Author Archive | Boohunney

When one door closes there may be a window of opportunity for you…

OR “There is no good way to tell people they are getting laid off.”

I have experienced a few layoffs in my working life. It can really be an awful, uncertain time and you know that is true if it has ever happened to you. Scrambling to find replacement work and planning finances for the worst case scenarios just sucks and it seem to always have had this happen to me after I bought a new car or something.

The first time I was laid off was when I worked in a material analysis lab. It was a Monday and none of the directing managers showed up to work, which wasn’t really unusual as they would travel often to the lab in Chicago. But, about mid morning a coworker’s husband called and said that FedEx had dropped off a letter. She asked him to open it to see what was in it. It was THE LETTER. The office would be closed in 90 days. There were no meetings or announcements. Just THE LETTER.

Fortunately, my skills at the time were in great demand, so it wasn’t much of a trauma.

A few years back I worked for a major ISP in test marketing, It was a call center position. Now, this was a really great company to work for with a very nice working environment and culture. But, one day things started to happen that seemed odd. Managers and team leaders were being sent to the call centers in the Philippines to “improve performance in these areas. “

Then, a GIANT announcement was to be made. It was going to GREAT NEWS. How can this job be any better? I just couldn’t imagine. The company rented a large auditorium at the art museum down the street. In the lobby there were all kinds of happy looking banners that said “New Horizons” and other “optimistic” things. With great fanfare the CEO came on stage and announced that the company was going to move into telecommunications. For about an hour new and exciting call phones and devices were demonstrated. “This is going to be a great opportunity for the company,” said the CEO.

When I arrived at work the next day, what was on my desk? THE LETTER.  Our positions had been “realigned to the Philippines” and the entire department will be shut down.

And I was in the process of closing on a mortgage. **Sigh** Everything worked out, but, it was a nail biter.

The last few years I was working, I was amazed at some of the terrible clichés, sayings and double talk used in the office. I guess really there isn’t any good way to announce a layoff.  But, I came across this piece on really crappy ways to spin and deflect the statement, “You are going to be laid off.”

Fab CEO Jason Goldberg: “You will… have the opportunity to start your new job search immediately.”

Nokia Siemens Networks: “The company… continues to expect a total synergy-related adjustment of approximately 9,000 employees.”

Zynga CEO Mark Pincus: We are going to be “reducing our cost structure.”

Cisco CEO John Chambers: Cisco will be “realigning resources to look where our growth opportunities would be … We literally are investing for the future. You have to balance that from where the resources are going to come from.”

Un-named American company: “We are going to allow you to move on in order that you can you use your talents and skills more effectively and thus upgrade your career and opportunities.”

Remarkable. I guess layoffs happen so often these days that these kinds of statements do not seem so “cold” anymore.

Ah, yes, “when one door shuts another one opens.”

All these statements just make me feel “namaste” inside.

 

Greenwald/Miranda Roundup

There is nothing like this to spice up the slow moving last weeks of August.

Even if you had been in a drowsy snooze, I am pretty sure you have caught wind that David Miranda, the partner of Glenn Greenwald, was detained at London’s Heathrow Airport over the weekend under Britain Terrorist Act. His laptop and other electronics were seized.

I find interesting the opinions of the acts committed by the Brits along with reactions and criticisms of Greenwald.

Initially, it seemed like this was an act of intimidation towards Greenwald and his partner:

“David (Miranda) is the partner of a journalist, not a journalist himself. The British government clearly believes it’s perfectly fine to target and intimidate journalists and their families and associates — their partners, husbands, wives, children, friends, colleagues — if it’s in the interest of its surveillance partner, the United States.”

I agree that it is not right to harass innocent family members just because one is doing their job. But, in these times, it would be naïve to think that family members and associates are not being watched and this kind of thing is not going to happen.

 

But, it gets a little more complex:

Mr. Greenwald’s partner, David Michael Miranda, 28, is a citizen of Brazil. He had spent the previous week in Berlin visiting Laura Poitras, a documentary filmmaker who has also been helping to disseminate Mr. Snowden’s leaks, to assist Mr. Greenwald. The Guardian had paid for the trip, Mr. Greenwald said, and Mr. Miranda was on his way home to Rio de Janeiro…

Mr. Miranda was in Berlin to deliver documents related to Mr. Greenwald’s investigation into government surveillance to Ms. Poitras, Mr. Greenwald said. Ms. Poitras, in turn, gave Mr. Miranda different documents to pass to Mr. Greenwald. Those documents, which were stored on encrypted thumb drives, were confiscated by airport security, Mr. Greenwald said. All of the documents came from the trove of materials provided to the two journalists by Mr. Snowden.

Miranda was “mule for the cause” carrying classified material and really not so innocent. But, it would be ridiculous to classify Miranda as a terrorist. Confiscating and keeping Miranda’s personal property seems a little over the top. I don’t think “the authorities” knew exactly what Miranda was carrying, but, I can almost bet that “intelligence” has a pretty good idea what information Snowden collected and there was probably no need to keep any of Miranda’s things.

Then, there is the whole “you’ll be sorry” thing. Apparently a quote from Reuters was not translated from Portuguese correctly and was reported like this:

“I will be far more aggressive in my reporting from now. I am going to publish many more documents. I am going to publish things on England, too. I have many documents on England’s spy system. I think they will be sorry for what they did,” Greenwald, speaking in Portuguese, told reporters at Rio de Janeiro’s airport where he met Miranda upon his return to Brazil.

Greenwald really meant this:

Greenwald said in a subsequent email to Reuters that the Portuguese word “arrepender” should have been translated as “come to regret” not “be sorry for.”

“I was asked what the outcome would be for the UK, and I said they’d come to regret this because of the world reaction, how it made them look, and how it will embolden me – not that I would start publishing documents as punishment or revenge that I wouldn’t otherwise have published,” he said in the email.

The Washington Post:

Greenwald’s point seems to have been that he was determined not to be scared off by intimidation. Greenwald and the Guardian have already been publishing documents outlining surveillance programs in Britain, and Greenwald has long declared his intention to continue publishing documents. By doing so, Greenwald isn’t taking “vengeance.” He’s just doing his job.

Let’s take a look around at some other opinions.

Wonkette:

Goddammit, British authorities. Glenn Greenwald does not need any actual real-world reasons to feed his crusading martyr complex. It is what gets him out of bed every morning!

Ugh, we hate it when Greenwald makes his egomaniacal threats. We also hate agreeing with him about anything even when he’s being hysterical (which is always). STOP MAKING US AGREE WITH GLENN GREENWALD, YOU LIMEY TWITS.

David Atkins:

I’ve had my issues with Greenwald. But I don’t care if you believe that Greenwald and Snowden are the embodiments of the Anti-Christ. I don’t care what documents Greenwald’s spouse was carrying, how classified they were, or whether you believe that Greenwald is a journalist. I don’t care.

When a government detains someone who is very clearly not a terrorist for nine hours without access to an attorney under a terrorism statute, that government has proven every point Greenwald wanted to make. The argument is over right there.

Betty Cracker:

Using terrorism statutes to routinely harass Laura Poitras and detain Greenwald’s spouse for nine hours is wrong because they aren’t terrorists. Greenwald’s fulminations about the US/UK targeting Miranda because he’s Greenwald’s hubby are bollocks because the government(s) had very good reason to believe Miranda is an agent in l’affaire Snowden, not just an innocent family member/tourist, but that doesn’t change the fact that anti-terrorism laws are supposed to be about preventing terrorism, not harassing journalists or even polemicists and their assistants.

Tough crowd.

Greenwald’s work regarding Snowden and exposing of the extent of the NSA’s capabilities and other spying is commendable. The information has even shook some on the Right to start criticizing the programs that are eroding Constitutional Rights that many on that side of the spectrum willingly gave up post 9/11.

But, there are plenty of folks keeping a critical eye on the messenger.

How about some mandatory safety classes and liability insurance…

I hate reading stories about little kids getting their hands on weapons.

A 4-year-old boy died in Michigan on Sunday evening after obtaining a handgun and shooting himself in the head, according to police.

Dundee police responded at around 4:15 p.m. on Sunday to a 911 call reporting that a child had shot himself.

Personnel from the Monroe County Ambulance and Dundee Volunteer Fire Department attempted to save the boy in the front bedroom of the house before transporting him to St. Joseph Hospital in Ann Arbor. He was pronounced dead at 5 p.m…..

A family friend who was living at the home with the father of the boy was arrested in connection with the shooting.

The 30-year-old man was charged with manslaughter with gross negligence. He was being held at the Monroe County Jail. An arraignment was scheduled for Monday.

I live in the gun laden South and I don’t have any real strong fears about guns, but, really would it be too much to require gun owners to have some mandatory gun training and some liability insurance, because some of them do not seem to have any common sense.

Some may say these are isolated incidents, but, here is a taste of some idiocy in Tennessee last week.

The owner of a Memphis cookie store inside a shopping mall where no guns are allowed chased three thieves who stole $45 from his cash register with a 9mm, firing shots into the air as he did so. Now he may lose his lease:

The signs on the doors of Southland Mall warn no guns allowed inside.

That includes everyone, even tenants who lease space in the mall.

Still, the owner of a cookie store inside the mall brought one to work anyway and used it.

“Bringing a gun and then pulling it out in front of a bunch of people that’s setting a bad example for your company,” said Phil Ross of Memphis.

The police report says three guys grabbed $45 out of the cash register.

They reportedly never produced a gun, but according to the police report, the store owner did…..

A McMinnville man has been arrested after firing a gun to scare off a community softball league he’s been feuding with:

According to the incident report, participants of the game said 49-year-old Herbert Crockett Conley, who they said complained to league officials for months about softballs being hit on his property, heard several gunshots being fired from his home.

Softball league officials explained once they heard the gunshots, nearly 150 adults and children quickly sought shelter at a neighboring community center, fearing for their lives.

No, I do not believe all gun owners are idiots or irresponsible and, maybe, mandatory training and insurance might not stop idiots like this from doing really stupid things. But, it might help those who get hurt and, hopefully, some of the idiot might be a little more mindful that they are, in fact, in charge of that weapon.

 

FL Governor Scott to sue GA in decades old “water wars”…

On August 12th the U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker has declared a “fishery disaster” in the Apalachicola Bay located in Northeast Florida panhandle. The 2012 drought and overuse of water in the Chattahoochee, Flint, Apalachicola River basin that feeds the Apalachicola Bay has caused a 60% decline in the oyster harvest. The bay provides Florida with about 90% of its oysters and 10% of the nation’s oysters. The increase of salinity in the bay has lead to an intrusion of predators into the bay’s oysters such as boring clams, sponges and worms.

For over 25 years Georgia, Alabama and Florida have been at odds over the water use from the Chattahoochee, Flint, and Apalachicola river basin. The big white elephant in the room is the Metro Atlanta area, its dramatic growth of the last few decades and its huge demand for water. The Chattahoochee River along with its reservoir, Lake Lanier, located just north of the metro area, is the primary source of water for the Metro Atlanta area, which withdraws an estimated 360 million gallons per day. Georgia’s consumption is expected to nearly double to 705 million gallons per day by 2035.

This issue has gone to court in the past.

In 2009, U.S. District Court Judge Paul Magnuson ruled against Atlanta and signed an order that would have severely restricted the city’s withdrawals from the reservoir to levels last seen in the 1970s – when the city was a fraction of its current size – unless the political leaders of Alabama, Florida and Georgia struck a deal ending the impasse.

No deal has been struck.

But last year, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the looming water cutoff and found that Atlanta had a claim to water from the reservoir.

The court instructed the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to determine how much water the city can use.

Determining the allowable water use for the Metro Atlanta may take the Corp of Engineers until 2015 to complete.

With the disaster of the drought from last year another court battle is in the wings. Florida Governor Rick Scott has decided to file suit against Georgia last week.

“”Because Georgia has not negotiated in good faith to fairly share the waters that flow between our two states, we are announcing today that Florida will bring suit in the U.S. Supreme Court next month to stop Georgia’s unchecked consumption of water that threatens the existence of Apalachicola fisheries and the future economic development of this region,” Scott said.

“Down the road it might help us out, but we need something short-term,” Shannon Hartsfield, an oysterman and president of the Franklin County Seafood Workers Association. “As soon as this rainy season and the little bit of water we’re getting from it, as soon as it’s over, we are out of luck. We can’t survive, and the oysters can’t survive”

Georgia Governor Nathan Deal considers the suit a “frivolous waste of time.”

Deal, who said he was blindsided by Scott’s statement, urged the states to resume talks but seemed resigned to the fact that Georgia will confront another taxing legal fight that could take years to resolve.

“We’re talking about water that falls on Georgia’s soil and flows through the state of Georgia. There’s a reason for us to be protective. We will not roll over. If Florida wants to fight, we’ll fight,” Deal told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Wednesday. “We think we have plenty of ammunition and that we have shown good faith on our side.”

It might be interesting to see how this will factor in the reelection campaigns of both Governors.

But, some real conservation measures have been needed for a while to resolve this water war. But, if history repeats itself, I am afraid any real plan will be kicked down the road.

 

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