Since when did owning a house become the American Dream?

Whatever happened to democracy, freedom, liberty, hard work, opportunity and dedication?

From the Press of Atlantic City:

American Dream is still alive, it’s just getting harder for the middle class to achieve it

The taupe-colored house in Pleasantville stands out for its spiffy newness. The front door is blizzard white and the wooden porch is clutter-free. Jorge and Maria Hernandez zero in on the house’s “for sale” sign.

Could this be home?

They digest the view before a real estate agent ushers them inside. Maria had been unsure from the outside, but now her affection for the house grows when she realizes just how much room there is: A walk-in closet in the master bedroom. A second bathroom for the children. A backyard – spacious enough for a deck.

The initial buyer decided to pull out at the last minute, leaving the seller in a bind, the agent says. The house is priced at $249,000, but the seller will negotiate.
“Maria, this one is right,” Jorge tells his wife. She prays on it.

Three months later, Maria is in her two-bedroom apartment on the Pleasantville-Absecon border, which she shares with her husband, young grandson and goddaughter.

“I want it for my grandson,” she says. “I want my baby to say, ‘This is my house.'”

They are another family trying to pull themselves up the economic rungs of the American middle class. Now, more than ever, it’s a harder climb and a longer haul.

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

377 Responses to Since when did owning a house become the American Dream?

  1. grim says:

    From Bloomberg:

    Bernanke Battles `Big-Time’ Economic Erosion With New Rate Cuts

    Less than three weeks after the Federal Reserve’s emergency interest-rate reduction was, in the words of its vice chairman, “overwhelmed” by the collapse of financial markets, Ben S. Bernanke is about to try again.

    The outlook has worsened since the Fed last acted on Oct. 8, and analysts now say the economy may shrink more than 2 percent in the final quarter of 2008, its steepest decline in at least 18 years. “We’re heading south big-time,” says Lyle Gramley, a former Fed governor who is now senior economic adviser at Stanford Group Co. in Washington.

    As a result, Fed Chairman Bernanke and his colleagues may eventually have to drive the benchmark overnight rate close to zero to resuscitate the economy. The next installment comes Oct. 29 when, says Gramley, “the Fed is going to cut rates a half percentage point.”

    That would reduce the central bank’s target for the federal funds rate, which commercial banks charge each other for overnight loans, to 1 percent. The official rate hasn’t been that low since 2004, and has never been lower since the Fed began trying to control it in the late 1980s. More cuts may follow if the economy doesn’t recover.

  2. grim says:

    From CNBC:

    Recession Fears Haunt Markets, IMF Talks Advance

    Japanese stocks tumbled to 26-year lows on Monday and most other Asian markets fell heavily in chaotic trade as investors feared a flurry of central bank moves would not be enough to stave off a global recession.

    Little that officials said could convince panicky investors that governments can stem the fast-spreading crisis that is menacing financial markets, economic growth and company earnings.

  3. yikes says:

    # Clotpoll Says:
    October 27th, 2008 at 7:46 am

    yikes (714)-

    Whatever you do, get it out of cash. The big jump in USD value only has to do with safe haven-type money movements and the need to pay off debt in USD. The PPT’s under the surface of this, doing everything possible to inflate to infinity.

    Once deflation begins to wane a bit, hyperinflation will begin to rage. At that point, you don’t want to be in cash.

    Here’s hoping this scenario can wait until Jan/Feb … that’s when we should buy since our lease expires shortly after …

  4. Clotpoll says:

    Mike Morgan, believing this is the week the wheels come off. Be forewarned…this guy has correctly called every step of the current debacle:

    Without questions, this week is shaping up to be a critical turning point in the global financial crisis. With CALPERS finally announcing they are in trouble, I believe things will quickly unravel. CALPERS is the world’s largest pension fund, and I would have thought they would have kept things under wraps for a year or two.

    Obviously, the pension funds are in far worse trouble than anyone anticipated. This is the last straw. This is total destruction of the global financial system, as this is the top of the Ponzi Scheme designed by men like King Henry when he ran Goldman Sachs with accomplices like Kashkari, Rubin, Corzine and other outright frauds that raped the global financial system.

    The only way out of this is to go after the crooks like Paulson and his buddies that made trillions of dollars at the expense of the masses. That will never happen, so we slide into chaos . . . just as I began writing about four years ago.

    Three Calls A Day – In light of what is going to unravel this week, we will hold at least three conference calls each day. 8:45AM, 11:00AM and 2:45PM. I will also hold a variety of special conference calls and if things merit, we will hold one or more evening calls.

    For Trading Clients, you are invited to all 15 calls at no additional charge. If you are a General Client and would like to join the additional 10 Trading Client calls AT 11AM and 2:45PM every day this week, the cost is $75.

    We do not have the time to administer purchases of individual calls, so instead we lowered the price to $75.

    Non-Clients – If you are not yet a client and you would like to participate in this week’s conference calls, you may purchase the 8:45AM calls for $75 or all 15 calls for $150. The PayPal links are below. You must register at least one hour prior to any of the calls you want to be on.

    P.S. Three calls a day is not the norm for our clients, but this week is shaping up to be critical for the global financial system and our personal lives.

  5. grim says:

    Pant up inflation?

  6. Cindy says:

    Okay – I’ll post it again..

    “The Bet That Blew Up Wall Street”

    Bankers, investors will be hogs if you let them…It is the American way to make a buck any way you can. The responsibility for this – the overseers – the people we elect to look out for us – are the politicians. They are directly responsible for wiping out a laws – put in place – specifically to protect us from this sort of gambling…AND they included provisions that prevented the states from protecting themselves.

    Rather than a backlash on the rich or Wall Street (besides everyone pulling out their money) the blame lies squarely on the shoulders of those elected to protect Americans.

  7. BC Bob says:


    Simply window dressing. They have been cutting drastically; adjusted monetary base, liquidity injections, open market operations, etc.. A rate cut will have zero effect on borrowing nor the economy. The fed knows this.

  8. Cindy says:

    I think you guys are wrong. I do not think the system will implode. Fortunes, retirements, huge amounts of money are lost. It will be years before we recover – but recover we will.

  9. House Hunter says:

    Sheila Bair stating “we need to act dramatically to have more wide scale systemic (loan) modifications..”

    stick a pen in my eye

  10. Clotpoll says:

    BC (8)-

    Pushing on a f*^king string. Bergabe & Klink already know we’re doomed. They’re just keeping up the charade of activism to provide a few more days/weeks of cover for their buddies to finish robbing us.

  11. grim says:

    From Reuters:

    U.S. financial overhaul will take years: Fed official

    Overhauling the U.S. financial system will take years, an official of the New York Federal Reserve said on Monday, and must include a congressional ruling on overseeing ratings agencies in particular.

    William Rutledge, executive vice-president of the New York Federal Reserve Bank, criticized ratings agencies for failing to adequately identify risks in subprime mortgages.

    Governments around the world have thrown trillions of dollars at the financial crisis to prevent a global recession, help thaw frozen credit markets and calm jittery stock markets.

    “The U.S. financial regulatory structure has been shown to have some major weaknesses,” Rutledge said at a conference in the UAE capital, Abu Dhabi.

    “It is an incredible learning experience and will take years before there could be changes in our financial architecture and before we have a stronger and more resilient system.”

  12. Frank says:

    “Broken Securities Industry Still Has $20 Billion to Pay Bonuses”

    You call this a recession?? I want this recession everyday. Bring on the $20 Billion to my recession.

  13. Clotpoll says:

    Hunter (10)-

    Come to think of it…we may not see violence against the rich until the violence against bailed-out idiot homeowners wanes.

  14. BC Bob says:

    “The financial crisis spreading like wildfire across the former Soviet bloc threatens to set off a second and more dangerous banking crisis in Western Europe, tipping the whole Continent into a fully-fledged economic slump.”

    “Currency pegs are being tested to destruction on the fringes of Europe’s monetary union in a traumatic upheaval that recalls the collapse of the Exchange Rate Mechanism in 1992.”

    “A few dare-devil homeowners in Hungary and Latvia took out mortgages in Japanese yen. They have just suffered a 40pc rise in their debt since July. Nobody warned them what happens when the Japanese carry trade goes into brutal reverse, as it does when the cycle turns.”

    “This is the biggest currency crisis the world has ever seen,” said Neil Mellor, a strategist at Bank of New York Mellon.

  15. yikes says:

    Cindy – of course we’ll recover. But the situation now is how to get through the next 4-5 years. how to hold onto your job. how to take care of your family. how to prepare yourself for the worst.

    It’s weird how time goes by quickly when you’re having fun – i feel as if i was in college last week, but this may it’ll be nine years.

    What stinks is that time always goes slow when things are the worst.

  16. Clotpoll says:

    Frank (13)-

    Have you at all realized that you’re part of the “Broken Securities Insdustry”, referenced above?

    You are also a smashingly inept troll.

  17. grim says:

    You call this a recession?? I want this recession everyday. Bring on the $20 Billion to my recession.

    Not a recession until a shanty town springs up in Central Park.

  18. House Hunter says:

    Cindy, it was never a doubt in my mind that the Gov’t fueled this debacle, I am taking my opinion/facts to the voting booth this Nov

  19. Clotpoll says:

    BC (15)-

    “A few dare-devil homeowners in Hungary and Latvia took out mortgages in Japanese yen. They have just suffered a 40pc rise in their debt since July. Nobody warned them what happens when the Japanese carry trade goes into brutal reverse, as it does when the cycle turns.”

    Maybe the Hungarians and Latvians can become pen pals with Mrs. Watanabe.

    So this is how it all ends? Eastern Europeans, trying to work the carry on their house mortgages?

    Funny. Less than 20 years ago, there were probably not 100 people in E Europe who knew how mortgages worked, much less the carry trade.

  20. yikes says:

    BC/Clot – I know timetables are impossible to draw up, but I’m curious – how do you see the next year shaking out?

    How much longer can Bernanke and his joke of a team keep up this charade? Through the winter? Thanksgiving? Valentine’s Day?

    You guys have been making correct calls for the last 2.5 years, and thanks to you (and other posters), a lot of us are ahead of the game. But i feel like the train is speeding up, and it could get REAL ugly sooner (2009?) rather than later (2010?)

  21. Clotpoll says:

    Talk about the Tower of Babel. E Euros and Japanese housewives, circling the drain together.

    We are now firmly in the end of days.

  22. House Hunter says:

    #14 Clot…the “stories” around us are building this past week..something must be ramping up. In just a short period of time those we know that are “under water”appear to be thinking that “help” is on the way. After hearing a few real life stories, the hubby and I were more and more angry over it

  23. House Hunter says:

    What’s up with us stiking over the border in Syria…

  24. Clotpoll says:

    yikes (21)-

    Dunno. But I’d guess the deflationary cycle will last deep into next year, maybe even 2010. Still a lot to be wrung out, all over the planet.

    If you want to move into a purchase, cool your heels. You will have ample time and warning.

    Beyond that, my only other call is that C fails before 4/1/09.

  25. BC Bob says:

    Clot [17],

    His hedge fund is long since WB is buying. Can you imagine paying 2/20 for that sophisticated expertise/model?

    Now I know why he’s in the mall every Saturday. His fund must be long SPG in the 90’s. They can’t identify the problem. Frank’s job is to go to the mall and count the living dead.

  26. Clotpoll says:

    Hunter (23)-

    I think some of this “help is on the way” crap is typical pre-election fantasizing by the sheeple. They have certainly been pumped full of false hope during this seemingly unending election cycle.

    I think every new prez- since WWII- gets a very long briefing the day after the inauguration. In it, every part of the gubmint and military gives him a report of how things REALLY are. I refer to it as the presidential “Oh Shit” moment.

    O is going to be a very different man after his “Oh Shit” moment comes and goes. I think he now suspects we are flat-ass broke. After January 20th, he’ll know it for sure.

  27. Clotpoll says:

    BC (26)-

    The living dead would be easier to count, if they just looked like the flesh-eating zombies in “I Am Legend”.

  28. Clotpoll says:

    Hunter (24)-

    Too bad they didn’t send a few guys from that detail to whack an Assad or two.

  29. Clotpoll says:

    I still think Frank is a barista in his hedge fund’s cafeteria.

  30. BC Bob says:

    Yikes [21],

    Bergabe lost it a long time ago. The dike has thousands of cracks. They are throwing up everything possible, hoping that something will stick. Unfortunately, you can’t leverage while the world is deleveraging. Manipulation, price fixing, press releases, short term gimmicks, etc.., will not cut it. There is absolutely nothing that will stop Mr Market.

    If your question is regarding RE, sit tight. We are in about the 13th mile of a 26 mile marathon. The stock market? Watch the YEN/EURO cross, you’ll find your clues there.

  31. Sean says:

    Bretton Woods III coming to Washington DC on Nov 15th. So far Russia has said they are pushing their own plan, the Middle East their own, Asia has another plan etc, and Sarkozy who holds the presidency of the European Union is trying to rally Europe.

    The US is expecting to repeat Bretton Woods II to solve the problems created by Bretton Woods II. That does not sound like much of a solution but more like the creation of a new bigger problem.

    China for example is anchored the Bretton Woods II regime. There are now rumors that China’s the policy of export-led growth aided by exchange rate “management” has resulted in the country facing huge losses on its exchange rate reserves. China must now revalue its currency and focus on domestic sources of growth. If China were to do that, who would anchor the new regime of de facto dollar pegs needed for the current Paulson plan to eventually succeed?

    Alternatively, the dollar must be allowed to weaken substantially so that the US can export its way out of stagnation, with the developing world acting as the source of demand. That would be a remarkable reversal of historical roles.

    For that to happen, the developing world must be both capable of and willing to allow domestic-led growth to take hold. Neither of the two are in place in many developing countries, and are not likely to happen quickly.

    G20 finance ministers are also planning to meet from Nov 7-9 in Brazil a week ahead of the global finance crisis summit in DC.

    Interesting times are ahead for us all, hopefully you have your house in order and your debt to God paid up.

  32. yikes says:

    If your question is regarding RE, sit tight. We are in about the 13th mile of a 26 mile marathon. The stock market? Watch the YEN/EURO cross, you’ll find your clues there.

    actually, it was regarding cash. we’ve stockpiled a sizable chunk – enough for a 40% downpayment, plus the mandatory 6 month “living expenses” and then another chunk for furnishing and the pool.

    in my world-is-ending scenario, that paper would be worthless.

    im out of the market completely. had fun with SKF but cashed out on the last uptick. now im on the sidelines watching.

  33. DL says:

    The loss of wealth will mean far fewer people will be willing or able to retire. Watch companies start mandatory retirement ages (like the airline industry for pilots) as a way to shed higher paid talent for cheaper entry level workers.

  34. BC Bob says:

    yikes [34],

    In a deflationary environment cash is king. Your long side A cash and flat side B. Well side B is getting anniliated. You are a big winner. CONGRATS!! Don’t screw up a good trade. Keep on what’s working.

  35. DL says:

    From the WSJ: “During August and September 2007, a BMW 3-Series sedan sold 28 days after it hit the showroom floor, on average, according to data from the Power Information Network. During the same period this year, the average 3-Series sedan sat unsold for 49 days. Some of the big sedans older, wealthier people like to drive are having an even tougher time. A Lexus LS sedan sold in just 21 days on average last August and September. This year, the average LS sat around for 62 days before it sold – for an average of about $5,000 less, according to PIN data.”

  36. Frank says:

    “I still think Frank is a barista in his hedge fund’s cafeteria.”

    As long as I get a piece of the $20 Billion, it’s better than being a RE agent in Northern NJ.

  37. grim says:

    From MarketWatch:

    Analyst sees bigger home-price drop on foreclosures

    Fox-Pitt Kelton housing analyst Robert Stevenson on Monday increased his forecast for home-price declines, saying foreclosures are driving down pricing faster than he had expected. “Our original expectation that home prices had another 15% to fall appears far too conservative,” Stevenson wrote in a report to clients. His base-case assumption is now an additional decline in range of 20% to 25%. “In a bear-case scenario where unemployment exceeds 9%, we believe prices could instead drop 30% to 35%,” he added. Home prices are already off about 20% nationally from the peak, so the bearish forecast represents a 44% to 48% peak-to-trough drop, Stevenson said.

  38. grim says:

    And I thought *I* was grim…

  39. Cindy says:

    What I am trying to say is that I don’t see Americans giving up – as long as they see a chance that NEW – BETTER – politicians can save the system. Sure….politicians got us here so who’s to say they are capable of solving the problems…But the people get to vote – soon.

    The dirty laundry I kept hoping would be “aired” is out (via 60 minutes) – for all to see. It will explain much to those who were clueless.

    All along, the one component that has been missing from everyones’ equations was the “human element.”

    I – for one here – do not discount that so easily. First – a leader has to know the right course to take – then said leader needs to explain it to “the people.” (Ala Anna Schwartz from yesterday.)

    I fear we are behind in not identifying insolvent banks first and allowing them to fail before the recapitalization took place. But…..we need to move forward –

    The people will speak with their vote. Many here see Americans as lazy and uncommitted to a lifestyle of work. My hope is, of course, that you are wrong and that the best that we can muster in a time of crisis will be drawn out.

  40. 3b says:

    #14 clot: As you know. If they modify mtgs, I modify my bids

  41. Cindy says:

    (39) Grim -We have 40%-50% price drops here – and about 10% unemployment – but life goes on…

  42. DL says:

    Seems the political class has only two choices when it comes to housing, both of them bad. They can either do nothing and let markets make renters out of homeowners (using the term loosely) or they can bail them out and ruin the housing market even further. If they start urging banks to reduce loan amounts etc; where can I sign up for my free house?

  43. Punch My Ticket says:

    Long time no see. Anybody catch this sorry tale from Friday?

    Wall Street wives had the richer, now they’re a bit poorer

  44. grim says:

    If they start urging banks to reduce loan amounts etc; where can I sign up for my free house?

    Nothing is stopping you from buying today, putting down the least amount possible, and not making any payments at all.

    Be sure to get a loan from a company facing implosion. The FDIC will take the loan and you’ll be on the fast track to riches.

  45. grim says:

    Long time no see. Anybody catch this sorry tale from Friday?

    I’m patiently waiting for the Gary rant on this one.

  46. 3b says:

    #41 cindy: You are way too kind. Most Americans do not have a clue about most issues.

    Don’t forget being well read and informed, and thinking for yourself, is now the sign of an elitist, as far as many on the right are concerned.

    For many on the left , it is do not ask or question,we know what is best for you, if you disagree, they are just as rigid as those on the right.

    All hope is lost.

  47. kettle1 says:


    I think the issue is, what do we have to save? The government as it now exists is nothing like what was intended. The current government is essentially run by corporations. So many laws have been put into place that all unimaginable numbers and types of loop holes that the US government has become similar to a computer on the internet that has no virus protection and has become overun with viruses and adware. The only way to fix such a computer is to shut it down and reinstall the operating system.

    The corporate system in the US has become so entrenched that for all intents and purposes we are a corporatocracy

    “I – for one here – do not discount that so easily. First – a leader has to know the right course to take – then said leader needs to explain it to “the people.” (Ala Anna Schwartz from yesterday.)”

    No leader who can get elected can do so without selling his soul to the powers that be.

    Do you want to save the spirit of what the nation was originally founded on or the corporatocracy that currently exists? This is a serious question? what do you want to save?

  48. Stu says:

    From the article at (45):

    Wall Street wives
    When she was growing up, Fran Alvarez says, her mother “used to buy the scratchiest toilet paper and when we complained she would say when you get your own job, you buy the expensive type.” Now Fran is a mother herself, and in the wake of her husband’s financial setback, “Well, we’re back to the scratchy stuff.”

    This is where I draw the lines on savings. No scratchy TP for my shiny hiney.

  49. grim says:

    From Bloomberg:

    Capital One, KeyCorp, Huntington Apply for U.S. Rescue Funds

    Capital One Financial Corp., KeyCorp and Huntington Bancshares Inc. are taking part in the U.S. bank bailout by selling a total of $7.5 billion in preferred stock and warrants to the government.

    Capital One, based in McLean, Virginia, will sell a $3.6 billion stake, while Cleveland-based KeyCorp plans to sell $2.5 billion in equity to the U.S. Treasury under the Troubled Asset Relief Program. Huntington, of Columbus, Ohio, announced its application for $1.4 billion in a statement today.

  50. grim says:

    Bank M&A bubble?

  51. BC Bob says:

    “Capital One Financial Corp”

    New ad campaign;

    Capital One, What’s in TARP’s wallet.

  52. Sean says:

    re: #41 Cindy – That piece on CBS said nothing about the huge amounts of insider trading and what amounts to naked short selling in the swap markets. It was all one big coke filled orgy on Wall St, and the latest joke is that the banks are going to start lending again.

    I want to see perp walks and not just the illegal mexican landscapers who took out a NINJA loans because some gringo told him he could own a house with no money down.

  53. Cindy says:

    (49) Kettle

    “This is a serious question? What do you want to save?”

    You have heard me say this many times..we are a young country – we make mistakes.

    I want to save the system because I want to save the concept that you can fail – and vote to fix what is broken. You can – over and over again come to learn through trial and error what works and what doesn’t work. I want to save the right of the American populace to make those mistakes – then through the orderly process of elections make their opinions known….

    Throughout our history as a nation mistakes have been made. You do not throw away the computer…
    You do – keep trying – hold onto what is right and good – change what is not….

    It is a process of trial and (obviously) error…

  54. chicagofinance says:

    Clotpoll Says:
    October 27th, 2008 at 7:59 am
    Mike Morgan, believing this is the week the wheels come off. Be forewarned…this guy has correctly called every step of the current debacle:

    clot: Be forewarned….he is Nouriel Roubini with a subscription service….

  55. kettle1 says:


    U.S. Secretly Aids Pakistan in Guarding Nuclear Arms
    (from 2007)

    I have also heard from other places that the US has plans to neutralize or snatch the weapons if they think pakistan has lost control of them.

    we already have SF teams running OPS in pakistan, it wouldnt be a stretch.

    The US should be doing everything it can right now to bolster russia, not act against it.

    The really interesting questions is can the world bank, and IMF stand against china as things fall apart. China is really the only one who could currently stand against them. The problem with china though is that there is a very good chance the face civil war/ large scale political unrest within 5 years. Growth levels below 5% puts them in a very dangerous positions in regards to their internal political stability.

    The world bank/IMF must be loving the accelerating collapse of latin america as it allows them to reassert themselves as the plummeting oil prices are sapping Chavez’z strength and popularity

  56. Cindy says:

    (54) Sean – Agreed – perp walks are in order – The report basically said This is/was/should be illegal.

  57. DoughBoy says:

    If you’ve got no debt, you’re not upside down on a house, you’ve got a job or a skill that is worth something to everyone regardless of if your current position at your current employer goes away, and you’ve got money in the bank…

    What is there to be scared of in this ‘recession’? The way I see it, cool stuff is going ot get really cheap.

    Sure, lots of people are getting bailed out, helped, getting free money, and I’m not getting a dime because i was careful with my finances… but screw ’em!

  58. BC Bob says:


    Coincidence that her name is Mona?

  59. Clotpoll says:

    Chi (56)-

    His macroview aligns closely with Roubini’s, but his focus- even before he started dispensing investment advice- has been on RE. Read his Barron’s articles from 2006-08.

    The thing is, his on-the-ground experiences in RE led him into the rot occurring in banks, mutuals, pensions and insurance.

    I think you’re implying that Morgan’s overview is clouded by his subscription model. In that respect, I would disagree with you.

    And even if his philosophy is informed by his interest in selling investment advice, you can’t argue with his track record. Just like Roubini, he keeps being right.

    I like to stick with people who are repeatedly right. If anybody deserves the benefit of the doubt in this environment, it’s them.

  60. kettle1 says:

    Cindy 55,

    I agree with you 100%. we differ in implementation. Where as i see the primary institutions of our current government corrupt and incapable of being used as the solution, you do not take that view. to each their own ;)

  61. Clotpoll says:

    3b (48)-

    The right wants to be your abusive dad; the left, your domineering, alcoholic mom.

    I plan on spending Election Day trading my a** off.

    Wanna make a difference? Don’t vote.

  62. 3b says:

    #63 clot:Wanna make a difference? Don’t vote.


  63. DoughBoy says:

    (63) If you’re not going to cast your vote for one of the ‘big two’ and you really want to make a difference, how about tossing your vote to a 3rd party? THAT is a “no” vote that can be really counted. Not voting just gets lumped in with the rest of the lazy dolts who couldn’t be bothered.

  64. Clotpoll says:

    Frank (38)-

    Just another jackal pup, suckling at the teat of his scurvy-riddled mother:

    “As long as I get a piece of the $20 Billion, it’s better than being a RE agent in Northern NJ.”

  65. Clotpoll says:

    Dough (65)-

    The lazy dolts may be onto something.

    What 3rd party is deserving of the vote? Bob Barr’s running mate is Wayne Root, a Vegas bookmaker.

    Come to think of it…

  66. 3b says:

    #63 clot: It is about a month since I last asked this question, but here goes.

    Any thoughts on what the spring 2009 real estate market in the North Jersey area will look like??

  67. Clotpoll says:

    3b (68)-

    Slow, grinding, inexorable black death. Should see more forced/panic selling and a slight volume uptick toward the warmer months. Am seeing more and more sellers who can’t hold out much longer. Also, am seeing more sellers entering the market (albeit in tiny overall numbers) who are getting their price closer to right the first time.

  68. Cindy says:

    (62) Kettle – I am saying I have faith in the American people to DEAL with the institutions…as flawed as they are – as flawed as they have always been.

  69. kettle1 says:


    the core of my take on the matter.

    “The central bank is an institution of the most deadly hostility existing against the principles and the form of our Constitution. I am an enemy to all banks discounting bills or notes for anything but coin. If the American people allow private banks to control the issuance of their currency, first by inflation and then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them will deprive the people of all their property until their children will wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered.” – Thomas Jefferson,

  70. DoughBoy says:

    Clot (67) – the way I look at it is that we know that Barr or any of the other 3rd parties have a chance in hell. Well, if all of the people who “don’t vote” start tossing their votes for 3rd party (not all the same one, but one that they at least can somewhat get behind) then we’ve got real, tangible numbers that can be counted.

    Motivated people that want to make a statement. People that actually can be counted different than the lazy masses who couldn’t be bother.

  71. 3b says:

    #69 clot: Thanks. I am hoping to see capitulation in asking prices come 2009.

  72. BC Bob says:

    Clot [69],

    On average, what % off peak prices, for closed transactions?

  73. Clotpoll says:

    dough (72)-

    I was a lifelong 3rd party voter (Perot, Nader…even Angela Davis in 1979).

    My problem isn’t pulling the lever for the 3rd party or protest candidate.

    It’s that voting is no longer the solution. Voting and elections have devolved into a public entertainment, used to divert attention from the fact we’ve become a 100% f@scist regime.

  74. 3b says:

    #70 Cindy: I am saying I have faith in the American people……

    I do not have nay faith int eh American people. How can one have faith in a people that are not informed, and respond only to sound bites??

  75. Clotpoll says:

    BC (74)-

    By Spring? 30%+.

  76. BC Bob says:

    Clot [77],

    Thanks. What about present transactions, 20%?

  77. Cindy says:

    Wall Street failed to figure it into their models. Many here are failing to figure it into their thinking.

    People are resilient.

    They will find a way to make it every day. If the credit is gone – they will find another way.

  78. Cindy says:

    I have read the books you all recommend – gone to the links you post – read everything on this site for about 1 year. I simply have a different view. Thank you all for not chiding me or marginalizing my opinions – I appreciate it.

  79. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [48] 3b,

    It isn’t reading and thinking for yourself that is elitist. In fact, it is self-reliant, individualist, and fine to conservatives.

    It’s when you decide to think for everyone else because they are not smart enough to do it themselves that you are elitist.

  80. DoughBoy says:

    Clot (75) I get what you’re saying. Elections and politics is disgusting. I just don’t see not voting as a viable option.

  81. DoughBoy says:

    Clot (75) I get what you’re saying. Elections and politics is disgusting. I just don’t see not voting as a viable option.

  82. 3b says:

    379 Cindy:They will find a way to make it every day. If the credit is gone – they will find another way.

    If they did not abuse credit, they would not have to find another way.

    My aprents are in their 80’s, immigrants who with the excception of my Mother’s one department store credit card, have never lived on credit their entire lives, except for the mtg, and that they paid off early.

    Any improvements that made over the years,and improve they did, because my Father’s house is his castle), they saved and paid for.)

    They also saved for a rainy day,a nd alwasy had stashes of cash both invested and hidden in the house. And taken a hand out to them would be the epitome of shame and disgrace.

    They are more than comfortable, and have absolutely no money concerns.

    But my Father is horrified that these “bloody bowsers” have destroyed the country.

  83. Clotpoll says:

    BC (78)-

    In my main areas, yeah. At least.

  84. kettle1 says:

    CIndy ,

    I see “dealing” with the corrupt institutions as keeping them intact but trying to run the rats outs.

    What i am suggesting is that these structures are infested with termites. Take the structure apart and rebuild it with sounds members.
    Most of our institutions have been extensively altered form their original scope and purpose. I believe in the soundness of the original structures and ideals.

    Ultimately i grues i do not believe in the american people until they are tested , trial by fire. Then we see who turns of american idol and who just cries for more codling.

    I respect your opinion and have no problem with it.

    now enough of me beating a dead horse….

  85. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    You heard it here first, NJREReport readers.

    Gun Sales Thriving In Uncertain Times

    Americans have cut back on buying cars, furniture and clothes in a tough economy, but there’s one consumer item that’s still enjoying healthy sales: guns. Purchases of firearms and ammunition have risen 8 to 10 percent this year, according to state and federal data.

    Several variables drive sales, but many dealers, buyers and experts attribute the increase in part to concerns about the economy and fears that if Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois wins the presidency, he will join with fellow Democrats in Congress to enact new gun controls. Obama has said that he believes in an individual right to bear arms but that he also supports “common-sense safety measures.”

    “Even though [Obama] has a lot going for him, he’s not very pro-gun,” said Paul Pluff, a spokesman for Massachusetts-based Smith & Wesson, which has reported higher sales. Gun enthusiasts are “going to go out and get [firearms] while they still can.”

  86. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    crap, 87 in mod

  87. Cindy says:

    I’ve gotta go to work folks – have a great day – Thanks for listening..

  88. Clotpoll says:

    plume (81)-

    I think we need to put it on the table that a conservative is very different from the kind of Taliban-like fundamentalists that like to call themselves conservatives.

    Funny how there’s a lot less shouting about other people’s morals when everything in our society is collapsing…

    Maybe getting a little shut-up from the Dobson & Robertson crowd will be a pleasant byproduct of this collapse.

  89. 3b says:

    #81 nom: I undestand, but now it appears that any kind of individual thinking is considered elitist.

    The politicians both left and right dictate policy,and supporters than tell the people how they should vote, and what is or is not important.

    Go to a local BOE meeting, or mayor an council meeting (as I used to do for years), and find yourself many times being the only one there.

    Than talk to people in your town, and find out just how uninformed they are.

  90. kettle1 says:

    FX trading made easy???? bet against any currency propped up by a carry trade?


    see charts halfway down

  91. Clotpoll says:

    3b (90)-

    In my town, the issues and council votes are decided well in advance of any public sessions.

    Anyone who questions anything is declared out of order, and votes are taken quickly thereafter.

  92. grim says:

    From MarketWatch:

    U.S. new-home sales down 33% in past year

    U.S. Sept. median home price down 9.1% in past year

    U.S. Sept. new-home sales boosted by 23% gain in West

    U.S. Sept. new-home sales close to 460,000 expected

    U.S. Sept. new-home inventory falls record 7.3%

    U.S. Sept. new-home sales rise 2.7% to 464,000 annual rate

  93. yikes says:

    Talking to a guy at a hedge fund today and at a recent meeting, No. 1 in command said that when the market does rebound, it’s going to be a bigger rally than anyone has ever seen.

    when will this be? that’s the question.

  94. kettle1 says:


    had an interesting discussion with about 20 other people over the weekend. Most of them didnt see the problem with Palen.

    “Why wouldn’t you want a hockey mom in office who can understand the people? why do we need to know her exact policies she will look into it just like she said in the debate. Oh and she is hot.”


  95. Clotpoll says:

    yikes (95)-

    Yawn. Bear market rallies are always the most intense.

    Groundbreaking stuff from that #1 in command. Please send me his name, so I can start handing over 2/20 while they chain me to a whipping post.

    Was that hedgie’s name Frank, by any chance?

  96. Victorian says:

    Frank is a hedgie who thinks that if inflation is 10% and house prices fall by 5%, housing is appreciating.

    No wonder hedge funds are imploding.

  97. Clotpoll says:

    Anybody see Bill Gross this AM? His face has turned into a tanning booth-scorched rictus.

  98. RentinginNj says:

    The rally probably will be huge. The Dow’s single best days in terms of percentage gains happend during the great depression. In fact the market rallied 30% from the fall of 29 to spring 30. Those bear market rallies can be something

  99. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [2] Yikes,

    A good read, and true in part, but there are two misperceptions created by the article. First, this problem existed for years, well before 2003, when the article, and MSM in general, thinks it started to build. I was handling similar complaints in 2000, and they were old then.
    Second, the article seems to imply that the sole problem was unsophisicated borrowers being saddled with more debt than they could afford. This was undoubtedly happening, but much of it happened incrementally with refinancing after refinancing as debtors went to the window to borrow more. Further, the “problem” that the states/munis and their community group counterparts had was not that this lending was occuring, but that it was expensive relative to “prime” lending. Essentially, they all wanted the banks to keep the lending going but to lower their prices. This, for risk reasons, the banks were unwilling to do.
    And lets not forget, the community groups, cities, towns, states, and the Feds were not discouraging this lending. Rather, they held the banks’ feet to the fire if they did not do “enough” of it. Again, I had to explain to such groups, and the feds, that my clients were lending to their poor unwashed and in sufficient amounts. In fact, it was necessary for banks to roll out entire multibillion dollar committments to make loans to the subprime groups every time they wanted a merger approved or had to settle something with the feds.

  100. BC Bob says:

    kettle [92],

    That’s no joke, the market is crushing them.

  101. DL says:

    I’m buying a McMansion and defaulting ASAP.

    “In fact, keeping people in their homes is at the center of a new plan introduced by FDIC chairwoman Shelia Bair. She advocates government guarantees for troubled mortgages to try to induce lenders to modify terms.

    Essentially the government would shoulder some of the losses if lenders reduced monthly payments so homeowners could hold onto their houses.”

  102. Anon E. Moose says:

    Sean Says:
    October 27th, 2008 at 9:14 am

    …I want to see perp walks and not just the illegal mexican landscapers who took out a NINJA loans because some gringo told him he could own a house with no money down.

    Admirable sentiments, except in most cases it wasn’t a gringo, it was an hombre, amigo… de la raza. In the minority communities that were the target of many of these loans (Hispanic, Carribe, South Asian sub-continent, and AA), there were more Uncle Toms running mortgage brokerages out of their basements or strip mall storefronts, and doing most of their selling over their clients’ kitchen tables (in the best American traditions) than you can shake a stick at. Many got rich, and where those people go from here depends on whether they blew it all because this was a ‘new paradigm’, or recognized it as a short term windfall and saved a few bucks — not to mention have the skills or intellegence to find a new line of work.

  103. 3b says:

    #95 Yikes:it’s going to be a bigger rally than anyone has ever seen.

    Did he say based on what??

  104. 3b says:

    #96 kettle: I have heard the same as well. And yet we who differ, would be considered elitist.

  105. Victorian says:

    What you guys seem to miss is that sub-prime loans on their own did not cause this mess. 70-80% of the people in this country are paying their mortgages on time.

    Securitization and complex derivatives based on these assets is what is causing this financial implosion.

    LEVERAGE is killing these institutions. It is very easy to blame lending to poor folks and FNM/FRE for this mess, but that is not the whole story.

  106. grim says:

    From the AP:

    September new home sales rise by 2.7 percent

    Sales of new homes recorded an unexpected increase in September as median home prices dropped to the lowest level in four years, the Commerce Department reported Monday.

    Sales of new single-family homes rose by 2.7 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 464,000 homes, Commerce said. Economists had expected sales would drop from the August level.

    The median price of a new home sold in September declined by 9.1 percent from a year ago to $218,400, the lowest price level since September 2004, a period when home prices were rising rapidly as the country experienced a five-year housing boom.

    The surprising increase in September sales still left them 33.1 percent below the level of a year ago as the country is battered by the worst slump in housing in decades.

  107. DL says:

    From the Wash Post:
    “Americans have cut back on buying cars, furniture and clothes in a tough economy, but there’s one consumer item that’s still enjoying healthy sales: guns. Purchases of firearms and ammunition have risen 8 to 10 percent this year, according to state and federal data.”

  108. 3b says:

    #93 clot: Not surprised. And if you question school spending, it is death.

    Although I believe that next Spring many residents in north Jersey will realize the insanity of small towns psending multipl millions on school construction/renovations.

    That realization will show up in the defeat of many school budgets, which of course means nothing, as once dfeated, the mayor and councils will cut a symbolic 1% or so off the total budget,and than approve it.

    This is another reason why voting is a waste of time.

  109. kettle1 says:

    3b ,

    as you pointed out, there can be no popular renewal or societal rebuilding until Americans learn to think again.

    perhaps we need to reinstitute coming of age trials, similar to many south american tribes, just with an intellectual aspect added.

  110. kettle1 says:

    107 vic,

    Its actually simpler then leverage. The global market has become saturated with debt. Like a sponge, the global economy can only hold so much debt at any given time. Once you saturate it the debt system falls apart. Why or how you saturated it is of secondary importance. The primary issue is that we have reached saturation and must now see debt destruction.

  111. BC Bob says:

    vic [107],

    Spot on. Sub-prime was/is just a scapegoat.

  112. Clotpoll says:

    Spit coffee all over the screen on this one. Actual description used by agent on some POS underwater Quailbrook townhouse (Franklin Twp, Somerset Co):

    “Wow! Larger model in Carriage Homes. Newer laminated hwd flooring on 1st floor. New Carpet Throughout. Freshly painted. All appliances stay. New Self cleaning gas stove. Garage w/electric openers. Ranked as the 5th place to live by Money Mag. in August 2008”

  113. kettle1 says:

    earlier this month i called that we break 7999 by the end of the month. we could be on track for that to happen today…..

  114. Clotpoll says:

    5th place to live? What are the first four? What if I can only afford three homes?

  115. Clotpoll says:

    Vic (107)-

    It’s very easy to blame poor people. Being poor is a sin.

  116. Clotpoll says:

    vodka (111)-

    I vote for the spear, loincloth and compass thing. No money, no IPod, no cell. Head for the wilderness for 30 days, and let’s see how well you do:

    “perhaps we need to reinstitute coming of age trials, similar to many south american tribes, just with an intellectual aspect added.”

  117. Stu says:

    Victorian (107):

    Was down at the Gators parent’s home on Saturday. We got on to the topic of the economy and the father-in-law says it was all Dodd and Frank’s fault as his only two news sources were Fox and the NY Post. When we tried to explain the role Phil Gramm and the repeal of the Glass-Steagall act had on the SIV market he was moderately enlightened. We agreed that the blame should be attributed to both. What is most disturbing though is that he had not had the slightest inkling that the regulation of the IBs had been removed in 99. This is a guy who watched Foxnews about 12 hours a day.

    So are the lefty elitists the ones trying to tell you what to do? Is banning stem cell research and limiting access to birth control and abortion not elitist? Is not revealing the truth behind the downturn not elitist?

  118. kettle1 says:

    Unintended consequences. food supply problems. Now add to that the collapse of shipping. less food available and the available food is much harder to ship due to lack of credit.


    fill that silo yet?


    The credit crunch is compounding a profit squeeze for farmers that may curb global harvests and worsen a food crisis for developing countries.

    Global production of wheat, the most-consumed food crop, may drop 4.4 percent next year, said Dan Basse, president of AgResource Co. in Ch1cago, who has advised farmers, food companies and investors for 29 years. Harvests of corn and soybeans also are likely to fall, Basse said.

    Smaller crops risk reviving prices of farm commodities that sank from records in 2008 after a six-year rally that spurred inflation and sparked riots from Asia to the Caribbean. Futures contracts on the Ch1cago Board of Trade show wheat will jump 16 percent by the end of 2009, corn will rise 15 percent and soybeans will gain 3 percent.

  119. kettle1 says:


    120 in moderation? unmod plz

  120. 3b says:

    #119 Stu: I do not disagree. My point is, that the left practices the same thing.

    However, the left can appear to be more polished, and more enlightened, than those on the right.

    And yet if you disagree, many can exhibit the same type of hostility as the right.

  121. Stu says:

    New York Times:

    Fannie Mae Eases Credit To Aid Mortgage Lending


    Published: September 30, 1999

    “In moving, even tentatively, into this new area of lending, Fannie Mae is taking on significantly more risk, which may not pose any difficulties during flush economic times. But the government-subsidized corporation may run into trouble in an economic downturn, prompting a government rescue similar to that of the savings and loan industry in the 1980’s.”

  122. grim says:

    #123 – Impossible, nobody could have seen this coming.

  123. Stu says:

    3B (122):

    “However, the left can appear to be more polished, and more enlightened, than those on the right.”

    So should the lefty elitists don overalls and try speaking with a slur?

    I agree that there are morons on both sides of the aisle, but to try to tell people not to vote for someone because he/she is elitist is just plain moronic. You are electing someone whose purpose is to represent you and whose decisions will result in laws that will govern what you can and can’t do. If you want Cletus Hogg to run the country, so be it. Just don’t be surprised when he sells us down the river for a black Mustang convertible.

  124. Victorian says:

    Stu (123)-
    Are they not essentially doing the same thing right now. I think I read on Bloomberg a while back, that FNM/FRE are being forced to buy $50 billion or so a month of these troubled assets. (Don’t quote me on these numbers – they are ballpark figures).

  125. Rich In NNJ says:

    3b (Yesterday… or the day before)

    2810263 Under Contract
    Estimated closing 12/5

  126. House Hunter says:

    ….here it is Under IndyMac’s program, the lender modifies a loan so that the borrower’s new mortgage payment, including insurance and taxes, eats up no more than 38% of their pre-tax income. This percentage, known as a debt to income ratio, topped 50% for some loans during the boom.To achieve this lower payment, IndyMac can lower the interest rate, extend the life of the loan to, say, 30 or 40 years, defer some principal to the final years of the loan, or a use a combination of these strategies.”

  127. 3b says:

    #125 Stu: I agree that there are morons on both sides of the aisle, but to try to tell people not to vote for someone because he/she is elitist is just plain moronic.

    I agree with you. in fact I want the best most qualified person for the job. And I woudl expect that that individual would be highly educated, well read, and well spoke.

    However, I would also expect that person not to be arrogant, and to accept that there may be people of good will who disagree with them.

    The choice of SP for VP was IMP appalling.

    I am not happy with the radical right, or the radical left,a nd belive both are destroying this country.

    And I agree

  128. BC Bob says:

    kettle [120],

    Unfortunately, Clot is spending too much time on this site. At this time, Clot has not located one.

  129. Stu says:

    Victorian: I think you are right about them still being forced, but no one really cares now that FNM/FRE are officially part of the federal government now. You know, the populace really never equates government spending with ‘your’ taxes. Look how everyone goes gaga over stimulus checks and tax refunds for example.

  130. 3b says:

    #127 Rich: I forgot which one I was asking about, was that the listing on Webb Ave in RE that was 399K?

    If so that house originally started out at an asking price of 579K 2 years ago.

  131. DL says:

    Politics is about how to get the most individual benefit out of the system. For some that means being left alone by gov’t in order to make money; for others, it means relying on gov’t to make money. How you vote depends on whenre you fall on the spectrum. That’s why members of Congress, regardless of party, are judged by how much gov’t largess they can steer to the home district. A bridge to nowhere is a crime unless its in your home district. I have to go with Clot and SAS on this one. Every vote is for sale and every deal is cooked before it ever comes to a vote.

  132. skep-tic says:


    “Bank M&A bubble?”

    I doubt it. U.S. banking industry is relatively unconsolidated compared to the rest of the world.

  133. skep-tic says:


    ““The central bank is an institution of the most deadly hostility existing against the principles and the form of our Constitution. I am an enemy to all banks discounting bills or notes for anything but coin. If the American people allow private banks to control the issuance of their currency, first by inflation and then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them will deprive the people of all their property until their children will wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered.” – Thomas Jefferson”

    Jefferson was a nutjob. very talented guy, but many of his political views were just wacky.

    Look at the history of the united states when there was no central bank and when there was. during the latter periods, there was far greater economic stability.

  134. galgon says:{F6CA5F82-3199-493C-82B7-7DD2FC5C4172}&dist=msr_2

    Regionally, sales plunged 21% in the Northeast to 22,000 annualized, the lowest pace recorded in 35 years. Sales rose 23% in the West to 108,000 annualized after plunging 30% in August. Sales dropped 6% in the Midwest to a 17-year low of 65,000 and rose 0.7% in the South to 269,000.

  135. chicagofinance says:

    Clotpoll Says:
    October 27th, 2008 at 9:24 am
    Chi (56)- I think you’re implying that Morgan’s overview is clouded by his subscription model. In that respect, I would disagree with you.
    And even if his philosophy is informed by his interest in selling investment advice, you can’t argue with his track record. Just like Roubini, he keeps being right.
    I like to stick with people who are repeatedly right. If anybody deserves the benefit of the doubt in this environment, it’s them.

    clot: I will paraphrase something I stated several weeks ago. I personally would not bestow any ONE source with iconic status. At all times my opinion reflects the collective views of a variety of sources that resonate with me.

    In general, the “bet the house” mentality gets you to be stunningly correct once. In general, I would assume that he is going to be exactly, righteously, explicitly, uncannily, and stupefyingly correct until he is not. Look for nuances, because he is starting to appear more as entertainment than strategy. Integrate his opinions with Roubini. Look at some bullish pundits, are there any parallels in their facts presented? Take a step back and form opinions about where prices are versus what you perceive to be expectations of collective opinion.

    A possibly misleading fact quoted on this blog that I will reference…….if anarchy is anon, you would think that people would be buying guns. We hear gun sales are up (OK – possibly due to the anticipated outcome of the Presidential Election or the hurricanes that tore through Texas)……is anarchy overpriced now…are we in a bubble of nihilism?

  136. #134 – Skep – U.S. banking industry is relatively unconsolidated compared to the rest of the world.

    That’s interesting. I would disagree with you on that, as we are rapidly approaching a point in which we have 4-5 large national banks posing a major systemic risk. There are still a lot of smaller regionals, but I have to wonder how many will make it through this?

    I will admit that I’m not too familiar with commercial banking in Germany, Japan, France, etc. Please don’t tell me that all that they have is the 4-5 large banks and no regionals. That would be extremely distressing.

  137. grim says:

    New home sales are down 33% year over year.

    That is, IMHO, the number that you need to focus on.

  138. Clotpoll says:

    3b (122)-

    Left, right…they are all constructs that the corporate oligarchy has put in place to divide the population. While we fight with each other, they rob us blind.

    We are all united in our common master: giant, multinational corporations.

  139. grim says:

    From Bloomberg:

    Deutsche Bank Derivatives-Trading Loss Said to Top $400 Million

    Deutsche Bank AG, Germany’s biggest bank, lost more than $400 million on equity derivatives trades as stock markets headed for their biggest rout since the 1930s, two people with direct knowledge of the matter said.

    The loss, equal to almost half of the Frankfurt-based company’s second-quarter revenue from equity sales and trading, is a black eye for Richard Carson, who was named global head of equity derivatives in May.

  140. Nicholas says:

    62.80 on December delivery.

    I’m going out to buy myself an original Hummer. No right-sizing for me.

    Hummer H1 : 8-10 mpg

  141. Clotpoll says:

    skep (135)-

    “Jefferson was a nutjob. very talented guy, but many of his political views were just wacky.”

    If Tommy Jeff was a “nutjob”, what does that make us?

    I doubt any of us on this board are going to have ideas that are still around 300 years from now, so I’d be a bit more careful about tossing out the term “nutjob” on somebody like Jefferson.

    So the guy liked dark meat. Big whoop.

  142. Clotpoll says:

    chi (137)-

    Only in a forum like this could someone call anarchy an overbought market. :)

    This is what keeps me coming back.

  143. Clotpoll says:

    nick (142)-

    You gonna roll that contract, or take delivery?

  144. Clotpoll says:

    chi (137)-

    Anarchy will be an overbought market the day you see me dancing naked in the street.

  145. skep-tic says:

    many of you believe that Americans aren’t thinking on political matters. I am not so sure. Americans (particularly baby boomers) have chosen over and over again to spend now and defer costs to later. That their political choices reflect this as well suggests an overall rationality. And politicians consistently reward this mindset, so it is hard to see why it is irrational on an individual level.

  146. kettle1 says:


    The central bank system may be more stable in the long term, but the crashes are much more severe.

    A number of smaller isolated crashes is better then a system crash once very 100 years.

    such behavior (common minor collapses or rare major ones) is widely seen in physics, computer networks and throughout nature, including economic systems

    using the “critical sand pile model”

    This system is interesting in that it is attracted to its critical state, at which point the correlation length of the system and the correlation time of the system go to infinity, without any fine tuning of a system parameter. This contrasts with earlier examples of critical phenomena, such as the phase transitions between solid and liquid, or liquid and gas, where the critical point can only be reached by precise tuning (usually of temperature). Hence, in the sandpile model we can say that the criticality is self-organized.

    self organizing systems and collapse:

    or google for “critical sand pile”

  147. Nicholas says:

    I’m going to guess that “roll that contract” is to take a short position on oil meaning that I think that prices will go down before December gets here.

    Since I don’t have any long term storage facilities I don’t really have the option of taking delivery.

    Im in the camp that things oil is going down but since I don’t know enough about the markets I continue to watch and learn.

  148. Nicholas says:

    From another blog thanks to contributer Paul Francis,

    “We have 4,482 homes available for sale on the Las Vegas MLS (1642 Bank owned homes – 1798 Short Sales) with 4 Bedrooms, 2 Baths for under $399,000. ”

    1642+1798 = 3440
    4482-3440 = 1042
    1042/4482 = 23.2%

    Only 23.2% of the houses listed on the MLS are from listings that are not under distress. Kerpow!

  149. Nicholas says:

    That is if your looking for 4 bedrooms and 2 baths under 400,000$.

  150. kettle1 says:

    skeptic 147,

    While you may be able to categorize that as thought, its really wishful thinking. Its not substantially different from a child who refuses to acknowledge the consequences of their actions.

    the public is not demonstarting logical critical thought

    let me refer to 2 quotes often attributed to Tytler

    A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, which is always followed by a dictatorship.


    The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations from the beginning of history has been about 200 years. During those 200 years, these nations always progressed through the following sequence:

    * From bondage to spiritual faith;
    * From spiritual faith to great courage;
    * From courage to liberty;
    * From liberty to abundance;
    * From abundance to complacency;
    * From complacency to apathy;
    * From apathy to dependence;
    * From dependence back into bondage.

  151. Qwerty says:

    Video: inside a foreclosure property after the “owners” are thrown out.

    They throw away EVERYTHING — TVs, furniture, computers, everything.

  152. kettle1 says:


    152 in mod? help plz?


    There are some indicators suggesting oil hits $10/barrel

  153. Rich In NNJ says:

    3b (132),

    Yup, that’s the one.

  154. 3b says:

    #154 Rich: It will be interesting to see what the closed price is;assuming it closes.

  155. skep-tic says:


    “134 – Skep – U.S. banking industry is relatively unconsolidated compared to the rest of the world.

    That’s interesting. I would disagree with you on that, as we are rapidly approaching a point in which we have 4-5 large national banks posing a major systemic risk. There are still a lot of smaller regionals, but I have to wonder how many will make it through this?

    I will admit that I’m not too familiar with commercial banking in Germany, Japan, France, etc. Please don’t tell me that all that they have is the 4-5 large banks and no regionals. That would be extremely distressing.”


    Tosh– see Chart 8, p4 on the below PDF for comparison of number of U.S. banks vs other countries. small local banks much more prevalent in the U.S.

  156. Nicholas says:

    Heizo Takanaka on American financial crisis as he sees it after cleaning up Japanese finiancial markets after their crash:

    Warning (Video)

    “[praphasing] We injected capital into the Japanese markets and even after 4 years nothing had changed. So we had to go back and revalue all the underlying assets.

    America, Europe, are having same problem. They have injected capital into the markets and now they need to go through and revalue the underlying assets. There needs to be activisim to ensure that these assets get marked properly.”

    I would have transcribed some of it for you except that his english was broken was hard to get right.

  157. #156 – Thanks for that pdf skep. Looks like Europe can’t afford for any commercial bank to go under.

  158. randy says:

    36 BC-

    so you don’t see any immediate need to run away from the US dollar? and into gold? you don’t see an impending crash in the currency? that would be 2010 ? i’m surprised, i thought you were a systemic risk guy?

    BC said >”In a deflationary environment cash is king. Your long side A cash and flat side B. Well side B is getting anniliated. You are a big winner. CONGRATS!! Don’t screw up a good trade. Keep on what’s working.”

  159. Everything's 'boken says:

    re 148
    number of smaller isolated crashes is better

    This assertion requires proof

  160. scribe says:

    Vic, #126

    $40 billion every month – $20 for each GSE

  161. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [129] 3b,

    One thing that everyone seems to fixate on, especially MSM, is that SP was a “choice” for VP.

    The first thing that struck me was that it wasn’t much of a “choice.”

    Has no one considered that this was McC’s best option since every other viable veep candidate probably looked at the tea leaves and said “not our year”? In effect, the VPCILF was the proverbial “last [man] standing” which says more about the party than it does McC. And for perception reasons, he isn’t gonna say “this is the best we can do.”

  162. BC Bob says:


    I’m long boatloads of gold. However, I’m hedged at much higher levels. The gold story is a 10-15 year cycle.

    I assumed Yikes was asking the question pertaining to today, not 2012-2013? I also don’t think anyone should be risking their down payment. It should be kept liquid. If you analyze Yikes situation he is a big winner. He is long cash and flat RE. The spread has been a huge winner. Why fcuk up his down payment?

  163. skep-tic says:

    kettle– the many panics during the 1800s weren’t minor events. they were usually followed by recessions that lasted several years. imagine if we had a panic evey 10-20 years followed by a 3-5 year recession. I do not think our current society could handle it. Back then, most Americans were farmers. they could more easily exist on a subsistence level regardless of what the overall economy was doing. I frankly do not think that type of instability is an option at this point, even if as you suggest that central banking ups the ante in terms of systemic collapse

  164. Comrade Nom Deplume says:



    Consider the cost to FDIC from several small failures versus a single money center bank. It is less.

    Perception: important here, and the FDIC wants to let it be known that they are on the job. Further, should a large bank fail, it sends the message that the rest aren’t safe, and they become undercapped overnight, much like the schumering of Indymac.

    Merger possiblities: It is far easier to get a larger bank to accept the deposits of a small, failed bank, than to break up and distribute the deposit base of a large bank.

  165. HEHEHE says:

    $3 to $60 oil. Bi has his champagne on ice.

  166. skep-tic says:


    Clot– often nutty guys like Jefferson have the most lasting ideas. they swing for the fences. my point is that just because Jefferson said something (like that bit about central banking) doesn’t mean it is genious. by the way, did you know Jefferson was way into aliens? It’s on the dollar bill.

  167. kettle1 says:

    everything 161

    i have no direct proof at the moment. All i can offer is that such behavior is very common amongst complex systems. we are in the middle of a long term experiment to answer that very question.

    Numerous types of systems from networks to ecosystems to avalanches show that sort of behavior. Smaller more common collapses allow a system to relieve stress at the weakest point therefore stabilizing the rest of the system. If the stress is not relieved on a smaller scale, then it builds until you have a systemic collapse.

    my previous slink shows the scientific aspect. google around. sandpile theory is fairly widely used.

  168. 3b says:

    #162 Nom: Good points. The Republican party IMO is finished;for years.

  169. Clotpoll says:

    Plume (165)-

    “Schumer” as a verb. Nice.

    That should go into the OED this year.

  170. Clotpoll says:

    “Schumer”- (cf. “schtup”, “schtoink”). Copulation, in a rude and destructive fashion. Self-glorification at the expense of others.

  171. Clotpoll says:

    skep (167)-

    Word to you: there are aliens among us.

  172. yikes says:

    grim – are you purchasing/have you purchased physical gold?

    just curious

  173. Commanderbobnj says:

    —3b said:(#110):
    “… And if you question school spending, it is death.

    Although I believe that next Spring many residents in north Jersey will realize the insanity of small towns psending multipl millions on school construction/renovations…”
    3b continued:

    “..That realization will show up in the defeat of many school budgets, which of course means nothing, as once defeated, the mayor and council’s will cut a symbolic 1% or so off the total budget,and than approve it…”

    COMMANDERBOBNJ Sez:–Right you are, 3b; The NJ Teachers (and their A$$-kissing PTA’s) will ‘lip-play’ the usual crap to the “concerned about our property values”-sheeple and these public employees will further play their song-and-dance routine about “It’s ALL about putting the education for ‘OUR’ kids at stake” so “please vote YES on the [Bloated] budget” !!

    The so-called ‘leadership’ of that fool that sits in the governor’s seat can’t be relied on to do the right thing and impliment the ONLY possible answer to cut down on the impossible-to-pay-(for many if not most New Jersians)- Out-of-control property tax increases that surely will be coming down the road in 2009.

    The only logical answer, as I see it is public school vouchers—Not a study commission appointed as former governer Whitman had proposed in the past; But a pushed-through-the-legislature bill/law, and one that will finally give the tax relief we, as NJ citizens, deserve…The teacher union’s power must be curtailed and the citizen’s rights must be restored !——


  174. Nicholas says:

    I’m glad I held onto that FNM stock it is up 2.9% today alone, I’m going to be RICH.

  175. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [171] Clot,

    I recently had a conversation with a high-ranking, high-profile NJ official, and commented on how one of the most dangerous places in NJ to stand was between Corzine and a camera, and she remarked that he wasn’t nearly as bad as Schumer.

  176. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [169] 3b

    Agreed, and have said so on this board. This is potentially worse than the party brand trashing after N1xon/Ford. Paradoxically, the Dems seem to be repeating their mistake by putting up a candidate that is more unpalatable to many americans than C@rter was at first.

    But since we have passed a tipping point in terms of the growth, and even the existence, of the aspirational class, I have said that demographics and economics have led to what will be a permanent democratic majority for some time, the brand will have little relevance on the national level for decades, and will only survive at the local and state level, notably in Red States.

    One thing you will see that not many will focus on is a hard push by the dems to effectively federalize many spheres of law and regulation traditionally left to states because this will mute the distinctions and relevance of red state governance.

  177. Stu says:

    Comrade Nom (162): On Saturday, on our trip back from AC, I asked Gator if she thought that the RNC pushed for McCane to win the republican primary get back at him for not closely toeing the party line during the 90’s. The RNC, more than anyone, knows that a bad economy tends to change the party in the White House. Anyone they put up would have probably lost. So, why not take out the maverick?

    Gator didn’t think this was the case, but I remember the 2000 primary like it was yesterday and McCane played much tougher with W than he is currently with O. I would have happily voted for McCane in 2000 as I was less than enamored with Clinton’s cigar antics. Unfortunately I went with Harry Browne, the libertarian.

  178. Poser says:

    For all the posts on not voting and 3rd party votes – can’t we also write in the name of a candidate that is not on any ticket?

  179. 3b says:

    #178 Nom:what will be a permanent democratic majority for some time, the brand will have little relevance on the national level for decades, and will only survive at the local and state level, notably in Red States.

    That would have sacred me at one time;now I could care less.

  180. grim says:

    Grim for President!

  181. 3b says:

    #183 grim: You are such a maverick.

  182. 3b says:

    #176 commanderbob: It will never happen.

  183. Nicholas says:

    I hear that Mickey Mouse gets quite a few votes every election cycle.

  184. grim says:

    Rumor from DealBreaker:

    Layoffs Watch: B of A

    Bank of America is said to be planning on canning half of its New York equity trading desk in the next 2-4 weeks.

  185. Nicholas says:

    Rally in the DJIA because of better then expected housing data?

  186. Nicholas says:

    “the good news is you’re fired.

    the bad news is you must buy my GS/MS puts back, today.”

  187. Everything's 'boken says:

    Re 169
    Currently, we have both large and small piles.


  188. DMAN says:

    I know that this has been posted before but darn if this isn’t screaming “Dejavu” and I’m only 15 mins in.

  189. Stu says:

    AIG at $1.50 even after the 2 bailouts. Wow!

  190. NJGator says:

    163 Nom – I don’t think SP was the “best” McC could do. From most of what I’ve read, it seems that the other leading contenders were actually quite ticked off that they weren’t selected. Particularly people like Charlie Crist in Fl who later went off the reservation and said that the R’s were exaggerating on the voter fraud nonsense. I also believed Mittens gave up home of raising donations to pay back his massive self loans to better position himself to get on the ticket.

    I think McC couldn’t have who he really wanted – someone like Lieberman or Ridge – and thought SP the best base palatable option to shake things up. She also came with the veneer of being a maverick and reformer. Or maybe he just said F it, I’m not winning anyway, and this was his way to stick it to the party. I’m not quite the conspiracy theorist that Stu is on this issue, but from what I read about McC, the latter would certainly fit in the model of his temperment.

  191. HEHEHE says:

    “Young Chuck moved to Texas and bought a donkey from a farmer for $100. The farmer agreed to deliver the donkey the next day.

    The next day the farmer drove up and said, ‘Sorry son, but I have some bad news – the donkey died.’

    Chuck replied, ‘Well, then just give me my money back.’

    The farmer said, ‘Can’t do that. I went and spent it already.’

    Chuck said, ‘Ok, then, just bring me the dead donkey.’

    The farmer asked, ‘What ya gonna do with him?’ Chuck said, ‘I’m going to raffle him off.’ The farmer said, ‘You can’t raffle off a dead donkey!’ Chuck said, ‘Sure I can, watch me. I just won’t tell anybody he’s dead.’

    A month later, the farmer met up with Chuck and asked, ‘What happened with that dead donkey?’ Chuck said, ‘I raffled him off. I sold 500 tickets at two dollars a piece and made $998.’ The farmer said, ‘Didn’t anyone complain?’ Chuck said, ‘Just the guy who won. So I gave him his two dollars back.’ Chuck now leads the US bank bailout team.”

  192. BC Bob says:

    Great work by Merrill. From Patrick;

  193. Confused In NJ says:

    It would not be a surprise to find Paulson is using Government money to prop up the Stock market.

  194. jcer says:

    Gator, Stu, it is my opinion the leaders of the R’s are throwing the election, know they can’t win and are punishing Mc. The thing is they made him basically sell his sole to get the nomination. I really don’t think SP was so much his pick as it was for the “base”. Which begs the question, who the hell needs the base(Most probably not voting for O, and would suck it up hold their nose and pull the lever for Mc because they always vote R and fear O), if he had stuck it to the base and gone with the mantra I am going to do what right for the country, I’m bringing the talent I know and trust from experience and bringing someone the angered clinton voters liked, perhaps he had a chance. The strategy being employed is so bad I cannot help but think the R party is behind it. Just as much as I suspect O’s ascendancy has all of the hallmarks of H. Dean and the liberal wing of the D’s. The D’s are falling into the trap, the R’s want to show Mc was a bad candidate, nobody likes him and running Bush in 2000 was smart, they also needed to give him his chance as part of the deal they made with him, they no an R winning especially the ones with the policies like Bush is close to impossible, and in 4 years the people will blame the D’s and they will have their window again. I surmise the R’s want Mc to lose so they can paint the D’s as failures in the next election after the country is really hurting. The indicators are pretty clear, the R’s are running this not Mc.

  195. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    Okay, from the lips of the Messiah himself, as clear a statement as has made on redistribution of wealth:

    “You know if you look at the victories and the failures of the Civil Rights movement and its litigation strategy in the Court, I think where it succeeded was to invest formal rights in previously dispossessed peoples so that I would now have the right to vote, I would now be able to sit at the lunch counter and order as long as I could pay for it I would be okay. But the Supreme Court never ventured into the issues of redistribution of wealth and sort of more basic issues of political and economic justice in this society…. And one of the I think the tragedies of the Civil Rights movement was because the Civil Rights movement became so court focused I think that there was a tendency to lose track of the political and community organizing and activities on the ground that are able to put together the actual coalitions of power through which you bring about redistributive change and in some ways we still suffer from that.”

    I will leave it to the assembled to add meaning to it, though I have some insight into this topic and know already what the meaning is. BTW, the Messiah sent Cass Sunstein to flack for him on this issue, and Cass’ defense was that it was mere law professorspeak, and should not be taken seriously. Kinda like NAFTA (don’t worry canadians, this is just for political consumption here, nudge, nudge, wink, wink).

    ABTW, for those concerned about the source reporting, this quote came from the Boston Globe, and no one will accuse the Globe of fronting for the GOP.

  196. Sean says:

    Cerberus owns a 51 percent stake in GMAC, GM’s former captive finance arm, and would retain ownership of Chrysler Financial if GM and Crysler merge.

    Now the Whitehouse is talking about extending the TARP to the Auto finance companies, sounds like a hedge Fund bailout coming.

  197. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [195] gator,

    I saw Mitten, Ridge and Lieb as having too many negatives. Ridge and Lieb would cost base votes, as would Mitten, and Mitten has the whole cult religion thing going against him. Crist is someone McC shoulda jumped at, and if Crist really wanted this (and I don’t see why he would except to get cheap national exposure in a losing effort), then shame on my standardbearer for not taking him. But I don’t recall Crist ever being mentioned prominently. Ridge and Pawlenty would have been good picks, but who knows why they weren’t selected. My only thought can be that they took themselves out of play.

  198. NJGator says:

    Crist had been mentioned a bit, and was even invited out for one of them Sedona BBQs like Pawlenty, Mittens and Jindal.

    Crist has a base problem too though, there are some serious rumors in FL that he is a closet case.

    I don’t think McC had a perfect option, but SP was just a crazy choice for someone who made his whole rep on bucking the party faithful. he definitely had better options than her.

  199. Frank says:

    “Was that hedgie’s name Frank, by any chance?”


  200. NJGator says:

    I think Crist had the best name for the base. McC-Crist 2008!

  201. Comrade Nom Deplume says:


    I think you give the GOP too much credit. It isn’t a conspiracy as much as retrenchment, much as it was in 1996 when they knew they could not oust an incumbent in a good economy, especially when the incumbent took all your best stuff.

    You are right about knowing you won’t win in a down economy year. Carter did not get elected because folks were upset over Watergate; it was the economy. Reagan got in because the economy did not improve under Carter. Conversely, Reagan got reelected because of a good economy, and the GOP stayed in power as a result. GHWB squandered a lot of goodwill he had in 1990 when the economy hadn’t recovered by 1992. Finally, remember in 2000, the dems were furious that the GOP was “talking down the economy” because they knew full well that a down economy disfavors the incumbent party. I have always maintained that candidates time their election bids to the economic cycle, and the dearth of GOP VP contenders is, IMO, proof of that.

  202. HEHEHE says:

    “Okay, from the lips of the Messiah himself, as clear a statement as has made on redistribution of wealth:”

    But don’t you need wealth before it can be redistributed?

  203. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [203] Gator,

    In terms of knowledge, I will defer to you on all things Florida.

  204. Clotpoll says:

    plume (178)-

    I’d rather be the meat in a “penitentiary sandwich” than stuck between Schumer and a camera or mike:

    “…commented on how one of the most dangerous places in NJ to stand was between Corzine and a camera, and she remarked that he wasn’t nearly as bad as Schumer.”

  205. NJGator says:

    Nom 209 – You can challenge anything other than my assertion that FL will beat UGa on Saturday.

  206. Clotpoll says:

    3b (182)-

    Once you realize that ALL politics- from local school board to presidential elections- is nothing more than an attempt to wring emotional responses out of a populus that has been mass-lobotomized and can’t think, you come to the conclusion that none of it matters.

    At all.

  207. Nicholas says:

    In reply to that article,

    I laughed a little when I read the title of slide 38, “The US does not import houses”.

    Absolutely true, this bubble was created by the boom in the housing industry and now that the source of income is gone GDP suffers.

  208. Nicholas says:

    Damn, I thought there would be a rally today. We need to fake up some good news.

  209. HEHEHE says:

    That whole Merrill slide show is pretty and everything but Frank says everything’s good so who am I to believe?

  210. NJGator says:

    Apologies if this has already been posted:

    Internal poll shows a tough landscape for Corzine

    According to the results, “almost half the electorate is unaware of anything Corzine has accomplished as governor.” The analysis adds that it is “urgent” for the governor to develop compelling arguments that he has achieved things in office.

    — Corzine “gets a negative evaluation on virtually every issue with the exception of protecting open spaces.”

  211. Zack says:

    Every country should reduce the rates to 0%.

  212. ben says:

    “Frank is a hedgie who thinks that if inflation is 10% and house prices fall by 5%, housing is appreciating.

    No wonder hedge funds are imploding.”

    I could start a Hedge Fund based on playing roulette at Atlantic City and I’d come out with better results than these clowns.

  213. Frank says:

    “That whole Merrill slide show is pretty and everything but Frank says everything’s good so who am I to believe?”

    Take the Merrill charts to an open house and see if you can get a discount.

  214. ben says:

    “That whole Merrill slide show is pretty and everything but Frank says everything’s good so who am I to believe?”

    Believe him. Wall St is not in a recession because they are still busy stealing the world’s money. I’m pretty sure bank robbers aren’t in a recession either. Oh, and after they get all their money, they all move to Hoboken. At least that’s what Frank believes.

  215. Frank says:

    “Every country should reduce the rates to 0%.”

    That’s how we got in trouble in the first place, rates by law should be 10%+.

  216. 3b says:

    #211 clot: Agreed.

  217. BC Bob says:

    “I could start a Hedge Fund based on playing roulette at Atlantic City and I’d come out with better results than these clowns.”


    Yeah, but the key is to get someone to pay you a 4% management fee to play roulette.

  218. Frank says:

    While I am getting a piece of the $20B, Clotpoll will selling REO’s in Northern NJ for 0.25% commission.

  219. 3b says:

    #218 Frank:Take the Merrill charts to an open house and see if you can get a discount.

    Don’t have to just wait and take it to the bank.

  220. kettle1 says:

    Gulf Bank Customers Rush for Deposits After Currency Losses

    Customers rushed to withdraw money from Gulf Bank KSC, Kuwait’s second-biggest bank, after clients defaulted on currency contracts and the central bank was forced to guarantee deposits. In the first signs of a bank run in the Persian Gulf, some Gulf Bank customers demanded money in a panic, Fawzy al-Thunayan, general manager for board affairs, said in an interview today from Kuwait. Trading in Gulf Bank shares was suspended for a second day on the Kuwait bourse.

  221. BC Bob says:

    “Take the Merrill charts to an open house and see if you can get a discount.”


    I would love to. However, the seller has to pick themselves up, off the floor first. I would prefer that they view the chart sitting up.

  222. BC Bob says:

    “While I am getting a piece of the $20B”


    I thought you worked for a hedge fund?

  223. Clotpoll says:

    Zack (216)-

    They’re trying to accomodate you on that one.

    The only question is, how fast do they get there?

  224. Clotpoll says:

    Frank (223)-

    Press me a double espresso.

  225. Clotpoll says:


    And make me a damn sandwich while you’re at it.

  226. Clotpoll says:

    BC (227)-

    This now makes me think Frank is a bank teller.

  227. kettle1 says:

    here you go clot

    Bernanke May Nudge Rates Toward Zero as Economy Faces ‘Big-Time’ Erosion

  228. Rich In NNJ says:

    Frank (220),

    That’s how we got in trouble in the first place…

    Now we’re in trouble?

  229. Stu says:

    Nothing Frank has ever said has been the least bit believable nor has it been even mildly entertaining like BI and Retard 50.5. I vote Frank off of the island.

  230. Zack says:

    If I was a dictator of USA, this is what I would do:
    – Every country reduces rate to 0%
    – Reset all major market indices 50% below from current prices
    – Bring in 2 million qualified immigrants to the country
    – Auction of all vacation homes, starting bid $1000
    – People who are upside down on Mortgage, enlist them in the military.
    – Pre-set CEO pay for a period of 5 years. No bonuses etc
    – ALL ex-CEO’s who made millions who companies are now bankrupt will have their wealth seized.

  231. BC Bob says:

    “This now makes me think Frank is a bank teller.”


    Funny, he’s a hedgie and doesn’t realize that he won’t get paid until “high water marks” structures are attained. Also, I wonder how he’s financing arb strategies, with leverage being chopped?

    Bank teller? No disrepect towards them.

  232. Nicholas says:

    I was really interested in that slide that showed home prices vs GDP.

    I had previously only been looking at home prices vs income and home prices vs. rent now I have yet another chart to glean information from.

    What would a “home price vs. GDP” chart show that wouldn’t appear in the other two charts?

    I guess if your looking at RE as if it was being driven by a national trend then you would want to collectively sum up all wages (GDP) and compare it to the average cost of a house. When you saw that national trends were not in the driver seat anymore then you could return to looking at the other two charts.

  233. BC Bob says:

    Stu [235],

    True. Bi and 50.5 are hilarious.

  234. kettle1 says:


    why 0% rates?

    how does your list solve the current issues? in your opinion what is the core issue at hand?

  235. grim says:

    From HousingWire:

    Subprime, Prime Mortgage Woes Diverge During Q3

    Let’s start with the good news, because there is some to be had: during the third quarter, the number of subprime foreclosure sales actually looks to have fallen relative to Q2’s totals. Better yet, the HOPE NOW coalition reported Monday that it set a monthly record in September relative to the total number of loan workouts, exceeding 200,000 for the first time since the coalition began compiling data in July 2007.

    But HOPE NOW’s data also paints a bleak picture of an increasingly troubled group of prime mortgage borrowers relative to subprime — underscoring the problems now emerging in the Alt-A and option ARM mortgage sectors. In fact, while subprime foreclosures actually fell 3 percent quarter over quarter, according to HOPE NOW, prime foreclosures jumped by more than 20 percent in the same time period, and are now almost 150 percent of year-ago totals.

    It gets worse: prime borrowers are far less likely to receive a loan modification, as well, should they get find themselves in trouble. Instead, servicers are much more likely to put a troubled prime borrower into a repayment plan — often seen by those in the industry as a band-aid that merely covers a future default. For every prime borrower given a loan modification, 2.5 more were put into a repayment plan during the third quarter; in stark contrast, every subprime loan modification generated less than one repayment plan (0.83, to be exact).

    The fact the prime borrowers are now facing mortgage distress is one that is largely missed by most consumer groups and community lobbyists, one source told HW.

    “It’s not politically correct to say, but the fact is that it’s much easier to sell help for subprime than it is for prime borrowers,” said one source, a Capitol Hill lobbyist that asked not to be named in this story. “Prime borrowers are supposed to know better.”

  236. grim says:

    Valley National hit the TARP?

  237. chandra says:


    I am glad u r not a dictator of USA.

  238. Stu says:

    AIG is now $1.42.

    Wal-Mart (WMT 50.90, -0.50) said at its analyst day conference that credit as a percent of total sales has declined 7.4% year-to-date, noting that its customers are starting to max out their credit cards.

    And a for a minute there, I thought they might have been saving for a change, and paying with cash. :P

  239. kettle1 says:

    Underfunded pension plans eat away at earnings

    It’s beginning to look as if large companies may end the year with their pension plans more underfunded than ever—and a handful of corporations are already acknowledging that these deficits are likely to have a significant impact on earnings. Combined, the defined-benefit plans of companies in the S&P 500 are now underfunded in excess of $200 billion, according to an estimate by Standard & Poor’s senior analyst Howard Silverblatt.

    At United Technologies, CFO Gregory Hayes noted on the earnings call that pension expense is “obviously going to be a headwind,” but he did not specifically say how much its pension costs might increase. He said that through the end of September, the assets in UTC’s $23 billion plan declined by 22%, a stark contrast to the 8.5% return it expected for the year.

    As a rule of thumb, Mr. Hayes noted, “for every one-percentage-point miss, it costs us about $6 million in additional pension expense.” Given the year-to-date return and the company’s 8.5% assumption, this 30-percentage-point miss would translate into $180 million in pension expense.

  240. Hard Place says:

    “Prime borrowers are supposed to know better.”

    Just proves there is no difference in smarts between prime & subprime borrowers. There are stupid/greedy people in all lots of life.

  241. Zack says:


    Just so that I don’t hear anymore breaking news on CNBC saying country X has reduced rates. Just reduce it to 0% and lets get on with our lives..

  242. still_looking says:

    Warning: Rhetorical Question Alert…

    Is any of this ever gonna get better???


  243. grim says:

    Wouldn’t it be easier to just stop watching CNBC?

    Bloomberg is a good alternative.

  244. Stu says:

    “Is any of this ever gonna get better???”

    I was listening to Nouriel Roubini on Bloomberg this morning and the leader of the gloom squad thinks we will have a deep recession for two more years.

  245. Stu says:

    He does not predict a depression either!

  246. kettle1 says:


    i am not debating the point one way or the other but i wonder how doomy you can be at his level and still retain creditability?

    Also who’s definitions are you using.

    “The National Bureau of Economic Research determines contractions and expansions in the business cycle, but does not declare depressions[1]. A common rule of thumb for a depression is a 10 percent decline in gross domestic product (GDP). The corresponding rule of thumb for recession is two quarters of negative GDP growth”

    if you dont use funny #’s for GDP then we have been in a recession for about 2 years already

  247. 3b says:

    #251 Stu: Deep recession will be bad enough, becasue even when the deep recession ends at some point, we will still have incredibly low growth going for forward for years.

  248. Clotpoll says:

    sl (248)-

    Yeah. Once we start identifying targets for execution. :)

  249. Clotpoll says:

    sl (248)-

    Never underestimate the salubrious and palliative effects of show trials and summary executions.

  250. kettle1 says:

    Update of the FED’s off balance security sheet

  251. skep-tic says:

    well, things are starting to get interesting in my neck of the woods. house just came on the market where PITI would be very close to my current rent (houses are basically identical from the outside– both capes). After mortgage interest deduction, cost per month would be less. I actually think my rent is pretty fair, so I am inclined to think that this price is fair as well at the moment.

    On the other hand, since the economy is rapidly getting worse, I don’t see much urgency to buy a place like this even if it may be fairly priced right now. I don’t see much chance that places like it will go up in price and there is rather a decent chance that it will continue to go down. But if I was moving to the neighborhood right now and planned to stay long term, I wouldn’t think it was dumb to buy this place over renting mine since the cost is similar. Haven’t been able to say that in years.

  252. Nicholas says:

    Wow, last 10 minutes of the day is the worst.

  253. Clotpoll says:

    nick (259)-

    No, they’re the best.

  254. Nicholas says:

    Holy frijoles,

    Trick or treat? Trick.

  255. Clotpoll says:

    skep (258)-

    Got a feeling lots of folks in CA and FL are saying that, too. No other way to explain the sales vol headed up in those places.

    One thing to keep in mind in NJ: the typical buyer here not only has to see the price come down to a more affordable level…he has to see that price dive some more, just to compensate for our out-of-control property taxes.

  256. Nicholas says:

    “Oh my god… My prophecy is real. This can’t be…. How do I get out
    of this prophecy? ”

    random post

  257. Clotpoll says:

    SKF, SRS go out with a bang. I can pay the mortgage this month.

  258. 3b says:

    #258 skeptic: And there is rather a decent chance that it will continue to go down.

    I would say the chance is a lot greater than decent.

  259. Nicholas says:

    I blame the loss of American productivity (GDP) and the worldwide recession on World of Warcraft. Since the debut of this online game productivity is down and thus real incomes are down.

    This November they plan the release of their new expansion pack and it is likely to be AWESOME as usual. We can expect a prolonged global recession as long as Blizzard entertainment continues to produce blockbuster hits.

    Down with the virtual man!

  260. 3b says:

    #262 clot:just to compensate for our out-of-control property taxes.

    Yes.And for me as well I have to compensate for potential loan modifications.

  261. Sastry says:

    Skep-tic [#258]…

    The house you are talking about… Is that the asking price? If so, in principle you can lowball an offer and may be get even a better deal.

    On the other hand, you are committing a long term investment, so rent vs buy question still does not have an easy answer.

    I for one welcome the lower house prices (like most here). The only thing I don’t like about Obama’s campaign (and general thought process in the US) is that the housing prices should be, for some reason, “high”. No one talks about affordable housing :(


  262. Clotpoll says:

    3b (267)-

    Sicily, the Abruzzi or Umbria is looking better by the minute. I really don’t want to stick around to see how this movie ends.

  263. Clotpoll says:

    USD/Yen = 93.84


  264. BC Bob says:

    kettle [257],

    Who says leverage is dead?

  265. Nicholas says:

    Clot is there a site that shows you the major currency exchange rates?

    I guess your posting that because the Yen has grown stronger against the dollar forcing further unwinding in the carry trades?

  266. skep-tic says:

    Mr. Mc is losing for so many above board reasons that it is hard for me to understand why anyone would need to imagine something surreptitious. Almost every current event tips in the dems’ favor. Mr. Ob blows away Mr. Mc in his ability to deliver a message. Whether you agree with him or not, you have to admit that Mr. Ob is a brilliant politician.

    Mr. Mc has revealed himself to be much less impressive than a lot of people thought. He should have stayed in the senate where he is very effective. Again, putting aside the issues, GWB was a far better candidate than Mc.

    Finally, not that he has really needed it, but Mr. Ob has gotten an almost totally free pass from the media. I don’t think there is any conspiracy here– I just think most members of big time media outlets are so liberal that they can’t even see how biased they are– they simply think their opinion is the capital T truth, without seeing the need for anything more than cursory counterweight. this to me is the most disturbing thing about this election and I hope the media will snap out of it after Mr. Ob is elected and learn to question him harder.

  267. Nicholas says:

    I take that back it seems to be weakening against the dollar and has been for some time.

    The weakening is what is undermining the those involved in the carry trade. They are trying to deleverage their positions which further drags down the Yen creating a downward cycle.

  268. BC Bob says:

    “The weakening is what is undermining the those involved in the carry trade.”


    We have been talking about Mrs Wantanbe for the last year.

  269. NJGator says:

    Skep – I agree with most of your post above. But the media, however liberal they might be, has had a bit of a love affair with McC since the 2000 election. McC circa 2000 was the victim of the scurrilous type of campaign that he running against O today. I actually think McC has been given a free pass on a lot of the more troubling things he’s done this time around.

    As his campaign has descended into the gutter, he’s lost quite a bit of his media fan base. See folks like Joe Klein of Time. McC version 2000 would be deeply ashamed of the campaign that his 2008 counterpart is running.

  270. skep-tic says:


    clot– on the property tax issue, I agree. I am looking in both westchester and fairfield county, ct, but I need to get a much better deal to bring me over the line into NY because the towns in westchester have demonstrated an inability to keep taxes under control compared to ct. it is not so much the current tax levels as the amount they have risen (which is the best indication of the amount they are likely to rise in the future).

  271. NJGator says:

    Regardless of your opinions on O vs McC, it’s in everyone’s best interest for the media to wake up and do their job. And if this turns out the way it looks like it will, hopefully O will be rise to the occasion and be the leader that is needed in these crazy times.

  272. NJGator says:

    BTW – Ted Stevens (R-AK) was just convicted on all counts in his federal corruption trial. I was curious how legally this would affect his bid from reelection next week. Why was I not surprised to find this in the AP article detailing his conviction:

    “Despite being a convicted felon, he is not required to drop out of the race or resign from the Senate. If he wins re-election, he can continue to hold his seat because there is no rule barring felons from serving in Congress. The Senate could vote to expel him on a two-thirds vote.”

  273. yikes says:

    # Nicholas Says:
    October 27th, 2008 at 1:34 pm

    Rally in the DJIA because of better then expected housing data?

    Not quite. Ended down 200+, we’re at 8175.
    what’s the bottom this year?

  274. Victorian says:

    “what’s the bottom this year?”

    – We will know when it stops falling.

  275. Sean says:

    re: #278 – gonne be tough to vote from a jail cell.

  276. Clotpoll says:

    skep (272)-

    This is like saying Robert Chambers was a fun date, except for his fondness for strangling girls:

    “Again, putting aside the issues, GWB was a far better candidate than Mc.”

  277. Nicholas says:

    BC Bob,

    I noticed some of the conversation about yen carry trade but it didn’t quite hit home until just now. My financial education is lacking but I learn fast.

    I’m not sure who Mrs Wantanabe is though, maybe you could explain that reference?

  278. skep-tic says:

    Gator– I agree that Mc’s campaign has gotten really low brow, but I disagree that he has gotten a pass on it (nor should he).

    as for the cause of his falling out of favor with the press, I believe it predated the nasty tactics he has resorted to this fall. the truth, in my opinion, is as the Mc campaign recognized this summer: Mc only had the press as his ally when he was the moderate running against the more conservative GWB in 2000 (and more generally, they were his allies when he has teamed up with dems throughout his career, but not when he has voted with his party).

    but when running against a true liberal, the press were never going to side with Mr. Mc. he was already getting disparate treatment when he opted for the GWB strategy of tightly controlling press access starting in mid-summer. that, in my opinion, was a smart move, but the press of course took it as a betrayal and went after him harder (and especially so with respect to SP, for whom they felt zero affinity).

    Outside of really personal family stuff, I actually think it is a good thing when the press tests candidates. So I don’t blame them for going after Mc and P as regards their knowledge and consistency on the issues (where both of them have pretty much failed). The problem is that they have never really gone after Mr. Ob in the same way, and mostly seem to accept his every pronouncement as if sent down from Mt. Olympus.

  279. skep-tic says:


    “This is like saying Robert Chambers was a fun date, except for his fondness for strangling girls:”

    just talking about winning elections, which is a separate talent from governing. GWB is pretty good at the former

  280. Clotpoll says:

    Ms. Watanabe is the matronly naked lady standing in knee-high water as the tide rolls out.

    She helped fuel the carry by going short her own currency.

  281. Clotpoll says:

    This Mc vs O talk has become tiresome. They both suck. Deal with it.

  282. grim says:

    This Mc vs O talk has become tiresome. They both suck. Deal with it.

    Not to mention the fact that whoever wins will be blamed for the recession.

    Like Frank says, times are still good. Won’t be so good under the new leadership. Might be a good time to lose an election.

  283. NJGator says:

    Grim 289 –

    “Like Frank says, times are still good.”

    Better go run out and buy a Hoboken Condo while you still have the chance.

  284. Clotpoll says:

    Realize that Frank’s definition of “good times” are when the cafeteria guys at his hedge fund come up with a new chicken wrap sandwich…

  285. Victorian says:

    Clot – Do you write for Family Guy or South Park by any chance?

  286. Clotpoll says:

    New CNBC contest starts Nov. 10th.

    Best part? ETF trading!

  287. Clotpoll says:

    Vic (293)-

    I wish. I think I am sick enough to crank out stuff for shows like those.

  288. Victorian says:

    “ATF disrupts skinhead plot to assassinate Ob”

    “Federal agents have broken up a plot to assassinate Democratic presidential candidate Barack and shoot or decapitate 102 black people in a Tennessee murder spree, the ATF said Monday.”

  289. Clotpoll says:

    CNBC has a practice currency trading program up and running.

    Great. I can now indulge my fantasy of drubbing Mrs. Watanabe into a stupor. Gonna work that Yen/Euro cross like a rented mule…

  290. skep-tic says:

    so the pound is now $1.56. does this mean the end of D&G track suit clad tossers swarming manhattan?

  291. Clotpoll says:

    vic (297)-

    Why 102?

  292. Victorian says:

    Clot (300) –

    “Jim Cavanaugh, special agent in charge of the Nashville field office for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, said the two men planned to shoot 88 black people and decapitate another 14. The numbers 88 and 14 are symbolic in the white supremacist community.”

  293. John says:

    So muni yields are normalizing and it appears we are getting 50bps to 75bps this week. For some reason Investment grade bonds are still wack. Buying American Express bonds at over 10% is easier than robbing a bank. Doubt that will go on too long.

    BC bob my bottom is barely holding but it is still holding, I called the bailout, multiple interest rate cuts and banks being rescued. I never underestimated Paulsons and company ability to beg borrow and steal to prop up the banks and bds.

    Price (Ask) 85.423
    Yield to Worst (Ask) 10.102%

  294. Nicholas says:

    Ok, so let me try and wrap my mind around the concept of Mrs. Wantanabe.

    In Japanese culture the wife is in control of the finances and thus investment strategies. Mrs. Wantanabe is a designation that signifies these wives much like a title “Susie Q. Homemaker” would.

    These housewives are supposed to be very into the carry trade when the Yen is high but when it falls thats their time to liquidate their assets and then buy back into the Yen. Since the Yen is still falling and Mrs. Wantanabe cannot resist but liquidate her foreign investments, she is one of the contributing factors to market volitility in the US, Europe, and Austrailia.

    What happens when Mrs. Wantanabe is tapped out and the Yen continues to fall?

  295. John says:

    the only reason O is winning is he is running on the if you had 100 people in a bar and you said how about we pay our own way or the 5 people who makes the most money pays for it all, wall street does not want him as he is just an ivy league educated pick pocket

  296. Clotpoll says:

    vic (301)-

    88. 14. Probably those two guys’ IQ’s.

  297. Sean says:

    re; #13 Frank – “Broken Securities Industry Still Has $20 Billion to Pay Bonuses”

    Sen. Bernie Sanders from Vt. is asking Secretary Paulson to excercise his new powers as the leader of the cabal to put a freeze on bonuses. So even if you make it to January, you make get only a gift basket since cash won’t be allowed.

  298. Victorian says:

    Nick (303)-

    I am as much as a noob as you are. Let me try to make sense of the carry trade. Interest Rates in Japan were really low (almost 0%) for the better part of the last decade or so.

    Lot of countries then borrowed yen at low interest rates and put it into other currencies for higher yield. Now, due to deleveraging – they have to sell their assets and pay off their yen. Hence the competition for scarce yens and dollars.

    Gurus – Please correct me if I am wrong.

    Mrs Watanbe (AFAIK) is the creation of BC Bob and Clot to symbolize Japan and I am guessing has nothing to do with Japanese Housewives.

  299. Nicholas says:

    14/88 438 up, 86 down
    a term recognized by white supremists.

    14 representing 14 words written by David Lane, “We must secure the existance of our people and a future for white children.”

    88 representing David Lane’s 88 precepts, or sometimes the eighth letter in the alphabet (H), to represent Heil Hitler.

  300. BC Bob says:

    “What happens when Mrs. Wantanabe is tapped out and the Yen continues to fall?”


    Then it’s sayonara, Mrs Wantanabe.

  301. grim says:

    From MarketWatch:

    Meritage Homes third-quarter loss widens

    Meritage Homes Corp. said late Monday that its third-quarter loss widened to $144 million, or $4.69 a share, from $118.6 million, or $4.52 a share, in the year-ago period. Revenue fell to $374.8 million from $578.6 million last year. Analysts surveyed by FactSet Research estimated revenue of $409.4 million.

  302. Sastry says:

    John [#304]

    Come on… 300 bps (33 to 36%) increase in income tax to Clinton era is equivalent to 5% population “paying for it all”?

    Our household doesn’t make 250k, but I’d more than glad if I could bump my income to go over the 250k and suffer having to “pay for it all!”

  303. HEHEHE says:

    One down, 99 to go!!!

    Sen. Ted Stevens found guilty in corruption case

  304. Nicholas says:

    This is the article I read. It didn’t seem to clarify the issue of why we are having such problems. It doesn’t seem likely that BC Bob and Clot came up with this nonclementure.

    Thanks Victorian for helping to school this noob. I actually appreciate it more then you know.

  305. chicagofinance says:

    Victorian Says:
    October 27th, 2008 at 5:15 pm
    Nick (303)-
    Lot of countries then borrowed yen at low
    Mrs Watanbe (AFAIK) is the creation of BC Bob and Clot to symbolize Japan and I am guessing has nothing to do with Japanese Housewives.

    Vic: it does and is a common reference in certain circles…..your meaning is correct

  306. BC Bob says:

    vic [307],

    No, she is not a figment of our imagination. She is Japan’s version of the Beardstown Ladies. At one time she was making so much $, she thought she became a currency guru.

  307. chicagofinance says:

    John: Are you aware why East Hanover Utlity does not rate its bonds? It seems that it has done a bunch of private placements through the passage of time, and now someone is barfing these bonds back up into the secondary market. Is there a land mine here?

  308. Clotpoll says:

    vic (307)-

    Yep. A big, nasty unwind.

  309. Nicholas says:

    Again BC Bob you throw terminology around that I don’t understand, “Beardstown Ladies”.

    Are you saying that Mrs. Wantanabe are bad investors who lied about their returns?

    The Beardstown Ladies were a group of older women who formed an investment club, formally known as the Beardstown Business and Professional Women’s Investment Club, in Beardstown, Illinois, USA.[1]

    Founded in 1983, the group achieved fame for their stock market acumen, claiming investment returns of more than 23.4% per year from their inception through 1994. They received considerable attention in national media outlets, and authored a best-selling book, The Beardstown Ladies’ Common-Sense Investment Guide, following it up with four more books.[1]

    In 1995, personal finance counselor and best-selling author (Personal Finance for Dummies, Investing for Dummies) Eric Tyson wrote an article in the San Francisco Chronicle exposing the fact that this club did not have any documentation or audit to back up their claimed investment returns.

    In 1998, an article in Chicago magazine asserted that the group’s stated returns had included the new investments made by its members, and that when computed in conventional fashion, their annual rate of return for 1984–1993 was actually 9.1%. This was considerably worse than the 14.9% return on the S&P 500 during the same period.[1] Outside auditor Price Waterhouse, hired by the club, confirmed the sub-par 9.1% annual rate for 1984–1993. The auditor also discovered the Beardstown Ladies’ annualized return was 15.3% when all of 1983–1997 was included; this was better than the average stock fund at the time, but still worse than the S&P 500 return of 17.2% for the same period.[2]

    This revelation led to a class action lawsuit against their publisher (Hyperion, a division of Disney), which settled the case by offering to swap the books for other Hyperion books.[1]

    As of 2006, the club still exists and is still investing.[1]

  310. BC Bob says:

    nicholas [319],

    Both Mrs Wantanabe and the Beardstown Ladies thought they had become market experts overnight. Bull markets tend to turn idiots into geniuses.

  311. BC Bob says:


    You can add dot com day traders and RE flippers into the mix.

  312. Nicholas says:

    So with the yen exchange rate so low you would see Mrs. Wantanabe exchanging back into the Yen to reap the benefits?

    It seems like the Japanese gov. is expecting this to occur to support their currency.

  313. BC Bob says:

    John [302],

    Yes and no. Not a new intraday low but a new closing low.

  314. Nicholas says:

    Thanks for that BC Bob, I think I deserved it.

    You can add dot com day traders and RE flippers into the mix.

  315. BC Bob says:


    The trade has been unwinding over the last several months. I think Mrs Wantanabe will shut down her screen and try to keep hubby happy.

  316. BC Bob says:


    You didn’t deserve anything. Actually, my fault. Sometimes I post on the fly and use market terminology, that everybody may not be accustomed to.

  317. BC Bob says:


    By the way, traders here have been gunning for Mrs Wantanabe. Target hit.

  318. Nicholas says:

    BC Bob,

    Please feel free to use all the market terminology you want.

  319. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [308] Nick,

    Huh? I am gonna have to google that cuz I cannot, FTLOM, figure it out.

  320. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [210] Gator,

    I have no dog in that fight.

    Literally or figuratively.

    Besides, my Boston Terrier can beat the snot out of UGA V, or whatever number he (she?) is.

    An actual gator? He would try but then his name would be hors d’ouvres.

  321. Theo says:

    Skep #285

    Don’t know what you’re talking about. The press trashed Gore in 2000 and Kerry in 2004 and clearly preferred Bush in both cases.

  322. John says:

    chicago finance there is a web site with the details of original bond offering in munis that is free you have to go there, I forgot site name. DTCC terminals or bloomberg terminals have good info too

  323. stu says:

    About the whole press favoring one party over the over. I think the media will always favor the front runner. It is simply better for their ratings. The same concept can be applied to campaign financing. It always annoys the hell out of me when a candidate is faulted for out-raising his opponent. If I was an individual or business who were planning to give to a campaign, I’d make sure that I gave to the expected winner so I could get something in return.

  324. yikes says:

    cool map

    unless you live in Bucks County, which isn’t getting hit hard by non-prime

  325. william says:

    Have you ever imagined your lives without the constant worry of money?

  326. william says:

    When I read certain people who post in here it reminds me of an addict…never enough…never being able to think of anything else

  327. NJGator says:

    BC Bob – From Baristanet…

    Tonight’s Counting Crows Postponed
    Monday, October 27, 2008
    The Wellmont show tonight for Counting Crows is off. Adam Duritz has the flu, the show won’t go on as planned. Ticket holders for tonight’s concert can come to tomorrow’s night’s concert where they’ll be honored.

  328. Clotpoll says:

    stu (333)-

    My dad was the best at this game. He routinely donated to candidates on both sides.

    Whenever anyone asked him who he supported, he’d answer, “the winner”.

    I think his ideas on politics sorta rubbed off on me…

  329. Clotpoll says:


    Maybe Adam was working some crosses vs the yen.

    A sort of new Asian flu strain?

  330. Clotpoll says:

    will (336)-

    I resemble that remark.

    I am, however, reasonably happy…for a junkie.

  331. Outofstater says:

    #336 William – I don’t think most of us here are worried about money and we do have other lives. I am just a geek who finds the world of markets fascinating. No one in my real life shares my fascination – they have other equally geeky interests so I come here every day to find other like-minded people. This blog is just a neighborhood of people who like to talk about the same subjects. Think of it as a ham radio club only we bathe regularly.

  332. william says:

    ok–i get that…I have a question…if every single American burned $1,000 in a flaming pile…would it make a dent in the amount of cash circulating?

  333. NJGator says:

    Clot 339 – And I guess both shows didn’t sell very well if they can honor all of tonight’s tickets tomorrow.

  334. NJGator says:

    Stevens to remain in Senate race after conviction

    I’d love to see him win, resign and have his replacement appointed by SP. Maybe she can name the first dude to the seat so that both of Alaska’s Senators are nepotism appointments. The state’s junior senator, Lisa Murkowski, was named to her seat by her father Frank Murkowski, who vacated it to become governor.

  335. yikes says:

    gosh im an idiot. i’ve seen the mrs watanabe stuff on here for months. i glossed over it and never once thought to look into this chick.

    even when you guys were saying, ‘buy curriences’ i just took that under advisement and never put 2 and 2 together.

    f me. this board rocks. i can’t believe that article is from FEBRUARY. everyone saw it coming … you know, except DC and wall street. idiots.

    so is it too late to find out what the currency is with the best interest rate and invest some there? or am i going to have my waiter tell me i missed the boat when i hit applebees next weekend?

    (obvs not applebees)

  336. still_looking says:

    speaking of currencies….

    My BIL just emailed me his worries about some guy Hal Turner warning about the collapse of the US dollar and the emergence of the Amero.

    Now I know you guys have joked about it…and snopes debunked the it as a myth but he is really uneasy [enough to email me the crap]

    Can I reassure him that we aren’t Zimbabwe yet?


    ps: I know this is probably a stupid question but he was really unnerved by it.

  337. Shore Guy says:

    “Think of it as a ham radio club only we bathe regularly.”

    Take regular baths, or showers, even? Really? That is a requirement? Yeesh, another bloody mandate.

  338. Clotpoll says:

    still (346)-

    I wouldn’t completely write off Hal Turner. A tad too many people are trying too hard to shut him up to simply dismiss him as a prankster.

    Also, he poses valid questions about just what will occur when we repudiate our debt, declare force majeure and toss the whole world into violent chaos.

    Note I said “when”, not “if”.

  339. Clotpoll says:

    There are plenty of days when I post here and don’t bathe.

  340. Clotpoll says:

    Anybody wanna lend me about 23 Lunesta pills?:

    (ESPN, 10/27/08): “The New York Knicks reached the mandatory 15-man roster limit Monday at the expense of a Ewing.

    Patrick Ewing Jr., who lit up Madison Square Garden in the Knicks’ final preseason game Friday, was involved in the team’s final roster move as the Knicks chose to keep shooting guard Anthony Roberson and cut Ewing.”

  341. Clotpoll says:

    Stephon Marbury remains a Knick.

    My wife has taken all my belts and shoelaces.

  342. Shore Guy says:

    “My wife has taken all my belts and shoelaces.”

    I wonder if Laura has done this for Geo III.

  343. still_looking says:


    “Also, he poses valid questions about just what will occur when we repudiate our debt, declare force majeure and toss the whole world into violent chaos. Note I said “when”, not “if”.”

    — ugh… I need to go take a shower.

    C’mon….for real???

    And what would an “Amero” do for us exactly?? I can’t see the point to it.

    Please… just tell me your pulling my leg.


  344. still_looking says:

    …ack…. tell me you’re… not your/leg.

    Lunesta? HAH. I’m ready for high dose Ambien CR.

    I think I need a vacation.


  345. Clotpoll says:

    sl (354)-

    Does hemlock come in pill form?

  346. Shore Guy says:

    From Yahoo News, for Stu/Gator

    “Atlantic City delays smoking ban for 1 year
    Atlantic City’s less-than-two-week-old ban on smoking in casinos will soon end under a change-of-heart measure narrowly approved Monday by the City Council and quickly signed by the mayor.Casinos said the ban cut into their business, while their workers were deeply divided whether its health benefits outweighed the potential economic harm. Some at Monday’s meeting shouted “Save

    Our Jobs!” while others chanted “Save Our Lives!”On Nov. 16, Atlantic City’s 11 casinos will revert to a previous arrangement”

  347. chicagofinance says:



    Bargain Hunters Help Shrink Housing Glut
    Despite Small Inventory Drop, Prices Continue to Decline; The Threat of Unlisted Homes

    Lower home prices are luring some buyers back into the U.S. housing market, but foreclosures and a weakening economy are likely to keep downward pressure on prices for at least another year, economists say.
    A quarterly Wall Street Journal survey of housing data in 28 major metro areas shows that the glut of unsold homes listed for sale is shrinking in most of them. In many cases, sales have been stimulated by investors who are grabbing what they see as bargains on homes that can be turned into rentals. Metro areas with the biggest drops in for-sale signs include Sacramento and Orange County in California and the Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C.
    The recent headlines give a mixed picture. On Monday, the Census Bureau reported that new home sales in September were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 464,000 units, down 33% from September 2007. The median sales price for new homes in September was $218,400, down 9% from a year earlier. Last week, the National Association of Realtors said sales of previously occupied homes in September edged up 1.4% from the depressed year-earlier level, the first such rise since November 2005, largely reflecting sales of foreclosed homes.
    Housing analysts caution that many homes that aren’t currently listed for sale may hit the market in the next year or two. This looming supply includes pending foreclosures and homes temporarily taken off the market while their owners await stronger demand. With banks chopping prices on foreclosed homes, other sellers “are giving up and taking their homes off of the market,” says Michael Lyon, president of Trendgraphix Inc., a research firm in Sacramento.
    Meanwhile, credit remains tight, consumer confidence is crumbling, and job losses are removing some potential buyers from the market while pushing others toward foreclosure. “Now we’re adding a second leg down [in housing], which is the job losses,” says Kenneth Rosen, chairman of the Fisher Center for Real Estate and Urban Economics at the University of California, Berkeley.
    Mortgage rates jumped Monday amid continued turmoil in the credit markets. Some mortgage firms quoted rates of 6.5% or more for standard 30-year fixed-rate loans. That was up from an average of 6.2% last week, according to HSH Associates, a financial publisher.
    Despite all the gloom, some people believe it isn’t too early to pick up bargains. One key, they say, is a deep understanding of the local demand for rental housing.
    Dinesh and Rima Kumar, who live in Ashburn, Va., last month bought a town house in Sterling, Va., a suburb of Washington, D.C., for $154,000. The same home sold in June 2005 for $375,000 to a buyer who used subprime loans to finance 100% of the price. It went into foreclosure late last year. Mr. Kumar says he has found a renter at $1,500 a month. The Kumars, who paid cash for the home, calculate their monthly expenses — including taxes, insurance, maintenance and fees — at $491 a month.
    The couple made the plunge partly because Ms. Kumar, a real-estate agent for Realty Direct, noticed that homes in the area priced at $250,000 or less were attracting multiple offers. Home sales in the northern Virginia suburbs of Washington totaled 3,360 in September, up 92% from a year earlier, according to the Northern Virginia Association of Realtors. The average price: about $333,000, down 32% from a year earlier.
    “This could be the bottom,” Mr. Kumar says, and even if it isn’t, “the down side on a $150,000 property is pretty low.” Moreover, he has been burned in the past by stock-market investments and thinks rental income will far exceed the meager interest rates offered on bank deposits.
    View Full Image

    Chris Rank/WpN for The Wall Street Journal
    A Snellville, Ga., home that sold for $116,900 in 2007 recently sold for $50,000 in foreclosure.
    Real Property Investment Group LLC of Atlanta recently bought a three-bedroom house in Snellville, Ga., a suburb of Atlanta, for $50,000. The home had sold in March 2007 for $116,900 and went into foreclosure a year later. The latest sale price is only modestly above the $45,800 price the home fetched when it was newly built in 1981, according to, a data service of First American CoreLogic Inc. Charlie Chico, managing partner of Real Property Investment, estimates that the home can be rented out for $900 a month.
    Still, Mr. Chico notes that foreclosed homes aren’t necessarily bargains. “You have to be picky,” he says.
    Though housing demand increases over the long run with population, it may be tepid in the next year or two. In hard times, notes Jay Brinkmann, chief economist at the Mortgage Bankers Association, many young people move in with parents or find roommates, reducing the rate at which new households are formed. Mr. Brinkmann also expects a further rise in foreclosures over the next year.
    Barclays Capital estimates that banks and loan investors owned 826,200 foreclosed homes as of Sept. 1, up from 343,500 a year earlier. Barclays forecasts that this inventory will peak at around 1.3 million homes in mid-2010.
    Ivy Zelman, chief executive of housing-research firm Zelman & Associates, says far more vacant homes are being held off the market than usual. In the second quarter, vacant homes that weren’t listed for sale totaled about 6.5 million, she estimates, using Census Bureau data. That’s about one million more than the typical level during the first half of this decade. If a million of those vacant homes were listed for sale, listings would rise about 23% from the current level. Some of these empty homes are in the foreclosure process, Ms. Zelman says.
    Based on the S&P Case-Shiller national home-price index, prices on average already were down about 18% in this year’s second quarter from the peak two years before. Celia Chen, director of housing economics at Moody’s, expects a further drop of about 14% before prices bottom out in the second half of 2009. Prices won’t bottom out everywhere at the same time, of course. Ms. Chen expects Florida’s recovery to lag behind that of the nation as a whole, partly because a backlog of foreclosures in courts there will take time to clear. In the Miami area, nearly 18% of home mortgages are overdue or in foreclosure, compared with a national average of 7%, according to
    The glut of homes in South Florida is concentrated on the lower end of the market, says Ron Shuffield, president of Esslinger-Wooten-Maxwell Inc., a big real-estate brokerage there. Homes priced at less than $300,000 account for about 62% of the single-family houses and condos listed for sale in Miami-Dade and Broward counties, up from 33% in April 2005.
    But consumer confidence is lacking. As stock prices lurched downward in recent weeks, “the phone stopped ringing,” says Tip Powers, president of Realty Direct, Ashburn, Va. Some people tempted to invest in real estate were suddenly too jumpy — or had lost in the stock market the money they intended to put into property.

  348. sas says:

    I told you blokes it was a mirage, when the DOW did a dead cat bounce.


  349. Clotpoll says:

    sl (353)-

    Think about it: what’s the only quick-fix remedy for a currency that goes from the world’s reserve to default? What do you do when bondholders the world over get left holding a hot potato and a “sorry” note?

    When we default and repudiate, what else to do but hitch our wagon to whatever cred our two next-door neighbors might still retain?

  350. Clotpoll says:

    sas (358)-

    Aw, man. I need ’em to pump it up one more time. One more idiot rally to short for one more tawdry payday.

  351. sas says:

    “I need ‘em to pump it up one more time. One more idiot rally to short for one more tawdry payday”

    you will get your chance.
    but the market has gone under one hell of a pump & dump over the past year.


  352. sas says:

    with that said…

    there are still some really good deals out there. just because the DOW drops like a rock, doesn’t mean our draws have to get caught in a bundle.


  353. HEHEHE says:


    The man’s name is STARBURY! STARBURY!

  354. Victorian says:

    Nikkei flirting with the 6 handle.

  355. NJGator says:

    Meltdown Retirement Blow Is Softer for Lawmakers

    by Erica Werner
    Monday, October 27, 2008

    Inside Washington: Lawmakers’ retirement plans riding out the storm better than others

    Along with the rest of America, Rep. George Miller has watched the value of his retirement investments plummet in recent weeks.

    “I’ve lost 30 percent like everybody else. This hits home with the Miller family, too,” the California Democrat said in a recent interview.

    But the blow is softer for members of Congress than for most. Although lawmakers have lost value in their thrift savings plans — the government’s version of a 401(k) — they are also offered a defined-benefit pension plan backed by the U.S. Treasury and largely insulated from Wall Street fluctuations.

    That puts Miller and the other lawmakers into an increasingly privileged category — workers with guaranteed retirement benefits that aren’t subject to the vicissitudes of the financial markets.

    Market meltdown or no, if Miller, 63, were to retire at the end of this year he’d take with him an annual pension of about $122,000, according to the National Taxpayers Union, a nonprofit advocacy group in Arlington, Va. On top of that he could tap whatever remains in his 401(k)-like savings plan.

    Lawmakers’ retirement benefits start earlier and accrue faster than in plans offered to other federal workers, or by the average private company. Lawmakers also get cost-of-living increases, increasingly rare in the private sector.

    Only 5 percent of private sector workers have defined benefit pension plans, in which the employer pays into an account and promises them benefits based on years of service, salary levels and other factors. That’s down from 1980, when 60 percent of workers had such plans, according to the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College.

    Increasingly, employers are putting the responsibility for retirement — and the risk — onto workers themselves by switching to investment plans like 401(k)s. About 30 percent of workers have 401(k)s, in which employees contribute to their own accounts, often with employers matching a small percentage of contributions, according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute. Thirteen percent have both defined-benefit pensions and 401(k)s. The remaining workers don’t have retirement coverage from their employer, according to the institute.

    Despite the financial crisis — and the fact lawmakers’ retirement benefits are out of step with most ordinary Americans — Congress has made no effort to revisit its unusually sweet retirement deal.

    Rep. Howard Coble, R-N.C., who has declined participation in either the congressional pension or thrift savings plan, said his efforts to scale them back have not been welcomed.

    “It would certainly be a timely gesture at this juncture,” said Coble. “It certainly appears to be a different standard and I can see how people on the outside of that standard might resent it.”

    The generous retirement arrangement for members of Congress is meant to respond to the job insecurity that comes with elected office, according to Barbara Bovbjerg, director of education, work force and income security issues at the Government Accountability Office.

    Members elected before 1984, like Miller, get a better deal on their pensions than do those elected since, because the rules changed that year to bring lawmakers into the Social Security system as well.

    But any member with five years of service is eligible for full pension benefits at 62 — though Social Security benefits conform with those of other workers, with early retirement bringing reduced benefits. Lawmakers with 20 years in office can get full pension benefits at 50, younger than most workers.

    “The government plans are certainly very rich even if you compare them to the pension plans in corporate America,” said Robyn Credico, national director of defined contribution consulting at Watson Wyatt, an employee benefits consulting firm.

    “I certainly believe it affects policy,” Credico said, suggesting that members of Congress don’t experience the harsher reality of ordinary workers’ retirement plans. “If you’re not impacted yourself it’s very easy to make different rules.”

    Indeed, Congress has in recent years promoted the dramatic movement in corporate America away from defined-benefit pensions to 401(k)s with policies encouraging automatic enrollment and raising contribution limits. Under 401(k) plans employees contribute to their own investment accounts and assume the risks and rewards that go with them. Lately, with the crisis on Wall Street and across the globe, it’s been more risk than reward.

    Earlier this month, Miller’s House Education and Labor Committee found that Americans’ retirement plans — pension plans and 401(k)s included — have lost as much as $2 trillion in the past 15 months — about 20 percent of their value. At a committee hearing Wednesday in San Francisco, Miller cited new research suggesting that the losses might be as much as double that.

    And although private sector employees with defined benefit pensions are guaranteed their pensions even if the value of the plan drops, employers may make up for the extra cost in other ways, like layoffs, cutting other benefits or even freezing the pension or eliminating it, experts say.

    That risk was underscored Wednesday at Miller’s hearing in San Francisco, where he announced that the federal agency charged with backstopping pension benefits for 44 million Americans has lost at least $3 billion in stock investments during the last fiscal year on assets of $68 billion, and invested a significant portion of its funds in mortgage-backed securities. The agency, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp., insures approximately 30,000 defined benefit pension plans. It does not insure 401(k) plans.

  356. Outofstater says:

    Reuters just reported that GM and Cerberus are asking the feds for $10 billion to support a merger between GM and Chrysler. The support of mediocrity with our tax dollars continues…

  357. Ben says:


    And make me a damn sandwich while you’re at it.”

    -Clott, are you sure you would want him to make you a sandwich?

  358. Shore Guy says:

    From the WSJ article above, the author stated:” In many cases, sales have been stimulated by investors who are grabbing what they see as bargains on homes that can be turned into rentals.”

    So, people who are looking at the asset as a depreciating asset are jumping in. This makes sense to me but, the economics of owning rental properties, given the depreciation allowance, etc., strikes me as being different from Joe and Jane Main Street looking for a primary residence.

  359. Shore Guy says:

    “But any member with five years of service is eligible for full pension benefits at 62 —”


    This fits with my thesis that the first step to reforming the political system is to eliminate the pensions.

  360. still_looking says:

    …and as always, the lawyers seem to be the only ones who succeed.


  361. still_looking says:

    Clot, 355

    Hmmm hemlock… I dunno. Wouldn’t a high-dose morphine drip be less crampy?

    Just sayin’


  362. still_looking says:

    Clot, 359

    “you want fries with that?”

    replaced by

    “you want maple syrup on them burritos?”

    …nah…I’m not buying it.

    I do admit whereas I am usually thrilled to pick stocks up on the cheap, this market has me unnerved.


  363. bairen says:

    There is nothing pleasant about Pleasantville.

  364. Clotpoll says:

    sl (371)-

    Cheap does not equal value.

  365. NJGator says:

    Shore 368 – No arguments from me on that one. I am one of the lucky 5% in the private sector that still has one, but I have to put in 35 yrs of service and retire at 65 to get a decent payout. The way the market is going, our pension is likely to be frozen long before I can collect anyway.

  366. Clotpoll says:

    shore (368)-

    My theory is, we start with a bullet between the eyes for every one of those crooks.

    Except maybe Paul and Defazio.

  367. still_looking says:

    Clot, 374

    I know…Good companies who have been taken down with the low tide.


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