Night Time Reading: 2009-09-08

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  • Wall Street Plans On Securitizing Life Insurance Policies | But Then What

    Those lovable Wall Street ghouls have cooked up a new asset class to securitize — life insurance policies. I am not kidding you, they’re going into the business of buying life insurance policies from sick people, pooling them and then selling the securities to investors.

  • NY’s Cuomo may charge BofA execs over Merrill | Reuters

    New York’s attorney general threatened on Tuesday to file charges against top executives of Bank of America Corp over the disclosure of details regarding bonuses it authorized to Merrill Lynch & Co employees before the company’s merger.

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  • Why Goldman Always Wins – Megan McArdle, The Atlantic

    Why were David Poor, and presumably Merrill Lynch, spending so much money on us? We were all fine Americans, I am sure, and attended top business schools. But that summer, and every summer, tens of thousands of young M.B.A.s would have slaved away happily in Merrill Lynch’s beige corridors without being wined and dined. If Merrill had lost a few of us to JP Morgan or Goldman Sachs, we could have been effortlessly replaced. Yet the company was not only treating us to trips and fancy dinners, but also paying us $25,000 for 10 weeks of work.

  • Consumer Credit Plunges By Record $21.6 Billion As The Main Driver For GDP Growth Says "Enough" | zero hedge

    Someone please spin how a record consumer retrenching is in any way benficial to America’s GDP.

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  • Canada retains ranking as home to world’s soundest banks

    The United States was 108th out of 133 countries for that indicator, one below Tanzania.

  • In and out of the eurozone | Free exchange | Economist.com

    It’s very hard to have a common monetary policy without a common budget policy and labour policy and regulatory policy and so on. The eurozone will be a tricky fit for many members until integration of economic policies is deepened.

  • Mark Hulbert: Contrarians see hope for gold breakthrough – MarketWatch

    Hat tip DoctoRx. "Don’t blame the contrarians if gold doesn’t convincingly break through the psychologically important $1,000 ceiling in the next couple of weeks."

  • A response from Allan Meltzer | Free exchange | Economist.com

    Allan Meltzer clarifies his words about stimulus, taxes and depression

  • Pathology of the U.S. Debt Bubble — Seeking Alpha

    Some very nice graphs on debt and a sector breakdown as well.

  • No such thing as a free market – smh.com.au

    There’s no such thing as a ”free market” – all markets are regulated by governments to a greater or lesser extent.

  • UBS upgrades Canada’s outlook to a ‘V’ recovery

    UBS Securities has raised its already bullish outlook for Canada from a "U" shaped recovery to a "V".

  • Warren Buffett Recalculates His Bets – DealBook Blog – NYTimes.com

    If Mr. Buffett picked well — and, so far, it looks as if he did — his payoff could be enormous. But now, only a year after the crisis struck, he seems to be worrying that the broader stock market might falter again. After boldly buying when so many were selling assets, his conglomerate, Berkshire Hathaway, is pulling back, buying fewer stocks while investing in corporate and government debt. And Mr. Buffett is warning that the economy, though on the mend, remains deeply troubled.

  • Monitor: Washing without water | The Economist

    A washing machine uses thousands of nylon beads, and just a cup of water, to provide a greener way to do the laundry

  • Monkeys Follow Economic Rules Of Supply And Demand

    No, this isn’t about us! It’s about monkeys…seriously.

  • Lie Detection With Handwriting: Scientific American Podcast

    When we lie, our brains work hard to make sure we get the story right and come off as truthful… Now comes a report that handwriting tests could be a competitor to the familiar, but unreliable lie detector.

  • Inhabitat » Ginormous Handknit Pink Bunny in the Alps

    Hilarious!

  • PCs Use Less Energy – WSJ.com

    Personal computers suck up enormous amounts of electricity—often when they aren’t even being used. Manufacturers are tackling the problem.

  • Sick and Wrong : Rolling Stone

    Matt Taibbi of Goldman as vampire squid fame takes on healthcare. "How Washington is screwing up health care reform – and why it may take a revolt to fix it."

  • Adviser losing patience with Obama – Ben Smith – POLITICO.com

    This proof that the slippage in polls is not just from independents, it’s from liberals too.

  • Don’t be fooled: swine flu still poses a deadly threat – New Scientist

    Swine flu has still not grown more severe, as many feared it would but as the pandemic’s second, autumn wave begins in the northern hemisphere, the virus is posing a different threat. While H1N1 mostly causes mild disease, some people – estimates suggest fewer than 1 per cent – become deathly ill, very fast.

  • As ‘Rescissions’ Spawn Outrage, Health Insurers Cite Fraud Control – washingtonpost.com

    "They said I never mentioned I had a back problem," said Marrari, 52, whose coverage with Blue Cross was abruptly canceled in 2006 after a thyroid disorder, fluid in the heart and lupus were diagnosed. That left the Los Angeles woman with $25,000 in medical bills and the stigma of the company’s claim that she had committed fraud by not listing on a health questionnaire "preexisting conditions" Marrari said she did not know she had.

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