Employers are now seeking information about prospective workers not only through interviews, references and background checks; they’re increasingly asking to step into applicants’ social media shoes. Checking a candidate’s social networking profiles is nothing new, but many users make their profiles private — so companies are asking them to “friend” human resources managers, log in during an interview or even hand over their passwords. Soliciting or sharing login information, not to mention accessing another’s account, violates Facebook’s terms of service. Questions about the legality of the practice have prompted legislation in Illinois and Maryland. On the other end of the spectrum, actors are critical of the personal information about them that is public. Profiles on the Internet Movie Database reveal birth dates and more. Stars are upset both when information listed is inaccurate and when it’s truthfully revealing, The Wall Street Journal reports. While celebrities might just have to get used to the fact that some fans are curious enough to compile information about them, regular people should be able to manage their digital interactions smartly and safely, without having to give up their password to get a job.
Spring has officially arrived, whether you mark the season by the calendar or the landscape. If you’re among the 40 million Americans who suffer from nasal allergies, the tree pollen is a less-than-welcome feature of this time of year. Oklahoma City jumped from 22nd to sixth in this year’s “Spring Allergy Capital” rankings by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. The report considers pollen scores, the number of allergy medicines used per patient and the number of board certified allergists per patient. Tulsa comes in 28th, and Knoxville, Tenn., tops the list for the third year in a row. In addition to seeking relief for your symptoms, the foundation suggests you proactively reduce your exposure to pollen. If you venture forth from your abode to enjoy the outdoors, do so in the afternoon or evening — pollen counts are highest in the early hours, when trees tend to pollinate. Though your runny nose and watery eyes may curse the advent of the season, take time to appreciate the beauty in bloom.
The Redbud trees are in full bloom on the grounds of the State Capitol in Oklahoma City. Photo by Paul Hellstern, The Oklahoman
It’s not a stretch to say the prosecution of the late Ted Stevens cost him his U.S. Senate seat. Stevens, R-Alaska, lost in 2008 to an opponent who naturally made the criminal case a campaign issue. A few days before the election, a federal jury found Stevens guilty of lying on Senate financial disclosure documents to conceal expensive home renovations and gifts from friends. But the conviction was a fraud. This week, a special counsel who investigated the case said prosecutors never did a comprehensive review of material that was favorable to Stevens and that two prosecutors intentionally withheld key information. The report also said notes taken by prosecutors and two FBI agents during interviews with two important witnesses contained information that wasn’t given to Stevens’ attorneys. “While the department meets its … obligations in nearly all cases,” the Justice Department said, “even one failure is one too many.” That apology is much too little, too late.
Former U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska (AP Photo)
A bill that would have made legislators subject to state open record and open meetings laws bit the dust this week. House Bill 1085 by Rep. Jason Murphey was to be considered by the House on Thursday, the last day for the House to act on bills that originated there. But the bill got saddled with nearly two dozen amendments, and many members let it be known that they were uncomfortable with the idea. The bill’s language could be attached to another bill this session, but that’s a long shot. “There are a large number of members who are not prepared for transparency,” said Murphey, R-Guthrie. Instead they prefer the way business gets done now — which is too often in the shadows. We say again of lawmakers: Requiring nearly every other public official to abide by openness laws while not subjecting themselves to the same is the height of hypocrisy.
The Oklahoman Archives
OKLAHOMA PRESS ASSOCIATION PUBLISHES THE OPEN MEETING / OPEN RECORDS BOOK
Technology, typing and tweeting have joined traditional foundations of elementary education. Joining a growing group of classes using social media, an Illinois school has added these trending topics to its first-grade curriculum. Teacher Jodi Conrad has found Twitter a useful method of communicating with parents. In addition to daily tweets, her class has a blog, creates YouTube videos for a private account for parents and writes books with computer software. “These are tools that come standard in life right now,” Conrad said. Training youngsters in social media in the safety of a classroom environment recognizes the changing times and is a unique way to motivate students. Kids are eager to use the new technologies, and pressing the “tweet” button on the touch screen is a privilege. In a digital era, in which Encyclopaedia Britannica goes out of print after over two centuries, these 6-year-olds are simply following the trend.
Coming soon to a store near you: Coca-Cola and PepsiCo products with lower levels of carcinogens, thanks to changes in how the two companies make their caramel coloring. Consumers may have been imbibing carcinogens for decades? Apparently they still will be, just in under-the-radar doses. How reassuring! The companies, which comprise nearly 90 percent of the soda market, are making the change to avoid putting on a cancer warning label mandated by California law. Sodas sold in the Golden State already reflect the new recipe, with the rest of the country to follow in an effort to streamline manufacturing processes. A Coca-Cola spokesman said the change won’t affect the taste or color. But if you crave the old formula, hop across the pond to the Old World. Europe will continue to sell it, sans the cautionary label.
Liberal guys and girls aren’t the only ones who wanna have fun and make a statement. PETA is notorious for its attention-getting street theater tactics. A conservative group called The National Center for Public Policy Research joined the fun this month by deploying a HAZMAT team to dramatize the dangers of dealing with a broken compact fluorescent light bulb. Then it said it would hire a discount hypnotist called Klepto the Mediocre to compel Americans to buy the Chevy Volt, a car that only the Obama administration seems juiced about. Since so much of the “Occupy” movement has been ludicrous and childish, the NCPPR’s response is appropros. All the idiotic “Occupy” stunts need a conservative counterpart. How about an Easter parade of movie androids to demonstrate the robotic nature of so much “Occupy” rhetoric?
AP File Photo
The “Occupy” movement has been in hibernation, no doubt sitting out the winter instead of sitting in tents in the cold. How we’ve all missed the bear cub-like antics of these playful folks. And it was such a mild winter! Spring is here and the movement will no doubt awaken. Even so, its mouthpieces have spent the winter in cozy offices, keeping the keyboards fired up. One of them, YES! Magazine’s Managing Editor Doug Pibel, outlined nine strategies to give more power to the people. One of them is to deploy a battalion of lawyers to sue big corporations for everything imaginable. Perhaps Pibel doesn’t read another magazine called Forbes. Its annual richest Americans list always contains numerous lawyers. They are the 1 percent! Behind every budding anarchy scheme is a desire to further enrich the trial bar.
Philip K. Howard is taking his call for smarter, more responsible government to The Atlantic magazine. On the magazine’s website, theatlantic.com, can be found “America the Fixable,” a link that features essays by Howard — author of “The Death of Common Sense” — and others that reveal just how nonsensical our government can be. U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper, R-Tenn., wrote about the government’s mohair subsidy, which began shortly after World War II over concerns about the future availability of wool for military uniforms. “Today, more than half a century later — when military uniforms are largely composed of synthetic material — the program still benefits goat herders in Texas, now under the friendly jurisdiction of the Agriculture Committee,” Cooper said. It helps explain, he says, why “there are dozens, sometimes hundreds of overlapping and duplicative programs for favored constituencies, as opposed to one or two programs that really deliver.” This essay and others on the site are well worth the time.
1996 Mohair Producers of Oklahoma angora goat show (The Oklahoman Archives)
Weather couldn’t be blamed. The dog didn’t eat the ballot. So state Democratic Party officials had to find something else to finger for the fact that Barack Obama managed to lose 15 counties in Tuesday’s presidential primary and came in third in some of those counties. The blame for an incumbent president’s 57 percent finish statewide in a five-man race officially went to low turnout. By contrast, incumbent George H.W. Bush took 70 percent of the Republican vote in 1992, also in a five-man race, and won all the delegates up for grabs. Unless party officials can find a way around it, Obama will have to share Oklahoma’s delegate count with Randall Terry and Jim Rogers. Urban Democrats, even in Oklahoma, still like Obama. But look for their rural counterparts to join Republicans and independents in supporting the GOP nominee in November. There’s no excuse for the president’s unpopularity here.