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Posts from the ‘Culture’ Category

4
Mar

I Am Not Alexa

Just a few short months ago, we were doing simple things – turning the lights on and off, playing music, and shopping on-line – all by ourselves.  But, things changed around the holidays when the cloud-based voice service called “Alexa” entered our home. Thinking her dad would love to have someone turn the lights on and off, give a weather update, or turn on whatever music he wants to listen to, my daughter decided to give him “Alexa” for Christmas.  But, my daughter was also thinking of me. Read more »

20
Feb

Executive Compensation at ERCOT

Most people outside of Texas had not heard of ERCOT (Electrical Reliability Council of Texas) until this past week when the company was slammed for the massive loss of power across the state.

Although ERCOT is considered an independent system operator, the organization is a membership-based tax-exempt, non-profit 501 (c) (4) governed by a  board of directors and subject to oversight by the Public Utility Commission of Texas and the Texas Legislature (who decided decades ago not to allow power to come from outside the state to avoid having to comply with federal regulations that kick in with interstate transactions). In other words, the responsibility to provide power falls upon the management of ERCOT and Texas state officials – not the federal government.

ERCOT’s members (303 as of 12/31/2018) include consumers, cooperatives, generators, power marketers, retail electric providers, investor-owned public utilities, transmission and distribution providers, and municipally-owned electric utilities. Read more »

14
Feb

Covid and the Future of Pandemics

It should come as no surprise to anyone that China refuses to give the World Health Organization (WHO) full access to Covid data. There’s no upside for them to cooperate and so, WHO and many of the other scientists who (no pun intended) know that Covid-19 was transmitted from an animal, likely a bat to a human, claim they won’t get the answers they need to understand how this virus erupted and evolved to produce a worldwide pandemic.  But, I think they know. The cause of Covid-19 and most viruses is the elephant in the room that no one really wants to talk about, and so people blame other nations and politicians instead of really trying to prevent the next worldwide pandemic virus.  Read more »

6
Feb

Majorie Taylor Greene is Allowed to be an Adult but Chooses Not to be

The controversy surrounding Marjorie Taylor Greene has become a national obsession over the past few weeks.  Greene, who was elected to Congress this past November to represent District 14 in Georgia has a colorful past (check out You Tube for videos she made in the past few years leading up to her Congressional run before the PR people got to her) that has shown her support for controversial issues, of which there is insufficient space to go into. Read more »

25
Jan

Israel’s Discriminatory Policies on Covid 19 Vaccination

Israel clearly values some lives more than other lives and its no more apparent than in the distribution and rollout of the Cover-19 vaccine in Israel, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip.

Five days after Hanukkah (the 8-day festival of lights that commemorates the Jews rising up against their oppressors), Israel began vaccinating its citizens, which includes Israeli settlers living inside the West Bank and Palestinian residents of Jerusalem.

Excluded are the nearly 5 million Palestinians (including doctors, nurses, and other healthcare workers) who live in the West Bank (under Israeli military occupation) and the Gaza Strip (which is considered by most people to also be occupied by the Israeli military), according to Amnesty International.  How is it that a country who just celebrated rising up against its oppressors exclude Palestinian doctors, nurses, and the elderly in the West Bank (a territory that is not a part of Israel) and the Gaza Strip?  Read more »

12
Dec

The Future of Birthday Cake Candles is Dim

Remember back when we used to eat cake after someone blew all over it?  Man, we were wild….

Have you ever wondered why we put candles on a birthday cake? Many historians believe the Greeks started the tradition to honor the goddess Artemis’ birth on the sixth day of each lunar month.  Another group of people believe the origin of birthday candles came from the ancient belief that fire is associated with power and that evil spirits visit people on their birthday so celebrants surround the honoree and make noise while the burning sticks of paraffin scare the offenders away. Ironically, if anyone blows out the candles on a cake nowadays, the evils of coronavirus are a real possibility.  Which brings me to modern day birthday celebrations: Read more »

8
Nov

The Tortoise and The Hare

I’m not sure how the rest of the American public is feeling right now, but I’m guessing half the population is relieved while the other half is disappointed. This election has been going on for nearly 2 years, and besides being incredibly redundant and boring, the whole process has been a waste of time, resources, and money (Do we really need 2 years to elect a president?). Stupid me thought that come November 3rd, the process would end but it wasn’t until yesterday, November 7th that a winner – Joe Biden – was finally announced.   Read more »

15
Oct

Executive Compensation at the American Federation of Teachers (AFT)

The American Federation of Teachers (AFT) is the second largest teacher’s union (although membership is not limited to teachers) with 1.7 million members (after the National Education Association) in 3,000 local affiliates in the USA. A non-profit, tax-exempt 501 (c) (5), the AFT is based in Washington, DC and is an affiliate of the AFL-CIO.

For the year ending June 30, 2018, AFT reported total revenue of  $229 million (mostly from membership dues) and expenses of $190 million (with the unspent funds added to the general fund). The largest expense for the organization was compensation for the 398 employees who received $61 million, which equates to an average compensation of $153,300. However, only 178 employees (45%) received more than $100,000 in compensation. The eight most highly compensated employees were reported to be: Read more »

27
Sep

Executive Compensation at the United Negro College Fund (UNCF)

The United Negro College Fund (UNCF) is a non-profit, tax-exempt 501 (c) (3) based in Washington, DC. Established in 1944, UNCF funds scholarships for students and also scholarship funds at 37 private historically black colleges and universities (member institutions).

In 2018-2019 UNCF reported having 255 employees who received $21 million in compensation, which equates to an average compensation of $79,000. 48 employees received more than $100,000 in compensation with the most highly compensated employee being the President and CEO, Michael L Lomax who received $838,291 in compensation. Read more »

23
Sep

Executive Compensation at Novant Health

Novant Health is a non-profit, tax-exempt 501 (c) (3) based in Winston Salem, North Carolina. An integrated healthcare provider, Novant Health has 14 hospitals and medical centers and more than 50 physician clinics and outpatient centers in four states:  North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Virginia.

It is important to note Novant Health has dozens of related/affiliated 501 (c) (3)’s, taxable partnerships, corporations, and trusts that are listed on Schedule R of the Form 990.  This post addresses the executive compensation at only Novant Health, and not the related/affiliated organizations including the specific hospitals, physician clinics, imaging centers, etc.  However, there are employees whose responsibilities overlap with other affiliated organizations. When this is the case, compensation may also come from related organizations (and this is noted below). Read more »