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Insert Comma • A Portfolio of Leigh E. Rich
And the loser is …

Apparently, it is whether you win or lose

By Leigh E. Rich

Apparently, it is whether you win or lose and not how you play the game.

True, I usually am a cynic—an optimistic gloomy Gus, as it were—but what should have been a nondescript 2002 has proven my pessimism with a capital “P.” And we’re only halfway through.

So hats off to all those who have nimbly screwed America, its structural systems, and its citizens in the disgraceful pursuit of Wealth, Favoritism, and Intolerance.

Those earning Ignominy Award nominations so far:

• Worldcom, Inc. for “hiding” $4 billion in the biggest bout of creative number finagling since the Swiss-Nazi financial arrangements of the 1940s. These confused alchemists have ingeniously transformed $60 a share stock certificates into 5-cent squares of Charmin. And, boy, do they chafe.

• Arthur Andersen for putting the “regular” back into irregularities.

• Good ol’ Kenny Lay and the other 28 top Enron executives and directors who allegedly sold $1.1 billion of stock knowing full well of the company’s imminent demise. Go ahead, guys, exercise your Fifth Amendment rights—you’ve earned it! Keeping quiet has paid off so far.

• Egyptian immigrant Hesham Mohamed Hadayet who had his own idea of Fourth of July fireworks when he entered Los Angeles International Airport with a Glock .45-caliber semi-automatic handgun, a 9-millimeter Glock handgun, and a six-inch hunting knife. Oops, don’t forget the extra ammunition. It’s crystal clear Hadayet had more in mind than just gunning down ticket agent Victoria Hen and diamond importer Yaakov Aminov before being fatally subdued by an El Al security guard. Hadayet was either a terrorist or just plain stupid for opening fire on the only airline that employs trained and armed security officials. Member of his family, including his wife and two sons who are safe and sound in Egypt, claim it is Hadayet who’s the victim of racism.

• Everyone’s favorite film and video star Rob Lowe for stomping off the set of The West Wing because the meanie television executives and producers won’t raise his $75,000-an-episode salary to match that of co-star Martin Sheen’s weekly lump sum of $300,000. Last I heard, poor George W.—you know, the real president—only makes $400,000 a year or $100,000 an “episode.” Hey, Rob, go back to direct-to-video porn and screw the American public the old-fashioned way.

• The latest contestants on the ABC court TV show State V.—from the prosecuting and defense attorneys to the criminal themselves—who demonstrate in vivid color just how a legal system can plead down a murderer’s sentence to a lousy nine years, knowing full well he’ll jump the Big House for “good behavior” in less than three. Imprisonment was meant to be a deterrent, not a way to secure a free court and an amenable tee time for miscreants who kill, rape, pillage, and cook the books.

• Forest service officials who, in the interest of job security or psychosis or both, have placed firefighters, law-abiding outdoorsmen, tourist-based business owners, and all the Bambis and Thumpers that have somehow managed to survive Homo sapiens’ suburbanized ideas of manifest destiny at risk of losing our lives and homes.

• Pop king Michael Jackson for griping to Sony Records about how it unfairly treats its African-American artists. Sure, racism still exists in the entertainment industry, but c’mon Mikey, shouldn’t you use your power, popularity, exorbitant wealth, and influence to combat the truly disadvantaged—say, those man-handled while in the custody of the LAPD, teens in gangs, or children without adequate food and shelter? Everyone’s sure you look like a white guy, but now your whiny ass is starting to resemble Rob Lowe.

Rich, L. E. (2002, August 20). And the loser is …. CU-Denver Advocate.

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