FUBAR

Achieving success by screwing up

To achieve true prosperity and financial security for life, what you really need is the ability to screw up big time.

I base this observation on the revelations coming out of Wall Street, and I am waiting for the call from one of the great investment houses because, given the opportunity, there’s not much I can’t botch. Certainly I couldn’t do worse than the people currently running the show.

Obama may double troop strength in Afghanistan

U.S. President Barack Obama is considering a plan that would double the size of Afghanistan’s security force to about 400,000 troops and police officer to stabilize the nation, The New York Times reported on Wednesday.

Obama was expected to approve a version of the plan in coming days as part of a broader Afghanistan-Pakistan strategy, the report said, citing senior administration and Pentagon officials.

Afghanistan now has about 90,000 troops and the Afghan National Police numbers about 80,000 officers, the newspaper said.

On security matters, one sizes does not fit all

We Americans have always found comfort by wrapping ourselves in a one-size-fits-all security blanket.

We safeguarded our domestic security by redoubling our efforts to catch and punish crooks and murderers who endanger our homes and streets. We safeguarded our national security by taking hard lines against those who willfully endanger our country — spies selling stolen secrets got tough sentences and sometimes paid with their life. We called them "traitors" — because their greed put our nation at grave risk.

Is Twitter the end of civilization?

If you can stay focused, my topic today is the various assaults on America’s declining powers of concentration. Where was I? Oh yes, according to my theory, everything in modern life is subversive of people’s ability to focus on the subject at hand. This is a huge problem.

AIG mess raises more questions about Geithner

If not distancing itself from Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, the White House is placing firmly on his shoulders responsibility for how the government handled the $165 million in bonuses paid to about 400 executives and traders at American International Group Inc.

"Secretary Geithner last week engaged with the CEO of AIG to communicate what we thought were outrageous and unacceptable bonuses," White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Tuesday.

Then he volunteered the answer to a question being asked all over Washington: Did Geithner still enjoy President Barack Obama’s confidence, given the whopping bonuses the failed insurance giant paid Friday after receiving taxpayer bailout money?

Dems face dismay, disarray over AIG debacle

Congressional Democrats careened between the circular firing squad and the three-ring circus Tuesday as they struggled with their new reality: playing defense on the economy.

Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) blamed Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner for letting bailed-out insurance giant American International Group pay $165 million in bonuses to its employees, saying he wrote a letter to Geithner two weeks ago warning him of just such a possibility.

Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), tagged by Republican aides for sponsoring an amendment to the stimulus bill that allowed the bonuses, shifted the blame to the Treasury Department and “the bill conferees,” saying he had no idea that the AIG bonuses were coming.

Congress urged to save banks ‘too big to fail’

Congress should identify banks or other financial institutions that have become so large their failure poses a systemic risk and should put them under federal supervision, according to the Independent Community Bankers of America.

"Excessive concentration has led to systemic risk and the banking crisis that we now face," C.R. Cloutier, president of MidSouth Bank in Louisiana, told the U.S. House of Representatives antitrust subcommittee on Tuesday.

AIG backlash: Bring on the limits

The Obama administration says it’s trying to put strict limits on the next $30 billion installment in taxpayers’ money for insurance giant AIG amid questions about whether it responded fiercely enough to executive bonus payments.

Grassley to AIG execs: ‘Just kill yourselves’

Iowa Sen. Charles Grassley (left) suggested that AIG executives should take a Japanese approach toward accepting responsibility for the collapse of the insurance giant by resigning or killing themselves.

The Republican lawmaker’s harsh comments came during an interview with Cedar Rapids, Iowa, radio station WMT on Monday. They echo remarks he has made in the past about corporate executives and public apologies, but went further in suggesting suicide.

AIG: Bring lawyers, guns and money

The only real difference between Bernie Madoff and the management of AIG is that when Bernie Madoff got caught, he pleaded guilty. When AIG got caught, it asked the government for $170 billion.

And it got it. Now the American International Group is going to pay $165 million to its executives as a reward for the fine job they did in duping everybody.