February 21, 2003

I want this guy's job...

Palo Alto lawyer Bruce Train was in charge of the cleanup and redevelopment of the old Pacific States Steel site in Union City, CA. During his ten years as "Special Master" of the project the pensioners, for whom this was all set up to benefit in the first place, made nothing. Zip, zero, nada, diddly squat. Bruce cleared a cool $5 million for doing, um, well nothing it seems. I wish I could find one of these "Do nothing for half a million dollars a year" jobs but I'm not a lawyer so my chances don't look good. Oh yeah, did I mention that after he finally got fired he claimed he was owed ANOTHER $39 million? That is an additional thirty nine million on top of the original five. Now, I'm sure there are a lot of subtleties to this that I don't know and might even change my opinion on the whole thing. You can afford a lot of subtleties with five million dollars, but given what I do know this just seems wrong.

Saved by Lawyers! I read in the paper the other day that investors are "wary of investing in any technology that could have '[copyright] infringing' applications." Do they mean technologies like floppy disks? Like hard disks? Or CDs or CD burners? Or Ethernet or modems or wireless networks or even RAM for that matter? All of these have 'potential' infringing uses. All these years I never guessed how dangerous these devices were. Thank God Disney corporate lawyers have taken a stand to stop progress in order to, um, ah... protect the interests of multi-billion dollar transnational corporations. Too bad there weren't enough lawyers around to protect us from the invention of the computer. If only we could have nipped this evil in the bud. Luckily we have lots more lawyers these days to protect us from, um, ah, progress, I guess.

From the 'Slap on the Wrist' File. Hambrecht & Quist (owned by J.P. Morgan Securities) agreed to pay $6 million in fines for what amounted to kickbacks from customers eager to get in on hot IPO deals. This doesn't mean they "admit or deny wrongdoing," of course. No, no, no! Sure they defrauded billions out of small investors by taking companies public that they knew were poor investments, but think of all the money they made! Money that could be used to "invest" in corrupt politicians, to hire "retiring" regulators, and, most importantly, for executive bonuses! I've been assured by corrupt politicians, retired regulators (who now surprisingly work for investment houses), and corporate executives that this is a very good thing and will indirectly benefit me personally in some way at, um, some point in future.

Posted by thom at February 21, 2003 05:44 PM
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