Living with Parkinson’s

The Frontline series on PBS recently ran a program produced by Dave Iverson. He’s a reporter and Friday host of Forum on KQED, San Francisco’s public radio station.

The documentary, My Father, My Brother, and Me, is all about Parkinson’s Disease, but from a very personal perspective. Dave’s father died of Parkinson’s, his brother contracted the disease, and Dave himself was diagnosed with Parkinson’s a few years ago. It seems that Dave’s family is one of the minority of Parkinson’s patients with a hereditary form of the disease.

In the documentary, he explores the latest research on the disease, its environmental and genetic links. He talks about some promising treatments, as well as the political controversy around stem cell research. And he shows the positive benefits of exercise and dance for those coping with the disease.

You can watch the entire program on Frontline’s website, which also links to PD resources on the web.

Dave was also interviewed about the documentary by Michael Krasny on KQED’s Forum radio show, and by Terry Gross on Fresh Air.

Four key decisions that led to the crisis

Slate magazine is running a series onĀ  Making sense of the credit debacle. Recently Barry Ritholtz of The Big Picture blog, listed a couple of key decisions that he thinks contributed to the crisis.

What led to the current situation were numerous legislative, ideological, and business decisions that worked together to create a systemic failure. Consider each of the following:

  • The Commodities Futures Modernization Act 2000 allowed unregulated derivatives to run wild.
  • The repeal of Glass-Steagall 1999 allowed depository banks to become far more intertwined with Wall Street.
  • From 2001-03, Fed Chair Alan Greenspan took rates down to unprecedented levels, causing 1 a mad scramble for yield and 2 an enormous housing boom.
  • In 2004 the SEC allowed the five big investment banks to leverage up from 12-to-1 to 35-to-1 or more.