Commentary

Observations

By John Patrick Ford

Bill Lerach tells it like it is

Asked why the government watchdogs failed to uncover massive securities fraud, William S. Lerach had some tough responses about flaws in corporate governance, CPA independence and enforcement of securities laws by the Security and Exchange Commission.

What are Peregrine's dark secrets?

"Who knows what evil lurks in the minds of men?" proclaimed a popular radio program of the 1940s. The answer then was, "The Shadow knows." Now, in today's swirl of accounting scandals, the right answer could be, "The CPA knows."

Korea pushes the envelope

While North Korea reacts bitterly to the "axis of evil" tag, South Korea renews its "Yankee-go-home" tune. This is Part One of an overview of why the U.S. is pledged to support this far-away land that wants us to leave behind 58 years of commitment.

Reinventing the Republican credo

Losing Trent Lott as a key leader of the Republican Party may be a lucky break. He was dead weight for party efforts to attract minority voters into the GOP camp. Like many of his senatorial colleagues, with Strom Thurmond heading the list, times have changed for the old-boy network of seniority rule within political hierarchies.

Sports in San Diego a shell game

How can the Citizen's Task Force on Chargers Issues advise the City Council while it is moribund in a game of smoke and mirrors? For all their proclaimed good intentions, the football team is unlikely to open its books to public scrutiny.

Get'em back to the malls

Alan Greenspan stepped down from the mount with his oracle for economic recovery: consumers must keep spending.

Who's the boss?

A barrage of corporate accounting scandals cast a spotlight on the insider circle of executives serving as directors of corporations. What the outside world saw was a system of cronyism usually manipulated by the CEO-in-charge for personal gain rather than for shareholder benefit.

Can government reform honesty?

Controversy and criticism beleaguers the Securities and Exchange Commission at a time when the watchdog agency should be most effective. Instead, a leadership vacuum has put SEC surveillance on hold.

Election-year shennigans

On Tuesday, California voters will go to the polls to select a governor to guide us through some tough years ahead. With a recession not showing signs of ending, unemployment and business failures might accelerate. Urban areas suffer from environmental neglect while traffic jams spoil our quality of life. Education, energy, and housing cry for reform.

Tariffs trip on fast track

President Bush coveted congressional approval for fast-track trade agreement authority. It was finally granted in August in response to sagging foreign exports and value of the dollar as an antidote for the sick U.S. economy.

Corporate debt squeezes market

Stockholders are reeling over market declines and their loss of double-digit growth of portfolios. Increases of retirement nest eggs are gone with the wind. What's an investor to do?

Can fashion fads predict the economy?

Labor Day slipped by before I grasped an opportunity to make a silly summer observation. The cinema and television culture had their fling at lighter, irrelevant entertainment, as is their custom in the lazy summertime, but the financial world was not having any fun these past few months.

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John Patrick Ford

John Patrick Ford is a free-lance writer based in San Diego....

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