“Good luck getting a loan.”

From Bloomberg:

Mortgage Seekers Find Rates Are Down, Credit Standards Tighter

U.S. mortgage rates are dropping. Good luck getting a loan.

Existing home prices have fallen 7.7 percent since their July 2006 high and rates dropped below 6 percent last week for the first time in more than three months. The obstacle for people ready to buy is finding a willing lender, said Suzanne Bach, senior vice president of New York-based Guardhill Financial Corp., and an 18-year home lending veteran.

“Nobody really wants to take risk anymore,” Bach said in an interview. “Deals are getting really hard to do now.”

Lenders including Bank of America Corp. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. keep requiring higher credit scores, bigger cash down payments, and more income than was needed to buy a home during the five-year housing boom. Astoria Federal Savings, a Lake Success, New York-based lender that holds mortgages on its books rather than selling them to investors, has even started discounting annual employee bonuses in calculating income.

About 75 percent of U.S. banks tightened standards on mortgage lending to the most credit-worthy borrowers in the three months ended in July, according to the Federal Reserve’s quarterly Senior Loan Officer Survey released Aug. 11.

The average U.S. 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was 5.78 percent yesterday, down from 6.08 percent the week before, according to Bankrate.com. The Fed is scheduled to meet Tuesday and may lower its key rate to 1.75 percent from 2 percent which may reduce mortgage rates further.

“Tighter standards assure the loans are less likely to fail, but also have had the unfortunate effect of limiting the ability of some first-time home buyers to enter the market,” said Sara Tinsley Demarest, spokeswoman for the Washington-based Mortgage Bankers Association.

The credit squeeze is contributing to falling home sales. In July, the National Association of Realtors’ index of pending home resales fell 3.2 percent, a decline NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun blamed on “overly stringent lending criteria.” The index is down 6.8 percent since July 2007.

“The most difficult thing now is the appraisals are being scrutinized so much more than they have ever been,” Stockert said. “The higher the sale price, the more scrutiny that is happening. We’re talking two or three appraisals on the same property.”

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

467 Responses to “Good luck getting a loan.”

  1. grim says:

    From MarketWatch:

    AIG crisis deepens after ratings downgrades

    The crisis at American International Group deepened as the insurer was hit with downgrades by four rating companies late on Monday, giving the New York insurance giant precious little time to sell assets and receive loans to preserve its existence.

    In a filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission last month, AIG spelled out precisely what those downgrades would mean: Counterparties could ask for another $14.5 billion in collateral. It also gives them the right to terminate contracts, though AIG at the time said it’s “unlikely” contracts would be terminated given the profits they would forfeit.

    The downgrades also may trigger an exodus of clients, with some customers canceling policies. That may require AIG, a component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, to return any unearned premiums covering the rest of 2008.

    Standard & Poor’s lowered its rating on AIG to A- from AA-, and Moody’s Investors Service cut its rating to A2 from Aa3. Fitch Ratings and AM Best also downgraded AIG.

    “The main reason for the rating actions is the combination of reduced flexibility in meeting additional collateral needs and concerns over increasing residential mortgage-related losses,” said Standard & Poor’s credit analyst Rodney A. Clark in a statement.

  2. grim says:

    From the WSJ:

    London, New York Stand to Suffer
    Huge Economic Lift
    To Cities Will Wane
    As Jobs Disappear

    The blast furnace known as the finance industry that has stoked the economies of New York and London for decades is rapidly cooling.

    Both cities have relied heavily on the securities industry for jobs, taxes and a prosperity that has lifted restaurants, stores, auto sales, fashion, entertainment and a wide range of other businesses. The future of that largess is in doubt a year into the credit crunch, with the bankruptcy filing of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. and the sale of Merrill Lynch & Co. adding to the thousands of jobs already lost — and the likelihood that more will come.

    At the Thomas Pink store on Wall Street, where men’s shirts can cost as much as $450, Abby Kuskin, a sales associate, said she expects business to get worse. But “maybe they’ll be buying more interview shirts,” she said.

    New York developer Mario Procida is also concerned; he’s about to open a luxury condominium building overlooking Brooklyn’s Grand Army Plaza — charging an average price of $1.9 million for units. “There has to be kickback in the marketplace across the board,” he said.

    Even before the weekend, the financial-services industry had shed more than 11,000 jobs in New York and 20,000 in London. Lehman has about 25,000 employees, a majority of them in London and New York. Thousands more positions are expected to be cut through the acquisition of Merrill Lynch by Bank of America Corp.

    Jobs in financial services tend to be more important for the overall economy. About 5% of New York City’s jobs are in financial services, but they account for about a quarter of wages, some $60 billion in 2006, according to the New York Office of the State Comptroller. That same year, personal and corporate taxes paid by the securities industry accounted for about 10% of the city’s tax revenue.

    Every economic downturn has spawned doom and gloom in the world’s financial centers. But this one brings concern that the financial-services industry won’t be the same economic engine it has been in recent years.

    “These are very uncertain times right now,” said Stacey Pecor, owner of the Olive and Bette’s chain of boutiques in New York, whose regular customers include many in the investment banking world. “I think the shopper’s going to look at her wardrobe and she’s going to keep everything. “

  3. grim says:

    From CNN/Money:

    New York housing market may feel Wall Street woes

    Finally, New Yorkers may get a real estate reality-check.

    Home sellers, agents and brokers nervously tuned in Monday to news of Wall Street titans collapsing or teetering, as Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. filed for bankruptcy, Merrill Lynch & Co. was sold to Bank of America Corp. and New York-based insurance giant American International Group Inc. struggled to stabilize its finances.

    Until now, the New York area’s housing market has been relatively unscathed by the national housing bust. While home prices in cities like Las Vegas, Los Angeles and Miami are down 25 percent or more over the past year, New York metro area prices declined about 7 percent, according to the Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller index.

    In Manhattan _ where the median-priced home cost more than $1 million _ prices were actually up 14 percent in the second quarter from a year ago. And prices in desirable suburbs are holding steady.

    But Monday’s cataclysm on Wall Street could be the event that finally pushes Manhattan property values downward, said Jonathan Miller, president and chief executive of real estate appraisal and consulting firm Miller Samuel Inc.

    “There’s an expectation that we’re going to see a weakening in prices,” said Miller, who declined to give a specific forecast, but did say that any price declines are likely to be moderate.

    Potential homebuyers with Wall Street jobs have already been looking at smaller houses or putting off their real estate search, said Lina Panza, a real estate agent for Re/Max in Montclair N.J., who has several clients at Wall Street firms.

    “It’s a major, major purchase and people are nervous,” she said. “They’re less inclined to buy something big.”

  4. grim says:

    From TIME:

    For Lehman Staffers, A Long Walk Home

    So much for “Masters of the Universe.” On Monday, being an employee of Lehman Brothers looked about as much fun as a perp walk. Overnight, the 158-year-old Wall Street behemoth filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, a stunning collapse that may leave thousands of employees without jobs and with their savings accounts crippled. With $639 billion in assets, the firm’s filing is the largest in history. Throughout the day, as media crews hovered around the entrance to the firm’s Midtown Manhattan headquarters, some of Wall Street’s best and brightest trickled out onto the pavement, their faces crestfallen and their ties yanked askew.

  5. grim says:

    From the Star Ledger:

    Jersey will feel the squeeze

    First it was Bear Stearns. Then Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Yesterday it was Lehman Brothers. And Merrill Lynch. Meanwhile, AIG teetered. Wall Street is being deconstructed, one storied financial institution after another.

    The pain rippling out from where the titans fell will be felt in every corner of America as the dollar weakens and credit tightens. But like a sea surge, the greatest damage will occur where the waves overflow the levees. It doesn’t take much to figure where New Jersey is on the map of discomfort.

    The outlook is scary, especially for the keepers of New Jersey’s state pocketbook.

    If the past is any guide, the financial upheaval will cause state revenues to dive, making it even more difficult for Gov. Jon Corzine and the Legislature to make ends meet.

    In the heady late 1990s, as Wall Street savored a sweet economy, New Jersey tax revenue rose stupendously. When the partying ended, the state was left with an economic hangover. Receipts from the state income tax plunged, dropping 13 percent from 2001 to 2002.

    While there’s no telling how deep the impact will be this time, it’s likely to be several years before the credit crisis eases significantly. Financial institutions that relaxed prudent lending practices for a chance to grab enormous profits got stung. Those investment houses that survive are going to be much more tight-fisted in the future.

    That, however, is a generic view of the fallout; the New Jersey-specific one is even worse.

  6. reinvestor101 says:

    FIRST (if you don’t count Grim)

  7. SG says:

    New Jersey awaiting Wall Street turmoil to hit home
    by NJ.com staff

    Shares in American International Group, for example, made up the eighth-largest holding in the state government’s employee pension account last year, with a value of $448.2 million when the stock was trading at $70 a share. AIG stock nose-dived today to under $5 a share.

    In New Jersey, the financial services industry employed 209,000 people as of July, according to the state Department of Labor. Of those, Merrill Lynch, the giant retail brokerage that sold itself to Bank of America, employed roughly 8,600; Lehman Brothers employed 1,700.

    In a state that was already trying to maintain services despite deep budget cuts, the Wall Street crisis could cause more pain in several ways. With thousands of high-paid investment bankers and financial industry executives living in the state, vanishing bonuses and widespread job cuts could crimp state revenues.

  8. Clotpoll says:

    tard (6)-

    That post has contributed more to this board than the sum of everything you’ve posted here before.

    Keep up the good work!

  9. Clotpoll says:

    How much of AIG’s current twist-in-the-breeze routine can be attributed to a residual, universal hatred of Greenberg?

    He must be going nuts, watching this horrible and public gutting.

  10. SG says:

    A commuter’s ride from Wall Street, Jerseyans await aftershock
    by Susan Todd/The Star-Ledger

    Summit has always proved resilient in bad times, capable of riding out real estate crashes and economic downturns. This time may be different.

    As the financial industry continued to unravel today, the Union County city was contemplating its own vulnerability.

    “Summit is a Wall Street-driven town,” said Bob Carroll, the owner of John Hyatt, a clothing store for men and boys. “This is the first time I’ve seen what could be a problem, as business goes.”

    “We are vulnerable. There’s no question about it,” Gov. Jon Corzine told reporters during an appearance in Trenton.

    While his administration prepared a pared-down $32.9 billion budget in anticipation of a weak economy, Corzine said only time would tell whether the plan went far enough. “We certainly didn’t anticipate the kind of historic crisis that we are seeing unfold today,” said Corzine, the one-time leader of investment banker Goldman Sachs.

    The state’s $77 billion pension fund, which is already underfunded, is likely to fall further behind, and if layoffs continue, the state’s unemployment trust fund could need another emergency infusion. Only three months ago, state officials moved $260 million into the fund to avoid imposing a payroll tax increase.

  11. 3b says:

    #3 grim:but did say that any price declines are likely to be moderate.

    Of course. NO matter what happens the declines of course will be moderate.

  12. SG says:

    NYT editorial

    Wall Street Casualties

    As long as foreclosures continue, housing prices will continue to decline and banks and other financial firms will continue to suffer losses. Continuing losses, in turn, could force more taxpayer bailouts, by reigniting fears that ongoing failures may threaten the entire financial system. Preventing foreclosures is the key to stanching the crisis, but policy makers have been unconscionably slow to address that aspect of the crisis.

    It will require political will, but is not too late to try to decrease foreclosures by allowing homeowners to restructure their unaffordable mortgages in bankruptcy court. It is also not too late to stimulate the economy with intelligent government support, like aid to state and local governments, rather than campaign-year gestures like the tax rebates for virtually everyone that dominated the first stimulus package.

  13. reinvestor101 says:

    Well, I down here in Florida, the supposed ground zero of the terrorist inspired housing bust. You’d think that people would be running around acting like hang dogs. That’s not the case at all, people are happy, living their lives and buying homes. It’s so nice be away from the doom and gloom of the northeast. I may have to consider moving.

  14. Clotpoll says:

    SG (12)-

    God forbid that people bear the consequences of bad decisions.

    Another example of NYT as Pravda.

  15. Clotpoll says:

    tard (13)-

    We’d prefer if you moved somewhere that has no internet access.

  16. Clotpoll says:

    tard (13)-

    I hear Miami high-rise condos are selling like hotcakes.

    Better buy now before you get priced out.

  17. grim says:

    From Bloomberg:

    WaMu Falls in German Trading After S&P Slashes Rating to Junk

    Washington Mutual Inc., the biggest U.S. savings and loan, fell 6 percent in German trading after Standard & Poor’s cut its credit rating to junk.

    S&P cited the deteriorating U.S. housing market and for its decision after the market close yesterday to slash its rating on Seattle-based WaMu to BB- from BBB-, leaving it three levels below investment grade. The stock fell to $1.88 by 10:30 a.m. in Frankfurt today, down from Monday’s $2 close in New York.

    “Increasing market turmoil and the related impact from managing its concentrated mortgage franchise in this troubled housing and credit cycle led to the downgrade,” S&P said in a statement yesterday. Wamu’s “weak equity pricing in the markets is also a concern, and it increasingly appears that market conditions could overtake credit fundamentals and leave the company with greatly diminished financial flexibility.”

    Wamu’s $143 billion of deposits may still buy Chief Executive Officer Alan Fishman time to prove wrong speculators who say the bank could follow Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. into bankruptcy. WaMu, which has reported $6.3 billion of losses in the last three quarters on mortgage writedowns, said on Sept. 11 it expects a third-quarter loan loss provision of $4.5 billion.

  18. bairen says:


    On Wall St the predators have become the prey.

  19. Confused In NJ says:

    Corzine could follow John Thains lead, and revise State Pensions to .22 cents on the dollar, to reflect current state of the Pension Fund.

  20. bairen says:


    I think the waiting list for parking permits in the train towns just got shorter.

  21. bairen says:


    Fortunately NYC and London are both on Islands so their real estate can only go up.

    / off sarcasm

  22. ricky_nu says:

    well – when I bought my house in 1997/1998, the price was the same as it was in the mid 80’s. Real estate pulled back then by about 30%, and it took until 1997 to get back to the same levels, and this is in a nice town in BC. Me thinks the same will happen this time, and I would be surprised to see prices go back to that level (1998-2000) prices. And that is if the recession doesn’t go into a full blown depression (probability is now >0%), at which point all bets are off.

  23. Clotpoll says:

    bairen (18)-

    More like the twilight of the dinosaurs.

  24. bairen says:


    “Lehman layoffs the tip of the iceberg”

    Story says massive layoffs coming down the pipe and only 20 to 25% of the laid off Lehman employees will find jobs on the street again.

  25. bairen says:

    #23 Clot

    And subprime was the pretty light in the sky that turned into the giant asteroid.

  26. Laughing all the Way says:

    saw a foreclosure on trulia yesterday in a nice bucks county neighborhood. didn’t post an address, just the street (which has about 30 houses or more).

    we drove around the neighborhood looking for the house, but couldn’t find it.

    would it have been wrong to just ask people walking on the street which house it was? the details look good, the price is well within our range, and the neighborhood is great.

    any ideas how to get the addy?

  27. BC Bob says:

    “The main reason for the rating actions is the combination of reduced flexibility in meeting additional collateral needs and concerns over increasing residential mortgage-related losses,” said Standard & Poor’s credit analyst Rodney A. Clark in a statement.


    Thanks for that assessment. However, where were you 2 years ago? The horses have long left the barn.

  28. BC Bob says:

    “For Lehman Staffers, A Long Walk Home”


    Has this writer been visiting this blog?

  29. grim says:

    From Reuters:

    Home prices to fall on liquidity concerns: analyst

    The collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc (Pacific:LEH – News) and takeover of Merrill Lynch & Co Inc (NYSE:MER – News) will cause liquidity in the credit market to shrink, resulting in lower home prices, prominent U.S. banking analyst Meredith Whitney said.

    The Oppenheimer & Co analyst also expects fewer mortgages to be available for prospective homeowners, as she sees no hope for the return of the mortgage securitization business.

    “All this creates a recipe for meaningfully lower U.S. house prices,” Whitney said.

    The magnitude of houseprice declines in the next few years could likely exceed expectations of both the markets and the companies, she wrote in a note issued late Monday.

    “The fact that all banks under our coverage have unrealistic HPA (housing price appreciation) assumptions will in our opinion lead to a material and protracted writedown and capital pressure scenario for banks well into 2009,” Whitney said.

  30. Stu says:

    Bank run anyone?

  31. BC Bob says:

    “The Oppenheimer & Co analyst also expects fewer mortgages to be available for prospective homeowners, as she sees no hope for the return of the mortgage securitization business.”


  32. Secondary Market says:

    morose monday
    turbulent tuesday

  33. grim says:

    I don’t care if Monday’s blue
    Tuesday’s grey and Wednesday too

    Monday you can fall apart
    Tuesday, Wednesday break my heart

    I don’t care if Mondays black
    Tuesday, Wednesday – heart attack

    Monday, you can hold your head
    Tuesday, Wednesday stay in bed

  34. bairen says:

    #32 BC Bob,

    the industry did it to itself. like an aging pop star who’s gained 25 pounds and no longer rehearses thinking s/he can just go out there and wing it. Instead they fall flat on their faces. Except the pop star’s collapse only hurts his/her entourage, the mbs collapse will impact millions.

  35. bairen says:

    I never understood how taking 1,000 mortgage loans from deadbeats and turning it into a bond lowers the risk to the holder of the bond. U

  36. grim says:

    From MarketWatch:

    New York Fed to make ‘large’ injection

    New York Fed said in a statement that it will make a “large” over-night repo and said it stands ready to arrange further operations as needed. In addition, the Fed will conduct its typical, $20 billion, 28-day repo. Earlier, the Bank of Japan, the European Central Bank and the Bank of England made injections into the market to ease fears that banks will hoard liquidity.

  37. grim says:

    From MarketWatch:

    Goldman Sachs Q3 revenue down 36% to $6.04 billion

  38. Rich In NNJ says:

    woebegone wednesday

  39. lena says:

    #13 – where in florida do you live? jeez, i’m in s. florida and there’s no happy laughing and skipping where i am. just a bunch of people upside down on their $500K homes (which are now worth about $150K….)

  40. Clotpoll says:

    Can anyone say “portfolio lending”?

    Everything that dies some day comes back.

  41. BC Bob says:

    bairen [35],

    Greed and recklessness.

  42. Clotpoll says:

    grim (37)-

    Multiple injections; patient dead.

  43. Clotpoll says:

    lena (40)-

    He’s in Idiotville. Right next to South Beach.

  44. BC Bob says:

    “Everything that dies some day comes back.”

    Put your makeup on, fix your hair up pretty
    And meet me tonight in atlantic city.

  45. John says:

    Lotsa layoffs coming real quick in IB. remember their year end is 11/30, warn notice you have to give 60 days so those pink slips have to go out by 9/30. Banks are 12/31 year end so they have to Holloween to give their 60 days notice. The next six weeks will be purging and come Christmas their will be empty stockings and no Jan bonus.

  46. grim says:

    From CNBC:

    Goldman Misses Estimates

    Goldman Sachs reported third-quarter earnings Tuesday that plunged 70 percent to $1.81 a share, sharply below Wall Street expectations.

    Goldman shares fell 8 percent in premarket trading as financials continued their broad fall in the wake of the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy, the takeover of Merrill Lynch, and the perilous capital standing of American International Group.

    Analysts were looking for Goldman to post earnings of $6.13

  47. grim says:

    From MarketWatch:

    U.S. Aug. consumer price index falls 0.1% as expected

    U.S. Aug. core CPI up 0.2% as expected

    U.S. CPI up 5.4% in past year, core CPI up 2.5%

    U.S. Aug. real weekly earnings down 2.5% in past year

    U.S. Aug. food prices up 0.6%

  48. BC Bob says:

    AIG, down 35% in pre market, $3.11. Does Warren slap a 2 handle on it?

  49. HEHEHE says:

    Are you sure those Goldman numbers are right? Didn’t they remove the free soda from the pantries and push back the free car rides home by an hour?

  50. Stu says:


    I don’t think your Goldman Sachs numbers were correct. Analysts expected $1.61 and they brought in $1.71. My guess is that your $6.13 figure was annualized. Where they got slammed was in their revenue, not their profit. It also does not help that their year over year quarterly profit was down more than 70%.

    If GS survives this bloodbath, they should benefit from getting all the IB business there is. Unfortunately it is a very big ‘if’.

  51. lena says:

    For real! The only people skipping and laughing in south Florida are the South Americans and Russians! They are having a field day.

  52. Essex says:

    13…..come on re….my folks are down there and even though they bought in for a song 15-20 years ago….they are BUMMED that they cannot get out if they wanted to. Apparently everyone is storm phobic. Or something.

  53. Stu says:

    In other news.

    CPI should be out momentarily. Fed announces useless rate cut (not in the cards a week ago) at 2:15.

    Good day all.

  54. chicagofinance says:

    grim Says:
    September 16th, 2008 at 8:19 am

    g-man: I get crapped on for quoting Tears for Fears instead of the Clash, and you get away with Robert Smith….life ain’t fair…

  55. Stu says:

    On a seasonally adjusted basis, the CPI-U decreased 0.1 percent in
    August, following a 0.8 percent increase in July. The index for energy
    fell 3.1 percent in August after three consecutive sharp increases. The
    gasoline index declined by 4.2 percent in August but is 35.6 percent
    higher than in August 2007. The index for household energy, which was up
    3.8 percent in July, declined 1.6 percent in August. The food index
    advanced 0.6 percent in August after rising 0.9 percent in July. The
    index for food at home rose 0.8 percent in August after a 1.2 percent
    increase in July and is up 7.5 percent over the past year. The index for
    all items less food and energy increased 0.2 percent in August after
    increasing 0.3 percent in July. A downturn in the index for lodging away
    from home was responsible for almost half of the smaller increase.
    Deceleration in the indexes for new vehicles, apparel, and telephone
    services also contributed. Partly offsetting these were larger increases
    in the indexes for medical care and recreation.

  56. chicagofinance says:

    Stu Says:
    September 16th, 2008 at 8:44 am
    If GS survives this bloodbath, they should benefit from getting all the IB business there is.

    Why? Still plenty of IB platforms, they are now just inside banks….

  57. Essex says:

    45…..! Damn right bro.

    “…Well now you ain’t the finest thing I’ll never have,
    And when you go the hurt you leave, baby, it ain’t so bad…”

  58. Stu says:

    I expected the CPI to do a bit better with the lower gas prices. I suppose what this country really needs is another round of stimulus checks. “Come here my grandson and let me see your wallet. Thank you!”

  59. Stu says:

    Futures are down >100 again. Bi: What does your black hole (I meant box) say?

  60. firestormik says:

    Moscow stock exchnage index down 15%

  61. Stu says:


    “Why? Still plenty of IB platforms, they are now just inside banks….”

    True, but I think there is still a large contingent of wealthy investors out there who would still prefer to do it the old way.

    Personally, I would work with TROW. They are more in line with my conservative investment strategies. That is, until we find out that they were cooking the books as well :P

  62. Stu says:

    Uh oh: Futures dropping again. Back to -129.

  63. #61 – Looks like they suspended trading for an hour, down 16%.
    I don’t know much about the Russian markets. Is this the big index over there?

  64. Stu says:

    SKF at $142 in premarket.

  65. AIGs CDS rose @ 52% upfront and 500bps annually.
    It now costs $5.2 mil upfront + $500,000 a year to insure $10mil.

  66. Confused In NJ says:

    Lehmans Chief Economist on Fox this A.M. recommended the FED go to Zero with the Fed Funds Rate. Lehman is evidently embracing the Japan Model as they sink.

  67. #67 – Did anyone lean over and slap him for suggesting this?

  68. BC Bob says:


    It doesn’t matter. Insolvency is the problem, not the level of rates.

  69. Stu says:

    -145 on the DJI futures.

    Will they move the FED meeting up to 10AM?

  70. GS down to 114 in pre-market. Wow.

  71. RPatrick says:

    68 He has all his money hidden, hedged, shorted, and in small bills in his second home behind a sheet of drywall. He won’t be affected by this action other than losing his job.

  72. Gloomy says:

    The next GREAT DEPRESSION is just about to arrive, people… listen to Gerald Celente. He predicted these events would happen months ago.

  73. John says:

    We attach a table showing the capital structure of Lehman’s holding company, as of the second quarter of 2008. In response to investors’ inquiries, the general priority of payment for Lehman’s obligations at the
    holding company level would be as follows:
    • Senior debt
    • Subordinated debt
    • Trust-preferred securities (junior subordinated debt)
    • Hybrid securities
    • Preferred securities

    Lehman Brothers — Unsecured Debt and
    Preferred Stock as of Q2 08 (Dollars in Billions)
    Senior unsecured notes 137
    Subordinate unsecured notes 13
    Junior sub / hybrid unsecured notes 5
    Preferred stock 7
    Sources: Company reports and Citi Investment Research

  74. max says:

    gs ,, support at around 90

  75. gary says:

    Just looked at a few new listings I received this morning… still near 2005 prices. Thank goodness we’re insulated here.

  76. Shore Guy says:


    Down here it’s just winners and losers and don’t get caught on the wrong side of that line.

  77. Stu says:

    “Just looked at a few new listings I received this morning… still near 2005 prices. Thank goodness we’re insulated here.”

    I disagree Gary. I just looked at some Montclair listings this morning and although they are still too rich for my blood, the asking prices are significantly lower than what they were when I bought my house in 2004.

    A house on Overlook for under 800K? Never!

  78. SG says:

    THE WALL STREET JOURNAL September 15, 2008, 3:58 pm
    As Finance Jobs Fall, Engineering May Rise Again

    The weekend’s financial crisis will result in thousands of lost jobs, a contraction that some economists believe is long overdue. In this column, Journal economics reporter Justin Lahart looked at the growth of finance over the past three decades: The industry became a larger share of jobs, profits and the stock market so that engineering majors were bailing the applied sciences for the fat paycheck in finance.

    In 2006 finance accounted for 8.3% of the U.S. economy – an all time high, and a full percentage point above 1990s levels, according to this presentation from Thomas Philippon, a finance professor at New York University.

    Finance has had several growth spurts over the past century, starting with the buildout of railroads around the turn of the 20th century, and growth of electric utilites in the 1920s. Finance went into a decades long contraction after the 1929 stock market crash, and did not regain its pre-1929 share of the U.S. economy until the 1980s, when financial innovations like junk bonds and leveraged buyouts restructured corporate America. The 1987 stock market crash is a plenty bad memory, but in reality had no effect on the finance share in the economy. The finance industry continued to grow its share of GDP clear through the boom in information technology that ended in 2000. The problem is it kept growing after that. “The growth between 2002 and 2006 is a little bit puzzling,” says Prof. Philippon. “What we have right now is excess capacity in the finance industry. We just don’t need that many people doing these kinds of jobs.”

    The inevitable contraction has already begun. In 2007, finance fell to about 8% of the economy. It’s hard to say how much further it has to fall. (For instance, if U.S. financial companies exported more of their services, they could grow much larger than the U.S. economy would support.) Prof. Philippon thinks the 1990s – when finance accounted for 7.3% of the economy – were a more reasonable level. Such a fall would represent about $100 billion in wages and profits that would have to be redistributed throughout the economy. However painful in the short term, the re-shuffling could ultimately be good for the economy. Engineering grads, for instance, may go back to being engineers. -Conor Dougherty

  79. Stu says:

    DJI futures -159. The bloodbath is gearing up to continue.

    So what firms besides AIG/WM are on death watch today?

  80. Still no announcements from AIG & they’re down to $2.10ish in pre-market.

  81. NJGator says:

    78 Stu- The house is on Highland, and the only houses that used to list in that range on Highland were in Little Falls.

    Additionally there is a house on N. Mountain that is listed for $595k – a full 100k below the assessed price. The house 2 doors down from it sold in Dec 07 for $721k.

  82. Stu says:

    WM $1.72
    AIG $1.92
    WA $9.29
    GS $118
    C $14.27

    DJIA futures -211

    Batten down the hatches!

  83. Stu says:

    Thanks Gator:

    Do I know you?

  84. Cindy says:


    While I was too late to take your advise of extending my “oat” word family lesson to geography, I was able to add the “ed” ending to several suggestions by my students.

    After starting with “boat” and “float,”
    they were still capable of following the vocabulary associated with “moat” and of course “goat.”

    We moved on to “bloat” “bloated” and “gloat” “gloated.” One student even offered the visual of a “bloated goat.”

    Then – there was “gloat.” Pontifical and arrogant slid past most but they caught on with self-important. Then one student said,
    “Oh, you mean when someone thinks “they’re all that.”

    Well there ya go..

  85. BC Bob says:

    “A house on Overlook for under 800K? Never!”


    Oh my. I was told that would never happen.

  86. Stu says:



    My son comes up with some zingers as well. He wouldn’t nap at school yesterday. When I asked him why, he said “because the sun wasn’t down.”

    We are deep in potty training mode and we think we know why he is struggling with #2. When we asked him where it comes from he says, “from the back of my knee.” Perhaps we should have been more careful when changing his pull-ups.

  87. Shore Guy says:

    Whilst Comfortably Numb, amy describe how some on the Street feel today, this little charmer may be more in keeping with how folks will feel over the next 90-120 days:


    The NYT opinion cited above is so far off the mark it makes one’s head hurt to think about. The problem is NOT falling housing prices. Our economy was not as productive as it once was — we lost dominance in industries that made boatloads of money and kept things humming along — so some creative go-getters figured out ways os squeezing-out some profits by geetting “innovative.” The innovation eventually led to a losening of credit and lending standards and when previously-uncreditworthy-borrowers entered the pool of borrowers with their “pent-up demand” came into the market simple supply and demand pushed prices upward.

    The problem is NOT falling home prices; falling home prices is a large part of the cure.

    If bankers would actually behave like bankers used to, it would go a long way to fixing the problem.

    If this nation would actually make THINGS the world needs and wants at a price the world can afford, it will reduce the need for hocus-pocus to create wealth.

  88. John says:

    A conference call to discuss the firm’s results, outlook and related matters, will be held at 11:00 am (ET). The call will be open to the public.

    Members of the public who would like to listen to the conference call should dial 1-888-281-7154 (U.S. domestic) or 1-706-679-5627 (international). The number should be dialed at least 10 minutes prior to the start of the conference call. The conference call will also be accessible as an audio webcast through the Investor Relations section of our web site, http://www.gs.com/shareholders/. There is no charge to access the call. For those unable to listen to the live broadcast, a replay will be available on our web site or by dialing 1-800-642-1687 (U.S. domestic) or 1-706-645-9291 (international) passcode number 61230228 beginning approximately two hours after the event.

  89. SG says:

    Surviving the Panic

    And yet the financial system will remain fragile as long as asset values keep declining. More major bank failures are a certainty, including some very large ones. That means more Sunday soap operas like this month’s, with all of the anxiety that inspires among the public. The longer these melodramas continue, the greater the risk of a recession.

    Which leads us to suggest another Resolution Trust Corp. as one more tool to calm financial markets. The first RTC helped to buy, stabilize and liquidate troubled assets amid the savings and loan mess of the late 1980s. Then it blessedly went out of business. Former Fed Chairman Paul Volcker endorsed an RTC II yesterday in a speech in Naples, Florida, and we suspect the idea will gain more traction. He said he “reluctantly” embraced the idea for “dealing with the market breakdown, breaking the logjam of mortgages and other assets of uncertain value [and] restoring a sense of reasonable valuation and market confidence.”

    I have funny feeling that Bush will announce RTC II anytime.

  90. Cindy says:

    (87) Stu – Now that’s cute.

    My grandkids are 2 and 31/2 so I hear ya.

    When folks say “it’s the end of the world as we know it.”

    I think to myself, My world “as I know it” has changed so many times I have lost count.

  91. make money says:

    Ladies and gents,

    I said this before but our WFC is now the equivalent of Detroit and car manufacturing.

    It’s Shengai, Mumbai or Dubai.

    We have burried the industry that’s the backbone of our prosperity.

  92. Cindy says:

    Three cheers for Paul Volcker.

    Have a great Toasty Tuesday everyone.

  93. SG says:


    Don’t worry, they are not far behind US. Most Asian countries also followed blindly with US Fed. They have much bigger Property bubble. When House prices in Mumbai cost same as New York, with salaries that are 1/10th or even less, the bubble is hard to call. The only thing they have is large skilled/unskilled population to undercut US wages.

    Who’s Got The Jumper Cable?

    Asian economies—and the once booming sectors that drove them—face a spate of new challenges.

  94. Confused In NJ says:

    The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, also known as the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Financial Services Modernization Act, Pub. L. No. 106-102, 113 Stat. 1338 (November 12, 1999), is an Act of the United States Congress which repealed the Glass-Steagall Act, opening up competition among banks, securities companies and insurance companies. The Glass-Steagall Act prohibited a bank from offering investment, commercial banking, and insurance services.

    The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA) allowed commercial and investment banks to consolidate. For example, Citibank merged with Travelers Group, an insurance company, and in 1998 formed the conglomerate Citigroup, a corporation combining banking and insurance underwriting services. Other major mergers in the financial sector had already taken place such as the Smith-Barney, Shearson, Primerica and Travelers Insurance Corporation combination in the mid-1990s. This combination, announced in 1993 and finalized in 1994, would have violated the Glass-Steagall Act and the Bank Holding Acts by combining insurance and securities companies, if not for a temporary waiver process [1]. The law was passed to legalize these mergers on a permanent basis. Historically, the combined industry has been known as the financial services industry.

  95. Shore Guy says:

    “And yet the financial system will remain fragile as long as asset values keep declining.”

    Humm. This may be true but, if it leads folks to conclude that the solution is to prop-up asset values via chicanery, it misses the point. It seems to confuse symptoms with underlying condition.

    If we are aboard an old-time sailing vessel that has hit a reef, and we begin to take on water, the problem is NOT that the masts are sinking lower, and adding an extra length to the masts to keep them as high above the water as they used to be will not solve the problem. It is time to patch the danged hull and then start pumping. If we stop taking on water, eventually things will get better. If not, there will not be enough lumber to keep the masts above water.

  96. CB in SJ 101 says:

    Re: The main article. So if I understand correctly, one now needs to have good credit, a down payment, plus enough income before one can get a mortgage? What is the world coming to?

    Re: Reinvestor X: Dude–you abandonded the “101” so I took it. You better stop using it or I’m going to tell grim.

  97. Shore Guy says:

    “So if I understand correctly, one now needs to have good credit, a down payment, plus enough income before one can get a mortgage?”

    What is the world coming to? Ahh yes, its friggen senses!

  98. chicagofinance says:

    Stu Says:
    September 16th, 2008 at 9:26 am
    WM $1.72
    AIG $1.92
    WA $9.29
    GS $118
    C $14.27
    DJIA futures -211
    Batten down the hatches

    Stu: do you want to add GE to the list? Yes, it has come to that….

  99. DL says:

    Grim, ref #30. Whitney from Oppenheimer was on CNBC last night and said house prices would fall 45% from peak to trough.

  100. Shore Guy says:

    Did anyone see John M say yesterdy that the economy is strong? Yeesh, we just sent him 2K and then that?

    I hope that both M and O start speaking clearly and honestly about where the economy stands and the fact that RE is very likely to decline even more otherwise the winner of the election will be hamstrung by unrealistic expectations on the part of the electorate.

  101. rhymingrealtor says:


    If it helps at all my experience with potty training was as follows, My oldest I started ( because he seemed ready according to indicators in all those books) @ 27 months it went on and on and on till he was 3 yrs 4 months approx. Number 2 being the toughest.
    After that experience I swore I would not potty train another till they were ready for kindergarten, however when my second son was about 3years and 2 months I took the plunge. It took a week.

  102. Shore Guy says:

    “house prices would fall 45% from peak to trough.”

    In essence, eliminating all of the gains of the run-up, even before accounting for the time value of the money.

  103. gary says:

    “house prices would fall 45% from peak to trough.”

    LOL! Right.

  104. Stu says:

    Hey markets almost even?

    If FED doesn’t cut (even though all of us here know that it won’t do anything), market will plunge. My guess is that market will initially rally after the cut (almost always does) and then return to doom and gloom.

  105. SS says:

    When our government says “the economy is fundamentally sound” what fundamentals are they referring to? What is the basis for their argument? I have friends who work for large corps who are taking a hit, friends who own their own small business who are feeling it, as well as those who own mid-sized companies who come home to a glass of scotch to calm the nerves.

    It’s obviously fluff, but the govt needs to substantiate the basis for their argument somehow. Any thoughts?

  106. BC Bob says:

    Gary [104],

    Did you laugh at her other calls?

  107. Stu says:

    SS: Their economy is fundamentally sound. Think there is a single elected federal official feeling any pain? With their benefits and pensions they have nothing to worry about. I truly think that these rich bitches are so out of touch with the reality of today’s economy that they think they are telling the truth!

  108. make money says:

    The only thing they have is large skilled/unskilled population to undercut US wages.


    You forgot one thing. They have savings. Their governament have surplasses. Sovereign Wealth Funds. Their economies are not leveraged as a matter of fact they are on the other side of this. They’re the lenders and creditors themselves.
    They have trade surplusses. They’re the producer nations.

    Washington is insolvent and assets mean nothing ask AIG. Assets are only worth what someone will pay for them. AIG still thinks that JC Flowers offer was a lowball. If it the only real offer than it’s not a lowball but real market price.

    USA can find itself scramble for cash just like AIG once their AAA credit rating is questioned. Unlike AIG we have plenty of enemies around the world who will enjoy our demise.

  109. hughesrep says:


    Hollow is a very fundamental sound.

  110. Shore Guy says:

    Apparently, the strength of our economy is the willingness of average folks to go deeper in debt buying things other nations make, thus making the other nations’ governments and corporate leaders rich enough to purchase U.S. Government debt.

  111. kettle1 says:

    The Ultimate Wall Street Nightmare
    by Martin D. Weiss, Ph.D. 09-15-08

    In the wake of Lehman’s demise, Fed Chairman Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Paulson will try to put out the word that it’s no great trauma.

    But it’s a lie and they know it. If they openly admitted that the Lehman collapse will paralyze Wall Street, torpedo the stock market and sink the economy, they’d have to pony up $100 billion or more to support it. Instead, their agenda was to push big banks to put up the money. And they failed to do so.

    No matter what, there’s no denying that the Lehman debacle is a massive and immediate threat to U.S. and global markets. At the latest reckoning, Lehman had $691 billion in assets. That makes it bigger than Wachovia, twice as big as Washington Mutual, and over sixteen times larger than Schwab.

    Lehman’s debts — at $668.6 billion — are also enormous. Even if you added together all the debts of TD Ameritrade, E-Trade and Schwab, you’d still have only $108.5 billion, or less than one-sixth the total debts which Lehman reports.

    In fact, among brokers, there are only two other U.S. firms that beat Lehman in the debt category: Morgan Stanley, with $1 trillion, and Merrill Lynch, with $988 billion.

    Can you imagine anyone in his right mind making the argument that a Merrill Lynch downfall would be “no great trauma to investors and financial markets”? Of course not.

    The reality: The collapse of America’s third-largest brokerage operation is very serious business with equally serious consequences. The primary concern …

    Here are some essential facts that illustrate the enormity of the problem …

    * The amounts are absurdly large. The total “notional,” or face value, of derivatives held by U.S. banks is $180 trillion, and it’s three times that much globally. This figure is said to overstate the actual market risk. But it does not overstate the risk of defaults such as those that could be triggered by the failure of a company the size of Lehman Brothers.

    * Over 90% of all derivatives are traded outside of regulated exchanges. Consequently, other than very general information, the authorities have no mechanism for keeping track — let alone efficiently cleaning up the mess in the wake of a giant failure.

    * Off the balance sheets. Some companies report nothing more than the total value of their derivatives in footnotes to their financial statements. Others don’t report at all. Consequently, the actual risk, amounts and even the very existence of derivatives is often poorly disclosed to investors.

    * Disclosure in the brokerage industry is especially bad. Many brokerages are private and do not disclose more than their rank and serial number. The SEC collects sparse data and does not publish it. So if you want to figure out how much derivates risk your broker is exposed to, good luck! Getting the information can be like pulling teeth.
    Big Banks Risk All with Danger of Defaults on Derivatives

    * Concentrated in the hands of five major players. Nearly 97% of all U.S. bank-held derivatives are concentrated in the hands of just five major U.S. banks — JPMorgan Chase, Citibank, Bank of America, Wachovia and HSBC.


  112. The Fed added another $70b in overnight repos so far today.

  113. kettle1 says:

    Five Things You Need to Know: It Was Fun While It Lasted
    Kevin Depew Sep 15, 2008 2:00 pm

    “By allowing Lehman to fail, the Federal Reserve has, perhaps inadvertently, embraced debt deflation. Now they are contributing to it. The net result of the failure of Lehman will be still more credit contraction and debt destruction.

    Some will argue that by adding $25 billion to the now $200 billion Treasury lending facility, accepting equities as collateral and by cutting short term interest rates, which the FOMC will almost certainly do September 16, the Fed is making more credit available, but that credit is being absorbed by the financial system so quickly that the net result is a still ongoing credit contraction.
    But that’s only half the story. The other half is about the debt destruction responsible for making both dollars and treasuries dear.
    “Stagflation is now a dwindling threat…” “


  114. NJGator says:

    Rhyming 102 – Our son turned 3 in June. Day care (god bless them) is gung ho on the whole training thing. We tried in July, but he was definitely not ready. The just started trying again over the last 2 weeks, and he is finally making progress. Still a long ways to go, but with some hefty bribes, there is light at the end of the tunnel.

    Boys can be so stubborn. All of his girl classmates were trained shortly after they were 2!

  115. Duckvader says:

    The only time I will believe that the system has learned anything from the current crisis is when 20% is required for a home purchase, no ifs or buts.

  116. Shore Guy says:

    Thanks for the article post Ket. Excuse me while I stick my head in the oven.

  117. gary says:

    BC Bob,

    That 45% pertains to some town in California or Florida, not Northern NJ.

  118. quickhelp says:

    Quick help from anyone:

    Currently 6 weeks into renting a place. The landlord wrote into the lease that they could start showing the house for purposes of sale next spring.

    Now they are asking to show the place to prospective sellers now.

    I know the standard lease contract allows the landlord access with reasonable notice to show the house. But the addition they made to the contract seems to supersede that section – I know they didn’t intend it to be that way, because they actually wanted to get a jump on the selling next spring, but now I think they’re panicking amidst the fallout.

    Any opinions? Thanks

  119. Outofstater says:

    #106 Um, they are quoting Herbert Hoover. And, just for laughs, Andrew Mellon, the Treasury Secretary said, “I see nothing in the present situation that is either menacing or warrants pessimism.” 1931. Good times.

  120. Shore Guy says:

    “Boys can be so stubborn.”

    Just wait until he is married and wants a fishing boat.

  121. bi says:

    apparently, today is the day for recovery after dow’s 500 pts drop. if aig can work out some deal, watch out short squeeze after 2:15 pm.

  122. SS says:

    I’m just tired of hearing that everything is just peachy from our Govt. I wish someone with a loud voice (respectable media unit) would call their bluff, making them explain what fundamentals they are referring to. Similar to how ole Charlie called out Palin on the bush doctrine.

  123. BC Bob says:

    bi [121],

    If my aunt had b#lls, she would be my uncle.

  124. chicagofinance says:

    quickhelp Says:
    September 16th, 2008 at 10:48 am
    Quick help from anyone:
    Any opinions? Thanks

    q: toss them a lowball….

  125. Stu says:

    “apparently, today is the day for recovery after dow’s 500 pts drop. if aig can work out some deal, watch out short squeeze after 2:15 pm.”

    Wow. Looks like the markets are about to drop again ;)

  126. Shore Guy says:

    # 119 If they have a contract allowing them the right to show the house for sale, it sure sounds like they have the right to show it for sale. What’s the problem at your end?

  127. still_looking says:

    102, 115

    THANK YOU…for the reassurance… our 3+ yr old son is gutting us over potty training…

    I would swear that we’d be sending him to college with Depends in a rucksack….

    sl <—- thoroughly disgusted with potty training and hearing, “NO I don’t want to go to the potty!!!”

  128. chicagofinance says:

    SS Says:
    September 16th, 2008 at 10:52 am
    I’m just tired of hearing that everything is just peachy from our Govt.

    SS: I understand it, if not agree. We are experiencing a crisis of confidence. How is the financial crisis any different than Area 51?

    Some people are going to be straining on the toilet bowl no matter what the government says (i.e. Kettle), so why cause undue stress….

  129. Shore Guy says:

    # 89 John,

    At least they are not playing a funeral dirge as their music on hold.

  130. chicagofinance says:

    Off-hand…the 60-something spendaholics that I had to stomache several weeks ago are afraid of the impact of the market on their investments. I am thinking to myself “you have no money….just don’t stop working and everything will take care of itself…”

  131. Shore Guy says:

    Interesting comments at the top of the GS conf call. In short, the whole financial services industry acted like lemmings chasing the same assets (which were over valued).

  132. John says:

    02639ECF9 AMER GEN FIN MTN 09/11 4.300 09/15/09 67.306(M) 55.375

    AIG bonds yielding 67%!!!!

  133. Shore Guy says:


    It is funnny the views of retirement. It used to be people might live to retirement and then die withina year or two or three. Then it stretched to 10 years, then 20 years. Now, I meet people who got out of Grad school at 25, want to retire by mid 50s, and expect to live to 100. In short, they want to be retired for about half their lives and for much longer than they worked.

  134. kettle1 says:


    So what about me bothers you so much? you seem to be taking things quit personally. At least RE101 is amusing with his name calling.

    And dont worry about my bathroom habits, i eat plenty of blueberries and fiber ;)

  135. John says:

    Is the GS guy reading off a teleprompter, he sounds dead.

  136. Shore Guy says:

    He is actually a McIntosh computer.

  137. Shore Guy says:

    Actually, John. He reminds me of the NWS guy who gives the NOAA weather information for Cape Henlopen to Block Island.

  138. NJGator says:

    sl 127 – Our son got motivated by a promise of a trip to Sesame Place to see Dan Zanes in concert.

    For #2, we are pulling out all the stops – a trip to Disney World. We’ll see if it works.

  139. Stu says:


    tocks rise on report of government aid for AIG

    By TIM PARADIS – 5 minutes ago

    NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks turned higher Tuesday after CNBC reported that the government is considering extending aid to troubled insurer American International Group Inc.

    A partial recovery in shares of AIG and several other financial companies helped the sector show signs of life a day after leading Wall Street to its worst session in years. Investors also grew hopeful about a Federal Reserve interest rate cut.

    Worries about AIG’s well-being intensified Monday and early Tuesday after several ratings agencies downgraded the company. Lower ratings can add to the amount of money the already cash-strapped company has to set aside. Investors fear that a failure by the world’s largest insurer would touch off a wave of financial turmoil.

    But CNBC’s report said the government is at least considering extending a financial lifeline to the company. AIG fell 66 cents, or 14 percent, to $4.10 after being down nearly 75 percent in earlier trading.

    Markets around the world were still reeling from the bankruptcy filing of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. and the quickly assembled weekend sale of Merrill Lynch & Co. to Bank of America Corp. Investors worry that tectonic shifts in the power structure of Wall Street signal that the financial sector’s trouble with imperiled credit are far from over.

    The Fed’s regularly scheduled meeting, which many economists had expected would be a pro forma occurrence, is now much anticipated, especially after central banks around the world have loosened money supplies this week. The banks are hoping an injection of capital will help soothe markets following the most serious tumult of the 14-month-old credit crisis.

    In late morning trading, the Dow rose 80.12, or 0.73 percent, to 10,997.63. The Dow fell as much as 175 in the opening minutes of the session; on Monday, the Dow lost 504 points, its largest drop since the September 2001 terror attacks.

    Broader stock indicators also turned higher. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 8.84, or 0.74 percent, to 1,201.54, and the Nasdaq composite index rose 15.30, or 0.70 percent, to 2,195.21.

    Bond prices came off their highs as investors turned away from the safety of government debt. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note, which moves opposite its price, was flat at 3.41 percent from late Monday.

  140. kettle1 says:

    more toilet straining courtesy of kettle :)


    Slow Burn Capital Controls
    Catherine and News & Commentary,
    September 15, 2008 at 6:09 pm

    A broker reported to me today that their clearing agent is requiring them to mark purchases of AAA sovereign bonds denominated in foreign currencies as “speculative” investments.

    Pressure to do this apparently is coming form the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). This means if Congress and the administration request that the SEC take action to “stop speculation” a mechanism will be in place to insure that U.S. investors cannot protect themselves from a falling dollar.

    Lest capital controls domestically inspire you to leave the country, you may want to educate yourself about the exit tax that was passed by Congress in the Heroes Act of 2008.

  141. Mctc says:

    Quick Question – Is there a way I can find out if a house has a mortgage on it.

    Specifically, is the mortgage recorded as a lien and is that lien part of public records? Can anyone access this info or only title companies, etc.

    Again, many thanks to this group, I have learned an invaluable amount of info from you all

  142. John says:

    I don’t think boys are slower to learn they are just held to a lower standard. Girls are expected to behave, help out at home, watch their little sister or brother, dress nice, be potty trained all at a much younger age than boys. The old boys will be boys lets boys get away with more. Heck my enabled brother in law left his mommy’s house to be married and never did a load of wash, babysat, made his bed, fold laundry or cook at the tender age of 27 all stuff my six and eight year old daughters already do. I felt sorry for his wife, she got a baby on day one of the marriage.

    NJGator Says:
    September 16th, 2008 at 10:45 am
    Rhyming 102 – Our son turned 3 in June. Day care (god bless them) is gung ho on the whole training thing. We tried in July, but he was definitely not ready. The just started trying again over the last 2 weeks, and he is finally making progress. Still a long ways to go, but with some hefty bribes, there is light at the end of the tunnel.

    Boys can be so stubborn. All of his girl classmates were trained shortly after they were 2!

  143. Nicholas says:


    From last night… I guess I am an a55 but not anymore then those posting pictures of laid off workers selling apples for 5c to make a living.

    I was merely commenting, albeit with probably ill-placed humor that it wasn’t a good sign for the way things are headed.

    I understand that these are tough times for some people and I will try to scale back my comments. Do try and limit the name calling though.

  144. chicagofinance says:

    Shore Guy Says:
    September 16th, 2008 at 11:09 am
    Chifi, It is funnny the views of retirement.

    Shore: Having grand expectations is fine. I think people who haven’t moved toward the last ten years of working are reasonable to really think anything at all. Honestly, a lot of people who have a stated interest in what you say are too ambitious to truly follow through on such a boast. They say they want something, but in reality, they need to have something to fill the hole that would be created in their lives.

    What get my nose out of joint right now are this group of expectant entitlement focused “boomers” (for lack of a better term). Not only have they destroyed their own lives, but they raised two different generations of kids (Gen Y and the Millenials) who among the three groups represent a vast morass of humanity. I am really disappointed in a lot of people, and there are so many of them that crowd out the others. People’s trust and dependence on their peer group really let’s them down.

  145. Shore Guy says:

    What about a requirement that no rebuilding occur in areas prone to flooding from a large tropical storm? I guess that would be un-American.


    Bush lands in Texas as Galvestonians urged to leave


    Speaking to reporters after arriving in Houston, Bush said the federal government will pay 100 percent for debris removal and emergency preparedness measures that state and local governments have put in place, without requiring matching funds from the state.

    “People have been moved out of their homes, and I know a lot of people are anxious to get back in,” he said. “I urge you to listen to state and local authorities before you come back.”

    “I know some are concerned about whether the government will reimburse you for your stay, and the answer is ‘yes,'” he said.

    “It’s a tough situation on the coast,” he said. “I have been president long enough to have seen tough situations and have seen the resilience of the people in dealing with the tough situations.”

    Bush and Texas Gov. Rick Perry then boarded Marine One for a tour of flood-devastated areas.


  146. chicagofinance says:

    Nicholas Says:
    September 16th, 2008 at 11:17 am

    Nicholas: I wasn’t calling you out…..I was calling out kettle….guess what is actual name is?

  147. chicagofinance says:

    guess what his actual name is?

  148. ben says:

    I’m sorry, but I can’t get over this one.

    “NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun blamed on “overly stringent lending criteria.””

    I mean really, how dare they make sure the people they lend money can pay it back.

  149. Shore Guy says:

    # 140,,



  150. Shore Guy says:

    # 148

    Maybe ol’ Larry got his start in Chicago politics: “What do you mean only the living can vote!”

  151. kettle1 says:


    there goes my secret identity !!!!! note to self: buy new mask

    # chicagofinance Says:
    September 16th, 2008 at 11:25 am

    Nicholas Says:
    September 16th, 2008 at 11:17 am

    Nicholas: I wasn’t calling you out…..I was calling out kettle….guess what is actual name is?

  152. Shore Guy says:

    “I have been president long enough to have seen tough situations”

    could have been

    I have been president long enough to have caused and then mismanaged many tough situations. I never knew what this job was all about. It’s hard, hard work.

  153. make money says:


    yikes. AIG insured $528B worth of subprime CDO’s. No wonder they have 24 hours left.

  154. Shore Guy says:

    But down onthe docks he is either Nicky the Knife, or Little Nicky.

  155. Nicholas says:


    Hmm, very interesting. Consider most of my comment still valid though. My secret identity is Nick too but I guess that doesn’t come as much of a surprise.

    If anyone is interested there is a new episode on “Going Private”


  156. Clotpoll says:

    help (119)-

    I’m no attorney, but that landlord can’t show before the specified period without your consent. Anything else violates the lease and your right to quiet enjoyment.

    Consult an attorney.

  157. Shore Guy says:

    Wow, the GS guy is singing The Sun Will COme Up Tomorrow. Surprisingly-nice voice too. Who knew.

  158. Clotpoll says:

    bi (121)-

    You gonna lend AIG a spare 75 bil or so?

  159. Clotpoll says:

    Chi (130)-

    Four words:

    Work until you die.

    Just be sure to give them that advice over the phone.

  160. Stu says:

    11:30 am : The stock market gives up gains from the CNBC report of AIG (AIG 2.39, -2.36) bailout talks after CNBC’s David Faber said the private sector solution to AIG is definitively dead, and sources say the most likely outcome is bankruptcy.

  161. Shore Guy says:

    “Work until you die”

    Indeed. Even if it means that one retires from a long career and then moves to a second, even part-time, career.

  162. BC Bob says:

    “yikes. AIG insured $528B worth of subprime CDO’s. No wonder they have 24 hours left.”


    They levered their good assets and landed in junk. No different than Lehman/Bear. That said, there is one main difference; 13% return on equity was not sufficient, they had to venture into an arena that they knew nothing about. Akin to MBIA/Ambac. They rolled the dice and lost. At least at Vegas, they would have been served cocktails.

  163. re 102
    We got a book from the library, How to Potty Train in Just One Day. I see a new version out. basically, your child trains a doll to potty first. You fill the child with water etc so that they go repeeatedly.

    this worked for us and seemed less traumatic for our daughter.

    good luck.

  164. BC Bob says:

    “yikes. AIG insured $528B worth of subprime CDO’s. No wonder they have 24 hours left.”


    They levered their good assets and landed in junk. No different than Lehman/Bear. That said, there is one main difference; 13% return on equity was not sufficient, they had to venture into an arena that they knew nothing about. Akin to MBIA/Ambac. They rolled the dice and lost. At least at Vegas, they would have been served drinks.

  165. kettle1 says:


    If you are trying to help people make better financial decisions and inform them,then calling people names isn’t going to win them over. It cheapens the dialog to lowest common denominator arguments where the harshest insult and the wittiest rejoinder trump substance and insight. It also cheapens the quality of your comments, as most of your comments seem insightful or informative.

    I am more then happy to engage in rational debate as well all gain. But the petty pot shots are getting boring. Shall we act like adults and either engage in reasoned debate , or ignore posts you dont like?

  166. Shore Guy says:

    I am looking for a good place for supper in Montclair that is open on mondays. Any recomendations?

  167. Clotpoll says:

    Any rumor of good news is a chance to get shorter.

  168. Shore Guy says:

    # 164

    Would that the presidential candidates, and those for lower offices as well, followed this advice.

  169. Stu says:

    Shore Guy: What type of food are you interested in. Montclair really has everything and most of it is quite good.

  170. Shore Guy says:

    Description of current situation from GS: “One of the worst we have ever seen.”

    So, no reason to expect that there will be any downward pressure on NJ RE.

  171. Stu says:

    I take that back. We don’t have any Mexican in Montclair worth a peso.

  172. Shore Guy says:

    I am NOT looking for meat and potatos (or potatoes, depending on one’s admiration of Dan Quayle).

  173. Nom Deplume says:

    [119] quick,

    Any amendment to the contract requires separate consideration (what extra thing did they give you?). Otherwise, it isn’t enforceable, and you can insist that they observe the lease (which permit access for specific purposes and with notice, but read it for particulars).

    One thing my LL did was to offer me $$$ when he brought someone thru. For every tour, he knocked off $10. Wasn’t much, and we are on good terms, but it was offered and accepted.

  174. NJGator says:

    165 Shore – You looking to go casual? Cheap? Expensive? Name your cuisine…

  175. Shore Guy says:

    I lean towards lots of veggies, smaller quantities of high-quality and well-prepared meat. If it starts with olive oil, garlic, shallots, and wine, it has a good chance of appealing to me. Indian and Persian are also okay.

  176. Nom Deplume says:

    [148] ben

    Re: Yun

    as the granite staters said when they met the candidate: “yeah, we were just laughing about that.”

  177. Shore Guy says:


    I would not turn away a cheap meal that knocked my sox off. I am going to be by myself, comming from a meeting, where bad food will be served, and I am not looking to spend $150.

  178. Shore Guy says:


    Are there any good Northern Italian places? California cusine? Maybe even Greek?

  179. kettle1 says:

    Shocked Lehman staff told to ‘move on’

    By FT Reporters

    Published: September 15 2008 21:42 | Last updated: September 15 2008 21:42

    The message delivered to shocked Lehman Brothers staff on Monday was simple and direct.

    “It’s over,” announced Christian Meissner to a morning staff gathering just a week after being appointed to run Lehman Brothers in Europe. He told the staff to look for new work and “move on”.
    Downgrades deepen AIG woes – Sep-16
    Full coverage: Crisis on Wall Street – Sep-12
    Stocks sink amid Wall St crisis – Sep-16
    Shocked City braced for more hits – Sep-15
    Angry staff point finger at management – Sep-15
    Analysis: How brinkmanship was not enough to save Lehman – Sep-15

    Staff had little choice but to follow suit in Lehman’s offices around the globe as they came to terms with the reality of the vertiginous collapse of the 158-year-old institution, leaving workplaces with belongings hastily collected and their savings depleted.

    The mantra of Lehman Brothers was to pay its staff in stock – some 30 per cent of the bank’s equity was held by employees and many bonuses were paid in shares. Now those holdings are all but worthless.

    Some staff were also told not to expect a paycheck at the end of the month and that they might even be liable for expenses on their corporate credit cards.

  180. Stu says:

    Shore Guy,

    I would try to get a reservation at CulinAriane and eat outside. It’s quite pricy but their food is top notch.

    I’m sure my wife will give you other suggestions.

  181. Outofstater says:

    The New Jersey Real Estate, Coming Great Depression, Part 2, and Potty Training Report. I love it! I finally gave up trying to potty train my son – nothing worked and I realized that this is one game the kid can always win. He finally figured it out. I thought he’d be in Pampers at the prom.

  182. make money says:


    Jamie Dimon is back to whealing and dealing and this time he may overpay at $2.00.

  183. Stu says:

    Shoreguy…Monday night…forget CulinAriane.
    We have a pretty reliable and affordable Greek place. Kind of a neat environment as well.


    Udupi Palace has excellent vegetarian Indian food as another option, but their service is laughable. If you need to catch up on reading, it is a very good inexpensive place to eat. Their dosas are pretty authentic.

  184. Stu says:

    Lisa will probably list for you the more high-end places.

  185. Shore Guy says:


    I just looked at the menu, the prices are fine. Thanks.


    I am still open to other suggestions.

  186. Shore Guy says:

    @#@#@%% monday.

  187. Shore Guy says:

    Like I said, cheap is fine, but it is not the driving factor. I have had $50 meals that have been far better than some $200 meals. I have no interest in overpaying for either RE or food.

  188. NJGator says:

    Here are mu suggestions:

    Italian: Fascino, Osteria Giotto, Gencarelli’s Cucina, Marzullos (listed from high to low)

    Greek: Greek Delights

    Asian: Aozora

    Thai: Brookside Thai, Tuptim Thai, Thai Chef (listed from low to high)

    Indian: Udupi Village – this is all vegetarian. Not high end, but really tasty, South Indian food. all the other Montclair Indian is pretty mediocre.

  189. NJGator says:

    Culinariane is my favorite. They and another good place, Blu are closed on Mondays. Otherwise both would have been on my list.

    If you want to go higher end, go to Fascino. Osteria Giotto also gets high marks, but it a little more moderately priced. If you want to go cheaper and say hi to Stu and I, go to Marzullos…we live a block away.

    Fascino used to do an awesome early dinner deal. 3 courses for $35 before 6. I’d check to see if they are still offering it. They also had an outstanding 4 course vegetarian menu for $42 which was offered all evening.

  190. firestormik says:

    RE: 64
    Yes, MICEX is the major player over there
    Funniest thing – the trade suspension notice doesn’t show up on the English version of the site.

  191. NJGator says:

    Oh and Gencarelli’s made my list because they are owned by the same family that owns Gencarelli’s Bakery in Bloomfield. Really yummy desserts and friendly owners.

  192. NJGator says:

    Oh, and if you want nice French food, and the restaurant all to yourselves, go to Passionne. http://www.restaurantpassionne.com/

  193. SG says:

    Just watching M speak. Seems he is taking hard line on Wall Street firms and CEO’s. On the contrary, O is taking soft stand.

  194. make money says:

    This is not 2005.

    Were are in a financial meltdown and you talk about restaurants and desserts.

    What’s a matter with you people? Do you not have mortgages that are under water?

  195. Shore Guy says:

    “restaurant all to yourselves”


    That is not usually a good sign

  196. kettle1 says:

    The Crime In Buying AIG Time

    American International Group (AIG) is on the verge of bankruptcy. It needs to raise $75 billion dollars quickly. That is a tough task in any market and a Herculean task in this one….

    more http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com/2008/09/crime-in-buying-aig-time.html

  197. Shore Guy says:

    Do you not have mortgages that are under water?

    No. No mortgage to be underwater on. No credit card debt, no car loans, no bookies. All recurring monthly bills (think electricity, car fuel, etc.) paid a month or three ahead. Just assets; and a huge love of GOOD food.

  198. renter says:

    I am so grateful that I do not have a mortgage right now and that I listened to my instincts instead of what other people said to do.

  199. ADA says:

    If you can afford it, there’s nothing wrong with having a mortgage right now. If you cant afford it you shouldnt have a mortgage at anytime.

  200. Shore Guy says:


    MIAMI (Reuters) – Republican presidential nominee John McCain said on Tuesday he would set up a commission like the one that investigated the September 11 attacks to study what led to the current U.S. financial crisis and offer solutions.

    McCain would craft Wall Street reforms based on several principles including better corporate governance, consumer protection, a “derivatives clearing house” and an effective safety and soundness regulator for every financial institution, a senior adviser to the Arizona senator said.

    “We’re going to need a 9/11 Commission to find out what happened and what needs to be fixed,” McCain said on the ABC’s “Good Morning America” a day after the financial crisis slammed global markets.

    “I warned two years ago that the situation was deteriorating and was unacceptable, and the old boy network and the corruption in Washington is directly involved,” he said.

    Markets have plummeted over the past two days as financial services firms have succumbed to a credit crunch brought on by the ailing U.S. housing market.

    Lehman Brothers Holdings filed for bankruptcy and Merrill Lynch accepted a takeover by Bank of America Corp. Shares of giant insurer American International Group Inc. tumbled 50 percent on Tuesday after its credit ratings were slashed.

    Douglas Holtz-Eakin, McCain’s senior policy adviser, told reporters a broad set of principles would guide a McCain administration’s regulatory reform, but he declined to outline specific proposals.

    Holtz-Eakin also defended McCain’s assertions about the fundamentals of the U.S. economy being strong and cited the Republican presidential candidate’s work on the Senate Commerce Committee, which oversees telecommunications, as part of his qualifications to lead the country through a financial crisis. Continued…

  201. kettle1 says:

    from the link at 194

    Let’s tie it all together.

    New York Gov. David A. Paterson (D) is going to violate regulations and allow AIG to borrow up to $20 billion from its subsidiaries. Timothy Geithner, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York approves this transaction. New York state insurance superintendent Eric R. Dinallo claims “At this point the insurance companies are financially strong and solvent and fully able to meet any claims.” In the proposed swap-o-rama the spokesman for the superintendent claims “We’re not going to allow them to put junk in the place of good stuff.” (as if he has any clue).

    Here’s the Deal

    If the “insurance companies are financially strong and solvent” why the hell do they need to raise $75 billion in another all night poker game with every rule in the book being broken to do so?

    What’s At Risk?

    Life insurance policies, retirement annuities, and those with policy coverage against all manner of calamities, from financial to natural disasters are put at risk just so AIG can make good on a bunch of derivative bets gone bad.

    Who Does AIG Owe?

    This one should be easy to figure out: any bank or brokerage house scrambling like mad trying to “help” AIG raise cash so that it can pay off on its derivatives bets. The state insurance regulator is stupid enough to go along with this arrangement.

    Here’s a comment from the Kitco Voy Forum made by “MOA”. I received this via email while writing this post.

    Right now, illegally and with the regulators watching and nodding in agreement as it happens, lot’s of bank deposits, life insurance savings and any unencumbered cash held in the system …. i.e. real life savings and earnings …. has suddenly been made available by the weekend rule changes by the Fed and US treasury. They are now being swept into accounts that hold the other side of the derivative trades.

    The firewalls against fraud have been torn in expedience “to save the system from itself”. The fraud and incompetence is running rife and has just been taken up another notch. There will be nothing left but the empty husk when the locusts and other assorted parasites have finished.

    AIG is blowing all the policyholders protections with the assistance of New York insurance superintendent Eric R. Dinallo, Timothy Geithner, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and David A. Paterson, Governor of New York.

  202. BC Bob says:

    from 195,

    “Here is what happened: AIG made the same stupid bets that Lehman and Bear Stearns did on mortgage backed security derivatives.”

  203. Shore Guy says:


    MIAMI (Reuters) – Republican presidential nominee John M said on Tuesday he would set up a commission like the one that investigated the September 11 attacks to study what led to the current U.S. financial crisis and offer solutions.

    M would craft Wall Street reforms based on several principles including better corporate governance, consumer protection, a “derivatives clearing house” and an effective safety and soundness regulator for every financial institution, a senior adviser to the Arizona senator said.

    “We’re going to need a 9/11 Commission to find out what happened and what needs to be fixed,” M said on the ABC’s “Good Morning America” a day after the financial crisis slammed global markets.

    “I warned two years ago that the situation was deteriorating and was unacceptable, and the old boy network and the corruption in Washington is directly involved,” he said.

    Markets have plummeted over the past two days as financial services firms have succumbed to a credit crunch brought on by the ailing U.S. housing market.

    Lehman Brothers Holdings filed for bankruptcy and Merrill Lynch accepted a takeover by Bank of America Corp. Shares of giant insurer American International Group Inc. tumbled 50 percent on Tuesday after its credit ratings were slashed.

    Douglas Holtz-Eakin, M’s senior policy adviser, told reporters a broad set of principles would guide a M administration’s regulatory reform, but he declined to outline specific proposals.

    Holtz-Eakin also defended M’s assertions about the fundamentals of the U.S. economy being strong and cited the Republican presidential candidate’s work on the Senate Commerce Committee, which oversees telecommunications, as part of his qualifications to lead the country through a financial crisis. Continued…

  204. BC Bob says:

    That could have been from # 194. My #’s are not in synch, I guess moderation.

  205. NJGator says:

    Shore 193 – I know. Stu and I have eaten there twice, and the meals have been excellent both times.

    There’s another French place that seems to have a bigger following – Epernay – maybe there’s not enough room for 2 French places in such a small town?

    The place is around the corner from us. It’s super convenient and is BYOB (like most places in town). They also do restaurant.com gift certificates (as does Fascino). So Stu and I will continue to go there occassionally until they inevitably close down.

  206. Barbara says:

    its cute when M uses the phrase “good ole boy network”

  207. Shore Guy says:

    “If you cant afford it you shouldnt have a mortgage at anytime.”

    Amen. And, add to that, If you depend on earning the same salary as you have today to afford your mortgage, you should not have it either.

  208. gryffindor says:

    Here in Tennessee, there is a gas shortage.

    Gas is the big story here, not so much Lehman and Merrill. Gas stations have put white plastic bags over the pumps and have taken the numbers for the prices off the signs to indicate they have run out. Lots of verbal hate everywhere about the lack of gas and the premium prices for the places that still have some. The paper reports things should be back to “normal” in a week or two, but it is scary to think about not having gas and seeing the reality of it.

  209. Shore Guy says:

    BYOB, really? it is like Ocean Grove. Who knew.

  210. John says:

    O is just watching his lead slip away and just thinking to himself if I lose I did big old fat old Oprah for nothing. Maybe in 2012 he can run as a white guy.

  211. NJGator says:

    Yes, BYOB. Montclair has a total of 12 liquor licenses in the whole town. We keep waiting for those census numbers to tell us we have enough of a population for lucky number 13!

    I think back in the 1940’s the state limited licenses to one for every 3,000 residents. In towns like New Brunswick and Hoboken that had already issued more than their quota had existing licenses grandfathered in. Montclair did not go booze crazy, so we don’t have extras. We are waiting for the next census to show that we have 39,000 residents so the town can auction off another license. If they do it before the next census data, they would have to pay for their own canvass to prove the numbers.

    As a result, almost every restaurant in town, even the high end ones are BYOB. I believe that is the case with every restaurant on my list.

  212. Shore Guy says:

    !@##@%%#$@%. So much for a glass of wine with dinner. May need to get a travel cup at a local watering hole, lol.

  213. John says:

    The american people for the most part are a stupid bunch. They sit and say how could lehman be so stupid to get so leveraged into mortgages when a lot of them in 2004-2007 bought a house with 5% down. They can’t understand the concept the starter they bought for 500K with a 25K downpayment has then leveraged at 20 times the initial investememt. Yea Yea I know they can walk away but at a great cost to their pride and credit history as well as legal, moving and other assorted losses on top of the loss of the downpayment. Still not good news.

  214. Shore Guy says:


    I did not even hear that he had appeared there. Of course the last time I heard about anyone going on that show was because of jumping up and down on the couch/chair/something.

    Humm, he could do a favor by going there, jumping up and down, speaking plainly about the state of the economy and the need to SLASH government spending.

  215. kettle1 says:


    Gas shortages….

    See this chart

    Finished gasoline inventories are seriously low due to refinery shut downs (10+days) for IKE and Gustav.

    there are also issue with jet fuel and diesel. The situation should correct itself now that refineries are back up and operating for the most part. But there is also risk from the current financial turmoil.

  216. Shore Guy says:

    “The american people for the most part are a stupid bunch.”

    What was it that Mencken said: “No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people.”

  217. Clotpoll says:

    Gator (208)-

    That is why NJ has no serious restaurant industry. Drinks revenue equals the contribution margin for virtually all top-end restaurants.

    This is why many excellent BYOB places in NJ don’t make it more than 2-3 years.

  218. Clotpoll says:

    Shore (211)-

    You got a better chance of meeting the Pope than seeing this happen:

    “Humm, he (Oh no) could do a favor by going there, jumping up and down, speaking plainly about the state of the economy and the need to SLASH government spending.”

  219. Stu says:

    BYOB is a gift. Not only do you get your alcohol at liquor store/wine shop prices, but they always have exactly what you want. There is nothing worse than the typical beer list at most decent restaurants. Wines, I just won’t pay double for, especially for a good bottle. I might throw up if I have to drink another Heineken or Amstel Light.

  220. NJGator says:

    209 Shore – Some places (like Fascino) have a NJ wine sellers license. Which means they can sell full bottles from a single vineyard. They realize it’s not great stuff, so they still let you bring your own.

  221. Clotpoll says:

    MS firmly into the zombie zone now.

  222. NJGator says:

    re the NJ wine seller license – it must be from a NJ vineyard.

  223. HEHEHE says:

    “what led to the current U.S. financial crisis and offer solutions.”

    What’s scarier is that he implying he doesn’t KNOW what caused the crisis?!?! How about politicians and regulators who are paid to look the other way and change laws to benefit the bribers?

  224. Clotpoll says:

    NJ wine…should not be served without the antidote available.

  225. NJGator says:

    Shore 209 – I did not recommend anyplace that has a license because in Montclair that pretty much relegates you to Charlie Brown’s, The Office and places of that ilk.

  226. NJGator says:

    The local place Cuban Pete’s tried to use their NJ Wine License to sell alcoholic sangria. Owner got busted. Then he did it again and claimed he cooked the alcohol off. He got busted again.

    Now they have no alcoholic sangria, but they still serve mediocre food.

  227. Stu says:

    What is wrong with election polls? How can their possibly be this much variance? Anyone can find a poll to meet their needs.

    Method Obama McCain
    Latest Poll Per State 238 266
    Poll of Polls 270 265
    Survey USA 159 269
    Rasmussen Reports 228 259
    Quinnipiac 131 51
    Research 2000 42 95
    Zogby 335 131
    National Average 45.4% 43.5%

  228. Shore Guy says:

    This is somewhat surprising. O is slipping a bit in NJ and I saw he has slipped alot in NY, close to even there.

    I wonder if this reflects economic unease and a fear that O will not cut govt. thus needing to raise taxes on everyone.

    Any word on a single legislator, councilmember, mayor, or King John calling for a real cut in local, county, or state spending?


    “Among likely voters, though, O has a smaller 8-point advantage, leading M by 49 percent to 41 percent. This is down from the Democrat’s 14-point lead in July.”


  229. Stu says:

    What is wrong with election polls? How can their possibly be this much variance? Anyone can find a poll to meet their needs.

    Method I’llbombya McCane
    Latest Poll Per State 238 266
    Poll of Polls 270 265
    Survey USA 159 269
    Rasmussen Reports 228 259
    Quinnipiac 131 51
    Research 2000 42 95
    Zogby 335 131
    National Average 45.4% 43.5%

  230. Shore Guy says:

    “Now they have no alcoholic sangria, but they still serve mediocre food”

    High praise, indeed.

  231. Shore Guy says:

    # 226


    I have had an opportunity to chat with Andy Kohut and John Zogby. One must ber in mind the length of time the polls took to complete, the dates of each, the size of them. Do you have Pew numbers?

  232. NJGator says:

    Shore 226 – Yes. I was arranging a girls night out with friends to celebrate the 40th birthday of someone in the group. The rest of the group wanted to go there. I had to play the role of prima donna and say I’ll just come for dessert to get them to go to a decent place.

  233. Shore Guy says:

    Oh, the other thing, whilst individual tracking poll numbers mean little, the trends over a couple weeks speak volumes.

  234. Shore Guy says:

    Better a good desert than a lousy meal. Life is too short to eat bad food or drink bad wine.

  235. Shore Guy says:

    This should be a fun trial in which to testify for the prosecution:

    TOMS RIVER — The judge presiding over the trial of three men accused in a brazen daytime murder at a crowded Lakewood barbershop ruled this morning that the media will be prohibited from taking photographs of witnesses during the proceedings.

    Assistant Ocean County Prosecutor William Porter reported to Superior Court Judge Wendel E. Daniels Monday that the Lakewood home of the father of Daniel C. Thomas was sprayed with gunfire Wednesday night, just days before jury selection is slated to begin for the murder trial of the one-time co-defendants against whom Thomas is expected to testify.

    Porter asked Daniels to bar news photographers and videographers from shooting images of witnesses at the trial. Porter said he was asking for the restriction because of “the potential for violence to witnesses in this case.”

    Daniels today said he granted the request because the coverage could result in “substantial increase in threat of harm to participants in the case.”



  236. Shore Guy says:

    dessert, even.

  237. Stu says:

    Cuban Pete’s is the worst. Terrible service, terrible food, to loud to converse and overcrowded. Lines are always out the door. What’s the draw? The decor. Sort of like a Rainforest Cafe, only the scene never changes. The servers wear Hawaiian shirts and Congo hats. Just like they do in Cuba.

  238. Shore Guy says:

    This is why McMansions do NOT belong allong the shore.


  239. Young Buck says:

    Gater 223.

    Re: Cuban Pete’s

    I’ve only been there twice, but both times the food was delicious. And I’m Cuban by the way. It’s worth the trip from Elizabeth.

  240. Shore Guy says:

    And here is a link to the article that goes with that photo:


    If anyone needs an “l” just take the extra one from my post ablve. #$#$@ fat fingers.

  241. Shore Guy says:

    THIS is why one is supposed to build on the high spot of a building lot:


  242. kettle1 says:

    Merrill’s AIG Problem
    Posted by: Matthew Goldstein on September 16

    John Thain may have struck a deal to sell Merrill Lynch to Bank of America at just the right time, and for a whopping 70% premium to boot. That’s because the recent rating downgrade of American International Group may force Merrill to take another write-down on what’s left of its rotting pile of subprime mortgage-backed collateralized debt obligations.

    Even after selling off some $30.6 billion in ailing CDOs to private equity firm Lone Star Funds in August at a steep discount, Merrill still has $19.9 billion in mortgage-backed CDOs in its portfolio. Merrill has marked down the value of those CDOs to $8.8 billion—a more than 50% haircut. In a recent regulatory filing, Merrill said it was adequately protected against suffering any sizeable losses on those remaining CDOs because it had purchased $6 billion worth of insurance, or credit default swaps, from “highly-rated non-monoline counterparties.’’ It’s widely believed that the bulk of that insurance was purchased from AIG, which was a prime seller of credit default swaps on CDOs up until the beginning of 2006.

    The downgrade of AIG could require the big insurer to cough-up money to Merrill to keep those contracts in place. But with AIG facing the possibility of having to pay $14 billion in additional capital to Merrill and other companies and hedge funds that bought similar credit default swaps, it’s by no means certain the big insurance will be able to meet that’s obligation. That’s a big reason Wall Street is so concerned about AIG and the fear that a collapse of AIG could have far greater ripples than Lehman’s bankruptcy filing. AIG and Merrill did not return phone calls seeking comment.

    In all, AIG wrote some $79 billion in insurance on CDOs backed mainly by subprime mortgages—selling insurance to financial firms like Merrill, UBS and Calyon. But AIG did much more than just issue credit default swaps on the worst of the CDOs. The total value of AIG’s credit default swap portfolio is $527 billion, according to a regulatory filing. In downgrading AIG on Sept. 15, Standard & Poor’s said: “The primary source of the strain comes from credit default swaps covering multi-sector collateralized debt obligations with mortgage exposure as well as insurance company holdings of residential mortgage-backed securities.”

    The need for AIG to make good on all of its credit default obligations it the main reason the insurer is facing a mad dash to raise cash. It’s likely that firms like Merrill will give AIG some time to raise the necessary capital. Squeezing AIG for cash it doesn’t have will only force the insurer’s trading partners to take write-downs and losses on the credit protection it has purchased.

    In many ways, this is what happened when tiny bond insurer ACA Capital was downgraded by S&P to junk status last December. The thinly capitalized firm, which insured nearly $30 billion in subprime backed CDOs, couldn’t make good on its capital obligations. The firm’s failure to pay up resulted in a series of big CDO write-downs by Merrill, CIBC and other banks. It looks like history may be repeating itself. But this time the damage will be much worse.


  243. Stu says:

    Young Buck: RE Cuban Pete’s…

    You can’t be a Cuban native.

    We’ll have to agree to disagree on this one.

  244. Shore Guy says:

    HAs anyone ever seen the photos of Lavalette and LBI looking like this?


  245. Stu says:

    Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin will not cooperate with a “tainted” legislative investigation into the firing of her public safety commissioner.

    Yup! She’s qualified to be a Republican alright. The laws don’t apply to her obviously.

  246. Rich In NNJ says:

    RE: Cuban

    Little Habana in Hackensack (BYOB)

  247. Shore Guy says:


    We are all as pure as the Vestal Virgins.

  248. chicagofinance says:

    kettle1 Says:
    September 16th, 2008 at 11:42 am
    chifi Shall we act like adults and either engage in reasoned debate , or ignore posts you dont like?

    ket: You came at me. You didn’t need keep commenting after I already noted that I thought you were crossing the line.

    If someone is going to question my opinions about AIG, it should come from BC Bob, who originally threw up the odds several weeks ago, and I questioned their accuracy. I was wrong and he was right.

    You on the other hand I find incredibly hard to tolerate, because of your overwhelming conservatism and illusions of doom that seem completely bankrupt of context…

  249. Young Buck says:

    Stu 240.

    Re Cuban Pete’s

    You got me Stu! Cuban, however, first generation born and raised Jersey. Now I didn’t say it’s better than mami’s cooking! I just said the food was delicious both times I’ve been there. I think the draw is first the atmosphere, then the food. I enjoyed the outdoor seating and laid back atmosphere. Perfect place to have a few drinks, enjoy some good food, and bs with friends on a nice night.

  250. PGC says:

    Best Cuban

    Mi Bandera Union City.

  251. NYtoNJ09 says:


    Except in Cuba they don’t wear Hawaiian shirts nor congo hats they wear guayaberas and Panama (Straw) hats.

  252. NYtoNJ09 says:

    I would add Las Palmas in West New York to that list of best Cuban food.

  253. Stu says:

    Gotcha YoungBuck. I had a Cuban Sandwich appetizer that I thought was pretty good, but I barely found the entrees I’ve had there edible. To each their own. :P

  254. kettle1 says:


    <i.ket: You came at me. You didn’t need keep commenting after I already noted that I thought you were crossing the line.

    Then my apologies!

    shall we move on

  255. Secondary Market says:

    # Clotpoll Says:
    September 16th, 2008 at 12:52 pm

    NJ wine…should not be served without the antidote available.

    my cousin is a food and wine critic and was sued by a nj vineyard because he wrote a piece stating nj vineyards will never be or should be compared to california’s. obviously, the suit was completely erroneous and went no where. cousin never mentioned any specific vineyard, just blanketed “all nj vineyards”.

  256. Shore Guy says:

    I have never really dined on Cuban. I have had Puerto Rican, which I find too salty — Want some rice and beans with that salt?

    I do Love Island food, though, especially curried goat.

  257. Fiddy Cents on the Dollar says:

    Shore Guy :220

    Re: McCain’s Commission to find the Cause….

    I hope he goes all the way back to the 90’s to finger Greenspan’s removal of the Banking Reserve Requirements as a big contributing cause.

    There were, of course, other factors. But lending out money without Dollar One held in reserve is a prescription for disaster.

  258. chicagofinance says:

    NJGator Says:
    September 16th, 2008 at 1:00 pm
    Shore 226 – I had to play the role of prima donna and say I’ll just come for dessert to get them to go to a decent place.

    NJ: The last time I saw “prima donna” ostensibly used on a web thread a poster was criticizing ARod and referring to him as Pre-Madonna…..so I posted asking him to clarify how ARod’s baseball performance should be distinguished before and after his separation from his wife.

  259. Shore Guy says:

    Clot (and others of a similar persuasion),

    What are your clients seening with respect to mortgage standards and documentation required?

  260. kettle1 says:


    your overwhelming conservatism

    now this could be an interesting debate. could you define what you mean by conservatism?

  261. Stu says:

    There was a fantastic dump called Extraordinaire that served authentic island food. It was a husband and wife operation and when you ate there you felt like you were dining in their home. It always took about an hour to get your food, but the conversation and authenticity made it worth while. It was mostly a takeout place and they had like 3 tables in the back. They closed down recently, most likely because they couldn’t afford the rent.


  262. alia says:

    127- potty training boys- i was Lazy Mom. all his girl friends were potty trained, and he liked his pull-ups, but he didn’t “get” it until he was 3 and 4 months and

    1) i got pregnant (so i needed to stay near toilets anyway)
    2) he watched elmo’s potty training dvd exactly once. the next morning his pull-ups were dry and except for the occasional accident he’s been dry ever since.

    (er, and to bring this back to nj real estate… maybe house sellers need an elmo dvd?)

  263. Stu says:


    Cut it out already!

    The better man is the one who does not respond to the provocations of the other.

    I’ve just given both of you an easy out!

    Don’t turn this blog into every other on the internet please. Otherwise, I might have to get some work done as well.

    It’s bad enough I have to host a national meeting that runs through the FED decision in a half an hour.

  264. NJGator says:

    Shore – we used to have a great family run Jamaican place called Extroardinare. Not only were they authentic, delicious and cheap, but they also added a separate vegetarian menu of dishes made with mock meats. Best veggie food I have ever had, and Stu loved the escoveitched fish. We brought many friends there to try it, and everyone loved it.

    The lovely couple who owned it retired and sold the place last year. The new owners just threw in the towel and now it is a place called Joey Thai. That doesn’t sound very authentic. Sigh…

  265. Shore Guy says:

    “mock meats”

    Ummmmmmmmmmm. lol

  266. NJGator says:

    258 Alia – Our son watched Elmo’s potty too. He loved it, but it did nothing for him. One day, Stu told him that if he didn’t use the potty, he’d have an accident. Lil Gator then looked me in the eye and said “Mommy, accidents happen. That’s okay.” He then went back to watching Cars.

  267. Shore Guy says:

    Ahh, an Elvis Costello fan. Cool.

  268. Stu says:

    The real loss in Montclair is these smaller homey places. In the last 3 years, every decent food establishment with nice people running them has closed down. The property tax increases, which the town tries to pass a lot onto the commercial establishments, are killing the little guys. I fear we will soon look a lot like the food court at Willowbrook.

  269. Stu says:

    Shore Guy,

    Nice EC reference. And uncomplicated to boot.

  270. NYtoNJ09 says:

    Is there any chance there will be some property tax relief in NJ? The taxes in some towns are insane. With jumps of $1000+.

  271. NYtoNJ09 says:

    I should have said with jumps of $1000+ in the last year alone.

  272. NJGator says:

    266 NYtoNJ – don’t hold your breath.

  273. grim says:

    From Bloomberg:

    U.S. Mortgage Rates May Wreak Further Havoc After Libor Climbs

    The biggest jump in the London interbank lending rate in seven years could wreak further havoc on the U.S. housing market and there’s nothing the Federal Reserve can do about it.

    About 6 million U.S. mortgages, including almost all subprime home loans and 41 percent of prime ARMs, are linked to the London Interbank Offered Rate, or Libor, according to First American CoreLogic in Santa Ana, California. Today’s rate more than doubled after Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. collapsed and American International Group Inc. struggled to stave off bankruptcy. If it remains elevated, it will boost the one-month to one-year Libor indexes that average the daily rate, said Keith Gumbinger, vice president of HSH Associates Inc., a Pompton Plains, New Jersey- based mortgage research firm.

    “If this is more than a flare, if the rate remains high, there is no doubt it will have an effect on resetting mortgage contracts in the U.S.,” Gumbinger said in an interview. “Even a small bump in the one-month rate will be additional stress on the marketplace.”

    Rates on those home loans are beyond the reach of Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke and others on the Federal Open Market Committee, which is meeting today. The so-called Libor- indexed loans, including the subprime mortgages that helped spark the global credit crunch, have interest rates that are set by London bankers who report to the British Bankers’ Association.

    The overnight Libor rate in U.S. dollars soared 3.33 percentage points to 6.44 percent today, its biggest jump in at least seven years, according to the British Bankers’ Association. Many Libor-linked U.S. mortgages don’t limit the size of a loan’s first adjustment, with caps of 2 percent on subsequent changes. That means a monthly mortgage bill could double or even triple when it first resets.

    “If the Libor market seizes up and stays that way, it’s going to complicate everything,” said Bill Fleckenstein, president of Fleckenstein Capital in Seattle. “What you are seeing is the unwinding of the financial system as we know it.”

  274. Shore Guy says:

    “The property tax increases, which the town tries to pass a lot onto the commercial establishments, are killing the little guys”

    Until state, county, and town budgets GO DOWN year over year, this will be the case. A sad thing is that so many people want quantity over quality so they either do not go to or do not miss the loss of the interesting places.

    I heard a mother talking at lunch the other day: “Oh, youbetter not try that. You have never had it before and might not like it.”

    Heck, if that were the metric, we would all still be eating creamed barley cereal for every meal.

  275. Confused In NJ says:

    CNBC recommended NJers keep their money in Hudson City Savings or Valley National Bank as they are unlikely to fail.

  276. kettle1 says:

    Meredith Whitney now predicts housing prices will plunge “well north of 40-45%”. $3 trillion in credit has been taken out of the markets in the past year. She is surprised stock (equity) markets haven’t fallen much more than they have.


  277. Shore Guy says:

    “property tax relief”

    As in some foolish plan to have people send money to the state and then have the state pay workers to print and mail applications to homeowners, and then have homeowners fill out some form, mail it back to the state and then have the state workers process the form and then send some money back to the homeowners?

    Real property tax relief can only come when budget costs decline. Everything else is a game.

    Show up at the town council meeting with 100 neighbors and raise hell. Demand an actual cut of even just $1, year over year.

  278. Hard Place says:

    That LIBOR jump will kill floating rate debt payers. Those prime ARMS probably hit NNJ square in the chin. On top of that all construction related projects financed at LIBOR are going to bleed and a good majority of commercial RE owners just had their hurdle rate increased significantly.

    If these rates stay high, than it will be the knockout punch to RE.

  279. Stu says:

    Here’s my novel idea to cut property taxes. Forced educational integration! Bus the inner city kids to the schools in the burbs and vice versa. Dismantle all of the individual BOEs and have one state level BOE. The amount of savings would be astronomical. Will never happen though for obvious reasons.

  280. kettle1 says:

    Washington Mutual cut to junk by S&P

    Washington Mutual Inc, was downgraded to “junk” status on Monday by Standard & Poor’s amid concern about mortgage losses, causing shares of the largest U.S. savings and loan to slide after-hours following a 27 percent plunge in regular trading.

    The credit rating agency lowered the Seattle-based thrift’s credit rating to “BB-minus,” three notches below investment grade, from “BBB-minus.” It cut its rating on Washington Mutual’s banking unit one notch to “BBB-minus” from “BBB.” S&P’s outlook is “negative,” indicating another cut is possible within two years.

  281. NJGator says:

    270 Shore – Most people in NJ are perfectly happy with the level of government they have, they just don’t want to pay for it.

  282. kettle1 says:


    Goodbye Lehman, Hello deflation: James Saft

    By James Saft

    LONDON (Reuters) – A few short weeks, a few banking failures, a massive fall in oil and commodity prices and deflation is back on the agenda.

    The events of the weekend — the failure of Lehman Brothers, the takeover of Merrill Lynch and insurance giant AIG’s reported emergency appeal for Federal Reserve aid — have given another kick to the vicious cycle of debts going bad and asset prices falling. More markers will be called, more assets marked down, more capital destroyed, less credit offered.

  283. kettle1 says:

    Goldman Loses $845 Million, Profit Drops 70%, Says It’s `Well-Positioned’


    Goldman Sachs Group Inc., the largest of the two remaining independent U.S. securities firms, said third-quarter profit fell 70 percent, the sharpest decline in its nine years as a public company, and said it remains “well positioned.”

    Goldman fell 7 percent in New York trading after the New York-based firm said in a statement that net income dropped to $845 million, or $1.81 a share in the three months ended Aug. 29, from $2.85 billion, or $6.13, a year earlier. The earnings compare with the average estimate of $1.71 a share of 19 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. Goldman has beaten estimates for 13 straight quarters.

  284. Clotpoll says:

    Shore (255)-

    Colonoscopy. With a baseball bat.

  285. kettle1 says:


    Bill Gross’s PIMCO Guaranteed $760 Million of AIG Debt

    Bill Gross, manager of the world’s largest bond fund, guaranteed $760 million of debt issued by American International Group Inc. as of June 30, obligations that may prove costly if the insurer fails to stay afloat.

    Pimco Total Return Fund, which oversees $132 billion in assets, backed the bonds by selling credit default swaps to investors that pay off if AIG defaults, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission last month. The fund had sold insurance on $7.7 billion of bonds, including $4.8 billion issued by financial-services companies, as of the end of June.

    In addition to AIG, Pimco Total Return had sold credit protection on almost $435 million of bonds issued by Citigroup Inc., $298.4 million of debt issued by Fannie Mae and $924 million of bonds issued by General Electric Capital Corp. The fund has also backstopped about $867 million of bonds issued by Ford Motor Credit Co. and General Motors Acceptance Corp., which provide financing for auto sales, and $493 million of debt at SLM Corp., which makes student loans.

    At the major brokerages, the fund had sold credit protection on bonds with the following face values: $112 million at Morgan Stanley; $20 million at Merrill Lynch & Co.; $72 million at Goldman Sachs; and $105.4 million at Lehman.

  286. Nom Deplume says:

    [242] stu,

    Sorry but I have to take issue. It is fact that the probe in AK was launched by an O supporter in the legislature. It is also fact that he predicted “charges” and an “October Surprise” before word one of testimony was taken or a subpoena issued. If this were a Rep member of the Illinois Senate speaking about O, I think you would be going ballistic right about now.

    Further, P doesn’t have to cooperate. She can either answer questions or not. It isn’t about law applying or not applying—if what you imply is the legal standard for avoiding prosecution, I could get out of every speeding ticket by refusing to hand over license and registration. Wonder how far that would get me?

    As for merit, IMHO, the guy deserved to be fired. It is also fact that he continually made trips to Washington that were downright insubordinate, even before he was ordered to stop (which makes the later trips insubordination per se). If he pulled half the sh1t with me that he did with his agency, his feet wouldn’t touch the floor on the way through the door (and I might not bother to open it first).

    So, if the gov. had the power to fire someone, and that person unquestionably had done things to warrant being fired, does it matter that the gov may have (and this still isn’t proven) personal reasons to dislike him?

    Or are you suggesting that the existence of an improper ground for firing negates the ability to fire someone on proper grounds? Further, does the existence of a bias negate the ability to fire for any or no reason (e.g., terminating at will employment)? Might not be good politics, but is it the chief executive’s right or not? I ask you.

    And when O asks for Christie’s head on a plate (as NJ dems want), will you lather up just as forcefully as you are now?

  287. NJGator says:

    283 Nom – I’m not going to argue the merits of the accusations, but I want to bring up, that this Troopergate mess, was ongoing in Alaska way, way before SP was even thought of as potential VP material. I regularly read the leftwing internets, and knew about this for months. In fact, I was a bit suprised that she was picked, because this was still an active investigation.

    The legislative committee leading the investigation is comprised of 8 republicans and 4 democrats (the dems don’t run much in Alaska) and voted unanimously to investigate. Until VPCLF was tapped as McC’s running mate, she even pledged to cooperate.

  288. Joeycasz says:

    In case anyone was wondering.

    Fed Keeps Rate at 2%, Rebuffing Call for Cut to Soothe Markets


  289. skep-tic says:

    I can understand the temptation many feel to rejoice in the turmoil as it may affect house prices, but you should also consider that with F’d credit markets going forward, a great many non-financial businesses are going to be in serious trouble as they try to roll over their debts. I was saying a couple of months ago that the situation then was really ideal from the prospective buyer standpoint: prices steadily dropping without massive calamity in the broader economy. I understand that some will argue that the crisis has been here for a long time, and that it was just hidden, but when these problems all emerge at once in a span of days they become magnified due to the panic they inspire. In other words, I do not think this should be taken as a positive turn of events, even if you are not currently directly being hurt.

  290. Richie says:

    Forget Lehman, Goldman, AIG, etc..

    I’m still bummed that Rick Wright (Pink Floyd) passed away yesterday..

    The completely eliminates the possibility of Floyd ever touring again…

  291. NJGator says:

    re 284 – To clarify the timeline, this was already news in July, well before VPCLF was named to the ticket.

  292. Outofstater says:

    #283 Yes, but didn’t Bill also have an $8 Billion day when Fannie and Freddie were bailed out?

  293. Nom Deplume says:

    I had not looked into the makeup of the panel, and if they voted unanimously, then the partisan stink is alleviated. French’s comments, however, were way out of line IMO, and I question his impartiality.

    P should demand his ouster, then cooperate, push for a quick resolution, dare them to say that the firing was anything but justified, and rake French over the coals for trying to interfere in the executive function for political gain.

    Sad part is, it becomes another example of a situation where the dems have tied their own hands. I cannot think of a decision O can make as president that won’t raise cries of “hypocrisy” in some way because the dems have criticized virtually every movement made by a GOP’er, right down to breathing (including on some things that they have voted for, and still support). Whatever the outcome, DC is gonna be more partisan than ever after this election.

    BTW, who is “C”? Clot?

  294. make money says:

    All Disclaimers of course.

    I just picked up 25,000 shares of AIG at $2.6 per share. I can’t see the Fed letting them fail.

    It’s an election year for godness sake.

  295. PGC says:

    #287 Richie

    He finally gets to play his big gig in the sky.

  296. NJGator says:

    290 – Oui. And I pretty much agree with the rest of your comments. The Nom family is welcome to join the Gaotr family in Belize…that is, if we don’t win the election.

  297. Nom Deplume says:

    And I am sorry that we aren’t arguing the merits of the decision because that is precisely what should be argued. By refraining, it suggests that those wanting to keep this pot boiling are concerned about what the facts will show, which makes it a partisan political circus rather than a proper investigation into alleged wrongdoing.

    Fact is, if you have cause to fire someone, the person fired has no cause of action unless the superior is limited to firings for cause and the cause is fabricated. And based on what has been reported, the facts supporting rank insubordination aren’t fabricated.

  298. PGC says:

    #286 Skep

    We saw the first stage of this last year when all M&A activity ground to a halt. Without M&A big companies can’t grow. It used to be that companies were criticised for holding too much cash on their books. They were scolded for not investing and holding debt instead. Now those companies are holding debt they can’t refinance. They have to either buyback the debt or hold to term. Now Cash on the balance sheets is king.

  299. bi says:

    291#, make, seems good trade so far. short squeeze just began

  300. NJGator says:

    Not enough time to argue the merits this afternoon. Be happy to in the evening or at the next get together.

  301. make money says:

    291#, make, seems good trade so far. short squeeze just began


    After you said that I almost sold. Please don’t jinx me.


    Can you stop Bi from posting until tom?

  302. bi says:

    AIG turns positive. SKF sucks.

  303. MJ says:

    Thinking here…

    Maybe BAC wasn’t pressured into buying MER.

    Perhaps they are really that batsh!t insane, doubling down and still making outrageous bets.

    Time will tell…

  304. MJ says:

    I figured they wouldn’t budge on rates today, since they need to keep some options open for the future.

    I mean, imagine if they lowered rates, and sh!t still went down!

  305. MJ says:

    Read a Hank Greenberg interview today.

    Claims there’s nothing wrong with AIG, they’re just a little low on cash.

    Yeah. Right. Isn’t the same true of every foreclosed idiot out there?

  306. Stu says:

    The partisan stuff is getting pretty annoying actually. Can we move the election up please.

    So the FED didn’t cut. Wow! Do you think they finally realized that all the recent rate cuts have done is lowered the likelihood that people would put more of their wealth into the cash-starved banks?

    Alluding to what Skep was saying…I fear that this country is in bigger trouble than I initially feared. A lot of guys at my place of business have changed a lot of their 401K holdings from mutual funds that invest in equities over to bonds. Although the tightening of mortgage availability is going to help lower housing prices, you still need a job to service the mortgage. The lack of M&A is astounding and much worse than when the tech-bubble popped. I know this first-hand as I work for a financial printer and the presses aren’t spinning much these days.

    One interesting comment a person made here in the office was that he didn’t understand the purpose of the rate cuts at all. His mortgage rate stays the same, but his savings accounts keep lowering their yields. I told him that businesses need to be able to borrow at a lower cost. He said why? So the CEO can get a larger salary?

    It’s fun conversing with the blue-collars. You all should do it some time.

  307. Stu says:

    The major indices rebound after Bloomberg.com reports its sources said the Fed is reconsidering its stance on helping AIG (AIG 5.09, +0.33), and the company may get a loan package from the Federal Reserve.

  308. kettle1 says:

    strange times, a run on an insurance company?

    In Singapore, hundreds of anxious investors thronged the office of an AIG unit to redeem their policies.


  309. John says:

    Lehman Bros. shares halted for news pending

  310. Clotpoll says:

    vodka (306)-

    In many Asian countries, people use insurance products in place of banking. There is a deep (and well-founded) mistrust of banks.

  311. skep-tic says:

    “Alluding to what Skep was saying…I fear that this country is in bigger trouble than I initially feared.”

    I should be clear that I am not trying to stoke fear. I actually think the economy is pretty strong, all things considered. Without reading too much into a brief period of returns, can you believe that the stock market is only down about 5% following the news of the past couple of weeks? I am not saying everything is wine and roses, but so far, most of America is not feeling the pain that Wall St is feeling. However, if things continue to unravel at this pace, they will.

  312. Stu says:

    Why does the gubmint keep delaying the inevitable?

  313. Stu says:

    Maybe LEH was halted due to the fact that their share price was zero?

  314. Stu says:

    “I should be clear that I am not trying to stoke fear. I actually think the economy is pretty strong, all things considered.”

    Is the economy strong or are the markets dramatically overvalued?

    Everyone thought the housing market was strong, but apparently the underlying value wasn’t.

    I am not trying to stoke fear either. I’m just getting very worried about our national debt. If we stop buying much of the stuff Asia produces, then they have no reason to buy our debt. Imaging in they actually sell our debt! Perhaps it was a good thing to dedicate so much of our GDP to the military after all.

  315. chicagofinance says:

    September 16, 2008, 3:19 pm
    Barclays to Buy Lehman Investment Bank, Save 9,000 Jobs
    Posted by Heidi N. Moore
    A Chapter 11 filing may have saved Lehman Brothers Holdings’ investment bank.

    Barclays has reached an agreement to buy the U.S. capital-markets businesses of Lehman and as many as 9,000 Lehman employees will find jobs with the U.K. bank, according to people familiar with the situation. The Wall Street Journal earlier reported that Barclays would pay nearly $2 billion for a large chunk of Lehman.

    The deal is to be put before a New York bankruptcy court judge for approval at 5 p.m. Lehman’s creditors are to meet at 6 p.m. An official announcement isn’t expected until Wednesday morning.

  316. PGC says:

    #309 Skep

    “I actually think the economy is pretty strong,”

    I think this is were I disagree with you. I think it is in the toilet based on the following.

    National Debt
    Outsourced manufacturing
    Debt Obligations
    Oil dependence
    Max refinery capacity
    Balance of payments
    using food staples for ethanol.
    Inefficient governance.

    Not a comprehensive list, just a few of the bigger talking points.

  317. skep-tic says:

    S&P is down about 20% in the past year. That is a pretty big pullback. Everyone is free to make their own judgments, and I certainly hope that no one bases anything on what I write here, but I am not particularly afraid that the market is dramatically overvalued. If you want to see an interesting contrast, look at oil. After a string of what should have been bullish events for oil (hurricanes, OPEC production cut), the price continued to plummet. With the S&P, it has been the reverse, more or less.

  318. skep-tic says:


    that is what Ch. 11 is all about. great news!

  319. chicagofinance says:

    skep-tic Says:
    September 16th, 2008 at 3:35 pm
    that is what Ch. 11 is all about. great news!


  320. bi says:

    i think AIG may also fit Lehman model

  321. Victorian says:

    315 –
    “but I am not particularly afraid that the market is dramatically overvalued.”

    P/E is 24. Not especially rosy considering that E –> 0

  322. Nom Deplume says:


    I talk to them all the time. Goes kinda like this: “Mom, Dad, STFU, you don’t know what you are talking about” or “you there, get back to work.”

  323. Sean says:

    re: #200 McCain and the good ole boy network were behind the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act in 1999. There was a $300 million lobbying driven by the banks that drove deregulation of the system was more about facilitating mergers than creating an efficient regulatory framework.

    McCain and Gramm were part of the old boy network then, they set us up for this mess, and McCain was part of the good ole boy network when the Republicans and the Bush administraions actions created the housing bubble.

  324. make money says:


    Please do not reference any opinions on AIG until tomorrow. I will PAY YOU to SHUT UP.

  325. Victorian says:

    Stu –

    Is this a good time to dip into your fav short?

  326. Nom Deplume says:

    [314] PGC,

    Agree with you wholeheartedly. I liken it to a train hurtling toward the washed out bridge over the chasm, and the two engineers won’t take their hands off the throttle (which is wide open). Is it any wonder some of us would like to get off the train before it makes a sudden stop?

    What frosts my cubic zirconias though is the left implying that all of this occurred in the last 7.7 years. They point to BC and the (so-called) balanced budgets of the 90’s. (This, incidentally, is my litmus test for political/economic idiocy—if you believe that all was rosy and perfect before 1/20/01, and that there was more $$$ coming in than going out, then I question your ability to discern colors, count past 10 with your shoes on, or remember what your kids’ names are.)

    What is different this time however is the sense that gov must chain the slaves to the plantation. I had always said that we will know we are in “real” trouble when the federal gov. clamps down on expatriation of wealth. They did that under Clinton, and recently imposed a stricter regime on expatriation. One of my “hobbies” now is figuring out a way to work around the new expat tax (okay, so I don’t get out much). Once I do, I expect that Kettle, Stu, and Gator will be seeking tax advice.

  327. make money says:

    WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd said Tuesday the U.S. is facing a deepening economic crisis and called for more aid to homeowners and possibly an additional economic stimulus package to help consumers.
    He said he will call Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson to testify before his panel on Thursday and will call Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke to testify on Tuesday.
    As world stock markets continue to be shaken by Monday’s 504-point drop in the Dow Jones Industrial Average, Dodd is also asking the Federal Reserve if it needs extra authority to deal with the downturn. The Fed has said, so far, it needs no additional powers, Dodd said.
    Dodd, D-Conn., spoke shortly after Fed policy-makers decided to leave short-term interest rates unchanged at 2.0%.
    The central bank’s rate-setting panel made the right decision, Dodd said. He added that he thought they might reduce rates.
    Meanwhile, Dodd also said he is disappointed that the Securities and Exchange Commission hasn’t acted on naked short selling.
    Dodd is also asking for a longer congressional session to respond to the crisis.

  328. Sean says:

    Dodd getting ready to open the Taxpayer wallet again?

    Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd warned the Fed and Treasury against a rescue of AIG without checking with him first, expressing anger about past incidents where he was only informed afterwards. He also said he was skeptical that AIG merited aid while Lehman didn’t.


  329. Nom Deplume says:

    [312] Stu,

    Then imagine how very afraid I will be if President O decides to close the Portfolio Interest Exemption (PIE) loophole.

    PIE is a big part of why foreigners are so willing to finance our debt. It is tax-free to them, and there is almost no limit on what debt can be used. The only proviso is that the foreigner can’t be in the business of lending.

    Personally, I plan to use the PIE in an eventual scheme to be able to lend money to myself, pay myself interest, avoid taxes on the interest I pay myself, and deduct the interest I paid myself on my taxes (believe it or not, this makes sense but will take a full page to explain).

  330. skep-tic says:


    where do you get a P/E of 24? See below. Current P/E is 15.5. 2009 P/E is 11.50

  331. skep-tic says:



  332. skep-tic says:

    victorian– I am a moron. At quarterly level, you are right

  333. NJLifer says:

    Stu / YoungBuck

    Azucar in Edgewater – has a Cigar bar and everything. You can’t get more authentic Cuban than that.

  334. Victorian says:

    SKF just got run over by a bus. What put all the happy faces on BAC, MS etc.

    Looks like they were counterparties to AIG.

  335. Shore Guy says:

    Now we have reached new depths, discussing whether someone should dip into Stu’s shorts.

    Still, as long as it does not involve Gary and a cheerleader outfit….

  336. John says:

    Even weirder in Japan the Post Office is the bank with the most branches.

    Clotpoll Says:
    September 16th, 2008 at 3:20 pm
    vodka (306)-

    In many Asian countries, people use insurance products in place of banking. There is a deep (and well-founded) mistrust of banks

  337. John says:

    Morgan Stanley pre-announces quarterly earnings of $1.32 a share and revenue of $8 billion, crushing projections!!!!!!!!

  338. NYtoNJ09 says:

    Is the Edgewater location still opened? I know they have a location in Jersey city.

    There is another Edgewater place called Sabor however I have never been there though I have heard good reviews.

  339. NYtoNJ09 says:

    Rebecca’s in Edgewater is also very good. I’ve eaten there a couple of times though not in the last 1 1/2 yrs.

  340. SG says:

    Just came back from Sheriff’s sale from Foreclosure auction. It is an experience, for whoever has not been there. One house was auctioned off. The auction price $290K, last sale price of similar house $442K in 2007. Top Town – Princeton/Montgomery NJ.

  341. Clotpoll says:

    Sean (325)-

    Somebody check both AIG and LEH’s contributions to Dodd.

  342. Clotpoll says:

    Vic (331)-

    That bus driver is going to put it in reverse and back over all the players who are jumping for joy.

  343. bi says:

    some news out with AIG?

  344. NJGator says:

    326 Nom- I think I want you to run my personal finances.

  345. Victorian says:

    AIG down 50% After Hours.

  346. Victorian says:

    US considering conservatorship as an option for AIG.

  347. Sean says:

    re #344 Handout then no Handout Victoria.

    The AIG stock traded 1,182,396,916 shares today, and the it swung widly on rumors (Buffett, Bailouts from the Fed, and the tooth fairy) which most likely made a few millionares rich and broke all in the same day.


  348. FedSucks says:

    How much will Fort Lee prices drop given the demographics there? I have been patiently waiting since 2004 and there has been some progress, but it appears most sellers are still in denial in the area.

  349. Nom Deplume says:


    Dipping into Stu’s shorts????? Hey, Gator is my running mate on the Bull Moose Housing ticket so I can’t have any Stu with Crossdressing Gary scandals here. It’s bad enough that tax avoidance is a central plank in our party platform (and yes, housing for moose).

  350. Nom Deplume says:

    [348] Gator,

    Considering how badly I am getting sliced and diced in my stock picks, are you really sure you want me as your FA????

  351. stu says:

    Victorian said “Stu –

    Is this a good time to dip into your fav short?”

    Not yet. Too much uncertainty for my tastes. The MS earnings were pretty good (similar to GS) and AIG hangs over shorts like Gary in a cheerleader outfit. Now is a good time to make your lines in the sand. I am extremely conservative in my buying. I miss more great opportunities than I would like, but I greatly minimize my risk as well. I expect the market to rally a bit more prior to the next shoe dropping. I forgot who said it yesterday, but there are still a lot of shoes in the closet.

    Victoria, if I were you I would hang tight. The DJIA was 350 points higher on Monday. It could easily make up the loss by the end of the week. Then, if nothing else changes, I would wait until the DJIA gets above 11,500 again at the minimum. I probably won’t add to my short positions until it’s closer to 12,000. At 12,500, I would probably start thinking about going long. Keep in mind, I went short at 13,700 and traded just a tad around my core positions. My brokerage account is still half cash. This is necessary as golden opportunities (that I find through thorough due diligence) only show up every two years or so.

    Keep in mind. I am not a daytrader and do not give much weight to technical analysis. 75% of my shorts were purchased last August. I personally doubt we are even halfway through the great unwind. Unfortunately, in the short ETFs, there is a slow bleed due to the lack of dividends and fees. Only when there is massive volatility spikes do these ultra inverse ETFs move. That is when you must be willing to sell. It’s not an easy game and you must have the stomach for an inverse fund. At one point I was down 25% on a sizeable holding, but I still slept at night knowing the fundamentals haven’t changed one bit. As a matter of fact, they were stronger then when I purchased the shares. I was richly rewarded with a 20% gain a month later. If you can be patient and are well diversified you are at a distinct advantage in terms of risk.

    Bi likes to bust my chops all the time about daily or weekly moves in certain ETFs. What he doesn’t realize is that I’m not a daytrader. Initially I rode a sizeable short from 80 to 150 in a little under a month last year. Since then I locked in a few 20% gains. My core position hovers around even, but fundamental reasoning for staying in the position has not changed. Meanwhile, the majority of investors out there are down 10-20% over the last 12 months. It is impossible to time the market. One must do a lot more research than simply follow advice given on a real estate blog.

    Those flirting with AIG are doing nothing more than gambling. The fundamentals are impossible to determine as well as future actions by the FED/Congress/Treasury/etc. I’ll stick to video poker if I want to gamble.

    Ultimately, if you need financial advice, I would speak to a financial adviser. Too many people think they know what they are doing and they are completely clueless. I suppose this is why there are so many casinos. I suppose the native americans wised up!

  352. stu says:

    And for those keeping score at home, the AIG slot machine is back to 220 credits. It’s a penny slot!

    DJIA futures are -100 again.

  353. NJGator says:

    354 Nom – Stu can continue picking the stocks. I’d like to retain you for your tax strategy/legal device.

    I’d also like to consider securitizing my bad loans to myself.

  354. Shore Guy says:

    Pulled off yahoo news, it was posted 3 minutes ago. On handheld and can’t post link.

    With little explanation, President Bush on Tuesday scrapped a statement he planned to give on the tumultuous financial markets, abandoning any press coverage of his meeting with key economic advisers as more developments roiled Wall Street.
    As announced by the White House, Bush was scheduled to make comments to a pool of reporters after huddling with a key financial working group led by Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson. Its members include Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and other key government figures in the field of commerce.
    Yet after the session began, the White House told the press never mind. Spokesman Tony Fratto said only: “We decided it would be best to limit public comment about markets today.” He declined to offer any explanation about why limiting Bush comment would be best, or why on this particular day


  355. Shore Guy says:

    I can just see it now:

    Mr. President, we are afraid that if you speak the headlines tomorrow will read: “Wall Street Lays an Egg.”

    Yes sir, we know that eggs are tasty. Just believe us, Sir, in this context it would be bad. Very bad. Oh, Mr. President, here are your crayons and coloring book.

  356. Confused In NJ says:

    They should ask Bill Clinton, 1.) in light of current enormous AIG problems, does he regret repealing the Glass-Stegall Act which facilitated them?, and 2.) doesn’t he think it fair that all members of government (both parties) that participated in this should be punished?

    Cramer wants an AIG bailout and rates dropped to 1%. He is truely the poster child for repealing freedom of mis-speech.

  357. victorian says:

    355- Stu

    Muchas gracias Senor!!

    Appreciate the advice as always. I cashed out my gains yesterday and am sitting on cash waiting on the rally. (Still cant believe that I cashed in my SKF Oct 20 Puts early yesterday). But honestly, I feel that the Fed has run out of bullets. But after yesterday’s crash everyone and their cousins must be short the market. I feel a short squeeze coming.

    I am a complete novice at this and am learning on the job (has been quite a roller coaster). I discovered this blog when I was house hunting and the commentary over here really opened my eyes.
    Thanks Everyone for all the fish. :)

  358. Justin says:

    AIG hires law firm to draw up bankruptcy papers: report

    NEW YORK (Reuters) – American International Group Inc has hired law firm Weil Gotshal to draw up bankruptcy papers, the New York Times reported on Tuesday.

    AIG could file for bankruptcy as soon as Wednesday if a financing solution is not reached, according to the Times, citing a person briefed on the matter.


  359. victorian says:

    360 – Confused.
    “1.) in light of current enormous AIG problems, does he regret repealing the Glass-Stegall Act which facilitated them”

    The bills comprising the act were introduced in the Senate by Phil Gramm (R-TX) and in the House of Representatives by James Leach (R-IA). The bills were passed along party lines with Republican support in the Senate[1] and with bipartisan support in the House of Representatives.

    I believe the bills had veto proof majority.

  360. Everything's Hobroken says:

    re 296
    Nom Deplume Says:

    I had not looked into the makeup of the panel, and if they voted unanimously, then the partisan stink is alleviated.

    What seems odd to me in this is that you now know that the investigation was not started by GP’s democrat enemies. So her oft repeated claim is shown to be false. Yet, your position suggests that we should not question the truthfulness of her claims on the facts in the case.

    At the very least, a reasonable person would now view her position neutrally in light of this false claim about the circumstances of the initiation of the case with which she must certainly be intimately familiar.

  361. Laughing all the way says:

    in meetings all day and just saw that SFK got bombed. bummer. anyone have a clue what that’s a result of?

    on the good news front, 90210 is on tonight!

  362. Laughing all the way says:

    ahhh, just saw the late afternoon AIG news. guess everyone thinks the Fed IS going to bail them out.

    which, of course, would be foolish.

  363. WSJ has breaking news on the AIG bailout; $85bil loan & Govt retains control of company.

  364. Laughing all the way says:

    toshiro – just curious … why are some folks so scared about AIG going under? I understand the job losses, but can anyone put it in specific perspective?

  365. Outofstater says:

    Crain’s NY Business is reporting that the Reserve Fund, a money market fund, has broken the buck because of Lehman. 97 cents on the dollar.

  366. #268 – Well, the potential for $1trillion in assets going to bankruptcy auction is a pretty big deal. The jobs too as you noted. Also the uncertainty of what happen with all of the insurance, funds, etc.
    AIG is also a very big re-insurer, so with the going would remove a large portion of the market.

  367. #370 is in response to 368 not 268 – I suck.

  368. Outofstater says:

    NYT reporting Fed to give AIG $85 billion loan in exchange for 80% of company.

  369. Laughing all the way says:

    $1trillion in assets going to bankruptcy

    dense question … whose assets?

  370. BC Bob says:

    The fed must now be levered more than Lehnman and Bear combined.

    “Update: The Times and CNBC’s David Faber have heard the same. In exchange for 80 percent stake in the firm, Faber says A.I.G. will get an $85 billion loan, which will be secured and included incentives for quick asset-sales by the insurer. Per the deal, the government would get warrants for most of AIG’s equity, severely diluting shareholder value. And by severe dilution, we mean nothing. Bondholders, would get “next to nothing,” and policyholders “some protection.”


  371. MJ says:

    So now, the feds will own AIG? I won’t say “we” will own it, since we’ll only see losses, not profits.

    So Chubb and GEICO et al, get to compete against the US Gov?


    This gets better every day. Pure genius.

  372. MJ says:

    Once more, louder: AIG CAN SUCK IT.

  373. Shore Guy says:

    Reserve Fund. UGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!

    The rate of return was not that great, but to lose some of the money put in. #$@&!

  374. longtimelurker says:

    “Suck it Trebek!”

  375. BC Bob says:


    Notice how shortfalls have increased from $40 billion, to $70 billion, to $100 billion. Is there any reason for it to stop there.

    Two Scenarios

    1) AIG has been fraudulently tapping its insurance subsidiaries
    2) AIG simply screwed up its main corporate office

    If it’s #1 there should be prosecutions, if it’s #2 then AIG should be allowed to go under. The Fed can deal with the aftermath. Nowhere should taxpayers be footing the bill for stupid corporate mistakes.


  376. Shore Guy says:

    Hey, if the USG can enter the insurance business, why not oil and gas? Why not take over an airline or two? They have been in bad shape for sometime. Why not take over some movie studios?

    Hey Putin, give George a call. I think he wants to gaze into your eyes and hear you talk about nationalization.

  377. Orion says:

    The generosity and depth of uncle Benny’s pockets is numbing.
    When does it stop??!!

  378. Orion says:

    (380) Don’t forget the auto industry to that mix.

  379. #373 – Well, I’d assume AIG’s & not its subsidiaries as they should be separate.
    Remember, I’m in IT so anything I say, including stuff pertaining to IT, should be taken with a large dose of salt.

  380. Hobokenite says:

    I think it’s time to move to South America.

  381. MJ says:

    @lurker: “A leather glove!”

    @BC Bob: I suspect scenario 1). AIG has always been the slimiest, dirtiest, least moral business entity I’ve known. Also, I am thoroughly amused that the 83 year old tottering fool wants his criminal company back. Awww. I guess your cooked books are gonna be fully exposed now!

  382. bairen says:

    BC Bob,

    Time to start checking the closet for your boots.


    This puppy is 469k for a 4/2 with tons of bling in New Providence

  383. BC Bob says:

    bairen [386],

    What were comps at peak?

  384. Shore Guy says:

    Oh yea, the auto industry. Doh! Of course. Heck, there must be a hundred different industries the USG can buy into. It maycut tax revenues a bit, but that will be offset by profits, especially since, hummmm, let’s call it FedCo, FedCo can write laws to put its competition at a disadvantage.

    Herbert Hoover (or was it Coolidge?) remarked that, “The business of America is business.” It seems he was correct.

  385. Orion says:

    Back to real estate. Belmar auction coming.

    Property address: The Gables Condominiums (11 total)
    120 Tenth Ave., Belmar, NJ 07719
    (one block from beach)

    Starting bid: $175,000

    I saw these last year, priced around $560K-$619K (nuts!)
    Priced much better now. Great location, small units.
    Went to preview this past weekend, swarms of people.

    Go to Max Spann website for more details.

  386. stu says:


    I think the Reserve fund was the default MM fund Ameritrade cash was swept in and out of. If I recall correctly, they dropped them as the credit crunch started. I better double check.

  387. Cindy says:

    (363) Victorian

    “I believe the bill had a veto-proof majority.”

    I thought Clinton threatened to veto the senate version unless it included provisions for minorites. No source – just trying to remember.

    I recall that because in conversations with friends we wondered if that wasn’t a point where Greenspan etal got the great idea to promote “alternative lending vehicles.” Just trying to put the puzzle together.

    Bush probably would have signed it anyway.

  388. ricky_nu says:


    “I’ll take ‘The Rapists’ for $500 Alex”

    Alex Trebek (Will Ferrell not in his underpants):

    “that’s Therapists Mr Connery”

    “I’ll take Swords for $200!”

    Alex Trebek:

    “That’s S-Words Mr Connery”

  389. bairen says:

    #387 BC Bob,

    That house would have to have been over 600k

    Spring of 07 pos capes and splits were in the low 500s.

  390. ricky_nu says:

    BTW – I would welcome (maybe) the USG taking over the movie industry, they have been living large for a long time by spewing out complete garbage, don’t remember the last good movie I have seen!

    Just watch MTV cribs and it will make you sick…..

  391. Confused In NJ says:

    363. victorian Says:
    September 16th, 2008 at 6:41 pm
    360 – Confused.
    “1.) in light of current enormous AIG problems, does he regret repealing the Glass-Stegall Act which facilitated them”

    The bills comprising the act were introduced in the Senate by Phil Gramm (R-TX) and in the House of Representatives by James Leach (R-IA). The bills were passed along party lines with Republican support in the Senate[1] and with bipartisan support in the House of Representatives.

    I believe the bills had veto proof majority.

    It did have a veto proof majority but the Senate Nay’s were only eight;

    NAYs —8

    Boxer (D-CA)
    Bryan (D-NV)
    Dorgan (D-ND)
    Feingold (D-WI)
    Harkin (D-IA)
    Mikulski (D-MD)
    Shelby (R-AL)
    Wellstone (D-MN)

    Kennedy & Kerry cheered it on along with the rest of the slugs. If you are going to correct the problem you must identify all the players.

  392. Confused In NJ says:

    391.Cindy Says:
    September 16th, 2008 at 8:49 pm
    (363) Victorian

    “I believe the bill had a veto-proof majority.”

    I thought Clinton threatened to veto the senate version unless it included provisions for minorites. No source – just trying to remember.

    I recall that because in conversations with friends we wondered if that wasn’t a point where Greenspan etal got the great idea to promote “alternative lending vehicles.” Just trying to put the puzzle together.

    Bush probably would have signed it anyway.

    It did have a veto proof majority but the Senate Nay’s were only eight;

    NAYs —8

    Boxer (D-CA)
    Bryan (D-NV)
    Dorgan (D-ND)
    Feingold (D-WI)
    Harkin (D-IA)
    Mikulski (D-MD)
    Shelby (R-AL)
    Wellstone (D-MN)

    Kennedy & Kerry cheered it on along with the rest of the slugs. If you are going to correct the problem you must identify all the players.

    Neither Clinton or Bush cast reflections in a mirror, but the issue is Congress originating Economic Treason.

  393. Major Bloodnok says:

    uglier every day
    tomorrow will by yet more excitement.

  394. Shore Guy says:

    “Bush probably would have signed it anyway”

    He would have had Dick put a crayon in his hand and told him to do so.

  395. BklynHawk says:

    Nice! I think I could squeeze a nine hole golf course in that backyard.

    Nom, is your yard similar in size? If so, I’ll bring a football to the next GTG (along with a nice bottle of red, of course).

  396. Shore Guy says:

    Can we buy shares in FedCo? Will the regional banks split the profits FedCo generates? Will taxpayers get a 1099-DIV?

    Subj: CNN Breaking News
    Date: Wed, 17 Sep 2008 01:17:23 +0000 (UTC)

    — The Federal Reserve says it is taking over crumbling insurance giant AIG in an $85 billion rescue plan.

  397. NYtoNJ09 says:

    Everyone don’t Blink!!!

    Ref. Crooksandliars.com dialy show

  398. sas says:

    so when does all this liquidity, when does the inflation kick in?

    there goes the middle class in an effort to rescue the fat cat bankers.


  399. sas says:

    Its time to end fractional banking!
    I’ve been saying this for 25 years.


  400. sas says:

    AIG total fkn losers, same class as Lemon brothers.

    Looks like the printing press is running into overdrive.

    AIG pay back all that jack, yeah right.


  401. stu says:

    Mets got off 2 hits tonight. Let’s see if the Phillies come back.

  402. House Hunter says:

    did anyone see Peter Schiff on tv tonight…there was a flash back of statements he made in early to mid 2007..they all seem logical and probable now. the only thing that changed in his message was his hair color

  403. House Hunter says:

    Cindy, did you see the latest Dr. Housing bubble.
    he is so on the mark

  404. stu says:

    Thoughts on A Loan to AIG, by John Jansen: Let me begin by noting that no details have been released on the alleged transaction between the Federal Reserve and AIG and so to comment is dangerous. But I will anyway!

    If the Federal Reserve Bank of New York plans to write an $85 billion check to AIG , then Treasury market participants should duck for cover. They will likely raise the money by selling Treasury debt from the System Open Market Account. I have no idea how they would do that but it would be the largest such sale of securities since the dawn of human history.

    At this point I run into a problem as I lack a detailed set of facts. I will offer some comment but I understand that I am on rough terrain. Why does the Federal Reserve not control 100 percent of the company? Capitalsim punishes bad risk. These jokers took bad risk in spades, They should be wiped out. The common shareholders should be left with nothing. If this was a good deal for the taxpayers, this would have been a private transaction. The very fact that the Fed is involved speaks loudly to us that no private company believes that this is a prudent loan.

    Preferred shareholders? If the deal calls for making them whole, I ask why. There does not seem to be any reason to bail them out.

    Bondholders? They should be forced to take a haircut. This is not FNMA or Freddie Mac issuing debt for 40 years with a wink from the Treasury Secretary and the implied backing of the Government. This was a completely private enterprise. AIG debt could have been purchased earlier today for cents on the dollar. To reward the holders of that debt truly creates a windfall profit.

    The Federal Reserve is careening down a very slippery slope. The risks of that joyride are understandable and worthwhile if they exact a financial pound of flesh from those at AIG who so bungled their mission. On the surface that does not appear to be the case here.

  405. sas says:

    a good read with a nice map of NYC layoffs.

    “The Denouement”

  406. MJ says:

    So, if money markets are breaking the buck, WTF am i supposed to do with my cash?

    I can’t trust FDIC, they’re going bust, for sure.

  407. reinvestor101 says:

    Yes!! The Fed finally came to its senses and saved AIG. Now perhaps we can work on them to save Lehman as well.

    This is the best news we’ve had in the last two days, but the only one celebrating here is me. What’s the matter you doom and gloomers? You just don’t feel good unless things are collasping.

    Look, the economy and the financial markets will be just fine. We’ve nothing to worry about!! Happy days are coming again!!

  408. Outofstater says:

    #414 Right, but even though most members of Congress have a room-temperature IQ, even those guys understand that not refilling the coffers of the FDIC really would be Armageddon. It might be a hassle if your bank fails, but I think your FDIC insured accounts will be fine.

  409. stu says:

    Happy days are coming again!!

    Until tomorrows news breaks.

    Instead of letting the wealthy get punished for their sins, the empire takes a few steps closer to it’s demise.

    “It’s not moral hazard if the people you are bailing out don’t have any.”

  410. zieba says:

    RE: 328

    laughing hard @ post 328.

    bi is like the red headed step child nobody wants to touch…

  411. Cindy says:

    (396) Confused…

    I found this New York Times article from 10-13-99 “Republicans Propose a Deal in Financial Services.” Stephen Labaton

    “If the bill were presented to the President in its current form, the President would veto the bill,” Treasury Secretary Lawrence H Summers said.

    Mr. Summers and other Administration officials criticized the legislation today for failing to provide primary protection for consumers and for heavily diluting the Community Reinvestment Act. That 1977 law encourages banks and savings associations to make loans to minorities, farmers, inner-city residents and others who have historically been denied access to credit.”

  412. Cindy says:

    (410) House Hunter – Dr. Housing Bubble is in my favorites. Very Thorough.

  413. Clotpoll says:

    I’m now more seriously looking into taking my family out of the US and renouncing my citizenship. The lies and treason have spiraled out of control. I truly fear this will not end until all our creditor nations cut us off at the knees and we are just left with cars, empty gas stations and malls growing weed trees in their atriums.

    This country stands for nothing anymore, other than get-rich quick schemes, multi-level marketing and communism of the rich.

  414. sas says:

    “So, if money markets are breaking the buck, WTF am i supposed to do with my cash?”

    come on bloke.. think!

    get your self some silver & gold, natural gas, coal, CELG, some foreign currency, and 2 handguns (one for the bedside, one to bury with your gold when you do midnight gardening).

    but hey, what do I know :)


  415. Cindy says:

    Stu –

    Are Freddie and Fannie being held “off the books” so that the next president can
    break them up if they so chose?

  416. chicagofinance says:

    stu Says:
    September 16th, 2008 at 9:53 pm

    Stu: I saw a segment on CNBC some time in the last 2 hours mentioning something about avoid triggering credit default swaps. I assume if you follow the tangled web, it will be a form over substance construct….just a wild guess…..

  417. Cindy says:

    choose already

  418. chicagofinance says:

    Just review some details I see on high level stories…..AIG is done…it is essentuially a bankruptcy in form without the bankruptcy…79.9% control…form over substance….it is going to be an orderly sell-off of assets, nothing more…end of story over the course of two years or so….

  419. sas says:


    its all by design.
    i know i sound like an old record, but we can all learn a hell of alot if we study what happened to Argentina.

    speaking of Argentina, I had a-go back there in the April of 77.

    if I could only turn back the clock :)


  420. chicagofinance says:

    SEPTEMBER 16, 2008 U.S. Plans Rescue of AIG to Halt Crisis;
    Central Banks Inject Cash as Credit Dries Up
    $85 Billion Loan for Giant Insurer Aimed at Averting Collapse;
    Historic Move Would Cap 10 Days That Reshaped U.S. Finance;
    Fed Says AIG Will Sell Businesses in Orderly Manner
    more in Deals »Email Printer Friendly Share:
    Yahoo Buzz MySpace Digg Text Size
    The U.S. government announced an emergency rescue of American International Group Inc. — one of the world’s biggest insurers — signaling the intensity of its concerns about the danger a collapse could pose to the financial system.
    It’s a dramatic turnabout for the federal government, which has strongly resisted overtures from AIG for an emergency loan or some intervention that would prevent the insurer from falling into bankruptcy. Just last weekend, the government effectively pulled the plug on Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., allowing the big investment bank to fail instead of giving it financial support.
    The precise details of the government’s plans were still being formulated late Tuesday. The primary option being hammered out involved the Fed providing AIG with a short-term “bridge” loan of $85 billion, according to people familiar with the situation. In exchange, the government would receive warrants in AIG representing the right to buy its stock, under certain conditions. That could put the government in a position to potentially control a private insurer, a historic move, particularly considering that AIG isn’t directly regulated by the federal government.
    The moves capped a day of high drama in Washington. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke convened in the early evening an unexpected meeting of top congressional leaders, including Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada, the majority leader, top members of the Senate Banking Committee and leaders, too, from the House.
    Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama said he didn’t receive a “satisfactory” answer from Mr. Paulson in an early conversation about the ultimate scope of government intervention. “I laid out — where do you stop? Where do you draw the line?”

    Associated Press
    Businessmen leave an American International Group office building Tuesday in New York.
    The Federal Reserve appeared to be motivated in part by worries that Wall Street’s financial crisis could begin to spill over into seemingly safe investments held by small investors, such as money-market funds that invest in AIG debt.
    Indeed, on Tuesday the $62 billion Primary Fund from the Reserve, a New York money-market firm, said it “broke the buck” — that is, its net asset value fell below the $1-a-share level that funds like this must maintain. Breaking the buck is an extremely rare occurrence. The fund was pinched by investments in bonds issued by now collapsing Lehman Brothers.
    Money-market funds are supposed to be among the safest investments available. No fund in the $3.6 trillion money-market industry has lost money since 1994, when Orange County, Calif., went bankrupt. A number of money-market funds own securities issued by AIG. The firm is also a big insurer of some money-market instruments.
    AIG’s financial crisis intensified Monday night when its credit rating was downgraded, forcing it to post $14.5 billion in collateral. The insurer has far more than that in assets that it could sell, but it could not get the cash quickly enough to satisfy the collateral demands. That explains the interest in obtaining a bridge loan to carry it through. AIG’s board approved the rescue Tuesday night.
    The final decision to help AIG came Tuesday as the federal government concluded it would be “catastrophic” to allow the insurer to fail, according to a person familiar with the matter. Over the weekend, federal officials had tried to get the private sector to pony up some funds. But when that effort failed, Fed Chairman Bernanke, New York Fed President Timothy Geithner and Treasury Secretary Paulson concluded that federal assistance was needed to avert an AIG bankruptcy, which they feared could have disastrous repercussions.
    Staff from the Federal Reserve and Treasury worked on the plan through Monday night. President George W. Bush was briefed on the rescue Tuesday afternoon during a meeting of the President’s Working Group on Financial Markets.
    View Slideshow
    That the government would prop up AIG financially offers a stark indication of the breadth of the insurer’s role in the global economy. If it were to have trouble meeting its obligations, the potential domino effect could reach around the world.
    For one thing, banks and mutual funds are major holders off AIG’s debt and could take a hit if the insurer were to default. In addition, AIG was a major seller of “credit-default swaps,” essentially, insurance against default on assets tied to corporate debt and mortgage securities. Weakness at AIG could force financial institutions in the U.S., Europe and Asia that bought these swaps to take write-downs or losses.
    AIG’s millions of insurance policyholders appear to be considerably less at risk. That’s because of how the company is structured and regulated. Its insurance policies are issued by separate subsidiaries of AIG, highly regulated units that have assets available to pay claims. In the U.S., those assets can’t be shifted out of the subsidiaries without regulatory approval, and insurance is also regulated strictly abroad.
    Tuesday afternoon, after the market closed, AIG put out a statement saying its basic insurance and retirement services businesses are “fully capable of meeting their obligations to policyholders.” AIG said it was trying to “increase short-term liquidity in the parent company,” but said that didn’t “include any effort to reduce the capital of any of its subsidiaries or to tap into Asian operations for liquidity.” Asia is one AIG’s largest markets.
    Where the company is feeling financial pain is at the corporate level, even while its insurance operations are healthy. If a bankruptcy filing did ensue, the insurance subsidiaries could continue to operate while in Chapter 11, or could also be sold.
    Still, a collapse of the parent company would have huge ripple effects. The urgency of federal aid came into stark relief Tuesday as other options fell off the table and pressures continued to build. On Tuesday, AIG’s attempt to raise as much as $75 billion from private-sector banks failed. The banks advising the firm concluded it would be all but impossible to organize a loan of that size, making the government AIG’s chief hope.
    The AIG bailout caps a tumultuous 10 days that have remade the American financial system. In that time, the government has engineered rescues that insert it deep into the housing and insurance industries, while Wall Street has watched two of its last four big independent brokerage firms exit the scene.
    The U.S. on Sept. 6 took over mortgage-lending giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as they teetered near collapse. This Sunday, the U.S. refused to bail out Wall Street pillar Lehman Brothers, which filed for bankruptcy and is now being sold off in pieces. That same day, another struggling Wall Street titan, Merrill Lynch & Co., sold itself to Bank of America Corp..
    As a result of AIG’s credit downgrades, the insurer has to post $14.5 billion in collateral to bolster its credit rating. In the debt markets, AIG also has to post additional collateral to investment banks and others it trades with.
    Adding to AIG’s woes, investors continued to pummel the company’s stock on Tuesday, pushing the share price down another 21%, to $3.75. It was the third double-digit percentage decline in the last three trading days.
    Crisis on Wall Street
    Greenberg’s Letter to AIG CEO WillumstadWash Wire: Bush Not to Comment on Paulson MeetingCrisis Blog: Questions and Answers on AIGAIG, Lehman Shock Hits World MarketsOld-School Banks Emerge on TopComplete Coverage: Wall Street in CrisisFederal officials worked throughout the day to help the company forestall a possible bankruptcy filing. Insurance regulators in New York, where AIG is based, are also working on a plan to let AIG move some assets into and out of its subsidiaries in order to be able to borrow up to $20 billion against some of them. But a spokesman says the department is confident it is protecting policyholders.
    “Our deal is contingent on a broader solution to AIG’s problems,” says the department spokesman, David Neustadt.
    AIG’s cash squeeze is driven in large part by losses in a unit separate from its traditional insurance businesses. That financial-products unit, which has been a part of AIG for years, sold the credit-default swap contracts designed to protect investors against default in an array of assets, including subprime mortgages.
    But as the housing market has crumbled, the value of those contracts has dropped sharply, driving $18 billion in losses over the past three quarters and forcing AIG to put up billions of dollars in collateral. AIG raised $20 billion earlier this year. But the ongoing demands are straining the holding company’s resources.
    That strain contributed to the ratings downgrades on Monday. Those downgrades, in turn, ratcheted up the pressure on the company to come up with more cash, quickly.
    Most insurance companies don’t have financial-products units like these. But over nearly four decades, former CEO, Maurice R. “Hank” Greenberg built AIG into a firm that resembled no other. He transformed its insurance business, both by expanding abroad — notably in China, where AIG has its roots — and by buying up other firms.
    Mr. Greenberg pushed into areas that have little to do with bread-and-butter businesses like selling life insurance or protecting companies against property losses. In 1990, for instance, he bought International Lease Finance Corp., which leases planes to airlines.
    But in 2005, Mr. Greenberg stepped down amid an accounting scandal. But Mr. Greenberg, who is fighting civil charges related to the scandal and has denied wrongdoing, didn’t fade from the scene. He still heads a firm that is AIG’s largest shareholder, and on Tuesday, he sent a letter to current CEO, Robert Willumstad, saying he was “ready to offer any assistance that I can.”
    As confidence in AIG’s fate has plummeted, the amount of money it feels compelled to raise to calm its many constituents continues to rise. Though $40 billion was the figure over the weekend, it climbed to 75 billion on Monday and, according to a person close to the company, to $100 billion on Tuesday.
    The rapid escalation in its potential needs has raised the spectre of bankruptcy. In preparation for a possible bankruptcy filing, AIG has hired New York law firm Weil Gotshal & Manges to advise it. Weil is also working for Lehman Brothers Holdings, which filed for bankruptcy protection earlier this week.
    The ratings downgrades also triggered a provision in some of AIG’s large commercial insurance policies that allow holders to cancel the policies and recoup some of the premiums they paid, according a person familiar with the matter. It’s not clear whether policyholders are exercising that right.
    But insurance brokers are contending with worried clients who have policies issued by AIG. Daniel Glaser, the head of the brokerage unit at Marsh & McLennan Cos. (and a former AIG executive) posted a letter to customers on the company’s Web site saying that AIG is “facing a liquidity crisis.” Nonetheless, Mr. Glaser wrote that AIG meets the broker’s “financial guidelines,” despite recent rating downgrades. “Therefore, we have no restrictions on the use of AIG insurance company subsidiaries for client placements,” Mr. Glaser wrote.
    In Asia, where AIG operates a wide network of businesses, its affiliates sought to reassure clients that they had sufficient capital to meet all policy claims. Regulators in India, Hong Kong, Singapore and Thailand said local AIG units have enough capital to cover their obligations. Regulators in China said they were monitoring the situation.
    Customers outside the U.S. accounted for 79% of AIG’s insurance premiums for life insurance and retirement services last year. Japan and Taiwan are among AIG’s largest markets.
    Despite reassurances from regulators that their policies were covered and warnings that cancellations could lead to losses, dozens of people lined up outside AIG-affiliated offices in Singapore. Some waited for three hours to be attended by staffers. Others said that they wanted to make sure that their policies are safe, while others said they would cancel their policies.

  421. electricsheep says:

    Clot –

    My largest client is in Germany, and they’ve offered me an apartment and a car (and perhaps more important: a visa). My husband and I can’t find one good reason to stay here. I’m with you on “getting out.”

    Besides, I can’t tolerate looking at one more house in Glen RIdge or Montclair, NJ.

  422. sas says:


    this bloke is just trying to get your goats.
    I know a decoy from miles away.


  423. sas says:


    Fall is my favorite seaon, as the weather cools, it brings back the return of my nightly ritual:

    warm milk & cognac


  424. NJGator says:

    shore – you’ll have to let stu and i know which montclair place you chose and if you liked it

  425. sas says:

    and tomatoe & garlic soup in the afternoons….


  426. reinvestor101 says:

    You know, I feel so warm and cozy right now. Hell, I feel like a freshly powdered baby! I can go to sleep tonight knowing that our government cares about me and my money. The only thing that would disturb this blissful state is if this country elected that liberal Omama. We need John and Sarah to continue the good work that’s been done to date!

  427. reinvestor101 says:

    Guess what Sas? I’ve got no need for any damn goats, so if these terrorists have any, they can keep them. I’m merely expressing my thoughts and it appears that you don’t believe in free speech.

    sas Says:
    September 16th, 2008 at 10:31 pm

    this bloke is just trying to get your goats.
    I know a decoy from miles away.


  428. still_looking says:

    clot, e-sheep,

    me, too.

    my fears are growing geometrically about our economy.

    what’s our debt now? still 9 trillion or is it more.

    Um, who bails out the FED and FDIC when they run out of money?


  429. Cindy says:

    Chicago – Thinking about you…

    I think I’ll call my mom tomorrow and thank her for instilling in me one strong work ethic. It is going to come in handy.

    Mom has a new boyfriend. He’s 84 – she’s 85.
    A wonderful man – and he cooks!

  430. Clotpoll says:

    sheep (428)-

    I hear you. I mean, we can laugh at the rig-up that passes for most Western European countries, but at least the economic might they do possess is purposed to the common good (no, I am not a soci@list). On the other hand, our economy can be most charitably described as cronyinsm meets f@scism meets command/control meets Ponzi. We now have outcomes so completely predetermined that we’re becoming a caricature of early ’90s Japan.

    The thought of Asian runs on AIG should shame every American. They are a final and graphic confirmation that our main exports are now debt, inflation and fraud. We have not only infected ourselves, we’ve infected the whole damn world.

    Some city on a shining hill.

  431. still_looking says:


    Firefox is pretty nice… finally had the “straw/camel back” moment when IE crashed my computer for the umpteenth time.

    I kinda like this….


  432. still_looking says:


    can you find us a place close to a hospital on whatever other continent you find?

    I’m so sick of our f’d up government, it’s depressing me.


  433. victorian says:

    Does Bill Gross make out like a bandit on this one too?

    Are the bonds taking a haircut or no?

  434. bairen says:

    #434 re101

    You must have quite a few large bulls judging by all the krap you spew.

  435. ricky_nu says:

    Is the collapse in the USA a means for leveling the playing field vs foreign investors once again, ie sell it to the outsiders, allow price to collapse, buy it back for pennies on the dollar (ala rock Center ot the Japanese in the 80’s)?

  436. B Squared says:

    The AIG story reminds me of the end days at Mutual Benefit Life, the largest life insurance failure to date in 1991.

    It was seized by the state in July of that year and the official story was that it was being “rehabilitated.”

    Anyone with common sense or a healthy dose of skepticism thought it was a plan to nurse their assets back to a point where liabilities could be met whereupon the company would be liquidated.

    The company exists as a bunch of documents in a warehouse somewhere.

    AIG’s bailout: a plan for an orderly liquidation.

  437. Confused In NJ says:

    418. Cindy Says:
    September 16th, 2008 at 10:17 pm
    (396) Confused…

    I found this New York Times article from 10-13-99 “Republicans Propose a Deal in Financial Services.” Stephen Labaton

    “If the bill were presented to the President in its current form, the President would veto the bill,” Treasury Secretary Lawrence H Summers said.

    Mr. Summers and other Administration officials criticized the legislation today for failing to provide primary protection for consumers and for heavily diluting the Community Reinvestment Act. That 1977 law encourages banks and savings associations to make loans to minorities, farmers, inner-city residents and others who have historically been denied access to credit.”

    The article is true. Bill Clinton who relished the concept of being the first Black president, rolled over when they added those assurances to the Econominc Treason Bill. Kerry & Kennedy also, although Kennedy could probably argue that his brain cancer clouded his judgement. The point is Clot is right, the Donkeys and Elephants have conspired to sell out this Country.

  438. Confused In NJ says:

    Customers outside the U.S. accounted for 79% of AIG’s insurance premiums for life insurance and retirement services last year. Japan and Taiwan are among AIG’s largest markets.

    So why don’t Japan & Taiwan bail out AIG? Same logic that made Brennan & Supreme Court say US citizens are responsible for the education costs of illegal aliens, I guess. The inmates are running the asylum.

  439. Cindy says:

    Roubini said we needed an “orderly unwinding.” I don’t think this is what he had in mind…

  440. BklynHawk says:

    A while back I made the Titanic reference..hat tip to HousingPanic for this clip…seems kind of appropriate now…I’ll just be off to shuffle deck chairs.


    Good night and good luck to all!

  441. MJ says:


    ok, you win, AIG is too big to fail.

    if only all these entities knew what I know about AIG, which is it has always been a bunch of crooks and liars at the top, utterly despicable people, they never would have gotten so wound up with AIG.

  442. DL says:

    Electricsheep: ref 428. Germany’s a great place to live. I’ve been here for more than half my life. Sprechen Sie Deutsch? No matter, half of German these days is made up of English words anyway.

  443. Clotpoll says:

    sas (426)-

    I may take you up on that Argentina study.

    Then, I may check out how easy it is to expatriate there.

  444. Clotpoll says:

    BTW…AIG can suck it.

    Becoming a sophisticated criminal is now the American Dream.

  445. realitycheck says:

    God is punishing America for constantly bullying Russia, acting mean and unfair in the world

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