Bad Santa is our insurance representative. He is actually a good guy, but he has a terrible task. He shops for health insurance for our 47 employees and their families. His December visit and his handout with its 8-percent cost increase and $1000 deductibles and ugly numbers brings home the abstractions of national health care in a way the nightly news simply can't.
I once had a summer job at a resort in Michigan where it was possible to have negative earnings after your room and board and withholding tax were taken out. We're not quite there yet but we're working on it.
I have not been a fan of this project since it was conceived. I thought it was grandiose and likely to take several years to complete, cost more than advertised, and overshadow quicker and simpler riverfront improvements. But now that it is underway I hope it is a success. Really. I work half a mile away and walk on the riverfront several times a week.
But I also think the way the project got to this point has been a recipe for how not to do things. Here are some inconvenient truths not included.
But only the prosecutors and grand jurors know that. Barring some developments in the next 24 hours, my guess is that prosecutors are biding their time and not throwing in the towel.
The Riverfront Development Corporation says the cost of former mayor Willie Herenton's signature riverfront project has increased by $8.9 million and the completion date is now the summer of 2011.
Refusing to be bullied is admirable. But if UM had stood up to former basketball coach John Calipari and former star player (and reluctant witness) Rose, it might not be in a fix with the bullies at the NCAA Infractions Committee.
The back-and-forth between the university and the infractions committee has been going on since the NCAA stripped Memphis of its 38 wins and tournament revenue for the 2007-2008 season. The university's latest response was filed Monday in rebuttal to a COI report released last week.
As in previous documents, Rose's name is redacted. There is no new information from the former star player, who has refused to cooperate with investigators from the NCAA or the Educational Testing Service which cancelled his entrance test scores, thus making him ineligible.
Sillerman's plans to develop the area around Graceland have been stalled since they were announced shortly after acquisition by Sillerman's CKx company.
After reading and rereading all of the public documents (big caveat: important facts are redacted or not available) along with hundreds of comments and commentaries on Rose and the NCAA, I think that's the key question as the UM appeal of its penalties runs its course.
And, sorry UM fans, but I think the answer is probably (second caveat, same as above) "yes." Here's why.
"As for whether Rose himself 'knew or had reason to know' of the ineligibility, unfortunately we cannot be certain, but only because of Rose's failure to cooperate in the investigation. Surely the university cannot insulate itself completely from the consequences of the conduct either. Even though the university's efforts to get Rose to cooperate were commendable, his conduct still hindered the investigation considerably," according to the NCAA Committee on Infractions report released this week by the university.
The response notes that the committee chose not to impose a ban on postseason play or a scholarship reduction, but stripped the 2008 men's basketball team of its 38 wins and tournament revenues instead. If those penalties are set aside on appeal, the committee will request an opportunity "to reassess the penalties."
In other words, if the UM wants to rumble, the committee on infractions is ready. Sheri Lipman, legal counsel for the university, said UM will have a response on Monday. It will be directed to Infractions Appeals Committee, which is different from the Committee on Infractions.