Sign the Petition

It’s a petition. Like attending a protest, every so often it’s appropriate to make a statement. I say that even though I’ve told the lightbulb[0] joke and only attended one protest “in earnest”. We stand on the precipice of what is likely the greatest financial crisis in generations. The multi-billion dollar losses you may have heard about on the news? That’s the sound of cracks forming. The actual collapse will be truly spectacular.

You can find it at It calls on Congress to restore responsible lending practices, ban off-balance-sheet vehicles, restore the recently-gutted remnants of Depression-era banking regulation, and most importantly, to allow failure. Realize that at this point, scary as it may be, you are the adult in the room. So step up.

[0] “How many protesters does it take to change a lightbulb?”
“None, protesters can’t change anything.”

Orange Blossoms

My dwarf citrus trees have finally blossomed! Both the lemon and lime present a decent showing, and the orange has truly outdone itself. I can pick up the fragrance almost as soon as I step outside, but it is very delicate. There is also a mammoth geranium that is watering itself from the hose bib; it’s almost the size of a small tree. As soon as I get more planters, I think I will start taking cuttings.

Orange blossoms

When Credit Derivatives Go Bad

Wow… This past week has been full of exciting news. Some smart cookie has finally realized that maybe it would be worth revisiting the credit ratings of bond insurers. (At this point, I sincerely hope that no-one reading this is foolish enough to have given any credence to those ratings.) M-LEC, a sort of financial Superfund site, appears dead at birth, and FASB’s rule 157 will soon take effect to force more mark-to-market of dubiously-valued assets. Citigroup, just like Merrill Lynch a few weeks before, tossed its CEO and wrote down ~$11 billion in assets.

While I’d love to rant about the abomination that was M-LEC, I’m going to instead provide a quick introduction to two phrases: “counterparty default” and “acceleration event”. I think we’ll be seeing much more of them in news articles over the coming months.
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