There have been plenty of books, articles, and movies about the 2007-08 financial meltdown and what led up to it, but if you’re looking for a first-rate all-in-one overview, it doesn’t get much better than Charles Ferguson’s “Inside Job.”
With scrupulous fairness, Ferguson meticulously lays out for us the whole sordid mess: the deregulation of the financial-services industry that began in the ’80s under President Reagan, the derivatives, insurance swaps, real-estate bubbles, subprime lending scams, institutions like A.I.G., Citigroup, Goldman Sachs – it’s all here.
Many heavy-duty players from administrations past and present, including Alan Greenspan, Lawrence Summers, Henry Paulson, and Ben Bernanke chose not to be interviewed for the film (which is narrated by Matt Damon). Those who were, like Harvard’s Martin Feldstein and Glenn Hubbard, former economic adviser to George W. Bush and now dean of Columbia University Business School, probably wish they hadn’t. Their evasions are mind-boggling.
And, need I say, infuriating. Several of those who at the time warned of impending disaster are also interviewed. Nouriel Roubini, of New York University, is particularly eloquent. Raghuram Rajan, former chief economist at the International Monetary Fund, talks about a paper he delivered in 2005 warning of an “economic meltdown,” for which he was branded a “Luddite” by Summers.
Government Regulation Is Bad! It’s Up To Workers To Fend For Themselves! (100 Year Anniversary of the Triangle Fire)
On March 25, 1911, a fire that broke out in a bin holding scraps of fabric at the Triangle Waist Company, just down the block from New York City’s Washington Square Park, quickly spread, fed by cotton garments, tissue paper and wooden fixtures. Though the building that housed the clothing manufacturer was modern and advertised as fireproof, the cramped layout of the factory, a locked exit door, a flimsy fire escape that soon crumpled and inadequate fire department equipment brought a staggering loss of life. Within a half-hour, 146 workers had died, mostly young Jewish and Italian women, nearly half still in their teens. Two were only 14. More than a third of the victims jumped or fell from upper-story windows trying to escape the flames.
As of Sunday evening, the number of Tomahawk missiles dropped by NATO forces — mainly from the U.S. thus far — on Libya stands at 124, according to Vice Adm. Bill Gortney, director of the U.S. Joint Staff, and as reported by multiple news outlets.
According to The National Journal, each of those Tomahawk lobbed into Libya as part of “Operation Odyssey Dawn” cost up to $1.5 million:
For the U.S. military, the highest costs come in the form of pricey munitions, fuel for aircraft and combat pay for deployed troops – all factors that will pile up each day U.S. forces remain at the helm of the operation.
On the first day of strikes alone, U.S.-led forces launched from ships stationed off the Libyan coast 112 long-range Tomahawk cruise missiles, which cost in the range of $1 million to $1.5 million apiece. That is $112 million to $168 million for the first day’s strike in missiles alone. The military will eventually refill its stockpile though those costs could be pushed off for months or more.
With those figures, the 124 Tomahawk missiles have cost up to $186 million.
That says a lot about our priorities and why the U.S. is no longer an exceptional country. Gone are the days when we did great things. We built the Panama canal when other countries tried and failed. We led the world in new technologies and were the envy of almost all other nations. Now we lead the world in accumulated debt. We have a country full of self-centered spoiled little brats whose only concern is the amount of taxes they have to pay and they don’t want to be told to buy florescent light bulbs because “it’s taking away our freedoms.” Even with the current economic situation, people are still not looking at what’s best for our country. We live in a “me” society and that has led to the end of American exceptionalism.
CONCORD, N.H. – As some states look to tobacco tax increases to plug budget holes, a few are bucking the national trend and saying, “If you smoke ‘em, we got ‘em,” looking at dropping the rate to boost cigarette sales.
In New Hampshire, supporters argue that reducing the tax by a dime would help the state compete with Maine, Vermont and Massachusetts, while opponents say it would still lose millions of dollars even if higher sales resulted.
It’s actually a brilliant idea. By getting more people to smoke, more people will get lung diseases and that will create all sorts of jobs for doctors, nurses, hospital administration, ambulance drivers and paramedics, the oxygen industry, funeral homes, and the list goes on!
Republicans have the solutions: cut government spending and cut taxes. That will fix everything. And if it doesn’t, cut more government spending and taxes until it does. Just keep cutting and cutting. It’s so easy, even a teabagger can do it!
Rep. Weiner agrees:
Yep, you heard that right. Glenn Beck’s The Blaze website exposes the sleazy, deceptive, fraudulent editing practices of James O’Keefe, who deliberately set out to try to bring down NPR, much as he did ACORN.
Does Raw Video of NPR Expose Reveal Questionable Editing & Tactics?
Scientists claim the recent earthquake in Japan altered the earth’s axis. Could this unexplainable act of honesty and rationality be a side effect? Have we entered a new dimension of time and space where right-wingers actually tell the truth? Naaaaaaaa…
Speaking in public is the number one fear of people — even greater than the fear of death (so most people would rather be the person in the box than the one giving the eulogy).
There is a group in Denver to help people overcome those fears called The Denver Speak Easy Club.
It’s free to join and free to participate.
MADISON, Wis. — Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has officially taken away nearly all collective bargaining rights from the vast majority of the state’s public employees.
Walker signed the bill to do so privately Friday morning, but he has scheduled a signing ceremony at 3 p.m. at the state Capitol.
WASHINGTON – A new Rasmussen poll found Thursday that a clear majority of Wisconsin voters oppose Gov. Scott Walker’s (R) efforts to strip collective bargaining rights for public employee unions.
Fifty-two percent said they oppose weakening collective bargaining rights, while 39 percent were in favor of it.
Recent surveys by the New York Times/CBS, Wall Street Journal/NBC, Pew, and Gallup all found majority or plurality support across the country for maintaining the collective bargaining rights of unionized state workers.
Fascism has come to Wisconsin.
A Republican plan to sharply cut federal spending this year would destroy 700,000 jobs through 2012, according to an independent economic analysis set for release Monday.
The report, by Moody’s Analytics chief economist Mark Zandi, offers fresh ammunition to Democrats seeking block the Republican plan, which would terminate dozens of programs and slash federal appropriations by $61 billion over the next seven months.
Zandi, an architect of the 2009 stimulus package who has advised both political parties, predicts that the GOP package would reduce economic growth by 0.5 percentage points this year, and by 0.2 percentage points in 2012, resulting in 700,000 fewer jobs by the end of next year.
His report comes on the heels of a similar analysis last week by the investment bank Goldman Sachs, which predicted that the Republican spending cuts would cause even greater damage to the economy, slowing growth by as much as 2 percentage points in the second and third quarters of this year.
So much for Republicans’ promise to create jobs. The bastards are intentionally DESTROYING jobs. These people are bad for America.
By Francis X. Rocco
Religion News Service
VATICAN CITY — Political action in the name of God or religion is a “favorite instrument of the Antichrist,” Pope Benedict XVI writes in a new book on the life and teachings of Jesus.
“Conservatives do not build up the kingdom of God, the kingdom of humanity, when they set out to destroy the middle class” Benedict writes. “On the contrary, it is a favorite instrument of the Antichrist, however idealistic its religious motivation may be. It serves not humanity, but inhumanity. The devil hates the middle-class”
The passage appears in Jesus of Nazareth — Holy Week: From the Entrance into Jerusalem to the Resurrection, which was published in English and seven other languages on Thursday (March 10), with an initial printing of 1.2 million copies and now available in Kindle and Nook versions.
According to its American publisher, Ignatius Press, 90,000 copies of the English edition had been sold before publication. The Pope plans book signings in selected Barns and Nobles around the country. He will also be making an appearance at the Dayton, Ohio Walmart to promote his book.
The book is a sequel to the pope’s 2007 bestseller, Jesus was a Teenage Sex-maniac, which explored Jesus’ personal life from his baptism to the Transfiguration. In the trilogy that he began before his 2005 election as pope, Benedict studies the Gospels in light of the work of other scholars, including those who have sought to discover the “historical Jesus.” In it, the Pope claims that Jesus grew his beard and let his hair grow long in an effort to attract “babes.” After a long string of rejections (Jesus was unable to get laid, even in a house of ill repute), Jesus became a religious fanatic.
In pre-publication excerpts that were released March 2, Benedict wrote that the Jewish people were not responsible for Jesus’ crucifixion, and their descendants have not inherited blame for his death. On the contrary, he wrote; “It was the conservative Romans who were responsible for the death of Jesus.”
The Rev. Grant Storms, the Christian fundamentalist known for his bullhorn protests of the Southern Decadence festival in the French Quarter, was arrested on a charge of masturbating at a Metairie park Friday afternoon.
Storms, 53, of 2304 Green Acres Road in Metairie, was taken into custody at Lafreniere Park after two women reported seeing him masturbating in the driver’s seat of his van, which was parked near the carousel and playground, a Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office report said.
The first woman told deputies she was taking her children to the playground and parked next to the van at about noon. As she was walking around her own vehicle, she noticed the van windows were down and the occupant was “looking at the playground area that contained children playing, with his zipper down…,” the report said. The woman noted that he was masturbating and quickly ushered her children out of her car.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Wednesday that Al Jazeera is gaining more prominence in the U.S. because it offers “real news”–something she said American media were falling far short of doing.
Clinton was speaking before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and she said the U.S. is losing the “information war” in the world. One of the reasons she cited for this was the quality of channels like Al Jazeera.
“Viewership of Al Jazeera is going up in the United States because it’s real news,” she said. “You may not agree with it, but you feel like you’re getting real news around the clock instead of a million commercials and, you know, arguments between talking heads and the kind of stuff that we do on our news which, you know, is not particularly informative to us, let alone foreigners.”
I haven’t watched Al Jazeera so I don’t know how good that is, but she’s dead on about American news. It’s all watered down crap. We get the news that the giant news conglomerates want us to see, not what’s really going on.
BURLINGTON — A 12-year-old boy is being held on suspicion of killing his parents before gravely wounding his younger siblings in a violent rampage that shocked residents of this plains town near the Kansas border.
Under Colorado law, the boy, whose name is being withheld by The Denver Post because of his age, could face adult charges in the case. Before that could happen, a juvenile court judge would have to find that the boy is a juvenile delinquent who committed a serious crime of violence and that “it would be contrary to the best interests of the juvenile or of the public to retain jurisdiction” in juvenile court.
The boy was taken before a juvenile court judge and will be held for now in a juvenile facility.
Charles and Marilyn Long were deeply religious and attended a Free Evangelical Church a block from their home in town, while Charles also led a Seventh-Day Adventist prayer group.
Marilyn Long home-schooled their seven children, ranging in age from 5 to the mid-20s. All were well-known at the church, said pastor Ron Lee. Marilyn Long served as a youth minister, and the boy now being held in the killings helped by greeting parishioners before services and working with video equipment.
It never fails. Every time there is a situation where a child kills family members, it’s always in a religious household. Religious beliefs are insane. What adult in his or her right mind would believe in something as bizarre as a virgin birth, resurrection, heaven and hell, and the coming apocalypse? It’s like a middle aged person believing in vampires and werewolves. It’s crazy. And children raised in crazy environments are going to do crazy things.
So who is to blame here? The child may be tried as an adult and could spend the rest of his life in prison. Was the child in control of his resources or was he brainwashed? First he needs to be deprogrammed to find out what’s beneath the surface.
More to come…
Two good shows on PBS this evening:
7:00pm – 8:30pm, KRMA (6)
American Masters : “Troubadours: Carole King, James Taylor and the Rise of the Singer-Songwriter”
A history of the singer-songwriter movement, centering on Carole King, James Taylor and West Hollywood’s Troubadour club, featuring a wealth of clips …
9:00pm – 10:00pm, CPT (12)
Frontline : “Revolution in Cairo”
The unrest in Egypt is examined. Included: the April 6 Youth Movement leaders, who were jailed for using the Internet to encourage protests, are follo…more
Original Airdate: February 22, 2011
(Those times are mountain times)