Piggish pieces of work: Merrill Lynch’s John Thain, and now Governor Blagojevich

Piggish: adj. having qualities associated with a pig, greedy

Piece of work: n. (slang) a difficult person

The head of Merrill Lynch, John Thain, presided over an $11 billion loss at the firm, but he wants a $10 million bonus.

Hey, I presided over a 50% drop in my stock portfolio this year: I want a $20 million bonus!
And you deserve one too, don’t you?

Merrill has lost almost $12 billion this year, and is about to be taken over by Bank of America. Its shares have fallen fom $50 when Thain took over late last year to $13.04 at close of trading Friday.

It looks like Thain — who was a major fundraiser for John McCain’s campaign and was described by USA Today as a member of McCain’s “team” — is a practitioner of the bargaining strategy in which you begin with a maximalist offer as a starting point for negotiation.

Another one of those poor poor Republicans…

On a tangential but related topic, the bankruptcy of the Tribune Company, a former reporter made this suggestion:

Just a thought experiment: What if the penalties for a CEO’s business failure were as extravagant as the rewards for success are? What if the executives who did this to Tribune Co. had known that the cost of failure would be the loss of all their assets, that they would be forced to start over with a $7/hour job? I have to think they would have been a little more responsible.

And then, just in this morning, the outrageous piggery of Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich of Illinois, who was arrested by federal authorities on corruption charges, including an allegation that he was trying to (in effect) sell President-elect Barack Obama’s now vacant seat in the US Senate to the highest bidder.

Blagojevich called his sole authority to name Mr. Obama’s successor “golden,” and he sought to parlay it into a job as an ambassador or secretary of Health and Human Services, or a high-paying position at a nonprofit or an organization connected to labor unions, prosecutors said.

He also suggested, they said, that in exchange for the Senate appointment, his wife could be placed on corporate boards where she might earn as much as $150,000 a year, and he tried to gain promises of money for his campaign fund.

If Mr. Blagojevich could not secure a deal to his liking, prosecutors said, he was willing to appoint himself.  “If I don’t get what I want and I’m not satisfied with it, then I’ll just take the Senate seat myself,” the governor said in recorded conversation, prosecutors said.

A 76-page affidavit from the United States Attorney’s office in the Northern District of Illinois says Mr. Blagojevich (pronounced bluh-GOY-uh-vich) was heard on wiretaps over the last month planning to “sell or trade Illinois’ United States Senate seat vacated by President-elect Barack Obama for financial and personal benefits for himself and his wife.”

I prefer that the Republicans hold onto their franchise of corruption. Unfortunately the Guv was a Democrat.

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5 responses to “Piggish pieces of work: Merrill Lynch’s John Thain, and now Governor Blagojevich

  1. Pingback: Pickin’ paragons: Merle Travis, Chet Atkins, Jerry Reed, Mississippi John Hurt « 365 Words Beginning with P

  2. “I prefer that the Republicans hold onto their franchise of corruption. Unfortunately the Guv was a Democrat.”

    What’s the surprise, the republicans and democrats are different wings of the same bird.

    When Tom Hayden was asked if this country needed a third party, his answer was we need a SECOND party!

  3. Blagojevich has been so successful at making himself and his office look ridiculous that about a million people are now able to remember and maybe even spell his crazy name — that’s sort of like an accomplishment, right?

  4. Someone once said (President Truman?) – “I don’t care what they say about me as long as they put it on the front page!”

    Though the names of Blagojevich and Truman shouldn’t be said in the same breath or even on the same page. Harry was a good guy.

  5. Pingback: Pigs at Merrill Lynch: bonusses all around! (from us) « 365 Words Beginning with P