Economy

Nota Bene #48

Links of the Week (as opposed to the Weakest Link)

Michael Lewis, Portfolio, The End:

Eisman knew subprime lenders could be scumbags. What he underestimated was the total unabashed complicity of the upper class of American capitalism.

James Howard Kunstler:

Personally, I believe the age of Happy Motoring is over. Many Americans have already bought their last car — they just don’t know it yet.

Howard Kurtz, Washington Post, NBC’s Source for Election ’08 on Chuck Todd:

On a cable channel packed with such opinionated personalities as Olbermann and Chris Matthews, Todd stands out by not being flamboyant. While others are getting punch-drunk on polls, New York Times critic Alessandra Stanley observed, Todd is “the designated driver of MSNBC’s political coverage.” He is accustomed to the role. During his boyhood in Miami, Todd recalls, his conservative father and a liberal cousin often got sloshed and argued about politics.

Peter Donohue, New York’s Daily News, ‘Mother of all fare hikes’ looming:

. . . the possibility of a 50% hike in the base fare did not sit well with riders. “I’m on the borderline of middle class and poor,” said Bryan Tate, 36, a mail carrier from Brooklyn. “You can’t just keep taxing us, fare-hiking us, and asking us for more and more without eventually breaking us,” Tate said. “It’s not fair. You have these Wall Street executives throwing a party with [money they got in] a bailout and we’re left holding the bag.”

Naomi Klein, AlterNet, Wall Street’s Bailout is a Trillion-Dollar Crime Scene — Why Aren’t the Dems Doing Something About It?:

I suspect that the real reason the Democrats are so far failing to act has less to do with presidential protocol than with fear: fear that the stock market, which has the temperament of an overindulged 2-year-old, will throw one of its world-shaking tantrums.

Amit Paley, Washington Post, A Quiet Windfall For U.S. Banks, on a tax law liberalization, which provides a mini-second bailout:

Some legal experts said these under-the-radar objections mirror the objections to the congressional resolution authorizing the war in Iraq. “It’s just like after September 11. Back then no one wanted to be seen as not patriotic, and now no one wants to be seen as not doing all they can to save the financial system,” said Lee A. Sheppard, a tax attorney. … “We’re left now with congressional Democrats that have spines like overcooked spaghetti. So who is going to stop the Treasury secretary from doing whatever he wants?”

Katha Pollitt, the Nation, Sayonara, Sarah Palin:

Thanks largely to her, Bill Ayers is now the most famous sixtysomething professor in the country — eat your heart out, Ward Churchill!

Sports

Dr. Z, SportsIllustrated.com:

Brett Favre. What a strange athlete. “Hang in and sooner or later he’ll throw the ball to us,” have been the defensive coordinator’s final words for the last decade or so. Not only interceptions, but goofy ones, mindless heaves, underhanded bloopers, throws to tightly covered targets. … Not on Thursday night. It was as if a couple of heavies had invaded the Jets’ pregame locker and put a knife to his throat and said, “Make one of those throws tonight and you’re a dead man.”

Peter King, Sports Illustrated.com, Monday Morning Quarterback:

You may remember how I got grilled for my top 500 list of NFL players. … There’s a good chance my biggest mistake was putting Lewis 86th, behind the likes of Vince Young, Shaun Alexander. … Talk about calls you’d like to have back. When I saw Lewis and told him where he was on the list, he got agitated, began pacing back and forth, and said, “I don’t UNDERSTAND! What is the criteria!”

Off-line

Frank Bures, Poets & Writers, “The World Over”:

“Let me be straight about this,” wrote Tom Bissell, author of Chasing the Sea. … “There is no such thing in the brute, unfeeling world as a story. Stories do not exist until some vessel of consciousness comes along and decides where it begins and ends, what to stress, and what to neglect.”