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Plenty still on hand to buy lawmakers
The American financial industry seems to be teetering on the brink of collapse. The feds have stepped in to save Bear Stearns. Other big firms are hemorrhaging money and racking up huge losses. The stock market is swinging like a yo-yo. And the United States, long dependent on Middle Eastern countries for oil, is now dependent on them for capital as well.
So it’s heartening to see that even during such troubled times, banks and finance institutions have scraped together the money to throw a fundraiser next month for Senator Pat Roberts of Kansas of the Finance Committee. Invitations to the event, to be held at Washington’s fashionable Bistro Bis restaurant on April 15, have just gone out. A quartet of four lobbyists is sponsoring the affair: Steve Patterson of J.P. Morgan; Ed Hill of Bank of America; Heather Wingate of Citigroup; and Scott Talbot of the Financial Services Roundtable. Of course, there are the very same institutions whose funny accounting and lending practices paved the way for the crisis now unfolding, having been abetted all along the way by the Bush Administration and Congress.
Roberts’s political career has been generously underwritten by banks and financial firms. They have given him $392,000 and $231,000, respectively, according to figures from the Center for Responsive Politics. Senator Roberts has been a good friend to his sponsors. So expect them to show their appreciation, and generously, by turning up at Bistro Bis with plenty more money.
More from Ken Silverstein:
Perspective — October 23, 2013, 8:00 am
How pro-oil Louisiana politicians have shaped American environmental policy
Postcard — October 16, 2013, 8:00 am
A trip to one of the properties at issue in Louisiana’s oil-pollution lawsuits
I recently spent a semester teaching writing at an elite liberal-arts college. At strategic points around the campus, in shades of yellow and green, banners displayed the following pair of texts. The first was attributed to the college’s founder, which dates it to the 1920s. The second was extracted from the latest version of the institution’s mission statement:
The paramount obligation of a college is to develop in its students the ability to think clearly and independently, and the ability to live confidently, courageously, and hopefully.
Let us take a moment to compare these texts. The first thing to observe about the older one is that it is a sentence. It expresses an idea by placing concepts in relation to one another within the kind of structure that we call a syntax. It is, moreover, highly wrought: a parallel structure underscored by repetition, five adverbs balanced two against three.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A naked man believed to be under the influence of LSD rammed his pickup truck into two police cars.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”