Archive for the ‘Government’ Category

Ethics Revisited

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013

Exempting Companies from Obamacare

Tuesday, November 27th, 2012

We were sent a letter from Hobby Lobby that is reprinted in its entirety below.  The company’s CEO is asking to be exempt from the law due to conflicts between the law and the owner’s religious beliefs.   We wonder if any person or corporation should generally be exempted from a law of any sorts.

This article lists a large number of organizations that have been exempted from this healthcare law.  Why are these organizations exempted from the law?  What guidelines are there that would allow one organization, city, or state for that matter to opt out of the healthcare bill? Perhaps this website will help clarify the issues.

“A Letter from Hobby Lobby Stores CEO

By David Green, the founder and CEO of Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc.

When my family and I started our company 40 years ago, we were working out of a garage on a $600 bank loan, assembling miniature picture frames. Our first retail store wasn’t much bigger than most people’s living rooms, but we had faith that we would succeed if we lived and worked according to God’s word. From there, Hobby Lobby has become one of the nation’s largest arts and crafts retailers, with more than 500 locations in 41 states. Our children grew up into fine business leaders, and today we run Hobby Lobby together, as a family.

We’re Christians, and we run our business on Christian principles. I’ve always said that the first two goals of our business are (1) to run our business in harmony with God’s laws, and (2) to focus on people more than money. And that’s what we’ve tried to do. We close early so our employees can see their families at night. We keep our stores closed on Sundays, one of the week’s biggest shopping days, so that our workers and their families can enjoy a day of rest. We believe that it is by God’s grace that Hobby Lobby has endured, and he has blessed us and our employees. We’ve not only added jobs in a weak economy, we’ve raised wages for the past four years in a row. Our full-time employees start at 80% above minimum wage.

But now, our government threatens to change all of that. A new government health care mandate says that our family business MUST provide what I believe are abortion-causing drugs as part of our health insurance. Being Christians, we don’t pay for drugs that might cause abortions, which means that we don’t cover emergency contraception, the morning-after pill or the week-after pill. We believe doing so might end a life after the moment of conception, something that is contrary to our most important beliefs. It goes against the Biblical principles on which we have run this company since day one. If we refuse to comply, we could face $1.3 million PER DAY in government fines.

Our government threatens to fine job creators in a bad economy. Our government threatens to fine a company that’s raised wages four years running. Our government threatens to fine a family for running its business according to its beliefs. It’s not right. I know people will say we ought to follow the rules; that it’s the same for everybody. But that’s not true. The government has exempted thousands of companies from this mandate, for reasons of convenience or cost. But it won’t exempt them for reasons of religious belief.

So, Hobby Lobby and my family are forced to make a choice. With great reluctance, we filed a lawsuit today, represented by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, asking a federal court to stop this mandate before it hurts our business. We don’t like to go running into court, but we no longer have a choice. We believe people are more important than the bottom line and that honoring God is more important than turning a profit.

My family has lived the American dream. We want to continue growing our company and providing great jobs for thousands of employees, but the government is going to make that much more difficult. The government is forcing us to choose between following our faith and following the law. I say that’s a choice no American and no American business should have to make.

The government cannot force you to follow laws that go against your fundamental religious belief. They have exempted thousands of companies but will not except Christian organizations including the Catholic church.

Sincerely,

David Green, CEO and Founder of Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc.”

 

WTF: Did The U.S. Government Decide to Let Embassy Staff Die in Benghazi?

Friday, October 26th, 2012

Did we really not try to save our personnel at the U.S. Consulate?  Fox News has broken a news report that sources who were on the ground in Benghazi, that requests for military back-up during the attack on the U.S. consulate and subsequent attack several hours later was denied by U.S. officials.  It is worse than that.  According to the report, outside military help was told to stand down.  Really?

The reports also go on to say that military on the ground ignored orders and went on a rescue mission.  The rescue team from the CIA annex evacuated those who remained at the consulate and Sean Smith, who had been killed in the initial attack. They could not find the ambassador and returned to the CIA annex at about midnight.  This calls into question everything we have heard from the Administration pertaining to this debacle.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/10/26/cia-operators-were-denied-request-for-help-during-benghazi-attack-sources-say/#ixzz2AQi7sIMe

TiVo Launches an Internship Program for Veterans

Thursday, August 16th, 2012
Most people think executives of publicly traded corporations only worry about the quarter, the year, and the stock price.  We rarely see the “other side” of the C Suite.  In TiVo’s case, the top brass down to the staff level joined together to create a special internship program specifically targeted at our veterans.
Today, The Wall Street Journal posted an article written by TiVo CEO Tom Rogers and TiVo lead director and Viet Nam veteran, Tom Wolzien.  Take a moment to read, reflect and ask this question.  What if our company implemented an internship program for veterans?  We hope that business leaders read, reflect on the TiVo initiative and others like it around the country, and answer the call to hire our veterans.

TiVo’s Fix For Jobless Veterans

Many companies have college interns. Why not for men and women back from combat?

By TOM ROGERS AND TOM WOLZIEN

They are everywhere, but we don’t usually see them—the nearly 300,000 of the 2.4 million veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan who are without work. That’s a 12% unemployment rate, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. As a veteran recently told us, “It’s like people say, ‘Thank you for your service . . . but don’t ask me for a job.’”

They deserve better. So this past spring at TiVo we filled a conference room with veterans on staff and said, “We’re not doing enough for people getting out of the military. Figure it out.” Those veterans of wars going back to Vietnam took 90 minutes to conceive and design a paid annual internship program for women and men just getting out of the military, or who have recently finished school after service.

The TiVo Summer Veterans Intern Program (TiVets) is based on two ideas. First: Since we have internships for college students, why not vets? Second, a résumé credential “buffer,” such as the internship, answers the critical question of whether a veteran can successfully transition to civilian employment.

We match each veteran with two mentors, one of them a veteran. The mentors, along with a college intern, keep tabs on the performance of the vets, and on any other issues that might arise. There haven’t been any.

Working with military bases and veterans groups near Silicon Valley, TiVo developed a list of more than 200 potential candidates for internships. Ten vets were eventually selected. Then our engineering and operations division connected the interns with the right positions. The first class of interns started in June.

We went into the experiment not expecting to hire any of the interns, but we will be hiring a number of them, and the line managers want to hire many more when positions become available.

The veterans adapted quickly to our corporate culture and in some cases brought military-type accountability to operations that had never looked to adopt that sort of discipline. They have proven their abilities and shown dedication and commitment. Those hired won’t need an extensive amount of time for training, as is necessary for most new employees.

A number of other companies do make efforts to support veterans, but unfortunately the current job market isn’t yielding a great deal of hiring. Yet an internship program like TiVo’s costs companies very little. It is the commitment to making it work that truly matters, giving a veteran that first step into the private sector that could lead to permanent employment.

Our first class of veteran interns included people who have traumatic brain injuries from improvised explosive devices and other physical disabilities. Some disclosed having low-level post-traumatic stress disorder. This is unsurprising: 25% of vets from the post-9/11 era are disabled, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Yet the disabilities have not been a factor in the performance of our interns.

The interns themselves tell us that the program means a great deal to them. Many have experienced being turned down repeatedly for positions because their formal education didn’t match the rigid “check-the-box” approach of most companies, and they had no private-sector experience to offer. There is rarely a place on an application to talk about managing millions of dollars of equipment and dozens of people—or making crucial judgments under the pressure of conditions never experienced in the civilian workplace. These experiences matter to our company.

The most touching story we’ve heard came from a vet who came home from deployment in Afghanistan and was discharged last Christmas. She had never looked for a job and had no idea where to start. The Army was her career. She was, she said, at the end of her rope when the TiVo internship opportunity came along. Now her confidence is back and she knows how to talk the talk of Silicon Valley—she’s not speaking “military” anymore.

America has asked many men and women to protect the country while making huge sacrifices along the way. But when their military careers wrap up, they are often not trained adequately to change careers, and too few companies are making use of the tremendous life skills developed during combat tours.

We didn’t know what to expect from this program, so it is easy to say that it exceeded expectations. As our first class nears completion, we intend to maintain this program and certainly hope other companies will try their own versions. The veteran-intern program has done far more for both the veterans and TiVo than we ever expected.

Mr. Rogers is the CEO of TiVo Inc. Mr. Wolzien, a Vietnam veteran, is the lead independent director of TiVo’s board of directors.

Freedom of Speech is Alive and Well in the United States

Thursday, August 2nd, 2012

Mike Huckabee's Appreciation Day at Chick fil-AFormer Governor Mike Huckabee created Chick fil-A Appreciation Day Wednesday to support the company, its chief executive’s controversial stance on gay marriage, and most importantly, the right of free speech that is protected under the Constitution of the United States.  The free speech controversy started when several politicians openly stated that they would block Chick fil-A from entering their markets based solely on the CEO’s position on what constitutes a marriage.

The response in Dallas and around the country has been remarkable. Thousands ate yesterday at Chick fil-A, waiting in long lines without complaint.  Our wait was about 30 minutes.

GLADD is planning a “National Same-Sex Kiss Day at Chick-fil-A” on Friday. Couples who disagree with Dan Cathey’s view on marriage are being encouraged to take a photo or video of couples kissing at a Chick fil-A store.

We believe strongly in free speech and so it was heart warming to see so many people turn out Wednesday to support the right to free speech.  We will also support GLADD’s right to express their views in opposition, and will join in on Friday’s event.

We also support the Jim Henson Company’s right to cancel a contract that supplies toys in the chain’s kids’ meals because of Chick-fil-A’s anti-gay marriage stance.  Like consumers, companies have the freedom (thankfully) to do business with whom they choose.

Happy President’s Day 2012

Monday, February 20th, 2012

How many of us have ever been president of something?  I was elected president of the Southwest High School German Club in the fall of my senior year.  I wasn’t ambitious or qualified; I just had the most Germanic name so I was the leader of choice.  My only responsibilities involved overseeing the annual fundraiser, the Gummy Bear sale, and making sure we had enough competitors for the Foreign Language Fair.  Gummy Bears were still very exotic in 1984, so they were an easy sell. Recruiting classmates to perform plays in German was a different story.  We ended up with only two entries in the spoken German category; my best friends supported me by performing “Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves” auf deutsch and yours truly and another friend performed a depressing dialog about a teenage girl who becomes pregnant and tries to convince her Mutti that a stork is responsible.  Whether it was the material we chose or the talent we presented, none of us left the fair with a ribbon that day.  Sad, since we had given up a Friday night to be in top form for Saturday morning competition; and we didn’t win any resume-building accolades. It was that Saturday evening that I decided being president, being the one responsible for all, is not for me.

Being a president is hard work.  Are any of us really capable or qualified to be president? The definitions of president sound pretty impressive:  head of state; chief executive; person who presides over an assembly, corporation or group; one who governs a body of people, etc.  What, with all that power, who wouldn’t want to preside?  Who hasn’t thought, just once, “Heck, I could be a better president than that guy!”

Consider the gauntlet a presidential hopeful must run before being elected or appointed president.  I’m not just talking about being POTUS; I’m talking about being president of the booster club, the company, the charity organization.  To be president of anything you must possess ambition, thick skin and the strong belief that you have something to offer. You need to be convinced of what you stand for and defend it mightily. You must risk offending, upsetting and leapfrogging obstacles in your way. You’re required to be sycophantic and charming and accept being revered and despised. Whatever gains you make by becoming president of something, they are often offset by what you lose as being president of something.

Who takes the fall when a company’s earnings fall below expectations? The president.  Who gets the blame when the philanthropy’s board members resign and donations stop coming in? The president. Who is reviled when unpopular policies are put into place and employees no longer get a 401k match or can wear jeans on Fridays? You guessed it, the president.

Who gets the credit when a company has a record IPO? Not the president who leads the company and hires the specialists who build and sell the products, it’s the board of directors, the analysts, the market makers. Who takes the victory lap when a team wins the national championship? Not the university president who hires the coach and allocates the budget, but the coach and the players.  So, it sounds like as president, you get all of the blame and none of the glory.  Now, remind me again why anyone would want to be president?

In the 223 years since George Washington was elected the first president of the United States, we’ve had only 44 men serve our great country in that role. And among those 44 men who served, there are some whose names we don’t recognize, some whose names we celebrate, and some whose names we’d rather forget. But no matter what our political ideology, education, income or belief system, we should always recognize and respect the office of the president of the United State and the man, or woman, who serves in that role. We ought to respect the role of president of anything, because it is not an easy role to play. You try finding a 17-year-old who wants to give up his Saturday to perform Ali Baba in German . . . You try being president of a sorority leading 85 young women, 64 of whom don’t like each other . . . and why not give a shot to running a business, a military, a social services network and an education system, simultaneously.  No thanks, you say?

Then on this President’s Day, let us renew our respect for leadership even if we do not agree with the leader. Let us sympathize with those in leadership positions who assume significant personal risk and sacrifice because of what they believe in. And let us try to be more compassionate to those who take the risks to take the lead.

 Kersten Rettig is a marketing and public relations professional and mother of two future presidents.

 

 

 

Dallas Police Memorial Service

Tuesday, May 10th, 2011


Every year, the Dallas Police Department gathers to honor its fallen officers. This past January, Kevin P. Marceau lost his life in the line of duty, and we remember him for his service to our city.

As the men and women who protect our city gather to honor those we have lost, YouPlusDallas would like to express our gratitude for their services, with the above video.

On May 18, the annual memorial service will take place. Please remember those who keep our city safe on this day, and always.

Dallas Mayoral Election

Wednesday, April 27th, 2011

The Dallas mayoral election is rapidly approaching, and YouPlusDallas wants to hear your thoughts. Know your candidates. Lend your voice. Change your city.

Ron Natinsky

Ron Natinsky brings some new ideas to refresh and improve the Dallas area.

To begin, he faces the issue that everyone knows so well: improving the economy. He plans to do build Dallas’s economy by creating jobs.

The next issue is crime rates. He claims he will decline crime rates even further and attempt to keep Dallas safe.

One thing he wants citizens to know is he supports the arts and quality-of-life. To ensure quality-of-life, he wants to better our beautiful parks and put stronger libraries into place.

Similar to other Dallas mayor candidates, he wants to improve the public education system. Natinsky hones in on lowering dropout rates, increasing the amount of recognized schools and improving graduation rates.

Lastly, he wants to honor the Downtown area, and do this by revitalizing the transportation options, making parking less of a stressful chore and much more.

David Kunkle

What is David Kunkle all about? From saving animals to bumping up Dallas’s economy, he’s got a few ideas for the future of Dallas.

As the former Dallas police chief, Kunkle emphasizes the importance of public safety. Without safe streets and neighborhoods, there isn’t much room for improvement.

The next issue is economic growth in the Dallas metroplex. He supports small businesses and large employers, claiming they both create hundreds of jobs and will boost our economy. And one thing he promises: he will not raise taxes.

Another important issue to Kunkle is the public school system. He would like to continue to better relationships with local area school districts and outreach programs. On top of this, he supports the arts as well as sports within schools. To him, this completes education.

And finally, Kunkle believes too many animals are being euthanized in Dallas animal shelters. An overwhelming majority of animals put in shelters are being killed rather than adopted, and he wants to put an end to this by enacting a no-kill policy.

Edward Opka

Edward Opka is looking to improve our city through his DEEP platform: the Dallas Economic Empowerment Plan. DEEP concerns issues like Public Safety, Budget, New Jobs, Neighborhood Revitalization, International Trade, and Education.

Opka knows that Dallas is a prime location for business, and he is working on attracting domestic and foreign businesses to relocate to our city in order to prove our economy.

Opka is working on an initiative to eliminate practices that add to the deficit, as well as ensure that lay-offs will be a last resort.

In matters of community, Opka wants to implement a neighborhood improvement program to increase market appreciation. He also wants to help the ‘Dark Triangle,’ the area of the city with the least amount of attention and resources.

When our neighborhoods are filled with the forces that protect our city, crime is reduced. Opka wants to provide police officers with incentive to live in Dallas, instead of having them travel from outside the city borders to work each day.

Mike Rawlings

A sense of community is critical in thriving cities. Mike Rawlings wants smooth roads, beautiful parks, and recreational activities present in our city for the community to enjoy.

Rawlings wants to protect taxpayers by finding ways to propel the Dallas infrastructure without reaching into the pockets of taxpayers.

Cities need to grow economically in order to survive. Rawlings wants to attract large and small businesses to the Dallas area in order to bring new jobs to our city.

Thriving neighborhoods have a great public school system, and Rawlings believes that strong schools will build strong neighborhoods. It is his intention to enhance our public school system.

Rawlings wants to work to maintain or better the standard of reducing crime rate in Dallas by ensuring there are 3 police officers to every 1,000 citizens.

Dallasites, we want to hear your response! Your voice should be heard. A unique feature of YouPlusDallas is Videopinions, which allow anyone to ask a question, and respond by uploading or recording your own video, right from your computer or mobile phone. This opinion will be housed on the YouPlusDallas website where other people can view the questions, see your response, and vote on those topics. This feature allows everyone to have a voice before the vote. Remember, Know your candidates. Lend your voice. Change your city. We look forward to hearing what you have to say.

Obama’s Doctrine of Ambiguity

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

As one who studies US foreign policy, I am not a fan of presidential doctrines that are generally crafted by the press out of a line or two of a president’s speech.  The Monroe Doctrine may have actually been the only true doctrine, defined by its namesake, and even it proved susceptible to gross misinterpretation and expansive misapplication.  Moreover, in an age of complexity, doctrines, or grand strategies, seem less appealing or relevant than the flexibility ambiguity allows, which is clearly why President Obama favored ambiguity in his recent address on Libya.  We live in an age of supervention, where seemingly disconnected and anachronistic events have effects, which is an inexorable reality of complexity.  The larger problem however, is not about US foreign policy and its strategic design in a complex world; it is about American identity; it is about how we Americans view our role at home and in the world.

(more…)

Gov. Slaughter: “If Called, I Will Serve”

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010

Election night brought all sorts of surprises: while Republicans swept the major races, the biggest winner was booze, with beer & wine sales propositions passing in Dallas, Addison, University Park, Lancaster, and beyond. With an economy this rough, government should never stand between a man and his whiskey. Still, the biggest headline was in the Texas governor’s race, in a story that has been shockingly ignored by local media: the heroic third place finish by one Reid Slaughter.

I learned of my good fortune late this afternoon, when You+Dallas staffers returned from the polls and announced that they had written in my name for Texas Governor. I could certainly understand the decision: disenfranchised, hungry for new leadership, and anxious to receive a raise of any kind, these idealistic young journalists and filmmakers turned to the one they believe can lead our state to the Promised Land … or perhaps give them a better parking space. So, if Rick Perry [2,658,000 votes] or Bill White [1,977,000 votes] cannot serve for any reason (accidents happen!), then yours truly [4 votes, possibly 5 if the brown-nosing freelancer actually wrote me in] will move into the Governor’s Mansion, order one of those cool reclining massage chairs with a Lone Star seal on it, and govern us to prosperity. Applications for my cabinet of advisors begins now.