No More Empty Fortune Cookies!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A Rose by Any Other Name

The Huffington Post provided audio of James Gorman, co-president of Morgan Stanley, in a conference call saying
"There will be a retention award. Please do not call it a bonus. It is not a bonus. It is an award. And it recognizes the importance of keeping our team in place as we go through this integration."

The payments being calculated based on performance numbers from 2008, to ensure an increase in the size of the awards.

"I think I can hear you clapping from here in New York," Gorman snarked, oblivious to the disservice occuring to you and I. Meanwhile, taking our tax dollars to provide these awards to people who make more money in one year than many of us will make in our lifetimes. "You should be clapping because frankly that is a very generous and thoughtful decision that we have made. We spent a lot of time kicking this around. We could easily have done it from the point of closing, which is obviously going to be somewhere in the latter half of this year or around the middle of the year. But we just decided... that it was right thing to do, to give you that certainty that it would be based off '08. '09 is a very difficult year... So that degree of anxiety, which many, many of you have emailed me about... is now off the table."

While I'm cuting corners and clipping coupons. Saving all I can because I keep watching my once healthy 401K dwindle and diminish, like a cancer patient in his last few days...gasping for air.

I don't want to end up like Henrietta Hughes. I mean, sure it seems to have worked out ok for her now, but jeez! She lived in her car...with her son.

That's not supposed to be my country. But the other day when Wifester's cousin was here visiting us from Ohio, as we drove home from a trip downtown, we drove through an underpass and there were men sleeping under the bridge. In the winter, in Nashville. I felt bad. Not that I've never seen them before. Nashville's had homeless for a long time. But there's more now than ever before, and they are in areas that you never saw them in before.

I was almost one of them. Seriously. Almost one of them once. Its so easy for it to happen to you before you even realize it. One day I'm living my life, paying my rent, stretching my dollars to make ends meet when all of a sudden I wake up to my partner gone, my transportation -gone, my savings - gone. An explanation that she's in love with my boss. My boss... consider how difficult that work situation became. It didn't last long. And neither did my funds nor my ability to support myself. I found myself at the mercy of friends who graciously took me in and helped me out until I could get back on my feet. But I know that not everyone has that luxury. In fact, had I not been able to travel the 2,800 miles to reach those friends, I would have been on the streets within another 2 days. That's no lie and no exaggeration.

How did I get out of that ditch? Help from friends. Rehab. Detoxing from that smorgasbord of chemical substances really helped a lot. And therapy. I became very introspective and studied my life, my patterns and my behaviors.

I wonder how many of these people could get a home and possibly even some help for their problems, to rehabilitate them and help them become productive citizens again on just one of those "awards?"

I don't really care what they call it.



Corporate Greed.

A rose by any other name? That ain't no rose, let me tell you... and sweet is NOT how I'd describe what I'm smelling...

Which all has me playing Ani Difranco's Serpentine over and over and over again in my mind.

If you don't know the song, here's the lyrics, and you can listen to it here:

pavlov hits me with more bad news

every time i answer the phone

so i play and i sing and i just let it ring

all day when i'm at home

a defacto choice of macro

or microcosmic melancholy

but, baby, any way you slice it

i'm thinkin i could just as soon use

the time alone

yes, the goons have gone global

and the CEOs are shredding files

and the democrins and the republicrats

are flashing their toothy smiles

and uncle tom is posing for a photo op

with the oval office clan

and uncle sam is rigging cockfights

in the promised land

and that knife you stuck in my back is still there

it pinches a little when i sigh and moan

and these days i'm thinkin i could just as soon use

the time alone

cuz all the wrong people have the power

of suggestion

and the freedom of the press is meaningless

if nobody asks a question

i mean, causation by definition

is such a complex compilation of factors

that to even try to say why

is to oversimplifly

but that's a far cry, isn't it dear?

from acting like you're the only one there

unrepentantly self-centered and unfair

enter all suckers scrambling for the scoop

exit mr. eye contact

who took his flirt and flew the coop

but whatever

no matter

no fishin trips

no fishin

cuz mamma's officially out of commission

and did i mention

in there


did i mention


in there

that i traded babe ruth?

yes, i traded the only player that was bigger than the game

and i can't even tell you why

cuz you'd think i'm insane

and that's the truth

and the music industry mafia is pimping girl power

sniping off their sharpshooter singles from their styrofoam towers

and hip hop is tied up in the back room

with a logo stuffed in its mouth

cuz the master's tools will never dismantle the master's house

but then

i'm getting away from myself

as i get closer and closer to home

and these days i'm thinkin

i could just as soon use

the time alone

an i must admit

today my inner pessimist

seems to have got the best of me

we start out sugared up on kool-aid and manifest destiny

and we memorize all the president's names

like little trained monkeys

and then we're spit into the world

so many spinny-eyed t.v. junkies

incapable of unravelling the military industrial mystery

preemptively pacified with history book history

an i've been around the world now

and i can see this about america

the mind control is steep here, man

the myopia is deep here

and behold

those that try to expose the reality

who really try to realize democracy

are shot with rubber bullets and gassed off the streets

while the global power brokers are kept clean and discreet

behind a wall

behind a moat

and that is all

that's all she wrote

an my heart beats an sss o o o sss

cuz folks just couldn't care care care less less less

as long as every day is superbowl sunday

and larger than life women in lingerie

are pouting at us from every bus stop

shelovesme shelovesmenot shelovesme shelovesmenot...

and "big government should not stand between a man and his money"

cuz "what's good for business is good for the country"

our children still take that lie like communion

the same old line the confederacy used on the union

conjugate liberty

into libertarian

and medicate it

associate it

with deregulation


we won't even know we're slaves

on a corporate plantation

somebody say hallelujah!

somebody say damnation!

cuz the profit system follows the path of least resistance

and the path of least resistance is what makes the river crooked

makes it serpentine

capitalism is the devil's wet dream

so just give me my judy garland drugs

and let me get back to work

cuz the empire state building

is the tallest building in new york

and i always got the feeling

you just liked to hear it fall

off your tongue

but i remember my name

in your mouth

and i don't think i was done

hearing it close to my ear

on a whisper's way to a moan

but pavlov hits me with more bad news every time i answer the phone

so i play and i sing and i just let it ring all day when i'm at home

a defacto choice of macro

or microcosmic melancholy

but baby, any way you slice it

i'm thinkin i could just as soon use

the time alone

© 2003 ani difranco / righteous babe music

4 cookies cracked:

Jay said...

They should just let the banks fail and wipeout the shareholders. Then take the money for the bailouts and prop up the pension funds that would also do down with the banks. Then buy up all the bad mortgages and refinance so people can keep their homes.

Jessica said...

Why won't they let them fail! :( I feel like they are just paying their buddies off!

Reb said...

Good post. I like your rants, they are well thought out and to the point. It is scary as shit being so close to being on the street and to then see the government helping out those that have and not those that need, is very frustrating.

Chatty said...

your almost homelessness is just scary. I can only tell you how HAPPY I am that you were able to turn it around. And, that song is amazing - I'm going to be reading it several more times. Thanks