Uri Berliner As Senior Business Editor at NPR, Uri Berliner oversees coverage of business and the economy.
Carlos Ghosn, the chief executive of Nissan and Renault, insists he doesn't want the top job at General Motors. And GM's chief executive Rick Wagoner says he has no intention of leaving his job even if the company forms a financial partnership with the French and Japanese automakers. The companies are exploring the alliance at the urging of GM's biggest individual shareholder, Kirk Kerkorian. The 89-year-old Kerkorian is a big fan of Ghosn, who is credited with reviving both Nissan and Renault. Kerkorian might want Ghosn to run GM, too, but he'd get a fight from Wagoner and the GM board. I'm thinking there could be another reason why Ghosn won't take over: the commute. He already splits his Renault and Nissan duties: two weeks a month in Paris, ten days in Tokyo, along with some time each month in the U.S. as head of Nissan's North American operations. He's on his Gulfstream corporate jet about 48 hours a month. Now imagine if he tried to add the big gig in Detroit to the mix. He'd be in the air nearly as much as on the ground. And that's probably no way for an auto executive to live. Now if he's interested in a troubled airline... well, we have a few over here that could use a little help...
After federal prosecutors let it be known that a grand jury would not be indicting Barry Bonds today, the slugger's lawyer, Michael Rains, held a news conference, at which he announced it was a good day for his client. "They don't even have enough to indict a ham sandwich, much less Barry Bonds." An odd reference at first glance, but ham sandwiches and grand juries actually go way back together. In 1985, Sal Wachtler, former chief judge of New York's court of appeals, told the Daily News that prosecutors have so much sway over grand juries they could get them to "indict a ham sandwich." The saying has been a staple for legal pundits ever since. But just because Bonds didn't get the ham sandwich treatment today, doesn't mean he's out of his beef yet. A new grand jury will continue to investigate whether Bonds lied under oath when he said he never knowingly took steroids.
From Reuters, the latest word on the depths of sports fan mania. In this case, about six feet deep. The German soccer team, Hamburg SV, plans to open a cemetery for its most dedicated supporters. It'll be just a crossing pass away from the stadium's main entrance. "For a large number of people it's important to be close to the club after their lives are over," says the team's deputy chairman, Cristian Reichert. "The cemetery will have the look of a small, open stadium." Think this sort of thing is limited to soccer-obsessed Germans who have spent too much time smacking balls around with their heads? Just last month, Major League Baseball signed a licensing agreement with a firm called Eternal Image. It gives the company the right to "reproduce the names and logos of all 30 major league teams on a new line of caskets and urns." Chicago Cubs coffins, for the eternally hopeful, and the others, should be ready for delivery by 2007. And then there's Collegiate Memorials in Forsyth, Georgia, where they sell college-themed caskets for more than 40 schools around the country.