Weekend Open Discussion

Will kick this one off with the best quote to ever appear in the New York Times:

She has described some homes here as “multimillion-dollar penis extensions” that will make a buyer feel as if “he has never left northern New Jersey.”

– Evelyn Konrad, In the Hamptons, Going Against the Tide

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115 Responses to Weekend Open Discussion

  1. Fabius Maximus says:


  2. Fabius Maximus says:

    Beware the Greeks

    Breakup of single currency would blight Europe, says Dutch bank IngKnock-on effect on global economy would dwarf aftermath of Lehman Brothers collapse, analysts warn


  3. grim says:

    Happy days are here again!

    From the WSJ:

    Time to Refinance? Jumbo Mortgage Rates Plunge

    Nearly two years after the credit crunch virtually froze mortgage markets, high-end borrowers are seeing some relief: Rates for “jumbo” mortgages on pricier homes are at their lowest since 2003.

    Just a year ago, the average rate on a 30-year jumbo mortgage—a loan of more than $729,750 not backed by government-sponsored agencies Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac—was 6.86%, according to Greg McBride, a senior financial analyst at Bankrate.com. Now it is 5.48%—a rate that rivals those available during the height of the credit bonanza.

    “In just the past couple of months, jumbo loans have really started to be competitively priced,” says Keith Gumbinger of HSH Associates, a publisher of consumer-loan information.

    The lower rates signal relief for homeowners looking to shed an onerous mortgage—and for the high-end housing market itself. More-affordable jumbo loans will likely whet appetites for new home purchases, helping to stabilize prices at the upper end of the market. For consumers, the lower rates will make home purchases more affordable and enable existing homeowners to trim their monthly bills by refinancing.

  4. grim says:

    From the NYT:

    Reviving Stalled Housing Projects

    FIVE years ago, William Procida, a Bergen County builder and developer turned real estate financier, wrote a prescient article, “The Coming of the Half-Builts,” for a trade publication.

    That title neatly summed up what was to come. As the housing, credit and economic crises proceeded to detonate, prospects for completing residential construction projects small and large vaporized.

    “Half-builts” can now be found from Asbury Park to Atlantic City and from Fort Lee to Clifton: building skeletons, facades and empty lots with fully approved plans, marring the postrecession landscape and presenting grim evidence of lost momentum.

    But not entirely lost hope. A number of attempts at resurrection are under way at the moment, with some of the state’s largest construction companies, among them K. Hovnanian Homes and Metro Homes, trolling for projects to take over or finish.

    “There clearly are a lot of people out there with money looking to get into projects that already have approvals,” said Dean Geibel, the president of Metro Homes, which is based in Hoboken. “They can pick them up at a reasonable price, get the work done without having to wade through the regulatory process, and earn a good return in a relatively short time.”

    Mr. Procida is working with Metro Homes, the company responsible for the state’s most prominent skeleton — the Esperanza, a beachfront condominium tower in Asbury Park — to try and bring it back with a redesign and refinancing.

  5. grim says:

    Only 9 frank? There were 12 last week.

  6. frank says:

    Just look at the prices and tell me where else do you see $500/sqr ft in this country. I think only Moscow or Warsaw are more expensive.

  7. BeachBum says:

    A quick reaction to an earlier thread: I have been reading this blog for 3 years or so and I didn’t know until the other day that Brigadoon is Westfield…I laughed out loud – I’ve been thinking it was a place in Northern NJ that I’d never heard of…

  8. gary says:

    She has described some homes here as “multimillion-dollar penis extensions” that will make a buyer feel as if “he has never left northern New Jersey.

    She’s knocking North Jersey and rightfully so. She’s lived on the Upper East Side for many, many years and she’s saying that all the “pretenders” are trying to grab a piece of the Hamptons. Just like the pretenders in Upper Haughtyville, NJ who got suckered into overpriced sh1tholes because the town has a f*cking duck pond. Those same suckers who couldn’t touch Manhattan in three lifetimes.

  9. Fiddy Cents on the Dollar says:

    The Half-Builts….

    These projects that have been sitting empty over a winter are timebombs.

    They will have to be gutted down to the studs to check for dangerous mold. If mold is found the cost of completion goes up exponentially. You will fill a dozen dumpsters with drywall, whether it’s outgassing or not….it’s shot. All the associated debris removal costs apply.

    The insulation is probably compromised, you’ll pay plenty if you can even find guys who want to work with that stuff. Or you could just hide it behind new drywall and hope for the best.

    Unless you’re picking up these Half-Builts for pennies on the dollar…..I wouldn’t go near it.

    And I certainly wouldn’t want to live in something like that without a full environmental inspection.

  10. Cindy says:


    Niall Ferguson – Historian Warns of Sudden Collapse of American “empire”

    He basically says, He thinks there is a way out for the United States. “I don’t think it’s over.”

    But it all hinges on whether we
    re-energize the real mainsprings of American power – technological innovation and entrepreneurship.

  11. grim says:

    Test – Needed to upgrade, disregard the ugly formatting please.

  12. Cindy says:


    More from Ferguson – U.S. Debt and “Bond Vigilantes”


  13. gary says:

    But it all hinges on whether we
    re-energize the real mainsprings of American power – technological innovation and entrepreneurship.

    Cindy, this is in direct contrast to the Kenyan’s goal of Keynesian economics or rather, controlling the means of production and the means of the proletarian’s livelihood through cooperative enterprises.

  14. Cindy says:

    Gary –

    “Cindy, this is a direct contrast to the Kenyans goal of Keynesian economics or rather, controlling the means of production and the means of the proletarians’ livelihood through cooperative enterprises.”

    Oh Gary – Then you are going to love Ferguson’s warning in the video above. He ends it by saying the new stimulus called for by Krugman
    could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.

  15. Cindy says:


    Grim – for you…

    Another view on the NYT article re the rich defaulting on loans…

  16. Cindy says:


    The Kanjorski Surprise – Simon Johnson

    “The bank lobbyists, it turns out, missed one.”

    Well don’t TELL them about it!

  17. grim says:

    Trying to debug some gremlins. Disregard the sheep in the banner.

  18. Mr Hyde says:


    I like the current layout!

  19. Mr Hyde says:

    Oops Who would a thunk it???

    Toxicologists: Corexit “Ruptures Red Blood Cells, Causes Internal Bleeding”, “Allows Crude Oil To Penetrate “Into The Cells” and “Every Organ System”


    Now consider that they have pumped close to 1 million gallons of this stuff into the gulf as well as aerial spraying…..

  20. Mr Hyde says:


    I was fine with the layout until i noticed the sheep. It ruined the whole layout for me :)

  21. Mr Hyde says:

    Guess what? the Obama admin approved the continued use of corexit even after issues were raised about its safety. Big daddy O may end up with some serious blood on his hands for this mess.

  22. yo'me says:

    The picture says it all, A long walk home!

  23. Mr Hyde says:


    whats the META Login on the main page for??? its located on the right hand side under the archive list.

  24. grim says:

    Had to step out so I never finished, just wanted to stop this thing from crashing .

  25. Mr Wantanapolous says:


    RE: Ferguson & the vigilantes.

    He is spot on. I’ve been saying forever that once they blow out the pigs, they will move to Japan and then the US. It’s coming, the only issue is timing.

    Creating $2 of debt to pay for $1 of debt is a fiscal nightmare. Our only chance is a policy to enhance productive and intellectual capacity, inducing real worlwide demand. Printing to bail out bondholders of failed institutions is simply Bergabe-San.

    Refreshing to hear this from an Ivy League professor.

  26. Fiddy Cents on the Dollar says:

    The new layout is nice….bigger typeface is certainly easier on the eyes.

    Might need numbered posts, though, when referring back to earlier trains of thought on the same thread.

  27. stan says:



    of those 9 under contract
    #1 asking what they paid in 2006
    #2 asking 56k less than 2008 price(looks like it will close at 2005 developer price)
    #3 1125 maxwell place(yes that maxwell place) last listing price is 115k under 2009 purchase price
    #4 1501 garden(toll) 95k under 2008 price
    #5 at last listing will realize a profit from 2003(max is 80k)
    #6 319k last asking same as 2004 purchase price
    #7 121 jackson at last asking price 200k under 2006 price
    #8 (is a repeat of #6 so there is actually only 8 under contract)
    #9 made 100k since 1997

    just about at 2004 pricing across town. Under contracts have fallen drastically from the tax credit period. Now close to the path and the new luxury buildings on the north end are getting crushed.

    that is all

  28. willwork4beer says:

    Cindy @ 8:51am

    Thanks for the post.

    This legislation has been kicking around for a bit. It will help all the craft brewers but there is a hidden agenda that involves Boston Beer Co (Sam Adams). The legislation would raise the ceiling for the definition of small breweries from 2MM barrels to 6MM barrels. In beer geek circles it is being referred to as the “Sam Adams clause”.

    Boston Beer Company’s 2009 output: “approximately 2 million barrels”

  29. Shore Guy says:

    “Test – Needed to upgrade, disregard the ugly formatting please.”

    As the Emperor said in Amadeus:

    Do any of you like THIS? Is it modern?

  30. Outofstater says:

    I think I prefer the sheep to the “Sunrise Over Bayway” pic. Oh and good thing John isn’t around what with the “Disregard the sheep” and all.

  31. Shore Guy says:

    Baaaaahhhhhhaaaaaaaddddd news for the sheep with John around.

  32. Shore Guy says:

    Wouldnt a photo of a house in a sink hole be more appropriate?

  33. Yikes says:

    nice new look, Grim.

    Someone mentioned “prison organ harvests” on the last thread … that’s not a terrible idea in this country. if you’re on death row or looking at life in prison, why don’t we just take any vital organs from those worthless human beings?

  34. Yikes says:

    NJGator says:
    July 9, 2010 at 4:11 pm
    What Lures City Folk to Montclair and Maplewood?
    It’s been an established pattern for decades. Upper West Side to Brooklyn to Montclair. Or Upper West Side to Brooklyn to Maplewood. Sometimes the middle step is skipped altogether.

    Similar moves for us in the last 7 years: Gramercy Park (man i miss that area), Brooklyn (miss Saturday AM runs over the Brooklyn Bridge), Bucks County (space!).

  35. Final Doom says:

    Cindy (8:49)-

    I woke up this AM, flicked on the TV and the first human voice I heard was Ferguson, talking about the bond vigilantes that are bound to end up here.

    Then, he said that basically our only way out is to sell off all the infrastructure assets in the US.

    We are in the endtimes.

  36. Final Doom says:

    Like your new WordPress design. May I suggest a mushroom cloud for the homepage photo?

  37. Yikes says:

    Mr Wantanapolous says:
    July 10, 2010 at 10:42 am
    RE: Ferguson & the vigilantes.
    He is spot on. I’ve been saying forever that once they blow out the pigs, they will move to Japan and then the US. It’s coming, the only issue is timing.

    BC Bob, the question everyone else is asking – how do we prepare for what is “coming”? stockpile jokes aside, I’d love to hear what you’re doing from an economic standpoint.

  38. still_looking says:

    Regarding Yikes, above

    Hear, hear… WTF else can happen??


  39. still_looking says:

    Yikes, 12:04 pm

    Re organs, prisoners, etc.

    Problem is that if Steve Jobs needs *your* liver (based on blood type, HLA map, size of liver, cleanliness of said liver) you might just find yourself on death row.

    Need further reference on this? See here.


  40. still_looking says:

    More: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/asia/article6810287.ece

    The new donation system, piloting in 10 provinces and cities, will encourage post-death donations and start a fund to provide financial aid to the needy and to donors’ families.

    China’s organ shortage has become more acute in the past 12 months. A ruling last year that all death sentences must be approved by the Supreme Court has sharply reduced the number of executions.

    Emphasis added by me.


  41. still_looking says:

    Omigod too funny!

    Aw, poor Mel Gibson….



  42. gary says:

    Atrum ages es super nos. Complexo oblivio.

  43. Cindy says:


    (Yes, I am aware that I just posted an article that appeared in The Weekly Standard.)

    “One Job Forward, Two Jobs Back” – Another Triumph of Obamanomics

    But how could I resist this: ” It’s all I, I, I with this president. The repeated use of the first person singular pronoun illustrates what the economist Friedrich Hayek called “fatal conceit” or “the pretense of knowledge.”


    Glad you liked the “bond vigilantes” post. Yes BC, I would say his wording and order of those affected was exactly what you have been saying all along. But did you read the other article I posted? He does see some hope yet for America.

    Hopefully, politicians are sufficiently worried about their jobs that they are done with this spending foolishness. People are flat out worried about these deficits and are letting politicians know.

    Now if only we could stop tinkering with the business community – picking winners and losers etc. (see the linked article) – Maybe we could allow entrepreneurship and technological innovation to flourish.

  44. a mad as hell reinvestor101 says:

    What the hell happened here? I go away for a few damn days and the entire damn neighborhood changes and now I can’t find my damn way around. THERE NEEDS TO BE A DAMN VOTE BEFORE ANY BIG DAMN CHANGES ARE MADE.

    Look, I’m under enough damn stress AND I DON’T NEED THAT HERE.

  45. still_looking says:

    Aw, poor reinvestor,

    C’mon over and we’ll give you a smoochy-smooch to make you all better…


  46. Final Doom says:

    Cindy (1:05)-

    This will never happen. We have fallen too far into fascism to go cold turkey. The only way we wean ourselves from trying to rig outcomes is by either overthrowing the gubmint or just letting things run their course.

    “Now if only we could stop tinkering with the business community – picking winners and losers etc. (see the linked article) – Maybe we could allow entrepreneurship and technological innovation to flourish.”

  47. Frank says:

    Wall St. is hiring like it’s 2007, buy a home now, before the crazy money gets there before you.


  48. Cindy says:

    Clot @ 2:25

    I know…I’m nothing but a dreamer…a stupid little dreamer….


  49. chicagofinance says:

    JULY 10, 2010
    A Modest Proposal for Improving a Dull Game

    Use your hands, dummies. Also, add body slams, get rid of useless nil-nil ties and play on an extremely steep slope. With a few modifications, soccer could become hugely popular world-wide.

    By P.J. O’ROURKE

    Dear International Soccer Officials, Participants and Fans,

    Congratulations on a terrific World Dish or World Platter or whatever you’ve been having. It’s very interesting, compared to curling. There’s lots of falling down and a ball that’s big enough for me to see on my old analog TV with converter box (which makes golf look like weed trimming and hockey appear to be two gangs of overfed, angry figure skaters).

    You’ve got the makings of a great sport with this soccer or, as I believe you call it, “foosball.” With a few modifications it could become highly popular globally.

    I have one suggestion: Use your hands, dummies. Is this something that you simply forget to do? I recall from being beaten up in the schoolyard that sometimes the bully gets so involved in kicking that he fails to remember to punch too. Or is using your hands something that hasn’t occurred to you? In the sport of “kick-the-can,” for instance, there’s no particular reason for the winning player not to run in and toss the can instead of giving it the boot. True, kicking something generally makes a more satisfying sound than throwing it (the shot put excepted). But is it worth ruining a whole athletic contest for the sake of a sound effect?

    In case you hadn’t noticed, the goalies on your teams use their hands all the time. Hardly anybody ever scores a goal in soccer so obviously this works. And Uruguay’s Luis Suarez, who plays the position of “thwacker” or “slacker” or something, used his hands to defeat Ghana and was carried off the field in triumph. (Why a triumph over Ghana was a cause for celebration I’m not sure. Poor Ghana has been triumphed over by British, Portuguese, German, Dutch and Danish colonialists, the Kwame Nkrumah regime, a CIA-sponsored coup and at least four other coups just since the 1900s. But I guess this is a separate question from why people don’t use their hands in soccer.)

    Your fingers don’t seem to be otherwise engaged while you’re playing. I could understand the hands-off business if you were carrying an egg in a spoon down the field or if, like me when I play soccer with my kids in the backyard, you were holding a beer and a cigar. Maybe, being foreigners, you need both hands free at all times to gesticulate wildly at referees or, if you’re French, at your coach. Take a tip from American basketball players and learn some dirty words.

    I’ve also been told that in soccer it is actually against the rules to slam into an opposing player for the deliberate purpose of doing him bodily harm. Why? Anyone who’s spent an hour with Dr. Freud (a hands-on fellow himself) can tell you that sport is a sublimation of fighting. That’s how we got into sports, with the ancient Greek Olympic games. Every four years the Greeks would take time out from fighting to wrestle. True, soccer isn’t the only sport where bodily contact is prohibited. There’s croquet, tennis, most track and field events and the aforementioned golf. But think how much more lively all these sports would be if they involved late hits, full nelsons and round-house rights. Picture, if you will, contact pole-vaulting. On the other hand, imagine the deadly dullness of Nascar if no car ever crashed.

    And let’s talk about soccer scores. There are a few things that people all around the world need to admit to themselves. Trade restraints slow economic growth, the euro is not a reserve currency and scoreless sports ties are boring. What if there were a World Series where no team got a run? What if, during March Madness, Indiana were able to advance to the Final Four without making a basket? (Although this idea might find some support at IU lately.)

    “Nil-nil” is not a sports score, “nil-nil” is a foreign policy. Judging by the many successes of the United Nations, it’s a foreign policy favored by the majority of the world’s foreign countries. Of course nil-nil is not an American foreign policy, or wasn’t until we got a president with a suspiciously foreign name. Americans like to win. And, come on global sports fans, you like to win too. In this one respect you’re all Americans at heart. So knock it off with the whole “everybody’s a loser” soccer thing.

    Personally, I think it has to do with World War I. Nobody could decide who had really won and everybody had to have another whole World War to figure it out. What with millions of dead and all, winning got a bad name. The Europeans, especially, just gave up on winning. I’ll bet that before World War I there were soccer matches with scores of 105 to 97 or, anyway, 8 to 3. Get over it. It’s just soccer. No fire bombing of Dresden is involved. Go ahead and kick (or throw) that ball into the net and win big. Hitler won’t get re-elected to the Reichstag if Germany loses.

    Please don’t misunderstand me. I’m a soccer booster, a soccer enthusiast. Soccer is becoming more and more popular in the United States because I—like most American parents—can’t do a damn thing to stop it. I have three young children enrolled in a progressive school. I attend between four and eight soccer games a week. (Vodka in my Vitaminwater helps.) There’s soccer season, indoor soccer, soccer clinic, soccer day camp, soccer sleep-away camp and midnight soccer to help children from the nearby big city avoid a life of crime.

    Like it or not, I’ve come to appreciate soccer. Any kid can play, which fits with the inclusive agenda of progressive schools. Although the corollary to any kid can play is that every kid must play because there is an iron grip to the warm hug of progressive inclusionism. Hence the vodka in my Vitaminwater. But it’s good that there’s a sport where kids don’t need to be freakishly tall or massively strong or gifted with triathlon masochism. It’s particularly good for me because I want my kids to play sports. That is, I want them out of the house so I can have the computer back. But my children possess body types best suited to contract bridge and even after 10,000 hours of computer games their hand-eye coordination is barely up to operating a light switch.

    Ah-hah! Maybe that’s what soccer’s manual abstention is about. Perhaps foot-eye coordination is more widely distributed among humans than hand-eye coordination. This seems entirely possible. I’ve seen my kids poke themselves in the eye with their own thumbs. I’ve never seen my kids poke themselves in the eye with their toes.

    Anyway, they all play soccer. I enjoy watching them run around like maniacs. It raises hope for a compliant bedtime. And I enjoy watching foreigners run around like maniacs in the World Cup and Saucer. I specifically enjoy watching the Europeans run around. Being happily married it’s not that I’m hoping for any European bedtime compliance. But when I’m in Europe no one seems to be moving very fast. When I go to the Brasserie Lipp the maitre d’ most certainly doesn’t run to find me a place to sit down and eat. And when I am seated the waiter doesn’t exactly hustle with my food. I understand that Hillary Clinton is having some of the same trouble getting Iran sanctions on the table. It’s nice to see that something can build a fire under Europeans.

    Naturally my children play a much more fascinating game of soccer than the Europeans and other foreigners do. For one thing my children give me someone in the game to yell at. Having once been a foreign correspondent I’ve given up on yelling at foreigners. They pretend not to understand. As an American I remain convinced that English, if spoken loudly enough, can be understood by anyone, but yelling doesn’t affect foreigners. Yelling doesn’t affect my children either, but at least I can take them home and yell at them some more in the comfort of my own kitchen, which I can’t do with foreigners. “It’s a ball game! You play it with a ball, not with a finger up your nose!” (This advice did not, by the way, work with the French soccer team.)

    There’s a lot that international soccer could learn from watching American kid soccer. If somebody’s really bad at the game they get extra encouragement. So let North Korea win every so often. It might quit acting out in a plea for attention.

    I wonder if international soccer coaches have considered instituting the “cluster kick.” This is a popular play with my 6-year-old’s team. Every player, regardless of the position that he or she is supposed to be playing, descends on the ball in a horde furiously attempting to get a leg in. It combines the most picturesque elements of rugby scrum, mosh pit and 2 a.m. brawl in an Irish pub. It is a crowd-pleaser. You never know where the ball is going to go. Frequently it goes into some distant neighbor’s backyard. This would add an element of suspense to the Netherlands-Spain game.

    Speaking of wayward soccer balls, have any international soccer teams tried playing indoors in a progressive school’s small gym that also serves as the arts and crafts room and yoga studio? The 8-foot ceiling moves soccer into a third dimension. Parents often have to swat away for dear life with rolled-up yoga mats. And sometimes a student sculpture celebrating multicultural sustainability and made from glued-together biodegradable packaging of many nations is smashed to bits.

    If the international soccer establishment is still intent, despite my warnings, on keeping scores down, it can do what our school does. When one team (invariably the visitors) gets too far ahead we quit keeping score. Usually this happens after the other side has made about 10 goals, so you could still get your score boards into double digits. A scoring moratorium keeps feelings from being hurt. And from what I’ve seen of your games over the past few weeks, hurt feelings abound.

    There are many other ways that you could make soccer more attractive and engaging. For example, play it on an extremely steep slope. This did wonders for the luge. Remember how people were suddenly paying much more attention to luge events in the last Winter Olympics? And I know that international soccer is not at all averse to innovation. The vuvuzela is a brilliant stroke. One of my soccer-playing children is a 12-year-old girl. The sound of vuvuzelas is a huge improvement over the squeals of 12-year-old girls, let alone the Lady Gaga tunes leaking out of their ear buds.

    There is, however, the possibility that the powers-that-be in international soccer have no interest in creating more excitement, that their entire aim and purpose is to increase the tedium in the sport. In that case I suggest you encourage your players to do as my daughter and her teammates do and wear their iPods throughout the game.

    But I don’t believe this is what you want for soccer. The purpose of sports—even foreign sports—is not to bore people. Boredom can be so easily obtained. Hunger, exhaustion from making a living and authoritarian governments that ban the fun parts of the Internet provide it free in most of the world. And here in America we just have kids and send them to progressive schools.

    Soccer matches should be something special, something people eagerly look forward to, something that brightens life. You’re almost there. Just use your hands, introduce some full-body blocking, expand the goal area, break up the game a little so that people have time to go to the bathroom between plays and maybe change the shape of the ball slightly so it’s easier to carry. Now you’ve got a sport.

  50. chicagofinance says:

    But my children possess body types best suited to contract bridge and even after 10,000 hours of computer games their hand-eye coordination is barely up to operating a light switch.

  51. grim says:

    test test test

  52. Orion says:

    I like the new look, even the photo, reminds me of tranquil autumn walks.
    But I do miss the numbered posts.

    Evelyn’s quote is spot on, the bigger the house, the bigger the bulge.

  53. Orion says:

    Thanks for the Ferguson clip. Damn he looks good!! His brilliance ain’t bad either.

  54. borat obama says:

    Frank made my day

  55. borat obama says:

    Hii. Fiveeeee

  56. Final Doom says:

    Orion (8:19)-

    Tranquil autumn walk? That guy’s walking into oblivion.

  57. NJCoast says:


    Where did the donate button go?

  58. Essex says:

    Whoa….nice lookin’ spread —

  59. Mr Wantanapolous says:

    Who said long walk home? Bingo.

    Look closely, you may see a familiar face.


  60. cobbler says:

    Sorry – don’t like the new format, takes much longer to go through a couple hundred posts… and definitely need post numbers…

    And I don’t believe bond vigilantes can successfully attack the credit when we have the global reserve currency issued by the central bank cooperating with the government, and no foreign currency debt… never happened, won’t happen. If anything, private and corporate debts totaling 2.9 x GDP bother me way more than the federal debt of 0.7 or even 1.2 x GDP – and inflation will do wonders on those.

  61. Jim says:

    Need numbered posts. What is up with the sheep? Who is that walking into the sunset? Is it B.O. after he has redistributed the wealth and all our hope and change are also gone?

  62. sas says:

    LeBron James….. ist das Opium des Volkes.

  63. grim says:

    Sorry folks, the old layouts doesn’t work right after the layout.

    I’ll take the sheep over a blog that crashes every few minutes.

    At least until I get this all sorted out.

  64. Confused in NJ says:

    cobbler says:
    July 11, 2010 at 12:44 am
    Sorry – don’t like the new format, takes much longer to go through a couple hundred posts… and definitely need post numbers…


  65. jamil says:

    Comrade will like this.

    “Apocalypse now? In US and abroad many are prepared”

    “WASHINGTON — From the outside, Jerry Erwin’s home in the northwestern US state of Oregon is a nondescript house with a manicured front lawn and little to differentiate it from those of his neighbors.

    But tucked away out of sight in his backyard are the signs of his preparations for doomsday, a catastrophic societal collapse that Erwin, 45, now believes is likely within his lifetime.

    I’ve got, under an awning, stacks of firewood, rain catching in barrels, I’ve got a shed with barbed concertina wire, like the military uses,” he told AFP.

    He and his wife also have also stockpiled thousands of rounds of ammunition and enough food for about six months.

    “Several years ago I worked on paying off the house, replacing all the windows, and just very recently, I’m proud to say, we’ve replaced all our exterior doors with more energy-efficient ones, with as much built-in security features as I could get,” he told AFP.

    “Plus I’m going to be adding some more structural improvements to the door frames to make it hopefully virtually impossible to take a battering ram to them.”

    Erwin and others like him in the United States and elsewhere see political upheaval and natural disasters as clear signs that civilization is doomed.

    It is unclear how many people subscribe to the lifestyle, but there are hundreds of websites devoted to the movement, and Erwin’s surburban-self-reliance.com attracts visitors from around the world”

  66. Outofstater says:

    Yeah, I’m with confused and cobbler. I like the old format but then, I’m not one for change. To me, the njrereport has become like Watson to Holmes – “the one fixed point in a changing universe.” Well, the format, anyway, it’s familiar and comforting.

  67. House Hunter says:

    sort of states the obvious to us, but interesting Dr Housing Bubble article:

  68. jamil says:

    NYC condo prices up…Nice deal for Rush, from $5M to $11.5M.

    “A year after railing about the high tax burden on wealthy New Yorkers, Rush Limbaugh, the conservative radio talk-show host, is severing one more tie with New York, selling his lushly decorated Fifth Avenue penthouse to an undisclosed buyer.

    Mr. Limbaugh’s 10-room condominium, which features a 30-foot-wide living room with fireplace and four terraces overlooking Central Park at East 86th Street, went into contract Thursday for a bit under the final $12.95 million asking price, brokers said

    One broker familiar with the transaction said the final price was about $11.5 million. Mr. Limbaugh paid just under $5 million for the apartment as well as a maid’s room and a storage locker, in 1994.

    On the radio last week, he railed again against high property taxes, and predicted that basketball star LeBron James would bypass New York, and join a team in a place like Miami to save $12 million to $20 million a year in state income taxes he might have to pay in New York.”

  69. sas says:

    you knew this was coming. we called this one years ago.

    “Christie looks to privatize motor vehicle inspections, other services ”

  70. Yikes says:

    Battering ram? Ha, what a joke. Some c-4 or a shotgun blast should do the trick. Flash-bang through the window?

    I need a shotgun.

  71. sas3 says:

    Chris Christie is cutting funds for programs like a blind barber shaving with a really sharp blade.

  72. Shore Guy says:

    “Chris Christie is cutting funds for programs like a blind barber shaving with a really sharp blade”

    It is about time somebody did.

  73. Shore Guy says:

    ““Christie looks to privatize motor vehicle inspections, other services”

    This sounds like a winning plan. Getting to the centralized inspections is a royal pain. Gator may be able to confirm this through her baby-wearing relatives but in NY the cost for private inspection is something like $15 or $20 dollars, one gets it done when having regular maintenance performed, and it saves lots of time. As for the cost, I bet that the inspecttion stations in NJ cost taxpayers more than $20 per car per year.

  74. Final Doom says:

    Starve the gubmint beast until it dies. Yeah!!!!

  75. sas says:

    yeah right!
    and the air was safe to breath days after 9/11.
    mesthelioma…ehhh..forget about it…
    just go back shopping and don’t forget to use credit.

    “NOAA: Gulf seafood tested so far is safe to eat”

  76. yo'me says:

    Octopus vs Parakeet

  77. Pat says:

    Doom, Montklairites, et. al. New skatepark nearby is seeming O.K. Non-supervised, I’m noticing trash issues and minor problems including little kids riding bikes in the crowd of skaters. So far no roaches down with the butts.

    Anyway, you know who promised three ten year olds she’d get them used skateboards if their dad’s showed to pick the boards up, and as long as they promised not to ride their bikes in there. Can you recommend a complete set up that’s not gonna break me?

  78. Roy G Biv says:

    Actually, I kind of liked the Map Logo.

  79. still_looking says:

    Biv, 3:49

    Me too


  80. yo'me says:

    Octopus !!!!

  81. DL says:

    Saw a comment about LeBron that pointed out said he gave himself a $6-8mil pay raise by moving from high tax Cleveland to low tax Miami. Who can blame him?

  82. Confused in NJ says:


  83. DL says:

    I saw an original of this map at the NY regional FEMA HQ. Was there when a major storm hit Puerto Rico. (NY has responsibility for PR since Florida has its own mess to clean up.) I learned that the major task of FEMA was to watch the Weather Channel. Sheesh.

  84. meter says:

    Congrats to Spain. The best team won, though the Oranje had some golden opportunities. Iniesta must have had 3 of his own that he fumbled away earlier in the match. Too much fancy shmancy footwork.

    Congrats also to Forlan who was named best player of the tourney (and well-deserved it was). I didn’t know of him beforehand, but he caught my eye early on as someone to watch.

  85. speedkillsu says:

    yumm …shrimp in a 10W40 gumbo sauce !

  86. Final Doom says:

    Shrimp in a Corexit Glaze.

  87. Final Doom says:

    2011 Champions League began on 7/1. Go Dynamo Tblisi!!!

  88. Final Doom says:

    More reasons why banksters need to be publicly executed:

    “In what will come as a complete lack of surprise to everyone, Bank of America has officially confirmed it “mistakenly” used Repo 105-type transactions on $10.7 billion in assets, which had been misclassified as sales rather than borrowings, or repos, in the period between 2007 and 2009. As Bloomberg reports, the bank used the excuse that a $10+ billion fraud is simply an rounding error so you must acquit: “Bank of America said the inaccuracies aren’t material and “don’t stem from any intentional misstatement of the Corporation’s financial statements and was not related to any fraud or deliberate error.” We are sure that late night comedians can come with enough material in which a $10.7 billion “mistake” is not material so we will leave it to them, and instead we will ask another question as pertains to the whole end of quarter window dressing theme: namely – why does it continue to this day? As per the FRBNY’s public disclosure of Primary Dealer holdings, the week ended June 30 once again saw the traditional balance sheet collapse, with total PD assets as of June 30 closing once again at the lowest level of the entire quarter. This marks the 7th consecutive quarter in which primary dealer assets finished the quarter at or near the lowest exposure during the quarter, and 9 out of the last 10. But it’s all fine – according to the SEC mangled rules of corrupt statistics (soon taught at a Princeton University near you), an event that occurs 90% of the time is not at all significant or notable.”


  89. Final Doom says:

    meter (6:04)-

    I have been a fan of Forlan since the frontrunning Man U dolts began calling him “Diego Forlorn”. When they cut him loose, I told my wife he had gotten freed to become one of the best players in the world. The guy is a total class act.

  90. Yikes says:

    Forlan was impressive. I too, had never heard of the guy.
    Worst part of the World Cup? Have to wait 4 years for another one.

  91. Final Doom says:

    Club football is way better than the WC…if you really want to watch top-class teams and games on a consistently high level with a plot that plays out over an entire season. The WC is more like a mad, month-long blitzkrieg that ultimately exposes the central, driving neurosis of 32 nations.

    Today’s game actually sucked, IMO. Holland played like thugs from beginning to end and deserved to lose for using such a cynical game plan.

  92. meter says:

    From an article cited on Zero Hedge which harkens back to points I made just a few days ago:


    “The Con of the Decade (Part II) meshes neatly with the first Con of the Decade. Yesterday I described how the financial Plutocracy can transfer ownership of the Federal government’s income stream via using the taxpayer’s money to buy the debt that the taxpayers borrowed to bail out the Plutocracy.

    In order for the con to work, however, the Power Elites and their politico toadies in Congress, the Treasury and the Fed must convince the peasantry that low tax rates on unearned income are not just “free market capitalism at its best” but that they are also “what the country needs to get moving again.”

    The first step of the con was successfully fobbed off on the peasantry in 2001: lower the taxes paid by the most productive peasants marginally while massively lowering the effective taxes paid by the financial Plutocracy.

    One Year Later, No Sign of Improvement in America’s Income Inequality Problem:

    Income inequality has grown massively since 2000. According to Harvard Magazine, 66% of 2001-2007’s income growth went to the top 1% of Americans, while the other 99% of the population got a measly 6% increase. How is this possible? One thing to consider is that in 2001, George W. Bush cut $1.3 trillion in taxes, and 32.6% of the cut went to the top 1%. Another factor is Bush’s decision to increase the national debt from $5 trillion to $11 trillion. The combination of increased government spending and lower taxes helped the top 1% considerably.

    The second part of the con is to mask much of the Power Elites’ income streams behind tax shelters and other gaming-of-the-system so the advertised rate appears high to the peasantry but the effective rate paid on total income is much much lower.

    The tax shelters are so numerous and so effective that it takes thousands of pages of tax codes and armies of toadies to pursue them all: family trusts, oil depletion allowances, tax-free bonds and of course special one-off tax breaks arranged by “captured” elected officials.

    Step three is to convince the peasantry that $600 in unearned income (capital gains) should be taxed in the same way as $600 million. The entire key to the U.S. tax code is to tax earned income heavily but tax unearned income (the majority of the Plutocracy’s income is of course unearned) not at all or very lightly.

    In a system which rewarded productive work and provided disincentives to rampant speculation and fraud, the opposite would hold: unearned income would be taxed at much higher rates than earned income, which would be taxed lightly, especially at household incomes below $100,000.

    If the goal were to encourage “investing” while reining in the sort of speculations which “earn” hedge fund managers $600 million each (no typo, that was the average of the top 10 hedgies’ personal take of their funds gains), then all unearned income (interest, dividends, capital gains, rents from property, oil wells, etc.) up to $6,000 a year would be free–no tax. Unearned income between $6,000 and $60,000 would be taxed at 20%, roughly half the top rate for earned income. This would leave 95% of U.S. households properly encouraged to invest via low tax rates.

    Above $60,000, then unearned income would be taxed the same as earned income, and above $1 million (the top 1/10 of 1% of households) then it would be taxed at 50%. Above $10 million, it would be taxed at 60%. Such a system would offer disincentives to the speculative hauls made by the top 1/10 of 1% while encouraging investing in the lower 99%.

    Could such a system actually be passed into law and enforced by a captured, toady bureaucracy and Congress? Of course not. But it is still a worthy exercise to take apart the rationalizations being offered to justify rampant speculative looting, collusion, corruption and fraud.

    The last step of the con is to raise taxes on the productive peasantry to provide the revenues needed to pay the Plutocracy its interest on Treasuries. If the “Bush tax cuts” are repealed, the actual effective rates paid on unearned income will remain half (20%) of the rates on earned income (wages, salaries, profits earned from small business, etc.) which are roughly 40% at higher income levels.

    The financial Plutocracy will champion the need to rein in Federal debt, now that they have raised the debt via plundering the public coffers and extended ownership over that debt.

    Now the con boils down to insuring the peasantry pay enough taxes to pay the interest on the Federal debt–interest which is sure to rise considerably. The 1% T-Bill rates were just part of the con to convince the peasantry that trillions of dollars could be borrowed “with no consequences.” Those rates will steadily rise once the financial Power Elites own enough of the Treasury debt. Then the game plan will be to lock in handsome returns on long-term Treasuries, and command the toady politicos to support “austerity.”

    The austerity will not extend to the financial Elites, of course. That’s the whole purpose of the con. “Some are more equal than others,” indeed.”

  93. Confused in NJ says:

    BOSTON – The heads of President Barack Obama’s national debt commission painted a gloomy picture Sunday as the United States struggles to get its spending under control.

    Republican Alan Simpson and Democrat Erskine Bowles told a meeting of the National Governors Association that everything needs to be considered — including curtailing popular tax breaks, such as the home mortgage deduction, and instituting a financial trigger mechanism for gaining Medicare coverage.

    The nation’s total federal debt next year is expected to exceed $14 trillion — about $47,000 for every U.S. resident.

    “This debt is like a cancer,” Bowles said in a sober presentation nonetheless lightened by humorous asides between him and Simpson. “It is truly going to destroy the country from within.”

    Simpson said the entirety of the nation’s current discretionary spending is consumed by the Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security programs.

    “The rest of the federal government, including fighting two wars, homeland security, education, art, culture, you name it, veterans, the whole rest of the discretionary budget, is being financed by China and other countries,” said Simpson. China alone currently holds $920 billion in U.S. IOUs.

    Bowles said if the U.S. makes no changes it will be spending $2 trillion by 2020 just for interest on the national debt.

    “Just think about that: All that money, going somewhere else, to create jobs and opportunity somewhere else,” he said.

    Simpson, the former Republican senator from Wyoming, and Bowles, the former White House chief of staff under Democratic President Bill Clinton, head an 18-member commission. It’s charged with coming up with a plan by Dec. 1 to reduce the government’s annual deficits to 3 percent of the national economy by 2015.

    Bowles led successful 1997 talks with Republicans on a balanced budget bill that produced government surpluses the last three years Clinton was in office and the first year of Republican George W. Bush’s presidency. Simpson, as the Senate’s GOP whip in 1990, helped round up votes for a budget bill in which President George H.W. Bush broke his “read my lips” pledge not to raise taxes.

    Despite their backgrounds, both Simpson and Bowles said they were not 100 percent confident of success this time around.

    Simpson labeled the commission members “good people of deep, deep difference, knowing the possibility of the odds of success are rather harrowing to say the least.”

    Bowles also said Congress had to be ready to accept the commission’s findings.

    “What we do is not so hard to figure out; it’s the political consequences of doing it that makes it really tough,” he said.

    Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe was one of those leaders who sat in rapt attention during the presentation, one of the first in public by the commission leaders.

    “I don’t know that I ever heard a gloomier picture painted that created more hope for me,” said Beebe, commending its frankness.


  94. Final Doom says:

    Like the stupid shits we are, we will ignore messages like Simpson’s & Bowles’ until we are subsumed in debt and then pursue a course of either repudiation of that debt and/or the launch of another endless war.

  95. NJGator says:

    Montclair To Eliminate Social Services
    Saturday, July 10, 2010

    The third part of Montclair mayor Jerry Fried’s budget letter to residents arrived tonight at 9 p.m. Among other things, he tells us that town has decided to eliminate its Social Services department entirely — leaving that job entirely to non-profits in the community. Social Services, which was part of the health department, helped people with disabilities, seniors and, presumably, the poor. (It is not entirely clear from the department’s 2010 report to council , which you can download here.) In addition, Fried stated that:

    # Property taxes for Montclair — including school and county taxes — will go up 6 percent in the 2010 budget.

    # The municipal portion of the budget, accounting for 25 percent Montclair’s tax bill, was up 10 percent over last year.

    # Most of that increase is due to a decline in revenue.

    # When the town went to Trenton to ask for a waiver of the 4-percent tax levy cap, state officials praised Montclair for making tough spending cuts.

    # Serious consideration is being given to closing the Bellevue branch of the library.

    # Policy salaries are currently in the hands of a mediator.

    Here is the full text of his letter.

    The Municipal Budget (letter 3 of 3)-Next Year and Beyond

    In previous letters, I’ve addressed our current budget and the structural changes that have been made in Montclair’s local government. This letter will address next year’s and future budgets.

    This year’s property tax increase, about 6% when the school, municipal and county increases are combined, is a number that no one on the governing body is happy with. The Municipal portion, about a quarter of the total tax, will have an increase over the previous year of around 10%. Of this number, only about 2% represents an increase in spending (mostly increases in pensions and health benefits with some contractual salary increases). The rest of the increase is due to decreases in all of our revenue sources (State aid, fees, tax appeals, etc.).

    It is important to point out that our budget is on the calendar year… the budget we are about to pass is for 2010, which will be half over before it is adopted. This is common in New Jersey since we need to get our actual State aid and revenue numbers in order to pass a “real” budget. For the first several months of the year, spending is curtailed wherever possible in preparation for the actual budget’s adoption.

    Although there have been minor disagreements on the Council over individual items, the differences account for only a few dollars of increase or decrease on your property tax bill. In terms of actual proposals for cuts or for restoring cuts that are in the budget, these changes pale in comparison with the total cuts that have been made.

    Last year, I voted against what I felt was an unacceptable budget with far too few real changes over the previous year’s budget. It is likely that some Council members will vote against this year budget for the same reason. I support the current proposed budget as a reasonable compromise in which some services are reduced while we maintain safety and a reasonable quality of life.

    Montclair went before the Local Finance Board in Trenton to get a waiver of our 4% tax levy cap, which would normally force us to cut spending so the Municipal increase would be below 4%. Of the 13 applicants that day, we were by far the best example of a municipality that had made structural changes and tough decisions to curtail spending. Our waiver was granted immediately and with great sympathy for our revenue shortfall. The Board applauded our efforts and would have granted a far larger tax increase.

    Because of this, structural changes made in the 2010 budget will have only about half their effect in 2010. If a position is permanently eliminated in June, that person will have been employed for about half a year and thus we will save only half of that person’s salary. If the position is kept vacant in the 2011 budget, it will therefore have twice the “benefit”.

    Over a dozen positions have been eliminated in the 2010 budget, and therefore we will start out from a significantly lower salary base. The loss of positions will result in some cuts in services and will put additional stress on the remaining township employees. Residents should always expect courteous, respectful responses from the staff in every situation. However, spending cuts will create slower delivery of services and there will be periodic closures of offices because of furloughs.

    One entire function of local government, Social Services, has been eliminated. Although this office provided valuable assistance to many in the community, the Council believes that non-profits in the area will provide information, support, and other aid that was formerly provided by the Township.

    As an “arts person” it is particularly painful to make cuts in funding to cultural affairs and the Montclair Arts Council. For the remainder of this year we will have to rely on our important non-profits like the Montclair Art Museum, greater volunteer efforts and the talents of our many resident artists to preserve our status as a community that values the arts. Our July 4th parade and fireworks were saved by such efforts and we will have to find ways to support our culture through similar efforts next year.

    As Mayor, I sit on and appoint the Board of Trustees of the Montclair Public Library, which serves all residents but provides crucial services to those on the lower end of the income scale. The Manager’s introduced budget had a cut of $700,000, about 18%, which I believe the majority of the Council deems too severe. I accept the Board’s explanation of why a cut of this magnitude would be devastating to library services. The library budget had been flat or slightly reduced for several years, during which services actually increased because of good management practices such as filling vacant higher-salaried positions from with well-trained junior employees. In my opinion, the library is an exemplary Township department, a model for making do with less. Even so, our revenue shortfall requires shared sacrifice and it will likely be sustaining a cut of somewhere between 10-12% (the Council has yet to make a final decision, but I think it’s likely to be close to the lower number). This cut will require significant cuts in hours and the possibility of closing the branch library entirely. Looking at the next several years, the Board has suggested the creation of a task force including residents to propose options for how best to maintain this historic building and preserve it for future use. One option may be to create a public/private partnership that would utilize the building for some commercial use while also maintaining some library services on a limited basis.

    At this point, virtually all Township employees with the exception of some department heads are union members, and the unions have made real concessions which have saved jobs. Township offices will be closed for six furlough days, not a permanent solution but one that may be utilized again if the economic downturn continues.

    Police staffing is being maintained at a lower level than in recent years, and this affects some of the more visible and community-based functions. Because of a breakdown in negotiations in 2009, our contract is in the hands of a mediator. Fortunately, concessions from other unions, including negotiations with the Fire Department to maintain adequate staffing and response times while reducing costs, increase the possibility that the mediator may favor the Township and slow the growth in Police salaries and wages. Without a fair solution, we may have little choice but to reduce staffing further.

    I attended a conference at Rutgers this week and saw presentations from the State Treasurer, Former Governor Florio, noted economists and business leaders. It seems fairly clear that next year will not be significantly easier than this year. We will have more difficult times ahead and will need to work together as a community to fill in some of the “extras”. I am hopeful that First Night and other events can be saved through the help of volunteers and the business community.

    The best way to communicate with me about any issues is through email: jfried@montclairnjusa.org or by leaving me a message on my town voicemail: 973-509-4928. Please leave your name, address and contact information.

    I also have open-door office hours every Wednesday from 1-4 on the first floor of the Municipal Building, 205 Claremont Avenue.

    Mayor Jerry Fried


  96. Essex says:

    I strong defense is not exactly ‘doomsday’, if we nuke each other or some such event. Well then. Just live people. Enjoy the circus.

  97. Shore Guy says:

    “Like the stupid shits we are, we will ignore messages like Simpson’s & Bowles”

    I know Simpson ans was thrilled when BO named him to the commission. Simpson is as honest and direct as tthe day is long.

  98. cobbler says:

    With all respect to Simpson and Bowles, it is Medicare that is the primary driver of a future financial abyss. As long as the taxpayers are writing a blank check for whatever medical technology becomes available, no matter how little it yields, there can’t be any hope for the cost control. Unfortunately the Reps poisoned the well with the demagoguery about the death panels, and destroyed the chance to meaningfully slow down this spending increase anytime in the foreseeable future.

  99. Qwerty says:

    Evelyn Konrad’s fight should be happening in every town invaded by hideous McMansions, where charm and character are destroyed in the name of large windows above entryways, expanses of vinyl siding, and proportion to lot size is without consideration.

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