Top: With the Curios, Bottom: In the Studio (1909)
From the Wm Cody Collection
Why parade Jamie Dimon around a fawning Senate? Basic facts are that hedges grow exponential on key bets or die quick deaths if they make a series of betting errors. Their total loss affects relatively small capital footprints. Banks remain profitable by betting in all markets while selling securities, bonds and mortages. Bank solvency is obviously never guaranteed under these market conditions yet the Fed retains a key role as the 'gambling house's' bank. Banks are members of a class of gamblers, authorized by the S.E.C. Oxymoronically it protects banks (and at one time hedges, see Long Term Capital Management crisis). Can you imagine the Fed stepping in if Harrah's declared bankruptcy on its bad bets? Above, the hedge against losing a bet is insurance, still legal, still dangerous. A key reason Bear Stearns and Lehman are gone.
"The Watergate that we wrote about in The Washington Post from 1972 to 1974 is not Watergate as we know it today. It was only a glimpse into something far worse. By the time he was forced to resign, Nixon had turned his White House, to a remarkable extent, into a criminal enterprise."
-from Nixon Was Much Worse Than We Thought, Washington Post June 10
For texts, obviously both All The President's Men and Final Days are critical bestsellers by Woodstein that explore the scandal from differing narratives. APM is a detective/procedural yarn, FD is reportage. FD best resembles the storytelling that Woodward continued in Wired, The Bretheren, Veil. Strangely the definitive Watergate book is neither of these. Barry Sussman, who was the city editor of The Washington Post, wrote it and called it aptly, The Great Cover-Up. Sussman's book examines each revelation as an element of a puzzle, or of a chess game in which moves are secret with only pawns and a king visible.
"Before anyone else at the Post, Sussman saw Watergate as a larger story, saw that the individual events were part of a larger pattern, the result of hidden decisions from somewhere in the top of government which sent smaller men to run dirty errands... - David Halberstam Powers That Be
For the operatic side of things Nixon, Arrogance of Power: The Secret World of Richard Nixon by Anthony Summers, a book filled with rumor, innuendo and corruption that makes Harding's sold presidency look soft. Here's one example, the story of Chris Silberman...
Silberman was a rogue commodities trader (American Metals Ltd) who appeared in a Life Magazine photo on a remote Bahamian dock with Nixon in 1969. He claims former Nevada Governor Paul Laxalt met with him after the 1969 Nixon meeting and openly wondered what kind of money could be made if the gold window was closed. The gold window is the only opening for the commodity in the U.S. for foreign markets and had never been closed before. Its closure, a matter of public record, allowed Silberman to take a sizeable sum of money from Laxalt and bet widely on gold futures. After making over $10 million, Silberman claims he drove it into the U.S. across a pre-arranged Canadian border crossing and handed the truck over to unknown drivers. Nixon closed the gold window against the advice of Paul Volcker without offering any substantial reason. One of many fascinating, loosely corroborated tales in the book. A must-read for any Watergate aficionados.
The biggest budgeted film of 1977 was 20th Century Fox's $17 million dollar hoped for tentpole Damnation Alley, a brawny action flick starring Jan Michael Vincent (White Line Fever) and George Peppard (Breakfast at Tiffany's). Director Jack Smight was b.o. gold since he'd helmed hits Airport '75 and Midway, but the effects were poorly planned and the film spent 10 months painting in glowing skies. It bombed in the wake of half-its-budget sleeper Star Wars, itself given little chance of success by the Fox brass. Rarely, maybe never screened, this megabudget oddity is being shown at Anthology Film Archives June 17/23.
A geologic time short. Two galaxies cross and then fuse. Andromeda is visible with binoculars near Cassiopeia, and in dark sky with the naked eye. Watch her come.
Life isolated on islands adapts differently than those on continents. From Carlquist's Island Life.