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Thursday, February 14, 2008

Housing/Subprime Roundup — Feb. 14, 2008

Items of interest:

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Eliot Spitzer, governor of New Yawk / Washington Post:
Predatory Lenders' Partner in Crime -- How the Bush Administration Stopped the States From Stepping In to Help Consumers

Several years ago, state attorneys general and others involved in consumer protection began to notice a marked increase in a range of predatory lending practices by mortgage lenders. Some were misrepresenting the terms of loans, making loans without regard to consumers' ability to repay, making loans with deceptive "teaser" rates that later ballooned astronomically, packing loans with undisclosed charges and fees, or even paying illegal kickbacks. These and other practices, we noticed, were having a devastating effect on home buyers. In addition, the widespread nature of these practices, if left unchecked, threatened our financial markets.

Even though predatory lending was becoming a national problem, the Bush administration looked the other way and did nothing to protect American homeowners. [....]
blogging stocks:
Spitzer says bond insurance problem could be 'financial tsunami'
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Wall Street Journal:
Debt Crisis Hits a Dynasty -- Billionaire Mahers Rack Up Losses In 'Auction' Bonds

When M. Brian and Basil Maher sold their family's shipping business last July for more than $1 billion, they quickly put the money in a safe place.

Or so they thought.

The two brothers handed much of it to Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. with marching orders to make only the most conservative, cashlike investments. Within weeks, however, they had lost access to more than a quarter-billion dollars. [...]
related:
The Hidden Costs of The Auction Failures - DealBreaker
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Reuters:
Market stays lower on Bernanke testimony -- Stocks stayed moderately lower on Thursday after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said the central bank will act as needed to help the struggling economy.

Bernanke said in prepared testimony to a Senate committee the outlook for the economy had worsened in recent months and that downside risks to growth have increased. [...]
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Recession Underway, Jobs Lost, Unemployment Rising

...among the New York Times newsroom staff, that is. [via JawaReport]
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Stimulus Check----

Daryl Cagle's blog:
Oh! The mail on my cartoon -- ... You are a racist, just because we are conservative and not agree with you, you make us into Monkeys????

What's wrong with you, where is your open mind, where is your compasion and caring for others?
. . .

I wouldn't say the conservative character in my cartoon is a "monkey" - I'd say he is "evolutionally challenged." --Daryl
comment: Conservatives constitute their own race?

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Paul Krugman - NY Times

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naked capitalism - Yves Smith

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The Daily Reckoning - Australia