Doomed Las Vegas speculator quote of the month

"I have several homes I am trying to rent at the moment, if this one doesn't fit your needs, please don't hesitate to call and I will do all I can to find your perfect home."
- Realtor Suzanne, in a craigslist ad for a Sky Las Vegas 2-bedroom apartment she is offering for $2095 per month.

Incidentally, Suzanne's $2,095 seems pretty realistic compared to Realtor Donna Marie Gold, who is still trying to rent a 2-bedroom in the same building for $5,100. Donna has music on her web site, though. Maybe that's the $3,000 difference.

Sorry, I'm still not voting for him

Susan Sarandon vows to emigrate if John McCain wins election


The strange case of the Ucar family

Earlier this week, we mentioned that we'd be following the apparent mass suicide, or murder-suicide, of the Ucar family in San Clemente, for possible inclusion in Greenspan's Body Count.

Why did we suspect Greenspan in the killings? There simply aren't that many things that are likely to cause a nice, upper-middle class family to do something like this. At the top of the short list: irreparable financial devastation from the bursting of Greenspan's bubble.

Lo and behold, today's news brings evidence that tends to confirm our suspicions. Margrit Ucar was a real estate speculator:
Steve Jackson, who worked with the family on two business transactions involving land in the Sea Pointe Estates, said both Manas and his wife were always hospitable and welcoming. "I recall that Margrit was my contact point for the real estate transactions," said Jackson, who noted that the family had planned well for the future, especially when it came to planning for the girls’ education. "Manas would kindly invite me into the home, ask if I needed anything like water and offer me a seat at the dining room table where I would wait for Margrit. [He] would then excuse himself and go back to his office while I completed any paperwork, or real estate discussions with Margrit."
I'm beginning to get the picture: a tight-knit, insular familar. Dad had part-time gigs as an expert witness, but the family's real money was in extracting equity from the $1.7 million home, and Mom's occasional flipping of houses and land. It paid for the twins' college education. It all worked so well, as long as Greenspan's bubble kept inflating and Margrit could keep extracting more free money from real estate. But then things changed. With the real estate market in shambles, the Ucars debts far exceeded the value of their properties. The introverted family couldn't deal with the shame of eviction and sending Grannie off to a state home. Suicide seemed the most honorable way out. The twins probably went willingly, being shy girls with far closer ties to their parents than to any peers.

This is still all speculation at this point. We're not crediting Alan Greenspan with these kills yet. But stay tuned. The evidence is mounting, and it's beginning to smell like Greenspan's Body Count.


I'll take the high road

From the Los Angeles Times article about Scott McClellan's book:
"It's really disgusting," said one Texas Republican who has known McClellan for a decade -- and who spoke on the condition of anonymity because "I don't want to get down in the gutter with the guy."
Nothing like an anonymous coward throwing bombs to exemplify gutter politics.


Today Spam, tomorrow Alpo

Sales of Spam — that much maligned meat — are rising as consumers are turning more to lunch meats and other lower-cost foods to extend their already stretched food budgets.

What was once cheeky, silly and the subject of a musical (as Monty Python mocked the meat in a can), is now back on the table as people turn to the once-snubbed meat as costs rise, analysts say.

American Idiot

Professional quality photo courtesy of Charlie McDanger

This store in Oakhurst, California sold gifts and home decorations. I don't know why they named it something that means "businesses (or military units consisting of a few platoons) arriving."

Holy crap. It's one thing to make a typo in an e-mail. But to start a business and order signs that scream, "I'm a retard!" I can't believe that no one along the way: friends, partners, bank loan officers, landlords, sign makers, etc., told them.

It says something about the grievous state of education in California, I suppose. Teachers are like Congressmen: cut their pay and send them home.

Greenspan's Body Count

Today's victim is Donald "Keith" West, allegedly murdered by his girlfriend, Tiffany Ann Bassett:
West, a former Smithfield police officer and owner of a private police security operation, was found dead in his bedroom July 18, 2006.

Bassett and West's home was under foreclosure and was scheduled to be sold on the day West's body was found inside it.

According to psychologists, foreclosure is 30 points on the acute life stress score. Tiffany apparently doesn't handle stress well. Unfortunately for her, she didn't help the situation. Death of a close friend is 37 points, and a jail term is 63 points.

Alan Greenspan, that's another kill to your credit.

Greenspan's Body Count now stands at thirty-two:

Donald "Keith" West
Jonathon Calvin "40-Cal" Jacques
Salvador X
Lupe X
Jade X
Little Boy X
Little Girl X
Kashmir Billon
Bill McMurtry

Lisa McMurtry
James Hahn
Raymond Donaca
Deanna Donaca
Michel Veillette
Nadya Ferrari-Veillette
Marguerite Veillette
Vincent Veillette
Mia Veillette
Jacob Veillette
Maurice Pereira
Natasha Pereira
Mark Achilli
Raed Al-Farah
Andrew Kissel
Rufus Shaw Jr.
Lynn Flint Shaw
Mr. Pierce
Walter Buczynksi
Marci Buczynski
Jason Washington

Stay tuned, true believers! We'll be investigating the suspicious deaths of the Ucar family in their $1.7 million San Clemente home to find out if mortgage troubles from Greenspan's bubble were at the root of the problem.

manas ucar margrit ucar margo ucar margeaux ucar grace ucar Fransuhi Kesisoglu


What were we thinking?

Why the hell did we believe cheesy actor Arnold Schwarzenegger when he promised to "cut up the credit cards" and impose fiscal discipline as California governor? He's done the exact opposite, becoming the biggest-spending governor in state history and selling California into debt in order to maintain his short-term popularity with Sacramento politicians.

arnold schwarzenegger sucks


Does Not Compute

California median home price: $403,870

California median household income: $55,000

Mr. Median is a true legend of personal finance if he can carry a $400,000 house with taxes, insurance, and maintenance, on $55,000 of income. I hope he doesn't have children, drive a car, or eat much.

Duct tape, ZIP codes, the Golden Gate Bridge, The Grapes of Wrath...

Things that are younger than John McCain

And those things don't protect incumbent politicians by restricting freedom of speech!


Now that's HOT!

Roman Abramovich, Russian oil oligarch and owner of Champions League finals losing side Chelsea Football Club has just purchased this hotty for a cool $34,641,000.

Can you imagine what the same painting using Gisele Bundchen as the model instead would have cost?!?

Greenspan's Body Count: Boyz N the Hood

Today's episode of Greenspan's Body Count begins with a mortgage fraud ring:
An 11-member ring of Boston lawyers, mortgage brokers and others stole identities, inflated home prices and more to swindle lenders out of nearly $2 million, prosecutors say.

[...] Prosecutors allege that between May 2005 and June 2006, the ring bought 21 houses in Boston, Cohasset, Quincy and elsewhere with no money down. All of the homes have since fallen into mortgage default or foreclosure.

The properties include 67 Milton Ave., a Dorchester home that came to authorities’ attention in 2006 after a three-day house party there ended with one teen shot dead. That murder and the home’s questionable ownership led Boston Police to launch “Operation Straw,” a multistate mortgage-fraud probe.

The murder that initiated the mortgage fraud investigation was that of Jonathon Calvin "40-Cal" Jacques, who was shot after a four-day party at one of the fraud houses:
“From Wednesday through Saturday nights, they were partying with lots of loud music and drinking,” said [neighbor] Jerome.

Both Jerome and the direct abutter said that partying had been a problem at the house for several weeks, since a group of three to four unfamiliar teenage males began regularly dropping by the home, which has a cloudy ownership and resident history. But Wednesday’s gathering, which was promoted on the Internet, marked a new level of intensity at the house.

It's not clear whether the the fraudsters or straw buyers themselves threw the party, or whether they just left the house obviously vacant so that the neighborhood guys took advantage of it. Either way, Alan Greenspan, this kill's for you.

Greenspan's Body Count now stands at thirty-one:

Jonathon Calvin "40-Cal" Jacques
Salvador X
Lupe X
Jade X
Little Boy X
Little Girl X
Kashmir Billon
Bill McMurtry

Lisa McMurtry
James Hahn
Raymond Donaca
Deanna Donaca
Michel Veillette
Nadya Ferrari-Veillette
Marguerite Veillette
Vincent Veillette
Mia Veillette
Jacob Veillette
Maurice Pereira
Natasha Pereira
Mark Achilli
Raed Al-Farah
Andrew Kissel
Rufus Shaw Jr.
Lynn Flint Shaw
Mr. Pierce
Walter Buczynksi
Marci Buczynski
Jason Washington


At least he's a sensitive orange midget

Angelo Mozilo, in response to a borrower pleading hardship and asking for a loan modification:
"This is unbelievable. Most of these letters now have the same wording. Obviously they are being counseled by some other person or by the Internet. Disgusting."

Love that Reply All button.


New math

DataQuick: the median Bay Area price is $518,000, and:
The typical monthly mortgage payment that Bay Area buyers committed themselves to paying was $2,309 last month, down from $2,405 the previous month, and down from $3,074 a year ago.

How does that work? Nobody's putting 20% down any more. A 30-year conforming loan is around 5.8%, and people are buying $518,000 houses on $2,309 a month? Assuming 10% down (to be generous), a $518,000 house would be a $466,000 loan costing $2,735 a month. A 5/1 ARM at 5.2% would be $2,560 a month.

What gives? Are we still dealing in negative-amortization option ARMs?

Homeownership: the gift that keeps on giving

What could follow the news for Oakland homeowners of 19% declines in their property values in one year?

How about a nice little property tax increase?

Greenspan's Body Count

We have a new logo for Greenspan's Body Count:

And a new theme song:


Legislative analyst agrees: Schwarzenegger sucks!

The state's legislative analyst said Monday that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's revised budget relies on unrealistic revenue assumptions that could wind up shortchanging schools.
"Shortchanging schools" trivializes the depth of Schwarzenegger's depravity. Schwarzenegger's fantasy budget keeps spending as if the housing bubble is still going to the sky, and steals from future generations to pay for it. arnold schwarzenegger sucks

Make someone's day

Next time you see a sports car or Hummer in this color...

... wave your arm to get the driver's attention and yell, "Taxi!"

Trust me. They love it.


So CNN is reporting a compromise on the housing bailout. The comments by the crooks in charge of this theft are sickening and indicate that we the people have lost complete control.

Stupidity 1:
"A major part of the legislation would allow the Federal Housing Administration to insure $300 billion in new loans for at-risk borrowers if lenders agree to write down loan balances below the appraised value of their homes."

And why exactly does a borrower at risk deserve help? That makes no sense. All I can say to any current mortgage owner is you have to be stupid to keep paying your loan. The government, I, am here to help you in homeownership. I'll keep renting because I want you, the irresponsible, fraudulent person to "own" a home.

Stupidity 2:
"This legislation is good news for both the markets and homeowners," Dodd said in a statement. "The bill addresses the root of our current economic problems - the foreclosure crisis - by creating a voluntary initiative at no estimated cost to taxpayers which will help Americans keep their homes."

2 things really:
1. The problem is not a foreclosure crisis. I could write thousands of words but won't. The problem is fraud and the only thing they are doing about that is rewarding those that committed the fraud.
2. If the US backs loans, and the loans go bad, where does the money come from to cover the cost of those loans? Does the US government have income outside of the taxpayer? How is it possible that the government can back anything without it impacting the taxpayer?

Congratulations Dodd, your brothers from the former USSR would be proud of you. Is this part of the current 5 Year Plan?

You are a glowing example of socializing loss while privatizing profit. You will go down in history as an enemy of the people; you just don't realize it yet.


Recession TO END Q3

IF the definition of a recession is 2 consecutive quarter's of contraction AND in Q1 we did not contract, then how can we come out of a recession by the end of Q3? How's that work?

Bloomberg Article


Schwarzenegger's prescription for GOP: "Democrat II"

Schwarzenegger calls for 'rebranding' GOP:
"Let's invade and let's cross over that (political) center," he said. "The issues that they're talking about? Let them be our issues, and let the party be known for that."

Massive fiscal irresponsibility that sells our children into debt, gay marriage, socialist health care, illegal aliens, undermining term limits...

Schwarzenegger has "crossed over" the center, all right. But what's the point of a two-party system if the GOP is merely going to take every Democrat position and claim it as its own?
arnold schwarzenegger sucks worst governor ever

Name that smile

See if you can spot the shit-eating grin that says, "Holy shit! After almost thirty years, somebody actually wants me to be in a movie again!"

Publicity photo for the new Indiana Jones movie. Karen Allen

I'm not that easy to reform

'Governator' propels WC reform in California

The long arm of the law

This story made news last Fall. A St. Louis woman allegedly created a fake MySpace account and used it to bully a 13-year-old neighbor until the girl committed suicide. Last Fall, local prosecutors couldn't find anything to charge the woman with. Wednesday, a Los Angeles federal grand jury found something:
Lori Drew, 49, of suburban St. Louis, who allegedly helped create a MySpace account in the name of someone who didn't exist to convince Megan Meier she was chatting with a 16-year-old boy named Josh Evans, was charged with conspiracy and fraudulently gaining access to someone else's computer.

Megan hanged herself at home in October 2006, allegedly after receiving a dozen or more cruel messages, including one stating the world would be better off without her.

She faces 20 years.


A Fed chairman who gets it

Too bad he's retired.

Paul Volcker:

Gasoline to put out the fires

Fannie Mae, the largest U.S. mortgage- finance provider, will stop requiring bigger down payments in regions where home prices are dropping, responding to criticism from consumer and industry groups who said the company is exacerbating the housing slump.

The policy, adopted in December, will end June 1, Washington-based Fannie Mae said today in a statement. Potential homeowners approved by the company's automated computer program will be able to borrow up to 97 percent of the value of the property, the company said. Other loans will be accepted with loan-to-value ratios of up to 95 percent.

The return of Jimmy Carter

US early May Reuters/Michigan consumer sentiment falls to 59.5 vs 62.5 expected

That's the worst since the tail end of the Carter era. Now all we need are Reagan and Volcker to get us out of it.

McDanger's Inflation-Fighting Tips, #38

While cruising for babes in Walmart recently, I happened upon a most delightful bargain. On the DVD carousel, they have a number of actor-themed 3-packs for $9 each. For example, if you pick the "Kevin Costner Triple Feature," you get Bull Durham, Dances with Wolves, and No Way Out (?) for a total of $9.

Eat that, Bernanke.

Oh, and did I have any luck with the chicks? Well it so happens that the cash-register girl was also a huge Leo DiCaprio fan, and we ended up having a really amazing mutual masturbation session to The Beach.

And you, Paulson, eat that.


We get traffic

A couple of recurring searches that bring us traffic pretty often: carlos mencia fraud and jim cramer sucks

California Supreme Court allows gay marriage

I'm not going to try to argue the constitutionality, but this is a good political outcome.

California Court Affirms Right to Gay Marriage:
The California Supreme Court, striking down two state laws that had limited marriages to unions between a man and a woman, ruled on Thursday that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry.

I've ranted about this before. Please allow myself to quote myself:
...the answer is to separate the religious institution of marriage from the state-sanctioned secular arrangement. Gays deserve equal rights under law, and churches should be free to maintain their own definitions of marriage according to their traditions and beliefs. Call it a civil union, or call it a marriage. The only difference is that the latter will agitate middle America a lot more.

That's still the answer. Equal rights under the law, and if churches don't agree with it, they don't have to sanction it. So it's not holy matrimony. It's unholy buggery. Give them equal rights under the law.

Greenspan's Body Count

The mainstream media is catching on, if not catching up.

Weeks ago, we told you about the tragic tale of Raymond and Deanna Donaca, victims of Alan Greenspan. Today, the very attractively colored USA Today reports the story:

"It is believed that the Donacas committed suicide after attempts to save their home following a foreclosure notice left them believing they had few options," the Crook County Sheriff's Office said in a report.

The point of the story is what we've known for years: that financial trouble caused by the mortgage mess can be devastating to people, and drive them to despair and even suicide:

Their suicides were a tragic extreme, but the Donacas' case symbolizes how the housing crisis is wrenching the emotional lives of legions of homeowners. The escalating pace of foreclosures and rising fears among some homeowners about keeping up with their mortgages are creating a range of emotional problems, mental-health specialists say. Those include anxiety disorders, depression and addictive behaviors such as alcoholism and gambling. And, in a few cases, suicide.

Crisis hotlines are reporting a surge in calls from frantic homeowners. The American Psychological Association (APA) and other mental-health groups are publishing tips on how to handle the emotional stress triggered by the real estate meltdown. Psychologists say they're seeing more drinking, domestic violence and marital problems linked to mortgage concerns — as well as children trying to cope with extreme anxiety when their families are forced to move.

"They're depressed, anxious. It's affected marriages, relationships," says Richard Chaifetz, CEO of ComPsych, a Chicago-based employee-assistance firm that is counseling homeowners over mortgage fears. "People tend to catastrophize, and that leads to depression. Suicide rates go up. We see an increase in drinking, outbursts at work, violence toward kids. Before, their houses were like ATMs," as they rose in value. "Now, they feel trapped like a rat in a corner."

Welcome to Greenspan's Body Count, USA Today. It took you long enough.

Greenspan's Body Count remains at thirty.


Very pretty, and pretty spineless

John Edwards announced his endorsement for Obama today, just in time for it to not matter at all. In related news, Edwards says that while he "respects" John Kerry, he likes the chances of the Bush/Cheney ticket in '04.

Schwarzenegger terminates fiscal responsibility

Schwarzenegger: I'm going to keep on spending like a maniac, and I'm going to put the state deeper in debt to do it. And if the voters reject my plan, I'm going to raise their taxes.

A Great Man Passes

In 1986 I was kicked out of Loyola Academy in suburban Chicago. I didn't quite fit in with the Jesuits and pretty much spent every afternoon in JUG (Judgment Under God) which was an hour of not speaking and sitting in a classroom doing nothing. You know, god's way.

So while my siblings all attended public school after that, I was sent to a school that at the time I didn't appreciate but realized later every school should emulate. I am a very lucky individual to have been able to attend the Kiski School.

Yesterday the long time headmaster passed away. He influenced so many and taught not only academics but pride, honor and self reliance. His obituary tells a small part of his story. Jack Pidgeon was a great man. OBIT: POST-GAZETTE

~Negocios Loucos

Kool aid anyone?

The National Bloomberg, inquiring minds want to know, today stated that prices rose less then forecast. To which some bobble head stated:

"``It does look like you're starting to get some real improvement here,'' said Michael Feroli, an economist at JPMorgan Chase & Co. in New York. ``It's good news for the Fed.''"

First off apparently other parts of the country must be experiencing spiraling price deflation because here in CA, my corner gas station just hit 4 dol..sorry $3.99 9/10ths.

Secondly, lets put this in terms of a professional football analogy - say The University of Florida football team is winning 58-0 starting the fourth quarter against lowly Central Southwest Florida State Everglades campus. If CSFSE scores a field goal in the dying seconds of the 4th, does that mean 'you're starting to get some real improvement here?'



Down under:
A Northern Territory driver has been fined by police after he strapped a seatbelt around a carton of beer but left a five-year-old child to sit on the floor of his car.


A California man who has defaulted on nine homes and expects banks to foreclose on all of them, forcing him into bankruptcy, says he now considers it a mistake to have invested in the real estate market.

Visitor of the Day: The Tell-Tale Heart

Among the Google searches that brought visitors to W.C. Varones today:

lying about owner occupied on loan application

Someone getting a little nervous about the consequences?

Bad boys, bad boys, whatcha gonna do? Whatcha gonna do when they come for you?


Greenspan's Body Count

Today's episode of Greenspan's Body Count is a truly tragic story sent to us by Independent Accountant, the story of a hard-working immigrant who killed his whole family:
An immigrant in dire financial straits apparently killed his wife and three young children before turning a rifle on himself at the family's run-down house in northeast Houston, authorities and neighbors said Saturday.

[...] Foreclosure notices were seen posted on some parcels of land in the neighborhood Saturday, but it wasn't clear whether the family's property was among those auctioned last week.

Alan Greenspan, are those $100,000 speaking fees you get from the bankers you enriched worth it?

Greenspan's Body Count now stands at thirty:

Salvador X
Lupe X
Jade X
Little Boy X
Little Girl X
Kashmir Billon
Bill McMurtry

Lisa McMurtry
James Hahn
Raymond Donaca
Deanna Donaca
Michel Veillette
Nadya Ferrari-Veillette
Marguerite Veillette
Vincent Veillette
Mia Veillette
Jacob Veillette
Maurice Pereira
Natasha Pereira
Mark Achilli
Raed Al-Farah
Andrew Kissel
Rufus Shaw Jr.
Lynn Flint Shaw
Mr. Pierce
Walter Buczynksi
Marci Buczynski
Jason Washington



For those of you who haven't seen the original Downfall, put it on your Netflix.

HT: Ang.

English chicks are better...for now

According to the Los Angeles Times:
In the Netherlands, great tits are on the decline because...winters in the Netherlands remain cold longer....

Walter Jetz, a UC San Diego ecologist who was not involved in the research, cautioned that the new analysis offers little assurance that the great tits of England will endure the accelerating temperature rise predicted over the next 50 years.

What were you thinking about?

What would you do for several million dollars?

Would you create the biggest financial bubble in the history of the world to enrich bankers who would then pay you $100,000 speaking fees as the bubble crashed down wreaking havoc on the lives of millions of ordinary citizens?

Greenspan would.

What would you do for a million dollars?

I've been tagged by Lee Distad in a game of blog tag. The rules are:
1. When you're tagged, answer the question on your blog, with a trackback to the original post.

2. Ask an additional million dollar question — and tag 3 bloggers with answering.

The question Lee poses to me is:
Would you promote a product or service that you didn't believe in for $1 million?

With a hypothetical like this, the devil is in the details. Would I spend a few months selling NutriSystem door-to-door if some benefactor would give me a million dollars even if I sold far less than than that? Sure. I could use the fresh air. But that kind of fantasy scenario trivializes the question.

Would I build a career selling variable annuities or high-fee, high-expense mutual funds as a stockbroker? Nope. I had that chance. First, I'm not a salesman by nature. But more importantly, I really can't sell something I don't believe in. Devoting my life to doing something I believe is unethical is just a non-starter.

And now to the question I'll pose:

Would you accept $1 million if it meant the election of your least favorite Presidential candidate? To make it interesting, let's including the already departed like Huckleberry and the Breck Girl.

I'm going to tag Alarming News, Pillage Idiot, and Ang. If you have any thoughts, throw 'em in the comments.


Great moments in children's literature

Why are these dogs gazing so longingly at the leaves on that tree?

Wait a minute -- I recognize those leaves!

Congratulations to subversive photographer Brian Stanton who slipped this past publisher Simon & Schuster in the children's book Dog. Get it on Amazon for that little stoner in your life.


Greenspan's Body Count update

In the last episode of Greenspan's Body Count, we speculated that realtor Kashmir Billon might be alive today if his partner Raymond James Robinson had sought an honest career instead of trying to get rich quickly in real estate.

New details have emerged that confirm our suspicion:
Earlier Thursday, Supervising Deputy District Attorney Harold Jewett said that the murder appeared to stem from fraud involving a residential real estate development on Seventh Street in North Richmond.

Billon reportedly financed the purchase and construction of homes on property that Robinson owned. Although details of how the fraudulent transaction was supposed to work were not released by authorities, it appeared Robinson allegedly planned to sell those homes to a fictitious person through a bank.

The fraudulent purchase was reportedly scheduled to close escrow Monday, "leaving the bank holding the bag," Jewett said.

Investigators were still working to determine how much Billon knew about the alleged scheme.

"It's possible he was killed because he found out about the fraud," Jewett said.

Greenspan's Body Count remains at twenty-five:

Kashmir Billon
Bill McMurtry

Lisa McMurtry
James Hahn
Raymond Donaca
Deanna Donaca
Michel Veillette
Nadya Ferrari-Veillette
Marguerite Veillette
Vincent Veillette
Mia Veillette
Jacob Veillette
Maurice Pereira
Natasha Pereira
Mark Achilli
Raed Al-Farah
Andrew Kissel
Rufus Shaw Jr.
Lynn Flint Shaw
Mr. Pierce
Walter Buczynksi
Marci Buczynski
Jason Washington

And the winner is...

Looks like it will be Hope and Change vs. Less Jobs, More Wars.

May the least horrible man win.


In a New York minute

"If you had anything on the ball, you could make it happen in Vegas," said real estate agent Donna Marie Gold, 62, who built a $4.5 million fortune buying and selling properties over six years.

After failing to complete a single sale last year, Gold said she fell $22,000 short each month on payments needed to maintain 14 properties. Now two to four months behind on some mortgage payments, she's lost access to a $250,000 Wells Fargo & Co. equity credit line.

"The whole thing was upside down in a New York minute," Gold said. "There needs to be some forgiveness in this climate with regards to credit and rebuilding one's credit."

Gee, I can't imagine why nobody will extend her a quarter-million dollar loan.

UPDATE: I think I've found the problem. Donna is trying to rent a 2-bedroom condo for $5100 when there are 2-bedroom condos in the same building for $1200 and $1950 on craigslist. And look at the eloquent prose with which she describes her Palmilla rental:
What's the theme of this page? Do you have a list of customer testimonials or reference information that you'd like to share with your visitors? News or unique details about your business that don't seem quite right for your other pages? Click to add your page's main content here.

Fannie Mae

Today Fannie-tastic reported that they lost $2.19 billion dollars because they bought the fraudulent loans that folks at Countrywide created which are worth very little. They also stated that 2009 is going to be worse. So what does the government do?

“…the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight said it will lower requirements for surplus capital to 15 percent from 20 percent.”

And the experts chime in - ''With a weak housing market, for God's sake, we need Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to work,'' said Andrew Parmentier, a managing director at Friedman Billings Ramsey & Co. in Arlington, Virginia.

What our socialist friend seems to be implying is that we created a situation that has caused our economy to be at risk of something bad and the only way to prevent it from really becoming badder is…. to do the same thing that got us to where we are today. The cliché of giving an alcoholic more alcohol to cure his alcoholism certainly applies.

An Open Letter to Barney Frank

Dear Mr. Frank:

I read recently about your proposed housing bailout bill.

Before the final bill is passed by both houses, there are a few things I'd like you to consider:

1) This is supposed to apply to "owner-occupied principal residences only." How do you plan to verify this? The bill summary refers only to the borrower "certifying" this. These are the same borrowers that "certified" lots of things that weren't true in the original loan application. If you are putting $300 million of taxpayer money at risk, enough to refinance more than a million homes, where do you expect the government to find hundreds of thousands of honest, competent loan officers to verify the facts? The loan industry doesn't have many honest, competent loan officers left.

2) The borrow must "certify" (again) that his debt-to-income ratio is at least 35%, and that he did not commit fraud on the original loan. Oh, what a tangled web we weave! "I certify that I wasn't lying when I said I made $100,000 a year, but now I make just $40,000 a year. I need a bailout!" Again, who do you expect to verify these suspicious claims on a million loans?

I have a modest proposal: when someone applies for the bailout, compare the stated income on the original loan to the income reported on the borrower's tax return for the prior and following year. If the numbers aren't close, the borrower should immediately be prosecuted for mortgage fraud and/or tax fraud.

Of course, that might cut down a bit on the number of applications you receive.

Best regards,

W.C. Varones


Bailout passes committee

A massive government housing bailout passed committee by a large, bipartisan majority.

It's an allegedly optional version of the McCain cramdown, but Barney Frank warns servicers that if they don't cooperate, he'll screw them in the... oh, nevermind:

"Servicers should put a pause in some foreclosures until they can wait to see exact details of this as it moves forward. If after this we continue to get very little participation by servicers, I can guarantee you that the servicer industry will look very different a year from now than they do today. If after everything we do in this cooperative way falls short, then you are going to see legislation that puts some very real restrictions on the role of servicers and give many more rights to the borrowers," Frank continued.

Your 24-hour source for blah blah blah

Famed investor Jim Rogers, in a CNBC interview with Maria Bartiromo today, on the strengthening dollar:
"I expect it to go a lot longer than anyone expects, including me."


What gives?

In San Diego, defaults are up, but foreclosures (NOTs, Notices of Trustee Sale) are down.

It's not just a local phenomenon. Countrywide, Countrywide is posting skyrocketing delinquencies but their REOs for sale are slowly declining.

What's going on here? Some think it's just a statistical blip before foreclosures pick up steam again. I think something bigger is at work. Lenders either can't handle the volume of foreclosures, or don't want to foreclose. I suspect a bit of each.

Lenders' back offices have never seen foreclosure volumes like this. They are overwhelmed. But they also probably do not want to foreclose. Politicians from both sides of the aisle have been proposing a massive taxpayer bailout of bad lenders. John McCain's plan is to have lenders take the a writedown only to "current market value" (likely on a rosy appraisal) and then have taxpayers eat the entire loss on any further declines (which may be huge as many forecasters are predicting double-digit additional declines). If I were a lender, I'd wait for McCain's bailout rather than foreclosing and trying to dump inventory into an already flooded market.

What's a borrower to do? If your loan balance exceeds your home's value, stop paying your mortgage immediately. Remember, in the Bernanke/Pelosi/McCain world, the responsible get screwed, and the reckless get rewarded. If you stop paying your mortgage, your bank will either voluntary renegotiate the terms, or Congress will force them to do it. If you keep paying on an underwater house, you're just throwing good money after bad.


Countryfried cut to junk

This morning:
Bank of America Corp., the second- biggest U.S. bank, said it may not guarantee $38.1 billion of Countrywide Financial Corp.'s debt after taking over the mortgage lender, increasing the likelihood of a default.

"There is no assurance that any such debt would be redeemed, assumed or guaranteed," the bank said in an April 30 regulatory filing, adding that no decision has been reached. Investors had grown more optimistic the bank would back Countrywide debt, and Standard & Poor's said this week it may raise Countrywide's rating to

This afternoon:
Countrywide cut to junk by S&P

Does Bernanke panic here and guarantee CFC's garbage to save the deal? JP Morgan got the Fed to take all the risk in the Bear Stearns deal, so why shouldn't B of A get the same treatment? Nice precedent, Bernanke.


Development for Dummies: Mercer Walnut Creek

Our correspondent Negocios Loucos keeps us up to date on news from Mercer Walnut Creek, a condo development that went up near the BART station.

These condos are pitched as hipster urban living in the suburbs -- "Mercer boasts the perfect blend of urban sophistication with suburban ease." One problem: urban hipsters don't want to live in the suburbs. That's why they're called urban hipsters, not suburban hipsters. High-income young people pay asinine prices for condos in San Francisco because it's so cool to live in San Francisco. You can't get the same asinine prices for a two-bedroom shitbox a half hour out of the city. People who want to live in the suburbs want a little space, and a back yard.

Nevertheless, after more than a year on the market, Mercer is still trying to charge outrageous prices for tiny suburban shitboxes with big HOA fees:

Our Featured Luxury Collection includes the following designer homes:

Residence 449 - 1 bedroom, 1.5 baths, private, top floor home with rare 10-foot ceilings, interior pool views for $530,000.

Residence 222 - 2 bedrooms, 2 baths, upgraded entry hardwood floors, glass tile kitchen backsplash, west facing interior courtyard views for $707,777.

Residence 235 - 2 bedrooms, 2 baths, upgraded entry hardwood floors, east facing interior courtyard views for $717,944.

Residence 217 - 2 bedrooms +den, 2 baths, extended hardwood floors, Berber carpet, closet cabinetry, east interior view for $932,772.

Residence 130 - 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, extended hardwood flooring and Berber carpet for $1,048,739. mercer walnut creek

Anyone who buys those condos at anything close to those prices should be locked up in a mental institution for his own good.

UPDATE: Huge price reductions in October and they still aren't selling.

Jingle mail: celebrity edition

The latest person to mail the keys back to the bank on an underwater house? Jose Canseco:
Canseco, 43, one of the most flamboyant U.S. baseball players until his retirement from the major leagues in 2001, told the celebrity TV show 'Inside Edition' that it did not make financial sense to keep his 7,300-square-foot home in the Los Angeles suburb of Encino. 'Inside Edition' said it had foreclosure documents showing Canseco owed a bank more than $2.5 million on the house.

Canseco is a true American hero, and a role model. I hope his shining example encourages thousands of Americans in bad mortgages to mail their keys back to the bank.

HT: T-Dub.

Banker's Backstop

So the banks have loans that they can't sell in the open market and because of this student loans are in jeopardy. So instead of the government providing student loans (BECAUSE THIS IS TO MAKE SURE STUDENT CAN GO TO COLLEGE OF COURSE) which is option 1.bad, they are instead going to bail out the private institutions and purchase, at above market prices, those loans, option 2. super bad. HERE

Which would cost more I wonder since the loans are worth what the banks think they are, wouldn't it make more sense to not pay their "market rate" and just finance themselves? Again I don't like that idea either but they are rewarding bad business.

Privatize profit, socialize loss. Big fan of the former; pure dripping hatred for the latter.

The disinformation and election interference is coming from inside the house

The FBI just admitted in court that Hunter Biden's laptop is real. Here are 20 minutes of Joe Biden, U.S. intelligence officials, and th...