Thursday, September 24, 2009

Job Hunt Frustrations

I got a call yesterday from local company X — in regards to a position I had put in for early last July. Yeeee-haw! The HR Droid was hot to get me talking with hiring manager the earlier the better, so despite things on today's schedule I assented to a phone interview at 1:00 pm this afternoon.

Early in the morning, I did some research on the company, drafted a list of questions I had, and went over some of the typical interview questions and formulated responses to those questions. Then I reviewed my job boards and put in for another position I saw listed. While prepping for the interview, the firm working to fill the position I applied to this morning called. She specifically said the client expects me to put any job hunt on hold while working this gig (till end of the year) and commit to it. I then informed the recruiter I was phone interviewing with Company X, so she proposed to call me in the middle of next week.

So, that all done, I went outside and dug a large deep hole for the maple tree that needed planting and that finished up at about lunch time t-minus 1-hour to the interview. I made a couple of BLTs with a fresh picked & ripe tomato and cleaned up. T-minus 15 minutes, so I gathered up extra pens, got my reading glasses handy, pulled out my question list, and readied my portfolio for the call. 1:00 comes, no call understandable since they are just returning from lunch. 1:15 comes, well maybe an urgent situation came up and they are running late. 1:30 comes, now I'm getting POed. 1:45 comes I finally calm down enough to quit pacing and sit on the couch. 1:50 comes I am dozing off. 1:55 comes, and so does my Father to help with the maple planting.

I waited until about 2:15 put on my work boots and gathered up what we needed to plant the maple tree.

Company X you just took a hit in my eyes. I can be forgiving but the promised e-mails never turned up and you missed the first call. I'll suck it up and see what happens next but I hope this is not a pattern.

LOL, Company Y which I interviewed at last spring is looking to hire a person to implement a billing system. I'm not putting in for that, the person looking to hire is going to fritter the first interview by telling the applicant how cool he is and how the rest of the people in the company view him as the anti-Christ and how his kid is tweeting, and txting from the Indian quad-chair.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Mandating Health Care & Pre-Existing Conditions

One commone argument the left brings up in the health care debate is how insurance companies refuse to cover pre-existing conditions. For insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions would be like asking your bookmaker to take a bet the Packers in today's game (the Packers lost in a game that appeared much closer than it really was) during the final drive of the game. The bookie is not going to do it. For insurance to work both parties must exchange risk, and if you buy an insurance policy after you know you have a given medical condition you are not risking anything.

However, refusing to cover those with pre-existing conditions makes for tear laden news stories. So, President Brk and his congressional allies tell us they, mean to end the scourge of non-coverage of pre-existing conditions. How will they do that? Does the government plan to coerce the insurance companies into covering all pre-existing medical conditions? Oh-no, not at all. They will eliminate pre-existing conditions by coercing YOU to always carry a health insurance policy. You see, if the government coerces you into always being covered by a health insurance policy then you will never have a pre-existing medical condition. If you don't have your own policy than the IRS will make sure you do.

Now, there is no dobut it is wise having a health policy always. I've had two periods when I had to come up with my own coverage. The first was after I was no longer a dependent on my parents. I bought my own policy with a high deductible. Next, was when I was in the UAE I bought a health policy to cover any treatment beyond lancing a boil as I did not trust that nationalized health system. The next time was post-UAE and pre-employment, again the policy was purchased with my own dollars and carried a high deductible. I don't need a policy to cover a bad case of gas but for major treatment needs.

So remember, no more denial for pre-existing conditions means having the IRS as your insurance dealer.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Missing DNA -- No CYA Just Get the DNA

I heard a radio report on the missing DNA problem.

They are talking about knocking on up to 12,000 doors and demanding samples. I am thinking that that is going to cost a lot of dollars. All such folks who are in custody somewhere or fall back into custody — get their DNA, but don't go traipsing all over the nation to collect the samples.

Another thing we should not do. A fellow quoted in that radio report noted they are hard at work not pointing fingers & working to fix the problems. Here here! If we try to get some heads to display on pikes there will be a lot of effort spent in CYA rather than in learning what happened and developing fixes.

In fact, isn't it ironic, how the more we demand accountability the murkier things get? People end up filling out more forms, providing more explanations, hiring more lawyers, creating more fine print, and we drown in information overload. We have so many facts and figures available to us we become unable to sort it all out and make sense of it.

Of course, I don't expect a lot of people will take this admonition anymore seriously than pointing out to Claude Rain he was just gambling in the back of Rick's as he is closing Rick's down for gambling.

I think the Vatican should make Claude Rains the patron saint of politics.

Update 10/23/2009 This will be my last reference to Claude Rains in my writing. If I do it again please, beat me up for it!


Missing DNA

The story is not exactly new, but I am starting to look into the case of the missing DNA.

WTMJ provides a report of the case, which by the reports have some 12,000 records with missing DNA. The recent arrest of a serial killer who was a convicted felon spurred the discovery.

Now, the reports I am also reading indicate Ellis (the serial murderer) appears to have convinced another felon to provide the DNA. So in this case, the DNA is not missing but inaccurate. I am quite skeptical there are 12,000 instances where one felon obtained DNA from another prisoner and submitted it as his/her own; if so, this shows the DOC is more trusting of felons than employers are of employees and it is easier to cheat the felon DNA database than of a pre-employment drug screening — and I find that scandalous.

This Yahoo story provides some more details:
The database has between 120,000 and 130,000 profiles, Hamblin said. Some of the missing ones may be from people convicted of felonies but sentenced to probation, meaning they never reported to prison to have a sample taken, he added.
Authorities have said they might have focused on Ellis sooner if his DNA were in the state database, as it should have been if a sample were taken when he served an earlier prison term. Ellis pleaded no contest in 1998 to second-degree reckless injury.

The state crime lab did receive a sample in 2001 that had Ellis' name on it, Van Hollen said. When it was put in the database, the system matched it to a previous sample under a different inmate's name, so it registered as a duplicate and no profile was entered for Ellis, he said.
Source: Yahoo News — Audit: Wisc. database missing DNA of 12K felons
Now, one of the thoughts entering my mind was that of a problem with the storage & retrieval system (aka the computers)? That does not appear to be the case, as this and other articles are pointing at poor procedures or lack of follow up. However, computer bugs are more than capable of losing those records.

I do not know about DNA record storage, but it is an established fact a person has unique DNA (however, there are exceedingly rare cases where DNA tests can not distinguish between two individuals) and that leads me to be believe duplicate DNA records for two supposed different individuals should lead to immediate action in order to reconcile the DNA samples and to initiate corrective action.

Now, the fact that Ellis was able to get another felon to pass off another felon's DNA as his own indicates to me the procedures used to collect the samples are faulty too. I did a little googling on this matter and did not find out too much but that the state of Missouri accepts "blood or scientifically acceptable biological sample" I detect a euphemism and my guess is sample collection kits include a copy of the latest Penthouse Magazine. So, I suppose, Felon X could ask/coerce/convince/whatever Felon Y to provide a sample of "genetic material" but that should be caught by using the same sort of techniques used in pre-employment drug screening, no?

The last area of focus is that of felons who are sentenced to probation only. Those individuals, I would think, should be remanded to the nearest jail capable of handling them until their sample is collected and verified.


Monday, September 14, 2009

The New Windows Ad

Have you seen it?

Windows attempts to confuse people by hitching the hardware (the PC) to its operating system (Windows and in this case Windows 7). In this case, I guess it makes sense but the Apple commercials doing the same are not so sensible. In fact, Apple's operating system is a close relative to the one I prefer to use and I use to run our PC class hardware.

Now to my main gripe about the commercial.

Yeah, I know the little girl is cute and so are the pictures but I say WTF is that? I guess MS is trying targeting a very specific segment of the market with that advertisement (grandmothers?). Also, they could put up the slide captions in latin as I have this notion people are not reading them (a vast majority of those I suspect who form the target market probably wouldn't understand the captions anyway).


Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Someone Gave a Speech Tonight?

So my tweeps & Facebookies are hinting at. Really, what did he say? Hehehe, Yeah I know Preisdent Brk gave a speech this evening and there was 0 chance he was going to say anything other than my way — I want you all to be wards of the state.

What I did do was work on cutting up three cords of oak this evening. What a pleasure that was, we had a pretty good setup. My source had the logs on his property and it was a big pile the pieces were 8' long each and anywhere from 2' to perhaps 3" in diameter. He had a machine that he could pick up the logs with and swing them over to us. We would then cut the pieces outside the claw and the last piece would get dumped and I would cut that up. I attempted to cut but the chain on my saw was not as sharp as it was a week (or so) ago. So, I would cut the leftovers so my cousin could concentrate on the full sized logs. I'ld get caught up and then help with stacking.

The wood is mixed, some pieces had green leaves on them and some were cracking already. I am guessing most of the wood will not be ready until next fall -- however, then I will have a good supply chain built up. I'll have to go and get some more wood that I know is ready for burning (and I know where there is some oak for that purpose).

Oak has a realy spicy smell to it when it is cut up and the smell of Romano cheese is also hinted at. So different from maple which is a sweet smell (think maple syrup). I love woodmaking. I'll split some with my 6 pounder and some will be split using a power splitter -- 2' x 16" oak is not going to split very readily.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Mercury Marine — 2,800

One thing I see a lot of people forgetting when discussing the Mercury Marine Situation is the fact Mercury Marine was primarily looking to consolidate two plants spread out by pretty much the width of our nation.

These jobs are going to leave anyways in two years. These guys are going to get knocked back to $15 while top executives will suffer nothing.
Source: Boots & Sabers Comment #5 by Keith Schmitz re: Yes!

What Keith is obviously forgetting is that another result of this vote is Brunswick will move MerCruiser manufacturing from Stillwater OK to Fond du Lac. Does it make at all sense for Brunswick to move MerCruiser to Fond du Lac and then (perhaps) before the move is complete shut down Fond du Lac and move it all again? No, it does not.

Mercury Marine is making a serious commitment to Fond du Lac and Wisconsin with this move, and from all appearances this is what Mercury Marine's management wanted.

Yeah, no doubt the concessions made by the Union are tough a pay cut is never an event to be joyed over, but are pay freezes worse than 100% pay cuts? Yeah, if I was a floor worker at Mercury Marine I'ld be looking, fortunately, there is an employer not too far away looking for extra help in similar manufacturing endeavors.


Every Time for a Beer and a Beer for Every Time

Time for a blog on beer.

One thing that drives me absolutely nuts is people who dis American beer especially what one can refer to as American standard lagers (ASL) light or otherwise. They will trot the old joke about making love on a canoe or point to obscure micro brews or imports. It all gets rather tedious hearing yet another white person go on about MilCoorWeiser. Especially silly are Canadians or Aussies engaging in the same act, as their big beers are pretty darned close to ALS.

The ALS especially the light ones can be viewed as short beers. A show on the History Channel noted that the short beer (maybe an ale as opposed to a lager beer, IIRC, lagers were not developed until the 19th Century) was the staple beer of Europe in the times when water was practically poisonous due to unsanitary public health and hygiene practices (i.e. before people learned about microbes and their role in diseases and that removing such microbes from water rendered it okay to drink) and this means it was drank all day long.

Now, when you are outside and working in the middle of a summer day when the temperature is 87&#deg; F what do you want when the work is over? A heavy bodied highly alcoholic beer? That is not what I crave, I want a light bodied beer low in alcohol.

I am not saying there is anything from the heavy bodied beer, it is just the time and place for that is different. For example, after a day of skiing nothing satisfies as much as a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. Another summer favorite is the heffe-weizen class of beers.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Funny Thing Happened On the Way to YouTube

Another Dumb Commercial

Is being put out by Saturn. You know the one, where Jim Smith is on TV telling us how he is sick of the pundits telling us how American car companies can not build cars Americans want to buy. He has it wrong, of course, it would not do to relate what the pundits really are saying — and that is the government will not be able to build cars Americans want to buy and the restrictions & regulations they try to promulgate will cause them to build cars we don't want to buy.

Clearly President Brk wants us to not drive at all, but if we must (we must, we must) then he wants us in pint sized shoeboxes — and those cars Jim Smith — Americans will not buy no matter who makes them.

Yeah yeah, I've seen a car around that makes a shoebox look like a Suburban, but it will not be a viable model or lineup.

Van Gone

Van Jones is gone from the Whitehouse.

This is good news. Part of what I like about this is good ole partisan payback, but Van Jones is a kook who does not belong there.

The way this process was handled by all involved it seems most people around President Brk believe he should be there and are perfectly comfortable with his views regarding 9/11 and race. This kinda reminds of John Edwards and his KKK bloggers (yeah your heard me right, remember anti-Catholicism is one of the hallmarks of the KKK). John & his organization even when presented with some of their virulent and repeated slurs against Catholics continued to defend them. One could not help but believe John was sympathetic to those views.

President Brk is to cagey to express such views in the open, but by picking a person like Van Jones to hold a czar level posting and then stand by him, makes beleive he is very sympathetic to them.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Opposing Obama-Care

I am seeing a lot of Republican angst against the opposition to Obama Care.

One refrain I often hear is the Republicans do not have an alternative to present. Paul Ryan has one, but how much you want to bet that Nancy Pelosi is going to let him present that bill? Come on, know a bit how the game works (and yes we hear these same whines vs. the Dems when they were out of power in the House) and it is when you are in power you use it for all you are worth, as well all know, it is easier to ask for forgiveness than permission.

So, what are the Republicans to do? It would be silly to attempt to pursue their own agenda at the moment, because the leadership in the Congress & the Whitehouse will not allow it. The Republicans have one objective and that is to stop the Dems from getting everything they want and to not cooperate (as much as possible) in passing damaging legislation. The Democrats can pass whatever they want, let them own their bills, let them take credit for the misery their bills bring.

When I'm driving from time to time I find the car going in a bad direction. Young drivers tend to overreact and put themselves into another bad position (or flip their car). The first goal of getting out of your predicament is to stop your current situation from getting worse, once that is done, then correct direction.

Republicans must first stop the Democrats and then can work on getting their wheels out of the ditch.

President Brk's Speech to the Crumb Crunchers

Is causing a bit of a stir, and I don't think it is mainly the speech in and of itself it was that first "lesson plan" about writing an essay to pledge what one can do for President Brk.

Now, the President is a person that people naturally look up to — especially children. After all, when little children are asked what they want to be when they grow up, will often answer the president of the USA. Of course, we as adults realize the job is not all its cracked up to be or more likely we are not cracked up to be the president. So, as long as President Brk keeps his comments to: study hard, don't drop out,... we are all fine.

If he strays into policy matters and tells the crumb crunchers to pester their parents to support socialized pez candy distribution then the situation changes. I've seen it pointed out past presidents have done that, asked school children to support their programs. As the old saying goes it wasn't right then and it isn't now.

However, and this may seem like I'm hedging here, it is a healthy thing for a liberal (used in its traditional sense) society to to reject such injections of presidential sway into the classroom.

In addition, I like the notion of some parents are going to keep their children home that day. Take your children somewhere where they can learn or go over their upcoming lesson materials or do something with them they will remember. I remember one fall day out of school walking through creek bottoms jump shooting ducks with Dad, Grandpa, and my Uncle Rich -- a memory I'll treasure till I die, the lessons in school that day would be nothing but an indistinguishable blur.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

The Wisconsin Anti-OWI Adverts

Are good. Those national adverts showing the car door opening and beer or booze flowing out of the car are stupid and dumb.

However, the ad.s trying to put the viewer in the place of a guy about to be arrested for OWI and being processed are powerful. I'ld be interesting to know of any results follow up studies they may perform to gauge the campaign's effectiveness.

Mercury Marine — Voting Again

The IAMAW Local #1947 union is voting for a third time, wow, I guess you really do get three strikes.

However, an interesting report arises from the Wisconsin Radio Network:
Rodriguez [one of the organizers of the re-vote effort] says there’s a lot of politicking going on at Machinists Lodge 1947 in Fond du Lac, where the voting is taking place on the contract. He says it’s hard to believe that people are telling workers to vote no again, after all of the work that went into calling a third ballot.
Source: Wisconsin Radio Network —
Pressure on for Mercury Marine workers
This is why unions stink. This union has been given plenty of opportunity to accept the contract including a re-vote and yet another do-over on the vote. Now, they have the third re-vote and the Union is still trying to muscle workers into rejecting the contract.

Let us pray this vote is affirmative and then the workers vote again on IAMAW decertification.