Maureen Dowd and Thomas Friedman Play Make-Believe

Today in the New York Times opinion section: Maureen Dowd reads the Post and pretends to be outraged at perk-addicted rich people, Thomas Friedman just makes up some nonsense.

Princess Dowd noticed that one thing that many people at Citronelle have been talking about, lately, is greedy bankers, and how shameful it is that they are all so oblivious to how much people are probably suffering, somewhere (Detroit?). Dowd couldn't really come up with a good, derisive nickname for these greedy bankers, because they are faceless examples of greed and not specific, fey liberal politicians, so she borrows the terribly clever moniker the New York Post bestowed on them: "The 'Citiboobs.'" (Maureen Dowd just wanted to write the word "boobs.") (Boobs.)

So these boobs bought a private jet with their bailout money, but Maureen Dowd had to spend $400 on her credit card, because she is a real person, like you and me! (She shouldn't have picked up the check at Citronelle!) "Real people are losing real jobs at Caterpillar, Home Depot and Sprint Nextel," Maureen Dowd heard on CNN, yesterday.

Oh, and John Thain, he is a bad dude. Her friends Andrew Cuomo and Carl Levin told her so.

Bartiromo also asked Thain to explain, when jobs and salaries were being cut at his firm, how he could justify spending $1 million to renovate his office. As The Daily Beast and CNBC reported, big-ticket items included curtains for $28,000, a pair of chairs for $87,000, fabric for a “Roman Shade” for $11,000, Regency chairs for $24,000, six wall sconces for $2,700, a $13,000 chandelier in the private dining room and six dining chairs for $37,000, a “custom coffee table” for $16,000, an antique commode “on legs” for $35,000, and a $1,400 “parchment waste can.”

Does that mean you can only throw used parchment in it or is it made of parchment? It’s psychopathic to spend a million redoing your office when the folks outside it are losing jobs, homes, pensions and savings.

It would probably be unfair and pointless to ask about how much money Dowd has sunk unto the home office at her 1819 Georgetown townhome. Not that she's received government bailout money for it! Though the Times did need Mexican Billionaire Bailout Money, and she's probably paid a bit better than your average "actual reporter."

But speaking of actual reporting: Thomas Friedman actually interviewed King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia about Middle East peace! The interview took place in 2002. He couldn't get another interview, so in today's column he makes up what he thinks Abdullah would say about the current crisis in the holy land.

Back in 2002, Abdullah proposed "full peace and normalization of relations, by all 22 Arab states, for full withdrawal from all occupied lands and creation of a Palestinian state." Friedman claims this was his idea. Now that is not so much of a viable option, for lots of reasons that everyone in the comments can argue about. So Friedman imagines that Abdullah would now propose some hilarious "neither side would agree to any of this in 100 years especially now" plan that is pretty much the same as the other one except even harder to implement.

And it's written from the perspective of King Abdullah—apparently Abdullah is doing his impression of Matt Taibbi's impression of Thomas Friedman! Like:

President Obama, too much has been broken to go straight back to the two-state solution. It would be like trying to build a house with bricks but no cement. There’s no trust and no framework to build it. Israelis and Palestinians need the kind of cement that only Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jordan can provide.

The real problem right now is that Israel and Palestine don't have enough cement. (Shouldn't have wasted so much on that security fence, right?) The "bricks" in this analogy represent... well, actual bricks, as far as we can tell.

Thankfully, we have a solution to everything, in the world: in order to save the Times, some guys write in the op-ed page today, they should stop being for-profit and establish a foundation or something, like a university's endowment. Hilariously, the op-ed is cowritten by the chief investment officer at Yale, who just lost the school billions. But still! It is a good idea! Especially because of this:

One constraint on an endowed institution is the prohibition in the same law against trying to “influence legislation” or “participate in any campaign activity for or against political candidates.” While endowed newspapers would need to refrain from endorsing candidates for public office, they would still be free to participate forcefully in the debate over issues of public importance. The loss of endorsements seems minor in the context of the opinion-heavy Web.

Sure, we'd miss the laughs. But the Times, and America, would be better off. Thomas and Maureen would surely still find work elsewhere, making up crazy nonsense. Thomas could write children's books and Maureen could marry a banker.