Ye Olde Swimming Hole

current, insightful, yet nostalgic

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Qwest: Corruption at the Top

The former Qwest CEO has been indicted on 42 counts of insider trading. This story is interesting to me because I was ripped off by Qwest during the time this guy was at the wheel. I should start by saying I hope and think Qwest has cleaned up its act. However, a few years ago they called me to "offer" me three free trial months of one of their products (I was an existing customer at the time). However, after the first month, the bill for the service came. After waiting 45 minutes to get to customer service, they told me they would take the charge off the next bill. However, the next bill did not deduct the charge and in fact had an additional charge for the service. After a few more 45-minute calls and similar responses, I just gave up, which was exactly what they wanted me to do. I filed a complaint with the BBB, but never heard back.

This isn't the first time Qwest has been in the hot seat. See here and here. My point here is not to criticize a company that treated me badly, but to point out that corrupt leadership at the top trickles throughout an organization.

By the way, I now use Verizon wireless and do not have a landline (to avoid using Qwest). Verizon's customer service is unbelievably good.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Do we really still need unions?

Today NYC transit workers struck and millions of New Yorkers had to walk. An estimated $400 to $600 million dollars were lost and $1.5 billion could be lost this week if the transit strike continues. No doubt some needing medical attention died because of the traffic. And the city is in controlled chaos. The economic impact will affect millions of people. The stikers mantra is "we move NY, respect us." Okay, but you're not the only group that provides critical functions and no one is forcing you to work for the MTA. What if all medical workers suddenly struck? And what does the labor union want? Higher pay, lower health care costs and according to one source, retirement at 55. Wow. Wouldn't we all like that.

Perhaps someone can convince me otherwise, but I have heard few good things that come from unions. I understand their original purpose and I understand there's a need to keep big business in check, but the costs on society seem to outweigh the benefits. I chuckle everytime I see a local union sign saying "shame on (this or that business)" that they display in front of the business because it hasn't used union labor. I don't think there' s more hypocritical word some unions could use than "shame."

Now perhaps I'm completely wrong and there is a purpose and need for unions, but I have heard too many stories for companies who have to hire additional employees for a job, not because the job requires it, but because the union requires it. Then those union workers often end up just sitting around. There's got to be a better way. Perhaps this incident will be a catalyst to encourage our lawmakers to take another look the problems caused by unions. Keep in mind there are states where unions are weak, unemployment is low and the economy thrives.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

The Men of the Future

I am very troubled by the proliferation of pornography these days and the impending societal problems it is sure to inflict upon us. Even if every last bit of pornography were destroyed today, I think that which has already been consumed is enough to significantly weaken the strength of society. The weakness comes to those men who choose to indulge in it.

In the future, there will be two kind of men: Those who indulge in this smut and those who do not. Those who do not will be at a great advantage. Think of the advantage a person who does not drink has over an alcoholic. This addiction is similar although I think much more destructive because it destroys the very inner core of the person.

Those who realize this can take heed now and be protected from this destroying influence without having to wait for the studies to appear that prove its destructiveness.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Overeaction to paying for press in Iraq

Nightline was up in arms last night because of news reports (mainly their own) that the U.S. military has been paying Iraqi reporters to write favorable news stories. While this is no doubt unethical, I think it was wrong for Nightline to describe this as another major setback and embarassment for the U.S. military.

The problem is that reporters are extra sensitive when writing about issues that relate to their own profession. Just look at the Judith Miller coverage. Do most of us really care that much about that story? I don't think so. If a reporter in the U.S. was paid to write a favorable story, it would destroy his or her credibility. But we're talking about a war zone in Iraq and were talking about a country that is an emerging democracy, not the U.S. Do you think the press during our revolution was as like it is today? I don't think so.

Reporters seem so anxious to make the U.S. look bad in this war that it is disgusting. That's why some of the best reporting coming out of Iraq is by journalists with no "training."