Monday, May 22, 2017

Opuscula

Bad time to be
Fiscal conservative
And social liberal

I HEARD ON tv this morning (Monday, May 22, 2017) that POTUS — or someone — is considering reducing several social welfare programs; Medicaid and Welfare were specifically included.

How much truth there is in the information, given that the information is third, fourth or even more hands from the source, is beyond my speculation. I know the media is biased — only a person blind and deaf would deny that — but sometimes even in the worst lie there may be a kernel of truth.

I consider myself a financial conservative and a social liberal. That really is not an oxymoron. while I saw the movie Dave, I came to my position on my own long before the movie was released. (It is a good flick.)

I don’t want to “waste” money on — among other things — sending U.S. troops to bases around the world. England, Germany, Japan, et al, all can defend themselves at least until U.S. rescuers arrive. The U.S. has missile-equipped submarines and surface ships with nearly unlimited range and aircraft that can be dispatched from carriers or U.S. bases (that have not been decimated by BRAC.)

True, the only way to hold ground is with “boots on the ground,” but must U.S. troops be military first responders? Let the locals manage for themselves, at least initially.

It’s an open secret that there is waste and fraud in welfare, Medicare, Medicaid, and, frankly, most government programs — including the military (cost over-runs, low-ball bidding, among other options).

Build up the military; give the county a strong military with all the resources it can justify. Go back to Theo. Roosevelt’s day and “speak softly and carry a big stick,” or, if you prefer, keep an “iron fist in a velvet glove.” Diplomatically, “negotiate from a position of strength.”

Going back to BRAC for a few words.

In an effort to cut defense spending — I’m not certain it really did that — the government in its “wisdom” closed bases. Some of the bases, such as Orlando AFB, were re-puposed to become Naval Training Center Orlando, later shuttered because Orlando’s summer was too hot for Navy recruits (but Great Lakes is OK in the winter?). NTC Orlando, nee’ Orlando AFB, was sold off to developers. The only remaining thing “military” is 56-bed Residential Rehabilitation Program operated by the VA.

    I was stationed at the 1360 USAF Hospital at Orlando AFB, ergo my interest in the facility. The 1360 had an entire ward dedicated to VA patients.

Rather than “decommission” military installations, they could have been repurposed to help welfare families get off welfare while keeping military personnel (a) in the U.S. and (b) maintaining needed skills.

    I once suggested the following to a far left email acquaintance; her response was to call be a nazi.!

People who are willing to work should be provided (alphabetically)

    Child care
    Clothing
    Housing
    Job training
    Meals
    Medical care

And a small stipend.

If any reader has been in the military, this may sound a lot like basic training. My “stipend” as an Air Force “slick sleeve” (Airman Basic) was $78/month.

Meanwhile, their children, if any, go to local schools that receive federal assistance in the same way they did when the base was active.

Job training would be for jobs that (a) the trainee can perform (physical and mental) and (b) are needing workers. Whenever possible, military trainers would teach the trades (keeping the trainers proficient); military medics would provide medical care; military cooks would provide food prep (with occasional “KP duties” by the trainees — just like basic training — imagine . Housing for the duration would be barracks for singles and on-base housing for families.

The duration of the training would depend on the job requirements.

At the end of the training, the graduates would be outfitted in “civilian” clothes and, when appropriate, work clothes. If there are local jobs available, the graduates would apply, with employers getting a stipend to help pay the apprentice employees. If no jobs are available locally, the graduate — and family — would be relocated to a place where the graduate’s skills are in demand.

    Veterans will recognize this as something they — we — went through “back in the day.”

Worst case, the government should be the “employer of last resort” as it was when Eleanor Roosevelt was in the White House.

People who cannot perform work of any type due to physical or mental conditions would be exempt from the above and provided all the financial and material/medical resources they require.

People who CAN work but refuse the opportunity would be removed from the federal welfare rolls, including Medicaid.

I am from a generation that considered going on the dole, or even collecting unemployment compensation as something to be avoided. If we DID receive assistance, we worked diligently to become self-sufficient again.

I firmly believe the U.S. can be fiscally conservative and militarily strong while at the same time being liberal on social issues, taking care of those who cannot take care of themselves.


 

 

PLAGIARISM is the act of appropriating the literary composition of another, or parts or passages of his writings, or the ideas or language of the same, and passing them off as the product of one’s own mind.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Opuscula

Overbooked
And “de-seated”
Airlines’ problem

OVER THE YEARS I have traveled many miles in airplanes of many types, from Douglas Commercial DC-3 “Gooney Birds” (c 1952), Fairchild C-119s, Lockheed Super Constellations (L-1049) and L-1011s, to Boeing 7x7s and Airbus 3xxs.

    I’ve also flown tail-dragger Aronica Champions and Piper Cub J-3s, but they only have two seats so they are “out of scope” for this rant.

I cannot understand why, in this “age of computers (where nothing can go wrong, go wrong, go ..)” airlines have to remove seated passengers to make room for either other passengers or free-flying airline employees.

It simply does not compute.


ALMOST EVERYTIME I’ve flown “commercial” (vs. as a “guest” of the government), if the airline overbooked a flight — a situation largely the fault of the customer * — it offered customers compensation; compensation that ranged from a free meal to overnight lodging and possibly a seat upgrade.

Most flights found room for stand-bys.

As passengers are called to board, their airline-issued boarding passes are checked by an airline employee, No boarding pass, no boarding. The passes normally are scanned by a reader connected to a computer so any double-booked seats SHOULD generate an alarm.

Passengers show their boarding pass to a flight attendant (FA) at the aircraft’s door and the FA directs the passenger to his or her seat.

Before the door is closed, the FAs do a head count — seat by seat. If there is a problem, e.g., two passengers booked into the same seat, an all too frequent situation with some airlines, the FAs sort things out, typically by finding an empty seat “somewhere” on board. (In all my years I never have seen an FA ask a passenger to deplane because of an airline seat error.)

Still, if even 10% of the many reports of abuse by FAs are accurate, then the airlines need to educate the FAs to better represent their employer to the people who ultimately pay the FA’s salaries.

Calling on pseudo-police — in the United scandal, the “police” were not police and had been forbidden to wear clothing marked “Police” — is entirely inappropriate. If a passenger needs to be removed for cause — not just “because some airline employee wanted the PAYING passenger’s seat” — then call real police, sworn officers. Leave the “rent-a-cops” drinking coffee.

There are, most assuredly FAs who are having a bad day, but what has happened lately on several major U.S. airlines is more than a bad hair day for the FAs.

    The SkyTrax web site offers an A-Z Airline Quality Rating of airlines throughout the world. According to SkyTrax, the rating are based on quality of the carrier’s front-line product and staff service standards.

Understand that all airlines can give sub-par service from time to time. Surly FAs, delayed flights, too long waiting to take off and too long waiting to get off the plane. Some airlines ignore the jetways at modern airports and still force passengers to disembark via stairs and then bus to the terminal. (One airline did offer a handicapped passenger a lift with a special truck. Interesting solution to a common problem.)

ON THE OTHER HAND there is a famous story of a family of Delta passengers who, although bumped from their flight, still like Delta. The Forbes story’s headline reads: Why Delta Air Lines Paid Me $11,000 Not To Fly To Florida This Weekend


* Airlines were “forced” to overbook by potential passengers who booked a trip on several airlines (back when there was more competition). To counter that, the airlines sold more tickets than seats on the premise that some customers would be no shows. If the airlines guessed wrong, they offered compensation to passengers willing to catch a later flight, but in no event did the airline remove a passenger already buckled in. If a passenger got on board, the passenger stayed on board.

UAL’s problems

United Airlines passenger violently dragged from seat on overbooked flight

Two girls barred from United flight for wearing leggings (UAL later changed its corporate mind and now allows leggings.)

 

PLAGIARISM is the act of appropriating the literary composition of another, or parts or passages of his writings, or the ideas or language of the same, and passing them off as the product of one’s own mind.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Opuscula

Who is meddling
In whose elections?

ACCORDING TO THE L.A Times, The U.S. is no stranger to interfering in the elections of other countries. (The LA Times is no friend of the current administration; on the same web page the Times has a link to A six-part opinion series on Our Dishonest President)

    The U.S. has a long history of attempting to influence presidential elections in other countries – it’s done so as many as 81 times between 1946 and 2000, according to a database amassed by political scientist Dov Levin of Carnegie Mellon University. That number doesn’t include military coups and regime change efforts following the election of candidates the U.S. didn’t like, notably those in Iran, Guatemala and Chile. Nor does it include general assistance with the electoral process, such as election monitoring.

The Times article lists U.S. interference in elections held in

    Czechoslovakia
    Haiti (Reagan)
    Italy (Truman)
    Israel (Obama)
    Nicaragua (Carter)
    Russia (Clinton)
    South Vietnam (JFK)
    UK (Brexit)
    Yugoslavia (Clinton)

The list fails to include invasions of Cuba (JFK, 1961, failed), Grenada (Reagan, 1983, succeeded), Iraq (Geo. W. Bush, 2003, failed) and Panama (Geo. H.W. Bush, 1989, succeeded).

Good for gander, good for goose

In perhaps the most audacious act of hypocrisy, considering the current charge that “the Russians” have intervened in the recent presidential election, the United States made a move to help the reelection effort in 1996 of Russian President Boris Yeltsen. President Bill Clinton endorsed a $10.2-billion loan from the International Monetary Fund, supposedly to help Russia move toward a capitalist economy. Yeltsin then used the fact that he got this loan as a reason for voters to support him. Some of the money was used in social spending just before the election, to bolster his popular support. (New American)

Clinton’s meddling in Israeli elections

According to the Times piece,

    In the Middle East, the U.S. has aimed to bolster candidates who could further the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. In 1996, seeking to fulfill the legacy of assassinated Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and the peace accords the U.S. brokered, then president Clinton openly supported Shimon Peres, convening a peace summit in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el Sheik to boost his popular support and inviting him to a meeting at the White House a month before the election.

    “We were persuaded that if [Likud candidate Benjamin] Netanyahu were elected, the peace process would be closed for the season,” said Aaron David Miller, who worked at the State Department at the time.

    In 1999, in a more subtle effort to sway the election, top Clinton strategists, including James Carville, were sent to advise Labor candidate Ehud Barak in the election against Netanyahu.

Obama’s meddling in Israeli elections

Under the auspices of Chairman Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations (PSI) has released a report confirming allegations that an NGO with connections to President Obama’s 2008 campaign used U.S. taxpayer dollars attempting to oust Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in 2015. President Obama has had the worst relationship of any U.S. president with the elected prime minister of the Jewish State.

Sen. Claire McCaskill dutifully defended the administration, ” While this report shows no wrongdoing by the Administration, and should put to rest such allegations, it certainly highlights deficiencies in the (Obama State) Department’s policies that should be addressed in order to best protect taxpayer dollars.”(Washington Post)

The Hill reported under a headline reading Netanyahu pollster: Obama role in election larger than reported that "There was money moving that included taxpayer U.S. dollars, through non-profit organizations. And there were various liberal groups in the United States that were raising millions to fund a campaign called V15 against Prime Minister Netanyahu," John McLaughlin said. Former Obama political operative Jeremy Bird and that V15, or Victory 15, headed the operations.

  • The OneVoice Movement reportedly received $350,000 in State Department grants
  • The State Department at the end of January, early February, expedited visas for [Israeli] Arab leaders to come to the United States to learn how to vote
  • They were running an Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), Obama Organizing for America-type campaign over there with the digital ads, the billboards, the phones. (Rep. Lee Zeldin, R-NY)

The Washington Times added that In one stunning finding, the subcommittee said OneVoice even told the State Department’s top diplomat in Jerusalem of its plans in an email, but the official, Consul General Michael Ratney, claims never to have seen them.

He said he regularly deleted emails with large attachments — a striking violation of open-records laws for a department already reeling from former Secretary Hillary Clinton’s handling of official government records.

Ratney headed the Israel-Palestine portfolio at the State Department under John Kerry. Obama appointed Ratney as U.S. Special Envoy for Syria in July, 2015.

Other Obama meddling

The conservative, pro-Trump New American web site reminds its readers that if the Russians did covertly attempt to alter the outcome of the presidential election, it would seem somewhat hypocritical of the U.S. government to take umbrage. After all, the United States, under several presidents both Democrat and Republican, has repeatedly interfered in foreign elections, both covertly and overtly, multiple times in the past several decades.

The article cited one of Obama's final day attempts to influence an election. Most recently, President Obama told British voters that they better not vote for Brexit — the public vote for the United Kingdom to leave the European Union (EU) — or they would find themselves “at the back of the queue [line]” in getting any sort of trade deal with the United States.

What’s it really all about?

A little background from Snopes. The Snopes’ article seems unbiased.

    If the link does fails to open the Snopes’ page, the URL is
    http://www.snopes.com/2017/04/18/russia-us-fake-news/”Snopes

Russia’s overt media outlets and covert trolls sought to sideline opponents on both sides of the political spectrum with adversarial views towards the Kremlin. They were in full swing during both the Republican and Democratic primary season and may have help sink the hopes of candidates more hostile to Russian interests long before the field narrowed. Senator Rubio, in my opinion you anecdotally suffered from these efforts. … This past week we observed social media accounts discrediting Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, hoping to further foment unrest inside U.S. democratic institutions. Clint Watts, a former Federal Bureau of Investigation agent and Foreign Policy Research Institute fellow.

The main advantage of conspiracy theories as political tools is that they can spread a general anti-establishment sentiment and they can destroy the credibility and trust in all the established leaders and institutions. It’s not only an American phenomenon that conspiracy theorists are popping up and operating around anti-establishment candidates. Péter Krekó, a Fulbright scholar from Hungary and a visiting professor of Central Eurasian Studies at Indiana University Bloomington


Who wrote what

  • NGO connected to Obama’s 2008 campaign used U.S. tax dollars trying to oust Netanyahu (Washington Post)
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/wp/2016/07/12/ngo-connected-to-obamas-2008-campaign-used-u-s-tax-dollars-trying-to-oust-netanyahu/

  • The U.S. is no stranger to interfering in the elections of other countries (LA Times)
    http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-us-intervention-foreign-elections-20161213-story.html

  • U.S. Has Interfered in Foreign Elections Multiple Times (New American)
    https://www.thenewamerican.com/usnews/foreign-policy/item/24916-us-has-interfered-in-foreign-elections-multiple-times

  • Obama admin. sent taxpayer money to campaign to oust Netanyahu (Washington Times)
    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/jul/12/obama-admin-sent-taxpayer-money-oust-netanyahu/

  • Obama State Dept: $350K For Campaign Infrastructure Used Against Netanyahu In Israel Election (CNS)
    http://www.cnsnews.com/blog/michael-w-chapman/state-dept-350k-group-built-campaign-structure-used-against-election-israels

  • Netanyahu pollster: Obama role in election larger than reported (The Hill)
    http://thehill.com/policy/international/236565-netanyahu-pollster-obama-role-in-election-larger-than-reported

 

PLAGIARISM is the act of appropriating the literary composition of another, or parts or passages of his writings, or the ideas or language of the same, and passing them off as the product of one’s own mind.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Opuscula

Why does Israel
Act as if Obama’s
UN action is surprise?

IN A MOVE TO MAKE THE U.S. State Department trolls happy, soon-to-be ex-president Obama told his rep to the UN Security Council to abstain on an anti-Israel vote, assuring that his friends in the PA would remember him as if he was a shahid to their cause.

Israeli media seems “shocked” by Obama’s order, yet any Israeli — certainly any Israeli in politics or the media — knew the abstention was in the works. It was the culmination of the almost ex-presidents anti-Israel bias over the last eight years.

Blame it on the personal feud between Obama and Netanyahu, but don’t act surprised.

Obama’s dislike of Netanyahu, Israel, and Jews embarrassed even leaders of his own (Democrat) party.

According to media reports,

    The Obama administration’s decision to abstain from a United Nations Security Council vote on Israeli settlements on Friday was the subject of intense opposition from lawmakers in the president’s own party, with Democratic leaders warning that the resolution will damage efforts to advance peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

    Incoming Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said hours before the vote that “the proposed resolution does not bring us any closer to the goal of a two-state solution. Peace must come from direct negotiations between the two parties.”

    House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) similarly condemned the resolution on Thursday, saying that the vote “seeks to place responsibility for continued conflict fully on Israel and ignores violence and incitement by Palestinians and the Palestinian Authority and Hamas leaderships. Any workable and long-lasting solution to this conflict must come about through direct, bilateral negotiations, and this resolution undermines that effort.”

    Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), the top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, added on Thursday that “the UN should stop wasting its time trying to embarrass Israel, and the United States should continue the policy of vetoing anti-Israel resolutions.”

    The ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), said on Friday that the resolution “does nothing to move forward the shared goal of two states living side-by-side in peace and security. This resolution is one-sided and unfairly calls out Israel without assigning any blame for the Palestinian role in the current impasse.” Cardin emphasized his support for “direct negotiations between the parties” and criticized the speed with which the resolution was pushed to a vote, saying that “by introducing the resolution yesterday and scheduling a vote this week, other members of the Security Council have not had sufficient time to consider the text.”

    Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) warned on Thursday that the “resolution would undermine, if not undo, the chances for productive discussions between the two sides,” remarks echoed the following day by Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.), who also called the resolution “unconstructive.” Sen. Sherrod Brown called (D-Ohio) stressed on Friday that “any lasting peace must be negotiated between Israelis and Palestinians, not imposed by the international community.”

    Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) noted that “longstanding U.S. policy has been to stand with Israel against attempts to use the United Nations to internationalize the peace process, and that policy should be maintained.”

    “I am concerned that some delegations to the United Nations continue to advance counterproductive resolutions such as the one introduced this week, while they turn a blind eye to international crises that should demand our immediate attention and action, including the conflict in Syria and Russian aggression in Ukraine,” he added.

Perhaps those who agree with the almost ex-president — including many of Hollywood’s luminaries, even those who forgot their promise to leave America — continue to ignore the reason why there cannot be a peace treaty between Israel and the so-called Palestinian Authority.

The Arabic language media reports that

    Fatah, the party of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, praised its “most outstanding” terrorist attacks in two posts over two days on its Facebook page, according to the monitoring group Palestinian Media Watch. One post highlighted the “10 most outstanding operations” in the entire history of Fatah; the other the “10 most outstanding operations in the Al-Aqsa [Second] Intifada”, the wave of Palestinian violence lasting from 2000-2005 and killing more than 1,000 Israelis. The former post showed a flag of “Palestine” depicting all of Israel and the Palestinian territories.

    Incitement to violence by Fatah and Palestinian leaders has been a constant driver of the conflict, and was responsible for a wave of stabbings and car rammings that has killed more than 40 Israelis since September 2015. Fatah boasted in August that it had “killed 11,000 Israelis.” Abbas praised a Jordanian who was shot while attempting to stab Israeli Border Police officers as a “martyr” in a condolence letter to his family last month. He has consistently refused to condemn acts of terrorism. A senior adviser to Abbas stated this past June, “Wherever you find an Israeli, slit his throat.” When a Palestinian terrorist went on a stabbing spree in Jaffa that killed American Army veteran Taylor Force, the PA’s official TV news station called the terrorist responsible a “martyr” and on Twitter, Abbas’s Fatah party hailed him as a “martyr” and a “hero.” Last February, Abbas met with families of terrorists who carried out attacks against Israelis, telling them: “Your sons are martyrs.”

Inciting terrorist acts is the PA “leadership’s” idea of pressuring Israel to commit national suicide. The single democratic state in the region has repeatedly caved to Arab pressure only to find the Arabs’ promises of peace were not worth the paper on which they were printed.

Why Israel remains a member of the UN, in which it is the only nation condemned for “human rights” violations when even the left-wing media occasionally reports on atrocities around the globe , while “PA” terrorists daily attack Israelis and the “PA” leadership incites hatred of Jews and Israel from pre-kindergarten until the grave, is beyond my ken.

Why the U.S., which soon thankfully will have a new president, continues to fund an organization that unfairly condemns its ally and that often berates the hand that feeds it, likewise if beyond my ken.

There will soon be three countries that can deal with each other and all other states without need of the (dis)United Nations: China, Russia, the U.S.

The UN failed in its mission to avoid wars. The UN failed in its mission to protect human rights (consider Africa, consider China and North Korea, consider Muslim-dominated nations). The IDEA of the UN -– a later-day League of Nations whose failures soon were recognized and the League disbanded — was good; the implementation is found lacking.

As for Israel, even the retiring UN Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon, admits to the world press that

    (T) he organization has a “disproportionate” volume of resolutions against Israel, which he believes has “foiled the ability of the UN to fulfill its role effectively”.

    Addressing the UN Security Council, Ban said: “Over the last decade I have argued that we cannot have a bias against Israel at the UN.

    "Decades of political maneuvering have created a disproportionate number of resolutions, reports and committees against Israel.


Opuscula

If the links
Are broken,
Blame Google

I WAS REVISITING SOME old blog entries this morning (Thursday, May 11, 2017) and discovered that the links to other articles — some of them mine, many others’ — were “broken.”

When I checked the copy, I discovered — alas, not for the first time — that Google had “modified” the links.
In the sample below, Google added the red in the text strings.

I HAVE BEEN CREATING HTML-coded copy for a long time. I have done it for commercial clients, I did it for my own web site (now inactive), and I have been doing it on this blog since “Day 1” several years ago.

I know how to code a link to another URL*

Google does other “strange” things to a writer’s works,

On one blog site, the indentation code <UL>/</UL>> works fine. On another blog site, Google ignores the code.

How do I know the code is correct when I upload — “publish” — the copy? I check my coding by saving my word processor file as plain text as <something.html> and opening the file in Google’s Chrome browser.

The URL code - <A HTML=”destination URL” TARGET=”new window”> followed by the linked text, e.g., Laugh-In’s Flying Finger of Fate, and ending with </A> This code has been around since before my well-worn copy of Netscape 2 Unleashed was published in 1996.

Perhaps Google believes I should create my files within its “blogspot” using its limited attribute icons.

Most of the time most of my code seems to work OK. Even multi-cell tables display properly — most of the time.

The easy way to create a table is to use a spread sheet application (e.g., LibreOffice Calc), then add extra columns for HTML code; finally, save the now coded spread sheet as a text (*.txt) file and embed the file into the copy.

I have a love/hate relationship with code. Back in the day — before page composition applications such as FrameMaker, PageMaker, and Ventura learned to “read” word processor codes, I coded my word processor files for the destination application.

I didn’t ENJOY the time-consuming task — shades of WordStar and its pre-< A HTML=”http://justsolve.archiveteam.org/wiki/WordStar#Control_characters” TARGET=”WordStar codes”>WordStar codes>/A>WYSIWYG coding (see http://justsolve.archiveteam.org/wiki/WordStar#Control_characters .


Source: https://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/10/25/internet_archive_historical_software_collection/

I thought the mono screen would bring back memories for my generation.

I wonder — and that’s all I can do — if I was able to FTP** my text to Google if the blog app would let my coding remain the way I intended.

I am not asking Google to let me use some esoteric code, or something that only Firefox can read; all I am asking is that Google stop rewriting my link code. It also would be nice if it was consistent across all blogs — I can indent on one but not the other (ibid.).
Complain to Google? Impossible.

BOTTOM LINE: If the link code FAILS and you read a “Sorry, the page you were looking for in this blog does not exist.” message, RIGHT CLICK on the link, select INSPECT from the pop-up menu, and find the URL in the window to the right.


* URL: Uniform Resource Locator. In the event that the URL is corrupted by Google, the URL is https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/URL

** FTP: File Transfer Protocol. In the event the URL is corrupted by Google, the URL is http://www.webopedia.com/TERM/F/ftp.html

PLAGIARISM is the act of appropriating the literary composition of another, or parts or passages of his writings, or the ideas or language of the same, and passing them off as the product of one’s own mind.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

ERM-BC-COOP

Organization’s risk:
Outdated policies
And procedures

IT WAS A SMALL LINK buried in the daily Advisen Front Page News (FPN) digest, but it raised a flag (turned on the light and other expressions of new awareness) that corporate policies and procedures need to be reviewed to assure they comply with the laws du jour.

The article linked from Advisen FPN is headed: Is It Time To Recall Some Of Your HR Policies? (From http://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=7bb5092f-e947-4431-ad8a-2d873768c0a6)

    Factory recalls have become a fact of life for those who sell and drive vehicles. The scenarios have a common theme: a vehicle part does not operate as designed or is determined to present a possible risk of failure. Once there is enough evidence to suggest a problem or potential problem exists, the recall process begins.

    While the risks and potential harms pale in comparison to vehicle recalls, some employer policies should be similarly recalled and replaced. Some policies no longer work as designed because of subsequent changes to certain laws. Other policies and practices thought to be sufficient when implemented have not been as effective in application as they could be. Still other policies would benefit from a few overdue improvements that you didn’t consider at the time of drafting.

The article continues by focusing on seven specifics:

  • Employment Applications And New Hire Packets
  • FCRA Disclosures And Adverse Action Letters
  • Reasonable Accommodation Policy
  • Leave Policy
  • Employee Reimbursement Policy
  • Post-Accident Drug Testing Policy
  • No-Harassment Policy

THE PRIMARY CONCERN for employers are labor laws and the several federal and state agencies that enforce them.

The laws are “subject to change”; unless someone is aware of the changes, policies and procedures that were legal yesterday may not be legal tomorrow.

When I was consulting I met an HR manager who, when asked if there were any risks associated with his function thought for a moment than answered with a firm “No.” Fortunately he had an assistant who was aware of a federal form that, if lacking for employees could have cost the company thousands of dollars. The form was the I-9.

From https://www.uscis.gov/i-9

    Form I-9 is used for verifying the identity and employment authorization of individuals hired for employment in the United States. All U.S. employers must ensure proper completion of Form I-9 for each individual they hire for employment in the United States. This includes citizens and noncitizens. Both employees and employers (or authorized representatives of the employer) must complete the form. On the form, an employee must attest to his or her employment authorization. The employee must also present his or her employer with acceptable documents evidencing identity and employment authorization. The employer must examine the employment eligibility and identity document(s) an employee presents to determine whether the document(s) reasonably appear to be genuine and to relate to the employee and record the document

OSHA – the federal government’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration and state versions of OSHA, constantly are on the lookout for labor law violations, particularly where worker safety is involved. Safety standards and safety gear remain in a state of flux.

From https://www.osha.gov/about.html

    The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 and its related Administration, was created to assure safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women by setting and enforcing standards and by providing training, outreach, education and assistance.

EEOC – the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission investigates workplace discrimination complaints.

From https://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/

    From is responsible for enforcing federal laws that make it illegal to discriminate against a job applicant or an employee because of the person's race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, gender identity, and sexual orientation), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information. It is also illegal to discriminate against a person because the person complained about discrimination, filed a charge of discrimination, or participated in an employment discrimination investigation or lawsuit.

    Most employers with at least 15 employees are covered by EEOC laws (20 employees in age discrimination cases). Most labor unions and employment agencies are also covered.

    The laws apply to work situations or all types including hiring, firing, promotions, harassment, training, wages, and benefits.

The problem for too many “business continuity” practitioners — and a few enterprise risk management practitioners as well — is a tendency to ignore HR.

That, given the always in-flux legal fiats from Washington and state capitals, can be a costly mistake. Likewise, legal advisors need to be included in risk management procedures; they need to interpret the laws and how they impact the organization, and, if necessary, be ready to defend the organization if challenged by a regulatory agency.



PLAGIARISM is the act of appropriating the literary composition of another, or parts or passages of his writings, or the ideas or language of the same, and passing them off as the product of one’s own mind.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

State of the Nation

S A D

THIS MORNING ON THE tv ‘news’ I watched as a robber attacked a woman at an ATM.

That happens all the time, but this time was different.

This time there was another woman making a transaction at the adjacent ATM.

If you are looking for a Good Samaritan to come to the aid of the elderly woman being robbed,

FORGET IT

The woman at the adjacent ATM moved out of the way as the robber and the senior struggled. When the tussle moved away, the woman calmly returned to her ATM to finish her transaction, not even bothering to look at the woman being attacked.

    Florida law states that a person witnessing a crime must call 9-1-1. The law does not require the witness to DO anything.

By all accounts, the witness did nothing — except calmly finish her ATM transaction. The entire event was caught on video,

The victim, the robber, and the witness all were black. In itself that is irrelevant; however, it does explain why there is so much black-on-black crime that goes unsolved. There are too many John Banners* who see nothing and know nothing.

Let’s consider what the witness might have done.

    Run away from the ATM and yell for help.

    Call 9-1-1; apparently everyone has a cell phone these days.

The robber was a large man and the witness was small in stature, so while some people might risk life and limb by jumping on the attacker’s back to help the victim defend herself, the witness simply ignored the ruckus going on next to her.

The robber was fortunate that there was no one in the vicinity with a concealed carry permit … or even a person with an illegal gun or knife, of which there are too many — who very likely would have come to the victim’s assistance.

It’s one thing to deny knowledge of a crime’s perpetrator a la John Brenner’s tv character, but to stand, watch a crime on a person and do nothing is abhorrent.

The witness showed no fear in the video — her actions strictly were: I’m not involved — not my problem.

It’s a sad day for America and Americans.


* The late John Banner (died 1973) played Sgt. Schultz on the long-running Hogan’s Heroes tv sitcom.

PLAGIARISM is the act of appropriating the literary composition of another, or parts or passages of his writings, or the ideas or language of the same, and passing them off as the product of one’s own mind.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Opuscula

Travel warning
Just good sense

THE U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT has issued a Travel Warning for travel to Europe.

Travel agents are upset because some potential travelers will vacation in America rather than go overseas. (I guess they make a higher profit on overseas trips.)

Aside from “Seeing America First” being both a good and a patriotic idea, an overseas travel warning must be a way of life for travelers, especially those heading to places where anti-terrorism efforts are less than the best.

    The most dangerous parts of my flights to Israel — where terrorism threats are taken seriously — is the change of planes in either a U.S. or European airport.

AS A RETIRED Enterprise Risk Management practitioner, I think travel warnings ought to be on-going. Most — albeit never “all” — travel incidents can be avoided by using common sense and heeding the warnings of experienced travelers.

The State Department has a plethora of Internet-based information, including:

There are a number of web sites that offer good to excellent information for travelers. Much of the advice can apply to travel at home as well as overseas. A list of these sites is given below the black line.

Several lists made a point that when visiting a country or location with strict religious rules to (a) know the rules and dress code (especially for women), (b) dress appropriately, and (c) respect the rules. In other words, don’t go into Mea Sharim or Beni Brak in Israel in short shorts and halter top; in Muslim-dominated countries — and some Hindu ones as well — women should be prepared to cover their heads. (Men will be expected to cover their heads in synagogues and may be asked to cover their heads in a mosque. Check with someone before entering any place where prayers are said for local customs.)

After thought: Whenever possible, buy tickets for local transportation before boarding. Try to find out the cost of the trip before boarding and, if there is no option to buy a ticket, have the right change when boarding. In the U.S. many (most) city buses require the correct fare — no change is offered. Most countries, other than the U.S., offer inexpensive, fast, comfortable, and clean rail transportation.


Picks of the litter

Worth a look

Monday, May 1, 2017

Opuscula

Rush hour
And geezers

WHEN I USED TO make a daily trek to an office or client site, I hated the congestion; in particular, congestion made worse by geezers who “had” to be on the road during rush hour(s).

Now I am a confimed “geezer” and I remember my aggravation at people on the road who could wait a until after rush hour to get on the road..

Same goes for vacationers — I’ve been one of those, too.


Photo credit: Dim Schliefman

As a geezer I make it a rule to either (a) be off the road from 6:30 to 9 a.m. and from 4 to 6:30 p.m. or (b) on a highway outside of a metro area where my flivver won’t add to rush hour congestion.

When I cross the state to visit my sons, I usually leave about 10 a.m. At the speed limit, it’s about a 5-hour trip, but I take a “snack” break on the way so I usually arrive about 3:30 in the afternoon — before the boys’ local rush hour. I follow the same process on the return trip and, again, I miss rush hour at both ends.

Bottom line: I practice what I preached — read “railed about” -- when I was someone’s employee or consultant.

I never liked rush hour even when I had to confront it. I still don’t like to be caught in rush hour traffic if I can avoid it.

Tourists looking for a street or address during rush hour should know better. If you want to sight-see — and frankly, I enjoy sight-seeing excursions — either do it between morning and evening rush hours or hop on a sightseeing bus (or boat). Helicopters are good, too, but the “overview” misses something.

Frankly, I’d like to see RVs banned from the streets during rush hour; likewise large trucks that have to be coaxed around tight corners. I know for truckers “time is money,” but even truckers have to eat and sleep.

If geezers and vacationers would practice what I preach, there would be less rush hour traffic and maybe less rush hour aggravation.

I have no problem getting up at 4:30 or 5 a.m. to be on the road by 6. Likewise, I easily can snooze until 8 or 9 and then hit the road at 9:30. (The wake up and get moving time often depends on which route I will be driving and how long the trip will take.)



PLAGIARISM is the act of appropriating the literary composition of another, or parts or passages of his writings, or the ideas or language of the same, and passing them off as the product of one’s own mind.