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Follow the Money (Abroad)

My hackles are on fire. My dander is sizzling. I'm THRASHING in my comfy chair as I read the morning paper. Not to make it all about me, but, hey, I bust my keister in the salt mines day in and day out, an endless grind of phrase-turning and sudden scintillating insights and whatnot, and what happens? The gummint takes my money, sends it to these AIG people, and they give themselves fat bonuses while making such a hash of their business that now they're sending our bailout money overseas to -- hold on, let's look at the list -- something called "Dresdner Kleinwort." Who dat???

The Kleinwort people got $2.2 billion (wait, maybe more...lots of numbers to track here...). Credit Suisse got $400 million. Wait, here's $6.4 billion for Deutsche Bank. And $900 million for Societe Generale.

What is Banco Santander?

Rabobank?

Danske?

I'm in favor of foreign aid, but shouldn't it go to poor people in poor countries and not bankers who at this very moment are skiing in St. Moritz? [That's a famous ski resort in Europe somewhere, right?] Or Cortina d'Ampezzo? [?] Gstaad? [?]

Here's the pdf direct from AIG. Here's some of their PR boilerplate: "American International Group, Inc., a world leader in insurance and financial services, is the leading international insurance organization with operations in more than 130 countries and jurisdictions." Shouldn't they add some phrase about "major culprit in bringing world economy to its knees"?

I realize that populist outrage is of limited utility over the long haul, and that we need sober reflection and rational thought in these delicate economic times. But first, I want to see heads on pikes!

The truth is, I don't know enough to process this issue rationally. Thrashing and fulminating come more easily. To this day I don't really understand what a credit default swap is, or, more precisely, why the AIG geniuses thought that it would be a good idea to sell these things to Mr. Dresdner Kleinwort. Surely someone pondered the possibility that AIG would get swamped by claims if the housing market collapsed. I don't understand why we have to ease the pain of Kleinwort or, for that matter, AIG. Where's our own insurance against this kind of mess?

By Joel Achenbach  |  March 16, 2009; 8:35 AM ET
 
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Comments

Lordy, I'm turning into Ed Anger.

Posted by: joelache | March 16, 2009 10:06 AM | Report abuse

Abbreviate from last boodle, but now on kit-My belief in the rule of law is being sorely tested by successive reports about AIG this morning. As for those who would be deprived of their contractually obligated bonuses I feel like saying-let 'em sue. If a health insurance company can contract to pay people when they get sick, then find a reason not to, surely we have some gummint types smart enough to find reasons not to pay bonuses.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | March 16, 2009 10:11 AM | Report abuse

Conservative investor that I am (was), needing the resource to do two tasks at a time, my nest egg was tucked away in AIG as part of a few whole-life policies. I started them at 18. AIG is my financial giant-sucking black hole....so, those bonus-grabs is for me, very personal.

Frosti is right. At the bottom of each medical referral for my health insurance -- that I dutifully wrangle before seeing any doc -- is this in teeny, tiny lawyerspeas:

this is not a guarantee of payment.

Four times in the last five years, my insurance coverage bean counters have refused to pay. Did I ask them to cover energy-healing? Laetril in Cabo san Lucas? Whole body scans? Botox? A tummy tuck and freckle removal? NAH. Just the ordinary things...

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | March 16, 2009 10:16 AM | Report abuse

I have no idea if it all relates to France rejoining NATO but nothing surprises me anymore. I always suspected the FTC or whoever fasttracked approval of French purchases of American companies to get assistance in the various Bush wars. So maybe some sort of quids pro quo go on behind the curtains.

Posted by: Jumper1 | March 16, 2009 10:18 AM | Report abuse

BTW, Klein = small, wort = plant, which is apropos of macht-nichts.

I am on kit, and with a plant moment too. Wow. Assuages the shock ongoing of these fiddlers playing themselves which my Rome burns.....

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | March 16, 2009 10:21 AM | Report abuse

While my Rome burns...am typing on chicklet-sized keys. Back to the salt mines, to eek, eek, eek some drips from the money font. I hope the next bill deals with the swollen leeches who suck continuously at the spigot, claiming that this is good for the little people.

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | March 16, 2009 10:24 AM | Report abuse

I don't know what you call "urban legends" that began so long ago there weren't that many urbs, but once I realized that the word "green" probably comes from the same indo-european word that evolved into "corn" I decided to shut up. After I note that if my lady's sleeves got green because of hanging in the haystacks with ME, I would not judge her harshly at all.

Posted by: Jumper1 | March 16, 2009 10:28 AM | Report abuse

We won't even mention that folk classic "My Knee-Padded Milk Maid."

Posted by: yellojkt | March 16, 2009 10:31 AM | Report abuse

Jumper, you are humane and funny. Looking at words and culture reveals so many astonishing things, including the corn maiden, who was likely sacrificed to make the crops grow. Later, the sacrifice was only lightly alluded to: instead, she became the Queen of the May (later the R.Catholic Mary Festival...)

Comes down to death and s3x, etc.

Corn was grain -- barley, rye, wheat -- long before we turned maize into corn....

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | March 16, 2009 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Hey Ivansmom and Kim (you're a lawyer, too, right?) -- I think it's time to start drafting some smokin' Motions to Impale, don't you???

Unbelievably nutcakes, people! Talk about, um, Socialism (which I felt compelled to capitalize (get it???))! Cripes!

And, now, alas, I gotta make a living.

*muttering expletives*

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | March 16, 2009 10:33 AM | Report abuse

I'm wondering about the methodology of determining who gets AIG payments and how much. Are some people getting made whole and others getting turned away or is there some sort of pro-rating going on?

All I know is that when the music stops, the American taxpayer is going to be holding the hot potato. Or the oozing toxic debt. Or some even more scatological metaphor.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 16, 2009 10:35 AM | Report abuse

Jim Hoagland's "Follow the Money" OpEd speaks to the radicalization of the electorate over the economic mess.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/03/13/AR2009031302423.html

Every bonus paid is just another poke at the angry public, and though RD claims he would not be a good mob leader-there will be mobs.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | March 16, 2009 10:37 AM | Report abuse

It's righteous anger Joel.
AIG doesn't have, and never had, a small fraction of the money necessary to honour the credit default swap they underwrote. I hape that maoney they pass along wasn't for CDS because CDS as close to a fraud as it gets and should just be declared void. Lehman's CDS were sold for 8.25 cents on the dollar for exemple and the failed Icelandic bank's CDS were sold for from less than 1% to 3% of their value. For the government to come in and offer good value for the CDS would be pretty dimb.
Only by using a short term incomplete finacial model were they capable of justifying CDS.
CDS were designed and used to make commission and fee money for the seller, period. The funds to back them up in case of a global crisis weren't there, as it was easily predictable by those financial genius. And so they had to ignore the possibility of a deep recession. The type we had in 81-83 (well, 81-87 for Canada), 93-94 and after the Tech Bubble Burst of 2001.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | March 16, 2009 10:39 AM | Report abuse

SCC the whole thing. I blame the indignation.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | March 16, 2009 10:42 AM | Report abuse

Another great voice:

Rachael Yamagata

Worn Me Down
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O8V6Y3YjBAI

http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/rachaelyamagata/wornmedown.html

Posted by: omnigood | March 16, 2009 10:55 AM | Report abuse

Break out the hankies for this one.

Sunday Afternoon
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vSGZqOQ2680&feature=related

http://www.lyrics007.com/Rachael%20Yamagata%20Lyrics/Sunday%20Afternoon%20Lyrics.html

Posted by: omnigood | March 16, 2009 10:55 AM | Report abuse

*faxin' Shriek some Alka-Selzter for the indigestion*

Oh, wait...

Posted by: Scottynuke | March 16, 2009 11:13 AM | Report abuse

ftb - nope, I'm not a lawyer, I am just married to one. I can't draw up the motions, but count me in for any impaling to be done to some of these unscrupulous creatures.

Posted by: Kim1 | March 16, 2009 11:15 AM | Report abuse

"I understand why the American people are angry," Mr Bernanke said.
No Mr Bernanke, you do not know why “we” are angry. We are angry because the AIG bailout is and was a sham because unregulated insurance policies (the Swaps) are nothing less than a back alley crap game and the Treasury should have just picked up the dice and told everyone to go home or go to jail. But you and others honored this crap shoot –and all the markers, with “our” money. In short, Mr Bernanke, instead of busting the crap game, you busted us. And that is why we are angry…that you honored the Goldman Sach’s of this world at the expense of the American people. The "bonus" issue, meanwhile, is a Red Herring--because without the bailout dollars AIG would have failed; later they could have restructered and hired back anyone they wanted at real salaries. It happens all the time Mr Bernanke (that is, in the real world of business that most taxpayers live in).

Posted by: kyoto27 | March 16, 2009 11:16 AM | Report abuse

Joel, you're a day late and a dollar short (a really unfortunate metaphor under the present circumstances). My esteemed colleague Jumper and I had the following exchange already:

"Let's start a flash mob and go over to the AIG exec's residences and take matters in our own hands."

Posted by: Jumper1 | March 15, 2009 12:58 AM

To which I replied:

"Tsk, tsk, Jumper. I'm disappointed in you (re: AIG). Mob violence is never the answer. Letting a bunch of crazed people loose on the AIG execs just leads to chaos, mindless violence, and potential destruction of property having nothing to do with AIG.

"No, much better to use highly trained one-man and two-man teams to kidnap the malefactors, strap them down, attach electrical wires to various places, and slowly torture them a bit. THEN the firing squads.

"The problem with mobs is getting permits (even in DC, more difficult than you'd expect), adequate parking, ensuring enough port-a-potties onsite, first aid stations staffed by volunteer EMS people, food vendors, etc. And like Sonny Liston boxing matches, all too often mob violence is over much too quickly, sometimes just seconds. Then you've got a bunch of disgruntled people wandering around with no more victims to tear apart, and the TV stations stop covering it, you can't get advertisers, etc.

"No, mob violence is not the way to go."

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | March 15, 2009 9:57 AM

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | March 16, 2009 11:24 AM | Report abuse

We should start a commune.

I mean really... we have gardeners, carpenters, engineers, an astronomer, many cooks, a mechanic, IT pros, writers, a jeweler... the list goes on and on.

Frosti... what kind of deal can we get on some land in your jurisdiction?

Posted by: martooni | March 16, 2009 11:26 AM | Report abuse

I keep looking for evidence of re-regulation legislation and not seeing Congress doing it. Or it's not widely reported. ? I do know that naked shorts are forbidden.

I was talking to Bailey about vanished '50s and '60s fast-food joints. I only have east coast experience so Carl's I don't need to know about. So far I have recalled Burger Chef, Krystal, Dairy queen, Dairy KING, (they existed), and some others. Any really obscure ones?

Posted by: Jumper1 | March 16, 2009 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Of course there's Dog'N'Suds, and there was also a Dairy Kream. A friend once long ago said they saw a Burger Kream,(creme, kreme, cream, kreem?) but I didn't see it with my own eyes. (ewww, we said when he reported it - worst name ever)

Posted by: Jumper1 | March 16, 2009 11:34 AM | Report abuse

Gino's was a big hamburger chain, Jumper, but they've been dead for quite a while.

I think White Castle is still hanging on. Always loved their burgers.

Is Dairy Queen really dead? I think there might still be a few left. They used to have some sort of flamining brazier advertising for their flame-broiled burgers, didn't they?

Didn't somebody take over most Roy Rogers?

I know that Kenny Rogers' chain disappeared overnight. They had one in Waldorf, and it was actually pretty good food for the price, I thought.

Both the Bennigans and the Uno's in Waldorf both closed -- and Waldorf is BIG chain restuarant town. They may not exactly be "fast food" to a strict constructionist, I admit.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | March 16, 2009 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Jumper, DQ is still around,we have one here in west by god.But who goes for fast food?DQ is famous for ice cream and Blizzards of the month.

In Baltimore we have Little Tavern hamburgers.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Little_Tavern

And Gino's founded by former Colt Great Gino Marchetti and Alan Ameche. I actually worked at one near where I grew up.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gino's_Hamburgers

Posted by: greenwithenvy | March 16, 2009 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Ah, Roy Rogers! Today's quest for pictures has turned up White Castle already. And Dairy Queen still is strong in the South. BTW, there WAS a Burger Kreem I just found in an old Georgia obituary but no pic to be found. The basic question was "who all were the places before McD's and BK pulled so far ahead. Basically, I was looking at all the '50s and '60s places whether they survived (such as Hardees survived) or not.

Posted by: Jumper1 | March 16, 2009 11:45 AM | Report abuse

What did Erin Burnett say on MSNBC this a.m.? That AIG had a rogue unit in London? That the bonuses went primarily not to American employees, but to Brits. That under contractual agreements, that AIG would have paid twice as much in penalties if they had not paid the bonuses.

As some pundit pointed on George's Sunday gabfest, contractual agreements were altered by unions in Detroit so that employees could keep their jobs.

http://www.businessspectator.com.au/bs.nsf/Article/Too-long-in-the-spaceship-Hank-$pd20090305-PTSFU?OpenDocument&src=sph

For one thing, the London-based financial products group that caused most of the trouble was set up by Mr Greenberg in 1987 and had always used AIG’s triple-A balance sheet to insure risks for other institutions. Appropriately for a lightly to non-existently regulated business, its biggest money-spinner was regulatory arbitrage – tarting up European banks’ balance sheets.

From there, it strayed into bearing the credit risk of “super-senior” debt derived from subprime mortgage securities. Opinions vary on how much of this was done before Mr Greenberg left the building. He insists it was only “a handful” of contracts and that the business subsequently “exploded”, while AIG says it was half of the $80 billion portfolio.

From a NYT blog:

http://dealbook.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/03/05/as-regulator-watched-aig-unit-piled-on-risk/

Testimony to lawmakers Thursday:

“The perception that this London operation was some rogue group that were unsupervised, that you had no access to it and that your regulatory authority didn’t reach there is not accurate,” he said to Mr. Polakoff [acting director of the Office of Thrift Supervision, which was A.I.G.’s primary regulator].

“Correct,” Mr. Polakoff responded. “That would be a false statement.”
***

So much for Burnett's reporting, eh?

Posted by: laloomis | March 16, 2009 11:46 AM | Report abuse

GWE is dead right (are he and I the only two who even remember Gino Marchetti? I actually met him once at a store opening in Philly. And all Balmerians remember the great Alan Ameche, of course).

Howard Johnson's: dead dead dead. Which is a shame. I liked them.

Horn & Hardart's: dead dead dead. LOVED them, in Philly and New York, especially the Automats.

Harvest House, which I believe was the great granddaddy restaurant chain. Used to be a couple in Philly way back.

I was never a great fan, but there used to be a lot more Stuckey's, Horne's, and Shoney's than now.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | March 16, 2009 11:50 AM | Report abuse

We have Dairy Queen *everywhere* in this northern land.

Posted by: Yoki | March 16, 2009 11:52 AM | Report abuse

Um when is the new Kit?

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/03/15/AR2009031502231_2.html?sid=ST2009031502522

Posted by: omnigood | March 16, 2009 12:00 PM | Report abuse

So DQ decamped to Canada, Yoki? Interesting. I think the only ones I know of here are in Montross, Va., Chincoteague, Outer Banks (NC), and Beach Haven, NJ.

SCC: Harvest House should be Harvey House.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | March 16, 2009 12:06 PM | Report abuse

I worked at Gino's too, GWE! I was a counter girl... then made Senior counter girl. Wow.

Gino's was the chain in these parts that had the Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise. This was way before there were actual KFC stores (or PFK, for Shrieking). Home of the Gino Giant.

There is a Dairy Queen and a Subway in virtually every small town in America. On our G Family Road Trips, the first person to spot one or the other must call it out. You'll always here a "Subway!" or "Dairy Queen!" punctuating the silence as we roll across the country.

There are also some Roy Rogers still around this area (which stretches from Alexandria to Frederick). I believe one company/person owns them all. They are still great restaurants, but the counter help no longer says "Happy Trails" when you pick up your order.

Does anyone remember Tops Drive-Ins? They sold KFC before Gino's came in to the area.

Posted by: -TBG- | March 16, 2009 12:07 PM | Report abuse

Front Page Alert, too...

Posted by: Scottynuke | March 16, 2009 12:08 PM | Report abuse

The London operation may have been rogue, but what was *truly* rogue or AWOL was the supervision of these Brits from this side of the pond--isn't it disingenous to put the blame on these London operators when the obvious failure was one by management at AIG HQ (hence my criticism of Erin Burnett)?

And wasn't it strange that Bernanke chose the folksy setting of his hometown of Dillon, S.C., yesterday as the backdrop for the Pelley "60 Minutes" interview--not that I watched, but I caught a clip of it on the broadcast news this a.m. By appearing in a shirt open at the collar, is Bernanke trying to appear as the common man? Great financial theater, or was it?

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_YyV2kv49xqk/RvlGAUoiItI/AAAAAAAAAgc/HehOtgA374E/s400/pelleybw%2B1.jpg

Posted by: laloomis | March 16, 2009 12:14 PM | Report abuse

The thing I remember about the Roy Rogers stores was that they always had really lousy french fries. I mean, so bad I wouldn't order them, that bad. But I liked their roast beef sandwiches.

Once upon a time Taylor Pork Roll (a.k.a Taylor's ham) had a few franchise stores, I suppose mainly in the New Jersey area. There used to be stores on the boardwalks in Atlantic City and Ocean City (NJ).

I saw something I never saw before yesterday: a drive-thru Starbucks, and in LaPlata just down the road from us. Anybody else ever seen one? Are they common?

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | March 16, 2009 12:15 PM | Report abuse

Harvest House was correct, Mudge. My high-school bf got me a job at the one in NE Philly where he worked, when I was a sophomore. Worked there until I went away to college, it was my second job. I started out as counter help then was promoted to bookeeper. Wonderful burgers!

I still use the Philadelphia Free Library in the same shopping center.

Posted by: -dbG- | March 16, 2009 12:19 PM | Report abuse

TBG, gwe, am I correct in announcing I'll be @ TBG's the first Friday (and Saturday) of April?

Posted by: -dbG- | March 16, 2009 12:21 PM | Report abuse

What kind of 'Bonus' is contractually obligated? And what are they using to measure how much should be given?

As a broader point, executive bonuses should be based on long term value. There's way too much ability to increase value short term by sacrificing the long term. I'm thinking about basing it on a 10 year average of performance, something about as long as typical economic cycles... and longer than most CEOs tenures.

And for the local Dairy Queen contingent, there are a few around DC. I pass one daily at Braddock & the Beltway.

Posted by: ScottAMitchell | March 16, 2009 12:24 PM | Report abuse

So I'm not senile after all! Thanks, dbG. I *knew* there was a Harvest House. But the old, original chain that formed (I think out of Chicago) that built itself at reailroad stops was the Harvey House. The Harvest House I was thinking of was on Broad St. near Chestnut, dbG, next to a theater and the Bellevue Stratford Hotel where Legionaire's Disease was first discovered. Which theater was that?

Dottir#1 was a McDonald's worker back in the day when she was 16. In those days, they had timers, and you had to clear a customer at the drive-thru window in 60 seconds, or there was hell to pay, managers came running, etc. Man, are THOSE days long gone.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | March 16, 2009 12:26 PM | Report abuse

Let's just say f'rinstance that AIG had been allowed to go toes-up. Wouldn't these employees with "contractually obligated" bonuses be left standing in line for the money like any other creditor?

Believe me, I've worked for companies that paid bonuses (performance-based, but that's a whole nother story), and they sure didn't consider them contractually-based. And besides, who has an employment contract other than top execs? OK, now I'm just ranting...

Posted by: Raysmom | March 16, 2009 12:32 PM | Report abuse

I all for giving the AIG execs their full bonuses ... after they receive the public floggings they so richly deserve. And not with a wet noodle either.

Posted by: BlueTwo1 | March 16, 2009 12:36 PM | Report abuse

For good or bad The name of the company that owns most of the Roy Rogers in the area is Plamondon(based our of frederick MD),they also are in the hotel business and I work for them in Hagerstown MD.I do have discounts at Roy Rogers!! and your right Mudge,their fries suck.

Wow ,TBG it is a small world,I worked as a counterboy too,but moved onto to a seafood fast food chain after 6 months.

And yes dbG,the first Saturday in April,the 4th, all are welcome to west by god for a western bph.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | March 16, 2009 12:37 PM | Report abuse

There are a couple of Dairy Queens still around here, Mudge. The burger I *loved* when I was small was from Toddle House.

I remember the first time I went to McDonald's. My oldest nephew was driving and he took all the younger kids, I must have been seven or eight. It was the first time I ever had anything besides a plain hamburger.

There are still a couple of South 21 Drive-in restaurants in Charlotte, one on South Boulevard and one on East Independence. Their burgers are worth the effort to sit in the car. Sonic still does the drive-in thing too, but they are mostly a small-town chain.

Posted by: slyness | March 16, 2009 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Sonic has hit Philly at last, they're always busy. Checkers is still here, with both a right and left-hand drive through (for those people who have passengers).

Don't remember the theatre's name, Mudge, but I saw *Cleopatra* there, I think.

Lunch bph at gwe's?

Posted by: -dbG- | March 16, 2009 12:46 PM | Report abuse

After showering, eating breakfast, having coffee and boodling for a little while, I decided I was well enough to go into work.

Went upstairs, got dressed and ready for work. Actually sat in the car--and realized I am not well enough for work. Boodling? Yes. Work? No. That can wait until tomorrow.

Posted by: -TBG- | March 16, 2009 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Howdy y'all. Umbrage and indignation all around re: AIG. Yes, I know the rational arguments etc., but these guys fall so firmly into the Just Don't Get It category. "Not With Our Money" and "It's Not a Game" should be on the mob signs, jumper & curmudgeon. Meanwhile I'm working on those Motions to Impale, along with Motions To Dismember and Tar and Feather (not necessarily in that order). Also Motions to Rescind. AIG broke what was, if alas not explicit, implied in the contract: they wouldn't goof off with out bailout money. Give it back.

There are Roy Rogers still here, and LOTS of Dairy Queens. You can drive in Texas and New Mexico and eat only in Dairy Queens, stopping in small towns. They're regional, too; Texas ones have lots of red chili options, while in New Mexico they have green chile options on the food menu. Not so much the ice cream, yet.

Posted by: Ivansmom | March 16, 2009 12:49 PM | Report abuse

I remember the A&W stand in Riverside CA. Great hamburgers (or so I thought at the time, but what would a college student know) and the root beer mugs were so cold that 1/2" of ice would form on them. It was closed for the 3 or 4 cold months of the year. I understand A&W stores now mostly share with other brands owned by the parent (in Malaysia) including KFC.

Posted by: Jim19 | March 16, 2009 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Fast food now here is a topic where I have expertise, we have a local DQ nearby - like there burgers but the quality has gone done some over the years - as for the ice cream/slushes have yet to find one I do not like. A trip to DQ when I was young was a regular occurance - it was the seasonal type open only in the summer - still remember the joy of going there on a hot summer night.

My favorite fast food (chain) is a Canadian chain - Harvey's, not sure if they are across the country or just in my area - very good burgers for fast food - plus you pick what toppings you want, but their fries are not as good as when they were a small chain, used to have the skins still on the fries but those went away when they teamed up with a chicken chain. Best chocolate shakes around, very, very chocolately and very thick.

That said I cannot eat any of this right now, but I now have a surgery date so hopefully in the near future the odd fast food meal will be OK.

As for the world of finance I have no expertise except to wonder how do you get a bonus if your company is bleeding money - the companies I worked for had a requirement that the company achieve a certain profit level before they would pay a bonus - at least to plebes like me.

Posted by: dmd2 | March 16, 2009 12:54 PM | Report abuse

AIG is the world's biggest insurance company. If they didn't pay their numerous claims, then that would undermine even more the already diminished faith in banks across the globe insured with them. The bonuses are an outrage, but at the moment, we have to take the bad taste of the medicine before we all get better. Unfortunately, what the credit default swappers and insane leveragers did was not illegal. Hopefully, the financial sector will face much greater scrutiny and regulation within a year or two. One bit of consolation is that AIG is largely owned by the government now and when that share of AIG is sold off, taxpayers will hopefully be reimbursed for its $170 billion and then some.

Posted by: zvelf | March 16, 2009 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Mmmmmmmmmm... Soft-serve vanilla ice cream with green chile dip! Them's Good Eats!!! *L*

Posted by: Scottynuke | March 16, 2009 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Completely forgot Licks burgers which is also a small local chain - but just on the edge of fast food so it may not qualify - they also have nature burgers/chilli and lasgna which are good, as is their turkey burger.

Posted by: dmd2 | March 16, 2009 12:55 PM | Report abuse

Sonic is huge. With a presence in most states, they have over 3500 drive-ins (nation's largest drive-in chain). They are partly corporate, partly franchise-based (though they cut back on the franchises). Corporate headquarters are here in OKC. I like the food. The menu is surprisingly big for fast food, you can customize every order, and they have good ice cream stuff. Beyond that, the Sonic genius is that it always appears to be a small-town chain, homey and welcoming, and generates a lot of local support wherever it is.

Posted by: Ivansmom | March 16, 2009 1:00 PM | Report abuse

A couple of quick comments:

Mudge, the Starbuck's in Frederick, MD (in the same shopping center the *Nukes and I frequent for Motion Picture Entertainments) has had a drive-thru for some years now. Very Carbucks friendly, as it were...

The bonuses paid AIG execs is unjustifiable at this point, but I cannot help but be amused at the idea where some Americans are up in arms over economic bailout money finding it's way overseas. Um, wasn't America at the forefront of Globalization in the 90's and the '00s? Didn't the US sign NAFTA and push other countries to drop trade barriers with us and aggressively seek to make inroads to other countries' markets for American goods and services and investments (that whole "trading partners" business...)? And I think we Americans *did* benefit, and I think American companies certainly did...

Seems to me that as the American economy has gone all pear shaped and mushy, so has the world economy. And as the US Govt. pumps money into large companies that have international interests, ventures, partners, etc., that some of that money would necessarily find its way through the international financial systems to other countries directly or indirectly. Think the money that the Government put into GM isn't making it's way to Vauxhall, Opel, Holden or GM Canada? Or that the money being used to help Wall Street securities markets isn't benefitting investors/holders of those securities in the Far East and Europe?

All right, I'll stop. But seriously, when the gummint announced what it was going to do to try to stem the Economic Slide, I knew that some of my money would be going to other countries, just as it does when I fill the fuel tank on my car.

And personally, I can live with *that.* Seems to me that when things get bad, people can become more succeptable to demagoguery. I know *I* can feel the temptation...

It seems pretty easy to draw straight lines between the Great Depression (domestically and internationally), the rise of Hitler, Mussolini, et. al. and WWII.

I'm just sayin' is all.

bc

Note: The phrase "Eat the Rich," was not used in the construction of this comment. Thank you.

And if that phrase plants a Motorhead, Krokus, or Aerosmith tune cootie, please feel free to blame me. And if it sends you your bookshelf to pull the PJ O'Rourke volume, enjoy the chuckle, conservatively.

Posted by: -bc- | March 16, 2009 1:10 PM | Report abuse

I feel compelled to add here that I suspect that money pumped into other countries' economic bailout packages (UK, Germany, Japan, China, etc.) may be finding its way into the US.

bc

Posted by: -bc- | March 16, 2009 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Sonic! That's old school!

I saw Stephanopolous yesterday and he at one point was acting like the directors of big companies had the interests of the company at heart. This puzzled me, as I think that's all gone: they care about themselves. It's the new paradigm. They most certainly ARE capable of ruining a company for short term personal gain. In fact there are a whole LOT of them who would crash the entire USA if they could feather their own nests somehow. George Bush's pals, in fact, have already DONE this. And are still doing it.

I think I'd be happier HERE:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/03/15/AR2009031502231_2.html?sid=ST2009031502522

Posted by: Jumper1 | March 16, 2009 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Achenbach, are you at all informed about the issues on which you opine?
Klienwort was actually an English firm acquired by the Commerzbank, and formerly a Primary Dealer in US Securities. In fact almost all of the firms you sight in your article have significant US operations and also employees. If you wish to revive Smoot Hawley you are doing a splendid job, we know how well it worked last time.

Posted by: pondering | March 16, 2009 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Mudge-drive thru Starbucks were becoming quite common when they were still expanding. I stop at one on my way north from St. Paul most trips. The first one I ever saw was some years ago in a small Illinois town on the Interstate. It surely would not have had a Starbucks if not for the highway.

DQ and Subway are indeed the staples of small town fast food. We are too small for such, but our county seat has a brand new DQ open year around (some are still only seasonal), 2 stand alone Subways and another Subway in the new Walmart. They also have McD, BK, KFC, Arbys, Caribou Coffee, Starbucks and 3 independent coffee places (1 drive thru only), Pizza Hut, Applebees and a Ground Round. Quite a big chain and coffee presence for a town of 8,000.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | March 16, 2009 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Hey Joel,

opine away, my dear friend!

Someone who's blogger name that looks a lot like mine has been ranting about the flight overseas for a while. It isn't just the corporations. The bonuses will be overseas in no time, as well.

Posted by: russianthistle | March 16, 2009 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Also, I like frostbitten's comment about the contractual bonuses (very common animals, those). Make AIG refuse to pay the bonuses while receiving bailout money. If the persons scheduled to receive the bonuses complain about breach of contract, let 'em sue. Make 'em all jury trials. Set the venue other than in Delaware (corporate state of choice) or NYC.

We probably won't even have to give jurors torches and pitchforks.

Posted by: Ivansmom | March 16, 2009 1:29 PM | Report abuse

We have DQ's AND drive through Starbucks down here Virginia Beach way. Mmmmm, I can't wait for summer to get a Blizzard from DQ.

One thing we don't have here is a fast food restaurant that is in the same shopping center that bc just described, Chipotle Grill. We love Chipotle Grill and try to get there every time we get to Frederick. Double yum.

Posted by: Kim1 | March 16, 2009 1:33 PM | Report abuse

I'm only posting this because it mentions Coutt's, which reminds me of the Act I finale of The Gondoliers.

"Kleinwort Benson is a leading Private Bank that offers a wide range of financial services to private and corporate clients from offices throughout the United Kingdom and Channel Islands and was voted Best Private Bank 2008 at the Investors Chronicle/Financial Times Wealth Management Awards. The bank has its headquarters on Gresham Street in the heart of the City of London and is supported by seven UK regional and two Channel Island offices.

"Robert Taylor is currently the Chief Executive of Kleinwort Benson and in addition, is a board member of Dresdner Bank Dubai Ltd. Previously, he spent five years with Coutts & Co."

Posted by: Jim19 | March 16, 2009 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Mt. Airy also has a drive-thru Fourbucks. It looks like a converted fast food franchise, hence tying into the fallen fast food franchise topic.

Out in Washington State they have drive-thru coffee kiosks that look like Fotomats with espresso machines inside. I don't know if there is a dominant chain, but they are delicious.

In Atlanta in the 80s there was a chain called D'Lites that had a great salad bar and was like Wendy's, only healthier.

I also used to eat at Del Taco all the time, particularly at the one in Commerce, GA, but they have all vanished on this side of the Mississippi.

Friendly's seems to have fallen on hard times. Their Fringle was great.

The regional chain that I miss a whole lot is Mrs. Winners. Their chicken biscuit is better than Chick-Fil-A's and they are open on Sundays. Do not even mention the McDonalds "southern style" chicken to me. It is an abomination.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 16, 2009 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Right you are, Ivansmom (as usual). And for trials like this, it won't be quite so hard to recruit potential jurors, either. The court will hafta fight 'em off with a stick!

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | March 16, 2009 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Ivansmom-exactly. I wish I did a decent Jon Stewart imitation so I could say "they would sue, and talent would walk" just the way he can. With talent like they've demonstrated we should be afraid they walk?

Posted by: frostbitten1 | March 16, 2009 1:42 PM | Report abuse

When I was making frequent trips between Tampa and Atlanta in a 1979 Toyota Corolla which had no A/C and black vinyl seats, I knew the location of every Dairy Queen along I-75. There were at least a half dozen of them. I imagine most of them are still there.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 16, 2009 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Your insurance policy is where you pay 25 percent taxes and later pay 50 percent taxes. Do you think all this debt is free? Nobody told you about this. Wonder why? This is gov't insurance.

Posted by: artg | March 16, 2009 1:44 PM | Report abuse

yellojkt, converted, indeed.

That Mt. Airy Starbucks used to be a Roy Rogers until about 18 months ago.

bc

Posted by: -bc- | March 16, 2009 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Dairy Queens still live. They're just not in the posh neighborhoods.

I've spotted a couple in rougher neighborhoods in DC, one in the shopping mall in outer Fairfax towards centreville, and DQ infest the Midwest like fleas on a dog.

More secretive, like ticks in the thickets of nowhereville, are the A&W restaurants serving root beer floats, burgers and fish sandwiches.

There is a Roy Rogers in Rosslyn that was independently owned by a franchiser and refused to sell out to Hardees. Still same good roast beef sandwiches and fried chicken.

Those greasy takeouts will never say die; they're the clogged arteries in the heartland of America.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | March 16, 2009 1:49 PM | Report abuse

I just now remembered, dbG. It wasn't a theater (per se); it was the Academy of Music.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | March 16, 2009 1:58 PM | Report abuse

RIP Seattle P-I paper version...

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/03/16/AR2009031601495.html?hpid=moreheadlines

Posted by: -TBG- | March 16, 2009 2:00 PM | Report abuse

I loved D'Lites and was sad when the chain went under. They must have had terrible management. For heavens sake, who went bankrupt in the late 80's?

Fast food and international bailouts financed by American taxpayers - no wonder we have indigestion.

Posted by: slyness | March 16, 2009 2:10 PM | Report abuse

Over the last month or so, I have come to understand that there is a crime in the allocation of bonuses for these financial company execs and upper-crust peons. However, it is a crime against common sense and plain language, not against the criminal code. Attempts to limit extravagant executive compensation have capped the salary they can receive. Instead of controlling the problem, however, they have just squeezed the balloon, which has popped out elsewhere: "bonuses", which are not technically salary (I guess) are awarded automatically in order to maintain a ludicrously high level of executive compensation.

It does seem like some kind of correction should be possible -- "We will let your employer continue to exist and continue to pay you; in exchange for this largesse, you will accept a 50% pay cut through the elimination of all 'bonuses' that are not based on meaningful performance goals. If you do not like this plan, you are free to shop your talents with one of your company's many fine competitors, if any are left still standing."

Posted by: ScienceTim | March 16, 2009 2:13 PM | Report abuse

There is combo A&W/KFC on Liberty Road just inside the Baltimore beltway. It replaced an aging KFC store that was demolished. Yum Foods owns KFC, A&W, Taco Bell, and Long John Silvers. You will see all sorts of random combinations. Down the road from my office is KFC/LJS I haven't ever dared to try. But then I've never been to the Polock Johnny's right across the street.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 16, 2009 2:15 PM | Report abuse

I've watched a couple of those shows on the Food Network covering the history of this or that chain, or of restaurants, etc., but here's something I could never figure out: for a long time hot dogs and hamburgers were more or less "equal" as informal food for Saturday nights, picnic, backyard get-togethers, etc. And any sit-down restaurant that served the one also served the other. But then the fast food chains came along...and the hot dog disappeared and the hamburger not only took over, it dominated. (The *only* chain I'm aware that serves hot dogs is Checkers in this neck of the woods. Or 7-11 and WaWa.) I find this difference inexplicable. Anyone?

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | March 16, 2009 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Both Liar's Poker and Bonfire Of The Vanities discuss how top heavy the salary structure of financial traders is. Bonuses are considered the predominant form of compensation. The base salary is just six-digit chump change to pay the recurring bills. Think of them as salesmen that draw against commissions except that the bonus structure is much more convoluted than a straight percentage of sales. While not strictly analogous, it's a lot closer to the paradigm than the standard salaried or hourly wage slave (like me) where bonuses range from a Christmas ham to a decent (put still two digit) percentage of salary. It's not common to for Masters of the Universe to have a 'bonus' a full order of magnitude greater than their base.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 16, 2009 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Yum Foods also owns Pizza Hut. Taco Bell as the winner of the Fast Food Wars from 'Demolition Man' is not that far-fetched.

mudge,
Blame Ray Kroc. When he bought out the McDonald brothers he based the business around hamburgers and everybody copied him.

For a great rock tribute to Kroc, nothing beats Mark Knopfler and 'Boom Like That'. Which brings us full-circle.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vFUSTz3p_WY

For the YouTube deprived, here is one verse:

These boys have got this down ought to be one of these in every town
These boys have got the touch It's clean as a whistle and it don't cost much
Wham bam don't wait long, shake fries plenty of gum
How about that friendly name, heck, every little thing gotta stay the same
Or my name is not Kroc, that's Kroc with a K
A crocodile is not spelt that way now
It's Dog eat dog, rat eat rat
Kroc style - Boom like that

Posted by: yellojkt | March 16, 2009 2:32 PM | Report abuse

In the ever more maddening department-In addition to litigation aversion, another reason I've heard for the bonus legion being worthy of our largesse is "the long term effect of a reduced pool of talent," presumably when execs walk. I just read that as "we won't have people nearly as knowledgeable in fraud and financial slight of hand."

Posted by: frostbitten1 | March 16, 2009 2:33 PM | Report abuse

That may well be so, yello (I don't doubt that it is so). But it has gotten out of hand. How does "society" (us) rein it in? I put the primary dereliction of duty at the feet of the boards of directors, who aren't doing their jobs properly. (Most are figureheads and synecures anyway.)

I would submit that the difference in "quality" between a CEO who is paid $27 million a year and one who is paid $500,000 a year is approximately...zero. I simply do NOT buy into this argument that you "have" to pay these kinds of salaries and bonuses to "attract top talent"? This is pretty much total bull----. Nobody makes this kind of argument about schoolteachers or cops. (Or rather, when a wealthy jurisdiction DOES make such a claim, we're still talking laughably small amounts of money.)

Nope, it's just a racket. Hang 'em all, say I (this is my flaming, screaming anarchist persona coming to the fore).

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | March 16, 2009 2:33 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, does not A&W serve hot dogs?

bc

Posted by: -bc- | March 16, 2009 2:34 PM | Report abuse

dmd's "Harvey's" would grill you a hot dog Curmudgeon. Plenty of local chain serves them around here, such as "Valentine" and the notorious "La Belle Province", proud home of the greasiest poutine I know.

In Montreal tube steaks in a buns are called "roteux" i.e. burpers and are served steamed with a garnish of cole slaw (chou) and fried or raw onions. hummmmm

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | March 16, 2009 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Five Guys sells hamburgers and hotdogs. (The one around the corner from me is pretty good.)

3235 Plaza Way, Waldorf

For a Dairy queen nearby: 11110 Mall Cir, Waldorf

(Waldorf is near you neck of the woods isn't Mudge?)

Posted by: omnigood | March 16, 2009 2:39 PM | Report abuse

Nope, not blaming Ray Kroc. The fact is that about 35% *didn't* follow him: KFC, Subway, Taco Bell, Popeyes, Boston Market, Arby's, most of the ice cream/custard folks, etc. There was plenty of diversity and "counter-marketing." Just no hot dogs.

Yes, many companies are "copiers," no question. But then there's always somebody who comes along and finds the niche, or does something different. Why are there Frank-n-furters in malls but not on street corners? Why are there Nathan's in lots of places where there's heavy pedestrian traffic? How come there's hot dog vendors all over Washington-- but not a single drive-in chain?

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | March 16, 2009 2:40 PM | Report abuse

NY AG Cuomo issues letter--with subpoena threat--demanding, by 4 p.m. today, that AIG provide names of those receiving those million $$$ bonuses.

http://dealbook.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/03/16/cuomo-seeks-aig-bonus-information/?hp

Posted by: laloomis | March 16, 2009 2:41 PM | Report abuse

mudge & SciTim,

Agree with you both 100% about the outrageousousity of the salaries (bonuses included). Maybe we need to disincentifize the financial raping of our fellow citizens and find away to properly reward public servicedomness. Until then the Other Golden Rule applies.

(all coined words ©2009 by yellojkt)

Posted by: yellojkt | March 16, 2009 2:49 PM | Report abuse

I remember the first time we went to a McDonalds (remember they were walk-ups, with those white tile benches built into the side of the building?) my mom ordered a hot dog. Of course we didn't get one.

Son of G and I visited the site of the original McDonald's in San Bernardino, Calif. Stumbled on it, really. It's now a McDonald's/Route 66 "museum." We had a grand time being shown around by an old-timer who found us in the parking lot and took us into the museum.

http://s5.tinypic.com/23hne42.jpg

Posted by: -TBG- | March 16, 2009 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Dairy Queen has always sold hot dogs. Maybe people just prefer hamburgers. I know I do. The market has spoken.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 16, 2009 2:51 PM | Report abuse

omni, there is NO Dairy Queen on Mall Circle, nor anywhere in Waldorf. Zero. De nada. They lie. (They may have once bought a lot on the circle, but they never built anything. Someone ought to tell corporate, I suppose. Maybe they have an exec somewhere pulling down huge bonuses for the great way he's running the Waldorf Dairy Queen. Or maybe that sucker just has one humongus cloaking device on it.)

Yes, we now have a Five Guys. But they aren't drive-thru. Gotta park your car and walk in. But yes, they do have hot dogs, and I suppose they qualify as fast food. Their french fries are really outstandingly good, and they give you a ton of them. Can't rave too much about how good the Five Guys chain is.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | March 16, 2009 2:51 PM | Report abuse

Except that it hasn't.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | March 16, 2009 2:52 PM | Report abuse

Dairy Queen has great chili dogs; Sonic's can be good... depends on when and where I guess. We'll stop at any restaurant that has "Coney Island" in it's name.

Yeah, Mudge... a good hot dog chain would be great. Easier to eat than a hamburger while driving.

Posted by: -TBG- | March 16, 2009 2:52 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, 7-11 has the market cornered on fast, cheap hot dogs in America. Learm more at:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hot_dogs#Commercial_Preparation

Wilbrodog claims if dogs were allowed in fast food restaurants, hot dogs would be the number one seller at those restaurants.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | March 16, 2009 2:54 PM | Report abuse

Sonic sells hot dogs.

They even still have a Frito chili pie, but now it is in "wrap" format. Probably better for you that way.

Last Friday at NYT Judith Warner had a nice semi-rant on the degradation of "best and the brightest" as applied to Wall Street. It had almost escaped me that the phrase was being used to describe those folks, who've got us in this mess, primarily because they made a lot of money. Back in the day, mine and Warner's, "best and the brightest" didn't mean the people who made a lot of money. To me it still doesn't. And as we've already said here, I think it is self-evident that the label doesn't fit those who either knowingly or recklessly risked everyone else's money, and the nation's economy, for their own short-term gain.

Posted by: Ivansmom | March 16, 2009 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Ooooooh. Bush is coming to Canada for his first speech as former President. Canada is the far-away country he didn't have time to visit in his first mandate. They should detain him at the border for an hour while CATSA rifles through his luggage, confiscate all bottles larger than 3 oz (including those 3.2oz 100ml import aftershave) and make him walk the whole airport length in stocking feet. For a start.

The speech's in Calgary, make sure you have your $4000 ticket Yoki.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20090316.wbush0316/BNStory/National/home
"Footwear has been collected and a cannon has been constructed to toss shoes at an effigy of the much-maligned leader..."
"Bush detractor Pat Westmacott can't believe there's even an audience willing to pay to hear him speak.
“Is he giving squinting lessons?”"

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | March 16, 2009 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Mudge is on the same frequency I'm working on today. If memory serves, some of the McDonald's DID serve hot dogs back in the very early days. Then the dog disappeared. I even think I remember a very brief attempt to re-introduce them to the menu. No go.

I like pondering's mention of Smoot-Hawley. Few get heated about Smoot-Hawley anymore. It's my understanding that it hurt us far more than it helped in the'30s. My opinion is that mild protectionism is beneficial to a country during good times, not bad. (can increase the nation's crediworthiness and provide some revenue and uphold manufacturing and thus the middle class and thus savings, etc.) Of course the globalization lemmings would not hear of it in the '90s. I do not recommend it now.

There are two very good articles in this month's Harpers about the return of usury, and why no one will manufacture stuff if they can get 50% or 30% from credit card lending, (or even 100% from payday loan operations, etc.)
'Infinite Debt: How unlimited interest rates destroyed the economy' — By Thomas Geoghegan. And 'Usury Country: Welcome to the birthplace of payday lending' — By Daniel Brook

Posted by: Jumper1 | March 16, 2009 3:01 PM | Report abuse

In our neck of the woods, Wilbrod, WaWa is kicking 7-11's butt. Bigger, nicer, cleaner, (much) better food, and they have restrooms. All the 7-11s are going downhill, and all five in Waldorf now have immigrant owner/operators: Indian, Sikh, Pakistan, or whatever.

They compete against four better-located, mega-WaWa stores.

In our region, far and away the best-trained, most-polite employees in any fast food/convenience store is (1) Chik-fil-A by a landslide, (2) Checker's, (3) WaWa. McDonald's -- which used to be the gold standard -- is now among the worst.

How about other regions? You guys notice approximately the same?

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | March 16, 2009 3:05 PM | Report abuse

I did go to a Chipotles once. They have a strong desire to stuff a lot of rice in my burrito. Since I consider this some sort of insanity akin to sawdust, (although I'm sure they consider themselves VERY CLEVER for adding to their profit margins) I will not return.

Posted by: Jumper1 | March 16, 2009 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Mudge... the DQ appears to be *in* the mall, attached to an Orange Julius...

http://www.simon.com/mall/tenant_details.aspx?ID=123&TID=10064

Posted by: -TBG- | March 16, 2009 3:12 PM | Report abuse

Ah, but Jumper... you can ask for no rice at Chipotle, just more lettuce. It's delicious that way, especially in a bowl. The pork they serve is excellent. Mmmm.... love Chipotle. It used to be partly owned by McDonald's, but not anymore.

Posted by: -TBG- | March 16, 2009 3:15 PM | Report abuse

Andrew Jackson got rid of the National Bank because he thought they were irreparably corrupt? Perhaps we need to start it back up, because the Federal Reserve System is irreparably corrupt?

Posted by: Jumper1 | March 16, 2009 3:16 PM | Report abuse

I'm not much of a fast-food devotee, but yes, Chik-fil-A is the top of the heap, service-wise. I like Bojangles's food, but their service can be real spotty, as can the cleanliness of some of the older restaurants. Wendy's is pretty dependable for service and food quality. The last time I was in Arby's, I wasn't impressed with the salad I got. And Taco Bell: I got shortchanged at the one closest to my house, so I vowed never to return. The point is moot; not long thereafter, somebody set the place on fire and it burned down.

Posted by: slyness | March 16, 2009 3:19 PM | Report abuse

The Masters of the Universe can breathe a sigh of relief. The world has furnished them with someone who makes them look relatively good, by comparison: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/03/16/AR2009031600398.html?hpid=moreheadlines

Posted by: ScienceTim | March 16, 2009 3:20 PM | Report abuse

The Post had an excellent 3-part series on the rise and fall of the Financial Products Division of AIG (which invented and marketed credit default swaps). I can't find it anywhere on the site. Does anyone else remember this article? Has anyone else found it?

Thank you for your kind attention.


CowTown

Posted by: jp1954 | March 16, 2009 3:20 PM | Report abuse

My Dad rean the DQ owned by his Dad when we were kids. One of the perks was this way cool surret, complete withthe fringe on top.. We drove the wheels off it. My favourite DQ is the one in Charlotte, on Wilkinson Blvd. The one we frequented the most is a walk-up on Central Ave, within walking distance from my old house. Pike's, a real soda fountain, was little more than a stone throw's away from home. We would take the kids there. Then there was Spoons...

Posted by: -jack- | March 16, 2009 3:23 PM | Report abuse

Funny, Mudge.. your region and mine are so different. We may have some Chik-fil-As in the malls, but none outside. And we have no Wa-Wa or Checkers in Fairfax. You've got to go out to Prince William County to find those chains.

Posted by: -TBG- | March 16, 2009 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Count me among the Chipotle fans. I ate faux Chipotle many times last week. Cooked up the rice and pork on Sunday and made burritos for lunch and dinner until I could stand no more. (Wednesday)

The Twin Cities have Chipotle and a smaller similar chain I like (the name escapes me). I like a Florida burrito chain called Moes, but they don't offer pork.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | March 16, 2009 3:27 PM | Report abuse

There used to be Naugles in St. Louis, serving what we perceived as a pretty good burrito. I seem to recall they had maps showing stores in the southeast. Last time I was in St. Louis, Naugles had become a DelTaco, serving pretty much the same food. I'm not sure whether they were bought out, or just changed the name to one more evocative of the menu.

Posted by: ScienceTim | March 16, 2009 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Hey CowTown

I think this is what your looking for:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/business/risk/index.html

Posted by: omnigood | March 16, 2009 3:29 PM | Report abuse

John Galt? Oh, he's also known as Nicholas Biddle...

Jack, mini or midi CLT BPH upcoming... You too, Slyness. You in, Bailey?

Posted by: Jumper1 | March 16, 2009 3:29 PM | Report abuse

My attempts to find a metaphor are failed. Jackson is not Obama, the Fed is not the Second National Bank, John Galt is not Nicholas Biddle, and Davy Crockett is not Joe Biden.

Posted by: Jumper1 | March 16, 2009 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, Omnigood. Folks (and Boss), everything you need to know about what AIG was selling, how it worked, and how it failed is in this series, "The Beautiful Machine." It's a Post classic that deserves accolades.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/12/28/AR2008122801916.html


CowTown

Posted by: jp1954 | March 16, 2009 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of Coney Island, here I am in front of a chain that offers hot dogs at many malls and a good number of turnpike stops:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/yellojkt/1023690217/in/set-72157601247938213/

And a better picture of the store itself:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/yellojkt/1024552594/in/set-72157601247938213/

I like Chipotle. I get it fajita style which means peppers and onions instead of beans. One of those suckers has plenty of calories, with or without rice.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 16, 2009 3:46 PM | Report abuse

Guys? The mall is a mile from my house. I've been in that mall a thousand times. My bus stop for the past 6 years has been at the mall. I get my Aunt Annie's pretzels there. I get my Boardwalk Fries there. I don't get my Cinnebons there only because I keep my death wish reined in, but if I ever decided to say Goodbye Cruel World, it might very well be death-by-Cinnebons at that very mall.

Please. I'm. Telling. You.

There. Is. No. Dairy. Queen. In. Or. At. Or. Close. To. That. Mall. Also. There. Is. No. Orange. Julius. Never. Has. Been.

You gonna believe me, or something you found on the Internet?

No Dairy Queen. No Orange Julius.

Don't make me do this, but I can tell you from memory the name of every restaurant on the mall circle, and every one inside in the food court and elsewhere in that mall. (There ain't all that many, and I'm not yet *that* senile.) Believe me. Trust me. No Dairy Queen.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | March 16, 2009 3:47 PM | Report abuse

The longer we continue to believe that the Federal government is capable of promulgating an effective and expensive program, the worse things will continue to become. Look back through history and find how many government programs have had their intended effect, been measured for effectiveness or were able to sustain themselves. A new administration in the same government system is unable to orchestrate change.

Posted by: Justlistening | March 16, 2009 3:51 PM | Report abuse

SciTim -- Naugles!! THE best! There was a Naugles in my hometown of Lancaster, CA back in the day and I was definitely a frequent flyer there. We would go out on weekend nights and our last stop would be Naugles. It doesn't get any better than a macho red burrito and a Dr. Pepper at midnight, it just doesn't...

I remember one summer when my father was TDY for a long time and EVERY Wednesday while he was away, my mom would send me to Naugles because they had 6 tacos for a dollar! Can you imagine? I'd putt home in my green VW bug with a gazillion tacos for the 7 kids....good times.

When my brother went to Great Lakes for basic training back in the early '80's, he called me LONG DISTANCE (big deal in those days) to tell me there was a Naugles on the way to the airport and he was bringing red burritos home with him on the plane. We actually ate them! In those days, Maryland had nothing in the way of Mexican food, fast or otherwise, so it was like manna from heaven. Now I can't believe that we ate them.

Love Mo's too, Frosti, but it doesn't compare to Naugles.

Posted by: Kim1 | March 16, 2009 3:54 PM | Report abuse

Is it just me, or does Press Secretary Robert Gibbs' vocal tic of "ummmm" drive you nuts? I don't think I've heard him utter a single sentence since the end of the campaign without one.

I know Obama does it, but when he does it he seems thoughtful. When Gibbs does it, he seems like he's being evasive or overly parsing his words.

I trust them both, but the "optics" (as the kids call it these days) just doesn't look good.

Posted by: martooni | March 16, 2009 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Chick-Fil-A was founded by Truett Cathy, a devout Baptist which is why they are closed on Sunday. My college roommate WHO grew up in College Park (the JoJa one, not the Merlin one) claimed that you had to be a deacon or higher to get a franchise. Rings true based on the fresh-scrubbed faces you see behind the counter at most locales. My son has been to the original Dwarf House, but I haven't.

I worked at a Wendys in high school and most of my coworkers were dancerettes and cheerleaders and the like. We also had frantic customer service standards. There are some locations that are so slow and poorly kept that it makes me feel sad to have once worn a '256' pin.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 16, 2009 3:55 PM | Report abuse

'Mudge, as long as the mall lacks a Whizzo's Chocolate Shoppe, we're good.

:-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | March 16, 2009 3:57 PM | Report abuse

Was that McDonalds in San Berdoo (towards Colton) the original one? I went there sometimes while in college oh, maybe 45 years ago. And Rockwell's Space Shuttle plant in Downey was near another one that claimed some sort of historical monument status and kept the old arches.

LTL-CA

Posted by: Jim19 | March 16, 2009 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Hellebore flowers are coming out, sorry just was so excited had to state that, another beautiful sunny day here, not sure what we did to deserve this but it is wonderful.

Jack your Dad ran the DQ? Have you seen the commercial for career day at school by DQ - love that. I think I would have weighed a lot if my dad ran the DQ.

http://www.adweek.com/aw/content_display/news/agency/e3ie0a3689a2b356c4a7c5e0235ad26bf06

Posted by: dmd2 | March 16, 2009 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Hellebore!! One of Dr. Maturin's favorite nostrums was hellebore (that and his Big Blue Pill). Have no clue what it did or didn't do (but then, neither did Maturin). But he loved prescribing doses of hellebore, and all other "purgatives."

From Wiki we learn it is often poinsonous (no surprise there):

"In the early days of medicine, two kinds of hellebore were recognized: black hellebore, which included various species of Helleborus, and white hellebore, now known as Veratrum album ("false hellebore"), which belongs to a different plant family, the Melanthiaceae [2]. Although the former plant is highly toxic, containing veratrine and the teratogens cyclopamine and jervine, it is believed to be the "hellebore" used by Hippocrates as a purgative. California corn lily is similar in appearance to V. album and has sometimes been mistaken for it.[citation needed]

"Black hellebore" was used by the ancients in paralysis, gout and other diseases, more particularly in insanity. "Black hellebore" is also toxic, causing tinnitus, vertigo, stupor, thirst, a feeling of suffocation, swelling of the tongue and throat, emesis and catharsis, bradycardia (slowing of the pulse), and finally collapse and death from cardiac arrest.[3] However, although Helleborus niger (black hellebore or Christmas rose) contains protoanemonin[4], or ranunculin, [5] which has an acrid taste and can cause burning of the eyes, mouth and throat, oral ulceration, gastroenteritis and hematemesis.[6], research in the 1970s showed that its roots do not contain the cardiotoxic compounds helleborin, hellebrin and helleborein responsible for the lethal reputation of "black hellebore". It seems that earlier studies may have used a commercial preparation containing a mixture of material from other species such as H. viridis, green hellebore.[7]

Folklore and historical usage
Several legends surround the hellebore; in witchcraft it is believed to have ties to summoning demons. Helleborus niger is commonly called the Christmas rose, due to an old legend that it sprouted in the snow from the tears of a young girl who had no gift to give the Christ child in Bethlehem.

In Greek mythology, Melampus of Pylos used hellebore to save the daughters of the king of Argos from a madness, induced by Dionysus, that caused them to run naked through the city, crying, weeping, and screaming. [Gosh, I remember those days. We use to sell tickets to watch the girls run. OK, back to Wiki:]

During the Siege of Kirrha in 585 BC, hellebore was reportedly used by the Greek besiegers to poison the city's water supply. The defenders were subsequently so weakened by diarrhea that they were unable to defend the city from assault.

"Some historians believe that Alexander the Great died because of a hellebore overdose, when he took it as medication." [Before my time, so I can't say.]

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | March 16, 2009 4:19 PM | Report abuse

hoho, it's time to remove the styrofoam cone from the Christmas roses then. As dmd pointed out, they may come out a Christmas in the Old Country but they are Spring flowers around here.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | March 16, 2009 4:23 PM | Report abuse

There is a Dairy Queen/Orange Julius combo in Arundel Mills Mall. I make my wife buy a large classic Julius because I steal a few sips. Maybe almost half. Okay, nearly the whole thing.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 16, 2009 4:26 PM | Report abuse

For fans of DQ like me, do not go to their website and use their nutrition calculator - I love their Moolattes but WOW and the waffle turtle sundae I crave - right up their with Mudge's death by Cinnabon, (really what a way to go).

Great info on Hellebores Mudge, I shall have to look up my varieties.

Posted by: dmd2 | March 16, 2009 4:34 PM | Report abuse

Son of G is currently packing his car and my van for his move to Charlotte tomorrow. (I'm going on Friday with my vanload). This is The Real Thing. He's moving out on his own. Shouldn't I be freaking out more?

The past year with him home (and months of that working with me daily) have been wonderful. I'm going to miss him a lot. But I'm excited about his plans for the future (community college, working) and think he's ready now... readier than he was in the fall of 2007.

In the past year he's also been to Europe and spent a month driving back and forth across the US. He's worked a few jobs (including as a car salesman) and has figured out more about what he wants to do with his life--at least he's figured out what he DOESN'T want to do.

Posted by: -TBG- | March 16, 2009 4:39 PM | Report abuse

TBG,
The real key is that SoG not only knows what he doesn't want to do, he is also not doing it anymore. There's an important distinction there. Good luck to him on his move.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 16, 2009 4:42 PM | Report abuse

Good Luck to Son of G, I am sure he has learned as much if not more in the last year with his experiences as he would have at school.

Posted by: dmd2 | March 16, 2009 4:46 PM | Report abuse

We'll freak out for you, TBG. *getting all verklempt*

You'll freak about a week after he's gone. One day, at 2:17 in the afternoon. For no reason at all.

Have kleenex and chocolates on standby.

Did I mention to you that SofG is the second-coolest young person I know? He is.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | March 16, 2009 4:47 PM | Report abuse

Please tell a confused Californian -- what is the name of heaven is "WaWa?"

And anyone from California and yearning for a Foster's Freeze? We had one right in my picturesque small town until this year, and there is still one out in Morro Bay.

Posted by: nellie4 | March 16, 2009 4:54 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, In my opinion, Son of G IS the coolest young person I know, and I know cool!

Good luck, SofG, in your new endeavors.

We'll all miss you!

Posted by: rickoshea0 | March 16, 2009 4:59 PM | Report abuse

To think I support slow food...

Tonight will be chicken-fried turkey steak w/cream gravy, w/baked potatoes full of cheese, mushrooms and some o' that cream gravy. And peas, I think.

Posted by: Jumper1 | March 16, 2009 4:59 PM | Report abuse

My dear,

You are extremely naive.

Posted by: Gatsby1 | March 16, 2009 5:03 PM | Report abuse

I am completely charmed by the possibilities in Gatsby's somewhat cryptic observation. Is this Gatsby's comment on the Kit, and he is complimenting (or otherwise) Joel on his naivete, refreshing in one so experienced? [Oh admit it, y'all who, like me, are Joel's age or older, wouldn't it be nice to be called naive?] Or is Gatsby referring to the fast food discussion which has as so often developed a nostalgic twist? Or was Gatsby commenting on Jumper's assertion of a slow-food evening meal (sounds great, I'll be over soon)?

Does anyone remember Tastee Freeze? This was the first and for a long time only fast-food option of my childhood. Then they opened a Braums - a relatively local, now regional, phenomenon with great ice cream. When we moved back from California we could buy two ice cream cones for less than the price of one in Santa Barbara. Also real cherry limeades. Good times.

Posted by: Ivansmom | March 16, 2009 5:15 PM | Report abuse

How condescending of you.

Posted by: Jumper1 | March 16, 2009 5:15 PM | Report abuse

Some of us are looking forward to having SofG close by...He will be fine, and so will you, TBG. As long as we have cell phones and internet connections, there's no such thing as empty nest syndrome.

Of course, I can say that. Elderdottir lives 10 minutes away, Thirddottir is half an hour away, and Geekdottir is reachable between here and Alabama, anytime after 12 noon. But not before.

Posted by: slyness | March 16, 2009 5:18 PM | Report abuse

Heh heh. I love to call people naive. It makes me feel so... superior. Not.

Posted by: Jumper1 | March 16, 2009 5:18 PM | Report abuse

Chris Matthews blowing again. I wonder if Obama's "every legal means" includes conspiracy to defraud the shareholders? (bonuses). I'd say the Compensation Boards ALWAYS conspire with the Corporate board who hired them, to rip off the shareholders. But that's just me.

Posted by: Jumper1 | March 16, 2009 5:21 PM | Report abuse

How did I totally miss that SoG's new place is in Charlotte?

Safe trip, all good things!

Posted by: -dbG- | March 16, 2009 5:53 PM | Report abuse

Great Falls, MT did not have a McDonald's, however, we had a spin-off called Sandy's complete with Scottish theme: plaid and tam o' shanter.

Wikipedia also tells us that Sandy's was bought by Hardees, but the MT operations -- Billings and GF -- changed names to Sandie's and Zandy's to continue.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sandy%27s_Drive-In

I should say that we mostly enjoyed delivery pizza from Howard's Pizza Villa, including a version with sauerkraut and German sausage.

Occasionally, we older ones would go with my dad to the Sip and Dip Bar for Shirley Temples and a chance to see the live Mermaid show in the pool glass behind the bar. http://www.ohairemotorinn.com/?p=sipanddip
Frosti, we always saw some Airman at the bar, in uniform, but off the Malstrom AFB.


We moved to Visalia, CA in the late seventies and enjoyed Mearle's: a pink stucco neon delight complete with bar hop service.
http://www.agilitynut.com/eateries/cadi.html


---
Kim, I ate at Naugles -- hot salad and a red burrito -- the summer I took chemistry --advanced quantitative methods at UC Riverside. Loved the food. Hated the running and biking was a bad idea on the bad air alert days. If you scroll down on the agility nut sight you will see the old Ontario, CA Grinder Haven drive in and several Snow White Drive-ins.

To other locals: my dots loved the cafeteria line at Hot Shoppes at University and New Hampshire aves to eat a tiny bowl of mac and cheese, followed by a pudding cup. I think this cost 78 cents plus a drink.

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | March 16, 2009 6:23 PM | Report abuse

Great Falls, MT did not have a McDonald's, however, we had a spin-off called Sandy's complete with Scottish theme: plaid and tam o' shanter.

Wikipedia also tells us that Sandy's was bought by Hardees, but the MT operations -- Billings and GF -- changed names to Sandie's and Zandy's to continue.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sandy%27s_Drive-In

I should say that we mostly enjoyed delivery pizza from Howard's Pizza Villa, including a version with sauerkraut and German sausage.

Occasionally, we older ones would go with my dad to the Sip and Dip Bar for Shirley Temples and a chance to see the live Mermaid show in the pool glass behind the bar. http://www.ohairemotorinn.com/?p=sipanddip
Frosti, we always saw some Airman at the bar, in uniform, but off the Malstrom AFB.


We moved to Visalia, CA in the late seventies and enjoyed Mearle's: a pink stucco neon delight complete with bar hop service.
http://www.agilitynut.com/eateries/cadi.html


---
Kim, I ate at Naugles -- hot salad and a red burrito -- the summer I took chemistry --advanced quantitative methods at UC Riverside. Loved the food. Hated the running and biking was a bad idea on the bad air alert days. If you scroll down on the agility nut sight you will see the old Ontario, CA Grinder Haven drive in and several Snow White Drive-ins.

To other locals: my dots loved the cafeteria line at Hot Shoppes at University and New Hampshire aves to eat a tiny bowl of mac and cheese, followed by a pudding cup. I think this cost 78 cents and included a drink.

What about all the Red Barn restaurants that are now Mom and Pop take-away Asian or laundromats....?

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | March 16, 2009 6:28 PM | Report abuse

Fie on my for the long double posts.

For hot dogs, there was
Pup n Taco (Taco Bell now, I think) and
Der Weinersnitzel, both in CA.

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | March 16, 2009 6:31 PM | Report abuse

CP-We had Der Weinersnitzel in Newport News and Hampton VA in the '70s. There was also one in Tampa, but how long it's been a car/van upholstery shop I can't say.

My favorite Mexican drive thru is Taco John's. The Cheyenne, WY based chain is a zillion times better than Taco Bell (and has great tater tots). The farthest east and south I've ever seen one is in Clarksville, TN.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | March 16, 2009 6:45 PM | Report abuse

As kid we had limited fast-food dining choices. There was A&W, home of the pappa burger, momma burger, and teen burger. This was a great place to get an over-sized container of rootbeer before the family headed off to the drive-in movie theater to see "Tora! Tora! Tora!"

Then there was Herfy's, home of the Herfy burger. You could get blue-cheese sauce in a squeeze bottle at the condiment station.

Of, course, if you wanted to go foreign there was Shakey's Pizza. They showed Laurel and Hardy movies, and is where my brothers and I first beheld the wonder that was Pong.

Or, for a fancy place, you could go to the Spaghetti Factory, where they served spumante ice cream for dessert.

As I got older there was the Forbidden City Chinese restaurant. This was the only place where I have ever seen an actual real-life condom machine in the men's room.

Finally, when I was in high school, we entered the big-leagues as a city. Yep, we got one of them "McDonald's" places.

Just in time for me to work there.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | March 16, 2009 6:45 PM | Report abuse

Nellie, I don't think anyone has answered you as yet. WaWa started off three or four decades ago as a convenience store similar to 7-11. I don't know their home nor the extent of their region. But a decade or so ago (maybe more?) they started adding gas stations, or rather, putting these big gas stations in front of their locations. In this region, anyway, the property size is almost always very large, often on a corner or major intersection (great site planning/scouting by their acquistion people). Their gas is usually either the cheapest around, or if undercut by the weird brand X gas stations, then they are usually the cheapest big name/reliable stations. Invariably they have a very large, very well stocked coffee bar section with never less than a dozen or so pots of coffee, which is always hot and usaually pretty fresh. One entire wall of every one I've ever been in is devoted to a food counter/deli area with computers for ordering. There is very good variety (for what it is), and all stuff made to order. (Even stuff like creamed dried beef.)

They also have a large display a few feet away that always has pre-made sandwiches, especially wraps, and also a variety of pre-made salads, hard-boiled eggs, fresh fruit, and other similar things, etc. They also have large Philly-style pretzels at the checkout counter. They have a very full soda section, and a very large section of pastries, donuts, Tastykake-brand stuff.

All in all, they whip the local 7-11s hands down, at least in this area.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | March 16, 2009 7:02 PM | Report abuse

Okay, Boodle, It's all your fault! There I was at CVS picking up one of my million prescriptions, and I found myself at 5 Guys. I hate myself! I am easily led, I realize. I don't even like 5 Guys. It is grease personified. But I ate every bit of it, and about 1/4 of the fries.

Posted by: rickoshea0 | March 16, 2009 7:03 PM | Report abuse

Wawa is headquartered in Wawa, PA. Sheetz, another PA based gas station/food mart, is also good. They were in quite a war for brand loyalty in Prince William when we lived there. There were two Wawas on my way to work. One convenient for the trip to, one from. I never had a bad cup of coffee at either one.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | March 16, 2009 7:27 PM | Report abuse

Oh, both Wawa and Sheetz have pretty snazzy web sites. Y'all can google so I won't link.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | March 16, 2009 7:29 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, frosti, thank you for the Wawa info -- how do I not know that, we only left Falls Church in '97!

Posted by: nellie4 | March 16, 2009 7:55 PM | Report abuse

So, the little headline for this story says the guy had "$45K" in his pajamas - but the story says it was $4500...and it never decribes the pajamas (big pockets? stuffed in the shirt?)...
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/03/16/AR2009031602289.html?hpid=topnews

Posted by: seasea | March 16, 2009 7:59 PM | Report abuse

Upon buying a new vehicle in NoVa a few years ago, the salesperson admonished me not to patronize WaWa...

"'Cause they put so much wa-wa in the gas!"

I did not share the salesperson's amusement.

But the chain's somewhat recent radio ads, featuring creative use of a guitar and wah-wah pedal, were snort-worthy indeed.

:-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | March 16, 2009 8:08 PM | Report abuse

A tour of the Wawa web site has caused tremendous hunger and also caused me to ask my husband to please go get us a pizza --- thanks, guys!

Posted by: nellie4 | March 16, 2009 8:13 PM | Report abuse

I have it from usually reliable sources that the WaWa across the street from William & Mary College is exceedingly popular.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | March 16, 2009 8:36 PM | Report abuse

RD -- did you like the spumoni? When we moved to Port Orchard many years ago, we took our three kids out to dinner on my birthday. Nice Italian place in Bremerton. At dessert time I was delighted to see spumoni on the menu; I told the kids it had always been one of my favorites, and we all ordered it. Each child took one bite and burst into tears! That candied fruit did *not* work for them!

Posted by: nellie4 | March 16, 2009 8:46 PM | Report abuse

What is the significance of the 256 pin?

"Justlistening" makes a provocative statement of dogmatic faith, that no expensive government program has ever been effective. Evidently, he feels that the current financial crisis has been *because* of government programs, not because of unregulated capitalism. Let me do a few greatest hits among government programs off the top of my head:
* WWII
* rural electrification
* public education (complain all you like -- it's a lot better than what we had 200+ years ago when there was no public education at all).
* land grant colleges
* the interstate highway system
* municipal sewer systems
* municipal water systems
* the Post Office (yeah, yeah: FedEx et al. were created to compete with the P.O., but they didn't create the model).

Posted by: ScienceTim | March 16, 2009 8:51 PM | Report abuse

There is a Sheetz on Route 29 about halfway between here and Charlottesville. It's across the street from a great little hot dog/pizza place called Pete's.

One day my niece and her husband were heading up from C'ville and my niece had to go to the bathroom. The Sheetz is an excellent place for such a stop (clean, big restrooms) but my sweet, usually quite ladylike niece pondered out loud whether she should "pee at Sheetz or sh*t at Pete's."

Posted by: -TBG- | March 16, 2009 8:54 PM | Report abuse

Tim, can we add:

* the space program (landing on the moon in 10 years of start-up)
* wiping out scores of diseases
* the Peace Corps
* providing safety nets for millions of people who'd have none otherwise
*increase in national seat belt use rates from about 50 percent to current level of 83 percent, with estimated thousands upon thousands of lives saved
* Tang

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | March 16, 2009 9:00 PM | Report abuse

Teflon, too.

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | March 16, 2009 9:12 PM | Report abuse

CowTown et. al.,
Terry Gross interviewed Gretchen Morgensen (sp?), NYT financial stuff writer, about AIG today. Very informative.

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=101936770

*Human Genome Project

Posted by: DNA_Girl | March 16, 2009 9:19 PM | Report abuse

Nellie - yes I loved it. Realize that the spumoni (Not *spumante* as I originally typed. Although ice cream based on sparkling wine does sound good.) I recall was a very simple green ice cream. I don't recall any candied fruits. I just remember the exotic flavor of pistachios. Of course, my memory may be faulty. It is many years now.

The other gourmet wonder I certainly recall from those meals at Spaghetti Factory was whipped garlic butter. This, to me, was the ultimate in sophistication.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | March 16, 2009 9:19 PM | Report abuse

Dear RD, a poem for you:

There once was a girl from anywhere
Who liked to eat that Italian-fare.
She tried the spumani
She'd rather spumanti
The girl bypassed the candied-ware

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | March 16, 2009 9:48 PM | Report abuse

Add public safety to the list, SciTim, including law enforcement, fire protection, and EMS services.

Posted by: slyness | March 16, 2009 9:50 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and can we add the Internet? I seem to recall that it was a military project. bc will be able to give us the history, I'm sure.

Posted by: slyness | March 16, 2009 9:52 PM | Report abuse

Does anybody know how much of the AIG bonus pool is paid to, for example, IT folk who keep their head down and do work unrelated to the bets made by the masters of the universe? A $K or two, multiplied by tens of thousands of employees, adds up.

LTL-CA -- who happens to work in IT at a bank

Posted by: Jim19 | March 16, 2009 9:58 PM | Report abuse

Wow. SoG is moving to the Queen City. I knew he was intending to move south, but I missed the destination. We have to take him to Lupie's. Keep me posted regarding the QCBPH. Hey, slyness.

Posted by: -jack- | March 16, 2009 9:59 PM | Report abuse

Listening to that Fresh Air interview as I type. Very, very lucid explanation of credit default swaps and the AIG mess.

A few other things I'd rather see gummint do than the market...
We love to hate them, and can always find fault, but would we really want to get rid of all government license schemes. Should the airlines license their own pilots? Yes, the market would punish the ones that killed a bunch of people, but I prefer my safety mechanisms to come before the fact.

I suppose we could go back to letting houses burn if the occupant doesn't pay a private fire company. Property taxes might go down without having to pay for a fire dept, but then you'd just pay out from another pot for insurance.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | March 16, 2009 10:00 PM | Report abuse

frosti, I heard an explanation of how Bear Stearnes went down the loo on Marketplace a few days ago. Seems as if the overnight lending reached the level of 75 billion per day. ceditors began to get nervous about all of the money tied up in CDS and called for more collateral before sums of money would be lent on an overnight basis. BS was up to their eyes in BS and threw in the towel. I suspect that AIG was in the same leaky boat. Barney Frank was on the news hour statig that since the gov't has 80% ownership in AIG, that they were in a position to decide whether the execs should receive their bonuses. I'm with you: let them fight for it in court.

Posted by: -jack- | March 16, 2009 10:12 PM | Report abuse

I think the bonuses are going to executives - or the idiots who made the decisions that got us into this. But I could be wrong. This is from a story in the WaPo yesterday:
"AIG officials say that some of the upcoming bonuses are relatively modest once they are divided among employees. About 4,700 people in the company's global insurance units are receiving $600 million in retention pay. In addition, about $121 million in corporate bonuses will go to more than 6,400 people, for an average payout of about $19,000, according to AIG."

I've worked in IT for practically my whole career, and the bonuses I've gotten have been a couple thousand bucks, at best. And I don't have a contract. One place I worked gave us a turkey once, and a crisp 100 dollar bill one year.

Bah.

Posted by: seasea | March 16, 2009 10:18 PM | Report abuse

My wife shakes her head at me because I call Royal Farms stores Majik Markets because that was the convenience store chain in Florida. The nickname for them was Tragic Mark-up.

The original Wendy's hamburger had a choice of eight toppings: cheese, mayonnaise, ketchup, pickles, onions, tomato, lettuce, and mustard. Now can someone tell me what 256 means?

There was also a mnemonic on the order the condiments were put on the bun. White, red, green, white, red, green, and yellows go on the meat.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 16, 2009 10:22 PM | Report abuse

Jack-you are dead on. AIG started feeling the pain not primarily because of too many defaults, but because when their credit rating dropped they had to collateralize more of the CDS. Morgenson used a phrase I loved when Terry Gross asked basically "What were they thinking?" "They thought they had a perpetually appreciating asset." (That housing prices would never fall.)

Time for the new owners of AIG (us) to spin off the financial services division and watch it go under.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | March 16, 2009 10:30 PM | Report abuse

We had bonuses once during my teaching career. We busted our collective a$$es to get over the test score bar. Our reward was something like $500 each. The following year the bar was raised even higher. Philosophically, reaching the test score bar doesn't necessarily mean that the kids learned a lot, more likely they had enough background knowledge and the reading skill needed to pass the test. the latter pose quite the challenge to the kids in the lower ranks of their class as, IMO, they test reading skill as much as they test background/content knowledge.

Posted by: -jack- | March 16, 2009 10:32 PM | Report abuse

Okay, the '256' is now clear to me. Well done, sir! Dave Thomas (wherever you are), I salute you!

Posted by: ScienceTim | March 16, 2009 10:38 PM | Report abuse

"we need the creators of these instruments to figure out how to un do them???" Consulting fees of $1M/mo, even after the FSD went down the tubes, to the bozo overseeing the financial services division??? What a monumental load of crap.

Posted by: -jack- | March 16, 2009 10:39 PM | Report abuse

Actually, slyness, there are a couple of Boodlers who can give better personal accounts of the history of the Internet than I.

To make a long story short, Lawrence Roberts and some othe folks at the Government's Advanced Research Projects Agency realized back in the 60s that there was a lot of value in allowing people and computers so communicate on a network, so they (Roberts, I think) devised methods to chop up data and send it across wires or other electromagnetic media, and means to route the data where it's supposed to go on that network.

The ARPA offered an RFP to get one set up, and selected BB Net's proposal to build. BB Net connected several sites out west, (I think UCLA and Livermore Labs were among the first, particularly since Roberts did a lot of work with those schools' labs).

Anyway, the communciations grew from an experiment for sending data into communtications tools for Defense Research projects and staff. And other folks used it off hours for personal communications and even gaming with other facilities' staffs (this is where I came in, ' 80 or so as a teenaged guest of friends, playing off-hours Star Trek across some networks in '80 or so with friends at government facilities and institutes of Higher Learning.). Later, some of network was split into a formal Defense Dept. ARPANetwork, and some of it remained in the educational arena. As it was financed and standardized by the educational folks and facilitated through contracts with the big communications companies like AT&T and BBN, expanded and evolved into what we know as the Internet.

As the business folks and telecomm compaines became more involved over the course of the 80s, they began offering dial-up service to private citizens with Personal Computers. Business began driving improvements to service and pretty soon, there were network-based services and components and before you can say network protocols, along came Mosaic browsers and HTML and Windows and Apple.

This, I believe is where the touble started. It's one thing to have geeks shooting goofiness at each other from command line prompts, it's quite another to have graphical interfaces that *anyone* can use.

Pretty soon anyone with half a mind to write some text, point and click "send," or "post," unforutnately did.

That's what happened to me, anyway.

bc

Posted by: -bc- | March 16, 2009 10:46 PM | Report abuse

FYI - those still up may want to tune into Jon Stewart - re AIG bonuses.

Posted by: dmd2 | March 16, 2009 11:02 PM | Report abuse

Uh oh. Mudge's red penitude makes an appearance in the Guardian:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/mar/17/children-society

I edit documents in pencil and put down all my thoughts--corrections, suggestions, comments ranging from howls of pain to dire threats of vengeance, and occasional candy showers. It's hard for me to teach students writing and scientific thinking skills without periodic head explosions.

Posted by: DNA_Girl | March 16, 2009 11:06 PM | Report abuse

The local Taco Bell seems to have high staff morale and an abundance of customers, especially at night when only the drive-up window is open.

Semi trailers full of big yellow grapefruits were streaming inland today, for juicing.

My young live oak rather alarmingly had no leaves this winter. Today, it decided to burst the buds and turn green.

And I now have my own copy of William D. Cohan's "House of Cards: A Tale of Hubirs and Wretched Excess on Wall Street". Bad Bear.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | March 16, 2009 11:26 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of land grant colleges...

Last Thursday, I happened to listen to Obama deliver his speech when he dedicated Abraham Lincoln Hall at the National Defense University.

http://www.upi.com/Top_News/2009/03/12/Obama_dedicates_Defense_Us_Lincoln_Hall/UPI-52671236887965/

When it came to mentioning Lincoln, Obama's speech was a rehash of the speech he delivered just two days earlier, on March 10, to the U.S. Hispanic Chamber about education reform. On March 10, Obama said, "They forget that Lincoln helped lay down the transcontinental railroad [not on the work crews, but passed legislation proposed before Lincoln took ofice], passed the Homestead Act [Congress actually], and created [simply signed legislation] the National Academy of Sciences in the midst of civil war."

At National Defense University, Obama substituted one phrase about Lincoln. On March 12, Obama mentioned the bill Lincoln signed creating the land grant colleges, while omitting the phrase from his March 10 speech about the Homestead Act that Lincoln signed. You may recall my post on March 11, IIRC, explaining that Lincoln got the Homestead Act passed--after Buchanan had vetoed it and because southern Congressmen were no longer in the House and Senate after secession.

Well, ditto for the land grant college legislation.

Was Lincoln considered such a great president *in part* because Buchanan was such a poor one? Figure in, too, the membership and sentiments of the southern delegation within Congress during Buchanan's administration.

http://www.wvu.edu/~exten/about/land.htm

Morrill first introduced a land-grant bill in Congress in 1857, which after much struggle was passed in 1859 only to be vetoed by President James Buchanan. In 1861 Morrill introduced another land-grant bill that increased to 30,000 acres the grant for each senator and representative and added a requirement that recipient institutions teach military tactics. The newly felt need for trained military officers to fight in the Civil War, along with the absence of Southern legislators who had opposed the earlier bill, helped the Morrill Act through Congress in just six months. President Abraham Lincoln signed it into law on July 2, 1862.

Posted by: laloomis | March 16, 2009 11:36 PM | Report abuse

Gaiman on Colbert.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | March 16, 2009 11:51 PM | Report abuse

A poemy close to the evening
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GN7J3JmZxQY

Toodles boodle and sweet dreams.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | March 16, 2009 11:58 PM | Report abuse

Fondue to Al.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | March 17, 2009 12:11 AM | Report abuse

Evening All and Happy Saint Patricks Day which is definately a good day to be green with envy.We have had rain all evening and it is very welcomed,hopefully some more will be on the way and some warmth.

Saw a couple of bunnies on the way home again and some frogs in the road,other then that all quiet on the wildlife front.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | March 17, 2009 12:34 AM | Report abuse

When I was in my 20s, A&W was the place to go for a burger and root beer. Their root beer was the best. Not anymore.

We have KFC, MacDonald, Pizza Hut and DQ here. I like DQ’s green tea chocolate chip blizzard. We had Roy Rogers for a couple of years and then it died.

Oh…er… we don’t have drive-thru of anything here.

Posted by: rainforest1 | March 17, 2009 2:41 AM | Report abuse

Hi all. Yes, sleeping troubles. But I wanted to come out of the shadows of lurking to say...fire safety didn't start as a 'government program' per se, but was something that had simmered in the crock pot that was Ben Franklin's mind. The man was a womanizer (haven't all the great political minds -- at least back to Nero -- gone after anything that moved?), told his fair share of dirty jokes, could be a 12-year old boy at times, but also cooked up some pretty good ideas. Just giving credit where credit is due.


Goodnight all.

Posted by: LostInThought | March 17, 2009 2:54 AM | Report abuse

“Politicians and the public spent yesterday demanding that AIG rescind payouts that they said rewarded recklessness and greed at a company being bailed out with $170 billion in taxpayer funds. But company officials contend that the uproar is scaring away the very employees who understand AIG Financial Products' complex trades and who are trying to dismantle the division before it further endangers the world's economy.”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/03/16/AR2009031602961.html

So AIG is using the bonuses to keep the people who probably drew up the derivative contracts. And they are the only people who have any inkling what the devil those derivative contracts are and who their owners are.

Posted by: rainforest1 | March 17, 2009 4:53 AM | Report abuse

Colbert makes a call for an angry mob. He wields a pretty mean pitchfork.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 17, 2009 5:50 AM | Report abuse

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

Happy Saint Patrick's Day, friends. I'm going to try and find something green to wear today, and that's going to be hard. I mean finding something green.

Well, JA, you get to express your outrage and vent to the world through your writing. Some folks resort to other means, and it's not good in that there is suffering for the person in question. I don't know enough about this company to really get hot. I don't know what they do and how they lost so much money. And certainly don't understand how bonuses were paid if a company is bleeding money. I always thought bonuses were for people that did exceptional work, good work, not for persons that killed a company. Simple me.

And what I really don't understand is how did we get to this place, and no one sawing it coming? How does one hide the stuff we're going through now? The free fall we seem to be in, wasn't there just a inkling of it on the horizon, wasn't there a small sign, somewhere, on somebody radar? Was everyone asleep, didn't anyone pay attention when Bin Laden said he wanted the US to suffer economically, as in exist no more? I remember that, did anyone else hear that or read that? And Cheney on CNN saying Bush was the best president, and no one asking him(Cheney) how many joints had he smoked before coming for the interview, just sitting there quietly as if he spoke from a rational and sober mind.

Mudge, we have a Dairy Queen in the county seat, about five miles from here. Yoki, Martooni, Slyness, Scotty, and all, have a great day. *waving* Time to swim.

Posted by: cmyth4u | March 17, 2009 6:02 AM | Report abuse

Maybe there are some former Enron energy traders we could get to fill the empty posts at AIG if those guys don't get their bonuses.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 17, 2009 6:03 AM | Report abuse

'Morning, Boodle. Happy St. Patrick's Day to those of you of the Irish persuasion (I'm not gonna ask how much persuasion it required to get you to agree).

I have a fundamental question about the AIG thing: the statement has been made that if these people don't get their bonuses, they'll quit (and presumably go somewhere else).

Un...where are these people gonna go? Half the other firms they'd theoretically go to are wiped out, non-existent. The ones that remain aren't exactly in full hiring mode, yanno? And what are the AIG schlubs gonna put on their resumes? Does "Wrecking world economy" come under "Skills" or "Knowledge"? Under "Previous salary" what are they gonna write? "$20 million pwer year but will work for $19.85 million if there's a raise in 6 months"?

They gonna retire? Give up the income they have now, plus the health insurance, all out of pique?

C'mon.

OK, gotta run.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | March 17, 2009 6:20 AM | Report abuse

Happy Paddy's Day! I too must find something green; I do have a green top, but it's not one of my favorites. I suppose I'll wear it anyway.

bc, your explanation of the creation of the Internet makes good sense to me.

LiT, I hope you are getting some sleep. Yes, Ben Franklin is considered the father of the American fire service. I suppose we can say that fire protection has always been in the non-profit sector, at least the fire suppression part has. I won't get into the risk continuum this early in the morning.

I hope the execs at AIG have the sense to rethink their culture, to give themselves a chance at keeping the organization alive. All we DON'T need is another large institution to take the world economy down in flames.

Posted by: slyness | March 17, 2009 7:13 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the Gaiman tip, fb. I've already gone and used it on my blog, just in case anybody else wants to see it.

http://livebythefoma.blogspot.com/2009/03/gaiman-on-colbert.html

My son and I went and saw Watchman last night. Good family entertainment as I think the ScienceKids will vouch for. Saves some uncomfortable conversations about how awkward sex can be.

And I guess I have to wear my shamrock tie today.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 17, 2009 7:35 AM | Report abuse

As someone stated earlier, the thieves at AIG are like a murderer, and the cops want to know where the body is, so they make a deal. You know the plot, to give the family closure, they give up something to get something. Although in the case of this company, the bodies are everywhere so there really isn't a mystery, right?

Posted by: cmyth4u | March 17, 2009 7:50 AM | Report abuse

Pog mo thoin! No, wait, that's not it...

Slainte!! And yes, I have green clothing on. :-)

It would be nice if we could politely ask the AIG derivatives rank-and-file to forego any performance-based bonuses, but as today's coverage shows ( http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/03/16/AR2009031602961.html ), these are the very people we've been asking to try and recover as much value as possible for the taxpayers. It doesn't appear as if the current program is rewarding prior poor performance. *shrug*

And I guess even the White House press secretary gets to smack a softball question over the fence now and again:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/03/16/AR2009031602279.html

Had a rare Dawn Patrol sight this morning -- a two-engine push-pull flight!

*having-trouble-finding-green-coffee-or-Diet-Pepsi-but-confident-the-office-fridge-will-turn-up-some-green-tinged-food Grover waves* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | March 17, 2009 7:50 AM | Report abuse

Good morning boodle!

Cassandra-you should be CNBC's first hire after they clean house. You're a step ahead of their on-air talent because you know that you don't know.

Yello-no more Graveyard book spoilers please. I'm not allowing myself to start it until I've finished _Team of Rivals_.

Which is not to say, for those who haven't read it, that ToR is something that must be slogged through. It's just rather long for a morning person who's working evenings.

Off to coffee and the online papers. Pretty soon there won't be any point missing dead tree editions.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | March 17, 2009 7:56 AM | Report abuse

Oh, this is not good...

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090317/ap_en_mo/people_natasha_richardson

:-(

Posted by: Scottynuke | March 17, 2009 7:57 AM | Report abuse

I know I can't vote in your elections but I sure would appreciate an invitation to join one of your angry mobs. My torches are nicely trimmed and my pitchfork painfully pointy.

Posted by: Boko999 | March 17, 2009 8:03 AM | Report abuse

Oh no, that's terrible about Natasha Richardson. I've always liked her. That piece didn't mention the movie that I liked her best, The White Countess. She was really wonderful in that and so was Ralph Fiennes.

I hope she is ok.

Happy Trails to SoG. I wish him the best of luck on his new adventure.

Posted by: Kim1 | March 17, 2009 8:14 AM | Report abuse

hello folks!

Been working so much that I have no interest in march madness... not really watching much except I am a bit bemused that Post is trumpeting backlash against Obama (or perceived as such) about the AIG bonus situation.

We continually fail to understand how much money is being spent on "spinning" the truth for the wealthy of America (and from elsewhere who are making money here).

AIG like most Insurance concerns grew out of the conservative province of the ultra wealthy. In the tradition of English insurance business, which historically had been and, for the most part, remains the territory of the very wealthy including the royal family.

With this being St. Patrick's Day and Ireland joining much of the rest of the world in a large economic downturn after a decade of new business growth, I was touched by a press photo of an Irish man holding a sign at a demonstration saying "Taxes for the Greedy not the Needy."

I wish we all have the wisdom to see below the surface of the news.

Posted by: russianthistle | March 17, 2009 8:16 AM | Report abuse

Frostbitten,

You just made me think about it... I think it has been a decade since I spent any money on a hard-copy of the Washington post or any paper.

Well, I had to get one to save a copy.

... which I can't find.

Posted by: russianthistle | March 17, 2009 8:20 AM | Report abuse

Boko-should you have trouble getting your mob implements across the border I'll bring extras.

From my RNC observations, it seems clear the angry mob must find a way to accomplish two things-
1. maintain discipline in a scrupulously polite demeanor with our over-armed and armored police forces. I suggest all the angriest mob actions be done by middle aged women. How long would it take law enforcement to realize the "helpless" woman trying to restart her car is actually deliberately blocking an intersection?
2. figure out the best way to free people from the plastic cuffs. I find the Fiskers kindergarten scissors are amazingly efficient for their size and non-threatening appearance. The ringleaders need to recruit a few kids with Dora backpacks and some "school supplies" to tag along.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | March 17, 2009 8:21 AM | Report abuse

Happy St. Patrick's Day.

After three days taking a class and one day teaching one, I have an alarming number of un-answered messages in my internal e-mail queue.

Clearly, the correct approach is to delete them all and assume the important ones will magically re-appear.


Cheers all.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | March 17, 2009 8:24 AM | Report abuse

Have fun storming the castle!

Posted by: RD_Padouk | March 17, 2009 8:25 AM | Report abuse

We had someone bring in green bagels to the office. It was the first time I'd eaten any that were intentionally green.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 17, 2009 8:29 AM | Report abuse

Frosti -- loved your story about the rhetorical power of clothes.

Good day to you. Here is a blessing for all from the Old Sod:

If God sends you
down a stony path,
may he give you strong shoes.

---
So Frosti, let's add some L.L. Bean boots with some Neet's foot oil for the leathren parts.

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | March 17, 2009 8:41 AM | Report abuse

Morning all, Happy St. Patricks Day, another beautiful sunny morning here.

Some mood music for the day from Great Big Sea and the Chieftans

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DOw3w-00Jqw

Shriek, take a deep breath before you read the story below.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20090317.wgoodyear16/BNStory/National/home?cid=al_gam_mostview

Posted by: dmd2 | March 17, 2009 8:42 AM | Report abuse

Frosti, you have obviously given mob action some serious thought. When I need to organize one, I'm calling you to be my operations chief.

Posted by: slyness | March 17, 2009 8:53 AM | Report abuse

Boy, if I'm ever in a mob action I want that Frosti and her Fiskers with me.

We coulda used you in '68, kiddo.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | March 17, 2009 9:50 AM | Report abuse

According to my source the DQ/OJ isn't in the food court.

It is snuggled away in the corner between Sears and JC Penney on the upper level.

Posted by: omnigood | March 17, 2009 9:51 AM | Report abuse

In the Duh! department, reaction to the CNN interview with Dick Chaney:

Gibbs said, "I think not taking economic advice from Dick Cheney would be maybe the best possible outcome of yesterday's interview."

Posted by: slyness | March 17, 2009 9:52 AM | Report abuse

Show them the way out
Be nice; light it with torches
and point with pitchforks

Posted by: DNA_Girl | March 17, 2009 9:53 AM | Report abuse

And Boko!
Stay sharp.
The other side has not been idle:
http://www.sinfest.net/archive_page.php?comicID=2949

Posted by: DNA_Girl | March 17, 2009 9:56 AM | Report abuse

Ok Frosti, I'll eschew the implements of crass persuasion and bring feathers instead. Lots of down for the comic affect plus a few flight and pin for the discomfort factor.
A neighbour has some lovely split cedar fence rails for sale that would lend a nice authentic touch yet are sturdy enough for the most bloated finacier. I suppose I'd have to pay the softwood lumber tariff at the border.
That just leaves the tar.

Posted by: Boko999 | March 17, 2009 10:01 AM | Report abuse

Canuckistanis! Close your borders before it's too late-
Axed talent finds a home on Bay St.
http://business.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20090317.wrbrokerages17/BNStory/Business/home?cid=al_gam_mostview

Posted by: frostbitten1 | March 17, 2009 10:02 AM | Report abuse

I swear, Richard Cohen just likes to be a perverse [expletive]head, doesn't he? I'm not even gonna discuss his column. But sometimes he's like the Ann Coulter of the left, and I just wanna grab his lapels and shake him.

Meanwhile, the teaser for one of the stories in Slate has this to say: "Discuss Adultery and Poetry With Robert Pinsky." Knowing the Boodle's close affinity for poetry, I thought this might be of general interest to some of you. As for the adultery parts...well, let me just say, you never forget your first grass-stained serving wench, and leave it at that.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | March 17, 2009 10:04 AM | Report abuse

Frosti I was just looking at that article and thinking of posting it.

Posted by: dmd2 | March 17, 2009 10:06 AM | Report abuse

Doing a little googling to see if there might be a market for my forthcoming "Mob Action Handbook: Angry doesn't have to be ugly" I found that the most oft cited references are school handbooks-elementary school handbooks. And they're not for it! Mob action appears to include "running in a group" and "piling on top of each other."

I'm more a devotee of the asymmetrical action. What if 100 people in a row, clearing security for the first flights of the day at JFK, had not traveled by air in a post 9-11 world? You wouldn't even have to train them to slow things down. Sprinkle in some wheel chairs, a knee or hip replacement or two, some parents traveling solo with young children. It would bring the air travel system to its knees.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | March 17, 2009 10:12 AM | Report abuse

Frosti, I'd say you have an underground classic on your hands. And be careful, you don't want to have the authorities notice you.

You realize, of course, that thunderstorms anywhere in the US routinely bring the air travel system to its knees. This is another reason for supporting multimodal means of travel.

Posted by: slyness | March 17, 2009 10:17 AM | Report abuse

Frosti

Scary.

I have one child. This morning it seems there are twenty of her, and it's a bad day for all of them. Needless to say, I'm praying this morning.

TBG, give my best to Son of G, and may God bless him much.

Posted by: cmyth4u | March 17, 2009 10:23 AM | Report abuse

Slyness-exactly (about not wanting to be noticed).

Also, it's important to keep the cell phone videographers on your side. During the RNC the self-proclaimed Anarchists ticked off the generally festive observers by being totally without message and generally rather rude. They were also sartorially challenged, which was a conscious decision as they went with a kind of emo look. That just doesn't inspire indigenous inhabitants outside of a mall food court.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | March 17, 2009 10:35 AM | Report abuse

Top o' the mornin' to ye, Boodle!

I've been adventuring in the land of socialized medicine. Felt a little odd yesterday morning, so visited my doctor, who immediately sent me to the emergency room in the hope of getting some tests done that would other take weeks to schedule.

Arrived there about noon, saw a triage nurse at 2:00, had a EKG at 5:00, and at midnight there was still no indication that there even were doctors, or techs even in the hospital, much less planning to see me, I left.

It really was purgatory. You sit among all the other tortured souls, waiting and waiting. Only nobody ever tells you what you are waiting for, or when it might occur.

Anyway, I'm feeling much better and glad to be connected again.

Have a happy St. Patrick's Day.

Posted by: Yoki | March 17, 2009 10:37 AM | Report abuse

In other words, socialized medicine is not much different from American medicine.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | March 17, 2009 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Yoki,
That is a nightmare. I hope there really wasn't anything wrong and if so, I hope it's minor.

My boss has a bionic knee and has to be wanded every time she goes through airport security. The last time it took them five minutes to find a female to do the pat down. And we were very disappointed in the thoroughness of the search. We expected a much better show.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 17, 2009 10:47 AM | Report abuse

Yoki, just sent you a quick email - with a possible suggestion to help you with the medicine angle.

Posted by: dmd2 | March 17, 2009 10:50 AM | Report abuse

Yello, it's not comforting when one isn't impressed by the security methodology. Why go to all the trouble and expense if it's not going to be effective?

Posted by: slyness | March 17, 2009 10:52 AM | Report abuse

TSA terminal-side security as all window dressing and theater. Our umbrage was at how long it took to get a same-sex screener. I'm sure about half of all travelers are women.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 17, 2009 11:02 AM | Report abuse

Good morning boodle lads and lasses.

another greay day here in west by god.

Yoki,that sounds scary and traumatic too,hope everything works out.

I can see a little bit-o-green outside my window here.I have a green outfit for work,that hasn't yet been approved,but I am going to wear it and if I can't work,then it is out to the pub for me.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | March 17, 2009 11:03 AM | Report abuse

Howdy y'all. Frostbitten, your strategic plans are brilliant as usual and I look forward to being among your minions. I can do "clueless but friendly middle-aged lady" as well as anyone. Boko, you're welcome to join my group.

Actually I've always felt that really effective civil resistance (or crime) should use the least likely-looking people. I always tell the Boy that we're not stopped for speeding on the highway because I am not the person the cops are looking for. Surely someone should take advantage of that. Of course, I also tell male law students with MBAs that they should take a position as consigliere for a gang, laundering all that drug money into legitimate investments. Nobody has yet taken my advice.

No green here because I'm not Irish.

Good luck to you Cassandra, when the Child has a bad morning it is hard for everyone.

Good luck to SonofG on his new adventure.

Posted by: Ivansmom | March 17, 2009 11:05 AM | Report abuse

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/spiv

spiv
-noun British Informal. a petty criminal, esp. a black marketeer, racetrack tout [what is a tout?], or petty thief.

Origin:
1885–90; back formation from dial. spiving smart; perhaps akin to spiffy

Headline from the Daily Express:
LONDON 'SPIVS' BLAMED FOR GLOBAL MELTDOWN

http://www.express.co.uk/posts/view/89100/London-spivs-blamed-for-global-meltdown

An investigation carried out in the US has identified a team of London-based spivs, numbering just a few dozen who are largely responsible for the catastrophic losses.

Their Mayfair office has now been dubbed the “ground zero” of the ­economic crash.

The Serious Fraud Office [Is there a Light Fraud Office or Moderate Fraud Office?] has launched an investigation into the London losses [What about the American losses?]. A spokesman said: “Our investigation is ongoing.” [Aren't they all?]

Posted by: laloomis | March 17, 2009 11:14 AM | Report abuse

I suspect the counterpart to the "Serious Fraud Office" would have to be the "Humorous Fraud Office."

Posted by: ScienceTim | March 17, 2009 11:22 AM | Report abuse

I believe I see the title of a new Kit posted up top.

Posted by: ScienceTim | March 17, 2009 11:24 AM | Report abuse

New kit

Posted by: dmd2 | March 17, 2009 11:27 AM | Report abuse

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