No: Should workers engage in political activism on the job?

There are news stories, at least in my state, of workers protesting or striking against their employer for not being permitted to wear political advocacy buttons or t-shirts or hats on the job. This applies to both customer facing and non-customer facing workers, all though most such workers are in customer facing positions.

At first glance, these activities seem innocuous. But there are numerous problems when companies begin staking out political positions.

First, and most obvious, is that many customers may disagree with the political positions – even to the point of being offended and taking their business elsewhere.

Second, not all employees may agree with the political positions – and the advocacy of politics in the work place may lead to not merely uncomfortable positions for those who may hold a minority position but may lead to a hostile work environment.

Third, is appropriate to use the brand name of your employer to promote your own political advocacy? How does this influence the buyer’s perception of the company’s brand? Note – some companies actively engage in “cause marketing” – think of outdoor equipment companies that promote environmental initiatives. Their goal is to specifically associate their brand with environmentalism. This is a managed process intended to deliver benefits to the brand. But consider if the employees decided, while on the job, to promote an initiative to develop a vacant plot of land – because it would increase the value of the employee’s homes in that neighborhood. This create a peculiar association with a brand associated with environmental stewardship and may damage the value of the brand.

Fourth, where do we draw a line? Is some politics okay but other politics is not okay? Does the employer get to decide which politics are “approved” and which are not – thereby effectively giving an “in kind” donation to one political party or advocacy group?

Is politics okay by upper management who have the ability to influence the future work opportunities of employees who may agree or disagree?

Here is an example of an extreme situation. But it is a real situation that occurred at a business I once worked at: the general manager of our division and his wife were co-owners of a major league sports team.

The team wanted the government to build them a 90+% publicly funded sports palace, otherwise known as a luxury stadium. An initiative to increase taxes to pay for this stadium, whose primary beneficiary was the team owners (which were granted monopoly on the sport in the metro area), was on the ballot.

It was not a secret that the general manager – who ultimately had hiring, firing, promotion and pay authority over everyone in the group – co-owned the sports team. Everyone knew that.

The problem was the email messages the day before the election reminding us to vote on the important ballot initiative the next day, and including something to the effect of “you will know how to vote!”

Gee, any pressure on how we were supposed to vote? (HR got involved after the election and said this was wrong but besides being too late, it is unclear that there were any consequences for the general manager.)

The question then becomes – if we allow some politicking on the job, where and how do we draw a line?

Is it okay for some employees to engage in politicking on the job but not others?

Is it okay for some employees provided their political message is politically correct or politically popular or approved by some other authority? Who gets to decide?

The best course of action is that politics stays out of the work place. Pursue political activities on your own time.

As of August 1st, smart phone bluetooth-based contact tracing apps have mostly vanished

They were an ill conceived “great idea doomed to success”. Seemed like a great idea but in practice, they are likely not workable.

I have posted many items on this topic already.

  • They really do need mass adoption to have a meaningful impact. Even at 50% adoption, they could only detect 25% of potential contacts.
  • Due to their use of an unreliable signal strength metric, their reliability was dicey.
  • They incorrectly report contacts where there is no threat – such as a sick person sitting at a table outside Starbucks, while you are sitting on the opposite side of the window, inside Starbucks.
  • They do not detect contacts “across time”. Someone sits on a light rail seat, coughs, gets up and leaves. You then board, sit on the seat and touch it with your hands, contaminating your hands and later your face.
  • And many more problems.

Smart phone contact tracing apps, based on Bluetooth proximity detection, have largely vanished. Will they be back next month?

WA State Department of Public Health expects 30-60% of WA’s population to suffer significant mental health issues

Their report. They refer to the pandemic as a “natural disaster” – much of the disaster is the specific (and often based on no evidence) policies put in place and is not “natural”.

They forecast an increase in anxiety, depression, anger, aggression, violence, domestic abuse, suicides (particularly this fall and winter) and more.

it is anticipated that rates of depression are likely to be much higher (potentially 30–60% of the general population, which is equivalent to 2.25 million to 4.5 million people in Washington) due to the chronic and ongoing social and economic disruption in people’s lives as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. This is a much higher rate than typical after a natural disaster where there is a single impact point in time.

If we are to experience an additional fall peak of illness as a function of this pandemic, significant behavioral health reactions or functional impairments may be experienced by approximately 45% of the population.

….

we can reasonably expect that approximately three million Washingtonians will experience clinically significant behavioral health symptoms over the next two to five months. Symptoms of depression will likely be the most common, followed by anxiety and acute stress. These symptoms will likely be strong enough to cause significant distress or
impairment for most people in this group

Their report implies that by the end of the year, up to 20% of all “pandemic” excess deaths will be due to suicide and drug overdoses.

Covid-19 new Cases in the U.S. trend

Source: Cases in the U.S. | CDC

This CDC chart presents a different perspective than that presented by most news reports. Remember, new cases precede the peak in hospitalizations by 1-3 weeks, and precede the peak in deaths by 1 to 4 weeks, typically. New cases can be going down while hospitalizations and  deaths are still increasing.

The media seems to be aware of this – they’ll initially report on new cases increasing, but when that stops happening, they change their attention to hospitalizations, and then to deaths.

Some interesting developments in my state. The state’s public health office said that a “death due to Covid-19” only means that the decedent had Covid-19 at time of death and may have had other associated factors. In other words, many people die “with” Covid-19 not “because of” but they have no information on how many deaths that affects.

To illustrate, our local news media learned yesterday that 5 of the 7 deaths in my County were of patients who were already in in-patient hospice care at the time they became sick but their death was recorded as a death due to Covid-19 not “with” Covid-19. They were in hospice care because they were already dying of other causes.

Update: As always my disclaimer that I am an idiot. I have no expertise in any of this and these posts are for Entertainment Purposes Only.

I have another blog solely on pandemic issues but it is private and not available for the public – I view it as a historical record and diary. Even though those posts are private, I add the disclaimer that I am an idiot and have no expertise.

Today I noticed others writing about pandemic issues – including university professors and scientists in other fields – also feeling compelled to add these disclaimers.

Why do we have to add these disclaimers? When public health officials make economic and / or political decisions, Orders and pronouncements, they never add a disclaimer that they have no expertise in those subjects.

Why is it necessary that those of us outside health care must add a disclaimer that we are idiots, while those in health care, when commenting on subjects outside their area of specialty, are never expected to make similar disclaimers? Serious question – why is that?

17 year old Florida teen arrested for hacking and taking over Twitter

Twitter’s security was so great, only a teen could take over their entire network.

A Tampa teenager is in jail, accused of being the “mastermind” behind a hack on the social media website Twitter that caused limited access to the site and high-profile accounts, accord…

Source: Tampa teen accused of being ‘mastermind’ behind Twitter hack that targeted high-profile accounts | WFLA

FCC Fines HobbyKing Nearly $3 Million for Marketing Unauthorized Drone Transmitters

HobbyKing sells radio control model aircraft, subsystems and parts. For quite some time, they sold dozens of models of transmitters, especially for video links and telemetry, that operated on unauthorized frequencies and at unauthorized power levels.  They were also selling transmitters that had never received FCC approval. The FCC previously fined them $2.9 million for violating FCC rules and regulations.  HobbyKing pulled the products and protested the fine, but the FCC noted, they did not dispute they had been actively marketing illegal transmitters – and the fine stands, due within 30 days.

Source: FCC Fines HobbyKing Nearly $3 Million for Marketing Unauthorized Drone Transmitters

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