Today's Blogs

Bankruptcy’s New Chapter

In the blogs today, people across the political spectrum are highly critical of a new bill that will make it very hard to file for bankruptcy. Others are gushing about a British tailor who blogs about his job, and posting about homosexual duck necrophilia and shredders that eat everything. 

Bankruptcy’s new chapter: On Tuesday, the Senate “assured final passage” for a bill that would make it much harder for families to file for bankruptcy and “give lenders and businesses new legal tools for recovering debts.” Banks and credit card companies have been lobbying for such measures since 1989.

The conservative Blue Dog Democrats support the changes because “allowing bankruptcy to become a financial planning tool rather than a last resort forces many of our constituents who pay their debts to pay for those who do not.” Commenting on the blog Volokh Conspiracy, Todd Zywicki beams, “In an era of Washington partisanship, one would be hard-pressed to find many major pieces of legislation with such broad-based bipartisan support.” (Read his longer defense of changes in bankruptcy law here.)

Bipartisan hatred seems much more prevalent in the blogosphere. “Liberals don’t like it. Moderate liberals don’t like it. … Conservatives aren’t really very excited about it. And it’s sponsored by the credit card industry, which is roughly the 21st century equivalent of being sponsored by the German Bund. So how is it getting such wide support?” asks  the Washington Monthly’s Kevin Drum, who demystified and lambasted the bill in a previous post.

Libertarian high-priest InstaPundit writes, “[P]eople should have to face the consequences of their bad decisions – but that includes their bad lending decisions, especially when the lending is, fundamentally, dishonest.” He links to this letter to the Senate from a group of nonpartisan bankruptcy law professors. They write, “The bill is deeply flawed, and will harm small businesses, the elderly, and families with children. We hope the Senate will not act on it.”

Writing in a bankruptcy “special edition” of wonk staple Talking Points Memo, Harvard law professor Elizabeth Warren excoriates senators who voted for the bill. Liberal Sleepykid picks up thisForbes article which says that “MBNA, the largest independent credit-card issuer in the U.S.” in 2002, “was also the single largest donor to the [2000] presidential campaign of George W. Bush, giving over $240,000.” Democratic stalwart Daily Kos features a post called “How Bankruptcy Saved My Life” by a blogger who had health insurance, but went bankrupt after incurring heavy medical bills. An anti-bill commentator on Crooked Timber writes, “[P]eople have to stop repeating the ‘half of all bankruptcies are caused by medical bills’ meme just because they want it to be true” and links to this Todd Zywicki post  at the Volokh Conspiracy, which purports to debunk the study.

Read more about the bill here.

Pins and needles: A tailor-cum-blogger on London’s Savile Row has captured the hearts of many a blogger. In recent posts on his blog English Cut, Thomas Mahon reveals esoteric facts like where tailors like to drink, and the difference between a “bespoke” suit and one “made-to-measure” (bespoke suits are tailored to the individual). The World Series of John wonders, “With all the talk going on about the infamous bespoke tailor, could I have success as a bespoke online marketing consultant or web developer? Wouldn’t that be truly unique?” Don’t Expect Much sighs, “For some reason, English Cut – a blog written by a Savile Row tailor – is completely mesmerizing. It could be that I so badly want a bespoke suit, or it could be that I’m fascinated to see a blog with a non-tech/music/politics subject.” Noting that “Thomas is the only person under forty in that league,” Gaping Void points out, “Lack of business is not Savile Row’s biggest problem. Lack of suitable apprentices is. 5-10 years from now, when the current batch of ‘master tailors’ retires, there will be few people to replace them.”

Read more about the bespoke tailor here.

TB potpourri: Blogger after blogger posts links on homosexual duck necrophilia, how to find MP3s using Google, and an industrial shredder that eats everything.

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