Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Archive for August 4th, 2011

More things that make you go, “hmmm…”

Posted by Charles II on August 4, 2011

Jill Treanor and Nick Fletcher, The Guardian:

Amid the rout, it emerged that police acting on orders from the prosecutors of Trani, a port on Italy’s Adriatic coast, had raided the Milan offices of the rating agencies, Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s, as part of continuing investigations into their role in recent financial turmoil. The chief prosecutor in Trani told Reuters his office was checking to see whether the ratings agencies “respect regulations”.

There’s other interesting financial goings on.

Larry Elliott, The Guardian:

Banks took an especially severe pummelling amid fears that they were exposed to the two big concerns of investors: a break-up in the eurozone and a double-dip recession in the global economy.

The key issue is whether Italy and Spain will default. Krugman:

There are intimations that this could turn out to be more than a mere market plunge; European stresses are starting to make some nasty financial ripples that suggest a possible mini-Lehman event, although I think — I hope — governments and central banks will head this off. But if you had any doubts that we were on the wrong track, this should resolve them.


Meanwhile, Italy’s spread against German bonds is soaring even further. What are markets pricing in here? Default as a real possibility; maybe even euro breakup. The latter certainly sounds a lot more plausible now than it did a few months ago.


Posted in economy, Europe, stock market | 2 Comments »

Can You Guess This Guy’s Boss?

Posted by Phoenix Woman on August 4, 2011

Yesterday afternoon, I was sitting in Kieran’s drinking Two Gingers (house brand) whisky while my friend the attorney was drinking pints of Guinness and regaling me with stories. One story will interest you both:

Seems a while back — I didn’t find out exactly when, but it was during the health care reform battle — he and a female friend were at Gianni’s in Wayzata for drinks, talking about health care reform, when someone overheard them. “I work for a legislator in DC, we’ve been working on health care all this term,” he said affably, producing a business card.

Now my friend’s female friend had spent some years in Canada, and got to know the Canadian health care system really, really well. “I think we need to adopt the Canadian system,” she replied.

The guy’s demeanor changed instantly. “Oh, no, no, no, that’s the LAST thing we should do!”

The lady was undaunted. “I’ve lived there, my daughter goes to college there, it’s great –”

“NO! You’re wrong!” He was starting to get red-faced already.

“– we experienced it ourselves, we love their health care, the Canadians love it too, they’d never give it up –”

“LIAR!” By this time he was literally screaming at them. “LIAR! YOU’RE LYING! LIAR!” Right up in their faces, over and over again, to the point where he was made to leave.

After he’d gone, they saw the business card he’d left behind. My friend didn’t remember the name, but the card proclaimed Mister Hothead to have been the Chief of Staff for a Republican member of Congress whose identity I will leave you to guess.

The way my lawyer friend described it, there was no attempt by the guy to argue facts and figures, no effort to say something like “you may have liked it but it’s bankrupting Canada” (which would have been a lie, but it at least would have been an effort at a semi-coherent rejoinder). Instead, it was the sort of brook-no-disagreement white-hot rage exhibited by someone whose religion was being ripped and mocked to shreds, whose worldview was in danger of shattering around him. Anything or anyone that interfered with his religious belief was not to be argued with, but to be intimdated, censored, silenced, shouted down.

How do you negotiate with people like that? You don’t — the only things that curb them are hits to the body or the bank account.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , | 4 Comments »

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