Not since the heady days of Andrew Cunanan has a fugitive piqued our interest this much. Luka Magnotta, who apparently is something of a gay porn star, is wanted in the gruesome slaying of a student in Montreal. He is on the loose, obviously, and the authorities believe he is in Paris. Why is this interesting? Here are some key phrases from today’s news reports: “…[the victim’s] torso was found in a suitcase,” “…including a hand and a foot, were mailed to the offices of political parties…”; and “…police discovered pornographic magazines as well as air sickness bags…”
The author Martin Amis has apparently fled England for Brooklyn, a move that was couched with apparently offensive-to-the-English comments to a French magazine. I don’t know Amis’s writing, and don’t care that the English are in a snit. But I found The Observer’s interview with Amis to be amusing for what the probably-not-American reporter says about not-far-from-here Cobble Hill:
“There’s a small expat population here one bar nearby serves an approximation of fish and chips, others broadcast the FA Cup at odd hours, but the neighbourhood, for the most, is ideally American. There’s a beer shop a block away called just that: AMERICAN. Grid-laid roads are named after pioneering landowners and lawyers, and along the length of each theres a little iron fire hydrant for every dozen lamp-posts. Not far from Amis’s triple-stepped front porch, a little boy in a peaked cap is actually tossing around a baseball.”
Did you hear that Cobble Hill? You’re perfect for Brits, but ideally American. Of course, 236 years ago, the British were burning farmhouses and dodging musket balls not far from where Amis has his tea every day.
Finally, and in something of a triple crown for stupidity and arrogance, three unrelated articles appear in today’s Times that reveal just how warped our financial system really is. If only bankers broke down in the stretch as often as racehorses. Actually, as you will see, they do, and so I suppose what I am wishing for is a little drab ambulance that drives up and down the angled back streets of the Financial District with a drawer full of mercy.
The hooved wonders at Bank of America actually lied to shareholders about the bath they were going to take on the 2008 merger with Merrill Lynch. Like, they found out one day about appalling losses and the next told their investors that everything was fine. Across the stable at JPMorgan, we learn that the company was warned last year that it was not keeping a close enough eye on its employees. JPMorgan ignored the warning, and in May it announced that it had lost $2 billion because of a rogue trader. And out on the paddock, it is either simple miscommunication or outright fraud that explains the implosion of MF Global.