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The Return of Shame

Obama may be Mr. Cool most of the time, but he had steam coming out of his ears today when he talked about Wall Street. Here are a couple of excerpts of remarks he made after conferring with his economic team:

"One point I want to make is that all of us are going to have responsibilities to get this economy moving again. And when I saw an article today indicating that Wall Street bankers had given themselves $20 billion worth of bonuses -- the same amount of bonuses as they gave themselves in 2004 -- at a time when most of these institutions were teetering on collapse and they are asking for taxpayers to help sustain them, and when taxpayers find themselves in the difficult position that, if they don't provide help, that the entire system could come down on top of our heads, that is the height of irresponsibility. It is shameful...

"There will be time for them to make profits, and there will be time for them to get bonuses. Now is not that time."

Obama is presumably referring to the story that ran today on the front of the Times reporting that employees of Wall Street firms hauled in $18.4 billion in bonuses this past year.

By Joel Achenbach  |  January 29, 2009; 4:25 PM ET
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Oh, please. Think of the trickle-down effect, as all those well-compensated titans of financial incompetence provide raises for the household help and buy new gas-guzzling cars to compensate for manly inadequacy. It's got stimulus written all over it, man.

Posted by: ScienceTim | January 29, 2009 4:45 PM | Report abuse

I watched and listened to Blago today. Someone should slip him the word.

Posted by: Jumper1 | January 29, 2009 4:49 PM | Report abuse

Maureen Dowd went Biblical on the Citiboobs that bought a corporate jet after losing 28 billion bucks of stock holder and taxpayer money.

She's calling for shackles and show trials. Perhaps that would induce some shame.

Posted by: Mo_MoDo | January 29, 2009 4:53 PM | Report abuse

The excuse --er-- reason given by Wall Street was that these bonuses were contracually-based. *snort*

In any company where I've been offered a bonus, it was based on the company achieving set financial and other criteria. You don't make it; no bonus.

I find it pretty hard to believe that these companies sandbagged their metrics so badly that they actually *achieved* their 2008 targets.

Or maybe they work under a different system. You know, one where you get a bonus regardless of performance. What a deal.

Posted by: Raysmom | January 29, 2009 4:54 PM | Report abuse

The laws of supply and demand being what they are, going after all these investment bankers for their bonuses is just going to force them away into some other area where they can make millions regardless of their performance.

I heard the Toronto Maple Leafs have already picked up several former investment bankers.

Posted by: engelmann | January 29, 2009 5:10 PM | Report abuse

Yet another reason to like Obama. He's reclaiming the moral high ground. I'm so pleased that people will be expected to be ashamed of their bad acts. Note here that corporations and companies are not off the hook - Obama recognized that the Wall Street companies were made of people, who ordered the bonuses, and people, who got them (no doubt some significant overlap there) and chided them accordingly.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 29, 2009 5:20 PM | Report abuse

Isn't it nice to think that there IS a moral high ground? It's been MIA for so many years. We'll have to take some time to adjust to having it back.

Posted by: slyness | January 29, 2009 5:29 PM | Report abuse

Thinking of steam, Ambrose Evans-Pritchard at the Telegraph newspaper reports on his blog:

"Damn, we are all sitting here in open-mouthed astonishment.

"Turkish premier Tayyip Erdogan has just stormed off the rostrum after calling Israel's president Shimon Peres a "killer" to his face.

"Mr Peres in turn has been thundering and fulminating at the top of his voice for 25 minutes...

This, on top of Chinese-American currency tension at Davos. So much for everyone making nice.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | January 29, 2009 5:30 PM | Report abuse

NPR says the moderator of that Ergodan-Peres blowup was none other than David Ignatius.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | January 29, 2009 5:46 PM | Report abuse

And now, the Illinois Senate has ousted now former-Gov. Blagojevich. Looks as though they didn't waste time.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | January 29, 2009 5:50 PM | Report abuse

Shame implies that these individuals ought to respond to the outrage of society. Somehow, though, I doubt they much care, you know, cause they're stinkin' rich.

Now, the argument I have heard, with a straight face, is that without these obscene bonuses firms might not be able to keep high quality management.

Outside of the whole question of just how "high-quality" these folks truly are, it seems absurd in the extreme to suggest that someone's gonna walk without getting that extra tropical island in their pay bucket.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 29, 2009 5:57 PM | Report abuse

I could fix this in about five minutes.

All I need is a tire iron and a few volunteers to round up these jackasses and lead them to my back yard. I figure they'd make excellent fertilizer, being walking talking piles of bullsh!t. A couple of whacks and some quick work with the shovel and we got us some very happy and tasty 'maters come spring.

Posted by: martooni | January 29, 2009 5:58 PM | Report abuse

Good for Obama!!!! I'm so tired of those whiny investment bankers and financial "geniuses" -- when the economy started openly tanking a few months ago, one of the NYC guys actually yelled at me: "Do you know how difficult it is to live on $500,000.00 up here?"

Well you just hum a few bars and I'll try to chime in.

Geezos Peezos people! They're a buncha spoiled brats who need some reality time. Cripes!

*breathless and all tingly from her increasing luv for Obama*

And one more to add to the rant: Socialism appears to be just fine and dandy when "they" are being subsidized by "us" -- not at all the other way around.

My article got done (yay), so I'm going to spend the evening falling asleep over the paper version of the WaPo (heck, it's all old news by now anyway, eh?).

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | January 29, 2009 5:58 PM | Report abuse

Veering wildly off-topic, the Ivansclan needs the Boodle's technical assistance. The Boy received X-Box Live for Christmas, but it is as yet un- (what? hooked up? installed?). It don't yet work. Apparently it is possible, even common, to send the thing through the computer router but Ivansdad doesn't want to do that. There is a Plan B but it is apparently complicated. The phrase "Internet access code" has been bandied about, possibly in connection with one or more of these options.

As you can see by my choice of weasel words, I am merely a conduit asking for information. Any suggestions anyone has, Internet sites which may help, personal experience, would be welcome. I'll get Ivansdad or the Boy to read them.

Please return to your regularly scheduled Boodle.

And isn't it odd, and somehow satisfying, that people welcome the return of shame and responsibility to public life?

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 29, 2009 6:04 PM | Report abuse

Maureen Dowd has an answer to the gotta-pay-top-dollar-for-good-help argument.

/// In an interview with Maria Bartiromo on CNBC, Thain used the specious, contemptible reasoning that other executives use to rationalize why they’re keeping their bonuses as profits are plunging.

“If you don’t pay your best people, you will destroy your franchise” and they’ll go elsewhere, he said.

Hello? They destroyed the franchise. Let’s call their bluff. Let’s see what a great job market it is for the geniuses of capitalism who lost $15 billion in three months and helped usher in socialism.///

Let's see how well some of these money managers do managing surly teenagers at a Subway franchise.

Posted by: Mo_MoDo | January 29, 2009 6:07 PM | Report abuse

Yes it looks like X-box live needs high-speed broadband to go... well, live.

I assume the X-box 360 is hooked up and works?

This might be a good time to encourage the Boy to become a computer whiz overnight.

And yes, if you want to connect more than 1 computer to the internet within a household, you need to connect them through the router. Do not fear this.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 29, 2009 6:15 PM | Report abuse

Are tar sands poundable?

Posted by: Boko999 | January 29, 2009 6:18 PM | Report abuse

Yes, the 360 works. And we don't fear connecting through a router - we have 3 or 4 computers connected to it as it is. As it turns out I misunderstood the problem: Ivansdad doesn't mind connecting it through the router but it won't work. As he put it, when I turn my computer on, it asks, "any networks around here? Oh, there's one! Hi!" X-Box Live says something like, "I'm here. Don't see no networks, though." So the problem is getting the game to recognize the router. Or something like that.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 29, 2009 6:22 PM | Report abuse

Boko, I read "tar sands poundable" and got all mixed up with George Sands and Ezra Pound and even Eliot, though I'm not sure how he got in there. Then "pound" led me to weight, and "tar sands" got all mixed up with stars and ampersands. It is a good thing I've finished work today; my brain has clearly checked out.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 29, 2009 6:25 PM | Report abuse

Hmmm, he might want to play with any firewalls and reboot the router. It's probably the X-box settings, though.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 29, 2009 6:26 PM | Report abuse

Tar sands are poundable, but interestingly, the oil extraction process is a chemical one by which...oh, I get it.

Hee hee. I was wondering if I'd get a reaction given your schedule for today previously mentioned.

It took a lot of gall for me to speak about anyone else's hockey team after a 10-2 result. But hey, shame is on-kit.

Posted by: engelmann | January 29, 2009 6:28 PM | Report abuse

You do not need to hook the X-box up to the router for it to work. There should be a cable that has a switch which says "TV or HDTV" Just make sure you are using the correct setting. We have ours set on TV and then are using the RCA cables (Red Yellow White) like any other gaming machine.

If though, you want to hook the X-Box up so that Ivan can communicate with other gamers and get updates and the like, this isn't too hard.

There are two ways to hook the X-box up to the internet. The first is to buy a wireless adapter. The other way is to get a long RJ-45 (Network) cable and hook it directly to the wireless router.

In either case the X-Box should ask you for the WEP codes used to encrypt your wireless router. (You do have your router encrypted I hope.)

Beyond this I recommend you go to their website since this is how I got through it.

But, again, hooking it up to a television should just be plug and play.

Good luck!!

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 29, 2009 6:28 PM | Report abuse

Jumper, I think Blago got the word, his meds just haven't been tweaked yet.

I find it fascinating that the media, television news, talking heads, all of it, trying to keep up with the President. He is moving, and they're still sitting on the bench. They're so used to doing nothing, I seriously think it's beginning to get confusing for them.

Not you, JA.

I've been running since 8:30 this morning, and the body is beat. I was up at three o'clock this morning, and the phone was ringing at five thirty. Don't know who it was, they hung up. Time to rest the body. I love the equal pay thing for women. I said to my dad, somewhere a man is probably upset about that. My dad's response, probably more than one man.

Have a good evening, folks. Sweet dreams.

Posted by: cmyth4u | January 29, 2009 6:30 PM | Report abuse

Outside of plugging it into the router or getting the wireless adapter, the only other way to reach the internet is by attaching it to the ethernet card of another computer already on the internet. But I have never done this. There are discussions of this. You might hear mention of a "crossover cable," but you only need this with older X-Box systems.

Bottom line, you gotta go through the router either via wire or signal or remote pc to get to the internet.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 29, 2009 6:32 PM | Report abuse

Ivansmom, well, that is a problem. It should see something and ask for the WEP codes.

The only thing I might suggest is turning off one of the other computers attached to the router to make sure that all the available connections aren't already filled.

Sorry I couldn't be more useful.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 29, 2009 6:40 PM | Report abuse

Well, ya got TROUBLE!
Right here in IvanCity!
Trouble with a capital X
And that rhymes with...

On second thought, whatever happened to a nice game of cribbage?


Posted by: Scottynuke | January 29, 2009 7:00 PM | Report abuse

Since the intarwebs allow me to do this and there's no specific rule in the WaPo's fine print to prevent me from doing this...

If Martooni ran the world and could pull five things from his arse to make things better...

1. Young men would pull their pants up, wear belts and get jobs. No more blatant showing off of underpants.

2. Young women would look at young men with their pants around their ankles and their boxers showing and say "you're a doofus... go get a job".

3. Gigoonda (pronounced Jy-Goon-da) spending packages would not just bail out banks and offer zero-percentage loans to automakers and other failing/troubled businesses, but would offer "microloans" to small businesses like those who make magical doors for imaginary peoples and would hire a helper if the funds were available.

4. Cats and dogs could sleep together without fear of hooded hoodlums setting them on fire.

5. All the headstrong Republicans in the House and Senate would get a visit from the Ghost of Bills Unpassed Due to Stupidity and Stubborness and Political Posturing and find themselves all dead and forgotten and nobody crying about it.

Posted by: martooni | January 29, 2009 7:02 PM | Report abuse

Even MYE wireless network is securely encrypted, which is really saying something. I did so mine own self just yesterday after taking the little black thingy out of its box (it's pretty and glossy, the new thingy). I even remember the password! Therefore, with Ivansdad on the case, I have no doubt Ivansmom's router is also protected.\

Posted by: Yoki | January 29, 2009 7:15 PM | Report abuse

Hand him a few copies of "Captain Underpants", Martooni.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 29, 2009 7:16 PM | Report abuse

Ivansmom, I think it's the framis. Sorry, that's all I got.

Meanwhile, ya gotta hand it to the Japanese: they sure know how to do shame. As always, I think the Japanese business people are miles ahead of Americans and Wall Street. What the Wall Street bankers need to learn is the art of seppaku. I've got some Ginsu steak knives around here somewhere I'd be more than willing to donate to the cause.

$18 billion. Jeez.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | January 29, 2009 7:19 PM | Report abuse

Check your maunal, 'mugde. Here description sounds more like a problem with the rillick.

Posted by: -jack- | January 29, 2009 7:56 PM | Report abuse

I didn't see Obama... did he make that little swiping-one-finger-over-the-other "shame on you" gesture? That would have been great.

Posted by: -TBG- | January 29, 2009 8:07 PM | Report abuse

Remember that story back in Sep 2008?
"A spokesman for Barclays said the $2.5bn bonus pool in New York had been set aside before Lehman Brothers filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy in the United States a week ago. Barclays has agreed that the fund should continue to be ring-fenced now it has taken control of Lehman's US business, a deal agreed by American bankruptcy courts over the weekend."
Barclays paid $1.75B for the rest of the Lehman Brothers assets but the BANKRUPTED bank executives were still worth a couple $2.5B. Precious staff that gang, you wouldn't want to lose one to the competition.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | January 29, 2009 8:32 PM | Report abuse

For grins and giggles, on-kit photos from the 70's:

Shameful indeed!

Posted by: slyness | January 29, 2009 8:34 PM | Report abuse

Oh the shame! Slyness-Mr. F#1 wore that blue leisure suit to our wedding. Worse yet, I wore the dress from the picture with the bookshelf backdrop sloping down (in a different color).

Posted by: frostbitten1 | January 29, 2009 8:46 PM | Report abuse

Oh Frosti, the portrait that comes to my mind is the church directory photo when I was a 9th grader. The blue cat-eye glasses, they were to die of shame for. And my poor little brother with his buzz cut. The next year he rebelled and Mom had to let his hair grow about three quarters of an inch.

Posted by: slyness | January 29, 2009 8:52 PM | Report abuse

Thanks to all who have weighed in on bringing X-Box to Life, particularly Mudge and Jack. I thought it was a widget myself. Really, I have reported all to Ivansdad and he is pondering.

Of course Yoki is right and our router is encrypted. Why, even I don't understand it! [Why didn't I think of that excuse much earlier? Do you think I can use it to explain why I don't understand the TV?]

I'm off to try and pour the Boy in bed. The school district finally found a backbone and agreed to let the children return tomorrow.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 29, 2009 10:00 PM | Report abuse

The Pearle Vision photo was me, my brother, and the two cousins we never had. Dead ringers for us.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 29, 2009 10:20 PM | Report abuse

Yet another "stolen pome":

Leisure Suit


Thoughts Upon Looking Into a 1970s Olan Mills Sample Photo Album

I was secretly worried I'd recognize
myself there somewhere
among the yellowing pages.
But back then I didn't have thick enough hair
for that real feathered Farah look,
but I did my best. I had
purple denim bellbottom hip-huggers
with the matching jacket, embroidered
flowers around the cuffs,
black peace symbol on my ass.
My dad had the blue leisure suit,
high-quality polyester.
He was well into his fifties at that point,
was in the habit of wearing
an actual suit to work every day,
and I often wonder what he was thinking.
I know my mom talked him into it.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | January 29, 2009 10:21 PM | Report abuse

With apologies to its real author, and to the one line assist from another.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | January 29, 2009 10:23 PM | Report abuse

SCC: Farrah

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | January 29, 2009 10:33 PM | Report abuse

Tossed-off, very funny and wonderful.

- A Savage Editor -

Posted by: Yoki | January 29, 2009 10:33 PM | Report abuse

High quality polyester, ha!
There's a picture of me somewhere wearing a yellow, orange and brown plaid sport coat. My older brother wears the velveteen leisure suit, aubergine if I remember correctly. Those were the days, I had hair.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | January 29, 2009 10:35 PM | Report abuse

This evening my son asked me why I parted my hair. I replied that "It's just something you do when you get older." Then I suddenly felt every bit of my half century plus on this Good Earth, remembering when my hair was quite long. And still blonde. Today my colour is the new blonde.

Posted by: -jack- | January 29, 2009 10:43 PM | Report abuse

Obama talk today seems, what, cheap? My husband and I talked this over during a dinner out tonight of fish and chips--husband thinks that these "shamed" Wall Street honchos won't see anything punative from the Obama administration. Why should they?:

As the president of the New York Federal Reserve Bank since November 2003, Mr. Geithner was the closest regulator to Wall Street during the years when many of the excesses that led to the crisis proliferated in plain sight.

[This article also mentions Obama's troubling choice of Gary Gensler, formerly of Goldman Sachs, to lead to lead the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, which regulates futures contracts.]

Ordinary taxpayers would like an answer to this question: Why have they been billed more than $45 billion to rescue Citigroup from failure when, as president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, you [Geithner] were its primary supervisor? Three major problems led to Citigroup’s downfall: bad investment policy; overexpansion, which overwhelmed Citigroup’s management; and an inadequate capital base. Why was Citigroup’s supervision inadequate to deal with these problems?

— ANNA JACOBSON SCHWARTZ, an economist at the National Bureau of Economic Research and the author, with Milton Friedman, of “A Monetary History of the United States, 1867 to 1960”

Posted by: laloomis | January 29, 2009 10:43 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps the fact that Geithner wasn't in fact, its "primary supervisor" might have something to do with it.

Just a thought.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | January 29, 2009 10:47 PM | Report abuse

In that historic picture I was wearing plastic frame glasses the size of teacup saucers. Why?

Lindaloo, most old school feminists were rejoicing today with Obama's signature of the Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. I think that not resetting the discrimination clock every 6 months is some kind of process. Collins over at the NYT was quite happy, why have we got no comments from you on this matter?

Here's an extract of the voting record on that act: McCain (R-AZ), Nay

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | January 29, 2009 11:08 PM | Report abuse

SCC progress, obviously.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | January 29, 2009 11:10 PM | Report abuse

Good evening, all.

I'm somewhat amused by the President's attempt to use shame as a tool or motivator in 21st century American culture. The Shame Game?

He might be Internet-savvy and all, I'm nor sure he's ever been on YouTube or Facebook, or for heaven's sake, *worse* places on the Internet. I ask you, where's the shame? Sheesh.

I think that if these Wall Street execs were savvy enough to negotiate contracts with their BODs that stipulated they be paid based on criteria that are not material to the health of the company (even if it's running on Government Bailout money) or the state of the economy these days, then I suppose that's between them and ther BODs and their shareholders (should there be any). I think they ought to be paid according to what their perfectly legal contracts call for, plain and simple. [Besides, don't they typically only get paid once per year?]

If the Government didn't make stipulations to the BODs at these firms regarding uses of the Bailout money, then aren't these contracts the company's legal obligations, just like paying on the contracts for the firm's phone bills, the rent or loan for the corporate facilities, or for contracted consultants.

Now, what these execs might do with their pay is up to them. If they feel morally or ethically motivated to do something good for folks who have been affected by their company's decline in fortunes or for other people in need at this time (or investing im small companies perhaps), or heck, just sent a big chunk or all of it to the IRS to put it back into the Bailout/Stimulus hopper, I'd say I think those would be *excellent,* useful and responsible ways of addressing the situation.

Is it fair to say that the Bush Administration did not stay on top of controlling how the Bailout money was to be used, but that horse is already long out of the barn?

Now, in the previous Kit, weren't we just talking about how much pork was in the Obama Administration's Stimulus package?


Words like "shameful" and "pork-filled" are being used by one side or another in all of this, which makes me think that the answer is simply who controls where all of the money goes.


Posted by: -bc- | January 29, 2009 11:41 PM | Report abuse


Seppaku with a serrated blade.

Posted by: Boko999 | January 29, 2009 11:53 PM | Report abuse

i'm glad that obama to called a spade a spade. what a nice change of pace.

these companies most certainly should be ashamed of themselves. if they would have gone under without bailout money, then we the american people have, in effect, paid their bonuses. which is totally unacceptable.

at any rate, going forward, bailout money should have strict stipulations about compensation.

Posted by: LALurker | January 29, 2009 11:53 PM | Report abuse

TBG, I completely agree! That would have been difficult to mishear if he had gestured "shame on you."

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 30, 2009 12:24 AM | Report abuse

'Morning, Boodle.

Everybody go to bed early last night?

Welcome to Fanataic Friday on the op-ed page: The Hammer, Parker and Gerson, and all so obtuse they aren't even talking about the Stimulus Package. Only Gene Robinson is doing that, and he says the GOP is unanimously clueless.

I'm hoping the Blagovich headline is the last we'll see of that jerk noiw he's been removed from office. I think he now ceases to be very newsworthy until his trial comes up, whenever that will be.

On NPR this morning there was a cute lead-in to an Obama story. The announced said it has been "Women and children first" with the O admini., since yesterday he signed his first bill, the bill about women's right to sue, and today he'll sign the children's health act the Senate passed.

I think I smell good things wafting from the Ready Room: coffee, and a couple of slyness's homemade country ham biscuits I stashed away as leftovers (and if you think THAT wasn't a major feat of arms).

TGIF. Pull the chocks, please.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | January 30, 2009 6:12 AM | Report abuse

Morning, all, and happy Friday. It sure seems to have been a long week. Five whole working days! Terrible, just terrible.

Mudge, I'll be out on the flight line with you as soon as I finish my tea. I have no odious obligations today, what a happy thought. I may go spend that Williams-Sonoma gift card I got for Christmas.

Onward and upward into the day!

Posted by: slyness | January 30, 2009 7:09 AM | Report abuse

God loves us so much more than we can imagine through Him that died for all, Jesus Christ.

Good morning, friends. Mudge, ham biscuits sound great this morning. Have you got any coffee?

I read Eugene Robinson this morning too. He does have a clue, but it sounds like the Republicans don't. I didn't bother to read the others.

BC, isn't that always the case. The one in control, that is. A letter this morning to the editor of our local paper stated umbrage at our newly elected official for voting for the stimulus. A Republican had the seat, but was ousted during the election. I get the feeling that some folks think it better not to do anything. Is that a viable option, doing nothing? Do we just sit back and watch the carnage, and let it rip? Honestly, would that be a good thing? Is failure the best option we have? A continuation of the Bush administration, and Republican party policies?

I'll bet some of the thinking is based on science. Want to guess the science? Of course, here it might not be science, could be just plain old "meaness". There's enough "meaness" to go around, I suspect.

I am always surprised at how far some people will go just to harm others. They will eat whatever and live in the woods wiping with whatever just to harm someone. Now that is intent. And a whole lot of meaness.

Yoki, Martooni, Scotty, Slyness, and all the boodlers, good morning.*waving*

I have four more days of medications, and hopefully it will be over with that. It is cold this morning, and the weather person is calling for more cold, and wind. Have a great day, folks. The President likes the Steelers, and of course, the Bears.

Time for the coffee.

Posted by: cmyth4u | January 30, 2009 7:12 AM | Report abuse

'morning all. TGIF indeed.
Looks like the transit strike's over. Buses should start running next week and full service restored in 3 weeks. Buses rot in place when they ain't running apparently.
The protectionist gits are agitating in Congress. I suspect the two good senators from Montana will make sure the softwood lumber used with stimulus money will cost as much as possible.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | January 30, 2009 7:14 AM | Report abuse

Those same protectionists will ensue Steel is equally expensive.

Posted by: dmd2 | January 30, 2009 7:41 AM | Report abuse

Pork? Hmmm, I wonder if I could get the cafeteria to make a Bacon Explosion... *looking for my bib*

bc, I was thinking something similar regarding the executive bonuses -- put 'em into each company's unemployment benefits account or towards COBRA payments or something. Just because the payments are contractually obligated doesn't mean they're proper. *shrug*

In any case, I think I'll go provide the cafeteria with a little economic stimulus. And yes, pork products will be invovled. Caffeine, too. :-)

*TGIF-and-an-extra-leaping-high-with-stickum-coated-gloves-to-come-down-twinkle-toes-like-in-the-end-zone Grover waves* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 30, 2009 7:46 AM | Report abuse


Exxon Mobil Shatters U.S. Record With $45.2 Billion Annual Profit

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 30, 2009 8:26 AM | Report abuse

The concept of shame is related to the relationship one has with a community. It is not based on law but on expectations and customs. It is the booing of the crowd, not the knocking on the door.

But that Obama would speak of it says wonderful things to me about his world view. Although a lawyer he does not advocate the minimalist compliance sometimes associated with the law. He looks beyond the word and to the spirit of the matter. He is saying that, although no laws may have been broken, a violation has still occurred.

So he is making a statement of value. He is saying that even if shame does not matter to these people, it should matter to us. He is saying that even though shame seems terribly old-fashioned, perhaps it should not be. He is challenging all of us to take shame seriously. To not laugh off the hisses of society as being the petty complaints of lesser beings, but to be something we take seriously.

The words "shame on you" should not make us laugh. They should not be considered meaningless unless they are followed with legal repercussions. Accusations of shame should make us squirm. And if they do not, this says something very bad about us.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 30, 2009 8:30 AM | Report abuse

Those may be the finest Grover waves yet, Scotty.

Good morning Boodle, Cassandra, all.

As my grandmother would have said, will wonders never cease? Good weather, work to do, friends to sit with, things to learn, things to teach. And the investment bankers under scrutiny!

I think I have mentioned that my NY-based brother was at ground zero on 9/11. He made me proud, when he wrote a piece about one of the lost, he wrote about the man in the coffee shop in the basement of the World Trade Centre, not the investment bankers on the 30th floor.

Cassandra, I have not forgotten about your request for information, I just have the right computer at the wrong house for a few more days.

Have a great day, everyone. Mine is already splendid.

Posted by: Yoki | January 30, 2009 8:33 AM | Report abuse

Back in my Model United Nations days when we routinely play-acted Libya and other Bad Guys of the day we had the saying that one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter.

I posit that one man's pork is another man's stimulus package. I for one am sad to see reseeding of the National Mall ridiculed. That is the neediest public space I've seen. Decades of abuse have taken their toll.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 30, 2009 8:36 AM | Report abuse

A couple of thoughts...

Sub-prime lending aside, a lot of the excesses that are bandied about as the cause of the financial mess were really changes in the accounting of debt as required *by the SEC*. Mid-stream, a decision was made to count debt in a different way. When those new formulas were kicked into the system, all of a sudden, the bottom line numbers changed in such a way that a bail-out would be required. Then the SEC changed the formulas back, and expected that no one would get wet while switching ships *twice* in midstream. But it was too late; a couple of the big financial houses fell into the drink -- a few drowned and the rest were pulled out coughing.

Another thing that I would point out is the use of the word bonus. What a bonus is in the government sector is something very different in the private sector. bc touched on this....a lot of these are really just a part of a compensation package, and not really a bonus at all. You get a draw-down each month (generally not even close to 1/12 of your annual compensation), and at the end of the year, those drawdowns are subtracted from the amount you're contractually due, and the remainder, the *bonus* if you will, is paid.

Last, it is awfully broad-brush to say that not one person who received one of these payments did their job and earned the compensation. If that were the case, the entire economy would have collapsed. Yet we're still hanging on.

Have a happy day all.

Posted by: LostInThought | January 30, 2009 8:46 AM | Report abuse

Couple of things are hinky about this article...

If it really was the grandmother talking to the LA Times, then I'm concerned about the mother's capacity for rational thought.

And secondly, if it's a Caesarean birth, eight in five minutes is somewhat less than newsworthy, mais non?


Posted by: Scottynuke | January 30, 2009 9:01 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, Boodlers!

Happy TGIF.
All I can add is that the economic crisis has been created by a bunch of crooks. They are shamekess and belong in jail. This is the sort of stuff that creates howling outraged mobs. Anyone remember the French Revolution?

Posted by: Braguine | January 30, 2009 9:07 AM | Report abuse

Good morning. Thanks for the '70s poem, Mudge.

RD, your 8:30 this morning was a great explanation of the importance of shame. Shame arguably works best when no laws were technically broken - it is society's way of saying that behavior may be permissible but is still wrong. When you make a selfish choice, a callous or cruel one, when you deliberately act so as to benefit yourself either at the expense of others or with no thought of the effect of your actions, then you should be ashamed.

I made it up the sheet of ice which passes for my driveway, got on the perfectly clear roads, and finally got to the office for the first time since Monday - and my office computer doesn't work. I sure hope the IT guy comes in today.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 30, 2009 9:10 AM | Report abuse

Those are excellent points LiT. Given how tempting that whole "tar and feather" business can be, it is good to appreciate that these are all individual cases.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 30, 2009 9:13 AM | Report abuse

I gave you a partial hat-tip on the Exxon news Scotty. I still haven't figured out how to spin the Marion Barry story. It's only a "no duh" if you know he hasn't paid his taxes in a long time.

I covered the octuplets earlier when fertility experts said that they probably weren't naturally conceived. No duh.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 30, 2009 9:14 AM | Report abuse

RD, I've always thought that you were in the wrong profession, and with your 8:30 comment on shame, I'm even more convinced. Your way with words, I can't find the words.

Posted by: cmyth4u | January 30, 2009 9:18 AM | Report abuse

Obama inspired me when he said, "Yes, we can!" but he solidified my support with the way he said, "That just won't do."

We REALLY need that kind of leadership in this country.

Posted by: kbertocci | January 30, 2009 9:19 AM | Report abuse

good morning boodle, back to -27 this morning and none too happy about it. I'll be glad to see the last of January, as soon as we get through the annual Chinese New Year Party tomorrow. Cheesy, and cheap, faux Hawaiian theme this year, complete with tiki torches in the snow and Spam on the menu.

Just more evidence that we are the anti-Martha Stewart family. When rummaging through our possessions for those heirlooms to re purpose as party decor what did I stumble upon but 2 inflatable palm trees with integrated beer coolers.

I can think of no finer evidence than the existence of inflatable palm trees, with integrated beer coolers, that relying primarily on consumption to drive the economy is none too smart.

LiT and bc-good points on the "bonus" situation. However, the term has become shorthand for executive compensation and no one can do anything that's worth the millions some are paid.

Later, off to brave the cold for a few errands then it's a long day of party prep. At least here there's no wistful wishing about being able to afford a caterer. There are no caterers.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | January 30, 2009 9:21 AM | Report abuse

Thank you so much for those kind words Cassandra!

I assure you there are days when my coworkers share your belief that I am in the wrong profession.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 30, 2009 9:22 AM | Report abuse

No one frostbitten? There are times when the list of what I'd consider giving to whoever came up with lidoderm patches is extensive. Of course, he was probably a scientist, and not an executive. Probably just wants a new bunsen burner or something.

Posted by: LostInThought | January 30, 2009 9:31 AM | Report abuse

The finalist architectural firms for the African American Museum on the Mall look interesting (Post story by Jacqueline Trescott).

I'm a fan of Foster, having seen their bridge across the Thames, British Museum courtyard, Hong Kong airport, and the beautiful courtyard for the Smithsonian's art museum in the Old Patent Office building.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | January 30, 2009 9:42 AM | Report abuse

Frosti if you are looking for a place to put those inflatable palms they would look lovely out by our pool this summer! - The built in cooler is just a bonus.

Posted by: dmd2 | January 30, 2009 9:44 AM | Report abuse

I'm trying to understand why a couple with 6 children would feel the need to undergo fertility treatment in order to have more. I can understand why couples with no children and fertility problems would want to undergo fertility treatment. In a world with many, many children lacking for parents, I don't entirely agree with fertility treatment as a way to have children to raise, but my agreement is not required. However, I fundamentally do not comprehend a couple that has six children using fertility treatment in order to have more, even if they did not anticipate having as many as 8 more all at once. It is disturbingly similar to pet-collectors, making themselves responsible for vastly more pets/children than they can possibly handle.

Posted by: ScienceTim | January 30, 2009 9:45 AM | Report abuse

DotC, Foster designed the massive new office tower now under construction in our town, which had us all in awe when the plans were unveiled 18 months ago. Since then, due to the economy and a distinct lack of courage, the developer has eliminated almost all the innovative bits that made it a Foster and have blanded it down to a run-of-the-mill standard-issue building. Such a shame!

Posted by: Yoki | January 30, 2009 9:51 AM | Report abuse

My wife raised an interesting question (or bunch of questions) this morning about the woman with the eight babies. First, what was the fertility doctor thinking by helping a woman who already had six kids get some more? I suppose one might argue it isn't the doctor's pass to pass judgment on the woman's wishes, but still...

Second, WTF (not my wife's words) was the woman herself thinking? Six isn't enough? And when she heard all the eggs had taken, she didn't think twice about raising 14 kids? That was OK with her?

There has been no mention of a husband. Is there one? The woman is living in her parents' home; this suggests (but doesn't automatically require) some sort of economic dependence. That being so, who paid for months and months of hyper-expensive prenatal care, as well as months, if not years, of hyper-expersive post-natal care of eight preemies? This had to have cost a gazillion bucks.

I don't mind being generous about helping people out, especially where infertility is concerned. But isn't this woman pushing the envelope a bit too far? I suppose if she's independently wealthy, it's none of my business. But I'm assuming she's not, and thus as a taxpayer, she's sorta making it my business. I'd rather my tax dollars go toward helping an infertile woman with zero children, or *any* woman/family who has a preemie or or kind of baby who needs expensive pre- or post-natal care. A woman who already has six kids (more than a lot of us could or should handle): no.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | January 30, 2009 9:56 AM | Report abuse

Having read the article on the children I fail to see where she will be incompetant to handle that many children.

I have seen many parents of one or two children who are very imcompetant to handle that responsibility - it is not the number of children that matters but the quality of the parenting.

Posted by: dmd2 | January 30, 2009 10:00 AM | Report abuse

Hey everyone!

Just thought I would post a goofy spoof on Survivorman that was done by a "nut" ...

survivorman DC

Posted by: russianthistle | January 30, 2009 10:01 AM | Report abuse

Mudge, that's what happens when you visit the little fertility clinic next to the bank at Costco.

There motto is "why screw around."

Posted by: russianthistle | January 30, 2009 10:03 AM | Report abuse

Mudge, I'm fairly sure (it was late) the news last night called her a single mother. If it turns out she wanted another kid just to squeeze an extra $200/mo. from Social Services, I'm going to be ticked.


Posted by: DLDx | January 30, 2009 10:03 AM | Report abuse

I understand about the contracts for bonuses. I also understand indictments for fraud. That's the only leverage I see we have. I say use it. When does our new Attorney General get into his office?

RD, all has already been said. I wrote Eugene the other day to quit his happy jokes about Blago, so maybe you ought to apply for his job. But I'm off to read his column next, and I'm pretty sure I'll forgive him and revert to my usual fan status with him.

Posted by: Jumper1 | January 30, 2009 10:04 AM | Report abuse

In danger of making it three posts in a row... please excuse my word sub. Haven't done that one for, say, 2 weeks.

Posted by: russianthistle | January 30, 2009 10:05 AM | Report abuse

According to CNN, the woman's husband is a contractor due to return to Iraq shortly.

So glad my family did not have to be constrained by such limited viewpoints as shared here.

Posted by: dmd2 | January 30, 2009 10:10 AM | Report abuse

I kinda thought she was a single mom, too, DLD, but wasn't sure. If she indeed is single, then I feel safe in saying she's out of her freakin' mind. I don't know what the "upper number" is for a single parent, but I'm confidant that 14 kids, all under seven, and eight newborns, is well over the line.

This woman had the option to reduce the number of embryos. She said no.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | January 30, 2009 10:14 AM | Report abuse

New Kit!

Posted by: -dbG- | January 30, 2009 10:14 AM | Report abuse

DMD, that sentence in CNN isn't clear. It sounded to me like it was the grandmother saying her husband (the grandmother's husband) was going to Iraq.

But OK, let's say it was the mom's husband. He's going to Iraq and leaving his wife at home with 14 kids? And this sounds OK to anybody?

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | January 30, 2009 10:17 AM | Report abuse

dmd2, I'm from an unusually large family too. I'm with ya. I wouldn't have it any other way. It's probably just as hard for those from small families to understand our viewpoint as it is for us to imagine being an only child.

Posted by: LostInThought | January 30, 2009 10:17 AM | Report abuse

Oh, c'mon. Obama is just doing some political CYA. One need only look at the Washington Post coverage around Oct. 2 and Oct. 3, with a number of prominent reporters covering the story, to recall that Obama broke off from campaigning in Wisconsin to return to D.C., where he played a minor (according to the coverage) role in persuading reluctant Senate members to vote for the financial rescue package. The end vote was about 75 percent for, 25 percent against, with Obama voting yea.

And one of the provisions of this bill signed into law by President Bush on Oct. 3.?

And it would place curbs on executive pay for companies selling assets or buying insurance from Uncle Sam. One provision: Any bonus or incentive paid to a senior executive officer for targets met [unclear what "targets met" means] would have to be repaid if it's later proven that earnings or profit statements were inaccurate.

So, of course, Obama says it's shameful, since he must now, as a politician, go hat in hand to Congress to ask for probably MORE THAN $350 billion of taxpayer money, the supposed second half of the Troubled Asset Relief Program, to prop up these same institutions.

And there's the rub, actually. If these institutions in the private sector had failed and had paid out big bonuses, then there would be lots to tsk, tsking and "Ain't that too bad"--and economic turmoil. But have Uncle Sam take on a "parental" role (with zero, zip, nada oversight, mind you) and prop up and intervene in the private sector with OUR money, then you've got, to paraphrase what they say in Texas, ten dead skunks down a well.

My husband heard Obama's "shameful" comment again this morning as NBC's morning show started. His immediate retort was, "Yeah, so what's he gonna do about it?"

David Brooks' column at the NYT discussing the stimulus package is particularly good today. and it was a fascinating exchange between NBC White House correspondent Chuck Todd and CNBC's financial guru Dylan Ratigan on Morning Joe this a.m. Wish MSNBC'd put out a clip of the Ratigan-Todd back-and-forth, or maybe Todd might talk a little more about disgorgement.

Posted by: laloomis | January 30, 2009 10:18 AM | Report abuse

Have to say that I found the whole story and snippets of video that I have watched a bit discomforting (the reporting)... in light of the current economic trials that many of us are facing. In the past 6 months, I have noticed a huge change in the attitudes of those people lucky to have a good steady well paying job.

The proverbial man on the street is much more aware and considerate to those who find themselves up against it for one reason or another. The press is a trailing indicator of the mood of the nation. I think that is why, in part, the Republicans on the Hill "THINK" that they are doing the country a service by their totally non-partisan 100% vote against and follow-up verbal basuda.

Posted by: russianthistle | January 30, 2009 10:23 AM | Report abuse

I see no specific claim that the woman is incompetent to handle 14 children, although I wonder how a person could be competent to handle that many, especially when 8 of them are of one age and have a good chance to be special-needs children. I certainly would not feel qualified to handle that situation.

I am thinking more of the fact that this woman already has a fairly large family (6 kids). I can understand wanting more kids to raise. What I can't understand is using the extraordinary measures of IVF and fertility treatments to get those children, when she has already more than satisfied any imperative to see herself in her offspring, by any reasonable standard. If you have a multitude of children in the normal course of events and you choose to do nothing to prevent that from occurring (like, contraception), that's fine and dandy (even though I disagree with the self-indulgence of such large families in an increasingly crowded world). IVF, on the other hand, is a non-trivial route to parenthood that requires substantial intervention. It is not like you could call this "God's plan" for her to have this horde of children; it is her plan.

In fairness, the CNN article does not quote any nonsense from the family trying to claim divine intervention, it is an interpretation that we are making here in the Boodle, relating to specious nonsense about other multiple-birth events resulting from fertility drugs.

Regarding marital status: the CNN article mentions that the mother's husband is a contract-worker in Iraq. What that means is not clear, other than that the parents are married and not indigent.

Posted by: ScienceTim | January 30, 2009 10:29 AM | Report abuse

"Oh, please. Think of the trickle-down effect, as all those well-compensated titans of financial incompetence provide raises for the household help and buy new gas-guzzling cars to compensate for manly inadequacy. It's got stimulus written all over it, man."

The wealthy are accruing wealth much faster than they spend it. They earn far in excess of their tax burden and their spending. They are like little oil sheiks that live in NYC instead of in the Middle East, and they sell stocks and bonds instead of oil. The effect is the same.

Todays' irony is that the Republicans want an emphasis on tax-cuts after knocking $250M out of the bailout plan for Hollywood filmmakers and THEN voting against the bailout.

Posted by: dubya19391 | February 4, 2009 1:03 PM | Report abuse

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