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No kid sleeps on the floor in this town

No kid sleeps on the floor in this town

Dave DerosierNo kid sleeps on the floor in our town

Did you know that one in five people in Orange live below the poverty level? About one in ten struggles to make ends meet with less than half of the federal poverty level of income.

It is difficult to find the actual statistics, but too many boys and girls go without a bed or even a pillow to sleep on because their families cannot afford one. These children end up sleeping on couches, blankets, and even floors. This can affect their health as well as their happiness.

A short time ago I was introduced to a group of volunteers in Beaumont dedicated to building, assembling and delivering top-notch bunk beds to children and families in need AT NO CHARGE. They are a chapter of a national non-profit (501-c-3) charity started about seven years ago in Idaho.

As of last weekend (9-14-2019) the Beaumont group have built and delivered more than 200 beds. They have a waiting list of 460! On the national level, the goal is to build and distribute 10,000 beds across the US and Canada. As of last month, more than 8,000 had been built.

The charity is known as Sleep In Heavenly Peace and they work entirely on donations and with volunteers.

This group is such a secret that even our local CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) was unaware of it. Their need? They have potential foster parents for kids that can’t qualify because they don’t have an extra bed for the foster child. Now that’s really sad.

The cost for materials for a single bed is $150, and $300 for a bunk set. This includes mattress and bed clothes. Anyone want to donate the money to build a bed for a kid?

Once a month, the Beaumont chapter does a public “Build Day”, downtown across the street from the Fire Museum with the giant fire hydrant. They always need volunteers – both to build the beds as well as administrative stuff like registering volunteers. Or just take some time and bring refreshments for those that are working.

Even just donating a “Bed-in-a-Bag” from Wal-Mart for around $25 will help. Bring it to a Build Day.

Bed deliveries are made on Saturdays and evenings, when the kids are home. Volunteers also needed for deliveries.

For me, one of the most exciting opportunities is for local groups like the Rotary Club, Lions Club, VFW, Elks, or churches, even golfing buddies. If they could get together 10 volunteers, Sleep in Heavenly Peace will arrange for their own “build day”.

What a great way to give back to the community.

Donations can be mailed to Sleep In Heavenly Peace, 1120 Ivy Lane, Beaumont TX 77706. You can find them on Facebook by typing in “Sleep in Heavenly Peace-TX Beaumont. The national website is SHPbeds.org.

And their motto> You guessed it, “No kid sleeps on the floor in our town.”

J. David Derosier consults with small business on planning and marketing issues, and provides web design and hosting services through OhainWEB.com, an accredited business with the Better Business Bureau that is rated A+ by BBB. He can be reached at <a href=”mailto:JDAVID@Strategy-Planning.info”>JDAVID@Strategy-Planning.info</a>

This article was first published in The Orange Leader on September25th 2019.

Who Needs a Website?

Who Needs a Website?

Dave Derosier

I am asked this question so often, “Who needs a website?”

Back in the late 1990s I started designing websites under the name of “Instant Web Pages”, to introduce small business owners to the new Internet. 

Websites were just getting going then and not a lot of businesses or organizations were using them.  When I would talk to prospects about a website they would say, “Why do I need a website? Nobody has one.”

My response was quick and easy, “You need one to stick out from your competitors, because they don’t have a website yet.”

 Here in the 21st century, the tables have turned. Most businesses and organizations do have websites. So when the question is asked today, the answer is, “Because your competitors already have one.”

 Just about any business today needs to have a presence on the Internet. Many of them start with a Facebook page. That’s truly a good start, but it’s only effective for an hour or so, maybe a day.

 Think about Facebook. Can you find the post that your brother-in-law’s cousin sent you yesterday? Of course not, it just got further and further down the list, before it fell off into the abyss.  Try finding a vendor on Facebook – like a roofer. 

 Good luck.

 Facebook is good for today. Today’s sale specials. Photos of what you did yesterday. And then it goes away.

 On the other hand, your website allows you to have static information about your business or organization.  Like your hours, your location, your email address.  And it will allow your customers to contact you – either by phone or email – directly from their cell phone, just by clicking on the screen.

 Your website lets you display text and images that stay there unless you change them. Your website allows you to sell directly to your customer, your website allows you to describe your products and services in one place without having to redo it every day/week. You can even take orders, schedule work, and get paid via your website.

 Your website allows you to answer three very basic questions for your customer/prospect: 1) Who are you? 2) What do you do or offer? 3) How do I contact you?

 Oh, and did I tell you that you don’t own what’s on Facebook? That you have absolutely no control over who sees your information? Or when? Facebook decides that and doesn’t have to tell you.

 Facebook can insert an advertisement for your competitor right next to your post, and you have no control.

 That’s just the obvious and objective stuff about a website.

 How about some statistics…

  • Did you know that 93% of consumers go online to find a local business?
  • Did you know that 75% of consumers make judgements about a company’s credibility based on their website design?
  • Did you know that 30% of consumers won’t even consider a business that doesn.t have a website?

 YUP. That’s what the researchers say.

Oh, but now you’re going to say that you don’t sell to consumers, you sell to other businesses.

  • Did you know that 75% of Business-to-Business (B2B) buyers say that digital website content significantly impacts their buying decisions?
  • Did you know that 62% of buyers say they can finalize their purchase selection criteria based on the business website?

 What it all comes down to is that if you have a business, you cannot afford to NOT have a website!

 And so, you’re thinking how silly that statement is. “He’s telling me I can’t afford it, but he’s not telling me how much it costs!”

 Sorry, but that’s a topic for the next session.

David Derosier consults with small business on planning and marketing issues, and provides web design and hosting services through OhainWEB.com, an accredited business with the Better Business Bureau that is rated A+ by BBB. He can be reached at JDAVID@Strategy-Planning.info

 This article was first published in The Orange Leader on April 10th 2019.

David Derosier consults with small business on planning and marketing issues, and provides web design and hosting services through OhainWEB.com, an accredited business with the Better Business Bureau that is rated A+ by BBB. He can be reached at JDAVID@Strategy-Planning.info.
Deception as a Cyber-Defense

Deception as a Cyber-Defense

Deception as a Cyber-Defense

In a recent article I talked about how governments are adjusting their approach to collecting signals intelligence data in the fight against national enemies – both terrorists and unfriendly states. What about private companies and individuals, what defenses are available to them in these changing times?

Topping the terrorist list are ISIS and Al Qaeda. The leading unfriendly states, ranked by offenses recorded, are China, Iran, North Korea, and Russia.

In December of 2018 alone, major international cyber-attacks on government agencies, defense and high tech companies, or economic crimes with losses of more than a million dollars** included:

  • Chinese hackers were found to have compromised the EU’s communications systems, maintaining access to sensitive diplomatic cables for several years
  • North Korean hackers stole the personal information of almost 1,000 North Korean defectors living in South Korea
  • The United States, in coordination with Australia, Canada, the UK, and New Zealand, accused China for conducting a 12-year campaign of cyber espionage targeting the Intellectual Property and trade secrets of companies across 12 countries. The announcement was tied to the indictment of two Chinese hackers associated with the campaign.
  • S. Navy officials report that Chinese hackers had repeatedly stolen information from Navy contractors including ship maintenance data and missile plans.
  • Security researchers discover a cyber campaign carried out by a Russia-linked group targeting the government agencies of Ukraine as well as multiple NATO members
  • Researchers report that a state-sponsored Middle Eastern hacking group had targeted telecommunications companies, government embassies, and a Russian oil company located across Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and North America
  • Italian oil company Saipem was targeted by hackers taking down hundreds of the company’s servers and personal computers in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Scotland, and India
  • North Korean hackers have reportedly targeted universities in the U.S. since May, with a particular focus on individuals with expertise in biomedical engineering
  • The Security Service of Ukraine blocked an attempt by the Russian special services to disrupt the information systems of Ukraine’s judicial authority
  • The Czech security service announced that Russian intelligence services were discovered to have been behind attacks against the Czech foreign ministry in 2017
  • Chinese hackers breached the systems of an American hotel chain, stealing the personal information of over 500 million customers

Deception - crossed fingersOne of the fastest growing defenses against hackers and malware is “deception”.

 Suppose that when your computer detects an unwanted visitor it lies to the attacker and fools it into doing something non-destructive like going to what is called a honeypot. One example of currently available commercial solutions can be found at www.keyfocus.net/kfsensor/.

According to Wikipedia, a honeypot consists of data that appears to be a legitimate part of the site, but is actually isolated and monitored, and that seems to contain information or a resource of value to attackers, who are then blocked. This is similar to police sting operations, colloquially known as baiting a suspect.

Honeypots have been around for a long time in cyber security, however they are becoming much more prevalent and have inspired various other types of destinations for attackers to be sent and neutralized.

Cyber security paradigms are shifting away from relaying solely on brute-force firewalls. These new concepts or thought patterns look to misdirect attackers rather than attempt to close the door. Just as the new concepts in signals intelligence are shifting to bulk collection of meta-data.

Looking at the major international infractions quoted above, remember they are the ones that were caught and reported. How many more have occurred undetected?

Technology is a great tool, but we need to stay on top of it for self-protection; self-protection at any level, national, corporate, or as an individual.

** Center for Strategic and International Studies, “Significant Cyber Incidents Since 2006”

David Derosier consults with small business on planning and marketing issues, and provides web design and hosting services through OhainWEB.com, an accredited business with the Better Business Bureau that is rated A+ by BBB. He can be reached at JDAVID@Strategy-Planning.info

Islam is a religion.

Islam is a religion.

Dave Derosier

According to a recent survey, a majority of Americans agree that the values of Islam are at odds with American values and way of life, while roughly four in ten disagree. (56 vs. 41 percent, American Values Survey released in November 2015.)

I took courses on statistics and surveys back in my college days and have used surveys occasionally for business purposes. I understand that the way in which a question is asked can automatically skew the survey results towards the desired goals. Hence, the saying that figures do not lie but liars do figure.

Ask me if the religion of Islam is at odds with American values and I would answer, “Not much different than a lot of religions considered to be mainstream in the United States”. However, ask me if Political Islam is at odds with American values and I would answer with a resounding, “Absolutely YES”.

So what’s the difference?

Let me make an analogy. I remember when Catholics were forbidden to eat meat on Fridays in Lent. The church set that rule for its members, which is OK. However if it was the government who decided that no one in the country was allowed to eat meat on Fridays in Lent because the Pope said so, that’s not OK. In the first case the religion decides for its members, in the second case it’s the state that decides for its citizens because of what a church says.

Let’s start with this distinction: ISLAM is a religion; people who follow the religion of Islam are called Muslims and must follow Islamic law. POLITICAL ISLAM is a type of government primarily based upon the enforcement of Islamic Law for all people regardless of their religion. Political Islam uses Muslim doctrines, beliefs, and values as the foundation of an Islamic State. People who believe in Political Islam are called ISLAMISTS.

It is extremely important to clearly distinguish between Islam as a religion and Political Islam (as a government). Unfortunately, these basic distinctions seem to have become blurred by the media as well as by numerous politicians running for public office.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is an Islamic State with a legal system based on Sharia Law. Turkey is a secular country where Sharia Law is not a part of the country’s legal system, and yet most of the population is Muslim.


When I was in Riyadh, the top floor of the mall was reserved for women, but women were not allowed to shop in the main area of the mall unless accompanied by an adult male; at night and on weekends single men were not allowed in the mall. In Istanbul, women can shop wherever they want.

In Riyadh a woman must cover herself in public, it’s the public law; in Istanbul some women cover themselves because of their religious beliefs, and some choose not to.

Please keep in mind that this church/state situation is not limited to Islam. The Republic of Ireland is a Catholic country with Catholic laws. When I lived in Europe, not only was abortion illegal there, it was illegal for a citizen of Ireland to leave the country to have an abortion somewhere else – regardless of their religious beliefs. Only recently has this been changed in Ireland.

In the United States we have enshrined a wall between church and state in our constitution. The Bill of Rights is the collective name for the first ten amendments to our Constitution, which went into effect more than two centuries ago. The separation of church and state was so important it was in the first of these ten amendments.

Not only do we have a legal system that includes emphasis on protecting the rights of citizens to practice the religion of their choice, our legal system also prohibits subversive activity intended to overthrow our way of life as set out in the Bill of Rights.

So, should we be suspicious of immigrants because of their religion?


We have no more reason to fear Muslims than we do to fear any other immigrant group accepted into our country legally. If they have more kids than the traditional American family of European heritage, so be it; in time they may become a majority…and change the laws.

On the other hand, we do have reason to fear Islamists – those who want Political Islam. These people are our enemies and have sworn to overthrow secular governments and create an Islamic State – anywhere and everywhere.

I have traveled and done business across the Middle East, including Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates.

In the UAE my company was a key featured element at an annual consumer computer and electronics trade show, exhibition, and conference with average attendance of 150,000 from throughout the Arab World.

My family were invited guests at a wedding in Istanbul. We had introduced the bride and groom to each other who were like family to us. The Turkish relatives treated us like we were family as well, each time we visited the country.

I have had a little bit of exposure to the Islamic world, personal exposure, not just from watching the news.

We need to be vigilant against our enemies. Our government has done a lot to prevent terrorists and terrorist attacks here in the homeland. Our government has also made an awful lot of mistakes in screening for security threats. Most of these mistakes were made when the appropriate information was available, just overlooked.

With the Muslim immigrants proposed to be brought to the United States, including here in Texas, there apparently is no such appropriate information to be used for screening. How is the government going to distinguish between Muslims who believe in Islam and Islamists who believe in Political Islam? And to do that with 10,000 individuals? I don’t believe that our government is capable of doing that, especially as demonstrated by the present administration.

According to CBS News, Tashfen Malik passed a Department of Homeland Security counterterrorism screening as part of her vetting to obtain a visa – just last year )2014). The Los Angeles Times reported that she was given a conditional green card, and the FBI also conducted a background check. Malik and her husband, Syed Rizwan Farook apparently carried out the Wednesday attack that killed 14 people and injured 21 more at a holiday party in San Bernardino County California.

It is not the religion that is scary; it is the Islamists who believe that subversive activity (aka terrorism) is a necessary tool to achieve a global Islamic State.

Because we cannot truly be assured that we are not allowing more terrorists into our country, we should be looking to provide help and assistance to refugees from the Middle East in the areas of their own homeland and not in Texas or elsewhere in the United States.

Today the media talks about “Muslim Majority nations” rather than “Islamic States”. this is an injustice to the American people. There is a great difference in the governments of Saudi Arabia and Kuwait as opposed to Turkey or other secular states with a Muslim majority. Don’t let the media change the facts.

Those of you that agree with me, please tell your representatives in Washington how you feel. Before it’s too late.

J. David Derosier consults with small business on planning and marketing issues, and provides web design and hosting services through OhainWEB.com, an accredited business with the Better Business Bureau that is rated A+ by BBB. He can be reached at JDAVID@Strategy-Planning.info

This article was first published in The Orange Leader in November 2015.

David Derosier consults with small business on planning and marketing issues, and provides web design and hosting services through OhainWEB.com, an accredited business with the Better Business Bureau that is rated A+ by BBB. He can be reached at JDAVID@Strategy-Planning.info.

Why do politicians lie?

Why do politicians lie?

Dave Derosier

Did that headline get your attention? In practice, most of the time, if not all of the time, politicians don’t actually lie; although often they just don’t answer the question or give you the whole truth. Is that lying? Probably is.

Recently, according to MSNBC, in an interview on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” the retiring Speaker of the House, Congressman Boehner said that political groups and lawmakers have purposely misled voters, charging that they’ve “whipped people into a frenzy believing they can accomplish things that they know — they know — are never going to happen.” (Sunday 9-27-15). If they do that, it’s lying!

Also on that Sunday, I watched an interview of one of the presidential candidates. He never answered a single question directly and, in truth, seldom gave an answer at all. He consistently turned the question around to meet his own agenda and that’s what he talked about. This is someone who wants to be President of the United States!! In my view, it’s just like lying. Not getting my vote.

Looking back, in a 2003 documentary, former Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara was quoted as saying, “Never answer the question that is asked of you. Answer the question that you wish had been asked of you.” So all of this is not new, it’s been going on for decades, centuries, or longer. And what’s worse is that they acknowledge what they’re doing.

To me, the answer to the headline is that politicians lie when they are only interested in their own agenda and not much else. Their agenda is not necessarily bad. It could be that they believe that they have the best answer to a public problem; just don’t expect them to share too much or to be flexible if the public really wants something different.

Why bring this up now? Because it’s the season for the news media to be reporting on candidates for election (or re-election) to office. Because anyone who watches TV or logs on to social media gets bombarded with it. Even those (like you) who still read print newspapers get more than their fill.
This is when the real news people show their interviewing skills…or lack of. Watch the candidates in a debate or in an interview. Do they really answer the questions? Seldom…and when they do it’s usually incomplete.

So it’s the agenda that drives the issues. And to achieve their agenda, many will deceive you in one way or another. Politicians have even written laws to make it easier for them to do that.

Take, for example, a “rider” attached to a bill in the legislature (state or federal). According to Merriam Webster Dictionary, in legislative procedure, a rider is an additional provision added to a bill or other measure under consideration by a legislature, having little connection with the subject matter of the bill.

Wikipedia tells us that riders are usually created as a tactic to pass a controversial provision that would not pass as its own bill. Sometimes, a controversial provision is attached to a bill not to be passed itself, but to prevent the original bill from being passed (in which case it is called a wrecking amendment or poison pill).So when candidate “A” accuses candidate “B” of being against women’s rights because of a vote on a specific bill, it could be that the no-vote was because of a rider attached for something entirely different. In other words, candidate “B” would normally vote for women’s rights, but could not vote for the rider, therefore he had to oppose the whole bill.

But what can we do?

First, especially during this time with so many candidates to choose from, try to find a candidate you can trust. I think this is best done when they are asked questions by a third party…and the questions are actually answered to your satisfaction.

Next, pay enough attention to the candidate that you can figure out his/her agenda. If you agree with the agenda, go with the candidate.

The bigger problem is when the agenda is hidden. I’ll talk about hidden agendas, perhaps even here in Southeast Texas, in another column.

In the meantime, DO find a candidate to trust and DO vote in the elections. This country needs more people to pay attention and use their vote.

J. David Derosier consults with small business on planning and marketing issues, and provides web design and hosting services through OhainWEB.com, an accredited business with the Better Business Bureau that is rated A+ by BBB. He can be reached at JDAVID@Strategy-Planning.info

This article was first published in The Orange Leader in October 2015.

David Derosier consults with small business on planning and marketing issues, and provides web design and hosting services through OhainWEB.com, an accredited business with the Better Business Bureau that is rated A+ by BBB. He can be reached at JDAVID@Strategy-Planning.info.

Great people in Orange

Great people in Orange

Dave Derosier

There’s something about the heat we’ve been experiencing that seems to affect everything, even the gas gauge in a car. Recently I was on my way to a meeting in downtown Orange late in the afternoon and ran out of gas as I crossed 16th street. I was able to glide (too nice a word, considering no power steering or brakes) into a parking area.

I walked over to the gas station and asked if they had any kind of a container I could put gas into to bring to my vehicle to get it running again. Both the operator and his wife went scrounging around the store and found a container. Then I needed something to hold the safety valve open in the filler. They looked some more and came up with a solution. I filled the container and then brought it back.

These people were so nice and generously went out of their way to help a complete stranger. We talked a little about Orange, how long they’d been here, family. We are strangers no more.

After Hurricane Rita came through town I remember lots of damaged homes; one of them belonged to a very close elderly relative.

By passing the word around through a lot of grapevines someone pointed me towards a family living in a small house that needed a larger one but didn’t have lots of money. Had a good job, but not a lot of money on hand.

We worked out the price and there was almost an even swap – the money he got for his good, but small, house for the bigger but damaged one. There were back taxes to be paid on the new house but they could be paid in installments and that was figured into the budget. As it turned out there were some hidden issues and the county needed twice as much in payments. Too much. I found a private investor to loan him the money and the deal went through.

Ten years later and the family is still there. The house looks better than it had in years. The owner has become my friend; he moved his way up at work and now supervises a large number of his fellow workers. After hurricane Ike, he came over and helped me clean up my property and fixed a downed fence. I was invited to celebrate his daughter’s quinceañera. For me that was a great honor to join his family like that. This man is humble, but to me he is the epitome of honesty, integrity, and goodness. We need more people like him, people that cast a big shadow.

At Art-in-the-Park this year I met a man who had a booth trying to raise interest, and perhaps some money, to start a new museum of local culture and history in Orange. He’s been working on it for a couple of years and it’s taken up a lot of his time. He’s a military veteran and in his late seventies. We talked for a while there and have met several times since at different venues. He strikes me as a genuine good guy. Humble about what he does and who he is, he gives of himself for others, asking little for himself.

A few months ago I went to buy a case of beer on 16th Street. The case price was marked on the rack (a good price BTW) but they had no cases, just ½ cases which were more expensive. When I went to check out, the cashier wasn’t sure she could sell me two halves for the price of a whole case and called for the manager. I guess it was busy because the manager didn’t show up. Rather than keep me waiting, this woman made an executive decision and just charged me the case price…without getting approval. That’s the kind of employee every business should have, one that takes initiative and uses common sense.

What do these people have in common? In a single word, ethics. They have a good sense of right and wrong…and constantly strive to do what’s right, adhering to basic and fundamental principles of decent human conduct. They represent what I believe we do not have enough of – selfless interest in the wellbeing of others and our community.

I not only respect Henry, Nicky, Hector, and the anonymous cashier, I look up to them as models…just everyday folks, except that they are also GOOD everyday folks. They work hard, care for their families and their community. None of them are rich – far from it. Two of them are immigrants, one from South Asia and one from Mexico; one of them is African American.

These are the great people that make Orange a great place to live.

Maybe the people who don’t like it here need to meet more great people like these folks, my heroes.

J. David Derosier consults with small business on planning and marketing issues, and provides web design and hosting services through OhainWEB.com, an accredited business with the Better Business Bureau that is rated A+ by BBB. He can be reached at JDAVID@Strategy-Planning.info

This article was first published in The Orange Leader in October 2015.

David Derosier consults with small business on planning and marketing issues, and provides web design and hosting services through OhainWEB.com, an accredited business with the Better Business Bureau that is rated A+ by BBB. He can be reached at JDAVID@Strategy-Planning.info.