Wednesday, March 18, 2009

In which the Curmudgeon reminds his readers why he chose this nom de plume

Historians looking back and trying to figure out why newspapers died in the early 21st Century need only look at today's papers: AIG, getting government billions, is forking millions of these over as "bonuses" to current -- and, apparently, at least in some cases, to former -- executives. The newspapers might have covered many aspects of this story such as:
  • Who is getting these bonuses? (That is, what are their names and job titles?)
  • Why are these bonuses being paid?
  • If these people -- any of these people -- are responsible for AIG's spectacular failure, why haven't they been fired? On the other hand, parts of AIG were -- and still may be -- profitable. Is any bonus money going to the profit makers? (If so, maybe we shouldn't be as upset, right? At least as far as these individuals are concerned?)
  • What is the status of the criminal investigations into the AIG debacle? Aren't there any? If not, why the heck not?
But, instead, what do our papers give us this morning?

One of Oprah's puppies died!

Oh, and also, Congresspeople are shocked, shocked to find out that bonuses are being paid by AIG and they want the money back. Um, ladies and gentlemen, you claim to have bought a large stake in AIG on behalf of the American people. Surely you must have learned about these bonuses when you did your due diligence prior to the acquisition, especially if, as has been claimed, the bonus checks are contractually obligated. (I'll wait until the bitter laughter subsides.)


Cook County Board President Todd Stroger calls for a hiring freeze. Apparently all his relatives now have jobs.


I can't get excited about filling in an NCAA bracket this year. Only four teams from mid-major (non-BCS) conferences got at-large bids (that is, only four mid-major teams into the tournament without winning their conference tournaments) -- but seven teams from the Big East, seven teams from the ACC, and seven more from the Big Ten got in.

The Big 10? Illinois and Penn State played a game this season in which neither team scored 40 points -- and that's with a shot clock. (Without a shot clock that might have been an exciting game... with a shot clock it could only have been an exhibition of thuggery and bricklaying.)

So the big teams get to play cupcakes from small conferences and pad their victory totals... and the mid-majors can't get anyone to play them. In this, at least, the NCAA tournament mirrors the regular season.

I am so rooting for Morehead St. (By the way, what is the capital of the State of Morehead?)


I went to the Cash Station yesterday because I need cash to put on my CTA card. A new sign had been affixed to the machine advising that it now dispensed $20 and $50 bills.

I withdrew $60... thinking I'd get three 20's... but instead I got a $50 bill and a $10 bill.

Now you may be thinking that a big city lawyer like myself lights his cigars with $50 bills. If you think that, you've not paid much attention to this blog.

I can't buy a newspaper with a $50 bill. I can't buy a candy bar. I can't buy anything with it. I'm hoping a check will come today in the mail so I can 'cash' the $50 bill at the teller counter when I make a deposit.


Empress Bee (of the high sea) said...

curmy this is a GREAT post! it made me laugh, made me mad, made me think, and made me laugh again. thanks my friend...

smiles, bee

Jean-Luc Picard said...

In case you were unaware, Sir Fred Goodwin, known as 'Fred the Shred' bought a bank to it's knees here in Britain, but refuses to give up a penny of his £703,000 A YEAR salary that he wangled.

Rob said...

I read that AIG is contractually bound to pay those bonuses and is doing so out of fear of being sued for breach of contract.

What I desperately want to know is where the hell I can get a job where a bonus is contractually guaranteed even if I do an epically-crappy job and the government has the rape the citizens in order to correct my blunders?!!

Of course, I'm still trying to figure out where the government comes off using my tax money to bail out private businesses...

Shelby said...

no sense trying to make sense out of it almost.. bonuses schmonuses..

it is mindboggling what is going on. it is.

Cristina said...

Awww! Poor Oprah! How will she survive?

Don't get me started on headlines and what is deemed first page important in newsprint or online! It's amazing to me what gets reported on.