ARC's 1st Law: As a "progressive" online discussion grows longer, the probability of a nefarious reference to Karl Rove approaches one

Friday, April 04, 2008

Man Hormone-fueled Woman carrying a baby

Much talk in the media regarding the following story, with a special focus on the anticipated intolerance (aka hate) towards the baby.

Amazing pictures of pregnant man as he tells Oprah 'people may try to kill my baby'
Last updated at 15:52pm on 04.04.08

The man who stunned the world when he announced he was pregnant gave an intimate insight into his personal life in a revealing television interview with Oprah.

Thomas Beatie stripped off for the cameras and bared his baby bump and also revealed pictures from his beauty queen days as a young woman.

However, the 34-year-old transsexual also told chat show host Oprah Winfrey that he feared for his own safety and admitted doctors had warned him his baby could be killed because of the revulsion at her birth.

The couple revealed all to Oprah and admitted that they feared how people would react to their child

Now six-months pregnant, Beatie walked onto the show with a grey cardigan stretched over the growing bump.

The TV chat show queen was filmed patting Beatie's bulging stomach during the hour long interview with his wife Nancy.

The 34-year-old transsexual was filmed for the show undergoing an ultrasound scan and preparing for the birth of their daughter.

The couple have been buy plenty of baby clothes in preparation for their daughter's arrival in three months

Blurred images of the baby girl could clearly be seen as a smiling Beatie looked on.

Beatie said many doctors had refused to treat him and one warned him: "People would try to kill my baby because it is an abomination."

The couple had wanted to have a child but wife Nancy could not conceive

His appearance on US TV was part of a media blitz to knock down suggestions the pregnancy was a hoax.

As well as the Oprah show, Beatie also gave a detailed interview to People magazine.

The former beauty pageant queen, who conceived through artificial insemination, confessed many people saw him as a "freak".

He said some of his own family members had referred to the baby as "monster".

He accepts that not everyone will understand why he and his 45-year-old wife decided to have a child, which is due in July.

The couple, from Bend, Oregon, said they had already thought about the task of telling their child how she came into the world.

"When she's old enough, we'll sit her down and tell her everything," Beatie said.

"We will tell her how her parents love each other and love her very much.

"Our daughter is beating these incredible odds to get here - physical obstacles, social obstacles, everything.

"And in my dreams I dream the world will see her the way we do,as this amazing gift to us. As a miracle."

Beatie,who was born Tracy LaGondino in Hawaii, caused a worldwide sensation last week when he revealed the pregnancy in the gay magazine The Advocate.

But after neighbours in Oregon poured scorn on the pregnancy it was thought to be an elaborate hoax.

Beatie legally became a man after undergoing a sex change operation - but kept her female reproductive organs.
I know that the feminazis would tell me that gender is less about biology than about personal perception, but technically - biologically - Beatie is a woman. That the MSM refuses to acknowledge this fact demonstrates a lack of their commitment to truth and objective facts.
He told People magazine he decided to get pregnant after wife of five years Nancy had a hysterectomy.

The former beauty queen has been called a 'monster' by members of his own family after the sex change

"If Nancy could get pregnant, I wouldn't be doing this," he said.

"But who hires a surrogate if they are perfectly capable of carrying their own child?

"Why would I trust someone else when I know I'll do a better job of taking care of my body than anyone?

"And I'll be the father and Nancy will be the mother.

"Having this baby doesn't make me any less of a man."
However, having a vagina and a uterus certainly does...
Beatie was born a girl and grew up in Hawaii where people thought she was a 'freak'

Beatie said he was afraid of how people would react when he gives birth.

"I want to make it easier for the next couple like us, but I'm afraid.

"Afraid of how people will react for our safety. I don't want to lose the life we have." Nancy, a mother of two, added: "We know this is a hard thing for some people to understand.

"But to us we're just a husband and wife who are having a baby."

Nancy and Thomas already have children, presumably carried by Nancy? Perhaps from a previous marriage, but they still already have children in their lives?

A few questions I'd like to offer to all the idiotic journalists who are covering this story:
  1. Are they really husband & wife (ie, are they legally married)? In which state?
  2. Is Thomas Beatie actually, legally, identified as a man? By which state? (Most of the few states that allow for legal recognition of change in gender typically recognize only post-operative and, it would seem, that Thomas' surgery is ... ahem ... incomplete.)
  3. I assume that since "he" still possesses the requisite equipment to birth a baby, he is taking massive amounts of testosterone to maintain that facial hair - more than standard increased levels women normally experience. What are the effects of such a hormonal imbalance on carrying the baby to term and to the baby's long-term health?
  4. Do these whackos seriously think that people would kill their baby? I mean, other than the Planned Parenthood crowd (aka the Democrats) who yell hallelujah each time an abortion is performed, since it's an exercise of one of our most precious constitutional rights? I would submit that most people are more concerned about the health of a baby being carried by these two rather than being interested in destroying another human life
Alas, our MSM who is lapping up the ratings from this freakshow are reluctant to ask serious and probing questions to the happy couple.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

The Unions Strike Back

There are two stories in today's WSJ regarding unions. First, this hilarious article about how a union in India for film industry extras (e.g. the guys walking down a street in a film) aren't quick enough to adjust to their changing world:

PAGE ONE

Modern Times: India Struggles To Cast Extras
Directors Seek ActorsWho Look Up-to-Date; Oversupply of Villagers

By AMOL SHARMA
April 4, 2008; Page A1

MUMBAI -- As India rapidly modernizes, the country's filmmakers are struggling to find movie extras who look the part.

The problem is that the unions that supply background actors to movie-makers haven't kept up with the times. They have fiercely restricted admission: Becoming a "junior artist," as extras are known, is often hereditary. As a result, the labor pool has remained homogenous and small at around 2,000 unionized extras in total.
Ahh, what's the first mission of a union? To improve the professionalism of the members? To meet the requirements of their customer (aka business)? No, it's to protect its members and keep their wages artificially high. (I use the term artificially because if they're not focusing on the first two, their wages are by definition artificial.)
Most of these actors are relatively poor. Directors have generally used them to play roles like rickshaw drivers, shopkeepers with bushy moustaches and passersby in a village bazaar. But now, movies are increasingly shot in Western-style shopping malls and modern office towers, and directors need extras who fit the scene.

"If I'm shooting in a nightclub, I wouldn't want someone who could pass for a vegetable vendor," says Bharat Rawail, an assistant director at Yash Raj Films, one of India's biggest production houses.

Entrepreneurs like Hemanshu Dadbhawala have rushed to fill the gap. The stocky 29-year-old works with directors to provide specialized actors the unions don't have in their ranks. He carries CDs loaded with photos of people he says look "modern." They range from college-educated twentysomethings in Western-style clothes, to people who could pass as fashion models.

As "Bollywood" movies become more sophisticated, directors are also increasingly striving to get the details just right with their character actors. Mr. Dadbhawala says he can help with that, too: He offers numerous fire-eaters, bodybuilders, cross-dressers and midgets.

"If a director needs a really, really fat person, they can't get it from the union," Mr. Dadbhawala says, pulling out a photo of three extremely large men, all his clients. "Now, these people are really huge."

Going Global

Indian directors say they need to be picky about extras as they try to go global and appeal to the United Kingdom and the U.S. markets, where higher production values are expected. "You can't keep using the same faces every time," says Sudhir Mishra, director of the recently released "Khoya Khoya Chand" (Lost Moon), a love story set in the 1950s. Mr. Mishra bypassed the union to hire actors he felt could more authentically portray prostitutes, bouncers and pimps in a brothel scene.
Sensible enough... need to make sure that you can "keep it real" when making a film, so it's important that your nightclub not be filled with people who look like they might have actually stepped foot into one.

But, of course, this challenges the hereditary tradition of the extras union... and their desire to limit the number of members.
Directors also try to boost the international appeal of their films by using foreign extras, often European or American vacationers rounded up at Mumbai tourist spots -- a tactic that is particularly galling to unionized extras. Film producers "give excuses, like 'We're shooting in a pub, so we want to have some foreigners there,'" says Firoz Khan, a 25-year-old member of the Junior Artistes Association, the union for male extras. "It's just excuses."

Fighting Back

Mr. Khan earns about $250 a month, a decent wage in a country where three-quarters of the population live on less than $2 a day [$60/month]. In one recent role, he portrayed a soldier in "Jodhaa Akbar," a 16th-century period drama now showing in the U.S.
Did I say something previously about keeping artificially high wages? 4x the standard wage in India for being in the background of a film - How 'bout them apples?
The unions, true to this country's strong socialist roots, are fighting back. They're working to persuade local police and government officials that foreign extras -- many of whom are simply vacationers looking to immerse themselves in Bollywood glitz for an afternoon -- could pose grave security risks on film sets because they don't have government work permits.

Huh? security risks? from foreigners standing in the background of a movie frame?

huh?

Why is it that the protectionist and socialist (fascist????) tendencies are always to declare that any economic act with which you don't agree to be a national security risk? Why is it always the last refuge, no matter how ridiculous the link?
"If these people do anything wrong, how will we track them? Who will be responsible?" said Dharmesh Tiwari, president of the Federation of Western India Cine Employees, the umbrella organization that oversees the Junior Artistes Association as well as the women's union, Mahila Kalakar Sangh, or Women Artists Association.
do anything wrong? huh?

Track them? WHAT THE @#$ IS WRONG WITH THIS GUY?!?!
In general, the unions require movie-makers to seek permission before using nonunion extras. The unions sometimes conduct surprise on-set inspections to ensure compliance. "They get really upset," says Mr. Mishra, the "Khoya Khoya Chand" director.

Tensions like these were on display recently on the set of "Mumbai Chaka Chak," which translates loosely as "Mumbai Spic and Span" and is a romantic comedy about street sweepers. The producers had hired a few dozen nonunion actors, including some real-life street sweepers for authenticity.

The Junior Artistes Association wasn't happy about that. So one afternoon recently, a few union members initiated a strike on the set. First the lights went dim, a person who witnessed the situation says. Then a heavy-set union inspector arrived.

Studio executives sprang into action, rolling out tea and snacks for the inspector in an effort to persuade him that the nonunion workers weren't displacing union hires. It took an hour and a half for shooting to resume, the witness recalls.
No doubt, it took an hour and a half for the appropriate bribes... ahem ... union contributions to be collected and provided to the heavy.
Mr. Tiwari, the union boss, says he wasn't aware of that incident. However, he says, "noncooperation" by unionized actors is appropriate when nonunion actors are used without permission.

At the headquarters of the Junior Artistes Association, a concrete building in a slum area of the city, the changes are being felt by some actors more than others. On a recent afternoon, a dozen extras waited inside for their next assignment, sprawled on a row of blue metal benches. One man napped next to a goat.
[...]
Just laughable... and predictable... and sad.

Why do I mention this story (other than the inherent hilarity it provides)?

Well, this OpEd of the WSJ says that Big Labor in the US is banking on a trifecta in this years political season - The White House, House, and a filibuster-proof Senate all on board with Labor's agenda.
POTOMAC WATCH
By KIMBERLEY A. STRASSEL

The Union Agenda
April 4, 2008

Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama visited the House of Labor this week, and Labor can't wait to invite one back. Which one? Who cares.
[...]
"This is an all-in bet for them in 2008," says Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Committee, a group that fights down in the trenches against coercive union power. "As market cycles go, they're in their peak, we're in our trough, and they're looking for a clear two-year run" in an all-Democrat Washington.

How bad does Big Labor want this? Consider history. George W. Bush has been eight years of anticorruption probes and more union financial disclosure. Bill Clinton's tenure was defined by an antiunion GOP majority, with Nafta as a bitter pill. George H.W. Bush codified the Beck decision, allowing workers to withhold political dues. Ronald Reagan broke the air traffic controllers union. Even Jimmy Carter was tightfisted with gifts. The unions' last political heyday arguably ended with the Landrum-Griffin Act of 1959, which regulated internal union affairs.

How bad does Big Labor want this? Consider the desperation. A global economy has meant higher-paying, more flexible jobs, and a U.S. workforce that sees little value in unions. Union membership has been in a free-fall for years, with private-sector membership now at just 7.4% of the labor force. Fights over how to stop this bleeding have fractured the movement. Labor leaders worry that if they don't reverse the trend soon, they'll be out of a job.

This is their shot. Unions are confident the House will be Democratic and pliant. By holding off on big endorsements, they've forced both Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Obama to pander to their demands, creating some of the most pro-union presidential candidates in recent history. In the Senate, labor bosses see a chance to add three to seven seats, enough, when combined with wobbly Republicans, to do away with filibusters. They're already out spending in New Hampshire, Minnesota, Colorado, New Mexico, Virginia, Alaska and Maine.
[...]
How bad does Big Labor want this? Consider what it will get if that money pays off. Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Obama have already pledged a rewrite of Nafta and an end to more trade deals. Both promise to throw government money at new union-only jobs, to boost unemployment insurance, to penalize companies that hire overseas, and to take a run at "universal" health care.

To this, unions will add passage of "card check," which would outlaw secret ballots in union organizing elections. Alongside will be legislation to make union officials the exclusive bargaining agents of most police, fire and rescue personnel. Then there's the biggie – so big that most officials don't talk about it publicly. Tucked into the 1947 Taft-Hartley Act is a provision called 14(b), which allows for "right to work" states. Big Labor last took a run at deleting this section, and forcing more unionization, in the Johnson administration. With a filibuster-proof Senate, they'd have a far better shot.

Unions want a Department of Labor that will sit on corruption cases, water down financial disclosure rules, and turn a blind eye to the use of pension funds to influence boardroom decisions. The National Labor Relations Board has three vacancies, which Senate Democrats will refuse to fill this year. Big Labor's own slate would include people favorable to proposals to allow "mini-unions" within corporate workplaces, or to rework job definitions to bring more positions under the union umbrella.

The biggest obstacle to all this would normally be the business community. But with Democrats strongly positioned to win, companies are reluctant to upset the political masters. The corporate world's list of political problems has also grown so large – trade, paid leave, healthcare, environmental issues – that it has barely been able to focus on the union threat.
[...]
As if I wasn't already in despair over the implications of a Hillary or Obama presidency; the thought of a return to Big Labor heavies without oversight on their corruption, more regulations that only make the US less competitive for business (domestic and foreign), and all wrapped up in a "workers paradise" message will only make me puke.

The terrible Hoover/FDR policies which deepened and then extended the Great Depression may be nothing compared to the damage that the yahoos could do to our economy and freedom.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Thursday, April 03, 2008

On the Road

To Serfdom.

I saw this post/reader comment on Jonah Goldberg's Liberal Fascism blog which seeks to point out that the similarities between Liberalism and Fascism are not solely confined to their roots in the Progressive movement, but in Hayek's analysis of any system which is not based on free market mechanisms (ie, individuals freely acting in their own self-interest).

Dear Mr. Goldberg,

Liberal Fascism is a wonderful book, very necessary, very on target. Hats off to your for your splendid work.

There is one additional point that I think could be made in response to some of your liberal commenters, retgarding the continuum that is represented by contemporary liberalism - progressivism - leftism - and fascism.

What links these movements is more than the fact that they share many of the same issues and are founded on many of the same basic ideas.

The link between liberalism and fascism is the coercive nature of all social orders that are not based on a free market.

This is of course Professor Hayek's crucial observation.

Any social order that is not founded on a free market, inevitably involves coercion.

The more that social order is threatened by the unwillingness of individuals to comply with its instructions, the more coercive it will become.

Thus it is really a very easy path from liberalism to totalitarian tyranny. It can be accomplished perhaps more easily by a thousand tiny steps than by a social revolution.
This is a very succinct analysis of Hayek's Road To Serfdom which is a must read for those interested in defending the freedom to choose. It clears the mind and shows how imperative it is that we stop the socialists, progressives, and planners from increasing the responsibilities of the government in our everyday lives. Yes, it's boring and not exactly a quick read, but it provides much insight.

As I read Jonah's Liberal Fascism, I was constantly reminded of Hayek's Road to Serfdom and this central observation.

By the way, MontereyJohn - You'll find that many of the criticisms from the Left about Jonah's books concern a minor paragraphs and the illustration on the cover; they refuse to address the fascist history that underlies their Progressive roots.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Flash: Ted Turner Has Gone Off His Haldol (Again):

This from NewsBusters

Turner: Global Warming Will Cause Mass Cannibalism, Insurgents Are
Patriots

By Brent Baker April 2,
2008 - 02:18 ET

Interviewed Tuesday for Charlie Rose's PBS show, CNN founder Ted Turner argued that inaction on global warming “will be catastrophic” and those who don't die “will be cannibals.” He also applied moral equivalence in describing Iraqi insurgents as “patriots” who simply “don't like us because we've invaded their country” and so “if the Iraqis were in Washington, D.C., we'd be doing the same thing.” On not taking drastic action to correct global warming:

Not doing it will be catastrophic. We'll be eight degrees hotter in ten, not ten but 30 or 40 years and basically none of the crops will grow. Most of the people will have died and the rest of us will be cannibals. Turner ridiculed the need for a big U.S. military, insisting “China just wants to sell us shoes. They're not building landing craft to attack the United States,” and “even with our $500 billion military budget, we can't win in Iraq. We're being beaten by insurgents who don't even have any tanks.” After Rose pointed out the Iraqi insurgents “have a lot of roadside bombs that kill a lot of Americans” and wondered “where do you think they come from?”, Turner answered:

I think that they're patriots and that they don't like us because we've invaded their country and occupied it. I think if the Iraqis were in Washington, D.C., we'd be doing the same thing: we'd be bombing them too. Nobody wants to be invaded.
Doesn't that just make your morning?

Bon apetite!

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: MontereyJohn

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs

Heard on local radio this AM about the glorious reforms being instituted by Cuba's new El Presidente, Raul Castro - democratically elected, of course!

Anyway, the net of the report was that land which had previously been used to grow weeds was going to be turned over to collective farms with the best potential to increase the output of actual crops - you know, food.

In addition, el Presidente was going to allow Cubans to buy rice cookers, DVD players (woohoo!), and other luxury items like 21" TVs. Apparently, personal computers are also going to be legal to buy, but none are available for sale just yet... and I wouldn't hold my breath on whether they are ever sold or whether anything resembling an internet connection will be available.

Anyway, here's an article about the reforms from the ueber-right wing Guardian:

Cuba seeks more user-friendly socialism

By Marc Frank
HAVANA, April 1 (Reuters) - New President Raul Castro has lifted some of Cuba's more onerous restrictions and opened cracks in one of the world's remaining state-run economies to make socialism more user-friendly.

How far the small-scale reforms will go remains anybody's guess, but in the past five weeks, Castro has introduced changes at what amounts to lightning speed by Cuban standards.

Bans on the sale of computers, DVD players and other products have been lifted, and Cubans who can afford it can now stay at tourist hotels and buy a cellphone.
Agriculture is being decentralized, farmers can decide for themselves what supplies they need and the prices paid to them are rising to boost food production.
[...]
EYE ON THE PESO
A major public complaint that Raul Castro's government will need to deal with is that state wages paid in Cuban pesos are too low, while many consumer goods have to be paid for in convertible pesos, or CUCs, worth 24 times more than pesos.

About 60 percent of Cubans have access to some hard currency from cash remittances sent by relatives abroad, mainly in the United States, or through factory and farm bonuses and tips from foreign tourists.

A class of "new rich" Cubans that has developed over the last 15 years will be the first to benefit from access to seaside hotels, computers and cellphone lines that cost $120, or six times the average monthly wage.

"The government is recognizing that around 15 percent of the population has 85 percent of the pesos in the banks," said one of the Cuban economists.

"It is tempting the new rich -- from farmers to black market dealers -- to exchange their pesos for CUCs to buy goods, and thus reduce the pesos in circulation and strengthen the currency and wages of everyone," he said, adding increased food production had the same strategic aim.

I re-read that sentence... 15% of the population has 85% of the pesos...

in a worker's paradise that eliminated inequality

What ever happened to "from each according to his ability; to each according to his need?"

Surely many on the Left have to come to realize that socialism, communism, marxism, or any -ism that seeks to plan human activity in order to achieve some desired result is much less effective than the ordered chaos of self-interest and creative destruction which has produced the most comfortable lifestyle for mankind in history. And that the very act of planning within marxism (and other like-minded -isms) can only lead to absolute, authoritarian power within the hands of a central figure.

This was something that David Horowitz realized after seeing his fellow comrades excuse the totalitarianism of Stalin, Castro, and the murderous Huey P. Newton?

Surely others know this as well? If they don't recognize this, they're stupid. If they do, I'm frightened...

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Big Oil & Congress

It seems that the Democrats version of an Energy Policy is to kill the Golden Goose - similar to the pols in Atlas Shrugged who kept restricting the freedom of Dagny Taggart and, as things got worse, continued to tighten their own noose.

From today's WSJ:

REVIEW & OUTLOOK
Oil Refinements
April 2, 2008; Page A14

The latest in the series of pointless gestures that constitute Congressional energy policy came yesterday, when executives from five major oil companies were paraded before Ed Markey's House hearing on global warming. They served as political props for Members to denounce rising gas prices, ventilate Dick Cheney conspiracy theories and otherwise advertise their ignorance of the markets they purportedly oversee.

Democrats, for instance, might rejoice over higher energy costs, which is precisely the eco-policy they've been advocating for years. Until Congress finds a way to abolish the price mechanism, paying more for gasoline is the only signal that will tell Americans to cut their consumption. How exactly do Democrats think a carbon tax or cap-and-trade regime is going to work?

The oil executives performed a public service by pointing out other economic realities. About 70% of the price of gasoline is determined by the global price of crude, which is rising because of world-wide demand and volatility in the commodities markets, not to mention the Federal Reserve's easy-money policy. Congress might also look to its gas mandates and the corset it has laced around domestic production.

It's true that industry profits are at a record high, but oil is a classic boom-and-bust business, which is why billions in capital investments are folded back into exploration and production. Besides, the industry's effective tax rates are in the neighborhood of 40% to 44%. Over the past five years, Exxon Mobil's total U.S. tax bill exceeded its U.S. revenues by some $19 billion.

Mr. Markey also used the occasion to threaten special tax increases, grilling the executives about $18 billion in "subsidies," which are actually a tax deduction that Congress itself extended to all manufacturers, including Big Oil. And he demanded that the companies commit 10% of profits to renewable energy. But as an Exxon vice president put it, fossil fuels are still going to account for at least two-thirds of the world's energy consumption in three decades and whatever scientific progress is made, the practical prospects for alternatives remain "very, very small."

The oil exec also pointed out that progress in renewable energy can't be measured by the amount of money thrown at the problem.

As the oil exec made this statement, Markey was seen wrapping duct tape around his head to keep it from exploding - he'd never heard of such a thing.

Does any other company or industry have to go before Congress to explain their profit margins? What in the hell is going on in this country?

Monterey John had commented previously about how ridiculous the prices in California were... there is no question that the differences between California and Missouri gasoline are not related to the supply & demand economics of the different states, but rather their tax policies.

When will people begin to realize that their government is the primary reason for the high gas prices? From the ridiculous number of formulations to the ridiculous taxes to the weak monetary policy to the restrictions on exploring, extracting, and refining oil?

Who Is John Galt?

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Office or Daycare?

A co-worker of mine forwarded these pictures of Google's office in Zurich. Here are a couple of pics, but you should visit the site to see all of them:






Two obvious points about the pictures:

  1. Google is flush with cash and views this as providing a greater ROI than other possible investments
  2. The infantilization of Europe is complete, since in order for people to be productive, they must be put into environments which resemble a toddler's daycare center.

My co-worker was impressed with how fun the office looked... and it does. But, do our offices really need a twirly slide, nap & massage rooms, and Xboxes to be productive?

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Notorious Penny Piching Cheapskate Buys Hardcover Book! - Jonah Goldberg's Liberal Fascism is under Review!

Yes, imagine that, MJ bought an actual hardcover book, not having waited for it to go PB.

The book that inspired this deviation from my frugality is Jonah Goldberg's Liberal Fascism.

A book review will follow.

I am a major fan of Goldberg's and am looking forward to several pleasant nights absorbing his thoughts.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: MontereyJohn

Monday, March 31, 2008

A Trip Down Memory Lane - The Continental Illinois Bank Failure of 1984 - "Too Big to Fail"

As it it is kind of quiet around here, I will take this opportunity to again harp on one of my pet issues, the risk of a major bank failure. This notion is fueled by the collapse of Bear Stearns.

The media's attention is focused on such thing's as Hilary's veracity challenged campaign, Obama's psycho pastor, McCain's slip of the tongue regarding al Qaeda and Iran and other irrelevancies. While these matters draw huge attention, the erosion of our financial institutions goes by with scant attention and a profound lack of understanding by either the media or any the candidates. I find that unnerving.

In 1984 the 7th largest bank in the country failed. It was insolvent due to bad loans. There was a run on the bank when the facts became known. The FDIC rode to the rescue and the Federal government became the owner of the bank until it was finally sold to the megabank, Bank of America, in recent times.

The FDIC analysis of the collapse of Continental Illinois can be found here.

The bank was deemed too large to be allowed to fail.

Really?

Continental Illinois was a gnat compared to BA and CitiBank. Further, it was just a bank. These days the mega-banks are now into all sorts of other exposures such as investment banking, brokering and insurance. These were prohibited lines of business for banks until recent deregulation.

If CI was "too big to fail," what are these other banks?

Maybe this issue is not as much fun as Pastor Wright and Hilary's combat record, but for me it is a lot more important, and in view of recent events, more pressing.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: MontereyJohn