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China's Charms Deconstructed

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Geithner Warns on Debt Ceiling[Washington Post] I'm no policy genius—but the federal debt ceiling is not something either party should play political chicken with. Not smart: Not by a long shot. The Washington Post reports: "Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner warned lawmakers Thursday that the national debt could hit the legal limit on federal borrowing as soon as March 31, and he urged them to act quickly to avoid a government default that would spark 'catastrophic economic consequences that would last for decades.'"

China's Charms Deconstructed [New York Times] Wait: China is buying European debt for its own selfish reasons? You mean, they aren't helping out just because they're nice boys & girls? This is shocking! Shocking I tell you! The Times Reports: "What’s with China’s charm offensive in Europe? Chinese officials have stepped up their vows of support for Europe in the past several weeks, and have grown increasingly vocal about pledging to help Europe contain a sovereign debt crisis and accelerate a recovery. This past week, Beijing renewed a pledge to buy debt from Spain and other countries feared to be facing a bailout.

Significant Foreclosure Ruling Expected in Mass. [Bloomberg]"Massachusetts’s highest court is poised to rule on whether foreclosures in the state should be undone because securitization-industry practices violate real- estate law governing how mortgages may be transferred. The fight between homeowners and banks before the Supreme Judicial Court in Boston turns on whether a mortgage can be transferred without naming the recipient, a common securitization practice. Also at issue is whether the right to a mortgage follows the promissory note it secures when the note is sold, as the industry argues."

Internet Bubble: Part II? [CNBC via Reuters] "Remember Webvan? The online grocer, whose initial public offering in March 2000 was among the most hotly anticipated during the dot-com boom, is now viewed as one of the greatest disasters of the era. Fast forward 11 years and the feeding frenzy around Facebook and its exponentially expanding valuations are conjuring fears of a Bubble 2.0."

December Retail Numbers Lower than Forecast [New York Times] "Retailers did not get all that they wanted for Christmas, with December sales coming in lower than expected. But the holiday season altogether was still the strongest since 2006, and several categories including luxury continued their growth. Sales at stores open at least a year rose 3.1 percent in December compared with the same month a year ago, according to a tally of 28 retailers by Thomson Reuters. That was below analysts’ expectations of 3.4 percent, a prediction buoyed by reports of rising foot traffic, online spending and early holiday sales."

Porn Under the Right Sign [CNBC] Every day, as soon as I wake up in the morning, I thank my lucky stars that I'm fortunate enough to write for a network that does stories like this: "The Dirty Dozen: Porn's Most Popular Stars"