Monday, March 22, 2010

Mystery Book Reviews

Frank Rich ["Obama, Lehman and ‘The Dragon Tattoo’"] reviews two timely mystery books, one fiction and the other not. Both have relevance to the issue of pending financial reform legislation:
The question for the politicians at the center of this battleground is simple enough: Which side of the war are they on?

The Republican leadership revealed its hand unequivocally last week. Addressing the American Bankers Association, the party’s House leader, John Boehner, promised to delay and fight any finance-reform bill.

“Don’t let those little punk staffers take advantage of you, and stand up for yourselves,” Boehner instructed the poor, defenseless bankers. In late January he met the chief executive of JPMorgan Chase, Jamie Dimon, to make a pitch for donations. That may have been unnecessary. Chase and its employees, an A.T.M. for the Democrats in 2008, gave 73 percent of their contributions to the G.O.P. in the fourth quarter of 2009.

Republicans in the Senate will be no different. Mitch McConnell’s strategy of unmitigated obstructionism remains gospel there. Just as Charles Grassley and Olympia Snowe played the Democrats with months of fruitless negotiations on health care reform, so Richard Shelby and Bob Corker have been stalling a financial reform bill with similarly arid feints at “bipartisanship.” Corker insisted that any bill exclude regulation of extortionate “payday lenders,” who just happen to be among his biggest campaign contributors.
Which book do you suppose -- fiction or non-fiction -- describes how "The top five executives" at two failed Wall Street banking corporations "collectively took home $2.4 billion in bonuses and equity sales -- that’s nearly a quarter-billion dollars each -- between 2000 and their 2008 demise." (Hint: the fiction book was written in 2004.)

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