Friday, October 24, 2014

9 Million People to Receive 'Green' Cards.

Here's some Homeland Security news for you, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is bracing for a couple of busy weeks- to say the least. The DHS is going to be reviewing work applications from an estimated 9 million immigrant workers thanks to an Executive Order that President Barak Obama is expected to implement later this year. So, what? Well, that is the million dollar question.

This information is relevant because US Citizenship and Immigration Services has published a draft contract proposal to buy the card stock needed to make work permits and Permanent Resident Cards, more commonly known as green cards. The proposal also calls for providing material for at least 5 million cards a year, with as many as 9 million “during the initial period … to support possible future immigration reform initiative requirements.” The contract calls for as many as 34 million cards over five years.

Basically, non-violent illegal immigrants will be protected and granted legal work status if they have children here in the USA. While many people may not like this concept- or may think it put the country at a disadvantage- there are more benefits to this action than not. These now legal workers have to pay into the tax system, which is a big plus. They will contribute to our medical system and they are trackable. Plus, they can't be taken advantage of in so many ways. It seems to be a win-win for both parties.

The DHS is going to spearhead this effort because it the president can authorize protection from deportation for immigrants on a case-by-case basis, such as with the DACA program, and issue work permits. If someone doesn't look like they working intent, but something more sinister in mind when it comes to being within the USA, we can get a heads up on the scenario (and handle it) through the DHS. This issue is something to think about for sure this weekend before forming an opinion if this effort is good for the country or not.

Until Monday,

Twyla N. Garrett

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Worst Actions to Take During a Crisis

What's the worst thing you can do during a crisis? I was recently asked this by a follower on Twitter. Well, I think the answer is subjective depending on the crisis. However, if we are talking in general terms, then I have to say that waiting to see what happens and not taking action takes the cake.

We are all built with the flight or fight mechanisms. This said, some people remain stuck or unwilling to accept what is going on and they don't follow the directions of first responders or the emergency plans. This is when people get into trouble. You have to realize during a crisis that you are in a crisis. Even if you take flight, you're taking some action. Staying in a burning building because the fire fighters will show up soon isn't the best idea. But some people do this and don't come out the other side alive or as their normal selves.

I'm addressing this question because I think it is important. Not having enough water, having too much water- these types of scenarios- well, they are all trivial. Yes, water will eventually show up via the government. Too much water, that's not a problem. Not doing anything- like seeking out water when you don't have it- that is what gets people into trouble.

So, remember - every emergency is different. Handling things calmly and with some type of action plan is the best thing you can do for yourself.

Until tomorrow,

Twyla N. Garrett

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Online Security and You!

I received a question about my cyber security services and personal online security. While these are two very different things, they have a common bond in that a breach can devastate someone's personal credit or business brand! For the purposes to the question I received, tonight's blog tips will deal with personal security online and how to maintain your privacy.

First, let's start with where we are today with "complex" passwords... the concept is a lie! When you hear of hackers, it usually is on a massive level. Your password, no matter how complex, can be guessed using technology that monitors your keystrokes. Yep, you can be in Los Angeles and have your keystrokes determined (to hack your password) from Japan. Below is a great example of this;

The world of cyber-security underwent a game-change last summer, when not one but two top tech writers were spectacularly hacked. Mat Honan, a writer for Wired, was cyber-attacked by a 19-year-old who wanted his highly coveted three-letter Twitter handle @Mat. To get it, the kid (who goes by “Phobia”) and a friend wiped out Honan’s entire digital life — in about an hour. It started with a call to the Apple Help Desk, and Phobia was able to give just enough data to convince the agent that he was Honan. That one password gave him the keys to the castle.

As Honan described in Wired, “First my Google account was taken over, then deleted. Next my Twitter account was compromised, and used as a platform to broadcast racist and homophobic messages. And worst of all, my AppleID account was broken into, and my hackers used it to remotely erase all of the data on my iPhone, iPad, and MacBook.” Honan also thought he had lost every picture he had of his one-year-old daughter, since he hadn’t been backing up his hard drive. Ultimately he was able to recover some of his passwords (from his cloud backup,Dropbox, on his wife’s laptop) and then his data. But it was an expensive lesson: He wound up spending $1,690 for the entire recovery.

So, what's my point? Even technology brainiacs get hacked. While there are steps you can take to prevent it from happening, good coders and hackers don't need much to get into your account(s) and then change your passwords to their passwords, often assuming your identity. I tell everyone to forget the password focus and look at what you have online. If the answers to your security questions can be easily guessed by the information you put on LinkedIN- or any other type of social media- then yous shouldn't even bother with having a password. Limit your personal life's details from Google and social media searchers. For now, for the average person and tech geek, this is the best way to avoid getting hacked.

Until tomorrow,

Twyla N. Garrett

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Preparing for Any Disaster

I received a request to deal with home and family issues when it comes to a disaster, not just employment or major issues of national security. I love getting these requests and spent some time this morning putting together the best tips possible to help prepare your family, and your home, for a disaster of any type.

First, know that you need to have 5 master plans. You need a plan for yourself and the adults in the home, a plan for seniors in the home, a plan for children in the home, a plan for pets in the home, and a plan for anyone with disabilities within the home. No, a blanket "one-size fits all" strategy will not work. You do need individual plans.

Each plan needs to have four core elements. These elements include an emergency medical kit. The kit is going to be very different for pets vs. seniors vs. someone with Multiple Sclerosis, etc. Make sure back up medications, general triage items, and written down phone numbers of doctors and allergies are included in each kit.

The next element is being CPR trained. Yes, you and everyone in your home should know how to provide CPR to humans and pets. Your third element is community resources. Do you know what they are in case of a disaster? If not, call your local Red cross and sign up for an emergency maintenance class. The fourth, and final element, is practicing. Don't tell your children or spouse when you are going to practice a disaster alarm. Instead, surprise him or her (or them) really early in the morning when people's defenses are down and they are groggy. This will give you a great indication of what has to be worked on.

I hope this information provides the basics, but please feel free to ask me more questions on Twitter!

Twyla N. Garrett

Monday, October 20, 2014

OMG! 'Black Power' Politics & Ebola

For this blog, and my job, I monitor the Google term "Homeland Security" on a daily basis, sometimes even hourly depending on what is happening within the country. Today, however, I am disappointed. I read an article discussing the shortfalls of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in relation to the Ebola "crisis" here in America. What was even more shocking was the context this article took from addressing a serious healthcare issue and the DHS to finger pointing and blatant ethic slander. What am I referring to? Well, this article:

Now, first I had to process the writer's disgusting phrasing, such as "In short, Johnson is an advocate of ‘black power’ politics. Unfortunately he’s not the only one. Michelle Obama based her 1985 Princeton thesis on Carmichael and Hamilton’s book which preached the rejection of assimilation, white middle-class values, nonviolence, and coalition building." Writers often create drama online to get web hits. I wanted to read beyond this and vet the article for its true purpose. As I read on, I became more disappointment. The article ends with, "While Americans scratch their heads in disbelief over this administration’s seeming ineptitude over Ebola, the long-dead communist Carmichael’s dream of sticking it to ‘whitey’ via the White House and its apparatchiks is coming true." WOW!

First, I wasn't aware anyone in this country is still using the phrase "whitey"... Second, the writer's accusations of reverse discrimination are led with what else? Racism! I can't believe at the end of 2014, that this type of thinking still exists- but it does. And thanks to our freedoms, the writer can publish this filth as his opinion. I grew up in a segregated part of Ohio. While time has changed much, I still remember what it is like to be unfairly judged. And, I think this writer is not only unfairly judging the motives of Michelle Obama (and so many others), but he is unfairly treating those who have contracted Ebola and those who may be at risk of contracting it in Africa. This doesn't have to be a race issue. It isn't a race issue. It is a medical issue that has become a concern for the DHS because it involves the overall public welfare of those who live in this country regardless of color, creed or sexual preference. I remember a time when many people believed only "the gays" could get HIV. How wrong, insensitive, and inbred was our thinking back then?!

My point is this.... the longer we use one another's differences to play the blame game, the longer we fail to spearhead the issue at hand. There is always a time and place for politics. There is never a time or place for discrimination. I'm so disappointed that the writer of the mentioned article decided to use his own insecurities and fears to skew the truth and take attention away from a very serious issue.

Twyla N. Garrett

Friday, October 17, 2014

Could You Handle A Bomb Scare?

Would you know how to handle a bomb scare at work? Many people don't know what to do or how to react. The topic is so uncomfortable that many don't even want to think about it. Well, let me give you the basics. The best defense is an offense, which means thinking about the uncomfortable and knowing how to handle it.

1. First, if you take the call / threat - call 9-1-1- and then notify your boss.
2. Stay away from any specific area or packages. If a caller notes a certain part of a building on the phone, evacuate that area first.
3. Don't bother the first responders. They will provide information on an "as needed" basis. Make sure you give them all the details of the call or received threat and then take care of yourself and your employees. Don't ask questions or pull people away from their jobs.
4. Don't panic. This is easier said than done, but it is important to remain as calm as possible.

I know it is Friday. I know this topic isn't the easiest and by no means are these four steps (above) meant to cover every aspect of a bomb threat. But, if you can remember these basics, you are a lot better off than the people who don't even want to think about this possibility.

Here's a free checklist in the meantime:

Until Monday,

Twyla Garrett

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Ebola, What You DON'T Know!

I was listening to women inline this morning discuss Ebola. Wow! There is a lot of bad information with social circles. Since I covered this topic, and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) yesterday, I want to expand a bit on what most people don't know , but assume, when it comes to Ebola.

First, a person infected with the deadly virus must be showing symptoms to transmit the infection to others. Someone mentioned kissing today as how it is transmitted, this isn't true!

The World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say it's possible the disease could be spread this way, but WHO said it's "not aware of any studies that actually document this mode of transmission." Also, coughing and sneezing aren't common Ebola symptoms.

Right now, you're more likely to die from the flu vs. Ebola. Yes, you read that right! According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, from 1997 to 2007, flu deaths ranged from a low of about 3,500 to a high of 49,000 deaths a year. The flu reached epidemic levels in last year's season. This said, The World Health Organization says West Africa could see 10,000 new Ebola cases a week by December.

We do have to be careful, as a country, about an Ebola outbreak. It is possible but it isn't likely. The DHS is considering a travel ban right now. We have trained professionals working at airports to screen all travelers right now. We're aware and discussing the issue, which is good. The problem is the not knowing and the gossip that I hear on a daily basis. You will always fear what you are not aware or informed about. If you want to learn more about Ebola, please click here:

Until tomorrow,

Twyla N. Garrett

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