Tuesday, January 30, 2007
Last night I received a call from a man who was returning a call I made to his company in answer to classified ad for a position as a loan officer at his company. He asked me to send him an e-mail with my resume attached and a "letter of integrity" .
Now, never have I been asked for a letter of integrity and I confessed to him that I wasn't exactly sure what he meant by that term. He said all he wanted was a few short paragraphs explaining what the word, "Integrity" means to me.
I slept on it, not because I am desperate to be a loan officer, but because integrity is not as simple a concept as one may think. So, I slept on it and pondered what I would write. After some time, I at last sat down to write out my thoughts on integrity. The following is the entire content of my letter minus the sign off:
You asked me to write a few short paragraphs explaining what integrity means to me.
To begin with, Webster's Dictionary defines integrity as adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty.
While these definitions are indeed true, I think it is more than that. It is not a personal preference. It is instead a way of life, a world view. After all, what are morals? What is considered moral by one man may not be considered the same by another.
I do not believe that morals are transient. I believe they are set in stone. And I believe they were set in stone by the Creator of the Universe. Who are we to modify those rules to fit our own selfish world view?
I may be old fashioned in many ways, but my father taught me that our first moral obligation is to God, others, and yourself, in that order. I believe that. We are to behave in a way that is approved by God first and others second. After all, God is the ultimate moral authority, is He not? If we comport ourselves in that way, we must certainly be approved by ourselves.
Integrity in it's simplest form is embodied in what we call "The Golden Rule" . I paraphrase it thusly:
Treat other people the way that you would want to be treated yourself.
Attached is my resume per your request. If I decide to accept your offer of employment, you will be delighted with my performance.
Monday, January 29, 2007
OK. I am an economics moron, I admit. But I believe common sense is all that's necessary to determine whether raising the minimum raise in this country is a bad idea.
I know there have been many books published explaining the pro's and con's of minimum wage increases, and they have been written by economists with all kinds of college degrees and experiences in business and money management.
For me, trying to read and comprehend all those books and articles gives me a headache.
Interestingly enough, there seem to be as many economists against the minimum wage increases as there are for them.
It's all a matter of perspective, I suppose.
I am not an economist, and my math may be flawed, but here is some raw figures I have been working with to try to explain why I believe minimum wage causes inflation, and consequently, unemployment:
Working with round figures, let's say a small businessman makes and sells widgets at a cost of $1.00 a piece. At a 2.5% markup, the widgets sell for $1.02.5 a piece.
Consider that his 10 employees make a minimum wage of $5.00 an hour.
The manufacturer has to sell 10,000 widgets to make a measly $500.00 a week to meet his overhead expenses and feed his family, etc.
Now, suppose the government comes along and forces him to raise his employees salaries by $1.00 an hour. That's $400.00 a week more than he has been paying them. That leaves him with $100.00 a week to pay his overhead and feed his family.
That is if he doesn't raise the price on his widgets, of course. So, what will our fictitious manufacturer have to do to keep his family from starving?
Well, he has some choices:
1. He can sell about double the number of widgets than he did previously, but that is unlikely. If he could sell that many more he would have already been doing so.
2. He can raise the prices on his widgets, which could possibly cause some of his previous widget customers, (if not all) to look elsewhere for their widgets, or possibly just make them unaffordable to his lower wage customers, you know, the ones that have just had their wages raised so they can afford more.
If he loses customers, he will then have to raise the prices again to compensate for the loss in income, therefore making his widgets even more unaffordable than before.
3. He can lay off 1 worker and drop another employee to part time to lower his labor costs. That way he can avoid raising his prices but he will suffer a loss of production.
80% of his employees now make $40.00 a week more than they did, but one of them is now making nothing, and one of them is only making $120.00 a week.
Now more than 10% of his workforce has lost income!
Well, it looks like raising the minimum wage causes our widget manufacturer to raise prices and/or lay off employees!
That's inflation and higher unemployment.
Now multiply that scenario as many times as the number of small businesses there are in America and presto! We have inflation and unemployment problems!
I may not be an economist but I have common sense, and apparently the Democrats in the legislature don't. Or maybe they do but just don't care that minimum wage increases will hurt small business, and, consequently, the very people they claim they are helping.
The poor and middle class.
Sunday, January 28, 2007
Would someone who knows how to work this new blogger please explain to me how to restore the things I've lost? And, In the words of Denzel Washington in "Philadelphia", Explain it to me like I'm a two year old.
OK. Where did my stat counter go and how do I get it back? I don't care about the adsense. I wasn't making anything off that, anyway.
UPDATE: OK. It looks like I am starting to understand it. But I'm not holding my breath.
P.S: How does it look so far?
P.S.S: I still don't know how to get my stat counter back. Why doesn't blogger provide an e-mail address so I can contact them and have them explain this stuff to me?
Thursday, January 25, 2007
I just read an excerpt from Jim Webb's official Democratic response to President Bush's State of the Union speech on Marie's blog.
This paragraph jumped out at me:
"Not one step back from the war against international terrorism. Not a precipitous withdrawal that ignores the possibility of further chaos, but an immediate shift toward strong regionally based diplomacy, a policy that takes our soldiers off the streets of Iraq's cities and a formula that will in short order allow our combat forces to leave Iraq."
Well, at least he admits that it isn't a good idea to just cut and run.
But a "strong regionally based diplomacy"?
Is he mad? Are the Democrats mad? (by mad, I mean crazy) Have the Democrats lost all semblance of common sense?
How many times must the terrorists Muslim jihadists demonstrate that they cannot be negotiated with before that point is made? Does L.A. or New York or Washington DC have to disappear under a mushroom cloud for them to get the message?
You cannot talk these animals into stopping the killing.
In my little twisted brain, the following scenario is played out:
A group of Democratic lawmakers enter into a negotiation session with the leaders of al Queda, and after some intense discussion where both sides agree to give up some sanctions and tactics against each other, the Democrats rise from the table, shake hands with the terrorists, and turn their backs to leave, smiling in their satisfaction over a successful negotiation that will at last end the aggression in Iraq.
Before they can get out the door, however, the al Queda representatives suddenly fall on their guests and cut their heads off, videotaping the entire murder. Then, they turn and smile at the camera, and say, "Praise be it ever to Allah, the jihad is just beginning, and Allah has delivered the enemy into our hands. Furthermore, everything we have agreed to was a lie."
I challenge the Democrats to prove this scenario is not accurate. I suggest you send Teddy and San Fran Nan to begin with. And throw in Al Gore and Jimmy Carter just because they are the most annoying.
Diplomacy? Please. Give me a break.
UPDATE: Google has forced me to switch to the "new Blogger". I see little difference between this and the old blogger, except that I have had to remove comment moderation. Previously, comments have been re-directed to my e-mail address for me to make the decision to publish or reject before they get posted and, now when I hit "publish" I get an error message telling me the website I am trying to access does not exist. Therefore, I can no longer moderate comments until I can figure out how to contact Blogger to resolve this situation. In my opinion, Blogger has not become simpler, but more complicated. This is progress?
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
An excerpt from an AP story on San Fran Nan's first 100(25) hours as Speaker of the House:
"Pelosi, who is in her 10th House term, moved quickly to defuse the first potential controversy to beset her speakership: questions over whether the minimum wage bill gave preferential treatment to a company in her district. She instructed the bill's authors to make sure it did not."
She instructed the bill's authors to make sure it did not.
Oh. Then everything's alright now, isn't it?
God help us.
Monday, January 22, 2007
The following is an email exchange between Sgt Hess, stationed in Iraq and an internet company called Discount-Mats.com.
To Whom it may concern:
Do you ship to APO addresses? I'm in the 1st Cavalry Division stationed in Iraq and we are trying to order some mats but we are looking for who ships to APO first.
SGT Hess,We do not ship to APO addresses, and even if we did, we would NEVER ship to Iraq. If you were sensible, you and your troops would pull out of Iraq.
This correspondence took place on January 16. I checked Snopes.com and they have verified this to be true. Ah... yes... the libs showing their true colors.... "I support the troops, not their mission"--- Bullcrap! Liberals hate the military and hate what our men and women in uniform stand for! I'm so sick and tired of their pacifist butts.
For those dozen or so of you that read my blog, I urge you to please post something on your blog about this.... (let me know if you do) Not that I am in the market for a mat, but I want to make a point that Bargain Suppliers Discount Mats can take a stance... The good news is that the American Consumer can also take a stance...
One last thing... feel free to send a note to this company....
UPDATE: Discount Mats sight has been down for quite a while so feel free to give them a call or drop a note in the mail to them---
To reach them by phone, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. central time:
3259 S.106th Street
West Allis, WI 53227
"If you were sensible, you and your troops would pull out of Iraq." ??
Also. You may or may not have noticed I have made a slight change to my sidebar. I have deleted the previous lengthy disclaimer in favor of one shorter and more to the point. Check it out. (It's the text in green.)
Friday, January 19, 2007
One current controversy is the push in Congress for revival of the "Fairness Doctrine".
According to Answers.com:
"The doctrine that imposes affirmative responsibilities on a broadcaster to provide coverage of issues of public importance that is adequate and fairly reflects differing viewpoints. In fulfilling its fairness doctrine obligations, a broadcaster must provide free time for the presentation of opposing views if a paid sponsor is unavailable and must initiate programming on public issues if no one else seeks to do so."
I see no problem with this, and indeed, I see potential benefits for Conservative and religious broadcasters. For instance, a Conservative broadcaster such as Rush Limbaugh could interview a conservative pundit like Robert Novak or Bill O'Reilly or Ann Coulter and then, for the opposing view, put on some airhead like Cindy Sheehan or Al Franken for the counter point. He could even pull an average American war protestor off the street for his "balanced" interview.
Oh, what fun that would be!
On the other hand, Liberals could do the same. Wait a minute.
They already do that.
Think of the last time you saw a Liberally biased TV program or radio program do a point/counterpoint feature. They stack the left side with 2-4 Liberal commentators and, for "balance", stack the right side with uh...1 Conservative.
Now, that's balanced.
I noticed a perfect example of this yesterday while someone in my house was flipping channels on the TV, and lighted momentarily on ABC's Program, "The View". Four women, three of whom who were unabashed Liberal, and one Conservative.
This is what the Liberal media calls "Fair and Balanced".
As far as I can see, the lone Conservative on these panels usually has a more lucid, logical argument, anyway. The Liberals usually lose in my opinion. What happens is the Liberals end up insulting and/or shouting down the Conservative.
Liberal radio has been tried now, and it has been pretty much unsuccessful.
According to Wikipedia (usually Liberally biased itself):
"Air America was conceived as a for-profit operation in response to the perception held by many that conservative dominance of talk radio ... gave the Republicans an electoral advantage over the Democrats because it helped the Republicans turn out their political base...The growing belief that liberal groups were ineffective in getting their viewpoint across in the media was the reason the concept of creating a liberal talk radio network emerged."
Air America recently filed a chapter 11 bankruptcy in order to stay on the air while they straighten out problems with their creditors.
So now, The reason for this entry, a question:
Why has Liberal talk radio been unsuccessful? If you pay attention to the media, (the Newspapers, radio, and television), it seems obvious. There are more than enough Liberal Americans in America to support and fund them, aren't there? Why are they failing?
I have a theory. It may be whacked, but here it is, nevertheless:
The majority of Liberal leaning Americans care nothing for talk radio of any persuasion. They are not news junkies. They don't pay attention to the issues. They would rather listen to music.
This would account for the prevalence of Liberals in "Man-on-the-street" interviews who cannot answer simple questions like, "Who is the Vice President?", or "Who is the Secretary of State?"
This would also account for the apparent lack of lucid and logically thought out arguments for their stated strong positions on various divisible topics, like the stem cell research controversy, or abortion, or gay marriage.
Many Americans, who identify themselves as Liberal or Democrat, simply parrot Liberal talking points and bumper sticker phrases to make their points. It's as if they don't have an original thought in their heads.
This is not to say that many Liberals don't have reasonable well thought out arguments. Many do. But they are the ones, one would think, that would support Liberal talk radio.
So why don't they? Or do they? Are there not enough of them? Or are they just apathetic to the plight of Air America and the other Liberally biased broadcasting organizations?
It just seems to me that there are a lot more Conservatives that take the time and make the effort to familiarize themselves with the issues than Liberals.
Maybe I'm wrong, and if I am, I'm sure that the Liberals who frequent my blog will set me straight. Perhaps they can even offer a plausible explanation as to why Liberals feel the compulsion to introduce legislation in Congress to save Air America.
Tuesday, January 16, 2007
I found this in my e-mail this morning. It's too funny to not share:
A man walked into a very high-tech restaurant in a fancy hotel.
As he waited to be seated, he noticed that the maitre d' was a robot.
The robot clicked to attention and said,
"Sir, there is a one hour wait. I am programmed to converse with you until
a table is ready, if you please."
Intrigued, the man said, "OK."
The robot clicked a couple more times and then asked,
"Sir, what is your IQ?"
The man answered,
"Oh, about 164."
The robot then proceeded to discuss the theory of relativity, interstellar
space travel, the latest medical breakthroughs, etc. The man was most
impressed. The next day he returned, but thought he would try a different
The robot again asked,
"What is your IQ, sir?"
This time the man answered,
"Oh, about 100".
So the robot started discussing NASCAR racing, the latest basketball
scores, and what to expect the Red Sox to do this weekend.
The guy had to try it one more time. So the next day he returned.
Again the robot asked the question,
"What is your IQ?"
This time the man drawled out,
" Uh.....'bout 50."
The robot clicked, then leaned close and very slowly asked,
"Are - your - people - going - to - nominate - Hillary?"
Sunday, January 14, 2007
Oh, this is a good one. Scientists are going to move the hands of the "Doomsday clock" a little closer to midnight this week.
I don't know what I can say about this. Maybe I don't have to say anything. It speaks lunacy for itself. Here's a news flash for those erstwhile scientists:
The world is going to end someday. But the only One who knows when, is God.
Lunacy is demonstrated in the fact that the scientists started the clock at seven minutes till midnight in 1947, and have changed it 17 times since then, and it is now at seven minutes till midnight.
That's right. It's back where it started.
Here's another news flash for the scientists:
Time doesn't run backwards.
I don't know what's more ridiculous. The arrogance of these scientists, who presume to know more than God, or the fact that anyone would give them any credibility.
Thursday, January 11, 2007
When I moved here, I had to enroll my son in school. We live in an area that is mostly white, but there are many black students in his school, and a few Hispanic and other minority students.
When we filled out the paperwork for his school we also received a packet of papers describing the school, it's district, and the various programs the school offered. Included in this packet was a form to fill out, if we considered ourselves qualified, for reduced price or free meals for the student.
This is not unusual, in fact, I have never seen a school that didn't offer this program, and I think it is a very good program for underprivileged students.
What made this particular form jump out at me is this:
It was printed completely in Spanish.
All of it. Not part of it. All of it. It wasn't printed in English with Spanish subtitles, or printed in Spanish with English subtitles. It was all Spanish.
I'm not kidding. I know just enough Spanish to recognise what the document was. I wondered, breifly, if there were any parents who received the same form that didn't understand a word of it. Then I realized it was probably included in our packet by mistake.
Actually, I am more amused than outraged at this political correctness gone overboard. It was, after all, just an administrative mistake. I take it for what it is.
But doesn't it say something about our new all-inclusive society nonetheless?
Lately I have been decrying Government overkill and political correctness run amok. The efforts to make the playing field equal in this country have swung too far the other direction.
I think the only way to defeat discrimination is to let people sort out their problems on their own, through ordinary interaction with people of all races, and get the Government out of it. All the Government does is make things worse.
Remember how the Irish were treated in the 19th century in this country? They were discriminated against, and the Government did nothing to alleviate their situation. Yet somehow, the Irish are now accepted as typical white Americans. How did we learn to accept them without Government intervention?
We did it by using good old American common sense.
Perhaps we should try that approach again.
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
I wrote an incredibly lengthy post today on why I don't like consultants but, after re-reading it, I decided it was a little too long so I am just going to say I don't like consultants.
Consultants once decided that I was not qualified to do a job that I had been tremendously successful at for over 13 years at another company, and suggested the company hire me in a completely different type of position, one at which I had virtually no experience and was completely incapable of performing. Eventually, I had to leave. It was the first time I ever voluntarily left a job because I was incompetent. It was humiliating.
Incidentally, one of that company's best employees was a woman who had worked for me at the other company. She was one of their best because I trained her.
But consultants said I didn't have the right personality traits for that particular position.
I didn't fit.
Later, I was re-hired at a position I had done previously at a certain company but at a substantially lower starting wage than before. Why lower? Because in my absence, the company had hired consultants to help hem produce more profits.
More profits at the expense of their employees.
I suppose consultants have done wonderful things for many companies, but according to my personal experience, they are more a hindrance than a benefit.
Monday, January 08, 2007
I was reading over a couple of posts and the comments on them from a leftie blog this morning and I was struck by the amount of accusations that indicate Conservatives and Liberals are defined by how they view the monetary assets or lack of them in people.
One of the most important factors, although not all of the most important factors, in determining ones political ideology kept popping up in the form of how we all view the wealthy and the poor and how we all propose to solve the problems caused by the gulf between the two.
Here are the two differences as I perceive them:
Conservatives stress personal responsibility to solve the problem of poverty, and Liberals stress the importance of the Governments responsibility to solve it.
On top of this is how the two ideologies attack one another for supporting one class over the other.
Wealthy people are demonized by the left because, apparently, they have money. They are seen as greedy and selfish, with a blatant disregard for poor people. Charity, if the Liberal commenters are to be believed, is not one of the wealthy class's qualities. They are like the ruling castes in India who consider it Godly to let the poor die in their poverty because that is their Karma. Supposedly, they will never think of helping a poor person to overcome their plight, ostensibly because if they did, the poor might well rise above them and crush them in some shrewd hostile takeover or something.
That seems to generally be how the wealthy are perceived by the Liberal ideology as far as I can see.
On the other hand, Poor people are generally seen by Conservatives, as lazy, ambitionless people with no desire to rise above their situation and an overwhelming need to lean wholly on the Government for their sustenance. They are to be detested, as they obviously don't want to take responsibility for themselves. They want the taxpayers to take care of them without expectation of paying anyone back.
That is the perception I get from reading what Conservatives often say.
As my father used to say, "All generalities are false, including the statement that all generalities are false."
I'll let the Philosophers try to figure that one out.
The fact is neither ideology is absolutely correct or absolutely wrong. There are those extreme examples in both the wealthy and the poor.
I am not wealthy, and never have been. Yet I don't expect the Government to take care of me. I don't want it to. I want to take responsibility for myself. I expect no hand outs nor would I accept them if they are offered. At least not without the expectation from my benefactors that I will eventually pay them back.
I will not bend this stubborn pride of mine to accept such a kindness. But that's me. And there are many just like myself that would find it demeaning to accept government help.
I know there are many people living below the poverty line that place no such restrictions on themselves and will accept, gladly, whatever handouts that are offered to them, even to the point of taking advantage of such kindness by cheating and lying to procure them.
These people are known as welfare cheats and they are legion. But not all poor people are welfare cheats.
Many poor people are Liberals but some are Conservatives.
On the other hand, I have known wealthy people who are exactly what the Liberals seem to believe are the rule, rather than the exception. They are greedy. They are selfish. They care nothing about the poor. They have the attitude that all a poor person has to do to alleviate his situation is "get a job".
Poor people often resent the success of wealthy people regardless of whether the wealthy person in question is a good person or not. That is a classic example of class envy.
Somehow, because one is wealthy, they are evil.
That is, of course, not true. There are many evil wealthy people, but there are many evil poor people as well. Some are Liberals.
Additionally, I have known many wealthy people in my lifetime that are generous and kind, and (blanch) Conservative.
All generalities concerning wealth and poverty are false.
Incidentally, the perception among many wealthy people that all a poor person has to do is to get a job is not because they are evil, or greedy, or selfish. It is because they have truly never been poor, and so, have no frame of reference. No matter how much personal contact they have with poor people, the solution is usually that simplistic to one who was never in that situation, or have and forgotten where they come from.
The fact is, they simply don't understand.
Just as I cannot understand how people like Bill Gates and other multi-billionaires never seem to be contented with their vast fortunes. They just continue to make deals and do more research and hire consultants so they can become richer and richer past all understanding.
I don't get it. I keep telling myself that if they were me, I'd stop gaining riches and any accidental increase in my earning more than I need would cheerfully be donated to the poor.
If the shoe was on the other foot, I'd likely think differently. Maybe. I don't know.
I think if we are honest with ourselves, Liberal and Conservative, we will have to concede that there are no absolutes, and not everyone fits into the stereotypical perceptions that define our singular ideologies.
Friday, January 05, 2007
After three months of only working on this house, it has now come time for me to get a real paying job. Here are some of the reasons I agreed to quit my previous job and move here in the first place:
1. A report came out stating that Fredericksburg currently has the best job market in the country. I figured if that is true, I shouldn't have any trouble getting a new position.
2. I had already had an interview with a company that a close friend of my fiancee works with and I had an inside track to getting the job. (I couldn't take the time off to schedule a second interview, and the window closed.)
3. I had to move here in order to be available to start work in this area. It is way to far to try to commute.
So, just before the end of the year, I began getting out and actively searching for work. I have found several positions listed in the newspaper for jobs in which I have vast experience and of which I have demonstrated immense capabilities. Of these jobs, I was interviewed once.
These aren't just entry level positions. They are opportunities that are right up my alley. There is little likelihood that there are very many people in this area who have the experience and ability that I have in performing these tasks. After all, I have received national awards for my job performance in these exact types of positions.
And yet, I have only been interviewed once, and was not called back for a second interview.
It is vexing, to say the least.
What is the reason for this lack of success in procuring a permanent position?
I am being discriminated against.
This fact became painfully obvious by the time I reached the level of my first and only interview. As I sat in the receptionists office waiting to see the Human Resources Recruiter, I had the opportunity to observe the people who worked there already.
They were predominately young, black women. The ratio was something like 50-1 women to men, 90-1 black, and I only saw two people there who were middle age, and both of them were white, one male and one female. The impression I got was that these two are long time employees of that company.
I sincerely hope they keep their jobs because all indications are they will have a difficult time finding another, if my latest job hunting experience is any indication.
Middle aged white males are apparently not a demographic politically correct enough to be hired in today's job market.
Don't get me wrong. I am not a racist. I believe the people working at that company are well qualified to do the job. I am happy to see racial equality has finally begun to be accepted, even here in the south.
I know the Liberals have pressured America's employers over the last decade or so to institute racial and gender quotas when hiring, but it appears they have gone way overboard.
Apparently, some people are now more equal than others. This unfortunately, was also true in pre-Civil Rights act America, only now the pendulum has swung the other direction.
Incidentally, this isn't an isolated situation, and it isn't just starting. Several years ago, my daughter and I applied for a position at a company on the same day. I had over 13 years experience at the position, and she had none. I aced the simple little skills assessment test and as I sat and waited for my time to be interviewed, I watched the employees of that company walk by as they went in and out of the building.
Not one person over 30.
By the way, my daughter got the job. Me? I didn't even get an interview. Tell me I am imagining age discrimination.
It isn't reverse discrimination. Let's call it what it is.
Reverse discrimination, by definition, implies that no discrimination exists at all.
Could I sue? I could try, but it would be laughed out of court. After all, companies are smart enough to know they can't give age, color, or gender as a reason for not hiring someone. They will say they have no openings at this time, or that there were other candidates that were better qualified. No specific explanations and indeed, they are not required to give a valid reason at all.
Unless, of course, if I was black, and demanded they show proof I wasn't discriminated against because of my skin color.
If I never understood the plight of poor, uneducated blacks before the Civil Rights act of 1964, I certainly do now, because I am experiencing the same attitudes now.
Tuesday, January 02, 2007
We have a new addition to our little family here in Fredericksburg.
Meet Susie, an eight week old Pug Puppy.
That's my son who you can see behind her. He took the picture himself with a brand new digital camera which allowed him to take approximately 10 pictures and then promptly just stopped working. We still haven't figured out why it won't work anymore. We have the appropriate memory card and rechargable batteries and everything, so the mystery of why it won't work anymore escapes us.
So, we took the rest of our Christmas Pictures with the old reliable disposable cameras from Walmart and put them on CD for uploading.
By the way, The quote at the beginning came from the introduction of one of Kurt Vonnegut's books, I don't remember which one. The context is that his brother wrote Kurt a letter telling him about the birth of his first child. He was explaining what kinds of changes he and his wife had to go through since the arrival.
Vonnegut said that, along with his sister's last words as she lay dying from cancer, "No pain", were the themes of every one of his novels.
I thought it was appropriate considering what we are going through housebreaking this pup.