Links 7/3/09

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New dinosaurs found in Australia BBC. So Australia has long had different critters than everywhere else, it seems.

Computer reveals stone tablet ‘handwriting’ in a flash New Scientist

Footage of last ever Michael Jackson rehearsal released Times Online. Yes, this is morbid, ibut I was particularly taken with his dancing. He looks so gaunt. But all that plastic surgery did not ruin his visage as a stage face.

New York City Sees Slide in Tourism Wall Street Journal

Back to the Stimulus Debate: W, Timing, the States, and Baselines Menzie Chinn, Econbrowser. Someone is trying to still say we will have a recovery? The new hope is a “temporary and substantial recovery” aka Green Shoots v. 2.0. This is looking more and more like administering a jolt of electricity to a corpse. Even if you succeed in getting it to move does not mean you brought it back to life.

That ’30s Show Paul Krugman, New York Times

Banks own the US government Dean Baker, Guardian (hat tip reader John D)

China FDI Faces ‘Unprecedented Difficulties,’ Government Says Bloomberg (hat tip DoctoRx)

Rich Harvard, Poor Harvard Vanity Fair (hat tip reader Marshall)

Banks’ Bogus Bonuses Heidi Moore, The Big Money. A solid piece.

‘Rogue broker’ blamed for oil spike Financial Times

Recovering ABS may relapse if TALF support pulled Reuters. So the market is argued to need what amounts to permanent life support? Charming.

Terminological interlude Lambert Strether. We need a proper name for this crisis! “This crisis” or “the financial crisis” or “the downturn” does NOT cut it. Lambert nominates “The Big Fail” which I like a lot. Points to both institutional failure and “fail” in the trading sense, which underscores that this wasn’t a traditional bank crisis but took place in the brave new world of “market based credit”.

New Evidence on the Foreclosure Crisis Stan Liebowitz, Wall Street Journal. Today’s must read. Zero equity was the problem, which means the new FHFA 125% LTV program is no solution. We keep sayin’ the answer in principal mods, not just payment reductions. but no one wants to hear it. The analysis also suggests a lot of policy remedies are misguided.

Antidote du jour (hat tip reader Barbara):

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  1. Brick

    The Stan Liebowitz article was interesting as I would maintain the best judge of whether a mortgage is affordable is the borrower. If the borrower has his own money on the line then they are more likely to make sure the affordability is in line with their worst expectations of the economy.

  2. Erick

    Banks have zero incentive to work out a principal reduction with homeowners as long as government will ensure them from loss.

  3. Oregon Guy

    It is not just the banks that resist principal reduction. We the People would prefer to roast squirrels over an open fire from our tin shacks than see others, even our neighbors, get a break on their mortgage principal.

  4. Laura

    Awww…. one of the best Antidotes du jour … These really are a nice breath of fresh air from the continual barrage of awful and/or absurd news we've been pounded with for quite some time. Thank you.

  5. lambert_strether_openid

    Yves —

    Thanks very much for the link. However, a note on copy editing:

    I prefer "The Big FAIL" to "The Big Fail" because, well, the FAIL is just so BIG.

  6. MaxH707

    Prof. Liebowitz's point focuses too much on loan originations as the source of mortgage default. Of course negative equity is a culprit, but his analysis of the Mortgage Bankers' numbers don't really tell us why FMVs have dropped, nor why real wages have dropped relative to debt service and housing costs generally. It's a wasted article.

  7. Todd Wood

    No, Michael Jackson, at 50, is not on amphetamines during his last rehearsal. He just drank a lot of coffee.

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