mm401: Here’s one cure for blistering gas prices

June 5, 2008

MUDGE’s Musings

We have written appreciatively on the topic of working from home (most colorfully, courtesy Stanley Bing, here; more philosophically, here).

Telecommuting is a fancier term. Telework is the jargon chosen by Stephen Barr of the Washington Post, reporting on a bill working its way through Congress to permit federal employees to do so.

washingtonpost

Telework Bill Cleared by the House

Federal Diary | By Stephen Barr |Wednesday, June 4, 2008; Page D03

A bill that would permit many federal employees to telecommute at least two days every two weeks was approved by the House yesterday on a voice vote.

Under the bill, federal agencies would be required to create and implement policies to enable eligible employees to work from home or away from their regular office as long as telecommuting did not hamper their performance or interfere with agency operations.

Telework advocates and union officials have been pushing for expanded telecommuting programs in the government for two years, and the House action enhances the chances of Congress sending a bill to the president this year.

Similar legislation has been approved by a Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, but a committee report has not been released, a step needed before the bill can come to the Senate floor. There are some differences between the House and Senate bills that will have to be resolved, but a compromise is likely because the concept of expanded telecommuting in the government has drawn substantial bipartisan support.

Read the rest of this entry »

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mm341: Boo-hoo Yahoo

April 7, 2008

MUDGE’s Musings

Stanley Bing of Fortune is one of my favorite guys. His The Bing Blog has been part of the Left-Handed Complement blogroll from the early days.

Today’s post discusses the latest news of the tug-of-war now entering what is probably its final phase: Microsoft’s intention to take over Yahoo.

 

bing

Yahoo thoughts and Microsoft dreams

The Bing Blog | Monday, April 7, 2008 at 1:00 pm

I thought I would begin the week here by taking a moment of silence for all the good folks at Yahoo (YHOO), now under assault by the great and powerful conquistador from Redmond (MSFT).  Today Yahoo management found it necessary to combat comments made by Microsoft top pate Steve Ballmer to the effect that the company was in serious trouble and would probably tank in the very near future without the timely rescue now under consideration. This could be seen by some cynics as a blatant attempt to lower the value of the property Mr. Ballmer and team are looking to acquire, but you won’t find any cynics here. Just sympathetic skeptics who have been there and done that.

Few topics among we who toil in the vineyards we call “IT” are more likely to elicit a curling lip than the subject of the Ogre of Redmond, “Micro$oft.”

Read the rest of this entry »


mm256: I don’t hate big corporations, either

January 16, 2008

MUDGE’S Musings

I’ve had this one sitting in my idea folder for a week and a half. Stanley Bing, who writes for Fortune magazine, and whose The Bing Blog blogroll2 has been a fixture on the Left-Handed Complement blogroll for as long as there’s been one, always has useful things to say about corporate life.

His observations are always bracing.

So it was with interest that I encountered his ode to big business:

bing

Why I love big bad corporations

The Bing Blog | Friday, January 4, 2008 at 11:27 am

I watched all the victory speeches last night after the Iowa caucuses were done. Everybody had their own spin on why it was a good night for them, of course, and I’m not going to say much about that. We all know who did well and who didn’t. But one thing stood clear in all the speeches offered to the people of America as a branding statement for this new generation of political products: Everybody hates big bad corporations.

It was weird for me. It wasn’t that long ago that I would listen to people lathering up about big bad corporations and how they needed to be taken down a peg and go Huzzah like the rest of the gang. After 25 years in business, however, I find a different reaction bubbling up in my gut when I hear the rhetoric.

I feel bad for the big bad corporations.

Stanley, I work for a big bad corporation also, as do a few of my friends. Of course, in MUDGE’s particular circle, many of my oldest friends are attorneys, partners by now, actually, working in small to medium size firms; a lot of attorneys! One is even a federal judge! How is one of those a friend to one of me?

Many of my friends are consultants, or owners of small businesses, or psychologists or occupational therapists, or owners of small businesses employing psychologists or occupational therapists.

Actually, I am an oddity among my old friends. I actually work for a big bad corporation, NYSE listing, S&P 100 status and all. Stanley says,

I work for a big bad corporation. Most of my friends do too. We’re writers and lawyers and accountants and research people and editors and graphic artists and programmers and marketing and advertising folks and a lot of other things that are neither big nor bad. We do what we do. And if anything happened to our big bad corporations, we’d be SOL.

[Please click the link below for the complete article — but then please come on back!]

The Bing Blog Why I love big bad corporations «

I believe I have shared here a while ago that I didn’t start out loving big corporations. (Although, I searched the site but couldn’t find such a thought, so consider that you’re hearing it from MUDGE for the first time.) In fact, I would tell people that I was a small business guy.

In retrospect, this was defensive. As a credential-free individual, MUDGE did not believe himself to be conventional big corporation material. Probably wanted to be, which is where the defensive part comes in.

Worked for too many inadvertent non-profits, if you catch my drift: undercapitalized, too many competitors chasing the same customers’ manhole cover nickels, never enough in the bank to promptly pay the vendors, or much of a payroll.

As a kid, fresh(ly dropped) out of college, I spent a couple of years as a “senior” clerk in one of those very large companies, a manufacturing icon that long ago departed Chicago for cheaper (i.e., non-union) locales. I didn’t play well in that sandbox, but, after all, I was a kid.

After a few months at a computer trade school, I worked first for what was then called a service bureau, and now probably would be termed a computer consultant.

Wrote accounting, inventory and financial statement programs and the bureau ran them for medium sized companies who didn’t believe they could afford the mainframe computers then prevalent, nor their keepers. My employer was a small company that wanted to be a big one, but I was insulated from most of the bureaucratic (as it were) guff by a boss who was far more iconoclastic than I ever achieved, anywhere.

Moved from there after a couple of years (after all, that’s what we hotshot programmers did!) to work directly for another Chicago iconic company, embarked on a project decades ahead of its time.

Some day I’ll cite chapter and verse, but the short strokes are they canceled the expensive ($2Million in 1970 dollars) project that I’d hired onto (along with more than 40 others) and then they tried to channel this free spirit back into accounting programming.

Thus expelled from the mainstream, yr (justifiably) humble svt spent better than 25 years kicking around aforementioned inadvertent non-profits, mostly, until really bad times but a really really good attitude landed me in the lap of major corporate America once again.

12 years and another job change later (well, I really didn’t want to relocate to exurban New Jersey), I like it here. Mr. Bing has got it right. Big corporations employee lots of people; they support their communities; their research achieves the critical mass necessary to assure that they will be around for the long haul.

Yeah, the bureaucratic guff is there. Most of it I take; some I push back, carefully. But let’s face it: many of my rough edges, by no means all, have been worn smooth by the years, so I have figured out how to handle guff, and guffers.

And for now, I am tolerated. There’s always next week’s crisis, but, in a recession, I think I like being under a big umbrella.

Stanley Bing, as usual, got it right.

It’s it for now. Thanks,

–MUDGE

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mm129: Gotta be Larry Craig Day!

September 5, 2007

MUDGE’S Musings

So here’s the scenario: Stanley Bing of Fortune magazine is one of my favorite reads. He and Bob “No Asshole Rule” Sutton (both found in the blogroll) represent what I think of as “Dilbert by other means.”

In other words the human -workplace- condition in words not comics.

So Mr. Bing’s post yesterday (and I think enough of both Stanley Bing and Bob Sutton that their RSS feeds are accessible from our sidebar here at L-HC) caught my attention, because he related Craig’s situation from a most intriguing perspective, that of our daily workplaces.

bing

The gentleman at right pictured with the happy little Boy Scout is Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. bing1 Until last weekend, he was the close associate and Republican colleague of poor Senator Larry Craig of Idaho, who was forced to resign after serving nearly two decades in the Senate when he salaciously tapped the shoe of the guy in the next stall. But you know that story.

I have nothing to say about whether Mr. Craig is guilty of anything, even hypocrisy. Listen. If hypocrisy was a punishable offense in politics, the halls of Congress would echo with the hollow sound of tumbleweeds skittering across its nearly vacant floors.

What interests me about the whole thing is what it shows about loyalty among certain people. The point was driven home with clarity on Saturday in the New York Times. You can hit the link if you want to, but here is the portion that tugged my heart strings and sent a little wiggle of ice down my spine:

In Idaho, a person close to Mr. Craig did not say exactly what drove Mr. Craig’s decision, but said that the veteran lawmaker had been stunned by the party’s response to his predicament.

“Larry was shocked by the deafening silence by some and rush to judgment by others, even in his own leadership,” said the person, who is a confidant and adviser to Mr. Craig and asked for anonymity because he was not authorized to talk about the behind-scenes deliberations. “He had to evaluate what it would be like to go back into that environment.”

Many of us, sick to death of the hypocrisy so endemic among conservative politicians, especially those of the Republican complexion, have been cheerfully letting this sordid story play itself out.

Not Mr. Bing. He observes that in corporate life, as in political life, your best friends forever can disappear in an instant.

When the field is swarming with enemy troops ready to take the high ground, and ammo is short? They start lobbing guys out of the trench to lighten the load.

Okay, so read the rest, and return to see the upshot of this story.

[Per L-HC’s reformed process, please click the link below for the complete article — but then please come on back!]

The Bing Blog Who’s in your foxhole? «

Okay, so I switched off after collecting this last evening, and imagine what greeted us today! Sen. Craig has said, “Not so fast!”

This is from Joan Walsh, political columnist of Salon.com:

The return of Larry Craig?

It keeps getting more interesting. At the end of the day Tuesday a spokesman for Sen. Larry Craig said wait a minute, not so fast. That resignation salon announced as news Saturday? Not a done deal. “It’s not such a foregone conclusion anymore, that the only thing he could do was resign,” Craig spokesman Sidney Smith told the Associated Press, adding that the “outcome of the legal case” will “have an impact on whether we’re able to stay in the fight and stay in the Senate.”

Suddenly on cable news they’re parsing Craig’s Saturday “resignation.” CNN’s Jeffrey Toobin is admitting he didn’t notice that Craig merely announced his “intent” to resign that morning. (I didn’t either.) Roll Call has printed a transcript of a voice mail Craig left Saturday morning, reportedly for his attorney Billy Martin (but he actually got a wrong number):

Sure enough, Mr. Craig does seem to have found an aggressive attorney, and as it happens, one friend in the Senate, Arlen Spector:

Indeed, Specter came out over the weekend in Craig’s defense, while Martin is telling reporters that “very serious constitutional questions” had been raised by Craig’s men’s room arrest, and that the senator “has the right to pursue any and all legal remedies available as he begins the process of trying to clear his good name.”

Read the rest of Walsh’s column:

[Per L-HC’s reformed process, please click the link below for the complete article — but then please come on back!]

Joan Walsh – Political Commentary and News – Salon

So, perhaps Craig didn’t read Stanley’s blog (which seems to have come out a day or two later), but the thought process must have been there:

“Do I really have no friends left?” And, so, he’s baaaaaaack!

So, the media is happy (per Walsh’s last graph), because just when they were thinking they didn’t have “easy pickin’s” Larry to kick around any more, he pops back into the picture.

And, MUDGE is probably happy too. We like our hypocrites out where we can see them (even if out also means in the occasional bathroom stall).

It’s it for now. Thanks,

–MUDGE