Posts Tagged ‘Bernie Madoff’

Monday Medley

What we read while Oprah commenced Phase Two…

The Tea Party Question

A specter is haunting America—the specter of the Tea Party. If you’ve read a newspaper, opened a magazine, or watched the news in the last few months or so, then you’ve likely heard already about how the Tea Party is the next great popular force in American politics. The Tea Party helped Massachusetts elect a Republican senator to replace Ted Kennedy; the Tea Party has helped thwart President Obama’s plan for health care reform; the Tea Party helped fan the rage at Obama’s counterterrorism policy that ultimately blocked Eric Holder’s plans to try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in New York City. In short, the Tea Party has become the vessel for outrage and disillusionment with the government.

The fact that there is so much outrage and disillusionment, though, shouldn’t be surprising, given the current state of the economy and the look of the political landscape. Populism and indignity traditionally swell when the economy is bad and when people perceive broad change to be afoot. Well, America’s economic woes are no secret, and the current President is a black guy who got to office by promising sweeping change.

This formula has resulted in a situation in which seemingly every decision, action, or event garners some significant backlash or reaction. The populace is currently upset about virtually everything: a sagging economy, a cartoonishly ballooning deficit, two drawn-out wars, national security missteps, health care reform, the failure of health care reform, the bank bailouts, the auto bailouts, Bernie Madoff, and an apocalyptic amount of snow. Continue reading

Curb Your Enthusiasm Season Seven Review

In case we haven’t made it clear yet, we’re pretty big fans of Curb Your Enthusiasm here at NPI, and we were rather excited for Season Seven. Now that Season Seven has concluded, though, it’s worthwhile to go back and compare our expectations to what we actually got.

Back when F.P., Josh and I went over our expectations for this season, I mentioned that I thought Larry’s relationship with the Blacks would be the main storyline of this season, with a potential Larry/Loretta/Cheryl love triangle developing; the Seinfeld reunion, I said, would be more of a secondary plotline. Well, I was right that the Seinfeld reunion was not the primary story: the show was only central to three episodes, and incidental to two others. But I was way off on the Blacks. Loretta and her family were sent packing in the second episode of the season, “Vehicular Fellatio.”

I can’t say I was upset by this development. I thought there was a lot of potential in the Larry/Loretta pairing, but, as Josh and F.P. each pointed out, there was also the tendency to do trite or obvious jokes with them. Season Six and the first two episodes of this season gave Larry plenty of opportunity to flesh out his dynamic with the Black family. And while the first two episodes were very strong—particularly the second episode (“Do you know what it’s like to have cancer?” “No, but I know what it’s like to be with someone who has cancer.”)—I never really missed Loretta or Auntie Rae during the rest of the season. Continue reading

The Blame Game

For anyone interested in what happened at AIG last year, Michael Lewis’ Vanity Fair story is a must-read. Lewis, author of Liar’s Poker, is very good at making complicated investment procedures intelligible to the uninitiated.

The most interesting thing about the story is how it illustrates the grand lesson of last year’s economic collapse: Everyone screwed up and no one person is to blame.

Compare, as Lewis does, the AIG collapse, which has largely vanished from the public memory, to the Bernie Madoff case, which arouses everyone’s ire. Madoff is a simple, if tragic, story: One guy conned a bunch of people into giving him money, and then used the money for himself and his family, leaving nothing for his clients. Madoff is a thief and a criminal and deserves to serve every year of the 150 on his sentence. Continue reading