Shout-out Friday: Madoff, Cramer and Gee

Hey, I had a great run this morning. It’s Friday. And I don’t have much to do this weekend except consider the likely matchups for the Big Dance. So why not end the week on a happy note and give some shout-outs to several who deserve the recognition?

Shout-out No. 1: Bernie Madoff. Madoff had presumably his last day in the sun yesterday, heading to federal court in New York to plead guilty to stealing the money and dreams of thousands of individuals, charities and foundations. Ouch. And you think you had a tough day at the office. Well, after the mea culpa, the judge presented Madoff with the “Don’t Pass Go — Go Directly To Jail” card. And Bernie spent his first night away from his multimillion-dollar condo in what has been described as a cell about as big as a walk-in closet. Now the multibillion-dollar question. Does anyone really believe Bernie played the Ponzi game solo? C’mon.

Shout-out No. 2: Jim Cramer and Jon Stewart. Well, way too late at night for me to see it, but apparently Jon Stewart ate Jim Cramer’s lunch on The Daily Show last night. Stewart has been in a high profile dust-up for the past week or so with CNBC — and Cramer’s views about the economy, stock market and Bear Stearns have been somewhat shaky of late, at best. Let’s face it. Both Cramer and Stewart are entertainers. But Cramer and his fellow CNBC talking heads are offering financial advice — and just about every guest on that network all day has some kind of conflict of interest. Anyway, the audience last night cheered Stewart; jeered Cramer. And that’s understandable. People feel they have been cheated, lied to and taken advantage of. See shout-out above. Got to restore confidence and credibility somewhere here folks. Maybe Jon Stewart can help.

Shout-out No. 3: Gordon Gee and Ohio State. Well, the OSU Prez and 18 other senior administrators now have their salaries frozen, with no bonuses this year. That’s good — particularly if we are heading down the road in Ohio to increases in student tuition and fees. Still, this action strikes me as being a tad late. Last November Gee received a $300,000 performance bonus on top of $1.3 million in other compensation. His base salary as best I can tell is somewhat north of $800,000 — now frozen, apparently. And even though OSU can no longer win a college bowl game, many — including students — believe that Gee can walk on the Olentangy. Still, at a time when Ohio has an unemployment rate north of 8 percent — and many are being asked to reduce their wages or hours or both — Ohio State has nearly 300 employees with base salaries exceeding $200,000. Perception matters here folks — particularly when tax dollars are involved. So I would have felt better about this if Gee had given up the performance bonus last November and cut spending and salaries at OSU before it became the “politically correct” thing to do. And by the way. Game on at other Ohio public universities.

And thanks to all of you who take the time to visit and read my daily musings — regularly or occasionally. I really do appreciate it, and I learn a lot from your comments.

So one more Friday shout-out — to a great weekend.


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