* Senate defeats Obama-backed, anti-foreclosure bill (Anne Flaherty, San Francisco Chronicle)

dozen Democrats joined Republicans in the 45-51 vote to scuttle the bill, which Obama had said was important to saving the economy and promised to push through Congress. But facing stiff opposition from banks, Obama did little to pressure lawmakers who worried it would encourage bankruptcy filings and spike interest rates.

* Don’t dismiss state help for mortgagebacked securities (George Hay, The Daily Telegraph)

Slicing and dicing huge quantities of duff mortgages into securities and selling them to investors who were oblivious to their poor quality undermined the financial system.

* ‘Cramdown ‘ Lacks Votes (Elizabeth Williamson, Wall Street Journal)

President Barack Obama’s proposal to give homeowners new relief in bankruptcy court appears headed to defeat in the Senate Thursday, barring a last-minute compromise.

* People are angry. Of course, people are always angry, because it’s one of the… (Jon Carroll, San Francisco Chronicle)

Let me tell you about my life. No, stop looking at your watch – this is just 850 words, and you can sit still for that. Without revealing too many details, let me just give you an overview of my financial situation. I’m employed, although I’m employed in the newspaper business, so how much does that really count? But still, a paycheck. Yes, I am one of those millions of Americans – a majority o…

* Small kitchen, smaller budget? 5 tips to renovate (Josh Hoffner, The Gazette)

An intriguing trend has emerged from the wreckage of the real estate market: The brave souls taking the plunge into homeownership are increasingly turning to studio apartments and smaller homes.

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* Sister Libby Fernandez leads battle for the homeless in Sacramento (Cynthia Hubert, Sacramento Bee)

Jackie Fitzgerald, who is homeless, rallies with others Tuesday at the Capitol. The recent flap over Sacramento’s tent city – which has now been dismantled – has given rise to a new push to help the area’s homeless, led in part by Sister Libby Fernandez of Loaves & Fishes. She envisions a series of smaller, legal campgrounds with sanitation services, running water, and mental health and drug co…

* Cities clicking together to fight foreclosure blight (Jean Hopfensperger, Star Tribune)

With so many new incentives for home buyers, Danetta Saul is considering taking the plunge. The Woodbury schoolteacher was excited to learn about a project being launched today by St. Paul and Minneapolis to lure more home buyers to the two cities.

* Falling prices mean we can finally buy our first homes (Karen Rockett, Mirror)

Talk to most homeowners and they will tell you they are horrified at the way their houses are plunging in value.

* USDA approved (Beth W. Orenstein, Morning Call)

Jamie and Danielle Brannon bought a $133,500 two-bedroom home in Nazareth in January and paid only $134.63 out-of-pocket.

* Buy while rates are low (Beth W. Orenstein, Morning Call)

Lenders expect that with mortgage interest rates at historic lows, with home prices declining and many first-time homebuyers eligible for up to an $8,000 tax credit, they will be kept busy with applications for home loans this spring.

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Here is today’s story from The Daily Telegraph on Interest Rates.

Borrowers are spending less than a third of their monthly wage packet on their mortgage compared to half last year

sharp drop in interest rates and falling house prices means that buying a new home has become the most affordable in seven years, Halifax said.

Read the whole article

* Johnson: Taxes and turmoil? Time for a tea party (Greg Johnson, Knoxville News-Sentinel)

commentator Rick Santelli fired a shot heard ’round the nation on Feb. 19 when he ripped President Barack Obama’s mortgage bailout plan and called for a modern-day Boston Tea Party. Since Santelli’s shot, tea parties to protest massive government spending and onerous taxation have taken place across America, the Internet spreading the word infinitely faster than Paul Revere’s ride.

* Home Front: Mortgage market tilts interest rates to favor home buyers (Jim Wasserman, Sacramento Bee)

Among people considering whether to keep renting or buy a house soon, the tough choice is always between historic low interest rates and falling prices.

* Northern Rock can offer a blueprint for disaster (Paul Farrow, The Daily Telegraph)

There are some stories you hear or read in the morning that make you choke on your cornflakes in disbelief, and there are others which do not surprise you at all.

* Buy while rates are low (Beth W. Orenstein, Morning Call)

Lenders expect that with mortgage interest rates at historic lows, with home prices declining and many first-time homebuyers eligible for up to an $8,000 tax credit, they will be kept busy with applications for home loans this spring.

* Tax day brings tea party day for protests nationwide (Dave Helling, Kansas City Star)

You’re invited to an afternoon tea party — and not the raised-pinkie, one-lump-or-two variety, either.Try a Boston Harbor, sneak over the bow, throw-stuff-in-the water populist protest against the federal government.Today in Kansas City, and 2,000 other communities large and small across America, hundreds of thousands of people are expected to gather t…

* Lenders Offering 50-Year Mortgages (Brian Dakss, CBS News)

Lenders Offering 50-Year Mortgages Payments Lower Than With Other Loans, But Experts Urge Caution

* Tax deadline only a week away (Eileen Aj Connelly, Tulsa World)

Procrastinators, start your engines. Or at least, fire up your laptops. There’s just a few days to go before you must file your 2008 tax return.

* How old is too old to work? (Kathleen Doheny, KCAU)

April 10 (HealthDay News) — Debate about the ideal age to retire has been going on for years. But with the U.S. economy in a dramatic slump, the flip side of that question — how old is too old to work? — has become uppermost in many people’s minds.

* Making Home Affordable offers mortgage relief (Lura Romei, Plain Dealer)

If you’re confused by the new $75 billion mortgage loan modification program Congress just passed and that was signed by President Obama, you’re not alone.

* Extreme Cheapskates (Anne D’ Innocenzio, Waterbury Republican-American)

was already cheap,” said VanDeventer, a 36-year-old mortgage loan underwriter from Broomfield, Colo. “Now I am neurotic about it.”

* Legalized loan sharking (Bill Wilson, Wichita Eagle)

reader forwarded me an interesting link from last month in the Los Angeles Times on credit card interest rates, further reinforcing my long-held belief that taking out a credit card is my biggest life mistake.

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* Sure, rates are low, but refinancing isn’t for everyone (Herb Weisbaum, KPIC)

Uncle Sam wants you to refinance. President Barack Obama on Thursday urged homeowners to jump at low interest rates and refinance their home loans. But refinancing is not for everyone.

* I Do, I Do: Every dog has his day – Cooper’s was a wedding (M. C. Finotti, Florida Times-Union)

Patrick Rumble and Kimberly Stokes haven’t even been married two months, but they already have a child.

* SHORT SALE in a nutshell (Cynthia Sells, Summit Daily News)

What can the average person do to stop a foreclosure? If you find yourself behind on your home loan payment, first, dont wait until you are several mortgage payments behind to get help. Mortgage companies have entire departments, known as loss mitigation, available to help you out of this mess. You have to specifically ask for that department simply speaking to a customer service represen…

* U.S. crackdown targets mortgage scams (Alan Zibel, Philadelphia Inquirer)

Federal and state officials are cracking down on mortgage-modification scams, accusing “criminal actors” of preying on desperate borrowers caught up in the nation’s housing crisis.

* Report: US is ripe for recruiting by extremists (Eileen Sullivan, Tri-City Herald)

Homeland Security officials are warning that right-wing extremists could use the bad state of the U.S. economy and the election of the country’s first black president to recruit members to their cause.

* Buy while rates are low (Beth Orenstein, Morning Call)

Lenders expect that with mortgage interest rates at historic lows, with home prices declining and many first-time homebuyers eligible for up to an $8,000 tax credit, they will be kept busy with applications for home loans this spring.

* Detectives visit woman in hospital (Candice Baker, Independent)

They tell her the caretaker suspected of financial abuse was arrested. Suspects pretrial begins at 8:30 a.m. today.

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* Auto Sales: Worst February in 40 Years (David Welch, BusinessWeek)

Auto Sales: Worst February in 40 Years GM is the biggest loser, with new-car sales down 53%. And carmakers are finding that even lavish incentives aren’t stopping consumers from buying used cars

* Banks accused of profiteering as they triple mortgage margins (Myra Butterworth, Telegraph)

The difference between the Bank of England’s benchmark interest rate and the average rate on a tracker mortgage has risen from 1.18 per cent at the beginning of April last year to 3.20 per cent today, according to personal finance website Moneyfacts.co.uk

* Sure, rates are low, but refinancing isn’t for everyone (Herb Weisbaum, KVAL)

Uncle Sam wants you to refinance. President Barack Obama on Thursday urged homeowners to jump at low interest rates and refinance their home loans. But refinancing is not for everyone.

* Attorney General: Health issues a top complaint in NC (Clay Barbour, Independent Tribune)

For the fifth year in a row, health care topped the state’s hit-list for complaints filed with the N.C. attorney general.

* Landmark Mendon inn goes on the block (Brent Curtis, Rutland Herald)

The 96-room Cortina Inn in Mendon will go to the highest bidder next month when the property goes up on the auction block.

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* Regulators struggle to contain foreclosure fraud (John W. Schoen, Newsweek)

The government is struggling to hold back a wave of foreclosure “rescue scams arising from the growing number of homeowners facing the loss of their homes. It may be fighting a losing battle.

* A global effort to avert economic disaster (Michael Boskin, San Diego Union-Tribune)

With the global economy mired in recession and financial crisis, policy-makers everywhere have launched a series of monetary, financial and fiscal responses. Nevertheless, economies continue to contract, unemployment to rise and wealth to decline.

* Mortgage refinancing surge expected (Tom Ramstack, Washington Times)

Homeowners are being tempted to refinance their mortgages as the nation’s struggling economy produces the lowest interest rates in nearly a half-century.

* Recession exit strategies carry high risk (John Thornhill, The Financial Times)

The good news is that even some of the worlds most enthusiastic economic pessimists, such as Nouriel Roubini of New York University, are beginning to discuss exit strategies from the worst global recession in generations. The bad news is that many of these exit strategies appear as toxic as a bunch of subprime mortgage assets.

* Tracker Mania and other Ailments (Anm Blog, The London Evening Standard)

tell the victims of tracker mania. I know. I’m one of them. The symptoms manifest themselves early each month: on the dot of noon.

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