Jewish World Review June 12, 2003/ 12 Sivan, 5763

Marianne M. Jennings

Marianne M. Jennings
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Consumer Reports

MARTHA, SAMMY, AND AMBER | They're corkers, Sammy Sosa and Martha Stewart.

Sosa assures his cork bat was only for the fans and batting practice. The league screened his other bats and concluded the absence of cork "bolsters" his defense. The ESPN rubes were happy as clams. Do they believe he would cork all the bats or even more than one? Even if we could conclude something evidentiary from such a silly test, it's still bait-and-switch.

Businesses pay dearly for similar enhancements. Soup companies paid fines for using marbles in soup ads because marbles bring a thicker look for the camera. Ice cream companies were chastised for using mashed potatoes in ads because potatoes look richer and don't melt. Looks better, but as the FTC would say, in consent decree mumbo jumbo, "It ain't honest."

Attention Kmart shoppers, Martha, whose signature pastel linens and paints grace your condos and trailers, stands accused, albeit with a gracious white parasol, in federal court of obstruction of justice, lying to the FBI and other sundry felonies.

Martha dumped all 3,928 of her ImClone shares on Dec. 27, 2001, one day before the FDA put the big kibosh on ImClone's anti-cancer drug, Erbitux. Martha's friend, boyfriend, her daughter's former beau, and ImClone CEO at that time are, bizarrely, one and the same, i.e., Sam Waksal, who has already entered a guilty plea for dumping his $7.3 million in shares.

If Martha had just admitted the insider sale, the SEC would have doled out its usual punishment for insider traders: pay back the money, pay a fine, and agree not to do it again. Martha could not bring herself to confess. Sosa won't take an 8-game suspension.

Martha's real trouble comes from not confessing. She tried to get her Merrill Lynch broker's assistant, Doug Faneuil, to back her. The lad was no match for Federal gumshoes' interrogation and he sang like a canary, pleading guilty to "receiving money" to lie about the stock sale. So, Peter Bacanovic, Martha's and Sam's broker, said there was a stop-loss order from eons ago, allowing him to dump the shares at $60 so as to cut losses.

Merrill Lynch could not find said stop-order when the Feds came calling. Martha was left with the daunting decorative challenge of explaining an ugly cell phone call from her private jet on a refueling stop en route to San Jose Del Cabo at 1:41 PM (EST) on Dec 27 that resulted in the sale of her ImClone stock at 1:43 (EST). The Feds' indictment says Martha altered the phone logs to cover the cell phone tracks. The only folks still buying Martha's innocence and her defenses are those at the Wall Street Journal, not because they believe Martha, but because they look favorably upon insider trading as an efficient way to run a market.

Martha sold her 3,928 ImClone shares at about $58 per share. If she had waited one day, when the proletarian masses were privy to the FDA action, she could have sold the shares at $46.46 per share, a $12 difference - for a total loss of $48,000. For billionaire Martha, that's the equivalent of a Snickers bar. Ironically, Erbitux is now poised for FDA approval. ImClone has cranked up from a low of $6 in August 2002 to nearly $44 and climbing. Martha is one rotten insider trader. If you are going to cheat, at least make enough to pay your attorneys.

Martha's company, Omnimedia, has declined 50% in stock value because her conduct made shareholders nervous. Her Omnimedia holdings have dropped $400 million.

These two icons are dumb. But we are dumber because we embrace these flimflam artists whose defenses and contrition are as sincere as John Gotti's. Martha had over 13,000 notes of support on her personal whiny Website, post-perp walk. Feminists say the charges reflect gender bias. Chicago fans wave signs of support for Sosa. Sports writers see no problem.

As these two slither past sanctions, Amber Frey, Scott Peterson's former mistress, endures harsh public judgment and condemnation. This single mother, with a career as a masseuse, looks like the kind of woman husbands have affairs on, not with. This week, as Martha and Sosa defiantly denied, Amber faced more of her checkered past: nude photos. The pics are tragic to behold for many reasons, including the dental braces. A Phoenix miscreant has emerged with the photos for sale or an offer to forego sale if Amber will pose again with her Gloria Allred makeover, sans orthodontia.

Of the three, only Amber emerges worthy of respect. She has made some big mistakes in her young life, but she stepped up and confessed publicly to her affair with the cad now accused of murdering his wife, Laci, and unborn son, Connor. She cooperated with the police, will testify, and endures the mockery of her past indiscretions splashed across tabloids.

Where is her public support? We leave her twisting in the wind because no one likes a tramp. It depends on the meaning of the word "tramp." Sosa's and Stewart's indiscretions are not youthful ones. They have been given everything and should know better. Where much is given, much should be expected. Thank goodness for tramps such as Amber Frey who show young people how to stand up, 'fess up and endure the consequences.

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JWR contributor Marianne M. Jennings is a professor of legal and ethical studies at Arizona State University. Send your comments by clicking here.


06/05/03: Misplaced anxieties
05/30/03: Commencement
05/23/03: PC (Pathologically Correct) Libs
05/08/03: The Divine, man, war, and leaders
04/28/03: Dixie Chickens
04/22/03: "Squaw"king over a peak
04/16/03: Pulling the old Johnnie Cochran
04/07/03: The other casualties of war
02/27/03: War and principle
02/20/03: Diabolical women
02/14/03: Deadhead poets and society
02/07/03: Misguided compassionate conservative
01/31/03: The Wisk "fix it!" mentality
01/24/03: There are only two types of people in the U.S.: Trial lawyers and their clients and those who have had to pay trial lawyers and their clients
01/16/03: "My ex is a minority, so I deserve special treatment"
01/07/03: Why libs will never have a Rush Limbaugh
01/02/03: The year that was
12/26/02: Capital offenses, power and Harry Potter
12/20/02: Mundane superlatives cause trouble
12/09/02: Let the sacking begin
12/05/02: Amazing Grace that saved me from my CO2 emissions
11/27/02: Free speech, Harvard, and First Amendment looneys
11/25/02: Eminem culture
11/14/02: Hollywood trash
11/04/02: Patron Kennedy Saints
10/28/02: What the snipers and Moose taught
10/22/02: Nobel Prizes and other ventriloquist acts
10/17/02: The window on the liberal mind and war
10/14/02: Leaders don't change; followers do
10/07/02: Do it yourself
09/27/02: Hosers rise again
09/20/02: Girly gridiron
09/13/02: Erudite buffoons
09/11/02: One year later, crass demands, greed, and litigation are back --- but rights are diminished
09/06/02: Public schools: An unqualified success
08/30/02: The Shakespearean tragedy of affirmative action
08/23/02: Hollywood Joe's admission
08/15/02: Cheapskates
08/08/02: Ode to a coal miner
08/02/02: Sarah Brady's gun gift
07/26/02: Don't do it, Tiger
07/18/02: Reality Muppets
07/09/02: We're all going to die, live with it
07/02/02: From the eye of the storm
06/27/02: Nick not right
06/20/02: Behind the music
06/14/02: The sum of all fears in vouchers
06/06/02: Where was Agent Rowley when the FBI needed her?
05/30/02: Of big hair and sanity
05/24/02: Should I embrace liberalism?
05/20/02: Some passion about Israel
05/09/02: A mother who cares enough
05/02/02: Go ahead, pass judgment
04/29/02: The irritation of the modern wedding
04/18/02: Claire's life
04/15/02: Harvard takes off its pants one leg at a time
04/09/02: The Clinton legacy: Politics of personal destruction
03/31/02: Oscars' subtle bigotry was embarrassing
03/22/02: Blame Oprah, Rosie, Sally, Ted, David
03/14/02: The costs of women's feeble choices
03/08/02: Botoxic faces
02/28/02: The dangers of organized philanthropy
02/25/02: Don't take the gold
02/14/02: Ease up on the brothers and sisters
02/11/02: Because I was courted
02/05/02: Fat fault
01/24/02: Tolerance does not mean stupidity
01/17/02: Too old too soon
01/10/02: Ethically challenged firms
01/03/02: The year that was
12/27/01: The Twelve Days of inconsistency
12/20/01: Free Speech and the political spectrum
12/13/01: Curbing brats
12/06/01: Power to influence
11/29/01: The disappearing art of grading
11/21/01: The Big Two-Five
11/13/01: You can never find a lib when you need one
11/01/01: Unlucky in sports
10/26/01: An epidemic of counselitis
10/16/01: A touch of class
10/12/01: Of human nature and monsters
10/05/01: Sensitive man
10/01/01: Post-September 11 security
09/20/01: No tinhorn terrorists can frighten us
09/06/01: If there is no honor in youth sports, it is because of the adults
08/27/01: The draw of Condit
08/23/01: Lowering expectations and flying high
08/17/01: Thoreau, Walden and stems cells
08/13/01: Our masters: The animals
07/30/01: When principle hits too close to home
07/13/01: Rage born of sublimation
07/06/01: Patient's rights and the Valley of Death
06/29/01: There is no excuse
06/21/01: I want an eternal soulmate, but the marriage thing is another issue
06/14/01: Which way maverick McCain? An Arizonan's perspective
06/07/01: No stroke of genius
05/30/01: The lesson of the Mr. Green Jeans senator: 'Moderate' is a classy term for wishy-washy
05/25/01: Baseball has not been so good to me
05/18/01: Clothes make the woman
05/11/01: Selective precaution
05/04/01: Grades: Equality of students, by students, for the students
04/27/01: The Horowitz revelations as seen by a college professor
04/20/01: First, let's kill all the tests
04/13/01: The continuing mistake of underpricing electricity
04/06/01: That pill, Julia Roberts
03/29/01: If it weren't for the parents, we might accomplish something
03/23/01: The melt down of the academy
03/15/01: Columbine redux: Moral infants
03/09/01: The lessons of Tom and Nicole
03/01/01: Pardon the temporary outrage
02/23/01: In defense of homework
02/20/01: A Message for faith-based organizations: Don't take the money, just run
02/06/01: Enough already with the Clintoons
01/26/01: The challenge to be better than we have been
01/19/01: Where have you gone Frieda Pushnik?
12/29/00: The year that was
12/23/00: Litigation: It's the American way
12/15/00: In defense of rhetoric
12/06/00: The company we keep: Lawyers and elections
12/01/00: Liberals' art of trashing of women
11/20/00: Put me out of my misery
11/17/00: On being a statesman
11/13/00: When it's broke, fixing it wouldn't offend the Framers
11/08/00: ELECTION 2000: I SURRENDER
10/27/00: Al in the package? Memo to women: Choosing presidents and husbands
10/20/00: Ten things the gay community should understand
10/13/00: "You Have a Lump."
10/06/00: The government as the pharmacy: Don't
09/29/00: The capacity for truth
09/22/00: Charity with strings and an agenda
09/15/00: The taming of the shrew: Gloria Steinem takes a husband
09/09/00: Why rich folk don't bother me none
08/28/00: Survival of the not-so-fit but conniving
08/25/00: Conventions: A study in contrasts
08/18/00: Resenting the accusations of racial prejudice
08/04/00: Women: Their own worst enemy
07/21/00: Hillary: Our longshoreman First Lady
07/21/00: SUVs: The root of all evil
07/14/00: The basketball gene and white men not jumping so well
07/07/00: I wanna be around
06/23/00: The liberal conversion
06/14/00: Sex and the City: The shallow but vulgar female
06/08/00: No excuses schools
06/02/00: Oh, Canada: Our Nutty Neighbors to the North
05/23/00: The new mollycoddling coach
05/16/00: On adultery and leadership
05/12/00: Taking your lumps
05/02/00: Elian: There's never a liberal around when you need one
04/25/00: Life's circle and tenderness
04/18/00: Womyn who want it both ways
04/11/00: The monsters we're raising with the ergo proposition
04/05/00: Endowing the Hooters Chair for Literature Appreciation
03/28/00: Dr. Laura: The passive/aggressive kid's mom
03/21/00: Dough and campaigns
03/14/00: The volunteerism of conscription and pomp
03/07/00: Hope and pray that religion remains a force in politics
02/29/00: Ditzes in TV Land
02/22/00: Cranky nitpickers make writing a [sic] experience
02/15/00: Those chameleon 60s activists
02/08/00: McCandidate McCain: Flirting with principles
02/01/00: The demise of marriage
01/25/00: Stroke of the pen, law of the land: Clinton's Camelot
01/18/00: Off the Rocker Rorschach Test
01/11/00: Oprah's lemmings
01/04/00: Struggling mightily amidst the comfort
12/23/99: Confused fathers
12/14/99: Drop-kicking the homeless
12/07/99: Turtles and teamsters, side-by-side in Seattle
11/29/99: When conservatives behave badly
11/22/99: Compassionate conservative: Timing and targets
11/18/99: The elusive human spirit and accountability
11/11/99: Succumbing to the intellectual child within with the help of crackpots and screwballs
10/28/99: Live by litigation, die by litigation
10/22/99: Jesse, Warren, Cybill, Donald and Oprah
10/14/99: Inequality and injustice: It's the big one
10/05/99: Dan Quayle, morals and schoolyard bullies
09/30/99: The monsters of epidermal parenting
09/21/99: The Diversity Hoax
09/15/99: Waco Wackos
09/09/99: Selective censorship
09/01/99: The village, the children, judicial imperialism and abortion
08/24/99: Naughty Newt?
08/17/99: In defense of Boy Scouts and judgment
08/10/99: Ruining the finest health care system in the world
08/03/99: Nihilism and politics: ethics on the lam
07/26/99: Of women, soccer and removed jerseys
07/23/99: Not in despair, a mere mortal doing just fine
07/20/99: "Why me?" How about "Why us?"
07/13/99: Bunk, junk & juries
07/06/99: An Amish woman in a Victoria's Secret store
06/30/99: That intellectually embarrassing Second Amendment
06/24/99: Patricia Ireland eat your heart out --- but check out the recipe in 'women's mags' first
06/22/99: Dems and the Creator coup
06/17/99: True courage is more than just admitting troubles

© 2002, Marianne M. Jennings