Good afternoon, dear readers. Here is some of what I've been reading this afternoon while watching the markets go down.

Hamptons excess back to being excessive

The wealthy enclaves of Long Island, New York, called the Hamptons have fully rebounded -- and then some. Jim Rutenberg of the New York Times got an interview with Joe Farrell, the area's largest real-estate developer, and a tour of his $43 million, 17,000-square-foot home. The going rate to rent it for two weeks: $500,000.

Europe's banks preparing for new regulator

The European Central Bank is about to become the lead regulator for the euro area's biggest lenders. One of its first assignments will be an asset-quality review focusing on banks' loans. Patrick Jenkins of the Financial Times writes: "Properly done, the exercise could quickly establish the ECB as a tough regulator and help restore investor faith in Europe’s lenders. A succession of botched stress tests over recent years and laggardly recapitalization of troubled lenders have deterred investors from backing the sector." The real test will be if the ECB has the guts to try telling Deutsche Bank what to do.

Angela Merkel blames her predecessor (who is from a different political party, of course) for Europe's debt crisis

It's election season in Germany, and the country's leader is in full campaign mode. "For example, Greece shouldn't have been allowed into the euro" in 2001, Merkel told supporters at a rally in Rendsberg. “Chancellor [Gerhard] Schroeder accepted Greece in and weakened the Stability Pact, and both decisions were fundamentally wrong, and one of the starting points for our current troubles.”

Jack Lew's letter to Congress on the debt ceiling

Here we go again. The U.S. will hit the debt ceiling in mid-October, the Treasury secretary said. "Operating the government with no borrowing authority, and with only the cash on hand on a given day, would place the United States in an unacceptable position," Lew said. That's a given. But by now we're so accustomed to this ritual that the markets are assuming there will be a last-second deal, as usual.

Haiku of the week (in case you didn't know there were business journalists out there who write things like this)

This comes from Seattle Times columnist Jon Talton, who just returned from a two-week vacation:

Two weeks off the grid

I was differently informed

Now, girding myself

(Jonathan Weil is a Bloomberg View columnist. Follow him on Twitter.)