Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Cost of Free Speech

Like most people, there are some topics I am more passionate about than others.

Discussions around the lunch table at work will cover politics, religion, golf, fishing, weather, marriage, kids and grand kids, and immediate news stories. Sounds a little familiar doesn't it?

I suppose that the list above could be a general list of topics at most any workplace, but what is it that makes an individual so driven as to the relentless discussion of 'their' thoughts and 'their' beliefs as the "only" right way for the general populace to adhere to?

The fact that the individual has pored over documentation and studied the writings and testaments of a few other 'like' thinkers would / could be a reason for their present day position.

Does it really make it right? Not if you choose to disagree.

Do you stand up for your beliefs and confront the issue of the minute...or do you just listen and realize that the situation is bigger than the both of you and basically there is nothing you can do about it.

I have just finished reading a book I received for my birthday and I realized that towards the end of the book, feelings I hold near and dear to me had surfaced once again. True stories will do that to me, especially when the subject matter is so 'in your face' with today's media.

How do you feel about the race that lives just below the surface of politics and the ultimate election day for the candidates? What race am I speaking of?

The media race to be first. The first news network to report the winner, no... make that, the projected winner of the selected political race.

Who actually cares if one network lists the winner before another network does? How many channels can you watch at one time during an election coverage? Can the outcome be changed by projecting blue or red states? Eventually the votes will be counted and the winner announced and sworn into office. Period.

The media can drive public opinion in any direction the network chooses to go.

The book I alluded to earlier was a testament to just that. The fear of the media back home would crucify the team members of their actions to protect themselves and the mission; IF they chose to eliminate the immediate threat of being discovered.

In the end, three members of the four man Navy SEAL team were killed in action due to their decision.

The option to not eliminate the threat of the Afghan goat herders that had stumbled onto their position, would lead to the largest loss of life in Navy SEAL history.

Simply stated, the rules of engagement set down by our politicians and the fear of what a media blitz would do to their military careers, the option cost American military lives.

In my humble opinion, the American people have forgotten the feelings we all felt on September 11, 2001. That Tuesday morning when the innocent killings of friends and family took place in front of us, changed our way of thinking for only a short time. All in the name of religious beliefs so very different than the beliefs this great nation was founded on.

We must not forget our history. We must support our military and let them do what they are trained to do. The rules of engagement today, shadows the history of engagement known to our veterans of Viet Nam.

Get the book. Read the book. Then let me hear from you.

"Lone Survivor" by Marcus Luttrell. It's a #1 National Bestseller.

It Is What It Is.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Don't pay the ransom...

Controlled chaos.

That's the best description I can give you with any clarity at all concerning the past month of my life.

So just in case you were putting together a ransom for my release, never mind, I have escaped. Save the money for future needs or give it to the Red Cross.

My neighbors are probably wondering just what the heck is going on with my schedule. Seems the powers that be have decided to put all of the maintenance personnel on a rotating 12-hour shift to assist our production folks with minimum down time. And the best way to do that is put everyone on shift.

I would like to go on record and say....I pretty much hate the night shift.

With a passion. Hate it.

Cannot sleep during the day. Sunlight equates with being up and around, doing things that require natural illumination that comes from the sun.

Sleeping ain't one of the things I do naturally during broad daylight.

The saving grace with the shift assignment is this. It's temporary since the business is soon to cease operations and become a parking lot for no one to use.

Bittersweet? In a way. I have now celebrated 20 years with the chemical industry giant and will move along down the road to the next assignment. Not sure exactly what it might be, I am leaving that selection to the process that supersedes all understanding.

I was blessed with the opportunity of a 2-week call through my local union hall referral system a little over twenty four years ago which developed into a permanent hiring situation that carried me to the celebration just last Friday. February 19, 2010. The Good Lord guided me down the path and had me where I needed to be to get the job then, and I reckon He can do it again. The least I can do is put it all in His hands again...cause I will just mess it up if I try and help.

Twenty four years I have been driving the 13 mile distance. From my driveway to the plant site. Seen lots of knuckleheads who drive way worse than others. Saw one guy reading his newspaper while driving one morning. He had the paper folded just right and laying on the steering wheel with the dome light just a shining away for him. Stayed in front of him for the duration of the trip.

Not sure when the last day will be for me and my little chemical plant. We haven't been told exactly other than the final day of production is slated for March 31st, this year. But there is still the task to clear up and de-energize the unit for demolition. No one currently working with us has ever...EVER been associated with an adventure like this, so the learning curve is just that, to be learned.

You may wonder what it is that we make out there behind the chain link fence...and then you might not care. I figure if you have read this far, there's a chance you probably are a little bit teensy weensy interested. Am I right?

You ever wore sneakers? That brand that has a 'swish' on the side? Our product went into the soles of those shoes. How about snowshoes? The bindings on your snowshoes is made from our special blend.

Spark plug wires on your car or truck...got the insulation mixed up with our stuff. Hoses and belts on your vehicles are blended with our little touch of magic. Roofing materials. That stuff that keeps your head dry when it rains, that's our stuff.

The tourist center at the Space Center near Houston, Texas...has a roof made from our product. It really is a pretty versatile combination of stuff...and it's only been around for about 52 years.

But the time has come for our company to 'exit' the business and cease operations. Putting about 80 some odd folks out of work. Actually, some of the people are a bit more 'odd' than others, but I won't go there just now. I still have to work with some of 'them'.

Like always, I thank you folks for stopping by. Would love to hear what you think about my rants and ravings, or even how you found this spot in the first place. Take care and may the Good Lord take a liking to you.