Thursday, April 28, 2016


Today's media
Ain't got no vocab


UNFORTUNATELY (FOR ME) I LISTEN TO SOME "talk" shows when the Spouse is in the house.

Otherwise I watch "classic" tv - "Just the facts, ma'm" - or read a library book.

The people allowed to express themselves on the talk shows suggest to me that either (or both)

    Schools don't teach English vocabulary

    Students don't absorb English vocabulary.

I AM watching English language stations. Or at least they are SUPPOSED to be English language stations.

Both talk shows and, to a lesser extant, "news" shows, are populated with people who

    Don't know the language & grammar

    Don't care about the language & grammar

    Read what someone else wrote for them without thinking (both the writer and the reader)

These people are, to the best of my knowledge, university graduates. If they have journalism or communications degrees, one would suspect that sometime during their (typically) 16 years of education they world have learned to communicate in Standard American English.

Instead we are treated to language I don't expect from an educated person with - to me at least - a reasonable command of the language.

The entertainment industry, especially the lyric writers and the people who vocalize those lyrics, seem to have zero concept of language.

"She's got good boobs and a great butt" I was told by one talk show regular.

That's OK for locker rooms and for guys gathered at the neighborhood bar - I suppose women make similar comments about men.

If someone was to report that "she has an ample posterior" or "her mammary glands are prodigious," unless the tv generation had been either poking around a thesaurus or Grey's Anatomy - the book, not the tv show - they would fail to understand that the person offering the opinions was both stating what was crudely said before (boobs and butts) and had a halfway decent vocabulary.

I don't expect tv personalities or the folks who write - or warble - lyrics to have a Wm. F. Buckley, Herbert H. Humphrey, or Abba Eban's command of the language, but it would be nice if they could help us broaden OUR vocabulary and, miracle of miracles, improve our grammar.

Instead, the media bible - the AP Stylebook (or Style Guide) - descends to the almost lowest denominator; suddenly, "over" means "more than" as well as "above;" "under" now means "less than" and "beneath."

Despite Winston (cigarettes) best effort, it was unable to convince Americans that "Winston tastes good AS a cigarette should." Even then grammar was losing to lazy speech.

Question: If someone sends a text message "Meet < the bridge" will the person be able to understand "<" means "underneath" the bridge? (I really don't know; my phone is voice only; I am a primitive curmudgeon.)

Yes, I will concede that English is a "living language," but I think it is being murdered by people who never learned the language and have no right to wield a weapon to destroy it.

Two of my children have degrees in English - vs. "English degrees" that, I presume, would be from school in Blighty. I am able to communicate easily with them.

My wife, who has English as her fourth language, has a better command of the language - and the grammar - than the talking heads and the purveyors of the lyrics of songs on the charts.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016


Made in China
Worry for EU, too


THE UNITED STATES IS NOT the only victim of shoddy and dangerous Chinese exports.

Now, according to About Croatia, Most dangerous goods reach EU from China; internet poses growing risk

THE ARTICLE leedscq off with China again topped the list in 2015 for supplying the largest share of dangerous consumer products sold in the European Union, the bloc's executive announced Monday, while noting that the safety of products bought online posed a growing challenge.

The country has led the ranking ever since it was introduced in 2003.

The article cites an EU official as stating that 62 per cent of (Chinese) non-food products (were) flagged as potentially dangerous last year. .

Apparently food items - such as contaminated fish - are excluded from the EU risk alerting system since no food products were mentioned in the " About Croatia" article.

The site noted that when a Chinese product is determined to be dangerous, the Chinese government is notified. The article failed to mention if the Chinese DID anything to correct the problem.

In the United States people who were victims of China's drywall found they could not sue the Chinese government office responsible for allowing the tainted drywall to be exported to the U.S.

THERE IS A WAY TO STOP importing dangerous Chinese - and other - products: HOLD THE IMPORTERS RESPOSIBLE for product safety. To the best of my limited knowledge, there are no importers "too big to fail."

Importers could, and should, be legally bound to, at a minimum, perform random sample tests on all imported products. When an exporter has a bad reputation, such as China, the sample rate is high (1 in 10); an exporter with a good safety record would have a low (1 in 10,000) sampling rate. All products in the batch with those failing the sampling would be destroyed* and the importer absolved of any damages claimed by the exporter. Shipping products back to the exporter simply allows the exporter to redirect the dangerous product elsewhere; destroying the dangerous product prevents this while proving costly to the exporter.

* If, for example, a lot of 50,000 items is sampled at any ratio and the sample fails, all 50,000 items would be destroyed with no compensation due to the exporter for the destroyed items. Even for the Chinese, the "bottom line" IS the bottom line.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016


How long
Will pirates
Rule the sea?


DURING WORLD WAR II, merchant ships sailing from North America to Europe sailed in conveys that were, more or less, protected from nazi submarines by warships from the allied countries, mostly the U.S., and Canada.

The same held true for convoys heading westward across the Pacific, dodging Japanese submarines and planes.

The convoys often lost one or two merchantmen, but most made it to their destinations. The nazis and Japanese paid a price in lost U-boats and their crews.

NOW PIRATES ARE THE SCOURGE of the seas off Africa, despite promises by many nations to patrol the waters and sink the pirates.

Having a warship trolling for pirates is similar to the local police patrolling a neighborhood with flashing lights and noisy siren; a four-letter word comes to mind: "DUMB" Also useless.

The remedy to the pirate problem has been recommended here before, but like some other suggestions (often about airplane security), the recommendations were ignored by people who failed to study history.

Not one cent for tribute

What was suggested here in the past was to have merchantmen rendezvous at a safe site prior to transiting pirate infested waters.

When several ships have been assembled, they would be escorted by participating nations' warships. The participating countries only have to agree on who will captain the convoy; alternatively, one country (e.g., China) can provide several ships to escort the merchantmen while another country (e.g., U.S.) can protect the next group of merchantmen.

All participating navies must have the same rules of engagement, otherwise the pirates will wait for warships that only fire over the bow of the pirates' vessels but don't do any damage to the attackers. If, say, Chinese ships sink pirate ships and U.S. ships only fire warning shots, the pirates will let Chinese convoys pass unmolested and wait for easy picking under U.S. escort. (The days of Theo. Roosevelt's Great White Fleet and Speak softly and carry a big stick ended for the U.S. a few years ago. America is, as China once pointed out, a paper tiger.)

Currently, the pirates seem to be attacking from Nigeria. That country's navy cannot seem to keep the pirates on shore, but then its army can seem to control Muslim extremists (e.g., Boko Haram) either.

Somalia is another African nation that seems to offer safe haven for pirates.

From the shores of Tripoli

As with Nigeria, merchant ships should be convoyed around pirate-infested waters.

Having worked for an international shipping company, I know scheduling can accommodate BRIEF delays to assemble several merchant ships into a convoy

If a merchantman insisted on traversing dangerous waters sans escort, any losses would be the merchant ship's owners problem. Since most merchant ships are devoid of weapons, save for perhaps handguns that offer no protection from pirates armed with RPGs and similar weaponry, "going it alone" seems foolish.

Several nations loudly signed up to clear the waters of pirates, but, based on continuing reports of pirate attacks, nothing of consequence has occurred. It won't until merchant ships are escorted past pirate hideouts. Sailing up and down Nigeria's or Somalia's coast shouting "Come out, come out, wherever you are" is an exercise in futility.

Since - apparently - no nation is willing to take the battle to the pirates, the least navies can do is provide convoy protection until piracy on the high seas no longer is economical.

The problem with that is that the pirates simply will relocate and eventually ships sailing near Africa will need escorts from the Suez, around the horn, to the Nile.

Meanwhile, pirates also plague shipping off Asia.

The bottom line for companies carrying freight is higher insurance costs. The bottom line for companies shipping freight is higher costs, costs eventually passed on to the consumer.

Of course if the world's navies would aggressively take the battle to the pirates, the need for convoys might become a history lesson, as did the need for convoys across the oceans during WW II.

Sunday, April 17, 2016


Is Bernie aware?


I'VE WATCHED CANDIDATE BERNIE SANDERS stammer and stutter when asked a question by debate moderators and reporters.

Now I see that he's "suspended" his "Jewish outreach" person for her language. Her derogatory - and sometimes inaccurate - statements about Israel and its leadership apparently caused Sanders some concern.

I don't object to his denigrating Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu. I don't think much of the man as a politician. But aside from calling him דו פמיים (two faced) for his frequent flip-flops, I keep my public opinion of the man at least civil. Netanyahu is Israel's problem.

These are not the first days of the campaign, and while Sanders admittedly joined the fray late, I fail to see why - at this stage - he hasn't found advisors he can trust and who won't embarrass him as his "Jewish outreach" person did with some Jewish potential voters.

Sanders has his Socialist themes, and they are attractive to some, particularly the young people who show up at his rallies. Free college is appealing to the too-young-to-vote fans who loudly support him. In the excitement no one seems to want to ask the question: How is this going to be funded? Who's going to pay?

Most of us know the story of the young divinity student who wants to marry. The girl'[s father notes the boy lacks a job and an education that will land him a decent paying job. When he challenges the young man, the boy's answer always is "God will provide." The father, talking to his wife, tells her "He thinks I'm god!"

I'm afraid Sanders thinks the U.S. taxpayers are "god" who will provide.

The question before Democrats is:

    Do you want a candidate who often is confused or

    Do you prefer a candidate who violates national security laws and who sat on her political duff while the consulate in Benghazi burned and four Americans were murdered?

Republicans also have to make a decision: do they want to maintain the status quo or do they want a candidate who is hardly "politically correct."

I wish I had said that

    ELECTILE DYSFUNCTION: the inability to become aroused over any of the choices for President put forth by either party in the 2016 election year.

Friday, April 15, 2016


Kid walks in 90o
Heat wearing a Hoodie
What's a person to think?


TODAY IN SOUTH FLORIDA the temperature crept close to 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32 degrees Celsius or, for the scientists, 305.37222 degrees Kelvin). (Conversion compliments of

I understand why a person covers his head and neck from the noonday sun, guys who do yard work often look like members of the French Foreign Legion, but a hoodie, a hooded sweater that traps the wearer's body heat and adds it to the ambient temperature?

EVERYTIME I SEE A KID in a hoodie I think of the hoodie-wearing thieves that break into stores, often armed, and often threatening the lives of anyone inside when they raid the place.

Maybe the hoodie-wearing kid walking down the street on a hot day is a good kid; maybe an "A" student (so why isn't he in school with the books?).

Maybe he is trying to hide a sound device so it won't be stolen by others a la Trayvon Martin who was killed by George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer, near Sanford FL.

Maybe the kid I saw today is trying to make a statement. I'm not sure what statement he was trying to make - perhaps, with the robbers in mind - the statement is made to intimidate others.

Whatever the case, when I see someone wearing a hoodie when the temperature is above 78o and the breeze is nil, I start to wonder: What's this person planning?

Since from the back I can't tell the wearer's race, at least I cannot be accused of racism. Based on the montage below, hoodie-wearing criminals come in all colors and sizes.

Maybe I'm just paranoid.

Or maybe not.

See I'm Crossing the Street with NO Apologies to Trayvon Martin's Family for a short list of some crimes by hoodie wearers.

AND THEN there is the Bank Robber Hoodie that, according to the ad, this jacket is "fitted with corset seams and strategically placed insets, the zipper can zip up as far as the eyes." Hard to believe.

Thursday, April 14, 2016


Does anybody
See the similarity



I WATCH THE "NEWS" and I see hecklers torment Trump and his supporters at Trump rallies.

I see hecklers torment people at pro-Israel rallies.

I see anti-Trump protestors try to prevent people for going to places where the candidate is slated to speak.

I see anti-Israel organizations ban Jews from even entering their venue.

I read newspaper headlines and hear tv talking heads slant what is supposed to be unbiased news to paint Trump, Israel, and Jews as aggressors rather than victims.


Protestors baiting Trump supporters? Never happens. Protestors preventing the candidate from speaking. Never happens. Where is civility?

Trump supporter takes it to a protester - ahh, that's violence; no civility here.

It's OK for these morons to harang Trump, but it is not OK for Trump's supporters to lose patience with the protestors and their obscene gestures and yelling. Trump supporters must be "PC," the protestors not so much.

The Boycott-Divest-Sanction (BDS) crowds can protest. The BDSers can block entry to Jewish and pro-Israel events; that's OK.

The anti-Semites can call Israel an apartheid state, despite clear and continuing evidence it is not. But when a pro-Israel person tries to defend the country, that person is shouted down - if not knocked down.

BDS and lies are "PC"; defending Israel Is not.

I don't have any specifics to back up my supposition, but I suspect the same people - or at least people with the same mentality - attack both Trump, Israel, and any Jew foolish enough to be pro-Israel. (There are many Jews, some even in Israel, who are anti-Israel. Certainly the Arab-Muslim Members of Knesset (parliament) are anti-Israel. If a member of Congress behaved as some of the Arab MKs behave they would be tried for treason; but not in "apartheid" Israel.)

The media takes Trump out of context. The same media - in the great tradition of nazi Germany - publishes half-truths, e.g.. Israeli aircraft strike Gaza, failing to report that the attacks were in response to repeated rocket attacks on Israeli cities or - from Time magazine - "a ‘graphic designer’ shot by Israel" while failing to mention that the "graphic designer" murdered three Israelis in a Jewish area of Jerusalem.

No matter what Trump says, the media - here and abroad - will most assuredly turn a positive into a negative.

No matter how good non-Jews have it in Israel, the media and the UN will continue to castigate the country for sins it does not commit.

By the way, don't fall for the canard that Trump is a fascist; if anyone is a fascist it is the people trying to prevent Trump from speaking; the same people who shout down anyone who defends Israel.
Look up "fascist" at:

Wednesday, April 13, 2016


Check your
Medical records
At least annually


RECENTLY MY PRIMARY CARE PHYSICIAN (PCP) had to give his clearance for minor (cataract) surgery.

Since I have no confidence in office-to-office communications - messages are sent but never read - I asked for, and received, a copy of the clearance.

In the 7-page document I found 7 inaccuracies.

GRANTED, MOST of the errors were not what I would consider "critical," but I'm not a doctor and I don't play one on tv.

Still, there were too many incorrect statements.

Years ago, when AvMed dropped my long-time PCP, I asked for my medical records to hand carry to my next PCP.

Since I had been with this PCP for some time, the package was fairly thick.

As the information was about me, I started to go through the documentation page-by-page.

As I did, I found mistakes "page-by-page."


Patients have a right - and, frankly, I think an obligation - to check their own medical records. Most practitioners willingly provide copies of the patient's file upon request, albeit some may want to charge to make copies. (The alternative is to sit in the office waiting area and review the document.)

According to the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) the patient may have to complete an authorization form.

    The basic process for requesting a medical record is similar across states and provider types. Whether requesting your personal medical records from a doctor’s office or a hospital, in Hawaii or Ohio, the federal law known as HIPAA applies. HIPAA entitles every person the right to access his or her medical records, receive copies of them, and request amendments to them.

    State laws, however, can add variations to the exact process for requesting records and how much facilities can charge for fulfilling them.

    In addition, individual doctors’ offices and hospitals may have their own policies. These cannot contradict federal and state law, but they can add variation in the request process between facilities.

HIPAA - Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 a/k/a Pub.L. 104–191, 110 Stat. 1936 - is a Federal law that can be "enhanced" but may not be degraded. (Forget about "states' rights.")

Long before HIPAA, when I was in the armed forces, when personnel were transferred from one location to another they carried their medical records with them; they could be reviewed by the "patient" while in transit.

In all honestly, no practitioner in recent memory has refused to show me my records.

Some medical record mistakes are due to "assumptions." Assumptions ALWAYS are dangerous, and when the assumption is made on a person's health, they can be deadly assumptions.

Some, probably most, are made through carelessness, either on the part of the person creating the report or the person transcribing the report. (I know one top surgeon who writes his reports directly into the system; he uses a voice recognition system. He probably is a rarity.)

In Ontario (Canada), the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario under a Medical Records heading states that:

    Patients have a right of access to their personal health information that is in the custody or under the control of a HIC, including any information that has been stamped or indicated as confidential, unless an exception applies. 28 Physicians should consult section 52 of PHIPA for a comprehensive list of such exceptions and should seek the guidance of the CMPA or their legal counsel if unsure about how to respond to a request for access.

    Physicians cannot refuse to grant a patient access to their records for the purpose of avoiding a legal proceeding.

    If a physician has refused a patient access to his or her record, the patient is entitled to make a complaint to the IPC under subsection 54(8) of PHIPA.

The Doctors(sic) Company, which as the name implies, is for doctors and not for patients, discusses what a doctor may do with records received by, or for, the patient.

    If a patient brings his or her past medical records to my office, am I required to maintain all of the copies?

    No, however, the physician should review, extract, and photocopy any information that he or she might need from that record and then return the original documents to the patient. The retained information or documentation then becomes part of the patient’s permanent office record. Be aware that if the physician keeps all of the patient’s medical records, he or she could be held liable for information related to other specialties.

Bottom line: While the new practitioner may not maintain the patient's file from the previous practitioner, the new doctor should at least REVIEW the information - and possibly transfer over any errors to the new practitioner's files.

IN THE UNLIKELY EVENT that your doctor refuses to let you review your own medical records (or turn them over to you if you are going to a new doctor - for any reason), one retired practitioner, writing on the Democratic suggests that the places to turn (complain) are

  • Health insurer
  • State medical commissioner/board
  • State insurance commissioner/board
  • State representative and state senator re THEIR offices contacting the state medical commissioner/state insurance commissioner. State commissions typically have a legislative liaison person on their staffs who can generally put a lot of pressure on people like this doctor.

The first paragraph of HIPAA's Your Health Information Privacy Rights PDF file reads

    …gives you rights over your health information, including the right to get a copy of your information, make sure it is correct, and know who has seen it.
It continues
    You can ask to see or get a copy of your medical record and other health information. If you want a copy, you may have to put your request in writing and pay for the cost of copying and mailing. In most cases, your copies must be given to you within 30 days.

    You can ask to change any wrong information in your file or add information to your file if you think something is missing or incomplete. For example, if you and your hospital agree that your file has the wrong result for a test, the hospital must change it. Even if the hospital believes the test result is correct, you still have the right to have your disagreement noted in your file. In most cases, the file should be updated within 60 days.

Individual states may have additional requirements, but they must be in line with basic HIPAA regulations.


Protecting Your Privacy & Security

Frequently Asked Questions - Medical Records

What do I do when a Doctor won't release my medical records?

Health Information & the Law

Tuesday, April 12, 2016


Invent this


I JUST REPLACED the wiper blades on my flivver today, and that got me to thinking about some things I'd like to see auto makers make.

MOST STATE LAWS require that when visibility is reduced the car's headlights must be on. Not just the "parking" lights, but the full headlights.

It is a matter of safety that almost any fool can recognize. Apparently there must be a lot of fools out there who (a) don't know, or care about, the law or who (b) are too stupid to realize the obvious.

Which is why I see far too many vehicles on city streets,, country roads, and highways or all types, windshield wipers going back and forth as fast as the motor can drive them on cars with dark front ends - that is, the headlights are off.

One of the Top Two inventions I'd like added to my next car is a combination switch that when the wipers are activated for more than a "swish" or two (to clean the windshield), the headlights ALSO illuminate and stay on until the wipers no longer are needed.

The second of the Top Two inventions I'd like to see on my next car is a car radio receiver that detects and broadcasts sirens within, say, 100 feet of the vehicle.

So many people today drive with the radio or media player going louder than necessary to be heard over the air conditioner (or heater). With the windows up and the noise inside the car, it sometimes is hard to hear a siren.

If a siren is detected within "n" number of feet/meters, the sound would be sent through the car's audio system. A visual indicator - where to put it; idiot lights on the dash often are ignored - would be worthwhile.

My third "would someone please invent" is an automatic retractable cover to bottom-mounted wipers.

In the "olde days," many wipers were mounted at the top of the windshield; often there was a slight overhang above the wiper to protect them from snow and sun.

I replaced two sets of wipers today because of sun damage; Sol devours the "rubber" over time. Replacing wipers every year or two is SOP where I live.

If my bottom-mounted wipers had a hard cover over them, the sun would do less damage. Snow also would be kept off the blades.

The cover would be like a "hardtop convertible." When the wipers were turned on, the cover would lift out of the way and the wipers could wipe.

Better, if the wiper "well" - the covered area in which the wipers are kept when not in use - had a heating option. Iced wipers could "thaw out" in the well between use.

    There IS an alternative to a heated well.

    Sigma Automotive makes a heated wiper blade. A bit pricy for the average driver, but perhaps just the thing for a commercial or government vehicle (e.g., school bus, snow plow).

None of the above are "big ticket" items and at least the top two are safety related.

Certainly I am not the first to think of these ideas; the only question is why haven't they been implemented. Mass produced, none of the inventions would be a "budget buster."

Tommy Magliozzi, you are missed.

Sunday, April 10, 2016


It is, or isn't
On the ballot


THE HEADLINE IN THE BOISTON HERALD READS Poll: 62 percent of Mass. firms oppose marijuana legalization ballot measure.

The article's first (leed) paragraph reads:

Employers are sounding the alarm about a proposed November state ballot question that calls for legalization and regulation of recreational marijuana in Massachusetts, coming out heavily against it in a newly released survey.

That READS as if Associated Industries of Massachusetts (AIM) members are against putting the question on the November ballot.

But the way the article is written leaves that in doubt.

The article goes on that The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol’s referendum will be on the Nov. 1 statewide ballot..

"Will be on the Nov. 1 ballot."

So, IS the question already on the ballot as AIM seems to believe, or is it PROPOSED for the ballot as the leed paragraph suggests?

Aside from the fact that the writer, Donna Goodison, can't seem to decide if the question is, or is not, on the ballot, she also fails to follow basic rules of abbreviation. Maybe the Boston Herald tossed out all the AP Stylebooks - the 2015 version is a bit pricy: $14.29 for a hard copy and $11.99 for Kindle on Amazon. Surely the Herald can afford ONE copy and pass it around or keep it at the copy editor's desk. (The AP's Guide for News Writing is only $12.05 on Amazon.) I never worked at a newspaper - large or small - that lacked at lest one copy of the AP guidebook.

The "basic rule rules of abbreviation" include spelling out the word(s) to be abbreviated and follow this, in parentheses, with the abbreviation, e.g., Associated Industries of Massachusetts (AIM)

If I failed to find Associated Industries of Massachusetts near the top of her story, I might have thought "AIM" stood for any one of the 165 definitions listed at the Acronyms & Abbreviations web site.. My first thought was American Indian Movement, but I'm sure others would instantly think of AOL Instant Message.

I know I'm a curmudgeon who dates back at least to Gutenberg and movable type, but I still remember my first lessons on how to be a reporter from a great rewrite man: "Spell the person's name correctly, keep the leed to 10 words or less, and cite your sources." Aside from restricting editorial opinions to the editorial page, everything else is commentary.

Massachusetts voters are bound to remain confused until Ms. Goodison gets better editors.

Still, it could be worse; they could read the Globe.

Friday, April 8, 2016


Twist and turn
NC law misread


NORTH CAROLINA LEGISLATORS recently passed a bill, Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act that opponents scream is "anti-LGBT" and maybe "Q," too.

Meanwhile, Fox News' Channel 8 out of High Point NC, is filling its news timeslots with stories about the bill.

A "must read" is Myths vs. Facts’ about House Bill 2 released by NC Gov. Pat McCrory’s office.

Of course if you prefer to disbelieve anything the Republican governor says, and it seems many - most - liberals, in North Carolina and outside of the state, have no faith in anything a Republican says, then the "Myths vs. Facts" article is a bunch of lies.

On the other hand, it makes good reading if you are for, or against (aghast), the measure.

FOR EXAMPLE, under the headline Businesses across North Carolina join map of ‘safe bathrooms’ in response to transgender law, there is letter from owner of Pure Pizza on the firm's Twitter page (@PurePizzaCLT) stating she has a UniSex bathroom to accommodate

  • Single Dads with daughters
  • Single Moms with sons
  • Parents with disabled children
  • Those in the LGBTQ community
  • Adults with aging parents who may be disabled

The state law would NOT prevent Pure Pizza from having a UniSex bathroom, but it would prevent a UniSex bathroom for use by more than one person at a time, or anyone on the Pure Pizza list. (The law specifically PERMITS parents and caregivers to accompany children and disabled persons into a bathroom.)

The same URL included a letter from Robt. DuBose, president of Montreat, a Presbyterian Church (USA) property that posted on its Twitter site that "Trent@Montreat is is perfect for all pastors" Mr. DuBose is both "dismayed" and "disappointed" by the law.

Under the heading PepsiCo CEO writes Gov. McCrory, wants repeal of NC’s LGBT law, PepsiCo head Indra Nooyi called the law inconsistent with how her company treats its employees. She added that The law is undermining efforts to advance North Carolina’s interests.

Allowing transgender people into biologically-specific restrooms, shower facilities, etc. is an awkward situation.

Assume a biological male who considers himself a female enters a bathroom or shower area for biological females. Could it be that the person is a voyeur or rapist? Can a transgender person be heterosexual or is the transgender person by definition homosexual?

I can see where allowing anyone claiming to be transgender into whatever shower room the person declared matched his/her current sexual inclination could prove more than a little problematic for ALL concerned.

I have to wonder where MY rights to privacy end. I don't think I want my grandchildren going into a bathroom where the person next to them is not the same sex as the child.

Obviously employers must now install His, Her, and LGBTQ facilities - except for private clubs which are exempt - if they want to keep employees and customers who are so "old fashioned" as to believe a biological "X" should be prohibited from a multiple occupancy bathroom assigned for biological "Y"s.

I have no particular problem with a business having undesignated single occupancy facilities - doctors offices, medical labs, etc. all have such facilities; the key words are SINGLE OCCUPANCY.


FOR THE RECORD, the full name of the bill, which may be read by following the link here, is "An act to provide for single-sex multiple occupancy bathroom and 3 changing facilities in schools and public agencies and to create 4 statewide consistency in regulation of employment and public 5 accommodations" The "Myths vs. Facts’ about House Bill 2" cited at the beginning of this exercise can be considered a CliffNotesR version of the bill.

Thursday, April 7, 2016




I DON'T EXPECT THE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES to be experts in everything. None can be.

But I DO expect the presidential candidates to have experts who can advise them on things with which they will have to deal as President of the United States (POTUS), Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces (CinC), and CEO of the country. Things such as the

  • Constitution
  • Economy
  • Education
  • Foreign relations
  • Justice System
  • Medicare & Social Security
  • Military
  • Taxes
  • Terrorism

IT WOULD SEEM "REASONABLE" TO EXPECT our candidates to have cast into Jell-OR, if not concrete, opinions on how to handle the myriad problems facing all recent presidents. The ISSUES are the same as they have been for decades.

How can the economy be improved? How can jobs be kept in the U.S.? How can the trade deficit be lowered? Is any business really "too big to fail"?

Should federal dollars be spent on private schools? Colleges and universities? Should the Federal government be in the education standards business, telling the states how to educate their children?

How many dollars do we need to spend to prop up FIRST WORLD countries? Second World? Third World? Does anyone really think we can BUY allies; what has been our success rate for that? Why is it we gladly deal with some countries with horrible human rights records and thumb our national nose at others? (OK, I'm thinking China, Saudi Arabia, and Cuba.)

Who will fill the vacancy on the Supremes? Left? Right? Thinker? Political hack? How about the laws on banking, immigration?

What happened to the sacredness of Social Security? Granted it was never intended to be what it is - a retirement plan for many. Likewise Medicare, another "untouchable."

Do we want a strong military that can enforce our intrusions into other nations' business? Or is a weak military a better deal a la BRAC? Do we really need bases in Europe when we can't protect our people across the Med in Benghazi? I know the only way to hold territory is with "boots on the ground," but do we NEED to hold terrority - and why can't the locals take care of their own?

Would lower corporate taxes keep U.S. companies in the U.S. and - perhaps - bring back some who left? Would returning and new organizations make up any loss? Would a lower tax reduce "cheating" and legal tax dodges?

Whet can be done to reduce the threat of terrorism in the U.S.? Is TSA enough? Could the CIA, NSA, FBI, and all the other alphabet soup spook agencies be made - forced - to cooperate with one another so we won't have another 9-11(2001)? Will there be a czar of czars? Are the agencies top heavy with (in)effective management?

My list hardly is "all inclusive."

I understand each candidate has his or her personal perspective on each of the issues; however, I would expect each candidate to invite experts - real world and self-proclaimed academic expects - with varied opinions on each subject.

Listen to the experts; consider their expertise; formulate a position. It might be based on one expert or the opinions of several.

Actually, all the candidates SHOULD have done this BEFORE the first day on the "campaign trail."

I hear this candidate and that tell the tv talking heads either that they have not considered the question or, worse, proving they are totally uninformed about the issue.

It is embarrassing.

The world is watching and the U.S. is showing the ignorance of the hopefuls for its top political office as too incompetent to run around the block let alone run a country that some still consider a world power.

I was born while FDR was in the White House; the first president I remember was Harry S. I have seen presidents who were presidential (Nixon, LBJ) and presidents who were "less so." Neither party has a "lock" on good candidates, but both parties seem to have more than their fair share of "less good" candidates. Each election seems to be the one in which I write in Alfred E. Neuman or Daffy Duck as my candidate of choice.

I voted in my state's primary, but if I'd known then what I know now, maybe Alfred E. would have received my vote.

I would like to vote FOR a candidate who I thought would fulfill the obligations of the office honorably RATHER THAN vote for the candidate I consider "the lesser of two evils" - or the least incompetent.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016


Unlocking cell phone
While ignoring obvious


APPLE AND THE U.S. GOVERNMENT got into a legal hassle over unlocking a cell phone used by a terrorist

Apple refused, claim it was technologically impossible. .

Now consider . . .

FIRST OF ALL, the phone in question was NOT the terrorist's phone. According to news reports, the phone was owned by the San Bernardino County Department of Public Health and loaned to the terrorists as part of his job.

When I worked for a defense contractor, I had an employer-provided cell phone.

If the phone's owner wanted to check anything on the phone, that was the owner's prerogative.

I knew that.

The owner knew that.

There never was anything compromising on, or in, the phone.

To my Edward Bear mind, there is no difference between an employer-provided computer and an employer-provided cell phone, or for that matter, an employer-anything (e.g., transportation). The courts consistently ruled that the employer has snooper rights. Likewise the police have, armed with a warrant, the right to access a suspect's computer-based data.

In this specific instance, I don't think Apple had grounds to refuse the government's request; albeit it appears the wrong government agency approached Apple (the Feds vs. the county that owned the phone) with the court order to unlock the phone. It would seem to put Apple in league with the terrorist just as much as - if the rumors are correct - Israel is in league with the U.S. government for "cracking" the security code put on the phone by the terrorist.

According to The Washington Post, Apple steadfastly maintained that it was unable to unlock its newer iPhones for law enforcement, even when officers obtain a warrant, because they are engineered in such a way that Apple does not hold the decryption key. Only the phone’s user — or someone who knew the password — would be able to unlock the phone.

(Question: Why would the phone's owner - the San Bernardino County Department of Public Health - allow an employee to put a personal security code on a county-owned phone? Back to my work with the defense contractor: we were forced to change computer passwords on a frequent basis - but the employer had access to those passwords.)

Granted, I am not privy to all the legal wrangling that transpired between the Feds and Apple, but it seems despite the high profile of the issue, a number Federal government lawyers had their heads "where the sun don't shine." Maybe someone from Washington DID ask someone at the San Bernardino County Department of Public Health or the county's commissioners to tell Apple to "unlock our cell phone."

It is inconceivable that Apple would build a lock that could prevent an absent-minded customer from getting help to unlock their device; perhaps the folks at Apple never forget a password - maybe because they never change them (a fine security breach).

From a Risk Management perspective, the San Bernardino County Department of Public Health - in fact every employer - needs to update its Policies and Procedure to require that passwords for all employer-owned devices are available to the employer. Invasion of privacy? Terms of employment.

While I know my liberal friends will take umbrage at that, my stance is that if an employee wants to keep personal information personal - that is, secret - that's fine, providing the information is on the employee's personal phone.

The link to Edward Bear is because I discovered there was a musical group that labeled itself "Edward Bear". A taste of the musical Edward Bear can be heard at Nice video.

Turns out there is yet another "Edward Bear."

Marty Slattery, wrote several books using the nom de plume of Edward Bear; his site is at

The internet and search engines are wonderful - and educational - things.

Friday, April 1, 2016


Poll shows firms
Have effective plans:
What were the questions?


A GLOBAL BUSINESS TRAVEL ASSOCIATION (GBTA) POLL convinced the organization that the "vast majority of companies have effective risk management plans."

More than 72 percent of global travel buyers report that their company has a risk management plan in place, according to a poll conducted by the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) and its European partner associations. In addition, 81 percent found their company’s risk management plan to be effective directly following the terror attacks in Brussels.

What questions were asked?

Do the "global travel buyers" polled know anything about risk management? Have these people SEEN their organization's risk management documents?


Perhaps the respondents' organizations have a plan for travelers; perhaps it even is a good plan that has been vetted through experience - at least a "walk-through" exercise.

Having a travel plan - what to do if you can't get from Point A to Point C via Point B by a specific deadline via a specific method - is something I've preached for many years.

But I know that (a) most organizations lack realistic travel risk plans, and (b) most organizations have useless plans if they have a plan at all.

It was not so long ago that an organization was satisfied if it had an IT (MIS) recovery plan; recovery that lacked any preventive actions to avoid having to go into recovery mode. Any practitioner who has been in the risk management business - a/k/a "business continuity" - knows this truth.

It's not the practitioner's fault that plans are lacking; the blame falls squarely on Very Senior Management, ostriches who are certain "nothing will happen to us."

I'm curious about the questions the GBTA asked. Did they ask about lenders? How about supply chain? Government regulations? Foreign trade restrictions? How about foreign labor laws (since the suggestion is that the travelers represent global organizations)?

Were the "global travel buyers" asked what they would do if

  • Another volcano blew its top a la Eyjafjallajökull or even Mt St Helens?
  • If an airport - origin, intermediate, destination - is closed, for weather, strike, or - as in Brussels - Muslim terrorists?
  • If an airplane was "rerouted" from, say Cairo to Cyprus' Larnaca International Airport?
  • What options are available if a flight/train/boat is cancelled or delayed, or a critical roadway is closed?
  • If the traveler was denied access to the desired transportation mode or denied access to a country, either the destination or an intermediate stop?

There are many more questions to be asked just on travel alone - never mind enterprise risks.

When I see a headline such as the one over the GBTA article, I confess to being skeptical, but then I am skeptical of ALL polls unless I know

  • What questions were asked?
  • How were the questions asked? (Face to face, via mail/email/online, telephone)
  • What organization sponsored the questionnaire and who created the questions to be asked?

And even then some skepticism remains.

I would like to think that all the queried organizations had validated (exercised) risk management plans, but . . .