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DOPPLEGANGER (TEDDY B)
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The Greatest-Ever Bank Robbery: The Collapse of the Savings and Loans Industry
The Greatest-Ever Bank Robbery: The Collapse of the Savings and Loans Industry
by Martin Mayer
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars DISTURBING REVELATIONS OF CULPABILITY, 5 Jun. 2015
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Between 1980 and 1994 more than 1000 Savings and Loans enterprises and 1600 Banks closed or needed Government ie Taxpayer bailouts with the largest number domiciled in Texas. This spectacular but largely avoidable rifling of Joe Public's pockets cost upwards of $1 Trillion.

This excellent book by experienced financial journalist and author, of course gives chapter and verse of the many individual miscreants who perpetrated this blatant fraud which through lax, incompetent legislation, and regulation was extremely easy to execute, but also deals with those in government that were responsible for allowing things to fester and deteriorate into massive losses.

In the Authors view the Reagan led legislation directed at taking the shackles off the S & L industry to enable it to compete for deposits on an equal footing with Banks etc. was in theory a sound free market philosophy but in reality and subsequent practice and interpretation ignored the temptation by many to play fast and loose with Federally guaranteed deposits. The downhill spiral into financial armageddon was started by Richard Pratt, an early chief of The Federal Home Loans Bank who did away with much of the restraints on S & L's to be prudent and sensible with their running. His successor Edwin Gray, tried hard to steady the ship and reintroduce a semblance of control in the fiscal running of S & L's but he was thwarted all along the way by Congress under the influence of Speaker Jim Wright and other congressmen who were being unduly influenced by the political donations to their parties and selves by the very people who were filching vast swathes of cash out of the companies for personal extravagances and benefit. When he was forced out he was replaced by Danny Wall, whose unwillingness to take remedial action to stem the ever spiralling fraudulent losses in the face of overwhelming evidence of criminal deception, led to the cost to the taxpayer increasing by many more hundreds of $millions.

Many books have been written about the collapse of The Savings and Loan Industry, as it makes fascinating reading, containing just about every type of greed motivated financial crook/conman/grifter it is possible to conjure up. When the reins were loosened on the S & L business just about every specimen of low life crawled out from under the rocks, and for a good few years nobody squished them with a resolute foot, by which time vast sums of taxpayers money was washed down the drains.

Mr Mayers very interesting, impeccably researched, hard to put down account ranks very highly in the ranks of books on this subject. If you only read a few books on the subject this must be one of them.


Griftopia: A Story of Bankers, Politicians, and the Most Audacious Power Grab in American History
Griftopia: A Story of Bankers, Politicians, and the Most Audacious Power Grab in American History
by Matt Taibbi
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.39

5.0 out of 5 stars RANTOPIA!, 4 Jun. 2015
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Griftopia by Rolling Stone journalist Matt Taibbi is the epitome of an alpha male rant, in this case about the causes and contributory factors, influences and dominant personalities or concerns involved in the 2008 financial meltdown.

The leading miscreant in this sad economic story is held out to be Alan Greenspan, for many years preceding 2008 the Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank, whom the author calls "The Biggest a??????e (word actually used numerous times the by author, means an anus but in their wisdom Amazon would not allow me to use it in this review) the Universe" and whose mistakes, misjudgements, and myopic economic grasp are examined in some highly critical and harsh manner. Extreme the commentary is on this hapless economist but events and the evolution of time together with the dire consequences of Ayn Rand influenced Greenspan's 'Free Market' obsession have to a great extent confirmed Mr Taibbi's views.

He vociferates about the now well documented and universally condemned sub-prime scandal and the disgraceful display of self-interest and greed exhibited by Wall Street in the 'securitization' follies. Also in his firing line come the commodities bastardization, again evolved by and profited from by Wall Street to the financial detriment of the ordinary Joe Public. Others under the magnifying glass are the taking over of public assets by Wealth Funds and in particular Chicago Mayor Richard Daley's sale of the city's Parking Meters and their income for 75 years, to an overseas Wealth Fund, and President Obama's cobbled together and severely compromised Health Care Program.

However, the piece-de-resistance and the rant to end all rants, is the outpouring of revulsion of Goldman Sachs, and everything it does, and stands for, including for example it's reluctance to extend a duty of care to it's customers instead viewing them as fair game, and its skill and dexterity in extracting financial support for its own coffers from the US taxpayer, as for example in the AIG bailout. This strong disparagement is not uniquely tied to the author, as it is difficult to find anybody, anywhere that has a good word to say about Goldman Sachs, leading one to wonder whether everybody can be wrong?

Whether one agrees or otherwise with the views expressed in Griftomania, does not detract from the fact that this is a very good, highly readable, interesting book that challenges the establishments version of the events, personalities and contributors to the 2008 financial tsunami.


The Big Fix: Inside the S. and L. Scandal - How an Unholy Alliance of Politics and Money Destroyed America's Banking System
The Big Fix: Inside the S. and L. Scandal - How an Unholy Alliance of Politics and Money Destroyed America's Banking System
by James Ring Adams
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars THE ETHICS OF A STREET GANG, 3 Jun. 2015
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All the usual crooks, fraudsters, con men, that have been written about often in connection with perhaps the greatest ever rip-off of the US Taxpayer (estimated to be way over $1 trillion) appear in this very well written, researched, extremely interesting and erudite account of the 80's Savings & Loan self-induced and perpetrated financial catastrophe.

The regular line-up of those actively engaged in pocketing barrow loads of money from S & L's that they were involved with such as Charles Keating, The Butcher Brothers, Herman Beebe, Don Dixon, Craig Hall, Thomas Gaubert, Danny Faulkner, Spencer Blain, Morris Shenker, and Mario Renda to mention but a few, are well documented in the book. The state of Texas seemed to be an epicentre for many of the S & L miscreants. So are some abysmally inept regulators such as Danny Wall who followed the one voice of sanity and forbearing Edwin Gray into the pole regulatory position. Had Gray's warnings been heeded before he was forced out of office and action taken to stem the gushing out of dollars into the pockets of the S & L villains, the good old Joe Taxpayer would have been saved many hundreds of $millions.

Certainly, the professionals in the shape of Auditors and Lawyers do not emerge from this sorry episode with any glory whatsoever, in fact it is a surprise indeed that many of them escaped incarceration.

But the author James Ring Adams saves his most virulent words for the politicians, particularly but not just confined to the group now infamously known as 'The Keating Five' and The Speaker Jim Wright who, it is alleged in return for political cash contributions from the S & L industry, went out of their way to thwart, frustrate and seriously delay action urged by Ed Gray to curb and stop the crooked manipulation prevalent within the S & L industry. It was nothing short of a disgrace and surely one of the worst abuses and manipulation of the US political system ever. In fact Mr Adams compares the ethics of the world's greatest deliberative body to those of a 'Street Gang'.

This is a seriously good book that stands at the forefront of the many that deal with this subject.


Wireless Doorbell, AVANTEK DTZ5-12W Portable Door Bell Kit, 36 Chime Tones, 1000 ft / 300 m Range [1 Touch Button & 2 Plug-In Door Chimes]
Wireless Doorbell, AVANTEK DTZ5-12W Portable Door Bell Kit, 36 Chime Tones, 1000 ft / 300 m Range [1 Touch Button & 2 Plug-In Door Chimes]

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars RINGS THE RIGHT NOTE, 29 May 2015
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Arrived the next day and was very easy to install. The performance is excellent, it looks very smart, so I have no hesitation in rating it "EXCELLENT".

Well satisfied (so far) with our purchase.


Woly Brilliant Shine Spray 250ml
Woly Brilliant Shine Spray 250ml
Offered by Shoe Butler
Price: £8.49

4.0 out of 5 stars A SHINING EXAMPLE, 14 May 2015
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This review is from: Woly Brilliant Shine Spray 250ml
Prompt delivery, and the product seemingly seals, protects, and puts a sheen on leather shoes, in my case in the colours of dark brown and black, very effectively. However, the cost does seem a tad 'high end' in comparison with other alternatives.


Modern New York: The Life and Economics of a City
Modern New York: The Life and Economics of a City
by Greg David
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £18.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars AN ECONOMIC TALE FOR ALL, 4 May 2015
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A good, well researched, interesting economic and social snapshot of the commercial ups and downs of New York City in the second half of the 20th century and start of the 21st century.

It deals with the transition of a predominantly manufacturing driven economy into that of Financial Services, and Tourism, and the social changes entailed. The author having given a broad brush narrative to each stage of the transition, engagingly uses the stories of a wide and diverse range of individuals involved in the evolution to illustrate the consequences of the changes, which engages the reader in the story, as opposed to it being a typical prosaic economic treatise.

A useful book for those NYC adherents that would like to gain an insight into this great metroplex's retrenchment from an immigrant led manufacturing titan into becoming a financial services and banking colossus, and tourist honeypot.


Australian Gold Moisture Lock 473 ml Pump Bottle
Australian Gold Moisture Lock 473 ml Pump Bottle
Offered by Tan-Us
Price: £20.00

4.0 out of 5 stars THE PRICE OF PRETENSION, 2 May 2015
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From after only a weeks daily use of this product it is clear that it holds your tan in place, is a good skin cream, and smells most pleasant. Whether it warrants the increased cost over other similar products is debatable, but hell in the 'vain-and-glorious' stakes does it matter?


The Telegraph All New Big Book of Quick Crosswords 1 (The Telegraph Puzzle Books)
The Telegraph All New Big Book of Quick Crosswords 1 (The Telegraph Puzzle Books)
by THE TELEGRAPH
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

4.0 out of 5 stars NOT SO QUICK, 2 May 2015
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Maybe quick if you are a crossword buff with a huge knowledge and vocabulary base but for the average Joe such as myself, it is not that quick and necessitates some reference to the answer section at the back of the book. Also found a number of printing or layout errors which makes it even more difficult to complete the puzzle in question. Overall though it provides a good way of passing the time and hopefully staving off any onset of dementia.


Le Creuset Oven Dish Oval 35 x 28 cm Cheery
Le Creuset Oven Dish Oval 35 x 28 cm Cheery

5.0 out of 5 stars SERVING TO PERFECTION, 2 May 2015
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Absolutely brilliant dishes for oven to table use or purely just for attractive serving purposes, that are in daily use in our household. However, do take note of the maximum temperature usage. We didn't and cracked the dish necessitating this new one which doesn't come cheaply.


More One Liners, Jokes and Gags
More One Liners, Jokes and Gags
by Grant Tucker
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

2.0 out of 5 stars A PUN TOO FAR, 2 May 2015
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What a disappointment! Having really enjoyed 5000 One-Liners by the same compiler, finding many that made me laugh out loud, I was eager to read this follow-up. However, having gone through thoroughly the first 30 pages and randomly thereafter the entire book, I was not induced to raise one single laugh, smile, or inward wash of pleasure, which indicates to me thajt the first edition obviously exhausted up the entire agglomeration of rib-tickling one-liners and puns.


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