Friday, October 31, 2008

Doofus Of The Day #98 and #99

Truly, we've been blessed with an abundance of Doofi this week. We've had at least one every day, and nine all told (including today's pair) since last Sunday. I wonder what the last day of the week will bring tomorrow? Will we reach our century of Doofus awards? Watch this space!

Anyway, Doofus #98 is a collective award - to US investment banks. Having just begged and pleaded for a $700 billion rescue package, which has added enormously to the national debt and for which our children's children will still be paying, what have they done? Let Max Hastings describe their incredible arrogance and greed.

The nine biggest U.S. investment banks have set aside $108 billion for staff compensation in the forthcoming year.

A mean-spirited California Democrat, Henry Waxman, has written them a letter. He wants to know how they can justify this figure when they have just received $125 billion in aid from the U.S. government.

Waxman says: 'I question the appropriateness of depleting the capital that taxpayers just injected into the banks through the payment of billions of dollars in bonuses.' And so say all of us.

Sour jokes apart, it defies belief that when the bankers of America and Britain have presided over the greatest disaster in the history of capitalism, they are still awarding themselves telephone number pay deals.

Aggrieved bankers say that they have lifestyles to support. Many are paying mortgage interest on multi-million pound homes in London's Holland Park or New York's Upper East Side. They have school fees to meet, boats whose crews must be paid, homes in the Bahamas to fund.

But to the rest of us, watching our savings and pensions shrink towards invisibility, the latest numbers show that the rulers of the financial system still inhabit a fantasy zone.

They refuse to acknowledge that this is year zero, a new and shockingly different world which they themselves have created. They proclaimed the law of the jungle, the free market. When this failed, they demanded and received vast sums of our money to save them from its consequences.

Millions of people around the world are going to lose their jobs, many more their homes, still more their savings, as a result of the bankers' arrogance and incompetence. The least we expect is that they should share some part of our pain.

A mere 50 per cent cut in multi-million pound rewards is not enough. As a matter of common decency, a small gesture of contrition, no bonuses whatever should be paid this year. Bonuses for what achievement? For ruining us all?

I couldn't have put it better myself. A giant Doofus award and a monster one-finger salute to the fat-cats of the corporate banking world! Grrr!

I sincerely hope that Congress does something to prohibit the use of 'rescue package' money for paying out bonuses or incentives of any kind. They owe that to us, the taxpayers who are ultimately the ones who'll have to pay for the rescue. Anything less would be a dereliction of duty.

Are you listening, Congress?


Anyone there?

Ah, well . . .

Doofus #99 is also collective, to the Swansea town council's road sign department in Wales: but it's somewhat lighter-hearted. According to the BBC:

When officials asked for the Welsh translation of a road sign, they thought the reply was what they needed.

Unfortunately, the e-mail response to Swansea council said in Welsh: "I am not in the office at the moment. Please send any work to be translated".

So that was what went up under the English version which barred lorries from a road near a supermarket.

"When they're proofing signs, they should really use someone who speaks Welsh," said journalist Dylan Iorwerth.

Swansea Council became lost in translation when it was looking to halt heavy goods vehicles using a road near an Asda store in the Morriston area

All official road signs in Wales are bilingual, so the local authority e-mailed its in-house translation service for the Welsh version of: "No entry for heavy goods vehicles. Residential site only".

The reply duly came back and officials set the wheels in motion to create the large sign in both languages.

The notice went up and all seemed well - until Welsh speakers began pointing out the embarrassing error.

Red faces at the council - and, I'm sure, a lot of smiles from passing Welsh speakers!



Old NFO said...

Agrred on the first one and laughing at the second one! Guess that classifies as an oops...

Melissa B. said...

Dear Superior Scribbler: Sorry for the "canned" and unrelated nature of this comment, but I wanted to get to as many of you tonite as possible. One of the things that we at Scholastic Scribe are most proud of is the Silly Sunday Sweepstakes. Several of you are already familiar with the arbitrary and quite inane weekly attempt at humor...for you, and for those of you who have not yet played Sx3, I urge you to drop by Sunday to see what's up. Oh, and congrats on being named a SS. You earned it!