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.


New Bill to Mandate Background Checks at Utilities Plants

Tue, August 23rd, 2011 - 3:35 am - By Gordon Basichis

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Much to my surprise I learned that background checks for workers at utilities plants are not compulsory.    Given all the talk, since 9/11, about Homeland Security, you would think employment background checks at the nation’s power plants would be common practice.  It isn’t.  I guess instead it is based on the honor system.  Employees at nuclear power plants must submit to a background check, but now your gas and electric, or whatever.

I find this odd.  It is much like my days in the Army Corps of Engineers when they would give you a a two hour lecture on safety measures and practices and then send you out to the job in a truck with balding tires.  So much rhetoric these past years about the threat from terrorists and here we are in one of more vulnerable industries allowing potential saboteurs to do their worst.  Bad enough you get an employee who suddenly determines he has been wrong or the nation is evil and once to strike a blow from idiotic zealotry.   But to practically open the door without running background checks.   They have better security at velvet roped nightspots.

The Reuters article notes that Senator Charles Schumer cited Homeland Security evidence that disgruntled workers may have stolen sensitive information.  It was also mentioned that suspicious sources have contacted utilities workers, I suppose in hopes of turning one philosophically or merely bribing them.   Which always brings to question whether a worker in dire financial straits is more susceptible to bribery or industrial espionage than someone on a solid foundation.  I think of all the stories of government employees living above their means and finding financial sanctuary with an enemy.  I think of Aldrich Ames, former CIA agent who is doing life and then some for selling out his country. Dave Hansen, former FBI special agent, is another.   So if these guys, who held lofty positions of prestige and honor were susceptible to betraying their country for a couple of bucks, then why wouldn’t the same concern hold up with Joe Blow at the utilities plant?  Especially in this economy.

According to the Associated Press article, Schumer scites in the report that al-Qaida is recruiting terrorists to work in sensitive locations such as electric, gas and water utilities.  Which from their perspective makes perfect sense.  Sabotage our utilities and with the economic downturn and no money to conduct infrastructure rebuild, we may be back to doing our laundry on the riverbank.   Living in candlelight, and cooking over hot coals or open fires.   Designer outhouses could come into fashion.    For those who wistfully long for the good old days, well here they are.

Seriously, folks, what’s with this that after ten years since 9/11 and all the dollars spent on Homeland Security someone didn’t figure out the plausibility of conducting background checks on employees at our utilities plants?  I don’t know how many out there recruit for public utilities, but didn’t you assume once in serious consideration, a candidate would be submitted for background checks?

Beats  me.


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