AIG Bonuses Make Obama, Geithner, and Blogosphere Angry, Plus Remembering Ron Silver

Hating AIG, Ben Stiller eulogizes Ron Silver, and Cheney hearts Limbaugh.

By + More

Our daily look at stories and topics that are lighting up the Internets:

AIG: The A is for Angry

Everyone is unhappy with AIG today. Here's what happened: After receiving something like $150 billion from the U.S. government in bailout money, it turns out the insurance giant's financial products unit is getting $450 million in bonuses. From CNN: "Lawmakers have been pushing for AIG to release a list of its counterparties since last fall, arguing taxpayers have a right to know how federal aid is being used." The list of AIG recipients of bailout money is drawing as much outrage as the bonuses—look no further than this AP headline, or this reaction from President Obama, or almost any article on the subject, for example. The Treasury and AIG are justifying the bonuses by arguing the company was under contractual obligation and would have faced lawsuits had it not paid. Here's what bloggers were saying: our very own Robert Schlesinger thinks AIG needs a "come to Jesus" moment, while liberal Satyam Khanna writes that Democratic Rep. Barney Frank of Massachusetts might just give it one. The Washington Post's Bill Kristol thinks AIG's excuse is a crock of, well, a crock of excessive and possibly masochistic indulgence on the part of company executives. Think bloggers, politicians, farm animals (practically anything that breathes) are angry? Take a look at the interview Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke gave to 60 Minutes. Andrew Sullivan pulls this Bernanke line as the quote of the day: "I slammed the phone more than a few times on discussing AIG."

Liddy Vs. Geithner, et al.

Over the weekend, AIG CEO Edward Liddy sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner about the bonuses in which, as Josh Marshall explains, Liddy tells Geithner, "with great courtesy and heaviness of heart, to go screw himself." The letter is available here. Jessica Pressler points us to a "totally scary" website that's already formed listing the names of AIG executives. Josh Marshall, in another post on AIG, gets to the heart of the problem: "What we're trying to do is untangle a massive ball of twine these guys created. And as much as we might revile these characters we can't do without their help trying to get it unwound." This liberal blogger thinks the Obama administration's fight against the bonuses is useless in terms of tangible results, but indispensable politically. And Joe Gandelman posts a great roundup of his own on reactions to AIG, arguing that the scandal "could become catalyst for outrage against the bailouts, banks and perhaps even corporations in general."

Remembering Ron Silver

Much like the outrage directed at AIG, bloggers of all political stripes responded to news of actor and political activist Ron Silver's passing mournfully. "Ron Silver got me drunk when I was 12 years old," eulogizes actor Ben Stiller. "He treated us like people, even though we weren't yet." Liberal talking head Paul Begala writes: "With the passing of activist and actor Ron Silver, the intersection of art and politics has lost one of the truly good guys." And in one of those rare, beautiful moments, Michelle Malkin agrees with liberal bloggers: "Silver's rare, brave voice in the entertainment industry will be missed." Conservative Mark Steyn debates Silver's political orientation: "Ron Silver wasn't a 'conservative.' He was a liberal who couldn't see why that required giving a profoundly illiberal enemy carte blanche to kill you. There should have been a few more like that in the wake of 9/11."


President Obama will appear on Jay Leno's Tonight Show this Thursday... Levi Johnston isn't ruling out the possibility of potentially marrying Bristol Palin... Russian President Vladimir Putin meets Ronald Reagan during his childhood (picture)... Dick Cheney "loves" Rush Limbaugh... And Meghan McCain tells Laura Ingraham to "kiss my fat ass!"