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Politics and Media Headlines 3/24/09

Caro's picture

I present the first bumper sticker (by Joseph Cannon at Cannonfire))

Uprising on Main Street (by Gary Kamiya, Salon)
Today's populist rage could regenerate America -- if Obama handles it right.
And this is the damn shame, the sad waste of the Obama administration. He started with the good will to really make some fundamental changes in how our country does business, and he’s squandering more and more of it every day.—Caro

One Story Dominates: AIG In The Crosshairs (Project for Excellence in Journalism)
Last week, the media narrative for a complex economic crisis got much simpler. The coverage focused on one corporate villain and one angry public.

AIG Changes Its Name (by Jake Tapper at Political Punch, ABC News)
Valujet became ATA. Blackwater morphed into Xe. And New Kids on the Block changed to NKOTB. Plus, as we noted earlier, "toxic assets" today became "legacy loans." Amidst all this re-branding, AIG has emerged as AIU Holdings. Enjoy!
Because in America, it’s not what you do, only what people think of what you do that is important.—Caro

Bailout Money Turning Into Campaign Contributions (Political Wire)
"There was plenty of outrage on Capitol Hill last week over the executive bonuses paid out by AIG after getting federal bailout money. But another money trail could make voters just as angry: the campaign dollars to members of Congress from banks and firms that have received billions via the Troubled Asset Relief Program," Newsweek reports. "While a few big firms, such as Wells Fargo and JP Morgan Chase, have curtailed their campaign giving, others are quietly doling out cash to select members of Congress, particularly those who serve on committees that oversee TARP."
Wow, gee, who could possibly have foreseen that?—Caro

Cuomo Says Most Huge A.I.G. Bonuses Were Returned (Deal Book, Wall Street Journal)
Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo of New York announced late Monday afternoon that 9 of the top 10 bonus recipients at the American International Group were giving back their bonuses. He also said 15 of the largest 20 bonus recipients in A.I.G.’s financial products division had agreed to give back the money, for a total that he estimated at about $30 million. “Those bonuses will be returned in full,” Mr. Cuomo said during a conference call with reporters. The attorney general noted that about 47 percent of $165 million in retention bonuses was awarded to Americans, accounting for nearly $80 million. All told, Mr. Cuomo said, A.I.G. employees have agreed to return about $50 million in bonuses.
Thank you, Andrew, it’s obvious that you, for one, care about the taxpayers.—Caro

We humans have hated unfairness since before we were human:
Monkeys Hate Others' Bonuses, Too
(Scientific American, thanks to Economist’s View)
Even monkeys know when they’re getting a bad deal, said primatologist Frans de Waal... Give two side-by-side monkeys a piece of cucumber for performing a simple task and there’s no problem. But if one sees his neighbor get a more desirable grape—“now grapes are far better than cucumber and the monkeys know that”—for doing the same thing, “they become agitated. They don’t like this experiment anymore, even though they get exactly the same food as before. But the partner is now getting grapes. And if you give the partner a grape without any task, then they really don’t like it anymore. So this is, I usually call it an egocentric sense of fairness, it’s like resentment or envy. It’s very similar actually to the response that we have currently to Wall Street bonuses. I always say we live in Cucumberland and they live in Grapeland, basically.”

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Carolyn Kay

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gqmartinez's picture
Submitted by gqmartinez on

Interesting study on fairness. Seems that fairness in higher social creatures is pretty old. Consistent with my philosophical views on societies, which is nice.