Evening Links 2-14

February 15, 2010

Wall St. helped Greece to mask debt, fueling Europe’s crisis (Story/Thomas Jr./Schwartz) When an addict is hooked on a drugs, whose fault is it? The guy selling him the junk? Or his own for getting hooked in the first place? It’s convenient (and not entirely wrong) to blame bankers, mortgage brokers, real estate agents and others who sell us debt to finance more lavish lifestyles than we can afford. They do so to generate income via transaction fees. But at the end of the day, the Greek government knew what it was doing. As do most folks piling on leverage…

For some firms, a case of “Quadrophobia” (Thrum, WSJ) Public companies fear the digit “4.” Earnings per share, when calculated down to tenths of a cent, suggest companies use accounting gimmickry to make sure they can round UP to the nearest cent.

Pirate boss to make web pay (BBC) I’m skeptical. A micropayments product that relies on the generosity of users will be about as successful as a PBS funding drive. But I’ll support anyone who wants to help users pay directly for good content creation. Personally, I think the future of micropayments could be via cellphone. Carriers already have a billing relationship with everyone, all that’s needed is someone to facilitate the flow of payments from buyers to sellers via your phone. (Full disclosure: I previously worked for a company, Fotolog, whose parent company was also in this business)

Edwards: Collapse of euro “inevitable” (Fleming/Shipman, Mail) SocGen’s Albert Edwards as bearish as ever.

Magic Johnson in talks to buy publisher of Ebony/Jet (Pulley, Bloomberg)

How Christian were the Founders? (Shorto, NYT) Long, but worth reading to the end.

Dubai CDS spreads jump (Connaghan/Brown, WSJ) The cost of insuring Dubai debt against default is back near levels from December, before Abu Dhabi offered assistance.

Harrisburg moves a step closer to default (Hurdle, Reuters) Pennsylvania’s capital city excludes debt payments in its 2010 budget. It has a scheduled interest payment of $2.1 million on March 1.

“4-foot-nothing mother goose” … epic voice mail.

VIDEO: “Hurt Locker” in Cambodia (YouTube) Guy clears land mines in Cambodia with stick and pocket knife. FF to 0:50 mark.

Bing Maps are cool….(but it appears that there’s no support for Firefox…)

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