Thursday, June 21, 2007

If Only There Had Been a Ferry

As far as using different transportation modes, yesterday was an adventure.
I drove my car to the park n' ride lot outside Atlanta, took the express bus to downtown, then the subway to the airport, where I used the moving walkway and the automatic shuttles (rubber tires on fixed guideways with no driver - what are they really called?) to get to the gate where I took a plane to Ohio. Then I drove back home to Georgia.

Count the modes:
(1) car
(2) bus
(3) heavy rail
(4) moving walkway
(5) rubber tire/light rail
(6) commercial air

The amazing thing is how easy it all was. I covered well over 1200 miles door to door in about 21 hours... Including a stop at the original Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) in (where else?) Kentucky. Total cost, for a one way Air Tran airline ticket, gas for the car, and food: Under $250.

The reason for the trip? To pick up a car I bought on Ebay.

We shouldn't take this for granted. I say, hooray for the internet technology that allows buyers and sellers to connect, and three cheers for a transportation network that allows buyers and sellers exchange goods quickly and cheaply.

I really don't know which netwrok is the greater marvel. May it's the two networks together. Such a deal might have been possible twenty years ago, but it would not have been as accessible, simple or cheap.

Regarding my title question: If there had been a ferry, I could have used all "modes" of transport.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Give Credit When Credit Is Due

A couple weeks back I went on a rant about Hyatt and their outrageous charges for computer use in the business center in downtown St. Louis. They responded and all turned out well.

I just saw something I liked at my stay at another Hyatt property. Walking past the breakfast area in the afternoon, I saw a class going on. A woman was standing in front of a flip chart going over names for days of the week and months. It was an English as Second Language class being run for the (mostly Spanish speaking) housekeeping staff. I later asked a staff member, in Spanish, about working there (it used to be an Amerisuites property - they converted late last year). She said they had tried ESL classes before, using some on the staff to teach it, but it didn't work out. This year the hotel hired a professional ESL instructor and it's going much better. I also found out that Hyatt (or maybe just this location) gives these employees who stay with the company over one year a $500 bonus if they're attending school - GED, local college.

This is good on several different levels - but let me clarify a few I like. I like a company that really invests in its employees. While almost all give that phrase lip service, hiring an ESL intructor for your housekeeping staff is real. I like the annual bonus. It may not be much, but it shows that the company values both education and longevity. By implication, an employee who stays with the company, learns to speak a second langauge, and gets some formal education is valued. Those are also the type of people who will advance in large organizations. Even though the big HR consultants tell us that loyalty and longevity is yesterday's corporate model, I wouldn't be surprised to see one of those young drivers or housekeepers managing her own hotel one day.

That's immigration at the ground level. People working hard, creating value, to make things better for themselves and their families. Sounds like the American dream to me.

Oh yeah. Hyatt doesn't suck.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

American Soldier Humor at Its Finest.

The description is "a known insurgent who threw grenades at iraqi police killed 3, and suspected of attacking the coalition is detained by the iraqi army, obviously distraught our translator tells us he begging to be in custody of the americans and not the iraqis."

The last line here is a ROFLOL classic, "I sucks to be you. You shouldna been a TERRORIST, duh!"
VDH Gets It Right Again...As Usual

Excellent line in Victor Davis Hanson's most recent thoughts on the war...
"if the sacrifice of American youth is not tied — daily, hourly — to larger strategic and humanitarian goals by eloquent statesmen who believe in the mission, then cynicism follows and, with it, despair."

This is where I've shown my disgust at the failure of our political leadership to lead our nation to victory.

Republicans and Democrats respectively have been unable to communicate or comprehend the importance of this struggle. Motives or reasons for the failure on either side are just as disgusting - but the ultimate result is the same. A failure of leadership.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Lessons in Leasdership.

Bubblehead has a great photo of some senior leaders briefing the crew...

The one above is the COMNAVSUBFOR Force Master Chief aboard USS Springfield (SSN 761)

He also posted about the CNO and MCPON on the mess decks of USS Pasadena (SSN 752).

I enjoy these too. The thing that interests me is the physical barrier they've put up between themselves and their audience. They're not "talking with the crew" these guys are standing behind their desks. Why do they need the protective barrier or big ol desk? Is it because they are defending a policy they really don't agree with? Is it because of some heightened sense of importance and ego? Are they just more comfortable that way?

Back to MCPONs and such... I remember a visit to the command by MCPON Hagan. The only thing I remember about it was that he never let a single Sailor complete a question from start to finish...My impression... you see the MCPON, has heard ALL the questions Sailors might have, and therefore has ALL the answers before they get the question out. It was quite disappointing to see that in our top Chief. Several years in the Fleet Reserve now, I hope this generation is better.

As far a why the CNO is figuratively poking a finger in the chest of some fleet Sailor... I would love to know what was going on there.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Let's Disqualify Some Candidates!

Like hiring someone for a job, (it is isn't it?), I've decided to focus on disqualifying people from a position before I decide which of those still standing might be the perfect selection.

While I've already got some ideas on the presidential campaigns... much more pressing is the Georgia 10th Congressional District vote on June 19th.

Jim Whitehead certainly seems to have a big machine going for him. I've gotten several mailings addressing the "issues." Second Amendment, Immigration, Veteran Issues - boy do they have me pegged. They think.

But something just doesn't feel right... he makes so much of being Charlie Norwood's chosen successor, it makes me think he's got the inside track. Everything is so slick, so contrived, so perfectly packaged.

I don't like that. I'm about fed up with the status quo on both sides of the aisle.

The clincher was this morning I got an email from the Brendan Belair on the Whitehead campaign - forwarding me an article slamming another Republican candidate.

Yep. That clinched it. A vote for Whitehead would be a vote for the status quo.

I miss Reagan.

Let's get some folks who aren't so slick... how bout a Libertarian?

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Intelligence Sources and Methods

I noticed something in the latest enemy videos... one from Azzam Al-Amriki, and another from BBC reporter Alan Johnston's captors. Take a look here (don't need to watch them, I haven't, just look at the screen shot):

Notice anything?

Plain black background.

The job of protecting innocents gets harder.
Georgia Senators Misguided in Support of Immigration Reform

I got an email from Senators Chambliss and Isackson this morning outlining their position on the Immigration reform bill. There is so much wrong with this it's hard to address it all. So I thought I would tackle just one paragraph. They wrote:

We are seeking to ensure that any reform ends the practice of "chain migration," where nearly two-thirds of green cards now are awarded to relatives of those who are already here. Green cards should be issued on a merit system that measures the contributions a potential green card holder would bring to the United States. We must have a better balance between the need for family connections and the critical economic needs of our country.

Here's my response...

I read the AJC commentary you forwarded this morning, and as a longtime conservative and a heretofore Republican voter, I must respectfully disagree with several of the positions you have taken in support of the Immigration bill. Let me address a couple of your positions that do not align with the values and principles that I, and many other conservatives hold dear.

First the proposed restrictions on "chain migration" are directly opposed to the conservative value of the strong, traditional family structure. When a new immigrant, whether already naturalized or only admitted for permanent residency, brings in family members, those family members provide both social and financial support to help the family succeed as they build their American dream. Think of the stories of entire families living in a small apartment over their business while they work for years to save and advance their position in society. These families don't stay "poor immigrants" forever. They grow their businesses and become productive new Americans.

Many a successful American family, including mine, can point back to that first family member who came, "got established" then brought over more family. My English ancestors did it in the 1600's, my Irish ancestors in the 1840's, German in the 1890's, and Italian in the 1910's. They had immigrant "communities" but those communities were built on families. This is a foundation that has served America well. How can we deny that opportunity for success to future generations of immigrants? We shouldn't. If we value the important role that family plays in making anyone successful, we cannot put new restrictions on legal immigrants' ability to bring in those family members closest to them.

Secondly, there should be no "merit system that measures the contributions a potential green card holder would bring to the United States." There should be no new restrictions that require special educational or professional qualifications to become an American. Imposing such a requirement goes against the American principle that America provides opportunity to all, regardless of background, who are willing to work hard to advance their situation. People come to America because of the opportunity here. Those who have the opportunity to get a good education or special qualifications in their native country are the ones who least need the ability to emigrate, to "find something better."

Such restrictions ignore the fact that almost every American is descended from someone who gave up everything familiar and close, to come here in search of something better. That is a huge act. It is a huge leap of faith in one's own abilities, a tolerance for risk, and the promise of a better future. The people who made that leap are different from the ones who stayed home. They became Americans. Not because they had qualifications, but because they were willing to risk it all for the promise that is America. How can we deny that promise to future generations?

We can't. We shouldn't. Do not support this bill. It violates core American values. Let "immigration reform" die the quick death it deserves.

Give the executive branch the resources it needs to enforce the existing laws. That is the only true conservative position.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Yuch. That Was Gross.

As does anyone with a website, I take a look at my sitemeter to see who is visiting, how they got here, and where they went, etc.

Because this is a blog, I get some random hits from search engines where certain words just happen to line up.

I made an entry the other day lamenting government criminalization of immoral but non-criminal acts and used teenage s*x as the example. (Without the star). Wow. Be careful putting those words together on the internet.

This morning I got a visit from an AOL user who had googled the term "s*x with foreign objects."