Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Most Absurd Thing We've Read All Year (But the Year is Still Young)

From Thursday's New York Times, in a story contrasting the Obama administration's looser standards for White House dress and meetings and the more button-down approach of his predecessor's:
... [Obama] showed up Saturday for a briefing with his chief economic adviser, Lawrence H. Summers, dressed in slacks and a gray sweater over a white buttoned-down shirt. Workers from the Bush White House are shocked.

“I’ll never forget going to work on a Saturday morning, getting called down to the Oval Office because there was something he was mad about,” said Dan Bartlett, who was counselor to Mr. Bush. “I had on khakis and a buttoned-down shirt, and I had to stand by the door and get chewed out for about 15 minutes. He wouldn’t even let me cross the threshold.”*
Which is just slightly more absurd than this:
Recently axed Merrill Lynch chief John Thain is getting lynched for handing out some $3 to $4 billion in bonuses to employees just before the firm merged with Bank of America. But Thain wasn't the only one handing our checks last year.

While 2008 was a devastating time for investors, 79% of Wall Street workers received bonuses, according to a study by employment Web site

"Following one of the most tumultuous years in financial history, smart people who did good work deserve to be recognized," said John Benson, the site's founder. "The future of the financial services industry may be opaque,* but the industry has a vital role to play in the global economy--and that requires talent.
Which is just slightly more absurd than this:
[Houston schools] Superintendent Abelardo Saavedra pocketed the biggest reward [for teacher performance] — earning $77,500 of the $80,000 maximum award allowed under his contract. The bonus is on top of his annual salary of $327,010*.
*Emphases added, of course.

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