22 Jul

Women in the workforce: Incompetence versus discrimination

Women have been discriminated against in the workplace. I’m not pretending it doesn’t happen, because it does. There are “good old boys networks” and those can have a negative impact on women at work.

But women need to get with the program and figure out when there’s discrimination and when they’re just incompetent (or at the very least not working up to the standards of their male counterparts).

Case in point: Nannette Hegarty, former police chief for the City of Milwaukee. I had high hopes for Nan when she took office. Unfortunately, she was a complete and utter failure at her job. Her officers never respected her, and crime thrived while she was in charge. Read More

22 Jul

Has Sarbanes-Oxley Really Done Anything to Prevent Fraud?

With all the talk about fraud since the big scandals of Enron, WorldCom and Tyco, it would only seem natural for companies to do whatever they can to prevent employee fraud. Yet companies have not radically changed their fraud prevention policies and procedures.

Sarbanes-Oxley is thought by many as the answer to fraud, but my experience shows something different. Sarbanes-Oxley was intended to restore faith in the integrity of corporations and executives, yet it hasn’t really had a measurable impact on fraud.

Rules under Sarbanes-Oxley created an expensive paperwork exercise for companies. They have reams and reams of paper that document what and how the company does in regards to financial data and operations. Yet that documentation itself doesn’t prevent fraud. Read More

21 Jul

How NOT to Handle Criticism: Shop To Earn and Shop To Earth

Ben W. Glass, editor at Clarislaw.com and attorney, did a nice write-up last week of the ShopToEarn situation. He thinks attorney Gerald Nehra made a boo-boo when he wrongly threatened Everyday Finance and me because of our negative reviews of Shop To Earn and Shop To Earth.

He gives a brief background on the original review at Everyday Finance and the threatening emails. Then goes on to say: Read More

21 Jul

The Paid Sick Leave Scam

On the November ballots, City of Milwaukee residents may have to vote on whether private employers should be required to provide paid sick leave for all employees.

Here’s what the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says about it:

A coalition led by 9to5, the National Association of Working Women, has mounted a petition drive demanding an ordinance to require the city’s private-sector employers to provide paid sick leave for their workers, and to let those workers take sick days to care for ailing family members.

Sounds good, right? Everyone should get paid time off to care for sick family members, right? It’s just the compassionate thing to do, right? Read More

21 Jul

Amway Sucks! Quixtar Sucks! Alticor Sucks!

I’m no fan of multi-level marketing companies (MLMs), and Amway – Quixtar – Alticor is the mother of all MLMs. Amway Corporation was founded in 1959 by Rich DeVos and Jay Van Andel. It was originally called Ja-Ri Corporation, and the name was changed to Amway in 1963.

A reorganization occurred in 1999, through which Alticor became the holding company for Amway, an internet-based company called Quixtar, Access Business Group, and Pyxis Innovations. In 2001, the Quixtar name replaced “Amway” for the North American MLM business. (They were apparently trying to get away from all the negative feelings associated with “Amway.”) Read More

21 Jul

Fed’s New Mortgage Rules Won’t Stop Fraud

As the panic continues about the “subprime mortgage crisis,” pressure has been put on regulators to do something to stop mortgage fraud. The “crisis” has been blamed largely on corrupt mortgage brokers, and so last week the Federal Reserve adopted new mortgage regulations.

Before discussing what the rules will and won’t do in regard to fraud prevention, it’s important to put the mortgage “crisis” in perspective. I continue to put the word crisis in quotes, because I believe the media has blown things out of proportion regarding individual homeowners.
Crisis or not?

The media is clamoring about record high foreclosure rates. We hear that foreclosures are up 50 percent or 75 percent compared to the prior year, or some similar estimate. Those numbers sound horrible. But put in perspective relative to all homeowners and home mortgages, the numbers are very low. Read More

19 Jul

Milwaukee County Supervisors Want to Stick It to the Taxpayers Again

Career politician Elizabeth Coggs (what happened to the Coggs-Jones?), who apparently has never had a real job, is crying about the compensation at her part-time job… Milwaukee County Supervisor. I’m not kidding… These are part-time jobs. And for her part-time work, Coggs gets $50,769.

But she doesn’t think that’s enough. Supervisors froze their own pay until 2012, but now Coggs wants to renege on that by sneaking in a $3,600 a year transportation allowance. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports:

She drives a lot in her work as a supervisor and paying for gas has become “a pretty expensive hardship.” Read More

18 Jul

Overstock Continues to Mislead Investors With Phony EBITDA Calculation

Patrick Byrne Naked Short SellingIn the past, I’ve discussed the improper EBITDA numbers reported by Overstock.com (NASDAQ:OSTK). It comes as no surprise that the con game continues with Overstock’s latest reported numbers.

The SEC rules are very simple. “EBITDA” refers to a specific calculation, which is “earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization.” Overstock.com and CEO Patrick Byrne have taken liberties with this number, in violation of guidance provided by the SEC on the issue. Read More