Brooksley Born and Alan Greenspan

by Jon Mandle on October 9, 2008

The Times tells the story of the failed efforts of one Brooksley E. Born, the chair of the Commodities Futures Trading Association in 1997, to attempt to impose greater regulation on derivatives. “She called for greater disclosure of trades and reserves to cushion against losses.” She was fiercely opposed in this by Alan Greenspan and Robert Rubin. [ed:spelling corrected]
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Al Franken Commercial

by Jon Mandle on October 9, 2008

Man, if I were Al Franken, I’d put this up as a commercial straight with no commentary. (Okay, maybe cut down to 1:00 or :30.) (via Ezra).

Obama’s Plausibility plus Watching Watchmen

by John Holbo on October 9, 2008

Like Kevin Drum, I have been sorely tempted to take a poke at the poor Cornerites in their misery – especially Andy McCarthy – but Hilzoy got there first. You can follow her links. it’s all-Ayers, all-the-time, if you’ve been missing the show. Here’s my analytic contribution on top of the straight mockery: this lot have been reduced to arguing that the problem with Obama is that he doesn’t believe the stuff he’s saying, won’t do anything like the things he’s proposing. Or, in the 10% less crazy Frum version, he’s just got to be an incredibly corrupt Chicago pol. Because he’s from Chicago.

This is funny, first, because it converts Obama’s rather pedestrian characteristic of not seeming to be something radically different than what he seems to be into a maddening sort of rope-a-dope achievement. (How does he do it? That ‘appearing to be the sort of person that he probably is’ thing.) Lowry glowers: “he’s a kind of genius at appearing plausible. If the Nobel committee had a prize for appearing plausible, he’d win it every time.” But Lowry isn’t talking about the power of making implausible ideas sound plausible. He’s talking about the power of making it seem plausible that you believe basically plausible things. [click to continue…]


by Harry on October 9, 2008

My wife commented the other day that Sarah Palin has the rare talent of being able to make complete gibberish sound like it means something (a combination of that odd wink, and the modulation of her voice). As usual, my national chauvinism got the better of me: we, the British, have the finest exemplars of that skill, and Palin seems like an amateur to me. Two words: Idle; Unwin.

Remembering Alan Coren

by Harry on October 9, 2008

When my 11-year old tires of the young adult novels she is forced to read (is it really necessary to give pre-teens a diet of child-abuse, divorce, gore, death, and suicide?) she skips to Alan Coren’s Arthur books, long out of print, but marvelously funny. Coren’s been gone for nearly a year, now, and here’s rather sad but loving tribute. Hearing Sandi Toksvig talk about him made me look around for old obits; and I found this lovely account of the funeral by Simon Hoggart.