February 10, 2009

Bits Bucket For February 10, 2009

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Comment by larenter
2009-02-10 00:19:37

any anecdotal signs of the softness in the LA rental market?

Comment by Hwy50ina49Dodge
2009-02-10 11:58:49

vacancies! ;-)

Comment by cassiopeia
2009-02-10 13:58:35

Yes and no. I’m perpetually in the rental market, so I generally check out whatever comes up for rent in the Westside. I’ve seen a floor in a duplex (2,000 sqft, 3 nice bedrooms) go from $3,500 to $3,250, and I guess it rented after that because I have not seen it on Craigslist for a while. Someone I know has a superfancy villa in Pacific Palisades that they haven’t rented out after a 3,000 price drop. A realtor I know went from “I don’t do leases” to e-mailing me info on lease properties periodically. A decent SFH in Westside Village with a pool has been up for lease for at least 2 months at $3,500 and not rented so far. But here in the Westside, the downturn isn’t hitting in tsunami manner. Things are just sitting, whether for sale or lease.
A couple of weeks ago I found the first significant haircut in a for sale property very near where I rent in the 90024. A house that would have had a bubble prize of at least 1.4 million was put on the market at 999K. In a matter of days, others for sale around had dropped their prize by 150K. It’s much more of a buyer’s market than it was 6 months ago, but there is still a lot of delusional pricing. That’s why rents are not adjusting yet.
I’m beginning to believe it’ll take another 6 months for us to begin to see good rental properties at cheaper prices. For now, we just have to wait…

Comment by awaiting wipeout
2009-02-11 18:36:34

My sister lives by the Grove (Disneyesque Shopping Center) 90036 and her house is worth $1.3M per Zillow (BS price, I know).
1930 sq ft and in an OK area, but certainly not Beverly Hills. Is that area Hancock Park? Please, who in their right mind would pay that much for 1924 home? Are the public schools that great? Traffic is horrid there. What gives?

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Comment by The Middling Lebowski
2009-02-10 16:34:58

My landlord (West Hollywood hills) informed me he was going to “bump up” my rent recently. I moved out. He’s an investment banker, so it really hurt to stop giving him money, but I seem to be handling it okay.

He’s got a surprise coming, too. There is WAY more rental inventory than there was two or three years ago. I’m talking maybe triple or so. Rents are headed down, soon.

Comment by not a gator
2009-02-10 17:14:04

Good for you, and don’t feel too bad for your banker friend. He’ll be a better banker for the tribulations he’s about to go through. :D

Comment by Hwy50ina49Dodge
2009-02-10 01:34:57

265 years? Wow, we’re really going back in time, heck, Van Gogh was dead for 40 years to the GD1 … ;-)

Bugs: “eh, Daffy could you get Ms. Ann Gogh to autograph this “self-portrait” at the International HBB convention? Me thinks Foghorn’s “day trading/art collecting” isn’t going to do so well this year.” ;-)

“Sotheby’s credit rating may be cut to junk as the 265-year-old auction house’s revenue falls and its leverage increases amid what it calls “significant” losses from guarantees.”

Sotheby’s Credit Rating May Fall to Junk Amid Losses:


Comment by mikey
2009-02-10 07:26:34

Well, it’s only fitting as Sotheby’s Garage Actions and Sales has always been based on the principle of “One man’s junk is another man’s treasure” as far as I’m concerned :)

Comment by palmetto
2009-02-10 07:52:25

Couldn’t happen to a nicer company.

Comment by Matt_in_TX
2009-02-10 19:37:47

They better not use those little “I’m bidding” signs you see on TV commercials if they change gears and go big into foreclosure auctions. We might see crazed flippers attacking “bottom feeders” on the 6 o’clock news.

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Comment by ouro verde
2009-02-10 08:31:35

I know I am a hearty soul but driving to the desert alone is not going to work for ms.anngogh.
Maybe obama can build a rail service from cali to LV.
I’ve been to indonesia, egypt and turkey but I am too jumpy to drive to the convention.
someone needs to bring a camera and I will make a website.

Comment by joeyinCalif
2009-02-10 08:48:45

I’m pretty sure there already is lots of track from Calif to LV.. Private money freight only.
It’s forbidden to Amtrak, because Amtrak is partially govt subsidized.. and the rails have been determined by the EPA to cross environmentally sensitive areas where they are an impediment to some tortoise or other’s freedom of travel.. or is it freedom of expression.. i forget which.

Comment by not a gator
2009-02-10 17:20:05

wha—-? excuse me, but I’m pretty sure Amtrak’s charter included a guarantee of access to all of the commercial track by the signatory parties.

I know Santa Fe didn’t join the Amtrak compact at first (I rode their passenger service as a child in the early 1980’s), but today’s BNSF definitely is a member, as is UP, the other big dog in that area.

I also know there are some private railroads up in the mountains which run ski trains–now those are exempt.

But the major RR’s (Class 3? I forget) are all part of the Amtrak compact and must allow Amtrak to use their tracks. Of course, they operate dispatch and set track speeds. And Amtrak must come up with the money, through fares, state subsidies, and whatever federal money they can scrape up for rolling stock and station improvements. (Said moneys are typically lacking–the NEC, I mean *cough* Bombardier, got everything.)

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Comment by joeyinCalif
2009-02-11 00:20:41

I was informed about it by an Amtrak employee.. i never checked it out for myself, but it seems to be (or it was) true. My understanding is anything even partially funded with federal dollars must abide by EPA rulings.

Google the line:
Amtrak desert tortoise

.. or some similar thing.. Lots of pages address the issue.

Amtrak once had a Desert Wind route from LA to LV, discontinued in 1997.
Among it’s problems is the desert tortoise habitat as well as a proposed high speed MagLev with which an Amtrak route would have some conflicts.
Another is freight traffic always takes priority. Who wants to sit on a train for 7 hours instead of a 3 hour drive on hwy 15.. and the car might be the cheaper method?
Another element is Nevada doesn’t contribute to Amtrak’s support. I think Utah is the only other state that doesn’t.. no portion of gas-tax is allocated.
The route suffered from low ridership and low revenues, the reasons for which are probably many and various.

Anyway, some claim the tortoise problem is solved. My thinking is it is solved only up until the point where another LA-LV Amtrak route is deemed feasible and threatens to actually happen.
At that point the desert tortoise will again bare it’s vicious claws and fangs and disembowel any who are brave enough to try it…

Comment by BanteringBear
2009-02-10 11:02:46

You need a hug. :)

Comment by Muggy
2009-02-10 03:58:50

Well, let’s discuss Obama’s speech.

Comment by joeyinCalif
2009-02-10 04:55:09

Biden and I felt a little embarrassed. But the rambling and tactical errors can be forgiven.
I will give BO the benefit of the doubt by blaming it on nervous anxiety at his very first press conference as acting Commander in Chief. Biden won’t.

Comment by Blano
2009-02-10 04:58:43

Where is all the whining about fear mongering that went on when W was Prez?? The HBB has been a lot quieter about it the last few weeks now that there’s a leftie in the White House, even though Osama Obama has taken fear to a whole new level.

Can some of you put your double standards down long enough to comment??

Fear of a Lost Decade???? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!

It’s easier to whine than it is to govern, isn’t it??

Comment by Asparagus
2009-02-10 07:02:28

I think everyone’s in line for those Miami fire fighter postions.

Comment by palmetto
2009-02-10 07:14:38

It’s not about W vs Bammy, or Dem vs Rep. The sooner people realize this, the better. These political games are just that, games to keep the people fighting. Same with illegal immigration, reduction of jobs and standards of living. All designed to keep the people fighting amongst themselves. Fighting for their lives, their incomes, their sanity. Keep ‘em at it, while their pockets are picked and their lives are trashed, while the children are reduced to gibbering morons at the sh*tty schools.

Comment by In Colorado
2009-02-10 08:33:09


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Comment by Olympiagal
2009-02-10 09:21:33

I’m not sure I know how you REALLY feel about things, palmy. Tell me again?

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Comment by denquiry
2009-02-10 09:31:22

me thinks that when pelosi said that 500 million people were going to lose their jobs she was referring to the NAU and not the good ole USA.

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Comment by darthrealtor
2009-02-10 07:27:07


Comment by awaiting wipeout
2009-02-10 07:59:06

As an Ex-Republican (now Independent), W and O are both fear mongers. I’ve lost respect for O, with this Stimulus Package and the innuendos for the “D” word.

Comment by palmetto
2009-02-10 08:07:52

Were we separated at birth? I’m with you.

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Comment by banana republic
2009-02-10 09:07:43

More like…dropped at birth!

Comment by carmine pete
2009-02-10 08:46:29

Here is the liberal spending part of the stimulus package, the Senate version. Notice that not one item here will actually ’stimulate’ the economy.


$50 million for the National Endowment for the Arts
$380 million in the Senate bill for the Women, Infants and Children program
$300 million for grants to combat violence against women
$2 billion for federal child-care block grants
$6 billion for university building projects
$15 billion for boosting Pell Grant college scholarships
$4 billion for job-training programs, including $1.2 billion for “youths” up to the age of 24
$1 billion for community-development block grants
$4.2 billion for “neighborhood stabilization activities”
$650 million for digital-TV coupons; $90 million to educate “vulnerable populations

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Comment by MightyMike
2009-02-10 12:59:42

You just don’t understand the concept of using government spending to to stimulate the ecomony. Anew spending that creates jobs or gets people to spend more money will stimulate the economy.

Most of the items on your list will, in fact, have that effect. For example, the increase in WIC funding should increase the total amount of money that low-income people spend on groceries. That would stimulate the economy. If universities can can get their construction projects started quickly, increasing that construction would also stimulate the economy.

There are a few items in your list that are not very stimulative, but they add up to pretty small percentage of the $800 billion stimulus package.

Comment by Julius
2009-02-11 00:07:07

Sorry, the list looks like complete pork to me.

Comment by Kim
2009-02-10 08:46:57

I didn’t hear much fearmongering from Obama until after he actually got into office. This tells me that once he got the true, deep-down-and-dirty scope of what’s happening, he had a serious “Oh s**t!” moment.

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Comment by awaiting wipeout
2009-02-10 09:32:57

The only reason I thought O would be good for the country was his intelligence and his communications skills. A 180 from W. I knew his policies would be more socialism, both corporate and general. McCain and Palin were a worse choice. Can’t we ever get a real leader with mocksy(?), to do the right thing?

Comment by hip in zilker
2009-02-10 10:35:18


Comment by palmetto
2009-02-10 10:44:39

Smooth, smooth, like buddah. Hypocrisy taken to a new level, IMO. Sounds great, less filling.

Look, don’t listen. Don’t ever just listen. Turn down the sound and see what actually happens, what is actually done. What with Geithner, the continuation of extraordinary rendition, etc., we can predict what is going to happen.

Comment by Al
2009-02-10 09:43:39

I’ve taken issue with leaders and experts failing to acknowledge that there were real problems growing. I’m more inclined to see Obama as speaking part of the truth rather than fearmongering. I only wish he’d use the truth as a means of motivating people to take action to better their own situations rather than as an excuse for a bailout.

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Comment by Bill in Los Angeles
2009-02-10 08:55:49

We are just being politically correct because most of us think we owe more than our lives to black people for stuff our long dead ancestors did to them (even though I’m part American Indian).

Comment by oxide
2009-02-10 09:38:23

- 10

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Comment by Olympiagal
2009-02-10 12:16:19

Maybe so, maybe so. Jeeze, those black people just like to hold grudges over that trivial little slavery episode…oh, and by the way, interestingly enough, my ancestors shot a couple Indians in the olden days, back when us whitey’s was settling Utarr. There’s a bit of discussion about it in the vintage journals that my aunt keeps in the family pioneer geneology records. (Well, I say ‘discussion’, but it actually reads more like ‘bragging’. Those barbaric and tactless cowboy rubes had no PC available in those days.)
Sorry about that. I hope none was your great-grampa.
Just in case, shall I mail you some candy and beads to make up for it?

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Comment by wittbelle
2009-02-10 14:03:32

Well played, Olymiagal. I love how Obama’s fiercest critics are basically racists disguised as social conservatives, (is there a difference)? If you think we’ve paid back black people for slavery, Kemo Sabe, take a jaunt down to South Central L.A., or even East Pasadena, (where I grew up), and imagine being born into that sh*t and trying to get out alive. Some pay back. Read, “Savage Inequalities” by Jonathan Kozol for a good, close look at education for the poor. For ANY black person to have made it to the highest office in this land is literally incredible considering where they started from. Having said that, Obama gets no free rides from me because of his color. He is a fear monger, but he’s also a politician. He’s been in office for less than one month and he was handed a glorious, steaming pile of cr@p. And, short of Jesus, there isn’t a leader who can get us out of this mess. The only way out is wading through it.

Comment by MrBubble
2009-02-10 17:52:39

Yeah. Even Hay-soos would kick the money lenders out of the temple!

Comment by Olympiagal
2009-02-10 18:49:10

‘Well played, Olymiagal.’

And truly played. Ahhhh….I debated confessin’ that my long ago kin killed Lamanites, but then I thought, ‘that Mr. Bill—this’s the westcoast one— has pissed me off and so I shall say what I feel like.’
Okay, then.

Comment by The Middling Lebowski
2009-02-10 16:22:33

most of us think we owe more than our lives to black people for stuff our long dead ancestors did to them

Yeah, people, get it straight: Our descendants should inherit our assets tax-free, but they shouldn’t be burdened with our sins.

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Comment by not a gator
2009-02-10 17:23:57

oh, snap.

Comment by cashedin05
2009-02-10 22:39:00

For how long? When can we move on?

Comment by CA renter
2009-02-11 02:29:25

Our descendants should inherit our assets tax-free…”

Would somebody please offer a logical explanation why a families assets should be taxed twice (or more?)?

The parents were already taxed when they earned it. Why should the assets be taxed again, when they are kept in the family?

Now, I will agree with you that the cost basis for assets should NOT be stepped-up when inherited, and I also believe that capital should be taxed at a higher rate than capital; but other than that, why should people not be able to keep their belongings in the family????

Comment by CA renter
2009-02-11 02:31:17

correction: capital should be taxed at a higher rate than labor.

Comment by The Middling Lebowski
2009-02-11 09:59:07

In the long run, society is much better off when people have to earn their wealth. That’s the main argument. It’s also the argument behind capitalism, so it’s ironic that the fattest capitalists are usually the ones who want no estate tax.

Comment by NoSingleOne
2009-02-10 09:01:29

Let’s call a WAaaaAAH-mbulance!

Eight years of massive destruction across broad sectors of the economy, foreign policy, and domestic policy can hardly be matched by 3 weeks of (likely ineffective) but at least expert-guided policymaking to undo the ill effects of those 8 years.

Comment by Hwy50ina49Dodge
2009-02-10 14:36:03

“…by 3 weeks of (likely ineffective) but at least expert-guided policymaking to undo the ill effects of those 8 years.”

To Dawn inShannity & Rash Limbaughs… those 3 weeks have netted them…. x17 million $$$$$$$$$$$ dollars. Although it has “taxed” their creative attack juices & irritated the “oral” vocal chords of pleasure. ;-)

Thanksgiving dinner with the “fiscal responsible”, “young repubicans” / “democraps are anti-American” family members is going to be quite fun! (Hwy opens a…Trout Slayer ale, slow long sip, aaaaaaaaaaHHHHHHHHHHHHH, burp! :-)

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Comment by BanteringBear
2009-02-10 11:15:07

“…even though Osama Obama has taken fear to a whole new level.”

“Osama Obama”. And you’re talking about fear mongering? The hypocrisy and ignorance is astounding.

Comment by lavi d
2009-02-10 12:11:30

…Obama has taken fear to a whole new level.

I dunno. I didn’t hear Brock say “Evil Doers” or “WMD” or Al Qaida in Iraq” once…

Comment by SaladSD
2009-02-10 16:20:11

Fear of economic calamity is on par with worrying about being in a car crash. At least you have some glimmer of hope of walking away on terra firma. Fear of WMD and shadowy terrorism is more like worrying about being in an airplane crash. So I question comparing Obama with Bush on the fear factor. Even though you’re statistically less likely to be in an airplane accident, there’s something absolutely fearful about falling out of the sky, which you are not going to walk away from. (the Boston Miracle notwithstanding)…

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Comment by MightyMike
2009-02-10 12:49:42

I don’t recall much unjustified fear-mongering here on the HBB. The people on this blog have been warning about the collapse of real estate prices for over three years now, even when most of our friends, family and neighbors were insisting that, unlike the stock market, “real estate never goes down.”

Now, our worst dreams have been realized the housing bubble is now threatening the economy of the entire world. I’m a pretty hard-core liberal, but I can’t think of anything that Bush said or did during his last year I could call fear mongering about the economy.

Comment by Stan UpHigh
2009-02-10 14:41:14

We hired O to fix W’s mess….give him time….W left a huge mess.

Comment by OK_Land_Lord
2009-02-10 20:59:22

You may have hired him, I expect you to pay for his spending.

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Comment by josemanolo7
2009-02-10 22:35:49

unfortunately for you OLL, it doesn’t work that way. you pay as everyone else, just are we are all paying for all the craps upon us.

Comment by cashedin05
2009-02-10 22:43:19

Ok Jose, Why don’t you go door to door collecting with that statement and see how it works out for you.

Comment by cashedin05
2009-02-10 22:50:59

+1 for pulling all of them out of the woodwork. Good times.

Comment by cashedin05
2009-02-10 22:58:38

Life, LIBERTY, and the pursuit of happiness. Which of the two major parties supports that now days. None. The framework the founders set up will be very difficult to duplicate on this earth. Socialism is easy, true liberty is difficult. We are letting our system slip away and all we can do is say W sucks or O sucks more while they raid the treasury and p..s on the constitution. Good times indeed.

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Comment by Faster Pussycat, Sell Sell
2009-02-10 05:46:14

What’s to discuss?

Sooner or later the people will figure out that the Candy-Crappin’ Unicorn™ can’t actually cr@p candy.

Comment by edgewaterjohn
2009-02-10 05:55:00

Smart move, trademarking that.

Comment by palmetto
2009-02-10 05:56:29

Forget all that. Rihanna and Chris Brown, now THAT’s what’s important.

Comment by palmetto
2009-02-10 05:58:46

Or maybe we should be talking about the octopussy.

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Comment by palmetto
2009-02-10 06:08:19

Christian Bale, corporate hero.


y’know, the guy’s got a point. Maybe members of the financial industry deserve the same treatment. Along with goobermint slobs. Hmmm, so THAT’s why they passed those hate speech laws.

Comment by The Middling Lebowski
2009-02-10 16:29:22

Yeah, anyone who doesn’t think Christian Bale is into his art should watch The Machinist.

Comment by denquiry
2009-02-10 09:34:19

UH OH….what’s that I been eatin?

Comment by lavi d
2009-02-10 12:16:53

…Candy-Crappin’ Unicorn™ can’t actually cr@p candy.


Comment by Prime_Is_Contained
2009-02-10 12:19:50

Candy-Crappin’ Unicorn™…


Comment by baabaabooie
2009-02-10 06:05:41

What I can’t understand is his crazy statement that we “tried those failed policies for the last 8 years and they failed”. Surely he cant be talking about the Reagan Revolution which created almost uninterrupted growth. What we have tried that has failed is continuous deficit spending but he seems to overlook that.

Comment by palmetto
2009-02-10 06:10:33

Oh, don’t complain. Geithner’s got a plan. Heckuva job, Timmy!

Comment by otis wildflower
2009-02-10 23:32:55

So did the Cylons.

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Comment by CA renter
2009-02-10 06:29:20

Didn’t the “Reagan Revolution” form the genesis of our current credit bubble? And didn’t Reagan run some of the largest deficits in American history?


Comment by baabaabooie
2009-02-10 07:14:19

Your forgetting Tip Oneill and the Democrats ran Congress they forced Reagan to overspend….Its always the Democrats in Congress. The economy was fine until the last two years…who controlled congress…Hmmm let me think……Ahhh the Liberal Democrats..>DING DING DING

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Comment by packman
2009-02-10 07:33:07

OK now we’re going off the deep end. You haven’t been here much, have you?

What’s happening right now is more the fault of the last two years’ congress than Mt. St. Helens explosion was the fault of the local bear that cut a loud fart that fateful May morning. The pressure’s been building for far longer than two years.

Comment by Jim A.
2009-02-10 07:33:44

Forced? Let’s just say that if the choice was between tax cuts and deficits, the Laffer-types would choose tax cuts EVERY TIME. It’s perfectly possible to debate tax and spending levels, but for some, tax cuts are the cure for every disease. If inflation is bad, tax cuts are the answer. If the economy is faltering, tax cuts are the answer. If the budget is balanced, tax cuts for me and all of my banker friends.

Comment by mikey
2009-02-10 07:36:00

Your forgetting Tip Oneill and the Democrats ran Congress they forced Reagan to overspend….Its always the Democrats in Congress. The economy was fine until the last two years…who controlled congress…Hmmm let me think……Ahhh the Liberal Democrats..>DING DING DING

Oh Yeah..Right.

And the Raygun economy, like the bushies 1 & 2 economies were supposedlt Great…UNTIL you GOT the frigging BILLS and had to PAY the consequences for them once they SPLIT the Scene of the Crime :)

Comment by packman
2009-02-10 07:36:52

Don’t get me wrong, there were certainly plenty of people in congress the last two years that were very culpable - Barney Frank in fact comes to mind as prime culprit. However the damage was done by both sides of the aisle and in the Big House, and goes back to the Carter days in fact.

(Actually many would say the FDR days, or for that matter the Wilson days, and a good case is made)

Comment by packman
2009-02-10 07:38:22

(clarification - meant to say Frank was a prime culprit, not necessarily the prime culprit - there are many of them).

Comment by baabaabooie
2009-02-10 07:51:15

your all forgetting it is the Congress that controls the purse strings not the President not any president. Reagan was right he got us out of the last “worst economy since the great depression”. He negotiated higher social spending in order to get his tax cuts passed. he figured he could control spending later. He failed. The only time in the last half century that spending was even attempted to be controlled was under Newt Gingrich and the republicans.

Comment by Jim A.
2009-02-10 08:35:11

Look, I’d never hold congress blameless for governemnt overspending. They’re more to blame than the president. But that blame is more diffuse when spread over all the congressmen. The president does have the power of the veto. And that the fact that a super-majority is required to overturn said veto means that it is not a trivial power. THAT is his political capital, to use on whatever he emphasizes. And as the only politician elected by the nation AS A WHOLE, instead of just by a few constituants, it is he who is the gatekeeper looking after the “commons.”

Personally, I lost what respect I had for Reagan when he fired Stockman. That’s when he showed that he valued tax-cutting more than fiscal responsibility. That his tough deficit talk was only lip-service to enable him to cut taxes REGARDLESS of how much money we had to borrow.

Comment by baabaabooie
2009-02-10 08:46:21

I am not defending Reagan or any politician. I am just saying think of where we would be with tax cuts…..and here it is…massive spending cuts to create a government we could actually afford. The government could actually affect a crisis like we are in.They may have actually killed the golden goose this time. The answer is not to spend money we dont have giving it to people who dont produce. Soon we will all be in that category.

Comment by reuven
2009-02-10 09:16:43

Much as I want to puck whenever I hear Nancy Pelosi, Chris Dodd, or Barney Frank speak, I can’t blame this on the Democrats, either.

The “ground zero” for this mess was housing mania. Don’t forget George Bush talking about “the ownership society”, or John McCain saying during one of the debates that we should buy out mortgages from retirees who over-borrowed.

The Democrats are worse, IMHO, because they want to tax the wrong people to pay for it. But both parties were taken in by the myth that rising house prices are an engine for economic growth.

Comment by reuven
2009-02-10 09:18:16

*puck == puke

Comment by palmetto
2009-02-10 10:02:32

Q: What’s the difference between a Democrat and a Republican?

A: A jar of vaseline.

Comment by Jim A.
2009-02-10 10:29:14

Well, Bush talked up alot of stuff: Sadam’s links to al-Qeeda, eliminating Washington gridlock etc… I really don’t think that the borrowers, lenders, and bondholders were paying him much attention when they were buying the homes, writing the mortgages, and buying the bonds that got us into this trouble.

Comment by measton
2009-02-10 10:48:55

I love the comment that all the deficit under GW occurred in the last two years because Dems controlled congress.


Even that small blip at the end is due to legislation passed during the prior congress.

Also note that the 109th congress had 49 dems 49 repubs and 2 independents. Leiberman who supported GWB was one of the independents.

Did Dems make Cheney say “”Reagan proved that deficits don’t matter.” I don’t think so. The whole idea was to hand out huge tax breaks so their elite contributors could cash out in anticipation for the collapse.

Comment by measton
2009-02-10 13:03:54

Make that the 110th congress had 49 dem 49 repub 2 independents.

Comment by lavi d
2009-02-10 12:28:36

Your forgetting Tip Oneill and the Democrats ran Congress they forced Reagan to overspend…

Didn’t Reagan’s deficit defense spending force the Soviet Union into bankruptcy, leading to the dissolution of the USSR?

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Comment by not a gator
2009-02-10 17:30:45

that’s the republican talking point, but I have yet to see this proven…

the USSR was already on the verge of economic collapse. Gorby started “glasnost”. The Politboro politics had changed, everyone was getting tired of it all.

Economic collapse alone doesn’t take down regimes–look at North Korea.

And both USSR and USA had enough nukes to destroy the world many times over…

Ah yes, but remember Reagan’s “Star Wars”. Had USSR had the resources he claimed they had, and had SDI had the efficacy he claimed it had, the logical move for them would have been to push the big red button and end it all. So be glad he was wrong on BOTH points.

Comment by Muir
2009-02-10 07:06:54

I can’t tell if that was sarcasm or not (lack of coffee)
But it seems to me this all started under Reagan who appointed Greenie and was a huge fan of deficit spending.

Comment by aNYCdj
2009-02-10 07:17:35

Regan also started taxing unemployment benefits.(1986)..was that a good idea too? Not for poor people

Comment by scdave
2009-02-10 08:59:53

he got us out of the last “worst economy since the great depression” ??

I don’t think so…That recession was “created” by Volker…18% prime rate…When he let rates come back down the economy healed istself…I do remember Reagan being at the helm during the 1987 stock market meltdown and the 1990 S & L crisis though…

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Comment by muir
2009-02-10 11:19:54

That’s the best rewrite of History here yet.

“I think you forgot this part:
Paul Volcker, a Democrat, was appointed Chairman of the Federal Reserve in August 1979 by President Jimmy Carter and reappointed in 1983 by President Ronald Reagan.
Volcker’s Fed is widely credited with ending the United States’ stagflation crisis of the 1970s. Inflation, which peaked at 13.5% in 1981, was successfully lowered to 3.2% by 1983.”

Of course, there was a consequent recession which SirGreen fixed by a 30 year plan of easy money.
Oh, I forgot, that leads us to today.

Comment by scdave
2009-02-10 15:26:24

So I don’t get it…Where is your argument that Reagan got us out of the recession ?? Volker controlled the fed and interest rates…I stand by my statement..When Volker lowered the rates back down the economy healed itself…And you failed to mention anything about 1987 Stock market or the S & L debacle during Reagan’s term…By the way…I voted for Reagan both times…

Comment by not a gator
2009-02-10 17:32:23

My grandma voted for Reagan. Then he cut her bennies. She was a widow and didn’t realize that she was the “waste, fraud, and abuse” that he was railing about.

Comment by CA renter
2009-02-10 23:17:07

+1, gator!

Comment by Skip
2009-02-10 09:15:38

I think that was the year he had the unemployment calculations changed as well to make good on his promise to lower unemployment.

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Comment by SFC
2009-02-10 08:07:39

I’ve noticed that no one is calling it the “Obama Stimulus Plan that won’t be his fault because of xxxxxxx”. It’s just the Obama Stimulus Plan.

I bet those easy days of not being at the Senate most of the time, and voting present when he was, are looking pretty darn good right now. I have to give him credit. I would never leave a 2 hour a week job paying $169,000 a year to take a 24-hour a day job paying $400K. He’ll be the only guy with a good job that spends his Summer weekends in DC instead of the beach.

Comment by lavi d
2009-02-10 12:35:19

He’ll be the only guy with a good job that spends his Summer weekends in DC instead of the beach.

The last guy seemed to find enough time to relax.


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Comment by not a gator
2009-02-10 17:33:50

How can you know, when he was always at an undisclosed location?

Although there was that one hunting trip we know about … ;-0

Comment by banana republic
2009-02-10 09:09:02

“Surely he cant be talking about the Reagan Revolution which created almost uninterrupted growth.”

What are you smoking?

Comment by baabaabooie
2009-02-10 12:45:59

the truth….what are you smoking? Karl marx’s cigarettes?

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Comment by SaladSD
2009-02-10 16:26:36

Nah, just some Iran Contra hashish, and Sandinista weed.

Comment by MightyMike
2009-02-10 13:11:34


You seem to forget that Reagan’s main economic program was massive deficit spending.

Comment by banana republic
2009-02-10 14:42:41

He can’t forget what he never knew. This guy seems mentally challenged. Probably too much weed.

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Comment by palmetto
2009-02-10 06:27:56

“let’s discuss Obama’s speech.”

Feh. The kindest thing we can do for ourselves is to refuse to allow this ass clown to rent space in our heads

Comment by mrktMaven
2009-02-10 06:56:22

You cannot warn people of impending financial doom then expect them to go out and spend. It doesn’t work.

Until yesterday, most consumers were probably unaware of the difficulties facing those in Lehigh Acres, Florida. It was a pretty depressing read.

Comment by SFC
2009-02-10 07:54:02

Not to sound too harsh, but Lehigh Acres is an example of a place that was created entirely by the housing bubble, and cannot exist without a housing bubble. It has to die. It’s like a coal town in PA where the mine ran out of coal. The best thing is for the people there to go where the jobs are, and they will never again be in Lehigh Acres.

Comment by Michael Fink
2009-02-10 08:20:19

The problem is that there are MANY of these towns throughout the country. And there are plenty more that, without housing bubble money, will “fail” to live up to the standards of living that the purchasers expected.

So, yes, many of these towns need to fail. But in FL, with these massive HOA communities, how many of them also need to fail? Sure, there’s a job base. But the job base pays like cr*p. So, what the heck do you do with all these 750K homes that have 1K/mo HOA fees? Even if the home drops to 300K (and it will) are there enough people out there making 150K to soak them up? If not, will the whole community fail?

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Comment by SFC
2009-02-10 08:56:03

You are correct, there are not, and never were, enough good paying jobs here in Florida to support all of these big houses. The cottage industry that feeds off those overpriced HOA fees is about to go DOA in my opinion. You’re in the North end of Palm Beach, I’m at the South, but I don’t know anyone down here that’s paying $1,000/month in HOA fees for a $750K house. Mine are $100 including cable, which is about average for non-country club neighborhoods in Boca. I think some of the golf club places are around $500, and they don’t include the club just lawn and streets, which is outrageous.

We only had one house out of 180 that’s gone to foreclosure, so it’s a far cry from the newer neighborhoods. Ours is 25 years old, and 95% of the people bought and qualified pre-bubble.

To answer your other question, yes whole communities based on nothing other than speculation and building will fail.

Comment by Michael Fink
2009-02-10 09:05:05

There are several communities up here that are like that, not all golf either. Where I live it’s about 400/mo, no golf, no boating, just HOA. That does include lawn though.

Across the street from me (Frenchman’s Reserve) you can easily get to 1K a month, probably more then that, on a 750K home. Your base fees are going to be ~600/mo, add in a golf membership and your way over 1K a month.

I know of lots of HOAs that are far cheaper then where I live, but, at the same time, I’m more interested to what is going to happen to these places with insane HOAs. Because there are other choices, will the price of these homes have to fall more to make the numbers work? Will the prices fall so much that you can pick up a home in a 1000/mo HOA community for 150K less then the same house would cost in a non-HOA community (discount the house be the amount that the HOA costs)?

It’s going to be interesting in SFH, in condos, there are plenty of units that are effecively worth 0. The Landmark at the Gardens (the skyscraper in the Gardens Mall parking lot) is one of my favs. They have an insane HOA, high taxes, and, of course, plenty of insurance problems. You can rent a unit in there for HOA+Insurance+Taxes. Does that mean that those units are worth 0? As more and more people in there default, and the owners bear more and more HOA burden, does the unit become worth < 0? If there’s no intrinsic demand (condos in mall parking lots aren’t typically a “hot” item), what happens to these types of buildings? The HOA will almost certainly collapse. What then?

Comment by scdave
2009-02-10 09:10:59

HOA dues…??

New underwriting guidelines are going to be looking very closely at the HOA’s books…You better have done independent reserve studies and all HOA dues are current…If not, no financing for any amount…

Comment by DennisN
2009-02-10 09:11:41

Our HOA dues here in SW Boise are only $250 per YEAR. That seems proper. They include mainenance of the landscaping in the commons and parks AND all the pressurized irrigation water you can use during the season. I was paying $80/month just for water when I lived in San Jose.

Comment by SFC
2009-02-10 09:24:12

You describe exactly the spreadsheet I made 12 years ago when I was house hunting. If the $1,000 is only “worth” $200 to you, than yes I’d calculate that I’m paying $800 AFTER taxes more for this house than a non-HOA house. Since mortgage interest is deductible, say that $800 after taxes is equal to $1100 in a mortgage payment. $1,100 a month for 30 years at 5.5% is almost $200,000. Of course if you spent that $200K more, you’d pay $4K in taxes more, so allowing for that your $150K is about correct.

For me personally, the numbers were $100/month non-county club, $500/month county club (which didn’t include golf, or even tennis, or even being allowed to pee in the clubhouse). So to me it was $400/month profit for someone I didn’t want to pay, and didn’t.

Comment by Jim A.
2009-02-10 10:32:06

HOA fees = paying rent + paying mortgage.

Comment by mrktMaven
2009-02-10 08:29:53

Honestly, until yesterday, I was not fully and entirely aware of the devastation in that area of Florida. It was pretty sad reading about bread lines, abandoned homes, and wrecked lives in the Times article. What a waste.

The impact this stuff has on the psyche of people completely unaware of the bubble’s fallout will not be positive. I suppose people will be more determined now than ever to tighten their belts in preparation for the worst. As a result, the downward spiral will continue.

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Comment by ET-Chicago
2009-02-10 09:33:32

There’s an excellent long-form article called “The Ponzi State” about the Florida bust — and the role fraud played in the bust — in the current issue of the New Yorker.

It’s not available online unless you’re a subscriber, but well worth a read.

Comment by mrktMaven
2009-02-10 11:27:34

It takes about a week after publication before I can read an electronic copy at home from my local library. I’m looking forward to reading it. Thanks.

Comment by Stan UpHigh
2009-02-10 14:45:08

Not only does the Candy-Crappin’ Unicorn™ not crap, the GOP version sucks up all my candy. Candy-suck’n’ Unicorn™

Comment by ella
2009-02-10 17:21:39

I posted a link to the author of the Ponzi State on On Point Radio last week. It was a good show. Worth a listen if you don’t have subscription to the NYer.


Comment by BP
2009-02-10 09:05:09

Fear Fear Fear then he provides false choice of doing nothing or accepting his plan then he throws his VP under the bus. Good first showing.

Comment by Don't Know Nothin About Buyin No House
2009-02-10 09:16:40

I did not like lack of talk/focus on Health Care by O’Yomama. I did like the more passive tone toward Housing. His words were help stabilize “over time”.

Comment by Pondering the Mess
2009-02-10 10:23:54

Except “stabilizing” housing means: “maintain unaffordability so that bankers can keep raking in huge profits from interest, refinancing fees, etc.”

Comment by Don't Know Nothin About Buyin No House
2009-02-10 15:12:20

Yes, you are likely right.

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Comment by joeyinCalif
2009-02-10 04:34:27

“It is absolutely true that we can’t depend on government alone to create jobs or economic growth,” he said.
“That is and must be the role of the private sector. But at this particular moment, with the private sector so weakened by this recession, the federal government is the only entity left with the resources to jolt our economy back into life.”

Mr. BO.. You have the resources but evidently you don’t even know what they are. The economy will be stimulated to the degree the plan addresses the markets’ fears and anxiety, and offers a view to recovery.

The markets fear govt will throw more of our good money after bad. They fear unnecessary deficit spending will increase debt thereby making govt weaker and less able to contribute to recovery efforts.

Markets fear a wave of govt intervention in the markets. They fear the plan won’t target private sector jobs, but instead will expand govt by creating economically burdensome govt jobs.

Right now the markets are anxious about where to invest. Everyone’s holding their money until they get some sense of direction. Wind farms? OK, fine.. we’ll dump some money in alternative energy. What else? Doubling the education budget? Tell me. How do I invest in that? How does that help loosen up the money supply? Shall i sell my gold and treasuries and invest in.. text books? Pencil manufacturers?

Markets are waiting to see if you’ve got any market savvy at all, and have the guts to walk the walk, offering practical (if not innovative) alternatives to us hoarding cash.. or are, as many suspect, just another self serving politician bound and determined to satisfy your party’s agenda at whatever cost, while paying lip service to a very serious problem..

Comment by nhz
2009-02-10 07:08:22

goldmarket shot up again, close to the previous highs in most currencies. The market may be waiting, but it sure seems to smell more inflation in the pipeline.

Comment by mikey
2009-02-10 07:42:45

Well, at least Obama wasn’t CLOWNING by crawling under desks and tables pretending to be looking for WMD because Dubya left him the “Mother of all Bombs” right in plain sight ..tick…tick..tick.. :)

Comment by palmetto
2009-02-10 07:55:45

Yep, I was constantly having to evict THAT ass clown from my brain, too. But it’s all show, all bread and circuses, dem, rep, keep the people fighting amongst themselves.

Take a look at my post from WSJ. What a seamless transition.

Comment by aNYCdj
2009-02-10 09:16:37

I raise my hand I didn’t vote for OHbammah, nor Mc same

do I win the doofus prize?

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Comment by Olympiagal
2009-02-10 17:36:30

Well, long as you did vote, that what matters. If you willfully chose to NOT vote, thereby wasting your hard-won and precious right as a citizen, then yeah: you’s a ‘doofus’.*

*In my opinion.

Comment by aNYCdj
2009-02-10 18:28:08

Yup i voted….

Comment by SanFranciscoBayAreaGal
2009-02-10 18:50:40

+1 :)

Comment by joeyinCalif
2009-02-10 08:08:16

If the cops think you’re armed and back you into a corner, do not pull your squirt gun and point it at them in an attempt to scare them away.

The Big BO will have his chance to prove he’s a better man. Lets see how he handles Afghanistan and Iran.
Though probably not nuclear yet, I don’t think Iran has reason to respect BO very much thus far, and may test his mettle sooner than later. And Pakistan (very much nuclear) seems more than a little upset about how our election affected Afghani policy…

Comment by nhz
2009-02-10 08:25:22

Iran has a very good chance to change for the good with the coming elections. Being tough on Iran now (or letting Israel continue its dirty work) is the best way to make sure that Ahmadinejad wins the elections, in which case there are even more troubles in the future. Of course, that is exactly what a lot of Americans want :(

The recent troubles in Pakistan, Georgia, Ukraine etc. are also clearly the result of more US interference. It’s all very counter-productive (except for Cheney and friends), and I smell plenty more problems as soon as Hillary and her gang are set on the loose there.

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Comment by cashedin05
2009-02-10 23:14:36

Keep smoking that utopian crack pipe.

Comment by palmetto
2009-02-10 08:26:06

“Lets see how he handles Afghanistan and Iran.”

So far, he’s clingin’ to his guns.

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Comment by joeyinCalif
2009-02-10 09:50:19

Clinging, yeah.. but so far nothing solid has happened. We can’t exactly respect his word yet, since we’ve only got the standard campaign rhetoric to play with.

W was a known quantity. I’m not sure if BO aficionados want him to follow W’s lead, or react to attacks and threats in an even tougher manner, or be more of a talker and less of a doer. Perhaps BO has his own ideas and will pleasantly surprise (or disappoint) everyone.

Comment by palmetto
2009-02-10 11:48:41

“Perhaps BO has his own ideas and will pleasantly surprise (or disappoint) everyone.”

I wish, but it doesn’t seem that way. Just mass confusion. Nobody seems to have a clue. I woulda given that Markopoulos the Treasury job.

Comment by 45north
2009-02-10 13:36:24

Perhaps BO has his own ideas and will pleasantly surprise (or disappoint) everyone.

In terms of finances, economy and foreign policy, we left normal some time ago and we aren’t coming back.

God bless America!

Comment by SFC
2009-02-10 10:08:11

President Obama can’t crawl under the desk. Hillary has Monica chained there, as she can’t watch Bill and be Secretary of State at the same time.

Comment by oxide
2009-02-10 10:08:01

The markets fear govt will throw more of our good money after bad.

Are you serious? The markets WANT Obama to throw good money after bad. They didn’t care that the money came from unpayable consumer debt then, and they don’t care if it comes from unpayable government debt now.
All they want to know is how much they get and when they get it, so they can continue to spend on bonuses and toney retreats like the high-end hooker welfare queens that they are.
Capitalist on the way up and socialist on the way down.

Comment by joeyinCalif
2009-02-10 10:33:52

If I read you right, you as an investor want to see companies who’s stock you own waste money. Knowing money from whatever source will be pissed away rather than put to productive use encourages you to buy more stock?
That’s an interesting investment strategy..

Of course, I do know where you’re coming from. Since you have no dog in the fight, anyone and everyone involved in that evil we call Wall Street is “they who didn’t care”, from retired pensioners to CEOS.. from state governments to J6pks with their IRAs and 401ks.

Comment by Jim A.
2009-02-10 10:35:16

Wall Street kleptocrats: “Just give us the money, but don’t put any strings, like compensation limits on it. How will we possibly keep good talent on only half a million per year?”

Comment by josemanolo7
2009-02-10 23:29:09

“market are anxious where to invest”
you must be drinking some pretty strong stuff.

Comment by jeff saturday
2009-02-10 04:59:53

We need chaange

Corrections lieutenant sentenced to 18 months in overtime scheme


Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

Monday, February 09, 2009

WEST PALM BEACH — A judge this afternoon reluctantly sentenced a sheriff’s corrections lieutenant to 18 months in prison following his conviction last year in an overtime duty scheme.

Circuit Judge Lucy Chernow Brown sentenced 41-year-old Darrin McCray to the least amount of time allowed under Florida’s sentencing guidelines. Brown said she had no choice because the legal reasons for sentencing below the guidelines had not been met.

“If I had unfettered discretion, I would not sentence to prison,” Brown said.

Brown gave McCray 30 days before he must report to prison and also gave him a $20,000 appellate bond which, if McCray posts, could keep him out for the time being.

Jurors convicted McCray of an organized scheme to defraud and nine counts of official misconduct in November following a jury trial where he testified. They determined McCray, a career corrections officer, had used his authority to fraudulently assign lucrative overtime shifts at area hospitals. He and six other deputies have been charged.

Chief Assistant State Attorney Paul Zacks asked Brown for a term of three years in prison, saying that McCray had many opportunities to change his behavior and never did so. “To date, the defendant has never accepted responsibility for any of this,” Zacks said. The county’s new dedicated public corruption prosecutor, Assistant State Attorney Alan Johnson, looked on.

Comment by polly
2009-02-10 09:15:32

Are judges elected in Florida? Sounds like this lady needs to find a new job.

Comment by Carlos Cisco
2009-02-10 05:25:16

Didnt listen to it more than about 10 seconds. More than that would have turned me into a raving survivalist. Our towns are now talking up massive road re-building plans that dwarf the cost of anything previous. Cities where I closed down steel mills are now pushing for fees ( actually a form of triple taxation) to rehire dozens of laid off police and safety personnel. The mantra here in Ohio is that the fix is absolutely in so line up for massive slices of pork; make your paydays with fees to survive until the billions arrive. Bought gold last week; must buy more. Coin dealer says older people starting to sell their stashes, not merely bringing them in to be appraised. About all I can do is read summaries of his “speech” by people who still have more stomach lining than I.

Comment by combotechie
2009-02-10 07:10:19

“Bought gold last week; must buy more. Coin dealers says older people starting to sell their stashes, not merely bringing them in to be appraised.”

So what do you make of that, of old people selling their stashes? Need the cash, perhaps. And you want to trade scarce cash for what these people are selling?

Comment by packman
2009-02-10 07:44:45

Generally mortgage companies, grocery stores, etc. don’t accept gold. Coin dealers do.

WTF is the issue?

Gold is certainly providing a stronger ROI than cash right now, and has for just about any recent period you can mention, save for two brief spikes in 1980 and 2008. Cash is great, and obviously a very necessary thing. Don’t be slamming gold though - charts and anecdotal data say you’re wrong.

Comment by combotechie
2009-02-10 07:48:56

“WTF is the issue?”

The issue is cash is readily disapperaing from circulation which makes it scarce.

“Cash is great, and obviously a very necessary thing.”

There it is.

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Comment by packman
2009-02-10 08:33:28

I meant with regard to this:

“And you want to trade scarce cash for what these people are selling?”

Given that one can easily trade gold for cash, and cash for gold, why would there be any problem doing the latter?

Actually it’s quite a bit easier to get cash for gold right now than vice versa. I’ve got news for you - gold is a lot more scare that cash.

There you go.

Comment by In Colorado
2009-02-10 08:39:48

Cash is legal tender, gold isn’t. Which is irrelevant as to which is more valuable.

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Comment by Carlos Cisco
2009-02-10 07:55:37

Since I left retirement about 18 months ago my “excess” has been going into hard assets or PM’s. Give me reasons not to.

Comment by combotechie
2009-02-10 07:59:24

Reason # 1: Deflation is at hand, thus money increases its buying power.

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Comment by nhz
2009-02-10 08:29:01

zero chance; the whole anglosaxon world is inflating away, only the US doesn’t notice what is gong on because of the current (very temporary) dollar surge. Declining home prices and stock values is NOT deflation.

Gold is at an alltime high in almost every currency - only in US$ it is about 10% below the all time high. Deflation while gold is screaming inflation all over the world?

Comment by In Colorado
2009-02-10 08:47:26

There is a reason why we are seeing all those “we’ll buy your gold jewelry” commercials on TV (even during the SuperBowl). They are spending cash to hoard real, physical gold. They aren’t unloading it.

Comment by hoz
2009-02-10 08:53:24

true and since the start of the year US Treasuries are down 14% and TIPS are up 2%.

TIPS are still cheap. Treasuries are still overpriced.

Investment for the next 6 months:
short TLT/ long TIP

Comment by hoz
2009-02-10 08:06:49

Merely as a point of argument without any investment position in gold or PMs:

Jewelry sales are down in the Middle East, India and China.

“Traders and analysts said jewellery demand, historically the backbone of gold consumption, had collapsed under the weight of the high prices. Sharp falls in demand in the key markets of India, Turkey and the Middle East have capped the potential of any price rally.”

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Comment by nhz
2009-02-10 08:31:04

yes, but investment demand is rising strongly …

of course you could call that a bubble, but that is not my opinion. I think investors are seeing a certain value in Gold while all currencies are racing to the bottom.

Comment by realestateskeptic
2009-02-10 08:26:10

At the risk of sounding (alad)insane, I think having 10% or so of your assets in Gold is a pretty decent idea. One of the reasons people are getting/got hammered is they forgot to diversify. Having all your money in bonds, stocks, real estate or any other asset class is not a wise idea. Personally I have stocks, TIPS, Gold, Nat. Gas, some financials. My biggest killing lately has been my GE 12.50 March calls which are up 100% in a week (down 10% today). My big loser is FXP (Double China short). Deflation can’t last forever so I don’t mind holding GLD and UNG as a hedge.I am willing to gamble a few thousand dollars here and there to try to catch some knives and bought the GE calls and CIM calls in January that paid off nicely. I ate some F calls that expired worthless along the way too. So far I am up about 8-10% since November, winning some and losing some along the way…

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Comment by realestateskeptic
2009-02-10 08:28:23

Typo - meant CMI (Cummings) 20 calls that paid off nicely, though I did take a beating last year on some CIM ;-)

Comment by realestateskeptic
2009-02-10 08:47:31

Typo - slow post…. meant CMI (Cummings) calls though I tanked with some CIM last year….

Comment by Bill in Los Angeles
2009-02-10 09:07:23

Don’t forget Canadian oil trusts. They are yielding 20% now. Oil at $40 a barrel is a bargain. For the first time, auto sales in China exceeded auto sales in the U.S. What does that tell you about the future demand/supply curve of oil?

Comment by Al
2009-02-10 10:28:07

Some of the Canadian oil trusts have started cutting their distributions, and as a whole they’re pretty leveraged. I wouldn’t hold them too long.

Comment by realestateskeptic
2009-02-10 11:39:26

Got stopped out of my GE calls at a buck a share, not bad though, I’ll take it…..

Comment by jenest2001
2009-02-10 05:34:46

You mean the primer for the US conversion to socialism?

Comment by exeter
2009-02-10 05:51:41

Anything to get off the fascism/corporatism track.

Comment by ET-Chicago
2009-02-10 08:30:24


Comment by CA renter
2009-02-11 02:53:30

Amen, again! :)

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Comment by ecofeco
2009-02-10 06:01:36

What? Don’t you want what Megacorp had been getting for decades? Why deny yourself?

Wow! Am I up early!

Comment by pressboardbox
2009-02-10 06:20:53

I am destined to be working in a forced-labor camp in North Dakota in five years. I just get a bad feeling.

Comment by edgewaterjohn
2009-02-10 06:33:09

Now, now there’s no need for that.

The best “labor camp” ever devised is all around you, in the form of overpriced housing and the consumer lifestyle. It’s hands down the most effective way for the parasitic elements to feed off productive individuals.

Right outside my window thousands of people are rushing off to muddle through - to pay income, property, and sales taxes - to pay interest to banks - and spend the remainder on plastic crap.

Comment by palmetto
2009-02-10 06:35:58


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Comment by Blano
2009-02-10 06:51:35

Well said.

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Comment by max4me
2009-02-10 06:51:46

yeah but if you reject said consumerism then your a what? homeless person?

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Comment by joeyinCalif
2009-02-10 07:05:38

The camp described is voluntary.. no bars.. no razor wire. Enter, pick whatever crib seems right in a wide variety of cell blocks, on whichever level one prefers… move around, stay as long as you like, and leave at one’s pleasure…

And yes.. The world outside this camp offers a very limited selection.

Comment by edgewaterjohn
2009-02-10 08:08:40

Nah, just high rise trailer trash - that’s all. Most people would never live like I do - not even my coworkers, many of whom make a portion of my wage.

We all make our choices - for better or worse.

Comment by reuven
2009-02-10 09:25:22

Actually, we’ll have bars soon enough! Once a neighborhood starts getting enough burglaries (and crime is up everywhere!) people start putting window bars up! (Of course, people in HOAs won’t be able to protect themselves this way, but I will.)

And I don’t care how ugly they are! When the time comes in my neighborhood, I will fortify my house.

Comment by BubbleViewer
2009-02-10 07:21:49

Truer words were never spoken.

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Comment by pressboardbox
2009-02-10 07:35:00

But I NEED my plastic crap!

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Comment by crazy frog
2009-02-10 10:39:31

Not only you NEED it, you DESERVE it!

Comment by mikey
2009-02-10 07:53:47

The EZ credit years, Wall Street, failed Gov’t and anything over a 3:1 wage to house medium multiple could qualify as as our Camp North Dakota Wardens :)

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Comment by NoSingleOne
2009-02-10 09:05:51

Golden handcuffs.

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Comment by Al
2009-02-10 09:55:01

Add fur lining, I’d take a pair.

Comment by ecofeco
2009-02-10 17:24:34

The gilded cage.

Comment by palmetto
2009-02-10 06:20:17

Yessir, change we can really be disgusted with!


Comment by Muggy
2009-02-10 07:14:07

Dang, I knew it! The minute he said that last night, I looked at my wife and said, “they’re still going to torture people.”

Ah, well…

Comment by baabaabooie
2009-02-10 08:55:36

thats right and the animals are still going to behead innocent people…..I say hook em up to car batteries…..

Comment by Muggy
2009-02-10 09:09:13

“I say hook em up to car batteries”

Why is everyone so annoying today?
Me included.

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Comment by Bill in Carolina
2009-02-10 09:32:40

“I say hook em up to car batteries”

That’s only dangerous if it’s a hybrid car battery.

Comment by ET-Chicago
2009-02-10 08:36:21

Agreed, it’s BS.

Not defensible.

Comment by Blano
2009-02-10 09:49:19

“The practice dates back to the CLINTON administration”……

Weeelllllll, go figure!!!

Comment by realestateskeptic
2009-02-10 11:42:28

As the Repubs are finding out, its a lot easier to lob bombs then it is to make actual decisions. You would have to have a gigantic set of b@lls to turn these guys loose or not try to get info from them. I hope it will be a better policy but wasn’t expecting a miracle from the boss.

Comment by packman
2009-02-10 06:42:42

So - even the Congressional Budget Office views the bailout as a bad thing, long term.

CBO: Obama stimulus harmful over long haul
Washington Times

“President Obama’s economic recovery package will actually hurt the economy more in the long run than if he were to do nothing, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said Wednesday.

“CBO, the official scorekeepers for legislation, said the House and Senate bills will help in the short term but result in so much government debt that within a few years they would crowd out private investment, actually leading to a lower Gross Domestic Product over the next 10 years than if the government had done nothing.

“CBO estimates that by 2019 the Senate legislation would reduce GDP by 0.1 percent to 0.3 percent on net. [The House bill] would have similar long-run effects, CBO said in a letter to Sen. Judd Gregg, New Hampshire Republican, who was tapped by Mr. Obama on Tuesday to be Commerce Secretary. “

Comment by tresho
2009-02-10 08:33:18

And where was the CBO during the runup to this crisis? Why should we believe their predictions now?

Comment by WT Economist
2009-02-10 08:40:43

Of course it is. Generation Greed has put us in a box. But how many are willing to go with the “let it burn” scenario, wiping out all paper wealth in a massive collapse to 25% unemployment?

Either you are in favor of borrowing or stimulating, or you are in favor of a “controlled burn” to use the national forest service strategy. Let the banks go bust. Let state and local governments go bust. Let all of corporate America go bust in a big credit crunch. Wipe out public employee pensions, 401Ks, and the so-called assets of the rich and our foreign creditors — everyone would be left with what would be left of Social Security. Pump up the legal system to expedite Chapter 11 all around, and start over.

It would be great for equality.

Comment by Jon
2009-02-10 10:48:25

Back in the late 1800’s when local banks went bust, the debt owed to them often went bust with them, freeing debtors of the burden. If you look at economic growth at the time you see spectacular rises and crashes every decade as hot money chased the latest fad, exploded and everyone started over again.

I like the burn idea. As long as I don’t have to watch the wife and kids starve to death in the short term.

Comment by ahansen
2009-02-11 00:07:10


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Comment by NoSingleOne
2009-02-10 09:15:02

Geithner is poisonous. He is more interested in preserving Wall Street’s faulty structure than he is in reforming it.

Unfortunately, he seems more interested in finding himself a nice sinecure upon his retirement, just like Hank Paulson. He lobbied against imposing income restrictions on the corporate pigs so they can keep their “talent”, and protect his future lifestyle.

Comment by palmetto
2009-02-10 10:17:49

Which is why, as soon as he was nominated for appointment, I knew exactly what to expect from Bammy’s administration.

Comment by josemanolo7
2009-02-10 23:57:02

i would like to believe that this is akin to what to the army in irak after the invasion. dissolve it and start over or preserve and reform it. he selected the latter.

Comment by palmetto
2009-02-10 06:43:39

Wow. I can’t imagine what Cali would look like if one third of its prison population was released, just like that.


Comment by Asparagus
2009-02-10 07:09:56

Maybe they could fill all those empty houses….

Comment by palmetto
2009-02-10 07:16:18


Comment by max4me
2009-02-10 07:15:06

I have a buddy from highschool in prison, took part in a murder plot, Doesnt really belong in the system be great if they let him out early

Comment by skroodle
2009-02-10 07:32:32

Were you the intended victim?

Comment by combotechie
2009-02-10 07:38:47

“… took part in a murder plot, doesn’t really belong in the system…”

If not guys like him, then who?

Comment by Brian in Chicago
2009-02-10 07:52:00

Oh, you know, people caught with a few grams of pot. Those are the dangerous ones.

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Comment by Michael Fink
2009-02-10 08:27:19

That’s insanity, it truly is. De-criminalize all the soft drugs and let everyone out of jail that’s in for a simple drug offense (ie, no violence or other aggregating offenses). That would reduce the population and also help heal this country. The black community has be decimated (and not just the black community, but they’ve seen the worst of it) as a result of the current drug laws; they don’t work, and they need to be changed.

People sitting in jail for ANY amount of MJ is simply nuts. I have a much harder time justifying decriminalization of other drugs, but MJ is just such a simple call. I’m sure that others saw that the MOST requested thing for BO to do is change the laws around pot. I haven’t smoked pot in a decade, and probably never will again. But, at the same time, if I had been caught with pot in college my entire life would be changed, MUCH for the worse. How does that help anyone? How is society served by these laws?

Comment by nhz
2009-02-10 08:40:24

regarding decriminalizing soft drugs: we have plenty of experience with that in Netherlands, and it is not that simple. Putting people in jail for finding a ‘private’ amount of MJ with them is stupid, obviously.

Most of the people convicted here just grabbed the easy money: with a pot plantation in the attick you can make 50-200K a year with very little work and almost zero risk (if you are really out of luck the judge will order you to pay back the proven gains). Never mind the fire risk for the neighbours, the stolen electricity, the shootings from competing producers etc. The types who do this are usually too lazy to work and a drag on society, whether pot is legal or not.

of course they can make easy money because the drugs are kind of legalised here (plenty of demand, especially from foreign countries) while growing them is not legal (and thus profitable). If production is legalised as well (under discussion over here) these people will switch to other ‘easy money’ activities.

Comment by ET-Chicago
2009-02-10 08:40:40

How is society served by these laws?

Society isn’t, but certain segments of society (the prison-industrial complex, law-and-order politicians, big Pharma and other assorted “competitors”) most certainly are.

Comment by scdave
2009-02-10 09:51:24

as a result of the current drug laws ??

Its all about money/jobs…Criminalize
everything…Then you need more;

Defense Attorneys, DA’s, Judges, Court Houses, Court Staff, Sheriffs, Probation Officers, County Jail Cells, Prisons, Prison Guards, Prison Staff, Re-Hab Centers, Half-Way Houses, Bail-Bonds Men..Did I miss anything ??

Comment by measton
2009-02-10 13:17:22

Take a look over in Mexico to see what the war on drugs will bring. We are pumping money into the hands of murderous gangs. I saw one estimate that said they brought in as much money as tourism. The gov is helpless and this will be bad for the US. Then take a look over in Afghanastan. Ask yourself how many guns those guys could buy without drug money and oil money from Saudi Arabia. Legalize and tax drugs use the money to throw anyone who commits a crime in jail and the rest to cut income taxes.

Comment by josemanolo7
2009-02-11 00:04:50

well, mexico could start spending more and smarter for its defense/law enforcement to be more effective against the drug war. no point in extrapolating to us.

Comment by max4me
2009-02-10 08:41:45

Were you the intended victim?

No that guy is dead

Long story but basically he made a very big error in judgment and while he deserves punishment his 15+ stay (on our dime) isnt gonna help him or society. but his story really showed me just how arbitrary or justice system is. Simple put there are many people more worthy of jail time them him.

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Comment by Skip
2009-02-10 09:23:31

Justice is arbitrary because it locks up murders? Thats a new one.

Arbitrary is good sometimes, like when the DMV is arbitrary doesn’t give driver’s licenses to a blind person.

Comment by scdave
2009-02-10 10:03:32

Justice is arbitrary because it locks up murders ??

Sure it is…We have a huge double standard in this country when it comes to “Criminal Justice”…Just ask the family of the kid who got summarily executed by the officer at the Bart station in Oakland…Or the retired officer that gets “Sh!T Faced” rolling dice “With Me” each Friday and then hops in his car for the drive home because he knows he is bullet proof from being arrested…

Comment by Skip
2009-02-10 11:30:37

I was unaware that the Oakland case had been resolved in the favor of the office involved.

Comment by Olympiagal
2009-02-10 17:39:14

‘Or the retired officer that gets “Sh!T Faced” rolling dice “With Me” each Friday and then hops in his car for the drive home because he knows he is bullet proof from being arrested…’

Gimme the link. Por favor.

Comment by VaBeyatch in Virginia Beach
2009-02-10 08:22:42

Was he going to go after some of the white collar criminals that the gov’t won’t go after?

Comment by aNYCdj
2009-02-10 07:15:45


Why do we house so many non violent people? There must be a few thousand that smoked pot, did really stupid minor crimes that can be released on parole or sentence commuted to time served.

We have so Dumbed down America, even this simple task is over most bureaucrats heads.

Comment by palmetto
2009-02-10 08:29:49

“Why do we house so many non violent people?”

Good point. And, with the insanity of goobermint, you just have to know that the violent will be released, while the non-violent are retained. They’re less of a threat and less likely to riot or cause the screws any trouble.

It’s like the old joke about the Thermos “But how do it know?”

Comment by Asparagus
2009-02-10 08:39:25

States need money so badly, I could see some legalization happening with heavy taxation a la cigarettes.

Then prostitution…
Then gambling everywhere…
Then …..

Comment by max4me
2009-02-10 08:43:14

sounds good maybe we can have state universities with black jack and hookers, and loan sharks

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Comment by hip in zilker
2009-02-10 11:04:11

Gambling already is everywhere, isn’t it? Even Kansas has a state lottery.

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Comment by mikey
2009-02-10 09:35:00

Releasing the potheads and jailing the house scammers COULDN’T hurt…in California :)

Comment by scdave
2009-02-10 09:38:19

Get ready for a “All Out Media Fear Blitz” from the Prison Guard Union…

Comment by SanFranciscoBayAreaGal
2009-02-10 09:50:55

Don’t worry, this will be coming to other states also.

Comment by SUGuy
2009-02-10 06:49:23

I saw the presidential press conference last night. My impression of Mr. Obama was that he needs to speak less. His long winded answers were getting boring. I thought he was still trying to sell himself as the presidential candidate. Hello Mr. President look around “you are in the white house” and take a reality check. When he was calling on the reporter’s he appeared giving a fake confidence. I think Mr. Obama’s team needs to polish him up.

On the subject of perhaps doing nothing and let the market forces decide the outcome of this financial crisis. The administration has clearly chosen a path which they admit might not work in the end. Spending almost a trillion dollars and not know the outcome is a bit too much. In the end what he was really saying was it’s democrats turn to spend money.

Comment by palmetto
2009-02-10 07:00:58


Shooting blanks.

Comment by mikey
2009-02-10 08:03:40

I think Obama did okay.

True, he appeared a little shell-shocked by the scope and the enormity of the PROBLEMS but then IF he had told the American people the true depth of this disaster, there would be a run on the Uzzi Stores instead of just the Investment Banks :)

Comment by oxide
2009-02-10 09:32:50

Long-winded? Even we on HBB take whole paragraphs to explain thing to each other — and we are all well-versed on the details. You can’t blame Obama for using complex sentences to explain a complex problem which has complex causes. I for one am grateful that we HAVE a president who’s capable of complex sentences.

BTW, yes he did go into campaign mode to shut down the Republicans. It worked.

Comment by Tim
2009-02-10 07:14:51

I don’t think anyone’s “solution” merits much consideration until it is clear they understand the premise that housing prices are still way too high, and need to fall to historic means for the United States to be healthy again. This is coming from someone that is in favor of what some would term “bailouts” to the extent that the cost of action is less than the cost of inaction.

He seems like a preacher to me. A big vocabularly and lots of feel good chatter, but I haven’t recognized any substance. I should also mention I’m a liberal (socially, but fiscally conservative), Democrat in case it looks like I am biased. If there is bias, it works in his favor. I too prefer short accurate, responsive answers. It is disappointing he cannot produce any.

Comment by josemanolo7
2009-02-11 00:11:26

more like professorial.

Comment by josemanolo7
2009-02-11 00:12:47

which may not work very well with typical american.

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Comment by skroodle
2009-02-10 07:36:07

Yes, he needs to realize that most Americans have a very short attention span and can only handle 10 second blurbs on a subject.

They just tuned in to find out how many more months before their houses started appreciating in value.

Next time, he should just put banner up behind him that says “mission accomplished” and declare the housing problem taken care of.

Comment by realestateskeptic
2009-02-10 08:39:35

I am getting sick of seeing him day after day. Blah blah blah…

Comment by ET-Chicago
2009-02-10 08:45:43

Maybe he should just go to his ranch and try to look cool clearing brush?

Maybe he should put on a flight suit and a codpiece and declare all our troubles over?

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Comment by SanFranciscoBayAreaGal
2009-02-10 10:54:15

Or “looked in Putin’s eyes and got a sense of his soul.”

Comment by SanFranciscoBayAreaGal
2009-02-10 09:53:02

I have a solution, turn off the t.v. or change the channel

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Comment by realestateskeptic
2009-02-10 11:51:40

Just saying that I think he has oversaturated the airwaves. I voted for him and hope he does well for all of our sakes. I was not a Bush supporter either. Today, Geitner gets up and says nothing so the market tanks. Wait until you have something to say before you say anything.

Its a shame Pelosi boxed Obama in on the stimulus bill by loading it up with nonsense, forcing him to do all this PR work. Now he is having to burn his political capital to save a bill that should have been a no brainer under the circumstances. It will be strange to see Obama lining up with the centrist Repubs to save the bill in conference. Pelosi is absolutely the worst politician I have seen in years (as to political acumen, not scandal - we have plenty of those) . She was ineffective as majority leader when Bush was there and is now like a cinder block for Obama.

Comment by palmetto
2009-02-10 16:02:34

Awesome post, realestate. IMO Pelosi is certifiably insane and the triumvirate she makes with Reid and Frank makes the Three Stooges look like geniuses. I was sickened by her “Impeachment is off the table” crap, she could have done so much good to ease the traumas of the Bush regime.

But, this is SOP for the dems, they sure know how to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. And from what I understand, the behind-the-scenes bickering and backbiting and betrayal makes the reps look like unified geniuses. In some ways, I feel sorry for Obama. Members of his own party will end up eviscerating him, quite thoroughly. Wait’ll Hillary has her ups. I hope we survive it.

Comment by Olympiagal
2009-02-10 17:44:31

‘…the behind-the-scenes bickering and backbiting and betrayal makes the reps look like unified geniuses.’

‘Unified geniuses’…wha? Wow. Really. I haven’t discerned any signs of such a condition, but it’s good to hear.
See, I love geniouses, and I can’t wait to see what these unified geniouses produce for all our betterment…

Comment by cactus
2009-02-10 08:40:11

I listened to the speech while surfing the web but I did hear a few things ” it was the fault of the banks not the consumer” ” 30x leverage by banks ” and ” maybe you can’t afford this house”
” I am not the kind of president who will do nothing with the worse depression in 50 years upon us”

I think hes’ OK the economy is struggling under too much debt and any plan to spend out of it will probably work just like it did before in the 1930’s. i just hope we don’t get a re-run of the 1940’s but I fear we will.

Comment by VirginiaTechDan
2009-02-10 12:58:55

Any plan to spend out of it will *FAIL* just like it did before in the 1930’s.

The problem isn’t a lack of “spending”, it is a lack of savings and too much debt. Adding more debt to do more spending only destroys savings.

We only recovered after WWII because they lifted major regulations imposed during the depression and because the rest of the world had their productive capacities destroyed!

It is this “do something” attitude that scares me the most.

I suggest you take a closer look at history and read mises.org for some real economics before making such ridiculous, uneducated, claims about the 1930’s.

Comment by ecofeco
2009-02-10 17:51:20

“Failed in the 1930s?”

You might want to do more research on that. A LOT more research.

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Comment by VirginiaTechDan
2009-02-10 18:02:58

You study economics more than 3 hours per day for the past 3 years?

We could get in a pissing match about who has more education, but that is pointless. I quoted my sources and I have read all of the “official” stories/theories taught by government schools and the media. If you have not spent time reading Mises on Money and other Austrian School economics texts then you have not honestly accessed my claims.

If you can read what Mises has to say and can form a coherent argument against it, then you will be the first.

Comment by awaiting wipeout
2009-02-10 19:45:49

Austrian School Of Econ-
Murray Rothbard’s Depression book. What a great read.I can’t believe how misinformed I was.

Comment by josemanolo7
2009-02-11 00:21:54

i always hear about this *austrian school of economics*. does anybody of you know which country has adopted this at heart and what is the result so far? thanks.

Comment by hoz
2009-02-10 08:45:04

I was left with a very favorable impression of President Obama.

It was refreshing to listen to a president that pondered his answers carefully as opposed to the irrational comments we heard from the former president.

Comment by whino
2009-02-10 09:14:24


Comment by SanFranciscoBayAreaGal
2009-02-10 09:55:12

So was I. He took the time to explain some of the answers. I find it interesting some of the posters don’t like the long answers he gave, yet when other politicians give short answers they complain not enough information was given.

Comment by scdave
2009-02-10 10:08:59


Comment by VirginiaTechDan
2009-02-10 13:01:11

Every quote I have ever heard/read from Obama regarding the economy was irrational by nature of its Keyesian fallacies. Whether the quote was short/long or eloquent is mere marketing.

Comment by josemanolo7
2009-02-11 00:23:26

you probably have to expand your sources of information.

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Comment by sm_landlord
2009-02-10 14:08:50

I liked his 13 mini-speeches as well. As least he said something, and was thinking on his feet.

My problem s was with what he had to say about discussing solutions. I don’t have the quote handy, but paraphrasing: (~”)I’m not willing to discuss doing nothing and letting hits work itself out. I’ll discuss this program vs that program, but I won’t discuss letting the system just heal itself(~”).

My problem with this is that he is dismissing a serious and possibly correct course of action out of hand, claiming that it is not a serious position.

Another problem I have with what he said was the bit about how since there are allegedly no earmarks in the stimulus bill, there cannot by definition be any pork there, and he went on to lambast those who claimed that there is. Certainly pork is in the eye of the beholder, but come on - we all know there’s pork in there, just read the list.

Comment by Skip
2009-02-10 09:26:00

I remember reading that back in the 30’s FDR used to tell people in his fireside chats to read the constitution.

Comment by Bill in Carolina
2009-02-10 09:35:05

If enough people today read the Constitution there would be a revolution.

Comment by Bill in Los Angeles
2009-02-10 09:58:22

That would be very frightening unless they would comprehend what they read.

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Comment by Arizona Slim
2009-02-10 12:40:51

I carry a pocket-sized Constitution with me. Got it from the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia.

Comment by The Middling Lebowski
2009-02-10 17:12:57

Is that a constitution in your pocket, or are you just happy to free me?

(I miss aladinsane.)

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Comment by Olympiagal
2009-02-10 17:45:44

Hahahahaahah! HAHAHAHAHA! Oh, gosh—thank you.

Comment by jbunniii
2009-02-10 18:26:14

At least the guy is ABLE to form complete sentences and even paragraphs, unlike the last occupant of the White House. The longwindedness is actually kind of refreshing.

Comment by mrktMaven
2009-02-10 07:08:36

Everyone sits paralyzed anticipating the government’s next move. Will next year’s housing tax credit be bigger than this year’s 15K credit? This year’s tax credit was bigger and broader than last year’s 7.5K.

Comment by Carlos Cisco
2009-02-10 15:17:51

Speak for yourself; I anticipate pols and their proxies continuing to make mistake after mistake. Dems only know how to tax and spend (tho not always in that order) while Reps bitch about it and promise trickle down. Every wrong move since ‘63 is baked into the value of the buck and, by extension that of PM’s. Alad was/is more right than wrong. At least he acted.

Comment by Muir
2009-02-10 07:20:19

Well, unlike most of you, I liked the press conference.
Oh, I do not think the stimulus plan will work.
But I loved it!
Some of you guys just seem to want to prance around bemoaning some imaginary loss.
I for one was applauding just thinking about Kudlow’s reaction to this press conference. I’m smiling as I type this remembering last night and my thoughts on what Fox, morning Joe were screeming at that moment.
You’d think most of the posters here were worth 7 figures, at least.
I remember the tax brackets when Reagan started office.
And Socialism, bring it on!
Only reverse the direction, no more subsidizing the very rich.
I could have posted above, but I like my little post right here where it is, alone.

Comment by palmetto
2009-02-10 07:28:21

It WAS kinda fun watching a bunch of sad-sack folk looking to this guy for slavation. Now THERE was a moment.

Comment by Muir
2009-02-10 07:36:05

Palmy, I’ve read your posts for a while.
Unless you have assets of 10M+ you are making a fool of yourself.

Comment by palmetto
2009-02-10 07:38:39

Ooooh, I’m so hurt. Just clingin’ to my guns and religion here. ROTFLMAO!

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Comment by palmetto
2009-02-10 08:11:52

Muir, you take the Palmster entirely too seriously. I tend to be flippant and have a keen appreciation of the socially absurd.

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Comment by Muggy
2009-02-10 08:21:51

“you are making a fool of yourself”

He just wants a cheap house, and to riff in the wait. Me too.

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Comment by palmetto
2009-02-10 08:40:01

Dang, Muggy, you GET it.

Yah, that’s a pretty raw deal, that torture stuff. Made me sick to my stomach. Maybe Bammy can do a parody of W’s speech where W was looking under the tables for WMD.

“Ooops, no change here!”

Comment by Muir
2009-02-10 08:47:15

Well Muggy, the rich aren’t going to help any of the THREE of us.

History of Federal Individual Income Bottom and Top Bracket Rates

Top Federal Income Tax Rates on Regular Income and Capital Gains since 1916:
(one page)

Guess, who is getting ahead?

Comment by palmetto
2009-02-10 10:54:30

Yah, I don’t disagree with you at all, not in the least. I just don’t think this administration really intends to do anything about it.

I’d like to see the income tax abolished anyway. And it is interesting that people are finally actually talking about it. I think it is beginning to dawn on some of the hacks that when you have a system where those at the top don’t pay it and those at the bottom don’t pay it and you’re pretty much destroying those in between who did pay it, what’re ya gonna do? People still have to buy stuff, one way or another, so sales tax is the way to go. And by that I don’t mean a VAT.

Comment by Muggy
2009-02-10 12:05:18

“Guess, who is getting ahead?”

Muir, I gotcha.

I just had this funny vision of you demanding to see my paystubs and Vanguard statement before letting me in to party…LOl.

Comment by palmetto
2009-02-10 07:36:36

Back when I wuz a partyin’ pup in Ft. Lauderdale, I make the acquaintance of this Russian guy who had managed to emigrate to the US. In the USSR of old, anyone who wanted a job, got one and he told about one job where the person stood at the bottom of an escalator, just counting the people coming off. So, he brings the lady to the US and somehow manages to finagle her a job at McDonalds. The lady freaks out and is terribly offended over having to actually work for a living. She quit on the grounds that she was much too good for “that sh*t”, and had a much better gig and title (the title was important) back in the USSR.

Comment by nhz
2009-02-10 08:19:26

sure … I just watched a nice documentary about the Singapore economic model, comparing it to the US and Dutch economy.

Major difference: if you loose your job, the government will find you a new job. If might pay less but they will (partly?) make up the difference with your old job. If you don’t accept the job, you get nothing. They will also provide you a home (not a mcmansion) and good education - the rest is up to you.

Exactly the opposite from Netherlands, and still very different from the US. That’s why Singapore is still doing very well, and the US not (and the Dutch are heading down an even deeper cliff IMHO). In Netherlands almost 10% of the population has a comfortable income without ever having worked for it; most of them will never do anything for society and only continue taking. Foreign immigrants: same story, it’s all about the social security paradise. And the people who are working will never accept lower incomes, whatever happens.

One of the Singapore politicians referred to the French, where every gov. worker can retire after 30 years on the job (often around 50) and live to become 80 or 90 with others paying for their comfortable life. People don’t want to give up these entitlements, that’s what the current riots in France and elsewhere in Europe are mostly about. If people stick to these entitlements the economy will go down with them and everybody loses.

there’s lots of sh*t in the pipeline for US and Europe …

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Comment by measton
2009-02-10 13:27:55


This is the best system. No handouts without work, just enough to survive if you take a gov job after getting laid off, with plenty of incentive to get a real private sector job.

Comment by josemanolo7
2009-02-11 00:37:50

yeah right. if the inequality of wealth distribution is about the same for singapore and us, it might work here.

Comment by packman
2009-02-10 07:48:39

“looking to this guy for slavation”

Quite the Freudian slip there.

Comment by palmetto
2009-02-10 07:45:31

Somebody forgot to ask the old Firesign Theater question: “Mistah Prezzydent, where can I get a JOB?”

Comment by palmetto
2009-02-10 07:58:07

“We’re all Bozos on this Bus”.

Comment by crazy frog
2009-02-10 12:04:43

“And Socialism, bring it on!”

Muir, as someone who lived in a socialist society, I can tell you that you have no idea what you are wishing for. The last 8 years were “an embracement”, and that is a big understatement. But this does not mean that we cannot do better that socialism. After all, socialism has been tried already and it failed.

Comment by Muir
2009-02-10 12:51:34

As a person who was born in a Communist country, I can tell you that I know exactly what I am saying.

Your statement was “as someone who lived in a socialist society, I can tell you that you have no idea what you are wishing for. The last 8 years were “an embracement”, and that is a big understatement.”
This was reverse Socialism, where the rich’s loses were socialized, profit’s guaranteed and all was forgiven.
If we are to have Socialism, let’s try a different direction.
By the way, you may want to read two tables that I posted later on the taxes that are paid by the wealthy, now and in times past.
Here they are again.
History of Federal Individual Income Bottom and Top Bracket Rates
Top Federal Income Tax Rates on Regular Income and Capital Gains since 1916:
(one page)
paste and add http://www.

Finally, on my not knowing.
What irks me, is the complete ignorance of many who rail against Socialism, yet, if not for a class struggle that occurred here in the US and elsewhere in the 30s, they would have been working in a coal mine since 12 years old, that is, if they would have been born at all since their fathers would have been in the same mines 7 days a week.

Finally, take your blinders off, it seems Capitalism, or what passes for it here, doesn’t work too well either.
“Greed is good” doesn’t work.

Comment by crazy frog
2009-02-10 13:26:40

It surprises me that someone borne in a Communist country would praise socialism and even would be eager to have it here, in USA. Haven’t you learned anything from your own experience?

The problem with socialism is that inherently encourages laziness. It is good as an idea, but it does not work in real life. It works for a while until everyone realizes that it is much better off to “work the system” and leave the “other fool” to work for him. Eventually, we run out of “other fools” and nobody works anymore. Remember the old saying so popular in communist countries:
“They lie to us that they pay us, and we lie to them that we work.”

And finally, I do not wear any blinders. I do see the capitalism as it is. Read above what I said about the last 8 years under Bush. I did not like it. Unfortunately, I do not have any illusions that I will like the next 4 under Obama either.

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Comment by Muir
2009-02-10 15:10:56

“The problem with socialism is that inherently encourages laziness.”
Best Analysis EVER at HBB.

Let’s see, we gave free money to Main Street and easy money to banks and we were all going to live off of our “investments” and let’s see, we would all be “a consumer driven economy.”
And this lead to laziness, your correct.

Now, what do YOU call what happened here?
(and not for your “last 8 years.”
Try at least 12.)

Comment by not a gator
2009-02-10 18:18:48

yes, you are right–things really heated up around 1997 with the internet speculation. seeds were sown in ‘93 with Greenspan easy money policy.

Clinton and Greenspan were all wink wink nudge nudge–credit expansion AND painless inflation that shrank SSI payouts in terms of real value. On the state dept side, Clinton’s goons twisted arms with smaller countries in US-made cigarettes for cheap consumer goods deals.

Clinton did make a lot of painful cuts to balance the budget. I wonder what would have happened in 2001 if Greedy Street McBush hadn’t swept into office and ramped up the deficit spending.

Comment by crazy frog
2009-02-10 13:47:14

Oh, and by the way if “Greed is good” is all that Capitalism means to you, than you need to take your blinders off :).

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Comment by Muir
2009-02-10 15:04:25

“Greed is good” is what Capitalism means to CNBC and Wall Street.
What color are your blinders?

Comment by crazy frog
2009-02-10 15:50:34

Muir, cool down. I have always assumed that people that come to HBB could not care less what the shills from CNBC preach.

In regard to you post above, the fact that for the last 12 years we had socialism for the WS does not automatically make the socialism for the poor the right answer. There has to be a system that does not encourage reckless behavior and laziness at neither place. The system works much better if the prudent and efficient are rewarded at the expense of the reckless and inefficient, not vice verse.

Comment by ella
2009-02-10 17:36:41

” the fact that for the last 12 years we had socialism for the WS”

I think his point was that that isn’t socialism. I find the way people throw around the terms socialism, communism and fascism quite annoying myself as it makes conversations quite confusing and pointless. Why use a loaded term, if you don’t care what it means?

I used to know a Portuguese chef who couldn’t be bothered to learn english, so he just said “bananas” for any word he couldn’t remember.

For your consideration:

“In regard to you post above, the fact that for the last 12 years we had bananas for the WS”.

Comment by Olympiagal
2009-02-10 15:44:16

‘As a person who was born in a Communist country,’

Really? Where?

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Comment by cobaltblue
2009-02-10 07:20:39

As The World Turns:

Global bond markets are calling the bluff of the US Federal Reserve.
By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard
Last Updated: 7:22PM GMT 08 Feb 2009

The yield on 10-year US Treasury bonds – the world’s benchmark cost of capital – has jumped from 2pc to 3pc since Christmas despite efforts to talk the rate down.

This level will asphyxiate the US economy if allowed to persist, as Fed chair Ben Bernanke must know. The US is already in deflation. Core prices – stripping out energy – fell at an annual rate of 2pc in the fourth quarter. Wages are following. IBM, Chrysler, General Motors, and YRC, have all begun to cut pay.

The “real” cost of capital is rising as the slump deepens. This is textbook debt deflation. It was not supposed to happen. The Bernanke doctrine assumes that the Fed can bring down the whole structure of interest costs, first by slashing the Fed Funds rate to zero, and then by making a “credible threat” to buy Treasuries outright with printed money.

Mr. Bernanke has been repeating this threat since early December. But talk is cheap. As the Fed hesitates, real yields climb ever higher. Plainly, the markets do not regard Fed rhetoric as “credible” at all.

Comment by realestateskeptic
2009-02-10 08:42:18

Rhetoric is one thing, actually buying the 10 year may be in the cards. They need low rates to fund all of this debt we are taking on and to lower mortgage rates…..

Comment by nhz
2009-02-10 08:45:19

better read the comments below the article; they make more sense than the endless calls for reckless inflationary policies from Ambrose.

Comment by not a gator
2009-02-10 18:42:27

That bit about Poland was scary. 30% of mortgages in swiss francs, which are up 100% against the zloty–worse than an ARM!

And Hungary, 60% of MTG in SwFr–I guess they thought their currencies would go up forever.

Pleased to see that while the Czech crown has taken a beating, it isn’t getting smashed like some of its neighbors’ coin. Pleased because my observations were more or less on target … and because my friends there aren’t completely screwed.

Comment by darrell_in_phx
2009-02-10 07:21:44

The Republicans love to complain about transfer payments… 4 things: Social Security Medicare Medicaid.

Social Security: $600 billion
Medicare: $400 billion
Medicaid: $200 billion

That is half the federal budget.

What’s left?
$550 billion defence (+ war supliments)
$48 billion military retirement
$85 billion other VA

$250 billion net interest on the debt

Okay, we’re now a bit over $2.1 trillion of the $3 trillion budget.

Education: $81 billion ($38 billion K-12, $25 billion higher)
Health non-Medicaid: $80 billion
Transportation: $71 billion
Justice $47 billion
International Affairs: $33 billion
Science: $28 billion (including $16 billion NASA)
Natural Resources: $32 billion (offset by receipts)
Ag: $20 billion offset by receipts

And, the budget buster… I guess this is what Republicans are talking about….
$400 billion for Income Security…

But, not really.
There is the $48 billion for military retirees I pulled out above.
And, another $68 billion for other retired government workers.

Then, there is $57 billion for EIC and Child Tax Credit, which is said to compensate low income people for FICA witholding. You know, letting people keep more of their income instead of government, so Republicans like these, right?

And, $40 billion in unemployment that is offset by receipts.

Well, darn…. There goes half that $400 billion.

What’s left now?
$40 billion HUD with $23B of that Section 8
$60 billion neutrition ($43 billion food stamps, $14 billion student meals)
$43 billion SSI
Other welfare type stuff $40 billion or so.

So, if we cut all this transfer payment stuff… we could save $180 billion or so… Unless the Republicans are talking about the $1.2 trillion for SS, MCare and MCaid.

Comment by skroodle
2009-02-10 07:37:53

“Deficits don’t matter” - Dick Cheney.

Comment by hoz
2009-02-10 07:41:16


As long as mopes are willing to buy our debt.

Comment by michael
2009-02-10 08:26:27

i thought it was moops.

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Comment by Bronco
2009-02-10 09:04:43

bubble boy…

Comment by packman
2009-02-10 20:55:06

LOL - hilarious episode.

Comment by mikey
2009-02-10 08:20:16

The POST Raygun/Bush1 Regime was tough on his “believers” and most non-affluent Americans.

In the POST Bushll/Cheney Regime, it will be very tough on his “believers” and the non-affluent Americans will be lucky if they can afford a mo-ped and gas for a job search to Micky D’s :)

Comment by measton
2009-02-10 20:11:34

Actually what Cheney said was

“Reagan proved deficits don’t matter”

Comment by not a gator
2009-02-10 18:54:55

yup, direct cash payments in WIC program are very tiny… SSI, SSD, Medicare and Medicaid are very large

military and old military debts … enormous

still, I see a lot I would cut: slash NASA in half, goodbye school funding except for Head Start, get rid of HUD entirely, like a moratorium for three years, then I would have some people who understand venality, like maybe some attorneys or former felons, craft a new, less intrusive housing plan, NO eCONomists allowed to the meetings, “nutrition” should be filed under Ag aid because that’s what it is–needs MAJOR reform–I would let them buy milk, veggies, eggs, butter and bisquick, no processed junk whatsoever. Cook ‘em healthy meals or go ask for a handout elsewhere. And Kraft doesn’t need govt welfare, okay?

means test social security… of course, this will lead some to put cash in assets to minimize income…oh well… can’t be worse than what we have now

of course, no-one will do as I have suggested. no, better to vote against <$1B Amtrak bills and then pretend you are a budget hawk (the fact that it costs less per passenger mile than air and road travel is the dirty secret you hope your constituents never find out)

Comment by CA renter
2009-02-11 03:33:14

Good ideas, gator.

Comment by pressboardbox
2009-02-10 07:28:33

7% unemployment my ass. If everyone lost his/her job then I guess unemployment might shoot to 12% according to the BLS. Am I wrong, president Hussein?

Comment by darrell_in_phx
2009-02-10 07:41:21

I agree with the main point that unemployment is higher than being stated. However, you can’t blaim Obama, can you? He’s been in office 3 weeks so could harldy have shaped how BLS reports the numbers.

And, what is the point of calling him Hussein? Sure, we called Bush “W”, but that is bacause there were two Bushs… W. and H.W. As far as I can recall, there has not been another Obama with whom the current president could be confused….

Or is this purely a racist, religionist, guilt-by-association ad hominum attack? How about sticking to criticizing things he’s actually done?

Comment by Skip
2009-02-10 09:33:40

I think they call him Hussein or Messiah because they are still expressing their anger and bitterness over GWB. They deeply hope that he fails so that they will find some sort of redemption in having supported GWB.

Comment by Bill in Los Angeles
2009-02-10 10:07:20

Nope. You don’t get it. We call him Messiah because the media and many supporters of him boosted him to God-like status when he said only “change…change…spread the wealth around…change…change…change…” in all his cross country campaign speeches. Change? WTF? The Emperor has no clothes. It was kid glove treatment all along because of his skin color and not any at all of substance. If they focused on substance they would have heard his idol, Mr. wright, say “god Damn America.” But they only heard “change.”

So yes by golly, we, the ones who are still astounded by his election, call him the Messiah.

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Comment by BP
2009-02-10 10:53:16


Comment by Jon
2009-02-10 10:59:01

Eh, Rush Limbaugh started calling him the Messiah, O’Reilly picked it up and all their minions began parroting.

Politicians never take a stand or delve too deeply into an issue. Know why? Because ignorant hicks vote against people, not for them. If you let people know where you stand, all of those who disagree will vote against you. If you don’t take a stand, the hicks have no reason to vote against you (except maybe for the party you belong to or the color of your skin).

Comment by Olympiagal
2009-02-10 11:01:33

(Darrel, skip)

+ 59 puka shells, a bag of licorice, and some whiskey.

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Comment by reuven
2009-02-10 09:34:17

I have a middle-eastern middle-name! You all are welcome to call *ME* “Avram” and I won’t be the least bit offended.

Comment by not a gator
2009-02-10 18:57:04

I had a jr. high friend name of Hussein … it’s also the name of the King of Jordan. Being a Hussein doesn’t make you evil.

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Comment by speedingpullet
2009-02-10 09:43:11

+ 10

Comment by pressboardbox
2009-02-10 10:44:50

Maybe because that is the man’s name.

Comment by hoz
2009-02-10 07:32:25

DealBook Column
Up Next for Bankers: A Flogging

Published: February 9, 2009

On Wednesday, eight chief executives of big banks will make their way to Washington — giving up their private jets and instead riding Amtrak and the Delta Shuttle — to appear at a Congressional hearing in front of Representative Barney Frank and the House Financial Services Committee.

Lloyd C. Blankfein, Jamie Dimon, John J. Mack, Vikram S. Pandit and Kenneth D. Lewis will be among them.

The hearing will no doubt be a spectacle. …”

“I want show-trial sweating and stammering. I want their nine-figure bonus checks endorsed over to the rest of us. I want my 401(k) money back. I want blood; I’m a vegetarian, but I’d make an exception for a smoking plate of C.E.O. en brochette.”
Patt Morrison, an op-ed writer at The Los Angeles Times


There are 10 good questions that Mr. Sorkin poses. Not one will be asked in Washington. This will be a dog and pony show.

Comment by edgewaterjohn
2009-02-10 09:32:44

Those are good questions, but it almost seems like some them should be posed to congress instead of the bankers.

Comment by cougar91
2009-02-10 07:34:58

Here is another great read I found yesterday. I found myself agreeing with most of what it said, other than the timing of this great upcoming inflation due to monetizing of debt (I just don’t think you can go from deflation to high inflation this fast):

Christopher Grey
02/09/09 - 11:10 AM EST
Those who cannot remember the past, are condemned to repeat it.
– George Santayana

As the U.S. government embarks on creating the most reckless expansion of our country’s debt and currency since World War II, a little bit of historical reflection seems appropriate. This “stimulus” as they’re calling it is nothing more than a massive giveaway to politically connected interest groups that will do nothing to create any real growth in the economy or lasting job creation.

In fact, it will further destroy growth and jobs by fueling inflation and higher interest rates. The effect of the stimulus can be summarized best by reversing and paraphrasing Winston Churchill’s famous statement regarding the Battle of Britain, “Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.”

What does that mean? Put simply, that the stimulus will harm most Americans who have jobs, own businesses, pay taxes, and save money. That’s what happens when you create an environment of rising interest rates, higher inflation, declining currency value and enormous future government debt to repay. The recent deficit projection for 2009 is nearly $3 trillion and will probably end up higher than that because of lower tax revenues and higher government expenditures.


In this environment, investors need to focus on owning hard assets, such as gold and oil, and shorting some long-term Treasuries to balance a large cash position that could be severely damaged by inflation. Stocks will continue to be challenged relative to hard assets, but they are no longer a good short because inflation will ultimately increase the price of everything, including stocks. Specifically, investors should have some capital deployed in ProShares Trust(TBT Quote - Cramer on TBT - Stock Picks), PowerShares DB Gold Double Long ETN(DGP Quote - Cramer on DGP - Stock Picks), Ultra DJ-AIG Crude Oil ProShares(UCO Quote - Cramer on UCO - Stock Picks), and Ultra Basic Materials ProShares(UYM Quote - Cramer on UYM - Stock Picks), which includes in its portfolio Alcoa(AA Quote - Cramer on AA - Stock Picks), DuPont(DD Quote - Cramer on DD - Stock Picks), Newmont Mining (NEM Quote - Cramer on NEM - Stock Picks) and Dow Chemical (DOW Quote - Cramer on DOW - Stock Picks).

Comment by josemanolo7
2009-02-11 01:20:34

from what i remember countries who leaped to hyperinflation were pretty much have elevated inflation already — 10+ pct — when they embarked of massive deficit spending. and countries who were in deflation pretty much avoided depression or severe recession when they embarked on massive deficit spending.

Comment by Ate-Up
2009-02-10 07:35:46

Hey Palmetto old buddy:

What do you think about Naples as a place to move to in Florida? Just rent at first of course. Probably could get a paralegal job there…

Thanks for your help, and, as always, enjoy yours/everyone’s comments!!


Comment by palmetto
2009-02-10 07:42:02

Hi, Ate, never lived in Naples, so can’t advise you.

Comment by packman
2009-02-10 07:51:34

In the mid 90’s when I visited there it was mediterranean-style gated community after mediterranean-style gated community. If that’s your bag it’s a great place. There’s probably more to it than that I’m sure - just my first impression.

Comment by Sagesse
2009-02-10 10:36:39

It’s still like that. Only now, some mediterranean styled retail is quite empty. Some housing styled in the same manner sits right on the edge of the great swamp.

Comment by mrktMaven
2009-02-10 08:00:10

Don’t go there looking for work.

Comment by Muggy
2009-02-10 08:26:22

I stopped there for lunch on the way back from Key West last year, bizarre place. I would not want to live there.

I think if you’re an outta-stater, looking for some semblance of any given city you remember from “up North,” it’s Miami or Tampa/St. Pete.

And even then…

Comment by Michael Fink
2009-02-10 08:45:07

Yup, Miami, Ft Lauderdale (which is one of my fav cities in FL, there’s SO much water there, and so much to do, I may actually move there someday from Jupiter, where I currently live), JAX, and TPA are the only “real” cities in FL. Orlando is big, but it’s a total disaster, I’d never live there. It’s hotter then Hades in the summer, and not all that warm in the winter.

If you’re looking for something that reminds you of NYC/Philadelphia, etc; that’s going to really be the list that Muggy gave you (with the possible addition of FTL). If you’re looking to retire, see my post below, Naples is a great area for retirees.

Miami isn’t for anyone who only speaks English. You need to speak Spanish to survive in much of Miami. You would not be happy there if you didn’t speak it.

Comment by mrktMaven
2009-02-10 09:43:31

What Mr. Fink said.

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Comment by Muggy
2009-02-10 12:06:42

My bad, I forgot JAX. Never been…

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Comment by not a gator
2009-02-10 19:01:16

CSX and some banks live there. Very much haves and have nots. But therefore not unlike some cities up north.

Before buildup of Miami in the 1920’s, Jax was the only “real” city in Florida, I think… well, there was St. Pete. Some Russian speculator dude founded the city, and the RR back to civilization was extended from Jax to St. Pete. Like most of Florida, they have mostly forgotten the RR made them … neglected, taken apart, torn up, and forgotten … like that Faber factory in Cedar Key.

Comment by SFC
2009-02-10 08:29:30

Ante, Naples is very nice, one of my favorite parts of Florida if you love the water as I do. Far South, so it’s warm in the winter when some other parts of Florida are not. No hotter in the Summer than other places along the coast, and more bearable than inland areas like Orlando. Lots of golf, nice beaches, great boating, some really good bars right on the water. Close to Sanibel and Captiva, which are beautiful. Less than 2 hours from Fort Lauderdale and Miami across Alligator alley. Very crowded in the Winter, quiet in the Summer. The big hit against Naples in the past was that it was REALLY expensive, but we all know what happened. Still lots of seriously rich semi-annoying people around in the Winter, though. If you can find a place in your budget that’s between downtown and the beach, go for it.

Comment by Michael Fink
2009-02-10 08:39:11

I work in Naples quite a bit, so I’ll give you a bit of color on the area.

It’s subdivision after subdivision; mostly nice homes (and some REALLY nice homes) and a very safe area. It’s mostly higher end, I compare it to Palm Beach on the west coast (and it compares itself to that as well). Weather is great, ocean is so-so (east coast is better), and prices for homes have fallen a ton (but still have quite a bit to go).

The reason I don’t like Naples (and much of the west coast) is because it’s very OLD. It’s what I thought of as FL before I moved here, mostly retirees, very few working class people, and some professionals. It truly is “Gods waiting room”, much more so then the Palm Beach/Miami area. The entire area is setup to cater to the older generations, so you won’t find good bars/clubs/etc, the city won’t permit that kind of stuff.

If you’re younger, and looking for an area more in keeping with your age, I’d look to the east coast of FL, from about Martin County to Miami. If you’re older, and looking for a place to retire, Naples has to be on the top of that list. The east coast of FL is kind of like any BIG city (but with plenty of heat). The traffic is insane, people all hate each other, and everyone’s always in a hurry to get/do everything. The west coast is the opposite, much more laid back; more what you think of as “FL” when you picture it in your mind.

Also, the east coast of FL north of Martin County is also very different to SE FL. It’s much more “retiree driven” and a much better place for older generations to live.

I have absolutely NO idea why retirees are still moving to places like FTL and MIA. It’s like retiring into Long Island, or Queens. Yeah, it’s warm. But it’s also crazy busy, and has a very fast pace of life. The retirees are hated in SE FL as well, nobody wants them here, which, if I’m looking for a comfortable place to retire, is absolutely NOT what I want.

Comment by Rancher
2009-02-10 09:25:52

Geriatric Ghettos

Comment by Bill in Carolina
2009-02-10 09:43:03

Florida’s Atlantic coast cities attracted mostly folks from the DC area north. Florida’s Gulf coast cities attracted more midwesterners. There is a profound difference in culture and attitudes.

The choice is yours.

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Comment by Ol'Bubba
2009-02-10 18:16:13

This is so true. I grew up on Long Island and lived in the Tampa Bay area for about 10 years.

My observation was that I-95, on the east coast of Florida, runs up the coast to places like DC, Philly, NY, and Boston. As a result, people from those cities tended to relocate to the east coast of Florida.

I-75 runs up the west coast of Florida, through the middle of the state and northward through the midwest on to Michigan. As a result, the west coast of Florida has many more mid-westerners than the east coast of Florida.

The west coast of Florida definitely had a more laid back midwestern feel to it than SE Florida.

Comment by packman
2009-02-10 21:00:12

Florida’s west coast is also loaded with Germans.

I was never sure why, until I went to Germany a few years ago, and saw lots of infomercials on Ft. Myers, Sarasota etc. For whatever reason it’s marketed heavily.

Comment by SFC
2009-02-10 09:47:31

Agree with everything Mike says here except: don’t move to Miami unless the sound of English makes you violently ill.

Comment by Michael Fink
2009-02-10 10:07:34

ROFLMAO. I’ve never used that line before, but if you don’t mind, I’d like to borrow it for my future conversations. :)

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Comment by SaladSD
2009-02-10 22:04:51

I spent Thanksgiving week in Miami Beach, and indeed, I felt like I was in a foreign country. Even though I’m from SoCal and speak some Spanish, I was awed by the predominantly SoAmerican vibe.

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Comment by hoz
Comment by nhz
2009-02-10 08:41:57

I mentioned it earlier (maybe already discussed?) but it seems part of this is also housing bubble fallout :(

maybe I should make a career change and become a firefighter.

Comment by Ate-Up
2009-02-10 07:47:38

Thanks anyway, always appreciate your help and/or response.

Comment by Muir
2009-02-10 08:03:29

And, on the speech … I loved the smack down to Republicans and religious conservatives on FDR, I loved how he answer the question about Biden’s 30% (thought it was funny,) loved further smack downs on how “we’ve tried that before” on tax breaks for the rich.

Comment by Bub Diddley
2009-02-10 08:47:58


Also loved that he mentioned the Japanese “lost decade”, as comparisons of the U.S. situation to Japan have abounded on this blog for years. Even the MSM is picking up on this belatedly - see NYTimes article on Sunday on the Japanese stimulus efforts.

That said, like Muir above I don’t think for a minute the stimulus package is gonna work. A man like Obama would have made a great president eight years ago, and maybe we could have averted many of our current problems with him at the helm. He has positive qualities that might have proved beneficial in the business-as-usual D.C. environment of the last decade or two. He could have gotten some stuff done without challenging the status quo too much, and he probably would have been quite popular. Now, business-as-usual isn’t working, and I don’t know if he has the imagination to see that the status quo needs to be upended.

It’s like he’s been training all his life for a golf tournament and then when he shows up at the Master’s they say “Oh, by the way, the golf tournament is now a mixed martial arts ultimate fighting championship!”

Comment by muir
2009-02-10 11:09:05

Nope, don’t think that stimulus plan has a snowball’s chance in Lucifer’s furnace.
Shame really, I agree, under different circumstances….
Still, I’m glad I voted for him.

Comment by josemanolo7
2009-02-11 01:26:27

this stimulus will be the down payment. by itself, it will not be enough. the next one and subsequent spendings will.

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Comment by josemanolo7
2009-02-11 01:30:37

just look at it this way. it is expected that the us economy will shed about 1.5t of its gdp until the end of this year from the time this recession started. they are only going to spend less than half of that 0.8t over that period.

Comment by ouro verde
2009-02-10 08:09:20

This is the housing plague blog.
The bankers and realtors were patient x.
Iraq was a detour and so was the press conference.
Intel corp. saves the day.

Comment by hoz
2009-02-10 08:41:10

Possible and I won’t discount it. It corresponds with data from well run foreign companies.

Comment by hoz
2009-02-10 08:12:59

“…On Thursday (Sept 18), at 11am the Federal Reserve noticed a tremendous draw-down of money market accounts in the U.S., to the tune of $550 billion was being drawn out in the matter of an hour or two. The Treasury opened up its window to help and pumped a $105 billion in the system and quickly realized that they could not stem the tide. We were having an electronic run on the banks. They decided to close the operation, close down the money accounts and announce a guarantee of $250,000 per account so there wouldn’t be further panic out there.If they had not done that, their estimation is that by 2pm that afternoon, $5.5 trillion would have been drawn out of the money market system of the U.S., would have collapsed the entire economy of the U.S., and within 24 hours the world economy would have collapsed. It would have been the end of our economic system and our political system as we know it…”
Representative Paul Kanjorski

Comment by scdave
2009-02-10 10:34:02

Nice post hoz…It appears we came close to meltdown…I wonder how many in this country understand that…

Comment by Jon
2009-02-10 11:07:59

I hate it when big goobermint messes up the free market.

Comment by hip in zilker
2009-02-10 11:23:12

Frontline will have a program called Inside the Meltdown on Feb. 17.

“On Thursday, Sept. 18, 2008, the astonished leadership of the U.S. Congress was told in a private session by the chairman of the Federal Reserve that the American economy was in grave danger of a complete meltdown within a matter of days. “There was literally a pause in that room where the oxygen left,” says Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.).

FRONTLINE producer Michael Kirk goes behind closed doors in Washington and on Wall Street to investigate how the economy went so bad so fast and why emergency actions by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and Secretary of the Treasury Henry Paulson failed to prevent the worst economic crisis in a generation on Inside the Meltdown, airing Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2009, at 9 P.M. ET on PBS.”


Comment by Carlos Cisco
2009-02-10 15:43:01

Thats just about how much the American public gets told about any crisis; only the big boys need to know the truth. I can just imagine how much forewarning we’ll get for the bullet that we cant dodge.

Comment by Skip
2009-02-10 11:37:49

I don’t believe it, the investment bankers would still have found a way to get their bonuses.

Comment by santacruzsux
2009-02-10 13:26:08

Booga Booga! Like the world couldn’t exist without the big banks. Our leaders either have very little faith in the people or are deathly afraid that we do not need them.

Comment by Hwy50ina49Dodge
2009-02-10 14:16:51

“…On Thursday (Sept 18) 2008, at 11am…”

“…their estimation is that by 2pm that afternoon, $5.5 trillion would have been drawn out of the money market system of the U.S., would have collapsed the entire economy of the U.S., and within 24 hours the world economy would have collapsed.” ;-)

30 minutes later, Opie™ Obama called his ailing Grandmother:
“Grandma, it’s looking good, just 6 more weeks to go…I’m still in the race to be President of the US of America…what can go wrong?” ;-)

And to think some people are disappointed that little Opie™ hasn’t even fix the Nation economic wounds yet, what a slacker! :-)

Comment by santacruzsux
2009-02-10 14:28:34

I’ve got a bridge to sell ya Hwy50inaDodge if you actually believe that drivel coming from the Rep.

Comment by awaiting wipeout
2009-02-10 20:13:25

hip in zilker
Thank you for the lead. I am a big fan of PBS online.
“My Father, My Brother, and Me” (another documentary recently posted) is about Parkinson’s . Pesticides were linked to it 25 yrs ago. The Michael J Fox interview was worthwhile too.

Comment by BanteringBear
2009-02-10 18:12:12

“If they had not done that, their estimation is that by 2pm that afternoon, $5.5 trillion would have been drawn out of the money market system of the U.S., would have collapsed the entire economy of the U.S., and within 24 hours the world economy would have collapsed. It would have been the end of our economic system and our political system as we know it…”

-Representative Paul Kanjorski

Yeah, right. Looks like this rube played right into Paulson’s hand. When will we get some representation with some, ahem, genitalia?

Comment by packman
2009-02-10 21:08:37

I call BS. BS BS BS BS BS. Extortion scare tactics, and it worked. Mass psychology isn’t that fragile, and it doesn’t work that quickly. $550 Billion drawdown from money markets in an hour or two? Sorry but not no.

If it did then the system would have gone bankrupt on Sept. 11, 2001 at about 11:00 am.

Sorry, it is BS.

Comment by CA renter
2009-02-11 03:53:24

As I remember it, this is exactly what they were claiming. What he said should not have been a surprise to anyone who was listening to all the fearful claims.

OTOH, I’d still like to know what would **really** have happened if we didn’t step in like we did (taxpayers, BTW). As long as we covered insured deposits and helped buoy some pension plans, what exactly would have happened???

Comment by Brett
2009-02-10 08:18:38

My company is about to lay off about 10% of the workforce; people have been doing some research, and someone was able to find out the CEO’s total compensation for 2008 was ~1.25 millions dollars, including a 250k bonus.

The revenue for the year was roughly 250 million dollars; therefore, the CEO is taking home aboug 1/200th of the entire revenue of the company.

In addition, regular employees (like me) did not ‘qualify’ for bonuses because the company ‘underperformed’ and ‘did not meet the goals’. We all are wondering. why did he get a bonus then? Isn’t 0.5% of the revenue of the comany a bit much for a single person?

Now, he’s laying off 10% of the workforce, but he has not announced any salary cuts for the executives.

Comment by Kim
2009-02-10 08:29:04

Is it a publicly traded company?

Comment by Brett
2009-02-10 09:26:09

Yes, it is a public company!

Comment by polly
2009-02-10 11:34:58

The $250K as “bonus” is bogus. Tax rules forbid the company to deduct any salary over $1M unless it is related to performance, so the executive comp contract allocates any amount above that as a performance bonus, even if the performance required to qualify for it is trivial.

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Comment by The Middling Lebowski
2009-02-10 17:39:25

Cool, as long as they’re only doing it to dodge taxes, I don’t mind.

Comment by awaiting wipeout
2009-02-10 08:29:24

American CXO = best gig ever!
(at least in business)

Comment by michael
2009-02-10 08:29:39

don’t blame the playa…blame the game.

Comment by VaBeyatch in Virginia Beach
2009-02-10 08:42:37

You should beat him up.

Comment by VaBeyatch in Virginia Beach
2009-02-10 08:44:33

Is this AOL?

Comment by In Colorado
2009-02-10 09:07:40

In addition, regular employees (like me) did not ‘qualify’ for bonuses because the company ‘underperformed’ and ‘did not meet the goals’. We all are wondering. why did he get a bonus then?

Because only the little people are held accountable. CEOs are allowed to explain away their failures as being out of their control due to external issues, like the economy. Just don’t try that as a little person if you miss a performance goal. All you will receive for your trouble is a stern speech about “not making excuses”.

Now, he’s laying off 10% of the workforce, but he has not announced any salary cuts for the executives.

Of course not. While we little people have been brainwashed into believing that collective bargaining is bad, those at the top know better.

I had an interesting experience at work. We conduct a “morale” survey every couple of months here in my division, which spans the globe. Americans were the ones that complained the least. Our manager showed us the results and some of the little people in group dismissed the complainers as “whiners”.

What was interesting was the level of indignation with the company’s policies outside of the US. Even managers were irate over the idiotic policies. Even our Indian colleagues were irate. Oh, but not the American sheeple, even though we are the ones getting laid off.

Comment by Jon
2009-02-10 11:15:35

I live in the hell that is middle management. Had one of my employees complain to me that they hadn’t received a pay raise in 2 years and the guys in a different department had been getting raises. I said they were union. He said that’s not fair. I said join the union. He said that they want $18 month. I shrugged my shoulders and told him to go back to work.

Next year he’s not getting a raise and we’re jacking up health insurance costs. For losers like him, not the union guys.

Comment by Brett
2009-02-10 11:19:02

So, let me get this straight, you imply he is a loser because he is not part of a union?

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Comment by ella
2009-02-10 17:40:33

Anybody who complains about something and is unwilling to do the thing they need to do in order to fix their problem is kind of a loser aren’t they?

Comment by hip in zilker
2009-02-10 11:43:22

Brett, let me know when to show up with the pitchfork or the tar and feathers. I’m just south of the river.

Comment by Brett
2009-02-10 12:20:30

I like the pitchfork ideas; you know what’s so crazy? they announced layoffs 3 weeks ago! and they still have NOT told us when or who will be laid off!!!!!

It is so frustrating because everyone is wakling on eggshells! You see the managers & director talking to HR almost everyday, but they won’t share any information with the workers :-\

HR adviced the managers not to lie by saying ‘I don’w know’; they should tell their employees they are not allowed to talk about it.

Comment by Muir
2009-02-10 08:34:43

History of Federal Individual Income Bottom and Top Bracket Rates

Top Federal Income Tax Rates on Regular Income and Capital Gains since 1916:
(one page)

To paraphrase Rush L., it seems some want to grab their ankles (”not that there is anything wrong with that”) and continue to give the very rich their fun.
That’s just not for me (”not that there is anything wrong with that.”)
I do not want a super sized Haliburton-Bubba to have his way with me.

Of course, to each his own, whatever floats your bubble.
A lot of posters today seem to like Bubba.

Comment by Ol'Bubba
2009-02-10 18:22:47

Leave Bubba outta this.

Comment by CA renter
2009-02-11 04:07:40

I like all of your posts, Muir. :)

Comment by vozworth
2009-02-10 08:35:42

Bear market rallies end on real good news.

Conventional Wisdom: Timmay is about to give some real good news.

Comment by Don't Know Nothin About Buyin No House
2009-02-10 09:23:38

Watching Geithner’s news conference on CNN. He has sort of a Dr. Spock/Elf thing going on. Very childish of me. Perhaps I should turn away from the video and just listen to the audio…

Comment by Kim
2009-02-10 09:30:29

His plan is vague. The market initially was liking it, but changed direction when he fell short on the details.

Comment by nhz
2009-02-10 09:36:26

gold likes the plan - as expected …

Comment by jeff saturday
2009-02-10 09:56:39

In my small business and my home budget there are only 2 things that count, income and outgo. Too much outgo and not enough income and I am done. Geithner seems to be talking about more outgo than I can comprehend.

Comment by mrktMaven
2009-02-10 09:39:27

Don’t put too much stock in the market’s response. For some, the recent upturn was a trade. It was always just a trade.

Take profits early and often. Opportunities are easier regained than losses.

Comment by WT Economist
2009-02-10 09:42:09

Looks like another case of buy the rumor, sell the news.

Comment by jeff saturday
2009-02-10 09:39:35

I`m thinking Keebler hollow tree kinda thing, just missing the funny green hat. Anyway, what comes after a trillion? I want to be ready.

Comment by SFC
2009-02-10 09:55:42

Geithner hits one…………oh, it’s in the water! That’s gonna cost the DOW 290 strokes.

Comment by palmetto
2009-02-10 11:05:04

Priceless. It’s one thing to get it up, but ya gotta KEEP it up.

“Stimulus”. Yuck-oooooooo!

Comment by clue
2009-02-10 12:25:44

Cinderalla story, young kid outa nowhere…about to become the Fascist Champion….

Its in the whole !!!

Comment by hllnwlz
2009-02-10 09:47:16

Re: Disney’s California Adventure yesterday.

EMPTY. Monday, on a Holiday weekend for oh, I don’t know, probably in the neighborhood of 30,000 kids and their families in Anaheim (where I teach, so I also was off), the park was empty. When I say empty, I mean that the ONLY attraction we waited to ride was the Tower of Terror, and that was because only one of 4 elevators was running, i.e. only 24 people could ride at a time. While CalAd is the less popular of the two parks, it was indicative of the very small number of attendees that we noticed entering Disneyland; the entrances are opposite each other.

And check the deal: My husband got in free. The lady at Customer Relations who gave him his free birthday ticket told him that since he was a Southern California resident, he could get the two-fer (free entrance to another park on another day within 30 days) instead of just the single admission for no additional charge. He was also able to buy the two-fer for me for the price of the single park admission. So, for his birthday, we get, not one, but two parks for $34.50, or you can break it down further and say that each entry to the park will cost us $17.25.

Free parking results: I tried a trick that worked, but only worked BECAUSE my husband said, “Honey, it’s all right. Disney wins this one,” forcing me to reach deep into my bag of skullduggery in order to eke out a small victory by charming a gentleman purchasing movie tickets into using his purchase to validate my parking ticket.

Total cost of all-day visit for two: $69 for 1 ticket + $5* funnel cake + $3* rice krispie treat = $77.

*Food prices are INSANE, as I’m sure you’re all well-aware, but it was my husband’s birthday so sugary whims must receive total satisfaction!

Our next trip to Disneyland will include $12 all day parking, 2 Dole pineapple whips (yummy!) but no other costs. BWAHAHAHAHAHA!

On the way out, I was STUNNED to be approached by several different survey-takers tasked to gather the demographic info for our party and ask what Disney could do to increase our visits to the parks.

Wheeeeeeeee! I love the smell of economic disaster after a fresh rain!

A non-sequitur: My husband worships me because a) I worship him because he’s taught me that I don’t have to spend a lot of money to have a great life and he’s a hot, hot, hot ice hockey playing studmuffin; b) I shopped for the best pay/benefits package for a teacher in the OC before I took a job offer and have proceeded to max out my position on the salary schedule and grab every extra-duty position I can handle while still maintaining job performance, relationships, and sanity; c) I’m smokin’ hot; and, most importantly, d) I’ve become more frugal than he is.

I love my life.

P.S. Thanks to all, especially Hoz, for the great explanation of what to look for in P/E ratios. It may seem obvious to you guys - who are some of the best teachers I’ve ever had - but the rest of us are awash in a sea of financial information that is average at best and purposefully misleading at worst. I truly appreciate all the hard-earned knowledge you share with us, the mainly-anonymous but voracious consumers of your wisdom, free of charge. If I can ever help any of you with a grammar question, Mexican recipe, or the understanding of early twentieth century American literature, let me know. :)

P.P.S. If you’ve made it this far, Faster P. Sell, Sell, can you recommend a good book from which to learn to cook indian food? I’m a novice chef, but highly teachable. Thanks.

Comment by Faster Pussycat, Sell Sell
2009-02-10 11:04:20

For North Indian food, I’d start off with Madhur Jaffrey’s Indian Cooking. For South Indian stuff, I highly recommend Chandra Padmanabhan’s Dakshin.

The latter is simply one of the best edited cookbooks I have ever seen. Whoever designed and edited that book deserves a gold star.

I have one other recommendation. Invest in a coffee grinder.

There is simply no substitute for grinding your spices fresh. Oh, and visit a local Indian store to get the spices. The whole spices are very cheap, and will last a long time in your spice cabinet.

Comment by mrktMaven
2009-02-10 11:14:21

Remember to lightly toast them spices in a dry skillet to extract maximum flavor before grinding, Mr. TopChef ;)

Comment by Faster Pussycat, Sell Sell
2009-02-10 11:21:59

I know. ;-)

And you need to roast them in order of size so that none of them burn! :-D

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Comment by hllnwlz
2009-02-10 13:16:09

Shank shoe!

Good news. JUST got an Indian store down the street. The spices were so cheap I peed a little from the excitement.

Went in Friday night, checked out the goods, and talked to the owner for a few minutes.

Me: “Can you recommend a good cookbook so that I can learn to cook items rife with subcontinental tastiness?”

Him: “No.”

Me: “Okay. Other than offering myself as an indentured servant to a local indian family, how can I learn how to cook Indian food?”

Him: “There is no other way.”

Faster, my husband thanks you for rendering self-indenture unnecessary.

Coffee grinder — will procure immediatamente.

Maven, FPSS: is ANY skillet okay for light toasting? Cast-iron? I do not have high-quality cooking utensils!

Now that I’ve said that, WHAT ARE the absolute MUST-HAVE high-quality cooking implements? I have YET to get a direct, valuable answer on this. Why did I not turn here first?

Thanks in advance for making dinner more delicious at my house.

Comment by Faster Pussycat, Sell Sell
2009-02-10 13:22:27

Any skillet will do.

In practice, I have found the following to be indispensable: coffee grinder, box grater, food mill, food processor + blender, good French chef’s knife, mortar and pestle, scissors.

Maybe a peeler. Some good pots. A skillet.

There is very little else that is “indispensable”. Convenient, perhaps but not deserving of the Big-I tag.

Great food is about excellent ingredients, effort and time. You don’t need fancy instruments.

Comment by Lesser Fool
2009-02-10 16:19:48

For a good curry, get a clay pot or two. You can buy for $5 - $10 at any Indian store. You have to cook a few curries in it before the pot gets sufficiently seasoned. Clay is great because although it takes longer to heat up, it holds its heat for a long time; in fact the food cooks even after the stove is turned off. Good curries should simmer in the lowest heat for a LONG time; clay pots are perfect for that, and the special “earthy” flavor they impart to the contents cannot be created in any other way.

Comment by ET-Chicago
2009-02-10 15:26:07

I’d add an Indian cookbook by Julie Sahni (she’s written many; I have one called “Classic Indian Vegetarian and Grain Cooking” that I like).

Many of her recipes are labor-intensive, but I’ve learned a lot about spice mixtures, when to add spices, and so on. Once you make your own curry powders and masalas, you won’t buy store-bought again.

(PS: we have one coffee grinder for spices, one for coffee. But if you need to clean your grinder, put some stale white bread in there and grind it up. It does a great job getting most of the extra gunk in the nooks and crannies.)

Comment by ella
2009-02-10 17:52:45

Madhur Jaffry is pretty great, but I don’t find it is a very good everyday book, if I forgot to pick up some asefetida and fresh lime leaves at the grocery store :) It’s fun if you enjoy really getting into it.

I found a book recently called “5 Spices, 50 Dishes: Simple Indian Recipes Using Five Common Spices” by Ruta Kahate

All you need is some whole cumin & coriander seeds and various other easy-to-find stuff, toast it, grind it in your coffee grinder or mortar and then you can make really good home cooking in very little time. The recipes are all very simple, but not too dumbed down. (Also great for the thrifty set.)

There is an awesome fish curry in there that takes 10 minutes to prepare, 15 to bake and at there end you have a tasty, light spicy broth that you can soak up with fresh french bread. (Amazing with a cheap gewurtztraminer or ehrenfelser. Ahhhh.)

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Comment by Faster Pussycat, Sell Sell
2009-02-10 18:31:28

Yeah, I like her books too.

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Comment by ouro verde
2009-02-10 19:32:09

Everytime I go to an Indian store to buy spices and treats, all the men leave the store.
I am a good little shopper too!

Comment by hoz
2009-02-10 21:55:34

Every time I go to the store the women leave. oh well, Maybe next year.

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Comment by SanFranciscoBayAreaGal
2009-02-10 10:08:20


I may have missed on a previous day. Just need to know did anyone watch Battlestar Galactica? Now this is what I call important :)

Comment by ET-Chicago
2009-02-10 10:15:03

Yeah — another action-packed episode, huh?

The last two were frantically paced, in a good way.

Comment by bink
2009-02-10 11:23:51

Frak yes!

Comment by Olympiagal
2009-02-10 12:43:15

Yeah! And it was frakkin’ wonderful!

Comment by SanFranciscoBayAreaGal
2009-02-10 10:20:18


After UBS posting such a hugh loss and saying they are going to lay off people, do you think they are still going to hire the so called talented US brokers?

Comment by hoz
2009-02-10 21:53:24

Hiring talent is a win-win for UBS. Talent works on commission and generates income. Since UBS is not restricted to 500K salaries and bonus, talent should seek work at UBS.

A very brief primer on the street pay:
Bonuses are paid from your profit, not the companies profit. (There are exceptions.)

Comment by jeff saturday
2009-02-10 10:36:12

Obama just told the crowd in Ft. Meyers that he had spent a lot of time in Florida and he knew the good people of Florida work hard and help their neighbors. Here are the most popular stories in the Palm Beach Post today.

Mans calls 911 after Burger King runs out of lemonade
Slaying suspect told Jupiter police she was Jesus
Sheriff’s deputy smashes car into tree, then fails sobriety test, police say
Man sentenced to life in prison for Delray Beach road-rage killing of 19-year-old
Madoff client list

Comment by SFC
2009-02-10 15:41:27

Maybe he never made it out of the “it’s a small world after all” exhibit at Disney Orlando. The Robots there are VERY neighborly.

Comment by jeff saturday
2009-02-10 19:18:28

This evenings neighborly headlines from the Palm Beach Post.

Turnpike slaying suspects supplied drugs to strippers
NEW Witness saw yellow baggies being passed around, drugs and guns at suspect’s house.
Previously: Greenacres family of four slain

Woman robbed at gunpoint in Boca
NEW She was sitting in her car when a man knocked on the driver’s side window, pointed a handgun.

Comment by Hwy50ina49Dodge
2009-02-10 10:41:48

Now exactly, who benefits by a “Drill here!, Drill now! Policy? ;-)…oh yeah, the wee little ocean creatures and human engineers who come up with “better ideas” for 6 Billion people to get from… point A to point B while listening to their favorite rhythms and moving their lips with a cockroach attached to their ears. ;-)

All of Transocean’s most-sophisticated rigs are booked until at least mid 2010, with some committed through November 2016. The company had a $41.1 billion backlog of orders as of Sept. 30.

Chevron, BP Locked in $200 Million Wells Amid Slump:


Comment by whino
2009-02-10 10:42:27

Banks Rescue Will ‘Make Things Worse’: Rogers

The new financial rescue plan may not work and could even make things worse because it plunges the US further into debt and it is designed by the same people who failed to forecast the crisis and take measures, legendary investor Jim Rogers told CNBC Tuesday.

But Rogers said Geithner, who was president of the New York Federal Reserve Bank, “has been dead wrong about everything for 15 years in a row,” and so was President Barack Obama’s economic advisor Lawrence Summers, who acted as Treasury Secretary at the turn of the century.


Comment by mrktMaven
2009-02-10 11:20:14

“Everybody is frozen, trying to figure out ok, what are we worth, what do we do?” [The worst part about intervention is market paralysis]

In addition, the recent shifts towards protectionism are harmful, Rogers warned.

“This is very dangerous, that’s what caused the great depression in the 1930s. If it happens again, then you’d better sell all the stocks, you’d better sell a lot of everything and bunker down,” he said.

“We already have a lot of social unrest developing. If protectionism comes back, you’d better be really, really careful,” Rogers added.

Comment by Arizona Slim
2009-02-10 12:48:59

I lived in Pittsburgh during the 1980s, and I can tell you a thing or two about the unrest which goes with high unemployment.

Remember the fall of 1982? When President Reagan came to town? You may recall the TV footage of the unemployed guy in a retraining program. He walked up to Reagan and handed the President his resume.

What is less talked about was the fact that Pittsburgh almost had a riot that day. Happened in Downtown when Reagan passed through in his limo. A bunch of unemployed people started pelting the limo with tomatoes, and, boy, did the entourage pick up speed and get outta there.

President Reagan never came back to Pittsburgh again.

Comment by Observer
2009-02-10 13:05:48

And then two years later he had nearly the biggest landslide re-election in history.

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Comment by mrktMaven
2009-02-10 10:57:39

All banks that receive new capital assistance will be: Restricted from Paying Quarterly Common Dividend Payments in Excess Of $0.01 Until the Government Investment Is Repaid….

All banks that receive funding from the new Capital Assistance Program are restricted from repurchasing any privately-held shares….

All banks that receive capital assistance are restricted from pursuing cash acquisitions of healthy firms until the government investment is repaid. Exceptions will be made for explicit supervisor-approved restructuring plans.

FinancialStability gov: Financial Stability Plan Fact Sheet

Comment by mrktMaven
2009-02-10 10:59:41

In addition:

All recipients of capital investments under the new initiatives announced today will be required to commit to participate in mortgage foreclosure mitigation programs consistent with guidelines Treasury will release on industry standard best practices.

Comment by mrktMaven
2009-02-10 11:02:42

Executive Compensation:

Firms will be required to comply with the senior executive compensation restrictions announced February 4th, including those pertaining to a $500,000 in total annual compensation cap plus restricted stock payable when the government is getting paid back, “say on pay” shareholder votes, and new disclosure and accountability requirements applicable to luxury purchases.

[emphasis added]

Comment by mrktMaven
2009-02-10 11:08:26

Comprehensive Stress Test:

A key component of the Capital Assistance Program is a forward looking comprehensive “stress test” that requires an assessment of whether major financial institutions have the capital necessary to continue lending and to absorb the potential losses that could result from a more severe decline in the economy than projected.

All banking institutions with assets in excess of $100 billion will be required to participate in the coordinated supervisory review process and comprehensive stress test

Comment by joeyinCalif
2009-02-10 11:22:10

It’s all so very.. what’s the word.. stimulating? No. That’s not it.

Comment by Skip
2009-02-10 11:44:46

At least the dropped the provision to stop the banks from hiring H1-Bs.

Comment by reuven
2009-02-10 11:01:18

Video in the New Yorker that goes with their recent article


I already sent the author a letter telling him it was inaccurate to call the current situation a “housing crisis”. The crisis was 2 years ago when houses were selling at 10x - 15x median income.

Comment by hip in zilker
2009-02-10 11:52:11

good for you, avram

Comment by clue
2009-02-10 11:23:04

Collar Holler…

Support has left the building.

Comment by hoz
2009-02-10 23:01:00

“Just drive down that road, until you get blown up.”
Gen. George Patton Jr.

Comment by BanteringBear
2009-02-10 11:27:14

We’ve got a nice little rally going on in the DOW! At least what IIII call a rally…

Comment by Professor Bear
2009-02-10 11:30:14

MarketWatch dot com
Senate approves massive stimulus plan in 61-to-37 vote

Stocks react as expected

Equities react to the Obama administration’s latest attempt to stabilize economy largely as it did the last eight times the government unveiled steps to curb the crisis, beginning in October 2007.

Comment by Hwy50ina49Dodge
2009-02-10 12:04:32

Lots of fresh blood in the saltwater is a “leading indicator” for a predator that’s been around for what… 200 million years? Is Warren out of cash yet? :-)

Comment by Professor Bear
2009-02-10 12:09:20

Maybe the ninth economic rescue plan will work?

Comment by Faster Pussycat, Sell Sell
2009-02-10 12:38:22

Maybe the Candy-Crappin’ Unicorn™ needs to step up to the dinner plate? ;-)

Comment by Olympiagal
2009-02-10 12:53:49

I can’t wait! Will it produce brand products, or only generic loads, like in bulk bins?
Lessee…I’d like some black licorice Twizzlers, a bag of Tropical flavored Skittles, and also some watermelon gum, ’cause I see I’m all out.

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Comment by Faster Pussycat, Sell Sell
2009-02-10 13:17:06

Well, you could write to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., Washington DC to find out what the options are. ;-)

Comment by Olympiagal
2009-02-10 15:19:33

YOU’RE the one with the magic Candy Crappin’ Unicorn (TM)! So just go on up to it and squeeze it and see what comes out. It’s just sure to be good!

Hey, wait…is this one of them ‘metaphor’ thingies? You don’t really have a…
*starts crying loudly from disappointment and grief *

Comment by Hwy50ina49Dodge
2009-02-10 12:56:39

“…Consumers are cutting back on spending as jobs disappear and major investments, such as homes and retirement plans, decline in value. Consumer spending plunged more than 3 percent in the third and fourth quarters of last year, the steepest consecutive drops since records began in 1947″

Opie™ Obama has had exactly… 20 days… to repair the Cheney-Shrub “Conundrum™” & the “Leave-no-401K-behind™” ;-)

Aunt Bee has baked him a “new” pie: “Homebondage Gooseberry with burnt crust” ;-)

Comment by Suffolk_Them
2009-02-10 12:11:48

Smelling Blood
With most second-home and investment markets in collapse and prices around the country withered, the sharks are smelling blood in the water. Bargain hunters who still have liquid assets are on the prowl in the Hamptons.

“There’s a standoff right now between sellers who want to believe that their houses are worth what they were at the height of the market, and buyers who don’t want to pay those prices,” said Jay Flagg, vice president and managing broker of Prudential Douglas Elliman’s Southampton office. “The buyers right now are bottom fishers, vultures coming in with very lowball offers. They both have to come toward each other somewhat and when they do, we’ll see things start selling again.”


Comment by AZtoORtoCOtoOR
2009-02-10 13:52:55

My money is on the buyers.

Comment by Kim
2009-02-10 16:43:30

sharks smelling blood in the water
bargain hunters
bottom fishers
very lowball offers

When used house salesfolk talk about their paying customers using words like that, we are still in the denial stage.

Comment by WT Economist
2009-02-10 12:19:31

Buy now or be priced out of Brooklyn forever?


“Marcus & Millichap Real Estate Investment Services, with an office in Downtown Brooklyn, reports that rents have declined in Park Slope. The real estate investment services firm released the results of its most recent Park Slope Rent Survey this week, saying the decline was approximately 10 percent, according to J.D Parker, regional manager of the firm’s Brooklyn office.”

For those from elsewhere, Park Slope is a fairly afffluent neighborhood near Manhattan, famous as a draw for yuppie families.

Comment by whino
2009-02-10 12:26:03

Wal-Mart cutting 700-800 jobs at headquarters

“New York City is the fashion hub and we needed to have more people located there,” Tovar said.


Is Wal-Mart the new Saks Fifth Avenue in New York city?

Comment by Faster Pussycat, Sell Sell
2009-02-10 13:26:35

They are trying to take out Target.

Comment by Olympiagal
2009-02-10 13:22:54

It’s snowing here! Snow is rather rare for us in Olympia. How pretty it is. I went to lunch and watched it falling over Budd Inlet, on the gray waves, with the port crane looming through the snow in the distance. Off topic but I don’t care.
Primey, bear, sleepless-near-seattle, is it snowing where you are? I assume so, this looks like committed, thorough snow. I can’t wait to have a fire and a hot toddy tonight. Maybe I’ll get snowed in and have to resort to cannibalizing the neighbors!

Comment by Prime_Is_Contained
2009-02-10 14:33:46

Yes, Olygal! It is snowing right now outside my window. Pretty…

Yesterday morning I woke to surprise snow as well, and saw some on the commute home.

A fire and hot toddy sound perfect–wish I could take part! Fire in the fireplace or (better yet) wood-stove (w/glass doors) is one of my favorite things. It’s one of the things I am least happy about with my current rental, which has no FP. :-(

Comment by SanFranciscoBayAreaGal
2009-02-10 22:02:35

I remember it snowing in Bremerton in 1978. Just beautiful.

Comment by hoz
2009-02-10 22:24:39

I wish we had more snow! This friggin warm spell is turning the trails to slush………yech.

Give me 0 and 27″ of snow.

Comment by cobaltblue
2009-02-10 13:27:40

Tim Geithner = Eddie Haskell of High Finance:

“Gee whiz, Mrs. Cleaver, I just can’t believe your good son Wallace could be involved in a plate of missing cookies, -hee hee- I’ll do my very best to find them for you! Oh, and -hee hee -sorry about that 400 point drop in the market, I just can’t believe the Beaver would have anything to do with that -hee hee”

Comment by Bill in Los Angeles
2009-02-10 13:53:12

Go easy on the beaver.

Comment by Stan UpHigh
2009-02-10 14:51:46

Words to live by.

Comment by cobaltblue
2009-02-10 17:37:05

Well remember, if you want to BEE healthy, you should eat your HONEY every day.

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Comment by Olympiagal
2009-02-10 17:51:41

And just when every time I think I hate you, I have to change my mind. :)

Comment by Hwy50ina49Dodge
2009-02-10 13:55:51

“I just can’t believe your good son Wallace could be involved in a plate of missing cookies…” ;-)

Poor Timmy, the “apprentice”, had a “Master”…. “make-the-cookies-disappear” educator… Mr. Spank Paulson.

Comment by jeff saturday
2009-02-10 14:51:27

I saw a show on body language that said when someone lies their eyebrows tend to raise. Geithner`s eyebrows go up every time he opens his mouth.

Comment by palmetto
2009-02-10 15:43:24

Paulson’s were to the middle of his scalp

Comment by jeff saturday
2009-02-10 16:19:40

Did Paulson have eyebrows?

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Comment by cobaltblue
2009-02-10 13:39:30

Use the methodology of 1980 to calculate U.S. unemployment, and it now stands at 18%:

Ship Of Fools
By Paul Craig Roberts

Is there intelligent life in Washington, DC? Not a speck of it.

The US economy is imploding, and Obama is being led by his government… into a quagmire in Afghanistan that will bring the US into confrontation with Russia, and possibly China, American’s largest creditor.

The January payroll job figures reveal that last month 20,000 Americans lost their jobs every day.

In addition, December’s job losses were revised up by 53,000 jobs from 524,000 to 577,000. The revision brings the two-month job loss to 1,175,000. If this keeps up, Obama’s promised three million new jobs will be wiped out by job losses.

Statistician John Williams (shadowstats.com) reports that this huge number is an understatement. Williams notes that built-in biases in seasonal adjustment factors caused a 118,000 understatement of January job losses, bringing the actual January job loss to 716,000 jobs.

The payroll survey counts the number of jobs, not the number of employed as some people have more than one job. The Household Survey counts the number of people who have jobs. The Household Survey shows that 832,000 people lost their jobs in January and 806,000 in December, for a two month reduction of Americans with jobs of 1,638,000.

The unemployment rate reported in the US media is a fabrication. Williams reports that “during the Clinton Administration, ‘discouraged workers’ those who had given up looking for a job because there were no jobs to be had–were redefined so as to be counted only if they had been ‘discouraged’ for less than a year. This time qualification defined away the bulk of the discouraged workers. Adding them back into the total unemployed, actual unemployment, [according to the unemployment rate methodology used in 1980] rose to 18% in January, from 17.5% in December.”

In other words, without all the manipulations of the data from a government that lies to us every time it opens its mouth, the US unemployment rate is already at depression levels.

Comment by Hwy50ina49Dodge
2009-02-10 13:48:03

“December’s job losses were revised up by 53,000 jobs from 524,000 to 577,000.” …Cheney-Shrub “Shadow” Legacy effect

“…caused a 118,000 understatement of January job losses, bringing the actual January job loss to 716,000 jobs.” …Cheney-Shrub “Shadow” Legacy effect cont.

“…shows that 832,000 people lost their jobs in January and 806,000 in December, for a two month reduction of Americans with jobs of 1,638,000″ …Cheney-Shrub “Shadow” Legacy effect …x2 month aggregate


Comment by cobaltblue
2009-02-10 14:47:33

Me….da da da da da…and…my… da da da Sha- -dow!

Or, “How to Tap Dance Around the Numbers”, by the DC Boyz

Comment by Hwy50ina49Dodge
2009-02-10 16:23:24

I can almost picture Karl Rove trying to find rhythm to that beat! ;-)

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Comment by Darrell in PHX
2009-02-10 19:04:58

Well, that would do a MUCH better job of explaining why income tax collections and sales tax collections for AZ are 20% YoY.

Comment by reuven
2009-02-10 16:56:24

we’re doomed because the majority of voters have a handout mentality.

For example, VOA News on Obama’s speech:

For Lehigh Acres residents, one key part of the economic stimulus bill being debated in Washington is what will be done for homeowners with costly mortgages. Wilma Mauren and her husband run the Chuck Wagon greeting service, which welcomes new families when they move into town. She says they know many of the families in Lehigh Acres and that some homeowners are forced to keep paying on mortgages that are worth more than the value of their houses.

I suppose someone put a gun to their head and made them buy this house, and someone takes a similar tactic to force them to pay their mortgage.

There were also several stories about “successful businessmen” in Ft. Myers who are now broke. You would think they would have saved enough money during the boom years to carry them through a couple of years of “bust”. Either they were never “successful” in the first place, or spent every penny they earned at that time. Again, we’re not even two years into the bust and folks who claimed to have successful businesses are completely broke?!

Comment by Observer
2009-02-10 18:39:04

The “handout mentality” is what 60 years of liberal conditioning has wrought. Why be responsible for anything when we’ve been conditioned in the media, education, culture, and the gov’t itself to believe that the solutions to our problems are just a new gov’t program away (and to believe that for the most part it’s costless to the average person).

This country lives in such a fantasy world anymore that we’ve invented a language called “political correctness” because we are not willing to face the real facts so we just change the names of things to make us “feel” better. It is only going to get worse until this country no longer has the choice but to have to face reality. What a shock that is going to be to people.

Comment by not a gator
2009-02-10 19:19:15

hmm, two paragraphs of ideology and absolutely nothing interesting, new, or useful to say.


Comment by CrackerJim
2009-02-10 19:39:44

Two paragraphs that are dead on target however IMO. Your opinion is just that; YOUR opinion.

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Comment by SanFranciscoBayAreaGal
2009-02-10 22:01:11

Don’t forget that is Observer’s opinion also. Just an opinion.

Comment by ouro verde
2009-02-10 19:44:28

I’ll take mine with a twist of stucco and a drop of copper.
I hate renting as much as I did in the 90’s and don’t expect to ever buy a house of my own.
I hate this new reality.

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Comment by measton
2009-02-10 20:27:59

we’re doomed because the majority of voters have a handout mentality

No we are doomed because those with all the cash, that control the press and the gov have a handout mentality

Comment by hoz
2009-02-10 22:34:00

“Don’t tell people how to do things, tell them what to do and let them surprise you with their results.”
Gen. George S. Patton

Comment by hoz
2009-02-10 23:14:33

A few random thoughts:

Countries that do not allow CNBC, stock markets are up
^SSEC Shanghai Composite 2,282.86 12:18AM ET Up 17.70 (0.78%)
Countries that allow CNBC
^HSI Hang Seng 13,437.75 12:56AM ET Down 442.89 (3.19%)
Countries that regard CNBC as entertainment are unchanged
^STI Straits Times 1,698.09 12:58AM ET Down 5.20 (0.31%)

God people are stupid to listen to that garbage, the 2nd greatest fade.

Comment by hoz
2009-02-10 23:55:47

A friend has a post up and to simplify:

The MBS/CDO market is underpriced, but there is little reason to buy because of lack of liquidity. You cannot borrow agin these assets at the current time.

“…So if the Geithner plan is to attract say one hundred and fifty billion of private risk capital and allow it permanent and secure access to say a trillion dollars of government money at a government rates then hey – I am in. (I would require the interest rate risk be matched too.)

It would be a pretty big gift from the government – as nobody – a good bank or a bad bank – can borrow at the same (extraordinarily low) rate as the US Treasury. But as a plan it might just work. And because 150 billion of real private spondulicks is at risk there are some pretty strong incentives for the private sector manager to get it right…

Indeed as the underpriced assets are common and the only problem is the inability to lever them – I should make an absolute killing if Mr Geithner will give me enough cheap, matched and permanent funding.”
Mr. John Hempton

Mr. Hempton has bigger cajones than me. (As should be obvious, it is free money with an infinite return. I remember when I was once almost that smart.)

“…Banks lie about the quality of the assets on their book. They do it all the time because if their capital appears adequate their cost of funds will be lower and the availability of funds will be higher. Having funds available at low cost is central to bank profitability….

General rule: believe nothing bankers say when their incentive is to lie. Verify everything you can. If you can’t verify then discount veracity appropriately. If they are investment bankers they lie more convincingly than regional bankers – though both are pretty convincing.”

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