I try to avoid doing too much linkblogging, but this was unavoidable. From Sudhir Venkatesh, via the Freakonomics blog: Thugz on the Bailout
… they laughed when I said the government should prioritize the punishment of senior management. In the words of Shine, the elder statesman of the group, “You have to be real careful when you mess with folks at the top, because when the war is over, you’ll need these guys real quick. Ninety-nine percent of people just doing what they’re told — you couldn’t find half a brain among all of them. But the ones with the brains — don’t let them go.”
I was deeply upset by this comment. In fact, I thought A.I.G. Chairman Edward Liddy might have been communicating with Shine.
“You got to be kidding me,” I said to Shine, my blood boiling. “Have you been watching the news? These guys are the ones who created this mess. You don’t want them to hang?! Whatever happened to the law of the jungle? Whatever happened to letting people take the hit for their behavior? Isn’t that what your world is all about.”
Portis, 42 years old and with a six-year grand larceny prison sentence under his belt, answered for Shine. “There’s two kinds of brains you need to run a good business. Sometimes you need “Sleepy Heads.” You know, the ones who pick up the money from the crews; the ones who make sure everyone got ammo; the ones who just do their job, don’t cause no trouble. Then you need bona fide Killers. The Killers like watching you bleed to death while they are eating a plate of ham and collard greens. You understand?”