Friday, 18 October 2013

POLLY WANNA COPPER?

Ken Berwitz

Here's one that is straight from the "you can't make this stuff up" file.

From an article at thesmokinggun.com:

While being chased by a cop, a Connecticut man allegedly threw a parrot at his uniformed pursuer, who was bit on the hand when trying to shield himself from the feathered projectile.

Luis Santana, 32, was arrested Tuesday night on several charges, including assaulting a police officer, disorderly conduct, and animal cruelty.

A patrolman responding to a call about a fight encountered Santana on a Waterbury street around 10 PM. When Santana bolted, bird in hand, Officer Gary Kichar gave chase.

While fleeing, Santana turned and threw the white parrot at Kichars head. When the cop raised his hand to protect himself, the bird bit his finger.

Now that's flipping the bird!  (NOTE:  One of the commenters said this too, but I promise it was the first thing I thought of, before reading the comments.)

Actually, if I'm going to use this story to do bad jokes about parrots, I'm not going to restrict myself to one-liners:

A guy walks into a pet shop and says "My mother is all alone in her little apartment.  She has no one to talk to, and needs a companion.  Do you by any chance have a talking bird"

The owner says "Do I ever.  Here's a parrot that talks in 6 different languages". 

"Wow, that's great!  How much?"

"That'll be $7,500".

"WHAT?  That's nuts, it will clean me out".

"Hey, do you know how hard it is to teach a parrot 6 languages?" 

"Ok, ok, for my mother I'll do it". 

So the guy pays up and has the owner immediately deliver the bird to his mother's apartment.

That night he calls up his mother and says "Ma, did you get the bird I sent you?". 

She says "Yes, my beautiful son, what a wonderful gift".

"So you like it?" 

"It was delicious.  A little hard to cook, and not much of a meal, but very tasty".

"MA!  YOU ATE THE PARROT???????"

"Of course I did." 

"MA!  THAT PARROT COST $7,500!! IT SPOKE 6 DIFFERENT LANGUAGES.

"So why didn't it say something?"

Ok, enough.  Back to politics...where the bird is always flipped.

 


THE CHRIS MATTHEWS/GRETA VAN SUSTEREN EXCHANGE

Ken Berwitz

Here are two fascinating comments - one made by MSNBC's Chris Matthews about Fox News Channel's Greta Van Susteren, and then Ms. Van Susteren's reaction to what Matthews said.

Speaking to Larry King, who now toils for the Russia Today (RT) cable network, Mr. Matthews said:

"I'm watching Fox [News].  Will Megyn Kelly be able to stay in the middle or will she move over? Will she have to move over? Look at Greta. Greta was more center left now she's moved over. There's a lot of group pressure in those places. In any place you work."

And how did Ms. Van Susteren react?  Here's your answer:

"I am stunned because, while no one has ever told me in 11 1/2 years what to say. I have also not been weak to some amorphous "group pressure." I now read that it does happen at MSNBC - or so it is alleged by one of their anchors.  Chris Matthews admits to group pressure at MSNBC. That is really awful that it happens there or that he feels it is going on. It makes no difference if it does actually happen or not,  it is in Chris Matthews' mind that it does. Hence his views and questions and statements - are poisoned. You are not getting pure facts or conviction from him, you are getting showbiz and manipulation."

FYI, Ms. Van Susteren's reference about what happens at MSNBC is based on another comment by Matthews in the same interview.  When asked by King if MSNBC exerts pressure on its people to be partisan, Matthews said "Oh, I feel it.  I think it's there".

What a surprise that is.  Right up there with the sun looking yellow and tabasco sauce tasting spicy.

Do you think this is the end of the Matthews/Van Susteren back-and-forth?  Don't bet on it.  Just sit back with your snack and beverage of choice, and enjoy the show.


MARK LABELL & CHARLES SCHWAB'S PHOENIX OFFICE

Ken Berwitz

If you are a regular reader, I assume you are aware of the firestorm created several weeks ago by my blog about Hobby Lobby.  

Now, unless some major event has yet to take place (and I can't imagine what it might be), the Hobby Lobby story is over.

But, because of it, I was contacted by a gentleman named Mark Labell, who asked if I could intercede on his behalf regarding a very unpleasant dispute he is engaged in with his former employer, Charles Schwab's Phoenix office.

Mr. Labell accuses this office of discriminating against him as a Jew, and making it so difficult to work there that he was effectively forced out after 12 years of service.

I do not know Mark Labell, and therefore cannot speak first-hand for him.  But I can post the events he related to me, and comment on what it means if they are true - which I am happy to do.

Here, in condensed version, is what Mr. Labell's account:

Being the only Jewish member of a team at a brokerage firm in Phoenix Arizona I was placed in what is referred to a a Hostile work environment as well as alienated discriminated and bullied to the point in which I was forced out. After seeking help and guidance from an independent Human resources specialist I was what is referred to as being constructively discharged (NOTE:  Constructive discharge is when someone leaves a company because circumstances have made it intolerable for that person to continue there).

I currently have an open case with both FINRA (NOTE:  FINRA is the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority) for the constructive Discharge case as well as the EEOC for my religious discrimination.

Let me share some things with you on both issues. the managers are giving team money to be used by everyone on the team for either ordering in lunch for everyone or going on a team outing as a team building type of function. During some of the Jewish holidays like Passover knowing that I can not eat bread the would order Pizza and subs.  or during Yom Kippur they would order in party trays from various places knowingly that I was fasting. Or non Jewish holidays order in pork products with out including me and letting me be allowed to order something different. I would receive constant snide derogatory comments from management that " I am too picky" or "I am only being Jewish when it is convenient for me to be " Which is hard to say when I am 100% Jewish.  

The open case I have with FINRA some examples that I can share with you include pointing out a grave injustice that was done where on a team of 11 including 2 managers, 1 person was out on medical leave for about 7-8 weeks out of the qtr and 8 people out of the 11 received a special recognition along with an additional bonus in which 3 people did not relieve anything what was unfair about this whole ordeal is that the person out on medical leave received this special recognition and bonus for not doing 1 ounce of the work where as myself and 2 others did all the work and did not receive anything. 2 of us spoke up, one of us only had his hands slapped however I was severely scrutinized and punished where I lost out on several things including my annual raise, my qtry bonus(different from special bonus and several other things. I tried numerous times to leave the department and go to another department to only find out after the fact that I was being blacklisted. 

(This) ultimately forced me out after 12 and a half years in which I was vested in the company and had no desire to leave.

Mr. Labell has given me far more intricate detail of situations he encountered at his company, which mention the actions of specific people.  He has also showed me a number of anonymous reviews by current and former employees of the company which support his claims of bullying and offensive behavior at Charles Schwab.  I will not post them here, because I have no way of vouching for whether these events actually occurred or what the circumstances were.  I'll let the folks at FINRA and the EEOC decide that for themselves.

He also forwarded the letter of a co-worker which commends the quality of his work and confirms the treatment he was accorded.  I am showing it below, with the co-worker's name obliterated to protect him/her from retaliation:

To whom it may concern,

My name is XXXXXXX and I am a former coworker of Mark Labell. I have known him for approximately seven years and in that seven years he has continued to be a hard-working, dedicated, loyal employee. On several occasions during my employment at Charles Schwab, while working with Mark Labell, I witnessed several events that to me would have been offensive and discriminatory. I believe Mark will strive in his current role without the stressors of a hostile working environment that tends to be a common occurrence at Charles Schwab.

hope this letter will serve as a reference to Mr. Labell's outstanding character.

Thank you,

FYI:  I have spoken with the person who wrote this letter.  He/she assures me it is correct, that "Mark is a stand-up guy who got the short end of the stick" and that this is how management works at that office.

How do I feel about the events Mark Labell has related to me?  I'm sure you already know. 

Singling out people because of who they are is ugly and offensive.  I would put what Mr. Labell has described in the same category as, for example, ordering out for lunch and always making a point of asking a Black employee if he/she wanted fried chicken and watermelon, or having an office party and putting all the whiskey on an Irish employee's desk - then sneering out an attack if there were any complaint about it. 

Any action of this type is obviously offensive.  But continual actions such as these over an extended period of time are far worse, because they make it crystal clear to the employee that the people in charge do not care what kind of person he/she is, or the quality of his/her work.  All they see is the ethnicity. 

That stinks.  And it is 100% intolerable.

I again point out that the information I am presenting here is second-hand in nature.  But if Mark Labell has correctly described what he was subjected to, I hope you'll join me in rooting for him to win his FINRA and EEOC cases, get full satisfaction, and put the people who did this to shame.

free' I am on board with everything except the meals on his day of fasting. I don't think everyone else should have to fast also. BTW I made this same comment about Muslims wanting people they work with to have to fast also. (10/18/13)

John Singer What has this country come to? Hasn't everyone learned their lesson yet. As a fellow Jew I am glad that some one had the kahuna's to stand up for him self. Bullying at schools, bullying at the work place what more needs to happen? Do we need to see more tragedies in the news? I for one do not want to see any more. Charles Schwab management should be a shamed of themselves. (10/19/13)

Big Tom I wanted to see if what the story was in fact true and during my research i came across this web site From the www.glassdoor.com web site I am so appalled with what I found, please see for yourself as to what I found. Ken thank you for bringing this issue up One should not have to live in fear of working for a large company, it is not the fear of being fired, or laid off or even not doing a good job. But rather the fear of management bullying their employees. Unfortunately we see in the news each and every day a kid bullied to the point that they may take their own life. Like what happened to that 12 year old girl in Florida. But what you do not see in the media is that fact that bullying occurs in the work place so much so that it makes people either very sick from the stress or that the employee is coerced to quit. Does this make for a good company to work for? Everything. No opportunities. Management is made up of a bunch of butt kissers that will say anything to protect their jobs. The management is extremely inept to the point they don't even realize how bad they are. Unlike the great characters from the wizard of Oz including, the Tin man or the scarecrow, imagine if you will that management is nothing more than Wicked Witches. Who are mean, shellfish and all around plain evil! Think about this the wicked witch of the west was mean and a bit of a bully with targeting Dorothy, The Tin man, Scarecrow and the lion. Schwab mangers are no different with bullying the employees. I am not sure why Schwab has an HR department as I recently learned that they are not there to help out any of the employees but rather there to watch out for the manager. I have witnessed and have heard fellow Schwabbe's being mis treated,belittled disrespected and if that was not enough I have even over heard mangers mock and make fun of an employee because of their religion and or nationality. This kind of misconduct is morally unethical. At Schwab we are all supposed to be and show higher standards I guess that does not count of you are in management as that continues to happen further more The HR reps do not do anything but cover up the mess sweep everything under the rug. And when you talk to them about it how ironically the next day you get some form management retaliation in which again nothing gets done. It is apparent to me that the HR reps are solely there to only protect the mangers which in not right. According to the Schwab company handbook mangers may not retaliate in any capacity. Can you explain why when this happens why you can find all the HR reps sitting on their hands? Bullying, religious profiling and or discrimination must be stopped! (10/20/13)

Disgusted Dan What I thought I had worked for was a good ethical company. My eyes were opened that Charles Scheab and company is nothing more then a bunch of good ok boys who enjoy bullying tactics, picking on people because of their religious beliefs and or creed. I for one will be leaving this company after nearly 25 years of service as I am sickened beyond belief that there are people that treat other people like garbage or even worse! (10/27/13)

Disgusted Dan I would like to rephrase my last post as I was not Finished with it. My eyes have been opened now to how my current and or former co workers/ schwa bows have been treated. I am deeply sadend to no end th This kind of behavior was going on. Because of how people are being treated. I am only a few urlears out of retirement however, with that being said as a brokerage professional it is appalling to me that senior management did not do anything to help out in fact they seemed to be a part of the problem.i will go on record and state it is schwab's policy to CYA (10/27/13)


PARAPROSDOKIANS

Ken Berwitz

As I'm sure every schoolchild knows, a paraprosdokian statement is a statement in which the last part veers off in an unexpected, often humorous, way from the first part.

My sister just sent me a long list of them - too many for one blog.  So I've picked out 15 of the best, to brighten your day.

Here they are, sure to bring a smile - even if it is a rueful one.  Enjoy:

Since light travels faster than sound, some people appear bright until you hear them speak.

We never really grow up; we only learn how to act in public.

War does not determine who is right - only who is left.

Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.

They begin the evening news with 'Good Evening,' then proceed to tell you why it isn't.

To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism. To steal from many is research.

Women will never be equal to men until they can walk down the street with a bald head and a beer gut, and still think they are sexy.

A clear conscience is the sign of a fuzzy memory.

You do not need a parachute to skydive. You only need a parachute to skydive twice.

Going to church doesn't make you a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a car.

Do not argue with an idiot. He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience.

How is it one careless match can start a forest fire, but it takes a whole box to start a campfire?

Dolphins are so smart that within a few weeks of captivity, they can train people to stand on the very edge of the pool and throw them fish.

Always borrow money from a pessimist. He won't expect it back.

Some cause happiness wherever they go. Others whenever they go.


FROM THOSE WONDERFUL FOLKS IN CHARGE OF YOUR HEALTH CARE....

Ken Berwitz

Here are the first two paragraphs of Christopher Weaver and Louise Radnofksy's article at the Wall Street Journal's Market Watch.  Please read them, and think about what they mean to the people - that tiny select number so far - who sign up for ObamaCare:

Insurers say the federal health-care marketplace is generating flawed data that is straining their ability to handle even the trickle of enrollees who have gotten through so far, in a sign that technological problems extend further than the website traffic and software issues already identified.

Emerging errors include duplicate enrollments, spouses reported as children, missing data fields and suspect eligibility determinations, say executives at more than a dozen health plans. Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Nebraska said it had to hire temporary workers to contact new customers directly to resolve inaccuracies in submissions. Medical Mutual of Ohio said one customer had successfully signed up for three of its plans.

And, yes, these are the same people who will be in charge of health care.  Whether people are sick or well.  Whether they live or die.

Sleep well tonight....


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