November 19th, 2010


More Charts on What Went Wrong.

You know you have a problem when you are buying your own junk and actually believing your own lie. This chart shows how banks ended up repackaging and buying their own own securities during the housing boom. To boost demand for complex mortgage securities called "collateralized debt obligations" (CDOs) some banks resorted to selling these same deals to their own company.

"In analysis by research firm Thetica Systems, commissioned by ProPublica, shows that in the last years of the boom, CDOs had become the dominant purchaser of key, risky parts of other CDOs, largely replacing real investors like pension funds. By 2007, 67 percent of those slices were bought by other CDOs, up from 36 percent just three years earlier. The banks often orchestrated these purchases. In the last two years of the boom, nearly half of all CDOs sponsored by market leader Merrill Lynch bought significant portions of other Merrill CDOs."

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Something we can all get behind

I, for one, am more than willing to reach across and lend a helping hand.
KIEV, Ukraine – How to protest domestic violence, corruption and a visit by Russia's Vladimir Putin? Ukraine's answer: take off your bra!

A group of young activists is gaining popularity here for staging topless protests that involve sexually charged gestures, obscene slogans and scuffles with security guards and police. Often, the point seems to be just getting naked.

The activists, slender, long-legged beauties with traditional Ukrainian flower wreaths in their hair, say they are promoting women's rights and fighting for democracy, but some critics say they're just seeking fame and undermining the feminist cause.

I say the more exposure, the better!

"If sexuality is used to sell cars and cookies, why not use it for social and political projects," said Anna Hutsul, 26, the chain-smoking leader of Femen who has closely cropped red hair. "Sometimes you need to show your breasts for ideological reasons."

Ukraine: Hell, yeah!
  • mijopo

Obamacare and the War on Drugs

There's an interesting article in the National Review Online noting that the new Republican limited government crowd, for the sake of consistency, should give up the war on drugs.  Well, d'uh, I think that's one of the few issues in this community on which there seems to be consensus. But the article makes the interesting point that the tension really hits the road in the form of the Gonzales vs. Raich case which "permits such a broad reading of the Commerce Clause that the federal government can tell individual citizens that they have to buy health insurance".  It turns out that many conservatives had urged this interpretation in a brief urging the Court to recognize that the Commerce Clause allows Congress to intervene in states' attempt to legalize medical marijuana.  This case is now forming the basis of responses to attempts to argue that the Federal governments can't impose an individual mandate.   Where I come from we have a saying for this, "what comes around, goes around".  Is there an inconsistency in arguing that the federal government can overrule states on things like medical marijuana but can't require people to buy health insurance?  Is there any way to show that one is a legitimate application of the Commerce clause while the other isn't?