Today's Blogs

Skilling Time

Bloggers consider the fate of Jeffrey Skilling, cheer the demise of “stay the course” rhetoric, and shake their fists at Sony’s importation rules.

Skilling time: A judge sentenced ex-Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling to 24 years in prison yesterday—the second-longest prison sentence ever handed down for white-collar crime. The judge said that Skilling had “imposed on hundreds if not thousands of people a life sentence of poverty.” Bloggers generally consider the punishment well-deserved.

Skilling was also ordered to pay $45 million in restitutions to former employees and investors, but Laurence Simon at Houston-based this blog is full of crap figures the victims still lose out: “Daniel Petrocelli and the rest of Skilling’s legal army have pretty much pocketed the ill-gotten gains of the Skilling family that would have gone to the bilked shareholders and pension-holders. The rest will be protected by bankruptcy.” John Morgan at The Pennsylvania Progressive reminds readers of the energy giant’s Republican friends: “Enron was tied closely to George Bush and Lay raised some very serious money for the President. Let’s remember this as we talk with voters these next two weeks.”

Tom Peters, who worked with Skilling at McKinsey, a consulting firm, writes on his management blog that the ex-CEO fostered a ” ‘culture’ of swashbuckling”: “But the swashbuckling got out of hand—and I’m not surprised at that in a Skilling venture. And then ‘out of hand’ drifted, then plunged toward illegal, then egregiously illegal (think California).”

John Cole at Balloon Juice once wrote scathingly about the Enron meltdown but now just finds it sad: “Skilling and these guys were educated and, as far as society goes, the cream of the crop. They could have accomplished any number of positive things for themselves, their families, and society, and instead, they chose to gamble it for a few more bucks. … [I]t makes absolutely no sense.” Tom at Houston’s Clear Thinkers thinks the sentence is too harsh for a fraud conviction: “[H]e was sentenced for causing Enron’s failure. There is a big difference between those two crimes, and a quasi-life sentence for Skilling fails to distinguish between them.”

At It’s my Right to be Left of Center, Dusty predicts we haven’t seen the last of Skilling: “[He] will not go quietly into that prison cell. He will take this all the way to the Supreme Court.”

Read more about Skilling’s sentence. Enron Explorer lets you peruse Enron’s internal e-mails, which were made public during the investigation. PlaySlate’s Enron Blame Game.

Course-staying 101: A Washington Post article charts the decline of the phrase “stay the course” as President Bush claims “we’ve never been stay the course” in Iraq. “A phrase meant to connote steely resolve instead has become a symbol for being out of touch and rigid in the face of a war that seems to grow worse by the week,” the piece reports. Bloggers wonder what happened to staying the course with “stay the course.”

Moderate law blogger Ann Althouse thinks the piece “should become a classic in the annals of political rhetoric,” while conservative Tom Maguire at JustOneMinute dissects the prose: “Put another way, the Administration isn’t simply going to keep beating their heads against a wall; they will look around for new walls aganst which to beat their heads. And if any trees or rocks appear to be suitable for head-beating, they may also be pressed into service. As part of our ongoing yet newly-announced flexibility, obviously.”

In response to White House Counselor Dan Bartlett’s claim that “it’s never been a stay-the-course strategy,” liberal blog ThinkProgress collects instances of Bush promising to “stay the course.”

Conservative blogger The Real Ugly American considers possible alternatives to staying the course: “We could change our rules of engagement where far more bullets are flying, resulting in far more Iraqi civilian casualties and far fewer American ones. Any Democrats for that?”

Press blog CJR Daily’s Gal Beckerman credits the Post and the New York Times for calling the administration out: “Most newspaper editors neglected to acknowledge this truly Orwellian moment, simply printing the change without much commentary on how the policies behind the words will not be following suit.”

Read more about “stay the course.”

PS3 ban: Sony has announced a European embargo on PlayStation 3s until the consoles officially go on sale there in 2007. The announcement came after the media company won a court case against Hong Kong retailer Lik-Sang, which had been importing PSPs into the United Kingdom.

Darren Stevens at gaming news site Digital Battle urges gamers not to overreact: “Lik-Sang was the one of the few places where you could safely import games and consoles from Japan, although I highly doubt it’s ‘the beginning of the end of the world as we know it’.”

Tech-blog Gizmodo scoffs at Sony’s rationale of “trying to ‘protect consumers’ from the horrors of buying a game console that won’t work with domestically released games and Blu-ray movies. Yeah, because the people who have the money to import a PS3 into Europe don’t understand the consequences.”

Jack at Nintendo-blog Infendo promises to “import/find/eBay a 3DO just out of spite.”

Read more about the PS3 embargo.