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Archive for March 29th, 2009

Courage Award Honors Two Women Who Warned Us

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 29th, 2009 4:38 am by HL

Courage Award Honors Two Women Who Warned Us

Bair

There has been much hand-wringing, not to mention finger-pointing, regarding who knew what, and when, about the financial calamities that have recently come to pass. However, Brooksley Born and Sheila Bair won’t be counted among the willfully or accidentally ignorant: They’ve been named this year’s winners of the JFK Profile in Courage Award for sounding the alarm far ahead of time.

Bloomberg.com:

Bair, chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., and Born, chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission until 1999, were honored for “political courage,” the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation announced yesterday [Wednesday] in a statement.

The policy makers “recognized that the financial security of all Americans was being put at risk by the greed, negligence and opposition of powerful and well-connected interests,” Caroline Kennedy, the foundation’s president and daughter of the late president, said in the statement.

Bair, 54, who took over the FDIC in 2006, was among the first regulators to prod the mortgage industry to modify loans at risk of foreclosure to help borrowers keep their homes as losses mounted after the collapse of subprime market. Born, 68, lost a fight to bring over-the-counter derivatives under the regulatory control of the CFTC [Commodity Futures Trading Commission], after warning in 1998 that the contracts “pose grave dangers to our economy.”

“The catastrophic events of recent months have proved them right,” Kennedy said.

Read more

Additional links:

Read a tribute to Brooksley Born by The Nation’s Katrina Vanden Heuvel here.

Born was vindicated, according to this Bloomberg story from last November, when her warnings finally started sinking in—a decade later—among those she most wanted to take action.

Around that same time last fall, Bair was locking horns with then-Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson over how to help homeowners who faced foreclosure, as this U.S. News & World Report article details.

Click here for Bair’s official FDIC profile.

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Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 29th, 2009 4:37 am by HL

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A Biblical Political Move

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 29th, 2009 4:36 am by HL

A Biblical Political Move
Just as news breaks that political fundraising is down for both parties, Republicans have lost one of their more generous contributors. In what one might call a biblical move, Christian philanthropist Howard Ahmanson — one of three major funders of California’s Proposition 8, which bans same-sex marriages — has abandoned the GOP for the Democratic Party.


The Daily Muck

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 29th, 2009 4:35 am by HL

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Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 29th, 2009 4:34 am by HL

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The Business Of Health Care

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 29th, 2009 4:33 am by HL

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McConnell: Bush was a ?millstone? around Republicans? necks.

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 29th, 2009 4:32 am by HL

McConnell: Bush was a ?millstone? around Republicans? necks.
Yesterday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) told reporters he is convinced that the public will again embrace conservatives now that President Bush is gone: “President Bush had become extremely unpopular, and politically he was sort of a millstone around our necks in both ‘06 and ‘08. We now have the opportunity to be […]

mcconnell4.jpg Yesterday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) told reporters he is convinced that the public will again embrace conservatives now that President Bush is gone:

President Bush had become extremely unpopular, and politically he was sort of a millstone around our necks in both ‘06 and ‘08. We now have the opportunity to be on offense, offer our own ideas and we will win some.”

McConnell hasn’t always rejected Bush. As Matt Yglesias has noted, “It’s McConnell, after all, who was architect of the unorthodox notion that Senate Republicans should respond to losing their majority in 2006 by launching a lot of filibusters in defense of the unpopular incumbent president’s agenda.” So who is the new leader of the party? In the same interview, McConnell said, “Newt Gingrich, for example, has an idea a minute. Many of those are quite good. Many of those become amendments.”

Jonah Goldberg Sticks Up For Marty Peretz?s Racism
On Thursday, Slate’s Mickey Kaus posted an e-mail thread from the off-the-record e-mail list serve JournoList, in which various left-leaning bloggers and journalists (including Matt Yglesias and the Wonk Room’s Matt Duss) discussed whether New Republic editor-in-chief Marty Peretz is “a Crazy-A** Racist.” The thread was a reaction to a blog post by Peretz that […]

jonahperetez.jpgOn Thursday, Slate’s Mickey Kaus posted an e-mail thread from the off-the-record e-mail list serve JournoList, in which various left-leaning bloggers and journalists (including Matt Yglesias and the Wonk Room’s Matt Duss) discussed whether New Republic editor-in-chief Marty Peretz is “a Crazy-A** Racist.” The thread was a reaction to a blog post by Peretz that labeled Mexico as having the “characteristic deficiencies” of “Latin society”:

Well, I am extremely pessimistic about Mexican-American relations, not because the U.S. had done anything specifically wrong to our southern neighbor but because a (now not quite so) wealthy country has as its abutter a Latin society with all of its characteristic deficiencies: congenital corruption, authoritarian government, anarchic politics, near-tropical work habits, stifling social mores, Catholic dogma with the usual unacknowledged compromises, an anarchic counter-culture and increasingly violent modes of conflict. Then, there is the Mexican diaspora in America, hard-working and patriotic but mired in its untold numbers of illegals, about whom no one can talk with candor.

National Review’s Jonah Goldberg responded to Kaus’s post yesterday by asking “why will no one defend Marty Peretz?” and claiming that he is “quite surprised no one will defend the man from the charge that he’s a ‘f***ing racist.’” Goldberg accuses Peretz critics of using racism “as a branding tool against heretics“:

The “near-tropical work habits” line is unfortunate. But is this whole thing really so beyond the pale? If it is, no wonder it’s hard to have that long-overdue conversation about race people keep talking about.

But it’s pretty clear that racism — real or alleged — isn’t the real issue. These guys hate Marty, hate TNR (no doubt in part because some of them couldn’t get jobs there), and are willing to use racism against their own the same way they use it against conservatives: as a branding tool against heretics.

Though Goldberg slightly acknowledges the offensive nature of Peretz’s line about “near-tropical work habits” by calling it “unfortunate,” he never addresses the fact that Peretz also asserted that “Latin society” is plagued with “congenital corruption.” The dictionary definition of “congenital” is “being such by nature.” In other words, Peretz is claiming that Latinos are born corrupt. That’s racist.

There’s also Peretz’s welldocumented bigotry towards the Arab world…so, to answer Goldberg, perhaps no one is stepping up to defend Peretz because his bigotry is indefensible.

Update Later in the day yesterday, Goldberg posted a comment from an e-mailer who pointed out the offensiveness of Peretz’s “congenital corruption” line, noting that Peretz is known to say similarly offensive things in private as well.


The Talk Shows

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 29th, 2009 4:31 am by HL

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Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 29th, 2009 4:29 am by HL

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