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John Ensign
  • The Massive Goldman Sachs Senate Hearing, Recapped (Caution: PG-13)

    Carl Levin (D-MI): We are gathered here today because you are the worst people on earth, and also because a little grandstanding never hurts going in to a midterm election. I will begin. You are the worst people on earth.

    Susan Collins (R-ME): There is an R after my name, so even though I agree with Carl, I will use gentler words like "unseemly" and "unsettling." You boys are cads.

    Claire McCaskill (D-MO): If it's all right with everyone, I'd like to make the first of many gambling analogies. John Ensign specifically asked us to do a lot of those, I'm not sure why.

    Fabrice "Fab Fab" Tourre, former VP, Goldman: My lawyers have instructed me to be as bland and evasive as possible. I will say that this week has been a a real bummer.

    Carl Levin: Now I'm going to read some emails aloud. You sold clients securities that you were shorting. How did you guys get comfortable with the source of these securities? How did you guys get comfortable-

    Daniel Sparks, former head of mortgages, Goldman: I don't- we don't-

    Carl Levin: How did you guys get comfortable with that?

    Daniel Sparks: I'm not sure what you're-

    Carl Levin: Yes you are, you're just being bland and evasive. Never mind, I have a new phrase I want to repeat. "Crap pools." This was in a Goldman email. Crap pools. Crap pools? Crap pools! Do you recollect that?

    Daniel Sparks: Um, I- what page is that- hmm. So much paper. I can't find it.

    Carl Levin: Moving right along. "Shitty deal." That's from another email. I can cuss all I want, on TV, this is great. Shitty deal. Shitty deal.

    Susan Collins: I want to ask a lofty ethical-sounding question that has zero relevance in the context of how Wall Street actually works. Do you have a duty to act in the best interests of your clients? I want to know so I can help defeat regulatory reform that might impose such a duty.

    Daniel Sparks: We, uh, we want to do well.

    Joshua Birnbaum, former MD, structured products, Goldman: I'll be the guy who says yes, we do.

    Fab Fab: We're a market-maker. We provide liquidity. I can say other finance words too.

    Susan Collins: I am going to ask you a lengthy but specific question, Fab. All you need to do is answer it.

    Fab Fab: Okay. You mentioned an email? Which email is that? I don't have that in front of me.

    Susan Collins: This is from your email on the 26th, at the bottom of the page.

    Fab Fab: Oh, I- no, I do have it. Can you repeat your lengthy but specific question? Slowly, this time. Maybe pause for a minute or two between each sentence.

    Susan Collins: You little fucker.

    Carl Levin: Fucker! Fucker! Fucker!

    Claire McCaskill: Shitty deal! Shitty deal! Sorry, mom.

    Tom Coburn (R-OK): Just sticking my head in to say I think y'all should be able to short whatever you want. High-five, boys. Make the checks out to Coburn for Senate.

    John Ensign (R-NV): I'm on! Knock knock.

    Everybody: Who's there?

    John Ensign: Nevada. I can't help but notice that you're comparing Wall Street to Las Vegas. What's up with that? In Vegas you know the odds. On Wall Street they manipulate the odds while you're playing. Thank you, you've been great.

    David Viniar, CFO, Goldman: That's a tough act to follow.

    Carl Levin: Tell me about your big short, David. Your big short on the housing market.

    David Viniar: Well, big short and big long.

    Carl Levin: Big short.

    David Viniar: Big long.

    Carl Levin: Crap pools. Shitty deals.

    David Viniar: That's very unfortunate to have on email.

    Everyone: Gotcha!

    David Viniar: I just meant I don't like the swear words. So many swear words.

    Carl Levin: Hiiiiii, Lloyd.

    Lloyd Blankfein, CEO, Goldman: Hi Carl.

    Carl Levin: I am going to talk about how you created and sold investments that you were betting against. Admit you did that.

    Lloyd Blankfein: I am going to talk about Goldman's role as a market-maker, which means we simply provide a mechanism for people to buy and sell assets that have been created. This will ensure that I avoid your question. It will also ensure that you avoid my answer. We live in different contexts.

    Carl Levin: Put it in a human context.

    Lloyd Blankfein: Are you kidding? Why do you think I went into i-banking?

    John McCain: My friends, what is a synthetic CDO? How come no one has asked that, ever?

    Carl Levin: Oh shitty deals, you guys, I forgot to mention AIG! Lloyd, AIG. You took taxpayer money from AIG. Admit you did that.

    Lloyd Blankfein: AIG paid us what they owed us.

    Carl Levin: With bailout money that came from taxpayers' pockets.

    Lloyd Blankfein: We weren't the ones who passed bailout legislation.

    Carl Levin: I wouldn't put it past you.

    Lloyd Blankfein: I- oh, never mind.

    Carl Levin: It's been almost eleven hours. Everyone's welcome to leave at this point. Not you, Lloyd. I want to see you in the cloakroom. I'm not done with you yet. Shitty deals. Crap pools.

    Lloyd Blankfein: You are absolutely adorable.


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    Tags: Banks, Carl Levin, Claire McCaskill, Economy, Fabrice Tourre, Goldman Sachs, John Ensign, John McCain, Lloyd Blankfein, Susan Collins, Tom Coburn
  • The Senate Gets a Crash Course in Economy-Crashing

    The problem with the financial system — okay, a problem with the financial system — is that nobody really knows how it works except the people who work in the financial system. This has been the rationale for employing Goldman Sachs alumni at the Treasury Department; it's also been the excuse given by regulators who didn't see the econopocalypse coming (not to mention hungover econ majors around the world).

    Point being, now that the Senate has to vote on financial regulatory reform, everybody's frantically skimming their copies of Synthetic CDOs for Dummies

    "Some of these things are pretty arcane, especially for those of us who aren’t on the Banking Committee," said Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.), who clutched a sheaf of PowerPoint talking points as he emerged from the first of a new series of regularly scheduled meetings for GOP senators to get up to speed on the details.

    Well well, how very efficient and organized of the GOP!

    Of course, that "sheaf of talking points" in John Ensign's hand probably looked like this: 1. No, 2. No, 3. No, 4. No, 5. Hell No.

    Tags: Banks, Economy, Goldman Sachs, John Ensign, Money, Republicans
  • Mick Foley Illustrates the Problem with Congress

    On last night's Daily Show, to explain Congress's endless cycle of hypocrisy, Wyatt Cenac brought out Mick Foley, who demonstrated that Washington politicians are really no different from pro wrestlers. Now, that might be true to a degree, but I don't know if it's an entirely fair comparison. After all, who would you rather have babysit your kids, Triple H or Joe Lieberman? Also, wrestlers know how to use makeup in moderation.

    Mick Foley's last appearance on the show can be found below.

    The Daily Show airs Monday through Thursday at 11pm / 10c.

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    Tags: David Vitter, Eric Massa, House of Representatives, John Boehner, John Ensign, Jon Stewart, Larry Craig, Mick Foley, Nancy Pelosi, Senate, The Daily Show, Video, Wrestling, Wyatt Cenac
  • Rachel Maddow Talks to the Man Behind the Man Behind Uganda's Anti-Gay Legislation

    I've been meaning to write about this whole American Christian politicians getting Uganda to jail its homosexual citizens and murder its HIV-positive citizens thing for a while now, but somehow I just couldn't find the funny side of a bunch of U.S. congresspeople speaking for America while trying to use an African country as a testing ground for their Christian wonderland fantasies.

    At any rate, Rachel Maddow has been covering this on here show, and last night she had a nice long conversation with the "formerly" gay inspiration for hate and murder in the name of Jesus. And it is a terrible thing to witness.


    After the jump, you can watch Jason Jones's 2007 Daily Show interview with Richard Cohen.

    The Daily Show airs Monday through Thursday at 11pm / 10c.

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    Tags: Bart Stupak, Christianity, Chuck Grassley, HIV/AIDS, House of Representatives, Jason Jones, John Ensign, LGBT, MSNBC, Rachel Maddow, Religion, Rick Warren, Senate, The Daily Show, The Family, Uganda
  • Sen. John Ensign's Parents Donated $96,000 to Local Victims of John Ensign's Penis

    Let's start the day with some upbeat news, for once. Here's a heartwarming little story about neighbors helping neighbors: It seems Nevada Sen. John Ensign's elderly parents, at their son's request, made a donation to an area family that had been burned by fallout from John Ensign's penis. Wasn't that generous of them?

    Republican Sen. John Ensign said today his parents paid the family of his mistress $96,000 in April 2008, as she and her husband were ending their employment with him.

    In a statement issued this afternoon, Ensign said his parents made the gifts "out of concern of the well-being of the longtime family friends during a difficult time."

    Of course, in this day and age no good deed goes unpunished

    Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, an ethics watchdog group, called on the Department of Justice and the Senate Ethics Committee to investigate the payments. The Justice Department and Senate committee, in compliance with longstanding policy, don't comment on matters they may investigate.

    And that's what we get for letting the Democrats take over Washington, a couple can't even make a simple payoff to their son's mistress and her husband and their two young children (!!) without the Nanny State getting involved.

    Don't these "watchdogs" remember the old saying about charity beginning at home?

    Tags: John Ensign, Nevada