grist for the mill
A not-so-secret research cache
Tuesday, September 30, 2003
Detroit taxpayers on hook for millions in tax bill foul-up
: "At auction, an investor snaps up parking garage
September 30, 2003
BY ERIK LORDS
FREE PRESS STAFF WRITER"
Monday, September 29, 2003
Sunday, September 28, 2003
: "Newspapers are in trouble. Readers are straying in record numbers as papers become less essential to their lives. This blog will explore where we've gone wrong and what we're doing right, with an eye toward REWRITING THE FUTURE of newspapers.
Saturday, September 27, 2003
Health Facilities Commission fires director -
: "Linda Penny, longtime executive director of the Tennessee Health Facilities Commission, which regulates construction of hospitals and clinics, has been fired.
Two commission members, Charlie Mann and Oscar Edmonds Jr., confirmed that the 13-member commission voted to fire Penny during a meeting in Nashville yesterday, but both declined to say why she was terminated."
At-Will Relationships Must Be Clear to Your Employees
: "If you assert at-will employment status, be sure your position is clearly stated in your policy manual and other employee communications. Such a statement helped this company overcome an employee%u2019s charge that he had an enforceable contract for long-term employment."
At will employees and for cause employees - what does this legal jargon mean to me?
: "For cause employment is recognized either in (1) a written employment contract or, (2) in some states, your boss's verbal statements, such as You'll have a job here as long as your performance is satisfactory.
The Holland Sentinel: News: Ex-Child & Family Services worker sues agency director 12/17/98
: "Marsh, who was hired in January 1996 as the agency's director of development, claims her contract, which did not contain a termination date, designated her as a 'just cause' employee.
Her lawsuit alleges that sometime prior to May 15 Groen, without a resolution from the board of directors, changed the personnel policy to make Marsh an 'at will' employee. The suit says Marsh was coerced by Groen to sign a form acknowledging the change or be fired."
Summer 2001 - Employee's Wrongful Termination Claim Dismissed Despite Employer's Oral Assurances of Continued Employment
: "n the case of Starzynski v. Capital Public Radio, Inc., the California Court of Appeal in Sacramento dismissed an employee's wrongful termination claims even when a supervisor orally assured him that he could be terminated 'only for good cause.' The employee there signed an 'Employment At-Will Contract and Acknowledgment Form' which expressly stated that he 'understood and agreed' that his employment was at-will and that either he or the employer could terminate the employment relationship at any time, with or without cause or advance notice. "
: "Connecticut also permits a cause of action for wrongful termination based on an implied employment contract. In order to prevail on such a claim, an employee must prove that the employer agreed, either by words, action, or conduct, to not terminate the employee without just cause (D'Ulisse-Cupo v. Board of Directors of Notre Dame High School, 202 Conn. 206, 212 n.2 (1987)). "
Slatery v. N.E. Miss. Contract Procurement, 747 So. 2d 257 (Miss. 1999)
: "¶1. Sara Slatery filed a lawsuit against her employer, Northeast Mississippi Contract Procurement, Inc., and the members of its Board of Directors. The complaint contained causes of action for wrongful and tortious termination of employment, breach of contract and breach of an implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing. Slatery appeals from the lower court's grant of the defendants' motion for summary judgment. Finding no error in the trial court's judgment, we affirm."
: "n addition to state laws like Montana's, union contracts, written promises, implied promises from an employee handbook or a breach of the 'good faith and fair dealing' requirement can all be exceptions to the 'at will' doctrine. There is another exception called a public policy exception, such as an employee fired to discourage him or her from complaining about illegal conduct or a wrong that an employer committed, such as failing to pay workers a minimum wage or overtime pay when it was required. Repa writes that it's illegal to fire a worker for a reason that most people would find ethically or morally wrong."
Friday, September 26, 2003
Salon.com News | Bad Moon on the rise
: "The small success of Free Teens' government funding is just a small indication of the remarkable transformation of the billionaire Moon. A man who once inspired considerable public horror in the 1970s when his church faced a congressional inquiry and battled accusations of coercive recruitment and mind control, not to mention his own criminal conviction for tax fraud and conspiracy to obstruct justice, now goes about his business generally unnoticed. (The Unification Church would not return calls for this story.) Along the way, he has been able to gain acceptance by the most powerful people in the country, surely with the help of his media mini-empire -- including the UPI wire service and the right-wing newspapers Tiempos del Mundo, in South America, and the Washington Times, which he runs at losses well into the tens of millions every year. His exorbitant spending on politicians, largely conservative, hasn't hurt either; his Washington Times foundation gave $1 million to the George H.W. Bush presidential library and has paid the former president untold amounts in speaking fees. "
The Morning News - Certifiable
:On the first day of class I was telling them about myself – that I liked theatre, that I sometimes reviewed theatre for the local paper – when a hand shot up. The hand twisted in the air, shook with impatience.
‘Do you have a question?’ I finally asked.
‘What’s theatre?’ he asked.
I couldn’t believe it.
‘Duh,’ said the girl beside him. ‘Theatre is live movies.’
In that moment, I realized something crucial: Those kids were so stupid.
Thursday, September 25, 2003
CNN.com - Minnesota school shooting leaves 1 dead - Sep. 25, 2003
: "Staska said there was nothing about the 15-year-old suspect to suggest he would commit such an act.
'We had no reason to suspect an incident like this,' he said. '(He had) some typical disciplinary issues in the past but nothing to lead us to believe an incident like this would occur.' "
Wednesday, September 24, 2003
Tuesday, September 23, 2003
Guardian Unlimited | The Guardian | Heroic kangaroo comes bounding to rescue
:Lulu, an eastern grey kangaroo, stood guard over Len Richards' unconscious body on Sunday and "barked like a dog" to attract help, the farmer's daughter said.
Monday, September 22, 2003
Dalai Lama Lite
: "The Dalai Lama has become whoever we want him to be, a cuddly projection of our hopes and dreams. This enthusiasm, though, has not translated into any tangible political benefit for Tibetans. He has been seen on advertisements for Apple computers and SalesForce.com software; significantly, he was not paid for either of these uses of his image. Some of the books that purport to be written by the Dalai Lama are scarcely by him at all, but have his face on the cover to increase sales.
In reality, Tibetan Buddhism is not a values-free system oriented around smiles and a warm heart. It is a religion with tough ethical underpinnings that sometimes get lost in translation. For example, the Dalai Lama explicitly condemns homosexuality, as well as all oral and anal sex. His stand is close to that of Pope John Paul II, something his Western followers find embarrassing and prefer to ignore. His American publisher even asked him to remove the injunctions against homosexuality from his book, 'Ethics for the New Millennium,' for fear they would offend American readers, and the Dalai Lama acquiesced."
Friday, September 19, 2003
Wednesday, September 17, 2003
Tuesday, September 16, 2003
Detroit council fires its research leader
: "She headed a staff of 23 people who played a crucial role in helping advise and guide the council on a variety of complex legal issues. She was instrumental in helping the council navigate in the often-contentious casino negotiations."
Saturday, September 13, 2003
Friday, September 12, 2003
Thursday, September 11, 2003
Wednesday, September 10, 2003
Tuesday, September 09, 2003
Monday, September 08, 2003
Where Here Ends and There Begins
"A border slash through the deep woods -- without mines, without barbed wire -- deters no one. It merely dramatizes the folly of pretending to stand alone in the world."
Monday, September 01, 2003
The Myth: Iraqis, prior to occupation, lived in little beige tents set up on the sides of little dirt roads all over Baghdad. The men and boys would ride to school on their camels, donkeys and goats. These schools were larger versions of the home units and for every 100 students, there was one turban-wearing teacher who taught the boys rudimentary math (to count the flock) and reading. Girls and women sat at home, in black burkas, making bread and taking care of 10-12 children.
The Truth: Iraqis lived in houses with running water and electricity. Thousands of them own computers. Millions own VCRs and VCDs. Iraq has sophisticated bridges, recreational centers, clubs, restaurants, shops, universities, schools, etc. Iraqis love fast cars (especially German cars) and the Tigris is full of little motor boats that are used for everything from fishing to water-skiing.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that most people choose to ignore the little prefix ‘re’ in the words ‘rebuild’ and ‘reconstruct’. For your information, ‘re’ is of Latin origin and generally means ‘again’ or ‘anew’.
In other words- there was something there in the first place. We have hundreds of bridges. We have one of the most sophisticated network of highways in the region: you can get from Busrah, in the south, to Mosul, in the north, without once having to travel upon those little, dusty, dirt roads they show you on Fox News. We had a communications system so advanced, it took the Coalition of the Willing 3 rounds of bombing, on 3 separate nights, to damage the Ma’moun Communications Tower and silence our telephones.
Yesterday, I read how it was going to take up to $90 billion to rebuild Iraq. Bremer was shooting out numbers about how much it was going to cost to replace buildings and bridges and electricity, etc.
Listen to this little anecdote. One of my cousins works in a prominent engineering company in Baghdad- we’ll call the company H. This company is well-known for designing and building bridges all over Iraq. My cousin, a structural engineer, is a bridge freak. He spends hours talking about pillars and trusses and steel structures to anyone who’ll listen.
As May was drawing to a close, his manager told him that someone from the CPA wanted the company to estimate the building costs of replacing the New Diyala Bridge on the South East end of Baghdad. He got his team together, they went out and assessed the damage, decided it wasn’t too extensive, but it would be costly. They did the necessary tests and analyses (mumblings about soil composition and water depth, expansion joints and girders) and came up with a number they tentatively put forward- $300,000. This included new plans and designs, raw materials (quite cheap in Iraq), labor, contractors, travel expenses, etc.
Let’s pretend my cousin is a dolt. Let’s pretend he hasn’t been working with bridges for over 17 years. Let’s pretend he didn’t work on replacing at least 20 of the 133 bridges damaged during the first Gulf War. Let’s pretend he’s wrong and the cost of rebuilding this bridge is four times the number they estimated- let’s pretend it will actually cost $1,200,000. Let’s just use our imagination.
A week later, the New Diyala Bridge contract was given to an American company. This particular company estimated the cost of rebuilding the bridge would be around- brace yourselves- $50,000,000 !!
Something you should know about Iraq: we have over 130,000 engineers. More than half of these engineers are structural engineers and architects. Thousands of them were trained outside of Iraq in Germany, Japan, America, Britain and other countries. Thousands of others worked with some of the foreign companies that built various bridges, buildings and highways in Iraq. The majority of them are more than proficient- some of them are brilliant.