Friday, April 23, 2010

Common Sense Financial Reform: 2010

From President Obama's financial reform speech, 22 April, 2010


There has always been a tension between the desire to allow markets to function without interference – and the absolute necessity of rules to prevent markets from falling out of balance. But managing that tension, one we’ve debated since our founding, is what has allowed our country to keep up with a changing world. For in taking up this debate, in figuring out how to apply our well-worn principles with each new age, we ensure that we do not tip too far one way or the other -- that our democracy remains as dynamic as the economy itself. Yes, the debate can be contentious. It can be heated. But in the end it serves to make our country stronger. It has allowed us to adapt and thrive.


I read a report recently that I think fairly illustrates this point. It’s from Time Magazine. And I quote: “Through the great banking houses of Manhattan last week ran wild-eyed alarm. Big bankers stared at one another in anger and astonishment. A bill just passed … would rivet upon their institutions what they considered a monstrous system… Such a system, they felt, would not only rob them of their pride of profession but would reduce all U.S. banking to its lowest level.” That appeared in Time Magazine -- in June of 1933. The system that caused so much concern and consternation? The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation -- the FDIC -- an institution that has successfully secured the deposits of generations of Americans.


In the end, our system only works -- our markets are only free -- when there are basic safeguards that prevent abuse, that check excess, that ensure that it is more profitable to play by the rules than to game the system. And that is what these reforms are designed to achieve: no more, no less. Because that is how we will ensure that our economy works for consumers, that it works for investors, that it works for financial institutions -- that it works for all of us.



White House Photo, Samantha Appleton, 4/22/10

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Earth Day at 40 | Unfinished Business

On this day 40 years ago, I bailed out of Leon High School for a sunny day on the lawn in front of the library at Florida State University, listening to smart people talk about what I came to understand as an obligation to treat the earth responsibly.

Today, I'm more convinced of that obligation than ever, and my convictions run wider and deeper than ever. We've made significant progress on so many fronts, even as it's clear the work is far from finished.

Here's a nice piece in the Washington Post—with links to quite a bit more on what remains to be done on the way to that time when we can say the words "Happy Earth Day" without a hint of irony.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

William Gheen's Allegedly Tiny Penis

William Gheen, President of Americans for Legal Immigration PAC, appears to have an unusually—some might say freakishly—tiny penis. I have not seen it but I know a guy.

While many influential people know this, the general public and ALIPAC constituents do not. I call on Mr Gheen to suspend his interest in Senator Lindsay Graham's penis until he has been entirely forthcoming about his own.

— RANTS + REFLECTIONS ON THE COMMON GOOD —

[mostly]