If you're like me, you're groovin' off the tail-end edge of some questionable Halloween candy and surfing the series of tubes for some high-caliber reading that will alternately inspire you and depress the hell out of you, hopefully not in that order because you want to dovetail the hard-core sugar crash with a euphoric feeling like you can take on the world -- and win.
Good luck with that.
Anyway, three good must-reads if you're in front of your computer this Saturday night. They're long, but you absolutely must read them all.
First, it's Matt Taibbi's depressing account of what they call the rocket docket here in Florida. It's essentially the express lane to foreclosure, bank fuck-up or no:
The foreclosure lawyers down in Jacksonville had warned me, but I was skeptical. They told me the state of Florida had created a special super-high-speed housing court with a specific mandate to rubber-stamp the legally dicey foreclosures by corporate mortgage pushers like Deutsche Bank and JP Morgan Chase. This "rocket docket," as it is called in town, is presided over by retired judges who seem to have no clue about the insanely complex financial instruments they are ruling on — securitized mortgages and labyrinthine derivative deals of a type that didn't even exist when most of them were active members of the bench. Their stated mission isn't to decide right and wrong, but to clear cases and blast human beings out of their homes with ultimate velocity. They certainly have no incentive to penetrate the profound criminal mysteries of the great American mortgage bubble of the 2000s, perhaps the most complex Ponzi scheme in human history — an epic mountain range of corporate fraud in which Wall Street megabanks conspired first to collect huge numbers of subprime mortgages, then to unload them on unsuspecting third parties like pensions, trade unions and insurance companies (and, ultimately, you and me, as taxpayers) in the guise of AAA-rated investments. Selling lead as gold, shit as Chanel No. 5, was the essence of the booming international fraud scheme that created most all of these now-failing home mortgages.
Yes, it's incredibly detailed, but it is worth your time.
I think we can safely label Taibbi as the chief chronicler of this disaster, as well as the attempted clean up (or cover up, as the case apparently is). My only request of Taibbi would be to do some follow-up and see where in the hell the outrage might be (and don't you dare suggest it's the tea bagger party types -- because I don't buy it for a minute).
Joy Reid of the Reid Report has a must-read about every two or three days or so, so just go visit the site every day and you'll be covered. Her latest is about the impending arrival of Rod Smith to be the head of the Democratic Party here in Florida.
I know what you're thinking: Thanks a lot, Ben -- I just read that depressing as hell Taibbi stuff, and this is just making it worse.
Sorry. Try more Halloween candy.
Color me skeptical of Mr. Smith. I'm sure he's a nice guy, but why are we seriously talking about a dude who has lost two high-profile bids for office to lead the party? I've seen enough written about the critical importance of the I-4 corridor -- how about we do something to actually recognize it? Florida Democrats are going to have to get over their (our) good-old-boy fetish and start talking about our real base, which resides on that I-4 corridor, and in Miami.
Alright, to finish off right, read this post from the fantastically named Nerdy Apple Bottom. This is from a mom, and her son -- five years old -- wanted to be Daphne from Scooby Doo for Halloween.
I think that's freaking fantastic, and her post describing her ordeal with fellow moms and the kid's teachers is as well written as it is emotionally uplifting. This is a great mom doing a great thing for her son.
In a lot of ways, this is what blogging is about. It's a way to see something, read something, or otherwise experience something, and then kind of put it out there -- publish it. I doubt that Nerdy Apple Bottom knew what kind of response she'd draw with her post. Her five year old boy dressed up as a female red-headed cartoon character with a purse and a purple dress. Frankly, I salute her bravery.
Of course, political blogging is easier in a lot of ways. I am a moderately liberal guy with strong pragmatic streaks. My positions on most things are fairly common. Most of my posts are mainstream, when they're readable.
And I've even written about my wonderful family and my beautiful daughter. But I've never done anything quite like Nerdy Apple Bottom did.
Can political blogs be brave? Do we have fresh ideas and important events that we can chronicle and post?
I really hope so. Hey, let's take on the world...