Yesterday there were five homes filled with joy and delight in learning their loved ones were given a presidential pardon by our Dominican President. I’m sure I would be hopping with delight in finding such a thing out. Good for them. Unfortunately, in pardoning these five criminals (they were all convicted in a court of law), I feel our president has let down those who have hoped for a little justice and retribution.
These persons were tried in different cases. One was convicted for bank fraud (which sent our country into a deep crisis) and the rest for fraud regarding purchase and financing of vehicles for public transportation (which in the end is managed privately by unions). Of the few cases which were in the public eye, these ended in convictions for the people involved, and many felt (including myself) that a little justice was done.
Woe is me. They have been all pardoned for good behavior shown during their current sentence. The irony is they were all convicted this year. Most of them have been under house arrest; one has been 4 months interned in hospital for illness. If the President feels they had exemplary behavior, well, I have no choice but to accept it.
My naïve political experience tells me this was just a measure to ensure fewer backlashes from opposing parties (both political and private) regarding policy implemented. It also goes to show that: 1) it’s not what you know, but who you know, 2) real criminals don’t go to jail in this country, instead they get away with it (crime does pay, if its BIG), 3) some moral compasses have gone terribly awry lately. My trust in fair government is dropping more each day. But then again, who said life is fair?
I’ve recently received an email hoax about this tripped out machine that spews ping pong balls at strings, drums, etc. It is a really cool video with nice music and really impressive to watch. But it is sold to the viewer as a real machine which took a long time to develop and is soon to be donated to the Smithsonian.
What I really dislike is the fact that someone added a story to a clip from someone’s movie and decided to send it forth in the vast expanse that is the Internet with no apparent reason other than collecting a bunch of e-mail addresses to spam to. The way I see it, your friends will most likely forward you a copy of this video saying how cool it is (and again, it is impressive). No damage done.
Where’s the harm? I’ll provide an example. During the summer I was invited to an evangelical church in Miami. The pastor read from an e-mail he had received concerning Einstein and an atheist professor in college. While the story is thought provoking and inspiring, it credits Einstein with something he did not say. What is wrong here is the fact that when you add Einstein to the story you imply credibility (as with crediting the University of Iowa with the development of the machine we previously discussed). Moreover, a pastor reading at church means most people will accept it as a given, snowballing the tale further as soon as they get a chance to.
This is the problem with email hoaxes. Besides the fact they are used for spam and other purposes, they spread ignorance through the general goodwill of people who ignore the real chronicle behind them. The spreading of these ruses is harming two groups, those whose work is accredited to someone else (or has words put in their mouths) and those who believe it nonsensically for whatever reason. I recommend that whenever you receive something like this, please at least devote 30 seconds to look it up and see whether you can believe it or dismiss it.
One final note, please, if you receive any email stating that AOL/Microsoft or any other company or foundation will donate funds for the number of times a message is forwarded, don’t believe it. Bad people are preying on good hearts. Here are tips on what to do in those cases.
Designing policy that everyone agrees with in an enterprise is definitely a tough cookie, more so when co-workers, and even executives, misunderstand it. This winter Christmas Day and New Year’s Day both fall on a Thursday, hence Friday everyone has to go back to work. This event has caused a dilemma at my workplace because authorities decided to award a day off to all employees, be it Dec. 26 or Jan. 2, provided no work areas are left abandoned.
In many cases (as is my own) employees program vacation in either the last days of December or the first days of January, especially in this occasion since this decision yields long weekends. At first, everyone understood that this day off would be a privilege for all, regardless of vacation. My vacations are set for the first couple of days in January, including the 2nd, so I expected to select Dec. 26 as my day off. New information revealed that if someone already had vacation on either day, that person would not be entitled to a day off. This is where it all starts.
All of a sudden, this general policy awards a day off only to those people who have no programmed vacation on these days. These employees would in a way be rewarded with an extra day off, since they have either used up their vacation or set them up for later. The rest would not benefit from the rule.
In no time, complaints rained about the unfairness of the rule, and many heated discussions occurred between employees who benefited from it and those who did not. I argued about the fairness of the policy, as it was not equal to everyone. Soon enough, the people from HR clarified the situation stating specifically that ALL EMPLOYEES would get a day off, regardless of their vacation on either day, again, provided no areas are left alone. This being so, I get to enjoy the December 26 (it just happens to be my birthday) and January 2 (I have vacation).
However, no tailor can craft a one-size-fits-all shirt in this case. One of my closest friends called me enraged. “Because of people like you [who complained against the rule] I don’t get to spend a day off”. Unfortunately, she is a division head, and for the time being is the only one there, so if she has a day off, her area would be left alone. The way I see it, anyhow, her case is one of the loopholes, but is not caused by the rule (which now should benefit anyone) but because personnel in her area have not been replaced and she is alone.
She is extremely mad at this result, but I believe it’s a kink in the system that should have been resolved months ago. I’m deeply sorry this happened, and I hope that she can negotiate a day off (she deserves it more than anyone I can think of). It’s unfair for her, as it was before for people who would get no benefit from the infamous day off policy.
To conclude, sometimes policymakers should be clear and careful in expressing the way rules will be put in effect so everyone understands. If policy is to be general, it should benefit everyone; sometimes it just isn’t possible. Anyhow, I believe conversation is key; her situation can be solved if she talks to our department head, who I’m sure will see she takes her day off, and can spend it with her family.