When trailing 12 months of misery are capped with the most respected name in high finance revealed to be nothing more than a lowly crook, well … you know it’s bad. After initially pegging their Madoff exposure at $10 million, Tremont Group, MassMutual’s foray into the hedge fund business, revealed Monday the figure is closer to $3.3 billion. Okay, a slightly higher number, but what’s a few extra zeros in a time when companies can literally get mountains of cash for the simple act of failing miserably?

Just as Peter Wallison, Alistair Darling (man, I love that name), hell, even a Republican Congress tried to warn of the global meltdown to come, so too are we now clued to lone voices that supposedly raged against the Madoff machine. They did their due diligence, found serious red flags and backed away. It’s amazing to me how so many others didn’t. A silver lining for 2008? Not a whole lot, but maybe we’ll learn from our mistakes. Financial Times has an excellent (maybe not the right term) year-in-review of all things financial. I’m tempted to close with a classic “Bah, humbug.” I’ll instead wish a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you and yours.