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Showing posts from July 21, 2002
Remora I want to stop. I want to be stopped. But no -- LI is addicted to this kind of stuff. Karl Marx and his buddy, Fred, have surely had been laughing like crazy in Commie Heaven. From today's Business Week, the article on Enron's board : "There are, in fact, almost no real consequences for company directors who fail on the job. Instead of skating by with liability insurance paid for by shareholders, directors who fail to exercise at least a minimal level of oversight should be forced to pay some of the damages, just as executives should. Shareholders have a right to expect directors, who at Enron were paid as much as $350,000 a year in cash, stock options, and phantom stock, to be engaged and active." Now, as you know, readers, you don't get much for 350 thou a year nowadays. Hell, I'd spit on that kind of compensation. But the Wendy Gramm's of the world (my fave board member, Wendy. Tough as nails when it comes to defendin' that old tim
Remora LI can't get enough (although our readers probably have had enough) of the continuing fallout from Enron. The difference between a celebrity scandal -- you know, like O.J. murdering Condit, while Robert Blake takes pictures, or the like -- is that the corp scandal grows richer and stranger the more you look into it. That's a bit of a problem for the fast forward public. We want our National Enquirer, dammit. But the public, upon which is gradually settling the discovery that the loss of seven trillion dollars in the market wipes out ALL of the value accrued there during the high nineties, just might stay tuned for the exciting conclusion of a number of series. We'd recommend the Tom Paine article on Rebecca Mark, the Enron exec who lost the company, easily, a billion or two, and was rewarded with stock options to the tune of 80 million dollars -- at least by some reports. We wanted to do a Glassman award piece on her coverage, but Jeff Stein beat us to the
Remora In my last post, LI proposed awarding a Glassman to the worst business reporter -- the one that swallowed the most garbage, left uninvestigated the most shady sources of information, etc. After all, one of the reasons investors are leaving the market is that the press has proven to be as intellectually corrupt as the accounting firms or the upper, overpaid management of the various scam corps. To actually survey the business press over the last five years is a daunting proposition, given that LI has, uh, let's say a limited group of researchers to work with. Luckily, cyberspace gives us a vast trove of material with which to enthrall our lucky readers. So, just at random, we chose to examine articles from Nelson Schwartz. Schwartz, as you will doubtless not remember, was the man who wrote the article about the Enron bust last December that was entitled, Enron Fall out, wide but not deep. Ah, my cringing readers say, you are dancing on a grave there -- but sometimes
Remora Well, Limited Inc is going to try to write a post. We've been thinking of extending the Bubble concept. We've mentioned the Bush Bubble. But there is another bubble that floated, in the high nineties, that has come down precipitously. That bubble was made of Media hot air. If the stock market does level out into some seventies plateau, one of the reasons will be that the business press, both mainstream and specialized, has done an incredibly poor job of reporting on business in the last ten years. Business mags popped up, got fat, got thin and died, all without questioning or in any way investigating what now appears to be incredibly easy to expose shams in major corporations. We'd like to institute some kind of prize for sheer hot air -- a prize that would go to the most intellectually corrupt reporter. Unfortunately, we don't have any bucks to do this. However, we do have a name: We'd call it the James Glassman prize in misleading reporting, after the a
Remora Limited Inc lost our computer last week. The video card, or something like that, gave up the ghost. While the computer is in the shop (oh, we feel like a bee without a stinger!), we are forced to rely on library supplied internet access. Usually, this is how we write. We pull up an empty text from File, and we go around the net, putting our links and quotes in it. Then we put our comments around those links and quotes. Then we go to Blogger, and paste in a copy of our text. Then we go to the page, and see the text. This final stage has interesting epistemological implications, since it is the seeing that helps us find mistakes in the text. It is as if some malin genie in our head was flickering rapidly between reading and seeing. Well, our m.o. has crashed, at least for a week, and we don't know what to do about it. We want to be sitting, Thersites like, as the Bush bubble starts to collapse -- you know, the Bush bubble approval rating. We personally think that a couple
One hundred forty years ago, Walter Bagehot, the Victorian founder of the Economist, wrote a book, Physics and Politics, in which he addressed one of the the burning questions of the day: why do some nations progress, while others stagnate, or even go backwards? After dismissing, for the most part, the day's most popular solution (inherited racial dissimilarities), he answered his question by adducing what we would now call the cultural paradigm. The most progressive nations, he thought, were those that could implement "conservative innovation - the matching of new institutions with old ones." Of course, to a self satisfied Englishman of Bagehot's stripe, at the very zenith of the British Empire, the obvious and champeen exemplar of conservative innovation was his won sceptered isle. Granting the parochialism of Bagehot's example, his statement of the issue is very much with us. It is a strange fact that, through most of the twentieth century, t