Thursday, September 15, 2011

...."Missing out on some serious parts of what it means to be a successful human.”

"For the headmaster of an intensely competitive school, Randolph, who is 49, is surprisingly skeptical about many of the basic elements of a contemporary high-stakes American education. He did away with Advanced Placement classes in the high school soon after he arrived at Riverdale; he encourages his teachers to limit the homework they assign; and he says that the standardized tests that Riverdale and other private schools require for admission to kindergarten and to middle school are “a patently unfair system” because they evaluate students almost entirely by I.Q. “This push on tests,” he told me, “is missing out on some serious parts of what it means to be a successful human.”

The most critical missing piece, Randolph explained as we sat in his office last fall, is character — those essential traits of mind and habit that were drilled into him at boarding school in England and that also have deep roots in American history. “Whether it’s the pioneer in the Conestoga wagon or someone coming here in the 1920s from southern Italy, there was this idea in America that if you worked hard and you showed real grit, that you could be successful,” he said. “Strangely, we’ve now forgotten that. People who have an easy time of things, who get 800s on their SAT’s, I worry that those people get feedback that everything they’re doing is great. And I think as a result, we are actually setting them up for long-term failure. When that person suddenly has to face up to a difficult moment, then I think they’re screwed, to be honest. I don’t think they’ve grown the capacities to be able to handle that.”



Battered Billionaires said...

These are not good days for billionaires and millionaires anywhere. In the United States bank billionaires are getting another huge kick in their behinds:

The Washington Post:

"U.S. to sue big banks over mortgages

By Reuters, Friday, September 2, 2:46 AM

The agency that oversees U.S. mortgage markets is preparing to file suit against more than a dozen big banks, accusing them of misrepresenting the quality of mortgages they packaged and sold during the housing bubble, the New York Times reported late Thursday.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency, which oversees mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, is expected to file suit against Bank of America, J.P. Morgan Chase, Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank, among others, the Times reported, citing three unidentified individuals briefed on the matter.

The suits stem from subpoenas the agency issued to banks last year. The suits could be filed as early as Friday, the Times said; if not filed Friday, the paper said, the action would come Tuesday.

The government will argue the banks, which pooled the mortgages and sold them as securities to investors, failed to perform due diligence required under securities law and missed evidence that borrowers’ incomes were falsified or inflated, the Times reported. Fannie and Freddie lost more than $30 billion, due partly to their purchases of mortgage-backed securities, when the housing bubble burst in 2008.

A Federal Housing Finance Agency spokesman was not immediately available for comment. The Times said Bank of America, J.P. Morgan and Goldman Sachs declined comment. A Deutsche Bank spokesman told the Times, “We can’t comment on a suit that we haven’t seen and hasn’t been filed yet."

Battered Billionaires said...

The New York Times:

"September 2, 2011

Federal Regulators Sue Big Banks Over Mortgages


A bruising legal fight pitting the country’s most powerful banks against the full force of the United States government began Friday, as federal regulators filed suits against 17 financial institutions [see below official notice ] sold the mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac nearly $200 billion in mortgage-backed securities that later soured.

The suits are the latest legal salvo fired at the banks accusing them of misdeeds during the housing boom. Investors fled financial shares Friday amid growing concern that the litigation could last for years and undermine earnings and balance sheets in the process...The litigation represents a more intense effort by the federal government to go after the financial services industry for its supposed mortgage failures.

Indeed, the cases were brought on the basis of 64 subpoenas issued a year ago, giving the government an edge in its investigation that private investors suing the banks lack.

The Obama administration as well as regulators like the Federal Reserve have been criticized for going too easy on the banks, which benefited from a $700 billion bailout package shortly after the collapse of Lehman Brothers in the autumn 2008.

Much of that money has been repaid by the banks — but the rescue of the mortgage giants Fannie and Freddie has already cost taxpayers $153 billion, and the federal government estimates the effort could cost $363 billion through 2013...

In addition to suing the companies, the complaints also identified individuals at many institutions responsible for the machinery of turning subprime mortgages into securities that somehow earned a AAA grade from the rating agencies.


Federal Housing Finance Agency

"FHFA (and OFHEO) Legal Filings


FHFA Filings in PLS Cases,

September 2, 2011:

1. Ally Financial Inc. f/k/a GMAC, LLC

2. Bank of America Corporation

3. Barclays Bank PLC

4. Citigroup, Inc.

5. Countrywide Financial Corporation

6. Credit Suisse Holdings (USA), Inc.

7. Deutsche Bank AG

8. First Horizon National Corporation

9. General Electric Company

10. Goldman Sachs & Co.

11. HSBC North America Holdings, Inc.

12. JPMorgan Chase & Co.

13. Merrill Lynch & Co. / First Franklin Financial Corp.

14. Morgan Stanley

15. Nomura Holding America Inc.

16. The Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC

17. Société Générale..."

Cameron and Sarkozy Conquer Libya said...

Voice of America:

"Cameron, Sarkozy Visit Libya as Forces Enter Sirte

Posted Thursday, September 15th, 2011 at 9:11 pm

The leaders of Britain and France visited two of Libya's newly freed cities Thursday, offering broad support for the country's new rulers as provisional authority forces attempted their first significant assault on Moammar Gadhafi's hometown.

British Prime Minister David Cameron and his French counterpart, Nicolas Sarkozy, were welcomed by jubilant crowds in the capital, Tripoli, and the eastern city of Benghazi, cradle of the uprising.

The two men said they would introduce a United Nations Security Council draft resolution Friday that would establish a U.N. mission in Libya, unfreeze Libyan assets, remove the no-fly zone for civilian flights and abolish the international arms embargo.

They said they would assist Libya's new government to extend its authority throughout the country and track down Mr. Gadhafi and members of his inner circle. Mr. Cameron and Mr. Sarkozy also promised that the NATO military campaign would continue for as long as it is needed.

Later Thursday, in a surprise advance, anti-Gadhafi forces broke through loyalist defenses and entered the coastal city of Sirte, 450 kilometers east of Tripoli.

Several thousand battle-hardened fighters from the city of Misrata advanced into the center of Mr. Gadhafi's hometown, where they faced heavy resistance from elite loyalist troops and snipers.

Sirte is one of Mr. Gadhafi's last remaining bastions, along with the desert town of Bani Walid and the southern outpost of Sabha.

In Tripoli, Mr. Cameron called on the fugitive leader and his followers to “give up.” Mr. Sarkozy added that he would urge authorities in neighboring Niger, a former French colony, to detain Mr. Gadhafi's associates who entered the country in recent days.

The visiting leaders held talks in Tripoli with National Transitional Council Chairman Mustafa Abdel Jalil, who said the NTC will reward key allies for their help in ending Mr. Gadhafi's rule as it decides future oil and gas contracts.

Mr. Sarkozy said France is not looking for special treatment for its actions.

Britain and France pushed for NATO action to protect civilians against forces loyal to Mr. Gadhafi, and the French were the first to recognize the NTC as the official representative of the Libyan people.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is also scheduled to visit Libya this week as part of a North African tour."

The JEWS of Libya require reparations from Libya and Cameron and Sakozy should make sure it happens said...

"The Jews of Libya Coexistence, Persecution, Resettlement

by Maurice M. Roumani Portland, Ore.: Sussex Academic Press, 2008. 310 pp. $77.50

Reviewed by Michael Rubin Middle East Quarterly Fall 2008

In 1948, 36,000 Jews lived in Libya. Today, none do. Roumani, a Ben-Gurion University political scientist born in Libya, has created a masterful account of the last decades of this vanished community.

In 1911, the Italian army conquered Libya. The resulting Italian administration approached the Libyan Jewish community through its experience of Rome's positive relations with its Jewish community. There were marked differences between the two communities, however, leading to tumultuous relations for the ensuing two decades. Libyan Jews resisted both Italian rabbis and the reforms they sought to oversee as they fought to preserve their identity. Italian society did influence Libyan Jewry, however, catalyzing Zionism, for example. Hebrew classes became a fixture in Libyan Jewish communities in the 1920s and 1930s. Bad accompanied good, though; as anti-Semitism grew in Italy during the fascist period, anti-Jewish incidents increased in Libya, and as the Axis oriented its foreign policy toward the Arabs, Italian leaders privileged Libya's Arabs over its Jews. As the Axis solidified in the late 1930s, Rome imposed anti-Semitic race laws on both Italy and Libya. Libyan Jews were interned in local labor camps, deported, and, in some cases, transferred to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.

As postwar Arab nationalism grew, anti-Jewish rioting and pogroms worsened. Arab hostility increased as independence neared, forcing Libyan Jews to choose between emigration to Israel or Europe or life under a hostile Arab government. Most chose the former, but a hardy core remained. Here, Roumani's detail is stellar. Exploring archives from Jerusalem to Rome to New York, as well as contemporary Arabic and Hebrew newspaper accounts, he recounts the organizational involvement of international Jewish agencies comprehensively and without sacrificing readability.

Roumani's final chapter, tracing the Libyan Jews who chose to remain in their country after Israel's independence, is one of the best case studies of Arab nationalist intolerance. Tripoli closed Jewish schools, forced Jews with relatives in Israel to register, and even placed the Jewish community's administration under Muslim trusteeship. Jews could not vote, serve in public capacities, or purchase property. Violence was commonplace. On the first day of the Six-day War in June 1967, Libyan mobs destroyed 60 percent of Jewish communal property. The Libyan government placed Jews in protective custody in a detainment camp from which they were quickly evacuated by air and sea. With Mu‘ammar al-Qadhafi's rise two years later, the final nail was put into the community's coffin.

Libya had a Jewish community for millennia. Within a matter of years, it collapsed. The Libyan Jewish community may not have been the Arab world's largest or most prominent, but The Jews of Libya, nevertheless, should become standard reading not only for students of Jewish history but for those professing expertise in modern Arab or North African history as well."

Boruch said...

Even without reading the entire article the age of coddling and entitlement has created a generation worse than the me generation. It's become the do it for me generation. One click and it's there, one snap and it's there. Walking is an anathema, I have to drive or be driven. We have seen the enemy and it's still us.

Maybe by cutting out English and secular subjects from Yeshiva we'll be hastening the coming of Moshiach. The next generation may not be able to provide for itself so only God is left.