This won’t end well

From the NY Times:

Banks Want Pieces of Fannie-Freddie Pie

As the Obama administration prepares a report on the future of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, some of the nation’s largest banks are offering a few suggestions.

Wells Fargo and some other large banks would like private companies, perhaps even themselves, to become the new housing finance giants helping to bundle individual mortgages into securities — that would be stamped with a government guarantee.

A spokesman for the Treasury declined to comment on the administration’s plans, but one former Treasury official warned against the banks’ proposal.

“I don’t think that private shareholder-owned entities should issue federal government guarantees,” said Michael S. Barr, who worked on housing issues at the Treasury Department until the end of last month and then returned to his job as a law professor at the University of Michigan. “I think that creates the same conflict we had in the past.”

Mr. Barr said that banks with the largest mortgage businesses had suggested that they be allowed to issue the government’s guarantee, setting themselves up as a second-generation of Fannie and Freddie. As for the two housing giants, Mr. Barr said, “No one argues for Fannie or Freddie to continue in their current form. It’s just not politically plausible.”

If the government decides to continue offering a guarantee for a broad swath of securities backed by mortgages to middle-class homeowners, it does not have to use a private company. A government agency could issue that guarantee, much the way the Federal Housing Administration does now for borrowers with lower incomes or other factors that disqualify them from conventional loans.

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80 Responses to This won’t end well

  1. Comrade Nom Deplume says:


  2. grim says:

    From the APP:

    Only a gradual improvement expected in housing market

    With the housing market under stress, local homebuilders shouldn’t expect a robust improvement in 2011, an economist said Wednesday.

    Rather, builders should see a gradual improvement over last year, said economist Patrick O’Keefe, director of economic research at J.H. Cohn LLC.

    “Conditions will improve in 2011, but as we saw in 2010, the improvement is going to be grudging. It is going to be uneven, and at the end of the year, we will look back and say, “It was up, but very slowly,’ ” O’Keefe told the Shore Builders Association of Central New Jersey.

    Builders face challenges in the marketplace. There is an excess inventory of homes in the resale market, including foreclosures, competing with new homes for buyers. Home prices in New Jersey are down 13 percent since around 2006, O’Keefe said. As foreclosed properties hit the market this year, they will sell at distress-sale prices, he added.

    “The longer that takes to resolve, the longer it takes for the market to normalize,” he said.

    New Jersey builders sought 13,000 to 13,200 building permits in 2010, an increase of 11 percent over 2009, the worst year since 1945, O’Keefe said, using data available through November.

    But some areas in Central New Jersey saw larger gains. For instance, Ocean County saw a 53 percent gain while Middlesex County was up 69 percent, O’Keefe said. But a shrinking market in Hudson County, where permits were down 56 percent, helped stifle the increases.

    The market remains “highly contorted, twisted, if you will,” said O’Keefe, former chief executive officer of the New Jersey Builders Association. He did not give an estimation on how many building permits, which are an indication of housing starts, will be filed in 2011.

  3. grim says:

    From MNI:

    Reality check: US home Resale Price Declines Continue

    Outside New York City, a sales agent in tony Montclair, NJ, said prices are still pressing lower and sales activity in the fourth quarter didn’t meet expectations.

    “Our fall was really pretty ugly,” said Kate McDonough, sales agent and broker associate with Prominent Properties Sotheby’s International Realty. “We had been encouraged, but we were gravely disappointed.”

    McDonough said buyers, increasingly emboldened, are seizing on sellers’ vulnerability. Only the most motivated sellers have their homes on the market.

    “Negotiations are protracted,” she said. “Offer and list price are far apart.”

    She said that in all home categories last year, selling prices across Montclair fell about 6% to 8%. But there was at least one positive by-product by year end. Lower prices attracted a small number of high-end deals at $1 million and above, which had been dormant for some time, she said. Sellers in the luxury market had been the last holdouts on price reductions.

    Montclair home prices now stand at least 30% below their highs of 2006, and McDonough sees more downside.

    “There’s agitation and fragility to deals, which indicates to me that we’re moving downward. I certainly don’t see prices coming up. I think we have a couple more years here.”

    In this climate, she’s seen a dramatic shift away from the over-spending of the boom years.

    “I definitely see a trend of people buying less than they can afford,” McDonough said. “There’s no confidence about the future anymore.”

  4. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    Now I have one less reason to go to the Comcast annual meeting to rant:

    Herr Olbermann, one of Obama’s Ministers of Propaganda, out as Mouthpiece in Chief

  5. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [0] grim

    I recall that the banks pushed this idea hard prior to the financial crisis. Citi was especially vocal that we did not need Fannie and Freddie. Politically, it won’t happen because the voters believe Fannie and Freddie are government agencies, and feel that they exert some level of regulation over banks. Not true, but the perception is strong, and the democrats won’t let any reform happen that calls for the end of Fannie and Freddie.

  6. gary says:

    Montclair home prices now stand at least 30% below their highs of 2006, and McDonough sees more downside.

    “There’s agitation and fragility to deals, which indicates to me that we’re moving downward. I certainly don’t see prices coming up. I think we have a couple more years here.”

    tick…. tick…. tick…. tick….

  7. grim says:

    #5 – I think Freddie and Fannie should continue to exist, however, they should exist without governmental backstop, guarantee, or sponsorship. If they can’t exist without subsidy, well, than they just shouldn’t exist, should they.

    Homeownership as a policy agenda has clearly backfired horribly.

    Maybe now we can focus on something less important, like jobs or growing an economy that doesn’t involve trading houses.

  8. gary says:

    Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, prediction for 2011:

    “I expect little improvement in the labor market, with unemployment at best drifting down slightly. Wages will at best keep pace with inflation.

    House prices will fall sharply, ending the year about 15 percent below their peaks in 2010. Economists will be surprised. This will mean more people underwater and probably some increase in the rate of foreclosure as the government remains too much under the control of the bankers to do anything meaningful.

    There will be further cutbacks in education and all other services provided by state and local governments.

    The weak labor market and falling house prices will further worsen the financial situation of near retirees. However this will do nothing to slow the drive to cut Social Security and Medicare. This crusade is being driven by a quest to redistribute income from the middle class to the wealthy and is not affected by economic reality.”

  9. grim says:

    From the FDIC:

    Bank Closing Information – January 21, 2011

    United Western Bank, Denver, CO
    The Bank of Asheville, Asheville, NC
    CommunitySouth Bank & Trust, Easley, SC
    Enterprise Banking Company, McDonough, GA

  10. 30 year realtor says:

    Grim, FNMA/FHLMC were created so there would be a secondary mortgage market and a steady flow of available mortgage funds. At the time it was a good principal. Once the RMBS was created there was really no further reason for FNMA/FHLMC.
    Now that RMBS have imploded FNMA/FHLMC once again have a purpose.

    FNMA/FHLMC got into trouble because they spread beyond their intended purpose. There is a place for FNMA/FHLMC, a very well defined and small place.

  11. grim says:

    From Courthouse News:

    Widow Gets New Chance to Fight Foreclosure Attempt

    An elderly woman can sue a law firm and two banks that tried to foreclose on her when she missed the last payment on a 30-year mortgage because she had reportedly been hospitalized, the 3rd Circuit ruled.

    Dorothy Rhue Allen, 85, had borrowed $40,000 to buy a home in Deptford, N.J., in 1976, according to a Jan. 14 article from the Associated Press. The widow reportedly failed to make the final $432 payment in 2006 because she was in the hospital.

    LaSalle Bank initiated foreclosure proceedings through the law firm, Fein, Such, Kahn and Shepard, and demanded a $5,700 payoff.

    Allen filed a class action against LaSalle, the law firm and Cenlar Federal Savings Bank, which serviced the loan, in New Jersey federal court. She claimed the defendants had violated the Federal Debt Collection Practices Act by demanding excessive funds: “$910 in attorney fees when court rule permits only $15.43, $335 for searches when court rule permits only $75, $160 for recording fees when the actual fee was only $60, and $475 for service of process when statute and court rule limit reimbursement to $175,” according to the ruling.

    Fein Such Kahn argued that the allegedly inappropriate communications were between it and Allen’s attorney, which is a practice not covered by the act.

    A federal judge agreed, dismissing the claims since a competent attorney would recognize the overcharges and protect their client from unfair debt-collection practices.

    The Philadelphia-based federal appeals panel vacated the judgment on Jan. 12, however, concluding that attempts at unfair collection are prohibited as equally as actual collection.

  12. Sore feet says:

    Why even keep Fannie and Freddie? At this point, are they not just a tool to prop up the housing Mkt?

    Interesting that the default rate on Buffet’s lending unit for Clayton prefab homes was low and the customer base on paper was one that was much more likely to default and the low default was due to buyers required to put down 5 or 10%. Isn’t it a no brained to require a meaningful deposit on a mtg and can’t you make the lender or entity that buys a mtg w a small downpayment hold and otherwise carry the risk of owning or originating said mtg?

  13. Sore feet says:

    Brainerd should be brainer

  14. NJGator says:

    Looks like the Spring selling season has officially opened in Glen Ridge. Act fast so you can own this palatial 1360SF 3/1.5 gem on a grand 38×124 lot just blocks away from East Orange for only $549,000. Act fast. Bargains like this surely won’t last.

  15. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [14] gator

    Near east orange? Are the gun slits and panic room already in place, or will they have to be added?

  16. NJGator says:

    Nom – You’ll have to wait for the interior pics to find out. But these sellers must be smoking the crack that is available for sale in EO. We looked at a much bigger (1900+SF) home on the same block last year that was nicely redone but couldn’t sell for $519k.

    As an added bonus, that whole neighborhood used to be a radium contaminated Superfund site.

  17. grim (7)-

    Won’t happen. Phony/Fraudy’s whole purpose is to serve as a giant financial dumpster and trip-wired bankruptcy/bailout vehicle.

  18. 30 year realtor says:

    Grim #11 – This was a positive ruling for consumers! Ignoring statutory fees has been the rule in these cases, not the exception. Why should attorney to attorney communications be exempt from FDCPA?

  19. 30 year (10)-

    True, that in a legitimate mortgage market, there’s a place for a secondary tier that purchases mortgages and supplies liquidity to primary lenders. However, I agree with you that the secondary market should be small, should be barred from the practice of chasing yield/dabbling in exotic swaps & derivatives, should not be gubmint-sponsored, and should only exist in conjunction with a primary market forced to own plenty of covered bonds on its own product.

  20. Mike says:

    In Schenectady, Obama also announced that he had named Jeff Immelt, the chief executive of GE, to chair a new advisory panel that will generate ideas to keep the economy growing. GREAT WASN’T HE THE DOOCH BAG CEO THAT LIED TO ALL THE SHAREHOLDERS A COUPLE A YEARS BACK ABOUT THE NOT SO MANY BAD LOANS HIS COMPANY HAD. What sort of economic recovery credential is it to have presided over the 75% decline in GE stock price? If Immelt was really capable of economic recovery, he would staying in his HQ in Fairfield to make it happen.

  21. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [20] mike

    Immelt was an obvious choice, if for no other reason than that Obama has a tight hold on his choke collar. Was either Immelt or the heads of Gov. Motors or Cry-sler.

  22. 250k says:

    grim said yesterday @ 8:41 am

    >>I’ve had my nose buried in the MLS for the last month and let me tell you, inventory sucks.
    >>I’ve never seen such a poor showing of overpriced crapshacks in the past 5 years.
    >>Hell, in 2006 at least there were nice places on the market.
    >>Probably the worst January inventory I’ve ever seen.

    In Brigadoon, anything worth looking at for less than $1,000,000 is on the market for a week to a month and sells. In the past two weeks we have the following closings:

    …so thus far, people are still being spared. And for what its worth, those last two homes have taxes of $17,321 and $20,390 respectively. Homes with lower taxes command a premium in price. Example, the next highest priced sold listing was asking $1,094,000 and sold for $1,050,000 but taxes were only $12,638. (DOM was listed as 86 but I am pretty sure this one was relisted at least once.)

    The highest sale went for $1,447,000, a big discount from the original ask of $2,100,000. DOM was 186 and the taxes on this puppy are over $38k.

    I predict that as the spring inventory starts to come online, there will be multiple bids on anything that is move-in ready or prime for renovation and prices will hold around their current levels. I also think every $1,000 less in taxes will add another $25k-35k to the selling price for comparable homes.

    It really is different here. We have not one but now two places where you can get Plain frozen yogurt.

  23. 250K (22)-

    It will be fun to watch the bloodshed there when the bank runs start and martial law is declared.

  24. chicagofinance says:

    clot: you washed out as a chef because you lacked an appreciation for gummy bears and Power Balance bracelets…..

    JANUARY 22, 2011

    In My Kitchen: Jean-Georges Vongerichten
    Only two months after opening his 30th restaurant, Fern, at the St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort in Puerto Rico, chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten is now focusing on London, where his Spice Market debuts on Valentine’s Day. Known for fusing Asian flavors with classical French technique, the tireless Mr. Vongerichten, 53, lives in Manhattan and just recently began taking weekends off, relaxing at his house in Westchester County, and making two forays a year to St. Barts. While the Alsace-born chef spends most waking hours overseeing his restaurants, we followed him home to see how an expert gastronome lives and eats.

    My kitchen in New York City is in the Richard Meier building on Perry Street, so it’s ultra-modern: white, glass and transparent. It’s 180 square feet, with an induction stove. Everything’s hidden, so you don’t see the microwave or the fridge. I’m at the restaurant until midnight every day, so my wife does the cooking during the week. At my weekend home in Waccabuc, we have a bigger kitchen, 350 square feet. It’s country-style and it’s a major part of our life.

    For friends, I love to make bruschetta. I grill country bread with Frantoia olive oil and make toppings, like crab, roasted squash, mushrooms, whatever’s seasonal. For the crabmeat, I’ll do a quick aioli, spread it on bread with olive oil, fennel fronds and always a bit of chili. I also like to do a one-pot meal, because that’s how I grew up. I’ll do a roast chicken with potatoes; my wife is half Korean, so she’ll do a bulgogi or something Korean.

    I could not live without my Vita-prep blender. I use it to make a quick mayonnaise, a puree and even drinks. You can buy it online or at Williams-Sonoma.

    For pots and pans I love Zani & Zani. They make great kitchen products, and for gifts I’ll sometimes give their steamers, containers for sugar and flour or the traditional mezzaluna. I love those things.

    My two essential ingredients are chilis, any kind, dried or fresh; and acid, whether it’s citrus—lemon, lime, yuzu—or vinegars. Food has to pop.

    A secret food I really love is gummy bears. I can eat a jar every day.

    I can’t sleep without a piece of chocolate in my mouth. I know it’s not good for my teeth, but I’ve gone to sleep with chocolate since I was four years old, and I can’t go to sleep without it. I let it melt in my mouth, and I have sweet dreams, every night.

    The most surprising recent meal I had was last year at El Bulli. I ate 40 dishes and had no idea how to make them. We had an orchid made of I don’t know what and a square of passion fruit. Crazy stuff like a cube of very thin caramel sheet filled with olive oil. How did he do that? I say “bravo.”

    The best single dish I’ve eaten was in Singapore at Tetsuya Wakada’s restaurant. He gave me a Japanese grape, which you can’t eat raw because the skin is so thick and bitter. He peeled it, juiced the skin, made a granité out of the skin, cut the grape in four pieces and put it back into the granité. It was a magical moment, so simple but so intense.

    The soup that changed my life: In 1980, I went to Bangkok for the first time. I was 23, and my head was full of French home cooking. On the way from the airport, I stopped for street food and had the best shrimp soup in the world. I came from making formal stocks that cook for 20 hours and this woman used lemongrass, shrimp, mushrooms, chilis and was done in three minutes. I thought, “What have I been doing for the last eight years?”

    My biggest indulgence is an expensive stone stove and grill I built for my weekend house, using stone from our land. I’ll use it all summer and in the winter. It’s my new toy.

    The best gift I ever received was from my partner, Phil Suarez. I was 34, and had been a chef at Lafayette. I showed him the space for JoJo and he wrote a $200,000 check right there. It was a gift. We didn’t use lawyers, we just shook hands.

    My earliest restaurant memory: For my 16th birthday, my parents took me to Auberge de L’ill, a three-star Michelin restaurant in Alsace. We ate at home every day, and a restaurant was like something fast we’d go to on the beach or skiing. So this was a revelation. I loved the ballet of the waiters and the food. When the chef came to the table, my father said, “My son is good for nothing. Do you need anybody to wash dishes?” The chef said, “Come in next week.” That was the first restaurant I worked in.

    View Full Image

    Fern at the St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort
    .The greatest challenge to cooking at home is inviting the right group of people and creating an ambience.

    I would be happy eating pasta and sushi every single day for the rest of my life. I love anything from uni and crabmeat at Marea [in New York] to something simple, a pasta with tomato sauce and Parmesan.

    The most overrated ingredient is truffle oil. It’s like gasoline. I never use it in my restaurants. It’s heavy, and it repeats on me.

    My favorite cookbook is the “Gastronomie Practique,” by Henri Babinski, who was a bourgeois chef in France in the last century. He was making tomato water, jelly—the things El Bulli is doing now he was doing 125 years ago. It’s incredible stuff, beyond L’Escoffier. I also love “The Breakfast Book,” by Marion Cunningham. Breakfast is something I discovered in America and this book is my reference.

    View Full Image

    Redux Pictures

    The Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo.
    .My escapes are my houses in Waccabuc and St. Barts. When I turned 50, I’d been working six days a week for 36 years, so I decided to start taking the weekend off. It keeps me fresher. I also have a little house in St. Barts, so I take my shoes off for two weeks at Christmas.

    My favorite markets around the world are the Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo; the Or Tor Kaw market in Bangkok, where they have produce and prepared foods you’ve never seen; and the Boqueria in Barcelona. I really miss the old Fulton Fish Market in New York. I loved it, with the burning barrels, it was so wild, and I hate that they closed it.

    Every day I wear my silicone Power Balance bracelet. It gives me energy and works through holograms and magnets. It comes in lots of colors but I only wear white. It goes with my chef whites.

    —Edited from an interview by Jackie Cooperman
    Printed in The Wall Street Journal, page D1

  25. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [22] 250K

    Well, that’s encouraging. For me, at least.

  26. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    Just sent out my first invoice from my law practice. Once that is paid, I will be profitable for 2010 and 2011. Not huge money, but decent for the work done. At least all my new toys will be paid for and expensed. Office needs a cappucino machine.

  27. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    Time to go car shopping. Feh.

  28. Shore Guy says:


    Section 179 and Solo 401k are your best friends as a small business owner.

  29. poor guy says:

    [22] 250K

    I am not familiar with this town. Neither top high school district nor direct train to the city. Why is it so desirable?

    [14] Gator

    Hahaha. I laughed too when I saw it. This should ask no more than $349K. Unfortunately this is indicative of the sellers expectations while we enter the spring season. They think is 2006 again. If it sells close to asking then we are doomed.

    It makes places like this
    seem bargains. Have you seen it? Is this a flood zone?

    It really makes no sense. Wages are stagnant, high unemployment, little security, high property taxes, higher mortgage reqs. Perhaps low rates make people want to buy re with bubble prices.

  30. grim says:

    29 – I’m flattered

  31. Sore feet says:

    Power brokers my a$$. Used two “power brokers” both long on hype short on sales and service skills.

  32. These Kannekt klowns will be like the first wave of infantry when the shooting starts.

    KHOV, bitches!

  33. whipped says:

    anybody know what the limit is on a conforming mortgage in northern NJ?

  34. Sore feet says:

    whipped –

    link on right will download spreadsheet to give you info on area you are looking in essex co i think is $729

  35. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    (28) shore

    I know.

  36. Dan says:

    Didn’t we leave assclowns like the Kannekt guy back in 2006 or 2007. Any chance it’s Frank?

  37. Magpies 1, Spurs 1. I’ll take that result any day.

  38. ricky_nu says:

    Gator – #14

    that’s a nice looking piece of shlt!

  39. gary says:

    The smarmy, little d0uchebags on Kannekt fail to realize that a lot of the posters here are not only home owners, but have a substantially higher net worth than most of those limited, microscopic, envious, rancorous, pretentious sh1t heads. Cry me a f*cking river that you’re $200,000 in tuition debt and don’t have a pot to p1ss in. Perhaps it’s a blessing in disguise that you owe all that money. Think of it as a prophylactic to protect you from some seller drooling to take your money and some washed up, used house pusher itching for a fix at your expense. F*ck you. NEXT!

  40. NJCoast says:

    Disturbed is disturbing.
    Chifi the (former) tour manager for Depeche Mode is a jerk.

  41. relo says:


    Congrats. A journey of a thousand miles and all that…


    Bonus depr. may be more valuable to a start-up than Sec. 179.

  42. jamil says:

    4, Shore Guy got a new job already so his hysterical rants about Guantanamo (which is now closed thanks to Messiah), warrantless searches (which did not got extended to warrantless killings of US citizens) and other quality journolist memes can continue.

  43. grim says:


    From the Daily Record:

    Harding, NJ, estate sells for $16 million below asking price

    A New Vernon estate originally listed for sale at $22.5 million dollars was sold at a live auction in November for $6.4 million, according to the website of Concierge Auctions, the New York City-based auction company that sold the home.

    Fawn Hill Farm, the 34-acre colonial estate at 665 Spring Valley Road, has 21 rooms, including seven bedrooms and bathrooms, seven fireplaces, a grand foyer and staircase, an elavator and a bowling alley.

    The 2010 tax bill for the property is $51,844, town officials said.

    The live auction for the property that had been on the market for three years was held on Nov. 12 and was an absolute auction, meaning the highest bidder got the property.

  44. grim says:

    From the Star Ledger:

    Booting commissioners is only way to halt sewerage agency’s excesses

    Quick, cover your noses: the Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission may be about to breathe its last gasp. Gov. Chris Christie has given the authority an ultimatum — by Tuesday, it had better be able to explain all its shenanigans.

    It was nice of him to ask for their explanation, but it’s impossible to imagine they have any credible excuse for their behavior. Let’s hope that the governor cleans house once he hears them out.

    He has the power to remove any commissioner “for cause” and there is plenty of cause here. These commissioners have given out high-paying jobs like birthday presents to friends and family, and to those with ties to elected officials. They literally took turns doling out jobs: one to a daughter-in-law, another to a wife, and so on.

    They’ve distributed costly contracts to benefit their own communities. They’ve spent extravagantly on travel, and awarded lucrative, no bid consulting contracts. They personify what’s wrong with New Jesey’s public sector.

    Christie first tried to curb their excesses by getting rid of former executive director Bryan Christiansen, who was making $313,000 a year. But that wasn’t enough.

    Now we need the governor put more muscle into it. He has called the commission “a remnant of New Jersey that should be part of our embarrassing past.” And that’s where he should send all of its commissioners.

  45. broke says:

    One of the great ironies revealed by the global recession that began in 2008 is that Communist Party–ruled China may be doing a better job managing capitalism’s crisis than the democratically elected U.S. government. Beijing’s stimulus spending was larger, infinitely more effective at overcoming the slowdown and directed at laying the infrastructural tracks for further economic expansion.

    As Western democracies shuffle wheezily forward, China’s economy roars along at a steady clip, having lifted some half a billion people out of poverty over the past three decades and rapidly created the world’s largest middle class to provide an engine for long-term domestic consumer demand. Sure, there’s massive social inequality, but there always is in a capitalist system. (Income inequality rates in the U.S. are some of the worst in the industrialized world, and more Americans are falling into poverty than are being raised out of it. The number of Americans officially designated as living in poverty in 2009 — 43 million — was the highest in the 51 years that records have been kept.)

    Read more:,8599,2043235,00.html#ixzz1BrQ0mlYM

  46. serenity now says:

    RE#44 Clot once told me “the apple rots from the outside in”….
    16 million dollar haircut – OUCH! Bergen County is next.

  47. Schrodinger's Cat says:

    Clot, debt

    I need a restaraubt reccomendation for midtown. A surprise for the wife. Anything but Indian or French

  48. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [43] jamil

    Arrgh. You got me. I bit, only because I predicted that Fox would at least consider hiring KO.

    Great Pic. Must share.

  49. Orion says:

    (26) Deplume

    LaVazza cappuccino machine is the way to go. I have the $700 version (excellent, metal) and just recently got the $150 (good, plastic) version.
    Surprisingly, the plastic version releases very good crema for espresso. Both machines make very good cappuccino.

  50. Juice Box says:

    Talking about Whitney’s call on Maria’s show now.Jim Leventhal says no way they are going to default, it would be similar to a meteor strike and the downfall of Rome. He says it is the first dollar out in cities budgets not the last, bond holders stand first in line for payouts. Pretty much guarantees there will be massive cuts in services before cities decide to skip bond payments. I gather the This kind of talk will stoke the debate further about tax increases and massive layoffs to pay for the debt. this will short circuit the Dems plans to talk up jobs. There are 20 million workers in the government sector. what will things look like in a year or two if only 10% of those workers lose their jobs?

  51. broke says:

    When most public workers realize their skills are useless in the private sector and can not get a job they will start firing the unions and give up their benefits. Whitney will be wrong on this. Right now the unions are wearing their poker face but in reality they are bluffing.They can spend millions more on lobbyist at the end,where is the money going to come from?

  52. NJGator says:

    Here’s a nice potential little Montklair comp killer for you. Asking price is $1.1M. Taxes $39,932. Last sold 10/02/06 for $1.75M.

  53. safe as houses says:


    Try Joe’s Shanghai in midtown.

    The soup dumplings, and soups are incredible. The soup dumplings are dumplings that have a filling plus broth in them. It is very hard to make and very rare to find outside of Asia (the dumpling skin has to be thick enough to contain the broth, thin enough to taste like dumpling skin and not taste like a bun). You put the dumpling on a spoon, bite a small hole in it to drink in the broth, then eat the dumpling. Everytime I’ve been there, almost every table orders at least 1 batch, sometimes I’ve gone there with my wife and just eaten soup dumplings and a desert.

  54. serenity now says:

    Re # 53 &55
    I guess if you can afford $39,000 tax bill, then you can afford to
    dine at ALTO.

  55. cobbler says:

    grim, PVSC [45]
    If the commissioners are gone my bosses will be dancing of joy. PVSC management’s stupidity cost us about 9 months on the project line and about $2M thrown away a couple of years ago.

  56. Neanderthal Economist says:

    53 Gator, Really nice house.

  57. wag (56)-

    Daniel is just a wee bit French, eh?

  58. Wag says:

    Clot (60) – Not overly French at all. Amazing place, amazing memories.

  59. Shore Guy says:

    Possible Monday topic, Grim?

    (Manalapan, FL is an awsome town and nothing like the NJ namesake)

    They’re Rich and Famous and In Foreclosure
    How does Nicolas Cage get behind on his mortgage payments? The same way other rich and famous people do.
    “They’ve stretched themselves higher than they probably should have,” says John Anderson, owner of Twin Oaks Realty in Minneapolis and a National Association of Realtors expert in foreclosures. Some couldn’t keep up when the rates on their adjustable rate mortgages shot up, Anderson says. Price drops at the high end of the market were so steep that a sale wouldn’t cover the debt. In other words, high-end homeowners face the same problems that plague the not-so-rich-and-famous.

    Here are five of the biggest names on the of list homeowners falling to foreclosure. We’ve included a bit of info about the current markets where these stars once lived. You know, in case you’d like to hunt for a foreclosure deal in one of those tony neighborhoods.

    Nicolas Cage

    Erin Moran

    The star: She’s best known as Richie Cunningham’s freckle-faced little sister Joanie on the 1970s sitcom “Happy Days”

    Lisa Wu-Hartwell

    The star: Viewers of Bravo’s “Real Housewives of Atlanta,” may remember Wu-Hartwell from the first season as one of the network’s touted “six fabulous women from Atlanta’s social elite.” Hubby Edgerton Hartwell, the former Oakland Raiders linebacker, made frequent appearances.


    Lenny Dykstra

    The star: Nicknamed “Nails,” the former Major League Baseball pro was an outfielder for the Mets and the Phillies during the late 1980s and early 1990s. After filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2009, Dykstra, in a move many found ironic, started an online financial advisory firm in 2010 called Nails Investments.


    Veronica Hearst

    The star: The name is Hearst’s claim to fame. She’s the widow of newspaper heir Randolph Hearst and stepmother of Patricia Hearst, who was kidnapped by left-wing guerrillas in 1974.

    The house: Located Manalapan, Fla., near Palm Beach, the Villa Venezia was originally built for the great-grandson of railroad tycoon Cornelius Vanderbilt. According to The Palm Beach Post, the 52-room, 28,000-square-foot mansion sold to New Stream Capital for $22 million at a Palm Beach County auction in February 2008.


  60. NJGator says:

    Shore 62 – It never ceases to amaze me just how many of my friends from the Marlboro/Manalapan area moved back there to raise their families. For the life of me, I can’t figure out why.

  61. gator (63)-

    Ditto. That area is NJ’s answer to Staten Island. About 20 square miles that all looks like the opening scene of “Clerks” and a population with an average IQ of about 84.

  62. I have also never met anyone from that area who does not say that it is a 1 mm community.

    Which it is not. What I have seen there are a lot of KHOV crapshacks and POS splits and bilevels.

  63. “…Google queries of the “Buy A Gun” search query have just hit an all time high. How much of this is due to the recent events from Tucson, AZ is unclear. What is clear is that the trend is most certainly not your friend (unless you are of course the CEO of Smith and Wesson).”

  64. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    Jets Lose! Woohoo!

  65. Yikes says:

    so close to the super bowl.
    if only that 1st half wasn’t so bad.

  66. Shore Guy says:

    For dining in NY, I recomend:

    65 East 55th Street
    New York, NY 10022
    (212) 307-7311

    I have also had some nice meals here:

    Le Colonial
    149 East 57th Street
    New York, NY 10155
    (212) 752-0808

  67. Shore Guy says:

    For Sunday Brunch I used to love eating at the Palm Court. It was closed for so long then open and closed. The Oak Room is just not the same.

  68. Shore Guy says:

    For very top shelf, you might try:

    60 East 65th Street
    New York, NY
    (212) 288-0033

    or even
    Le Bernadin
    155 West 51st Street
    New York, NY 10020
    (212) 554-1515

  69. NJGator says:

    Debt 66. – Veronica from Clerks once washed my hair at the Easy Street Salon in Marlboro. True story.

    I know someone who paid $1.3m for a place in Manalapan. And he’s a financial advisor.

  70. tbiggs says:

    #46 broke –

    Time magazine lectures us on how China did “economic recovery” better than the West.

    The same Time magazine which totally missed the housing bubble until it blew up. In fact, Time is my best indicator for all expired conventional wisdom. Once Time prints it, you know whatever they’re talking about is over, and out of fashion.

  71. J. says:

    Anyone done a property tax appeal? Based on equalization rate, value of my “P”BC* POS has dropped 22%. Not about to pay a lawyer to do this; I have an appraiser lined up, one decent comp from the last 2 weeks. Will I need the appraiser to come to the hearing to affirm the appraisal, or can I just plan to show up? Helpful hints appreciated.

    *”Prestigious” Bergen County

  72. still_looking says:

    J. 76

    Our appraisal dropped too. I think they are doing this to reset the tax base ie assessment value drops, but base rate increases so they can rake in more revenue.

    Are you worried that that your house is worth less?

    I’m confused.


  73. J. says:

    SL@77: No, not worried. I’ve just been figuring out when it would get down to 15% below current assessed value. Assessed at around $465K, house would sell now for maybe $370-$380K — value is down 22%. That’s why I want to appeal. Well, that and my town is run by cronies and crooks who just want to line their own pockets and those of their friends.

  74. still_looking says:

    J 78

    Gator (from this blog) has been successful w/ tax appeals you should look for her advice.

    ps: re:crooks/cronies – yep – wish I was off the grid.


  75. Very nice post and straight to the point. I am not sure if this is in fact the best place to ask but do you people have any ideea where to get some professional writers? Thx :)

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