Tuesday, September 30, 2014




What is BIA in real words

"BIA" stands for Business Impact Analysis.

BIA sponsor

The BIA sponsor, the person representing Very Senior Management, must be an 800-pound gorilla in the organization, someone preferably part of Very Senior Management and someone with enterprise fiduciary responsibility. The idea person for the job is the Chief Executive Officer, the Chief Financial Office, or the Chief Operating Officer. Heads of functional units such as IT, Manufacturing, Marketing/Sales, R&D, and similar units might be viewed as prejudiced toward their own unit's interests. The sponsor must be perceived as an "honest broker."

Purpose of a BIA

This varies by client and practitioner.

To my mind, the BIA should

  1. Identify critical business processes; the reason the organization exists (to make product, to sell services, to provide support to the needy, to govern).
  2. Identify resources required for the critical processes, e.g., HR, IT, Management, Marketing & Sales, Production, R&D, Vendors.
  3. Identify threats to the critical processes, including but not limited to: Clients, Environment, Financial (loss of backing), Human action/inaction, Neighbors, Politics, Regulatory, Stocks and bonds, Technology, Vendors
  4. Summarize the findings for the sponsor and Very Senior Executives

Personally, I like to expand the BIA session to include potential mitigation and avoidance measures.

Since we - all the people involved in the BIA, including the amanuensis and practitioner - already are gathered together and since we are talking about threats, we may as well consider mitigating and avoidance options.

It has been my experience that group dynamics - one person playing off of/adding to another's thoughts benefits everyone.

BIA participants

*  Practitioner

The practitioner or practitioner team leads the BIA. It prepares the program, including the 800-pound gorilla's "welcome." Involve the sponsor at every opportunity to remind everyone that effort is a fiat from On High.

The lead practitioner must have done this before. The practitioner also must be able to recognize when one approach is failing and be agile enough to switch top a new approach. I watched as a seasoned professional bogged down; the script wasn't working for this particular crowd. A less-experienced but more agile practitioner stepped in and, like Mighty Mouse, saved the day.

*  Amanuensis

The amanuensis - look it up, I did - is at least as important as the practitioner.

This person is from the client's staff and knows all (or almost all) of the players in the information gathering exercise.

The amanuensis notes who said what; no one expects this person to record everything word-for-word, but the speaker and the speaker's main point(s) must be noted. (Recording the session is fine, but the amanuensis' notes are guideposts to critical statements, comments.)

*  Functional Unit leaders

Functional unit leaders include managers and their next-in-lines, the people who run the functional unit in the manager's absence. The managers may include as many of their staff as they like; even if they talk among themselves and have a single spokesperson, the unit's concerns will be brought out.

*  Writer

The team needs a wordsmith to prepare a multi-audience document, no easy task. The document must include an Executive Overview, Recommendations, and finally, individual functional unit findings, fully and accurately attributed.

Once the draft document is completed, it is circulated to the functional unit managers for review and comment. Changes will be made.

I recommend sending all functional unit sections to all functional unit managers, the purpose being that "A" may see something "B" mentioned that also concerns "A" and "A" wants a comment added.

BIA outcome

The BIA outcome should give the sponsor and Very Executive Management a firm idea

  1. Of the preparedness of the organization
  2. Of the organization's options to enhance preparedness (recommendations)
  3. What are the next steps in plan development, including:
    • Implementation schedule for approved recommendations
    • Training program
    • Document maintenance

How long

Depending on the size of the organization, the BIA information may be collected in a half day, a full day (with non-working lunch break), or several days.

The documentation and review can take from a week to several months, again, depending on organization size and complexity.

There also is the matter of executive involvement. The sponsor needs to "show the colors" but the Very Senior Executives should hopefully stay in the background until the BIA is presented to them (by the sponsor, with the practitioner{s} at this side to answer any questions).

Sunday, September 28, 2014


United States of Palestine?
Muslim States of America?


Take down the Stars and Stripes and raise the PA banner; America has become a tool of Abu Mazen and other Muslim terrorists and their liberal, eyes-closed-to-reality sympathizers.
Once again, the "brave" longshore"men" of the Port of Oakland (California) have been cowed by Muslim sympathizers into refusing to cross their picket lines to off-load a Zim (Israeli flag) container ship.
The San Francisco Chronicle- Examiner's SFGate web site has two articles from a site search that mention the Oakland (across San Francisco Bay from San Francisco) interference with free trade. Perhaps because this is becoming commonplace the fears of the formerly fearless longshoremen no longer rates either front page or above the fold play.
A article dated September 27 and headed Protesters block unloading of Israeli ship in Oakland by Hamed Aleaziz, reads: Longshore workers did not unload the ship, the Zim Shanghai, because of safety concerns posed by the presence of several hundred protesters and about 50 police officers, said Craig Merrilees, spokesman for the International Longshore and Warehouse Union. The ship is docked at the port's Berth 59, he said.
About 200 demonstrators picketed outside several of the port’s gates on Saturday morning, said
Steve Zeltzer*, part of the Stop Zim Action Committee, which is organizing the protest.
“I think it was a big victory today for those who are opposed to the policies of Israel in Gaza,” he said. The group planned to return to the port later Saturday in preparation for the longshore workers’ evening shift.

A second day article on September 28 briefly recapped the September 27 story, reporting under the headline California protesters block Israeli-owned ship that International Longshore and Warehouse Union spokesman Craig Merrilees says dockworkers at the Port of Oakland did not unload cargo from the ZIM Shanghai on Saturday because of safety concerns raised by the presence of police and protesters.
He said the protesters blocked workers from driving into the terminal during their morning and evening shifts.

THE QUSTIONS: Why do the Oakland, California, and U.S. governments allow this violation of free trade? Why are 50 armed policemen too few to protect a few longshoremen as they cross a picket like?

A little history of strikes leading to federal government action in the U.S.:
MINES On July 2, 1943, then-President Franklin Delano Roosevelt ordered the government to take over coal mines from striking miners. (The coal was needed for the war effort.)
That particular document, Eyewitness History: World War II is worth a read for many eye-opening reasons.
PHILLY TRANSIT STRIKE - 1944 In August of 1944, transit workers in Philadelphia went on strike. On Temple University's Civil Rights in a Northern City: Philadelphia web site read about The Philadelphia Transit Strike of 1944. According to the article, After several days of crippled war production and racial violence, the strike ended when President Roosevelt authorized federal troops to enter the city of Philadelphia. The Philadelphia Transit Company Strike of 1944 began as a racially-motivated strike on the local level, but quickly escalated to include federal involvement because of war-production implications. This strike was laid to protest the promotion of eight black PTC employees to the position of trolley car driver
CONTROLLERS STRIKE According to a New York Times article. On Aug. 3, 1981, the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization, which represented most of the nation’s 17,000 controllers, went on strike seeking higher wages, a shorter workweek, improved pensions, better equipment and other benefits. Even in an era when labor unions were powerful, it was an audacious move.
On Aug. 5, then-President Ronald Reagan fired the 11,500 controllers who did not follow his order to return to work that day.
The government brought in military controllers as a stopgap measure, retained those controllers who had chosen not to strike, and hired new workers. Air traffic was slowed and flights were delayed, but the firings led to no major disasters. An association of pilots said the skies were safer than they had been before the strike. In December, the president lifted a ban on allowing controllers to work in other jobs for the federal government, but he maintained the ban on their returning as controllers.

PHILLY TRANSIT STRIKE - 2014 On June 14, 2014, Reuters reports that President Obama intervenes to end Philadelphia transit strike. The article continued President Barack Obama on Saturday intervened to end a transit strike in the greater Philadelphia area, establishing an emergency board to force the two sides to negotiate.
The move, at the behest of Republican Governor Tom Corbett, came hours after about 440 engineers and electricians who operate trains that connect Philadelphia and its suburbs walked off the job.

Admittedly, the transportation strikes were against national interests; the miners' strike impacted the war effort.
What damage does the strikes at the nation's ports do?
First and foremost, it interferes with American diplomacy. That's supposed to be the job of the State Department and Executive branch.
Second, it interferes with international trade.
Third, it negatively impacts on American businesses which have cargo onboard the Israeli ship or to be laded onto the Israeli ship. The cargo cargo carried on the ship very likely is NOT from Israel nor is it bound for Israel. The shipper may have no idea under what flag a container will be laded.
Fourth, it hurts the people the strikers are misguidedly trying to help; Zim ships carry cargo to and from Muslim states. The company has offices or agents in a number of Muslim cities.
Fifth, it shows America's enemies - now mostly the Muslims with whom the strikers sympathize - that local, state, and federal governments won't do what is necessary to keep cargo coming into and going out of American ports.
Never mind that it shows the ignorance - in most cases deliberately ignoring facts when allowing emotion to rule is easier - of the protesters.
They accuse Israel of apartheid, yet Israel has Muslims on its highest court, it has Arab generals in its army, it allows multiple anti-Israel political parties and seats their elected candidates in the nation's parliament. They also ignore the fact that Abu Mazen the PA's political leader, has promised that Palestine will be free of Jews. They ignore the fact that women in most Muslim countries are chattel - unlike Israel where women are free to do what they wish - including sit in the parliament and on the highest court - and to be Israel's chief banker. In Saudia a woman may not drive any vehicle; in Israel, they drive whatever they want, including cross-country buses.
The protesters, and the unions that cave to them, have no idea of real life in any Arab nation or in Israel. The unions should act in solidarity with the ISREALI unions which are allowed to strike at will - never mind that they are damaging Israelis economy and safety. Could a union - if a union was allowed at all - strike in any Muslim nation? Google that!
I was in Israel in 1976 when katushas (mortars) were coming down on Zefat where I lived at the time. No one attacked any Israeli Arabs or blamed the attacks on them.
I picnicked on a beach near Haifa in 2005 as rockets rained down on Haifa. As I sat with my kin I watched an obviously Muslim family - grandmother, son or daughter and the child's spouse, and the couple's children stroll along the sand - NO ONE BOTHERED THEM nor where they shunned. They were just some more Israelis enjoying the beach. That would not happen in a most Muslim(-dominated) countries. (The possible exceptions: Egypt, Jordan, Morocco.)
I was in Israel visiting my daughter, son-in-law, and grand-daughter when the despots of Gaza, Hamas, fired rockets into Israel - not at military targets but at civilian targets - such as my almost four-year-old grand-daughter. Hamas was never accused of war crimes FOR DELIBERATELY TARGETING CIVILIANS yet it wants Israel to face a war crime tribunal for collateral damage when Israel's retaliatory fire struck Hamas' civilian shields, United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) weapons depots and Hamas headquarters in hospitals!
*   Steve Zeltzer is a member of the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) and the United Public Workers For Action (UPWA)

Sunday, September 21, 2014


The wisdom of Microsoft
(Did I write "wisdom"?)


The Spouse needs her Skype "fix" 6 days-a-week.

In the past, her employer allowed her to use a company computer to Skype with her daughter and grand-daughter on her break.

But things change and the microphone on computer to which she has access now for some reason doesn't work. The tech support people are over-burdened with other, critical problem so she won't ask anyone to troubleshoot the faulty system.

We have to MS OS machines in the house - a Vista budget OS (my Toshiba Satellite) and a Win 7 OS on the Spouse's Toshiba Satellite. Both are "big" screen machines.

I suggested she take her machine to work with her, connect to the workplace Wife and use that machine to Skype.

"No, it's too big. Let me use the 'little' computer."

Ahh, you mean the Compaq/HP machine that's gathering dust in the closet. "That's the one."

It's a little smaller than the Toshibas, but I think heavier. It came with XP Pro.

Still, whatever Lola - sorry, The Spouse - wants . . .

So, I pull out the Compaq/HP machine and fire it up.

XP loaded OK, but I couldn't get into the desktop; apparently The Spouse had password protected it (or maybe I did it for her) and no one remembered the password.

NOT A PROBLEM. Back in XP days, the OS was provided on several CDs. I had the CDs - all except for Service Pack 3 which was still available on the WWW.

I reinstalled XP Pro, thereby eliminating the password problem; downloaded SP 3 and installed that, then installed Chrome and made it the default browser, and then installed Skype. Skype insisted XP have SP3 installed which is why I looked, found, and downloaded it.

Because I didn't know better - or maybe I did and just wasn't thinking - when I used the Compaq/HP device with the battery installed when it was new, the battery's charge time was "short."

Somehow, in setting up the machine I discovered a utility to "calibrate" the battery. The utility discharges the battery to 0, then charges it to (what the battery thinks is) 100%. It then calibrates the battery. I'm not sure what that means, but in the end, the machine's battery is 30-some percent. assume that means it is at 30-some percent of its original capacity.

I figure that gives the machine maybe 15 minutes useful battery life, which may be just fine for my Spouse's Skyping. 'Course the machine seems terribly slow to load and that will cut down her chat time. (Alternatively she can take along the power unit; she's already having to carry the external camera and microphone.)

So - old XP had a utility to discharge the battery to 0; used often enough, the battery's could be recharged to almost 100% rather than losing more and more capacity with each use. (Having learned the lesson, I now remove the batteries from notebook computers that normally operate on household AC.)


The Compaq/HP device included a fax program. That was back in the day when TuCows listed a number of free fax software applications. Those seem to have disappeared. MS does have a utility it calls Fax and Scan for many of its operating systems. (Vista Basic is NOT one of them, although Win 7 is - but our Toshiba with Win 7 lacks an internal modem or, as far as I can tell, a connection for an external modem. The Vista machines is supposed to have a modem, but the OS lacks the Fax and Scan utility. (Can it be downloaded? Next challenge.)

In this age of email, WHO CARES if you can receive and send faxes from a computer? Well, anyone who deals with HIPAA-cowed medics, many financial institutions, and some government agencies.

Many - perhaps most doctors' offices forbid email, fearing that some patient information might be jeopardized. A good concern, but it as easy to misdirect a fax as it is an email. Faxes are the preferred "nearly instant" communications method for the medically inclined.

Sometimes progress is painful.

Friday, September 19, 2014




I'm not sure if "knee jerk" is one word or two or if it applies to a hasty reaction to something or to the person who is reacting*.

But the incumbent at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington DC comes to mind for both options.

Knee Jerk #1: Sending U.S. military personnel to fight the ebola epidemic in Africa.

Knee Jerk #2: Training and arming "moderate" terrorists in Syria and Iraq to combat the so-called Islamic State which, it seems, is considered an "extreme" terrorist group.

When will we ever learn?

Obviously not on Obama's watch.


It's nice that the U.S. might be able to help the folks in Africa who contracted the normally fatal disease.

But, just as sending troops into combat puts American lives at risk, so does sending American troops to fight a disease that has a 90% fatality rate.

According to Wikipedia, The virus may be acquired upon contact with blood or bodily fluids of an infected animal. Spreading through the air has not been documented in the natural environment. Fruit bats are believed to be a carrier and may spread the virus without being affected. Once human infection occurs, the disease may spread between people, as well. Male survivors may be able to transmit the disease via semen for nearly two months.

The problem is, there is little in the way of laboratories where the disease runs rampant, so it is not easily diagnosed.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a page of links that cover all ebola-related concerns.

According to the CDC's "risk of exposure" information,

High risk exposures

A high risk exposure includes any of the following:

  • Percutaneous (e.g., needle stick) or mucous membrane exposure to blood or body fluids of EVD patient

  • Direct skin contact with, or exposure to blood or body fluids of, an EVD patient without appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE)

  • Processing blood or body fluids of a confirmed EVD patient without appropriate PPE or standard biosafety precautions

  • Direct contact with a dead body without appropriate PPE in a country where an EVD outbreak is occurring*

Low risk exposures

A low risk exposure includes any of the following

  • Household contact with an EVD patient

  • Other close contact with EVD patients in health care facilities or community settings. Close contact is defined as

    1. being within approximately 3 feet (1 meter) of an EVD patient or within the patient’s room or care area for a prolonged period of time (e.g., health care personnel, household members) while not wearing recommended personal protective equipment (i.e., standard, droplet, and contact precautions; see Infection Prevention and Control Recommendations)

    2. having direct brief contact (e.g., shaking hands) with an EVD patient while not wearing recommended personal protective equipment.

  • Brief interactions, such as walking by a person or moving through a hospital, do not constitute close contact

Today the U.S. has an experimental drug that was successfully used on two American ebola patients. Unfortunately there is no stockpile of a drug deemed, even now, as "experimental."

According to Israeli sources, the blood of a person who survives being infected by ebola contains an antibody that seems to preclude that person from contracting ebola again. There was discussion in the U.S. of taking blood from one of the two survivors and using it on the remaining U.S. ebola victim, Meanwhile, the Israelis - and others - are searching for a serum to counteract the disease.

Training and arming "moderate" terrorists

Proving that neither the country's chief executive nor his advisors have ever read a newspaper or history book, and certainly never heard the expression "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." (Jorge Agustín Nicolás Ruiz de Santayana y Borrás, December 16, 1863 - September 26, 1952), Obama is proposing to train and arm "moderate" Islamist terrorists, those doing battle against the Islamic State.

Perhaps he intends for the U.S. to once again arm the Taliban as it did during the Cold war days when the Taliban were fighting the Soviets. The Taliban, having sent the Russians packing, promptly turned the weapons on the U.S. and anyone who wanted real or pseudo-democracy in Afghanistan.

Today, U.S. personnel are being murdered by U.S. trained Iraqis armed with U.S. weapons. These Iraqis are supposed to be America's allies.

Even if the Iraqis stopped killing the people sent to help them, as late as September 17, 2014, a U.S. general states that Half (of the) Iraqi Army Incapable Of Working With America - and this while the Islamic State takes over more and more of Iraq.

Training and arming terrorists to combat another terrorist organization and expecting peace and appreciation for America from a "moderate" terrorists group is a political pipe dream, especially when both extremists and moderates share so much ideology.

Although Obama promises "no American boots on the ground," that is a blatant lie. Even today there are several hundred "advisors" in Iraq. The incumbent is following in the footsteps of every president since Harry S Truman left office. In Dwight D. Eisenhower's time, the soldiers were part of "Military Advisory Groups" or MAGs. (To be fair, neither Eisenhower nor those that followed him remembered history and the fact that the Vietnamese had sent the French packing.

Obama is doing only one thing different from his predecessors is that he promoted, urged on by his far left, liberal money people, to work to instigate the "Arab Spring" which has brought instability throughout the reason. Obama, and his advisors, - one again - failed to do their homework to see that the former European powers had accomplished with their arbitrary borders.

Most of the "Islamic" countries in the region are artificial - they are composed of individual tribes, many who hate their neighbor. Only a strong central power, e.g., Sadam in Iraq, Sadat in Syria, could keep a lid on local warlords. The liberals either failed to understand that or elected to disregard what was obvious to previous administrations.


* Kneejerk: an immediate unthinking emotional reaction produced by an event or statement to which the reacting person is highly sensitive; - in persons with strong feelings on a topic, it may be very predictable.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014


Florida Politics

Slam the opponent
But hide own plans


We have an "interesting" gubernatorial contest going on in the Sunshine State.

Neither candidate - incumbent Rick Scott and former governor Charlie Crist - is telling potential voters what he will do for the state; what plans he has to make Florida an even better place to call home.

Both men are campaigning against each other.

Crist, a Republican-turned-Democrat, is attacked for his close relationship with convicted Ponzi-schemer Scott Rothstein.

Incumbent Scott is attacked by Crist for being less than forthcoming in an investigation into Scott's health care business, a business he sold some time ago.

But neither one is tells us what he will - or won't - do if elected.

The first tv attack ad seemed to originate with Scott's campaign, although he denied any hand in the effort saying his promoters created the ad on their own.

Mind he did not order the advertisement pulled. In my Edward Bear mind that tells me he approves of the ad - and causes me to look with suspicion on the governor.

Crist countered with an ad of his own - his or his campaign team; like Scott, there has been no disclaimer and order to shut down the ad.

AS A GENERAL RULE, Republican governors are one-term governors; they seem, as a group, to fail the state. I cannot remember ANY GOP governor who won a second term. Scott seems to have done better than most. Crist, when he first ran for governor, was a Republican; then he was an independent, and finally a Democrat. Does the "Republican curse" still attach to him in spite of his opportunistic dance with the Democrats?

Both candidates are pulling their attacks from the newspapers; around here, that's the Sun-Sentinel in Fort Lauderdale, the Miami Herald, and the Palm Beach Post.

It is amusing to see quotes culled from the same newspapers used to attack both candidates.

Does this mean - and I'm ready to believe it - that NEITHER candidate is worthy to be Florida's CEO?

Florida has ten (10) men and women who have qualified to stand for the state's top political office. Of the 10, only two are running strong statewide campaigns: Scott and Crist.

The other eight might be excellent candidates; then again, they might not. But since they apparently lack funds to tell Florida voters what they will do if elected, Floridians effectively are "stuck" with Scott and Crist.

I don't like smear campaigns; I don't like attack ads.

Is it too much to ask of a candidate to tell me what he, or she, will do if elected? Promise me things that might be achievable. Answer reporters questions truthfully - yes, I am suggesting that some candidates at all levels are cavalier with the truth.

Today, Wednesday, September 17, 2014, it looks like a tight race for the governor's digs in Tallahassee. The polls show the candidates within a few percentage points of each other, but then who knows who was polling and for which candidate, or what questions were asked and how the questions were phrased ("Do you still beat your spouse?"; "If I told you Candidate 'N' was a murderer, would you vote for that candidate?"). We also don't know who was asked and how many of those "who"s were asked. (Have you ever been polled?)

We're not quite down to Chicago's level of dirty politics, but with each campaign Florida seems to be sinking lower and lower. Probably we're not alone, but I wish it wasn't that way.

Thursday, September 11, 2014


Obama's "Plan"
For Terrorists


Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it"
Jorge Agustín Nicolás Ruiz de Santayana y BorrásNote 1

U.S. President Obama's plan to counter ISIS is to

  1. Form a coalition (the better to share the blame when things go wrong - and they will)

  2. Add aerial attacks on ISIS (only)
  3. Add U.S. "advisors" on the ground
  4. Train "moderate Islamists" in Saudi Arabia (did anyone ask the Saudi royalty if it will welcome Islamists?)
  5. Arm "moderate Islamists" to combat ISIS

Read military history

Obama and his yes men (and women) are determined to defeat ISIS - but only ISIS, not any other Islamists terrorist group - by sending drones and presumably naval aircraft to seek out ISIS troops and, although the U.S. is appalled when Israel does it, to assassinate ISIS leaders in their vehicles, in their bunkers, in their homes; where ever they are found.

Good intentions, I learned early on, "pave the road to hell."

Arming & Training

The U.S. armed the Taliban to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan.

The Taliban, having pushed the Soviets out, then turned the U.S.-supplied weapons on - surprise - U.S. personnel.

The U.S., having unseated Saddam Hussein in Iraq, trained and armed Iraqi "police" who turned the weapons on fellow Iraqis and - surprise - U.S. personnel.

The U.S. also armed and trained "Palestinian" police who turned the weapons on - hardly a surprise - Israeli civilians.

Advisors in theater

Former President and 5-star general Dwight D. Eisenhower sent U.S. military personnel into Vietnam as Military Advisory Groups to help out the South Vietnamese. Advisors, not combat troops. Those who followed "Ike" into the White House sent in more and more combat troops - not enough to win the conflict, but enough to replace those Americans killed in 'Nam. Despite being a 5-star general, Ike apparently failed to keep up with (then) "modern" history; he failed to remember what the Vietnamese did to the French (they chased them out).

MAGs - like subcompact cars - seem to grow like a kid's balloon being filled from a high-pressure gas station air pump.

Click on image to enlarge

Obama is taking credit - perhaps deserved - for drawing down U.S. troop strength in Iraq and Afghanistan which have become "Vietnam 2" and "Vietnam 3." In both cases, his predecessors in the White House got the U.S. involved in conflicts that did not - at least directly - involve the U.S.

Unfortunately, control of air space and the ability to strike an enemy almost at will will not - as any grunt (foot soldier) knows and the Israeli military is relearning - suffice to control movements on the ground.

Obama, or his successor, will need to commit to long-term aerial attacks and be prepared to accept civilian "collateral damage" - the same "damage" for which the world condemns Israel.

Syria's almost-internal war

IMO, the U.S. has NO business taking sides in Syria's sectarian battles, for that's what it boils down to: Sunni vs. Shia vs. Alewites vs. who knows.Note 2 Kurds?

Syria's conflict spills over into Lebanon where Hezbollah holds forth. So far, Syrian combatants have been mostly successful in keeping the shooting on the Syrian side of the country's border with Israel, and Israel's government has, so far, managed to keep out of Syrian politics - a lesson the U.S. should adopt.

My chutzpah, my suggestions to Obama

One: Limit U.S. attacks on Islamist terrorists groups that blatantly threaten the U.S. or its citizens.

Two: Order all U.S. citizens out of Syria and Iraq; failure to remove to a safe place could result in their being "collateral damage" that, like the citizens of Gaza, were warned by Israel to relocate before an attack.

Three: Tell U.S. "intelligence" people - who seem to have no clue of Muslim mentality - to buy their information from sources that DO understand Muslim mentality. That may not be the Israeli government since, since Begin, it seems it lacks this knowledge.

Four: Train, if we must, "moderate Islamists" if any can be found; "moderate" should NOT mean "less of a blustering threat than ISIS" or "any group that has not beheaded anyone lately."

Five: DO NOT ARM anyone; remember the Taliban; remember the Iraqis; remember the Palestinians. Giving arms to Islamists is giving arms to people who will turn them against Americans.

Six: Finally, NO BOOTS ON THE GROUND - the war in Syria and Lebanon is mostly a civil war, an internal affair even though combatants are coming from all over the world. It is NOT the U.S.' fight. (True, some of the blame for the current upheaval can be laid to Obama's door for encouraging and supporting the "Arab Spring." )

If any organization should interfere in Syria it is the Arab League (or however the organization is known today). But, Mr. Obama, please note that no Muslim states are lining up to support ANY side in the conflict. Take a lesson from your Muslim kin and stay out of Syria.

Go after Islamist terrorist wherever they are found, invited or not, but do NOT involve the U.S. in civil conflicts.

President James Monroe was right.Note 3



1: If you prefer, “Those who don't know history are doomed to repeat it.”
Edmund Burke

2: From Wikipedia
Sunni Islam Shia Islam, Sufism, Ahmadiyya Islam, Kharijite Islam, Quranism, Moorish Science, Nation of Islam, Mahdavism, Messiah Foundation international, Zikri, Five Percenter

3: Read President Monroe's 1823 Message to Congress at www.ourdocuments.gov

Sunday, September 7, 2014


Did you save your
Stock in evil tobacco?


According to the Times of Israel's Start-Up Israel web site, a Carmiel-based biopharmaceutical firm says it can extract (Ebola) medication from tobacco plants quickly and effectively.

Potalix, an Israeli biopharmaceutical company located outside of the northern city of Carmiel, said Saturday that it has the resources to produce the experimental Ebola vaccine, ZMapp, which has recently run out.

Dr. Yossi Shaaltiel, the executive vice president of research and development, said Protalix is more proficient in the genetic engineering of tobacco plants — from which the ZMapp medication is drawn — than any other plant.

I vividly recall driving into North Carolina from Norfolk VA on my way to Charlotte NC and seeing a large billboard proclaiming that I was entering tobacco country. Not, of course, that Virginia wasn't tobacco country; Virginia just didn't - to the best of my knowledge - put up huge billboards announcing the fact.

I also recall the anti-smoking battles raging then and even now in 2014.

Back in the day, I was glad I didn't (knowingly) own any tobacco stock.

Now I'm not so sure.

If Ebola, the scourge of Africa, can be eliminated or even weakened with a medication derived from tobacco, then perhaps tobacco farmers and the people who bought stocks in tobacco companies may see some financial gains without endangering anyone's health.

Meanwhile, other Israeli researchers are looking at antibodies in the blood of Ebola survivors. The Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs reports that Dr. Leslie Lobel and Dr. Victoria Yavelsky have been working for years to track down all survivors of the Ebola and Marburg viruses in Uganda and take blood samples from them. Both of these Equatorial viruses cause hemorrhagic fever and kill close to 90 percent of victims.

The two scientists study the unusually strong immune response of the survivors and then work to isolate monoclonal antibodies that neutralize the virus in their lab at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev’s Center for Emerging Diseases, Tropical Diseases and AIDS.

Yavelsky and Lobel’s monoclonal antibody-based therapeutic approach was proven as a successful potential treatment by their colleagues in the US military, and at several other laboratories.

With funding from the US National Institutes of Health and other resources, their lab is now getting ready to test its human monoclonal antibodies in mice and non-human primates abroad.

Lobel and Yavelsky hope to develop a “passive” vaccine that would provide immediate protection against the virus. An “active” vaccine already formulated by the US military, and successfully tested in monkeys, takes about 30 days to be effective.

Meanwhile, several other experimental vaccines and therapeutic approaches to Ebola and Marburg – mostly in the United States and Canada – are in various stages of study. In Israel, Vecoy Nanomedicines is developing a biomedical technology platform that tricks a virus into “committing suicide,” which could neutralize viral threats like Ebola, hepatitis and HIV. However, Vecoy’s Dr. Eitan Eliram says that Vecoy has not yet found sufficient funding to go forward with its research and development.

The Israelis are working under a government-imposed handicap that prevents any live Ebola into Israel.

It may turn out that tobacco may find a new life saving lives.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014


Cell phones as tools
While a disaster rules


The other day there was a business continuity article by a marketing miss.

The woman pontificated - can a female "pontificate" given that it's something the (Catholic) pontiff does? - that when a storm approaches, load up on cell phone apps, take cell phone photos of your possessions, and get an extra cell phone charger, among other good suggestions.

Problem is, that is just a gloss.

As examples:

CHARGER: If the AC fails, how are you going to charge the phone, and I don't care if you have ten chargers?

Unless, of course, if one of those chargers happens to plug into a vehicle's DC electrical outlet - what once was known as the "cigarette lighter receptacle."

But, the charger will only work as long as the car's battery has juice.

So, in addition to the charger, the cell phone user ALSO needs to make sure the flivver has a topped off fuel tank before the winds start to blow. By the way, been there and done that.

PHOTOS Using the cell phone to take pictures of your property - inside and out, if you please - is OK if the phone has good resolution. Better would be to make a movie of the property. Save the pictures to multiple secure locations - a notebook computer is good if the notebook can be kept above water and travel with its owner(s). Clouds are not high on my list of places to store anything; there too many things that can go wrong (provider failing, you forgetting you access codes, transmission errors, and on and on).

The photos may be needed to compare with post-event (any event: hurricane, tornado [they often travel with hurricanes], fire). Actually, it should be Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) to at least annually photographically inventory all your possessions. Send a copy to a trusted person across the country.

DURING THE STORM The author tells us to reduce the light level of the display and closing any unnecessary apps. Better, unless the cell phone is your only source of information - no radio, no tv - TURN IT OFF. Save the battery, even if you have a car charger. Who wants to run out in the middle of a storm? (In a hurricane, going out in the quiet "eye" of the storm causes death to too many - hot wires, the storm returning. It's dangerous.)

FOCUS ON PHONE While the article focused on the cell phone, it could, and I believe should, have been expanded to include ALL storm related risks. As risk management practitioners we don't plan for a specific threat - we look at threats and ways to avoid or mitigate them - we plan to respond to the threat's impact.
For a moment, let's return to loss of commercial AC. Let's dangerously assume that the cell phone owner has multiple chargers. If the AC is off, the mobile unit cannot be charged.

Cordless and feature phones also are useless. The only phone that might be functional is the Plain Ol' Telephone Service (POTS) instrument, POTS phones get power from the telephone line. The "weasel word" might is because the telcos don't always maintain their underground lines and aerial lines can be blown and snapped.

WHERE ARE YOU Unless you have a plan to assemble at a primary or alternate site following the storm, it's a good idea to know how to put your information on an "I'm OK" site. Various agencies make them available so people can let others know they are OK and can locate others.

BOTTOM LINE The marketing miss had good intentions, but her lack of any risk management experience reduced her words to merely a puff piece and, perhaps worse, something that gave the impression that all anyone needs to survive a weather disaster is a charged cell phone.

There is so much more to severe weather prep. Most of the "What you need to know and what you need to do" information is freely available on many state and municipal web sites.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014


It's a "Sin"


According to Merriam-Webster Online
Origin of SINO
French, from Late Latin Sinae, plural, Chinese, from Greek Sinai, probably of Indo-Aryan origin; akin to Sanskrit Cīnā, plural, Chinese

I frequently complain about Chinese-made products. Justifiably. China has sent us shoddy

  • Dry wall
  • Food
  • Tires
  • Toys
and other products too numerous to mention.

In return, China has stolen America's secrets and undercut American manufacturers to the point where "Made in China" is absolutely ubiquitous.

Maybe Mr. (Richard M.) Nixon made a mistake in opening up China to American trade.

Our trade deficit with China continues to grow, with June 2014 report from the U.S. government The U.S. trade deficit in goods with China was $30.1 billion in June, the highest monthly deficit so far this year, and $3.4 billion higher than a year ago (see Table 1). The cumulative bilateral deficit through the first six months reached $155.3 billion, an increase of $7 billion over the same point last year. The bilateral trade deficit is on track for a new annual record. See graphic at end of file. Also see 2013 : U.S. trade in goods with China for the 2013 trade year showing a negative Balance of Trade with China of 318,711.3 million.

It seems impossible to escape Chinese products; Americans seem to have caved, given up, surrendered, lowered the flag.

This rant is prompted by the replacement for a failed in-wall timer.

The original timer was, of course, made in China from a Canadian design. The original failed when there apparently was a power surge during a storm. Only the in-wall timer and a plug-in Intermatic Time-All Model TN111 timer that, interestingly (suspiciously??) lacks place of manufacture (want to bet the product came from a Chinese production line) failed?

In any event, I replaced the plug-in unit with a spare so the lamp plugged into the timer comes on and goes off pretty much as expected.

I hied off to the local Home Depot and bought a new in-wall timer that I thought would work to turn two Curly Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs) mounted on the garage on and off.

Turns out, the timer is fine for incandescent bulbs - those bulbs banished from store shelves by the incumbent at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington DC - but NOT for CFLs.

A electrician neighbor installed the first in-wall timer, an aube model he ordered from New York.

When I removed the failed unit I was happy to see the wires were clearly marked: Load, Line, and Neutral. Nice touch. The replacement unit lacked any markings, but the included paper install manual showed the equivalent of Load, Line, and - not "Neutral" - Ground.

I am NOT an electrician (and I don't play one on tv) but I connected the wires as I thought they should be connected. Nothing.

Called on my neighbor. He took one look at the new device and said: "This won't work with the CFLs." The clue: No "Neutral" wire. Still, he tried and succeeded in getting the CFLs flanking my garage door to illuminate. But it didn't last and the timer didn't work (although it did display information).

Why didn't I realize the time was not for use with CFLs?

I carefully read the front and back of the packaging. No mention of "Not for use with CFLs." The first documented reference to "Not for CFLs" came on the THIRD page of the install instructions.

OK. To be fair, there WAS a clue on the front of the package. Not a "standard format" clue such as something inside a circle with a line drawn through it. Rather it had a pictograph of an incandescent bulb. A light bulb tells me it works to control light bulbs NOT that it only works with incandescent bulbs. 'Course I'm a geezer; what do I know.

My electrician neighbor looked at the packaging and "didn't get it." A quick scan of the initial two pages of the install instructions likewise had no mention of CFLs. The first Not for CFL use statement came on Page 3.

I have asked my electrician neighbor to order a replacement timer from his source. It will be made in "sin" (China) but there is no option.

The PRICE of the in-wall timer seems high enough that it could be produced at a profit in the Several States. Certainly the workmanship would be at least as good as we get from China . . . and the packaging might clearly indicate with what type lamps the switch controls.

Monday, September 1, 2014


From Tripoli
To Tripoli


Somewhere along the line - about the time of Jimmy Carter - the United States was emasculated. Still, it rattled a rusting sword, first in the shaking hands of Geo, Bush the First, then George the Second. With the crowning of Barack Hussein Obama (a/k/a Barry Sotero), the sword fell to the dirt along side the flag.

The "news" was on the tv, the internet, radio, and in the few surviving newspapers: Islamists took over the U.S. embassy in Tripoli, Libya, and are using the balcony of the embassy building as a diving board to swan dive into the embassy pool.

According to an article in the LA Times headed Libyan militants play in pool at abandoned U.S. diplomatic compound,

    In video footage posted online Sunday, 31 Aug 2014 (see TARGET="MEmRItv">http://www.memritv.org/clip/en/4463.htm), a group of laughing, whooping men identified as members of an Islamist-linked group — some in black paramilitary-appearing outfits, some in summertime civilian wear — clowned, mugged for the camera and did swan dives off a second-floor balcony into a swimming pool said to be in an annex of the embassy in Tripoli, which was evacuated last month amid heavy fighting.

As the article noted, the embassy was evacuated last month amid heavy fighting.

All this thanks to America's support - encouragement - of the "Arab Spring"; support and encouragement based on an absolute lack of knowledge and understanding of the countries where spring was sprung.

The U.S. never has been known for its intelligence services, but then most "western" nations are ignorant of non-western mentalities.

The problem in Libya and elsewhere in North Africa and the Middle East stem largely from European interference in the locals' affairs.

Libya is NOT a homogenous country made up of people with a common bond. Libya, and Morocco and most North African and Middle East nations - Israel is the primary exception - is populated by multiple tribes that are, in turn populated with people loyal first and foremost to the tribe. (The same holds true for the Indian sub-continent.)

England, France, and to a lesser extent Spain, created borders of convenience - convenience for the line drawers, not the indigenous populations. Never mind that the Europeans' nations-by-fiat had warring tribes within the same artificially drawn boundaries.

The only way these "made-by-foreigners" nations could survive as nations was with a strong ruler who surrounded himself with loyal troops, often, as in the case of Morocco, troops from areas distant from the royal capital and therefore sans allegiance to the local tribe. Some of the strong rulers - such as Morocco's kings - developed popular support while others, like Libya's Muammar al-Qaddafi, Iraq's Saddam Hussein Abd al-Majid al-Tikriti, or The House of Saud in Saudia.

Enter the U.S.

During Teddy Roosevelt's day, America had The Great White Fleet, TR's way of showing off America's muscle. (In truth, it was mostly smoke and mirrors, but it worked.) During World Wars 1 and 2, America came in late. Against the Germans it helped its allies England and Russia with materiel and eventually sent in troops. When the wars ended, the U.S. was the only real power left whole, and with that, it rose to acclaim.

But then came Korea, the "police action" and after Korea came Kennedy's Vietnam when the U.S. got chased out as had the French before them.

But still, America had some respect in North Africa and the Middle East.

It was Carter's tenure that was the beginning of the end for America's role in world politics when Iran chased out the shah and the ayatollah's followers captured the U.S. embassy.

    If you ever visit a U.S. embassy or consulate, look who is standing guard. Not the Marines - although you will see a Marine or two with a weapon - but locals. Likely as not, the Marines' weapons will be empty; maybe the Marine will have ammunition nearby. Don't be surprised; American GI's walked the DMX between the two Koreas with empty rifles and no ammunition in their kits.

With the exception of the actor from Hollywood, it has been pretty much downhill for America's prestige since Truman and Eisenhower. Obama is simply the end of the line. (Given the potential candidates for 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue - another Clinton, another Bush - the prospects for restoring America to its former greatness seem rather bleak.)

Meanwhile, American politicians and the State Department don't seem to have a clue about life outside the 50 states, and sometimes I'm not sure they know anything about life outside the (I-395) Beltway (that encircles Washington D.C.

America had a good run. I hate to see it end, but unless things change drastically in Washingt