Captain Speaking

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Bernie Ebbers just got a guilty verdict and a 25yr sentence, which is for him is a life sentence.

For those of you who are not old enough to remember Mr. Ebbers, he is the ex-CEO of WorldCom, which went bankrupt a few years ago in the largest bankruptcy in American history. Although he did not personally benefit from the different shenanigans his company performed, he did lead them as they lied on their financial reports, creating a situation where the company went from a darling of Wall Street to a company which had to shut down in bankruptcy.

The government wanted to send a message with a long prison sentence, and they got their wish. Ebbers is almost 64, with a heart problem, and a 25 year sentence in a federal prison (no parole in the federal system, remember) will keep him in stir until he expires. Personally, I do not think that our courts ought to be a "message medium." Can't tell if all the money he lost other people deserves this kind of sentence, but he should get the sentence he deserves, not one designed to "send a message."

I like the fact that those who deceive on the financial reports do get a criminal prosecution. We have to have accuracy in the information we use to make financial decisions. I only wish we could prosecute terminal stupidity, too. There are a couple of ex -UAL CEO's that would be in jail for that.

As usual, the press managed to make a fool out of themselves. (Unfair. It was only one reporter. I hate to say female reporter because people will think me sexist. But whoever asked the question had a very high voice.) Ebbers ended up weeping at the sentencing, not an unnatural reaction when you are going to the lockup for the rest of your life and still do not think you have done anything criminal. During the impromptu press conference the lawyer had on the steps of the courthouse, a reporter asked him "Why did your client cry when he heard the sentence?" Give me a break.

Monday, July 11, 2005

This is your captain speaking...