The guiding myth underpinning the reconstruction of our dangerous banking system is: Financial innovation as we know it is valuable and must be preserved. Anyone opposed to this approach is a populist, with or without a pitchfork.
Single-handedly, Paul Volcker has exploded this myth. Responding to a Wall Street insiders' Future of Finance “report,“ he was quoted in the WSJ yesterday as saying: “Wake up gentlemen. I can only say that your response is inadequate.”
Volcker has three main points, with which we whole-heartedly agree:
(1) “[Financial engineering] moves around the rents in the financial system, but not only this, as it seems to have vastly increased them.”
(2) “I have found very little evidence that vast amounts of innovation in financial markets in recent years have had a visible effect on the productivity of the economy.”
and most important:
(3) “I am probably going to win in the end.”
From The Sun's report of the attack on Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi:
Mr. Berlusconi's office yesterday denied reports that he doodled pictures of women's underwear in climate talks in Brussels last week.
Accompanying the main PR thrust of Obama's new Afghanistan policy was a more subtle argument: that a new degree of cooperation from Pakistan in the fight against Islamic radicals had given Obama faith that a U.S. offensive could succeed. But now comes word that Pakistan is refusing our demands to crack down on the Haqqani network, whose home base is in Pakistan and which is a major source of insurgency in eastern Afghanistan. The problem is that Pakistant sees the Haqqanis as assets, not enemies.
It must be so very, very awesome to always know God is fighting for your political team:
Just when you thought reality TV couldn't get any ickier, WaPo's Lisa de Moraes tells us that the CW network is trolling for women (translation: hot, 20-something women) with a range of mental illnesses sufficiently entertaining to sustain a reality series. Think: anorexia, bulimia, rage issues, shopping addiction, and--the holy grail--sex addiction.
Exiting a caucus meeting this evening, Democratic Senators said that they were prepared to drop the Medicare buy-in to break the political impasse over the provision--a change that may be enough to win over Joe Lieberman. Jay Rockefeller, one of the health reform's leading liberal advocates, was adamant about describing the merits that the bill would have even without a public option compromise.
It has been a banner day for the field of Lieberman Psychology. My own contribution is that Lieberman is not as smart as people think he is, and certainly not detail-oriented or well-versed in public policy.
In response to the revelation that he endorsed the Medicare buy-in that he now cites as a deal-breaker, Lieberman explains:
Speaking of famous men behaving badly: In the web chatter surrounding Tiger Woods' slut-puppy antics, I've noticed people responding in disbelief with the whole "But his wife is so beautiful..." logic.