Friday, January 23, 2015

What do "Smelly Shelly" Silver and not-quite-humbled Russian ex-oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky have in common?


Mikhail does Charlie. I don't know whether Shelly has.

by Ken

In a manner of speaking you might say that what "Smelly Shelly" and Mikhail the Magnificent have in common is that they both got caught. True enough in its way, but that's not what I'm thinking of. You might guess then that they've both done Charlie Rose. (The show, I mean, not Charlie personally.) But I don't know whether Shelly has ever done Charlie.

No, I'm thinking of something a little more metaphorical. And it has to do with rules -- rules, laws, whatever you want to call them.

You may recall that, as I noted in my report earlier today about the arrest and indictment yesterday of NYS Assembly Speaker "Smelly Shelly" Silver, the second most powerful person in NYS government, on five federal corruption counts, the FBI special agent in charge of the bust, Richard Frankel, observed: "Those who make the laws don't have the right to break the laws."

Meanwhile Mikhail, the onetime Russian oil mogul who extracted a fortune worth billions of dollars from his country's economy, only to be busted by a rampaging Vladimir Putin and exiled to prison for ten years, tells Julia Ioffe in a fascinating profile in the January 12 New Yorker: "I just don't like games without rules. Either you play by the rules or you play without rules. There's no middle ground."

Or is there? I can't help thinking that Shelly and Mikhail did their most lucrative playing on just such a middle ground.

Which is what I mean to talk about tomorrow, at 10am PT/1pm ET. Also, I guess I should explain why we're all but required to call Shelly "Smelly Shelly."

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