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For a simple, elegant and brilliant explanation of the financial pox afflicting our banks, check out “Bad Bank” from the NPR program, “This American Life.”

Adam Davidson, Alex Blumberg and Caitlin Kenney from NPR’s Planet Money break the plague down into understandable parts, using a whimsical dollhouse analogy to explain a financial train wreck.

The upside is that this program will help you understand some, if not most, of what Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair say on the news.  The downside is that the more you understand what the self-important toddlers of Wall Street are doing, the more anger you bring into your life.

My favorite blood pressure stimulant is the show’s explanation of “mark to market” and the banks’ aversion to it.

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