Monthly Archives: December 2008

Chinese laundry

Beaded gate

A Mortgage Paper Trail Often Leads to Nowhere

What a mess! I don’t understand how crap like this can happen.

NYTimes.com

With home prices in free fall and mortgage delinquencies mounting, pressure to modify troubled loans is ratcheting up.

But lawyers who represent candidates for modifications say the programs are hobbled by the complexity of securitization pools that hold the loans, as well as uncertainty about who actually owns the notes underlying the mortgages.

Problems often emerge because these notes — which are written promises to repay the full amount of a mortgage — weren’t recorded properly when they were bundled by Wall Street into pools or were subsequently transferred to other holders.

How can a loan be modified, these lawyers ask, if the lender cannot prove that it actually owns the note? More and more judges are asking the same thing about lenders trying to foreclose on borrowers.

What Carriers Aren’t Eager to Tell You About Texting

Digital Domain – NYTimes.com

TEXT messaging is a wonderful business to be in: about 2.5 trillion messages will have been sent from cellphones worldwide this year. The public assumes that the wireless carriers’ costs are far higher than they actually are, and profit margins are concealed by a heavy curtain.

Alley

The United States of Mind

Interesting article in the Wall Street Journal. Does where you live affect your personality?

WSJ.com

Certain regional stereotypes have long since become cliches: The stressed-out New Yorker. The laid-back Californian.

But the conscientious Floridian? The neurotic Kentuckian?

You bet — at least, according to new research on the geography of personality. Based on more than 600,000 questionnaires and published in the journal Perspectives on Psychological Science, the study maps regional clusters of personality traits, then overlays state-by-state data on crime, health and economic development in search of correlations.

Gone fishin’

Little figure sitting on an electric box on the back of a house.

Passion flower

Coal Ash Spill Is Much Larger Than Initially Estimated

Hey, they were only off by a few million cubic yards. I mean, that’s pretty close, right? And it’s just 2.8 million cubic yards more than they said the pond actually held. Hmmm…wonder if that pond was a bit over-stuffed and that’s why the retaining well said “screw it.”

NYTimes.com

A coal ash spill that blanketed residential neighborhoods and contaminated nearby rivers in Roane County, Tenn., earlier this week is more than three times larger than initially estimated, the Tennessee Valley Authority said on Thursday.

Coal ash, a byproduct of burning coal, contains toxic heavy metals like arsenic, lead and selenium that can cause cancer and neurological problems.

Authority officials initially said that about 1.7 million cubic yards of wet coal ash had spilled when the earthen retaining wall of an ash pond breached, but on Thursday they released the results of an aerial survey that showed the actual amount was 5.4 million cubic yards, or enough to flood more than 3,000 acres one foot deep. The amount now said to have been spilled is larger than the amount the Authority initially said was in the pond, 2.6 million cubic yards.

Thing bad!

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