Thanks to Kay at Kay's Thinking Cap for this link to youtube. I saw snippets of this rant by a Massachusetts representative yesterday but no one carried the full 5+ minutes. Otherwise the testimony by all of these bankers amounted to less than a bucket of warm spit. Of course, these guys are the johnny-come-latelys who replaced the smart assholes who dumped this mess on everyone. But I think the assessment of the credit default swaps and other slight-of-hand 'investment' maneuvers is right on.
Here is another sign (by way of MSNBC) of the times that I can readily relate to. More companies are finding it worthwhile to challenge the unemployment claims of laid off workers. And doing so successfully. Why can I relate? When I left my last job I was under the impression, explicitly given to me by my direct supervisor, that I would be eligible for unemployment. I was leaving by mutual consent because I simply was not suited to the job. Not entirely by choice because I was fully aware that they would have terminated me even if I hadn't come to that same conclusion. Imagine my surprise when my claim was denied because I had left 'voluntarily.' I have no idea what my supervisors told the home office about my struggles to perform the job and my efforts (and minor successes) to improve my performance. The end result has been 16 months unemployed without unemployment benefits and the feeling that I was lied to.
Doug Tarnopol at Free Expression has done some interesting research. The mainstream media has pretty much stopped talking about drought and I had wondered how the drought-stricken areas of this country fared over the winter. Not well evidently. The Australian drought has made only a blip and that when connected to the very few reports on the wildfires. We haven't heard anything about the spreading drought in China. According to Doug's info, the countries that account for two-thirds of the worlds agricultural output are experiencing droughts in the extreme to historic range. Doesn't bode well, does it? Didn't I read somewhere last year that grain reserves in the U.S. were also at or near historic lows?
This was a delightful surprise. It is the web site for a Dutch department store HEMA. Make sure your sound is on and just wait a few seconds after the page loads. Thanks to Donna at Changing Places for the link.
And from John Aravosis at Americablog--another reason to get universal, single-payer health care coverage. And another argument for making the penalties for violations of state insurance laws much more punitive. Hit them in ways that really hurt their bottom line.