Consultants’ bonanza

first_imgTo get a sense of perspective, imagine walking into a car dealership, and spending $35,000 for a brand-new, supposedly top-of-the-line car. Then imagine spending $42,000 on top of that in mechanic’s fees just to get the vehicle to drive properly. Chances are, you’d be talking to your attorney, right? But the LAUSD says there’s no need to sue Deloitte Consulting, the high-priced firm it paid handsomely to roll out a functional and accurate payroll system – and which never did. Somehow, district bureaucrats seem to be at peace with this incredible failure. By most accounts, the Los Angeles Unified School District’s woeful payment system has been a disaster. But, really, it all just depends on your point of view. In some ways, the $95million system has been an unalloyed success. At least for consultants, anyway. Even though the payroll system has underpaid and overpaid thousands of teachers by tens of millions of dollars, it has paid consultants fabulously and right on time. Indeed, certain “experts” in the region scarcely could do better if the malfunctioning machines did nothing but print out $1,000 bills for their personal use. L.A. school board members now warn that the total cost of implementing the system – which has included hiring armies of consultants – could top $210million. That’s more than double the original price tag, with “fixes” costing $115million alone. And, somehow, they don’t seem to mind spending a fortune on all the consultants, one after the next, who can’t seem to put the LAUSD’s Humpty Dumpty back together again. “I keep questioning all of these costs,” says new school board member Tamar Galatzan. “I’ve never seen a plan that included all of the consultants, all of the costs, who’s responsible for what, where the money’s coming from, how long it’s going to take. “Nothing exists that resembles a transparent, cohesive plan.” Unchecked costs. No plan. No transparency. Sound familiar? In all likelihood, this scandal is nothing more than one of incompetence. But given the LAUSD’s history of questionable contracting, it’s hard not to get conspiratorial-minded about a botched scheme that has benefited no one except for the people paid large sums of money paid to fix it. Think about the costs – $115million wasted. For a district that recently started charging kids to use its athletic facilities so it could save a piddly $3.8million, that’s a lot of money that could be doing a lot of good to educate children. Richard Vladovic, the school board member representing District 7, has rightly called for a thorough audit of exactly how much has been spent, what’s gone wrong, and why. “It’s bigger than we all believe. We need to look at it totally. I want an accounting of everything – every nook and cranny,” Vladovic says. Vladovic predicts that “when all of this is over” – soon, we hope – “there’s going to be a Judgment Day.” There had better be.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

Godless: Is Psychiatry Science or Religion?

first_img“Ever since Freud described religious faith as an illusion and a neurosis there has been tension and at times hostility between religion and psychiatry,” reported EurekAlert.  “Psychiatrists are less religious on average than other physicians, according to previously published data from the same survey, and non-psychiatrist physicians who are religious are less willing to refer their patients to psychiatrists.”    This does not mean psychiatrists are hostile toward the religion of their clients.  In fact, they seem more interested in discussing it with clients than other medical doctors.  Many are also changing from linking religion with mental illness, the study says.  Some are even finding religious behaviors beneficial to clients’ mental health.  Medical doctors, by contrast, are far more likely to be religious themselves and view religion as important to their patients, according to an earlier survey by Brandeis University published on EurekAlert 11/14/2007, “A dose of God may help medicine.”    The statistics about psychiatrists come from a survey published in the December issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry.  Farr Curlin, MD, associate professor of medicine at the University of Chicago, thinks the gap between religion and psychiatry is narrowing.  “In aggregate,” he said, “although psychiatrists may not agree with the claims of religion, they often witness its powerful effects on patients’ mental health, both for good and for ill.”Studies like this border on the meaningless.  To lump Scientology, animism and Christianity into one bin called “religion” almost guarantees that any conclusions will be invalid from the start.  It would be like trying to discuss anything meaningful about politics after lumping Democrats, Republicans, communists, fascists and anarchists into one group.    Psychiatrists are psychologists with medical degrees.  That gives them one leg up from psychologists, a sorry lot within “science” if there ever was one.  The one who needed his head examined was Freud.  He pulled science down a blind alley as much as Mesmer did.  Psychiatry has value only in so far as it diagnoses purely medical conditions that have a physical basis.  When it tries to explain the “psychological” cause of your problems, and prescribe a drug to cover up the consequences of your sinful behavior, save your money and go to a good church.    The only take-home lesson from this article is the bias of the pseudoscience of psychiatry against religion based on its Freudian roots – and Freud was a Darwin-loving apostate.  Psychiatrists have since evolved from calling religion a mental illness to calling it an evolved behavior that seems to confer some fitness benefits.  In other words, religion is still superstition in their view, but might be more healthy than they supposed.  How come no preachers or theologians were consulted to give their views on this subject?  While psychiatrists call preachers deluded or mentally ill, the preachers can turn around and call the psychiatrists sinners and spiritual counterfeits who proclaim false teachings as science falsely so called.  Whom can you trust?    Don’t think for a minute it’s the psychiatrists.  Their anti-religious views cannot possibly be true, because they are self-refuting.  If they wish to restrict all behaviors to physical causes, they must include their own beliefs about psychiatry and religion.  This makes the teachings of psychiatry nothing more than chemical reactions in a physical brain.  Who could say their chemical reactions are like yours or mine?  Who could possibly know that their reactions are more valid than anyone else’s, without reference to some external standard of truth that is universal, timeless and certain?  Their belief system dissolves into the sea of irrationality, and is therefore untrustworthy by definition.  Trust the source that alone is universal, timeless and certain: your Creator.  Only He knows the truth about the creatures He made.  Thank Him that he has provided his sentient beings with an operator’s manual for mental and spiritual health.  Learn it, study it, and when you still need help, go to those who make it their life work to rightly apply the word of truth.(Visited 59 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Public service charter: ‘make it real’

first_img A Batho Pele call center number – 0860 428 392 – has been launched to get public feedback on the implementation of the charter. Last month, all trade unions represented in the Public Service Coordination Bargaining Council signed the charter and committed to take the lead in its implementation. On Wednesday, Sisulu said the charter would be internalised in government so that all officials came to know and understand the expectations of the people. “During the drafting of the charter, we asked our people to comment and give suggestions on how we can improve service delivery, and they said public servants must be on time and work daily to resolve their problems. That’s all they are asking for – a public service that meets their expectations.” She said the charter was binding to all public servants, including those in local government. In her budget vote speech earlier this year, Sisulu told MPs that the service charter represented “a social contract between ourselves, public sector unions and citizens – the main beneficiaries of services delivered by the state”. During last month’s launch of the charter, Sisulu committed the government to creating the working conditions that would enable public servants to meet the requirements of the charter. SAnews.gov.za and SAinfo reporter Serve the public in an unbiased, impartial manner;Provide timely services;Respect and protect each person’s dignity and rights as contained in the Constitution;Not engage in any action or transaction that conflicts with or infringes on the execution of their duties;Act against fraud, corruption, nepotism and maladministration; andDemonstrate professionalism, competency and transparency in the performance of their duties. 12 September 2013 Parliament has called on the government and labour to ensure that the recently launched Public Service Charter is fully implemented, and that South Africans are empowered to know their rights and report bad service. During a briefing by Public Service and Administration Minister Lindiwe Sisulu in Cape Town on Wednesday, members of the portfolio committee on public service and administration urged the minister, along with public service unions, to ensure that the charter’s vision became a reality. “We are all aware of the challenges facing our people,” said the acting chairperson of the committee, Eric Nyekembe. “We hope this charter will introduce a chapter where government and labour will work together to improve service delivery. “This charter must empower our people to report and complain when they are faced with bad service.” The charter, which all public servants will be expected to sign, seeks to ensure an effective, efficient and responsive public service by committing public servants to:last_img read more

Sponsor Post: LeapFish Draws on Power of Social Media for Worthy Cause

first_imgEditor’s note: we offer our long-term sponsors the opportunity to write ‘Sponsor Posts’ and tell their story. These posts are clearly marked as written by sponsors, but we also want them to be useful and interesting to our readers. We hope you like the posts and we encourage you to support our sponsors by trying out their products.Business and social uses of Twitter have gotten most of the attention since the social platform hit the mainstream. But Twitter’s benefit to charities and worthwhile causes is just as obvious, and we’re now starting to see more and more uses in this sphere.Witness the #beatcancer campaign, which made it into the Guinness World Records for tweeting its way to raise $70,000 in 24 hours for four cancer-fighting organizations.Twitter is not alone. Facebook is proving to be a viable base of operations from which to draw attention to the world’s most pressing problems. The Causes application alone has 17.5 million monthly active users and has helped raise $4.5 million for approximately 155,000 non-profits.LeapFish, a newly launched real-time and social search engine, is joining the movement. It has teamed up with the Make-a-Wish Foundation to empower Twitter users with the ability to grant an ill child’s dream to go to Disneyland. The Tweet-a-Cause, which hit the wires last week and runs until November 27th, is steadily climbing through the twittersphere.This particular campaign is devoted to four-year-old Jacob, who has a rare and life-threatening disease that has affected him since birth. LeapFish is donating $0.10 per tweet to the Make-a-Wish Foundation until 100,000 tweets have been sent, raising $10,000 and granting Jacob’s wish: to take his family to Disneyland for a week.Social media is powerful, and hopefully causes such as these are only the beginning. Related Posts rww sponsor 1 A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hostingcenter_img Tags:#Sponsors#web Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketlast_img read more

Fighter jets over Nunavut

first_imgAPTN National NewsCanada’s fighter jets are once again roaring in the skies over Nunavut.It’s all part of Operation Nanook.The federal government is hoping that an increased military presence in the area will strengthen their sovereignty claims in the Arctic.APTN National News reporter Wayne Rivers met up with one young pilot and files this report.last_img