News Roundup

Bernie Madoff thrown in the klink. Good. Dude may just be the sacrificial goat for the sins of an industry, but still feels mighty satisfying.
The strange, sad story of Bastareaud, the French rugby player who claimed to have been violently attacked here in Wellington by a gang of angry locals, gets stranger and sadder as he is admitted to a psychiatric unit after attempting suicide; the injuries that he covered up with his story of being assaulted may have come from his own team-mates. Horrible. I hope the guy finds his way right.
Women tennis players who make noise are now “grunters”. Am I the only one who wonders what men would be called if this was about them? “Roarers”? “Shouters”? “Growlers”? Okay maybe not that last one.

5 thoughts on “News Roundup”

  1. It’s good to see Madoff serve time but I was listening to his victims this AM, some of whom are left with nothing, and had two (possibly contradictory) thoughts:
    1/ In all my (limited) financial dealings, it’s been reinforced that you should never invest more than you can afford to lose. I’m interested to know what sort of investment (other than low risk, high return *bullshit cough*) these people thought they were getting into, and why they felt it was okay to put ALL their money into it without considering the consequences of losing it all.
    2/ If he truly is a financial whiz, why not get him working in prison, wheeling and dealing and trying to make some money back? He’s unlikely to make 60bn or whatever he claimed to have lost, but try and make some amends. It’s not like prison is going to change him.

  2. Of course, if he was a boring old scammer with no real financial nous (despite being NASDAQ chair at one point), forget my second point.

  3. @dritchie: Your two thoughts are not contradictory at all.
    Madoff certainly had real financial nous: he’s more or less the grandaddy of electronic stock exchanges. This gave him tremendous prestige in his community; he leveraged his trust relationship and substantial personal charisma in the country-club set.
    He made his investors feel that they were part of an exclusive club, and blinded them with science—talking about split/strike trading and the like. Basically, he was running a financial cult.
    Traders felt safe with him for a few reasons: he always paid out when people withdrew from the fund—at least until it all collapsed—; he never offered implausible, or even especially good, returns—but the returns he did offer were implausibly “safe” and his investors should have picked up on this, since nobody can bat at .900—; but most of all, they trusted him personally.
    It was a perfect storm of perfidy.
    Add in the fact that the SEC dropped the ball, it’s depressingly hard to see how this type of thing can be stopped in the future.

  4. Given how hot it’s apparently been at Wimbledon, the players are probably just glad they’re not being called ‘sweaters.’
    Wimbledon. What a weird word to type. Wimble-don. Wimble Wimble Wibble.
    Excuse me while I go put some underpants on my head and pencils up my nose.

  5. I’m glad and all that Madoff has been slammed with a jail term for some outrageous white-collar crime; normally the american system seems geared to protect the rich (white) well-lawyered elite. But even for the states 150 years seems ridiculous. He invested recklessly and used massive fraud to cover it up, but he’s hardly a serial killer. Is this a symbolic “we are doing something about the recession” sentence, a sacrificial lamb for the failings of a whole sector?
    And I tend to agree with drichie that investors need to take some responsibility, just as in those who lost life savings in our collapsed finance company market – by their very nature there is a risk in these things.

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