Daily Flog: Collateralized damage, weapons of monetary destruction, albinos flee Burundi
Hit the books before the bookkeepers hit you.
Like it or not, the issue of "mark-to-market" accounting rules, which I tried to delve into yesterday, is something to keep an eye on.
And it's a good issue on which to gauge the presidential candidates. John McCain, for instance, would be happy as hell if the SEC abolished the mark-to-market rules for how corporations value their assets.
That puts him squarely against a vast array of consumer groups, big-time investors, and accountants who say that abolishing mark-to-market accounting is idiotic and would set up the economy for an even bigger fall.
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More below on the specifics of Lavelle's piece — and a reminder of one of the best pieces of investigative journalism on corporate kleptocracy not to appear in a newspaper or magazine but in an SEC document — but first . . .
NO PARTICULAR ORDER:
N.Y. Daily News: 'Taser cop suicide note: It's my fault'
Freedom to Tinker: 'Judge Suppresses Report on Voting Machine Security'
McClatchy: 'Government by Goldman Sachs comes to end'
The Register (U.K.): 'California outlaws RFID tag skimming'
N.Y. Daily News: 'Chopped her up, buried her in cement "for love" '
The Register (U.K.): 'Nokia chief: Mobile superiority coming to America'
Jewish Daily Forward: 'Haredim Begin Confronting Pedophilia'
The Register (U.K.): 'Catholic priests cane YouTube over blasphemous vids'
Jewish Daily Forward: 'The Ibos of Nigeria: Members of the Tribe?'
Washington Post: 'On the Sunny Beaches of Brazil, A Perplexing Inrush of Penguins'
China Digital Times: 'Chinese Snoop on Skype, but Are They Alone?'
N.Y. Times: 'Bill Paves Way for a Third Term for Bloomberg'
Washington Post: 'Greed Is Fine. It's Stupidity That Hurts.'
Washington Post: 'Activists Angered By Blame For Crisis'
China Digital Times: 'China tangled up in red, white and blue'
Getting beyond the yipping and yapping of pseudo-news like the TV debates to ferret out something that actually matters more than a reality show: The Center for Public Integrity's Marianne Lavelle tackles the topic of mark-to-market accounting (one of the keys to the current financial crisis) and notes:
And here's much of the rest of her item — I'm quoting it at length because the topic may seem too arcane for you to click on:
Did you notice the mention of former SEC Chairman Richard Breeden? He was the author of one of the all-time great expositions on corporate hubris and corruption: the August 30, 2004, report he prepared for the board of the odious legend-in-his-own-mind Conrad Black's former company, Hollinger International. (See the report for free on the SEC's own site; see my 2007 items here and here.)
In the report, the former SEC chair actually titled one of his topics "CORPORATE KLEPTOCRACY" — to refresh your memory, he was talking about the actions of a corporate boardroom that included Henry Kissinger and Richard Perle. (The report gives Kissinger a pass but roasts Perle.)
The massive report, beautifully and clearly written, is just about as fine a piece of investigative journalism as has ever been done about the workings of corporate America. And it was written from the inside, on the inside — not for a newspaper or magazine. Check it out before the bank repossesses your house and computer.
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