* WINNERS: U.S. corporations with a conscience. An independent public interest research organization ranked American companies according to "social responsibility." The definition included charitable giving, good working conditions, efforts to help women and minorities and concern for the environment. Tops on the list were Colgate-Palmolive Co., General Mills, Kellogg Co. and S.C. Johnson. Obviously, companies can be successful and still care about more than just making money.
LOSER: A Watertown, N.Y., hospital. It seems the hospital has lost a piece of a patient's skull. A woman had a fragment of skull removed in 1988 to relieve pressure from an aneurysm. The piece of bone was to be reimplanted two years later. Somehow, the piece of bone got lost. A hospital official called the woman and said her skull had been misplaced. The phrase, "Don't lose your head," takes on a whole new meaning.* WINNERS: Non-smoking car owners. A survey shows that 70 percent of people who own newer cars, don't like people to smoke inside the vehicle. At least half would rather have an auto without a cigarette lighter or ash tray. The more expensive the car, the more the owner is opposed to smoking in it. Owners of cheaper cars were less likely to object. In response, the German manufacturers of the luxurious BMW plan to market a version of their car without ash trays or cigarette lighters. Once again, foreign automakers lead the way.
LOSER: The Pennsylvania motorist who didn't buckle up his daughter as the law requires. Angelo Anthony Sergi has been charged with manslaughter after his 8-year-old daughter was killed when she fell from the family car while Sergi was making a U-turn. While this may be an extreme case, it ought to be a somber reminder to Utahns. Utah also has a law requiring children to be buckled with seat belts.
* WINNERS: Those who buckle up when they drive. The U.S. Transportation Department says that motorists are being killed at a record low rate on the nation's highways and the reason is the crackdown on drunken driving and the steadily increasing use of seat belts. The number of fatalities declined to 45,500 in 1990 and the death rate dropped to 2.1 deaths per 100 million miles driven. In the 1966-80 period, the toll often topped 50,000 and the death rate was 3.3 per 100 million miles driven. If the death rate had stayed at 3.3, some 150,000 more people would have died since 1980. Using the seat belt pays.
USELESS PHONE CALLS: Michigan Bell has one of those ideas that makes a person wonder about executive thinking. It is offering a service that allows a pet owner to call home and talk to the dog, or cat or whatever. The owner places a call and talks to Fido through the answering machine speaker. Naturally, it would be a rather one-sided conversation. The Michigan Humane Society doesn't like the idea, saying it could make a dog excited and puzzled and would serve no good purpose. But there is no accounting for what some pet owners will do.