Property Grunt

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Time to make the money

Like clock work.

Remember my diatribe about Citigroup? One of the reasons why Citigroup has taken advantage of the TARP money for raising salaries is that they do not want to them to jump ship for other competitors or setup their own shops.

From what I have heard the finance industry is going into overdrive to raise funds because of 1/3 of their competitors have been wiped out. Therefore it presents a unique opportunity to gather capital. And the money is out there. There are very rich people out there who are up to their necks in liquidity and want to put it somewhere.

So it makes sense that Citigroup wants to make sure their employees do not ride off with that liquidity but they need all hands on deck to scarf up as much capital as possible. What makes this particularly more pressing is the next event in this depression.

So the finance industry has to run and gun.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Obligatory Madoff sentencing post

Madoff Is Sentenced to 150 Years for Ponzi Scheme

Big f**king surprise.

Commerical real estate chatter

Greetings folks got some info regarding the commercial real estate scene.

NYT did some coverage on the the Union Square space where Zen Palate was formerly located. Already has been a target for copper thieves due to the enormous amounts of copper that was used as an exterior. As many of you may know it is still vacant. Perhaps it is due to the asking rent which is $12 million dollars a year.

According to Rackedm there is a variety of candidates vying for the space that heralded the once great Virgin Megastore. However those tenant or tenants are going to have to work like whores to pay the current asking rent which is $22 million dollars a year.

A very well know nationwide real estate company that encompasses leasing and development, laid off 100 employees which included their commercial brokerage group stationed in New York City. The kicker is that the brokerage group set up their own shop and took their exclusives with them. Apparently the contracts were written so that the brokers that signed the deals could take the over 50 exclusives with them wherever they go.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Another indication of how bad things are.

This was passed along to me.

Apparently business is so bad for this Chinese restaurant that they have to offer free wine and 20% off for a meal. What concerns me the most about this advertisement is that Chinese restaurants have a reputation of great profitability in this town since the overhead of the making the product is so low and these places make money by moving high volume at low prices.

It just goes to show how bad things are for the restaurant industry.

Overheard in a hallway

Two days agao I was walking down a hallway when I overheard this conversation between a girl and guy.

Girl: "So what are you doing this weekend?"

Guy: "I am going to the Hamptons. You know what that is right?"

Girl: "Yeah, I do."

It gets a little disconcerting when people can't name drop properly.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Not Forgotten

June 25, 1950

A side kick, an angel and now a moonwalker.

Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson are no longer with us. Godspeed to you all.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

What the f**k is the matter with these people?

Citigroup Has a Plan to Fatten Salaries

After all those losses and bailouts, rank-and-file employees of Citigroup are getting some good news: their salaries are going up.

The troubled banking giant, which to many symbolizes the troubles in the nation’s financial industry, intends to raise workers’ base salaries by as much as 50 percent this year to offset smaller annual bonuses, according to people with direct knowledge of the plan.

The shift means that most Citigroup employees will make as much money as they did in 2008, although some might earn more and others less. The company also plans to award millions of new stock options to employees in an effort to retain workers and neutralize a precipitous drop in the value of their stock holdings.


Citigroup executives said the changes were aimed at retaining employees. Some Citigroup workers have already left for small, boutique investment banks or large rivals that are not so beholden to the government.

Here's a question that I am sure they did not ask. WHERE THE F**K ARE THESE A$$HOLES GOING TO GO? There are no f**kin jobs out there. All you have to do is go to Recessionwire's Screwed updates and they will see that jobs are being shed quicker than weight off of a gastric bypass outpatient. And unless you are a welder or specialize in a field of skilled labor, there is really nothing out there for any of these people to go to.

Why would Citibank do this? Because they can.

For months, Citigroup executives have sought guidance from the Treasury Department about how to alter compensation. But after reviewing the new rules, the bank determined it did not need Mr. Feinberg or other government officials to sign off on pay for the rank and file. While Mr. Feinberg can request information on the pay polices at financial companies that have received two federal bailouts, the companies can reject his guidance.

Let's say that there was this massive exodus from Citigroup. Citigroup would then have to find replacements for these slots which would be easy to do considering the enormous pool of applicants. However it would mean that HR would be put into overdrive and would cause some ripples in the working environment. It wouldn't kill them. It would just make things annoying.

Citigroup's decision is to say f**k that noise why should go through that aggravation when we can just jack up everyone's pay. Then everyone's happy. It is easy for Citigroup to follow the path of least resistance especially when the milk money is coming straight from Uncle Sugar's teet.

“You can say it is outrageous,” said Alan Johnson, the president of the firm. “But maybe it’s a little like the canary in the mine, and you say that things are getting better.”

Anyone who even tries to pull a Bill O'Reilly and refuses to take the blame should seriously, shut the f**k up.

I am a capitalist pig. I am all about the money. But this isn't capitalism. These pay raises are an act of ignorance, stupidity and show a complete disregard for others. If these idiots keep up with this the type of bulls**t eventually it will make people evaluate how decisions are made in this country and are enforced.Then people will start seriously looking at other options that will result in an army of black helicopters hovering over the country.

Then we end up with this.

NSFW for language and violence.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

3 for 1 or 6 for 2

Despite Pleas for a Freeze, Stabilized Rents to Go Up

The board that regulates rents for New York City’s one million rent-stabilized apartments ignored pleas from tenants and elected officials to freeze rents for the first time in its 40-year history and approved a set of modest increases on Tuesday.

The nine-member board, known as the city’s Rent Guidelines Board, authorized rent increases that were lower than last year’s, approving increases of 3 percent on one-year leases and 6 percent on two-year leases.

Last year, the board approved its highest set of increases since 1989, 4.5 percent on one-year leases and 8.5 percent on two-year leases. That meeting was disrupted by tenants who blew on plastic whistles at an ear-ringing volume.

On Tuesday evening at the Great Hall at Cooper Union in the East Village, the board’s deliberations were marked at times not by noise but by virtual silence.

After a motion for a rent freeze that was put forward by a tenant representative on the board was struck down, dozens of tenants walked out in protest. Earlier, some had waved pieces of paper reading “O%” and chanted, “Zero! Zero!” Others placed tape across their mouths in a silent demonstration.

“This is a severe recession,” said Ronald S. Languedoc, the board member who put forward the motion for a rent freeze, adding, “This is not the year to have a rent increase.”

This is not the year to be a landlord. Everyone is hard pressed for money. And if tenants can't afford the rent, they have to move out which leaves a smaller rent roll for the landlord leaving them strapped for cash. And there is no way in hell they can refinance in this environment. And if landlords need money, well they are going to have look for other sources which include hard money lenders and their rates of interest are extremely high.

And this is not going to end anytime soon.

No recovery for U.S. property markets until 2017

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The U.S. urban commercial real estate markets probably will not recover until 2017, the head analyst of commercial mortgages for Deutsche Bank Securities (DBKGn.DE: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) said on Monday.

"The froth is still working itself out," Richard Parkus, Deutsche Bank head of Commercial Mortgage-backed Securities and Asset-Backed Securities Synthetics Research said at the Reuters Global Real Estate Summit in New York. "We are currently in something which is comparable to what we saw in the 1990s and potentially worse."

U.S. commercial real estate values could fall by more than 50 percent from the peak in 2007, he said.

Although asking rents are down about 28 percent in New York, factoring in free rent and other perks by landlords, rents are down about 50 percent, Parkus said.

"Rents will be back to where they were in 2017," Parkus said. Building prices also will take six to eight years to recover, he said.

The U.S. commercial markets are deteriorating at an increasing pace as rent dries up and demand plummets. That is leaving borrowers struggling to make their monthly mortgage payments.

"The number of new loans that are becoming delinquent each month are defaulting at rates between 5 percent and 8 percent per year, with the most loosely underwritten loans of 2007 defaults at 8 percent per year, Parkus said. That puts accumulated losses at about 4 percent this year, and 12 percent over the next four years.

Loans loses ranged between 7 and 11 percent a year during the commercial real estate crash of the early 1990s.

"We are not only not approaching stability, we are at a period of maximum deterioration," Parkus said.

For those of you who have the liquidity and the wherewithal to look for bargains, this is the time to go cherry picking.

Everyone else. If you haven't lost your minds yet, this is the time to start.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Live Fee or Diehard

I know it is the wrong Diehard but I think it is the best of all 4.

As everyone knows the rental market is Manhattan is about as flat as Kate Bosworth's abs. A lot of renters are taking advantage of the situation.

Why Are These Renters Smiling?

Besides the rent, what should not be surprising is that the rental fee has become an endangered species. It comes down to the another unsurprising fact that no one has any money. A lot of agents are accepting the fact that 15% is no longer part of the new reality.

I heard some chatter that particular brokerage known for its Starbucks like growth strongly suggested that their agents take a one month fee and abandon any prospects of getting 15%.

The irony is that a lot of their agents responded with an exodus to other companies taking their exclusives with them. Why I find this ironic is that back in the day, negotiating the rental fee was usually verboten and only done on very special occasions. Managers wanted their agents to get their 15% because those managers would get a bigger cut of the pie. It appears that management realizes they can get no blood from these stones.

What has happened is this brokerage and perhaps many others have applied the "Chinatown model" which is to sell cheap but move high volume. In this market this makes sense. If you can't make the money on the big deals, then you make it up by closing as many as possible.

This is welcome news for all you new renters out there. If you can't get a no-fee rental, see if the fee is negotiable. But be ready for a fight. A lot of agents are going to fight tooth and nail for that 15%.

As for all you rental agents out there, do what you feel is best. Just close.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Self Awareness

This week Peter and Billy Getty, heirs to the Getty fortune thought it would be a good idea to write a self deprecating blog about being rich.

What The Butler Didn't See

I am sure that Paul and Billy are very nice guys but this was a grave miscalculation on their part.

And you can see this from their blog.

Not to sound patronizing, but if you watch the Giants on TV — well, ideally HDTV — you partake equally in the most satisfying indulgence we know. We share a private box at Pac Bell or whatever the hell they're calling it these days, and it's actually kind of a hassle, to tell the truth. You can easily make far better hot dogs at home than they give you in the luxury boxes.

Right now there are a lot of people out there people out there who can’t afford to eat a hot dog, let alone a private box at Pacbell

So it would be an understatement to say that the response was critical.

Rich Guys Blog, To Make You Mad

Reading This Post Will Make You Want to Kill a Getty (Except Vanessa, That Is)

3 years ago this type of self deprecating humor was acceptable however that environment no longer exists. We live in a environment where the rich are hated and shunned.

This situation reminds me of a story about Bob Hope and a comedy writer. Bob Hope was preparing for one of his comedy specials and had a problem with a joke that one of his writers who tirelessly defended it. Finally it was resolved through the following exchange.

Bob Hope: “You think this is funny?”

Comedy Writer: “Yes. I think this is funny.”

Bob Hope: “Ok. Then use it for your own act. Not mine.”

The comedy writer got shot down because he did not understand his audience which was Bob Hope. If he curtailed his humor to Bob Hope’s wants and needs then his words would be uttered by Hope himself.

The Paul and Peter Getty f**ked up severely because they did not properly curtail their words to their audience. What they should have done is done some online research, watch the news and they would figure out they would look like complete a$$holes for writing this. In fact I firmly believe that if they had done their due diligence they would have never dared to go forward with this blog.

So how does someone like Paris Hilton get away with being the poor little rich girl in this day and age? Because despite the fact she has more money than most people will ever see in their lifetimes, she is quite approachable due to her media exposure. First there was the sex tape, then her numerous embarrassing trysts, her enormous man hands and being hauled off to jail.

We mock her, talk about her and we focus on her faults instead of her money. And we begin to empathize with her. Yeah she is loaded, but she has f**ked up just like the rest of us. And even in this down economy, the masses will still welcome her with open arms.

As for the Paul and Billy, what do they do after receiving their online beatdown? Do they stage a tactical retreat? F**k no. They decide to play Kamikaze.

Peter Getty Responds to SFist's Getty Death Wish

If you are rich, especially in this economy, the last thing you want to do is go toe to toe with a bunch of bloggers, because they will eat you alive, shat you out and then eat you again.

I do not have any sympathy for Peter and Billy Getty. They brought this on themselves and should have known better than to expose themselves in this manner. It is not just a lack of common sense that is displayed but the lack of self awareness. And their angry responses show they have no desire to understand why they have incurred the wrath of others.

Remember, just because you didn’t know doesn’t mean you can do what you want. In fact when you don't know, is when you should tread very carefully.

Which brings me to my next topic.

The Recessionwire mob which features a lovable crew of writers that includes Joe the trader. Joe Trader writes about his current life as a laid off member of Wall Street. Recently he wrote about a job interview that became an opportunity of smugness for an interviewer

Out on the Street: Smart or Lucky?

Yuri made $30 million for the firm last year, his second year of trading, a fact he succeeded in mentioning within the first five minutes of our interview and at least twice more. If you extrapolate the astronomical growth rate of his investment return, he’s sure to make 300 billion gazillion dollars by the time he reaches my age. Just ask him— he’ll tell you.

Other than his periodic reminders of his success, the interview progressed with the familiar series of questions. He started with the soft “tell me about yourself” and moved on to my current views on markets. I had rehearsed my talking points and was sailing through until Yuri went off on a tangent.

“It’s funny, but you are not the usual type First White Shoe would hire. Usually we hire extremely smart young grads and MBAs and weed them out, keeping the stars,” he said, clearly seeing himself in his own constellation. “You are…ummm…very experienced.”

Did he just call me old? Was he suggesting that I’m not smart?? I guess if I was smart I would know whether I was being insulted.

Unfortunately, Joe the Trader does not reach over and wrap his hands around the douchebag’s throat. However he does make a very interesting observation about luck and how it is an unpredictable mistress.

I think it can be summed up best by Funky Winkerbean.

Humble yourself. And if you can't or don't want to. Don't worry. Eventually, you will be humbled.

Monday, June 15, 2009

The Game of Ass

Listen to these words if you want to be a successful politician.

Just before the Lewinsky affair blew up in Bill Clinton ‘s face. (I didn’t mean to do that but I am going to keep it because it is funny.)

He was having “a meeting” with Monica when he received a phone call from a man named Alfonso Fanjul. Now Alfonso was as pissed as Lindsay Lohan at a party without blow. (Crap, did I do that again?)

Alfonso was a huge supporter of the Clintons, he was also man who made a fortune in the Sugar industry and he heard a speech by then Vice President Al Gore that he wanted to tax the sugar industry in order to fund the restoration of the wetlands which did not make Alfonso happy.

And what did the President of the United States do? He took the call. Why? Because the President of the Untied States is not an idiot and understands the game of Ass.

What is the game of Ass? Ask Paul Newman:

It's all about ass, isn't it? Either you kick it... or you lick it.

Gen. Leslie R. Groves
Fat Man and Little Boy (1989)

Bill Clinton understood the game of ass and this was a situation where he had to lick it. He assured Alfonso that everything was groovy and Gore was just a bag of hot air.

On a sidenote, after hearing this story it is hard to think it is a coincidence that Al Gore lost everything in Florida for the 2000 Presidential election.

Why am I bringing this up? Because of the s**t that went down in Albany is due to people not understanding the game of ass.

All hell broke loose when two democrats Senators Hiram Monserrate and Pedro Espada, Jr., of Queens and the Bronx decided to defect and joined the Gop under the veneer of creating a bipartisan, coalition thereby gving control of the State Senate to the GOP.
So, why did this whole thing come together? The most obvious choice is taxes.

I mean a lot of taxes. So many taxes that Tom Golisano, a rich guy, was getting extremely heated over the subject that he planned on moving to Florida.

Golisano’s blood pressure really shot up because the people who were raising those taxes were the same people he supported to take over the Senate.

So he asked and received a meeting with the majority leader Mr. Smith.

ALBANY — In early spring, Tom Golisano went to Albany from his home in Rochester to meet with Malcolm A. Smith, then the Senate majority leader. Mr. Golisano, a billionaire business executive, had spent heavily to help Mr. Smith and other Democrats win control of the Senate in the November election, and was angry to hear they were now planning to raise taxes on the wealthy. He expected an audience befitting a major financial patron.

Did he get a proper meeting?

Instead, he said, Mr. Smith played with his BlackBerry and seemed to barely listen.

“I said, ‘I’m talking to the wall here,’ ” Mr. Golisano recalled in an interview on Tuesday.

That meeting led to the dramatic collapse Monday of the Democrats’ grip on the Senate majority as a frustrated Mr. Golisano secretly planned with Republicans to persuade two Democrats to join them in ousting Mr. Smith.

Malcolm Smith's is an example of how not to play the game of ass.
And now he is paying for it.

Gotta go, Dems tell Malcolm Smith: Step down to regain control of Senate

When it comes to billionaires Bill Clinton was the Ass Master. He knew not only which asses to lick but how to lick them and how deep his tongue had to go. Because of his knowledge of the game of ass, Bill Clinton was able to finish his presidency on a high note and his wife has a gig in the Obama administration. Malcom Smith will only be remembered as a footnote in New York State history of how to f**k up your political career.

You see, when Golisano came to the meeting he expected to get his ass licked since he had done the same for Smith and his colleagues Instead Malcom Smith’s said to Golisano kiss my ass. Golisano responded by kicking his ass.

I suspect that Malcom Smith was under the impression that he was sitting in the cat bird seat. What he didn’t understand was that seat was on lay away. And he was not the one making payments.

For those of you who plan on entering politics remember in no shape or form should you tell a billionaire to kiss your ass, unless you are a billionaire yourself or friends with other billionaires.

How this whole coup/revolt, or change of power occurred is a subject of fascination because of the way it was orchestrated in such a simple yet brilliant fashion.

Which brings me to the two players of this greek tragedy .

First we have Senators Hiram Monserrate

What type of guy is he?

Queens Pol Arrested in Domestic Violence Shocker

It appears he is some brand of douchebag.

And how about Espada? Well apparently he is not exactly Mr Clean either especially when it comes to declaring his place of residence.

Was there something that the Democrats did to spur these two into jumping ship? For Monserrate, it appears no.

This was Malcom Smith’s position at that time regarding Monserrate.

Facing mounting criticism, Malcolm A. Smith, the State Senate majority leader, on Tuesday defended his handling of Hiram Monserrate, the Queens senator charged with assaulting his companion, saying that everyone deserves the presumption of innocence.
“We will let the court system process take its due course,” Mr. Smith said. “And when that action finalizes then we will take more action if we have to.”

The question of how to deal with Mr. Monserrate is a touchy one for Democratic leaders, who control the chamber, 32 to 30. Because 32 votes are required to pass legislation in the Senate or elect a majority leader, the departure of just one senator would leave Democrats without a functioning majority.

The party’s response to Mr. Monserrate has been generally supportive since he was arrested in December, and so far no Democrats have called for him to step down, temporarily or permanently.

Senate Democrats met behind closed doors on Monday and agreed privately that they would not discuss Mr. Monserrate’s case publicly.

As for Espada, I think he was felling like the low man on the totem pole.

Mr. Espada has said he joined the effort because he wanted to change how Albany does
business. Indeed, shortly after taking power on Monday, Republicans enacted new rules for the Senate, including one imposing six-year term limits for the Senate’s leaders and another equalizing distribution of the $85 million the Senate allocates annually for legislative earmarks.

But Mr. Espada was said to have grown frustrated about power and money.
Mr. Espada has been fined more than $60,000 for ignoring state law requiring disclosure of campaign contributions. A nonprofit organization that he ran for decades, Soundview HealthCare Network, is being investigated by the attorney general on suspicion of having misappropriated funds. And the Bronx district attorney is investigating whether he lives in the Bronx district he represents.

After he agreed earlier this year to back Mr. Smith, Mr. Espada requested perks that he believed should accompany his title as vice president of the Senate for urban policy. He asked for the use of the Capitol office adjoining his, close to $100,000 for rent for his district office — more than twice the amount allotted to other senators from New York City — and a dozen extra staff members. Mr. Aponte denied the requests.

Mr. Espada also clashed with Mr. Smith over housing legislation that the Democrats had promised tenant advocates they would pass. For months, Mr. Espada, the chairman of the Housing Committee, had delayed introducing the legislation. Landlords increasingly viewed him as one of their only defenders among the Democrats.

Mr. Espada sought more than $2 million in earmarks this year for two groups with links to Soundview. State records indicate that the groups were created just days before Mr. Espada put in the requests, which Senate Democrats rejected in early April, saying they could not confirm that the groups were legitimate nonprofit organizations.

For example, Mr. Espada requested $1.3 million in grants for the Bronx Human Services Council Inc., which registered with the state on March 26. The council’s headquarters are at the same Bronx address as a clinic that is part of Soundview. Its chairman is one of Mr. Espada’s Senate staff members.

In an interview on Tuesday, Mr. Espada described the concerns raised by Senate Democrats as “character assassination” and said the groups were “new organizations that were formed because these are volunteers, lawyers and doctors, that want to help their communities.”

Which also bring us to Espada’s legal problems.

Espada Faces State and Local Inquiries Into Finances

State and local investigations into Pedro Espada Jr., who claimed the title of Senate president in a coup last week, are broader than previously reported. Law enforcement officials are reviewing records of taxpayer-financed travel, campaign records and legislative earmarks, as well as Mr. Espada’s residency, people with knowledge of the investigations said Saturday.

Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo has been working with Robert T. Johnson, the Bronx district attorney, for months. The parallel inquiries are focused on several areas, according to people who have been briefed on the investigations but spoke on condition of anonymity because the cases are continuing.

Both are said to be examining attempts by Mr. Espada — who was elected Senate president on Monday, although his elevation was being challenged in court — to direct legislative earmarks to a Bronx nonprofit group that he founded, Soundview HealthCare Network. The investigation has also focused on whether Soundview, which Mr. Espada still serves as chief executive, has misappropriated money. Questions also continue to be raised as to whether Soundview employees have engaged in political activities on Mr. Espada’s behalf.

If he is already being treated like the red headed step child, he might as well align himself with people who will support and protect him. Regardless of party of affiliation, in other words, this is all about self preservation for Espada.

Any martial artist worth their salt knows that weakness is strength and strength is weakness. What is occurring in Albany is a clear example of that.

Malcom Smith and the Democrats truly felt that they were in the position of strength, which they were. But they mistook their strength as invulnerability, which they were not.

What crippled the Democrats were two of their own. But they were their not strongest but their weakest. These were two members of their party who were either on their way out or were going to be lame ducks till the conclusion of their respective terms. The GOP approached these two Senators because they knew these two men were up their necks in their own s**t needed a hand to get pulled out of it.

The arrangement between Monserrate and Pedro Espada, Jr. and the GOP reminds me of a scene from the Godfather Part II between Senator Geary and the Corelones. We first see the Nevada Senator trying to put the squeeze on Michael Corleone over a gaming license. Which turns out to be a really bad idea for the Senator because the next time we see him, he is going bats**t scene over a dead prostitute which he is unsure whether he killed or her or not. Tom Hagen comes to the rescue assures him that none of this ever become public and that "All that will be left is our friendship."

Make no mistake. I am sure Golisano and the GOP considered cutting these two pieces of deadwood off in order to gain a majority in the Senate and wound the Democratic party. However that would mean another election and there was no guarantee that a Republican would take their place.

By having these two on their side, Golisano and the GOP at least have control of the Senate.

In many fields, background checks are a common practice for new candidates. The purpose of these checks is not only to make sure that these candidates are qualified but to see if there is anything on record that could be used against them which in turned be used against they company or entity they are working for. The background check for these two meat heads was an open book but the Democrats failed to make use of it.

The Democrats should not only have watched these two senators more closely but they should have either made efforts to ensure their loyalty to the Democratic Party. If they were unable to get those assurances, then Democrats should have taken steps to render these men useless to the point that they could do no harm to the party.

Which brings me to Golisano. Despite the reports that he was the one responsible for this revolt, I do not think he was alone and I do not think he would have been able to go forward without the support of certain parties.

All that needs to be asked is Who Benefits?

All you need to do is look at the issues that appear to be dead in the water.

Taking a Rent Check

The fight over changes to rent regulation has been one of the Legislature’s more high-profile battles since the Democrats won control last November, and a climax of some sort was expected this month, as the Senate was likely to pass at least some changes to rent laws that had been blocked for years by Republicans. But now that the G.O.P. has regained control after a tumultuous five months, tenant activists like Mr. McKee have immediately thrown up their hands, declaring all is lost—at least for now.

“We have been tantalizingly close,” Mr. McKee said of the set of pro-tenant bills. Now? “It’s dead. It’s dead.”

The various landlord groups are skeptical that a full repeal was actually in the tenant groups’ grasp, but, as noted by Mr. Strasburg: “It’s a moot point.”

Then we have Gay marriage

New Senate President Wants Vote on Same-Sex Marriage,%20albany&st=cse

As I stated before in a previosu entry, Gay marriage is about money and power

That is why I am a little unsure whether it will pass.

“I am for same-sex marriage,” Mr. Espada said. “There will be no guarantees and no quid pro quos, I think there will be a vote of conscience of the senators. And with my partner in government, Senator Skelos, we have not discussed bringing it out to the floor. I’m expressing my own personal desire to see a full debate and decision on this matter.”
The Senate majority leader, Dean G. Skelos, a Long Island Republican who is sharing power with Mr. Espada under the new leadership arrangement, said he and Mr. Espada would discuss the issue of same-sex marriage and other matters later on Tuesday.

Remember. Discussing an issue and voting on it are two different things.

In the beginning of this entry, Tony Montana was explaining the mechanics of upward mobilization of in American society.

For those who disagree with Mr. Montana's thesis. Remember that if Golisano was not a billionaire, this whole mess would never have happened.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Summing it up

Funky Winkerbean

I find it amusing that a comic strip can sum up how I feel today.

Friday, June 12, 2009

A Coward's ties to the Big Apple

The other is that antisemitism is an irrational thing. The Jews are accused of
specific offences (for instance, bad behaviour in food queues) which the
person speaking feels strongly about, but it is obvious that these
accusations merely rationalise some deep-rooted prejudice. To attempt to
counter them with facts and statistics is useless, and may sometimes be
worse than useless. As the last of the above-quoted remarks shows,
people can remain antisemitic, or at least anti-Jewish, while being
fully aware that their outlook is indefensible. If you dislike somebody,
you dislike him and there is an end of it: your feelings are not made
any better by a recital of his virtues.

AntiSemitism In Britian

I am not in the mood to be witty or funny. I can't. Stephen T. Johns was a man doing his job when he was shot by man he was helping.

One of the thing's that has popped up abut douchebag's past is that he used to live in New York City.

Afterward, Mr. von Brunn went to work for Benton & Bowles, according to a 1950 wedding announcement for Mr. von Brunn published in The New York Times.

At the time, Benton & Bowles, which no longer exists, was one of the country’s foremost firms, with big name clients like Procter & Gamble, said Ms. Reid of Duke, which now holds the company’s archives. It would have been a period of transition, Ms. Reid said, with the company’s pioneering use of radio — including soap operas as a vehicle to sell products — giving way to new marketing aimed at television, such as the firm’s iconic pitch of “Look, ma — no cavities!” for Crest toothpaste.

On June 1, 1950, Mr. von Brunn married Patricia Beverley-Giddings in the Long Ridge Congregational Church in Connecticut, according to a wedding announcement. A year later they had a boy, also named James, whom they sent to the Trinity School on the Upper West Side. School records show a student named von Brunn attending the school from September 1957 until June 1960, a school spokesman said.

I have heard that there is much surprise that someone as backwards as this man actually lived in New York City, let alone the Upper East Side. However he is an anomaly

It remains unclear what impact, if any, his 15 years in one of the most racially and religiously diverse cities in the world had on the development of the white supremacist ideology that fueled the rambling conspiracy theories he peddled on Web sites and, apparently, Wednesday’s attack.

“Many of the people who joined this movement in fact grew up in integrated areas,” said Mark Potok, director of the Intelligence Project for the Southern Poverty Law Center, which has been tracking Mr. von Brunn since his arrest and conviction in 1981 for barging into the Federal Reserve headquarters in Washington with a gun. “It’s not the norm, but it’s not unusual.”

Let's refresh ourselves on the meaning of the word "diverse".

Main Entry:
di·verse Listen to the pronunciation of diverse
\dī-ˈvərs, də-ˈ, ˈdī-ˌ\
Middle English divers, diverse, from Anglo-French & Latin; Anglo-French divers, from Latin diversus, from past participle of divertere
14th century

1 : differing from one another : unlike 2 : composed of distinct or unlike elements or qualities a diverse population

New York City is a diverse city. That means it encompasses all types of people. Even the douchebags of humanity. There are anti-semites who live in Manhattan and some of them can be spotted and others are better at hiding their true colors.

In the paragraph above, George Orwell makes the point that antisemitism is irrational.

I will provide further credence to his argument.

This group are known for the following.

1. Being really cheap.

2. Sticking with their own kind.

3. Being greedy

4. Making deals and breaking them when it is to their advantage.

5. Being really pushy.

Who is this group of people?

Well it depends on where you are from.

If you are Chinese, this is a description of the Japanese.

If you are Japanese, this is a description of the Chinese.

If you are Korean, this is a description of the Chinese and Japanese.

If you are English, this is a description of a Scot.

I could go on all day and provide more evidence that these descriptions are not isolated to one group.

Do you see where I am going with all of this?

Bottom line is this to justify antisemitism is to justify hatred of all humans because we are no different than the Jews. Because we aren't. Remember my entry This game is to blame. Eisner and drew a book about a prominent Jewish family. Even though it is a story about Jews, it is really a story about America.

Perhaps if that a**hole had made and effort to hold out and adapt to his new environment and determine what the problem really was, Stephen T. Johns would be alive.

Bastard. You could have saved everyone a lot of grief by putting a bullet in your own head.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

All American Bust Out

Think of this happening to America. Really.

I've covered the bust out concept a number of times on this blog and it surprises me how often it is popping up in our new economy.

A family member recently told me of a conversation they had with a well known financial blogger. According to this particular blogger, who I hold in very high esteem, they stated that we are heading for a hyperinflation, in fact there are certain parties in our government who want this to happen.

The reason is that when hyper inflation kicks in, it will devalue American currency and will cripple American Treasuries.

So why pray tell would the powers that be want to do this?

One word. China.

China holds a significant amount of our treasuries that we are all on the hook for. But what if those treasuries are completely worthless? You see where I am going with this?

Let me put it this way. Look at the wave of foreclosures, a lot of those consist of owners turning in their keys because they are so overwhelmed there is no point holding onto their homes. Even Banks are doing the same.

In a sense, those treasuries is the American house that we are barely able to hold onto. And China already has America on a very tight leash through this debt. So what can be done? We have ourselves a bust out by pushing everything over the edge an d We wipe our slate clean. Sure. America will lose its AAA credit rating, but I don't think anyone will notice considering the s**tstorm that is brewing up in Europe.

It goes without saying that if this does come to fruition, China is going to be really pissed that all that all of their cash went up in smoke. And if you think Tiananmen Square was a tragedy, then you better strap yourselves in. Don't worry about the Americans. We will be to busy with our food auctions.

Oh. I know what you are thinking. Grunt, whoa there, was there an X-Files marathon on last night? Drinking the bong water? Because what you are basically saying is that there are certain egalitarians who want the economy to self destruct. I assure you folks, this is not a paranoid delusion brought on by junk food and bad cable tv. From what I have read and learned all the pieces are in place for a nation wide bust out.

Let's take a look at the facts.

First we have this two articles regarding China.

Geithner tells China its dollar assets are safe

China is the biggest foreign owner of U.S. Treasury bonds. U.S. data shows that it held $768 billion in Treasuries as of March, but some analysts believe China's total U.S. dollar-denominated investments could be twice as high.

"Chinese assets are very safe," Geithner said in response to a question after a speech at Peking University, where he studied Chinese as a student in the 1980s.

His answer drew loud laughter from his student audience, reflecting scepticism in China about the wisdom of a developing country accumulating a vast stockpile of foreign reserves instead of spending the money to raise living standards at home.

Ye of little faith right?

Then we have this article which is quite telling.

Top Chinese banker Guo Shuqing calls for wider use of yuan

The head of China's second-largest bank has said the United States government should start issuing bonds in yuan, rather than dollars, in the latest indication of the increasing importance of the Chinese currency.

Guo Shuqing, the chairman of state-controlled China Construction Bank (CCB), also said he is exploring the possibility of issuing loans to trading companies in yuan, allowing Chinese and foreign companies to settle their bills in yuan rather than in dollars.

Mr Guo said the issuing of yuan bonds in Hong Kong and Shanghai would help to develop the debt markets in China and promote the yuan as a major international currency.

The Chinese know what is a foot and they are making every effort to protect themselves. They know that there are factions within the Obama administration that want to play slash and burn. And they do not want any part of it and want to make sure at least some of their cash is protected.

Obama’s Economic Circle Keeps Tensions High

If the Oval Office incident was meant as a lighthearted moment, it also exposed the underlying tensions that have gripped Mr. Obama’s economic advisers as they have struggled with the gravest financial crisis since the Depression, according to several dozen interviews with administration officials and others familiar with the internal debates.

By all accounts, much of the tension derives from the president’s choice of the brilliant but sometimes supercilious Mr. Summers to be the director of the National Economic Council, making him the policy impresario of the team. The widespread assumption, from Washington to Wall Street, was that the job would be Mr. Summers’s way station until the president could name him chairman of the Federal Reserve when Ben S. Bernanke’s term expires early next year.

I suspect the core reason for this hostility inside the Obama administration are arguments over whether to wreck an economy that is on the verge of being wrecked or keep it together with spit and bailing wire.

From my own experience, I recently had a series of conversations with an individual that I highly respect on a personal and professional level. This individual is a very well educated and successful in their particular field of finance and earned a reputation as a straight shooter.

Two very important points I took away from our talks were the following.

Hyperinflation is very real and should not be ignored.

U.S. Treasuries are to be shorted.

That is why I don't believe any of this talk about recovery or that the recession is over. We are on the path of no return, no turning back and any other cliches that refer to being unable to change the past. Whether we like it or now a new dawn is coming and is most likely going to occur through a very messy and chaotic bust out.

We have to accept the fact that a lot if not all of what we used to do or know is going out the window. We have to make the proper preparations for what will be coming for all of us. Ignore this at your own peril.

General Hummel: I'm not about to kill 80,000 innocent people! Do you think I'm out of my f**king mind? We bluffed, they called it. The mission is over.

The Rock

Don't take my word for it folks. Do the due diligence and see for yourselves.

Monday, June 08, 2009

This isn't over by a long shot

Honk if You Think It’s Over

My hand isn't even on the wheel.

Yes, there is activity out there, but I am going to side with Miller on this.

Jonathan Miller, an appraiser at Miller Samuel who prepares market reports for Prudential Douglas Elliman, confirmed that inventory levels began to fall this spring as sales picked up. But he questioned how significant the trend would turn out to be.

“You did see an upturn in activity this time of year,” he said, but “it was not a robust spring.” Mr. Miller said that the spring did not “undo the damage that occurred last fall” during the banking crisis, and that prices still appeared to be slipping, though at a slower pace than earlier in the year.

Mr. Miller says he is particularly worried about new developments that have not cut prices as much as many individual sellers have. Mortgages can be difficult to come by in these buildings, making it harder for buyers to complete deals.

To even say things are stabilizing is optimistic. Remember, credit is hard to come by. Real estate is all about OPM. Not a lot of that going around.

A letter to another 800lbs gorilla

In the long run, every man will pay the penalty for this own misdeeds. The man who remembers this will be angry with no one, indignant with no one, revile no one, blame no one, offend no one, and hate no one.

-- Epictetus

Dear Neighbor

It has come to my attention that you developed a taste for loud music and to no one’s surprise, I find it quite distressful.

As you may or may not know, I have a strong distaste for noisy neighbors.
The Right to Quiet Enjoyment: I hate noisy people

Normally I would utilize 311 and be done with it. However, I realize that could cause a tremendous amount of collateral damage certain parties involved. As tempting as it maybe, I have decided to forgo any use of law enforcement even though I would be ensured silence at least till the next tenant takes your place.

What I am going to do instead is to work within the parameters of the building and let the system do its job. It will take far longer and require more patience on my part. But I think it will be worth it in the long run.

So why this sudden change in my demeanor? Why am I not demanding your still beating heart to be gripped in my hands?

It is very simple.

I forgive you.

Yep. You heard me. I forgive you. And every time you blast that bass to ass shaking levels, I will still forgive you. It will be hard to do at times, but I will make the effort.

I want to make this clear. This isn’t about you. It is about me. I can’t function with pain and anger in my heart and I do not want to live like that. In the past I have stewed in my own anger, but I am getting older and perhaps wiser and realizing that there is no benefit to harbor such poison in my mind, body and soul. The act forgiveness allows me to let go whatever evil there is my heart.

I will admit to you that I do harbor pity for you. For someone who needs to stimulate themselves in that manner without regard to others around them displays a great shallowness and no desire for self-improvement. That shallowness is an opening to more negative and more dangerous consequences.

What I find quite surprising about you is your background because it is quite similar to one of my last neighbors who engaged in an audio tet le tete with me


How are things working out for him? I don’t know, in fact I do not want to know because I might want to cut my wrists. An look at all those big swinging dicks on Wall Street. They swing no longer because their dicks have been cut off by their own hands. Since you have witnessed these events up front, I have no idea why it has not humbled you.

That is why I am baffled by the way you are acting since in this economy you are an endangered species. Any moment now you could be given a pink slip and a box to fill clean out your desk with. If you are acting like this in your own apartment, I have no doubt that you are exhibiting this same behavior to your co-workers and perhaps to someone that holds your fate in their hands.

Which brings me to that quote from Epictetus that was posted at the beginning of this entry.

I am no saint. I have made more than my fair of mistakes and even through my own limited understanding of how the universe works; I know that I will have to pay for them. So I try to be a good person and at best I will minimize the mistakes I make in my life.

That is why I have to remind myself that it is in my best interest to be a good person and not despise those who have evil intentions in their heart because they will eventually be asked to pay for that bill for what they have done, with interest.

In other words, you have screwed yourself over. So there is no point in me getting angry or demanding vengeance, because justice will be served. Even if is on the time table of a higher power, I am fine with that.

As you may know from reading my entries, you are not the first to plague me, there were plenty of others and it always confounded me, why was this always happening to me?

I realize now that God, Allah, Buddha, the universe, random chance or who or whatever, placed me in this position to learn. Once I am thoroughly educated, I am will be prepared to fight the next battle. I hope for your sake you become aware of what you are doing and the impact it has on others. If not. Well, I have no sympathy for you when you sit in the mine field.

This new environment we are living in now has made it clear to me that what is at stake is not our money but our humanity. It is very easy for all of us to reduce ourselves to savages and it would be untreatable. I can’t live like that and I will not contribute to the problems of the world. I hope you are willing to do the same.

If this is still hard for you to understand, then may I present to you the words of Mr. Miyagi regarding bull soup.

The Bull

Watch from 51 seconds to 2:30

Friday, June 05, 2009

Roll Call: More of the same

Here is another roll call folks.

Geithner Rents Westchester Home After Failing to Sell

June 3 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner is renting his home in Westchester County, New York, for $7,500 a month after failing to find a buyer, according to data on the Westchester-Putnam Multiple Listing Service Inc.

Geithner, 47, was trying to sell the brick and stucco Tudor-style home, the listing shows. The house on Maple Hill Drive has five bedrooms, about 3,600 square feet, and an eat-in kitchen with Siematic cabinetry and black granite countertops.

“Careful attention has been paid to the design of every feature of this sophisticated home,” according to the listing.

Larchmont is a suburb of Westchester and from what I understand it does not have the brand recognition of Scarsdale or Rye, however what has happening to Geithner is indicative of what is happening to all of Westchester.

That is why I take the following message from NAR with a grain of saly.

Pending Home Sales Up for Three Months in a Row

Barry Ritholtz begs to differ and he has good reason to.

Leave it to the NAR to focus on the wrong portion of their own data: As we have seen since Housing peaked some 4 years or so ago, the more significant data is the year over year changes in contract signings. The index is based on sales contracts on existing homes (mostly excluding REOs and foreclosures).

And in April, the PHSI actually improved 3.2% from April 2008. To be certain, this is a step in the right direction.

In the past, we have mostly ignored the monthly improvement when the overall number was negative. As the NAR note themselves, “There is a closer relationship between annual index changes (from the same month a year earlier) and year-ago changes in sales performance than with month-to-month comparisons.”

However, take the the PHSI up 3 months in a row, and the positive annual change as a positive incremental improvement. Not the beginning of a new bull market for houses, but a potential signs things are stabilizing.

Of course, it wouldn’t be an NAR release if there wasn’t something nonsensical in it — this month, the emphasis is on the “NAR’s Housing Affordability Index being is in record territory.”

As we so conclusively demonstrated some time ago, the NAR’s Housing Affordability Index is rather useless.

When I was at the Edge Party, I remember seeing the Mr. Knakal talking shop. Someone asked how the market was, I don't remember his response, however the expression his face pretty much summed up this report.

Chairman Commentary: 1Q09 NYC Investment Sales Extraordinarily Abysmal

I’ve been selling investment properties in New York City for 25 years and have never seen anything like the low level of sales that the market experienced in the first quarter of 2009.

The argument is that there is someone other with money who needs to park it somewhere. But will it be in New York City? I think eventually it will happen. For you investors out there, keep watching and looking for bargains, but I hope you have a lot of capital on hand because mortgage standards have tightened up.

It appears that bankruptcy is the new black.

Bankruptcy filings rise to 6,000 a day as job losses take toll

The guy who took the role that was supposed to go to Bruce Lee has passed away. In a sense it may have been a good thing since that was one of the straws that broke the camel's back and convinced Bruce to go back to Hong Kong and the rest is martial arts superstar history.

Is this too soon?

They don't think so


We at blacklava give much love and respect to David Carradine as a fellow actor and human being.

In light of David Carradine’s recent passing, we realize that the Poser shirt can be interpreted in many different ways. I know this because of various discussions with friends about the positive (creating new possibilities) /negative (dwelling) perception of the design especially with his recent death. I’ve chosen to leave the shirt up on the site because, from where I stand, at this moment, I feel that the shirt holds true to my viewpoint independent of his passing. Having said this, I would like to offer some clarity on my intention with the design so there is an understanding that I do not think David Carradine is evil or wrong in his choice to play the character nor am trying to disrespect him in anyway. He did what he did. It really could have been anyone. The intention of the shirt was to create a tongue-in-cheek visual commentary on the choice to use a Caucasian man in a role of an Asian or Half Asian character. Yellowface. This was the 1970s. It’s what happened and simply a reminder. With this reminder, we place it in the past where it belongs and can now move forward and create new possibilities for Asian Americans and minorities in all aspects of entertainment.

Rest in peace David.

Ryan Suda
Blacklava Clothing

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Foreclosure reports for May

I got the following report from Propertyshark regarding May Foreclosures. The whole report will be released tomorrow. Here are the takeaways/

1) NYC: New scheduled foreclosure auctions in New York City (285) decreased 9% from May 2008 (313) and increased 8% from April 2009 (263).
• Queens (209) comprised over 73% of foreclosures in New York City.
• Manhattan had 8 new scheduled foreclosure auctions in May 2009, 43% less than in May 2008 (14).

2) Miami: In May 2009, new foreclosures in Miami declined 6% from April 2009 (993), but increased 5% over May 2008 (882).

3) LA: Los Angeles had 4,698 new trustee sales scheduled in May 2009, down 12% from May 2008 (5,311), but up 29% from April 2009 (3,628).

4) Seattle: There were 432 new trustee sales scheduled in Seattle for May 2009, up 168% from May 2008 (161) and 27% higher than April 2009 (341)

Here are some groovy charts.

I wonder what the cocktail conversations are like with the Propertyhshark posse. Once people find out what they do , I am sure it gets really redundant with the foreclosure questions.

"So. How are foreclosures numbers this month?"

"They numbers are the same as they were last month and the month before that and the month before that. They suck. Now get me a beer."

Monday, June 01, 2009

Roll Call: Rich on the run

Greetings folks. I have some stories that I find interesting.

Millionaires Go Missing

Here's a two-minute drill in soak-the-rich economics:

Maryland couldn't balance its budget last year, so the state tried to close the shortfall by fleecing the wealthy. Politicians in Annapolis created a millionaire tax bracket, raising the top marginal income-tax rate to 6.25%. And because cities such as Baltimore and Bethesda also impose income taxes, the state-local tax rate can go as high as 9.45%. Governor Martin O'Malley, a dedicated class warrior, declared that these richest 0.3% of filers were "willing and able to pay their fair share." The Baltimore Sun predicted the rich would "grin and bear it."

One year later, nobody's grinning. One-third of the millionaires have disappeared from Maryland tax rolls. In 2008 roughly 3,000 million-dollar income tax returns were filed by the end of April. This year there were 2,000, which the state comptroller's office concedes is a "substantial decline." On those missing returns, the government collects 6.25% of nothing. Instead of the state coffers gaining the extra $106 million the politicians predicted, millionaires paid $100 million less in taxes than they did last year -- even at higher rates.

The lesson here is that rich people are not stupid because they will strip themselves buck naked when they know they are being taken to the cleaners.

As you may have read, I am not too crazy about Edmond Andrews regarding is his finances. It turns there is more to this story than what he has written.

The Road to Bankruptcy

At the end of his book's harrowing account of mortgage mistakes and credit card crises, Edmund Andrews writes: "While our misadventure had certainly been more extreme than those of many other Americans, our situation was not all that unusual." And indeed the book reads like the story of an American Everyman, easily sucked in to the alluring world of easy credit as he struggled to blend a new family. The terrifying implication is that it could happen to you--to anyone who leads with their heart and not their head.

But en route to that moral, it turns out the story has been tidied up a little. Patty Barreiro, Andrews' wife, has declared bankruptcy twice. The second time was while they were married, a detail that didn't make it into either the book or the excerpt that ran in last Sunday's New York Times Magazine.

Andrews' desire to shield his wife is understandable--hell, laudable. No decent person wants to parade their spouse's financial trouble in front of the world. But this is material information that changes the tenor of his story. Serial bankruptcy is not a creation of the current credit crisis, and it doesn't just happen to anyone, particularly anyone with a six figure salary.

In September 1998, California bankruptcy court records indicate that Patty and her first husband declared bankruptcy. The financial statement they filed with the court indicated family income of $174,000 in 1996, $87,000 in 1997, and $126,000 in the first nine months of 1998. The income fluctuations are not surprising, given that her husband was in the film production industry. By the time of the filing, the couple owed about $30,000 on 8 credit cards, over $200,000 in back taxes, and almost $15,000 in private school tuition, as well as substantial car and mortgage payments.

In 2007, nearly as soon as she was eligible, Patty Barreiro filed again in Montgomery Country. When called for comment yesterday, Andrews was unavailable, but there is no question that it is his wife: his income and occupation are prominently featured in the docket.

This is really highly unusual. For starters, the overwhelming majority of people who file bankruptcy do not make anything close to $100,000 a year--the standard estimate when the 2005 bankruptcy reform was passed was that about 80% of filers had household incomes below the median income in their state. The number of affluent people who file twice is even smaller, and has presumably gone down since the 2005 filing largely eliminated abusive serial Chapter 13 filings, which used to be used, often by quite wealthy people, to forestall evictions or foreclosure.

The bankruptcy code requires filers to wait 8 years after a previous Chapter 7 discharge. Barely four months after she became eligible, Patty Barreiro filed again. And the filing shows some suggestion of strategic debt management.

Ms. Barreiro filed separately from Andrews, and had to amend the filing to include Andrews' income after a complaint from a creditor who wanted to force her into a Chapter 13 repayment plan. She filed when her income was at rock bottom, consisting only of unemployment; the timing may have just excluded having to declare $5,000 in freelance editing income Andrews mentions in the book. And she shed what appear to be jointly incurred debts, such as a Comcast account. Comcast does not service the address listed on the 1998 filing, but as I can attest (to my sorrow), it is the main cable provider in Silver Spring, where she moved to live with Andrews in 2004.

Serial bankruptcies can, of course, happen to anyone with enough bad luck. But they usually don't. And when they do, they usually hit people with marginal incomes that leave no margin for error in the budget. Most people, even in LA, are able to build a sustainable budget out of an income in the low six figures.

Moreover, pesky bad luck isn't really the picture painted by either filing. Rather, Ms. Barreiro seems to have spent most of the last two decades living right up to the edge of her income, and beyond, and then massively defaulting. If you structure your finances so that absolutely everything has to go right, it's hard to blame the mortgage company when you don't quite make it.

Andrews has been admirably open about many of the poor decisions and the wishful thinking that led him deep into debt. Nonetheless, he has laid much of the blame onto irresponsible bankers and mortgage brokers. The missing bankruptcies substantially undermine this basic narrative arc of Andrews' story. Particularly in his book, the bankers are the villains, America's current troubles are the inevitable denouement of their maniacal greed, and the Andrews household stands in for an American public led, by their own greed and longing and hopeful trust, into the money pit.

It's hard to argue that Ms. Barreiro was forced into bankruptcy by crazed subprime mortgage lenders in 1998. Greedy bankers certainly didn't keep her and her first husband from paying their taxes.

Basically Mr. Andrews was kneecapped from the beginning due to his association with Ms. Barreiro. Her financial problems became his problems. Apparently the framing of Mr. Andrews was that it was the evil mortgage company that put him in this position which is hardly the case. Even with this new information, I have had little sympathy for Mr. Andrews situation. For a man of his pedigree, he should have understood the concept of Due diligence.

Mr. Andrews and Ms. Barreiro's relationship is an example of when you marry a person, you don't just get the good stuff you get the crap.

Then I came across this article regarding the wussiness of today's journalists which also criques Mr. Andrews.

Once upon a time, journalists were thought to be worldly-wise, tough-minded and cynical. Having seen it all, they knew the phonies and the angles they played. They could turn on the idealism for a family audience until deadline -- and then turn it off when they put on their fedoras or fixed their faces and went off for a few quick ones that would restore their sangfroid for another day.

That was then. Today's reporters are unreluctant confessors of how they've been conned. One of the new soft-boiled breed, New York Times economics writer Edmund L. Andrews, proudly confesses not only to being a sap and a victim but to being naive about the very subject -- the home-mortgage mess -- that the Times has paid him to understand. His new book, "Busted," which was recently excerpted in the Times Magazine, announces that he bought a house he couldn't afford with a subprime loan he couldn't repay and now faces foreclosure. Not only Mr. Andrews but his employers at the Times were apparently happy to parade the fact that their crack reporter acted like a hayseed Jimmy Stewart instead of a knowing Cary Grant.

Nor was it some kind of impossibly complex scheme Mr. Andrews was caught up in. He and his new wife simply spent more than they earned. His story is a variation on an old theme by Mr. Micawber: "Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery."

I have to concur with Mr. Schulman's assessment. The New York Times should examine Mr. Andrews very carefully. The New York Times shouldn't be so eager to be promote this guy.

And this is from Gawker.

The Recession is Over! How We Celebrating?
The Recession is Over! How We Celebrating?

Gawker does their usual snark dance regarding the opinions of writers who already feel nostalgic about the latest recession. Just from reading what they have written, I realize now why print is dead.