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Jewish World Review August 21, 2002 / 13 Elul 5762

Steve Young

Steve Young
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Consumer Reports

Insider's a good thing | Insider trading is getting a bad name and you can place all the blame on former ImPlone CEO Sam Waksal. Not that he phoned designing diva Martha Stewart when his application for the cancer drug Erbitux was turned down by the FDA, but that he didn't call everyone else. See, that's the entire problem with the insider trading fiasco. These CEOs are only telling a few people. Now if they would just call ALL their stock holders and tell them, "Hey guys...I've got some bad news and good news. The bad news is, your stock is gonna take a dive. The good news? It's not happening until tomorrow. SELL!!!!"

And although Mr. Waksal has been indicted the truly bad press is being heaped on Martha. Why? Not because she's guilty of receiving a phone call from a "friend" as federal prosecutors would have you believe. Not because she's the evil queen as most pundits would scream. But because of one of mankind's most insidious flaws...jealousy. Yes, the green monster is alive and kicking in all of us and no more than in the House Of Representatives where House Energy and Commerce committee co-chairs, Billy Tauzin and James Greenwood, are ready to crawl all over the misunderstood blonde icon.

And why are they jealous? Simple. Martha has a lovely home and puts things away. She's cleaner, richer and has better manners. She's the kid in school that gets A's and reminds the teacher about tomorrow's test. Of course people hate her. Why, because they want to be her.

Tauzin and Greenwood's motif mismatches are legendary. Tauzin's Mediterranean and French Country mixes are hideous. Have you seen the homes of these federal prosecutors? In a recent Fox New Channel poll, 93% of Federal Grand jury members are considered "unkempt," and the other 10 % don't know what the word unkempt means. See, they can't even do math. I say we should indict them.

And the rest of America shouldn't go blameless. The only time our homes are truly clean is the day we move in. We see Martha's perfection and seethe. Is there any wonder that all these people are after her?

If we were really interested in putting the real evil-doers away we'd go after the people who actually affect our consumer confidence. Michael Ovitz received $140 million severance after 9 arduous months of employment at Disney. After billions of dollars of bad advice to investors, telecommunications analyst, Jack Grubman received 13.2 million severance from Salomon, Smith Barney. Martha made about 48 thousand dollars more than if she waited for bad news from ImPlone to be announced. If your not going to find anything illegal with Ovitz and Grubman or even more, Disney chief, Michael Eisner, and the Board of Directors at Salomon, Smith, Barney, how can you condemn Marsha who's stock in her own company lost almost 300 million dollars?

This is all about puttin' down the rich white woman. Nothing would make these people feel better than putting Martha behind bars, but although vertical stripes make you look thinner, sending Martha to prison for this would be cruel and unusual punishment. My G-d, do you know how low the thread count is prison sheets?

JWR contributor Steve Young, Prism Award winner and Humanitas Prize nominee for his television writing, is contributing editor at the Writers Guild of America's "Written By" magazine. He is the author of the forthcoming "Great Failures Of The Extremely Successful," Tallfellow Press, 2002. His website is Comment by clicking here.

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© 2002, Steve Young