The Warning: The Incredible Story of Brooksley Born. How the Financial Crisis Might Have Been Averted.

One week ago Tuesday I sat in front of my Television spellbound watching PBS Frontline’s profile of Brooksley Born, a former Clinton Administration agency head who has since been termed the “Credit Crisis Cassandra” by the media. As the show ended all of my questions regarding the ineptitude of Obama’s economic team were answered and then some. Before we get to the answers we must first explore how Ms Born, as head of a sleepy federal agency in the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, tried to rein in and regulate over the counter derivatives of the same kind that imploded our financial system back in late 90’s. Lets begin with a story the Washington Post ran on the subject last May for the background:

A little more than a decade ago, Born foresaw a financial cataclysm, accurately predicting that exotic investments known as over-the-counter derivatives could play a crucial role in a crisis much like the one now convulsing America. Her efforts to stop that from happening ran afoul of some of the most influential men in Washington, men with names like Greenspan and Levitt and Rubin and Summers — the same Larry Summers who is now a key economic adviser to President Obama.

She was the head of a tiny government agency who wanted to regulate the derivatives. They were the men who stopped her.

The same class of derivatives that preoccupied Born — including the now-infamous “credit-default swaps” — have been blamed for accelerating last fall’s financial implosion. But from 1996 to 1999, when Born was the chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the U.S. economy was roaring and she was getting nowhere with predictions of doom.

So, upstairs in the big house in Kalorama, Born tossed and turned. She woke repeatedly “in a cold sweat,” agonizing that a financial calamity was coming, she recalled one recent afternoon.

“I was really terribly worried,” she said. Continue reading “The Warning: The Incredible Story of Brooksley Born. How the Financial Crisis Might Have Been Averted.”

Keep Yer Filthy Hands off my Oysters (Updated)

Has the FDA lost their f#cking minds? Just saying there is gonna be some cranky sum bitches down here if Drago’s does not have fresh oysters year round including me. I’m gonna have to contact my congressman on this one.


Update: Gene’s Letter (h/t Steve in comments) Continue reading “Keep Yer Filthy Hands off my Oysters (Updated)”

Catching up with the news. Memorial Doc Sues the New York Times. Dr Life v Dr Death, a Study in Contrasts

To paraphrase our very good friend Editilla, We Coulda been a Contenda Sports Blog, and indeed some of my favorite posts from a response standpoint have delved into other issues and not the financial ones that are my passion. My post from last month on the New York Times story on the Memorial docs after Katrina is an example of that though it didn’t generate on blog comments as much as a firestorm of off blog emails. I wanted to follow-up but the news cycle on the subject has again gone dark so despite being loaded with killer information on the happenings at the NOLA area hospitals in the days immediately after the great flood caused by the levee failures during Katrina I had no basis in the news cycle to publish the information.  I also had to laugh at the reaction to the original post too because one of our most loyal readers found out his bro also reads us though they had vastly differing takes on the events at Memorial Hospital after Katrina. (You guys know who you are so be sweet to each other ;-))

Katrina 365
Courtesy of a reader. Charity Hospital Patient is Evacuated by Boat

Before I contrast Dr Life with my prior post on Dr Death lets begin with the story that broke last week on the Times Picayune concerning Dr. William Armington’s libel suit against the New York Times:

A doctor who was at Memorial Medical Center in the days after Hurricane Katrina has filed a federal libel suit claiming an article published in The New York Times Magazine in August defamed him by suggesting he knew of euthanasia at the hospital and failed to stop it.

The lawsuit filed by Dr. William Armington, a neuroradiologist who previously practiced in the New Orleans area and now lives in Oregon, claims the article “propagated false, misleading, and damaging statements, directly or through inference and innuendo, that Dr. Armington was aware of, participated in, and failed to stop criminal homicide or criminal manslaughter at Memorial Medical Center.”

The lawsuit is filed against the Times, the author, Dr. Sheri Fink, and, a nonprofit news organization where Fink works. A spokeswoman for the Times said in an e-mail that the paper is “confident the story is accurate,” adding, “We intend to defend the suit vigorously.” Richard Tofel, general manager for ProPublica, made a similar pledge. Continue reading “Catching up with the news. Memorial Doc Sues the New York Times. Dr Life v Dr Death, a Study in Contrasts”