Living on nothing but food stamps (Deparle/Gebeloff, NYT) The safety net of last resort: 2% of U.S. households report zero income other than a food stamp card.

Twenty years on Japan is still paying its bubble era bills (Economist) Heard on the Street also writes today that Japan is looking at its third consecutive lost decade. Copious amounts of deficit spending and money printing hasn’t worked for Japan. It won’t work for us.

Petition halts Iceland’s repayment plan (UPI) Icelanders want bank creditors — in this case foreign depositors — to eat the loss of bank failures. Probably sensible. Depositors were foolish to chase returns in Iceland to begin with. Putting Icelanders into debt slavery to pay them off does little good.

Lessons learned but not applied (Simon Johnson) Summers/Geithner know the right prescription to handle bank failures. They just aren’t willing to follow it themselves… (ht Walker Todd)

Real estate in Cape Coral is far from recovery (Goodman, NYT) Another foreclosure tour. Notes that busted homeborrowers often leave lots behind when ditching their house. See again: trash-outs.

The year in Review (Doug Noland) Skip to the last section at the bottom. Reader Paul M. points to Doug’s comment that healthy corporate leverage ratios are misleading because their customers (and the system in general) are still leveraged to the hilt.

Australian lotto winner keeping it real (Paddenburg, Couriermail)

Beautifulpeople.com axes holiday weight gain members (BBC) Quotable from the founder: “Letting fatties roam the site is a direct threat to our business model…” Wow.

10 sci-fi weapons that actually exist (Wired)

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