What Is Wrong With This Picture? (UPDATED)

Posted by Casey Caplowe

This photo, which appeared on the front of the Business Day section of the New York Times last week, features the executives from the financial institutions that received bailout money testifying before the House Financial Services Committee.So, what is wrong with this picture?(There are so many options. But as I have a strong opinion as to what is it is, I'm eager to hear other people's thoughts before I weigh in.)UPDATE (at 6:07pm site time):All good thoughts. As noted, there's no end to what is wrong with the moment captured in this photograph (by Doug Mills/The New York Times). However, all the white, gray-haired men with blank faces and blank notebooks not being tarred-and feathered aside, Will's first comment hits closest to what really irks me: the plastic bottles lining the table.Maybe this seems small in comparison to the financial crisis emanating from these men, yet it's also so much easier and clearer to fix-and by some measures not that much smaller of a problem either.Plastic bottled water is a colossal waste of resources in so many ways. The trash created when we dispose of these bottles lasts nearly forever (7 to 450 years to biodegrade according to Wikipedia) and literally tons of it (specifically 2.5 million bottles an hour) end up in our oceans. Now we have a giant island (the size of Texas) of floating plastic garbage taking over our oceans. When I saw this video about the Pacific Garbage Patch last year, it really stressed me out.Now, I'm fairly opposed to consuming needless plastic.So, when I see a stationary gathering (I can at least concede the merits of plastic bottles for their portability) not too far from where I'm certain there is a cafeteria that likely has glassware and pitchers and running water, I get frustrated. Admittedly, I confront this situation and the mild sense of frustration it leaves in me quite regularly. However, when I see all of this, combined with these men who have become the living embodiment of short-sightedness and reckless irresponsibility in another profound way, the similarities become a bit overwhelming. When it's blasted out across a front page section in the New York Times, it's even disheartening.I may have no idea what to suggest we do about the economy, but for this, it's easier: Next time you're thirsty, fill up a glass of tap water. If you're at a meeting or conference, get a pitcher, maybe even with some ice, to share around the table. When you're on the go, carry a Sigg or other sturdy waterbottle. That would go a long way to taking care of our plastic (water) bottle problem.