I’ve been having way too much fun, reading The Guardian this morning. The day is quickly closing and with it, the week. So, here is some reading for the weekend, without much commentary.
First, a story I never got to this week, from NPR’s Fresh Air.
Rating The Wall Street Ratings Agencies
”"The SEC had the job of figuring how much capital broker-dealers would have to set aside in order to remain safe," Partnoy says. "So they said, 'We're going to designate these [ratings] agencies ... to do our work for us. You go out and rate these bonds.' And more and more regulators [like the SEC] thought this was a good idea. ”
Deregulation? Privatization? And be sure to look for the bit about your pension fund and mutual fund have to invest in AAA.
The rest of the stories are from The Guardian.
Barack Obama is on course for a second term – against all the odds
”Well, yes, that's all true. And he has not been a particularly brave or effective president either. Democrat or Republican, I'd be pretty disappointed, too. But election campaigns are about choice of both candidate and their policies. So Obama's luck lies in the near-unbelievable fact that the Republicans look determined either to pick a loser or refuse to vote for someone who could win.”
It’s a good look at American national politics from the outside. Speaking of which...
US voters are not mad. Our stereotype of them is patronising and wrong
”America is a country of mad people governed by buffoons. That's the way a lot of Europeans are content to see it, no matter how much they love the US in other ways. A country of mad people because they are so religious, violent, overweight and in denial about things that look obvious from here but which the flag-wavers over there refuse to get.”
”Now, with 15 months to go before the next US presidential election, a spectre is haunting Europe. The spectre is the possibility Barack Obama might not be re-elected. In fact it's more than that. It's the sense, among a lot of Europeans and a lot of progressives – US ones too – that Obama wasn't as great as he seemed and that, as a result, he has allowed the mad people to get their act together again and prepare to elect another buffoon next November. Prejudices confirmed. Comfort zone resumed.”
It’s not so much a look at politicians as it is a look at the voters. Interesting stuff.
And last but not least, if you didn’t see it, another classic from the smartest man on TV.
Go read the comment section from wherever you saw the editorial from Warren Buffet in The New York Times. I want you to think of these people whenever you think of that Daily Show clip. And...whenever you vote.
August 19, 2011