Business geniuses.

A few years ago I took a left when I should have taken a right in the library stacks and found myself standing in front of a shelf lined with CEO autobiographies. You remember when these were all the rage, back in the ’90s — a heavily Photoshopped cover featuring the author, looking wise/heroic/approachable, a stupid title (“Winning,” “The Art of the Deal,” “The Road Ahead”), and page after page of utterly unreadable writing. I selected a title; it was Jack Welch’s “Jack: Straight From the Gut,” opened it at random and started to read. I found myself in the middle of an account of playing golf with Greg Norman. I waited to see what this might have to do with either business or Jack’s gut, and was not satisfied; it was the equivalent of being seated next to the world’s most boring man at a dinner party. An hour later, I put this fascinating volume back on the shelf with a screenplay idea germinating:

It would be about a recently laid-off worker at a large corporation who accidently kidnaps the CEO of the same company. (Yes, accidently — it’s a comedy.) Unable to release the little tyrant without consequence and unsure what do with him until he figures things out, the ex-worker holds him prisoner in his basement and makes him read and explain passages from his own CEO book. He has the book because it was given to him as part of his severance-package paperwork. A drone at one of these companies told me once that he knew all the big company news 18 hours before it happened, because his department had to prepare the media kits and other related ephemera. In my movie, our hero would be handed a folder as he leaves the meeting where the layoffs are announced, emblazoned, “So You’ve Been Laid Off…” and Dear Leader’s book to help the newly unemployed find the strength to go on. And of course our CEO knows how to goose sales of his own book with bulk orders.

I thought there would be nothing funnier, in a bleak way, than hearing this sort of paint-peelingly bad prose read aloud by the “author.” There would be a Ransom-of-Red-Chief subplot where the disappearance of the CEO actually makes the company’s stock price rise, and, well, my mental outlining sort of hit a wall around the middle of the second act, so this is yet another idea that will remain unwritten. It would have to be a period piece now, as no one would buy the idea of CEO as anything but scoundrel. Too bad, because I fear it will lead to a lot of stupid action thrillers like “The International” instead of the black-ass comedies the current situation requires. If you can’t laugh, what can you do?

This is probably why my eye was snagged by a Facebook posting my pal Lance Mannion made over the weekend, a column from The Agonist about Jack Welch’s new idea, which you should not be surprised to learn, differs from his old idea. I haven’t read anything about this elsewhere, so I’m not sure where it’s coming from, but it is amusing, if true: Old Jack believed in something called “rank and yank,” where every year all employees in all departments in GE were ranked from top to bottom, and the bottom 10 percent severed. Having a bad year? Too bad; you’d really be happier elsewhere. New Jack now believes employees are part of a CEO’s “main constituencies,” not Fisher-Price figures to be plugged in and out of holes at will:

When have you ever heard a CEO say his main constituency is his employees? This is radical, dangerous, and heretical thinking. It comes after a quarter century in which companies all across the industrial world have treated their employees like cattle. Employees are utterly expendable in this world. They can be fired, dismissed, laid off, made redundant, riffed, downsized, or whatever convenient euphemism management may use, entirely at the whim of the company. Performance, experience, or years at the company are meaningless in this environment.

But I don’t want to spoil it for you. Go read.

So, how was your weekend? Mine was divine, pretty much, if you consider the first yard work of the year divine, which I do. I filled half a dozen of those brown paper bags with winter lawn detritus, but the place still looks basically the same. I did find those crocuses hiding under the leaves, though, so that’s good. (And yes, they’re crocuses. The daffodils are nearby, however, and coming up, too.)

Not much bloggage today, but:

I found this link during my drug-searching the other night and tossed it in the to-be-blogged file. I just want to throw it out there:

The aerial assault on cocaine is wiping out everything — apart from coca plants.

The counter-drugs strategy of the United States is clearly failing. U.N. figures cited in this week show that the cultivation of coca, the plant from which cocaine is derived, has surged in the Andes. The most dramatic rise has been in Colombia, the only country in the region that allows the use of pesticides to eradicate coca leaf – a policy promoted and funded by the U.S..

I recently received a disturbing email from southern Colombia warning that the fragile Amazonian soil could “soon be turned to desert.” They were the words of a Catholic priest, so I rang a church worker whose parish lies deep in the Amazonian state of Caqueta. Military planes targeting coca farms, funded by the US, had been spraying mists of pesticides over food crops, grazing animals and even areas where children were playing, she said: locals were complaining of breathing problems and rashes; “strips of skin” have been peeling off cows, and chickens have died; and maize, yucca, plantain and cacao crops have wilted and shrivelled. “We fear there will soon be a very serious food shortage in the region,” she said.

I don’t know how credible this account is. The author has a book coming out. She confuses pesticides and herbicides. [ADDED: No, she doesn’t. See comments.] The sourcing could be better. But doesn’t this just have the ring of truth? The United States has a cocaine problem, so our response is to dump poison from airplanes over Colombia? Why is our foreign policy so boneheaded, so often? A question for the ages, or maybe just Monday. And so another week begins.

Posted at 10:39 am in Current events |
 

50 responses to “Business geniuses.”

  1. brian stouder said on March 16, 2009 at 11:07 am

    point of order –

    She confuses pesticides and herbicides

    ‘pesticides’ is to ‘herbicides’ as ‘fruit’ is to ‘apple’. But if she confuses insecticides with herbicides, THAT would be another matter!

    Leaving that aside – yes, this subject sounds dully familiar. Recall that Agent Orange was a “non-selective” (ie – burndown) herbicide (or pesticide!) intended to push back the vegetation from the riverbanks, and help save riverine sailors from ambush.

    Honestly, in my old age I’m coming to agree with the idea of a thought-out process of legalization of drugs – maybe not cocaine, but marijuana – and cut into the cashflow of the growing and increasingly destabalizing Mexican insurgency, for example

  2. nancy said on March 16, 2009 at 11:10 am

    I don’t follow, Brian. Pesticides are aimed at insects (pests), herbicides at plants, right? Aren’t pesticides and insecticides the same thing?

    This is going to bug me until one of our genius readers sorts it out. I know someone is reading from an extension office somewhere.

    ON EDIT: OK, Brian, you’re right. Wikipedia says a pest may be a plant. I’ll fix.

  3. Michael said on March 16, 2009 at 11:12 am

    I teach the required ethics course in the MBA program at the local university (don’t laugh). Each semester I ask the class to come up with one instance of popular culture (book, movie, whatever) in which the hero is a corporate executive. It’s a very difficult task. Much easier to come up with instances in which the villain is a corporate executive. In my day job I’m a member of that much maligned and joked about profession of attorney. Yet attorneys are common protagonists (Aticus Finch is my personal favorite).

    We love capitalism but we don’t love capitalists.

  4. nancy said on March 16, 2009 at 11:15 am

    Michael: Pop culture is made by leftists. Judging from the number of people you saw shlepping these books through airports back in the day, we love capitalists just fine. I always wanted to sidle up to one of these folks and say, “He reveals the secret on page 172. Keep reading!”

  5. jeff borden said on March 16, 2009 at 11:20 am

    I agree with Brian that legalization of some sort is the proper path to follow. The War on Drugs has been a multi-billion-dollar failure with a host of unintended consequences ranging from the open war in northern Mexico for drug turf to the story Nancy highlights in Colombia. There is clearly some huge, throbbing part of the human brain that wants to get high, whether it’s with 12-year-old Scotch, Peruvian flake, Oxycontin, hydroponic bubonic, or the fumes from an oven cleaner.

    If you attack this on the demand side, you create the drug cartels and the street gangs. If you attack this on the supply side, you are condemning a significant number of subsistence farmers/growers to an even harsher level of poverty.

  6. Jolene said on March 16, 2009 at 11:20 am

    According to the EPA web site, pesticide is the more general term. It includes both herbicides and insecticides. News to me too.

    Just google “pesticide” for more.

  7. brian stouder said on March 16, 2009 at 11:31 am

    Yes Jolene – it is all relative.

    What is a weed?

    If I have a soybean field and some “volunteer corn” pops up here and there, the corn is a weed.

    (much of what we do where I work revolves around agricultural liquid handling; pesticides and fertilizers)

  8. Danny said on March 16, 2009 at 11:35 am

    Honestly, in my old age I’m coming to agree with the idea of a thought-out process of legalization of drugs – maybe not cocaine, but marijuana

    Duuuuuude! Like, yeeeeaah, man.[/Spicoli]

    Sorry, that’s all I got. Very little sleep and big day here. Late to work. Waiting for coffee to kick in.

  9. MichaelG said on March 16, 2009 at 11:36 am

    Brian, Agent Orange was sprayed wholesale all over South Vietnam. The operation was known as “Ranch Hand”. You must have seen those pictures of C-123s wingtip to wingtip spraying that stuff at about 500 feet of altitude. We used to spray it on fence lines and perimeters and barbed wire to keep everything clear. Here you go:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Ranch_Hand
    Given our history, I have no reason to doubt that the same crime is being repeated in Columbia. Don’t forget that drug profits finance terrorism.

    One thing in that Jack Welch post really got my notice. That is the apparent fact that a few mutual funds seem to own a huge chunk of Fortune 5oo stock and don’t exercise any oversight or vigilence over the companies they own leaving management to their own devices – and machinations. I’ve wondered for a long time where the board of directors and shareholders were in these outfits and now I know. Absent.

  10. del said on March 16, 2009 at 11:39 am

    I read a critical appraisal of Jack Welch called At Any Cost (GE, Jack Welch and the Pursuit of Profit). Neutron Jack was known for his neutron bomb strategy of letting the buildings stand but destroying their occupants. Make ’em earn their jobs every day. Ah, the majesty and mystery of The Market. For guys like him “work” is not a means of support, it’s a game of ego gratification based on wealth accumulation.
    Another thing. This past week the Detroit Pistons’ owner, Bill Davidson, died and the coverage’s been absurd. It’s as if Mother Teresa departed from this vale of tears. A local TV sportscaster started to cry remembering him. (C’mon Smilovitz, pull yourself together, man.) Hey, he was a very wealthy businessman who also owned an NHL franchise and was apparently a likeable guy with philanthropic tendencies. That’s great. But the hagiography was out-of-line. Are we that smitten with the wealthy? As best I can recall, Davidson’s core business, Guardian Industries, generated much revenue decades ago by infringing patented technology from a competitor. Yes, it lost tens of millions in the patent suit but its intellectual property theft generated tens of millions more than that. More business acumen to be praised.
    Yes, I’m looking for Change I Can Believe In . . . and not just the crocuses — but they’re always welcome too.

  11. Dave K. said on March 16, 2009 at 11:42 am

    Linking Jeff B.’s “…clearly some huge, throbbing part of the human brain that wants to get high…”, with the pesticide/herbicide discussion, I recall a conversation with a fellow rehab patient in 1988. He told me that a “good way to get high” was to spray Raid insecticide on a plastic shower curtain, wait for it to dry and then scrape the powdery residue with a razor blade and snort or smoke the dust! Really, really stupid but desperate young man. I wonder if he survived? He’d probably be about 40 years old if he made it. (I was one of the “old farts” at the rehab, 36 years old, 20 years ago).

  12. Sue said on March 16, 2009 at 11:45 am

    I watched a movie this weekend called “Bottle Shock”, an independent film that could have been interesting, but turned out more irritating than anything else, even with my guy Alan Rickman, who was of course as perfect as he could be given the material. The dropped-in 70’s references were almost all wrong or at least cliched – when the love interest appears driving a beetle with a flat tire, is she just a free spirit (judging by her clothes) or really, really stupid? Why, she’s a free spirit of course. And someone needs to tell the young male lead that the scruffy growth on his face didn’t come into fashion until Crockett and Tubbs hit the scene; in 1976 you were either clean-shaven or, well, not. And stop making fun of Gremlins. I kept thinking that it would be fun to watch with Nancy just for the running commentary.

  13. LA Mary said on March 16, 2009 at 11:55 am

    So, I hear Dick Cheney had death squads.

  14. JGW said on March 16, 2009 at 11:57 am

    In keeping with my reputation for being a cheapskate, mostly because I’m poor, I wanted to share a deal I found online today.
    I’m a fan of http://www.antirebate.com/, they have some great deals listed every day, but they just list them and link to the vendors.
    They did this one a while back and it’s a winner. You buy a $25 restaurant gift certificate for just $10, then you enter a coupon code GREEN for 60% off, resulting in $25 in credit for just $4.

    A few cautions though – there are usually some restrictions like minimum purchase or days or times, and some add a gratuity on the pre-discounted tab.

    You can search for local restaurants. Not a huge selection in Fort Wayne but 9 places are involved.

  15. brian stouder said on March 16, 2009 at 12:09 pm

    So,I hear Dick Cheney had death squads.

    and a few more AIG multi-hundred-million dollar bonuses* and then the collapse of our economy and culture, and we may end up boiling each others bones in big stewpots – at least until civilization sprouts again

    *The word “bonus” is the thorn in my side; are they really paying “bonuses” (ie – rewards for particularly fruitful work), or is this somehow an accounting trick, whereby it’s contractually deferred salary (or some such) and some tax or penalty is being avoided?

    If these really, truly are “bonuses” – it would be exactly like the captain and crew of the Titanic shoving the women and children into the icy water, as they load the lifeboats with fine wines and eatables, and then serenely row away

  16. coozledad said on March 16, 2009 at 12:16 pm

    Brian: Re the Titanic and the wines and eatables:
    http://www.dependablerenegade.com/dependable_renegade/2009/03/git-yer-pitchforks
    These people are suffering from a kind of moral blindness that can only be cured by administering repeated blows with a tire iron.
    They not only need to be fired, they need jail, and roadwork.

  17. beb said on March 16, 2009 at 12:23 pm

    DEl, Bill Richardson was the owner of a very successful sports enterprise. Here in Detroit that means a lot.

  18. jeff borden said on March 16, 2009 at 12:41 pm

    It would be nice if these corporate titans were required to live for awhile like the folks featured on Page 1 of the NYT last week. . .a family of five crammed into one room of a no-tell, motel after being forced from their home or the other family who is in similar straits and has converted the closet of another motel room into a crib for its babies.

    These are the “losers” Rick Santelli was targeting in his rant. The family of five is led by a guy with a degree from Stanford, so I guess the pool of losers is getting better degrees these days, but in each case it was a combination of job loss, medical issues and home foreclosures that led productive families into this deadend. I know it is very un-John Galt of me, but reading and hearing about these kinds of situations really tears me up when we are so concerned that the robber barons at A.I.G. get their rightful bonuses.

  19. del said on March 16, 2009 at 12:48 pm

    Yep, beb, agreed. Call me curmudgeonly but I think something’s amiss in our culture when we heap undeserved adulation on such folks though. Maybe it’s the sycophantishness of all these sports insiders’ self-serving points of view that grates, I dunno.

  20. coozledad said on March 16, 2009 at 12:49 pm

    I wonder how hard it would would be to organize a Million Angry Motherfuckers march on Wall St. One person at the head of the procession with a Bible and a Rope*. Somehow I think it would dwarf the teabag rallies.

    *Per Tom Waits

  21. MichaelG said on March 16, 2009 at 1:01 pm

    Sue’s ref to a hippie chick and her flat tired VW reminded me of an old Berkeley story. Telegraph Ave at Durant, about 1970: A hippie looking chick was opening the gas cap on her Mercury Comet with one hand and holding a quart of oil in the other, clearly intending to pour item two into item one. I said, “Um, Ma’am?” And she combusted, screaming stuff about men, blah, blah, and women were capable, etc., etc. and being patronized, yahda, yah and I tip toed away and watched her pour the oil in her gas tank from a distance. Maybe she did know something I didn’t.

  22. jeff borden said on March 16, 2009 at 1:13 pm

    WHAT HATH CHENEY WROUGHT. . .

    From recently released interviews conducted by the International Red Cross. It’ll make you so proud of the former administration and Deadeye Dick, in particular. . .

    After the beating I was then placed in the small box. They placed a cloth or cover over the box to cut out all light and restrict my air supply. As it was not high enough even to sit upright, I had to crouch down. It was very difficult because of my wounds. The stress on my legs held in this position meant my wounds both in the leg and stomach became very painful. I think this occurred about 3 months after my last operation. It was always cold in the room, but when the cover was placed over the box it made it hot and sweaty inside. The wound on my leg began to open and started to bleed. I don’t know how long I remained in the small box, I think I may have slept or maybe fainted.

    I was then dragged from the small box, unable to walk properly and put on what looked like a hospital bed, and strapped down very tightly with belts. A black cloth was then placed over my face and the interrogators used a mineral water bottle to pour water on the cloth so that I could not breathe. After a few minutes the cloth was removed and the bed was rotated into an upright position. The pressure of the straps on my wounds was very painful. I vomited. The bed was then again lowered to horizontal position and the same torture carried out again with the black cloth over my face and water poured on from a bottle. On this occasion my head was in a more backward, downwards position and the water was poured on for a longer time. I struggled against the straps, trying to breathe, but it was hopeless. I thought I was going to die. I lost control of my urine. Since then I still lose control of my urine when under stress.

    I was then placed again in the tall box. While I was inside the box loud music was played again and somebody kept banging repeatedly on the box from the outside. I tried to sit down on the floor, but because of the small space the bucket with urine tipped over and spilt over me…. I was then taken out and again a towel was wrapped around my neck and I was smashed into the wall with the plywood covering and repeatedly slapped in the face by the same two interrogators as before.

    I was then made to sit on the floor with a black hood over my head until the next session of torture began. The room was always kept very cold.

    This went on for approximately one week. During this time the whole procedure was repeated five times. On each occasion, apart from one, I was suffocated once or twice and was put in the vertical position on the bed in between. On one occasion the suffocation was repeated three times. I vomited each time I was put in the vertical position between the suffocation.

    During that week I was not given any solid food. I was only given Ensure to drink. My head and beard were shaved everyday.

    I collapsed and lost consciousness on several occasions. Eventually the torture was stopped by the intervention of the doctor.

    I was told during this period that I was one of the first to receive these interrogation techniques, so no rules applied. It felt like they were experimenting and trying out techniques to be used later on other people.

  23. Terry said on March 16, 2009 at 1:16 pm

    Nancy,you need to watch your punctuation. For instance, there should be a period after the first 15 words. That being said, I agree with your ass-essment of the corporate ‘titans’. Trump (You’re Fired!) has had at least 2 bankruptcies now to go with his 3 wives. For a couple of years, he held the MissUSA contest in Gary,trying to prop up his casino by the lake. That’s not like putting lipstick on a pig, it’s putting lipstick on pig shit. Welch does his flip-flop with no apparent memory or shame. Several years ago, a company I worked for showed us a movie by corporate advisor Tom Peters. “He’s changed what he said drastically from a few years ago”. Yeah, and when this gig runs out, he’ll have something else dreamed up to peddle. In the movie,an employee was asked why they bought into his plan. “Well, we just decided to trust the company”. That’s like betting on Secretariat-now. The hell of it is, sometimes these guys are right, but the companies don’t listen to them. Employee empowerment? That’ll be the day I open up the executive washroom to the riff-raff!

  24. Scout said on March 16, 2009 at 1:23 pm

    Jeff, that is literally sickening. I had to force myself to read the whole thing. I cannot even imagine the psyche of a person that inflicts this upon another. What are they telling themselves as they perform these cruelties to justify it in their own minds? That they’re somehow protecting America?

  25. Christy said on March 16, 2009 at 2:09 pm

    In corporateland, rank-and-yank still happens. Microsoft was really into it. It’s also called stack rank, force rank, and other things. I’ve worked one place that did it and it’s a crazy thing – after you shave off the bottom 10% of the bell curve, your curve curves funny, and management knows they have to do it next year so they may try to figure in a bad hire or two so they don’t have to lose their current hardworking-but-not-superstar employees. It also discourages cooperation in favor of competition. And every place I’ve seen it, Jack Welch’s name has been mentioned as if that excuses it.

  26. moe99 said on March 16, 2009 at 2:16 pm

    Scout: Yes, that is exactly what they are saying to themselves to justify their inhumanity.

  27. jeff borden said on March 16, 2009 at 2:19 pm

    Scout,

    That’s what is so nauseating about this. The very people who crafted these cruelties are the first to proclaim themselves great patriots while labeling those who object to such abhorrent behavior as appeasers.

    In the darkest days of the Revolutionary War, when the British were horribly abusing colonial prisoners they captured, George Washington sent word that he wanted all British prisoners treated with dignity and respect. And this at a time when the future of the revolution was very much in question. We’ve traveled a far distance from a man of such honor to the squirming maggots of W.’s administration.

    They are gone. The stains they left behind will endure for a very long time.

  28. brian stouder said on March 16, 2009 at 2:23 pm

    Say – a non sequitur – which may or may not take us away from death squads, torture, the end of American history, and ultimately cannibalism:

    Somebody at The Learning Channel has it going on!

    Over the past week, Pam and I have stumbled into two different shows there which, on their face, might have been leering sideshows, but which in fact were heartfelt, affecting, and very human and humane shows.

    One was about a plucky woman from the UK with giant (and still growing) legs, and another was about a woman who weighs more than 900 pounds.

    In both shows, one quickly gets pulled in – and the people in the shows – who could easily be sideshow attractions – become people we identify with and root for and care about.

    The 900 pound woman (only 31 years old) had two daughters – a 13 year old with normal weight and soulful eyes (she reminded me of our 10 year old daughter), and a 5 year old with some weight issues.

    By the literally heart breaking end of the show, I was all choked up.

    Y’all should look for it

  29. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on March 16, 2009 at 2:37 pm

    Catherine, the Linear B line has stuck with me from a long-ago reading of “Bored of the Rings,” with the non-heroic protagonist Frito.

    (Sorry, comment left over from yest’dy thread, illumination of a sort at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linear_B)

    If you’re going to legalize marijuana, you’d almost have to do cocaine, too; just make the legal issue one of home manufacture and creating toxic waste, turning the whole enforcement regime over to the EPA — those dudes mean business, and aren’t into having jackets with giant yellow letters on the back announcing their agency.

    So cooking meth, illegal; anything organic, legal!

  30. sdh said on March 16, 2009 at 3:05 pm

    Nancy,

    I think your movie script idea is great, perhaps a bit too much like Ruthless People… Still, great conceit.

  31. nancy said on March 16, 2009 at 3:21 pm

    Well, “Ruthless People” was “Ransom of Red Chief,” only with Bette Midler. What goes around, goes around again.

  32. brian stouder said on March 16, 2009 at 3:24 pm

    I was thinking it was like Chevy Chase’s Christmas Vacation, where Cousin Eddie kidnaps the boss, after Russ finds out his Christmas bonus is a year of “the jelly of the month” club, instead of cash…

    but in that one, it’s essentially Christmas Carol, where the flint-hearted boss sees the error of his ways, and repents

  33. harrison said on March 16, 2009 at 3:45 pm

    nancy:

    i’m glad you mentioned ruthless people. that was a contemporary (and humorous) version of the ransom-of-red-chief story.

    and for all who read this website:

    you’ve probably heard of the phrase inner child. well, when i read about jack welch and the a.i.g. bastards, someone else comes up — my inner bolshevik.

    i’d also recommend renting ruthless people soon from your favorite video store or taking it out at your local library. it’s good for a few laughs.
    selah.

  34. Gasman said on March 16, 2009 at 4:14 pm

    Who would have thought that it would be Meghan McCain that emerged as the one moderate Republican willing to go after the ideological Nazis in her own party:

    http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2009/03/16/kiss-my-fat-ass-says-meghan-mccain/

    Let’s see what happens if Rush, O’Reilly, Hannity, et al., decide to take her on. She has no constituency to answer to, so she just might be able to deliver the smackdown that they deserve. She offers a voice of moderation that is a decidedly refreshing change from the obsequious fawning toward the knuckle dragging cousin lovers on the right.

    With her willingness to advocate real bipartisanship, she has more credibility than her father.

  35. LA Mary said on March 16, 2009 at 4:24 pm

    http://gawker.com/5170727/mean-pundit-accidentally-justifies-meghan-mccains-boring-self+obsession

  36. jeff borden said on March 16, 2009 at 4:50 pm

    Let the mean, ultra-skinny girls like Ingraham and Coulter go after Meghan McCain. It’s clearly an effort by the G.O.P. to alienate EVERY group of people in America. After marginalizing urbanites, the educated, liberals, blacks, Hispanics, Asians, the debt-ridden, gays and union members, the Party of No is now going after zaftig beer distribution heiresses.

    Oh, the humanity!

    Man, it’s fun watching conservatives beat each other up. And while Meghan is far from a towering intellect, she at least has enough common sense to see that throwing acid in the faces of others isn’t the way to attract people to the G.O.P. This is news to harpies like Ingraham and Coulter, who apparently believe it is still 1996.

  37. LA Mary said on March 16, 2009 at 5:20 pm

    Jeff, where I work I could probably find you a debt ridden, gay, educated, Asian, union-member within twenty feet of my office. That describes a pretty large demographic here at the hospital.

  38. jeff borden said on March 16, 2009 at 6:26 pm

    LA Mary,

    These demographics are not welcome in the Republican Party and, anyhow, you all live in a big city, which the GOP has continued to remind me are nothing but hives of leftist, classist, homo-loving, troop-hating appeasers who wish Saddam Hussein was still alive!!!!

    Now, if you could see your way clear to have a sex change operation and then gain, say, maybe about 200 pounds, so you’d be a fat white guy. (Assuming you are white. If not, forget about it unless Michael Steele resigns and the Republicans need another black guy.) Then, go out and get really, really angry about something that has little to no impact on your life, like maybe, having to push “1” for English, something you can equate with a dark and dangerous minority looking to take away your right not to have to press “1.” Make sure you bang your head into the wall hard enough to turn half your brain into Jell-O.

    Voila! You’re a conservative Republican!

  39. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on March 16, 2009 at 6:45 pm

    Yep, you’ve got us pegged. That’s conservative Republicans, right down to their blood-and-soil, sturm-und-drang, tiny little pea-pickin’ hearts. Such as we have hearts . . . or pacemakers.

  40. MichaelG said on March 16, 2009 at 7:38 pm

    I could almost match you, Mary but everybody here is a member or fee paying non-member of a state employee union. Otherwise . . .

    Easy on us white guys who ain’t sylph like, Jeff.

  41. moe99 said on March 16, 2009 at 10:23 pm

    I haven’t heard from any Repubs except those cut from the Rush/Cheney sort of cloth these days. And when others attempt to speak up, they put on the kneepads pretty damn quick thereafter to kiss ass. So, sorry, Jeff tmmo, unless one of your ilk goes public and stays unbowed, no there aren’t any like that out there.

  42. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on March 16, 2009 at 11:01 pm

    Aren’t any like what? And how public are you looking for? Meghan’s doing fine, and Ingraham and Coulter are similar only to those who judge books by their covers, so to speak.

    And my Republican state rep is still speaking to me, as of the community forum this morning where we tried to figure out how to keep the social safety net intact in the midst of a total budget meltdown here in Ohio.

    G’night, all.

  43. moe99 said on March 17, 2009 at 12:07 am

    Look, my boss, the WA AGO is a Republican and I am likely to vote for him for governor next election, particularly if my ex husband is the Democratic nominee (assuming Gregoire steps down after two terms) but even McKenna has not come out these days to challenge what is passing for accepted Republican wisdom on the national news: Rush, Cheney, Boehner (he’s from your state), McConnell, Graham. They’re all a bunch of knee jerk failure mavens. They want the economy to tank just so they can try to claw their way back to power. They don’t care how many middle class people they hurt because their allegiance is to the wealthy. They do not give a tinker’s damn about most folks. Just about themselves. And that is the measure of the leadership of the Republican party these days.

  44. Gasman said on March 17, 2009 at 12:48 am

    If cultural tone deafness were an olympic event, the ass-hats at AIG would be world dominant in the sport. It seems that 97% of the $170 billion bailout package went to about 400 individuals in the very division that was responsible for the spectacular augering in of the entire company, those who issued the risky credit default swaps. That’s $165 billion divided by 400, or about $425,000 on average. The “bonuses” ranged from about $1,000 to $6 million.

    Chief Executive Edward Liddy of AIG says that they are contractually obligated to pay these bonuses. If these indeed are bonuses, how can they be obligated contractually? Aren’t bonuses paid for meeting or exceeding specified goals? What goals did AIG achieve? It they are obligated, wouldn’t that make it salary? I wonder if even now, AIG is playing fast and loose with ethics and the truth.

    If the U.S. government and taxpayers had not bailed out their sorry asses, they would not have been able to pay their bonuses. Or would they have done so anyway, even if it meant the financial ruin of the entire company?

    I think that at the very least, the ranks of the nation’s unemployed should rise by about 400 or so.

    AIG’s hubris and obscene arrogance may have done something that I did not think was possible at present: unite Democrats and Republicans in Washington in a common cause.

  45. Gasman said on March 17, 2009 at 2:14 am

    My outrage clouded my already inept mathematical abilities. It should of have read $165 million in bonuses, not $165 billion. Furthermore, I responded to my own error with more mathematical statistical blundering. Mea culpa, mea culpa, maxima mea culpa. As if what AIG did wasn’t bad enough, the greater figure would have been demonstrably worse.

    Oh, did I mention? I do income taxes on the side.

  46. Joe Kobiela said on March 17, 2009 at 4:08 am

    Moe 99,
    Greetings from Ohare, just reading your last post and you could have said the same things about the Dems for the last 4 yrs, I think they wanted the economy to tank just so they could get back in power, I have come to the conclusion that neither party really gives a damn about me or you, only themself. Agreed? Oh well it’s a clear night and I am waiting for a part from bombiar to take to Louisville, to fix a broke jet. Since Friday I have been to Charlotte, chatanooga, detroit clevland, chicago, and on to Lousville. Sure beat working at wallmart.
    Happy saint paddy’s to all.
    Pilot Joe

  47. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on March 17, 2009 at 8:29 am

    Hey, Moe, i think your point may also be framed as: “The Republicans apparently have no national leadership to speak of.” When Ohio Republicans talk about national leadership, you’ve reminded me of the amusing fact that no one even mentions Boehner, at least around central Ohio. They talk more about Kasich, and hope-a-hope-a-hope he will run for governor, because we’ve got nuttin’. Voinovich is retiring, and Bob Taft is teaching at the University of Dayton. So we don’t even have much in the way of state level leadership.

    And in that vacuum, the loud and rotund rush to fill the void with whatever pops into their head.

    So Ohio Dems are poised for long term dominance, right? Well, they won’t even allow discussion of reversing the planned phaseout of a key tax provision that will start in 2011, about the time the stimulus money that’s been plopped into line item ongoing budget funding will run out. The usual “business tax climate” balloon juice gets flung about, indistinguishable from our previous GOP gasbag suppliers. With that and a new property tax disguised as an “assessment” on non-profits (churches, campgrounds, cemeteries – cemeteries!), they are already looking at having increased tax payer discontent just as they are facing an utterly unavoidable need to increase tax revenue in the next biennium, since 95% of the state budget goes to K-12 education and Medicaid, and we’re going to be at least $400 billion in the red come 2011.

    And two good friends were fired yesterday after decades of service to the Ohio Historical Society, as OHS prepares to essentially shutter the whole system for the next few years. Which, i gather, Michigan just did last week. So i’m thinking right now the Dems in Ohio are sounding exactly like Bob Taft did a few years back, and the Republicans are standing back in the aisles snickering into their sleeves.

    Or maybe they have bluetooth mikes like Janine on 24 has and are calling for back-up. I hope they aren’t laughing, and i hope someone will be a state leader, let alone a national leader, for either party.

  48. Gasman said on March 17, 2009 at 10:08 am

    Joe K.,
    You are just plain wrong in your assertion that, “the Dems for the last 4 yrs, I think they wanted the economy to tank just so they could get back in power.”

    Find a quote from any Dem that specifically wished for the failure of Bush & Cheney. I’ve got $20 that says you can’t. However, I can find several quotes from the last 6 weeks or so from several prominent Repubs, elected and not, who flat out proclaimed that they hoped President Obama would fail.

    The Dems pointed out that W’s policies were likely to fail or were failing. That is vastly different than openly hoping for failure.

    I don’t of any Dems that felt a need to waste any effort hoping for the Republicans to fail. W and the Repubs have been quite adept at failing all on their own.

  49. LA Mary said on March 17, 2009 at 5:19 pm

    Jeff, you have described two of my brothers perfectly. One of them hoards guns, too. Both contribute generously to the party, and one holds office in a small town.

  50. Mary T said on March 18, 2009 at 2:09 am

    I for one thinks that sounds like an amazing screenplay!