Thursday, December 30, 2010

New Year

With 2011, I'm wondering aloud just how many people actually believe in new year's resolution. You know, the kind we make such as loosing weight etc but never seem to accomplish. So, are these resolutions really worth their weight in gold or not?

Friday, June 19, 2009

The Board of Education

Buyer beware. Anyone who desires to be a teacher in New York City, should be highly critical of efforts that claim to recruit new diverse teachers. While the ads on public transportation sounds great, one has a better chance of winning the lottery vs. being hired as a school teacher, especially if you're a career changer.

The red tape is so numerous, that perspective candidates need additional qualifications such as a PhD in navigating never ending documentation and never ending paperwork. Only after months of such navigation, will you arrive 0.5 of an inch closer to your destination.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

The Final Four

The blue and white Villanova sign sat quietly on the rear window of car stopped at a red light. As the rains are sure to visit us in April, so to will the final four and the NCAA Men's Basketball Championship game on Monday night. The spectacle of the championship game is marred each year by allegations against either a coach or player for some rule violation. Academic ineligibility, bribery and players illegally accepting gifts from agents seems to top the list each year.

This year its Jim Calhoun, coach of the University of Connecticut Men's Basketball team. Players who receive full basketball scholarships are not supposed to accept cash, gifts or other forms of monetary compensation while playing for their respective teams. For some strange reason, poor kids who create unimaginable revenue streams for their schools should not be compensated, except for their athletic scholarships.

If the NCAA is concerned about the moral sanctity of collegiate sports, they can simply increase the value of the scholarships awarded to their players. The difference between the cost of actually attending school and what's left over should be evenly distributed in equal monthly payments during the school year. This would allow poor kids on campus to meet basic necessities like clothes, food and miscellaneous expenses. Those of us who have attended college understands the cost of a good education.

This system is fair and just. People who create revenue should not be denied fair compensation simply because of an institution's moral perception. It's time to pay these kids a living wage. After all, they are only filling stadiums seating thousands of rowdy fans, plus millions in merchandising and television revenue.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Cold Turkey

What does quitting cold turkey have to do with the current job market? Everything. The New York Times ran a great story in Thursday's business column about employment-preparedness. The usual suspects were made bare. Updated catchy resumes, proper formatting and free links to professional resume sites.

I could not help but wonder that there was no mention of the all important self. When an employer hires someone, they are not simply hiring a resume, curriculum vitae, credentials and techno-savvy websites. While these attributes might serve as one's ultra academic ego, in the end, employers are hiring the "self." The media is abuzz these days with news about the unemployed and the blow-by-blow statistics that tallies the jobless.

For some of us who have jobs, the daily tidings to work is equivalent to traversing a daily obstacle course fraught with unimaginable hazards. Confidants are quietly discussing issues that they've never dealt with in the past. Undue stress, panic attacks, anxiety, feelings of helplessness, longer hours at work and an inability to cope, just to mention a few. What's even worse is the deepening fear and anxiety of speaking out and reasserting basic rights in the workplace. Activities like lunch breaks and bathroom breaks are frowned upon in some work settings. Time off is sometimes equated with a dirty four letter word.

This might sound a bit insane, but as the economy slowly recovers, some employees will have to quit their daily nightmares cold turkey! A stressed-out perspective employee is a liability, not an asset to potential employers. Saving at least three months of expenses before quitting your nightmare cold turkey is the way to go.

Depending on the circumstances, one may not have that option. While individuals must survive, it makes no sense to lose thy soul, spirit and self, simply because the economy is in shambles. Remember that you are the one being hired, not a summary of your work experience technical expertise, accomplishments, affiliations and the like. if you're stressed-out these attributes are irrelevant.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Outrage!! Not In My Name

I can't seem to escape that word these days. It starts with the letter o, and ends with the letter e. In case you just returned to planet earth from a distant galaxy, it's "Outrage." Merriam-Webster defines it as "An act that violates standards of behavior." We can't seem to get a break from politicians being outraged, the press-core being outraged and private interest groups being outraged over AIG bonuses, General Motors bailout fiasco, Bernard Madoff, the financial wizardry of Wall Street and the increasing failure of "Capitalism."

Bernard Madoff and his Ponzi Buddies did not steal enough money. They should have stolen a trillion dollars and then some. When the "ten-percenters" allow the two-man council to run everything then that's the price they should pay.

During the go-go good old days when the economic mafia, the academic mafia, the political mafia and of course the media mafia and their pundits enjoyed the spoils that membership in the 10% ownership club of American conferred on them, there was no outrage to be had. But now that mathematical magic brought down the house of cards created on Wall Street, it seems that everyone and their grandma is outraged in the name of the ordinary taxpayer. Well, I'm tired of the ten-percenters being outraged in my name.

Now that AIG and so many other firms are partially owned by the federal government, one would think that fair hiring practices would be put in place. These practices would ensure that those who are otherwise locked out from these lucrative jobs will now have a fair chance to participate in the selected club when the economy recovers, but no. The Federal Government and its ineptitude, lacked the gravitas to secure board representation on AIG's Board of Directors. This means that the same people who caused this financial calamity will continue to reap the benefits in good and bad times at our expense.

Sometimes during financial transactions, stocks are bought on "margin." This means that stocks are purchased on loans from brokers to be repaid at predetermined intervals or when these stocks are sold at a profit. "Margin Call" means that a stock broker requires a client to bring a margin account up to a certain level by depositing more money into that account. Like margin buys and calls, the consent to govern in a Democratic society is marginal. i.e., we the citizen-politic decides how we want to be governed and to what extent.

Although the economic mafia, the academic mafia and the communication mafia (Media) govern from the Divine Right of Kings playbook, that governance is marginal. I see no reason why millions of New Yorkers are not in the streets of lower Manhattan peacefully "calling" the manner in which we have been governed into question until things change. The Bretton-Woods style of capitalism is only working for 10% of the population.

The remaining 90% are left empty-handed no matter how diligent they toil. This is feudalism all over again. It's time for the body-politic to place that "Margin Call." The body politic in past times rejected feudalism and it also rejected slavery. Why is Capitalism allowed to stand when only 10% of citizens benefit, while 90% are left in the cold? When will we gather the courage and strength to place that "Margin Call on the Capitalism?"

Monday, March 23, 2009

I Want the List Of A Different Kind

The outrage and anger is thick enough, that it can be cut with a knife. Citizens far and wide are demanding the list of employees from American International Greed (AIG) who wrestled bonuses from the government's bailout program.

Now that these companies are owned by the tax payers, I want a list of a different kind. I want a list detailing the following: the total number of employees who are employed in the New York and Connecticut offices, the top one hundred managers, and most importantly, the composition of the work force, i.e., women, men, Black, Latino etc. Because AIG is now a government entity, the citizen-politic can demand fair hiring practices in line with not state, but Federal law.

This is the perfect opportunity to find qualified minorities who otherwise would never make it pass the glass and steel facade of these corporations. As the great Aristotle once said, "When an elephant is down, even an ant will kick him." This is a great opportunity to move in on the elephant and literally get qualified minorities in, before AIG returns to being a private entity where the ten percent club calls the shots.

Real wealth is a concept of the the past. Today, one's life which includes health insurance, retirement benefits and quality of life, is wholly determined by one's line of work or career. Many corporations functions as well organized mafia organizations in plain sight. Now that many of them are owned by the Federal Government, this an opportunity for outsiders. When the economy bounces back, the ordinary citizen needs to be part of it. Never has there been a more perfect opportunity to dismantle the 10% Club.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Financial Chickens

We cannot escape the call from various corners of society to vent some type of frustration or righteous indignation. It seems within the last few weeks the call to join the throngs of dejected citizens grows louder with each passing day and each new Wall Street Scandal.

Should we the citizen-politic continue to voice our anger and frustration at say AIG, Bernard Madoff, General Motors and other Bailout Babies and thieves? During the Go Go days of the 90/10 Rule i.e, ten percent owning 90% of the wealth, power and decision making, no one cared about the average worker.

In fact, conservative talk show host vehemently criticized any measure designed to help the American worker. Tax reform, health care reform and most social programs were viewed as clever government efforts designed to take money away from hardworking Americans and give it away to poor lazy people. This philosophy echoed by Rush Limbaugh and many other conservatives is nothing more than double speak aimed at Black and Brown People. Although the largest percentage of welfare recipients are poor white single mothers who reside in the middle of the country, Blacks and Hispanics bear the brunt of conservative outrage.

Now that the country is in a self created financial mess they seek our angst. The average worker was asked to accept less and less from American corporations during the last decade. Any questions asked by him was met with a "stiff no" for a response. Only Chief Executive Officers and other members of the 10% club were allowed full membership.

This financial crisis is an opportunity to take back the country and a vibrant opportunity for the working class to reassert itself. We should avoid getting too emotionally involved. We were locked out during the good old days and now they want us to be upset. In my opinion, Bernard Madoff did not steal enough. Hevesi's good old pals did not siphon enough money from the New York State Pension fund.

I was utterly disappointed that former State Comptroller Hevesi's two-man crew made off with only a few million dollars New York State's Pension Fund. Those thieves should have destroyed the entire fund that they stole from. They, the ruling class has established the limited council of control. Let the financial chickens that they created roost where they belong.