Bottom to Housing Market Not Yet Visible, IMF Says -

"As economies slow, credit deterioration is widening and deepening, and as banks deleverage and rebuild capital, lending is beginning to be squeezed, restricting household spending and clouding the outlook for the real economy,"


The fund urged U.S. authorities to examine further the business model of Fannie and Freddie "when conditions stabilize."

Best Buy Will Sell Musical Instruments -

This is interesting...   Best Buy getting into the market....   Hopefully their customer service in this area would be as good as the local little guy with better stock availability.    My biggest problem with the local music shops is they have very little variety and depth of stock.   My problem with the guitar center chain is they're very uneven across their stores in knowledge of the product.   

Also, how will Best Buy ensure knowledgeable staff?  Will they do Lessons? Rentals? Will have to wait and see.

Carvin GuitarTraq Discontinued!

So much for customer service and transparency in the operation. I think this amounts to, "We're taking along time to get the product out, so we're removing your ability to track progress and don't call us and ask either!". What do you think would happen if Federal Express or UPS turn off their package tracking and said "We'll call you if there is a problem!". Here is a snippet from the Carvin Blog:

"After careful consideration, Carvin has decided to remove the Guitar Traq feature from Why? Due to the high volume of guitar and bass sales through Carvin’s Custom Shop, calls and e-mails asking why a particular instrument has not been started yet has affected the efficiency of our operation. Because of Carvin’s higher than normal volume of instrument sales, we are now quoting 10 weeks to build an instrument. It generally takes 4-6 weeks to complete an instrument, but due to the higher sales it is taking several weeks to start a particular instrument. This has concerned some customers who have placed custom orders and who have looked on-line to see that their guitar or bass has not moved in production. These factors led to the decision to discontinue Guitar Traq on-line."

I went to the BBS to discuss with other customers and to add insult to injury, the BBS admin posted the following notice:

"...and on a side note, the decision has been made, so there's no point in debating this. In order to ease this transition, the moderators have been instructed to delete any threads dealing with this decision."
For a product that can cost a $1000 or more paid in advance, you would think that I could call the salesman and ask him where my order is in production! Boy, my order better come on time and be spot on...

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Fed Minutes Reflect Worries About Downturn -

Fed Minutes Reflect Worries About Downturn - "Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, in testimony before Congress last week, said the economy could slip into recession in the first half. Minutes show that downbeat view was broadly held. Officials discussed evidence of one of their greatest concerns: an 'adverse feedback loop' in which restricted credit availability worsens the economic outlook and then tightens credit conditions further."

Fed Races to Rescue Bear Stearns In Bid to Steady Financial System -

"The lifeline gives Bear access to cash for an initial period of 28 days. J.P. Morgan will borrow the money from the Fed and relend it to Bear. Exact terms weren't disclosed, but the amount is limited only by how much collateral Bear can provide, Fed officials said.

The Fed, not J.P. Morgan, is bearing the risk of the loan. It is the first time since the Great Depression that the Fed has lent in this fashion to any entity other than a bank."