Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Health Insurance Is a Pain

Posted By on Wed, Dec 23, 2009 at 11:46 AM

Bad Santa came to our office this morning.

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.

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Friday, December 18, 2009

Recipe for Screwing Up a $35 million Boat Dock

Posted By on Fri, Dec 18, 2009 at 1:00 PM

The Riverfront Development Corporation has posted something called “the truth about Beale Street Landing” on its website.

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.

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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Herenton and "Honest Services"

Posted By on Wed, Dec 16, 2009 at 9:23 AM

What's up with the federal investigation of Willie Herenton? I wish I knew.

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.

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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Beale Street Landing: Not on Time, Not Within Budget

Posted By on Tue, Dec 15, 2009 at 10:43 AM

The mantra for FedEx Forum was "on time, within budget, and exceed expectations." The mantra for Beale Street Landing might be the same with the addition of the word "not" a couple of times.

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.

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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

UM Is Standing Up to the Wrong Bully

Posted By on Wed, Dec 9, 2009 at 9:04 AM

If I'm the University of Memphis and about to go to war with the NCAA on their home court under their rules, I want Derrick Rose on my side, in the flesh and unredacted. Otherwise, no dice. I take a punch and fight another day.

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.

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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

NCAA "Threatens" Us, UM Says in Latest Rose Filing

Posted By on Tue, Dec 8, 2009 at 1:57 PM

The University of Memphis says the NCAA's Committee on Infractions (COI) unfairly threatens UM with increased penalties for appealing the committee's decision in the Derrick Rose case.

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.

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Monday, December 7, 2009

Owner of Elvis Presley Enterprises Takes $$ Hit

Posted By on Mon, Dec 7, 2009 at 10:53 AM

Robert Sillerman, whose company bought an 85-percent share of Elvis Presley Enterprises in 2004 and plans to improve the Whitehaven area, has had a big financial setback on a Caribbean island hotel development, according to a front-page story in Monday's Wall Street Journal.

Sillerman's plans to develop the area around Graceland have been stalled since they were announced shortly after acquisition by Sillerman's CKx company.

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Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Key Question for UM, NCAA, and Rose

Posted By on Thu, Dec 3, 2009 at 11:47 AM

Did the University of Memphis have reason to believe Derrick Rose cheated on his entrance exam and therefore should not have been allowed to play before the start of the 2007-2008 season?

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.

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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

NCAA Says UM "Took a Risk" With Rose

Posted By on Tue, Dec 1, 2009 at 7:15 PM

The NCAA came down hard on Derrick Rose and the University of Memphis in its response to the university's appeal of NCAA sanctions involving Rose.

"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.

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