Letters: AIG, G1 phones and more

Letters in a computer with red mailbox flag

TEXT OF STORY

Kai Ryssdal: As we dig into letters this week, let's get back to a concept Mitchell Hartman brought us at the top of today's broadcast: Companies being too big to fail. Mitchell was talking about automakers, granted, but we started hearing about that idea a couple of months ago when banks and insurance companies were going under. Bailout money's finally making its way into the economy this week. And some of the banks that are left are using it to get bigger, to buy up smaller weaker competitors. Last Tuesday commentator Robert Reich said too big to fail really means just -- too big.

Patrick Sewell from Birmingham, Alabama says he welcomed that dose of common sense.

Patrick Sewell: It is completely unreasonable to think that even larger banks will be able to withstand future crisis. WaMu was the largest bank failure ever. Why would we think even larger banks could magically become immune to failure?

My interview with Representative Henry Waxman, chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, drew some comments. I asked him about corporate culpability in the financial crisis, and what new regulations might eventually look like. But David Rigby, and many others of you, thought I should have asked about something else, too.

David Rigby:Too bad. Marketplace missed a great opportunity to ask Congress, including Mr. Waxman, how much of the blame should be pointed directly at Congress. Dating back to the 1990s, both parties have done a poor job of regulation and oversight.

On that point about regulation at the end of the interview, Congressman Waxman called for smart rules to protecting investors. Jim Ray of Goshen, Indiana said, nope.

Jim Ray: I would argue that if we swing back to intense regulation it will stifle our economy and be a generally negative trend. It will train our nation to not think for themselves but trust the government for everything. That's a bad place to be.

And on a lighter topic -- Google's plan to take over the world. We had Kevin Pereira from G4 television on with the new Google phone a couple of days ago. We talked about all the phone stuff, of course. And then Kevin pointed out his favorite feature.

Kevin Pereira: Hold that to the mic, you'll see the screen is filled with a little fur and go ahead and give your phone a little pet -- [the phone makes purring sounds and vibrates].

Ryssdal: Oh, this is freaky it's actually buzzing in my hands.

Kinda goofy, I thought, but Heather Macfarlane of Sacramento, California thought it was a brilliant shout-out to Star Trek.

Heather Macfarlane: Google has created the electronic version of a tribble, a furry little animal in the second year of the show that emitted a relaxing trill that the Enterprise crew couldn't get enough of. The folks at Google are obviously hoping that like the tribble, the G1 will reproduce itself exponentially.

If you've got a comment about our coverage or a memory about old TV shows, go to our Web site -- marketplace.org -- and click on the link that says contact.

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