Crime and Punishment
I just returned from the barber (I don't like my hair getting even somewhat longish, and I find getting a haircut surprisingly relaxing). While there, I thumbed through the Palo Alto Daily Post. In it was a tiny article whose headline was "Dine and Dasher Gets Jail Time" It reads as follows:
A man who dined and dashed at a San Carlos restaurant was sentenced yesterday to 120 days in jail, prosectors said. Patrick James Higgins, 43, pleaded guilty yesterday to commercial burglary for skipping out on a $70.24 check at Sneakers Pub and Grill on March 1, Chief Deputy District Attorney Karen Guidotti said. After ordering the hefty tab on his own, Guidotti said he ran out of the restaurant to the rear alley, leaving the check behind.
He was sentenced to 120 days in jail, ordered to pay back the tab as restitution, and will have three years of supervised probation, she said.
So let me get this straight. As a society, we have decided to let people like Lloyd Blankfein, Jamie Dimon, Jon Corzine, and everyone else involved in the financial crisis (including that complete douchebag from AIG) not only get away with murder, but also get breathtakingly rich while doing so, but if some guy has a meal and runs away, and he pleads guilty to the crime, we decide:
(a) he needs to pay the tab (fair enough!);
(b) he needs to be locked up for 4 months;
(c) he needs to spend three years - at significant taxpayer expense - being closely monitored by a probation officer.
Excuse me for asking, but what in the name of Jesus H. Christ is wrong with us? Oh, I forgot. If you're rich, you can do anything you want. If you're poor, you have the be the apotheosis of rectitude. And talk about swift justice! This incident took place not even two weeks ago! And yet Blankfein, a man who torture is too good for, smirks and leers his way to mega-riches.
Speaking of financial criminals, Congress is going to go through the motions of pretending to hold the leadership of JP Morgan accountable for their own misdeeds. The star is going to be Ina Drew, who is closely associated with the "whale trade" of last year. Ms. Drew, of course, is the massively successful former CIO at JP Morgan. Flying in by jumbo jet tomorrow, Ms. Drew will confront some weighty charges, having to carefully balance the voracious appetite of some legislators for explanation with massive amounts of hefty evidence.
Cognizant of the gravity of the situation, Ms. Drew will hopefully not sag with the colossal amount of pressure on her. The room will be thick with anticipation, but let us collectively hope no blubbering will take place on Ms. Drew's part. Tons of people will be watching, and the implications, perhaps, could be enormous.
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