Monthly Archives: December 2007

100% Leverage?

Does this mean what I think it does?

Credit Crisis? Just Wait for a Replay: One of the more remarkable facts about the subprime crisis is that total losses to the financial system may be about equal to the amount of subprime loans that were issued. On the face of it, that appears absurd, since many such loans will be paid off, and those that default will not be total losses. But, Mr. Seides said in an interview, “the financial leverage placed on the underlying assets was so high” that the losses multiplied, as the profits did when times were good.

“When there is more leverage” and things go wrong, he said, “there are more losses.”

They resold layered participations in the same underlying loan so many times that it ends up with leverage over 100%? Given that substantial profits are taken out along the way, how does that work even if everyone pays off like they are supposed to?

Update: Krugman is puzzled too.

Posted in Econ & Money: Mortgage Mess | 2 Comments

Bad Debts

Orin Kerr says he's going to the AALS January Meeting in New York.

That's good. As it happens, I'm going too and I seem to recall that I owe Orin a beer.

Posted in Talks & Conferences | 5 Comments

techPresident’s Favorite Videos of 2007: The Candidates

Here's another good top-10 list: techPresident's Favorite Videos of 2007: The Candidates.

I agree with seven of these as top-quality, although the actual rankings seem a bit random. I wouldn't have made #1 the top choice or necessarily included it at all. Not that it's a bad video, but is it really top-10 material, much less #1? And what's with #9? (And #8 is a good clip, but it's not a campaign video at all.)

As for my top choice, I might have put Bill Richardson's ad as #1—certainly in the top 3. It's much better than the candidate, who looks worse the more you see of him.

Posted in Politics: US: 2008 Elections | Leave a comment

If You Use Gmail, Check Your Settings

If you use Gmail, it might be worth a moment to check your settings to make sure that there are no malicious “forward” instructions there.

Although Google has now apparently patched the bug, it seems that for a time this vulnerability made it possible for hackers to insert instructions to forward some of your mail to them if you had the misfortune to visit a web page that had the right malicious code while you had gmail open in another tab or window..

Here's an account of someone who says his business was sabotaged as a result.

Odds are high that you're fine. But to confirm it, here's what you do in after logging in to Gmail:

… click on the ’settings’ tab in the upper right of the screen. Then check both the ‘Filters’ and the ‘Forwarding and POP’ sections.

Examine what's listed there to make sure there's no forwarding instruction you didn't put there yourself.

Posted in Internet | 1 Comment

Glenn Greenwald’s Favorite Quotes of 2007

I'm not much into compiling 'top 10' lists and 'best of' lists, but I enjoy reading the good ones. This one, from Glenn Greenwald, is one of the good ones: Favorite quotes of 2007.

Posted in The Media | 1 Comment

Santa Gets Political

Santa tries, but fails, to make a delivery at the White House.

I guess he knows who's been naughty.

Posted in Completely Different | Leave a comment

GW Bush Library Planned

Gene Spafford ('Spaf') runs a mailing list called “Yuks” which is often pretty funny. Today's entry, originating from Wm Leler, is about the next Bush Library:

They are already making plans for the GW Bush Library. Proposed exhibits include:

The Alberto Gonzales Room – Where you can't remember anything.

The Hurricane Katrina Room – It's still under construction.

The Texas Air National Guard Room – Where you don't have to even show up.

The Walter Reed Hospital Room – Where they don't let you in.

The Guantanamo Bay Room – Where they don't let you out.

The Weapons of Mass Destruction Room – Nobody has been able to find it.

The War in Iraq Room – After you complete your first tour, they can force you to go back for your second and third and fourth and fifth tours.

The Dick Cheney Room – In an undisclosed location, but reports are if you find it, it contains a unique shooting gallery.

Plans also include:

The K-Street Project Gift Shop – Where you can buy an election, or, if no one cares, steal one.

The Men's Room – Where you can meet a Republican Senator (or two).

Last, but not least, there will also be an entire floor devoted to a 7/8 scale model of the President's ego.

To be fair, the President has done some good things, and so the museum will have an electron microscope to help you locate them.

When asked, President Bush said that he didn't care so much about the individual exhibits as long as his museum was better than his father's.

Posted in Completely Different | Leave a comment