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Friday, November 30, 2012

Shortage of STEM Workers: Security Policies are Partially at Fault

A recent report- Assuring the U.S. Department of Defense a Strong Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Workforce - released by the National Academy of Engineering and National Research Council concludes that the ability of the nation’s military to prevail during future conflicts, and fulfill missions, humanitarian and other; depends on a robust and advancing STEM capability.

But in actuality, the STEM activities of the Department of Defense (DOD) are a small and diminishing part of the nation’s overall science and engineering enterprise.
See more here:
Shortage of STEM Workers: Security Policies are Partially at Fault

Friday, November 23, 2012

The sisterhood myth: The dirty little gender secret women don’t like to face

I’m about to betray my gender. That’s how many women will perceive this post. Betrayal. But it’s time to shed some light AND TRUTH in hopes that airing the dirty laundry will bring a healthy look at an important topic. (Please read the hyperlinks I have attached if you think I am alone in this view.)
I need to point out something from the start. This post is not pointed toward ALL women. My comments and remarks are not an indictment of every woman.  But I am seeking to dispel the glorified myth that women ALWAYS take care of or care about other women. The hard, cold, fact is that MOST women care very little for other women and don’t hesitate to step over another woman to get ahead- whether it is for a job or a man.

One of the lies many women tell themselves, and portray to the world, has to do with the concept of a sisterhood among women. It is an absolute deception and illusion. It honestly doesn’t exist.  Another lie is that we have each other’s backs.  Again, a fantasy.  In most cases, the only thing a woman has regarding another woman’s back is the knife she is about to insert in it. Sound extreme? Trust me, it isn’t.

In recent news, there have been examples of young, attractive, females poaching older and powerful men. Anyone who thinks this is not a common, everyday, occurrence needs to get out of fantasyland.   You might be surprised to know about those dating sites which strictly cater to married people. The statistics bear out that women are about even with men in the infidelity department, so there is certainly equal opportunity for cheaters.

For every heartwarming story of women doing for other women, and don’t get me wrong- they DO EXIST and should be noted and congratulated for their good works; there are also terrible, sickening, stories of women BULLYING, abusing and harassing other WOMEN! Read this blog post written by a prominent person who only goes by her first name.  (You may be able to figure it out, but if not, I will tell you if you ask.)
Like most stereotypes and myths, there are instances of truth and some women are very concerned about other women, but in my experience, the bad far outweighs the good.  I feel it is time to clear the air and dispel the myth because women are hurt by it. They have an expectation that women “out there” are looking out for them and they need a reality check.

Ladies- please stop pretending that you actually give a damn about ALL WOMEN. It’s okay to say that you dislike many of the women you encounter and that you feel no sense of allegiance or loyalty to them! It’s better to admit the truth and get it out in the open than to continue to dupe people, especially other women, into thinking that you give a damn about them.
If this fantasy sisterhood actually existed, how would we explain the following?
1. Women who actively and aggressively pursue and attempt to “steal” the affections of other women’s boyfriends or husbands.
2. The women who engage in epic gossiping, sniping, criticism, and character assassination of other women.
3. The petty, childish, snide, rude, comments women make about one another. GROWN WOMEN who should have better things to do with their time.
5. The competitive bitchiness related to other women’s life choices, child rearing, husbands, clothes, cars, homes, appearance, body shape, and many other things.
6. Women who, seeking to be more like men, use any opportunity to be ruthless, intimidating, cruel, and thoughtless, but usually target other women because they are easy prey.
7. The distorted and harsh perception that any woman who doesn’t agree with them 100% is either a pawn of the men in her life, or a simple and ignorant pawn of _______fill in the blank____.
8. Women who blame every bad thing in the world on men and resent any woman who doesn’t agree with as a traitor to her sex.
9. Female family members who abuse or ignore their brothers’ wives, their daughter-in-laws, their sister-in-laws, etc ., for whatever dysfunctional reasons.  Ganging up on another woman is never cool.
10. Last but not least, women use other women to build them up and make them feel good about themselves, and all the while, they refuse to do anything to help another woman succeed.
Many women like to pretend that somehow our gender is kinder, gentler, and more compassionate. Perhaps this was once true, but now it is a half-truth. I will put it this way- when we are good, we are very, very, good- when we are bad we are horrid.
 I always say that if you have a good female boss, you are truly blessed because they can be the best of the best. BUT, if you have a bad female boss, God help you.  I have experienced both sides of that coin in my career. I have been INCREDIBLY fortunate to have some excellent, professional, generous, fair, balanced, and brilliant female bosses, and they KNOW WHO THEY ARE!
I have also been cursed to have had to work for the unstable, unprofessional, ignorant, and toxic women.  THEY probably don’t know who they are, because they are deluded and unable to have insight into their pathological “leadership” style.
And when you are the object of an abusive woman, disappointment doesn’t even begin to cover the feeling. It is a betrayal because we have been brought up to believe that our fellow females would somehow have our back. GET RID OF THAT LIE and you may be able to survive the experience.

The point of this discussion is NOT to bash women. It is a call to action, a wakeup call, a true and honest desire for change.
To believe that women can’t be sexist or biased towards other women is ignorant and a denial of reality.  We scream like holy hell when men are cruel, biased, or toxic towards women, but we often feel we must ignore or cover when women do it to us. We feel we must suffer silently and accept the toxic females’ rage, scapegoating and even racial bias because they are- women. It shouldn’t matter what gender an abuser is- ABUSE IS ABUSE!
A tyrannical boss, regardless of gender, is an outrage and intolerable liability risk to the organization which is employing people. For that reason, quotas are completely absurd if the whole point is to employ women in leadership position. The sick irony of the female boss abusing other females is more common than many people understand.
In summation- WOMEN, wake up! Don’t assume that female co-worker, or boss, or girl friend really gives a damn about you JUST BECAUSE you are both women. Women have the capacity for all the things we accuse men of, and are even better at some of them! Equality covers the good, the bad, and the ugly.
If you believe in the equality of the sexes it is fair to expect that women can be equally unkind as men towards other women. I hope this is the wake up call that will call women to act against the abusive and toxic women in their own lives.  STOP making excuses for them, and stop pretending it doesn’t exist.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Email Monitoring Could Increase in Wake of Petraeus Scandal

In the past two weeks, the media has inundated the public with articles and blogs which highlight the risks associated with social networking. If one of the highest ranking general officers, and the head of the top intelligence agency in the nation, was able to somehow lose sight of the critical nature of information security, where does that leave all the major departments within the federal government?

Even if no security breaches occurred as a result of former CIA Director David Petraeus’ extramarital affair his theoretical belief that he could keep the affair private – and use email exchanges to do so – exemplifies a lack of judgment. (It’s widely held in intelligence circles that having an affair isn’t necessarily a career ender – but trying to keep it private from your spouse and supervisors is certainly an issue).
See more here:
Email Monitoring Could Increase in Wake of Petraeus Scandal

Saturday, November 17, 2012

A great article about my father's first time voting for a U.S. president in November 2012

"I Voted My Heart" An article from the Alexandria Gazette newspaper

First-time voter for president waited long time to perform his civic duty.

— Nov. 6, 2012 was an important day for 74-year-old Pablo A. Rodriguez. He dressed himself up in a grey suit and a white shirt in the morning, then went to Agudas Achim Congregation with his son-in-law and grandson to cast his ballots. After voting, Rodriguez went outside the polling place and took a picture of himself pointing at the “I voted” button on his chest.
This was the first time that Rodriguez could be able to vote for a U.S. president. He waited for this day for half a century.
“I was really excited because it was my first time,” Rodriguez said. “And I voted my heart.”
Rodriguez was born in Havana, Cuba. It’s a beautiful place where 300 days of a year are sunny, he recalls. When the Cuba Revolution broke out, he was a freshman studying medicine. Later, Rodriguez’s school was shut down as the situation became worse. His father decided to let him go to Washington, D.C. to stay with his brother for a while. In February 1958, 19-year-old Rodriguez left his country.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Shared Workspaces Growing More Popular in Government Offices

Want to save money? Eliminate high-cost government office space.

A White House mandate to reduce federal office space has caused several government agencies to
look to creative and cost-effective solutions for solving workspace issues.

The goal of successfully reducing costs, as well as a focus on increasing budgets cuts for federal workspaces, keep government officials moving toward more innovative means of housing their workforce and utilizing other options- including workstation sharing and increased telework.

See more here:
Shared Workspaces Growing More Popular in Government Offices

British Intelligence Looking for a Few Good Gamers

It seems all those hours spent on video games weren’t a waste of time after all.

A recent
announcement by British Foreign Secretary William Hague stated that up to one hundred young gamers are being recruited by government agencies to train for jobs related to cyber security issues. It seems that 18 year old “Generation Xbox” recruits, and their gamer skills, are more valuable to the mission than their contemporaries with college degrees. The name of the program the new program is the Single Intelligence Account Apprenticeship.

Once chosen to participate, they will be placed in a two year program with curriculum in software, web and telecommunications, as well as communications, security and engineering.

See more here:
British Intelligence Looking for a Few Good Gamers

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Federal Government Puts Squeeze on Local Hotel and Conference Industry

This has been a devastating year for the conference industry in Washington, D.C., with the federal government dramatically slashing spending on hotels, conference centers, and related expenses. If that wasn’t tough enough for an already startled industry, more and more contractors have taken the government’s lead to heart and followed suit.

Many local businesses are wondering how hotels and conference venues will survive this shift in policy and attitudes. The abrupt fallout from recent fiscal scandals has put all government agencies on alert, reducing funding for conferences.
See more here:
Federal Government Puts Squeeze Local Hotel and Conference Industry

Sunday, November 4, 2012

To Vote or not to Vote, that is the question: The answer is VOTE!

On November 6, 2012, U.S. citizens will vote for the next president, as well as some state and local offices. Joining them, will be my father who will cast his first vote for a United States president. Talk about a big day in a 74 year old, Cuban-born, person’s life!  (It isn’t his first time voting, as he has enthusiastically voted in every local election since becoming a citizen in March of 2009.)

It’s exciting to think that someone would care enough to participate in the electoral process after a lifetime of not doing so. It is a great lesson for those who are too_ whatever_ not to vote, to know of someone who is inspired and concerned enough to want to actively participate in a process that often is viewed cynically and without any fanfare. If your RIGHT TO VOTE seems mundane or pointless, you may need to live in a country where people lack that ability and absorb the preciousness of that right.

It is hard to believe that some people will not exercise their right to participate in this important process. The reasons go from unacceptably lame to understandably unacceptable. And yes, I realize that two, or even three, candidates can’t possibly appeal to every person in the country; and as with marriage or most relationships, there is always SOMETHING about the person you just don’t like. But, that isn’t the point. The point is - VOTING is a civic duty and a responsibility that too many people take for granted.

Here’s a little explanation of voting in more academic terms:
In a democracy, a government is chosen by voting in an election: a way for an electorate to elect, i.e. choose, among several candidates for rule. In a representative democracy voting is the method by which the electorate appoints its representatives in its government.

A vote is a formal expression of an individual's choice in voting, for or against some motion (for example, a proposed resolution), for a certain candidate, a selection of candidates, or a political party. A secret ballot has come to be the practice to prevent voters from being intimidated and to protect their political privacy. Voting usually takes place at a polling station; it is voluntary in some countries, compulsory in others, such as Argentina, Australia, Belgium and Brazil.  Wikipedia

WOW! That last line! In some countries, voting is compulsory? Imagine that! In my humble, or not so humble opinion, those countries have the right idea. In our great nation, we have SO MUCH FREEDOM; we even have the freedom to NOT exercise one of the most important rights we possess. Now that’s something.

I don’t presume to tell anyone how they should vote. That is just as bad as telling someone “who or what” they should pray to, or who they should marry, or how they should live their lives. It defeats the purpose of, wait for it…FREEDOM.  You see where I am going with this. It isn’t that I want to tell anyone how they should vote, because that isn’t for me to say. I respect, even if I disagree with, another person’s choices. I may not understand it, like it, or even think it is a good idea, but it isn’t my job, my place, or my decision to decide for them.

To be 100% honest, I don’t like politics or most politicians. I have my own personal reasons and frankly, it isn’t party-based or even about many of the individuals. I find the whole business very divisive and polarizing. Politics has become MEAN-SPIRITED, cruel, dehumanizing, and theatrical. It makes my head hurt. And in a 24/7 news world, the spin and hype can become overwhelmingly depressing. Most of the coverage isn’t about real issues, it is aboutpersonalities and an endless stream of pundits and talking heads and controversial “radio personalities” who just want higher ratings. It is exhausting. It makes many people really crazy. Seriously, crazy.

 I realize politics is big business. I understand the whole campaign industry and view much of it with cynicism and loathing, BUT I take democracy very seriously, and since the political process, as flawed as it may be, it the vehicle that produces our democracy and precious freedoms (hopefully), I accept and embrace it. Our process isn’t perfect, but it certainly beats many of the alternatives.

This coming Tuesday, my family will be celebrating OUR RIGHT to vote, even more than who wins the election. My father’s exercise of his civic duty, and his belief in the democratic process under the Constitution, is far more important to me than which candidate is chosen by the majority of the American people. I know that may seem hard to believe, but it is true. Presidents come and presidents go. There are always going to be disappointed people after Election Day. That’s how it goes. But the day after the election, we are all still Americans, and democracy will still be alive and well.

So get out there and exercise your right to vote. Many people around the world have, or would have, died to have it.