In case the point was still lost on you, Reuters wends its way back to it later in the article, for emphasis and to court further favor with the CEO set, who sit on each other's executive committees. So if you are about to write me about the free market, save yourself the effort.

In this case, the fix is in and what we see is a perversion of the free market. Wrote Reuters in Round Two of the Grand Apology: "The $40 million is in addition to about $53 million of shares Prince already owns, but Prince is receiving considerably less than the $161.5 million that Merrill Lynch's O'Neal received."

Now look. There is plenty in the package that is not technically severance, but there is enough -- including a car for five years, a driver for five years, an assistant for five years and paying the taxes on all those five-year goodies -- that the denial of a severance is too fine a point.

Well, try to tell that to The Wall Street Journal, which ran a headline this morning this curled my hair and made me want to pull it: No Severance Pay for Prince ."

Perhaps, Chuck, the "honorable" thing to do after driving your company into a ditch is to pay your own taxes on your own company-provided driver for the next five years. What's more, he's getting a bonus for 2007, too.

Remember, folks, this is a guy who back only in July, as the credit market began to reel, rear up and show themselves that Prince now (in)famously said: "As long as them music is playing, you've got to get up and dance."

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