Titanic precautions

Many movies have been made about the tragic story of the Titanic. Arrogance and ignorance was definitely present during its maiden voyage, which was Titanic’s last voyage. Many warnings were given, but unfortunately, the warnings were not taken seriously. On April 14th, 1912 Titanic received six warnings that icebergs were present in their perimeter. On the night of April 14th, Titanic struck an iceberg and ultimately sank to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean. For other entities, what happened to the Titanic does NOT have to happen to them. Many have learned from the mistakes that Titanic had made.

There are several examples that follow and form a parallel to what happened to Titanic and how an entity can learn from Titanic’s mistakes. 1. The Titanic only had 16 lifeboats, which was not nearly enough to save everyone on the ship. Only about 60% of the entire lifeboats’ capacity was utilized! Does your company have a disaster plan in place? Are your computers, especially your servers, being backed up on a regular basis? Many servers are now being backed up on a daily basis and sometimes on an hourly basis. When I was working at a Helpdesk, one of our afternoon gals was named the “Backup Queen” because she took EVERY major server backup VERY seriously. The company was very lucky to have the “Backup Queen” because there were several instances where our most critical server had crashed and lost information. Fortunately, information restoration was quick and painless due to the machine being backed up on a regular basis. We were very lucky to have someone who took the initiative to handle the server backups. Is your company that lucky? Yes, doing backups can be VERY unexciting. However, losing valuable data can be very exciting, but in a negative way. 2. The crewmen in the lookout tower, or the “crow’s nest,” were not issued binoculars to better search for icebergs. Employees were not given the proper tools to use to do their job. Is your company using the right software for the job? Are you saving money on upgrading your operating system and software, but are losing customers? If you are losing customers, you’re NOT really saving any money at all. The right equipment can range from the very basic, such as issuing headphones that are compatible with the phone system to customer service representatives, to ensuring that a backup generator can adequately run due to a power outage. 3. Titanic had a total of 16 watertight compartments. Initially, it sounded fine, but unfortunately, each compartment did not hold water on its own. Every compartment was similar to an ice cube tray. When one compartment overflowed, water flowed into the next compartment. Each compartment did not completely seal off water on its own. Does your company have a good disaster recovery plan in place? If a flood or a fire struck the premises, would you be able to resume business operations in a matter of days or would it take a matter of months? Is your information that you have on site being sent off site so you CAN have another place to access your valuable information? 4. The Titanic was going at full speed at night in iceberg-infested waters. Are your machines at your business running at 100% capacity on a continuous basis? How much is downtime costing you when those machines need to be fixed? Are you REALLY saving money by not buying more machinery? Does the cost of more machinery outweigh the cost of your present machines’ downtime? 5. The Titanic did not heed to the many iceberg warnings. Titanic received six iceberg warnings on the day it sank! Is your sales force, customer service department and/or helpdesk REALLY listening to your customers? Sam Walton, the founder of Wal Mart, said that the most important person to an organization can be the one who greets that customers. Too many companies don’t even realize just how MUCH each person represents their company! There is WAY too much competition in the marketplace NOT to heed warnings. Industries like telecom, automobile, office supplies, soft drinks, and restaurant industries, just to name a few, had better take warnings seriously. Some companies might not get the luxury of six warnings that the Titanic got. Sometimes, only one warning can break a company. That’s why companies that DO encourage, and take seriously, customer feedback are invaluable and can be a gold mine. 6. The Titanic only had white flare guns to signal for help. Red is the standard color for a flare gun used to signal for help. When the Titanic was sinking, white flare guns were shot off from the ship. One or two ships many miles away say the white flares, but did not interpret the white flares as warning messages. Does your entity use the proper means of communication? Is it ensured that all of the parties involved completely understand what the other parties are saying? Many groups within an organization speak entirely different languages. Sales, technology and management translations may as similar to translating three different foreign languages. 7. Bruce Ismay, the president of White Star, pressured Captain Smith into unrealistic and dangerous goals. Ismay wanted the Titanic to arrive in New York on Tuesday, April 16th. In order to meet this goal, the ship would have to travel at full speed a majority of the time. The coercion from Ismay turned out to be dangerous due to the ship’s demise. Ismay’s level was similar to a CEO’s level. Is your company’s CEO and the rest of the management staff setting realistic goals? Are your managers providing bilateral communication? Feedback is vital to any company’s survival because many managers are not involved in day-to-day activities. 8. The two wireless operators’ priorities were not focused on the ship’s priorities. Many of the aristocrats in first class passage had paid both operators bonuses to wire messages to New York. One of the Titanic’s operators told another ship to “shut up” after being given another iceberg warning. It was a powerful rebuke that may have cost thousands of lives. Is your customer service department doing all it can to retain and acquire it customers? A polite and knowledgeable customer service representative can save the company thousands of dollars and maybe more! I have had the fortunate experience of dealing with many great customer service representatives. I have told many of the rep’s supervisors that I really appreciated their help as well and that they are lucky to have such great rep’s on their team. 9. The Titanic’s steel construction was never tested in cold temperature. The steel that made up ocean liners in the early 20th Century was brittle to begin with. Unfortunately, the steel was never stress-tested to determine what stress levels the structure could endure. Is adequate testing being done on your company’s products? Are your prototypes up to the challenges of customers’ demands? Are an automobile company’s crash tests being utilized to the fullest extent?

The great importance of doing business with ethics

For most people, money makes the world go round and business bears that money. Businessmen will perhaps do anything just to achieve the ultimate goal of having a business, and that is to earn income. Net profit or income financially means a surplus of sales or revenues after deducting costs and expenses. Whether you are engage in profession, occupation, work or trade, you are in business and you speak income. When you earn an income you suffer taxes, the worst nightmare for every income earners.

Income tax is your punishment of doing well in business. This sounds ridiculous but this is the reality, you pay when you earn. Because tax is legislative, noncompliance to this would results to crimes. This thing called income tax had already made billions of liars around the world. Some governments imposed taxes which are already too much to burden the flow of business. Others make tax laws that are already beyond the ability of taxpayers. However these facts must not result in the existence of enormous number of dishonest people in the world. Ethics in business rarely exists nowadays. Perhaps it is because for most people, profit will come without the need of business ethics.

This, I don’t agree. The word ethics is derived from the Greek word ethos, which means "character," and from the Latin word mores, which means "customs." According to the encyclopedia ethics is the branch of philosophy that defines what is good for the individual and for society and establishes the nature of obligations, or duties, that people owe themselves and one another. Maybe ethics is not needed to earn profit if you define profit or income as money. But deeply speaking, business is not just for money. Yes it is definitely for profit, but profit is not just financial profit. We need profit that will not just sustain our pocket or our stomach.

Significantly, we also need profits that will feed our hearts and soul. Considering that we are great businessmen, we should extend our minds to this principle. We need business ethics to earn these high valued profits. We must be concerned to the virtue of our character and to the common good.

Your business is not just for the survival of your life on Earth but it can also be your road to the survival of your soul. If you’re in business and had a company, you can help your employees by providing them enough salaries and other benefits that will make their lives better. You can be honest and pay your exact tax for the government who will eventually use it for your country’s development. (Assuming your government is straight and not corrupt) But don’t mind them, be honest even others are not. We are talking here your soul survival and not theirs. You can also serve your customers by providing them their needs and giving them convenience. Customer care is so important for your customers as also important for your business to earn public trust and loyalty.

If you build infrastructures for your company you contribute to the development of your place in terms of buildings and infrastructures. When you got ethics in business you practice fair business competition. Fair business competition is a challenge for every business to improve the qualities of their products and services, and the end benefits are to the consumers. Doing business with clean conscience is doing business with good night sleeps. It is also doing business with gladness of your heart and soul. Gratitude will come to you and you will become a stress free businessman if you do business with ethics. These and other spiritual profits will straightly come to you and the good thing on this is you are not taxed on this kind of profits.

As an extraordinary businessman, you do not only set your long-term goals for 10 years or for a life time. You must also consider eternity and set goals to achieve profits that will benefit your soul. You need profits that last forever, profits that will give us everlasting life and happiness, and profits that will earn us the key to heaven. These profits will benefits us in the short run, midterm run, long run and eternal run, as God is great from the beginning and unto the never-ending.

Do business and believe in God. Building our business in God’s place is like building it in rocks which are in great foundations. Let us be kind and grateful to our employees as they are our best assets. Let’s give them bread and they will give us a ham sandwich. Let us have huge care to our customers as they are our best revenue generators. Let’s give them good price, high quality products and best services and they will give us their respect and loyalty. Let us be fair to our competitors as they are our great motivators. Let us give them fair game and they will give us the true meaning of winning. Let us be thankful to our Father Almighty God as He is our greatest business partner. Let’s serve Him and He will give us joy and peace of mind.

Fbi raids pertinent or paranoid

Business always moves faster than government ... It's no surprise that a great deal of lawmakers' time is spent reacting to advances in commerce and science. It's also no surprise that one of their favorite tactics is to call on their enforcement agencies to bring scrutiny against any topic about which they're struggling to understand. We're now seeing this applied against at least two e-currency operations. One of them, INT Gold, saw their head offices in Texas raided by the FBI in December. No arrests were made and no disclosures were presented to indicate the reason for their actions. The only auspices mentioned were that they were pursuing an ongoing fraud investigation. It's now been over a month and nothing further has happened.

At roughly the same time, e-Gold was also served with a search warrant. It seems the justification was petty --- they allegedly didn't have a 'required' currency-exchange license --- and they were upset enough to place the following posting on their website: e-gold® welcomes US Government review of its status as a privately issued currency January 20, 2006 "Starting in mid-December 2005, Gold & Silver Reserve, Inc. (G&SR), contractual Operator and primary dealer for e-gold, has been the subject of a warranted search of its premises and records, had its domestic bank accounts frozen, and been the target of a precisely timed, extraordinarily misleading attack by a major business publication. "In an emergency hearing in US District Court January 13, 2006, the freeze order on G&SR's bank accounts was lifted. Though numerous criminal claims had been made in obtaining the search and seizure warrants, the Government has not sustained these allegations and the only remaining claim is a contention that G&SR has operated as a currency exchange without the proper license. G&SR had previously proposed to the Government that e-gold be classified for regulatory purposes as a currency, enabling G&SR to register as a currency exchange. In a Treasury report released January 11, 2006, however, the Department of Treasury reaffirmed their interpretation of the USC and CFR definitions of currency as excluding e-gold. "G&SR, for nearly a year, has been engaged with an agency of Treasury in a BSA (Bank Secrecy Act) compliance examination it had voluntarily initiated. G&SR, though preferring that the venue was not a courtroom, welcomes the opportunity to extend its discussions with the Government on how best to achieve appropriate statutory or regulatory cognizance of e-gold while continuing to build e-gold's market share as a medium of international commerce. "Despite the unfounded charges and adverse misleading publicity that have severely damaged both e-gold and G&SR, G&SR has continued to meet all financial obligations and remain completely operational. e-gold remains highly committed to its goal of bringing, for the first time in history, to people of any financial means across the globe, a secure payment mechanism at a fraction of the cost of any other system. e-gold fully expects to transcend the unfortunate events of the past month and resume its exponential growth. "Further information can be found at: e-gold. com omnipay. com treas. gov/press/releases/reports/js3077_01112005_MLTA. pdf" The proactive approach by e-Gold should be applauded. INT Gold should have done the same thing. If more of the public only knew how many times search papers were served on financial institutions for one reason or another, they'd no doubt be as skeptical as I am about the publicity the authorities have given their actions against these two e-currency companies. Let's consider how authorities move against major banks when wrongdoing is suspected. One characteristic which becomes quickly evident is that any releases issued by the investigating authorities have always been very specific in their nature, because major banks have enough financial and political clout to strike back at anything less. An example of a precisely identified transgression is the Citigroup private banking scandal in Tokyo in 2004. The Japanese authorities said the bank helped clients manipulate accounting records through improper real estate transactions, failed to process tax refunds for clients and mismanaged customers’ confidential information. As a result, they ordered Citigroup's Japanese private banking operations to close, but took measures to ensure all unaffected investors would be minimally affected while they moved their accounts. Rarely, total loss to depositors happens. The Silverado collapse in Colorado sent Charles Keating to prison for what should be a thousand life terms, as more people than that lost their life savings. It's notable that this occurred in what was a laissez-faire junk bond scenario. Raids only receive mention when it serves the authorities' purposes to do so. One reason for this is because the searches and/or seizures don't yield sufficient results to merit charges being filed. There can exist a vast gray area in modern financial activities, and when the fine print of a certain situation is scrutinized, it often occurs that, perhaps those activities have sailed close to the legal wind, but they did not take the airs of disrepute. It remains to be seen what they're investigating at INT Gold. As opposed to their treatment of major banks, the nature of the authorities' announcement of this raid was quite vague, which I'm sure was by design. So, the issue is one of whom they were attempting to stir. However, American law says the parties involved are innocent until proven guilty, so they should duly be accorded that right. Until the entire story comes to light, it's improper to cast aspersions. After all, as with most raids at major banks that go unpublicized, it may be that the transgressor is not the company, but a client who has abused its privileges within that company's facilities. The e-currency investigations are surely a result, in part, of one government's indecision as to how to regulate e-currencies within their borders when those currencies are neither fiat nor necessarily domiciled within those borders. This reminds me of broadcasting's early days, when the Feds were perplexed about how to best cope with radio signals that only obeyed the laws of physics and thus had the ability to cross state lines without governmental permission. As ridiculous as that sounds today, the thought of a particular technology being more advanced than political and/or geographical delineations was of deep concern to them. It ultimately took nearly 15 years for the American government to create the Federal Communications Commission to cope with such an 'advanced' business as interstate broadcasting. Given the fact that e-currencies are privately generated and administered, and given that no central monitoring system exists to aid in their regulation, it is no surprise under the current environment of American laws to now see a bustle of authoritarian attention directed toward them. Until they are able to determine a palatable policy, the best they can do is assume a self-righteous position in the interests of 'consumer protection' and cast aspersions by means of rationalization. It's not particularly fair, but as we've seen in related online forums, it's quite effective. Hopefully, the issue will be settled in a much more expeditious manner than it was in broadcasting.

Sexual harassment training

One of the more significant pieces of California legislation that went into effect on January 1, 2005, was AB 1825. This law requires employers with 50 or more employees to provide two hours of sexual harassment training and education to all supervisory employees by the end of 2005. It also mandates that these employees will receive sexual harassment training and education once every two years after January 1, 2006. It is important to note that temporary employees, independent contractors and workers outside of the state of California are not excluded in the 50-employee tally. Be sure you count every employee before you decide this legislation doesn’t apply to your company. Scope of the training: Your company’s sexual harassment training should include “information and practical guidance” about all federal and state sexual harassment laws. The information provided should include: · Prevention of harassment · Correction of harassment · Remedies available to victims · Practical examples aimed at prevention of harassment, discrimination and retaliation In addition, the law mandates that “trainers or educators with knowledge and expertise in the prevention of harassment, discrimination and retaliation” should provide the training. In other words, you’ll need someone with legitimate credentials to administer the training. Other considerations · Because the law includes language like “interactive,” most experts warn that merely turning on a training video will not bring an employer into compliance. Instead, there must be some interaction between the presenter and those who are being trained, such as a question and answer session, or some role-playing. Interactive Internet training should also be acceptable. · Keep a record of compliance, including documentation that all supervisors (or anyone who performs supervisory functions) participated. A “roll” that includes the signatures of the participants is one option. For Internet training, require a signed receipt. · Develop a means to monitor future compliance and ensure that new supervisors are trained within six months of hire/promotion (and every two years thereafter). · Update all of your current policies, employee handbooks, or other procedures to be sure they refer to the training as an expectation. · Make sure that all executives are aware of the requirement. For assistance in this area contact AmCheck at 888-AMCHECK. Source: “New California Law Mandates Anti-Harassment Prevention Training for Supervisors.” Jackson Lewis law firm. October 1, 2004. http:// jacksonlewis. com/legalupdates/article. cfm? aid=639

Professional ethics

There are many professions in the world that require strong will, stamina and courage to get occupied. Thousands of policemen, doctors, firemen, rescue teams save people every minute. Graduating form the University and mastering one of the professions mentioned above you think only about successful application of your knowledge in practice. A couple of years after you become a famous doctor, an honorary resident and a dedicated family man. But then one accident in your practice turns your life upside down and makes you reconsider your system of values and personal code of ethics. Racing towards the hospital in the middle of the night, you think about what you are going to see. Entering a room, you see one of your patients lying down with eyes closed. A sense of guilt overwhelms you, when you hear colleagues’ words “No hope”. The situation drove you to the choice you need to make: either to shut down the apparatus of support and release a patient from suffering on his way to death or do nothing in order to save good name you acquired during your practice.

Leaving the room, you start going back to your student years where the problem of euthanasia was discussed frequently. What was your attitude? Of course you thought of this way out as of unacceptable an inhumane as most of people think. Did you really give a problem a good thought being a student?

Obviously it never occurred to you that you may appear in front of a choice like that. And now, having a reputation of a professional, what are you to choose? Euthanasia is determined as an act of merciful killing that releases a person from suffering. Now this term has to be specified, because the specialists of Middle Ages released their patients not only form physical but also from spiritual sufferings. Nowadays obligations of doctors are limited by law and in some states euthanasia is prohibited by law, unless one of he family members presents a request that is further investigated.

There are several moral aspects of such a decision. On one hand there are Ten Commandments of the Holy Bible, one of which states “Do not kill”. After humanism was established as a philosophical current, some consider euthanasia a crime. On the other hand there are words of Hippocrates that pleads to help the needy regardless their position in the society.

If nothing but sufferings awaits a person on a short way to death, why should a doctor who understands the situation let someone be tortured? Isn’t it even crueler than killing somebody? These are moral aspects of the problem, but the code of professional ethics requires action and you are to make the choice. Only after you consider everything and make the right decision you deserve to be called a professional and be respected even more.

Corporate crime

: Corporate crime? I'm not sure that there is such a thing. If we want to reduce the crimes that are given that lable, we need to quit handing out large punitive fines to corporations. The idea isn't as radical as it sounds. First of all, when I say that there isn't such a thing as corporate crime, I simply mean that it is always individual people who commit crimes. With that in mind, you can imagine what my better way to reduce this crime is: Go after the criminals! Who Pays For Corporate Crime? Exactly who pays when a large corporation is fined for breaking the law? To begin with, the stockholders pay. Many of these are innocent retirees who have money invested with the company and had no idea they were breaking the law. Then the employees pay with the loss of jobs, if the financial situation of the company is damaged by the fines. Who doesn't pay? Just the criminals - the individuals who chose to break the law. All crimes are committed by PEOPLE, not companies.

When a company dumps poisons into the environment, a PERSON made the decision to do that (or several people). When a company steals from a pension fund or violates workers rights, INDIVIDUALS made those decisions. People commit corporate crime, not corporations! If you want to stop corporate crime, start putting the individuals who are involved in the crime in PRISON. Our current system often has company officers making cost/benefit calculations as to whether the profits from certain crimes are greater than what the occasional fines add up to. Even though laws are broken, they stand little chance of being held personally responsible. Why not hold them responsible?

To fine companies for the actual costs imposed on others by a crime is appropriate. We have to clean up toxic messes, and in other cases compensate those who suffer damages. This also means that shareholders have a reason to be careful in who they elect to the board of directors. However, "punitive" fines are ridiculous unless they are levied against the individual criminals. Make the person who committed the crime pay the fine. Is this such a radical idea? I don't think so! By the way, which do you think is more likely to deter a corporate officer from committing a crime, a fine that is paid by the company, and doesn't even affect his salary, or ten years in jail?

The answer to that gives us the answer to corporate crime.

Ethics leadership in business development

In the 25 + years of working with some of the best people in Business Development within the power generation industry, we have found some unique characteristics that separate these individuals from the rest. It doesn’t seem to matter what organization they work for, or the services, the client base or the economic climate. We find that these individuals are in fact the top 3% of the professionals in their field. In addition to learning to think as CEO’s, Presidents, entrepreneurial leaders of Business Development units, we’ve discovered they have acquired the behavioral characteristics of a leader. They have learned how to set strategic and operational objectives in putting together plans, how to be visionaries and see opportunities for their organizations that other individuals may miss, and in the role of Business Development, they have mastered the 12 Core Competencies, a benchmark to measure leaders. One of the most compelling definitions of a leader is an individual whose mere presence inspires the desire to follow.

When asked if leaders are born or bred, the general consensus is that leadership can be taught. While few of us have had the opportunity to be formally trained or mentored in leadership, all of us are called to be a leader at different times and circumstances in our lives. Leadership is first about who you are as an individual, not what you do, and the term character best describes the core characteristic of a leader. It is this part of an individual that inspires other to follow, so we see character as the summation of an individual’s principles and values, core beliefs by which one anchors and measures their behavior in all roles in life.

Principles and values of a positive leader include loyalty, respect, integrity, courage, fairness, honesty, duty, honor and commitment. If character is the summation of our principles and values, then ethics is the application of them. To understand more about character development, we can reach back nearly 2500 years to the writings of Aristotle in Nicomachean Ethics. Aristotle taught that moral virtue is acquired by practice. Ethics, according to Aristotle, is moral virtue that comes about as a result of habit. Ethics has as its root ethike, formed by the slight variation of the word ethos (habit).

Aristotle explained that moral virtues do not arise in us by nature; we must accept them, embrace them and perfect them by habit. Leadership training emphasizes that understanding leader values and attributes is only the first step in development. A leader must also embrace values and practice attributes, living them until they become a habit. In the Business Development role, success requires a fusion of who we are as an individual, along with our principles, values, ethics and their application.

It’s a unique combination of what we know, how we apply it and what we do. Bill Scheessele is CEO/Founder of MBDi, a Business Development consultancy based in Charlotte, North Carolina. For the past 27 years, MBDi has assisted client firms in leveraging their high level expertise into bottom line business. Information on the company and the MBDi Business Development Process™ access: mbdi. com.

Approaches to care in physician assisted suicide

There is a growing interest in suicide. When people start looking for more information about suicide, you'll be in a position to meet their needs. This article is a brief description of much information on this subject. Let's start with 3 levels to discern in the act of euthanasia. There are three levels to discern in the act of euthanasia: 1. One is a patient who is comatose or brain dead. In these cases the doctor is asked to “pull the plug,” or remove the patient from mechanical life support. These cases are generally not challenged by the general public. It is an act of withdrawing or withholding necessary mechanisms used to sustain a life that cannot sustain itself. It is here that the recognition of one’s personality is gone and the shell of a body is all that remains. 2. Another act of euthanasia involves the use of morphine to hospitalized patients in the painful final stages of her or his life with diseases such as cancer and AIDS. 3. The last category of euthanasia is patients in relatively good health and at the beginning of a terminal illness wishing to end their lives. Such cases as Alzheimer’s and Cancer preclude patients to want information on PAS. This is the most controversial of the three issues involved in euthanasia. Euthanasia originated from the Greek language meaning “good death.” It is the intentional termination of a life by another person capable of doing so by the request of the person wanting to die. Here are a few terms that one needs to know in PAS that define actions taking place. Passive Euthanasia is the hastening of a death by means of altering some form of support and letting nature take its course. This can include; removing life support equipment, stopping medical treatment or procedures, stopping food and water consumption which leads to dehydration or starving to death, and withholding CPR (Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation). The most common use of PAS is to give patients large doses of morphine to control pain. It is most likely that the pain relief will suppress respiration and cause death earlier than it would have otherwise happened. This is also done on patients who are in a persistive vegetative state or patients not able to regain consciousness due to brain damage. Active Euthanasia is the use of intentional means to cause the death of a person through a direct action. Dr. Jack Kevorkian, a Michigan physician made this well known in 1998 with a patient who had ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease). His patient was afraid of the long suffering involved in ALS and wanted to die a quick and painless death. Dr. Kevorkian injected controlled substances into this patient and caused death. Kevorkian was charged with 1st degree murder, but the jury found him guilty of 2nd degree murder in March of 1999. Physician Assisted Suicide is the provision of information or means to a dying patient with the intent to commit suicide. Involuntary Euthanasia is the ending of a life without a patient clearly requesting it. “There are many reasons why patients want to utilize PAS. Some are simply clinically depressed, of which, one’s illness has brought on or one’s emotional and mental processing of their illness has led to suffering in ways beyond the body. Others live in chronic pain-due to lack of healthcare coverage or means to obtain medication. This later group would rather die early and not incur medical expenses on those they leave behind. A serious disorder or disease such as: ASL, Huntington’s Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, AIDS, Alzheimer’s, etc. are just some of the illnesses people would rather avoid losing their independence and finances over. In some ways, this gives people a feeling of control over the process of their lives.” Samuel Oliver, author of, "What the Dying Teach Us: Lessons on Living" For more on this author; http:// soulandspirit. org

Giveaways by web site draw in consumers

Toy surprises buried in cereal boxes or in bags of popular snacks have been a marketing tactic for as long as package goods have been sold in supermarkets. Most people probably can't even imagine a Cracker Jack box without a prize inside. Giveaways are not just for kids; adults have long participated in incentive giveaways ranging from a free tote with the purchase of makeup or perfume at a department store, to $500 gift cards with a new account at the local bank. All of these giveaways are designed to entice the consumer to try particular brands and services. Recognizing the power of free offers to drive consumer purchases, NetFree Direct LLC, a leading Internet marketing company, has taken the concept to the next level. Through the company's Web site, consumers can obtain a variety of rewards including mobile phones, flat-screen TVs, laptops, PlayStations and other game consoles, digital cameras, gift cards and more, simply by completing advertisers' surveys and signing up for subscriptions and free trial offers. The Web site is sponsored by well-known advertisers such as BMG, Blockbuster, Netflix, Discover Card, USA Today, Disney and hundreds of others. Upon registration, consumers are directed to a special area of the site where they can complete advertisers' surveys and sign up for subscriptions or free trials and redeem their rewards. Trials or subscriptions can be canceled without obligation.

Trying to define criminal law

We hear about law everyday whether we realize it or not. It's in our Government, in our work, and even in our houses. One type of law is Criminal law, which is also known as Penal law. This is "The body of statutory and common law that deals with crime and the legal punishment of criminal offenses." Inside of criminal law there is four major theories of criminal justice: - Punishment - Deterrence - Incapacitation - Rehabilitation This form of law is essential in many cases because it can distinguis between crimes from civil wrongs. Criminal law has been around for ages, and is seeing as the fundamental system of regulating the behavior of individuals and groups relatively to what is defined as the social norms. This differs between civil crimes, where the difference is between two individuals and their individual rights and obligations under the law which is ruling the entire society. An example of a civil law case is a dispute between two individuals over a contract that they made to for example sell an automobile. In that case one individual feels that their individual rights for a fair automobile sale have been breached by the other party. Where as in a criminal case, you would have for example a murderer, who is infringing on the right of safety that we all have. Given those two examples I'm sure you can appreciate how important Criminal law is, and the important role that it plays in everyone of our societies.

Community vs the loner

I am sure that you have heard the phrase "safety in numbers" before. In the animal world, creatures travel in groups because they instinctively know that, when there are many of them, predators have less of a chance of being successful during an attack. In most cases, if a predator is successful, its victim is usually a sick or weaker member of the herd. This is an important part of the process of natural selection and maintains the process of survival of many species. On the other hand, there are predators that travel in packs because they instinctively know that in the search for prey, some potential meals have the ability to defend themselves, and a group attack is usually more effective. This too ensures the survival of the species because, without the pack, some predators would literally starve to death. In the large corporate world, herds and packs are replaced by boards of directors, employee teams, shareholders, and subsidiaries. These are groups of people who come together to pool their abilities in support of the agenda or goals of the corporation. In essence this ensures the future success of the business.

In the large corporate world, failing companies are often absorbed by successful ones in mergers and through acquisitions. Rarely does a large company just "go out of business" or become extinct. They are usually simply bought by another large company. In the small business world, the entrepreneur is the animal who has wandered away from the herd. Sometimes it happens because of unemployment, but often it is because they have a desire to be independent from the politics of the corporation, or simply to be self-sufficient.

Fortunately for the small business owner, a community exists where they can count on others to help them to be successful. It is the community of business-to-business networking. Not all small business owners are aware of the opportunities of success involved in business networking. In fact, if I were to make a guess at how many businesses are involved in networking, I would guess the number to be around less than 10 percent of all businesses. This is unfortunate because not only is there a great deal of opportunity for acquiring more new business in the networking environment, there are also methods of learning to be more successful and to be a bit safer in the business community. Why would I link safety in numbers, animals and small business?

Because in the business world at large, predators exist. Corporations have learned that a part of doing business is putting measures of security in place through patents, copyrights, server firewalls, policies, and a myriad of other functions that occur on a daily basis often with employees dedicated to these. In the environment of small business, we often are not even aware of the threats and if we are, rarely do we have the means within our budget to protect ourselves against them. Let me ask you a question.

Have you ever done work for someone who refused to or simply never paid you? If you have never had this experience, I applaud your extreme streak of good luck. On the other hand, maybe you have not been in business for very long so this painful experience may be looming on the horizon. In any case, when this does happen to you, what will you do? Contact the lawyer? File suit? Complain to a friend? Accept it and move on? Most people tend to simply accept it and move on. Some cases may involve inventory that you can write it off as a loss on your taxes, but some cases involve intellectual property where there is no monetary resolution. The sad reality is that often there is no justice for you, no satisfaction, and ultimately no payment. When one opens the figurative doors of their small business, they do so with a lot of enthusiasm. To maintain the daily pressures of meeting expenses requires a great deal of positive mental attitude.

It means that even when things are tough, you have to be upbeat, and forge ahead in order to survive. This world of positive attitude dictates that we eliminate negative thoughts so that we can remain focused on our goals. In fact as communities of small business owners develop, it is almost an unspoken rule that negativity be eliminated from conversation on every level. After all you would not want to admit to a prospective client that things are not going well and you are going to have to file bankruptcy if you don't close this deal. In the same vein, as the predator attacks the small business owner and feeds upon them, the entrepreneur is reluctant to talk about this negative experience. In some cases, the predator is working within the peer group of the victim. As the predator continues to feed, several members of the group may have fallen victim, but because of the fear of reprisal among the group for saying negative things about another "nice" member of the group, they remain silent. They are afraid that if they say anything negative about the predator, that they themselves will be viewed in a negative way. People are afraid of being accused of slandering another. They are afraid that no one will believe that this person has really done what they are accused of and that it will further damage their own reputation if they become vocal. Have you ever felt this way? Has this happened to you? I am willing to bet that there are those reading this who feel the same way. The truth is in my opinion, and this is simply my opinion, that as long as the predator is allowed to continue to function in a group, they will continue to do harm to individuals within the group. After they have victimized a good portion of the group, they simply move on. So how can we change this, how can we stop it? Is it just a question of taking responsibility to protect the others? Does it have to be a matter of risking our own reputation to try to protect others? Until we change the paradigm of responsibility and belief, the predator will continue on, business as usual. Until we can find it acceptable to hear the honest truth about someone who appears to be a "nice" person, the predator will continue to thrive in our midst. There is safety in numbers unless we have blinders on. Without the ability to voice the experiences we have without tainting our own reputation, we will continue to suffer our losses.

Profit shouldn t be a dirty word in material handling

Nobody benefits when profit is eliminated from the economic equation. With the economy on the mend, a lot of people in the material handling industry are expecting good times without having to make any changes in the way they do business. Unfortunately, that means the continuation of one particular practice that played a major role in getting the economy in trouble a few years back. When the "dot. coms" were flying high, they experienced rapid growth by the simple method of offering impossibly low prices and constant expansion into markets about which they knew nothing. They operated at a loss for years on end, promising investors that it would all turn around when they had achieved sufficient market share.

Eventually, of course, this "lose a little on each deal but make it up in volume" business model blew up in their faces. The balloons popped, one by one, and the economy followed them down the tube. In the material handling industry, this discredited business model is still very much in evidence. Too many companies have played the merger game, getting themselves involved in markets that they know nothing about.

Too many have played the numbers game, moving money from one pocket to another to make themselves look good for one more quarter (this is called managing for stockholder value), totally forgetting about long-range planning. Worst of all, too many companies have bought into the concept of forgoing profits in pursuit of market share, with the idea of becoming profitable once the competition is eliminated. It's called "buying a job," meaning submitting a bid that allows for little or no profit. Theoretically, this has two benefits. It gets you the job, which makes your sales figures (if not your profits) look impressive. More importantly, for some people, it prevents your competition from getting the job. But let's look at the downside. Without profits, you have no money to invest in research and development, capital expenditures, etc. Your growth is all on paper, and will disappear as soon as you run out of money to buy jobs with. With minimal profit margins, you have neither the money nor the inclination to service the sale after it is made. The result is an unhappy customer, and that is never good news for the long term prospects of your company. Finally, let's say that your strategy of underbidding the competition works, and your nearest competitor goes bankrupt. What happens? Somebody buys his assets for 25 cents on the dollar and opens a new business. Since his initial investment was so low, he can undercut your prices. You haven't eliminated competition, you've made it worse. Profit is not a dirty word. Nobody -- least of all the customer -- benefits when profit is eliminated from the economic equation. I'm not saying we shouldn't be looking for efficiencies that will allow us to keep prices down while maintaining a reasonable profit margin. Of course the customer benefits from lower prices, but the economy in general and the material handling industry in particular will be much healthier when we all admit to wanting our fair share. If you're satisfied with a 3% profit, I suggest you buy a government bond. It's safer.

Ethically sourced flowers

Flowers epitomise emotion and can have a very beneficial impact on people. They are sent to communicate their feelings to their nearest and dearest. Wouldn’t it be even better if people were able to confidently buy sustainable, ethically-sourced flowers to communicate their feelings? After all, ethical commitment is an emotion as well! However, buying sustainable, ethical flowers is a niche activity in the UK, with only a handful of florists offering produce which is truly ethically sourced. First of all, some numbers: The total market for cut flowers and house plants in the UK is estimated to be Ј2.2 Billion and is expected to exceed Ј3 Billion by 2011. Despite the incursion of mutiple alternatives including gifts, chocolates and wines, people are still saying it with flowers, although the UK lags behind the rest of Europe in annual per capita spend on flowers. There is a perennial debate regarding industry standards for flowers, as consumers have historically been confronted with confusing symbols of ethical quality. The Kenyan Flower Council which accounts for much of the imports into the UK, is governed by Fair Trade, which regulates the code of conduct for more than 1,000 farms in Kenya, although only about 25 large farms supply over 75% of Kenya’s flower exports. Ever since its introduction to the flower industry in 1999, Fair Trade has done an excellent job of supporting more than 10,000 workers in developing nations, by setting ethical standards to improve working environments. However, in the intervening years the industry has grown considerably and the competitive landscape has evolved. In particular, fair trade initiatives tend to work best in highly fragmented industries such as fruits and vegetables, which are crowded with numerous small producers, but less well in more consolidated industries, such as the flower industry. This is because fair trade initiatives can benefit larger organisations disproportionately, thus effectively disadvantaging the development of smaller producers within the competitive environment. Fair Flowers Fair Plants (FFP) is a European initiative which addresses historic shortcomings by creating a level playing field for all producers by setting uniform, global standards. One of the unique features of FFP is its emphasis on auditing the entire supply chain to regulate the use of pesticides, land, energy and the working environment. Furthermore, it also offers flexibility to florists to source their produce either from flower auctions or directly, through FFP compliant growers. This latter approach guarantees fresher floral produce, reduced wastage and a happier customer (key!). In the longer term, FFP’s aim is to unify all existing standards to make it simple for growers, traders and consumers. As in all free markets, if there is demonstrable consumer demand then that will stimulate growth in supply. If no-one wants FFP-accredited flowers, then they simply won’t be grown. It is estimated that 18.1 million Fair Trade stems were sold in the UK in 2005 so there are clearly people willing to buy ethically-sourced flowers. The challenge for FFP is to get into the national consciousness when Fair Trade is already the de facto standard in most peoples’ minds. One thing that people most love to hear is that FFP-accredited flowers typically cost no more than non FFP flowers; so being a good egg doesn’t have to mean a dent in your pocket as well!

Anarchy as an organizing principle

The recent spate of accounting fraud scandals signals the end of an era. Disillusionment and disenchantment with American capitalism may yet lead to a tectonic ideological shift from laissez faire and self regulation to state intervention and regulation. This would be the reversal of a trend dating back to Thatcher in Britain and Reagan in the USA. It would also cast some fundamental - and way more ancient - tenets of free-marketry in grave doubt. Markets are perceived as self-organizing, self-assembling, exchanges of information, goods, and services. Adam Smith's "invisible hand" is the sum of all the mechanisms whose interaction gives rise to the optimal allocation of economic resources. The market's great advantages over central planning are precisely its randomness and its lack of self-awareness. Market participants go about their egoistic business, trying to maximize their utility, oblivious of the interests and action of all, bar those they interact with directly. Somehow, out of the chaos and clamor, a structure emerges of order and efficiency unmatched.

Man is incapable of intentionally producing better outcomes. Thus, any intervention and interference are deemed to be detrimental to the proper functioning of the economy. It is a minor step from this idealized worldview back to the Physiocrats, who preceded Adam Smith, and who propounded the doctrine of "laissez faire, laissez passer" - the hands-off battle cry. Theirs was a natural religion. The market, as an agglomeration of individuals, they thundered, was surely entitled to enjoy the rights and freedoms accorded to each and every person. John Stuart Mill weighed against the state's involvement in the economy in his influential and exquisitely-timed "Principles of Political Economy", published in 1848. Undaunted by mounting evidence of market failures - for instance to provide affordable and plentiful public goods - this flawed theory returned with a vengeance in the last two decades of the past century.

Privatization, deregulation, and self-regulation became faddish buzzwords and part of a global consensus propagated by both commercial banks and multilateral lenders. As applied to the professions - to accountants, stock brokers, lawyers, bankers, insurers, and so on - self-regulation was premised on the belief in long-term self-preservation. Rational economic players and moral agents are supposed to maximize their utility in the long-run by observing the rules and regulations of a level playing field. This noble propensity seemed, alas, to have been tampered by avarice and narcissism and by the immature inability to postpone gratification.

Self-regulation failed so spectacularly to conquer human nature that its demise gave rise to the most intrusive statal stratagems ever devised. In both the UK and the USA, the government is much more heavily and pervasively involved in the minutia of accountancy, stock dealing, and banking than it was only two years ago. But the ethos and myth of "order out of chaos" - with its proponents in the exact sciences as well - ran deeper than that. The very culture of commerce was thoroughly permeated and transformed. It is not surprising that the Internet - a chaotic network with an anarchic modus operandi - flourished at these times. The dotcom revolution was less about technology than about new ways of doing business - mixing umpteen irreconcilable ingredients, stirring well, and hoping for the best. No one, for instance, offered a linear revenue model of how to translate "eyeballs" - i. e., the number of visitors to a Web site - to money ("monetizing"). It was dogmatically held to be true that, miraculously, traffic - a chaotic phenomenon - will translate to profit - hitherto the outcome of painstaking labour. Privatization itself was such a leap of faith. State owned assets - including utilities and suppliers of public goods such as health and education - were transferred wholesale to the hands of profit maximizers. The implicit belief was that the price mechanism will provide the missing planning and regulation. In other words, higher prices were supposed to guarantee an uninterrupted service. Predictably, failure ensued - from electricity utilities in California to railway operators in Britain. The simultaneous crumbling of these urban legends - the liberating power of the Net, the self-regulating markets, the unbridled merits of privatization - inevitably gave rise to a backlash. The state has acquired monstrous proportions in the decades since the Second world War. It is about to grow further and to digest the few sectors hitherto left untouched. To say the least, these are not good news. But we libertarians - proponents of both individual freedom and individual responsibility - have brought it on ourselves by thwarting the work of that invisible regulator - the market.

Your lenders are spying on your clients

As mortgage brokers we are always in jeopardy of losing our customers to the lenders we work with. We deal with our clients for a short amount of time, but the lender is in constant communication with them for years. And whenever your customers are asked who their mortgage company is, they will usually answer the name of their lender. Some lenders are better at stealing our clients then others. As a real estate investor I have had loans with several different lenders. One of my properties had a loan from a lender called JB Nutter. This was a small bank that did a very poor job of marketing itself to its customers. I would hear from them 3 times a year.

Once to send me a coupon book for the year, another to tell me how much interest I paid that year for my taxes, and another to tell me about how much money was in my escrow account. They never once tried to offer me a refinance. My current mortgage for my residence is with Countrywide. These guys know their stuff. They mail me a statement every month. And in every statement is an offer to refinance or get a line of credit, or insurance. They are always politely selling something. And if that weren't enough, they mail me every couple months or so more offers to refinance or tap some equity.

But at least they are not as sneaky as World Savings Bank. One of my investment properties had one of their loans. They now have hooked up with the credit bureaus so that whenever someone with one of their loans gets their credit checked by a mortgage company or lender, they get notified. I like getting my credit checked every 3 months, and with my own mortgage company all it takes is a couple keystrokes of my computer. Imagine my surprise when I got a call at home from a World Savings rep asking me if I was thinking about refinancing. He told me he knew I had my credit checked by a mortgage company and that they were ready to give me a better offer then whatever I was getting, They have a whole division of telemarketers who do nothing but call their loan holders who are getting their credit checked by other mortgage companies. So even if you get a client a World Savings loan, and that client comes back to you later for a refi, you are now going to have to compete with World Savings for this customer. Pisses you off doesn't it? And you can bet that now that one lender is doing this, others will follow suit,. So what do we as mortgage brokers do about this? Simple, we form close relationships with our clients, that basically makes them immune to any sales pitch by any other lender or mortgage company. I call it the "silent force field". We need to use every tool at our disposal to make sure that once a person becomes a client we never let them go. I outline the "silent force field' completely in our Referrals on Demand product, but I will lay out some guidelines for you here. 1. You must stay in contact with them on a regular basis. Once a month minimum The easiest way to do this is through a monthly newsletter. Outsource this to a newsletter company and they will handle the production, printing, and mailing of the newsletter to your clients every month. 2. WOW your clients as soon as you can. Come up with a creative way to make a great impression on your clients. Here's an example. There is dentist in Australia who was tired of having customers be afraid to see him. So he completely changed his office. Now instead of a regular dentist office, it looks more like someone's living room. There is the aroma of fresh baked cinnamon buns in the air, (sugar free) that can be enjoyed with coffee or tea. There is no receptionist sitting there with the little window that they keep closing on you. This dentist now has a referral only practice, where the only way to work with him, is if you know someone who already works with him, and they give you a referral. 3. Get to know your clients and let them get to know you. Show your personality. Let them know about your family. Keep them informed about how your kids are doing in school. Remember, you do not want to seem like their bank. You want to seem like a family friend that happens to do mortgages. Have customer appreciation parties. Have house warming parties. Have a grand birthday party for yourself every year. Give yourself excuses to call your clients and get to know them socially. 4. Start a blog and write about whatever you want. Invite your clients to visit often and provide feedback. 5. Become a customer of your clients. If one of your clients owns a dry cleaners, get your clothes cleaned there. Reward them for doing business with you by doing business with them. 6. Get your clients to network amongst themselves. Create a referral club. Your dry cleaner client can go to your dentist client when his teeth hurt. And if you make the referral you look even better. These are just a few ideas to help you keep your customers. People do business with people they like. By forming relationships with your past clients you can make sure they keep coming back to you.

The quickest way to get is to give

It’s true. You can’t really get what you want in life until you have given it to others. Doesn’t sound like it makes much sense, does it? How can you give what you don’t have? As you open your mind to the possibility and ask this question of yourself, you allow opportunity to come to you and knock at your door. Then you will find a way that it is possible to give to others what you want, before receiving it yourself. It almost sounds like a chain letter and in a way it is. The chain letter is a facetious reference as so many of us have been exposed to them by now and know they are illegitimate scams. Yet the basic principles are: you give before you receive, and you give with the faith and expectation of receiving. A similar modern example can be seen in the film ‘Pay It Forward’.

By giving to others, you allow good things to happen to you. And this all boils down to the simple law of attraction. The law of attraction is like any other law of nature, like gravity. And like gravity, it is not one that has been generally ‘discovered’ yet. As a result, most of us are walking around thinking in a completely disordered paradigm. Disordered paradigms of thought are displayed over and over in history, and discoveries of natural laws and observations of reality have brought order to transform the mistaken beliefs that had been accepted for fact.

You can think of many examples, such as the belief that the world is flat, or the belief that we are at the center of the universe. Or the great changes that resulted as a discovery of the force of electricity and harnessing its natural power. In this same way, we are able to make a change in our own disordered thought patterns. Right now 99% of us are probably dissatisfied. Dissatisfaction means larger life is seeking to be expressed through us, and it is being blocked.

Self-sabotage is a very real process working in the invisible realms of the unconscious mind. The good news is there are a lot of simple, small but powerful techniques you can use to reprogram that all powerful unconscious mind of yours, to order your own life as you want it. Yes, there IS a way to eliminate the chaos in your life, and it starts within. It starts by eliminating the often unseen chaos in your own mind. The technique in this article is only one of a vast array that you can use on a daily basis to improve your life dramatically.

In this article you are learning how to use the law of attraction to attract to yourself what you want. The law of attraction, like gravity, is undefiable. You will attract what you are sending out. Your thoughts are real in the world of attraction. If your mind is resonating with patterns of anxiety, stress, anger, sadness, envy, grief, or any other negative emotion, you will be attracting more of the same in your life. One step you can take to change this is to focus on giving to others before you receive yourself. In this way you are changing your vibration and your focus.

And you open yourself to receive what you had been closing off before. It is very simple to give. Give of what you have, and everyone has something to give. We all have innate value to offer the world.

An abiding philosophy in the law of attraction is to always offer an increase in value, to give back more in value than you receive in money. In this way you continue to give more than you get and attract more and larger life back to yourself. Take a moment to look within and find something, anything, no matter how small or simple, to give to anyone, friend or stranger. Start the practice of giving, and you will take one step towards raising your level of vibration and enhancing the value of what you attract in your own life. Give something selflessly today, knowing that you will receive it multiplied back in your life, tenfold.

What investigative reporting entails

The field of investigative reporting involves bringing to the fore facts and figure that affect human interests and fair governance. This means conducting in depth research, looking at public records, doing extensive interviews, as well as checking and rechecking of facts before publication. Whether print or television, investigative reporting is essentially “watchdog” reporting. This means reporting crimes, unfair practices, injustice, as well as other human interest aspects like environment, disease, and so on. Investigative journalism can move public opinion and instill fear in those treading the wrong path. Slave trade, gun running, terrorist activities, drug trafficking, money laundering and so on are brought to the notice of the world by investigative journalism. An investigative journalist must be unafraid, determined, patient, watchful, fair, as well as dog minded to be successful. The questions a journalist seeks answers to are: who is responsible for the wrong doing; what methods were employed; what are the consequences; what can be done to correct the wrong; can the wrongdoers be brought to book? The keys are to dig up the first lead, tip, or hunch. Then sniff around for facts. Form an investigative hypothesis. Next, like a detective, gather evidence that will prove undeniably the hypothesis. This will involve interviews, documents, records, proofs, and intense paper work. Organize the information and write the report. Check facts, check chances of libel, and the laws. To be good at your work it is advantageous if you are familiar with the law, know the procedures, can conduct quick and accurate research, follow the money trail, and dig out facts. Investigative journalism is a specialized field that uses journalism skills, curiosity, advanced research methods, and a determination to right wrongs. This field of journalism is what helps shape democracy and protects the lives of the innocent. Done correctly it can raise public opinion to such an extent that the way the world thinks and functions can be changed. An investigative journalist must work within the confines of ethics written and unwritten and the laws. The work could include revealing scandals and tracing infringements of laws, rules, or morals. Bring to public notice the policies of governments, companies, and other organizations. And, institute social change by describing social, economic, political, and cultural trends. To be effective in investigative journalism the journalist must have high standards of functioning and be above corruption. The principles of truthfulness, accuracy, objectivity, impartiality, fair play, and public accountability must be deeply ingrained in the mind and soul of the journalist. Since investigative journalism involves use of undercover sources and anonymous tips it is absolutely essential for the journalist to double check facts. Investigative journalism is news with a difference. It is critical and in depth investigations to a happening or policy which will serve to prevent or correct a wrong, prevent crimes, save the planet from destruction, and shape the future of the world in more ways than one. It is reporting the unknown, the hidden, and so, the investigative journalist becomes the keeper or custodian of public conscience. It is a field where a mere niggling thought or suspicion becomes an expose of wrong doings. It questions actions and decisions and brings to the limelight outrageous acts and in human actions. In simple terms an investigative journalist polices society in the larger interests of mankind.

Are employers less likely to hire muslims

Research conducted at Davenport University by Murad Ali indicates that Muslims are the least likely out of all other ethnic groups to be hired by employers. Participants were students enrolled in either the MBA program or in business undergraduate courses. The type of full-time work the students engaged in ranged from entry level to senior executive. Many of the MBA students were already managers and had hiring powers within their companies. Participants ranked their desired applicants for positions based upon their own preconceived notions from 1-5. A ranking of 1 meant that the applicant was most desirable and a ranking of 5 meant that the applicant was least desirable. All of the applicants were considered to be equally qualified and all of them were male. The only difference between the applicants was there name. Robert Schwalbach (White), Tyrone Johnson (Black), Yan Chin (Asian), Pedro Gonzalez (Hispanic) and Ahmed Al-Arabi (Muslim) were used to represent the different races and ethnic groups. The results of the study indicated that the following order of preference was as follows African American, Caucasian, Asian, Hispanic and Muslim. African Americans were more likely to be called back for employment while Muslims were the least.

The data was split into similar groups with African Americans, Caucasians, and Asians on the far left with Hispanics and Muslims on the far right. Data indicating which background the participants came from wasn’t collected. It is interesting to note that those people who are considered “main stream” or who have been in the country for some time were all very similar in their rankings. Hispanic and Muslims who are seen as newer immigrants were stratified as the least likely to be hired. In essence this means that immigrants are not considered to have the same desirability to employers as “main stream Americans”. It is therefore possible that poverty, unemployment and lack of healthcare may be something imposed on this group than by personal choice. Employers should be aware of the results of this study because it has an impact with their compliance to the Civil Rights Act. As Muslims become more aware of their rights in the workplace employers may have more lawsuits to deal with. If the hiring managers allow their personal preferences to determine who they are going to hire, instead of most qualified, the bottom line of the company may be affected.

The business of torture

On January 16, 2003, the European Court of Human Rights agreed - more than two years after the applications have been filed - to hear six cases filed by Chechens against Russia. The claimants accuse the Russian military of torture and indiscriminate killings. The Court has ruled in the past against the Russian Federation and awarded assorted plaintiffs thousands of euros per case in compensation. As awareness of human rights increased, as their definition expanded and as new, often authoritarian polities, resorted to torture and repression - human rights advocates and non-governmental organizations proliferated. It has become a business in its own right: lawyers, consultants, psychologists, therapists, law enforcement agencies, scholars and pundits tirelessly peddle books, seminars, conferences, therapy sessions for victims, court appearances and other services.

Human rights activists target mainly countries and multinationals. In June 2001, the International Labor Rights Fund filed a lawsuit on behalf of 11 villagers against the American oil behemoth, ExxonMobile, for "abetting" abuses in Aceh, Indonesia. They alleged that the company provided the army with equipment for digging mass graves and helped in the construction of interrogation and torture centers. In November 2002, the law firm of Cohen, Milstein, Hausfeld & Toll joined other American and South African law firms in filing a complaint that "seeks to hold businesses responsible for aiding and abetting the apartheid regime in South Africa ... forced labor, genocide, extrajudicial killing, torture, sexual assault, and unlawful detention". Among the accused: "IBM and ICL which provided the computers that enabled South Africa to ... control the black South African population.

Car manufacturers provided the armored vehicles that were used to patrol the townships. Arms manufacturers violated the embargoes on sales to South Africa, as did the oil companies. The banks provided the funding that enabled South Africa to expand its police and security apparatus." Charges were leveled against Unocal in Myanmar and dozens of other multinationals. In September 2002, Berger & Montague filed a class action complaint against Royal Dutch Petroleum and Shell Transport. The oil giants are charged with "purchasing ammunition and using ... helicopters and boats and providing logistical support for 'Operation Restore Order in Ogoniland'" which was designed, according to the law firm, to "terrorize the civilian population into ending peaceful protests against Shell's environmentally unsound oil exploration and extraction activities". The defendants in all these court cases strongly deny any wrongdoing. But this is merely one facet of the torture business. Torture implements are produced - mostly in the West - and sold openly, frequently to nasty regimes in developing countries and even through the Internet. Hi-tech devices abound: sophisticated electroconvulsive stun guns, painful restraints, truth serums, chemicals such as pepper gas. Export licensing is universally minimal and non-intrusive and completely ignores the technical specifications of the goods (for instance, whether they could be lethal, or merely inflict pain). Amnesty International and the UK-based Omega Foundation, found more than 150 manufacturers of stun guns in the USA alone. They face tough competition from Germany (30 companies), Taiwan (19), France (14), South Korea (13), China (12), South Africa (nine), Israel (eight), Mexico (six), Poland (four), Russia (four), Brazil (three), Spain (three) and the Czech Republic (two). Many torture implements pass through "off-shore" supply networks in Austria, Canada, Indonesia, Kuwait, Lebanon, Lithuania, Macedonia, Albania, Russia, Israel, the Philippines, Romania and Turkey. This helps European Union based companies circumvent legal bans at home. The US government has traditionally turned a blind eye to the international trading of such gadgets. American high-voltage electro-shock stun shields turned up in Turkey, stun guns in Indonesia, and electro-shock batons and shields, and dart-firing taser guns in torture-prone Saudi Arabia. American firms are the dominant manufacturers of stun belts. Explains Dennis Kaufman, President of Stun Tech Inc, a US manufacturer of this innovation: ''Electricity speaks every language known to man. No translation necessary. Everybody is afraid of electricity, and rightfully so.'' (Quoted by Amnesty International). The Omega Foundation and Amnesty claim that 49 US companies are also major suppliers of mechanical restraints, including leg-irons and thumbcuffs. But they are not alone. Other suppliers are found in Germany (8), France (5), China (3), Taiwan (3), South Africa (2), Spain (2), the UK (2) and South Korea (1). Not surprisingly, the Commerce Department doesn't keep tab on this category of exports. Nor is the money sloshing around negligible. Records kept under the export control commodity number A985 show that Saudi Arabia alone spent in the United States more than $1 million a year between 1997-2000 merely on stun guns. Venezuela's bill for shock batons and such reached $3.7 million in the same period. Other clients included Hong Kong, Taiwan, Mexico and - surprisingly - Bulgaria. Egypt's notoriously brutal services - already well-equipped - spent a mere $40,000. The United States is not the only culprit. The European Commission, according to an Amnesty International report titled "Stopping the Torture Trade" and published in 2001: "Gave a quality award to a Taiwanese electro-shock baton, but when challenged could not cite evidence as to independent safety tests for such a baton or whether member states of the European Union (EU) had been consulted. Most EU states have banned the use of such weapons at home, but French and German companies are still allowed to supply them to other countries." Torture expertise is widely proffered by former soldiers, agents of the security services made redundant, retired policemen and even rogue medical doctors. China, Israel, South Africa, France, Russia, the United kingdom and the United States are founts of such useful knowledge and its propagators. How rooted torture is was revealed in September 1996 when the US Department of Defense admitted that ''intelligence training manuals'' were used in the Federally sponsored School of the Americas - one of 150 such facilities - between 1982 and 1991.The manuals, written in Spanish and used to train thousands of Latin American security agents, "advocated execution, torture, beatings and blackmail", says Amnesty International. Where there is demand there is supply. Rather than ignore the discomfiting subject, governments would do well to legalize and supervise it. Alan Dershowitz, a prominent American criminal defense attorney, proposed, in an op-ed article in the Los Angeles Times, published November 8, 2001, to legalize torture in extreme cases and to have judges issue "torture warrants". This may be a radical departure from the human rights tradition of the civilized world. But dispensing export carefully reviewed licenses for dual-use implements is a different matter altogether - and long overdue.

The way in which some people abuse the benefit of sick pay

This article describes how some people abuse the benefit of sick pay in the workplace. I am going to explain a couple of examples of this, which I have come across over the last couple of years. There are many people who are in employment where if they are off work sick, they do not get paid. It must very much annoy these people to hear about the fortunate workers who are still paid when they are ill, abusing the system. I have a friend who recently told me about a lady he works with.

At times she will come to work with a really bad cold or cough, when really she should be at home in bed. By going to work she could be infecting other people with her germs of course. She would be asked why she had come to work when she obviously should be in bed. Her response would be that she did not want to waste her sick days when she was ill. She might as well come to work and be ill there, it would be no fun at home, she would continue. This woman treated her sick entitlement as extra holiday days. The bosses who were unaware of her attitude presumed that when she did actually phone in sick, that she must be extremely ill, when in fact she would be perfectly fit and healthy. Another example of abusing the sick entitlement system is a story I heard recently. The company involved had around fifteen percent of its full time staff in one of its buildings, on long term sick leave.

The company then announced the closure of that particular building which would include all of the staff being made redundant. The office though would remain open for the next six months, however the only people who worked ninety percent of that six month period would be able to have full redundancy payouts. The amount of people who suddenly stopped having depression and bad backs was astonishing, they called it a miracle.

[ 1 2 ]