Earlier this year, Oliver Stone, one of Hollywood’s more courageous film directors, railed against President Obama for being spineless. The same has been said of other Democrats, of course. Now it’s Hollywood - Sony Pictures, more specifically - who's being disparaged for this trait, while President Obama and his party seemed to have suddenly found some backbone.
First Hollywood. It’s been said that Hollywood caters to 16-year-olds. All I know is that Hollywood makes a lot of dumb comedies. The film The Interview was probably one of them, although we’ll never know now that Sony “caved” and won’t release it. Interesting that it took this act for the words “Hollywood” and “spineless” to be suddenly linked in headlines, like this from the The Huffington Post: SPINELESS: Sony, Theaters Cave To Terror Threat.
The same day that happened, however, President Obama stood up to the right and restored diplomatic relations with Cuba. Governor Andrew Cuomo stood up to the oil and gas industry and banned fracking in New York. Not only that, two major federal criminal indictments came down charging corporate executives with major corporate crimes.
Law enforcement agents swooped in during predawn raids … and arrested executives and former staffers of a Framingham [MA] compounding pharmacy blamed for producing tainted drugs that killed dozens in one of the deadliest medication contamination cases in US history.…
Some defendants could face life in prison. Prosecutors called the case an “unprecedented” national tragedy, and the indictments ended two years of waiting for patients and families desperate for justice.
“Production and profit were prioritized over safety,” US Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz said during a packed news conference in her offices at the John Joseph Moakley Courthouse in South Boston.
The indictment alleges that New England Compounding and Medical Sales Management Inc. — a company that shared ownership with NECC and provided it with sales and administrative services — constituted a criminal “enterprise” under the federal racketeering law.
“Let me be clear: Actions like the ones alleged in this case display not only a reckless disregard for federal health and safety regulations but also an extreme and appalling indifference for human life,” acting US Associate Attorney General Stuart Delery said.
And another federal indictment was unsealed relating to Freedom Industries’ January chemical spill that contaminated the Elk River in Charleston, West Virginia, leaving “300,000 residents around West Virginia's capital without usable water for drinking and bathing for days.”
The federal indictment charges former Freedom Industries presidents Gary Southern and Dennis P. Farrell and two others with failing to ensure that the company operated in a reasonable and environmentally sound manner the steel tank that leaked the coal-cleaning chemical.
Southern also faces federal fraud charges related to the company's bankruptcy case. Freedom filed for the protection eight days after the Jan. 9 leak into the Elk River in Charleston. …
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement that the tank conditions at Freedom Industries "were not only grievously unacceptable, but unlawful. They put an entire population needlessly at risk. As these actions make clear, such conduct cannot, and will not, be tolerated."
This all follows the earlier indictment of Don Blankenship, the longtime chief executive officer of Massey Energy, who was indicted on charges that he orchestrated the routine violation of key federal mine safety rules at the company’s Upper Big Branch Mine prior to an April 2010 explosion that killed 29 miners. As we noted in our earlier coverage of this case, CEO indictments almost never happen.
Seems like a perfect set up for a Colbert segment. What shall we do without him?
(And what shall you do without us for a couple weeks? We'll be off for the holidays. See you all next year!)