Monthly Archives: July 2012

What’s Missing in Business and Politics: Trust

Well, I’m back from a week’s vacation at Hilton Head. But I can’t seem to get that excited about any of the stories being churned to death by the mainstream media. Sure. I fret about Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise, just like everyone else. And Ann Curry got the shaft on Today, apparently because she didn’t measure up on the cooking segments. Go figure.

Maybe it’s the hot, humid weather in NE Ohio and elsewhere. I’ve been trying to hit the concrete or chase the treadmill belt most days, but August is my least favorite month to run. And it’s been August now since May. I know. Plenty have it worse: our soldiers in Afghanistan and the fire fighters who saved the community in Colorado that I’m planning to relocate to before Labor Day.

And maybe it’s the presidential election campaign — which seems to me to be entering its fourth year now. Will this long national nightmare ever end? Hate to admit this. But the more ads I watch the less I trust both candidates and both political parties. If Pinocchio ran as a third-party candidate, he’d win. At least we would know for sure when he was fibbing.

Or not.

It appears that doing the wrong thing is pretty acceptable these days, especially on Wall Street. Here’s an interesting story from Reuters: “Quarter of Wall Street Executives See Wrongdoing As Key To Success: Survey“:

July 10 (Reuters) – If the ancient Greek philosopher Diogenes were to go out with his lantern in search of an honest many today, a survey of Wall Street executives on workplace conduct suggests he might have to look elsewhere.

A quarter of Wall Street executives see wrongdoing as a key to success, according to a survey by whistleblower law firm Labaton Sucharow released on Tuesday.

In a survey of 500 senior executives in the United States and the UK, 26 percent of respondents said they had observed or had firsthand knowledge of wrongdoing in the workplace, while 24 percent said they believed financial services professionals may need to engage in unethical or illegal conduct to be successful.

Oh, mama. Don’t let your babies grow up to be investment bankers.

Better, if they want the big bucks, that they become CEO of a company involved in a merger. That’s where the big buck are. For example, here’s from the NYT: “Ouster at Duke Energy Draws Scrutiny in North Carolina“:

A boardroom coup at Duke Energy, the nation’s largest electric utility, is expected to come under scrutiny on Tuesday when North Carolina regulators question the company’s chief executive.

James E. Rogers, Duke’s chief, has been in a harsh spotlight since last week, when Duke closed its $26 billion merger with Progress Energy, a rival. The transaction, struck 18 months ago, called for Progress’s chief executive, William D. Johnson, to run the combined company. But just hours after the deal’s completion, the Duke-dominated board ousted Mr. Johnson and put Mr. Rogers in charge.

Duke’s directors, including Mr. Rogers, have refused to discuss the reasons for the switch. Neither has Mr. Johnson, who received an exit package worth up to $44 million and signed an agreement not to disparage the company.

Wow. A $44 million exit package for a guy, Mr. Johnson, who according to The Daily Mail only had the job for 20 minutes.

Oh by the way. Rogers, Duke’s former and I guess now current chief, is heading what apparently has been up to this point a rather lackluster  fundraising effort for the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte. Maybe he should put the arm on Mr. Johnson for some cash.



Colorado Firefighters: Heroes Again

I was in Hilton Head last week, where the living is easy but the internet and AT&T phone connections are iffy at best. And I’ll admit it. My enthusiasm for trying to get a connection and posting while on vacation didn’t top my priority list as the temps hit 100 and Pool Bar Jim’s served iced-cool beer. There will never be an Arab Spring in South Carolina. Trust me.

And at a time when Ann Curry got sacked from her position on the anchor couch because, according to NBC News Chief Steve Capus, “Curry had faltered in the cooking segments, movie star interviews and fluffy features that make up a large portion of “Today”.” Wow. And we find it surprising that only about 50 percent of the people in this country are even aware that the Supremes ruled on Obamacare. (See “Obama’s health care: Many unaware of court ruling“)

I would have known about the health care ruling on the morning it was announced. But, alas, I had the channel turned to CNN. And the reporters and pundits on that cable network had absolutely no clue about what the Supremes did, or didn’t do. Maybe it’s time for CNN to focus on cooking segments, celebrity interviews and fluffy features. As someone opined on Twitter, the surprise wasn’t that CNN got it wrong. The surprise was that so many were actually watching CNN. Ouch.

And while off the grid in just about every other way, I did gain an appreciation for the value of Twitter as a source of information and connectivity.

My son, Brian, lives in Colorado Springs. And while he was with us in Hilton Head, we followed with great interest the devastating wildfires that caused tremendous damage to Colorado Springs and nearby communities. And I found Twitter to be the best and most reliable source of information: #waldocanyonfire.

And what came through via the Tweets was the dedication and heroism of the firefighters who battled the wildfires and without question saved many lives and homes. I don’t know who took the picture that I am including here. But it shows a group of firefighters who went to sleep in a driveway or parking lot close to the fire — so the could get up quickly and get back to work again, rather than take the time to commute from a location away from the fire. We should all try to remember that next time we call for budget cuts that reduce the jobs, pay and benefits of firefighters — and other public employees for that matter.

Oh by the way. On our way to Hilton Head, my wife, Mary, and I signed a contract to sell our house in Copley, Ohio. And we are planning to relocate before Labor Day to Woodland Park, Colorado, which was right on the edge of the Waldo Canyon fire.

Let’s hope when we get there that we have internet and phone service.

And thank God for the firefighters and others who risked their lives to protect what is one of the most scenic spots in the USA.