ThinkFast: March 18, 2008

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"ThinkFast: March 18, 2008"

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My life has been flushed down the drain,” said one Bear Stearns employee.
Bear Stearns had always encouraged its 14,000 employees, “from secretaries to top executives, to be long-term holders in the company’s stock, and the employees own over 30 percent of the company.”

A New York Times editorial warns that “if the United States government doesn’t stabilize the markets, foreign governments increasingly will, in exchange for an ever larger stake in the American financial system.” The Fed’s unprecedented loans to banks “cannot save defaulting homeowners, transform bad mortgage loans into good ones, or do the same for hundreds of billions of dollars of securities tied to those loans.”

Rep. David Dreier (R-CA) “failed to disclose tens of thousands of dollars in profits he made on stock sales on his annual financial disclosure forms for the past several years.” Last Thursday, after inquiries by Roll Call, Dreier filed an amendment to “his 2004, 2005 and 2006 disclosure forms” listing previously undisclosed stock sales “totaling between $85,000 and $263,000 in income.”

Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell recently delivered a speech that contained a story about an historical radio conversation at sea. “This is true. It’s an actual recording,” McConnell said. In fact, McConnell’s story was “untrue. False. Urban naval legend. Never happened.”

“A conference to reconcile Iraq’s warring political groups began to unravel even before it got under way on Tuesday, with the main Sunni Muslim Arab bloc pulling out and protesting it had not been properly invited.”

Newsweek’s Fareed Zakaria writes that the U.S. is “stuck in the Iraq loop.” “We are told that the surge has worked brilliantly and violence is way down. And yet the plan to reduce troop levels — which was at the heart of the original surge strategy — must be postponed or all hell will once again break loose.”

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has confirmed that his government will “at some point” hold an inquiry into the lessons to be learned from the invasion of Iraq and its aftermath. But, he said that time is not is “not now.”

A U.N.-supported report released yesterday conducted by the World Glacier Monitoring Service at the University of Zurich has found that “most of the world’s mountain glaciers, many of which feed major rivers and water supplies, are shrinking at an accelerating pace as the climate warms.”

Mirroring the results of a new CNN poll, a recent USA Today/Gallup poll has found that 76 percent of Americans think the U.S. economy is in recession. “Not since September 1992, two months before President George H.W. Bush lost re-election, have so many said the economy was in such bad shape.”

And finally: Echoing his infamous declaration in 2005 that former FEMA chief Michael “Brownie” Brown was “doing a heckuva job” responding to Hurricane Katrina, President Bush thanked Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson yesterday “for working over the weekend” in response to the long-brewing economic crisis.

What did we miss? Let us know in the comments section.

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