Daily Archives: August 5, 2009

White House enemies list

I know that my liberal friends can’t seem to stretch their minds around believing that anything the Messiah does is wrong, but I hope they’ll try this thought experiment: suppose that, in the days leading up to the Senate vote on the invasion of Iraq, Cheney had sent out an email to all American citizens asking them to watch for and report any discussions that spread disinformation about the Administration’s plans. Would you find that creepy? Even the New York Times seems to think that Obama is going too far here with his own effort in that regard to ObamaCare.

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Here’s trouble

Deutschebank: Half of all U.S. mortgages will be underwater by 2011. I believe it.

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Seven minutes about Andres Piedrahita

That’s more than enough but the whiney baby, who owns 22% of Fairfield Greenwich Group and took at least that much of the profits to enjoy a luxurious life style, seems determined to tell the entire world what a sorry failure of a businessman he is and how he is a Madoff victim too. The people shown here aren’t buying it, for some reason.

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“New” listings and one’s in Cos Cob!

8 Pinetum

8 Pinetum

This is an old one, come back yet again with a new price. It tried $2.750 in 2004, $2.995 in January ’08 and now it’s $2.5 million. It doesn’t seem to be the “shingle style” described in its listing but it’s got a nice large lot (2.7 acres), pool, updated house etc. so it should be good. Downside is that Pinetum is off Bible Street and there’s just no easy way to get there without the friends you’re trying to impress wondering how long you’ve been out of work.

If you don’t mind a wee bit of the ol’ babbling brook noise, 638 North Street came up for sale today, 2 acres with a 1940 , 900 sq.ft. cabin on it, for $1.299. That’s probably negotiable but still, pretty cheap for two acres. And a babbling brook. ML # 74046

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Of course, they keep this up and I’ll start rooting for Walter

Madoff “victims” now whining that they should get free legal representation. Chief whiner is, naturally, Helen Davis Chaitman, who alternates between depicting herself as a retiree and hapless Madoff victim and a generous lawyer, helping out her fellow man. As we pointed out before, she’s nothing of the sort. She’s a highly-experienced securities and bank fraud lawyer who is pressing the SEC to pay her and her new friends 100% on the dollar with no deduction for attorney’s fees. I don’t think I like her.

The victims claim in court papers filed last night that the money being claimed by Picard is rightfully theirs.  “It is unconscionable that SIPC should be squandering potentially hundreds of millions of dollars when it doesn’t even have enough money to compensate all the victims who have filed a claim,” said Helen Davis Chaitman, a lawyer representing more than 100 Madoff victims in the case.

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The noose tightens, the net spreads wider, whatever

JP Morgan is in the sights of the Get Madoff crowd. While the bank had a small amount ($250 million) of its own money in the game, it pulled it in September after a summer of rumors about Bernie. JP forgot to tell its clients, though, and they were left high and dry. Sort of like Walt Noel and his Fairfield Greenwich Group, but I believe they’re already named in this suit. Should continue to get interesting as this latest inclusion of a defendant is the result of the 4 1/2 hours Bernie spent talking with the lead litigator. Nervous yet, Walt?

By the way, why is the New York Post on top of the Madoff story while the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal ignore it? Just because a story is sexy and has legs is no reason to leave the field to the Post, is it?

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Little stirrings on the marketplace

Midwood Drive, originally listed for $16 million, has dropped to $15. The seller is still excluding the light fixtures, though: what do you expect for under 20? Assessment is $7.690, if you care.

I (gently) suggested that 54 Havemeyer Lane was unlikely to garner its hoped-for price of $2.195 million a year ago and the owner/builder went ballistic, threatening to pull another listing (also unsold, by the way) from her to punish me. Price dropped to $1.295 today.

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This should help consumer spending

Banks cut back on credit cards.

After years of mailing cards out to just about anybody, banks are suddenly freezing out all but the most creditworthy customers. Those who do get cards have to jump through more hoops, such as sending in copies of their pay stubs. And they’re being hit with higher rates and fees.

Banks always tighten credit standards in an economic slowdown. But the recently passed Credit Card Act of 2009 is forcing the industry to rewrite the play book it has used for years. The new legislation aims to limit fluctuating interest rates, ban some controversial practices and arm consumers with more information on their debts.

Banks have until February 2010 to comply with the act’s key provisions, although some parts of the law have earlier deadlines. Beginning in August, for example, issuers have to mail bills at least 21 days before the due date and provide at least 45 days’ notice before changing any significant terms on a card.

The result: Many banks are tightening things up now before many of the restrictions go into effect.

Tighter Limits

Banks’ responses to legislative and economic changes include:

  • Tightening standards for credit-card applicants, rejecting more people and offering smaller credit lines.
  • Raising interest rates and fees and switching customers with fixed rates to variable ones.
  • Enhancing rewards programs for a few customers but adding more fees.

For consumers, the tougher underwriting standards by banks may seem like a pendulum shift back to an earlier era when credit cards sported annual fees and double-digit interest rates.

In recent years, issuers cast as wide a net as possible by offering credit to millions of customers, knowing they could always raise rates on those who turned out to be bad bets. That pricing flexibility helped firms rapidly expand their operations, as those with less-than-stellar credit—many of whom carried a balance or paid late fees and penalty rates—generated millions of dollars in revenue.

Now, the industry is scrambling to figure out who its new profitable customer is. “Without the ability to reprice customers, raise fees or rates, the old profitability calculation won’t apply,” says Alan Mattei, managing director at Novantas LLC, a bank consulting firm.

In recent months, banks including Bank of America Corp., Citigroup Inc. and J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., have raised interest rates and fees, switched customers with fixed rates to variable ones, and dropped credit lines and closed accounts. Credit Suisse Group’s Moshe Orenbuch expects credit-card balances could shrink by 10% to 15% through 2012 as banks drop their teaser-rate offers and cut back on offering credit to riskier customers.

“Prior to the Card Act, we were able to charge people for the risk they posed and, as a result, also allowed others to pay lower rates,” says Kenneth Clayton, senior vice president of card policy at the American Bankers Association, a trade group in Washington.

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Democrats ridicule health care protestors

That’s right, you’re all a bunch of “Brooks Brothers protestors” denying the little people their due. Now shut up and let us serve those people. Besides, we can’t hear you jerks over the roar of our new Gulfstreams – nyanah di nyanah!

UPDATE: I don’t know if I find this scary, but it’s at least disturbing: White House asking citizens to report critics of ObamaCare.

There is a lot of disinformation about health insurance reform out there, spanning from control of personal finances to end of life care. These rumors often travel just below the surface via chain emails or through casual conversation. Since we can’t keep track of all of them here at the White House, we’re asking for your help. If you get an email or see something on the web about health insurance reform that seems fishy, send it to flag@whitehouse.gov.

I think ObamaCare sucks so I’m turning myself in right now.

Here we go – just sent this off:

I think your program is frightening and an eerie predictor of what you people plan for us should your health care plan be enacted. I say so on the web, here. Please send your goons over to talk to me soon – stop me before I blog again!
http://christopherfountain.wordpress.com/2009/08/05/democrats-ridicule-health-care-protestors/

Chris Fountain
Riverside CT
(203) 249-4394
http://www.christopherfountain.com/

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Can’t we just throw all of these rotten people out and start anew?

The Pelosi Express

The Pelosi Express

House of Reps orders three new Gulfstream 550s for use in junkets, total cost $200 million.  “No GM executives allowed on my plane,” Pelosi vows, “these are for the People’s servants.”

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No current data

No sales, no price cuts, contracts or new listings so far today. I may have to go up to Nantucket to find real estate news. Back later to see if anyone’s been ambitious.

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Reason Number 21 to use Futterker & Fontanski Discount Real Estate

You got full replacement coverage, right?

You got full replacement coverage, right?

We’ll burn your house down for you! Hey – no buyers but a good insurance policy? No problem for a full service Realtor.

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More market data

What sold between May 1st and July 31st this year, and what’s left?

<$999              34 sold or under contract (108 still active)

$1 -$1.5          17   (87 active)

$1.5 – $2.0    16    (104 active)

$2 -$2.5          13  (57 active)

$2.5 -$3.5       18  (175 active)

$3.5-$4.5        13   (60 active)

$4.5 – $5.5     8      (43 active)

$5.5-$6.5       3      (14 active)

$6.5-$7.5       2      (30 active)

> $7.5              12    (75 active)

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Staying Put?

Maybe, for awhile. Nothing is happening in the way of reported deals or new listings today so I thought I’d check out our inventory of single family houses in the $1.45 – $2.25 range. Turns out, we have 142 currently for sale and sold 6 of them last month. That’s about a two year inventory. I’m told that anything less than 5 months makes it a sellers market so I would say we’re still very much in a buyer’s market. September may see an up-tick in sale but that’s also when a lot of new listings come on the market; if your house is in this bracket, now might be the time to put in that pool you’ve always wanted so you can enjoy it for the next few years.

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They’ve had 60 years to think of this themselves but sometimes it requires a woman’s touch

Hillary Clinton to Africa: “True economic progress in Africa…also depends on responsible governments that reject corruption, enforce the rule of law and deliver results for their people.

That should do it. Next?

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When does O.J. get out of jail? He could help.

Jacko’s mother demands third autopsy to find real killer.

UPDATE: Who knew? He coukld be out and on the hunt shortly – his lawyers are arguing for bail.

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NYU Dean says we need more poor people pretending to own their homes

Joe Wiesenthal doesn’t think much of the idea. Neither do I, but Wiesenthal does such a good job skewering the guy that I need do nothing except recommend his post.

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