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Friday, April 9, 2010


Items of Interest:

John Robb / Global Guerrillas:
Visualizing Breakdowns -- In a little more than a decade after the 2008 financial crisis, the steady hum of portable generators was a common feature of most cities and suburbs in the formerly prosperous nations of the G8. They usually kicked on shortly after lunch, when the central power systems shut down. In some built up areas, particularly in the favelas that had sprung up around many of the major cities, complete multi-megawatt electricity grids had been built with bailing wire and twine.

The arrival of the generators and ad hoc power networks arrived not long after the second financial collapse. In that crisis, many of the less financially able power companies went bankrupt, caught the crossfire between high commodity prices (oil, natural gas, and coal), customers unable to pay, and a global financial market unwilling to extend credit or facilitate transactions. The loss of power only lasted a couple of months, but people remembered, and those able to afford it began buying generators in bulk. Fortunately, the temperatures that summer only reached the mid nineties in most of the country, and the deaths due to heat exhaustion were limited to just over ten thousand, mostly elderly, citizens...

related: Micro Grids
The Magnetar Trade: How One Hedge Fund Helped Keep the Bubble Going -- In late 2005, the booming U.S. housing market seemed to be slowing. The Federal Reserve had begun raising interest rates. Subprime mortgage company shares were falling. Investors began to balk at buying complex mortgage securities. The housing bubble, which had propelled a historic growth in home prices, seemed poised to deflate. And if it had, the great financial crisis of 2008, which produced the Great Recession of 2008-09, might have come sooner and been less severe.

At just that moment, a few savvy financial engineers at a suburban Chicago hedge fund [1] helped revive the Wall Street money machine, spawning billions of dollars of securities ultimately backed by home mortgages.

When the crash came, nearly all of these securities became worthless, a loss of an estimated $40 billion paid by investors, the investment banks who helped bring them into the world, and, eventually, American taxpayers...
Felix Salmon:   The Magnetar Trade
James Kwak / The Baseline Scenario:   Another Great TAL Episode on the Financial Crisis
Thefourteenthbanker / The Fourteenth Banker Blog:   Sensational and Disturbing Headlines Today
Ira Stoll / The Future of Capitalism:   The AFL-CIO on Carried Interest
Paul Krugman / New York Times:
Learning From Greece  —  The debt crisis in Greece is approaching the point of no return.
Arnold Kling / EconLog:  Greek by 2030
Tom Maguire / JustOneMinute:   Greek Default, And Krugman v. Krugman
Bill Scher / ourfuture.org:    Hey CNN.  There's This Guy, Krugman. …
Felix Salmon:   Greece won't go Argentine
Steve / Sweetness & Light:   Krugman - (Not) Learning From Greece
Matt Welch / Hit & Run: Gonna Kick Tomorrow, Paul Krugman Edition
 Unions Getting Riled Up.

Union Memo Hints At N.J. Gov.'s Death -- Bergen County Teachers Union's Memo The Latest Salvo In War Of Words With Gov. Christie; Swift Apology Issued

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's take-no-prisoners demand for education cuts got him a whole lot more than he bargained for -- a death wish.

It was in a controversial e-mail sent by the Bergen County Teachers Union to its members asking that Christie be "taken" by the Lord...

Calculated Risk

MishTalk - Mike Shedlock

Paul Krugman - NY Times

The Big Picture - Barry Ritholtz

naked capitalism - Yves Smith

Pragmatic Capitalism

Washington's Blog

Safe Haven

Paper Economy

The Daily Reckoning - Australia