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Tonight’s Cyber Savvy Show 05.14.08 May 14, 2008

Posted by emsgeiss in Cyber Savvy Show, education, parenting & family.
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It’s Wednesday, so that means it’s time for another installment of the Cyber Savvy show with Erika Geiss on Passionate Internet Voices Talk Radio.

Continuing our theme for May on Cyber Bullying and e-venge, tonight’s guest is Krysten Moore, Miss New Jersey Teen USA, 2007 and who works with the advocacy group Love Our Children USA to help end cyber bullying and other forms of electronic hazing and protect the lives of children, adolescents and families affected by electronic predators.

Join me tonight at 8 p.m. Eastern time to listen live to the broadcast, hear Krysten’s story, learn about her involvement with Love Our Children and how you can protect yourself, your family and especially your children from the Internet predators that they do know.

Please join us at 8 p.m. Eastern time at the Cyber Savvy show to hear about these very important topics.

Listen Live at 8 p.m. (click)

If you miss the live broadcast, the podcast is available about an hour after the show airs: here.

We hope that you’ll tune in to tonight’s Cyber Savvy Show, with guest, Krysten Moore.

→After the show ←

Feel free to continue the discussion
at the PIVTR forum.

You can access the forum three ways:

  • Logged-in forum members go here
  • Forum log-in (members who aren’t already logged in) here
    Then scroll down to the Cyber Savvy Show thread.
  • Register for the forum here
    (If you are not registered for the PIVTR forum already, and want to participate in the discussion, please register for the forum before the show ends at 8:30 p.m. Eastern time. Registration is free. After registering/validating your subscription, enter the forum, and scroll down to the Cyber Savvy Show thread.)

Copyright © 2008, Erika-Marie S. Geiss

Tonight’s Cyber Savvy Show 05.07.08 May 7, 2008

Posted by emsgeiss in Cyber Savvy Show, education, parenting & family, writing/editing/blogging.
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This May, I am featuring a series of related topics on cyber bullying and e-venge on the Cyber Savvy Show with Erika-Marie S. Geiss at Passionate Internet Voices Talk Radio (PIVTR).

Tonight, I kick the series off with Sue Scheff, parenting advocate and founder of P.U.R.E. — Parents’ Universal Resource Experts.

Ms. Scheff will be talking about her experiences with cyber bullying and about her new book Wit’s End, a resource and guide for parents in the midst of handling troubled teenagers. Ms. Scheff has appeared on television and featured in articles including on: 20/20, ABC News i-Caught, CNN Headline News, NPR and BBC Talk Radio as well as in articles in the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, USA Today, Forbes and many other periodicals.

I am honored to have her on tonight’s broadcast of the Cyber Savvy Show. To learn more about Ms. Scheff and her work before tonight’s show airs, please visit www.helpyourteens.com or to www.suescheff.com.

To purchase an early-release copy of Wit’s End (Health Communications, Inc.) online, visit www.witsendbook.com. (Wit’s End will be available in bookstores in June.)

Please join us at 8 p.m. Eastern time at the Cyber Savvy show to hear about these very important topics.

Listen Live at 8 p.m. (click)

If you miss the live broadcast, the podcast is available about an hour after the show airs: here.

We hope that you’ll tune in to tonight’s Cyber Savvy Show, with guest, Sue Scheff.

→After the show ←

please join us for and hour
of continued discussion with Sue Scheff
at the PIVTR forum.

You can access the forum three ways:

  • Logged-in forum members go here
  • Forum log-in (members who aren’t already logged in) here
    Then scroll down to the Cyber Savvy Show thread.
  • Register for the forum here
    (If you are not registered for the PIVTR forum already, and want to participate in the discussion, please register for the forum before the show ends at 8:30 p.m. Eastern time. Registration is free. After registering/validating your subscription, enter the forum, and scroll down to the Cyber Savvy Show thread.)

Copyright © 2008, Erika-Marie S. Geiss

A letter to my baby brother April 8, 2008

Posted by emsgeiss in education, Uncategorized, writing/editing/blogging.
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If he’s reading this, he’s cringing at being called my baby brother. If my other siblings are reading this (Hi, Fran) they’re wondering why I haven’t written a blog post dedicated to them. Ah, sibling rivalry.

But, my youngest brother and I share a unique bond…and that bond is Commonwealth School. In the fall, he goes off to high school to learn and laugh in the same hallowed halls that I did almost 20 years ago. When I found out that he was applying to Commonwealth I was delighted. When I found out that he got in, I was beside myself, probably as excited as our parents, if not more because my bond with Commonwealth as an alumna is different than theirs with it as parents a matriculating student. When I found out that he had decided to go (it was tied for first-choice with another prep school), I nearly jumped through the phone. Mark casually announced the news to me, with the nonchalance of a Commonwealth student who knows that a decision has been made and that what has been decided is so. (more…)

Another Black Eye for Detroit April 3, 2008

Posted by emsgeiss in education, parenting & family, politics, WAHM/WAHD Stuff.
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It’s been a whopper of a year for Detroit, and it’s only April. So far, aside from job cuts, strikes affecting the auto industry and the worst housing market, we’ve had three big national blows to contribute to the Motor City’s perception of being the nation’s Swamp of Suckiness. Perhaps since bad things come in threes, this will be it for a while, and Detroit can manage to get out of the quagmire…but only with a lot of help.

First, Fit Pregnancy listed Detroit as the worst city to have a baby/raise a child. Second, we have Mayor Kilpatrick to thank for the “Text Message Scandal.” (New York, we feel your pain.) And now, Tuesday’s report from America’s Promise showing Detroit to have the lowest high school graduation rate in urban public schools in the United States.

I’m sure people all over the country, who are aware of these events are wondering why people even live here. Okay, so I don’t actually live in Detroit, but what happens in Detroit does affect the rest of us in the Mitten. (Youppers might disagree, but then again, many call those of us in the Mitten “trolls” since we live “under the bridge.) But I digress. This recent news really has me steaming though. I can deal with Fit Pregnancy’s report–not everyone realizes that they have choices when it comes to where they give birth or how, and that’s an issue for another post. I can almost deal with the mayoral scandal, and will wait to see the developments unfold as they’re reported in every major paper in the state and on every network—including CNN. But as a parent with a child who will be going to school in the not too distant future, the statistics about our public schools are not only appalling, but scary and it doesn’t sit well with me one bit. (more…)

Reading to our kids February 14, 2008

Posted by emsgeiss in education, parenting & family, toddlers, writing/editing/blogging.
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Yesterday, at my son’s 2-year-old well baby appointment, while we waited for his pediatrician to see us after doing the usual battery of tests with the nurse, we sat down and read a book together. His latest obsession is anything alphabet related, especially Dr. Suess’s ABC book.  But I didn’t bring his beloved Seuss with us, for fear of accidentally leaving it behind and instead took along the Whinny the Pooh book of ABC’s, which requires a bit more creativity on Mama’s part, supplying an oral storyline to the images that accompany each letter. (more…)

So this is what’s meant by “No Child Left Behind.” December 22, 2007

Posted by emsgeiss in education, Humor & Satire, parenting & family, politics, writing/editing/blogging.
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Yesterday, I had to do a few quick errands, which meant driving straight into the Lion’s Den, also known as the one-mile square radius of the major shopping mall in our city.  My usual route to that neck of the woods was backed up, so I took a detour, which led me down the street where one of our city’s two high schools is.  Driving along, passing some kids with backpacks and others curiously without any, I noticed the school’s street-side marquis.

It read, and I kid you not, “Holiday Recess. 12-22-07 Thru 1-7-08.”  Certainly my eyes were deceiving me. I must have been distracted by Viggo Mortgensen’s voice on NPR as he discussed his most-recent film.  Certainly a schoolhad not spelled “through” as “T-H-R-U” on its marquis, and especially not the school that is literally walking distance from the Board of Education.  I wished for one brief second that my cell had been close enough and that I’d been stopped in traffic in front of the marquis, so that I could snap a picture. It was fodder for a blog post. (more…)

An Unfolding Writer Perhaps December 6, 2007

Posted by emsgeiss in education, parenting & family, toddlers, Uncategorized, WAHM/WAHD Stuff, writing/editing/blogging.
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Unfolding. This is what my toddler is doing. I watch the process daily, and sometimes, much in the way that I used to spend the early days of his life, I just watch him—stare even.  I watch the wheels turning as he thinks about something. I muse over the things that I realize he understands and tries to master, like one of his latest obsessions with “writing” with me, where he insists that he must write with me on my manuscript paper, each of us taking turns with the pen.  Sure it’s a bit of a distraction, but most days, I don’t mind, and I know that if it’s something at a super important stage, I don’t do it where he can get to it.   (more…)

More Outsourcing stuff…point missed November 16, 2007

Posted by emsgeiss in Business Issues, education, Nablopomo, politics, Uncategorized.
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A few days ago, I posted about outsourcing and made a suggestion to industry. And, I think what was a good conversation occurred through the comments board between me and a reader.  (Thanks Steve!)

Then today, checking out my blog stats, I discovered a new comment. I was psyched. The comment read:

5. virtual assistant staff – November 16, 2007
Nice article.., you shown have important outsourcing is.. two thumps up.. Check out our site.. 8)

You know, we writers love to get kudos…especially “two thumbs ups.” But somehow, this one wasn’t sitting well with me. So, what did I do? I checked out their site.  Now, normally, I wouldn’t go on and on about a comment that someone made on my blog. But with the sick feeling growing in my stomach, I felt the need to out them.  

The link in their comments takes me here to the company Web site.  Apparently, someone at the company has time (or is outsourced, I mean paid) to search the Web and the blogosphere for random comments about outsourcing and they found my little rant. I could hardly call it an “article” with a straight face. (But hey, I like the praise.)

I had to do a little quick research. (And I do mean quick.) I couldn’t find out where exactly this company is located.  I wondered: Is it here in the U.S.? (With a name like DC Global Management you’d think so.) But that just shows how well they rely on our the gestalt that occurs when we, as Americans, see those those two letters when put together.  The company has nothing to do with Washington, nor are those the initials of anyone in any position of power at the company–at least not that I could glean. It turns out that they are indeed in the U.S. and the Philippines. They are in fact an outsourcing firm.

A quick scan of the company’s offerings revealed a long list of services that they provide–from customer care reps to virtual assistants to web design and more. Among their specialties is a listing for media professionals including copy editing, which made me chuckle. Being an editor myself, I instantly found errors on the site…so I guess their outsourced editing staff isn’t as top-notch as they claim.  (I hope that none of the companies on their scrolling list of “satisfied clients” hired them for their editing skills. Even if the company didn’t design its own site, you’d think someone on staff would have been charged with proofing the text.)  I couldn’t tell where exactly their employees are from either, but when you look at the alleged staff photos of people busily working in cubicles, it doesn’t look like your average American office space.

A little more quick research revealed that the company is in fact part of a larger conglomerate–The Hubport Group, which seems to specialize in having several outsourcing companies–nine to be specific.  What’s sad is that they are a U.S. company that specializes in outsourcing our jobs. (Um… does anyone else see a problem with that or am I a lone wolf on this one?)  When I checked them out further, I found an interesting article about how large U.S. companies will profit by outsourcing to Asia, written and posted by a Bill Bonner of The Daily Reckoning, what seems to be an on-line periodical based in Australia.

He mentions the growing Chinese middle class (sounds like the U.S. two generations ago) as well as our own faltering housing market. He also mentions how companies can spend less by outsourcing. Well…duh…we already know that…it’s all about the bottom line in business.  The article relies solely on quotes from an alleged Minneapolis newspaper, but never attributes the quotes to which paper. (I searched and couldn’t find a match.) Did anyone at Hubport responsible for posting articles do any fact checking which would be, pretty standard practice? (I think those outsourced employees, again, aren’t so top-notch.)

So not only has the commenter, who will probably now retract the glowing “two thumbs up,” miss the point of my days-old blog post, which was to show how outsourcing is failing us, by checking out their company as quickly as I did, the company proved that the quality of outsourced work may not match the standards that we expect (and in some cases demand) here in the U.S.  Once again, the various lead-paint related recalls are perfect cases-in-point.

The question is, at what point does low cost outweigh standards, safety and keeping the American workforce employed? I think those are questions that industry as a whole is coming to grips with. 

This is how I see the outsourcing situation:

When we outsource–whether it’s the blue-collar work of manufacturing or the white-collar work of what Bonner quotes as “high-level things like design, research, marketing, [and] legal work” we are displacing our own at the peril of our own economy and our own workforce. To me, it’s a pretty simple equation:  If you fire people here, and hire people overseas to fill those positions, people here don’t have the wages to buy the products you make or services you offer. It doesn’t make any sense. Why push ourselves into poverty by displacing our own middle class in favor of supporting the rising middle class of somewhere else?  I know it sounds xenophobic, but really, it isn’t. I firmly believe that non-industrialzed nations have the right to become industrialized, join the “first world” so to speak, but how about doing it the way that we did…through hard work and ingenuity…the good old “pull yourselves up by the bootstraps” method without sucking off of someone else?  (Before I get challenged about America’s corporate historical record, no, the corporate historical record in the U.S. is not without its blemishes, as Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle and the Enron scandal aptly illustrate as two decades-separated examples, but those whom industry has oppressed came here to work and to find a better life.  We also have ways of dealing with such atrocities here.)

For industry to “sell out” as it has done by mass outsourcing, as I see it, for the sake of cutting costs, to in turn offer us “low, low prices,” is really unfathomable, especially with the net trickle-down effect that outsourcing is causing.  It’s one thing if there is a quid pro quo, where on the whole we are getting something out of this outsourcing business besides “low, low prices.” And if you ask me, getting “low, low, prices” isn’t that much of a bargain since people tend to buy more (with the less that they have) when they think they’re getting a deal.  I can see how outsourcing (overseas) can be attractive to a company–cheaper labor, and as Steve pointed out, a more educated workforce.  But perhaps if we educated ourselves better here, companies would be finding a broader pool of talent here and jobs would remain here. The outsourcing issue is quite multifaceted, and of course, it’s not going to change quickly until a large enough group of people get hurt by it or find that they’ve been duped.  And they are getting duped, because as my earlier quick research shows, the talent pool overseas, isn’t necessarily any more qualified than our own American workforce.  Think about that the next time you get a call (or for that matter, call) an American company, and the person you speak to is overseas (and allegedly better educated than we are), but can’t figure out phonics or how to decode a word enough to pronounce your name properly.

Okay…that’s my rant for the day.

Copyright © 2007 Erika-Marie S. Geiss