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Friday, July 20, 2012

Where are they now? An update on the Splat-ters of the Month

Splatospheric has survived the one-month mark (which is more than we can say for some of our romantic relationships), so we've decided to honor its longevity by checking in on the splat-ters we've featured over the last four weeks. Are they still stuck to the wall, laying in the dirt, or back on their feet? Let's find out.

1.  Greece.  Not much seems to have changed since we last wrote about this beautiful country.  Greek citizens continue to chafe at suggestions from the International Monetary Fund, Euro zone leaders and debt inspectors that the country must adopt even more austerity measures.  They are frankly growing weary of all this austerity and oversight.  Commentators referred to this as "adjustment fatigue," a term that gives "market correction" a real run for its money as financial euphemisms go.  Antonis Samaris, the newly elected Prime Minister, seems determined to respond to the needs of his constituents.  He intends to seek renegotiation of bailout loan terms and has reassured voters that no additional austerity measures will be imposed in 2012.  Some astute citizens noticed that 2012 was 75% gone already, so Samaris turned up the rhetoric a notch, vowing to delay the start of 2013 until April and to nominate Mr. Magoo as a debt inspector.  

2.   The University of Virginia Board of Visitors.  We really have to hand it to Helen Dragas and the Board for their outstanding efforts to convert this splat to a successful rebound.  They wisely reinstated Teresa Sullivan as President.  Shortly thereafter, Sullivan proved her strategic vision was pretty close to 20/20 after all by revealing a partnership with Coursera, an online educational platform provider whose clients include prestigious institutions like Stanford and Duke.  As a show of the Board's confidence in the University's president, Dragas joined Sullivan in announcing the new partnership.  Alumni and donors viewed the joint statement was a nice sign that Dragas and Sullivan had already reconciled their differences, but its credibility was undermined slightly by the photo that ran with it, showing Dragas's hands behind her back with her fingers crossed.

3.  The Post-Storm Undercaffeinated Throngs.  We initially encountered this group in a state of caffeine-deprived aggression, queued up in front of the only Starbucks open within a five mile radius.  Judging from their driving habits, they seem to have returned to their usual state of fully buzzed aggression, signaling a complete recovery.  Home Depot's wildly successful "No Generator Left Behind" program should help prevent future coffee emergencies.

4.  DC Voters.  While some of the other Splat-ters of the Week have made impressive progress, the DC voters have come the furthest in the shortest amount of time.  Allegations surfaced last week that Vincent Gray's successful run for mayor depended in part on over $650,000 in undisclosed funds from a "shadow campaign."  Gray claimed not to know about the shadow campaign, and then tried to reassure voters that he's not running the city anywhere near as cluelessly as he did his campaign. But DC voters aren't buying it.  Just yesterday the Washington Post published the results of a poll reflecting that 54% of the city's residents believe Gray should resign. Nine percent of voters are undecided, and 37% say Gray should hold off resigning until Marion Barry is available to replace him.    

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