‘In Italy there are three private television networks and one major government network. The three private ones are owned by Silvio Berlusconi, and guess what? He’s the prime minister, so maybe he has a little influence over the government network also . . . ‘ – Nicholas von Hoffman in the New York Observer

Fred Fernandez: ‘I thought you might be interested in a website mentioned in this month’s issue of Smart Money called decisionaide.com that provides a comprehensive set of calculators for evaluating mortgages. I especially liked the ones that evaluate costs of Private Mortgage Insurance and downpayments.’

Dan Flikkema: You wrote: << It’s hard to know what to say about Enron, or the tone to use, because they all seem like such nice folks, and maybe they are. The Arthur Anderson guys seem nice, too.>>

‘I think you’d be justified taking a tone of absolute outrage about this scandal. If you really see the Enron executives and Arthur Andersen as ‘nice folks,’ I’m not sure you grasp how outrageously bad this is. You should listen to the interview with Kurt Eichenwald on NPR’s show, Fresh Air. Listen to Thursday – January 17, 2002 regarding the scandal. The fact that this could happen to Arthur Andersen doesn’t surprise me. I worked there as an auditor for two years (93-95). The culture at Arthur Andersen was one of incredible arrogance. It was a culture totally lacking in self-doubt. From what I have read, Enron was no different. This ‘we can do no wrong’ attitude is the key element in the creation of scandals like this. The Arthur Andersen culture was not one of healthy confidence; it was simple arrogance. Arthur Andersen’s destruction of the audit work papers is really, really bad; incomprehensible actually. Whatever was in those documents must be devastating if Enron and Arthur Andersen chose to defy the SEC and a court order, rather than have their actions come to light. These are not nice guys, Andy.’


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