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Make Me Smart with Kai and Molly

It’s your turn

Marketplace Staff May 23, 2007
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KAI RYSSDAL: Mostly what we get are e-mails, not actual letters. But we’re not gonna get hung up on a technicality here.

Y’know for all the work they do, somehow it seems unfair that mothers get only one day a year where they’re the center of attention. Earlier this month, commentator Nanci Olesen talked about being a mother for a second time, caring for her niece and nephew after her sister fell ill. It’s tough work, she said, but also the “most important” job there is.

Penelope Floor from Moss Beach, Calif., couldn’t have agreed more. But she wants to remind us there are other people out there doing that job, too.

PENELOPE FLOOR: Thousands of child-care workers also care for other people’s children. They’re doing this hard and important work for less money than parking lot attendants earn. More often than not, without medical insurance benefits, and with no 401k plans to ease their retirement.

Some companies are beginning to include socially-conscious agendas on their business plans. The idea is that instead of concentrating only on making money for their shareholders, they’ll make it their mission to invest in ethical causes. They’re known as “B” corporations — B being the “benefits” in social benefits. We aired a report on a group of entrepreneurs that are developing a new standard for that kind of operation.

Kim Bruno from Washington, D.C., says that’s all well and good, but ethical practices ought to start from the top down.

KIM BRUNO: Instead of mandating that corporations consider long-term issues such as environmental costs, it would be better to measure executive performance against broad benchmarks. Has the executive properly judged how to grow the enterprise by responding to global warming? To an aging workforce? Those are the goals that will build long-term shareholder value.

A correction now, or a semi-correction, anyway. Maybe it’s clarification, I don’t know. Last week, we aired a story asking whether former Fed chairman Alan Greenspan is stealing Ben Bernanke’s thunder, what with all the publicity Greenspan’s been getting. We compared Greenspan to Babe Ruth, and Bernanke to the nameless, forgotten guy who batted after the Babe.

Who knew we had so many baseball fans in the audience? Plenty of you knew exactly who that guy was, and you pointed out that our analogy was a little flawed.

Andrew Merton’s from Durham, N.H.

ANDREW MERTON: First, Greenspan, whatever his strengths, was no Babe Ruth. Second, Bernanke has a long way to go to merit comparison to the guy who batted after Ruth. Fellow name Lou Gehrig. And yes, a lot of us do remember him — even if we did not have the opportunity to see him play the game.

And finally this: In our coverage of Chrysler being sold to a private equity group last week, we referred to the U.S. automaker’s German parent company as DaimlerChrysler [pronounced DIME lerChrysler]. We got a complaint or two about the pronunciation, saying it ought to be “Daimler.” So we checked:

AUTOMATED PHONE MESSAGE: Thank you for calling the DaimlerChrysler [pronounced DIME lerChrysler] Corporation.

It’s radio, you know, so pronunciation’s important to us.

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