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Thanks from the FBI
Gary Weiss has done our nation an invaluable service by reporting the manipulation of the stock market by elements of organized crime. By outlining specific stocks and stock brokerage firms that were controlled by organized crime, he opened the door for FBI investigations in Florida and in New York, and for that we owe him a tremendous debt of gratitude.
The excellent investigative reporting that was carried out by Mr. Weiss provided the impetus for an in-depth probe of the illegal activities of La Cosa Nostra Captain Philip Abramo and other organized-crime figures. Our investigations led to the indictments and subsequent guilty pleas of Abramo and his associates on a variety of federal charges, from racketeering and mail fraud to money laundering. The role Mr. Weiss played in the success we achieved in these investigations is immeasurable, and I want you to know how much my colleagues and I appreciate his diligent efforts.
Please convey to Mr. Weiss our congratulations on a job well done.
Louis J. Freeh
WashingtonReturn to top
Campaign Ad Spending? It's Peanuts
"The candidate as a campaign spectator" (News: Analysis & Commentary, Dec. 4) laments the $3 billion spent on a lost campaign. You call it "staggering," but is it? Politicos spend just over $10 per U.S. citizen for the privilege of the winners extracting $5,000 from each of us per year--or $20,000 in taxes over a four-year cycle.
Compare that with Procter & Gamble Co., say, which spends 8% of sales on advertising--or $400 for each $5,000 we spend on Pampers, Pert, and Pringles. It would seem we spend too little on political ads, and we are better informed on potato chips than on candidates.
Lakewood, OhioReturn to top
Memo to Schwab: Don't Talk Down to Women
Charles Schwab Co. may aim to get its brokers and women in sync ("Brokers are from Mars, women are from Venus," Finance, Dec. 4), but in adopting the "designed for women and taught by women" marketing approach, Schwab handily infantilizes women. At the same time, Schwab's women-only approach is an insult to its own male brokers. It implies that they are unable to communicate effectively with women.
If Schwab truly intends "to seize a major opportunity" to garner new clients, the firm would be well-advised to train all brokers--men and women--to deal sensitively, relevantly, and without jargon with men and women alike as individuals, neither crippled nor enhanced by their gender. The concept of small groups with plenty of time for women "to get to know each other...in language that's appealing to them" smacks of a kindergarten.
Berkeley, Calif.Return to top
Waiting for Broadband
Broadband has come down with trench foot, and DSL [digital subscriber line] has developed a very painful bunion ("Broadband's slow march can't drag on," Editorial, Dec 4). At least that's the case in my neighborhood. I bought my trendy, in-town residence two years ago. Since then, I've been threatened with these marvels of technology, but they haven't arrived.
I'm ready for something. My dial-up service never exceeds 26.4 kilobits per second. Honestly, I had to check my PC to make sure someone hadn't replaced my modem with an old can and piece of string. A large former Bell, whose skyscraper is visible from my drive, tells me this is not their problem. Maybe if I want to upgrade to DSL...?
Well, yes, I'd like to try that. But I want to keep my service with a certain other large Internet provider. Hmmm, they want to give me DSL, too, but the aforementioned phone company tells them it's not available at my address. Now another huge company that bought my local cable company is teasing me with cable modems. I'm gonna hold my breath, because all of these feet are starting to stink.
AtlantaReturn to top