Thursday, July 21, 2011

San Jose Residents Have Longest Life Spans In U.S.

I knew living in San Jose was good but WoW longest lifespan in the US!!!
Makes you want to move here doesnt it? I am a little surprised but in a good way.

SAN JOSE (CBS 5) — San Jose has topped a list of U.S. cities where residents enjoy the longest life spans.
A study by The Daily Beast and the Centers for Disease Control looked at decades worth lifespan data to find out in which cities people lived the longest.
Watch the video report.
In San Jose, the average life expectancy was 79.2 years for men, 82.9 years for women.
Following San Jose on the list, San Francisco came in 6th. Men there live an average of 75.9 years, while women live 82.52 years. Oakland also made the list, coming in 15th. There, men live 76.4 years on average, women 81.2 years.
Even tourists like Mack Gillen of Ireland could be found basking in San Jose's youthful glow. "I'm not surprised people live longer because it's laid back, it's relaxed," he said.
It seems as if the farther west you go, the better the longevity. Only two cities in the northeast made the cut.
The west coast had the majority of the spots on the list of 20 cities, with California having the most out of all the states.
The study did not specify why people in the top cities listed were living longer.
The full list can be found at this link.

Monday, July 18, 2011

letting robosignners walk

Ever since the current economic crisis began, it has seemed that five words sum up the central principle of United States financial policy: go easy on the bankers.

Fred R. Conrad/The New York Times
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This principle was on display during the final months of the Bush administration, when a huge lifeline for the banks was made available with few strings attached. It was equally on display in the early months of the Obama administration, when President Obama reneged on his campaign pledge to “change our bankruptcy laws to make it easier for families to stay in their homes.” And the principle is still operating right now, as federal officials press state attorneys general to accept a very modest settlement from banks that engaged in abusive mortgage practices.

Why the kid-gloves treatment? Money and influence no doubt play their part; Wall Street is a huge source of campaign donations, and agencies that are supposed to regulate banks often end up serving them instead. But officials have also argued at each point of the process that letting banks off the hook serves the interests of the economy as a whole.

It doesn’t. The failure to seek real mortgage relief early in the Obama administration is one reason we still have 9 percent unemployment. And right now, the arguments that officials are reportedly making for a quick, bank-friendly settlement of the mortgage-abuse scandal don’t make sense.

Before I get to that, a word about the current state of the mortgage mess.

Last fall, we learned that many mortgage lenders were engaging in illegal foreclosures. Most conspicuously, “robo-signers” were attesting that banks had the required documentation to seize homes without checking to see whether they actually had the right to do so — and in many cases they didn’t.

How widespread and serious were the abuses? The answer is that we don’t know. Nine months have passed since the robo-signing scandal broke, yet there still hasn’t been a serious investigation of its reach. That’s because states, suffering from severe budget troubles, lack the resources for a full investigation — and federal officials, who do have the resources, have chosen not to use them.

Instead, these officials are pushing for a settlement with mortgage companies that, reports Shahien Nasiripour of The Huffington Post, “would broadly absolve the firms of wrongdoing in exchange for penalties reaching $30 billion and assurances that the firms will adhere to better practices.”

Why the rush to settle? As far as I can tell, there are two principal arguments being made for letting the banks off easy. The first is the claim that resolving the mortgage mess quickly is the key to getting the housing market back on its feet. The second, less explicitly stated, is the claim that getting tough with the banks would undermine broader prospects for recovery.

Neither of these arguments makes much sense.

The claim that removing the legal cloud over foreclosure would help the housing market — in particular, that it would help support housing prices — leaves me scratching my head. It would just accelerate foreclosures, and if more families were evicted from their homes, that would mean more homes offered for sale — an increase in supply. An increase in the supply of a good usually pushes that good’s price down, not up. Why should the effect on housing go the opposite way?

You might point to the mortgage relief that would supposedly be extracted as part of the settlement. But if mortgage relief is that crucial, why isn’t the administration making a major push to reinvigorate its own Home Affordable Modification Program, which has spent only a small fraction of its money? Or if making that program actually work is hard, why should we believe that any program instituted as part of a mortgage-abuse settlement would work any better?

Sorry, but the case that letting banks off the hook would help the housing market just doesn’t hold together.

What about the argument that getting tough with the banks would threaten the overall economy? Here the question is: What’s holding the economy back?

It’s not the state of the banks. It’s true that fears about bank solvency disrupted financial markets in late 2008 and early 2009. But those markets have long since returned to normal, in large part because everyone now knows that banks will be bailed out if they get in trouble.

The big drag on the economy now is the overhang of household debt, largely created by the $5.6 trillion in mortgage debt that households took on during the bubble years. Serious mortgage relief could make a dent in that problem; a $30 billion settlement from the banks, even if it proved more effective than the government’s modification program, would not.

So when officials tell you that we must rush to settle with the banks for the sake of the economy, don’t believe them. We should do this right, and hold bankers accountable for their actions.

AP Exclusive: Mortgage 'robo-signing' goes on

Where is robo cop when u need him? Probably having a robo donut at robo winchells....
The banking industry is really getting bad nowadays....makes you want to take out a loan doesnt it?
Instead of managing the default, the OBAMA regime should be overhauling the banking system as it
is hoarding money and foreclosing willy nilly

Michelle Conlin and Pallavi Gogoi, AP Business Writers, On Monday July 18, 2011, 5:00 pm
County officials in three states tell The Associated Press that an illegal practice known as "robo-signing" continues in the mortgage industry -- months after banks and mortgage companies promised to stop it.

Last fall, the nation's largest banks suspended foreclosures while they investigated robo-signing. That's the term used when someone in the mortgage industry forges a signature or signs a mortgage document without reading it.

In one Massachusetts county alone, the office that handles property deeds has received almost 1,300 documents with the name of a known robo-signer.

Critics say it's proof that the mortgage industry hasn't gone far

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Don't call it the next tech bubble - yet

As the author notes back to multiple offers in many markets including palo alto and mountain view....funny how cramers rag the street was calling it a bubble here less than a month ago.
Old Jumbo JIMBO dont know real estate

Signs of exuberance are everywhere: Tesla roadsters, soaring real estate, overpriced vinegar - and eye-popping valuations for pre-IPO companies like Facebook and Zynga. So why are so many Silicon Valley denizens reluctant to use the B-word?
By David A. Kaplan, contributor
FORTUNE -- Michael Dreyfus, 49, is a leading real estate broker in the heart of Silicon Valley. During the winter he sensed the housing market was coming back, though he hadn't a clue what he'd be in for. In February prospective sellers came to him with a listing for a perfectly respectable property in Palo Alto: four bedrooms, three bathrooms, 7,500-square-foot lot, needs work. He recommended that the sellers ask $1.9 million. When the house went on the market in April, they had bumped the price to $2.3 million. Seven offers came in above that price; $2.7 million won the frantic bidding. Several buyers attempted to make offers even as the broker was supervising repairs to a kitchen flooded by a burst pipe. What's a little leak when the price tomorrow may hit $3 million? "We live in an alternative universe here," Dreyfus acknowledges.
Welcome to the Bizarro World of Silicon Valley Summer 2011, where financial fervor is fueling yet another real estate boom. Billions of dollars in fresh venture capital is being invested, and tech IPOs are hitting the stock market weekly. The rest of the country may be in the economic doldrums, but here the winds are fair and the sails of the newly rich captains are full. Entrepreneurs are pulling out fresh business plans; more angel investors are getting into the pre-IPO action; exuberance fills the Northern California air. Is the surge the beginning of a new, lasting wave of good times to wash over El Dorado, or is it the harbinger of the latest speculative cycle?
Consumer sites like LinkedIn (LNKD) and Pandora (P) have gone public recently, with multibillion-dollar valuations -- and without the profits to justify it (at least using traditional metrics). LinkedIn has been trading at 750 times its estimated 2012 earnings -- as the rest of the market trades at barely 12 times forward earnings.
Just last week, Zynga filed for a $1 billion IPO. The fever is contagious: Groupon, based in Chicago, is sure to have an IPO shortly, and Washington, D.C.--based LivingSocial, the No. 2 local-commerce website after Groupon, may file soon too. And everybody expects an IPO from Facebook by early 2012. Its valuation, based on trading in private secondary markets, has surpassed an astonishing $80 billion, which puts the seven-year-old company in the same financial league as established public operations like Amazon (AMZN) and Cisco (CSCO).
Microsoft's acquisition of Skype has similarly furrowed brows. Chinese Internet companies, listed on American stock exchanges, are another marker of enthusiasm possibly gone awry. For example, (YOKU), hyped as the YouTube of China, went public in December at $12.80 and approached $70 in April. In June it had sunk to near $25. You could argue the stock had returned to normalcy -- or instead that a little bubble had popped, and when it did, it popped big. has become its own cautionary tale. It announced in the spring that it had raised $41 million for a "miraculous" free app for smartphones that would allow users to share snapshots. Yet when the app launched, it was a bust.
The swell in IPOs isn't limited to splashy social-networking companies. IronPlanet, based across the bay from Silicon Valley in Pleasanton, is as unsexy as it gets. It conducts online auctions worldwide for heavy equipment, like a Caterpillar (CAT) backhoe loader or a John Deere (DE) crawler tractor -- and plans to go public this summer. Overall, more than 50 tech IPOs are expected by year-end -- coincidentally, or ominously, the most since 2000. Proceeds from IPOs this quarter -- nearly $12 billion so far -- are already more than double last year's total. Venture investment for 2010 was $23 billion -- nowhere near the $99 billion of 2000 but far above the $10.5 billion of 1996.
From the tech boom's epicenter in and around Palo Alto to the neighborhoods up the peninsula in San Francisco, the newest paper Siliconillionaires are everywhere. "It's too hot," says one VC whose firm has invested in a dozen IPOs over the past year. He's telling me this on a recent Tuesday night during one of Silicon Valley's elite poker games -- in which he's proving he's quite adroit at placing bets.
"The valuations are very high and discount too much risk. Too much late-stage money is flowing in -- and much of it from other dotcoms, which have lots of their own investment money coming in, so it's circular." The exuberance reminds him of a time not so long ago -- barely a decade -- when the dotcoms and the stock market and the Valley came crashing down. On March 31, 2000, the Nasdaq (COMP) peaked at 5132. At 2800 or so, it's still barely half that now. Nonetheless, warns the VC, "the analogies to the last bubble are unavoidable." (For such analogies, see charts below.)

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Citigroup sued by National Guard man over foreclosure

To me there is no excuse for is a man going to serve his country who was wronged by the bank who held is mortgage. I hope he recovers double what it was worth. People should blame the banks for the housing failure as they in large part caused it and then profited when people couldnt make the payments. This is a good example of it. If the true negative value of underwater homes was on the books many many banks would fail. But there is an accounting rule that allows them to mask it. BAD BAD CITIBANK!!!!
(just my opinion)

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Citigroup Inc was sued on Friday by a Texas Army National Guard sergeant who said the bank foreclosed on his home while he was preparing to be deployed to Iraq, court papers show.
Jorge Rodriguez said the May 2, 2006 foreclosure of his Del Valle, Texas home by the bank's CitiMortgage unit violated a 2003 federal law designed to ease the financial and legal burdens of military personnel called into active duty.
Rodriguez said the foreclosure occurred three months after he had begun training at Fort Hood, where he was "on lock down" and could not communicate with outsiders.
He said he could not make payments on his mortgage while in active duty, and learned about the foreclosure only upon returning on August 7, 2007 from an 11-month stint in Iraq.
"This was not an isolated incident," Rodriguez said in a complaint filed in Manhattan federal court. "CitiMortgage initiated thousands of foreclosure proceedings across the United States without adequate safeguards to ensure that service members on active duty were not targeted."
Rodriguez said his property was sold at foreclosure for about $137,900, or $13,400 more than his original mortgage. He said he received no proceeds from the sale.
The lawsuit seeks class-action status on behalf of U.S. armed forces members whose homes were foreclosed upon improperly by CitiMortgage from December 19, 2003 to the present.
It seeks to restore possession of the homes, compensatory and punitive damages, and other remedies.
Sean Kevelighan, a Citigroup spokesman, said the New York-based bank is looking into the matter.
JPMorgan Chase & Co, a Citigroup rival, this year apologized and said it would forgive loans made on homes it seized from at least 33 U.S. military personnel who were on active duty.
The case is Rodriguez v. CitiMortgage Inc, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 11-04718.
(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel; editing by Carol Bishopric and Tim Dobbyn)