March Madness … B-ball – or AIG Bonuses – or Other Outrages?

Yeah, I don’t know about you, but the news that AIG executives are receiving millions in bonuses today just sounds downright crazy.  Apparently they are saying that they are contractually obligated to pay the bonuses this year … and will work on less distasteful and exhorbitant ways to compensate their staff in the future.

“We cannot attract and retain the best and brightest talent to lead and staff the AIG businesses, which are now being operated principally on behalf of the American taxpayers _ if employees believe their compensation is subject to continued and arbitrary adjustment by the U.S. Treasury,” Liddy said.

Best and brightest, eh?  Well, nice work so far, guys. And you know what?  You wouldn’t be getting any damn compensation if the U.S. Treasury hadn’t stepped in – so suck it up!

Apparently they are worried that they would face lawsuits if they didn’t go through with the bonuses.  I say do something principled … and then let the suits follow (if, indeed, they do).  I would like to see individuals step forward and allow their names to be publicized, along with their claims that they need these bonuses while unemployment soars and people struggle to put food on the table.

It’s beyond outrageous.  People everywhere are losing jobs, taking pay cuts … where does the greed stop? What is in people’s hearts and minds, when they insist on their millions in bonuses?  What is in people’s hearts and minds when they say they have to pay out these amounts?  I know that bonuses are built in to the system of compensation for these folks.  But you know what … the expectation of having a job was built into the “system of compensation” for lots of people, too!  As I said earlier, suck it up, guys.  Whining from your quarter is very, very unattractive at the moment!

I hadn’t read From a Left Wing for awhile, but checked it out yesterday and came upon this harrowing story about the rape and murder of Eudy Simelane, a South African soccer player and lesbian/feminist activist.

Her brutal murder took place last April, and since then a tide of violence against lesbian women in South Africa has continued to rise. Human rights campaigners say it is characterised by what they call “corrective rape” committed by men behind the guise of trying to “cure” lesbian women of their sexual orientation.

Now, a report by the international NGO ActionAid, backed by the South African Human Rights Commission, condemns the culture of impunity around these crimes, which it says are going unrecognised by the state and unpunished by the legal system.

The trial apparently took place in February – and here is the only report that I have been able to find (so far) on the outcome, which was quite disappointing in that the judge apparently did not recognize that there is a systemic/socio-cultural issue at play.

Mpithi was sentenced to 18 years for murder, 15 yrs for robbery and 9 yrs for being an accomplice to rape. The first 10 yrs of the 15yrs of robbery will run concurrently with the 18yrs of murder. This means he is sentenced to 32 yrs less the time already spent in jail from April 28.

As activists and the Simelane family left the courtroom on the last day of Mpithi’s trial, too many mixed reactions were expressed. The 32 year sentence seems acceptable given legal precedents’ in our country. The fact that Judge Mavundla found “no significance” in Mpithi’s crime, he failed to recognise that lesbians do face rape and murder in South Africa. Activists hope that this aspect will be more prominent in the case against the other three accused as Eudy Simelane was known to one or more of them.

Most alarming were the reports from the activists and others who attended court on the threats received from the co-accused friends. Over a dozen lesbians especially from Kwa-Thema reported that young men were heard threatening things like “no matter what transpires in court, we are going to eliminate lesbians and gays” – in vulgar Zulu words. Not only lesbians and gays, but general supporters of the Simelane family and human rights defenders are now in fear that they will be targeted.

I’ll keep looking for more information about this … and add Black Looks to my links – for ongoing news … and move on to other matters for now.

For one, here’s the Jon Stewart vs Jim Cramer episode of The Daily Show from last week.  Jon does it again – not letting the media off the hook for its complicity and laziness!

Nearly time for the tourney picks.  Men tonight, women tomorrow.  The women’s tournament finals wind up today.  Following is the women’s b-ball schedule, as we know it, through the women’s final!  Stay tuned to JordanCornblog as the brackets come out and the Madness begins!

MEAC Championship (tape delayed) 10:00am ESPNU
Horizon League Championship 12:00 ESPNU
Big 12 Tournament Championship 12:30 Fox Sports Net
NEC Championship 2:00 ESPNU
CAA Tournament Championship 2:30 Comcast SportsNet/CSS
Big South Championship 3:00 SportSouth
MVC Tournament Final 3:05 Fox/Comcast/Metro Sports
America East Championship 6:00 New England Sports Net
Pac-10 Conference Championship 8:00 Fox Sports Net

Selection Monday 6:00 ESPN/ESPNU (extended telecast)

NCAA Women’s Championship Special 6:00 ESPN

2009 McDonald’s All American Game 4:30 ESPNU

NCAA Tournament Semifinal 1 6:00 ESPN
NCAA Tournament Semifinal 2 8:30 ESPN

NCAA Tournament Championship 7:30 ESPN

I was very surprised to see that Oklahoma got knocked out of their Tourney … and while it’s been very hard for me to root for anyone/anything from Texas (except the Dixie Chicks) since Dubya reared his ugly head … I have to say that Texas A&M is a team that I have come to like a lot.  They are feisty, scrappy – great defense – and I’m really liking Gary Blair!

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