Talking about When Employers Want to See Your Social Networking Profile

No way would I personally ever turn over my login and password to any site I belong to, whether it was a social networking site or any other type of site to any potential employer.  If that potential employer wants to see what their potential employees are doing, posting, or talking about on a social networking site, let them go look.  Maybe they could even be ‘friended’ to see what’s going on.  I don’t know.  However, I don’t think it’s at all appropriate to ask potential employees to hand over login and password information.  Would they hand over their information to me?  Granted they are not working for me, however that does not make it appropriate.  There are only a few exceptions I can think of such as terroristic threats, disseminating company information or making inappropriate comments about supervisors or fellow employees. 
I’ve tried to get across to some young people I know they should be careful about what they say and post on sites like MySpace or FaceBook.  Some of them get it, some just do not understand why it is anyone’s business.  For the most part I myself have difficulty understanding why what I post on Facebook, MySpace, my WindowsLive Blog or anywhere else should affect how I cam looked at by a potential employer.   I kind of equate this sort of thing with my credit rating affecting what I pay for my car insurance.  What my credit record says has nothing to do with how well or carefully I drive, or how likely I am to file an insurance claim.  In fact studies have shown those who struggle with their credit rating are actually no more likely to file insurance claims than anyone else, and may even be LESS likely.  However, insurers use the claim those with credit problems are more likely to file claims as their reasoning for using credit ratings to help determine insurance premiums.  I have a near perfect driving record; yet if I make a credit card payment late it can affect how much I pay to insure my car.  And it’s all legal.  The opinions I post in my blogs or on social networking sites have nothing to do with how well I do my job, so why should they have any effect on whether I am hired for a job?      

Chicago Loses It’s 2016 Olympic Bid

The news came today, October 2nd, that the City of Chicago, Illinois had lost their bid to host the 2016 Summer Olympic Games. The winning bid was submitted by Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. Prior to the announcement of the winning bid most people considered Chicago and Rio to be the two front runners. However, of the final four cities, Chicago was eliminated first. This was a genuine shock to those who were awaiting the announcement of the winning city. There are a lot of people everywhere, including many outside of Chicago and not directly involved in the city’s bid, who were genuinely shocked by the announcement.

President Obama was formerly a senator from Illinois; and both he and the First Lady publicly proclaimed their support for Chicago’s Olympic bid. First Lady Michelle Obama traveled to Copenhagen, Denmark for the final push along with a delegation of local and national celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey, and former Olympians such as Bart Conner, Nadia Comeneci, and Jackie Joyner Kersee. Unfortunately President Obama received a great deal of criticism for becoming involved in the effort to bring the Olympic Games to his adopted home town. While some supported his personal attempt to bolster Chicago’s bid, others proclaimed the trip to be a waste of time and money, claimed the President should not become personally involved, and that he had more important things to attend to both at home and abroad. During a news broadcast I watched on CNN October 1, one of the guests, a member of the DNC, pointed out that current and former heads of state from Brazil, Great Britain, Canada, Italy, Germany, Greece and several other countries had all personally been involved in their country’s Olympic bids for the 2016 and other Games. The Republican strategist who was the other guest responded they were not the President of the United States and our President had never previously become involved and should not be involved now. Why not? Within minutes of Chicago’s elimination from consideration, some of the same critics were already saying the President did not spend enough time in Copenhagen and that he should have stayed there longer. Others had already posted comments in various locations making it clear they were happy Chicago had lost because they figured it would be another way to slam or embarrass the President.

The flap over the city of Chicago’s Olympics bid is another frustration for supporters of President Obama. As stated above numerous heads of state have been involved in bid attempts for cities in their home country. It seems reasonable and even logical for the President of the most powerful country in the world to also become involved. Some of the backlash against him doing so appears to be nothing more than critics jumping on whatever they can to criticize the President and not any real issue with the Olympics being held in Chicago. There are people who simply can not allow the President to do anything without slamming him for doing it. Too many of these people don’t even take the time to carefully examine the issue(s) involved before they launch an attack. We all know there are many critical issues facing this country; however, how is the President taking a few hours of his time to ask the International Olympic Committee to return the Olympics to the United States and the Western Hemisphere going to have a major detrimental impact on an economic recovery, for example? Though there were those who were against the Olympics coming to Chicago in the first place, those people are not necessarily the same people who were against President Obama becoming personally involved in the city’s bid.

One of the criticisms of bringing the Olympics to any city is the heavy cost of staging them. There is no way of denying the Olympics cause a great deal of money to stage, or that a number of cities end up in serious debt over the cost. There are only a few cities (Los Angeles in 1984, and the 1994 Winter Games in Lillehammer, Norway are two examples) that have turned a profit, broken even or not been burdened with debt after taking on the Olympic Games. Not only did Lillehammer not burden itself with debt, they also finished all the facilities six months early. Los Angeles picked up corporate sponsorships for some venues and used existing facilities such as Pauley Pavilion at UCLA and the legendary Los Angeles Olympic Stadium from the 1932 Games to stage some events. Other cities have found uses for facilities after the games, such as turning athlete’s dorms into condominiums or apartments. However, many cities basically build almost everything from scratch. And one critique I heard yesterday has been true in some cases; that many of the facilities built specifically for Olympic events end up sitting empty after the Games or seldom get used.

At the same time you worry about the cost of staging the Olympics, you also can also note that building facilities for staging the events and housing the athletes, coaches and officials creates jobs. There is really no way this particular point can be disputed. Those jobs put people to work, and the money they earn not only helps the workers and their families but also stimulates the local economy. One article I read regarding Chicago’s Olympic bid contained a statement from an unemployed man who was disappointed the city had lost it’s bid. He was hoping to secure one of the jobs he knew would be created if the Games came to Chicago.

If one Super Bowl game generates tens of millions of dollars for the city that hosts it, how much money will the thousands of tourists who stay in hotels, purchase souvenirs and visit local attractions and restaurants generate over the sixteen day period the Olympiad lasts? If the host city does a good job of staging an Olympics, won’t that city also have gained prestige on the world stage?

So, if Chicago was once considered the 2016 front runner, why did they not only lose the bid, but in the final round of four get eliminated first? There are a number of reasons for this.

First, there is always politics involved in these decisions. I don’t mean the same sort of partisan politics we see in the United States between the Republican and Democrats, for example. However, anyone who knows anything about the International Olympic Committee knows there is always some intrigue or politics involved in almost any decision they make. It’s probably doubtful the IOC could accomplish anything without politics and intrigue being involved.

Second, it’s no secret the IOC and the United States Olympic Committee do not get along. This was mentioned in the last few days in more than one article or report on the subject of Chicago’s Olympic bid. In addition the IOC has a tendency to look down on sports considered to be ‘too American’ such as baseball and aerial skiing (though one has to wonder about sports that are ‘too Nordic’ or ‘too Slavic’, etc not being looked at the same way), and the USA in general when it comes to hosting the Olympics.

Third, it’s already been mentioned in several places that several Asian countries apparently banded together to boost Tokyo’s bid. Of the four finalists Tokyo had been considered the weakest prior to the final vote, and was expected to be eliminated first.

Fourth, Brazilian officials pointed out the Olympics had never been held in a South American country and that they felt it was time they were held in a city there. The closest city to South America was the Mexico City Games of 1968, so this was probably a valid claim to make.

Fifth, Juan Antonio Samaranch, a native of Spain and former President of the International Olympic Committee, made a last minute appeal to support Madrid’s bid. Samaranch went as far as to say he was eighty nine years old, did not have much time left and would like to see the Olympics held in Madrid in his lifetime. Most expected Madrid to be eliminated after Tokyo.

Sixth, I have no idea. I and many others thought Chicago had put in the best bid and frankly that the city was going to get the 2016 Olympic Games. However, no one asked me for my opinion.

One issue that was probably not a large consideration was the crime rate in Chicago. The winning city of Rio De Janeiro also has a high crime rate; and, as someone pointed out this morning, if the IOC was genuinely worried about the crime rate they could have just handed the Games to Tokyo which clearly is the city with the lowest crime rate of the four finalists.

There are also issues involving the logistics of providing food, transportation, housing, training facilities and personal items to all the athletes, officials and coaches. And, of course, people always worry about corruption between contractors, local officials and committee members.

Another issue is security. No one who has ever followed the Olympics can forget the terrible tragedy of the murder of the eleven Israeli athletes and coaches during the 1972 Games in Munich. No one involved in the Olympic movement as either a fan, athlete, coach or official EVER wants to see anything like this tragic security breach happen again. This incident slammed home the need for security at both the Olympic venues and within the Olympic Village. The host city must provide a secure environment for not only their own committee members, volunteers and workers; but in addition they must provide a secure environment for thousands of athletes, coaches, officials, fans, tourists and foreign dignitaries. Most large cities in a country such as the United States, Great Britain, Australia or Japan, for example, already have a certain amount of security infrastructure in place. This was an issue for Greece when they hosted the 2004 Olympic Games, and it will certainly be an issue for Rio De Janeiro in 2016. Even though the Olympics originated in Greece, they had a great deal of difficulty not only with finishing venues and facilities, but also with security. The head of the Athens Olympic Organizing Committee quit over bickering and politics, and construction and security preparations fell so far behind the IOC considered pulling the Games out of Athens. Facilities were still being worked on two months before the Games begin, and fourteen workers died during construction. Countries such as the USA and Great Britain offered their help training security personnel, the head of the committee was lured back and the 2004 Olympics stayed in Athens. There were similar issues involving the 2008 Games in Beijing, China. The construction of some facilities in that city literally went down to the wire, and some tourists were stabbed while sightseeing.

One can only hope that Rio De Janeiro can pull the 2016 Olympics Games off. Brazil is a developing country economically, and while Rio may not necessarily need physical help to pull it off; they almost certainly will need (and hopefully ask for and accept) advice regarding security, organization and logistics. Good luck to Rio De Janeiro, and maybe there will be another time for Chicago.

A Correlation of Nonsense?

I could not adequately, in the amount of space Facebook provides, respond to a comment put up there in response to one of my posts. I decided, without mentioning any names or quoting the person directly for privacy reasons, to Blog my response instead.

Before I start, allow me to post some information regarding my background and knowledge of the subject matter I will be talking about.

In 1994 I received a B.A. degree in Anthropology from Northern Arizona University. My minor was in History. Several of my fellow Anthropology students took on extended majors instead of minors in other subjects. I might have done that myself since at the time I hoped to actually find work as an Anthropologist; however I have always loved History, and in addition to that fact I had my eye on a course about the Holocaust. I already knew more than the average American likely knows about one of the darkest periods in Human History, however I was determined to take the course anyway.

The course was only offered the Spring semester of even-numbered years, and it also had prerequisites. Even the prerequisites had prerequisites. Since I enrolled at Northern Arizona University for the Fall semester of 1991, it was impossible to take the course in the Spring of 1992; therefore my next available chance would be the Spring semester of 1994. I had every intention of being ready to take the course when it was offered in 1994. If there was not enough room I was prepared to go to the Professor and try to talk my way into a course override because my graduation date was May 19, 1994, and that semester would be my final chance. I planned all my prerequisites for over five semesters to make sure I was able to fit them around my required Language, Science, Mathematics, English, Humanities and Anthropology related courses. When the time came I made it into the course and did not need to ask the Professor for an override.

By coincidence or happenstance my time in this course coincided with the wide release of the motion picture ‘Schindler’s List’. I had every intention of seeing the movie anyway; however my professor made seeing ‘Schindler’s List’ a class assignment. I went to see the movie with two friends who were not taking the Holocaust course with me, and it was a gut-wrenching experience. We all cried at some point; though, I discovered, not at the same points in the movie. A local Flagstaff news crew had contacted my professor about coming into his classroom and doing a report on the course because of the subject matter and the attention brought to it due to the release of ‘Schindler’s List’. The news crew came and filmed part of a class period and also interviewed my professor after class regarding Oskar Schindler, the movie and the Holocaust itself.

In addition, my professor invited several guests to come into the class and speak to us. Unfortunately, because of a tragic death in the family, I had to miss class during the time period when one of the survivors came to speak. The first of the survivors he invited spoke to us on April 19, 1994; the very day I received the news about my brother’s death. I spoke to this woman after class and she made me feel so much better about a number of things including the role the Catholic and other Christian Churches (I am Catholic) played in saving Jews and others during the Holocaust. Not enough of a role, in my opinion, but that’s not what I’m here to talk about. I’ve often looked back at my brother’s death and meeting this wonderful woman on the same day and wondered if God was trying to tell me something. However, that’s another subject I won’t go into here. One of the guests I did get to see speak was a former SS guard. He seemed genuinely remorseful, and perhaps he really was. It’s hard to say.

I also had a friend my own age when I lived in Texas who was born in Israel. His grandfather was a survivor of the Warsaw Ghetto; and, when I told my professor about him he indicated he would love to have a ghetto fighter come into the classroom and speak. Unfortunately we were never able to arrange this. Unlike some Holocaust survivors who are understandably unwilling or reluctant to speak extensively about their experiences or survival, Jeff’s grandfather was willing. He was proud of his status as a Ghetto fighter and never minded talking about it to anyone who was willing to listen with an open mind.

In addition to seeing the movie, completing assignments and listening to the guest speakers, we were also required to read a book (non-fiction) about the Holocaust and write a review of the book. I picked a biography about a Gentile woman who had helped save the lives of numerous Jews, and wrote my paper on it. In addition, over the years I’ve seen a number of documentaries on the Holocaust, read several books outside of any class, watched movies and interviews, and listened to the idiocy of the Holocaust deniers. The best documentation of the Holocaust was provided by the Nazis themselves since they made many films and kept detailed records (and failed to destroy all of them); a fact the deniers consistently fail to consider unless, of course, they’re claiming the Nazis own records were also faked.  I even had a letter to the editor on the subject of Holocaust denial published in a newspaper.

Why does any of this matter? It matters because the issue in the Facebook post I’m responding to involves the future of America in relation to how things started with Adolf Hitler in Nazi Germany. To start off with I would like to state I find this sort of correlation between President Barack Obama and the United States and Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany not only insulting, but also irresponsible and dangerous. It does not matter to me who you are or what you think you know, to my mind there are not enough adequate reasons for making a correlation such as this one. I have read the occasional item stating there is some cause for concern about the parallels between that time period and our own; however these items also point out that, for one thing, the German situation was compressed into a much shorter time period than our current situation in the United States has been.  This means, among other things, that the problems in this country go back to long before Barack Obama was elected President of the United States.

Another reason is that Germany was at the time a small and isolated state, and the United States is certainly not in the same situation either geographically or politically.

One of the reasons there were prerequisites for the Holocaust course was so the student could understand as much as possible the history of the region, and what the conditions inside Nazi Germany were that allowed Adolf Hitler to not only rise to power, but to also attempt to carry out his plans for the Final Solution.

Germany was under extreme economic stress after World War I. The country was certainly ripe for a leader with Hitler’s persuasive speaking skills and extreme viewpoints to come into power. However, the conditions that existed in Germany during that time period are not the same as the conditions that exist in the United States today.

One of the mistakes made after World War I was to blame Germany almost exclusively for the war when that wasn’t really the case. Certainly Germany was to blame, but they were not exclusively to blame. The country was ordered to pay reparations, which in and of itself was not unreasonable. However, the crushing burden of reparations did help to plunge Germany into an unprecedented economic crisis. Inflation rose to over 1000%. Yes, I did say over 1000%. At one point prices were known to double in a few hours, and workers were paid as often as three times a day just so they could rush to try to buy the goods they needed before prices had a chance to double again. In late 1923 a loaf of bread cost 200 billion marks. The German government kept printing money among other mistakes, which in turn further devalued the currency already in circulation.

Americans are justifiably concerned with double-digit inflation and budget deficits; however, try to get your mind around the hyperinflation in Germany between World War I and Adolf Hitler’s rise to power in 1933. Yes, the current deficits seem frightening; however please remember they were not exclusively created by President Obama and that he is trying to ease economic stresses that were not created on his watch.  Although it would be irresponsible of me to suggest there are NO parallels between the economic situation in post World War I Germany and the United States of today; conditions are not as extreme as they were then, and there were other issues present in Germany between World War I and Adolf Hitler’s rise to power that do not exist in the United States of 2009.

It is certainly a matter of opinion whether the United States is marching headlong toward socialism and has a glorified messianic leader in power like pre World War II Germany had in Adolf Hitler. Personally any comparison of Adolf Hitler to President Barack Obama makes me ill, and such a comparison is as irresponsible as comparing George W. Bush to Adolf Hitler was. I was no fan of President Bush, but I found that comparison as distasteful as I find this comparison of Hitler to Barack Obama. I find the parallels being drawn between that time period and this one, while not completely non-existent, overwrought and fueled by paranoia.

One of my classmates back in 1994 asked my professor if he thought Adolf Hitler was crazy. His response was that he thought by the end of World War II Hitler was ‘certifiable’, but when he first rose to power he was not crazy. He had ideas to end the turmoil inside Germany, and that helped drive his rise to power. However, just as President George W. Bush was not Adolf Hitler; President Barack Obama is not Adolf Hitler and the United States is not Germany after World War I.