Tuesday, December 16, 2008

10 Days.

The countdown starts: 10 trading days left in 2008, a crazy crazy year, which I can't wait to put to rest and reminisce about in retrospect.  Meanwhile, there is an explosion of stories which I'd like to revel in, if I only had more time.  So instead, my three greatest hits:

The shoe thing.  As an amateur political observer, I can never endorse such a primitive display of disagreement.  Immediately after the incident I would have only expressed amusement over the fact that it had happened.  But thinking about it now - after a few more days of reactions - I think there is more to it.  It is increasingly  clear to me that of all the protests and criticisms that had been raised against Bush and his presidency, this is the one that has the best chance of sticking in our collective consciousness.  So now, with the president on tour to define his legacy - I mean, rewrite history -  this will go down in books as a permanent reminder of the outrage and disgust felt by many about him and the war in Iraq.  As a side note, I had long wondered about the weird complicity of the mainstream media and their inability to subject Bush to much direct criticism.  I always explained this in three ways: (1) media culture in the US - obsessed with the illusion of objectivity - does not allow journalists to offer much sharp criticism of the President (on the other side of the Atlantic journalists make it their business to tear politicians to shreds at every occasion); (2) this presidency was such an utter failure that journalists want to avoid talking about the obvious, and (3) to protect their own egos in the face of major cognitive dissonance ("we elected this guy, after all..").  Now, finally, it seems like the videos of the shoe incident - and the related narrative of the journalist expressing his disagreement over the occupation - are lending the news reporters a rare chance to both make fun of and criticise their commander in chief - innocently.  And oh so many are.. over and over and over again.

The lazy investor thing.  I'm not talking about the scandal that is Madoff - rather, I am talking about people who invested in him.  While I can appreciate the lure to a wealthy individual (greed, whatever), what baffles me and makes me outraged is people who had no business investing in a hedge fund - no matter how lucrative it seemed - like charities and foundations who put the majority of their funds into a black box with no accountability or risk controls - and who are now having to close.  Seriously, that is criminal.  Madoff himself was just riding a wave of stupidity and incompetence.

The weird Latin American bankrupcy (even though it has no real reason to) thing. Delicious, like a true latino soap opera - including some cross border drama.  Go read about it here.  

Lastly, on a lighter note, a fun (actually not really fun, and not really light, depending on your point of view) article about drinking in NYC.   I say it's pretty off purely because of the author's own sobriety and age.  But the whole premise of the "Proof" blog is .. pretty interesting, if quite schizofrenic (consider this vs this).

Good night.

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