September 10, 2011

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Why we should treat Bank of America mortgages like asbestos —  Reuters

This is not the first time that some have talked about a litigation trust as a mechanism to deal with some of Wall Street’s liability arising from the collapse of the U.S. housing market. In the early days of the financial crisis, regulators discussed the merits of using an asbestos-style trust to resolve potential litigation claims against the biggest U.S. banks. But regulators ultimately rejected the trust concept along with other novel ideas that were deemed either unworkable or politically untenable.

Here’s the intel report for this weekend’s terror threat — The Daily

According to recently obtained information, al-Qa’ida may be planning attacks inside the United States, targeting either New York City or Washington, DC around the time of the 9/11 anniversary… While this specific threat reporting indicates al-Qa’ida may be considering an attack using vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (VBIEDs) — likely similar to the tactic used by Faisal Shahzad in his attempted attack on Times Square 1 May 2010 — we assess that al-Qa’ida and its affiliates have also considered attacks with small-arms, homemade explosive devices, and poisons, and probably provide their operatives with enough autonomy to select the particular target and method of attack.

Justin Wolfers thinks Obama’s jobs plan is reasonable eight times over — Freakonomics

It’s reasonably front-loaded. Goldman Sachs says it will raise 2012 GDP by about 1.5%–before any multiplier effects. Moody’s chief economist Mark Zandi thinks the effect on 2012 GDP will be about 2%. Expect more estimates in the 1-3% range for 2012; smaller for 2013.

Maybe this is just a trial balloon AOL is floating to try to get Yahoo to buy it. Possibly. One could probably come up with some other explanation.  — Bloomberg

Armstrong is discussing options for a combination aimed at strengthening the two Internet companies, said the people, who wouldn’t be identified because the talks aren’t public. He has talked with private equity firms and investment bankers from Allen & Co. working with Yahoo, one person said.

Fannie, Freddie may be near a settlement with the SEC over subprime disclosure. — Dealbook

The proposed agreement with the Securities and Exchange Commission, under the terms being discussed, would include no monetary penalty or admission of fraud, according to several people briefed on the case. But a settlement would represent the most significant acknowledgement yet by the mortgage companies that they played a central role in the housing boom and bust.

Turns out the first scrambled F-16s on 9/11 were unarmed, and planning to ram United 93 in order to stop it. — Washington Post

“Lucky, you’re coming with me,” barked Col. Marc Sasseville.

They were gearing up in the pre-flight life-support area when Sasseville, struggling into his flight suit, met her eye.

“I’m going to go for the cockpit,” Sasseville said.

She replied without hesitating.

“I’ll take the tail.”

It was a plan. And a pact.

Bernanke: Consumers are depressed beyond reason or expectation. — NYT

Economic models based on historic patterns of unemployment, wages, debt and housing prices suggest that people should be spending more money. Instead, just as corporations are sitting on their money, households are holding back, too.

Why? Well, one possibility is that Americans collectively are suffering from what amounts to an economic version of post-traumatic stress disorder.

And Google is reported to have paid $125 million for Zagat. Ouch. — WSJ


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