Monday, August 31, 2009

The Right to Work

I am currently reading Barry Goldwater's The Conscience of a Conservative and there is a chapter that got me thinking. The chapter discusses labor and unions.

Maryland, as you may know, is not a right-to-work state. It's a Right-to-Join-the-Union-Or-Take-A-Hike state. That means that if there is a union that represents the employees of that company, you MUST join that union in order to work for the company. You cannot refuse to join the union. Joining the union is a condition of employment.

In right-to-work states, such as those in the South, you are not required to join the union in order to be hired by the company. Have you ever wondered why nearly every new manufacturing facility that has been built in the last 20 years has NOT been built in Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, or Maryland? It sounds fairly simple to me.

The one thing, however, that really makes me anti-union is their abuse of power over their forced members. Unions routinely persuade their members to vote Democratic and donate millions of dollars yearly to the Democratic candidate of their liking - usually the ones that promise to push for higher wages for union members and life harder for the companies that hire their members. Stick it to the company, right?

However, if you are a Libertarian or a Republican you have no say in how your union dues are spent. I belonged to the Teamsters when I was employed by the Price Club back in college. My dues over a 3 month time period were $400. Read - four hundred dollars!!! For a summer job!!! And I KNOW that a portion of that money was used as donations toward Democrats, spending which I would object.

I am not anti-union in the respect that I think they ought to go away. To the contrary. I think that unions keep companies in check. You'll remember from 5th grade history that the unions were created to stop wide-spread abuse of employees during the Industrial Revolution. And unions continue to keep these companies in check. And the unions can represent an employee in a grievance situation.

But let's be realistic. Today's unions are their for self-serving purposes. Making a few at the top very rich. They are not really there to represent the collective bargaining power of the masses to make life easier for them. So in that respect, Barry Goldwater's book is relevant today as it was in 1960. Check it out.

Friday, August 28, 2009

A Fool and His Money

You know the expression A fool and his money are soon parted? Well in the case of Maryland State Delegate Jon Cardin, a fool and only a little tiny bit of his money are soon parted.

Delegate Cardin made the news a couple of weeks ago when he somehow finagled a deal with Baltimore City Police to conduct a marriage proposal prank. Cardin and his girlfriend were staying on a friend's boat somewhere in the Inner Harbor. The police would then come aboard and demand a search of the boat while the Foxtrot helicopter circled above. This would give the impression that they were searching for drugs or something of that nature. The police then find the ring, all the while keeping his girlfriend thinking that they are in trouble. Then Jon would get down on his knee and propose.

The good news is that she said yes. The bad news is that she is marrying a politician who abused the power of his elected position for special privileges.

Once the incident was exposed he issued a half-hearted apology. Once the half-hearted apology was exposed, he issued a real apology and said that he used bad judgment and would reimburse the city for the costs of the operation. Baltimore City Police Commissioner Fred Bealefeld then determined that the total cost was $300 (or more likely some out-of-college intern calculated it and he supports it).

$300. Bad judgment? Is this insulting or what? How stupid does the city think everyone is? And if it weren't for his last name, Cardin would not be getting off so easy. His uncle is U.S. Senator Ben Cardin, one of the Maryland Senators that favors Obama's socialized healthcare plan. If his last name was Eludius he probably would have been arrested.

So when are a fool and his money not parted? When you're a Cardin.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Weekend Adventures

On Saturday God wrath upon Eldersburg rains rivaling the flood of Genesis. I noticed that my gutters were overflowing with water, splashing upon the garden sending mud and mulch everywhere. Not having but one small tree near my house, I figured it was not leaves that were damming my pipes, but mud.

On Sunday morning my son and I went to Home Depot and picked up another 10 feet of black plastic ribbed pipe. I decided that I was going to extend the drain farther away from the house and into the yard. Currently the pipe emptied into a buried gravel pit.

My son and I started digging and boy was it muddy. We dug a trench veering away from the house to a downward sloping area. We then pulled up the existing pipe, connected it to the new pipe and gently laid it's flaccid body in the trench. We covered the pipe with dirt and the carefully removed sod. Finally - we were done.

To test our new work I took the hose and aimed it upon the roof above the garage. I had my son go to the end of the new pipe and asked him to let me know when the water began to flow out. We waited. And waited. Nothing. It was like waiting for the Democrats to produce a fiscally responsible bill - felt like it was never going to happen! Then suddenly the water began to pour over the sides of the gutter again. Obviously something else was blocking the pipe!

I finally paused our effort and got out the 8 ft step ladder. Being only 3 ft tall myself, I couldn't
see into the gutter, but on my tippy-toes with my platform shoes I could feel into it. Finally inching my way to the down-pipe I felt a baseball-sized sponge-ball blocking the pipe. You have to be kidding me! All of that work in the mud and the problem the whole time was a sponge-ball???

I tried to remove the ball, but it held tight. Finally suction got the best of it and down it went into the pipe. The roaring of the once-backed-up water filled the aluminum pipe and gravity took it to its next destination. The water shot out of the other end with determined force. My son was in heaven - a new mud puddle!

After a quick shower I decided it was time for the next project - paint the railing on the porch. I have been putting this one off for a while. I haven't entirely been putting this off intentionally. I coach soccer 4 days per week and it seems to rain every Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

Sunday graced us with sunshine and like a fraternity brother finding a drunk naked girl in his bed I figured I better take advantage of this opportunity. I quickly scrubbed the blackberry bird poop from the top rail and taped off the bottom. I spread an old cloth under the railing, and got out the semi-gloss exterior latex paint.

With about 400,000 balusters it was taking forever to paint. I finally made my way around the front to the side. At some point a leaf or something like that landed in my hair. A quick swipe at it resulted in excruciating pain. Then another above my eye. I think I was being bitten.

I screamed like a little girl, threw the paint brush up into the air an ran into the house. I then realized in the 0.2 seconds that had just transpired that I was being attacked by a hornet. Peeking out the window like a shy ugly girl I noticed that my neighbors across the street were looking at me with disbelief. I slowing opened the door and with interpretation hollered out - I just got attacked by a hornet. "Sure you did" came the response.

My head pounded. It felt like I had a couple of 10 penny nails tapped into my skull. I called my wife and told her that I was bitten by a hornet several times and that I think it was starting to swell. She said she'd be right home. She was at a friend's house in our neighborhood. I hadn't put the phone down 10 seconds and the front door burst open to reveal my panting hot wife in a panic thinking I was passed out on the floor.

"What's wrong with you?" I asked. Now, I tend to be slightly dramatic. Sometimes. So it's difficult to tell when I really need help. But I thought I had clearly told her that I was bitten but I thought I as okay. Seriously - if I was allergic, wouldn't I be dead already?

Some time passed and I decided it was probably safe to return outside. I wasn't painting for 5 minutes when that little uckfer landed on my hand and bit me again! Screaming like a little girl again and lifted my skirt and hustled back inside. I was done painting.

In the evening I went outside with flashlight in mouth, a broom in one hand, and the 32 ounce bottle of jet-spray wasp and hornet killer in the other. I tapped open the cable box where I suspected the nest resided and it revealed their small home (smaller than a fist) and several hornets. I quickly bathed them in the Raid, then after taking a small break bathed them again. Take that you little uckfers!!!

I may not have wings or stingers, but I have a brain and a charge card. A hornet will never be able to overcome those obstacles in life. And so went my weekend.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Obama and Hitler

The Townhall meetings across America are not turning out to be as successful as the Democrats had expected. I think Pelosi, Hoyer, Cardin and all of their conniving cohorts had hoped that they could rally the country to support socialize medicine, but instead are running into a thick wall of resistance. Do the people of the American really not want the government dictating their medical treatments? Do Americans think a bloated government bureaucracy will not be able to effectively manage the healthcare system? But the townhall meetings continue.

Splashing itself all across the news today is a story of a shouting match between Barney Fwank, the liberal extremist Democrat from Massachusetts, and a female protester comparing Obama to Hitler. The dialog goes like this:

"Why are you supporting this Nazi policy?"

Frank responds: "On what planet do you spend most of your time?" He then calls her approach "vile, contemptible nonsense." He closes by saying: "Trying to have a conversation with you would be like arguing with a dining room table."

And the liberal media has been quick to jump on this story as anecdotal evidence proving the lunacy of the conservatives and their irrational fear of government intervention in the private healthcare industry. These conservatives are so crazy that they are comparing Obama to Hitler.

How can you rationally argue with someone when they are comparing you and your proposal to Hitler? Hmmm….this sounds familiar.

Is it because….the media is a bunch of hypocrites?

Friday, August 07, 2009

O'Malley Supports Red Line Plan to Destroy Canton

This is days late, but stupid work and stupid soccer practices kept me away.

Martin O'Malley pimped himself for a photo-op to announce his support for the Red Line light-rail proposal this week. Expecting a jubilant and supportive audience, he was greeted with jeers and shouts from the people that will be directly affected by the proposal.

Rather than running another subway line through Baltimore and under Canton, O'Malley's plan is to bore a crater into Boston Street that will be the entrance\exit hole for the rail line. Additionally, Boston Street will be reduced from a scenic thoroughfare into the city into a 2-lane side-street barricaded on one side by the rail line.

O'Malley demanded that this be done as soon as possible in order get federal funding. This is the best way to move Baltimore forward. Forward of what? The Baltimore Sun gleefully printed his letter to the editor where he supported his rhetoric with more elegant rhetoric.

Outspoken residents vehemently cried that the rail line will destroy what makes Canton popular - it's quick access to the water. I equate O'Malley's plan to divide Canton in half to New York City's Shore Parkway which deprives Brooklyn's residents access to New York harbor. "Screw you" is the common sentimentality declared from Annapolis and Baltimore's City Hall. You can see it from the road, but no one that lives there can get to it. O'Malley continues to show a disinterest in the opinions and views of the people he supposedly represents.

One resident stated that the light rail line will also devalue their property values. O'Malley arrogantly dismissed this claim with the statement that having the loud clanging of a light rail train running through their front yard and cutting access to the water will actually increase their property values. He supported this statement by saying that his studies have proven this. Let's see that data, Mr. Leprechaun.

One of my friends pointed out that he is probably trying to use the DC Metro as an example. This is flawed logic on O'Malley's part because the DC Metro is an integrated metro system that can connect you all over the city. The Baltimore rail system will do nothing of the sort.

During this same rally, amidst the boos, Congressman Cummings was obviously frustrated with people using their free speech and protesting the plan. He angrily demanded that they accept it because if they don't it won't get done. Uh…….

Meanwhile, Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon, who's again under federal indictment, stood silently to the side with that confused look on her face. I suspect the MoM crew told her to keep it quiet.

The best hope at this point for the residents of the Edmonson Avenue corridor and Canton is the rejection of federal funding for the project. This plan is inconsiderate to the concerns of the residents of the communities that are affected for the sake of saving some money.

Elected officials in Baltimore and Maryland are forgetting that they are trying to recruit the middle-class white people back into the city to increase the tax base. Introducing a barrier to the biggest selling point of Canton (the access to the waterfront) will destroy the draw and return Canton to the poverty-ridden ghetto that it was until the late 1980's.

Transportation projects should be considered for the long-term, but O'Malley continues to think in the short-term. Despite its catastrophic flaws, if the Red Line project is approved, O'Malley will use it as another bullet point on his resume to higher office. God help us.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Monkey Cookies

Yesterday my (almost) 2 yr old was begging me for something to eat because we never feed her. So I pulled out the bag of animal crackers and asked her if she wanted that. Of course she said, "No!"

So I put the bag back in the pantry, pulled it out again and in a happier and excited tone of voice said, "How about one of these monkey cookies?!!!"

"Monkey cookie?" she asks curiously.

"Yes! You want a monkey cookie?"

"Mommy! I ga' a monkey cookie!"

National Night Out

If you don't already know - August 4th is National Night Out. In Eldersburg, festivities will be held in back parking lot of the derelict Carrolltown Mall. Get there early because half of the parking lot lights are burned out, so when it gets dark, you won't be able to see anything.

The event will be jam-packed with exciting activities like the self-defense demonstrations near the walls of graffiti of the abandoned stores, emergency preparedness lessons by the Lions Club near the abandoned storage trailer by the theater, and an exciting moon bounce on the cracked and crumbling asphalt near the dead trees that line the parking lot.

And to help with deal with massive parking problems that the mall deals with on a daily basis, CATS, the Carroll Area Transit System, will be providing free transportation to the event. Additionally, overflow parking will be available at Faith Lutheran Church.

Local politicians also plan on attending the event to drum up support for the upcoming campaigns.

This will also be a prime opportunity for Carrolltown Mall owner, Black Oak Associates, to showcase their property: Carrolltown Mall - the diamond in their crown. I recommend they have a representative on site, such as president Dixon Harvey, to discuss the advantages of Carrolltown Mall over other ghetto malls such as the ones in Randallstown and Woodlawn.

Harvey could explain why spending money to keep up the appearance of the mall is a fruitless effort and why it makes more sense to let the mall decay to the point where it just collapses. He could explain why his mall is geared to residents not of Eldersburg, but to those of western Baltimore County. Harvey can gleefully detail the benefits of dead trees abutting our community and the opportunities he's providing to suburban gangsters to showcase their graffiti skills and territorial markings.

The event is free, but because of the thousands of people expected to attend, I recommend that you camp out tonight so that you can be guaranteed entrance to the event.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Book Review - Blink

When my friend Kim said that she owned The Jungle, I asked to borrow it. She showed up at my desk with The Jungle, Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim and Blink, the Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell.

Blink is sort of one of those self-help books, though it doesn't tell you what you need to do, just what you need to know. I tend to avoid self-help books at all costs. Usually they are common sense and second, reading them indicates that you are not perfect and I confidently know that I am perfect.

Blink begins with a powerful story where someone had a hunch, but didn't trust that hunch. In fact, this person ended up participating in a big ruse, only to learn several years later that the hunch was right. It was a big embarrassment.

The book is filled with interesting and powerful stories that demonstrate how your initial thought, that split-second first impression, is often correct. This throws the old cliche' of 'don't judge a book by its cover' right out the window. There are many times in your life where it pays to trust that gut instinct. Gladwell backs up his theories with many psychological studies and some medical facts.

My gut instinct when I first started reading this book was that it was mostly common sense. And after reading this book, I'm trusting that split-second thought, that decision that is made as quick as a blink. Yes, this book is mostly common sense. However, it is an interesting book and it only took me 5 days to read it, which for me is really quick.

I recommend this book, if not for the self-help aspect of it, for the pure entertainment value of it. The stories are interesting and I'm sure you will agree.
Who links to my website?
Add to Technorati Favorites Add to Technorati Favorites Add to Technorati Favorites