Links and Quick Takes 1/15/08

Legal mist stokes US-Iran tensions in strait Asia Times. Very interesting reading on the incident (or not) in the Straits of Hormuz. Turns out our right to have surveillance ships there is (to put the kindest possible spin on it) far from clear.

Baltimore Finds Subprime Crisis Snags Women New York Times. Sad but not surprising. Mystery shoppers have repeatedly found that women get charged more for cars on dealers’ lots, even when they are informed and hondle. But this factiod was striking:

Though women and men have roughly the same credit scores, the Consumer Federation of America found that women were 32 percent more likely to receive subprime loans than men. The disparity existed within every income and ethnic group. Blacks and Latinos are also more likely to get subprime loans than comparable white borrowers….

“The striking thing is that the disparity between men and women actually goes up as income rises,” said Allen J. Fishbein, director of credit and housing policy for the Consumer Federation of America. Among high earners — defined as people earning twice the median income — black women are as much as five times more likely to receive subprime mortgages than white men.

Subprime or Bubble: What’s the Bigger Problem? Dean Baker. OK, now that you’ve read (or have the gist) of the article above, read this post.

EU launches new Microsoft antitrust probe Financial Times and EU Regulators Begin New Microsoft Probes Wall Street Journal. Stay tuned, this will be an important story. For once, the Journal and FT are on the same page, but notice how much more compact yet complete the FT’s discussion is.

Better Times Ahead for Financials , Citigroup? 1440 Wall Street. Is a fall in the TED spread a (comparatively) bullish sign for financial stocks? Not a bet I’d make, but different points of view are what make a market.

Video Ads Are Planned for Grocery Carts AP News. Has anyone asked whether I want ads in my grocery cart? The very though is enough to make me boycott those who subjected me to their promos.

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  1. Anonymous

    Minor point:

    “Mystery shoppers have repeatedly found that women get charged more for cars on dealers’ lots, even when they are informed and hondle.”


  2. Anonymous

    Odd NYT article on Baltimore suboprime. They pick the Belair-Edison neighborhood as an example of crisis but then many paragraphs in is, “In 2007 foreclosures were initiated on 181 houses in the neighborhood, or one in 35, according to research by the Community Law Center. This represents a slight drop from 211 initial filings in 2006, even as foreclosures rose elsewhere in the city and state.”

  3. s

    On the semantic argument about the Straits it is absurd to suggest the US was ships should stand down when speed boats, known to practice warming tactics, are approaching. On the contrary, they should be aggressively repelling them with any and all means. This article reads like a lawyers opening statement for the defense. Who was it that said the constitution is not a document to be hanged by? Apply the same logic. The story is ridiculous.

  4. Anonymous

    s, My, my, some people seem constitutionally unable to consider that the US might be in the wrong. What about the presence of helicopters? This clearly isn’t kosher under the rules the US is choosing to invoke to permit its presence.

    We don’t run the world. There are such things as international laws to prevent conflict, as much as this Administration has tried to repudiate them. We’ve been trying to create a causus belli with Iran since the Chinese and Europeans started buying more oil from them.

    I haven’t tracked it down, but I was told about an article in the New Yorker (I think, or maybe Esquire) which quoted two former State department employees, both Mid East hands who spoke the local languages. They later got married but at the time, didn’t know each other and independently reported the same fact set to contemporaneous witnesses.

    Post 9/11, Iran came to to the US via the Swiss, twice, and said, “We will help you get Osama and stabilize Afghanistan. We will leave when we have done that. We will also force the Palestinians to the table and get the to agree to the Dayton accords. It is costly for us to continue to be seen as a rogue nation.”

    What was the reply? None, and we apparently tried getting the Swiss diplomats who acted as middlemen in trouble too.

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