Sunday, January 24, 2021

Some workers who telecommute because of pandemic may face double state income taxation

Boston at night 2015

Ivan Pereira has a detailed article for ABC News about employees who telecommute because of the pandemic being hit by state income taxes from more than one state, despite reciprocity agreements among the involved states, because of “convenience rules” for employers.

One of the most troublesome states is Massachusetts.

I don’t think that is a problem in the DC area with Maryland and Virginia where you pay tax based on where you live.

Some would say that his increases equity, because people who can work from home have less intrinsic risk of COVID.

CNBC has a related story by Darla Mercado from November 2020.

Deutsche Bank wants to levy a 5% “privilege tax” on those who work from home after the pandemic.

Saturday, January 23, 2021

Teacher from Pennsylvania suspended for being at the Jan 6 rally and supporting it, even though he apparently did not trespass on the Capitol himself


Near State College PA, 2010

The Allentown, PA school district has suspended a social studies teacher from duties after he posted a picture of himself at the Jan. 6 DC rally, saying “doing my civic duty”.    He also apparently said, “The Capitol was insured” (local story). 

But apparently he did not enter the Capitol himself and was not arrested.

My own view would be that his public conduct was improper because he has the capacity to give grades to other students (under what was called “conflict of interest” with public speech back in the early 2000’s).

Smerconish has a poll as to whether people should face consequences for attending the rally if they did not themselves trespass on the Capitol, and most people (about 2/3) said no.

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Yes, people are getting fired from jobs for publicly supporting Trump

near Leesburg VA

Carlyn Borysenko reports in a video that people are being fired from jobs for publicly supporting “Trump”.

She also recommends the Twitter account of Judd Legum. 

In a somewhat perverse way, this video reminds me of my own “conflict of interest” situation back in the 1990s.

Companies have stopped political contributions to politicians on the right in anyway connected to the riots, which seems logical.  But some people could find themselves cut off from financial services altogether (as we known from “cancel culture” dating back to 2018).  Tim Pool reports that HSBC will close accounts of customers who refuse to wear masks on their premises. 

She also recommends that content creators use locals to start their own subscription based communities.  This could not work for me right now, but that’s another matter.

I would to invert Karlyn’s logic a bit and ponder the idea that I don’t like the idea of direct sales employment, cold calling or emailing people and convincing them to buy a product or change their lives based partly on someone’s “ideology” about how things should work.  It’s the “we give you the words” thing.

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Joshua Fluke on employer monitoring of people working from home during the coronavirus pandemic


snow in DC 2 years ago

Here’s a video by Joshua Fluke, interviewing a CEO who “brags about tracking his workers.”

The CEO heads Strategy Creative SCI, and is talking about tracking people working from home, taking screenshots at intervals.  There are plenty of video conferences and interruptions, too often.

He wants to see their home office background; are their kids walking into the background?

I thought about the customer service work-at-home companies 15 years ago (Alpine Access, etc).

Thursday, January 07, 2021

State election systems ultimately depend on trust, like all I.T. shops


polling place in northern VA

Here’s just a quick note about the claims of possible election fraud by the Trump campaign in various swing states.

Election processing is a “system” like any other business system.  In fact, big television networks have “election units” that are separate departments with their own IT support.

Likewise that is true with state, county and municipal governments. Back in the 2000’s, some states, included Virginia, experimented with Windows XP voting PC’s as automated voting stations, to be networked.  There were some problems (I was trained one time on them in 2006), and eventually Virginia went back to paper ballots that are scanned and counted by networked special purpose computers that have their own complicated procedures.

Any system like this depends on trusting the employees who program and operate the various pieces of the systems.  Issues happen in workplaces, as they did in my 32 years in (mostly mainframe) IT.  There are safeguards that get better with time, like in elevation (moving to production) practices to make them foolproof.  But at some point people have to be trusted.  Issues come up, and often blow over and get resolved, with the public never knowing anything. But for the people working there, their workplace is a whole universe of its own.

There is a certain amount of trust we need in our states to run their election systems.   There is no way around this.

Monday, January 04, 2021

California pandemic and the retail workplaces


along US395

The Los Angeles Times today writes that the pandemic is severely affecting some workplaces in LA County, especially Costco, Target, and television sitcom sets, which may have to delay filming episodes for several weeks. That could mean that some of them go off air for a while.

Wendy Lee, et all, provide the story  which links to another story reporting the concentration of California’s outbreaks in the “inland empire”, especially in San Bernadino and Riverside counties (the latter reported 1 new infection per 100 residents last week). It’s disturbing that people are coming to hospitals “younger and sicker”. 

It was not clear whether consumers, if wearing masks properly, were at much risk.

The article also links to the stay at home orders, which prohibit hotels from renting rooms to people traveling for non-essential reasons.

Monday, December 07, 2020

Former Florida official who created her own coronavirus tracker accused of hacking her former workplace

Fort Lauderdale

A fired Florida official created a coronavirus tracker that shows more cases than the state of Florida reports, CNN story.

Suddenly, today, her equipment is seizes as she is accused of accessing or hacking into a state site she has no access to, and sending an unauthorized message, story. By Casey Tolan and Curt Devine, link

She denies the illegal access and believes the attack is political motivated.

I recall one vaguely related incident when I was working in the 1970s.