Swinging way off topic here (do I have a topic?) to do a public service announcement:
Last Saturday, while sitting in my car waiting for my daughter to finish a riding lesson, I was transfixed and appalled by an episode of This American Life
in which a pair of money types explained the credit crisis. They had done a similar show back in May, where they explained why the mortgage market was crashing (that show was singled out by no less than the New York Times for its excellence). Between them, the two programs give you a grounding in wtf is going on that you will not get anywhere else. If you’re wondering why your 401k is tanking or why your bank just changed names or why you’re about to lose your house, this is where you find out. You can download transcripts, listen to streaming audio, or buy the shows on iTunes for $.95 each:
The Giant Pool of Money
Another Frightening Show About the Economy
You’ll be stunned. But you’ll also be smarter and a better citizen. Pretty good deal.
UPDATE 10/13 — This weekend, TAL had another short segment on the financial crisis, this time discussing the politics of the situation, i.e. who bears responsibility. You might be surprised. Or you might not. But it’s still worth hearing it spelled out. The show is mostly a repeat from 2006, except for this important update segment at approximately 30 minutes in. It’s a free download during this week. Afterward, you have the same options as above.
A Better Mousetrap 2008