How FinReg got its groove back

This piece by Noam Scheiber is a good read:

That left Lincoln with a dilemma: She’d been planning on moving the compromise through the Agriculture Committee with bipartisan support, meaning she could afford to lose a few liberal Democrats. Now that she’d be losing Republican votes to win the administration’s imprimatur, she’d have to construct a political coalition that would bring the liberals aboard. The result was the apparent lurch from what was widely expected to be the weakest derivatives bill on the Hill to what’s far and away the strongest.

That was last Tuesday. As of Thursday night, it still wasn’t entirely clear whether Lincoln had calibrated correctly. The bill was so much more hawkish than anything that had come before it—one provision could effectively ban big banks from trading derivatives outright—that it risked repelling not just Republicans but moderate Democrats. (Ben Nelson and Max Baucus both sit on Lincoln’s Agriculture committee.) Then came Friday’s Goldman revelations and suddenly Lincoln had the upper hand. “I’ve heard there’s been some folks on her committee pushing back a little bit,” says a former Democratic Senate aide who now consults for the financial services industry. But, “if you’re a Democrat, it’s harder to vote against something after the Goldman stuff. It puts pressure on Republicans and pressure on Democrats.”

This same person sees an analogy to Sarbanes-Oxley, the tough regulation of corporate accounting statements that Congress enacted after Enron. The bill had begun to stall in the Senate while its sponsor, Paul Sarbanes of Maryland, spent months methodically holding hearings. Then WorldCom imploded, and the bill became a juggernaut. “It was like a freight train. It was on the floor and no one was getting in front of it,” recalls the former aide. “Goldman to me is a little analogous… Except that [financial reform] was already on the track. It had some momentum. This helps give it a considerable amount more.”

We’ll see what passes. My guess it that, as with health care, what we get is much more than could reasonably be expected a year ago but much less than what liberals want.

This liberal will view this as a small victory. Many others will view it as further proof that Rahmbama hates hippies. Who know? Maybe we’re both right.






75 replies
  1. 1

    If the timing of the Goldman dustup is not just a happy coincidence, then the Administration may have a firm grip on the progress of the financial regulation reform.

    It might be entirely to your liking, and I suspect it won’t have everything in it that either you or I would like to see. But it might not be horrible.

  2. 2

    At the risk of being a cold water douche, I’m more concerned with what gets enforced. The fact that GoldSack is pulling the Rotten Apples defense tells me SOX failed to put the fear of the FSM into corporations.

    On the other hand, no matter what passes I’ll get to enjoy the buttery goodness of Republicans whining that the bill harms reaLAMEricans.

  3. 3
    DougJ says:

    @kommrade reproductive vigor:

    At the risk of being a cold water douche, I’m more concerned with what gets enforced. The fact that GoldSack is pulling the Rotten Apples defense tells me SOX failed to put the fear of the FSM into corporations.

    Very good point.

  4. 4
    mr. whipple says:

    “This liberal will view this as a small victory. Many others will view it as further proof that Rahmbama hates hippies. Who know? Maybe we’re both right.”

    I think that constantly framing every big win(stim, hcr, fin reform) as a disappointing loss really isn’t good politics.

  5. 5
    kay says:

    @Linda Featheringill:

    It was smart to move on so fast. Democrats want to talk about this. I’m sure they’re enormously relieved to move on from health care.
    It will be interesting to see if health care reform holds any potency at all by the summer, as an issue. I don’t know that media have an attention span that long.

  6. 6
    r€nato says:

    @Linda Featheringill:

    If the timing of the Goldman dustup is not just a happy coincidence,

    It is absolutely no coincidence. Whether the administration can follow through, that’s another story. These guys are going to be even harder to beat in court than the mob.

    I would not be surprised to see some fortuitously-timed criminal charges, particularly as fall approaches.

  7. 7
    kay says:

    @mr. whipple:

    If Obama succeeds, he will have made major regulatory and governmental reforms in two huge sectors of the economy.
    It’s just silly to continue to portray this as under-performing.
    I have a conservative acquaintance who is not a Right wing lunatic, but is a dyed-in the wool conservative, and he’s smart.
    His biggest fear was that Obama would succeed on health care, finance and energy, because those are three huge sectors of the economy.
    He had his head on his desk when health care passed, and he held up two fingers today when he saw me.
    He’s right. That’s two.

  8. 8
    Keith G says:

    Would it be too much political theater to have one more round of hearings before mark up so Frank Luntz can be subpoenaed?

    I hear he has some important insights on the bill.

  9. 9
    DougJ says:

    @mr. whipple:

    I think that constantly framing every big win(stim, hcr, fin reform) as a disappointing loss really isn’t good politics.

    Obot.

  10. 10
    chopper says:

    i’m so glad i’m not a ‘moderate republican’ in the senate right now. the HCR battle left them with nowhere to run.

  11. 11
    chopper says:

    @kay:

    If Obama succeeds, he will have made major regulatory and governmental reforms in two huge sectors of the economy.
    It’s just silly to continue to portray this as under-performing.
    I have a conservative acquaintance who is not a Right wing lunatic, but is a dyed-in the wool conservative, and he’s smart.
    His biggest fear was that Obama would succeed on health care, finance and energy, because those are three huge sectors of the economy.

    throw in defense and he’s got pretty much the whole superfecta.

  12. 12
    Zifnab says:

    @r€nato: I don’t know about “bigger than the mob”. The Goldman guys were certainly as bold as the mob, but the business as a whole has a lot more to lose. The mob didn’t have stockholders. The CEO is expendable. I don’t see why the Goldman company wouldn’t just let a few heads roll so it can get back to business.

  13. 13
    Mike Kay says:

    Max Baucus is so corrupt.

    This is what some bloggers don’t get. Obama doesn’t only have to deal with the republicans, but he has people like Baucus who makes Blanche Lincoln look like Nader.

    Ending the filibuster and arcane senate procedures would eliminate alot of the obstacles, but ditches are still in the roadway.

  14. 14
    Mike Kay says:

    @mr. whipple:

    but, but, but, … I just bought 10,000 shares of Consolidated Sanctimony.

    Sanctimony and self-reverence is a growth industry!

  15. 15
    cleek says:

    I think that constantly framing every big win(stim, hcr, fin reform) as a disappointing loss really isn’t good politics.

    then maybe we should look at things in a positive light…

  16. 16
    freelancer says:

    Why is it, when I picture your average Goldman employee, I can’t shake the image of Cocky Blonde Guy from Not Another Teen Movie?

    “Little Miss ‘I wanna buy your crappy derivative’…just bought my crappy derivative.”

  17. 17
    mr. whipple says:

    Obama doesn’t only have to deal with the republicans, but he has people like Baucus who makes Blanche Lincoln look like Nader.

    Every piece of legislation will be as progressive as the 60th Senator that signs on.

  18. 18
    Comrade Tank Hueco says:

    Ending the filibuster and arcane senate procedures the Senate in its entirety would eliminate alot of the obstacles, but ditches are still in the roadway.

    fxt

  19. 19
    daveNYC says:

    The big difference between HCR and Finance Reform is that weak HCR is something that we will build on. Weak Financial Reform, OTOH, is something that will give everyone a false sense of confidence.

  20. 20
    mai naem says:

    Look at the Ag committee – Saxby”Bum Knee Cheerleader Cheeckenhawk”Chambliss is the ranking member. Next one down after Lincoln with a less powerful assignment is Debbie Stabenow and after Stabenow is Ben Nelson.
    Frank Luntz is another reason to teach your kids not to bully. I bet Frank Luntz had the crap beaten out of him several times with his lunch being stolen everyday. And now, we all get to pay for that crime.

  21. 21
    SteveinSC says:

    Slightly OT but, with the shit about to hit the fan on financial re-regulation, some people I know, plus me, would like suggestions on books disassembling the financial meltdown that has Glass-Steagle and CDO’s, CDS’s, Hedgefunds, etc. I know there were some books out a bit ago that were spoken well of, but I fucked up and didn’t get one or note the names. Too focussed on HCR at the time, I guess. Any suggestions? And, please, no wise asses suggesting I start with Das Kapital.

  22. 22
    DougJ says:

    @SteveinSC:

    Glass-Steagle

    I’m waiting for Michelle Bachmann to misname it before I discuss it. Stass-Gleagle?

  23. 23
    AnotherBruce says:

    The hippies are right, the hippies are always right about everything but tactics.

  24. 24
    mr. whipple says:

    “I’m waiting for Michelle Bachmann to misname it before I discuss it. Stass-Gleagle?”

    Ass-Keagle?

  25. 25
    Walker says:

    @SteveinSC:

    While it may be a bit more abstract than you are looking (it focuses on how the economics profession influenced policy) Yves Smith’s Econned is worthwhile.

  26. 26
    Mike Kay says:

    ya know, if they had passed a robust public option, but NOT a ban on rescission, or lifting the ban on preexisting conditions, or lifing the cap life-time coverage, or expanding Medicaid, or closing the doughnut hole, most high profile bloggers would have been ecstatic. The PO was the sole item they were interested in. It was on the RARE, rare occasion when anything was said about the other features of HCR. They talk, and talk, and talk about populism and the people, but they never really cared about anyone but themselves. It’s no coincidence that many of these bloggers became adults during the 1970s “me-decade”.

  27. 27
    Comrade Tank Hueco says:

    @DougJ:

    Grass Beagle?

  28. 28
    licensed to kill time says:

    St. Glaggle-Ass, my belle.

  29. 29

    Weak Financial Reform, OTOH, is something that will give everyone a false sense of confidence ^the Wall Street Freaks license to ill times infinity.

    fxt.

    And really, unless there’s a provision in there that requires decapitation of everyone in upper management for the first offense, the MOST we can expect is for these assholes to lay low until a friendlier regime rolls into town. They’re not going away, they’re not going to cut it out. I’m not sure they’re even going to StFu about how mean an’ nasty everyone is for just a little bit.

  30. 30
    Martin says:

    If it’s the GOP we’re talking about, it’d be Ass Kleagle.

  31. 31
  32. 32

    @SteveinSC: Das Kapital:

    I don’t think that either Chuck or Fred wrote about derivatives, although they probably wouldn’t be surprised at some of the stuff happening now.

    Probably the most pertinent insight is something to the effect that the more profit margin there is, the more people will risk for it, including prison and even bodily harm.

    Now. You don’t have to read it. You can go off and enjoy yourself otherwise.

  33. 33
    gwangung says:

    @AnotherBruce:

    The hippies are right, the hippies are always right about everything but tactics.

    Well, they need SOMETHING to punch each other out about…

  34. 34
  35. 35
    mai naem says:

    @Mike Kay: Kind of disingenuous. First, the PO kind of takes care of preexisting conditions. Secondly, there were lots of bloggers who wanted single payer which definitely takes care of the other stuff. The other scheme which had a lot of support was Medicare buy-in. I have no idea why there is so much hippy punching on BJ. I understand anger towards the Firebaggers who teamed up with Norquist. The other people are involved and pushing the admin. towards the left which is a good thing and furthermore its no different than the DLC’rs who push the admin. to the right.

  36. 36
    BombIranForChrist says:

    /cynical hat on

    Here is what will happen:

    1. Republicans and moderate Democrats, at the behest of Wall Street, will stall stall stall.

    2. The Goldman Sachs furor will die down.

    3. The Republicans and moderate Democrats will slink back to their holes.

    4. Square 1

  37. 37
    gwangung says:

    I have no idea why there is so much hippy punching on BJ. I understand anger towards the Firebaggers who teamed up with Norquist. The other people are involved and pushing the admin. towards the left

    Well, I think the problem is that there are people in the first group who THINK they’re in the second group…and there are people who think that folks are acting like the ones in the first group when they’re actually in the second group.

    I.e., the waters are getting pretty muddy by a very small number of sloppy people.

  38. 38
    Randy P says:

    @mr. whipple:

    I think that constantly framing every big win(stim, hcr, fin reform) as a disappointing loss really isn’t good politics.

    I’ve been doing too much programming. I caught myself checking the syntax and argument types of the function call win(stim, hcr, fin reform) before I realized what my brain was doing.

  39. 39
    Mike Kay says:

    @daveNYC:

    The big difference between HCR and Finance Reform is that weak HCR is something that we will build on

    only in the ivory tower world of the blogosphere is a bill that provides a trillion dollar of subsidies over ten years considered weak.

  40. 40
  41. 41
    Mike Kay says:

    @mai naem: bloggers used to hate the DLC, not simply for pushing the party to the right, that was part of it, but because they were constantly undermining the party for not adopting their measures (ie “even the new republic says generic democrat is wrong”). The people I talk about are doing the same, from the left (ie “even generic blogger XYZ says Obama is wrong”).

    as for “hippie punching” I have to laugh. The people I talk about have no problem swinging their fists, even hitting below the belt. Oh, but if someone swings, back, they shriek “foul” and cry you’re a “meanie”.

  42. 42
    J. Michael Neal says:

    @kommrade reproductive vigor:

    At the risk of being a cold water douche, I’m more concerned with what gets enforced. The fact that GoldSack is pulling the Rotten Apples defense tells me SOX failed to put the fear of the FSM into corporations.

    What does SOX have to do with this? It’s about ensuring that the financial statements are accurate and free of material misstatements. Unless you want to go *really* deep into the weeds with a claim that Goldman should have put a contingent liability on the balance sheet in case of an SEC investigation, there’s no financial statement problems associated with this fraud.

    You may be thinking that Section 404, which mandates an audit of internal control, might cover it, but it doesn’t. The interpretation that 404 mandated a complete audit of every internal control element in the world was wrong. The PCAOB corrected that with AS5 about three years ago. It, too, is only about ensuring financial statement accuracy.

    Sarbanes-Oxley really has put the fear of god into publicly traded companies. It just has nothing to do with this case.

  43. 43
    demimondian says:

    @Mike Kay: Hey, wow. My penny stock newletter was just reccing the big spin-off from that on: Bethlehem Sanctimony (BS).

    What do you think? Should I get in?

  44. 44
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @SteveinSC:

    Ditto what Walker #25 said:

    While it may be a bit more abstract than you are looking (it focuses on how the economics profession influenced policy) Yves Smith’s Econned is worthwhile.

    Worthwhile is putting it mildly, to say the least.

    Also: anything by Michael Lewis, Richard Bookstaber’s A Demon of Our Own Design, and Nassim Taleb’s The Black Swan.

  45. 45
    Zifnab says:

    @Mike Kay:

    This is what some bloggers don’t get. Obama doesn’t only have to deal with the republicans, but he has people like Baucus who makes Blanche Lincoln look like Nader.

    Baucus makes Blanche Lincoln look like Blanche Lincoln. They’re both conservative Democrats more beholden to corporate interests than constituencies. Baucus just happens to be parceled out to various insurance companies and aggro-giants, while Blanche is a wholely owned subsidiary of Walmart.

  46. 46
    Mike Kay says:

    @demimondian:

    BUY, BUY, BUY!

    Just wait for the avalanche of piety and self-righteousness when cap and trade moves to the center square.

  47. 47
    ericblair says:

    @mai naem:

    The other people are involved and pushing the admin. towards the left which is a good thing and furthermore its no different than the DLC’rs who push the admin. to the right.

    My problem is that it looked a lot less like “pushing him to the left” and more like “pushing him down the stairs.” I’ve got no problem with trying to influence Obama and either letting him or forcing him (as the case may be) take a more liberal position. What I saw was a lot of screaming about corporate sellouts and tearing up everything to start over from scratch so magic ponies would somehow make the politics work differently and 2012 primaries.

  48. 48
    kay says:

    @chopper:

    Throw in defense and he’s got pretty much the whole superfecta.

    He likes Obama. He believes he would personally have a lot in common with Obama, not in ideology, but in temperament and basic decency and intellect.
    He’s just straight-up honest about resenting that a Democrat, any Democrat, is rewriting rules on health care and finance, because (panic!) that’s THE ECONOMY. He would much prefer a conservative be in charge. Unlike the tea baggers, or the Republican leadership, he admits that.
    I think energy legislation might tip him over the edge, and into retirement.
    I don’t know that he can STANDS much more “failure”, on Obama’s part.

  49. 49
    MattR says:

    Does it have to get to this?

    There’s no bread, let them eat cake
    There’s no end to what they’ll take
    Flaunt the fruits of noble birth
    Wash the salt into the earth
    But they’re marching to Bastille Day
    La guillotine will claim her bloody prize
    Free the dungeons of the innocent
    The king will kneel, and let his kingdom rise
    __
    Bloodstained velvet, dirty lace
    Naked fear on every face
    See them bow their heads to die
    As we would bow as they rode by
    __
    And we’re marching to Bastille Day
    La guillotine will claim her bloody prize
    Sing, o choirs of cacophony
    The king has kneeled, to let his kingdom rise.
    __
    Lessons taught but never learned
    All around us anger burns
    Guide the future by the past
    Long ago the mould was cast
    __
    For they marched up to Bastille Day
    La guillotine – claimed her bloody prize
    Hear the echoes of the centuries
    Power isn’t all that money buys

  50. 50
    blackwaterdog says:

    @mr. whipple:

    Can you say it again and again and again???!

    These are MASSIVE wins, things that no one got to do in decades, and we just keep insist that we lost. Unbelievable.

  51. 51
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @mai naem:

    I have no idea why there is so much hippy punching on BJ. I understand anger towards the Firebaggers who teamed up with Norquist. The other people are involved and pushing the admin. towards the left which is a good thing

    I don’t think it really is “pushing the admin. towards the left.” It’s demanding that the admin. adopt something that has been decided to be “the left” by some kind of alchemy involving incantations by the biggest bloggers who hyper-valorize being seen as “fighters” (because their archenemy is DLC-style triangulation). So you have to fight Fight FIGHT every battle, pedal to the metal, balls to the wall. rrraARRRGGH!

    And then, more importantly, there’s little actual _pushing_, and when the whole thing gets hashed out by, you know, actual politicians and policy wonks rather than random schmoes on blogs, there’s a cascade of pouting and whinging and “I-will-not-be-ignored”-ing and “you’ll-rue-the-day”-ing and “I’ll-be-proven-right”-ing. There are far too many people who fancy themselves on the left who have decided that the way to _prove_ they’re _really_ on the left is to strap on the emo-pants and mope about how they’re the only ones who really Get It. It’s tedious.

  52. 52
    blackwaterdog says:

    @kay:

    If Obama succeeds, he will have made major regulatory and governmental reforms in two huge sectors of the economy.
    It’s just silly to continue to portray this as under-performing.

    “Silly” is a very kind word here.

  53. 53
    JGabriel says:

    SteveinSC:

    … some people I know, plus me, would like suggestions on books disassembling the financial meltdown that has Glass-Steagle and CDO’s, CDS’s, Hedgefunds, etc.

    I don’t know, offhand, which books are good explications of the financial instruments, but most of the characters are well-depicted in Dante’s Inferno, particularly in the sections on the Third (Gluttony), Fourth (Avarice), Eighth (Fraud), and Ninth (Betrayal) Circles.

    Also in the newly constructed Tenth Circle.

    .

  54. 54
  55. 55
    kay says:

    @blackwaterdog:

    I don’t find the FDR-Great Depression comparison persuasive, and I’m impatient with historic comparisons anyway. They’re fine, as far as they go.

    There was no safety net during the Great Depression. There was little or no regulation of any kind. FDR started from scratch. Unemployment insurance was created in 1935.

    There was enormous public support for extraordinary emergency measures in that period because people had nothing else. Obama extended the safety net and regulatory framework that exists. He could do that, because it existed. I’m just not persuaded that he could or should be FDR.

  56. 56
    JGabriel says:

    @kommrade reproductive vigor:

    And really, unless there’s a provision in there that requires decapitation of everyone in upper management for the first offense …

    That’s far too painless a punishment. I propose instead that they be deprived of all their wealth and assets, then deposited in Wilkes-Barre, PA, and told to work their way up from the bottom. We are talking about people who’d rather die than be poor.

    I’m open to other suggestions regarding the city they should be deposited in, though I submit that anyone who thinks Wilkes-Barre isn’t sufficiently hellish enough has simply never visited it. Haina?

    .

  57. 57
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @JGabriel: Never been to Wikes-Barre, but I found Chester, PA and Worcester, MA both pretty depressing.

  58. 58
    kay says:

    @mai naem:

    I’m not hippy-punching, mai naem. I do think we have to decide, though. Either embrace the diversity of opinion in the Democratic Party and among its (sometime) liberal allies, as I’m trying to do, or stop saying Democrats don’t have “message discipline”.
    I know they don’t have “message discipline”. That’s a function of how diverse their various constituencies are, Left to Right. We can’t really have both things, at the same time.

  59. 59
    Chris says:

    @blackwaterdog:
    A little blogospheric fanboy schtick here but I really enjoy your diaries at the GOS. Glad you stuck around.

  60. 60
    WereBear says:

    @JGabriel: I’m thinking Gary, Indiana.

    Heartland, and all.

  61. 61
    burnspbesq says:

    @JGabriel:

    ’m open to other suggestions regarding the city they should be deposited in, though I submit that anyone who thinks Wilkes-Barre isn’t sufficiently hellish enough has simply never visited it. Haina?

    Ontario, California. Hot, smoggy, ugly, and gang-infested. Tens of millions of square feet of distribution centers, and only a handful of jobs that pay more than ten bucks an hour.

  62. 62
    Martin says:

    Wilkes-Barre and Ontario are sufficiently close to major metropolitan areas to be tolerable.

    You really want somewhere in western North Dakota for pure hell to these folks. While I wouldn’t mind it, the crippling winters and overall lack of services would destroy them. Find a nice spot with no cell coverage or high speed internet, where there are no jobs, just farms, and the closest ‘real’ city is at least 4 hours away. Shouldn’t be too hard.

  63. 63
    David in NY says:

    @burnspbesq:

    Thank you for suggesting an alternative that is not just an old rust-belt mill town. I’m sure that there are plenty of towns in the southern crescent that are hell to live in, and a lot hotter than Wilkes-Barre. Maybe one of those where the whole place is in foreclosure.

    ED: Though that is a powerful case for Ontario, CA. Even has an ironic name.

  64. 64
    David in NY says:

    @Martin:

    no cell coverage or high speed internet,

    Boy, Martin, you know their weak spots! I’ve got a place in upstate New York, and the banksters who buy their million dollar “farms” just can’t believe that there’s no cable internet.

  65. 65
    rikyrah says:

    Max Baucus is so corrupt.

    This is what some bloggers don’t get. Obama doesn’t only have to deal with the republicans, but he has people like Baucus who makes Blanche Lincoln look like Nader.

    Now that is quite a statement.

    TRUE, but quite a statement…LOL

  66. 66
    David in NY says:

    @WereBear:

    I’m thinking Gary, Indiana.

    God, I was thinking that, but it was too cruel. Have you ever actually seen downtown Gary? Now, I can’t say I really know the place, but about 15 years ago I drove down what seemed to have been its main street, which seemed to have been hit by a neutron bomb in about 1963 — all the buildings still standing, but, so far as I could tell, nothing in them. Big, 20 -30 story banks or office buildings apparently abandoned. Nothing there.

    I could only think, “What kind of country lets a sizable city end up like this?”

    [I hope I am not misrepresenting the state of Gary, a vibrant place in the days of flourishing steel mills. But that’s how it looked to me, ca. 1995 or so.]

  67. 67
    AnotherBruce says:

    @Martin:

    I’ve been there, I agree. There is nothing out there except an occasional 5 foot high tree about every 10 square miles. I know Theodore Roosevelt National Park is out there somewhere, but man it is bleak. The perfect place to drop off assholes.

  68. 68
    WereBear says:

    @David in NY: God, I was thinking that, but it was too cruel.

    Well, yeah. ‘Fraid so.

    Now I feel sorry. Though not as sorry as I feel for Gary.

  69. 69
    Moses2317 says:

    What eventually passes is at least partially up to us.

    There are at least three strong ideas in the pending Wall Street reform: (1) giving the FDIC resolution authority over financial institutions (rather than just banks) so that we can avoid future bailouts, (2) forcing derivatives to be traded on exchanges or be otherwise regulated, and (3) creating a Consumer Financial Protection Agency. We need to protect the strong derivatives proposal, ensure that the FDIC resolution authority survives, and get the CFPA to be an independent agency, rather than housed in the Federal Reserve.

    The Senate bill is far from perfect but, like health insurance reform, it is a very good start. It is also great politically because, if we get the message out, it forces the Republicans to either vote for the bill or side with teh banksters.

    Republicans are already trying to portray it as pro-bailout, and the industry is flooding D.C. with lobbyists. We need to push back hard in the media and with our elected officials to turn this into a policy and political victory.

  70. 70
    Cerberus says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    I think it’s the problem between the Firebagger types and those who actually push and then appreciate.

    I’m a big fan of pushing Obama from the left (that’s the point of being a left-minded activist, to push everyone from the left, all the time), but I have also been dancing a jig over every big step we’ve taken in the right direction. There’s a lot to be happy about. Stimulus, HCR, Hate Crimes, Lily Ledbetter, and the recent EO making it painful for hospitals to pull this off every again.

    And I am.

    Very.
    Fucking.
    Happy.

    About all that.

    And I think most genuine lefty-minded people while we may occasionally sound like the Firebagger whiners (especially when we are really nervous about whether something is going far enough), we more often are more in my camp. Push and then dance over the glorious victories we can achieve.

    I think an additional problem is that a lot of lefty blogs have been taken over by shall we say… newer…”life-long” liberals who oddly seem to have a big problem with this black man not making everything magically better to make up for his uppity blackness.

    I call this Avarosis Syndrome.

  71. 71
    SteveinSC says:

    Fucking illiterates…The answers were House of Cards.. by Cohan, A Colossal Failure of Common Sense… by McDonald and Too Big to Fail: The Inside Story… by Sorkin.

  72. 72
    Uloborus says:

    @Cerberus:
    I can totally respect that.

  73. 73
    grumpy realist says:

    Well, reading the fine print today in the FT, even if Goldman Sachs wriggles out of the present mess it’s in (yah I think it’s a “material fact” that the synthetic CDO you’ve been dangling in front of my nose was put together by someone who wanted it to crater) there are two populations who are priming their pistols and sharpening their teeth for action, no matter what happens:
    1) European financial regulators
    2) lawyers everywhere.

    Goldman Sachs might be a Great White Shark but we’re just about to see a whole horde of piranhas go after it….I just can’t wait until we see discovery on these cases….

    What happens when “industry custom” meets “everyone was crooked”?

    BTW, whoever wrote “Liar’s Poker” has come out with a book on the recent mess–supposedly very good.

  74. 74
    Nick says:

    Many others will view it as further proof that Rahmbama hates hippies.

    More often than not lately, I’m beginning to agree with Rahmbama.

  75. 75
    D. Yaros says:

    @David in NY:

    Well, I know not what Gary, IN you claim to have driven through? I do know there are no 20 or 30 story buildings in Gary, and there never were. I know so, because I was born and raised in the “Steel City.”

    Yes, the place is in horrible shape and straits, but let’s be accurate in our criticisms of the place.

    For a look at the real Gary, IN; past, present and future, view the diverse offerings on Dave’s Den

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