Saturday, March 21, 2009

Fauxrage (and Blaziness)

I will preface this post with the following statement: I do not believe I have adequately followed this week's AIG BONUS SCANDAL OMG story so that I might be able to comment on it with a strong grip on all of the facts surrounding it. With that said, I think I can offer some legitimate commentary. You have been hereby forewarned of any factual misinterpretation on my part. You have also been hereby forewarned that the following is extremely sloppy work by my standards, and I apologize in advance for my blaziness (web log laziness).

The retroactive 90% tax to recoup bonuses awarded through taxpayer money that recently passed the House in a fit of (silly and wholly avoidable) righteous congressional outrage is unconstitutional. It passed last week with strong bipartisan support and will likely pass in the Senate as well, riding the wave of similar vehement sentiment. I sincerely hope the President does not sign it into law, but if he does, the courts must strike it down.

The President and his Treasury Department did the right thing in tweaking the language of Sen. Dodd's ARRA provision designed to prevent the collection of bonuses by Wall Street executives. Had the provision been left unchanged, companies such as AIG could easily take legal recourse to reclaim their due bonuses, possibly using public money to sue (which is exactly what they're doing now), adding more cost to the taxpayer.

The Obama Administration is under fire for their apparent strong-arming of congressional Democrats like Dodd to protect Wall Street bonuses. They did the right thing. The administration protected the right for private employees to collect their bonuses, many of which are contractually obligated. Here's why these executives still deserve our ire: they shouldn't be asking for them. These individuals knowingly overleveraged their companies through rampant securitization and...well gosh, you all know the story, they woefully mismanaged their firms and effed up everything for us. These people may be guaranteed their right to collect these bonuses, but they damn well shouldn't. I find it amusing that guys like Vikram Pandit, the CEO of Citigroup, have reduced their annual salary to $1, yet still demand payment of "earned" bonuses (and even order lavish renovations of their offices) all at the expense of the taxpayers.

When the President ordered that compensation for executives of companies receiving taxpayer money would be capped at $500,000 (apparently "bonuses" don't count as "compensation," a ridiculous distinction which I would like both the administration and at least one corporate executive to attempt to defend), he was blasted by some on the right for using government authority to intrude in the marketplace. The argument in favor of the President's order remains the same today as it was two months ago; when the public hands out its own money, the public dictates the rules. I find it strikingly hypocritical that same Republicans who criticized the President for attempting to limit executive compensation ended up voting for the recently passed bonus tax (but only rushed to vote in favor after it was clear the bill would pass with Democratic votes alone).

This past week's news cycle has been dominated by virulent outrage over AIG and executive bonuses which has inevitably recycled the whole debate over bailouts and the stimulus package. I have no outrage left. It is a useless and trite emotion at this point that is too often employed to rile up the already severely misinformed average viewer. The taxpayer has been royally owned. Let's accept it, move on, and work to ensure it never happens again.

Friday, March 20, 2009

From Time to Time

I run out of things to say.

It will pass, I promise. But right now I'm just too tired, or too stressed, or too busy, or too angry, or too sad, or too annoyed, or too elated, or too indifferent to write anything down.

Stay resolute raindancers. The drought will end soon.

Monday, March 9, 2009


Please join us for our third debate of the 2009 Spring semester on Wednesday, March 11th at 8:00 pm at The Honors Building, 714 21st St, to debate

Resolved: Police forces should be ethnically representative of their communities

Modern society's rapidly integrating communities has provided police departments across much of the country with a cultural problem: whether a police department should be representative of its district? The role of police is to protect and serve their communities. Conflict between police and their communities can arise from unresolved political, racial, cultural or ethnic differences and can instigate violent confrontation. While tension will always exists between the law enforcer and the law breaker, does an ethnically representative police force minimize the potential for racial or ethnic violence? Joining a police force in order to protect one's community is a noble profession. Some argue that all a good police force needs is willing volunteers and strong training. They suggest that a quota system of any sort would lower the standards of the force. However, others believe that communities are likely to be more receptive to an ethnically representative force. Thus, can a racially mixed force decrease corruption and brutality, or is the wrong approach to a problem that demands another solution.

This is sure to rile up some opinions.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

I'm Sorry Rush

No, if any of you thought I was actually apologizing to El Rushbo, you're wrong.

But if you're feeling particularly guilty about some of the things you may have said about the comedian, it's never too late to say "I'm sorry."

Hat tip to the fellas at DM/OnlineComm at DCCC! Way to make CNN twice in two weeks.

UPDATE: Everyone's picking this up. Great work. MSNBC, CNN, HuffPo, Wonkette, LATimes, NYP, EVERYONE. And Rick Sanchez is a moron. Perhaps more on that later.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Apathy Is Easy

My letter to the editor appeared in today's edition of The Hatchet. I wrote this in response to the letter of the editor written by Cameron Tepher in last Thursday's edition in which he suggested the abolishment of the Student Association at GW, which he apparently considers unnecessary.

In response to a recent letter to the editor titled "SA a waste of time" (Feb. 26, p. 4), I would like to suggest to the gentleman who proposed the abolishment of the Student Association to begin his signature petition immediately. I would be very surprised if he received close to enough signatures to warrant further effort.

The writer purports that the SA is "unnecessary" and that The Hatchet is "misguided" in its attempt to cover the meaningless SA elections. I cannot begin to understand why anyone, especially a student, would recommend the abolishment an organization whose very existence is dedicated to providing a voice for and addressing the needs of students on this campus.

Instead of abolishing the voice of the student body or writing it off as irrelevant, why not seek to amplify your own voice? Why not try to reform the SA to your liking? Because it's pointless? Or because it's too hard?

It's time GW students stop their incessant complaining about the problems we face, both real and imagined, and actually take ownership of our community. Pay attention to the SA elections. Vote for the candidates who will be your greatest advocates. If none of them will, run for elected office yourself or encourage capable friends to do the same. Impress upon them the importance of their job as representatives of the student population. Constantly remind them of what needs fixing and what doesn't. When they succeed, reward them; when they fail, remove them.

This is the way our country works, but not just at the highest levels of representation. The foundations of representative government are in local entities such as school boards, PTAs, city councils and, yes, student associations, where decisions of local leaders have immediate effects on our communities. These institutions are the roots of our democracy, and we should bend them to our will, not ignore or abolish them out of our own petty and lazy frustration.

Eshawn Rawlley, Junior

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Constitution Fail

Apparently Rush Limbaugh has his sacred documents mixed up.

During a 1 hour and 20 minute speech at the annual conservative lovefest that is CPAC, Limbaugh had this to say:

"We conservatives have not done a good enough job of just laying out basically who we are, because we make the mistake of assuming that people know. What they know is largely incorrect, based on the way we're portrayed in pop culture, in the drive-by media, by the Democrat party"

"We want every American to be the best he or she chooses to be. We recognize that we are all individuals. We love and revere our founding documents, the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. We believe that the preamble of the Constitution contains an inarguable truth, that we are all endowed by our creator with certain inalienable rights, among them life, liberty, freedom -- and the pursuit of happiness," he said, pausing several times for enthusiastic applause."

First of all Rushie, it's the DemocratIC Party. Know your enemy.

Secondly, provided below is the preamble to the Constitution:

"We the People of the Unites States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessing's of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."

It's one of the most beautiful, powerful sentences ever written. But it doesn't say anything about "inarguable truths" of heavenly endowments.

What Rush was referring to can be found in the second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence:

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

When you want to show people that conservatives "love and revere our founding documents," you might want to quote them correctly. That's all.

It has been reported that later on during his address, Limbaugh said "We must fight for what we believe in. And the Bible says, "If this is your first fight at Fight Club, you have to fight."