I'm a pretty conservative guy. I believe in free enterprise, self-sufficiency/personal responsibility, and I'm opposed to the current incarnation of labor unions (there was a time for them...but I suspect that time may have passed). In opposition to the standard "conservative" mantra, I also feel concern for the environment and I actually do have a problem with man's tendency to lay waste to his surroundings.
But "conservative" isn't really a popular thing to admit to being, these days. Between Algor scaring people into thinking the end of the work is nigh and the elitist anti-Bush contingent trying to convince everyone that there's no reason we should have ever gone to the middle east in the first place (nevermind the events of 9.11 - that was the Jews. Or the CIA. Take your pick of the nutty conspiracy theories).
So why am I rambling on about this? Patience, grasshopper...
Circuit City decided to can all their senior-level employees last week. Why? To save money. This is one of those situations that will have the liberal left up in arms, screaming for the need to unionize Circuit City's (and by association, every other retailer's) workforce to protect them from their cold, heartless employer. Not so fast, I say. Considering the arguments from both sides, I'd imagine they go a little like this:
Employee: You can't just replace me with some minimum-wage kids with no experience! I have years of accumulated knowledge that you'll be lost without! You'll see!!
Employer: Whatever. I can bring a part-time college kid in here with more AV/Electronics knowledge than you've accumulated in the 15 years you've been here. And they'll be familiar with the policies and procedures associated with the job in no time. Sucka!!
Or something along those lines.
Retail jobs (and other minimum-wage gigs) are not intended - in the world of the big corporation - to be long-term occupations with potential to support a family or eventually retire from. Management positions in retail, maybe, but not the grunt level workers that Circuit City just dispatched. I worked retail for a while in college (Mervyns and The Broadway). I was also let go from a company struggling in a tight market, so I can empathize, but I also understand the employer's motivation. A business's job is to make money, not promote the general welfare of the city in which it operates. Why is that so hard to understand?
There has also been a lot of talk in the media about global warming lately.
Okay, maybe not just lately, but the interesting facts coming out recently about global warming have been showing that the warming trend we're seeing isn't all man-made, it's actually a result of solar activity. I'm sure mankind has had some effect on the Earth's climate, but not quite the effect we've been led to believe by the likes of Al Gore.
That doesn't mean I'm pro-pollution. I'm all for hybrid cars, cleaner air, conservation and recycling. I can't afford a hybrid, but I don't drive a car that's especially polluting (both my cars are 4-cylinder compact sedans). I recycle (thanks to the city providing me with the big, blue can).
And I make every effort not to consume more than I have to (especially as regards disposable products - those are the worst). But I'm not losing any sleep over global warming. We'll either crash into the sun and be burnt to a crisp, or we won't. There's not much I can do, either way.
But...I have recently experienced Big Brother's idea of financial assistance for the first time and in doing so, have become one of the non-self-sufficient people I'm prone to rail against.
I'd like to say that it was an enlightening experience and restored my confidence in the system and reversed my opinions of government social programs...but I can't.
What I can say is that I've paid thousands of dollars into the Unemployment pool over the past ten years...and only managed to receive a fraction of that "investment" when I needed it. And also discovered that only complete non-effort is rewarded. I've yet to experience the other Big Brother sponsored welfare programs, but I suspect they are just as non-empowering. Make an effort only at the risk of losing your benefits. So why try when it's easier to do nothing? Thus the system fails the people it's supposed to help.
And speaking of failures and industries doomed to failure, I saw something interesting in this past Sunday's pile of advertising (a pile thinly disguised as the Sunday edition of the San Diego Tribune). It wasn't really "interesting" as much as it was sad, actually. For example:
"Her album means a lot to me. Nelly had fun making this album and that is what is most important to me."
Is he retarded?
This guy is supposed to be a creative force in the music industry? A leader in his field? I feel less and less sympathy for the recording industry every day when I see complete dolts like this represented as "authorities." Isn't it bad enough that he spells his name ebonically? Timbaland? Too dumb for words.
I'm in week 4 of my contract job. It's getting a little busier, but I'm still lost in undocumented database land...
I watched a couple of movies that I had never seen this weekend: Marie Antoinette and John Q.
Kristin Dunst still effortlessly pulls off characters much younger than she
is (Marie Antoinette was a young teen when she was married that gay French dude).
Even with her weird snaggle-teeth (watch how she hides them - she almost
never smiles with her teeth showing), she can be made-up to be pretty hot.
And even a movie that takes a loose interpretation of Historical events can be interesting. And educational. It actually inspired me to read up on events of the period (just online - I didn't actually read a book or do anything crazy like that). If the film hadn't been directed by a woman, I'll bet there would have even been some full frontal nudity. As it was, there were just lots of teasing glimpses.
I've wanted to see John Q ever since it came out (I'm a big Denzel
fan). But I just never got around to it. But when I saw The Manchurian
Candidate (I've got that one too, but I haven't seen it yet) as a video
selection on my Blockbuster new release list, I remembered and put it on the
Denzel's character is a weird dichotomy. On one hand, he's a lot like the
Circuit City employees who were let go (though his character does actually
have real job skills). He's an unappreciated, underpaid manual laborer who
seems to be on the way to being phased out of his job. And on the other
hand, he's an extremely self-sufficient, hard-working guy who doesn't abuse
the system or look for charity.
Having been uninsured (and living with a short-term, limited coverage policy
now), I can feel his pain. I don't know that it would lead me to do anything
as drastic as what he did, but it could.
I suspect that the intended message of this movie might have been something
along the lines of "the Man's always bringin' the black man down," but I
prefer to think of it as "fatherhood is more than a right. It's an absolute