

  479. kettle1 says:

    essex,

    true, but if you correct for gun owners that have had formal training in marksmanship that number becomes insignificant. Owning a firearm without having been properly trained is more of a risk to you and your family then anyone else. Formal training can eliminate the majority of that risk.

    PS not trying to start a stat war, just firing back at poorly though out troll comments

  480. Hubba says:

    #485 hoodie

    So did David Dinkins. How did that work out for NYC.

  481. spam spam bacon spam says:

    411 SL:

    Spewed food all over my monitor when I read that :)

  482. 3b says:

    #489 CAIBC:i think its denial – it will take time for the sellers in this area to come around….

    But they are, and will continue to come around.

    Only a fool would pay anywhere near these asking prices.

  483. 3b says:

    #504 Sorry should be in response to #491.

  484. maplewoodian says:

    kettle1 (501)

    quick between two people one owning a gun and one not owning a gun who is more likely to use it. Right. That’s why in more civilized countries (less violent crimes) owning a gun is illegal. in the most civilized countries not even policemen own a gun.

  485. grim says:

    I own three.

  486. Bob21 says:

    ….in the most civilized countries not even policemen own a gun.
    xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
    Trollwood,
    If this is criteria for being a civilized country please name them.

  487. Essex says:

    I have no issues with guns…I would rather have one and not need it than the other way around.

  488. Sastry says:

    #508…. 509… etc.

    You might be interested in this movie, “Bowling for Columbine”. It looks at the gun violence in US from multiple angles (e.g. whether more guns are causing it, attitudes are causing it, etc.)

    Disclaimer: It is by Michael Moore, and it won the best documentary award at Oscars. I happen to like the movie.

    S

  489. bi says:

    467#, NYC realtors got the hint? ask your clients put their apts on the market and you may be able to get $1M for free.

    >From NY Times:
    Apartment Buyers Abandoning 6-Figure Deposits

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/01/realestate/01walk.html?_r=1&ref=realestate&pagewanted=print

  490. zieba says:

    What’s going on here today?

    You guys are recycling 2-3 day old links… tsk tsk.

    RE: 484

    Amazed at the 800K tag or actually the person who purchased it…wow eight large, even in 2006, that place looks like a dump!

  491. DL says:

    If the German Federal and State gov’ts don’t provide money to spin off Opel from GM at least 11k jobs in Germany will be lost. GM is against the idea.
    Finished my taxes today. Hope the money goes to something shovel ready like a bail out for the NJ state penion fund.

  492. yikes says:

    went to houlihan’s last night. never had been there (usually try to avoid chains), but we were under a time constraint and it was on the way.

    burger was good. place was somewhat crowded. they gave us two coupons for a ‘free appetizer’ next time.

    thing i dont like about these chains is that they give you so much damn food. who needs a burger the size of football?

  493. sas says:

    hi maplewoodian.

    i somewhat agree with your take on the comp killers, but your last few comments makes me scratch my head a tad.

    ?
    SAS

  494. yikes says:

    CBS evening news … REAL ESTATE REVIVAL?

    it’s not online …

    we could be bottoming out because manassass, VA is turning around.
    2 foreclosures in manassas in 2006
    over 900 in 2008.

    places that were 300k in 2004 are now selling for 70k.

    BUY OR BE PRICED OUT FOREVER!!!!!
    (ok, it didn’t say that, but i thought it’d be funny)

    ps – I know the area well … locals call it ‘Manasshole”

  495. yikes says:

    OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Billionaire Warren Buffett says all kinds of investors finished 2008 bloodied and confused because of the dysfunctional credit market and other financial turmoil.

    And the famous investor said Saturday in his letter to Berkshire Hathaway Inc. shareholders that “the nation’s economy will be in shambles throughout 2009.”

    But Buffett remains optimistic about the country’s future. He says America has faced bigger economic challenges in the past, including two World Wars and the Great Depression.

  496. sas says:

    someone asked the other day, what the next “bubble” will be…

    I am leaning towards it being food.

    There is a major move (i know, for sometime now) towards consolidation of food (either factory farm, shipping, distribution, etc, etc).

    When I hear the stories, say the peanut butter outbreaks, or such similar stories, I take it with a grain of salt.
    Because, i suspect these stories are to push the public into accepting consolidation out of fear of “safety”.

    The food consolidation also has a smell of “tontine” attached to it.

    so, what to do?
    support anything local, get to know local farmers, conside a “victory garden”. as i smell food prices being a bubble through the roof.

    just my thoughts, take it or leave it.
    SAS

  497. sas says:

    another thing..
    when you hear about such stories (as i mentioned above).

    saboatage is a great way to create a news story to tweak public opinion for your favor.

    SAS

  498. Shore Guy says:

    “what those $200k+ household numbers tell me is that the overwhelming majority of homeowners in the tri-state area couldn’t afford to buy their houses today. that should tell you something about the sustainability of current pricing”

    BINGO Skep. And while the high prices provided a windfall for some, they lacked and fundamental support. Hence, the drop in prices is NOT the problem, it is the solution.

  499. PGC says:

    Time to stock up on dining out certificates

    restaurant.com are having an 80% off sale when you use the coupon code “DINE”

    I have used these before and even with the minimums and some with extra gratuity, it is a great deal if you eat out often. We use them to find new places to bring the kids.

  500. sas says:

    kettle,

    u familiar with Cisco VoIP?

    SAS

  501. yikes says:

    grim says:
    February 28, 2009 at 2:43 pm

    I own three.

    what are you packing, grim?

    i used to be opposed to weapons … only in the last couple years have i changed my tune.

    it’s all about protection. NJ re is calling for anarchy, and NJ re has been on point throughout this mess. hell, everyone here mocked Buffet when he jumped into the market and wrote an editorial in the NYT about last year being the time to invest … now, he’s recanted it all and said 2009 will be a mess

    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=a1L50vuf_HiM&refer=home

  502. lisoosh says:

    #
    kettle1 says:
    February 28, 2009 at 1:20 pm

    “from FBI stats, gun owners are less likely to commit a crime then the average individual (any crime, not just weapons related).”

    Silly stat. Useless argument. Drug possesion, embezzlement, fraud etc etc etc, tons of crimes out there to choose from that don’t involve any kind of physical violence.

  503. lisoosh says:

    Bob21 says:
    February 28, 2009 at 2:55 pm

    “….in the most civilized countries not even policemen own a gun.
    xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
    Trollwood,
    If this is criteria for being a civilized country please name them.”

    Silly too.

    Most of Europe has strict gun control as does Japan, Australia, Canada, etc. I’d call all of them civilized.

    I don’t have a problem with people owning guns, my husband used to have one.

    I grew up in the UK, never saw them, never knew anybody with one, cops don’t have them (except for SWAT teams), never knew of anyone who got shot. Didn’t miss them. It’s not a perfect country – there is of course violent crime and I know that drug gangs etc. have illegal weapons, but they aren’t visible to regular people.

    I do think there is an obsession with them in this country. Sorry.

    Definitely think they should be standardized criminal and psychological checks, training and registration.

    One country that I know of (one which would surprise many) they have all of the above, regular refresher courses – and here is the kicker – if your weapon is used by another in the act of committing a crime, you are considered partly responsible with mandatory jail time. People there take VERY good care of their guns and there is VERY little violent crime and almost no gun crime.

  504. still_looking says:

    Essex: 509 “I would rather have one and not need it than the other way around.”

    AMEN!

    sl

  505. still_looking says:

    Gawd.

    Even Warren Buffett admits our economy is in the shitter…. and will be for some considerable amount of time.

    sl

  506. bi says:

    one day, bankers will organize “tea party”

    http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0209/19418.html

  507. bi says:

    Kudlow: Obama Declares War on capitalism

    Let me be very clear on the economics of President Obama’s State of the Union speech and his budget.

    He is declaring war on investors, entrepreneurs, small businesses, large corporations, and private-equity and venture-capital funds.

    http://www.cnbc.com/id/29434104

  508. lurkerd says:

    “grim says:
    February 28, 2009 at 7:55 am
    Maplewood sounds like a great place to raise a family…”

    I’d rather raise my kids in Maplewood than in Clifton.

    Compared to Maplewood, Clifton is an impoverished town that is saturated with poverty.

    Clifton’s median household income is 39% lower than Maplewood’s, and Clifton’s poverty rate is 4.5 times higher.

    In addition, the proportion of Maplewood residents with a college degree is more than double the proportion in Clifton.

    I’m not saying Maplewood is the greatest place around. But when somebody from Clifton looks down on Maplewood, it is akin to somebody from Paterson looking down on Clifton.

  509. Clotpoll says:

    Hubba (459)-

    You could’ve shorted this flaming turd:

    http://www.google.com/finance?q=slm

    I wouldn’t do it now; the move’s been made. O and the gubmint have effectively squeezed private lending out of the student loan biz.

  510. Clotpoll says:

    lost (480)-

    You an L7 fan? My favorite tune of theirs:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7b00jXAscEI

  511. Clotpoll says:

    woody (482)-

    “what are you a 10 year old?”

    Yes. Are the MS-13 out in your nabe yet tonight?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xITVFgxcDIg

  512. Clotpoll says:

    woody (487)-

    The slowdown in posts here since this incisive piece of insight on your part must be because we’re all pausing and trying to remember how many gun crimes we’ve committed.

    “You can talk as much about guns as you like but that shows your crime tendencies rather than the others.”

  513. Clotpoll says:

    No doubt Woody came here from Pravda in the past couple of weeks. Just another sign that Grim’s hit it big.

    Maybe Woody and cobbler can meet up and discuss non-violent ways of dealing with MS-13 invading your living room.

  514. Clotpoll says:

    woody (506)-

    Your comments here make me think I need more guns.

  515. lostinny says:

    533 Clot
    I hope that’s not a dig.
    Nah I never did get into them. Something about tampons on stage just doesn’t do it for me.

  516. Clotpoll says:

    sl (527)-

    And Buffett has sold massive puts up under the whole fetid pile of crap.

  517. Clotpoll says:

    lost (538)-

    No dig at all. Back when L7 was big, I was cooking in a kitchen full of l@sbians.

    Hence, I spent a lot of time listening to this group. Didn’t know about their “messy” stage act.

  518. Clotpoll says:

    lost (538)-

    Of course, I also believed at the time that Drive Like Jehu was a far superior band. Silly, silly me:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UXM3D2iEGjw

    Warning: this is like root canal without anesthesia.

  519. Firestormik says:

    I am

    sas says:
    February 28, 2009 at 7:04 pm
    kettle,

    u familiar with Cisco VoIP?

    SAS

  520. chicagofinance says:

    OK Folks:

    SAS posted a couple of weeks ago about the Doomsday Vault intended to maintain crop biodiversity…..well Chicago comes to NNJ…..here is a function at the Morristown Westin in a couple of weeks. If anyone is interested, please let me know. If just a handful of you guys show, I can write it off. If it ends up more than a few, then I may need to ask you to chip in….

    Let me know
    https://alumniservices.uchicago.edu/events/EventView.asp?ID=2095&Private=N

  521. yikes says:

    Maplewood –

    I think you’re way off on the weapons thing.

    i venture to guess not many people here actually carry a firearm. it’s at home for protection.

    wife and i recently acquired carry permits, but i’m not even bringing one if i go into philly or anything.

    what’s the point? i dont go looking for trouble (anymore), trouble rarely finds me, either. since getting married i usually adhere to the credo “nothing good can possibly happen after 1 am.”

    the weapons are strictly a hedge against armageddon. that is all. i have zero interest in hunting. none.

  522. scribe says:

    errr, bi

    I don’t think it’s going to be the bankers who throw a tea party …

    I somehow, maybe, sort of think it’s going to be the “no taxation without representation” crowd …

  523. lostinny says:

    541 CLot
    They remind me of early Sonic Youth.

  524. Pat says:

    543 cf, I just know there’s an opportunity there.

    But I can stop repeating the chant:

    LOD
    LOD
    LOD

    and it’s to the beat of Let’s Go Mets.

  525. Pat says:

    can’t, D’OH.

  526. still_looking says:

    Pat 547

    [giggling like on acid..]

    I totally forgot about league of dorks!

    and for all…
    …now a word from your local sponsor…

    Stop. Feeding. The. Troll.

    sl

  527. maplewoodian says:

    yikes (544)

    not interested in a gun discussion and, who is responsible enough to own a gun (no one) and other usual NRA trivialities.

    Isn’t this an RE group? Can someone tell me what is your problem with Maplewood other than its neighboring towns? Can someone tell me why taxes here are higher than any other NNJ town close to the city?

  528. chicagofinance says:

    Branchburg Businessman Alleged Assault on Neshanic Station Resident
    By Merrill Marsh

    A man accused of roughing up an unidentified Neshanic Station Resident at the Somerset Hills hotel earlier this month was arrested Saturday in New Jersey, authorities said.

    Readington Township police arrested Reeves Hughes, 67, of Somerset County, N.J., at 1:30 p.m. EST Saturday. He faces charges that include attempted kidnapping, false imprisonment, sodomy, stalking, battery and the commission of a hate crime, according to Readington police.

    He was being held without bail in the Somerset County Jail in New Jersey.

    The unidentified, 64, was a known real estate investor, restaurateur and coached several rival traveling young women’s soccer teams. The victim alleges that he was approached in the lobby by a white man in his 60s who asked for stock tips, police said.

    Authorities said the victim agreed to talk in the lobby, but Hughes insisted the discussion be conducted in a hotel room, and got into the elevator with the victim. Once on the sixth floor, the suspect dragged the victim from the elevator, police said.

    The victim began yelling, and Hughes ran away and down the elevator, police said.

    Police have said they were aware that a man claimed responsibility for the attack in a posting on an anti-Semitic Web site registered in Australia. Police have not commented further on the case.

    Readington police Lt. Dan Mahoney said he doesn’t believe Hughes belonged to a larger organization.

    “He is a lone wolf and not part of an organization or group,” he said.

    The victim couldn’t immediately be reached for comment Saturday at Drew University, where he teaches, or through his culinary institute in Philadelphia. Police in New Jersey said they did not know if Hughes had retained an attorney.

    The attached photo was released of the victim.

    http://media.depechemode.com/main_site/2009_gr/wallpaper/dm_wrong_video_wallpaper_04_1600.jpg

  529. maplewoodian says:

    “No doubt Woody came here from Pravda in the past couple of weeks. Just another sign that Grim’s hit it big.”

    I am sure grim hit it big but I know of this blog a couple of months since getting interested in selling and buying. If you haven’t heard Pravda is now a russian gossip tabloid. I think your time has passed too, go to Florida. Bring your guns in case an elder breaks in.

  530. kettle1 says:

    SAS

    Yes i am familiar with Cisco VOIP. whats your question> are you referring to backdoors?

  531. Stu says:

    Chifi – Like a SNL skit it went too long.

  532. Pat says:

    O.K. I never felt that way about Church Lady.

    But when somebody has a thing going on for a ditty…the way CF does right now…you just have to put up with them working it in any way they can, Stu.

    :P

  533. sas says:

    “Cisco VoIP”

    I’m too tipsey on red wine and stuffed on chilean sea bass to remember what I was going to say with this one.

    SAS

  534. Happy Camper says:

    Boiler Room on tv. It truly evidences the W administration.

    HC

  535. cobbler says:

    Clot [536] – while I am armed, I doubt I could be able to hold off MS-13 if more than 2 of them show up. Could you?
    I don’t see a contradiction between firearms ownership rights and acceptance of the government role in the economy or health care system… Govt, at least, doesn’t send the jobs off-shore – and I’d much rather get Medicare-like coverage from the state then the crap package our HR conspires with insurance companies to sell me at $400/month.

  536. Sastry says:

    #470…

    So much ranting about taxes… Many of the big things about the US (the interstate highways, national parks, the internet, cleaner air/water, and the military might, are offshoots of a more progressive taxation). Tax rates were close to 70% just a few decades ago.

    So many of our times (especially immigrants) walk in to the US, utilize the resources, get a green card/citizenship, etc., based on *foundations* (money by folks who were paying 70% taxes, blood of the people who fought world wars)… and when it is our turn to pay taxes [much lower than whose shoulders we are standing on], it is sad to see some of us crying like little, pampered babies.

    Many of the immigrants that have had a free ride [subsidized] education in their own countries [I know of many cases from India and China] and come to US and get a smooth ride have too much greed. Almost like they want to be the last ones on the boat to the riches and burn the bridge before someone else avails of the same opportunities.

    I guess that’s how empires collapse: greed of the nouveau-riche.

    Please don’t counter with “I was special, I worked harder than everyone” stump speech…

    S

  537. Bob21 says:

    cobbler,
    and I’d much rather get Medicare-like coverage from the state then the crap package our HR conspires with insurance companies to sell me at $400/month.
    xxxxxxxxxxxx
    cobbler,
    I think the health insurance coverage is a good goal. I just don’t think the timing is great since we are in a recession (depression?) right now. It is a shame having the best health care in the world and there are large numbers of people in the US can’t afford it. You can only imagine once people pay their bills and house payment there isn’t a lot left over. The east coast is an expensive place to live.

  538. Clotpoll says:

    chi (551)-

    That’s quite something to wake up to. :)

    “I’m not schizophrenic! I’m bleeding quadrophenic!”

  539. Clotpoll says:

    woody (552)-

    Au contraire, dolt. Prime time is just starting for me and mine. Short sales are up; haven’t you heard?

    “I think your time has passed too, go to Florida.”

  540. Clotpoll says:

    Pravda = NY Times

  541. otis wildflower says:

    “While it may not be the most conventional path to take, for those who know Saab, you’re well aware – we know no other way. With the spirit of Saab leading us, we hope you’ll join us for the ride.”

    You know no other way? How about slapping a Saab badge on a body-on-frame SUV? Because when I think of jets, I think of gigantic, flabby iron monstrosities.

    Bastards.

    (at least the Saab WRX made a modicum of sense, with the turbos…)

  542. Bob21 says:

    I had a SAAB years ago. It ended up being just another SOB story. Replacement parts were about 2 1/2 times more expensive than for any other car. Never again.

  543. logical fallacy says:

    Ah, ready thru here…. everyone has a right to THEIR opinion-
    The over and under is nice for home defense, rapid fire… make sure you get cleaning kit and oil (keep that sucker oiled)
    Grew up in the UK?
    My first ancestors were Scottish Covenanters who start in the Jersey Settlement before pushing west..
    They fought for the British, against the British and then against the Feds in something called the Whiskey Insurrection-I really don’t give two <stish< about the UK, Canada etc… I have no assimilation with any those regions-we’ve been here for almost 300 years……………
    Over and under………

  544. abhimehr says:

    These doomsday scenarios of home prices is killing me. I am a going-to-be first time home buyer. Townhouse built in Oct 2006, bought then for ~$400K. Seller’s bank has listed it as a short sale, will go for $320K. Is this a good price to get in for South Bound Brook boro ? This is the canal crossing property, very different from surrounding homes, hence no comp. 13 yr Tax abatement. Shall I take the dive ?

  545. Dew says:

    You can see and list some great New Jersey real estate over at http://www.neighborcity.com