Archive for October 10, 2008

Chronicles Of Depression 2.0: #327: Illegals

October 10, 2008

Illegal residents but responsible homeowners
Undocumented immigrants who own homes have a lower rate of delinquencies than U.S. citizens, according to various real estate sources.

Three years ago, Jose Perez purchased a small condo northeast of San Francisco for nearly $250,000. Since then, the first-time buyer has watched the housing market collapse.

But Perez has managed better at avoiding foreclosure than thousands of other U.S. homeowners who bought at the peak of the market.

What makes his case special is that Perez is an illegal immigrant.

Home loans held by illegal immigrants in California and across the nation generally have had fewer delinquencies than similar loans held by U.S. citizens, in part because of stricter lending requirements, according to banks, insurers and Realtors.

“Every indication is that their performance is better than the average” mortgage account, said Tim Sandos, president of the National Assn. of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals.

More than 12,000 home loans were issued in recent years through a special program that relies on government-issued taxpayer identification numbers instead of Social Security numbers, according to the association.

The identification numbers, known as ITINs, were designed for foreign-born residents living legally in the U.S. but are widely acknowledged to be used primarily by illegal immigrants.

The real estate association does not keep statistics on foreclosure rates. But it has reported that the delinquency rates for taxpayer identification loans were 1.15% or lower in 2006, compared with about 3.5% for other home loans.

Although illegal immigrants are also feeling the effects of the downturn in the U.S. economy, Sandos and others cite one major factor for the success of taxpayer identification loans: stricter requirements, including larger down payments, pre-purchase counseling and fixed mortgage rates.

But there is another reason, Sandos said.

“They come for the promise of a better future,” he said. “They come for the promise of homeownership. Once they have it, they are going to move heaven and Earth to keep it.

Perez said that when he lost his job as a chef, his wife started working as a housecleaner. The couple dipped into their savings to pay the bills. Twice, they paid the mortgage on the 16th, one day past their grace period. But in July, Perez started a new job and resumed his on-time payments.

Emphasis added by me.

More, interesting:

Many of the mortgages nationwide came out of a partnership between Citibank and Acorn Housing, a nonprofit group that helps the poor. Citibank said the taxpayer identification loans have some of the lowest delinquency rates among all affordable-lending programs.

“We believe that it has been a very successful program in terms of delinquencies,” said Mark Rodgers, vice president of public affairs for Citi consumer banking. But Rodgers said it was too early to gauge foreclosure rates, because nearly all of its loans are less than 2 years old.

Emphasis added by me.

Yeah, good luck collecting if such people are rounded up and deported!

But then there’s this, which I also always suspected:

Bruce Dorpalen of Acorn Housing said he has seen few foreclosures among undocumented home buyers enrolled in the Citibank program.

He said many buyers own their own businesses, have U.S.-born children and have money saved. If they do get into financial trouble, he said, many have an extended family safety net.

“If someone lost a job, there would be other people stepping in to help find a job or make the payments,” he said.

Emphasis added by me.

No help for people like me! Unmarried and (thankfully!) childless.

You’d think that’d give me some minority rights. Hell no!

Free eBooks: Pre-Net Adult Novels

October 10, 2008

Oh shut up. The Internet has rendered these texts obsolete. Trust me, I could provide links to lists of free video that would make your jaw fall off. (And, no, do not email me or ask for such links.)

These things are now quaint curiosities.

I remember reading books about Hollywood screenwriters and how, at night, they’d play cards and drink, and take turns going into another room that had a typewriter. Each writer would do partial or full chapter, for beer (or betting!) money, of books like these. Who knows? You could be reading F. Scott Fitzgerald in one of these and never realize it!

That’s the tamest cover of the lot. Shut up. Go to xNovel for others.

— via Twitter from top_book.

Bank Collapse Watch: Main Street & Meridian

October 10, 2008

Two small banks fail; brings year’s tally to 15

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. said it had seized Main Street Bank of Northville, Michigan, and Meridian Bank of Eldred, Illinois.

And, yep, they were on the list I referenced months ago.

Click = big

See, this is how the FDIC does it. They don’t announce until Fridays — and then only after the domestic markets have closed.

Free eBook: Ragged Trousered Philanthropists

October 10, 2008

Via Twitter from top_book:


The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists (1910) is the only book ever written by Robert Tressell (the pen name of Robert Noonan). Part novel, part socialist propaganda and part biography, Tressell never lived to see the book published.

It has been called the book that won the general election for Labour after the end of World War II; the veteran MP Tony Benn describes it as “a torch to pass from generation to generation”.

Sounds like something just right for these times.

It’s a PDF, but don’t let that stop you.

Hit the link to go to the post. The PDF link is there for Save As…

Headline Of The Week

October 10, 2008

That Rex Hammock is a hoot!

Go read the post.

Chronicles Of Depression 2.0: #326: O’Neill 2

October 10, 2008

Paul O’Neill: Blunt Talk About the Crisis
President Bush’s first Treasury Secretary on the root causes, the Paulson plan, the House vote defeating it, and more

This is the quote I want:

Business Week: Then what happens to the economy and the markets?

O’Neill: The markets freeze up. In the most extreme case, people go to the gas station, swipe their credit card, and the machine says cash only. We revert to a cash-only economy, which is a disaster for us. The next step is barter, which is what happened in Germany in 1923.

What I said: Atlas Shrugged 2008

Two More Gerry Anderson Videos

October 10, 2008

I think this popped up on YouTube before, but wasn’t embeddable. Resolution is terrible, but the audio is OK. And it features behind-the-scenes live filming footage of Terrahawks!

Gerry Anderson

And here’s another leaked clip from Gerry Anderson’s Eternity demo reel:

Gerry Andersons Eternity. Swatship cockpit view clip

McCain: You’d Vote For HIM?

October 10, 2008

For all you eejits who imagine that John McCain understands your daily life, these two videos are your Wake Up Call:



Chronicles Of Depression 2.0: #325: O’Neill

October 10, 2008

Paul O’Neill was the original Treasury Secretary under the first Dubya (mis)Administration.

I cited a book about him previously.

In this YouTube video, posted October 5th, he has a different view of that $700B-plus scam bailout:

Paul O’Neill on the bailout

And he cites a new figure: Fifty-three trillion dollars.

I think he is very, very wrong about $5.00/gallon gas. That’s shortsighted. It’d raise food prices — all prices — even more!

Chronicles Of Depression 2.0: #324: Crashing

October 10, 2008

It’s Freefall Friday: Blind panic on Stock Market as FTSE loses £250million a SECOND

Blind panic swept through the City today as the Stock Market collapsed, shedding £80billion in its worst ever opening as share prices collapsed following huge losses around the globe.

Traders were in a state of “paralytic fear” when shares crashed through the floor just after the 8am opening.

In seven minutes this morning, the FTSE-100 Index tumbled almost ten per cent or 439 points to reach 3873.00 – its lowest level for more than five years – before clawing back slightly.

Share values dropped at a rate of £250million a second. Bank shares were among the biggest losers as only one company managed to stay in the red.

Emphasis added by me.


Across the world, shares were in the red. In Europe, benchmark indexes in France and Germany also plunged almost 10 per cent in early trading. Spain’s Ibex stock index was down more than six per cent.

Austria’s financial watchdog stopped trading in all securities if they swing more than 10 per cent and introduced a ban on short-selling to try and ease the turmoil.

Earlier in Asia, Japan’s Nikkei closed down 9.62 per cent in its worst session since Black Monday in 1987. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong closed down more than seven per cent and China’s benchmark index was down 3.57 per cent.

‘Selling is unstoppable in New York and Tokyo,’ said Yutaka Miura, senior strategist at Shinko Securities Co. Ltd. ‘Investors were gripped by fear.’

Yamato Life Insurance Co in Japan became the country’s first financial collapse of the crisis, folding with £1.8trillion in debts.

In the Philippines, shares closed down 8.3 per cent. Trading was suspended ‘indefinitely’ in Indonesia to prevent any more losses and also halted in Vienna.

Meanwhile, in Australia, experts dubbed it ‘Black Friday’ after its stocks tumbled 8.34 per cent in its biggest ever one-day loss. In New Zealand, shares fell 4.72 per cent.

‘There’s no bottom to the stock markets now,’ added Francis Lun, general manager at Fulbright Securities Ltd. in Hong Kong. ‘There’s no clue when it will stop.’

Emphasis added by me.

Trading was also halted in Brazil, Romania, and — our favorite whipping boy these days — Iceland.

Look at this:

The sell-off on Wall Street last night took place exactly one year to the day after the Dow enjoyed a record high of 14,164.

Since then, frozen credit markets, rocketing levels of mortgage defaults, job losses and outright fear have knocked 39 per cent from its value. On paper, the losses are worth $8.3trillion.

Emphasis added by me.

What else is there to say?