NPR logo 'S-Word' Rings Loud — Many Times — At Senate Hearing On Goldman Sachs


'S-Word' Rings Loud — Many Times — At Senate Hearing On Goldman Sachs

What does Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., really think of the way Goldman Sachs does business?

We can't exactly tell you in this family-friendly blog.

But Levin certainly made it clear earlier today at the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations hearing into the role of investment banks, such as Goldman Sachs, in the latest financial crisis.

He thinks Goldman did a "six-letter-adjective-that-begins-with-S-and-ends-with-Y" job. At least that's what Levin said 12 times in the space of about 4 1/2 minutes.

It started, almost innocently enough, with Levin quoting from one of Goldman Sachs' own memos — which described an investment scheme called Timberwolf that it was pitching to some clients as "one #$%&*! deal."

Then, to the obvious discomfort of Goldman Sachs witness Daniel Sparks, Levin went on to use that version of the S-word 11 more times when discussing Timberwolf. He wondered, for example, "how much of that #$%&*! deal did you sell to your clients?" And, he asked: "Should Goldman Sachs be trying to sell a #$%&*! deal?"

Huffington Post has put the "raw" video here.

Now, politicians from both sides of the aisle have been guilty in recent years of dropping an expletive or two here and there (see: Cheney, Dick, and Biden, Joe).

Levin's language, though, was there for all to see and hear on C-SPAN (and the word was later used by Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo.).

We asked the Senate Historian's Office about whether the use of profanity is against any of the chamber's rules. Assistant Historian Katherine Scott answered in an e-mail that:

"Senate rules do not forbid the use of expletives on the Senate floor. Rules regarding decorum generally aim to promote the use of respectful language among Senators in the course of a debate. ... Each committee establishes its own rules of conduct."

We wonder what you think:

By the way: In the comment thread, perhaps we could all give the NPR moderators a break and use a PG substitute? How about poopy?

And you might want to check out a couple sort-of related posts from earlier today:

Etiquette authority Elizabeth Post has died.

— Lawmakers in Ukraine pelted each other with eggs.