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December 26, 2004 - December 19, 2004

Thursday, December 23, 2004


Time to Take a Break
Well, it's been quite a year. Thank you all for taking time out of your busy day to stop by and give us a read. Hopefully, we have been informative and somewhat entertaining.

All of us here at InstaPunk wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Prosperous New Year. Please leave us a comment for this post with any items you'd like to see covered in greater detail or anything else that you care to offer during the break.

We would also like to send best wishes to Glenn Reynolds at InstaPundit, Phil Hendrie and gang at The Phil Hendrie Show, and Michelle Malkin at MichelleMalkin.com for their support and sending visitors our way from time to time. As well as, all those bloggers that have a permanent link from their site to ours -- see the listing in the left panel under "Thanks for the Link!"

And, a special, "Thank You" to everyone that contributed to our efforts here through the Christmas Crawler that ran for the past few weeks, as well as, those that make regular contributions throughout the year.

The Christmas Crawler link is gone, but you can always CLICK the Amazon Click to Pay box at the top of the left panel to make a contribution. Always appreciated.

We look forward to serving you in the New Year.

All the Best,

Chain Gang

Mars

A Main Line Punk

Usher

.357 Magnum

Puck Punk

The Shackle

Anonymous

Eire 8

InstaPunk

L | C | A

NearlyAbortedPunk

Nonsense

PatrickPunk

Punk City

Punked Out

RFLaird

The Bloodilators

The Epissiles

The Glimmers

The Headhouse Gang

The Kodaks

The Mudwasps

The Nasticators

The PR Machine

The Shuteye Train

The South Street News Network

And, of course,
Puck Princess Punk

UPDATED UPDATE: Over 35 Comments. Please leave yours NOW, we want to hear from you. Be sure to scroll down to the entry form.

Thanks for all the kind words. Have a Happy New Year!




Wednesday, December 22, 2004


Things More Important than Money?
Well, well, well. Dennis Mangan, Duke Power shareholder, decided to pick up for the power company, Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK), parent of Duke Power. He also thought it would be appropriate to call us names. Let's clear that up, right away. Listen, shareholder-dude, we ain't left wing and we don't write "leftist rhetoric."

With that out of the way, let's highlight a few points. Our post called attention to a particular human phenomenon -- large organizations say one thing and do another. Individuals within these organizations do what they would otherwise consider unspeakable horrors. How does it happen? We pointed to The Boomer Bible's guidance for corporate CEOs. In this work we find that it is important for them to look out for their corporate culture -- especially when the press is around. One important prop for the corporate culture is to "Talk about how you value your customers" (Main.25.7). Of course, it is important to remember while talking about corporate culture -- not to listen to a word you say.

Thus, you can have a corporation that says Customer Service is important. And, people working for the company thinking that cutting off electricity to an 89-year-old widow in the middle of a freeze is in accordance with Corporate Policy.

Now, Mr. Mangan does admit at the outset that he is attempting to defend the indefensible, so we won't go on too long here. But, it should be pointed out that it is a very weak analog to liken the actions of Duke Power to a Safeway Super Market and a person with no money to buy food. To make that work, you would have to have the only grocery store in town going into a person's home who is two days away from starving to death and clearing out their home of every crumb of food because the person didn't pay for their last two orders.

We were going to get into Mr. Mangan's citing of Duke Energy's $2 Billion loss for 2003, but let's just say, it hasn't hurt their stock price nor did it have a single thing to do with giving away electricity (if you don't have an Edgar account, you'll have to click on the FREE Online HTML version).

Mr. Mangan seems to be saying that getting the weather page from the local paper and talking to a long-time customer are beyond the requirements of corporate responsibility -- and to suggest otherwise means you're a Marxist. Duke Power's own website says, "We take our responsibility as a corporate citizen seriously, working to protect the environment and giving back to the communities where we live and work." See, "Talk about the long-term contribution your company makes to the community . . ." (Main.25.9).

Now, how could placing an 89-year old widow in mortal danger be put along side that Corporate Citizen platitude. Employee's of large organizations might want to do a little digging into Dr. Stanley Milgram and his work regarding the dilemma of obedience. One of our own here has a quite elaborate explanation of the phenomenon, but it is beyond our scope here to get into Corporate Consciousness. At least, Duke's eleven-million dollar Chairman could demand that people in charge of terminating services in life threatening situations be required to read the web page and act in accordance with it.

Not being leftists, we don't think the answer to every problem is a new law that makes it illegal for large organizations to act idiotically, but that is exactly what is going to happen when companies kill their customers. The problem is that there is no individual within Duke Power who will say the death of Mrs. Verdin is good corporate policy (except for Mr. Mangan, of course) from the Chairman of Duke Energy down to the contractor that ultimately pulled the plug. Yet, untold numbers of procedures and individuals acted in a coordinated manner to ensure just that outcome.

Come on! The most cold-blooded capitalists can demand that the individuals in their employ not blindly follow policies and procedures to accomplish things clearly at odds with their stated and intended purpose. And, everyone that dutifully reports to work each day, should speak up and put the brakes on any policy or procedure that is taking the orgainzation over the cliff.





FREE STUFF
It is Christmastime. And, man, American Digest is giving their readers something for FREE -- The Quotable Sherlock Holmes. Now, that sure is nice and interesting, all at the same time. Thank you.




Tuesday, December 21, 2004


Like a Friendly Uncle . . . dragging his wife through the dance
We need to take a break from the Social Security mess and giant corporations rolling over and killing I'm Shrinking . . . people by accident, we mean, it is Christmas time. What better way to brighten the Holiday Season than by taking a moment to check in on our friend, Bill O'Reilly.

One of our favorite aspects of Mr. O'Reilly is the unending self-promotion: "We're the number one cable news program in the country; 450+ radio stations across the country for The Radio Factor; Mel Gibson bought the right to make my bad book, None Dare Spin It1, into a bad movie when he gets done spending the $500 million he made from The Passion of the Christ; and we hit a sales record for our "The Spin Stops Here" door mats . . . "

So, we're going to try our hand at blasting away on our own horn. We knew it. We predicted. It is just like when we called the election for President Bush on November 1st with a complete explanation provided 10:17 a.m. on the 2nd. Just before everyone else went running all over with the planted exit poll story.

Today, we're taking credit for having told you who was going to know if the lawsuit between Bill O'Reilly and Andrea Mackris had any merit. Courtesy of Lloyd Grove's Low Down (scroll down to THE WIFE FACTOR) that is reporting that somebody told a friend of somebody that knows a friend of Lloyd Grove that Bill O'Reilly made a rare public appearance with his wife, Maureen, and he wasn't smiling, at all. He was looking semi-morose. He walked across the room holding hands with/dragging his wife. He and the missus ducked out of the White House holiday party for television-news types before it ended. Well, take a look and marvel.

Aren't we great?

1Right up there with "CALL me Ishmael," is Bill's openning sentence: "As Ron Costello saw it, the nighttime media party in Edgartown provided him a wide-open window of opportunity -- one he could make the most of." Wow. The second sentence? Okay: "For he was frustrated and fed-up, and what he badly needed was to satisfy a basic human need, the need for some kind of physical release."




Monday, December 20, 2004


Competing with Machine Guns
ScrappleFace is reporting that there is finally relief from that pesky competitor of Microsoft's Internet Explorer. We talked briefly about this before, but it is good to know that soon we will be safe from all things Not-Microsoft.





Our Gratitude Knows No Bounds
Somebody noticed we put together a fine blog here. Thanks to M.E. at Stand in the Trenches for calling us out. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.




Sunday, December 19, 2004


Social Security -- Hot Potato
We talked about the Democrats and Social Security Reform a little bit ago, but it was during the Instalanche over our Pearl Harbor entry, so you might have missed it in all the hub-bub.

We really didn't think this would get started until next year, but Josh Marshall makes a point about reforming something out of existence by hypothetically transforming a 401(k) plan into some governmental ponzi-scheme that sounds an awful lot like Social Security. The illustration clearly makes his point that this type of "reform" is, in fact, dissolving the 401(k) plan. But, maybe unintentionally, he begs the question, "Who the heck would ever want such a plan?" The exact plan he is so fearful will be reformed away.

JM's post successfully compares the proposed reforms [which are similar to a 401(k)] and Social Security as it now exists. We can't think that any 21-year-old of sound mind would choose the existing system. Hell, we're all way past 21 and we'd take a 401(k)-type plan over Social Security right now. Maybe 21-year-olds just want to believe a governmental agency when they tell them:

We will take care of you forty-five years from now, just give us 15% of everything you earn from now until then -- and, if you don't give it to us, we will put you in prison, and, if you try to escape, we will kill you. See? We are your friends.




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