Another turn for the worse

From the WSJ:

S&P Ramps Up Mortgage Downgrades
January 31, 2008

Standard & Poor’s downgraded or threatened to downgrade more than 8,000 mortgage investments and projected a widening array of financial institutions would ultimately face mortgage-securities losses totaling more than $265 billion.

The new sweep of downgrades — the largest of several during the past few months — threatens to create new turmoil in a market already shell-shocked by write-downs of about $100 billion at big financial firms and declines in housing values that have put the economy on the brink of a recession.

“Banks are bracing for another chapter in the unfolding story of their mortgage-market problems,” wrote Tanya Azarchs, an S&P analyst, in a report released yesterday after the market closed.

From Bloomberg:

MBIA Posts Biggest Loss, Considers New Capital Plans

MBIA Inc., the world’s largest bond insurer, posted its biggest-ever quarterly loss and said it is considering new ways to raise capital after a slump in the value of subprime-mortgage securities the company guaranteed.

The fourth-quarter net loss was $2.3 billion, or $18.61 a share, raising concern the Armonk, New York-based company will lose its top credit ratings. The loss came a day after FGIC Corp.’s insurance unit became the third company to be stripped of its AAA grade.

From the WSJ:

Derivatives Write-Downs Hit MBIA
January 31, 2008 4:29 a.m.

MBIA’s fourth quarter derivatives write-down is more than 10 times as large as the $352.4 million write-down it reported in the third quarter, an indication of the rapidly worsening U.S. housing market and its effect on securities backed by loans made to credit-challenged customers.

Of the $3.5 billion charge, MBIA estimated it would realize $200 million of credit impairment or actual claims payments on the portfolio. In addition to the credit impairment on its derivatives portfolio, MBIA also set aside $713.5 million of pretax loss and loss-adjustment expense due to an expected loss of $613.5 million on its guarantees, and a special addition of $100 million to the unallocated loss reserve for MBIA’s prime, second-lien mortgage exposure.

Second lien, or home-equity loans, have shown rising losses as home values plunge in some parts of the country.

From the WSJ:

More Subprime Pain in Store
UBS Write-Downs, Insurer Downgrades Point to More Unraveling
January 31, 2008; Page C2

After racking up more than $100 billion in mortgage-related losses in recent months, banks and their investors had hoped they were out of the woods. They aren’t.

“When it becomes clear [as we think it will] that more charges are on the horizon, we believe the market will take another turn for the worse,” Ms. Whitney wrote.

Fueling the concerns, Standard & Poor’s predicted yesterday that the carnage might spread to a wider range of financial institutions, with total losses potentially exceeding $265 billion.

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

278 Responses to Another turn for the worse

  1. grim says:

    From Reuters:

    Pulte posts much wider fourth-quarter loss

    Pulte Homes Inc, the No. 3 U.S. home builder, said on Wednesday its quarterly net loss widened sharply as a deteriorating housing market led to charges related to the lower value of land and inventory and a tax-loss benefit.

    “The challenging market conditions that plagued the homebuilding industry for the first nine months of 2007 worsened in the fourth quarter,” Richard Dugas Jr., Pulte’s chief executive, said in a statement.

  2. grim says:

    From Bloomberg:

    Subprime Lenders Get Tax Breaks in U.S. Senate Stimulus Plan

    Subprime lenders, homebuilders and banks stand to benefit from a $14.4 billion tax break passed yesterday by a Senate committee as part of an economic stimulus package.

    A provision in the bill adopted by the Finance Committee would allow businesses to use operating losses they have in 2007 and 2008 to claim a refund of taxes paid in any of the previous five years. Without the legislation, companies would have to wait years to apply those losses against future profits.

    Banks, which have posted $145 billion in writedowns and credit losses tied to the falling value of mortgage securities since the subprime crisis began, stand to be among the provision’s biggest beneficiaries, said Robert Willens, president of Robert Willens LLC, a firm that advises Wall Street firms on tax and accounting issues.

    “There is an irony in it,” Willens said. “Clearly, it’s helping to bail out those that made improvident decisions,” lending money to people with questionable ability to repay it.

  3. grim says:

    From the Financial Times:

    Bond insurers bail-out unlikely

    John Thain, Merrill Lynch’s new chief executive, said he expected individual credit insurers would receive capital infusions from investors, but that it would be difficult to craft an “industry-wide” bail-out for the beleaguered guarantors.

  4. grim says:

    From the AP:

    Japan Megaganks Hit by Subprime Losses

    Japanese megabanks Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group and Mizuho Financial Group said Thursday their profits fell in the nine months through December after incurring losses from their exposure to the U.S. subprime mortgage crisis.

    From Reuters:

    Mizuho says subprime losses at $3.2 bln

    Mizuho Financial Group, said soured bets on the U.S. subprime mortgage market cost it $3.2 billion in the first nine months of the business year, more than double its previous estimate for the entire financial year.

  5. kettle1 says:

    Some people here might find this interesting

    Federal Reserve has Been accused of gold-price manipulation

    The Wall Street Journal has agreed to publish a full-page ad in which the Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee charges
    the U.S. government surreptitiously utilizes gold reserves to engage in
    international swaps and other market manipulations.

    “Anybody Seen
    Our Gold?” is the title of the ad, which alleges U.S. gold reserves
    held at depositories such as Fort Knox and West Point may have been
    seriously depleted. GATA asserts U.S. gold reserves are being shipped
    overseas to settle complex transactions utilized by the Federal Reserve and the U.S. Treasury to suppress the price of the precious metal. (continued)

  6. grim says:

    From MarketWatch:

    Axa delays property-fund withdrawals

    Axa S.A. became the latest pension fund to be hit by the slowing commercial property market Thursday as it imposed a six month waiting period on investors looking to withdraw funds.

    Axa said in a statement that as from Jan. 31 it has “decided to implement a temporary deferral to fund switches out, surrenders from and transfers out of its Axa Life Property and Axa Pension Property funds for up to six months.”

  7. Clotpoll says:

    grim (2)-

    “Clearly, it’s helping to bail out those that made improvident decisions,” lending money to people with questionable ability to repay it.”

    Yet another example of how the corrupt and incompetent are the new American heroes.

  8. Cindy says:

    Thank you Orion for your links (347) and (359) from yesterday’s postings.

    ….will someone please “think long-range.”

    instead of “I want it all…and I want it now.”

    “In 1980, Paul Volker broke the back of the 70’s stagflation by raising interest rates to 18%. This restored credibility to the dollar, choked off inflation, and threw the economy into a vicious recession. But it allowed the economy to purge large amounts of the debt and malinvestment stultifying it, which allowed us to eventually return to health and REAL growth. This is the role of recession. It is a beneficial housecleaning.”

  9. Clotpoll says:

    Cindy (8)-

    But, I want my True Religion jeans NOW!!!!

  10. grim says:

    If anyone would like a listings auto-email set up, just let me know. Drop me an email with your email address, and the criteria that you’d like to see.

  11. Cindy says:

    (9) Clotpoll…
    Well, the good news is I’m over feeling sorry for myself (it lasted all of a day) – I am hurrying through the angry phase…
    (sorry, I won’t be manning one of the launchers..) I am simply seeking out clear-thinking.

    I was in banking way back when – I literally watched those folks tied to prime go under – but it worked.

    Short-sided thinking…we must be the laughing stock at Dovos. Those countries have been around for a lot longer than we have.

    Funny thing is…I believe we have the tough-minded folks living right here in the U. S of A. People with the mental toughness and fortitude required to pull through a nasty economic event. But we require real leadership…

    One of our greatest attributes as a nation is our ability to adapt – give us the chance! Stop artificially propping up failed systems and let them fall. Boom!
    Let us hear the bottom..we can move on from there.

  12. Essex says:

    Cindy….we used to be tough minded. But now we are distracted….over indulged….medicated….obese….and lack creativity and drive. Oh, and our government is completely corrupt and inept.

  13. Cindy says:

    (12) Essex -(medicated) I know – you would not believe what impact drugs are having on our children – their families – it is absolutely frightening.

    I stand by my thinking, though. I am the eternal optimist. We used to be tough minded isn’t good enough for me. I believe we still are. In times of crisis we can step up. BUT THOSE FOLKS WON’T ALLOW THE CRISIS TO TAKE PLACE!

  14. Clotpoll says:

    Cindy (11)-

    “I am simply seeking out clear-thinking.”

    Amazing how mounting an RPG-7 on your shoulder clears the mind.

  15. HEHEHE says:

    Anybody else see Dennis Gartman liken Bernanke to that Mugabe wacko who runs Zimbabwe on Fast Money yesterday?

  16. Cindy says:

    (14) Clot – You are clearly thinking about a different “crisis” than I am!…..

  17. Clotpoll says:

    Vodka (5)-

    Let the PPT spirit away all the gold they can. The market always wins.

    Gold is the only constant there is in the world of money. It just sits there (wherever “there” is these days). Sleepy, sleepy stuff…until you hit times like these.

  18. Clotpoll says:

    Now would be a good time for us all to reclaim our straw men.

  19. BC Bob says:

    Kettle [5],

    It’s been going on for years.

  20. BC Bob says:

    Financial centers which attract the brighest immune?

    “UK commercial property investments suffered a record fall in the last three months of 2007, according to IPD.”

  21. BC Bob says:

    Economics 101;

    Inflation is rising, what do you do? Obviously, you raise rates. Not if you are BB. To hell with inflation, we must bail out the banks. Steepen the yield curve. We’ll worry about inflation later. I imagine Paul Volcker is having nightmares.

  22. Stan says:

    BC 21: Or, you redefine inflation.

  23. BC Bob says:

    “Anybody else see Dennis Gartman liken Bernanke to that Mugabe wacko who runs Zimbabwe on Fast Money yesterday?”


    Gotta love Gartman. I fell out of my chair. It was classic, Bergabe. Forget about Helicopter Ben, going forward he’s Bergabe.

  24. Clotpoll says:

    BC (20)-

    But, Pret said that couldn’t happen.

  25. Clotpoll says:

    Remember when Bernanke was being confirmed? How he was a believer in inflation-targeting, a la the ECB?

    Seems like 100 years ago. Now, he’s Bergabe.

  26. Al says:

    US goverment will keep on pumping mopney untill inflation will be so high that nobody would want US terasuries – I said it last year, I will say it again:

    It is part of a plan to get rid of national debt – get into as much debt as possible, get inflation into middle teens – 15-20%/year – US treasuries will fall to something like 20% off their value, and either other countries will dump our debt on cents on a dolar or our debt will devalue withis 10 years.

    As long as SS, Medicare, and pensions are indexed to the “Official” inflation it will help to bring thouse programms costs under control as well.

    It is agains US interest right now to fight oinflation – first we need to devalue national debt 3-4 times over.

    Adn countries who have a lot of US debt – well they will never (at least for decades) believe in our credit-worthiness again..

  27. BC Bob says:

    Stan [22],

    Bergabe is attempting this . Unfortunately, we are witnessing rising food, energy, health care, tuition, etc.., costs. The fed’s response, “inflation will moderate in the coming quaters”. A total disgrace.

  28. Cindy says:

    So what do you all feel the REAL inflation rate is right now?

  29. Stu says:


    10% is my best guess for REAL Inflation.

  30. njrebear says:

    Intial claims 375k!

  31. Stu says:

    Not good for the economy.

    Jobless claims surge in latest week
    Claims jump 69,000 to 375,000, highest level since Oct.

  32. Stu says:

    Another interesting one:

    WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) – U.S. real consumer spending flattened out in December, further evidence that the economy was getting weaker as the fourth quarter sputtered to an end.

  33. John says:

    I personally think there is no unemployment problem, there is a problem of unqualified workers. Everytime I hire I have to go through 40-70 resumes, then 10-12 phone intervies and then 5 to 10 in person interviews even when I am desparate and would be willing to hire the first guy with a pulse.

    People don’t research the company, the industry, they have resumes with Y2k as a skill set! They show up late, they cancel, they have screaming kids in the background during a preplanned 30 minute phone interview. They tell me up front they are flexible on salary as Cobra is running out and they really need a job, they have no masters or certifications 20 year after graduating even when I know they worked for a 9-5 company that pays for it. Yesterday we asked a guy what was the biggest issue facing financial servies and he said, Gramm Leach Biley!!!! He is one of the 69,000 listed above as he was recently laid off!

  34. Stu says:

    Oil at 92.
    Gold at $930.
    Fed lending rate down another 1.25%.
    US markets down 15% since Fed initiated cuts.
    Momentum stocks getting hammered.
    Homebuilders and loan insurers approaching bankruptcy.
    European banks getting hammered.
    Emerging markets reversing.
    Unemployment >5% and rising.
    Personal spending flat.
    Credit card and auto loan defaults increasing.
    Foreclosures doubling.
    The bid daddy…Prime loans are starting to show signs of problems as well.
    Just wait until the Spring when all the RE inventory hits the market. Prices could to drop a real 10-20% in 6 months!

    Call me doom and gloom folks, but these are all just facts. I’d love to see someone post a positive list to refute my doom and gloom.

    Government response?
    Here’s $600 bucks that you’ll be paying yourself out of your own taxes. You may also have to pay taxes on that $600.

    Any day now the market is going to suffer a very black day and the FED has only 3% left to defend it.

    Show me some positive economic impetus and I’ll go long this market. Until then, short and strong through the end of the Summer of 2008.

    Disclaimer: My brain is made of sugar free butterscotch pudding.

  35. Stu says:

    Futures are starting to get hammered. Today could be another very bad day. On the bright side, it’s not Friday.

  36. John says:

    Bears Say
    We believe there is a 50% chance that WaMu eats through its $3.7 billion of excess capital and is forced to seek additional capital to operate. WaMu has $36 billion of high-risk mortgage loans still on its books, with 9% currently rated as nonperforming. If the housing market continues to deteriorate, loan losses will likely exceed 10% in this portion of the portfolio.
    Even as WaMu is trying to cope with higher credit losses, its revenue is under pressure from the shift toward conforming mortgages and away from higher margined nonconforming mortgages.
    Our fair value depends on the company surviving into the long-run. If a bank, like J.P. Morgan Chase, decides to go bottom fishing, the company might get sold before
    the stock can recover.

  37. lisoosh says:

    Essex Says:
    January 31st, 2008 at 7:37 am
    “Cindy….we used to be tough minded. But now we are distracted….over indulged….medicated….obese….and lack creativity and drive. Oh, and our government is completely corrupt and inept.”

    I agree. The only tough minded people in the country are the newer immigrants, legal and illegal.

  38. Stu says:

    If and when Moody’s downgrades the bond insurers, the market is going to tank. I’m thinking tomorrow.

  39. Outofstater says:

    #34 I’m with ya, Stu – I don’t see anything out there to cheer us up. I think Cindy has a point – I wish we’d get to the bottom of this mess quickly so we could start to re-build. This death by a thousand cuts is awful – let’s get it over with!! A bond insurer going broke, a big bank failing (take your pick – there are many to choose from) and a couple of thousand point drops on the Dow might be a start. This is depressing – somebody post some GOOD news, please.

  40. Stu says:

    I got a good deal on my car insurance!

  41. syncmaster says:

    John #33,

    I personally think there is no unemployment problem, there is a problem of unqualified workers.

    I believe you’re correct. I review resumes and interview candidates for open positions in our IT organizations and the number of unqqualified candidates who apply is overwhelming. Our HR function is offshored, maybe if they were local they’d do a better job of weeding out bad resumes. As it stands now, any clown who applies gets their resume in my inbox and it is frustrating.

    We’ve had positions open for months, unfilled, due to a lack of even barely qualified candidates. Pretty soon 1 of those positions will be offshored due to the failure to hire onshore.

  42. 3b says:

    #38 Stu: They already downgraded FIGIC yesterday. AMBAC and MBIA will be next, not a question of if, just when.

    On a happier note (for those who are concerned about such things) Starbucks will b getting back to focusing on their coffee, and will be eliminating their hot breakfast sandwiches.

  43. Stu says:


    I have had the same problems with HR sending me crap applicants which was just a huge waste of my valuable time. I went behind their backs and snuck a very off the cuff ad in the NYT. In about 100 words it pretty much said that if you think you’re the best then apply. Otherwise, don’t waste my time! The quality of applicants improved dramatically and I got my best recruit in my 15 year professional history.

  44. grim says:

    What I’d give to know what was going through Bernanke’s head this morning.

  45. Clotpoll says:

    3b (42)-

    Too bad about those Starbucks breakfast sandwiches.

    They could’ve gotten some of those Chinese buns stuffed with ground cardboard and really jacked their margins.

  46. kettle1 says:

    regarding inflation.

    Not to be a shill here but there is a website where someone still calculates the real numbers for inflation/cpi/etc without using the FED current phony models

    Take a look,

    the data shows M1 decreasing while M3 is increasing. This points directly at a deflationary period coming up in the near future from what i understand, especially when you look at the magnitude of the differences.

    some numbers from the site

    M3: 14.5%

    M1: slightly negative

    Government calculation shows GDP at about 3 % while the non-fudged calculations show GDP at about -2%

    CPI (consumer price index)

    Gov figures show about 3%. The non fudged numbers show 12%

    everybody hide their gold yet for when the feds ban it again?

  47. t c m says:

    #2 –

    “A provision in the bill adopted by the Finance Committee would allow businesses to use operating losses they have in 2007 and 2008 to claim a refund of taxes paid in any of the previous five years. Without the legislation, companies would have to wait years to apply those losses against future profits.”

    why is it, that pre-dotcom crash, when individuals were making large capital gains, they had to pay huge sums in taxes to the irs- then, when the crash occured, they were forced to carry over that loss and a snails pace of $3000 a year into the future?

    why didn’t the govt. allow us poor working slobs to use that loss to offset past gains?

  48. 3b says:

    And we are off, the Dow opens down 185 points

  49. Clotpoll says:

    grim (44)-

    It’s been posted here before, but here’s the contents of Bergabe’s brain:

  50. Stu says:

    bi’s black box continues it’s impeccable streak of perfect timing…

    “# bi Says:
    January 30th, 2008 at 2:12 pm

    217#, i don’t own any HOV but XHB has become my favorite recently. is is at $21 and change from as low as $15 on jan 9th.

    all disclaimers”

    XHB in two and one half hours has dropped a mere 5%.

    But I’ll play nice. I’ll wait till Monday to point out how it has dropped 10% since his call.

  51. kettle1 says:

    Regarding cindy and tough minded people.

    I agree that a large part of the US population has “gone soft” and has no concept of how to think for themselves in a critical manner. But one think people are often good at is adapting and when the **** hits the fan this time around you will see that there are still a fair number of tough minded people, a lot of the people on this board are an example. the first step is being able to question the powers that be and see the world around you for what it is , not what you are told it is.

  52. lisoosh says:

    grim Says:
    January 31st, 2008 at 9:32 am
    “What I’d give to know what was going through Bernanke’s head this morning.”

    That he hopes they will finally remove the electrodes from his b*lls?

  53. kettle1 says:

    So is how long will 12,000 be a sticky point for the dow? it sees to be bouncing up and down around this point a lot.

  54. Confused In NJ says:

    51. Kettle

    the first step is being able to question the powers that be and see the world around you for what it is , not what you are told it is

    That is easier to do when you throw away your Vytorin which lowers the cholesterol in your brain. Part of being over medicated.

  55. bi says:

    50#, yesterday was actually affected by the earnings from PHM and CTX. today XHB is among strongest industrial groups. take it easy.

  56. Clotpoll says:

    Instantly shorting XHB…

  57. bi says:

    56#, clot, here is your fill: $20.40

  58. Clotpoll says:

    Vodka (54)-

    Statins also cause muscle wasting and chronic joint pain.

    They’re the perfect 21st century drug: they produce a measurable medical result, while rendering the patient immobile and in pain.

  59. Clotpoll says:

    bi (57)-

    Already to $19.99. The trend is your friend.

  60. Pat says:

    John, you crack me up with your hiring trials and tribulations.

    Stop whining and get back to sorting resumes. It gives you a new special skill to put on the bottom of your own resume.

    If you’re getting in that many unqualified resumes relative to the total number, then there’s an issue you need to fix with your HR, your recruiter or your ad.

  61. Stu says:

    53: Kettle1 says: “So is how long will 12,000 be a sticky point for the dow? it sees to be bouncing up and down around this point a lot.”

    I’m not a super skilled TA guy, but the 50 day MA crossed the 200 day right around new years and is showing no signs of slowing. Short term oscillators point to a small bounce plus the fact that money flows out have reached a balance with money flows in. Maybe a small bounce to 12,700 before the next leg down towards 10,000 and 10,600.

    Eventually the FED rate cuts will spur business borrowing and the market will recover fully. Unfortunately, this will not happen before the consumer begins spending again. As soon as you see signs of people spending with wild abandon, load up into those aggressive growth funds. I don’t see this happening until late 2009 or maybe 2010.

  62. Shore Guy says:

    # 34 “Here’s $600 bucks that you’ll be paying yourself out of your own taxes. You may also have to pay taxes on that $600.”

    I fully expect that the people who get the cash will in fact owe taxes. If a state refunds (rebates) overpayment one gets a 1099-G, and on our federal tax forms one needs to account for refunds.

  63. Kelly says:

    Good article here


    “I’m extremely worried,” he says. “I have been for a while, but I just see things getting much worse this time around than I expected.” To Rogers, a longtime Fed critic, Bernanke’s decision to ride to the market’s rescue with a 75-basis-point cut in the Fed’s benchmark rate only a week before its scheduled meeting (at which time they cut it another 50 basis points) is the latest sign that the central bank isn’t willing to provide the fiscal discipline that he thinks the economy desperately needs.

    “Conceivably we could have just had recession, hard times, sliding dollar, inflation, etc., but I’m afraid it’s going to be much worse,” he says. “Bernanke is printing huge amounts of money. He’s out of control and the Fed is out of control. We are probably going to have one of the worst recessions we’ve had since the Second World War. It’s not a good scene.”

    And then there is this – it reminds me of what that reporter asked Grim

    “But when I reached him by phone in Singapore the other day there was little hint of celebration in his voice. Instead, he took a serious tone.”

    Why do people think that those who are ringing the alarms are happy about the situation?

  64. kettle1 says:

    hey, at least we havent gotten top this point yet. It is still true that poverty in the US is worlds better then poverty in many places of the world ( not that poverty is ever a good thing)

    Poor Haitians Resort to Eating Dirt
    original story w/ pics

    By JONATHAN M. KATZ – 1 day ago

    PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — It was lunchtime in one of Haiti’s worst slums, and Charlene Dumas was eating mud. With food prices rising, Haiti’s poorest can’t afford even a daily plate of rice, and some take desperate measures to fill their bellies. Charlene, 16 with a 1-month-old son, has come to rely on a traditional Haitian remedy for hunger pangs: cookies made of dried yellow dirt from the country’s central plateau.

    The mud has long been prized by pregnant women and children here as an antacid and source of calcium. But in places like Cite Soleil, the oceanside slum where Charlene shares a two-room house with her baby, five siblings and two unemployed parents, cookies made of dirt, salt and vegetable shortening have become a regular meal.

    “When my mother does not cook anything, I have to eat them three times a day,” Charlene said. Her baby, named Woodson, lay still across her lap, looking even thinner than the slim 6 pounds 3 ounces he weighed at birth.

    Though she likes their buttery, salty taste, Charlene said the cookies also give her stomach pains. “When I nurse, the baby sometimes seems colicky too,” she said.

    Food prices around the world have spiked because of higher oil prices, needed for fertilizer, irrigation and transportation. Prices for basic ingredients such as corn and wheat are also up sharply, and the increasing global demand for biofuels is pressuring food markets as well.

    The problem is particularly dire in the Caribbean, where island nations depend on imports and food prices are up 40 percent in places.

    The global price hikes, together with floods and crop damage from the 2007 hurricane season, prompted the U.N. Food and Agriculture Agency to declare states of emergency in Haiti and several other Caribbean countries. Caribbean leaders held an emergency summit in December to discuss cutting food taxes and creating large regional farms to reduce dependence on imports.

    At the market in the La Saline slum, two cups of rice now sell for 60 cents, up 10 cents from December and 50 percent from a year ago. Beans, condensed milk and fruit have gone up at a similar rate, and even the price of the edible clay has risen over the past year by almost $1.50. Dirt to make 100 cookies now costs $5, the cookie makers say.

    Still, at about 5 cents apiece, the cookies are a bargain compared to food staples. About 80 percent of people in Haiti live on less than $2 a day and a tiny elite controls the economy.

    Merchants truck the dirt from the central town of Hinche to the La Saline market, a maze of tables of vegetables and meat swarming with flies. Women buy the dirt, then process it into mud cookies in places such as Fort Dimanche, a nearby shanty town.

    Carrying buckets of dirt and water up ladders to the roof of the former prison for which the slum is named, they strain out rocks and clumps on a sheet, and stir in shortening and salt. Then they pat the mixture into mud cookies and leave them to dry under the scorching sun.

    The finished cookies are carried in buckets to markets or sold on the streets.

    A reporter sampling a cookie found that it had a smooth consistency and sucked all the moisture out of the mouth as soon as it touched the tongue. For hours, an unpleasant taste of dirt lingered.

    Assessments of the health effects are mixed. Dirt can contain deadly parasites or toxins, but can also strengthen the immunity of fetuses in the womb to certain diseases, said Gerald N. Callahan, an immunology professor at Colorado State University who has studied geophagy, the scientific name for dirt-eating.

    Haitian doctors say depending on the cookies for sustenance risks malnutrition.

    “Trust me, if I see someone eating those cookies, I will discourage it,” said Dr. Gabriel Thimothee, executive director of Haiti’s health ministry.

    Marie Noel, 40, sells the cookies in a market to provide for her seven children. Her family also eats them.

    “I’m hoping one day I’ll have enough food to eat, so I can stop eating these,” she said. “I know it’s not good for me.”

  65. Pat says:

    Wow, Sync and Stu, I read further and saw your recruiting issues. Stu, you’re a renegade. Simply a renegade.

  66. Stu says:

    Hate those 1099-Gs.

    You can withhold too much and lose the opportunity cost of the extra money the government holds until you receive a rebate and then pay extra taxes on it. Or, you can withhold too little and pay the government interest on an underpayment.

    What a racket!

  67. Shore Guy says:

    Jobless Claims Top Views as Consumer Spending Slows

    Consumers, battered by harsh economic crosswinds, spent less in December than at any time in the past 15 months while applications for unemployment benefits soared last week, two more signs the economy is weakening.


  68. kettle1 says:


    it makes for a better human interest type angle when you can point out the doomsayers schaedenfreud

  69. Stu says:


    I will see if I can dig up the ad. It was pretty brazen and amazingly effective. Of course when HR got word of it, I almost lost my job. Had I not found such a great recruit, I probably would have been facing disciplinary action. BTW, the company has 5000+ employees.

  70. Hard Place says:

    Grim (10) Can you describe your thoughts on the listings auto email?

  71. Stu says:

    Another nice part of the Rogers article posted by Kelly.

    Where he expects the pain to be most intense is on Wall Street. He says he hasn’t covered his short positions on the investment banks or Citigroup (C, Fortune 500) and won’t for a while. “Those things are going to go way, way, way down,” says Rogers. “The investment banks are down now because of the problems in the credit market. Wait until the effects of the bear market come along. If you just go back and look at other bear markets, investment bank stocks have gone down enormously. We haven’t gotten to that stage yet. It’s going to bring their balance sheets under duress. This is going to get much worse. But that’s where there have been excesses for the past decade or so. And whenever you have a bear market come along the great excesses of the previous period are the ones that get cleaned out the most.

  72. ithink-ithink says:

    #10 – how’d you know we fired our realtor last friday? what’s your motive? previously all rejections disclaimers applied.

  73. Pat says:

    Stu, you do realize that your company permits HR to continue with the vanilla recruiting because the potential liability of going the rogue route is perceived to be much higher than the benefit of finding good employees?

    Besides, all the other companies have the same problem. Why should your company do it any differently? ;)

  74. bi says:

    “pant up!”

    Clinton Says She Can Control Her Husband

  75. Shore Guy says:

    Heck, if the illegals cant get tax relief, what the heck good is it. I mean, I know I am not supposed to get any “rebate” of my taxes because those in my tax bracket only pay 80+% of the taxes and, that would not be right to give any back to me. Likewise, how can anyone expect people who broke the law by ignoring our immigration laws (and who knows what else) to have to put up with being slighted in the — oh, that is why it is called a “stimulus plan” not a “tax rebate” — dollar’s-from-Washington election-year bribe of the American people. Yeesh!

    Senate snag delays US rescue plan

    President Bush has already warned the Senate not to delay the bill
    A key committee in the US Senate has approved a different version of the economic stimulus plan, setting up a possible showdown with President Bush.
    The Senate plan provides additional money to retired people and veterans who were excluded from Mr Bush’s plan.

    US House of Representatives has approved a $146bn (£73bn) economic stimulus package proposed by the President to fend off a recession.

    The Senate plan, worth $157bn, was backed by some key Republican Senators.

    Charles Grassley, the senior Republican Senator on the Finance Committee, said that “this is a good package”.

    And he argued that it had corrected a “flaw” in the House bill which would have allowed illegal immigrants to receive tax rebates.


  76. x-underwriter says:

    Daytona Beach vacation rentals Says:
    How many more days till he is out of office. I think someone could get rich making a calandar with the count down days on it.

    You can buy it on Amazon for only $7.70!!!

    2008 George W. Bush Out of Office Countdown Boxed Calendar [BOX CALENDAR] (Calendar)

  77. spam spam bacon spam says:

    John Says:
    January 31st, 2008 at 8:46 am

    I personally think there is no unemployment problem, there is a problem of unqualified workers.

    I totally agree with you. (There. I said it… :)

    I’m getting resumes with 6 month spans at each employer. What is this about? Do they think they’re doin’ an internship?!?

    I agree with no one researching they business. I’d love to hire someone, just once, and on their first day, hand them a flaming hot pink tutu. Complete with mesh middle thingie and tights, size big gal. Tell ’em that’s the uniform around here.

    See what they do before they apply for their NEXT job….

  78. t c m says:

    Daytona Beach vacation rentals Says:
    “How many more days till he is out of office. I think someone could get rich making a calandar with the count down days on it.”

    if you’re counting days until he’s out – that’s fine – but, your comment was in regards to the bailout/victimization of borrowers –

    so for that issue alone, who, among those running, is not for a bailout?

  79. grim says:

    #10 – how’d you know we fired our realtor last friday? what’s your motive? previously all rejections disclaimers applied.

    Motive? None. I’ve done the legwork and have paid the dues to gain access to the systems. I want to make sure that time and money isn’t wasted.

    It takes 5 minutes to set up an auto-email, and you’ll see what I see on the hotsheet every day. You’ll have all the info you need to do any digging that you want to do. Don’t have to deal with the terrible UI on Realtor, GSMLS, or NJMLS. Not to mention sifting through the same old inventory every day.

    No strings, I don’t look at it any differently from someone coming here and asking for info on an MLS.

    If you are worried about privacy or giving out your personal information, create a gmail account just for this purpose. Send me an email from this account with your criteria, and I’ll set it up.

  80. Shore Guy says:

    Maybe we can have Bushivilles for people who got alll swept up in his “ownership society” rhetoric, even when they could not afford to buy. People can pitch tents, RVs, cars in Lafayette Park, on Prarie Chapel Ranch (location: since he has lots of room there, and then he can feel the joy ozzing out of those who benefited from his mismanagement of the economy under his watch

  81. spam spam bacon spam says:

    Hey SG….

    Accountants coming tomorrow to open books…

    I did some research, found some “stuff” on my AI. Not sure if I should be concerned.

    I’ve been working my brain OT all week to try to think of all my issues and concerns. It’s my job to try to foresee any loopholes or alternate paths, so I’m pretty decent at avoiding major pitfalls.

    I think the “terra” I found out helps me mentally watch him slide 10 or 12 rungs down… which really puts me on equal footing with him (in my head), and is helping me become more confident.

    I printed out your reply last weekend and read it several times. It really helped solidify what I knew in my gut. (Thanks for that…)

    I have a good feeling about this, and I trust my gut. As long as I don’t let my defenses down or let someone talk me into something I don’t want, I’ll be OK.


  82. John says:

    The last hire I got was by using my connections and getting someone from my old company to join me here and to raise the salary level. HR did not want to spring for recruiters and they tried to screen the hot jobs/monster/dice resumes before I got them and wow were they were iffy, the ones HR screened out were even scarier. I was paying 170K and was just looking for a local college type guy/gal in his/her late 20’s early 30’s with somewhat related experience and a good attitude. Show up to work on time, clean clothes, self starter I don’t have to micromanage and wow was I shocked. Each year it gets worse. I finally got what I wanted by raising the salary and hiring from my old company.

  83. Shore Guy says:

    I hear Mill Road is nice this time of year. Perhaps the Bushieites can bath in the pond, and even the ceee-ment pond.

  84. t c m says:


    why don’t you recruit women who at one time had a successful career in your field, and then dropped out to take care of kids.

    i believe, regardless of all the lip-service, they are a huge untapped market – and could very well be better than: ” a local college type guy/gal in his/her late 20’s early 30’s with somewhat related experience and a good attitude. Show up to work on time, clean clothes, self starter I don’t have to micromanage”

  85. t c m says:

    #84 –

    should have added:
    …… dropped out to take care of kids – and who want to re-enter the workforce.

  86. John says:

    MBIA INC DEB 7.00000% 12/15/2025
    Basic Analytics
    Price (Ask) 71.000
    Yield to Worst (Ask) 10.663%
    Yield to Maturity 10.663209%
    Third Party Price 70.118

    The BOND MARKET does not lie, MBIA is in for some trouble.

  87. Al says:

    Hey John – what Job did you try to hire for??

    What I see during my wife’s search in pharma in NJ – all employers DO Not want to hire anybody who needs even minimum training – they want a person who can jump on the job immediately with ton’s of relevant and very specific experience.

    New hire would work for few years and than they can fire them – at least that’s the mode of Pharma in here.

    There is no loyalty from companies – there will be no loyalty from employers – it works both ways.

    If you want good worker – hire a young and inexperienced, train person, increase his salary with the market and make sure that you provide at least basic job security. Nobody leaves good place.

    But this will never happen again – all us companies do not look further than 2 years horizon.

  88. John says:

    Would love to hire a women with kids who wants to re-enter the workforce but my wife still wants to stay at home!!

    Actually, I find they are the best, this may sound selfish but if it is my second in charge who is my back-up I want to be with my own three kids for their parties, doctor appointments etc. and don’t want to be juggling it with a working Mom with kids who is also looking to do the same thing. I had that before and I hated it. I wanted to take off when the kids were off from school and I had to deal with her wanting to take off same time.

  89. John says:

    Al, I started doing interns last year starting at the soph level and treat them very well and they will be my new hires going forward. I am going to hire very experienced people for the top, 15+ years experience and the 21 year old kids for the bottom going forward and skip the high maint gen x’ers for now. Five years out of school they want a ton of money and they are prima donnas, who needs it. That is the big four model and it works there.

  90. Dan says:

    Any past info regarding MLS 2481594

  91. pretorius says:

    “hire a young and inexperienced, train person, increase his salary with the market and make sure that you provide at least basic job security. Nobody leaves good place.”

    Al, I agree 100% with you comment about big pharma and agree 100% with the above quote.

    When I worked in big pharma, they actually recruited young braniacs (MIT, Cooper Union, tops students from Rutgers) and tried to train them.

    Quickly became obvious to these kids that they worked for a massive bureaucracy where merit it didn’t matter and everybody received single digit raises each year.

    They all quit, or got the company to pay for grad school, then quit.

    It took me a couple of moves before I ended up at a place that truly understands HR (don’t let HR people do recruiting) and pays based on merit and market, even if that means giving 50% raises to some people and 3% to others.

  92. t c m says:

    #88 –

    maybe you should look a little harder. i’m not being sarcastic, but, how about someone with teenagers?

    the reason i say it is that, i’m one of those people. (i start a new job next week) i don’t need to go to birthday parties, doctors appts., ortho, dentist, (they go themselves), parent meetings (all at night), – i’m pretty much as free as the next guy. afterall, if you hire someone with a family and duel income, they have family matters to take care of also.

    i think that if you look in this demographic, you will find very smart and loyal workers, with a certain sense of maturity that will only be a benefit to you.

  93. grim says:

    From Reuters:

    Moody’s boosts subprime loss estimate up to 85 pct

    Credit rating company Moody’s Investors Service on Thursday said it raised its assumptions for losses on loans backing subprime mortgages as much as 85 percent in response to deteriorating performance.

    Average losses for loans made in 2006 — as underwriting standards were loosened more — will likely fall between 12 percent and 24 percent, depending on variables such as house price depreciation and the impact of rising payments on adjustable-rate loans, Moody’s said.

    Moody’s projection for losses in 2006 subprime loans ranges between 14 percent and 18 percent, between the extremes. In October, Moody’s projected losses would fall between 6.5 percent and 15 percent.

    “We see delinquencies still going up, not having reached a plateau,” Moody’s Chief Credit Officer Nicolas Weill said.

    “There are also more concerns by the Moody’s economists on the potential for higher unemployment and recession” and home price declines, he added.

    The revised estimates will likely result in more negative ratings actions on 2006 subprime RMBS.

  94. grim says:

    Why does it seem that this site completely devoid of small business owners and entrepreneurs?

    This is a bit disappointing, I hope that someone can prove me wrong.

    Is there anyone out there that doesn’t think “working for someone else” is the epitome of success?

  95. grim says:

    From Bloomberg:

    Defaults on Insured Mortgages Rise 37%, Report Shows

    Defaults on privately insured U.S. mortgages rose 37 percent in December from the same month a year earlier, an industry report today showed, as the U.S. housing slump deepened to the worst in a quarter century.

    The number of insured borrowers falling more than 60 days late on payments jumped to a record 64,384 last month from 46,921 in December 2006, according to the Washington-based Mortgage Insurance Companies of America. Defaults increased 5.5 percent from November, the prior high.

  96. Sybarite says:

    6 FAY AVE
    Hopatcong Boro

    First listed as MLS# 2456234 10/25/07
    OLP/LP: $449,900
    Expired: 1/25/08

    Relisted as 2481594
    OLP/LP: $439,000
    DOM: 3

  97. kettle1 says:

    95 grim

    One reason might be that NJ is not a very hospitable environment for entrepreneurs or small business

  98. Shore Guy says:

    I work for myself. And wife does as well. Two different businesses.

  99. Sybarite says:


    Small business owners don’t have time to sit and post on blogs all day long. Us schleps working for the man have plenty of time on our hands…

  100. Stu says:

    Sybarite is certainly on to something.

  101. John says:

    Re 92 the guy I hired for now has a stay at home wife and he has two small kids,neither are in school right now. Turns out his wife is a business women and is unhappy at home and wants to return to work. When she does he will have dual income and I will have a headache as I already can hear oh the kids are sick and my wife has an imprortant meeting, their is a doctors appointment and my wife took off last time etc. I am all for dual income if parents can swing it but I hate it when it impacts my life. I am going to tell him tough luck.

  102. Sybarite says:


    Then he will leave for a more accomodating employer, no?

  103. Al says:

    Small business of making cars…..

    Two words for you – Mass Production!!!

    Seriously – small business role in USA is greatly exaggerated.

    Small business can only be a service or manufacture small non-complicated items.

    Small business can not even make cost-competitive shower curtains as they are cheap due to mass-production.

    Even farms – the ones who are in business of making food – work better on medium to large scale.

    Banks are not viable as small buisness. Financial institutions as well – at least not too small.

    Stores – all small shops are dying off.

    Due to higher cost base small businesses are limited to construction contractors, small family-owned restaurants/cafe’s/may be (going away now due to lawsuits) family physicians.

    Consulting – is another one, but you have to have quite a bit of previous rela world experience…

  104. spam spam bacon spam says:


    Here I am.

  105. spam spam bacon spam says:

    Al Says:

    Seriously – small business role in USA is greatly exaggerated.

    Small business can only (snip) manufacture small non-complicated items.



    You certainly know it, dude. Why, I struggle just to button my shirt every day. And the drool coming from my the corner of my mouth doesn’t help my appearance, either.

    When I finally figure out how to boil water, my aide said I can move on to learning the toaster.

    I can’t wait.

    Ummmm. Toast.

  106. Marito says:

    Hey guys,
    despite the recent rate cuts, mortgages would seem to be inching slightly higher this week. Does anybody have an idea why?

  107. Pat says:

    Grim, put in a couple of keywords in several other languages.

    Small business will show up.

  108. spam spam bacon spam says:

    # Marito Says:
    Hey guys,
    despite the recent rate cuts, mortgages would seem to be inching slightly higher this week. Does anybody have an idea why?

    No idea whatsoever.

    Seriously, (I’m a mood today) it’s because (wait for it…) the banks need money right now. They didn’t do too well with their last bright idea…

    Shhhhhh. Don’t tell anyone. It’s our secret.

  109. Al says:

    Sorry I guess I needed to add:

    Small business can only (snip) manufacture small non-complicated items – and be cost competitive.

    You can laugh at this statement all you want, but this is the way it is.

    Small businesses thrive when economy is good and everybody feeling rich and do not care to spend a bit more for different/slightly better item, but when times are turning worse first ones to die – are small businesses.

  110. ministryofmagic says:

    #33- John

    I wholeheartedly agree. There’s definitely people who are unqualified. I’d add and say that people who are unemployed also picky. These days a person has to not only do the best at what they do, but have their finger on the pulse of the market to know where the next jobs are going to be.

    For example in my industry, lots of people who knew anything about mortgage finance are being cut left and right. Those with data analysis backgrounds have a leg up, and those who took the time to learn and evaluate the risk are in such demand.

    Where there’s a will to learn, there is a way. Gotta stay on top of the changing market, and make sure your skills are up to date for whatever it is that you do.

  111. Al says:

    spam spam bacon spam Says:
    January 31st, 2008 at 11:51 am
    # Marito Says:
    Hey guys,
    despite the recent rate cuts, mortgages would seem to be inching slightly higher this week. Does anybody have an idea why?

    Inflation expectation on 15/30 years fixed mortgages??

  112. kettle1 says:


    w/ regard to your example of small businesses. You also have to consider that businesses are not on a level playing field. The classic example is walmart. They can come into a town and get sweet heart deals on taxes and zoning etc while the small business has none of that. Shouldn’t tax breaks and other benefits be going to the small businesses that feed more resources back into their own community?

  113. kettle1 says:

    hey pret,

    are you going to be at the GTG?

  114. bi says:

    not housing related. but could be a topic in this election year.

    An ex-president, a mining deal and a big donor

  115. kettle1 says:

    John et al

    the jobmarket is similar to the current mortgage mess. Banks are complaining that people are just walking away from houses that they have no skin in. But businesses do this all the time and it is considered standard practice.

    In the employment world, employees at all level are generally treated as just another asset, like a piece of equipment or a database and as soon as it is advantageous to dispose of that asset, that person is out the door. So why should a company expect any loyalty from an employee when the employee cannot expect any in return?

    John you probably would not like my resume as i have moved around a lot in my career. It was generally into step-ups that would otherwise take years by staying at the same company and without the diversified experience. why should i delay my advancement and risk not going anywhere in a company when i am treated as nothing more then an asset of the same order as a piece of manufacturing equipment?

  116. bewm says:

    Regarding rates. BOA’s 30yr/fixed is down to 5.5… lowest I’ve seen yet, and I’ve been tracking because I’m pre-approved but not yet locked.

  117. Al says:

    I am not saying small businesses are on the even playing field – I think every small business are actually royally screwed as they are walking on the edge of a knife – small business can not afford to have a Legal department….

    What makes it a lot harder for a small Business to exist: lawsuit against them: Spilled laundry detergent in the aisle – broken leg = 100000000000$ reward to “Victim”.

    I am seriously considering (or considered??) following:

    instead of buying a house in NJ, to become small (2-4 units ) apartment complex owner. I can even find property with proper cash flow (out of state on NJ of course).
    It will be quite possible with big down payment (the same as down payment on a single family house in NJ). I have relatives/friends who are contractors/RE people, and ready to manage it for me for a reasonable fee..

    However I realizes after talking to RE attorney, that unless you own your property outright and can absorb a big one-time monetary hit – no matter how may layers of legal protection you have (standard procedure is to set up LLC which is in-turn, owned by a trust, where you are sole trustee) – one person breaking their leg anywhere on your property might make you lose it.
    Even if they do not win, legal expenses are just too high.

  118. bi says:

    119#, bewm, again we are back to the lowest rate in history. it means housing cost is down 15% from august last year

  119. idesofoctober says:


    Don’t you think there is an inherent conflict of interest if some offshore contract company is sending you bad resumes, and the end result is you hire someone off shore to fill the empty position?

  120. bewm says:

    bi: ‘k

  121. Ann says:

    95 grim

    I can only speak for my own family.

    Health insurance. Health insurance.

  122. Confused In NJ says:

    58. Clot.

    I sent an EMAIL to McCain telling him if elected, to stay away from the red button until he’s been off his Vytorin for at least 6 months.

  123. 3b says:

    #119 I do not hink you will see fixed rate mtgs get much lower than that, if at all.

  124. chicagofinance says:

    OT: Sign of the times…..from my INBOX

    GSB Breakfast Network Series:
    Career Consultant Roy Cohen
    Career Management and Job Search in a Tough Market

    Location: xxxxxxx
    Date: Tuesday, February 26th, 2008
    Time: 8:00 AM – 10:00 AM

    A New Year has begun, yet in a challenging economic climate. We might not be able to recession-proof specific jobs, but can definitely recession-proof our careers. Right now is when all of us should be taking stock of our situations, assessing our jobs, and developing a smart safety net for our careers.

    Roy Cohen specializes in the delivery of career services primarily to senior and mid level executives. He has worked extensively with clients from diverse industries, most notably, Wall Street, retailing and fashion, publishing, consumer products, and entertainment. For over 10 years, he also served as the sole “in-house” career and outplacement counselor to Goldman Sachs, one of the world’s leading global financial services organizations. Roy maintains an active private practice serving both individuals and corporations in the areas of career management, executive coaching and leadership development.

  125. syncmaster says:

    idesofoctober #122,

    Different and competing offshore vendors.

  126. Dan says:

    Any info / address on MLS 2371955 would be greatly appreciated. All I know is that it has 361 days in the market!!!, Denial , denial, denial

  127. grim says:

    I’ve got to admit, I was a bit confused on the first read through..

    From Bloomberg:

    Bristol-Myers Posts Quarterly Loss on Investments

    Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. narrowed its loss in the fourth quarter as surging sales of its anti- clotting pill Plavix partially offset charges for costs that include investments backed by subprime securities.

    The net loss was $89 million, or 5 cents a share. The company wrote off $275 million in investments in the quarter, which could rise to as much as $417 million, said Rebecca Goldsmith, a spokeswoman for the New York-based drugmaker, in a telephone interview today. It booked an unrealized pretax loss of $142 million, which may be “temporary,” she said.

    Bristol-Myers joins the world’s largest banks, who have written down more than $90 billion from their mortgage-related holdings. The value of the debt tumbled as defaults by borrowers with poor credit soared. The drugmaker’s revenue rose 33 percent to $5.38 billion as sales of Plavix, its biggest seller, more than doubled.

    “Some of the underlying collateral for the auction rate securities held by the company consists of sub-prime mortgages,” the company said today in a statement. If credit and capital markets continue to deteriorate, Bristol-Myers said, it “may incur additional impairments to its investment portfolio, which could negatively affect the company’s financial condition, cash flow and reported earnings.”

  128. Clotpoll says:

    Stu (69)-

    What does that say about your company?

  129. Clotpoll says:

    I knew this day was coming.

    My subfranchisor is attempting to silence me. They contacted my business partner last night and asked him to ask me to lay off on voicing certain opinions.

  130. Against The Grain says:


    Isn’t liability insurance readily available where you are considering buying?

  131. grim says:

    I knew this day was coming.

    My subfranchisor is attempting to silence me. They contacted my business partner last night and asked him to ask me to lay off on voicing certain opinions.


  132. Dan says:

    118 kettle1

    Exactly, right on the money. I have lived through several ‘reorgs’ (and survived) and at the end, you are just a number. Where is the loyalty there?

    I understand you have to give your 100%, but it something better comes along, well, It is my future what counts.

  133. House Hunter says:

    Saw this on Realty Check – CNBC – FDIC chair states housing problems just beginning…..”Dodd’s Fix:
    At the same hearing, Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd is proposing a $10-20 billion bailout for homeowners–a “Home Owners Loan Corporation” that would buy mortgages at a deep discount from mortgage firms and banks. It would then modify the loans to more manageable payments. Dodd claims the money would come back to the government, perhaps at a profit, when the housing market recovers”

  134. grim says:


    221 Fairview, original list was $719,000. Purchased for $319k in ’99

  135. Imus says:

    Major NYC ibank announcing layoffs today…”firing day”…yikes…

  136. grim says:

    House Hunter,

    Do you trust our government to run a subprime shop? Let alone run it profitably?

  137. Al says:

    At the same hearing, Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd is proposing a $10-20 billion bailout for homeowners–a “Home Owners Loan Corporation” that would buy mortgages at a deep discount from mortgage firms and banks.

    Hey there are plenty of people who are ready to buy homes from banks at Deep Discount!!! You do not need Corporation to do so.

    Now if they will not give banks a choice to sell or not to sell – well that will be the end of mortgages in USA.

  138. Clotpoll says:

    Vodka (98)-

    As a NJ small business owner, I have to tell you that every morning when I look in the bathroom mirror, I say “hello, idiot”.

    The attitude here against small business- from the township level up- couldn’t possibly be any worse.

  139. 3b says:

    3127 chgofinance; Ah the old Roy Cohen, I remember the outfit well from my out placemnt days at Goldamn. Help with your resume, and talk you off the bridge talks (if you needed that).

    We had access to their services for 6 months. However they knew nothing about the busienss;at least the Fixed Incoe (muni) business.

  140. syncmaster says:

    Clot #132,

    Given the incendiary nature of some of your pronouncements, that is hardly surprising.

    FWIW, when I log on to threads on this blog the first thing I search for is “Clotpoll says:”. The second is “pretorius says:”. I am hooked on what you guys write!

  141. 3b says:

    #138 Imus Who?

  142. PA->NJ says:

    lisoosh Says:
    January 31st, 2008 at 9:07 am
    Essex Says:
    January 31st, 2008 at 7:37 am
    “Cindy….we used to be tough minded. But now we are distracted….over indulged….medicated….obese….and lack creativity and drive. Oh, and our government is completely corrupt and inept.”

    I agree. The only tough minded people in the country are the newer immigrants, legal and illegal.

    Really, no one? That comment sounds a biased to me.

  143. House Hunter says:

    Grim, Absolutely not! and no national health plan for me, I want all the taxes I paid this year return, just for one year, to add to my downpayment fund! Not a long term fix just a short one if they insist on keeping homes higher than they should be

  144. Clotpoll says:

    bi (117)-

    It may surprise you to find out that I don’t day trade.

    I’m not determining my net worth every day at 4:00.

    Stay long XHB. That’s a real winner.

    All disclaimers.

  145. bewm says:

    I work at a small business (I’m not the owner but am in a leadership position where I basically run it, save when the boss wants input) so I get a lot of the benefits without having to put up with a lot of the headaches. For all the criticisms that I see on this blog about owning a business in NJ… can somebody actually cite benefits of moving the business to NY, PA, DE, or CT (the only real-world alternatives) or is this just mostly “grass is always greener” syndrome?

    Not trying to be inflammatory, am really curious…

  146. lisoosh says:


    I’m starting my own although procrastination and small kids have made the start-up slower than I would have liked.

    I hate working for other people, hate office politics, hate sucking up, hate having ideas appropriated (stolen), hate being more loyal to a company than they are to me.

    Of course, as Ann stated, Health Insurance is a big kicker and we require my husband working for somebody else so we have it. Universal health would be a big stimulous.

    Some study showed that entrepreneurship was far more prevalent in Europe where they had universal health for exactly that reason. Kind of goes against the whole stereotype of the hard charging risk taking American business owner.

  147. syncmaster says:

    Househunter #146,

    Just don’t forget to keep enough of your government cheese aside to pay your taxes next year… tax refunds/rebates are taxable I believe?

  148. lisoosh says:

    PA->NJ Says:

    “Really, no one? That comment sounds a biased to me.”

    What a silly comment.

  149. Clotpoll says:

    grim (134)-

    Didn’t like me voicing certain opinions about competitors on my own blog. Didn’t like the way I employed over-the-top invective for humorous effect. Most important, didn’t like me refuting the NAR party line.

    I can’t really afford a legal action against me right now, so I toned down the stuff that could be construed as ad hominem. As far as the rest, they can kiss my white ass.

  150. Jill says:

    Syncmaster #41: A couple of questions:

    Do you actively recruit people over 40? Or are they removed from consideration the minute they walk in the door.

    What do you regard as “unqualified”? From what I see on the other side of the fence, companies are looking for (just as an example) JUST ONE PERSON with experience in network administration with Linux, Cisco, Citrix, and Windows (maybe even AS/400), database administration with hands-on experience with Oracle, SQL Server, DB2, and MySQL, programming with C#, ASP.Net, Cold Fusion, Java, and eighteen other programming lanauages, Flash, expert Photoshop skills, graphic design with extensive portfolio, technical writing and marketing copywriting experience.

    That’s ONE person with all those skills.

    That person doesn’t exist. But companies make up job requirements like this so they can offshore.

    Is YOUR company guilty of this?

  151. House Hunter says:

    I’m curious, what is the job of the senate banking committee? why does it even exist?
    What do all the other committees in the gov’t. Fincnace etc? What do the Dodd’s and the Frank’s do to protect this economy, I am just fed up with it all. Maybe they want us to get fed up, and lay down and roll over….sounds like a goal. Can you tell I am disgusted?

  152. grim says:

    can somebody actually cite benefits of moving the business to NY, PA, DE, or CT (the only real-world alternatives) or is this just mostly “grass is always greener” syndrome?

    Depends on the nature of the business. Our decision to move 700+ jobs out of NJ a little more than 4 years ago was a “no brainer”. We moved more than 350 of those jobs to DE, where the local government helped us negotiate a “sweetheart” lease. Just to give you an idea, 1 month of facility costs in Northern NJ were equivalent to 1 year in the new facility. New facility was 2x the size. Quality of recruits was equivalent, at a signifiantly lower cost. We’ve found retention to be higher as well.

    That said, we’re still here.

  153. rhymingrealtor says:

    If anyone would like a listings auto-email set up, just let me know. Drop me an email with your email address, and the criteria that you’d like to see.

    No.. but I need help with auto email. This is the 3rd system I can’t do it on. Maybe you can email some helpfull hints? No pressure… when you get a moment?


  154. chicagofinance says:

    BC Bob Says:
    January 31st, 2008 at 8:12 am
    “Anybody else see Dennis Gartman liken Bernanke to that Mugabe wacko who runs Zimbabwe on Fast Money yesterday?”
    hehe,Gotta love Gartman. I fell out of my chair. It was classic, Bergabe. Forget about Helicopter Ben, going forward he’s Bergabe.

    go to this link and the video is 6:47…..Gartman’s segment starts at 3:30…

  155. Clotpoll says:

    Allegedly, one of my competitors (same organization, different location) was “upset” that I called him on a statement he made the first week of January, claiming that the worst of the housing downturn has passed. He also used NAR materials and a quote from Lawrence Yun in his statement.

    Of course, this competitor regularly solicits agents from other offices within the company and has a bag of dirty tricks that would impress the Watergate burglars.

  156. Stu says:


    I think the reason I didn’t have to face the music in regards to my brazen help wanted ad is because I have been very valuable to this company. My first professional gig I worked for 5 and 1/2 years and my second and current gig I am approaching 10 years. Sure I could have jumped around for an extra few dollars like so many of my peers, but they know have a much greater chance of getting laid off than me.

    So to answer your question, I think my current company is more flexible than most when it comes to taking risks and it helps when the risk taker has tenure and a track record of success.

    So are you now long XBH?

  157. syncmaster says:

    Jill #153,

    My workplace is actually quite mature. I am one of the youngest, at 32. Age is not the issue here.

    Unqualified is someone who doesn’t have a few years of relevant experience. We get a lot of people with, say, helpdesk experience, applying for a non-helpdesk job. They say they “know” MQ; well, they know it in that they’ve heard of it and know what it does. They haven’t worked with it. We’re not looking for someone with all the keywords. Just someone who can do the job with no more than 2-3 weeks of hand holding. If we’re going to devote resources into extensively training people, we’ll train someone in house or do it overseas. Hiring externally and putting them through months of training isn’t cost effective. That’s just the truth.

  158. chicagofinance says:

    pretorius Says:
    January 31st, 2008 at 11:10 am
    It took me a couple of moves before I ended up at a place that truly understands HR (don’t let HR people do recruiting)….

    pret-a-poseur: You sound like a parent who lectures teachers and school administrators about how to run the classroom.

    Don’t confuse an HR idiot with fundamental uselessness of the HR bureaucracy. My wife (former Director of Employment) has busted big boys a$$es down to private, and they thanked her for doing so.

    Asd for what Stu did……dude…I seriously would have terminated you. That is a serious breach of protocol.

    The f-ing ba$stard did the financial equivalent of what you did for a sub of a former employer of mine. He and his team f–ed up and stuck corporate with the bill. I was left to wipe my a%%, and they walked around saying stuff such as “(don’t let HR people do recruiting)….”…but it was more….don’t let the finance guys structure the unhedged derivative transactions on contingent deals……

  159. chicagofinance says:

    syncmaster Says:
    January 31st, 2008 at 11:15 am

    sync: YES! I fully endorse such an approach.

  160. syncmaster says:

    chifi #62 – I bet you do ;)

  161. Against The Grain says:

    “or is this just mostly “grass is always greener” syndrome”

    Reminds me of a saying we had when I was in the Air Force that the two best bases in the force were always the last one you were at and the one you just got orders to go to.

  162. PA->NJ says:

    lisoosh Says:
    January 31st, 2008 at 12:49 pm
    PA->NJ Says:

    “Really, no one? That comment sounds a biased to me.”

    What a silly comment.

    As silly as saying that the only tough minded people in this country are immigrants?

    I think not.

  163. Stu says:

    You’re probably right ChiFi and I wouldn’t try it again.

  164. Ann says:

    149 lisoosh

    Good for you! Good luck. But that’s the problem then, someone has to go suck it up and work for the man for the insurance usually.

    I hated working in an office too. I’d rather deal with my own toddlers than the whiny ones at the office.

    Luckily, I get to work a bit on the side writing and my husband makes enough to pay the bills and he brings home the almighty health coverage.

    Bring on universal health care I say .

  165. chicagofinance says:

    syncmaster Says:
    January 31st, 2008 at 11:15 am
    sync: YES! I fully endorse such an approach.
    syncmaster Says:
    January 31st, 2008 at 1:11 pm
    chifi #62 – I bet you do ;)

    sync: I distributed this cartoon to the whole office and certain clients of mine. :)

  166. Shore Guy says:

    # 132 Clot,

    Opinions expressed here?

  167. Frank says:

    Starting today, New Jersey will launch a 30 day speeding ticket frenzy. The state estimates that 9 million dollars will be generated in
    speeding tickets. 1 million will go to pay state troopers’ overtime. There will be 50 state troopers on duty at all times patrolling the 9
    main intersections and highways. They are the following:

    > I-295 north and south
    > 1-95 (Jersey Turnpike) north and south
    > 1-80 east and west
    > I-287 north and south
    > I-78 east and west
    > 1-195 east and west
    > 1-280 east and west
    > Rt. 130 north and south
    > Garden State Parkway north and south

    5 mph above the limit can justify a ticket and every state trooper is supposed to pull a car over and w rite a ticket every 10 to 20
    minutes. They have issued 30 brand new unmarked Crown Victoria cruisers and are bringing in all of their part timers on full time. If
    you work in NJ, NY, DE or CT you will probably take one of these highways. It’s up to you how fast you are going when they clock you.

    101.5 FM confirmed all of this. So be safe and don’t forget speeding tickets are on you. Driving Ticket fine increase in NJ:

    Starting on August 15th, the price of a ticket for violation of NJ Law39:3-29 (failure to show your driver’s license, registration, or
    insurance card at the time you are stopped) is going from $44.00 to $173.00. Please make sure your vehicles have the proper
    documents in them. If you jump in the car to run to the store and forget your wallet with your license in it and you are stopped…. Oh
    well… you just spent $173. And the fine for not having all three documents is $519!!!

    But if you’re illegal immigrant diving without a license and insurance, don’t worry about it, you’re O.K.

  168. kettle1 says:

    would someone be so kind as to pull the data for

    GSMLS# 2459421

    thank you

  169. Spelunker says:

    The frenzy started a week ago.

  170. bewm says:


  171. kettle1 says:

    frank 170,

    But i thought they said it was all for our own safety?!?!?!?

  172. bi says:

    170#, is it true? any link? i drove 10 mph above limit seeing most cars still pass by me and no cops on turnpike

  173. pretorius says:


    Sorry for the occassional HR-bashing post. I’m sure their are plenty of great HR people out there. Probably they do stuff well that I don’t notice.

    However, my experience (including working with dozens of them during stint in college careers office) is HR tends to be avoid taking sensible risks.

    Too many good candidates are missed and things like performance evaluations are too generic to be useful. But then most normal managers are bad at these tasks also.

  174. Clotpoll says:

    Shore (169)-

    “Opinions expressed here?”

    No one from the home office has mentioned this blog. Like most Realtors, they either avoid this place like the plague or have no idea it exists.

    If they saw what I wrote here, they’d probably demand my franchise back. :)

  175. bi says:

    177#, chifi is biased since his wife works in HR

  176. bewm says:

    Please, pass that snopes link to everybody you know. At least once a month I get this helpful email from a friend, co-worker, or family member which makes me think that there are a LOT of people falling for this cr@p.

    People, don’t believe everything you see on the Internet (or an in email for that matter).


  177. syncmaster says:

    If you work in NJ, NY, DE or CT you will probably take one of these highways.

    I work in NJ and haven’t taken any of those highways to work in years.

  178. chicagofinance says:

    bewm Says:
    January 31st, 2008 at 1:44 pm
    Sorry, to be more specific:

    Look snopes is a far way to try and vet something. However, my anecdotal evidence.

    I left my home at 8AM yesterday and drove to Moorestown. Between mile post 114 and 98 on the GSP I saw:
    #1 one driving unmarked vehicle
    #2 three cars pulled over
    #3 four cars sitting on the median where the express and local lanes merge at MP 100

    On I-195 West in a 30 mile stretch I saw two speed traps and one car pulled over.

    On I-295 South from MP 60 to 40 I saw one speed trap and one car pulled over.

    On the way back I-195 and I-295 appeared the same, and there was an Acura nailed by a trooper for blowing through the Parkway Toll onramp at 98, but no other fuzz up to 109.

    My collegue suggested that is was a manhunt, but I am willing to believe the message is not a hoax.

  179. John says:

    I am over 40 and my company if fantastic. I have no problem keeping workers in fact we have one of the lowest turnovers on wall street. The problem is finding the good ones in the first place. A good friend of mine is around 55 and heads a 30 person department and tries to actively recuit older employees for the experience and they often are happy to find a place to ride out the last five years, he says 90% of the over 55 crowd have been laid off several times, been through re-orgs and recessions and are totally burnt out and are just dialing it in. He goes the extra mile to find the few that aren’t burnt but it is hard to do. I as a department head have to deal with a lot of stuff so if the second in command can’t be there when I am off I can’t take a vacation day and the few I get I don’t want to be competing with someone who wants all my same days. Other than that everyone can leave at 5pm and take off when ever they want. The second gets an extra 80K pay to deal with covering for me so why shouldn’t I expect it?

  180. bewm says:

    chifi, I’ve gotten that email several times over the past few years. It’s the exact same email that I’ve seen, and just about word-for-word with what Snopes has.

    Coincidence? Sure. Real? Absolutely not.

  181. lisoosh says:

    PA->NJ Says:

    “As silly as saying that the only tough minded people in this country are immigrants?

    I think not.”


    Read this site. You will find plenty of people complaining about the “entitlement mentality”. Kids turning up at interviews with their parents, or complaining about having to wear business attire to an interview. John just posted a bit back about people with a couple of years experience demanding the sun, the moon and the stars. People getting their kids certified as disabled so they can “get” more stuff, banning peanut butter in schools so that their kids aren’t traumatized by sitting at a different table for lunch, stuffing them full of Ritalin so they will sit still and conform. Endless school meetings about cupcakes and self-esteem building and banning dodge-ball in case of bruises – can’t let poor little Johnny fail at something now can we? Mothers following their kids outside when they go out to play, IF they get out to play. Constant, mind-numbing supervision – I would have died of shame as a kid if my Mom was endlessly trailing me.

    Don’t like high property taxes, but don’t want the precious little kids to have to go to school with “those people over there”, so no end to home rule. Don’t like the people in power but can’t bring themselves to vote for the “other party” and kick the veterans out. Don’t want to pay for the overpriced house bought with other peoples money – walk away. Don’t want to watch a government debate, or read about candidates policies – Survivor is on. “Deal or no Deal”, “Tell the Truth”, “Fox News” – people WATCH this drivel.

    In the meantime, immigrants hussle. Work two jobs. Do anything – wash dishes, drive taxis, mow the lawns, dig the dirt, clean houses. Kids do homework and don’t sue because they weren’t picked for the soccer team. My friends Thai mother put her kids to work picking berries in the summer and kept the money to help pay for the downpayment on their first house. Rotten mother? Yes. B*tch? Yes. But a TOUGH B*tch with a paid for house.

    In looking at a serious downturn, a really bad recession or even a depression, who is tougher? Who is more likely to get down and dirty and do anything to survive? Who is more likely to hussle and who is more likely to whine, beg for a handout and ask the government to “do something”?

    Bias? No. Shame, despair and embarrasment that an entire nation appears to be full of overfed behinds sitting staring at oversized TV’s on overstuffed couches all paid for from an overused credit account? Yes.

    Oh, and you might like to look up the words “Sardonic” and “Sarcasm” in the dictionary while you are at it.

  182. syncmaster says:

    lisoosh, when I go home tonight and sit on my couch I don’t think I’ll be able to help but think of that post.

    Good post!

  183. scribe says:


    What’s a subfranchisor?

    And, they’re getting upset with you for comments you made on your own blog, but not here?

    Never mess with a man who owns his own rusty grenade launcher! :)

  184. Against The Grain says:

    Don’t worry about the speeding ticket blitz. The next big “safety” thing coming to NJ is stoplight cameras that act as judge, jury and executioner if you run a red light. A bill allowing this latest tax was just signed by Corzine.

    In other states that have the systems, the contractors who run it only profit from the tickets issued. The contractors conspire with the authorities to reduce the amount of time the light is yellow so they can increase ticket revenue.

    When drivers catch on to this, rear-end accidents at stoplights so equipped increase as drivers are more likely to stop for yellow lights. In NJ, the rear-ender almost always gets a ticket for careless driving even if a cop doesn’t see the accident, so the govenment will still make money.

  185. You "Shore" are funny says:


    Like the insecure Yalie who cannot go fifteen minutes without mentioning where he went to college, there goes Shore Guy AGAIN advertising his wealth.

    Oooh. In the tax strata that pays 80% of all taxes… Boola-boola!

    Those who’ve got it don’t need to flaunt it; for those who ain’t, Shore Guy.

  186. Stu says:

    “Starting on August 15th, the price of a ticket for violation of NJ Law39:3-29 (failure to show your driver’s license, registration, or
    insurance card at the time you are stopped) is going from $44.00 to $173.00.”

    Just paid a ticket to Eatontown for $180 (plus $3 processing fee), for not having my registration (which was actually in my glovebox, but it was 3:15am and I couldn’t find it) when I was checked at a sobriety checkpoint last Sunday morning.

    The speeding part is listed as a hoax on Snopes, but the fees for not having your permit, license or registration on you are no joke. I even tried to call the prosecutor to see if I could fax him a copy of the document and he said forget about it. Just pay the ticket.

    At some point, this government of ours in NJ will have to cut spending rather than raise taxes, for there won’t be anyone left to pay the taxes.

  187. Jamey says:

    Wow, Lisoosh (185), how’d you cram so many straw men and lazy generalizations into one posting?!

  188. Clotpoll says:

    scribe (187)-

    A worldwide franchisor grants a state or regional territory to a subfranchisor. The sub sells franchises to individuals within the territory and has admin/organizational responsibilities.

  189. chicagofinance says:

    bewm Says:
    January 31st, 2008 at 2:00 pm
    chifi, I’ve gotten that email several times over the past few years. It’s the exact same email that I’ve seen, and just about word-for-word with what Snopes has.
    Coincidence? Sure. Real? Absolutely not.

    bewm: I agree with you. Snopes is a fair resource. That said, I refer to my experience yesterday; that e-mail I received at the end of May 2005, and I got nailed on the NJTP in early June 2005; and I’ve been spooked enough to notice similar stuff twice in 2006.

  190. lisoosh says:

    Jamey – Never heard a rant before?

    In addition to “Sardonicism” and “Sarcasm” please look up “Irony”, “Humor” and “Obtuseness”.

    And in answer to your question – It’s a gift.

  191. lisoosh says:

    scribe #187-

    Thank goodness you asked, I thought I was the only one who didn’t know and was too embarrased to ask.

  192. Shore Guy says:

    # 189

    Not wealthy, just taxed a lot.

  193. RayC says:

    182 ChiFi I got my speeding ticket from the Cranford Police 2 weeks ago. That didn’t really bother me, I was guilty as hell. It was the $50 ticket for “Unclear license plate” that irked me. I have a plain frame holding it in place, that is illegal. They didn’t mention that when it passed inspection though. I have also seen a car pulled over on my drive to work (NJTPK from 78 to GW) at least once a day for the last 2 weeks.

    And as long as we are throwing in anecdotal evidence, I drive over the GW at 8:30-8:45am. I haven’t hit traffic since, oh, November. Same goes for the entire length of the trip. It wasn’t like this last year. Did gas prices and the economy stop people from driving? If I can only afford the toll increases I’ll get to work in 20 minutes.

  194. Sybarite says:


    Do you miss traffic?

  195. Imus says:

    #144: Morgan Stanley

  196. 3b says:

    #199 Thanks.

  197. Mojo Jojo says:

    Hi…need address for 2483237. Previous price would also be helpful if easily available. I know listing number was different in prev listing though. Thanks in advance!

  198. syncmaster says:

    FWIW… Middlesex Boro’s Transit Village Plan.

  199. grim says:


    2459421 – 54 Rockaway Drive
    OLP/LP: $339k
    DOM: 87

    Very cool project house, if you don’t want it, I might.

  200. grim says:


    90 Peachcroft Drive

  201. Sybarite says:


    90 Peachcroft Drive
    Bernardsville Boro

    LD: 12/02/2002
    XD: 09/02/2003
    OLP: $2,350,000
    LP: $2,175,000

    LD: 04/12/2004
    XD: 10/12/2004
    OLP: $1,936,500
    LP: $1,840,000

    LD: 04/20/2007
    XD: 10/20/2007
    OLP/LP: $2,250,000

    LD: 01/30/2008
    OLP/LP: $1,895,000

  202. syncmaster says:

    What’s XD?

  203. RayC says:

    197 Do I miss traffic?

    It gets lonely sometimes.

  204. grim says:

    XD = Expired Date

  205. Sybarite says:


    Yeah, cool stone-work. Kitchen-yikes!

  206. syncmaster says:

    Aah, thx

  207. kettle1 says:

    grim thanks,

    that was my thought too

  208. hughesrep says:


    That’s not really all that many for the 195 / 295 stretch. I drive it every day to and from work from the Parkway across 195, south on 295 to exit 36. On 195 there are usually 4-6 regular troopers hiding in the weeds, a couple of local yocals and a ton of unmarked cops.

    Most of the unmarked cars are going to / from Trenton HQ, but a few are patrolling. Lots of troopers apparently live in Ocean and Monmouth counties, so 195 is pretty heavily patrolled and travelled for the staties (both of my brother in laws are troopers.) I couldn’t guess how many of those troopers in essence get their travel to and from work paid for by the state.

  209. Sean says:

    Looks like Mozillo may have to put off his vacation plans for a while.

  210. ithink-ithink says:

    #202 – sync
    FWIW… Middlesex Boro’s Transit Village Plan

    Let’s install the Monorail!!!!!!!

    Ambac can’t float a Vegas Monorail…

    So who’s going to bond every state Transit Village & Downtown Main Street too?!

    Below came from a fast google search…

    *note: large files*

    Somerville –
    Somerville East –
    Dunellen –
    LongHill -

    p.s. it’s NOT just NJ doing this either!!!!

  211. kettle1 says:

    hey, syb, Grim

    now dont all be lining up to piggy back off of my “cool project house” finding skills!!! ;)

  212. kettle1 says:

    i would do EXTENSIVE rework on that house, it would be fun, and of course i would want to shoot myself on occasion

  213. grim says:

    Yeah, cool stone-work. Kitchen-yikes!

    It’ll need gutting, fixtures without any historic merit would likely be removed. The fireplace is entirely wrong, my guess is that it’ll need to have plumbing and electrical entirely redone, new heating, new kitchen & baths, etc.

    It’s a big project, we’re not talking fresh paint and a cleanup here.

  214. Stu says:


    You win THIS time.

    XHB up almost 10%.

    Short covering rally would be my bet, but good call.

  215. kettle1 says:

    grim clott, whoever….

    here is the tax info

    Land Value $342,000
    Improvement Value $143,000
    Net Taxable Value $485,000
    Prior Year Taxes $5,407.08
    Current Year Taxes $6,741.50

    so lets say i bought the house for 350K. Could i challenge the assessment and have a good chance at winning? i figure that if i paid 350 and the assessment say 485, thats a significant difference

  216. Sybarite says:


    No competition from me here. My dad and brother are union carpenters, but I have 2 left hands. I wish I could take on a project like that and have it habitable as a result, but the truth is I’d likely ruin it.

  217. kettle1 says:

    i would take most of it down to the studs

  218. kettle1 says:

    although…. that kitchen has some serious character!

    i would be afraid to plug a hair dryer into an outlet in that house without causing an electrical fire

  219. kettle1 says:

    sybarite, i was just kidding, it can be hard to express humor etc online….

  220. 3b says:

    #224 I guess he missed the news regarding the first decline in national prices since the 1930’s.

  221. pretorius says:

    For people who read businessweek article linked in post 223: I am not Michael Youngblood.

  222. 3b says:

    3218 kettle: You can chalenge it, and you may even win.

    I know of a property in my town that challenged and won, (based on the fact that prices are declining;house still has not sold, even with the decline from 17k to 13 k in property taxes).

    However,if more people do it, the town will simply decrease the assessed value,and increase the tax rate, so that they still collect the same amount of tax revenues.

  223. Sybarite says:


    I was beginning to wonder, young pret.

  224. John says:

    What does a union carpenter do? I dated a girl back in 1992 whose dad was a union carpenter and never figured it out.
    Sybarite Says:
    January 31st, 2008 at 4:01 pm

    No competition from me here. My dad and brother are union carpenters, but I have 2 left hands. I wish I could take on a project like that and have it habitable as a result, but the truth is I’d likely ruin it.

  225. Rich In NNJ says:

    Preliminary January NJMLS Bergen County Sales and Under Contract* Data

    Year #Sold #UC
    1995 465 573
    1996 501 551
    1997 548 681
    1998 569 797
    1999 630 614
    2000 506 647
    2001 583 548
    2002 638 730
    2003 743 673
    2004 664 680
    2005 669 684
    2006 525 580
    2007 551 682
    2008 346 462

    *Pending Sales

  226. pretorius says:

    Another comment on businessweek article – I just called a research guy at FBR and asked about Youngblood. He told me he knows the guy but he’s been transferred into a new role in the firm and doesn’t produce research any more.

  227. Sybarite says:


    Lots of work I can’t do. Neither are foremen or union officials, so they actually work.

  228. chicagofinance says:

    GOOG getting smacked after hours, but really not as much as deserved. This story has to play out a bit. Check at 10:30AM tomorrow for the real answer (net of the broad market of course).

  229. syncmaster says:

    pret #230, so how come they don’t let you produce research anymore?

  230. chicagofinance says:

    John Says:
    January 31st, 2008 at 4:20 pm

    JJ: different model than the NAR, but the problem isn’t the model, rather GIGO….

    He need to reconsider the limitations of his sources…..

  231. Essex says:

    228….Union Carpenter has completed apprenticeship — probably has skills.

  232. MAKE MONEY says:



  233. Sean says:

    We are all saved! The credit crisis is over!

    Pop the Champagne and lets all sing together!

    For he’s a jolly good fellow, for he’s a jolly good fellow
    For he’s a jolly good fellow, that nobody can deny
    Which nobody can deny, that nobody can deny
    For he’s a jolly good fellow,, which nobody can deny

  234. Anxious but waiting says:

    Would someone please give me history and listing info on MLS 2438984.


  235. Anxious but waiting says:

    I meant history and address on MLS 2438984.


  236. Sybarite says:


    11 Franklin Rd.

    MLS 2257437
    LD: 03/15/2006
    OLP: $465,000
    LP: $445,000
    Withdrawn: 05/05/2006

    MLS 2438984
    LD: 08/26/2007
    OLP/LP: $465,000
    DOM 158

  237. Sean says:

    re: 232

    Only a brave brave man shorts the GOOG.

    However there may be some other opportunities.

    Google CEO: “social networking not ‘monetizing’ well”

    might be time for puts/shorts elsewhere looks the Web 2.0 bubble is going to bust.

  238. Dan says:


    Wow, so now we need an “Advisory Council on Financial Literacy”.

    That is what we need, our taxes to pay for a bunch of morons to report ” the status of financial literacy in the United States..”

    Only in America.

  239. ithink-ithink says:

    #202 – fwiw
    Seven towns receive Economic Incentive Grants

  240. shuky says:

    i was looking for houses in west orange and ppl don’t lower the prices
    it looks that this low interest rate is the cause of increase of ppl looking to buy
    i was making an offer for a house,asking price 570, the offer was for 540, and they told me that there is another offer
    I don’t want ot fight in this market and pay more, but it looks that there are many buyers

  241. Essex says:

    Hey Look! Another must have stock from James Cramer:

    Motorola Inc. said late Thursday that it is considering spinning off its struggling mobile device business. In a statement, the wireless equipment maker (MOT:
    Motorola, Inc
    News, chart, profile, more
    Last: 11.50+0.21+1.86%
    4:27pm 01/31/2008
    Delayed quote data
    Add to portfolio
    Create alert
    Sponsored by:
    MOT 11.50, +0.21, +1.9%) said it is “exploring the structural and strategic realignment of its businesses” as part of an effort to revive its handset business and improve shareholder value. “We are exploring ways in which our Mobile Devices Business can accelerate its recovery and retain and attract talent while enabling our shareholders to realize the value of this great franchise,” CEO Greg Brown said in the statement.

  242. shuky says:

    MLS ID# 2440838

    how much is the real price ?

  243. Harry Macklowe has been foreclosed on !

    It didn’t even take a full year.

  244. Rich In NNJ says:

    Hey now, easy on Moto

  245. Anxious but waiting says:

    Thank you! Sybarite.

  246. TJ says:


    I have worked for a “Big Four” for 4 years and went to a top engineering school. I have been out of school for 7 years (I had my own business for 3). I am an extremely hard worker, very professional and I currently make just under 100K. If you are looking for someone who can hit the ground running and impress the pants off of just about everyone (not to toot my own horn), then I will take 170K and be worth every penny. If you want to seriously contact me, I am will to trade up information.

  247. ithink-ithink says:

    #79 grim – thank you for the offer & this blog!
    bednar for president ,er… nobel prize in economics!

  248. chicagofinance says:

    OT: More poorly researched and pathetic commentary from McFinance Magazine. Although, it would appear that it would be the primary source for confirmation bias of the “all knowing and all seeing oracle of personal finance and investing” who inhabits this board.

    I’m sorry…..can you give me the top 3 advertisers in McFinance magazine….conflict of interest?

    Why don’t we all ask CNBC to do a hatchet job on Jeff Immelt?

  249. chicagofinance says:

    ithink-ithink Says:
    January 31st, 2008 at 7:20 pm
    #79 grim – thank you for the offer & this blog!
    bednar for president ,er… nobel prize in economics!

    ithink-ithink not……no offense grim, I’m sure you would understand :)

  250. chicagofinance says:

    RE: MOT….is it possible to spin an entire company out of itself? It may be the best strategic move here….

  251. Confused In NJ says:

    237. Financial Literacy

    Congress definately needs this, and those member too old to pass the tests, need to be retired.

  252. Quandry says:

    I see all the “tough mided” “Greatest Generation” members buying $75 worth of lotto tickets when I try to get coffee in the morning.

  253. grim says:

    ithink-ithink not……no offense grim, I’m sure you would understand :)

    No such thing as a Nobel in Economics, how could I take offense?

  254. grim says:

    From the LA Times:

    Trying to tap into home equity? We’ll see

    Tens of thousands of homeowners with home equity lines of credit are getting a rude surprise: They’ve been told by their lender that they can no longer take money out on their credit lines because sinking home prices have put them “upside down” on their mortgages.

    Countrywide Financial Corp. sent letters to 122,000 customers last week telling them they could no longer borrow against their credit lines because the total debt on the home exceeded the market value of the property. The lender says it is using computer modeling to determine which of its customers would have their cash spigot shut off.

    The move by Countrywide, the nation’s largest mortgage company, is part of a pullback by lenders nationwide on home equity loans, which are often used to finance home improvements and consumer spending. Such loans, also known as second mortgages, were widely available until six months ago, when delinquencies and foreclosures began to soar. Now, with new evidence of sinking home values, many lenders are requiring that homeowners maintain a much larger percentage of equity in their homes as a cushion against financial problems.

  255. 3b says:

    #244 shuky:but it looks that there are many buyers.

    And lets see how many of these buyers qualify for a mtg;lets see if they actually close. Much ado about nothing, the housing market is dead.

  256. Ann says:

    244 shuky

    It’s still possible, even in this market, that some houses are priced right.

    Just curious, why did you bid 540? Was there a reason, or did you just think that you should be able to get it for less right now?

    We had three offers within 24 hours on our sell. The first offer was about 5% less than our asking price. Why did they pick that number? Eh, IMHO, just because they thought they shouldn’t pay full price for anything right now. BUT the thing was, our house was already priced aggressively to sell (undercutting the other listings). Then someone gave asking price within the same day. So, they lost it.

  257. Confused In NJ says:

    258. Countrywide Financial Corp. sent letters to 122,000 customers last week telling them they could no longer borrow against their credit lines because the total debt on the home exceeded the market value of the property.

    Seems like this underscores the “over valuation’s”. Wonder how often they will have to rerun program to update figures? The article on Cape May wanting to defer their reevaluation for a year, because of declining values, is another good example.

  258. njpatient says:

    “toshiro_mifune Says:
    January 31st, 2008 at 5:28 pm
    Harry Macklowe has been foreclosed on !”

    got here late today and was scrolling through to see if that had been picked up on.

    Poor Macklowe. How embarrassing.

  259. njpatient says:

    TJ, I was waiting for someone to call John on that one.

    I’m sure he’ll tell you the job’s been filled.

  260. Confused In NJ says:

    Hudson City Savings CD Interest Rates have dropped to @ 4% APY, based upon Ben’s cuts.

  261. ithink-ithink says:

    #257 sorry grim, let me rephrase:

    The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel, commonly “identified with” the Nobel Prize, is awarded for outstanding contributions in Economics.

  262. grim says:

    The guy just trashed me, was the best rebuttal I could muster.

  263. Clotpoll says:

    Vodka (218)-

    You’d have a good shot at that.

  264. grim says:

    From the NYT:

    Tentative Deal to Salvage Real Estate Empire

    Harry and William Macklowe, the father-and-son team of real estate developers who doubled the size of their holdings in a $7 billion deal last year, have reached a tentative agreement to give their lender control of all seven Manhattan skyscrapers purchased in the deal, according to real estate executives.

    If the agreement is concluded, the Macklowes would continue to manage the Midtown Manhattan buildings, which include Worldwide Plaza on Eighth Avenue, while their lender, Deutsche Bank, puts the towers up for sale.

    Howard J. Rubenstein, a spokesman for the Macklowes, declined to comment, as did Deutsche Bank.

    The Macklowes have come under intense financial pressure with the near collapse of the credit markets, rattling their empire of 15 office towers, 2 development sites and a handful of residential buildings. Real estate brokers and executives who know the Macklowes say they are urgently seeking extensions on more than $7 billion in debt that comes due on Feb. 8.

    “There’s still so many moving parts right now and so many discussions going on,” said one executive involved in the discussions, who asked not to be identified because the agreement was still in flux.

    Real estate executives are watching the Macklowes’ travails closely, not only because of the seriousness of the situation but also out of fear that it could be a harbinger for the industry.

  265. Shore Guy says:

    268 Shades of trump not too many years ago.

  266. Kelly says:

    I don’t know if someone already posted this – I am not usually on the blogs this late. Just want to share. Hopefully everyone enjoys this article as much as I did.

    Michael Jackson is known for a lot of things. And now he’s known for another: Foreclosure.
    …At first, some thought Neverland was worth $12 million, but it is only worth about $6 million, according to the Santa Barbara County assessor.

    Title documents (public information notice of default) claim that Michael Jackson is delinquent on a little more than $200,000 worth of mortgage payments. It’s a $23 million loan. So foreclosure proceedings have begun.

    However, Neverland Ranch may not be the only Michael Jackson property at stake. The negative amortization on Neverland is also present in the family home he owns in Encino, reports Fox News:

    But the ranch is not Jackson’s only piece of highly leveraged property. According to records, the Jackson family home in Encino — which Michael owns — carries a $4 million mortgage. That house, known as Hayvenhurst, has an assessed value of $2.66 million and an improvement value of $2.3 million.

  267. Pat says:
    “But another aspect of the global effects on banking has hit…”

  268. Clotpoll says:

    More words of wisdom, from my neighbor, The King of Real Estate:

    “Remember, only YOU can make YOU miserable and only YOU can make YOU happy. BE happy, DO things that Happy People do (smile, laugh, etc.), HAVE the things that make you happy. Start by being happy. If you are happy, you aren’t complaining to others about your problems. Everybody has problems. Everybody. I have my problems, and you have your problems. Everybody is busy, I am busy, you are busy, but don’t tell other people you are busy. Don’t say, “I’m too busy”…with your words OR YOUR ACTIONS. Are you reading your e-mail and eating while listening to a client on the phone? Focus on that client. Don’t let them think that you aren’t listening or that you are too busy. Also, when asked, “How’s business?” Don’t say, “GREAT!” You are chasing business away! Here are some scripts for that:

    1) “Business is moving. That’s what we do. Who is the next person you know who will be moving?”

    2) “We always need business. We’re looking for people like you to help. Who is the next person who, like you, will be buying their first home?”

    3) “Thank you for asking. Business is going well and it’s important for you to know that I’m never too busy for you or your referrals.”

  269. Clotpoll says:

    From the King of Real Estate, January 27. Should I burst his bubble by telling him rates actually went UP the day after the 75 bps emergency cut…and again yesterday, after to 50 bps cut?

    How can agents advise their clients when they think mortgage rates are tied to Fed operations…and don’t even know which way rates are headed?

    I want to shave with a cheese grater. Repeatedly:

    “For those who have not heard the Fed lowered the interest rate by ¾ %, which was 1/4 lower than predicted sending the already low rates down further. Today I am seeing rates as low as 5.3%. COME ON….. You cannot have your clients miss this golden opportunity. Lower housing prices + low rate = GOOD DEAL!!!!!

    I personally think that the Fed will do us one better at the end of the month when they meet, it could be has low as another ½!!!! Have your buyer clients understand that if we see housing prices go lower (for those waiting for the bottom) it would most likely be because of an interest rates rise. If the interest rate rises and the house price drops a little it will COST MORE per month for the same house today…… Ask your mortgage rep for the formula so you can show your clients.”

  270. Bloodbath in Winter 2007 says:

    January 31st, 2008 at 11:18 am

    Why does it seem that this site completely devoid of small business owners and entrepreneurs?

    This is a bit disappointing, I hope that someone can prove me wrong.

    Is there anyone out there that doesn’t think “working for someone else” is the epitome of success?

    Sheepishly raises hand. Quit in Dec. Figured it was now or never.

  271. d2b says:

    My wife and I own our own business. We are PA residents and our business is in NJ. I work a full time sales job. My performance is measured by quota, not an hourly schedule. I also cover the area around my business, so I can work my way over to the store.

    There’s no real future in this business. I recognize it for what it is, a cash cow that paid for our home and funded our IRAs/529s. I hope to start an Executive MBA in the fall. I’ll put in three more years and then I can go work for John.

  272. Stu says:

    I hope you are a single white man with no children or any life whatsoever outside of work.

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