Sunday, July 18, 2010

Good Sunday Morning, to you all. Our heat wave continues. The gardens continue to grow. If the plants put out as much fruit as they have blossoms we will have a bumper crop of peppers and eggplant. If I can get the aphid population under control. They hit the eggplants hard and have moved on to the peppers. But I had some insecticidal soap that seems to be doing the trick. The nice thing about container gardening is that I usually find problems before they get out so out of control as to ruin everything.

I found this article from the New York Times (by way of HuffingtonPost) that I rather like. Initial stories in the broadcast media were far more sketchy and there as been no follow up since early in the week when the subpoenas were first issued. The question of how the securities were bundled actually has been answered in a neat little book that come out earlier this year--The Big Short. The real question in my mind is--how much fraud was involved and how should the responsibility for that fraud be apportioned? I notice that the ratings agencies have not, at least according to the early reports, been hit with subpoenas. They were up to their necks in this mess and I would love to see them called to account. It would be nice if Fanny and Freddie could force the sellers of those securities to buy them back at the price originally paid but I fear that if they do so the sellers would simply go whimpering back to the Federal government for help. One way or another tax-payers are on the hook.

I guess this NYT article should not be a surprise. So we were promised choice and now the insurance companies are defining choice for us. And if we want choices they don't offer we have to pay for it. Unfortunately they are also defining 'high quality' and 'affordable' for us. I am afraid that that will translate into 'cheapest.' I also remember another problem from the 'HMO wars' of the mid-1990s--people who suffered a medical emergency and were transported by EMTs to the nearest hospital only to find that the hospital and its doctors were not in the 'network.' I wonder how that problem will be worked out--through drawn out litigation or arbitration that favors the insurers?

Peterr at Firedoglake has a short but on-the-money post today. He says pretty much what I said when I heard the consumer confidence reports this week--'What in the hell did they expect?' I have gone beyond shaking my head when the various reports come out so far below what so-called experts expected. Now I just wonder what they are taking with their morning coffee (or what they are smoking). There does seem to be a massive disconnect between the economy at my level and economy at the heights from which our financial and political leaders are pontificating.

Jim White, also at Firedoglake, makes another point I have made here before, though not so eloquently and not with any links to musical accompaniment. We seem to choose experts to solve problems those experts had a large role in creating. Goldman Sachs gave us, in part at least, the financial meltdown and they have given us Larry Sommers and Tim Geitner. BP was deeply involved in creating the conditions that led to the Gulf blowout but whose experts to we allow to fumble their way around to solve it? BP's experts!! That is like asking the doctor who broke our legs to set them.

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