Announcing Bad News Over The Weekend In Hopes No One Will See It

Most people — like yours truly — spent yesterday watching the NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament field take shape.  So it’s not a surprise that other events get swept by the wayside – – even when their implications are much larger than who’s getting the four number one seeds in the tourney:

— A company takes federal bailout money (that’s coming from you and me), and then they use it to take care of themselves.  Rinse, lather, repeat.  This weekend’s culprit is AIG, which after getting $170 billion in fderal bailout funds, announced that it would be paying out $165 million of bonuses to various company executives.

Let’s see if we can follow AIG’s line of reasoning here.  The company loses $61.7 billion in the 4th quarter of 2008, the largest corporate loss in history.  The bulk of those losses came from AIG Financial Products largely due to risky actions on their part.  A large number of the executives receiving these bonuses were responsible for overseeing AIG Financial Products.  Getting a huge bonus payment for helping drive your company into the financial abyss?  Makes perfect sense to me — how about you?

Maybe AIG can use the Chewbacca defense to make some sense out of all of this

AIG's favorite defense

Again, we shouldn’t be really surprised.  It’s just another case of institutions that have been lining up at the trough ever since the nation started handing out taxpayer money with no oversight attached.  There are those who argue that the bonuses were already promised, that those not receiving them could sue AIG if the bonuses aren’t paid, and that there are those at AIG who weren’t guilty of either fraudulent or irresponsible activity who might decide to leave the company if the bonuses aren’t paid, sending AIG further into the crapper.  My answer to them is simple enough:  Go right ahead.  Enough is enough with the fraud and the theft — even if you want to call it “justifiable compensation”.  If AIG is headed for the toilet, I’d be more than happy to pull the handle to flush.

— No place is safe anymore, apparently — not even the playing field.  An Iraqi amateur soccer player was shot dead this weekend as he was attempting the tying goal during a match on Sunday.  A spectator, apparently a supporter of the team that was leading at the time, was arrested for the shooting.

If I had to pick a sport that something like this would happen in, international soccer would have been my first choice.  But don’t be fooled into thinking this type of action is something restricted to overseas or to the notoriously rowdy soccer contingent.  Take a tour of the message boards on ESPN  — on any message boards for that matter — and you’ll see some pretty unstable people, so it’s not a case of the nut-jobs not being out there.  Rather than being shocked by this occurrence, I’m sadly surprised we haven’t seen something like it in the United States already.

— Ro-Sham-Bo goodies are coming up later — and a busy weekend has delayed my look at Cartoon Network’s Batman: Brave and The Bold that I’d hoped to do, but I plan to review the show tomorrow.  Until later, keep your hands on your wallet — you never know where those pesky AIG executives might be hiding.


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