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Integrity at the corporate level is totally dead 25 July 2011

Posted by splait in Annoyances (me), Annoyances (others), corruption, Criminals, entitlement, Grrrrrrrrrr!, Integrity, Lack of Integrity.
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1 comment so far

Corporate officers, especially at the CEO, CFO, COO, President, and COtB levels get paid the big bucks.  For many years now, I have had a great many problems with how much they get paid, but that’s another point altogether different from what I really want to say here.

I’m pretty sure that, at least when I worked in Corporate America, the people who ran the companies were responsible for the actions that their employees took, no matter what.  Of course, they were always responsible for the good stuff, the stuff that made their shareholders money.  However, what ever happened to being responsible for the bad stuff?

It is interesting to hear Rupert Murdoch and his son claim that they are not responsible for their company’s current woes.  I’m pretty sure that the people who tapped the phones of others illegally as they worked for the company were being paid by the company for their work.  In my mind, that makes the people who run the company responsible for those illegal actions – under all circumstances.

So, fast forward back through time* to a year or so ago in Atlanta, where we first hear of a cheating scandal being exposed in the Atlanta Public School system here.  The woman who ran the system, Ms. Beverly Hall, claimed (and continues to claim) she was innocent of the charges.  Today, despite the evidence against her, she continues to claim that she was unaware of the problems that were going on during her watch and that she is not responsible.

Huh??

Here’s the first paragraph of a press release you can still find online with her picture smiling back at us on the first page:

“When Dr. Beverly L. Hall became the 15th appointed superintendent of the Atlanta Public Schools (APS) on July 1, 1999, she promised to transform the district into a world-class school system, using nationally proven reform models, facility upgrades and business operations redesign. Under her leadership, standardized test scores have risen, aging facilities have been renovated and a new blueprint for business operations is being implemented. The district’s vision is that APS will be one of the nation’s highest performing urban school systems, where 90 percent of its ninth- graders graduate from high school in four years ready for success in college or career.”

The good news is, she actually managed to accomplish a great number of those goals, as stated.

Part of the bad news is that she did it while teachers and administrators created a conspiracy of manipulation of grades and changing of test scores.

The rest of the bad news is that the local political establishment ignored the amazing results she was turning in year after year as a sign that something might be terribly wrong (shades of Bernie Madoff!), and the people who are going to pay for this are the students and their parents, as well as students and parents of the coming school years.

Ironically, when Googling “beverly hall superintendent”, the link right after the link to the press release is:

Atlanta superintendent Beverly Hall to step down | ajc.com

The person in charge of an organization, corporation, event, or anything else is ultimately responsible for the good AND bad stuff that comes down on their watch.  We can forgive them if we wish, but that is our choice.  In the old days, a Japanese man was expected to commit hari-kari if the organization he ran (it was almost always a “he”) was dishonored by anyone in the organization.  Today, the Japanese only expect the COO to resign.

In the US, they often do resign, but, if they are a member of Congress or a major corporation, they not only get Platinum Parachutes, but they often get more money running some other company or, in the case of the government, they get full pensions and insurance benefits, even if they only served one term.

I went into the wrong line of work.

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It’s a really hot day! Asphalt walking is not fun!! 25 July 2011

Posted by splait in Annoyances (me), Annoyances (others).
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1 comment so far

My wife and I decided to go to one of the local farmers markets (FMs) in our area.  We live in the northern part of Fulton County, which houses the city of Atlanta in its heart.  When we got up this morning around 8am, it was in the upper 70s on the way to a predicted 95 degrees F.  Last week we went to the market in Roswell, so we chose the Alpharetta city market for today.

Alpharetta’s FM used to be in a small, tree-lined parking lot just off of the main crossroads in Alpharetta.  It was a bit of an obscure place, not seen from any of the main roads, but really only a block from City Hall.  The problem (I assume) with the location besides being a little hard to find for first-time visitors, is that the location really didn’t provide expansion room for the market.

So the City of Alpharetta decided this year to move the FM next door to City Hall, onto a treeless asphalt lot which is much larger than the original space.  There are a few more vendors than before.  However, in the summertime, we, the people who go to FMs to buy fresh produce, greenly raised meats, plants, and fresh-squeezed lemonade (good stuff!), are forced to walk on this very hot pavement, totally exposed to the sun, with no place to hide from the heat!  We were soaking wet with perspiration after about two minutes of our arrival.

The kicker, to me, is that the lot hasn’t been modified for planting trees!  I don’t get it.

Maybe they are planning to move the market to another location in the near future.  I haven’t seen or heard anything indicating that is a possibility.  Planting trees at this point on that space would either be expensive (buying trees large enough to make a difference in the short term, or useless (planting smaller trees that will take years to be big enough to help).

In the meantime, my guess is that the market won’t grow larger, even though there is space for it.  They probably will never generate much foot traffic there, meaning the vendors won’t be able to sell their goods as much as they’d like.  Why would buyers go there?

As much as I enjoyed tasting some of the pastries and salsas for sale there, and buying a few items, the overall experience was not terribly enjoyable.

In the US, many of us are ashamed of our political system.  We typically don’t get too many good choices to elect for office, especially at a national level, and we really don’t know who to vote for at the local level (city and county governments) because no one has much of a track record.  So, we get what we get – incompetence, political stalemates due to the inability of the different parties to get off of their collective platforms (read: asses) enough to make a positive difference for the average citizen, a shrinking middle class because we are obligated to carry the burden of government costs, increasing poverty, and political stupidity.

We get farmers markets in the middle of a big, asphalt parking lot with no trees.

It’s a raging tragedy.

Wherein technology makes me crazy (not a strange title, just true) 26 November 2010

Posted by splait in Annoyances (me), Annoyances (others), Technology, Technology Issues.
1 comment so far

I recently acquired an HTC Evo Droid smart phone (from Sprint). My best friend (MBF) calls it a toy, but the previous phone kept balking at performing the tasks I required of it and, like many an executive in Corporate America, it was replaced. I’ll talk more about my last phone and the very interesting places it took me in future posts. Right now I want to talk about how technology that was designed to make MY life easier has affected my mother (???)

While I was writing the previous post, apologizing for my long absence from this site, my alarm went off.   You see, I went to bed last night and set my alarm for 6:30am Eastern time (GMT -5:00), but woke up around 2:30am for no apparent reason. I then neglected to shut off the alarm setting.

Hey! It happens!

As I was saying, my alarm clock (which is my phone), alarmed (there goes another noun). It was in the pocket of my pajama bottoms, so I reached in to get it.

As you probably know, most smart phones today have touch screen technology. In grabbing it out of its hiding place, I touched the screen. Within seconds of freeing my Evo from the pocket, I was able to silence the beast, but, apparently, I also touched something that caused the phone to dial the last number I called yesterday before eating a perfectly cooked turkey – my mother.

It rang twice before I could stop it. I ended the call and set the phone down, hoping I had not woken Mom, but there were two pieces of bad news – it was about 6:30am, and it HAD disturbed my mother…

…who then called me back in (I have to say it) alarm. I assured her that everything is OK and that the call was an accident. Hopefully, she was able to go back to sleep.

The touch screen technology that is so wonderful has its drawbacks.  At least this phone doesn’t dial numbers while in its holster, like my last phone did.  As far as I know, that phone (a series of Palm Pres – I SAID I’d discuss it later) never dialed a number at an embarrassing time (as far as I know), but it was a pain.  I’d get a call later from someone saying I called but wasn’t there on the line.  Not good stuff.

I don’t know of a good way to keep a touch screen phone from doing these things without causing myself other difficulties (like having to enter a password before the phone will unlock, and I don’t think that will solve this problem anyway).  I just have to be as careful as I can when handling the phone.

I truly love this phone.  It is the first piece of technology that comes close to helping me with keeping my life straight, and I’ve been through a lot of technology over the last twenty years trying to find something that is this effective for me.  I’ve only had it a few weeks, but sometimes, you just know it’s true love at the beginning of a relationship.

So, as I told MBF, yes, it has its toy-like aspects.  However, for me, its primary purpose is as a tool for my business and my personal life.

I just wish I understood why it keeps trying to look up someone name Royal Grundy in my phone list.  I have no idea who that is!