Thursday, June 30, 2011

Industry "self-regulator" declines to censure Edward Jones

     (May 13, 2013) We were gratified last autumn that as a result of our reporting (http://kronstantinople.blogspot.com/p/edward-jones-saga.html), the Federal Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) launched an investigation into the policies and practices of financial-services firm Edward Jones.
    Today, after all these many months, we have received a stunningly terse letter from FINRA,  the financial services industry's "self-regulatory" agency, that says simply, "Based on our assessment of the information (you provided), FINRA has closed its investigation of this matter." No explanation or elaboration whatsoever was provided. Our serious allegations were not confronted or even acknowledged.

Jon's Named a Whole Generation After Himself (what's next?)

    As if being a ravishing spokesmodel weren’t enough to quench the thirst of Jon Huntsman  Jr.’s ego, he has suddenly decided to name an entire generation after himself.
    You remember Generation X, don’t you, and the several generations that have succeeded it?
     Huntsman has declared that we're all a part of "Generation H," as if he were running the world already.  It's a generation that rocks! Cool!
    And the “H” doesn’t stand for Hogwash, at least not in his mind.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Jon Huntsman Jr. -- America's Next Top Spokesmodel?

    Usually, in politics, when the term "portfolio" is used, it refers to the office and functions of an administration official.
    Jon Huntsman Jr.'s portfolio, however, is more like the collection of fashion shots that a trim and ambitious young model lugs from one prospective client's office to another. His portfolio on Facebook is a vast and adoring tribute to himself. ( http://www.facebook.com/jonhuntsmanjr?sk=photos) As of this morning, it featured a staggering 260 photographs of him. He even got one with the Dalai Lama!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Hold the Mayo! It's eating up billions in 'nonprofit' funds



    (6/27/14) When I recently read an article on the Mayo Clinic web site, I saw a declaration I've never noticed before: "Mayo Clinic is a not-for-profit organization."
    Nonprofit really doesn't mean a damn thing anymore, except that the institution doesn't have to pay taxes. The noble administrators and top clinical people allocate to themselves all the big bucks that might otherwise be characterized as profit.
     In 2012, the most recent year for which tax filings are available online, Mayo CEO and president John Noseworthy was paid more than $1.7 million in salary and other compensation. Treasurer Harry Hoffman received over a million dollars, and six assistant treasurers received between a quarter million and six hundred thousand dollars. The Form 990 IRS filing lists 63 of the highest-paid trustees, officers and key employees, most of whom hauled in between a half-million and a million dollars. Isn't that special? Plus, they get the priceless benefit of being affiliated with a beloved and trusted "nonprofit."
    UPDATE July 16, 2014 New York Times: After Dr. Herbert Pardes retired as president and chief executive of the "nonprofit" NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital in 2011, he became the executive vice chairman of its board of trustees, earning $5.6 million, which included $1 million in base salary, a $1.8 million bonus for his final year as chief executive and more than $2 million in deferred compensation. A recent study of hospital executive compensation indicated “There was no financial reward for providing good care; there was financial reward for getting people through the doors and filling up the beds,” said Dr. Karen Joynt, an instructor at the Harvard School of Public Health and co-author of the study. Fund-raising finesse was also prized, as it is when paying obscene salaries to university presidents. (http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/16/nyregion/at-newyork-presbyterian-hospital-its-ex-ceo-finds-lucrative-work-.html).

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Warhol never gave me my 15 minutes, but I got a story to last a lifetime

How my first college newspaper article opened the door to a world of
"rampant drug use, orgiastic sex and unchecked egotism." Everyone should be so lucky!

Andy Warhol with Ultra Violet, in 1968 -- the year I met her.
This 2013 photo did nothing to alter my misperception that she was a man in drag.

    (June 26, 2014) It was ironic that the imposing, glossy-lipped Ultra Violet appraised me coolly and then dubbed me "Missy Mormon." Almost everyone in New York asked me if I was a Mormon, since I grew up in Salt Lake City, but no one had ever assigned me to be one. During my surrealistic afternoon at Andy Warhol's Factory in the summer of '68, several of the flamboyant characters I met gave me nicknames (and fashion advice), but I was the antithesis -- deliberately -- of a Mormon girl. The real irony, though, (which I just learned when Ultra Violet died a couple of weeks ago at age 78) is that she herself became a Mormon just 12 years after she teased me about my rosy-cheeked, Goody-Two Shoes image. According to the New York Times obit, she ultimately rejected "the rampant drug use, orgiastic sex and unchecked egotism" at the Factory.
   When I was there, The Gang was still shakily recovering from the drugs and sex the night before, so I remained reasonably pure, but I got to see lots of egotism, and it was quite entertaining.
    Another irony is that I assumed Ultra Violet was a drag queen until I read her death notice. I was completely taken aback to learn that she was a woman, through and through. I am so confused. I guess you could say she was a woman dressed like a man who is impersonating a woman. What other bizarro world shenanigans did I fail to detect?  Were there other women I mistook for men in drag? I'll get to that later. It was a mishmash, to say the least. Maybe the whole scene was performance art, designed to mess with my head. But it didn't -- I just had fun.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

"We Are All Mexicans"

  .
     Now that President Obama has finally decided to stop deporting young people brought here illegally by their parents, we need to pitch in and encourage some attitude adjustment among our countrymen.
    Just as the world's response to 9/11 was a heartfelt, "We are all Americans," so should we regard Mexicans with empathy and tolerance. 
    We are all Mexicans. At some point in each of our family histories, someone immigrated to the U.S. for a better life. They were willing to work hard and to endure harsh discrimination for a chance to blend into America's "melting pot."
    No immigrant group has exemplified the dignity of this process more than the Mexican people who enter our country every day with passion, determination, warmth and hope.

"Happy Father's Day, Mr. President.......


    ,,,,,,,Happy Father's Day to You."
    You have a beautiful smile, Mr. Obama. You have a beautiful family. That's about the only positive thing I can say about you. Your presidency has been an utter disaster.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Jon Hunts Manliness, On His Harley and Off

The soon-to-be officially declared candidate for president is in Hog heaven.
    The most telling memory I have of Jon Huntsman Jr.'s tenure as governor is a remark he made during one of his weekly televised news conferences on KUED.
    He was bragging that there were currently more than 50,000 out-of-town visitors in the area -- here for Sundance, the Outdoor Retailers Convention and one other national gathering -- who were "getting a taste" of Utah's many offerings, its beauty and its "quality of life."
    He said this in his typically vainglorious fashion, despite the fact that for weeks we had been engulfed in the unhealthiest air in the nation -- a toxic, putrid, gray omnipresence that extended from Logan to Provo.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

It makes perverse scents: Diabolical aroma chemists still aren't out of breath

'Pure' Dove couldn't resist offering a chemical version of sakura blossoms.
    (May 2014) More than 18 months ago, we published a two-part series on the drenching of our lives in synthetic aromas, which have been implicated in a number of serious conditions and diseases, including cancer.
    Everywhere we go, and every product that we use, immerses us in the feel-good scents of nature and yummy desserts. They sure don't seem toxic, do they?
    We're getting more addicted to a life that consists of one olfactory ecstasy after another, and the global industry is broadening its range of products and chemical wizardry. Their stated aim is actually to change our mood and behavior, whether we are housecleaning, driving, at work, shopping, or gambling.
    At this point, every time we breathe or wash our hair, it's a gamble. And now, "pure" Dove has gotten into the act.

Thanks to homo sapiens' sick lust, I've got white skin and lupus. I'm pissed.

Neanderthal Girl: She's so fine, oh yeah. Gotta make her mine, oh yeah.
     (March 20, 2014) I always wanted to be a "colored girl." Black is beautiful. So is brown. This white covering in which I am imprisoned lacks vitality. It lacks drama, and I want drama! It lacks hotness, and I want to be hot. Plus: I certainly never volunteered to have my body inflamed by a vicious, unpredictable autoimmune disease.
    But we homo sapiens, as we know so well from current events, just can't keep it in our pants, can we, gentlemen? You took one look at those Neanderthal babes and screamed: "Holy shit! Fresh meat!"
    Thus did our genes intermingle, and one heartbreaking -- albeit adaptive -- result was that our skin got more and more colorless, the more we messed around with these very nice people, who had just been living their lives, minding their own business, for tens of thousands of years. Thanks to those insatiable sapien dudes, I spent the first 40 years of my life "laying out" in the sun, acquiring the scent of fried chicken as I endeavored to reclaim my rightful skin color. And now my whole body is attacking itself, just because those guys needed a little variety, to "spice up" their prehistoric sex lives. I am so mad at testosterone!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Sleeping With Malcolm X

Portrait
   “Where are your things?” the building superintendent asked. Erik Sakslad was a retired seaman from Estonia -- big,  pink-cheeked and gray-haired -- with a playful grin. “You move to big city with one little suitcase?”
    What had I been thinking? As soon as City Hall called me in Salt Lake City, in May 1971, and said I’d gotten the job, I packed up some clothes, makeup and instant coffee, and that was it. The magnitude of my stupidity left me speechless, while Erik laughed his head off.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Updates on university presidents, doctor training and military rape

Not really dead -- mortally wounded.
    There has been an onslaught of recent news that is relevant to several of my major posts (basically everything, everywhere, is getting more ridiculous), but three stand out this morning in particular.
    My question, "Are University Presidents Classy, or Just Filthy Rich?" got an answer yesterday (filthy rich), when the man who has been the highest-paid public university president in the country for most of the past 15 years was forced to resign for making asinine remarks (part of a longtime pattern) about religion (http://kronstantinople.blogspot.com/2013/05/do-university-presidents-have-class-or.html). Ironically, he's a Mormon, which ought to make him particularly sensitive to prejudicial remarks about people's faiths.
    He was such a preppy, pranksterish frat boy when we were both students at the University of Utah, I was surprised to learn years later that he had become so successful. Glad-handing! A skill worth cultivating!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Pooh-Poohing Perpetuity

If you're looking for end-of-year charitable deductions, consider our approach. We chose to give  scholarships directly to students, rather than having our funds held in perpetuity by the endowment.

We invented a new kind of gift: the “endearment”

    When my father, an analytical chemist, died in May of last year, my mother and I decided to honor him by endowing a scholarship fund for economically disadvantaged, academically deserving chemistry majors at the local university. Our intent was to provide a full tuition scholarship each year. We assumed that our substantial donation would continue to generate adequate funding for a full scholarship over time, despite inflation, since the school’s investment professionals were certain to achieve returns that would meet -- or more likely beat -- inflationary trends.
    The way in which endowments actually work made a na├»ve fantasy of that simple, heartfelt dream.

I Still Love You, and All That Jazz

Wesley Gordon Bowen, 1924 ~ 2003

    Wes Bowen roared up to the entrance of Olympus High School in a spanking-clean van that had a large full-color painting of his face on each side of it and, in bold lettering, "Bowen, and All That Jazz."
    Wes, a renowned radio personality throughout the Intermountain West, "had the voice of God, if there were a God," as one of my friends had put it. His tone was deep, rich and oracular.
    So when he leapt out of the van, in a cloud of Aramis cologne -- his apricot-colored ascot scarf fluttering in the breeze -- and showed himself to be almost diminutive, it was a bit of a shock.