News from around the web: 2009-09-05

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  • Troubles For ‘Prime’ Borrowers Intensify – WSJ.com

    The mortgage-delinquency rate among so-called subprime borrowers reached 25% in the first quarter but appears to be leveling off, rising only slightly in the second quarter. The pace of delinquencies for prime borrowers is accelerating. Since prime loans account for 80% of U.S. bank exposure to mortgages and credit cards, these losses could ultimately exceed those from weaker borrowers.

  • Debt Clouds Future of Miami’s Fabled Fontainebleau – WSJ.com

    South Florida’s Soffer family, already roiled by the June bankruptcy of its $3 billion Fontainebleau casino-hotel project in Las Vegas, is grappling with troubles at another cornerstone of its $7 billion real-estate empire: The original Fontainebleau hotel in Miami Beach.

  • Governments Shed More Workers – WSJ.com

    State and local governments stood out as safe havens for workers during the recession’s early stages. Now even they are laying off employees as officials rush to cut costs and balance budgets.

  • States Shut Down to Save Cash – WSJ.com

    California drivers can’t line up to renew their licenses Friday. Wisconsin natives can’t order copies of their birth certificates. Georgia consumers will have to postpone registering complaints with state watchdogs. And stranded motorists in Maryland may have to wait a little longer for highway-department help. Across the country, cash-strapped state governments are shutting down business for a day at a time to save money.

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  • Bears still growl at the Sanctum Sanctorum of the policy elites – Ambrose Evans-Pritchard

    If arch-bear Nouriel Roubini has really thrown in the towel on our Great Contraction – as often claimed – this was not obvious here on the shores of Lake Como in Italy.

  • Roubini: U-shaped recovery is possible | Reuters

    Nouriel Roubini, a leading economist who predicted the scale of global financial troubles, said a U-shaped recovery is possible, with leading economies undeperforming perhaps for 3 years. He said there is also an increasing risk of a "double-dip" scenario, however.

  • Double-dip recession risk rising: El-Erian | Reuters

    Mohamed El-Erian, the chief executive of top bond fund PIMCO, said in an interview on Friday the risk of stalled economic growth in 2010 is increasing, given a still-weak labor market.

  • Why Dutch women work part-time | vox

    Female part-time work is much more popular and persistent in the Netherlands than in any other OECD country. A 2001 tax reform that raised the after-tax hourly wage increased female labour force participation but actually reduced hours worked. This column explains why Dutch women are happy to work part-time.

  • Broader Unemployment Rate Hits 16.8% in August – Real Time Economics – WSJ

    The U-6 figure is the highest since the Labor Department started this particular data series in 1994. But, similar to the headline unemployment rate, it likely isn’t as bad as it was in the 1980s. U-6 only goes back to 1994, but a discontinued measure has a longer history. That old U-6 measure peaked at 14.3% in 1982. Through some calculation, a comparable measure can be determined in the current report. Under the old U-6 methodology, the August rate would be 13.3%, the highest rate since 1983, but still below the peak.

  • EconomPic: Number of Hours Worked per Civilian Sees New Low

  • After a slight "rebound" last month, we are now at a new all-time (since 1964) low.

  • How Did Economists Get It So Wrong? – Paul Krugman

    A well-balanced but Keynesian view of the recent history of the economics profession.

  • Give control to banks and problems take care of themselves – Telegraph

    John Maynard Keynes versus Milton Friedman: the economics clash to end them all. It is not merely that the pair were both phenomenally intelligent, frequently caustic debaters; nor is it that they hail from such different backgrounds, one an Eton-educated Englishman, the other the Brooklyn-born son of Hungarian Jewish immigrants.

  • Restricting bankers’ bonuses won’t help address root causes of the crisis – Telegraph

    Alistair Darling was right to say yesterday that it’s not the job of governments to decide which commercial activities are of value to society. But if that’s true, then neither is it the job of governments to decide how the people who are carrying out those activities are paid.

  • FT.com – Sweden adds to calls for limits to bank bonuses

    The Eu looks to be united on one side of this debate, with the U.S. on the outside looking in.

  • DPJ May Divert 5 Trillion Yen of Stimulus, Fujii Says – Bloomberg.com

    Japan’s incoming government may redeploy as much as 5 trillion yen ($54 billion) in stimulus spending currently planned for “wasteful” programs, Democratic Party of Japan lawmaker Hirohisa Fujii said.

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  • WTO rules European subsidies given to Airbus were illegal – Telegraph

    The World Trade Organisation is understood to have ruled that subsidies provided by European countries for Airbus’s A380 superjumbo were illegal.

  • FDIC: Failed Bank Information – Bank Closing Information for First State Bank, Flagstaff, AZ

    As of July 24, 2009, First State Bank had total assets of $105 million and total deposits of approximately $95 million. In addition to assuming all of the deposits of the failed bank, Sunwest Bank agreed to purchase essentially all of the assets.

  • FDIC: Failed Bank Information – Bank Closing Information for Platinum Community Bank, Rolling Meadows, IL

    The FDIC will mail customers checks for their insured funds on Tuesday, September 8. Platinum Community Bank, as of August 29, 2009, had total assets of $345.6 million and total deposits of $305.0 million. The FDIC entered into an agreement with MB Financial Bank, National Association, to accept the failed bank’s direct deposits from the federal government, such as Social Security and Veterans’ payments.

  • FDIC: Failed Bank Information – Bank Closing Information for Vantus Bank, Sioux City, IA

    As of August 28, 2009, Vantus Bank had total assets of $458 million and total deposits of approximately $368 million. In addition to assuming all of the deposits of the failed bank, Great Southern Bank agreed to purchase approximately $387 million of the assets. The FDIC will retain the remaining assets for later disposition.

  • FDIC: Failed Bank Information – Bank Closing Information for InBank, Oak Forest, IL

    As of August 3, 2009, InBank had total assets of $212 million and total deposits of approximately $199 million. In addition to assuming the deposits of the failed bank, MB Financial Bank, N.A., agreed to purchase essentially all of the assets.

  • FDIC: Failed Bank Information – Bank Closing Information for First Bank of Kansas City, Kansas City, MO

    As of June 30, 2009, First Bank of Kansas City had total assets of $16 million and total deposits of approximately $15 million. In addition to assuming all of the deposits of the failed bank, Great American Bank agreed to purchase all of the assets.

  • Approval No Longer Sliding? — Political Wire

    While the week started with David Brooks and others highlighting President Obama’s rapidly falling approval rates, the Gallup Daily Tracking poll finds the president’s approval rates actually rose five points this week to 55%.

  • Bending the Curve: Effective Steps to Address Long-Term Health Care Spending Growth – Brookings Institution

    With the President, members of Congress, and key stakeholders seeking aggressive reforms to slow spending growth while improving value, a group of 10 health care policy experts today released a set of concrete, feasible steps that could achieve this goal. The plan, “Bending the Curve: Effective Steps to Address Long-Term Health Care Spending Growth,” focuses on reducing the growth of health care spending, while also improving quality.

  • HPV Vaccine Could Prevent Some Forms Of Breast Cancer, Australian Research Suggests

    Vaccinating women against the human papillomavirus (HPV) may prevent some forms of breast cancer and save tens of thousands of lives each year, new Australian research suggests.

  • "So Then I Said to Roger Federer . . .": The Tricky Business of Name-Dropping: Scientific American

    The participants in the name-dropping experiment were 141 students from the University of Zurich. Each was misled to believe that they would later be participating with a partner—a complete stranger—as part of a study on sports behavior. For now, though, they were to simply exchange a few introductory pleasantries through email. (In actuality, of course, there was no other person on email, just the experimenter sending the participant a pre-scripted message). The students were randomly assigned to one of four “name-dropping conditions” in which the fictitious same-sex partner either: (1) didn’t mention Federer at all; (2) mentioned he (or she) was a fan of Federer; (3) claimed to be a personal friend of Federer, or; (4) claimed to be both Federer’s personal friend and workout buddy.

  • Mice Can Eat ‘Junk’ And Not Get Fat: Researchers Find Gene That Protects High-fat-diet Mice From Obesity

    University of Michigan researchers have identified a gene that acts as a master switch to control obesity in mice. When the switch is turned off, even high-fat-diet mice remain thin.

  • Exclusive: How the Press Pandered to Blagojevich after His Arrest – Rod Blagojevich – Gawker

    On the morning he was arrested on corruption charges last December, Rod Blagojevich was the nation’s biggest greaseball. So obviously, the national press was willing to say anything to land an interview. And we’ve got their emails to prove it.

  • So Gmail Was Down. Get Over It. | The Big Money

    mail works most of the time. Maybe we should give Google (GOOG) a break and not freak out every time something does go wrong.

  • James May Builds Himself a Real LEGO House

    If you have a passion for cars you may have heard about James May. The guy is producer and co-presenter on one of Britain’s best TV Shows, Top Gear. Also known as Captain Slow, James is more than just a guy with a passion for engines. He also loves LEGO and to prove that he’s serious about it, after beer with the “mates” he decided to build — entirely from LEGO pieces — a real two-storey house, where he’ll live upon completion.

  • Football: Premier League’s top 20 transfer flops | Football | guardian.co.uk

    You knew Shevchenko would be in there.

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    Distraction of the Day: 400 lb. Pet Pig

  • In New York, I lived one floor down from a couple who had a pet pig.  They would go for strolls in Manhattan with their pet the way one might do with the pet dog

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