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Mad cow disease

Hmm. I wonder if they test each cow, or just do random spot checks. Because if the latter, I’d say we still have something to worry about.

MF Global and Jon Corzine

Matt Taibbi:

Almost every story written about MF Global by any financial news outlet will contain the word “chaos,” and describe the bookkeeping challenges of the firm’s last days as just too overwhelming for mere human beings to handle. The sources are almost always unnamed, but they all say the same thing – it was just too much math, too much! The Times’s Dealbook page offered one of the most humorous examples:

A flurry of transactions engulfed the firm in the week before it filed for bankruptcy, as $105 billion of cash shuttled in and out. Amid the chaos, the employees became overwhelmed.

”It’s like being at the bottom of Niagara Falls,” recalled one employee in a meeting with federal authorities, according to one of the people involved in the case.

It’s incredible that people are offering as a defense the idea that a financial company could be so overwhelmed by transactions that it could just lose track of $1.6 billion. If you’re so terrible at managing money that you can honestly lose a billion dollars – especially after swearing up and down to the whole world that you were the right choice to manage the cherished millions and billions of scads of farmers, ranchers, and other investors – you should go to jail just for that, just on general principle.

But most pundits aren’t saying that. Instead, it seems like like every financial reporter both in this city and in Washington is talking to the same five or six defense lawyers, buying their weak arguments, and offering the same lame excuses for the missing money, which should tell you a lot about how the Wall Street press corps managed to miss the warning signs for 2008 and other disasters.

Somebody from MF Global has to be arrested soon. The message otherwise to middle America is so galling that it boggles the mind.

It would be one thing if this was a country with a general, across-the-board tendency toward leniency for property crime. But we send tens of thousands of people to do real jail time in this country for non-violent offenses like theft. We routinely separate mothers from their children for relatively petty crimes like welfare fraud. For almost anyone who isn’t Jon Corzine, it’s no joke to get caught stealing in America.

But these people stole over a billion dollars, right out in the open, and nobody is doing anything about it. Instead, we get a lot of chin-scratching legislative hearings, and an almost academic-style public discussion about whether or not a crime even took place. If there aren’t arrests in this case soon, ordinary people will correctly deduce that it simply isn’t a crime to steal in America, if the thefts are executed with a computer by white people in suits.

Just as it was incredible when Florida authorities dragged their feet in the Zimmerman case, it’s incredible that people in Washington don’t see the implications of this continual non-decision on MF Global. Apparently they hope no one notices. The sad thing is, they might be right.

What school lunches look like

In 20 other countries. But of course, in most other countries, they care enough about kids that feeding them isn’t some kind of crazy political football.

Election day in PA

Did you vote yet?

BP arrest

What about the people who ordered him to do it?

Who could have predicted

That two people would be shot at a gun safety class?

Cancer care

More isn’t always better. Complex, but worth the read.

This might not be popular

In 2007, Mittens told voters he would see that every computer came with a pornography filter.

The Live Within Your Means party

Poor Republicans! Nobody likes you and you smell funny. Guess that’s why no one’s donating enough money to pay your bills – at least, not enough to feed your delusions of grandeur:

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Minnesota’s debt-plagued Republican Party has been served with an eviction notice for its party headquarters after failing to pay its rent payments since August.

The party’s landlord filed the notice last week in Ramsey County court and it is scheduled to be heard next Tuesday.

Minnesota Republican Party Chairman Pat Shortridge told party members in a memo Thursday that officials are trying to renegotiate the lease to get one that better fits space and cost needs.

You mean, like a mortgage cramdown? MORAL HAZARD!!!! What incentive do you have to pay your bills unless you get kicked to the curb for renting a place that’s too big? It’s your own damned fault!

The GOP has 21 months remaining on a lease with Hub Properties Trust for space a block from the state Capitol.

Shortridge revealed that the rent hadn’t been paid in eight months.

The Minnesota GOP owes hundreds of thousands of dollars to various vendors.

The amnesia candidate

Krugman continues to be an honest broker:

How does the campaign deal with people who point out the awkward reality that all of the “Obama” job losses took place before any Obama policies had taken effect? The fallback argument — which was rolled out when reporters asked about the factory closure — is that even though Mr. Obama inherited a deeply troubled economy, he should have fixed it by now. That factory is still closed, said a Romney adviser, because of the failure of Obama policies “to really get this economy going again.”


Actually, that factory would probably still be closed even if the economy had done better — drywall is mainly used in new houses, and while the economy may be coming back, the Bush-era housing bubble isn’t.


But Mr. Romney’s poor choice of a factory for his photo-op aside, I guess accusing Mr. Obama of not doing enough to promote recovery is a better argument than blaming him for the effects of Bush policies. However, it’s not much better, since Mr. Romney is essentially advocating a return to those very same Bush policies. And he’s hoping that you don’t remember how badly those policies worked.


For the Bush era didn’t just end in catastrophe; it started off badly, too. Yes, Mr. Obama’s jobs record has been disappointing — but it has been unambiguously better than Mr. Bush’s over the comparable period of his administration.

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