Arizona Mandates Background Checks for Cab Drivers

Mon, August 29th, 2011 - 4:11 am - By Gordon Basichis

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You hear of cab drivers getting robbed.  In fact, robbing cab drivers is the kind of stuff that legends, okay, stories are made from.   If you live in New York or a major urban environment, you are reminded of the stickups cabbies face as they careen about town, struggling to make a buck.   So for most of us we see cabbies more as the victims than the predators.

But now there is growing concern about passengers and the owners of the cabs they are climbing into.   While airport drivers have undergone background checks and sexual offenders registry background searches, plain city cab drivers were not subjected to these searches in Arizona.  Until now.   Arizona Senate Bill 1375 mandates background checks for all taxi drivers.   No, not taxi dancers…taxi drivers.   The guy, usually the guy, anyway, who wheels you all over town while you prod him to speed up and advise him on the best routes he should take.

So, according to passengers will now feel that much safer, knowing their cabbie has been dutifully vetted for criminal background checks.  Smart move on the part of Arizona.


Thousands Show Up for Atlanta Job Fair

Fri, August 26th, 2011 - 3:39 am - By Gordon Basichis

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It was reported by ABC News that thousand of unemployed workers showed up for an Atlanta, GA regional job fair.  Some slept in line, overnight, wearing their business suits.  I find this heart wrenching and in some ways disgusting.  Mind you, I don’t find their waiting and sleeping in line disgusting, but the fact that this is where we are with this economy, in this nation, that thousands have to line up for jobs.  Any jobs.

Georgia’s unemployment rate has recently increased, a bad sign, and in Georgia minority groups have unemployment rates in the double digit range.  Black people alone have an unemployment rate of more than 15 %.    The national rate for unemployment, overall, is just over nine percent.

Ninety employers were present at the job fair.  Good for them. Truly.   There were seminars at the job fair on interview techniques and resume writing.    The Congressional Black Caucus sponsored the job fair in hopes of getting people out of the unemployment lines and back into the workforce.  I applaud the Congressional Black Caucus for its efforts.   I also applaud the unemployed workers who did stand in line overnight, who slept in their business clothes, for not giving up.   You have to praise them for hanging in there, even in the face of an economic downturn and a very competitive job mart.

It is high time we restore confidence in the business community so they can move forward and start hiring people again.   There are many approaches to restoring this confidence, and they are being argued from both sides of the aisle.   And probably there are several approaches that may well work.  So, do something, and get this show back on the road.

Social Media, the New Buzzword in Background Checks

Thu, August 25th, 2011 - 3:30 am - By Gordon Basichis

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Social media has created a new means of communication.  We can correspond with current friend and get in touch with old acquaintances and new people with whom we may share a common interest.  through social media we can comment on products and services and generally vent about our weekends, are lifestyle, our job, our manager, and the working environment.

Social media is an outlet.  It is also a tripwire.   Today, employers review job applicant’s social media.  They search for behavior characteristics, and how one relates to their work.   Employers will review any comments about bosses, fellow staff, and the company itself.   Negative input may nullify a job application.  After all, who wants to hire someone who spent the last three years bad mouthing the managers and company he works for?

Not long ago I wrote an article entitled,” An Entertaining Take on the Social Media Background Check.”  The article described Matt Honan’s recent commentary on Gizmodo on how he flunked his social media background check.


Please see the full article on


FBI Conducts More Background Checks for Gun Sales

Wed, August 24th, 2011 - 4:55 am - By Gordon Basichis

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Gun sales are up.  Probably not a surprise, given the vagaries of the economy.  When people get nervous they look to protect themselves.  This year the FBI conducted background checks for 15.7 million gun purchases.   Last year gun purchases numbered 14.4 million.  This doesn’t include, of course, the guns bought surreptitiously  at gun shows.    In 2005 gun purchases totaled 8.5 million.  Up a bit, I would think.

According to the article in the  Opposing Views, overall gun ownership is down.  Household ownership was just over 32% in 2010.   It was 34% in 2000, and over 45% in 1990.  This claim is by the gun control group, Violence Policy Center.

As a background checking concern that really has nothing to do with the gun laws and the mandatory background checks conducted by the FBI, I do believe these background checks are necessary to prevent legitimate guns from going into the wrong hands.   There have been, nationally, reductions in violent crime, and it will be interesting to see if some of the reduction can be attributed to added vigilance and increased background checks on the part of law enforcement.


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