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News Roundup – Microsoft, Joe Wilson, Syria

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I find corporate America fascinating. We love to hold corporate CEOs up as some sort of financial business gurus, when in fact they are simply ordinary guys. Microsoft is an excellent example. For years, Microsoft could do no wrong. They were always ahead of the curve. Unfortunately, that was decades ago. The last thing that Microsoft truly got right was Xbox 360 and that was almost a decade ago. Remember how Microsoft got into cell phones about 10 years ago? Everybody thought it would be absolutely great if there were some way you can sync your email with your cell phone. The Windows cell phone was a disaster. Earlier this week, Microsoft bought Nokia. Unfortunately for Microsoft, in my opinion, this is too little too late. Google bought the cell phone portion of Motorola more than two years ago. We’re now seeing cell phones they’re rolling out that are fabulous. (The golden halo that surrounded Apple seems to be losing its shine also.)

Remember representative Joe Wilson? He was the South Carolina Congressman who shouted out in the middle of a joint session of Congress, “You lie, at Barack Obama!” Well, Joe Wilson really hasn’t done anything of note since then. Yesterday, Rep Wilson decided that he needed to unleash the crazy as John Kerry testified to the House Foreign Affairs Committee. He decided not to unleash one or two crazy theories but instead to go for the bonanza. The reason that Barack Obama was coming to Congress to seek authorization to use military intervention to deter Syria from unleashing more chemical weapons was not that this needed to be done. No, instead it was because Barack Obama was trying to divert our attention away from “Benghazi, IRS, NSA scandals, the failure of Obama care enforcement, the tragedy of the White House drafted sequester.” The quote from the MasterCard commercial fits here – priceless.

Light truck sales increase to their highest number since 2007.

Economic activity continues to improve.

By |2013-09-07T18:44:36-04:00September 5th, 2013|Business, Foreign Affairs|Comments Off on News Roundup – Microsoft, Joe Wilson, Syria

Corporate America Hates Me

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I’m sure that the hatred that I have for corporate America is mutual. I have plenty of recent evidence.

Just a couple days ago, I was called by Bank of America. They wanted to know when I was going to pay the $150 that I owe them. I got this call on Monday – Veterans Day. I happily told the Bank of America employee that I’d already paid the money that I owed plus an extra $50 at the branch on the previous Friday. Then he read a standard statement which said something about how I would continue to get calls from Bank of America until they had received the funds. Wait a minute! What do you mean? I’ve already paid you. I didn’t put the money in the mail. I didn’t pay you via carrier pigeon. I went to the branch and paid you on the spot. The money is in your bank. Why should I get any more calls? Well, he explained, it was not in our system. I asked, logically, why should I be penalized with more calls because your system is slow? Needless to say there was not a satisfactory answer to my question.

Last Friday, after working a 15-hour day, I got a lovely call from Sirius XM satellite radio. I owed them $260. What ensued was a bunch of confusion that can only be laid down by corporate America. It turns out that I have three separate accounts with Sirius XM. I stated that I would like to combine all three accounts into one simple account. In order to get this done there was some $20 fee. I really had no idea why they were charging me the $20 in addition to the $260 fee to renew my contract. The whole process wasted 45 minutes of my life. On Saturday, Sirius XM called again. What? Plenty of apologies and I thought we were done with the saga. Yesterday, I got an automated call from Sirius XM. My account would be terminated in 24-48 hours because of nonpayment. I needed to call immediately. Dammit! This was going to be ugly. So I called. I owed nine dollars. For what? I spent 45 minutes on the phone with you guys just the other day. How can I owe you nine dollars now? I never got a satisfactory answer. I asked to speak to a supervisor. After being on hold for more than five minutes, I was told they were going to waive the nine dollars. How magnanimous. I’d wasted over an hour of my life on something that should have taken five minutes. This is why I can’t stand corporate America.

So, let me follow up and tell you where we are with my 51-inch Samsung TV. My beautiful TV has been sitting on my floor, dead, for more than 10 weeks. Samsung has decided to replace the TV. The exchange program does not let you upgrade to another TV. It does not let you pay the difference. Basically, you accept their deal or not. I get a new TV with a 90-day warranty, not the year warranty that I had before. I’d also bought an extended warranty on the TV, which I suspect is money that I flushed down the drain.

Don’t you love corporate America? I know I do.

By |2012-11-13T21:17:45-04:00November 13th, 2012|Business|Comments Off on Corporate America Hates Me

Outsourcing is killing the middle class

It would seem that this would be obvious to almost everyone, but…

From TP:

A Washington Post/ABC News poll released this morning finds that 44 percent, a plurality, of Americans think the economy is getting worse, rather than staying the same or getting better. With unemployment hovering around 9.6 percent while economic inequality is at levels not seen since the Depression, many Americans feel as if the economy is leaving them behind.

The Wall Street Journal reports today that Corporate America certainly isn’t doing its part to help bring America out of its economic malaise. The paper surveyed employment data by some of the nation’s largest corporations — General Electric, Caterpillar, Microsoft, Wal-Mart, Chevron, Cisco, Intel, Stanley Works, Merck, United Technologies, and Oracle — and found that they cut their workforces by 2.9 million people over the last decade while hiring 2.4 million people overseas.

The paper notes that this is actually a sharp reversal from trends in the late 1990s, when these major companies were creating more jobs in the United States than overseas. Yet by 2001, things took a turn for the worse, and these corporations have been adding more jobs abroad than at home, as is illustrated here:

By |2011-04-20T06:55:28-04:00April 20th, 2011|Business, Economy|Comments Off on Outsourcing is killing the middle class
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