The Fray was all over the place this week, perhaps suffering from summer doldrums, perhaps suffering from the Fray editor's inability to find a theme. But good posts abounded—political, cultural, and politico-cultural.
Taking his cue from Robert Weisberg, zorro proposed that we use other questionable laws to slake the public's thirst for punishing CEOs.
History guy reversed Michael Kinsley's critique of Martha Stewart, thus threatening Kinsley's cookbook sales.
Last, a do-it-myself Fray word problem: Suppose vouchers work and kids get really smart and (incidentally?) become good Christians. What happens? They become Moby, of course. Until that day arrives, The Fray has doodahman, who posted a musical tribute.
Subject: Putting Bad Laws to Use
Re: "Jurisprudence: RICO Suave"
Date: Jul 10 2002 8:14 a.m.
If we can extend RICO to al-Qaida, why not extend asset forfeiture laws to corporate criminals? Asset forfeiture laws state that if someone is suspected (note: not convicted) of a drug-related crime, their assets can be seized by the government on the basis that they should not be allowed to profit from the crimes of which they are suspected. Ken Lay et al. are not afraid of going to jail or even losing a lawsuit. … Asset forfeiture, on the other hand, leaves them on the street to be spit on by every former employee, stockholder, and creditor who bears a grudge. Use it before trial (remember, you only need suspicion of a crime for asset forfeiture), and their high-priced lawyers go to work for someone who can pay them. Maybe then you can even get them some real time in a real penitentiary.
Subject: Kinsley Gets Stewart Backwards
Re: "Readme: It's Good Enough"
From: history guy
Date: Jul 3 2002 12:10 p.m.
[Kinsley writes that Marth Stewart] "does not bring to her financial affairs the punctiliousness she displays when wrapping the dog's biscuit in lace or sprinkling oatmeal with gold dust."
No, actually Stewart's ImClone stock trade was punctiliously timed. She treated her investment like a soufflé that keeps rising until it can just barely support its own weight and would collapse if left in the oven a moment longer. Taking it out too soon sacrifices very little; leaving it in too long means utter destruction.
Subject: What If Vouchers Work?
Re: "Politics: No Quick Crucifix"
Date: Jul 9 2002 10:05 p.m.
If the kids come back smarter it won't change anything, because the assumption that religious schools can improve on public schools' performance is already built into the politics of this issue.
The really interesting outcome will be if the kids come back a LOT smarter. If America somehow finds itself leading the world in education as a result of the voucher program, then vouchers will become a global reality, and their place will be secure.
But here's another interesting question: What if one particular religion turns out to be better at teaching kids than any of the others? What will happen then? What SHOULD happen? (Based on the reasoning that resulted in the voucher system, the answer's not necessarily as simple as you think).
I have the answer to the question of who buys Moby's records! Ad executives. If there is a chart to measure the most imitated albums, Play would have to be at No. 1 with a bullet. This is on top of the numerous licensed tracks. Moby is every ad person's wet dream of a creative: a nerd who can make a variety of music "good enough." So he's not a guitar virtuoso? Who cares; most ad music isn't being analyzed for that level of quality. But if you want a guy who can get you 90 percent soul, 90 percent rock, 90 percent electronica, 90 percent funk, 90 percent disco, 90 percent gospel, and 90 percent cool, give Moby a call.
Subject: Freeh Bird (Apologies to Lynyrd Skynyrd)
Re: "Politics: How Louis Freeh Escaped Responsibility for 9/11"
Date: Jul 10 2002 9:42 a.m.
If I resigned here tomorrow
Would you still subpoena me?
For I must be traveling on, now,
The private sector's calling me.
But, if I stayed in the Beltway
Things just couldn't be the same.
'Cause I was sleeping at the wheel,
And you all need me to blame.
Lord knows, you need me to blame.
The Barbie design-a-thon reached it hilarious but wicked peak here.
When Arrow suggested that corporate criminals be forcibly impoverished and compelled to star in their own CNBC reality series, I proposed a contest for the best title of the show. The best group of titles came from David NYC, but the only title to capture the essence of CNBC-ness was dira necessitas' "CEO Squeal." If you want funnier, take it up with CNBC.
Finally, the weakest Fray this week had to be "The Book Club," to which I contributed. And this despite my rather transparent attempts to pick fights and generate posts.