daddy warbucks

a few weeks back i was hanging with some friends and we were having a discusssion about the ceo of a defense contractor company paying to have a bunch of rockers (50 Cent, Don Henley, Joe Walsh, Stevie Nicks and Tom Petty, Stephen Tyler and Joe Perry, Kenny G.) play at his daughter’s bat mitzvah. one of my friends was asking why there was anything wrong with these particular artists playing at this person’s party. well here is a little more information about brooks:

Brooks, CEO of bulletproof vest maker DHB Industries, has seen his fortunes soar since the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Last year, he earned $70 million, most of it from stock options. That represented an increase of 13,349 percent over his pre-9/11 compensation, according to Executive Excess, co-published by the Institute for Policy Studies and United for a Fair Economy.

Brooks’ flaunting of his war wealth is exceptionally tasteless, given that the equipment which boosted his fortunes appears not to work very well. In May 2005, the Marines recalled more than 5,000 DHB armored vests after questions were raised about their effectiveness in stopping 9 mm bullets. Last month, the Marines and Army announced a recall of an additional 18,000 DHB vests.

Brooks is also under investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission for suspected financial wrongdoing and faces a number of investor class action lawsuits for fraud and insider trading.

the article goes on to say that the ceos of defense contractors took home 200% more compensation in the period 2001-2004, as compared with 7% for ceos as a whole. that’s our money. that’s money that is not going to support our troops. in this case, that’s money that is going to the head of a company that produces mission critical hardware that fails in combat. i would think that this one would be a no-brainer from wherever you stand. it shouldn’t be allowed to happen. period.

back to the question of whether those artists should have played at the party. martin questioned whether you had to agree with someone’s politics or position in order to be hired by them as an entertainer. i don’t know for sure, but in this case i would say that it at least has more than a little whiff of the uncool.






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