• CALIFORNIA EMPLOYERS BE AWARE: a slew of new legislation and court decisions are effective in 2024 which impact workplace policies and employee rights – including employment agreements, cannabis guidelines, health care plans, disciplinary procedures, minimum wage & hour regulations, sick/ family/ ‘reproductive loss’ leaves, rehiring of displaced workers, violence prevention plans, religious & cultural observances, arbitration, disability insurance, theft prevention notices, and more. It’s important to have Human Resource experts review policies & procedures since penalties and potential ‘class action’ litigation risk is substantial.
  • TRUST IN TODAY’S MAINSTREAM MEDIA CONTINUES TO PLUMMET, as result mostly of how the ‘news’ is presented rather than what the stories are about. The impact is that “technology and culture are pulling in opposite directions: (1) as written and televised journalism have changed the language away from a political center towards liberal-preferred verbiage & visuals: (2) Facilitating the pandering to people’s prejudices, disrupting and undermining confidence in credibility of information presented”;  (3) With personal views and/or uncomfortable facts that oppose personal ideological bias of media reporters, editors & publishers now generally overriding any objective approach, enabling voters to make their own ‘informed’ decisions; (4) Avoiding “common facts which put the record straight, with ‘objectivity’ seen as sleight of hand which privileged groups use to embed their own power; (5) And as with so many schools, workplaces and boardrooms, media Leaders find that it is just much easier to compromise than to confront” logic and fairness.  [ECONOMIST – 12/16/23]  
  • PROTECTION FOR CHILDREN’S PRIVACY ONLINE has finally been proposed by the FTC. A 25-year-old law (enacted six years before Facebook was even born) restricts online tracking of youngsters by services like social media apps, video game platforms, toy retailers and digital advertising networks, which is intended to “shift the burden” of online safety from parents, and curb how platforms may use and monetize children’s data. Over five years ago, a Facebook team studying inappropriate interactions between adults and minors determined that the most frequent way adults found children to prey upon was Facebook’s ‘People You May Know’ algorithm, which is now estimated to involve “millions of pedophiles targeting tens of millions of children.” Hopefully, our present ‘do-nothing-Congress’ will act to approve new protections. [SECURETHEVILLAGE – 12/24/23]
  • WATCH OUT FOR MACRO-TECHNOLOGY, WHICH NOW ALLOWS EASY TRACKING of luggage, keys and other daily misplaced stuff, but also facilitates stalking, control and abuse.  Digitized cameras – often marketed as nanny cams/ smoke detectors/ USB chargers/ or other miniature devices – have been used to harass people, particularly preying on unsuspecting women & girls. Amazon is currently being sued by a foreign exchange student who was recorded bathing with a camera embedded in a plastic clothes hook on a bathroom wall.  [FUTURISM BYTE – 12/12/23]
  • THOUGHTS FOR THE WEEK:   “Solutions aren’t made to fix problems; Problems are made to sell the solutions.” 

“Until Diversity/Environmental/Inclusion regimes on university campuses are replaced by clear, neutral policies that protect speech and punish true threats, unelected execs and Boards will defend the indefensible, acting not to control DEI but to enable it. DEI categorizes people as either oppressors or the oppressed; what matters is not actual words or actions at issue but the group ‘identity’ of the speaker or actor. So why shouldn’t Congress at least make federal financing contingent on proper application of 1st Amendment free-speech principles?  [WASHINGTON EXAMINER]

‘Toilet-to-tap’ – a process to recycle sewage into drinking water – was approved by California state authorities (the Water Resources Control Board) last week. The process, which ‘ensures’ that germs & chemicals are scrubbed, was funded with $80 million (so far) and contemplated to deliver purified wastewater statewide by 2032.