Bye bye Wachovia.
Not a good idea to buy a fly-by-night mortgage company at the height of the bubble.
In the Guardian, Duncan Campbell describes modern banking:
One popular scam (in the UK in the 1970s–ed.) was the long firm fraud. It works thus: you set up a business in a warehouse using a bogus name, you order goods and pay on time; repeat, for a much larger number of goods and pay again on time; repeat for a much, much larger amount and disappear.
In many ways, some of our financial institutions have in effect been carrying out a fantastically sophisticated long firm fraud, although that may not have been their intention at the outset. They asked people to give them their money, they paid out on time; they asked for more, and paid out again; then they asked for even more – and announced that they had nothing left. Essentially, a long long firm fraud.
Read the whole thing.
Voices in the Family on the psychology of drivers and driving (from the website):
It’s Monday morning on the Schuylkill expressway, and it is a very loud, frustrating parking lot. And you… well you are speaking in a language of expletives you never would say outside the comfort of your car. This behavior has become acceptable, but most of us wouldn’t dare act this way otherwise. Or would we? On the next Voices in the Family, Dr. Dan Gottlieb talks with the author of Traffic, Tom Vanderbilt about why we drive the way we do and what it says about us. Dr. Dan will also speak with Professor of Psychology at the University of Hawaii, Dr. Leon James, who specializes in traffic psychology.
Follow the link above to the website (if the show has moved off the front page, search the archives for December 22, 2008) or listen here (Real).
Dr. James’s website.
No jobs, no money, no sale, no end in sight:
In a separate report, sales of existing homes for November fell 8.6% to 4.49 million annualized.
The New York Times collects classic verbal bloopers from inebriated holiday party celebrants. A sample:
“So I told human resources flat out, it’s not sexual harassment if I can prove I’m impotent.”
“I haven’t seen you in forever! Whatever happened to that morals charge?”
H/T Karen for the link.
Brad Friedman, writing in the Guardian, indicts U. S. media for avoiding the issues.
And with good reason.
I’m not going to try to excerpt or summarize this.
In the column, he asks, “Where’s the outrage.”
I will answer that: “It’s right here.”
The Current Federal Administration has betrayed the American Dream and the blood, sacrifices, and ideals of the Founders.
For what? For a war based on a lie and for Wall Street bonuses?
It is to laugh.
For the alternative is to throw up.
The nation has been led by fools and criminals for the last eight years.
[EDITORIAL MODE ON]
Aside: An old AOL friend of mine recently resurfaced and asked me where the politicization came from, because I was not vocally political back in the Olden Days on alt.aol.tricks and the predecessor AOL newsgroups, where I used to help post the FAQs every week.
I told her that it was always there, but that I started the blog simply because I like to make computers do things. I didn’t have a goal other than making the computer do something I had never made it do before and didn’t have a clear idea what I would blog about, other than stuff that caught my eye.
Then I realized that the government was in the hands of fools and criminals.
The gradual drift to politicized blogging began from two separate, coincident, but related events (separate because they occurred in different locations from different causes; related because they both sprang from ignorance, venality, and deception): The Dover, Pa., creationism trial and the Bushie concentration camps.
Read the 2005 archives. It’s all there.
It is time to reclaim the United States of America for reason, lawfulness, and moral behavior.
[EDITORIAL MODE OFF]
I have this one dog who likes tissues.
Not fresh tissues.
So today he managed to pull over the bathroom trashcan in search of a fix.
Goes without saying that earlier today I cleaned the bathroom and mopped the floor.
Anyone want a dog? He’s very needy and has the personality of a porcupine.
I gather that O’Reilly (not Tim; the dumb one, Bill) has been trying, but no one’s noticed this year.
Anyhoo, here’s a fascinating history of what we think of as our Christmas traditions.
As a trained historian–and as someone who has ploughed through the Bible about five times–I can say that both the Biblical and historical information appears to be pretty much accurate, though I’m not qualified to comment on the finer points of, say, the history of St. Boniface, and I’m too lazy to do any research today.
Warning: In addition to the history, there’s also polemic. It’s really good polemic and I agree with much of it. That should give you a hint as to who might find it distasteful.
A pro-bono class action lawsuit (or, more accurately, a “no-class” action lawsuit):
The class-action lawsuit was filed on behalf of five Army veterans along with the National Veterans Legal Services Program, a nonprofit group that represents veterans and active service members in disputes with the government.
The veterans allege that they each were discharged from duty after an Army review board concluded that they had suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and thus could no longer serve.
Yet, in violation of federal law, the suit contends, the veterans’ disabilities were not rated severe enough to qualify them for both ongoing disability payments and medical coverage for themselves and their families.
Just to sum up, they were too sick to keep their jobs, but not sick enough to be disabled.
Corollary: Up is down. Down is up.
Over at TPM Muckraker.
And Josh Marshall sees an issue:
But as I watch this unfold I feel increasingly concerned that the people controlling the money are using the complexity of the situation and the public’s difficulty in understanding it to use public money to shield very wealthy institutions and individuals from the inherent risks of their chosen line of work.
Noz is resigned to the worst:
apparently paulson had the authority to dispense money only on the condition that the institutions account for the money, but he decided not to. i don’t know why i keep expecting the bush administration to not horribly botch everything it does. you’d think after eight years i would have learned by now.
After all, isn’t it always the fault of the workers for expecting things like a safe working environment, reasonable hours, a paycheck, health care, and retirement income?
How dare they!
John Cole has another take.
The Guardian. The writer is discussing accountancy in the UK, but the same thing applies here:
The deepening financial crisis is indicative of the crisis of democracy. Corporate elites have hijacked too many public policymaking arenas and show no shame, or remorse for legitimising poor practices. Even worse, as the recent House of Commons Treasury Committee
hearing on the role of accounting in the banking crisis shows, they are not being called to account. It is salutary to look at how the elites disarm legislators and journalists to advance their interests.
The global rules, or accounting standards, for company financial statements are made by the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB), a private organisation financed and dominated by corporate elites. The UK’s accounting regulator, the Financial Reporting Council (FRC), is also dominated by corporate elites. It appeases its controllers by adopting international accounting standards drafted by the IASB, but without ever explaining the social and economic consequences of its acquiescence.
Tuesday (St. Servulus Day), Triumph Brewing Company, Chestnut between Letitia and Second, Philadelphia, Pa., 6 p.
I cannot wait until I can remove the Backwards Bush Clock from my sidebar.
Over there —————————->
It’s been there for three miserable, disgusting, frustrating, perverted, lawless years.
It occurs to me that, when removal time comes, the clock may be gone, but Bush will still be backwards.
The whole analysis of the uber veep is worth a read.
Here’s a nugget (emphasis added):
The Bush administration went into free fall for a host of reasons – such as its documented incompetence in Iraq and New Orleans – but it can fairly be argued that, at some point, a landslide majority of Americans simply decided that the White House was telling too many lies. And Cheney was a prime offender. No leader, even a legendarily skillful infighter like Cheney, can repeatedly insult the public and get away with it indefinitely.