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Our image in the Muslim world would probably improve if we stopped killing so many Muslims.
Athenae. Always Athenae:
I am about done with comfortably situated loudmouths like this talking smack about the few people in America who’ve managed to hang on to the pension that used to be considered the due of hardworking men and women. Teachers, bus drivers, janitorial staff, all these people get ridiculed for still belonging to unions that have some power and are willing to fight to keep it. We say, “I don’t get a pension, so why should you have one?” instead of, “You get a pension, so why don’t I have one?” A pension used to be a middle-class reward for having destroyed your knees on a dock, your eardrums and hands on a factory line, your health in the classroom teaching the feral dingos spawned by your neighbors. It used to be an expectation.UPDATE: Via, this.
Jane Hamsher on the recent tension between bloggers and the White House:
It’s hard to believe that at this point in the election cycle, with so much on the line, that the President and his staff are obsessively focused on mauling a group of people almost nobody has ever heard of. To the extent that bloggers have any influence, it is with people who already care about civil liberties or health care or LGBT rights, and they supported Obama because he said he did too. When they feel that there is evidence that his convictions are not sincere, they choose the issue over the man. It has nothing to do with attachment to personalities.She’s become a polarizing figure on the left, but I seem to agree with her positions more than disagree. Considering the general failure of leadership in America for the past decade it shouldn’t surprise anyone when activists hoist the dropped yoke onto themselves and start pulling.
As we reported last month with NPR’s Planet Money, in the two years before the meltdown Wall Street bankers perpetrated one of the greatest episodes of self-dealing in financial history. As part of our story, we wrote of 85 instances during 2006 and 2007 in which two CDOs bought pieces of each other’s unsold inventory. The trades enabled the completion of $107 billion worth of CDOs and underscore the extent to which the market lacked real buyers.Journalism, friends.
Michael Kinsley is the kind of person Washington considers liberal, more on reputation than actual positions, which these days are pretty dumb.
You look into the eyes of these people when you talk to them and they genuinely don’t see what the problem is. It’s no use explaining that while nobody likes the idea of having to get the government to tell restaurant owners how to act, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was the tool Americans were forced to use to end a monstrous system of apartheid that for 100 years was the shame of the entire Western world. But all that history is not real to Tea Partiers; what’s real to them is the implication in your question that they’re racists, and to them that is the outrage, and it’s an outrage that binds them together. They want desperately to believe in the one-size-fits-all, no-government theology of Rand Paul because it’s so easy to understand. At times, their desire to withdraw from the brutally complex global economic system that is an irrevocable fact of our modern life and get back to a simpler world that no longer exists is so intense, it breaks your heart.From the first page is this:
At the voter level, the Tea Party is a movement that purports to be furious about government spending - only the reality is that the vast majority of its members are former Bush supporters who yawned through two terms of record deficits and spent the past two electoral cycles frothing not about spending but about John Kerry’s medals and Barack Obama’s Sixties associations. The average Tea Partier is sincerely against government spending - with the exception of the money spent on them.Which is not a new phenomenon in America: “Major Major’s father was a sober God-fearing man whose idea of a good joke was to lie about his age. He was a long-limbed farmer, a God-fearing, freedom-loving, law-abiding rugged individualist who held that federal aid to anyone but farmers was creeping socialism.”
ECONNED EXCERPT from p. 140:
Another often overlooked regulatory change had wide-ranging impact: Rule 415. This SEC provision, implemented in the early 1980’s, allowed companies to use a new process for selling stocks and bonds. Back then, as now, if corporations made a stock offering, the price their stock fetched reflected how well the company was perceived. The elaborate traditional underwriting procedure was therefore very helpful for companies, since it made sure there would be no surprises when new shares of their stock came on the market.
But bonds were a different matter. Issuers weren’t particularly concerned if a bond deal went off badly, since each bond was unique, and one deal floundering did not have any implications for future debt sales. Companies simply wanted the highest price they could get for their bonds, since that meant cheap funding for them. And if the managers (the investment banks) set too high a price and took a loss when they resold them, well, that was their problem.
Bankers Trust in particular pushed for Rule 415, which meant that the company wanting to sell securities no longer had to specify an underwriter to the SEC. Instead, the company could file a “shelf registration” with the SEC, indicating that it might want to sell certain securities. Then the company would be allowed to sell them later when the mood struck (“off the shelf”). The new rule meant that companies, after filing a shelf registration, could call up several Wall Street firms and ask them to bid competitively for the bond offering, sometimes over the course of as little as 15 minutes. At the time, the investment banks were private and had much less capital than today, so the profit potential was skimpy and the risk of not being able to resell the bonds at a profit became much larger than before the rule change (and bond underwriting had not been a great business to begin with). But no investment bank worth its salt would refuse to bid, since the firm might lose access to future, vastly more attractive equities and merger and acquisition mandates.