Brooksley Born

I am a huge fan of the PBS show Frontline and the one that came out only a couple of weeks ago that’s previewed below was excellent. You can go to www.pbs.org and underneath frontline programs click on “The Warning October 20, 2009” to watch it in it’s entirety. I highly recommend it.

The basis of the show is about how Alan Greenspan who for so many years controlled the Federal Reserve was in favor of “laissez faire” government and how his perspective worked nicely into Ronald Reagan’s theme that “too much government was the problem”. Greenspan took it a step further in thinking “that government is a destructive force that gets in the way of Wall Street”.

The hero in the story is a woman named Brooksley Born who was the chairwoman for the CFTC – Commodity Futures Trading Commission, who believed in government regulation and combating fraud. She warned the Congress and the President of the need to regulate financial instruments known as derivatives. She was smart enough to foresee the need to make these markets more transparent whereas Mr Greenspan favored the approach of “letting the market figure it out”. Ofcourse no one listened to Ms Born and she was made out to be the enemy.

In my opinion the basic failure of having government doing their job as watchdog has lead to the tremendous loss of wealth, loss of jobs and loss of homes we are experiencing right now. I was glad to see that two of the big players in this story have learned their lesson, Larry Summers is now in favor of regulation of derivatives. Arthur Levitt wished he had known Ms Born better and had put more trust in her as opposed to listening to others.

I hope we don’t squander the opportunity to pass financial reform legislation soon or we will be experiencing more of the same in the future. As they always say the drivers of capitialism are two words “greed” and “fear”.

An Impressive, Team Win

Yesterday the Ohio State Buckeyes went to Happy Valley and a stadium packed with 110,000 screaming, white-clad fans and came away with a very convincing 24-7 win. It was a true team win, with good play from the defense, the offense, the return units, and the kicking units. The result was the team’s first “signature win” of the season, obtained against a higher-ranked team on the road in a very hostile environment.

The Ohio State defense was tremendous. The defensive line consistently wreaked havoc with the Penn State offensive schemes, with quick penetration by Cam Heyward and Thad Gibson often blowing plays up before they had any chance to develop. Linebackers Brian Rolle, Austin Spitler, and Ross Homan were all over the field, and the defensive backfield was solid. The only big play for Penn State was a well-executed swing pass that the receiver turned into a 30-yard gain. That play came on Penn State’s only drive, which resulted in an apparent touchdown on a 4th-and-1 quarterback sneak. In all, Penn State gained only slightly more than 200 yards for the whole game, and the continued three-and-outs delivered by their offense clearly deflated the Beaver Stadium crowd.

The special teams also were solid. The punter kicked well, frequently pinning Penn State deep in its end of the field, and the backup placekicker performed well on kickoffs and converted his lone field goad attempt. Ray Small, in the meantime, had two fine punt returns that clearly influenced the outcome of the game. The first return, early in the game, was a 40-yard speed burst that put Ohio State in the red zone and led to the team’s first touchdown, and the second was a twisting, cutting affair that took Ohio State from close to its own goal line out to midfield.

And finally, the much-maligned offense played a terrific game against a very good defense. The offensive line kept a gimpy Terrelle Pryor from being sacked and opened holes that allowed Pryor, Boom Herron, and Brandon Saine move the ball on the ground. Pryor played perhaps his best game as a Buckeye, throwing sharp passes, avoiding the forced throws that have occurred in some games, and running for crucial first downs and the first Ohio State touchdown. The Ohio State coaches also deserve credit for some nifty play-calling — an end-around, a small pass to the fullback for a first down, an excellent fake dive and pass to Saine for the final, crushing touchdown, and two well-timed deep balls, one of which just missed before halftime and the second of which produced the Buckeyes’ second touchdown and put the game effectively out of reach.

In all, the game was a well-played, well-executed pleasure to watch for any Buckeye fan, and with Iowa’s unexpected loss yesterday it opens the door to the Big Ten championship, if Ohio State can just walk through. Next up are the Iowa Hawkeyes in the Horsehoe.