Saturday, November 24, 2012

Forget the Cover Letter: Write a Pain Letter, Instead

Posted September 26, 2012, 4:23 pm MT


founder, Human Workplace
Denver Post
As much as we feel sorry for job-seekers (and I do, in spades) I feel sorry for hiring managers and resume screeners, too. Can you imagine reading letters all day that begin with “Dear Hiring Manager, I saw your job ad and I was intrigued…?” We read about Motivated Self-Starters and Results-Oriented Professionals and Leaders of Cross-Functional Teams until we want to stick pins in our eyes. It’s atrocious. A stack of resumes attached to cover letters a foot high might yield two micrograms of actual human spark, if we’re lucky.
Let me be quick to acknowledge that it’s not a job-seeker’s fault the stack of cover letters and resumes (See Resume, attached!) yields so little life or individuality. Job seekers have been trained to write a cover letter and a resume in Zombie Language, or what I call Boilerplate Corporatespeak. It’s the language Darth Vader writes in, and every bureaucrat on the planet. It’s the language job ads are written in, and the language policies are written in (you know the ones: “Effective April 15th, it will no longer be permissible to use the back entrance between the hours of eight and six…”).
That’s a horrifying way to communicate, and as bad as it is to read that stuff in corporate life (or to get a Zombie memo from your kid’s school) it’s even worse to read about a person described that way. Zombie Language is not the way to bring across a brilliant and vibrant job-seeker’s heft and spark.
We don’t have to use that kind of language to describe ourselves. We can put a human voice in our resumes, for one thing. And when it comes time to write a cover letter, we can ditch the tired cover letter format and write a Pain Letter, instead.
What’s a Pain Letter? It’s a letter that doesn’t go into the Black Hole of Death, for one thing — it goes directly to your hiring manager. You’ll find your hiring manager in two seconds on LinkedIn, by using the People Search page to find the person at your target employer who’d most likely be your boss in your new position.
Let’s say you’re a purchasing agent. In that case, your boss is likely to be the Procurement Manager, Purchasing Manager or Materials Manager for the company — or Director of one of those things. If it’s a small company, your boss could be the Director or VP of Operations. You’re going to find your prospective boss’s name without much trouble on LinkedIn. That’s fantastic, because then you can write directly to that guy (or woman) instead of pitching your resume into the abyss. You can get the company’s street address from its website. A Pain Letter goes right through the mail (yes! We still have mail delivery in the U.S.!) from you to your hiring manager. How awesome is that?
In your Pain Letter, you’re going to congratulate your possible-new-manager on something cool the organization is doing, and you’re going to mention the business pain your hiring manager is likely to be up against. Then you’re going to tie that business pain to your own background. No muss, no fuss, no painful-to-read self-praise, and no Mad-Men-era cliches like “ability to work well with all levels of staff.” A sample Pain Letter is below.
Note that the Pain Letter doesn’t mention the job ad (who cares? You’re writing to talk about business pain, strictly. If you mention the job ad, your letter & resume go straight into the Black Hole to die.) It doesn’t say that you’re smart and savvy and had a 3.8 GPA in school. Who cares about those things? You have a more important message to convey:
I’m out here, noticing what’s happening in the business ecosystem and who’s doing what. My eyes are open. I’m a businessperson like you are, and I notice that you guys are rockin’ it over there at your company. I know something about the movie you’re living, because I lived that movie, too. If the things I’m writing about are on your radar screen, maybe we should talk.
It’s a new day. We can communicate like human beings (and with other human beings, leaving the machines to communicate amongst themselves) in the human workplace. We can write to our quite-possibly-new-bosses as though they were people with real problems, ones that we just might be able to understand. Some of them won’t like the fact that we colored outside the lines in daring to reach out to them. That’s awesome, because you don’t have time to waste (or mojo to squander) working for a person who’s horrified by color-outside-the-lines types, anyway. The ones who get you will call you or email you to continue the conversation. What kind of conversation will it be? No telling, but it will be human, and that’s at least half the battle.
SAMPLE PAIN LETTER
Declan McManus
Vice President, Marketing
Exclusive Chocolates, Inc.
4840 Whispering Pine Road
Boulder, Colorado
Dear Declan,
I was lucky enough to catch your speech at the Boulder Natural Foods Expo last month, and delighted to learn about Exclusive’s plans for expansion into dessert toppings. You’ve hit a chord with the chocolate-loving public, and the Wolfgang Puck deal announced last week is a wonderful green light from the market for Exclusive’s take on organic chocolates.
I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that those opportunities are taxing your talented Marketing team as well.
When I led the new-products efforts for Angry Chocolate during its high-growth phrase (just before the company’s acquisition by Nestle) we had at least one major launch per month. Among other things, we were on the hook to create a sugar-free version of Angry Choco-Mints in time for Chocoholic Expo ’07 and serve our loyal domestic partners during two years of 25% growth.
We prevailed – our Sugar-free Angries took Best New Product at the show – and if Exclusive is in need of hands-on go-to-market, channel-marketing and new-product-launch-related Marketing help, I’d love to look at ways to help your team.
If you have time for a telephone call or email correspondence to see where we might have an intersection of interests, I’d be delighted to learn more and share a bit of my background with you.
Yours,
Mike Myers
Want to know more about Pain Letter writing? Download Human Workplace Anatomy of a Pain Letter Ebook.

Try a Human Voice in Your Resume

LINK
A young guy stopped me at a university job-search-readiness event where I was speaking. “Can you take a peek at my resume?” he asked. “Let’s see it,” I said. I scanned the page. The spunky young man in front of me bore zero resemblance to the near-graduation zombie job-seeker described on his resume.
Results-oriented self-starter with a bottom-line orientation seeks challenging position in a growing company, the kid’s resume began. “What’s your major?” I asked him.
“Anthropology,” he said. “Why did you pick that major?” I asked him. “When I was twelve, my dad got an assignment in Togo,” he said. “Ever since then, I’ve wanted to do anthropology to understand how people and cultures work.” “And now that you’ve nearly got your degree, how do you see yourself using it?” I asked. “For now,” he said, “I want to work in some company – I don’t really care which industry or what size – something to do with helping people understand their jobs.”
I looked at the young man. So much spark and goodwill, I thought, boiled down into results-oriented gobbledygook. “Whatever job you get,” I said, “your nature will bring you in contact with the team and its energy and the culture of the place where you’re working. You could work in almost any department – in marketing or finance or production, for instance. It doesn’t really matter which department you work in. The people who hire you will teach you how to do the stuff they need you to do. The anthropology part is what you’ll bring in with you, Trojan-horse style. Still, you want to work in a place where the people get you, right?”
“Oh my gosh,” he said. “Are you saying I can just be myself and still get a job? I didn’t think that was an option.”
“It’s not an option,” I said. “It’s mandatory. What is your name?”
“Christopher,” said the young man. “Okay, Christopher,” I said, “let’s try this resume summary again. On the margin of his robotic-voiced resume I scribbled:
Since a family trip to Togo at age twelve, I’ve been fascinated by anthropology and the way communities form and flourish. I’m avid to join a company whose culture is the key to its success, and help spread the mojo.
“For real?” asked Christopher. “Why not?” I asked him back. “Do you want to work among people who prefer the R2D2 version of you?” “I guess I always thought you’re not supposed to use the word ‘I’ in a resume,” said Christopher. “That’s the Kool-Aid talking,” I told him. “Can you imagine writing a branding piece for your employer without mentioning the organization’s name? Could you write a product brochure without talking about the product? It’s your resume, Chris. You can use ‘I.’”
He did it. Christopher changed his resume to put a human voice in it, not just in the summary at the top but all the way through. He started using his new resume the next day.
“Six callbacks out of eight resumes sent out,” he told me via email a few weeks later.
Can we blame employers for their weariness with the standard resume yada-yada? After all, how many results-oriented-professional-type resumes could we expect a stressed-out HR person to review in one day? Don’t we owe those people a breath of fresh (human) air in the resume stack, once in a while?
The human voice in Chris’s resume wasn’t just an attention-getter for employers. “When I read it, it feels like me, instead of some guy in a suit who’s pretending to be me,” said Christopher. And isn’t that the point, after all – to bring ourselves to work?
Liz Ryan is a former Fortune 500 HR exec, an operatic soprano and a workplace commentator. Reach her at www.asklizryan.com


Monday, November 19, 2012

Zachary Klein: Disproportion



DISPROPORTION


Definition:
1. lack of proportion or equality
2. an instance of disparity or inequality
VB
1. to cause to become exaggerated or unequal
English Collins Dictionary – English Definition & Thesaurus
It is with a heavy heart that I once again feel compelled to write about the Israeli and Palestinian conflict. Heavy because as I lay fingers to keyboard, The New York Times is reporting: After a meeting with President Shimon Peres, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the Israeli Army was “continuing to hit Hamas hard and is ready to expand the operation into Gaza.”
Heavy because my gut tells me that if Israel does invade Gaza, we are going to see a mass of civilians—women and children included, of course–defined as “collateral damage.” We’ve been here before.
In no way do I condone the missiles Hamas has been firing. I believe it’s legitimate for Israel to stop them, no matter who fired the first shot. My sadness has to do with how the Israeli government is choosing to stop them.
Newspapers have reported about the “pinpoint” bombing that killed a high ranking Hamas official, and even with this “pinpoint” strike, there were a couple of dozen Palestinian civilian casualties as well as three Israeli deaths. The last Israeli invasion of Gaza “left thirteen Israelis and more than one thousand Palestinians dead, hundreds among them civilians” (THE BOSTON GLOBE 11/17/12). Does anyone else see a problem with this picture?
My heart is heavy because comparing the body counts underscores my political opinions. I believe the ongoing disproportionate amount of deaths between Palestinians and Israelis leaves little room for Israeli apologists.
This disproportion is not new. In April 2011 I wrote a post calling for a regime change in Israel (http://zacharykleinonline.com/2011/04/ second entry down) I listed the following facts:
Since September 29th, 2000 to the present, 124 Israeli children have been killed. The number of Palestinian children killed during the same time period–1,452.
Since September 29th, 2000 to the present, 1,084 Israeli adults have been killed. The number of Palestinian adults during the same period–6,430.
Since September 29th, 2000 to the present, 9,226 Israelis have been injured. The number of Palestinians injured during the same period–45,041.
The current number of Israeli political prisoners or detainees is 1. The current number of Palestinian political prisoners or detainees is 5,935.
Since 1967 the number of Israeli homes that have been demolished for settlement reasons is 0.
Since 1967 the number of Palestinian homes demolished for settlement reasons—24,813.
Of the 40 towns in Israel with the highest unemployment rates, 36 are Arab towns.
According to the Central Bank of Israel statistics for 2003, salary averages for Arab workersin Israel (emphasis mine) were 29 percent lower than for Jewish workers.
U.S. government aid to Israel in 2009 was 8.2 million dollars of military aid per day.
U.S. government aid to Palestinians in 2009–0 dollars.
(These numbers and their primary sources can be found athttp://www.ifamericansknew.org.)
That was then and perhaps the numbers are somewhat different now. However changed they might be, the disproportion will not if or when Israel invades Gaza again. This disproportion cannot be seen as defense regardless of Palestinian missile attacks. This isoffense and the notion that the best defense is offense crumples in the face of dead and maimed children.
A whole lot of people have raked me for my ongoing support of the Palestinian people. Been called an anti-Semitic Jew (was also called a “self-loathing” Jew after my third Matt Jacob Novel No Saving Grace), one-sided, and blind to the acts of terror committed by Palestinians. The problem with all that is I’m not anti-Semitic or even one-sided. And I’m certainly not blind or silent about any acts of terror whatever the justification–real or imagined.
What I am is terribly, terribly sad. It rips my insides to watch a people to whom I belong, who were savaged into near extinction during World War Two, slowly but surely dehumanize another people. It tears me up to watch Israel become an apartheid state. It breaks my heart to even imagine how close Israel is creeping toward committing genocide. These are not the feelings of an anti-Semitic Jew; they are the emotions of someone watching his people change from the oppressed to the oppressor.
I used to believe in a two-state solution. Believed that had the 1967 boundaries been accepted along with internationalization of Jerusalem, peace would have been possible. I believed that had Israel legitimately dealt with Fatah or the PLO that preceded them, Hamas wouldn’t have had steady legs to stand on.
Now I believe it’s too, too late. The disproportion too, too great. Which is why my heart is heavy today for the Palestinian people, the ugly transformation that’s grabbed hold of Israel, and mostly for those who have died and those who will. Disproportionally.
History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, however, if faced with courage, need not be lived again. ~ Maya Angelou

Monday, November 12, 2012

Allison Kilkenny: Occupy Wall Street Activists Buy-Up Debt to Abolish It


The Nation


Strike Debt, a movement formed by a coalition of Occupy Wall Street groups looking to build a popular resistance to debt, plans to hold a telethon and variety show Nov. 15 in support of the Rolling Jubilee , a system to buy debt for pennies on the dollar, and abolish it.
The telethon, which has already sold out, according to organizer Yates Mckee, will feature artists including Jeff Mangum of Neutral Milk Hotel, Lee Renaldo of Sonic Youth, Guy Picciotto of Fugazi, Tunde Adebimpe of TV on the Radio, plus other surprise guests. 
Strike Debt hopes to raise $50,000, which the group claims can then be used to purchase, and eliminate, around $1 million in debt.
The group has already performed a test run on the debt market  by spending $500 on distressed debt, buying $14,000 worth of outstanding loans and pardoning the debtors.
Business Insider called the test run "impressive " and "noble," although Alex Hern at the New Statesmanpoints out that,  while the law is on Occupy's side, the banks may not be. Hern points to Felix Salmon's discussion of the American Homeowner Preservation, which sought to buy up distressed mortgages  and find ways for the homeowners to stay in their homes and pay off their debt.
Salmon:
The idea might have been elegant, but it didn’t work in practice, because the banks wouldn’t play ball: they (and Freddie Mac) simply hated the idea of a homeowner being able to stay in their house after a short sale, and often asked for an affidavit from the buyer saying that the former owner would certainly be kicked out. 
David Rees, one of the organizers behind the project,writes on his blog : "This is a simple, powerful way to help folks in need - to free them from heavy debt loads so they can focus on being productive, happy and healthy.
"Now, after many consultations with attorneys, the IRS, and our moles in the debt-brokerage world, we are ready to take the Rolling Jubilee program live and nationwide, buying debt in communities that have been struggling during the recession."
"As we've seen on the East Coast in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, we, the people, are the ones who are best equipped to provide the help that damaged communities need," Strike Debt stated in a press release.
"For years, all kinds of communities have been facing down a debt crisis that has stretched their resources and made them especially vulnerable to sudden shocks. 76 percent of American households are in debt, and 15 percent are being pursued by a debt collector. People shouldn't have to go into debt for basic necessities like groceries, healthcare and education. Though the banks got bailed out, the people are still waiting for their turn."
The wonkier subgroups of Occupy Wall Street such as Strike Debt and Occupy the SEC are interesting because these resistance fronts are familiar enough with the jargon and inner workings of the financial system to fight for reform from the inside out. In the case of Occupy the SEC, activists petitioned financial regulators  to help ensure that Dodd-Frank reforms are implemented in a way to keep pressure on the big banks, whereas Strike Debt hopes to turn the opaque debt market into an advantage for the 99 percent. 
At Waging Nonviolence, McKee writes :
"The occupations last fall were a crack in the system, unleashing the political imagination. Strike Debt aims to deepen that crack, calling for us to imagine actively refusing compliance with the power of creditors over our lives. Significantly, the launch of the Rolling Jubilee falls on the one-year anniversary of the eviction of Zuccotti Park; while the work of Strike Debt has taken a very different form than physical occupation, since its start last summer it has channeled and refined the principles of direct action, mutual aid and dual power that were at the heart of the original camp.
Throughout this period Strike Debt has woven together days of action in the conventional sense — mass assemblies, marches and physical interventions at sites of financial injustice — with a wider diversity of tactics. Two major dates in this regard have been the September 17 OWS Anniversary Convergence and the October 13 Global Day of Action Against Debt and Austerity. In both cases, Strike Debt kept its eyes on the prize of long-term movement-building by supplementing the negative call to “Strike Debt” with the affirmative principle of “reclaiming the commons.”"
Occupy activists have lately been in the business of transforming philosophical debates about class inequality and government corruption into real, tangible solutions. This month alone, activists have been praised for their work in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy in which it was oftentimes Occupy activists — not the Red Cross, U.S. military, or FEMA — helping to dispense aid to devastated communities. Now, it is Occupy activists who plan to buy-up debt and help some individuals who have long suffered under the crushing weight of debt

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Alan Maki: Injustice Goes Ahead Without Accountability

Alan Maki
http://www.facebook.com/alan.l.maki

By now many of you have heard about my arrest on Thursday evening November 1 and the outrageous, unconstitutional $10,000.00 bond that was placed on me by corrupt Newaygo County officials in Michigan who executed a TWENTY-ONE YEAR OLD warrant to arrest me for “using the telephone to threaten” a right-wing, racist bigot who punched and shoved my ten-year old son Jeremy because Jeremy was “fishing from his dock.” This vicious attack by an adult on my son, a child at the time, left his lip bleeding and swollen with a black eye and scraped bleeding knees and a badly bruised chest--- all of which was photographed by the police I called. 

The Newaygo County Sheriff and Michigan State Police refused to arrest Scott Plants for this vicious and brutal attack on my ten year old son which he carried out against my son in retaliation for my political views. As Scott Plants viciously attacked my ten-year old son as he kicked our beagle dog who had tagged along on Jeremy’s fishing adventure, Scott Plants shouted for all neighbors within hearing distance--- “go fish in Russia.”

This was one of several vicious attacks on my children in which right-wing bigots attacked my children in retaliation for my political views expressed through speeches and writings with my two children having been targeted by shot-gun toting members of the right-wing hate group Michigan Militia whose members shot at them as they waited for their school bus--- with the Michigan State Police capturing these vile culprits only to let them go with the explanation that “they were only duck hunting.” Duck hunting in the off-season hunting of spring.

The State Police of the Newaygo Post who laughed this vile attack on my children off as “right-wing versus left-wing violence” even thought there was no violence at all from the “left.” A few years later one of the Michigan State co[ps who thought it was so funny my kids were shot at ended up getting killed in a shoot-out with one of the very same men they apprehended for shooting at my kids… this wasn’t so funny anymore as these bigoted cops mourned the death of one of their own ilk. 

Grand Rapids, Michigan police arrested me on this bogus twenty-one year old warrant and I was immediately transferred to the hands and jail of the Newaygo County Sheriff in White Cloud, Michigan.

Newaygo County is home to some of the worst poverty in the United States while being a “wilderness” playground for the extremely wealthy many of whom own poverty wage-paying sweatshops in Newaygo County and around the Midwest.

At the present time a national defense committee is being established to try to prevent my imprisonment on these bogus charges.

This kind of political repression is on the increase all across the United States and is sure to intensify no matter if Obama is re-elected or Romney is elected.

We have no national committee against political repression which is directed against those of us fighting for peace, social and economic injustice.

We have agreed to establish a “National Committee to defend Alan Maki and All Victims of Political Repression.” 

We will mount not only a legal but educational campaign intended to expose how political repression is carried out by the police, the courts, the political establishment and employers seeking to maintain poverty wages while driving down the standard of living of all working people.

For many years, every since its creation, the FBI has been used to spin a web of political repression--- attacking those who dare to struggle against racist and for the rights of working people.

Politicians created the legislation and “special committees” to enable the FBI working through its “Red Squads”--- special units led by FBI “Special Agents” consisting of city, county and state police and now including private “detective agencies” like Altegrity/USIS and all kinds of union-busting outfits--- to carry out this political repression.

I, along with tens of thousands of other activists have been targeted by the FBI and their “Red Squads,” so called because the FBI continues to use the Communist Control Act to carry out these dirty deeds.

As my 50,000 plus page FBI dossier clearly shows, the perverted Director of the FBI, J. Edgar Hoover personally assigned the FBI to attack me--- an attack that has been dutifully carried out by the police and the courts with the permission of both the Democrats and Republicans with the malicious attack from Minnesota State Representative Tony Cornish--- who admits to amassing his own personal file on me--- being the latest and most recent where he designated me in an e-mail he sent to thousands of politicians across the Midwest, including each and every state legislator in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan which obviously emboldened the FBI, Grand Rapids Police Department, Newaygo County Sheriff, a corrupt prosecutor and judge to execute this twenty-one year old warrant which was bogus from its very creation with no other intent than to use the “color of law” to carry out this political repression which is the government’s response to my outspoken views and activities for peace, against racism and for social and economic justice.

The terms of this outrageous ten-thousand dollar bond being used to enforce these fabricated bogus charges against me, restrict me to having to remain in the State of Michigan--- an obvious attempt to thwart our union organizing campaign in the Indian Gaming Industry--- which seeks to empower workers employed in the Indian Gaming Industry at poverty wages forced to work in unhealthy smoke-filled casinos--- and very conveniently under the terms of the racist “Compacts”--- intended to use racism to maintain the poverty on Indian Reservations creating huge pools of cheap labor. 

The Indian Gaming Industry created by these “Compacts” arranged by corrupt tribal politicians, local, state and federal politicians and the mobsters who own the slot machines and table games and every other profitable venture associated with the Indian Gaming Industry, is every bosses dream come true: legislatively created poverty wages imposed on workers who have NO RIGHTS under state or federal labor laws.

These racist and anti-labor “Compacts” created by the Democrats with Republicans looking on smiling with bi-partisan approval are now being enforced by the private and quasi-governmental detective agency which hires a bunch of thugs which include former FBI and CIA agents as well as state, county and local police with the FBI and other police agencies sharing their “information and files” with Altegrity/USIS.

Why did these corrupt Newaygo County officials acting in collusion with the FBI and Grand Rapids Police Department decide to execute this twenty-one year old fabricated bogus warrant based on outright lies after twenty-one years? 

Because the complainant whose story two Newaygo County Sheriff Deputies and the Newaygo County Prosecutor prompted by the FBI testimony could not have been held up in court. Only weeks after the death of the complainant are these law-enforcement officials fully backed by the prosecutor and judge now executing these warrant claiming I used the telephone to intimidate these violent bigots.

How convenient, the police will now have free reign to further fabricate more lies without there being a complainant or “witness” to these bogus charges--- another dream come true; this time for the FBI led “Red Squads”, and quite conveniently for the managements of the Indian Gaming Industry.

The terms and conditions of this outrageous ten-thousand dollar bond include prohibiting me from participating in demonstrations or entering any establishment serving alcoholic beverages which means I am prohibited from entering any casino. 

I hope all of you will consider participating in getting involved in our efforts defending me from these fabricated bogus charges based on lies in twenty-one year old warrants.

Think about this:

Why would any Judge establish a ten-thousand dollar bond for charges which carry a maximum penalty of six-months in prison and a $500.00 fine?

Why would any Judge even consider enforcing such twenty-one year old warrants which could have been served at any time on me? 

Something to think about:

Newaygo County Judge Drake was the very the very prosecutor who authorized these bogus warrants faced on charges he helped to fabricate twenty-one years.

Does anyone think the execution of these warrants with a ten-thousand dollar bond being imposed with the undemocratic restrictions imposed by the terms of the bond has anything to do with “justice?” 

Plain and simple: This is harassment and political repression taken to the extreme. But this is what political repression in this country has spun. Like a snowball rolling down a steep long hill on a warm spring day the campaign of hate and harassment just keeps getting bigger and bigger--- the intent being to destroy the lives of living, breathing human beings as was demonstrated by the violent death of my good friend and fellow activist, Native American trade unionist and human rights activist, Greg Paquin, last spring. Greg’s death was the direct result of where these campaigns of hate generated by the FBI’s “Red Squads” ultimately lead. The FBI and local law enforcement working together with the judiciary and reactionary politicians collaborated to make Greg Paquin’s life a living hell as they fabricated charges based on outright lies against him, too.

There is no legitimate reason why human beings should be subjected to these kinds of vicious hate campaigns instigated by the FBI and we are going to see what we can do to put an end to these kinds of politically motivated campaigns of hate.

I would also note that right-wing bigot Richard Mellon-Scaife has put his billions of dollars to work in creating several public front groups--- including KeyWiki staffed by a known pedophile working out of a cave in New Zealand and Accuracy In Media staffed by a pervert in an expensive suit--- being used to “expose” “Communists” and it is not coincidental that I have been singled out along with Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie whose “crime” is participating in meetings with Communists--- for outrageous and vicious attacks by both of these right-wing outfits funded by the nefarious right-wing bigot Richard Mellon-Scaife. Attacks that just happen to coincide with these recent attacks by politicians like Minnesota State Representative Tony Cornish who (retired from law enforcement), instead of apologizing to me for calling me “a very dangerous person” because I use my constitutionally protected rights to speak out, write and act in defense of worker’s rights which are human rights; Cornish has now proceeded to calling me “one of the most dangerous men in the world.” 

Please consider joining with us to put an end to this officially promoted bigotry where corrupt politicians working in league with law enforcement, prosecutors and the judiciary are trying to stifle and smother our struggles for peace, social and economic justice. 

Today, Newaygo County is a burial ground for democracy but as we have seen, this could be, and is, anyplace U.S.A.--- a country these reactionary sleaze-balls hiding their wicked reactionary agenda under the “color of law” proclaim to people everywhere to be “the world’s greatest bastion of democracy.”

A law suit against, and to halt, these ghastly charges and undemocratic, unconstitutional behavior is being prepared for the federal courts.

My next court appearance has been scheduled for November 12, 2012 at 8:30 A.M. in Newaygo County District Court with Judge Drake presiding.

At the arraignment on November 12 I will be asking these charges be dropped based on the facts:

1.) The complaining witness is now dead; 

2.) These warrants should have been dismissed long ago under statute of limitations; 

3.) These warrants were knowingly bogus at the time based on lies fabricated by Drake, the police and Karen Plants, Scott Plants husband at the time, from the very time they were issued twenty-one years ago; 

4.) The bond is reduced to personal recognizance with no draconian stipulations; 

5.) Judge Drake removes himself from this case for obvious conflict of interest;

6.) All charges are dropped;

7.) I am fully and completely compensated for this injustice I am being subjected to.

The Michigan Supreme Court will be asked to intervene by investigating the judicial misconduct, malfeasance and misfeasance in this case of Judge Drake with the request that Judge Drake be permanently removed from “the bench” for participating in this wholly egregious, outrageous judicial misconduct intentionally carried out to deprive me of my most fundamental and basic constitutionally protected democratic and human rights.

Anyone who has ever read the United States Constitution and Bill of Rights along with the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights and then considering these bogus warrants can recognize the injustice in progress in this case.

My Defense Committee will make this case a focus of the upcoming December 10 Anniversary of the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights. 

The foundation-funded outfits whose finances are derived from the donations of the very “philanthropists” who profit from the injustices of working people refuse to take on these cases so grassroots efforts like ours are required.

Many people have called to ask me what they can do. As a first step, please circulate and distribute this as widely as possible since education and informing a wide circle of friends is the first step. 

Your suggestions are encouraged and welcome.

We realize everyone is very busy on a variety of issues but we request you find a way to fit this into your busy schedule.

Thanking you in advance for you involvement and participation.

I appreciate the concern from everyone--- the calls, visits and e-mails.

Yours in the struggle,

Alan L. Maki
Director of Organizing,
Midwest Casino Workers Organizing Council

Thursday, November 1, 2012

An End to Bullying & Equal Opportunities for All Students


October 31st, 2012 Posted by 
United States Department of Justice

The following post appears courtesy of the Civil Rights Division.

This October, in honor of National Bullying Prevention Month, communities across the country have come together to increase awareness about bullying prevention. The Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division stands firmly behind these efforts, and will continue to make the most of our resources and authority to help stop bullying in schools. We will continue to work to ensure equal educational opportunity for all students.

Bullying is not a rite of passage; the impact of bullying extends far beyond the schoolhouse doors. Bullying can lead to violence, anxiety, depression and even suicide. School bullies become tomorrow’s hate crimes defendants, while victims of bullying are more likely to drop out of school, struggle in class, engage in illegal drug use or become involved in the criminal justice system. It is simply unacceptable, moreover, that any child should fear going to school because of harassment.

The Civil Rights Division is responsible for enforcing federal civil rights laws that protect young people who are targeted because of their race, national origin, religion, sex or disability. This includes students who are harassed because they do not conform to gender norms of how a boy or girl is “supposed to” act. We hold school systems accountable when they fail to take the proper steps to address harassment within their schools.

In response to incidents of harassment, the division investigates written complaints, helps to amend school policies and requires school districts to implement a host of other remedies, including providing training to teachers and administrators on how to better promote positive school climates and rid their schools of harassment. In the past few years, we have reached comprehensive and groundbreaking settlement agreements with numerous school districts across the country, including in Philadelphia, where Asian students were regularly harassed at a local high school, and in Mohawk County, N.Y., where a gay teen was physically and verbally abused for failing to conform to gender stereotypes.

We also reached an agreement with the school district in Anoka-Hennepin, Minn. The school district had failed to adequately address the harassment of students who did not conform to gender stereotypes in their schools. But students in Anoka-Hennepin were brave and spoke out. They brought the problems they were facing to the Civil Rights Division, and we worked with the school district to reach a blueprint for sustainable reform that we hope will be a model for schools across the nation.

In 2010, Attorney General Eric Holder launched the Defending Childhood Initiative to address the problem of children’s exposure to violence and to promote evidence-based practices. As part of the Defending Childhood Initiative, the department provided grants to eight jurisdictions to develop strategic plans for comprehensive community-based anti-violence efforts, including anti-bullying programs. In Boston, Mass., for example, we are supporting the implementation of state-wide bullying intervention and prevention legislation.

The Obama Administration has made clear that bullying prevention is an issue of national priority. Last year, the White House organized a summit on bullying and harassment in schools. Recently, the White House also announced its support for both the Student Non-Discrimination Act and the Safe Schools Improvement Act. These bills would help ensure that school environments are free from discrimination, bullying, and harassment.

Ending bullying is a common mission rooted in common experience. Many of us can recall being bullied during childhood, or have seen the effects of bullying on loved ones. National Bullying Prevention Month is a reminder that bullying in schools remains a serious and unacceptable problem. The Justice Department will continue to vigorously enforce the nation’s civil rights laws to support the common goal to end bullying and harassment.

The work of our Civil Rights Division, as well as of our nationwide partners on this issue, is absolutely crucial to protect the safety and wellbeing of our students.

Students, teachers, administrators, advocates and community members can find extensive resources to help in the fight against bullying at stopbullying.gov