Preparing to Move the Blog – Research

I have been studying themes for the new blog. I was astonished at the versatility of what was available. For less than a hundred dollars, I can buy a theme very similar to that used by Slate, CBS News, or Yahoo!. It was quite a shock. After doing the initial research, it was hard to go back and write on my dinky theme.

Why is it dinky? I have three columns which is as much as you can get with the free WordPress themes but some of the premium ones have more columns and you can go down the page to point you decided and the reset the columns for different topics or pictures.

Sliders!! They have sliders. A slider allows you to create a set of pictures or articles or both and then have a single main article spot and these will then rotate every few seconds, so that someone who is on your blog for more than ten seconds or so see two of your articles – twenty seconds, perhaps three or four, it’s great advertising and it looks classy. One of the ones I looked at, Advanced Newspaper from Gabfire, enables you to put sliders in many locations on the page at the same time. Advanced Newspaper is probably going to be my choice. I think it’s beautiful.

I started my blog in 2009 and one of the things my research has demonstrated to me is that what’s available technology wise changes significantly perhaps dramatically every six months. This means that a good blogger on a small budget had better do continuous self training and a lot of it, if the intent is to stay ahead of the curve.

James Pilant

Sign Mortgage Documents, 500 In The Morning and 500 In The Afternoon, For Week After Week – Get A Brand New BMW Sport Utility Vehicle!

So, there are rewards for signing documents without any concept, any inkling of what is in them! Now the poor stupid schmucks who bought the mortgage, they’re going to lose their homes and pay the losses based on almost random documentation. Is this a great country or what?

From the Huffington Post

Florida authorities are investigating the law offices of David J. Stern over how it handled foreclosure paperwork. As the AP notes, Cheryl Salmons, an office manager at the law offices of David Stern, “would sign 500 files in the morning and another 500 files in the afternoon without reviewing them and with no witnesses,” according to Kelly Scott, a former assistant at the firm.

The perks for good performance were considerable, according to Scott’s statement. Tampa Online notes office employees were lavished with gifts:

“As a perk of Samons’ [sic.] job, Stern’s office would routinely pay her personal mortgage, a car payment, her electric bills and her cell phone bill, according to Scott, who told investigators Stern also bought Samons [sic.] a new BMW sport utility vehicle every year and gave her and other employees jewelry. Additionally, Stern purchased employee David Vargas a house, a car and a cell phone, Scott claims in her statement.”

I try to tell my students about reality. Sometimes, I wonder whether or not that is a good idea. I try to teach them to do what’s right. BMW Sport Utility Vehicles may well be a stronger argument than my moral exhortations.

Are any of these financial pirates going to pay anything bigger than a small fine? I doubt it.

Reality is dirty and messy. It tears your guts out. It means you live in a country where money is bigger than common decency, bigger than relationships, bigger than family, bigger than patriotism, – bigger than God. It is for a great many Americans, the only measure of success.

I challenge you to talk the language of morality, justice and Christianity and apply it to business and see how many uncomprehending looks you get or worse yet, the rolled eyes from the denizens of that strange ethereal plane, “the real world.”

But the “real world” bears the same resemblance to reality as the land of Oz. You see in reality, the vast majority of Americans live trying to do the right thing. In the “real world,” these people of honor are fools, marks to be taken, unrealistic clowns to be victimized by bank fees, credit card scams and every kind of bizarre internet rip off.

Millions of Americans work in jobs where they make less money than they could have in another field, they are teachers, firemen, policemen and soldiers. They live lives of service and sacrifice. This is just a joke in the “real world.”

I could go on.

But I suspect that anyone who claims to live in the “real world,” might not be someone you want to do business with.

I prefer those living lives of honor, those working in fields of service, those people trying to fulfill their duty to God and country, than the denizens, the predatory locusts of the “real world.”

James Pilant

Should Virtue Be Rewarded?

Should Virtue Be Rewarded?

This is another one of those stories. I am always reading them. Another company discarded ethics, fired those who would practice it and promoted those who “aggressively sought profit.”

According to McClatchy, Moody’s Investor Services, fired employees who warned the company of problems with their ratings of mortgage based investments and actively promoted those who helped create the second largest economic crisis in American history after the great depression.

When the company went public in 2000 it granted its middle managers stock options. This had a corrosive effect on the integrity of the rating process. To quote from the article:

“It didn’t force you into a corrupt decision, but none of us thought we were going to make money working there, and suddenly you look at a statement online and it’s (worth) hundreds and hundreds of thousands (of dollars). And it’s beyond your wildest dreams working there that you could make that kind of money,” said one former mid-level manager, who requested anonymity to protect his current Wall Street job.

Now, what do you say? As a teacher of business ethics, this is one of those real life examples, it might be best your students never heard about. After all, when the hero in the white hat is unceremoniously dumped and those who have damaged the economic fabric of modern civilization are promoted and enriched(from what I can tell, apparently very enriched). Given the example, you have to wonder why anyone would take business ethics seriously.

The article indicates that if you were willing to give investments whatever their actual value a good rating, in many cases a triple A rating, you were promoted and given more money. Thousand of people relied on these ratings to determine what to invest in. Those unfortunate enough to rely on these credit rating agencies lost large sums of money. We are talking about minimally billions of dollars. These are inconsequential investors like retirements funds, endowments for educational institutions, and charitable organizations.

Can you doubt for a moment that our civilization is damaged by this kind of behavior. Can you doubt that those who did these things and profited should be punished so that others might be deterred? I see an investigation in progress by the Securities and Exchange Commission but aren’t they the ones who didn’t see a problem in the first place?

Unless these people are punished, do jail time, have their profits taken from them and be socially stigmatized, there is no reason for my students and the rest of the public to say the right things to me and other do-gooders; and then take the money. After all, isn’t that what the “real world” says to do?

This is the link to the McClatchy story:

This is the link to the book, A Colossal Failure of Common Sense, by Lawrence McDonald.

I recommend you visit Lawrence McDonald’s web site at: