Daily Office: Tuesday


¶ Matins: I wish I were still in law school! I wish I were that young. Then, the idea that Bush v Gore is a precedent-laden decision would have intrigued me.

¶ Sext: How could they do it? That’s what everybody I know is talking about. How could they give all their money to Bernie Madoff? They begged him to invest it for them, dazzled partly, it’s true, by the fantastic returns that he boasted; but dazzled to the point of blindness by his reluctance to take their money. (His initial reluctance, that is…) 

Natalie Angier explains it all to you: “A Highly Evolved Propensity for Deceit.”


§ Matins. Instead, being no longer the callow youth that I was well into my early thirties, I want to weep, not least for all the soldiers maimed by our Iraqi Misadventure, and for the families of the ones who were killed.

§ Sext. As the stories pour out, it seems that, when up close and personal, few people actually regarded Mr Madoff as an investment adviser. They saw him, rather, as the ingenious leader of an ultra-exclusive treasure hunt. This was the lie that he told his victims, and the success of his scheme depended entirely upon his remarkable ability to make them want to believe it.

If you didn’t want to believe it — if you were determined to examine Mr Madoff’s operation with due diligence, as one investment adviser was — this might have been what you saw when you met up with his accounting firm:

After some investigating, we concluded that Friehling & Horowitz had three employees, of which one was 78 years old and living in Florida, one was a secretary, and one was an active 47 year old accountant (and the office in Rockland County, NY was only 13ft x 18ft large). This operation appeared small given the scale and scope of Madoff’s activities.