I have just returned from a week-long ski vacation in Montana. We stayed in a condo with limited Internet access, thus the lack of posts this past week.

Despite no broadband access, there was cable TV with dozens of channels, and I got a heavy dose of TV news, which I rarely watch at home. By far the biggest story of the week has been the AIG scandal. If you have been on Jupiter the past week or two, AIG is the huge insurance company that has received over $150 billion from the U.S. Government since last September, when it became apparent that the company lacked the funds to make good on the hundreds of billions of dollars in credit defaults swaps – essentially insurance against default on the mortgages underlying mortgage-backed securities – it had written. It transpires that since AIG went on government life-support it has paid out some $160 million in bonuses to staff, a figure recently revised upward to more than $200 million. [click to continue…]