9 May 2013
From today’s New York Times:
Jeffrey K. Skilling, imprisoned for the last six years because of his role in the fraud that caused the collapse of Enron, has reached a deal that could reduce his sentence by more than a decade.
As part of the agreement with the Justice Department, the former chief executive of the energy giant will waive his rights to any further appeals. In addition, he has agreed to allow more than $40 million of assets that were seized from him to be distributed to victims of Enron’s failure.
Employees lost their retirement savings and shareholders lost billions of dollars after the once highflying company slid into bankruptcy in 2001.
Under federal prison rules, Mr. Skilling — who had been sentenced to 24 years and 4 months — could leave prison as soon as 2017.
Somehow I am doubting that this deal will be extended to, say, the drug addict who breaks into a house, steals a hundred bucks, and then offers to pay back twenty-five cents of it in exchange for having his sentence cut in half.
Favorite quote: “‘The proposed agreement brings certainty and finality to a long painful process,’ Daniel M. Petrocelli, a lawyer for Mr. Skilling, said in a statement.”
Yes, by all means let’s do everything we can to keep prison a shorter and more pleasant process for wealthy white-collar criminals.
6 May 2013
This comment was posted the other day to a years-old entry on this blog. I don’t want the spammer to have its URL on my blog, so I’ve trashed it, but the text itself is pretty funny.
Wait to purchase each individual solitary clothe themselves with distinct retail store. Should you be one of the few ordinary, notify whilst pay a visit to go shopping your own gowns from the very same retail outlet. They are going to undoubtedly give you a discounted, if the many members of wedding social gathering agree with use a retailer buying, including the star of the event, the dignity plus the rose females. The price will likely be a smaller amount when everyone buy dresses in one distinct retail store. Maybe you also needs to take your spending budget into mind, and check your easiest to order the cheap best lady gown.
30 April 2013
If it’s such an obvious career move and nothing but a facile publicity stunt and required no guts at all and is just a way of getting a contract when he’s past his prime, why is it that it’s two-thousand-freaking-thirteen and nobody else has taken this easy-peasy path to instant fame and fortune in major league sports before?
Looks to me like Jason Collins has done a gutsy thing, and he’s going to be living with the repercussions of this decision for the rest of his life, long beyond whatever career he has in basketball, and he can’t know what all those repercussions will be, except that they sure as hell won’t all be positive. Sure, it’s not as gutsy as it would have been 25 or 50 years ago. His chances of ending up in prison or shot to death over this are quite a bit less than they would have been a few decades ago. But for all that, this is still a bigger step than anyone else in his position has been willing to take. He gets a lot of credit for that in my book.
So I’m already pretty sick of reading commentators pooh-poohing this and saying it’s no big deal. Sure, it’s no big deal as long as you’re straight or closeted and don’t have to think or know too much about all the things that being openly gay in this society still makes you a target for.
23 April 2013
By ethical argument
And moral principle
The greatest crimes are eventually shown
To have been necessary, and, in fact
A signal benefit
— Zhuangzi [Chuang Tzu], translated by Thomas Merton
(I hope it’s clear even out of context that Zhuangzi was disdaining ethical arguments and moral principles, and not defending great crimes.)
22 March 2013
From President Obama’s speech yesterday in Jerusalem:
Speaking as a politician, I can promise you this: political leaders will not take risks if the people do not demand that they do.
15 March 2013
I suppose the idea is that I’m supposed to find it heart-warming that Sen. Portman has changed his opinion about same-sex marriage since discovering that his own son is gay, but jeez, it sure sounds like “I’m against equal rights except for my own family” to me.
Sen. Portman said that his son’s coming out to him “allowed me to think about this issue from a new perspective and that’s as a dad who loves his son a lot and wants him to have the same opportunities that his brother and sister have.”
Aw, shucks, isn’t that just too darned nice? The guy is just an ordinary dad who loves his kids. Well, an ordinary dad who loves his kids and who can get onto the front pages of papers across the country to ask the Supreme Court to overturn a law, not because the law is unjust or because hundreds of thousands of Americans are put at an unfair disadvantage by it, but as a personal favor just so that his own son won’t lose out on any of the privileges his other children have.
No mention, of course, of any regret over his opposition to equality when he thought it was only other people’s kids who were disadvantaged by it. He may have changed his opinion, but it doesn’t sound like he’s had much of a change of heart. Somebody said to me today that this is the sort of thing that will cause other people as well to support equality, but I don’t see it. Seems to me more like the sort of thing that reinforces the idea that the American system is still broken, our so-called leaders are still interested only in getting what they can for themsevles, and anything resembling justice is only available to the wealthy and powerful.
27 February 2013
It is impossible for me to convey how profoundly Ms. Hathaway has fallen in my estimation over this evening gown incident, but breakthroughs in nanotechnology may soon change that.
14 February 2013
Over and over again, I’ve been reading that the death of the Heart Attack Grill’s spokesman by a heart attack is “ironic”.
18 January 2013
I’ve been asked by a couple of people what I mean by a direct connection between Azog and the Necromancer. If I’m right, this is a big ol’ spoiler, so I’ll write it in the comment to this entry, and if you don’t want to see it, don’t read the comment.