• PROFESSIONAL SERVICE FIRM MERGER/ACQUISITION accelerated last year in size and quantity, responding to economic conditions. Principal motivation for larger firms involved recruitment of staff as well as clientele, and for expectation of increased margins through economies of scale; for smaller practices, principal motivation usually involved increasing difficulty in recruiting/ retaining staff, and/or absence of potential for senior partner retirement. Whether such combinations ‘work’ is mostly a function of whether professionals from either firm remain comfortable with changes in management style, advancement opportunity and client-servicing structure – i.e. Culture. DCG performs ‘Cultural Congruity Diligence’ engagements which allow advance implementation of programs to meet these challenges (or to abandon the Plan when factors suggest low-likelihood for effective integration). Call us for courtesy consultation at the inception of any program for M&A transactions.

• NEW 2018 CALIFORNIA WORKPLACE LAWS: Employers are now prohibited from: (1) Seeking or using a candidate’s compensation history as a factor in hiring (to ensure ‘fair pay’); (2) Inquiring or considering criminal conviction history before making a job offer; subsequent background check is okay but, if offer is rescinded, must be based on “direct and adverse relationship of the conviction to specific job duties” when five employees; (3) Allowing immigration authorities to enter or review employee records (except I-9 forms) without a warrant/subpoena/court order. Employers are now required to: (a) Provide training in “sexual harassment prevention, anti-bullying, gender identity & expression, and sexual orientation” if 50 employees; (b) Provide up to 12 weeks unpaid leave to parents after childbirth/adoption/foster care, with guaranteed return to same or comparable position; exempt below 20 or over 50 employees; (c) Pay minimum hourly wage of $13.25 in LA County and $11.50 statewide ($10.50 if below 26 employees), with ‘exempt’ salary level now $43,680 ($45,760 above 25 employees). And soon, persons may obtain new birth certificates and driver’s licenses to conform their legal gender to their self-identified gender as female, male, or non-binary (whether or not there has been clinical gender treatment).

• SAVING PASSWORDS ON YOUR COMPUTER BROWSER IS CONVENIENT BUT DANGEROUS. A new study from cyber-security experts at Princeton University found that ‘Password Management’ tools (on Safari and Google Chrome) which store and autofill website login data have security loopholes which both (1) enable hacker access to passwords which can be exploited; and (2) allow advertising firms to “steal information which is used to track user activity from website to website, gathering browsing habits in order to target advertisements.” [DAILYMAIL.CO.UK – Jan 2, 18]

• “OPIOID DRUGS PRESCRIBED FOR PAIN HAVE LED TO THE WORST NARCOTIC CRISIS IN AMERICAN HISTORY… The availability, addictive nature and potency of OxyContin, Fentanyl and other synthetic opioids are widely prescribed by doctors, paid for by insurance companies, and used by people unaware that they can become additive after only one use; Opioids have killed hundreds of thousands of people and destroyed lives, businesses and families… Victims (currently some 100 per day) range from the chronically poor in small-town Appalachia to middle-aged suburban moms, to a host of celebrities… The seeds of the crisis were sown in 1995 by FDA collusion with a pharmaceutical industry that subordinated humanity in exchange for massive profits by marketing Oxycodone to doctors: (1) as an acceptable solution for virtually any type of pain; (2) as less-addictive than street drugs like heroin because it was offered in a time-release capsule; (3) backed up by an unprecedented, aggressive, and poorly regulated marketing campaign; and (4) targeted to busy primary-care physicians, less likely to be trained in safe pain management with little time to manage complex cases.” With some $9 billion in annual Pharma revenues and a massive legislative lobby to preclude holding manufacturers & distributors accountable, there is currently no end in sight. [LIFE EXTENSION – Jan 18]

• THREATS TO A BUSINESS’ ONLINE REPUTATION from YELP, blog or other “reviews” can cause substantial injury. They stem from at least five sources which can be mitigated: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5vzIEOAdaUA

• THOUGHTS FOR THE WEEK: P.C. update: Swarthmore, an elite liberal arts college now offers courses in ‘Queering the Bible’ and ‘Feminist & Queer Theology’ which “survey and explore the methods of Queer and Trans theoretical approaches which destabilize long-held assumptions about gender & sexuality… and whether God is feminine or female?”

“There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there always has been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that “my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.” – Isaac Asimov

The magical rope trick: https://biggeekdad.com/2016/08/magical-rope-trick/

Illusion just keeps getting more bizarre:         https://www.youtube.com/embed/mYTNQhK5Cgk?rel=0&start=043&end=196&fs=1&showinfo=0&modestbranding=1&autohide=2&iv_load_policy=3