Archive for April, 2010


Chris Ware’s Rejected Fortune Cover

Somebody at Fortune magazine thought it would be a great idea to have Chris Ware draw the cover for their Fortune 500 issue.

But somebody at Fortune didn’t know that Chris Ware is a pretty observant fellow.  What he turned in proved to be a bit too close to home for the Mammonites, and was rejected.

Milton Friedman Paycheck Advance?  Fabrica de Exploitacion? Helicopters airlifting cash from the treasury into the banks?  Fortune: “Hey, sure, we do business journalism..but not business journalism.”

Click on image for larger version.

Link thankfully swiped from Chris Herbert on Twitter.


MIT Grad’s Education Continues, Or Why A Good Night’s Sleep Costs $16,000

MIT grad Kieth Yost’s piece in today’s MIT newspaper The Tech is a must-read for anybody earning or trying to earn a strictly ethical living in the business of technology / business consulting. The remaining 99.98% of consultants may safely skip it.

Aspects of Yost’s absurd experiences with Boston Consulting Group in Dubai will be familiar to anybody who has faced a client more concerned with appearances and status quo than with fixing any of its problems. Unlike the vast majority of such kabuki, invisible to outsiders yet ubiquitous in big business, Yost’s story is told in full color, changing him and illuminating us. He even contrasts his experiences at BCG against his own stated, simplistic free-marketeer moral philosophy – and comes away the better person for his real life experience having shattered that glib nonsense.

Better, but poorer.  His forthrightness about his experiences came at a price: he passed up a payment of $16 grand in hush money from BCG upon his leaving the company.  Why?  To retain the right to tell us about his experiences. For doing the right thing: kudos, Kieth. Now spread the word.  You may as well – you paid for it.

I’m a free marketeer. I believe that voluntary exchange is not just a good method of incentivizing people to provide their labor and talents to society, but a robust moral system — goods and services represent tangible benefit to people, market prices represent the true value of goods in society, and wages represent the value that a worker provides to others. Absent negative externalities or monopoly effects, a man receives from the free market what he gives to it, his material worth is a running tally of the net benefit that he has provided to his fellow man. A high income is not only justified, but there is nobility to it.

My moral system is organized around a utilitarian principle of greatest good for the greatest number — that which adds value cannot be wrong. It did not bother me therefore when I was handed consulting reports that had been stolen from our competitors. If the information in those reports would help us improve our client, then who could say we were doing wrong? Like downloading MP3s, it was a victimless crime.

What I could not get my head around was having to force-fit analysis to a conclusion. In one case, the question I was tasked with solving had a clear and unambiguous answer: By my estimate, the client’s plan of action had a net present discounted value of negative one billion dollars. Even after accounting for some degree of error in my reckoning, I could still be sure that theirs was a losing proposition. But the client did not want analysis that contradicted their own, and my manager told me plainly that it was not our place to question what the client wanted.

In theory, it was their money to lose. If they wanted a consulting report that parroted back their pre-determined conclusion, who was I to complain? I did not have any right to dictate that their money be spent differently. And yet, to not speak out was wrong. To destroy a billion dollars is to destroy an almost unimaginable amount of human well-being. Spent carefully on anti-malarial bed nets and medicine, one billion dollars could save a million lives. This was a crime, and failing to try and stop it would be as bad as committing it myself. And if I could not prevent it, then what reason was I being paid such a high salary? How could I justify my income if not by prevailing in situations such as these?

Read entire piece here.


Not Crazy Horse 18’s Best Work

Friend to RW370 WikiLeaks has released a video of a 2007 murder of two Reuters journalists and ten other civilians in Iraq by an US Army aircrew in an Apache helicopter overhead.  The clip is major evidence of a cover-up of what can only be called (toward the end of the encounter) legitimized murder and maiming of civilians including children.

The justification for firing on the targets in this encounter is flimsy/arguable at the beginning (camera equipment carried by the men on the ground is visually mistaken for illegal heavy weapons) and nonexistent at the end (a van arrives to help a wounded victim, only to be blown apart by the enthusiastic gunner while two children sit in the van).  The institutional culpability in the massacre is shown twice: first by the audio of the gunner and aircrew asking for and receiving permission to fire, and second by the cover-up in the years following.

WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange is interviewed below about the clip and the role of WikiLeaks in the release of the video. In a world that seems willing to do away with journalism – sometimes by 30mm cannon – Assange’s stance is especially poignant and heroic.

This Reddit thread contains a thoughtful discussion started and maintained by an active-duty US military officer (by the sound of it) on the specifics. It is impossible to read that thread and not come away with a clearer understanding of where the lines are drawn and were crossed – starting, but not ending with March, 2003.


Sirs: New Tracks Finished


Mike Greenlees – Drums
Tony Jones – Bass
Rob Warmowski – Guitar, Vocals

We just finished our first record. Thymme Jones of Cheer-Accident manned the board*. We recorded it in a basement in Humboldt Park, and hot damn, some of it is just stellar if I do say so myself. Thanks Thymme! Website here, tracks below.

Boo Hoo – In what will probably be the title track of the record, the Greenlees/Jones duopoly tends impeccably to business while I put a guitar slide on the wrong hand and commence to some improbable hijinks. Lyrical quasi-inspiration: the crybaby visible at the 7:00 mark of this clip of Alexandra Pelosi’s documentary Right America Feeling Wronged.

Five Minutes – I’m not expecting Dorothy Parker, but you don’t spell “you” with the letter u.

Illegal Criminal Crimes (Against The Law) – In a post-Rumsfeldian world, giving executives the teaching moments they deserve becomes a greater and greater challenge.  Features a two-note solo that Mike called akin to “Robert Slipp”.  Original title was “Felony Illegal Criminal Crimes (Against The Law)”, but I changed it because that would be stupid.

A debut gig at Quencher’s is up for this Thursday, kind of early. Shows will be rare.  Sorry if that sounded like a threat.

*board in this case meaning the Roland VS-2400 integrated DAW.  I gotta say, I’ve heard worse channel preamps.



rob [at] warmowski [dot] com

@warmowski on twitter

Rob’s Bands

Rob Warmowski entry at Chicago Punk Database
1984-89: Defoliants
1991-94: Buzzmuscle
2001-05: San Andreas Fault
2008- : Sirs
2008- : Allende

Rob at Huffington Post

April 2010