An email from a squirrelly friend:
Q. How do you know you’re living under a Socialist government?
A. When your President is able to fire the CEO of an automobile company.
I had the same thought. What are you doing?
There is something absolutely surreal about the image of the President of the United States saying that it is okay to buy a GM car because the car warranty is backed by the government. So our federal government is now in the auto warranty business? How about backing our national security and just let the auto companies fend for themselves.
Can I post that on my blog?
Yes. Just say it’s from your squirrelly friend.
What are you doing?
I’m eating an oatmeal raisin cookie from LaMadeleine right now! But it’s not as good as I bet that Karamel Sutra is.
You don’t want my cookies?
The Karamel Sutra is okay. It’s a bit hard. I’m waiting for it to soften up. You’ll never hear me say those words again.
If you don’t leave it alone, it will never soften.
March 31, 2003, Enron’s lease on the towers at 1400 Smith Street expired. The company, which by this time was basically Enron Creditors Recovery Corp though it had not officially changed its name, moved from the beautiful towers to a dull brown office building called Four Houston Center which houses many law firms. The interior of the new building is pleasant enough, with cream marble floors and gilt elevators. But it’s not sexy. It’s just an office building.
Washington Times exposes a massive scandal (part two) involving Senator Dodd and AIG
As Democrats prepared to take control of Congress after the 2006 elections, a top boss at the insurance giant American International Group Inc. told colleagues that Sen. Christopher J. Dodd was seeking re-election donations and he implored company executives and their spouses to give.
Getty Images Sen. Christopher J. Dodd, chairman of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, has lost some political standing heading into re-election because of his ties to American International Group Inc.
The message in the Nov. 17, 2006, e-mail from Joseph Cassano, AIG Financial Products chief executive, was unmistakable: Mr. Dodd was “next in line” to be chairman of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, which oversees the insurance industry, and he would “have the opportunity to set the committee’s agenda on issues critical to the financial services industry.
“Given his seniority in the Senate, he will also play a key role in the Democratic Majority’s leadership,” Mr. Cassano wrote in the message, obtained by The Washington Times.
How nice that even suggests the spouses donate.
The article continues:
Mr. Dodd’s campaign quickly hit pay dirt, collecting more than $160,000 from employees and their spouses at the AIG Financial Products division (AIG-FP) in Wilton, Conn., in the days before he took over as the committee chairman in January 2007. Months later, the senator transferred the donations to jump-start his 2008 presidential bid, which later failed.
Now, two years later, Mr. Dodd has emerged as a central figure in the government’s decision to let executives at the now-failing AIG collect more than $218 million in bonuses, according to the Connecticut attorney general – even as the company was receiving billions of dollars in assistance from the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). He acknowledged that he slipped a provision into legislation in February that authorized the bonuses, but said the Treasury Department asked him to do it.
The whole article is a necessary read. Read and marvel at the hypocrisy of the Democrat party.
I interrupt my holiday to bring you this important message.
This afternoon, a person who knows Jeff Skilling told me, “You are smarter than Jeff Skilling.”
Of course, I accused this person of heresy. I demanded this person wash his mouth out with soap. Then this person made it so much worse and said, “I think you’re much smarter than me also. I am going to start referring to you as “She Who is Smarter than Me.”
This is awful. This is the worst thing that has ever happened to me. In the first place, I think in pure intelligence, this person probably has Jeff beat by a few microns, so no matter how you want to calculate intelligence, they’re both extremely brilliant people.
The more important dimension to this is the fact that I need my heroes to be bigger and better than me. Both this person and Jeff Skilling are my heroes and it bothers me that I would be compared to them and found even better.
I started to think about why this is so. I found this in an essay by Ayn Rand that rings true for me. She is writing about why a woman would not want to be president, but there are ancillary points that I find are right on target:
“For a woman qua woman, the essence of femininity is hero worship – the desire to look up to a man. “To look up” does not mean dependence, obedience or anything implying inferiority. It means an intense kind of admiration; and admiration is an emotion that can be experienced only by a person of strong character and independent value judgments. A “clinging vine” type of woman is not an admirer, but an exploiter of men. Hero worship is a demanding virtue: a woman has to be worthy of it and of the hero she worships. Intellectually and morally, ie. as a human being, she has to be his equal; then the object of her worship is specifically his masculinity, not any human virtue she might lack.
This does not mean that a feminine woman feels or projects hero worship for any and every individual man; as human beings, many of them may, in fact, be her inferiors. Her worship is an abstract emotion for the metaphysical concept of masculinity s such – which she experiences fully and concretely only for the man she loves but which colors her attitude toward all men. This does not mean that there is a romantic or sexual intention in her attitude toward all men. Quite the contrary; the higher her view of masculinity, the more severely demanding er standards. It means that she never loses the awareness of her own sexual identity and theirs. It means that a properly feminine woman does not treat men as if she were their pal, sister, mother – or leader.”
This line, especially, caught my attention: “intellectually and morally, ie. as a human being, she has to be his equal”. If this is true, one must assume that we can only admire that which we recognize (ie, that which we see in ourselves.)
I admire Jeff Skilling because he is strong, though I suppose my intelligence is what enables me to see it.
I admire this other person because he is strong and brilliant and gorgeous and funny and he is the most Randian man I’ve ever known. I see this in him because it’s the only thing one can see when one looks at him.
Over the weekend I was listening to an interview with Dianne Middlebrook who wrote a book titled Her Husband about the Sylvia Plath-Ted Hughes marriage. The interviewer was asking about the fact that in Plath’s marriage particularly but in most marriages – then and now – no matter how successful Plath might have been, she needed to be able to look up to Hughes, as a father figure or mentor. “No matter how successful the woman is, she feels she’s got to be able to have a husband who is even more successful,” the interviewer says. Then she quotes from Sylvia’s journal: “To have such a man. To make him the best man the world has ever seen.”
Again, I identify with this. I think perhaps Sylvia recognizes something universal about women: though we’re independent women who are as self-directed as men, there is an instinct in us to follow.
Some women are good leaders. Sarah Palin, for instance, is a credible leader. But Carly Fiorina, the ousted CEO of HP? There was always something a little uncertain about her; I believe she was probably a fine executive, but not a fine leader.
Women, in general, don’t lead. We either follow or do our own thing. It is this way because our biology tells us to be this way.
Sylvia Plath recognized this. In the very early days of their marriage, she wrote in her journal that it was good and proper for Ted to have been published first – the obvious corallary there is it would have upset some male/female balance if she’d been more successful than he. And note that her wild creative period which produced the Ariel poems were written after she realized she no longer needed Ted Hughes and his “writing exercises”, to teach her how to write. The marriage fell apart when she finally realized that she was not just his equal, she might be his superior too.
Likewise, Rand’s characters are always self-directed, and even the strong women follow the men. Dagny Taggart, for instance, is clearly the one running the railroad in Atlas Shrugged. The men respect her. The railroad improves under her leadership. But that’s not the end of the story. In the novel, she says to her lover, Hank Rearden, that she would give up any role she’s ever played but she would not give up being his pet, an object for him to play with whenever he wanted.
Whatever conclusions we can draw about the fictional character, we know that even Rand saw room in the most ambitious characters for this instinct.
Thus, when he tells me that I am smarter than Jeff Skilling, or smarter than himself, it feels all wrong. It may be true, but by saying it, he’s putting a terrible burden on me to live up to it. My biology has not prepared me for that.
I’m going on vacation for a few days so my blog won’t be updated. Please don’t worry.
Have a great April.
Death, erotic love, the midnight mind: clothes, rooms, doors. Teapots, copper cookers, the smell of Windex and Pledge, maps in the glove compartment of the car. The long line at the grocery store, rolling the cart over curbs of hard white snow to the car. Missed phone calls. Traffic. No makeup. The backyard white and bleak. The constant static of the ocean: the subtext of every conversation circling back to this life in Connecticut, meaning: not that life in New York. Bread. Maplewood burning in the fireplace. The place settings gleam in the recessed lighting. In laws. Dog tracks in the snow. Little hands, needy hands, hands of the clock. Warm socked feet under enormous puff comforter. Computers, projects, entrepreneurship, making our own foundation. Checking account. Conical time: it gets wider and better lit as it gets closer. Breakfast at the table, the baby’s hands like little starfish. Winter patterns, winter colors. Back kitchen windows black at six. Male patrols, setting alarms and doublechecking locks right before bed. Falling asleep with his body curled around mine like a small sea creature. Final act of love.
If you can watch this and not want to jump up, run outside and assemblé, jeté, entrechat, and cabriole like your life depended on it, you are a better person than I.
So. Imagine you’re an average guy who likes to get whipped like a bitch and have your genitals mutilated. After an evening in the – I quote – “beautifully decorated and fully equipped private dungeon” – you arrive home refreshed (I suppose?) and discover that your trusty dominatrix isn’t quite finished fucking you.
Newsday reports that your dominatrix, her husband, and several lawyers have used your identity to be a straw buyer in a $50-million mortgage fraud.
I like the idea of a dominatrix conspiring with lawyers to commit fraud. It creates some very Tarantino-worthy images.
But if you’re the average guy? That’s a real kick in the nuts.