A journalist's informed audit of the factors that brought America's S&Ls to grief. Where other annalists have focused on the predators whose buccaneering became a public scandal, Washington Post correspondent Day offers detailed, damningly documented perspectives on a wealth of political influences, putting paid to the notion that economic reverses, fraud, or junk bonds were primarily responsible for the solvency woes of thrift institutions. After providing a back-to- basics rundown on the industry's origins as a Washington-favored source of residential mortgages, she addresses the rush to deregulation that began toward the end of the Carter Administration and that set S&Ls on a slippery down-slope during the 1980's. Among other unintended consequences, Day points out, the introduction of laissez-faire triggered a scramble for brokered deposits and encouraged risky lending practices that soon resulted in soaring default rates. Though obviously in extremis by mid-decade, entrepreneurial thrifts were allowed to keep their difficulties under wraps. Day attributes the paucity of disclosure and seizures to a host of causes. To begin with, Reagan-era regulators were at least tacitly enjoined to avoid action that might increase budget deficits; accordingly, they endorsed stopgap measures as well as accounting gimmicks designed to help troubled associations weather interest-rate storms and, later, to paper over capital shortfalls. In the meantime, the author explains, S&L executives and their lobbyists kept pressure on lawmakers beholden to them because of campaign contributions. While the overdue tab run up by pillaged and incompetently supervised thrifts was finally presented to taxpayers following the 1988 presidential election, government agencies, Day cautions, are bungling the salvage operation mandated by 1989 bailout legislation; the meter is still running, she reports, and the reckoning could eventually reach $1 trillion or more. An unsparing and perceptive briefing on a pocketbook issue whose complexities appear beyond the grasp of mass media.

Pub Date: March 29, 1993

ISBN: 0-393-02982-4

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Norton

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1993

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Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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This early reader is an excellent introduction to the March on Washington in 1963 and the important role in the march played by Martin Luther King Jr. Ruffin gives the book a good, dramatic start: “August 28, 1963. It is a hot summer day in Washington, D.C. More than 250,00 people are pouring into the city.” They have come to protest the treatment of African-Americans here in the US. With stirring original artwork mixed with photographs of the events (and the segregationist policies in the South, such as separate drinking fountains and entrances to public buildings), Ruffin writes of how an end to slavery didn’t mark true equality and that these rights had to be fought for—through marches and sit-ins and words, particularly those of Dr. King, and particularly on that fateful day in Washington. Within a year the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been passed: “It does not change everything. But it is a beginning.” Lots of visual cues will help new readers through the fairly simple text, but it is the power of the story that will keep them turning the pages. (Easy reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-448-42421-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2000

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