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Sun, 06 Mar 2005

The Great Reawakening!

What a marvelous weekend it has been so far!  I have a huge (6 foot tall and about 10 feet in diameter) pile of wood, weeds and other flammable junk in the garden ready for the opening weekend of burn season.  At the end of this week I'll till up all the surrounding ground to make sure the weeds that are trying to get a head start on me don't stand a chance.  I also closed up a gap in the fence that the neighborhood kids have been using for a short-cut through my yard in preparation for my putting in a hedge along the back fence.

This entry authored by Tyran at 09:21

Mon, 07 Mar 2005

Sour Power

Just a quick gripe.  The local employees' association is now publishing a newsletter of sorts...more like a gossip sheet but whatever.  I'll have been working here at Consolidated Substances Inc (heh...CSI) for nine years in May, I would think that in that time my name would have managed to have been spelled correctly in a number of places.  Granted, my name has been misspelled on my time sheet (it took a very long time to get that one fixed), on my phone bill (I've given up trying to fix that one) and now in the lovely gabby goose's gossip page.  That means that either personnel has my name spelled wrong or the person typing the newsletter just can't be bothered with checking the spelling.  I'm betting on the second as during the great time sheet fiasco, I had my name double checked in all the personnel files.

The odd thing is that normally people butcher my first name:  Tyson, Tryan, Tyrone, Tyron and even Tyrell (I've yet to figure that one out) but I've only had my last name slaughtered here.  It's O R M O N D not O R M A N D (although there are a number of Ormands who are also related, one way or another, to the Ormond line).  Spell (and even pronounce) diamond, now change the dia for an or and VIOLA! it's Ormond.

This entry authored by Tyran at 15:31

Thu, 10 Mar 2005

Security or Freedom?

The man who trades freedom for security does not deserve nor will he ever receive either.

Benjamin Franklin

I've heard a number of news reports about people on the FBI's terrorist watch-list being able to buy guns legally here in the United States.  Now there is at least one member of Congress that wants to pass legislation that would prevent this.  To some this seems a very reasonable thing to do.  After all, if the FBI believes that a person is a terrorist, then that person must be a terrorist right?  There are an estimated 500,000 names on the watch-list but no one (outside the FBI) has any way of knowing whether they are on the list because it is kept secret.  Most people on the list will never be brought to trial, even if they live in the United States, because this is simply a list of people that the FBI is watching to see if they do engage in any support of or actual terrorist activity.  It's a guarantee that a number of people on the list should not be because they are not terrorists nor are they terrorist supporters but they are there simply because they meet the watch-list profile.  That's tolerable in my book simply because the FBI is just watching these people but names on the watch-list are making their way onto other lists and those lists do force punitive action against individuals.  It is not tolerable that in the United States the rights of individuals are being curtailed without due process.

Every person on the watch list is already denied the right to board a commercial airliner and if your name happens to be the same as someone on the list, even if it really isn't you, you will, at the least, be stopped and may even be prevented from flying.  Don't believe it?

For example, an interagency e-mail dated January 2003 inquires about the status of a man frequently flagged at airports "because his name is identical to someone on the no-fly list."

CNN

The federal government's "no-fly" list had 16 names on it on Sept. 11, 2001. Today, it has more than 20,000.

More than 2,000 people have complained to the Transportation Security Administration. Airlines, at one point, were calling the agency at least 30 times a day to say that they had stopped a passenger whose name was similar to one on the list but after further investigation was determined not to be a terror suspect, according to a TSA memo.

"While a few carriers keep track of 'false positives' the majority do not," wrote Chad Wolf, now TSA's number-two policy official, in a December 2002 e-mail to agency legislative affairs official Cori Sieger. "Consequently, TSA does not have the ability to record this data nor is there a pressing need to do so."

Washington Post

"Nor is there a pressing need" to track the number of false positives?  I was appalled when I read that.  What happened to the common law, which dates back to the Roman Empire and likely beyond that, principle that one is innocent until proven guilty?  What happened to the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution?  No person shall be . . . deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.  I would rank being denied the ability to travel via airline a deprivation of liberty.  Now some are proposing that we continue to take away another individual right based solely on a secret list that exists outside the realm of due process?

Again, some people are distressed that someone on the terrorist watch list has legally purchase a gun.  Why?  The people in question did it legally.  There is no proof that they've broken any laws.  If there is proof, then why aren't these individuals on trial for whatever crime they stand accused of committing?  All people within the jurisdiction of the United States of America are privilege to all the rights and freedoms of the Constitution (excepting those granted solely to citizens) until such time that they are proven by due to process of law to be guilty of a crime.  That sacrosanct tenet of US law and tradition is being eroded more and more.  Will the day come that we give up freedom for our own illusory security?  Will Benjamin Franklin's warning be shunned?  I pray that it will not but more and more I hear its spectre stalking this land.

This entry authored by Tyran at 06:40

Wed, 16 Mar 2005

F

This morning while driving to work I heard a news report lamenting the growing weight problems of children and pinning the blame on the lack of PE time in schools.  Let's see, children lack discipline:  Schools are to blame.  Children have weight problems:  Schools are yet again to blame.  Children have poor study habits:  Schools are to blame.  While I agree that someone other than just the children shares in the blame for each of these problems, I do not agree with placing the blame on the schools.  I see the blame for these problems as falling directly on the children's parents.  There's a lack of discipline among children because their parents refuse to discipline their children, just watch any of the nanny reality shows to see proof.  Children have weight problems because their parents shovel fast food at them and depend on DVD players, Nintendo, Xbox or other similar devices to babysit instead of kicking the kids outside to play.  Poor study habits come from parents who only spend five minutes of quality time with their children instead of taking time to supervise homework.

Many kids are receiving an F in a number of areas and for the most part it is not because their schools and teachers are failing them but because their parents are.

This entry authored by Tyran at 12:00

Tue, 22 Mar 2005

No Really, Go Away

As has been well publicized here in the US, there is a national do not call list.  Now, some organizations are exempt as the FTC's site notes, calls from or on behalf of political organizations, charities, and telephone surveyors would still be permitted. Most such organizations realize that when I tell them to not call me again when they call that it means I do not want them to call me again.  There is one group, however, that not only refuses to stop calling me but they call on a regular basis such that it's beginning to become harassment:  The Utah Peace Officer Association.  Once again they called tonight and when we told them to stop calling their only response was that they aren't bound by the do not call registry.  Of course they aren't but when I tell someone to stop bothering me and they insist on doing it anyway that sounds like harassment to me.  Tomorrow I'll find out if the State Attorney General agrees with me.

This entry authored by Tyran at 20:19

Wed, 23 Mar 2005

Naturally

It would appear that the FTC cannot require a charity or similar groups to maintain an internal no call list.  It also appears that Utah state law does not agree with me and gives me no legal way of stopping the Utah Peace Officer Association from calling my home to pan handle for money.  That being the case, I intend to make every call they make to my home as unpleasant as possible.  An air horn should help get my point across, then again perhaps a simple whistle will be just as effective.

You might wonder why I won't donate to the Utah Peace Officer Association.  The reason is fairly simple:  When we started donating, we suddenly started getting phone calls from the sheriff and from the firemen and other civic groups asking for money.  When we told them that we couldn't afford to donate to everyone, they were very understanding and when we asked them to not call us back again they were also understanding.  None of those groups have called us back, they respected our wishes.  The Utah Peace Officer Association, however, won't take no for an answer.  They also won't explain why they need donations nor what use they make of the donated money.  When they do start calling, they don't stop.  We've been called twice in the same day and I've been told that I was obviously unfit to be an American as I wasn't willing to donate.

Hasn't it been said that any publicity is good publicity?  Well, then I'll make sure that I give them all the publicity they can handle for each time they continue to call.

This entry authored by Tyran at 07:08

Sat, 26 Mar 2005

Winds of Change

Another wind has blown change my way.  A number of people at work have been murmuring that the IT department all vanish by 3:30 PM.  That's what happens when the work day begins at 6:30 AM as it does for my department at CSI (Consolidated Substances Inc).  As a result, the GM has requested that we shift our schedule to four ten hour shifts, I have Fridays off and the other fellow in the department has Mondays off.  Now we have coverage five days a week from 6:30 AM to 5:00 PM (we opted for a half hour lunch).

If you've followed the Whinery for a while, you might remember that we tried this once before.  Then we convinced the GM to let us try moving to this schedule.  Unfortunately, so many people belly-ached about how unfair it was that we were on this schedule while they were locked in eight hour schedules the GM finally had enough of the petty whining and asked us to move back to straight eights.  This time the GM approached us and has also asked us to remain silent on the issue.  Enough people have started to catch on to our schedule change that I've been asked to make an official announcement on it at the next staff meeting.  Will the petty whining start again?  Probably, certain individuals can't grasp these two ideas:  What is good for one department is not necessarily good for another department and whining will never accomplish anything good (ironic given the name of this site!).  Will the GM allow this whining to change his mind?  Probably not as he approached us and the thing that tipped his hand was the evening he needed some assistance after 3:30 PM.  He still had access to us but it meant overtime.  Now we can cover the whole range of daytime employees without having to incur any overtime, a much better deal for CSI.

This entry authored by Tyran at 08:03

Thu, 31 Mar 2005

Changes

As I mentioned Saturday, change is in the wind.  The second change (I can't reveal the first until after April 4th) is that CSI has reworked its beard policy.  There are a number of factors that helped bring this change about and, personally, they're all quite welcome.  The original policy was no facial hair due to the possibility of having to use an SCBA (self-contained breathing apparatus) and although it was a minute possibility that someone in my position or department would ever be in that situation, the policy was a blanket policy.  Now, due to a number of improvements in equipment and other circumstances, that blanket policy has been univerally lifted at CSI.  Is a beard in my future?  At least temporarily, yes.  Whether it will remain a permanent feature or at least a long term one will depend on how well it grows.

This entry authored by Tyran at 12:00

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