Hank Greenberg

As the front-page story in today's Times points out, the relationship between AIG and its longtime former CEO, Hank Greenberg, is getting more and more fascinating. On the one hand, Greenberg still owns a lot of stock in the company and is keen to see it become viable again. (I happened to speak with him a few weeks ago--I've got to make sure the conversation was on the record before providing more detail, but the short version is that his feelings on this point are pretty unambiguous.

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Top Down

A new theory of the AIG catastrophe.

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I have a piece in our latest issue that tries to answer that question. The turning point seems to come in March/April 2005, when longtime CEO Hank Greenberg resigned amid allegations of accounting improprieties and the company lost its triple-A credit rating. From then till the end of the year, AIG Financial Products, under then-CEO Joe Cassano, binged on credit-default swaps related to subprime real estate--which, uh, didn't turn out so well.

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Scared Yet?

There are so many things that make The Wall Street Journal editorial page a source of personal fascination--the undying faith in voodoo economics, the staunch defense of executive privilege and disdain for independent counsels during Republican presidencies alternating with disdain for executive privilege and staunch defense of independent counsels during Democratic presidencies--but perhaps the most intriguing is the wildly promiscuous use of quotation marks. Over the years, it's become an obsession of mine. Like most of us, the Journal uses scare quotes to signify that a term is misleading.

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It's problematic for me this year, especially as a Jew, but I can't stand the Mets. Depending on your conception of when life begins, I attended my first Yankee game either six months in utero or three months out of the womb, and I've never looked back. Unfortunately, during my formative years, the Yanks were a fairly dismal team, and the Mets were the toast of the schoolbus; I was six when they rolled to the 1986 world championship, their first in almost two decades.

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