15 Minutes Could Cost You Everything

There’s a new Geico commercial that features Pinocchio as a motivational speaker. And it really pisses me off.

It begins with a father and son hanging out on the couch playing video games. Then the obligatory reference to “15 minutes could save you 15% on car insurance” and responsive “Everybody knows that.” Then dad says “Well, did you know that Pinocchio was a bad motivational speaker?” We next see Pinocchio giving a motivational speech to a group of people. “I look around this room, and I see nothing but untapped potential.” As he is looking around the room, he addresses individual members of the audience. “You have potential!” Pinocchio points out a man in the crowd “You have potential!” And then Pinocchio’s nose starts to grow.  Noticing his very public misalignment, he says, resignedly, “You have… oh boy.” The man he pointed to dejectedly bows his head, now having confirmed the awful truth, that he has no potential. Continue reading

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Workplace Violence in America: Frequency & Effects

The issue of workplace violence became a subject of media attention after the series of Post Office murders that occurred throughout the 1980s and 1990s. While such shootings are relatively rare, the impact of non-fatal workplace violence is significant, with the FBI estimating in 2011 that such crimes cost the American workforce approximately $36 billion per year.

The occurrence of workplace violence may actually be substantially under-reported: A 2001 study estimated that 2.3 million men and 1.1 million women have been victimized by a coworker at some point. Furthermore, even if the frequency of such violence is low, the economic impact could be significant as a result of direct costs (i.e., hospital expenses) and indirect costs (e.g., missed days of work or reduced productivity.) A 2000 study calculated that the direct and indirect cost of 344 non-fatal workplace assaults in one state alone during a single year — Minnesota in 1996 — amounted to almost $5.9 million. Continue reading

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Justice Department, Health and Human Services Call for Action to Address Abuse of Older Americans

WASHINGTON –July 9, 2014 leaders in the fight against elder abuse announced a framework for tackling the highest priority challenges to elder abuse prevention and prosecution, and called on all Americans to take a stand against the serious societal problem of elder abuse, neglect and financial exploitation.

Research suggests that one in 10 Americans over the age of 60 has experienced elder abuse or neglect, and that people with dementia are at higher risk for abuse. Continue reading

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Texas Man Found Guilty of Sex Trafficking of a Minor

HOUSTON—Bobby Barrett, aka “Black,” 30, has been convicted of sex trafficking of a minor who was under 18 with force, fraud or coercion, and transporting her across state lines for the purpose of engaging in prostitution, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson. The jury returned its verdicts against the Killeen area man after a four-day trial and less than two hours of deliberation.

Barrett was found guilty of one count each of sex trafficking of a minor and transportation of a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity.

The federal charges brought against Barrett are the result of an investigation conducted by the Houston Innocence Lost Task Force, led by the FBI and the Shreveport, La., Police Department (SPD). The investigation began in October 2013 after the victim was detained during an enforcement operation in Houston. Barrett bonded her out and then transported her across state lines to Louisiana where ads for prostitution services were posted. SPD arrested her in another operation less than two weeks later along with Barrett and another woman. Continue reading

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