From the February 2013 issue of Futures Magazine • Subscribe!

Tops & bottoms of 2012


Dirty Dopey Harry: With the Republican convention already delayed and overshadowed by Tropical Storm Isaac, Mitt Romney needed a game changing moment. Be careful what you wish for. Hollywood tough guy Clint Eastwood took the floor in prime time and had a discussion with an empty chair (purportedly President Obama) leaving folks out of the joke. 

We should follow the law too? It only took until 2012, but Congress finally passed a bill banning themselves from trading on information obtained in private meetings and hearings. Somehow Congress had been exempt from the law, ironic as the FBI announced in October that its investigations into insider trading increased by 43%. 

SpongeBob standard: For those angry PFG customers upset over Russ Wasendorf stealing their money to subsidize a luxurious lifestyle, sponsor expensive luncheons with high-priced speakers and an unprofitable magazine, the story that Wasendorf also invested in silver SpongeBob Squarepants coins added insult to injury. Tartar sauce!

GOP goes gold buggy: With an eye to fiscal responsibility, Republicans added a plank to their convention platform to study a return to the gold standard. Many economists say the government would need to confiscate gold — as they did in the 1930s — for such a move to work.

Swiss miss… Proof that equality caught up with Switzerland when in January its Central Bank head, Philipp Hildebrand, resigned after an investigation alleged that his wife had done $500,000 in currency trades weeks before the bank had put a ceiling on appreciation of the Swiss franc, and supposedly she netted a nice profit. 

Glimmer of hope? While Superstorm Sandy is a huge bottom, the image of President Obama and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie embracing provided one small glimmer of hope in one of the most partisan election years in history.

Take this job and… A three-judge appeals panel upheld a lower court’s ruling that Bank of America was free to fire an employee for mooning his boss. Jason Selch punctuated a heated negotiation by dropping trou and mooning his boss. He actually was given a reprieve before a higher up executive demand he be fired.

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