Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Grey Lady - Still the Best of the Best.

Once again, the New York Times has done what great newspapers do: shine the white hot light of publicity on people wanting to remain hidden in the dark.

In a lengthy story appearing in today’s paper, the Times reveals that Wal-Mart executives in Mexico repeatedly paid bribes to public officials in order to smooth the way for new retail stores all over that country. Payoffs went to top officials in the government at all levels and included ordinary salaried civil service workers dealing with bureaucratic issues such as zoning and building permits.

What a surprised, right? But wait! The real story is that Wal-Mart brass in the U.S. got wind of these shenanigans and an internal investigation was opened. The essential facts were verified … that this illegal bribery was rampant – even routine –had been going on for years, and involved Wal-Mart’s very top management in Mexico.

And today, the Times reports that as soon as those facts had been determined beyond question, Wal-Mart’s investigation was very quickly closed … quashed … covered up.
But it looks like the greedy bastards aren’t going to get away with it … thanks to great work by a great newspaper.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Nah ... We Don't Need More Regulation.

The Boston Globe has a story on the front page this morning about Liberty Mutual ... the big insurance company. They run all those warm-and-fuzzy commercials on PBS's Antiques Roadshow about how much they care about all those things that are so important to folks like you and me.

Anyway, the Globe story reports that the newly-retired head of Liberty Mutual, Ted Kelly, was paid $50 million a year for the past several years. Further, according to the Globe, the company maintains a fleet of five corporate jets.

Guess what a frequent destination for those jets has been.

Vero Beach, Florida.

Guess who owns a fancy house near Vero Beach?

Yup. Ted Kelly.

Makes you feel all warm and fuzzy, doesn't it ... knowing that, if we will just leave it alone, the market will regulate itself very nicely.


Monday, April 9, 2012

Traveling Again

Postings may (continue to) be a bit irregular here over the next three weeks, because I will be traveling.

I’m leaving here tomorrow and heading first for Boston where I will attend the 100th Anniversary game at Fenway Park. That’s a big deal all by itself, but it will feature the greatest rivalry in sports: the Red Sox vs. the New York Yankees.

From Boston, I’ll head to Washington, DC, for the annual three-day meeting of the National Association of Railroad Passengers.

Of course, I’ll be taking Amtrak the whole time I’m on the mainland.


Friday, April 6, 2012

It's Going to Take at Least Another Dozen Years.

You will recall, of course, that the 2000 presidential election was decided by what happened in Florida. Here are several interesting little factoids culled from a report about that election:

* About 80 percent of black voters vote Democrat.

* About 11 percent of Florida voters in 2000 were black.

* About 180,000 ballots cast in that election were rejected.

* About half of the rejected ballots were cast by black voters.

Of course, the final results were determined not by a verified, accurate counting of the votes, but by a Supreme Court decision that gave us George W. Bush. When the actual counting of the ballots was stopped, George Bush was ahead by less than 600 votes.

Yeah, it was a dozen years ago. And yeah ... you're damn right I'm still pissed!