It’s not a wonderful life


Because my money’s in Citibank, which is now on the verge of going under, I feel like going down there and joining the panicky crowd to demand my money back.

I’ll yell and shake my fist and insist on an explanation why my bank is going down the tubes despite the fees I pay for everything. And the ATM will just stare back at me, like HAL in 2001: A Space Odyssey.

There is no George Bailey reminding me how my bank deserves my trust.

There’s only Henry Paulson — who gave Citibank $25 billion in bailout money before the bank’s current crisis — telling me and everyone else who’s not a Wall Street big cigar, “Tough luck.”

It’s not a wonderful life. And I’m not Saudi Prince Alwaleed.

And the U.S. is not No. 1 — at least for much longer.

For the latest details on how the U.S. meltdown is, like, bumming out the world, see this morning’s Washington Post story “Financial System Suffers Relapse: Shattering Lull, Fears of Deep Recession Roil Markets.”

The one place where commerce is on the upswing is on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, where Henry Waxman upended longtime chairman John Dingell. See my item yesterday, and read this morning’s WashPost perspective-filled story, in which Paul Kane writes:

If beleaguered U.S. automakers did not have enough problems, Michigan Rep. John D. Dingell, their greatest congressional champion, was dethroned yesterday as chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee by Rep. Henry A. Waxman of California, an advocate of stiff measures against global warming.

This is the first big muscle-flexing by the Obama team — it shows that he has the power to keep his fellow Democrats on Capitol Hill in line. There’s no doubt it signals real change and reform, because that’s Waxman’s history. But does the Waxman victory really signal Barack Obama‘s environmentalism or is it payback?

During the Democratic primary, Dingell cast his lot with Hillary Clinton, while his superdelegate wife, GM lobbyist Debbie Dingell, supported Obama.

Who did Waxman cast his lot with? As the Australian outlet ABC pointed out in June, in an extensive interview with Waxman on its Lateline show:

[B]efore the primaries were over, Mr Waxman endorsed Barack Obama for his party’s presidential nomination, a significant boost for the black Senator who needs to bolster his vote among the Jewish community. In his endorsement, Congressman Waxman said Senator Obama has the experience, judgment and integrity to bring real reform to Washington.

Not speaking of real reform, the Washington Post reports this morning in an oh-by-the-way fashion:

Meanwhile, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) is on track to be nominated for the job of secretary of state after Thanksgiving, transition aides said.

Guess Obama just can’t resist leftovers.

If your hopes of “change” were high, that news is the stuff of deflation.

And speaking of throwing away hard-earned capital: While you ponder how safe my money — and I suppose yours, too, if you want to be selfish about it — is in Saudibank (er, Citibank) . . .



Times (U.K.): ‘Recession stalks the world’s economies’ ‘Remember The Spitzer Whore? What Does She Think About Stuff?’

Ashley Dupré is now so famous that she’s got her own episode of 20/20 coming up where she gets to reveal that she doesn’t feel responsible for Eliot Spitzer‘s resignation, the emotions she experienced as the scandal unfolded and the way that she feels ‘connected’ to Eliot Spitzer’s wife — which we think might be code for crabs or syphilis or something, though we couldn’t say for certain. . . .

But what of the future? Well, even though she’s so famous that she could probably live quite comfortably on a handful of blowjobs a year now, in the interview Ashley Dupré reveals that she has actually quit whoring to concentrate on establishing her singing career full-time.

ABC (Australia): ‘Henry Waxman joins Lateline

Washington Post: ‘Kafka of the Cubicle: Japanese Cartoonist Chronicles the Indignities Endured by Young, Dutiful, Sad Office Drones’


A gang of racist Long Island teens went on a “cowardly” weeklong mission of hate, striking innocent Hispanics with their fists and BB gun pellets before they fatally stabbed an Ecuadorian immigrant on his way to a watch a movie with a friend, officials claimed yesterday.

Times (U.K.): ‘Citigroup meets to consider rescue options’

BBC: ‘US global dominance “set to wane” ‘

US economic, military and political dominance is likely to decline over the next two decades, according to a new US intelligence report on global trends.

The National Intelligence Council (NIC) predicts China, India and Russia will increasingly challenge US influence.

It also says the dollar may no longer be the world’s major currency, and food and water shortages will fuel conflict.

Washington Post: ‘Obama Team Springs Leaks’

Reuters: ‘Thousands protest in Iraq against U.S. troops pact’

Washington Post: ‘Video Game Technology Gives Veterans New Lease on Life’

N.Y. Daily News: ‘Queens jail guards face assault rap’

Washington Post: ‘Falling Prices Raise a New Fear: Deflation’

Slate: ‘Obama’s White House, Clinton’s Team: Who’s (loyal to) who in the Obama administration — an interactive chart’

Slate: ‘How To Read the Quran: A new translation captures the confusion’

N.Y. Daily News: ‘Inspector in crane disaster snubs deal’