Found a news story today from the Associated Press, by Danica Coto, telling about a woman named Jennifer Figge, 56, who swam across the Atlantic Ocean. These are the quick Highlights of the story... "left the Cape Verde Islands off of Africa's west coast on January 12th swimming for 19 out of 25 days battling waves up to 30 feet. The distance from Cape Verde to Trinidad is roughly 700 miles." Yes the first time she set foot on ground was in the Caribbean Island of Trinidad. She still plans to swim from Trinidad to the British Virgin Islands. I always wondered who does these things, is it just because you need to prove that it can be done, or do you do it for the fame? Or is it that you have talked about it so much to your friends and family that they finally tell you to either do it or shut up about it!! More power to the people who actually put up, rather than shut up.
Now on the knucklehead front. Ice Fisherman.... I don't think that they are in general abnormal, as ice fishing is not such a bad thing most of the time, as long as one exercises some brains! Another news story this week is about 100 or so ice fisherman who had to be rescued from the ice of Lake Erie after their fishing spot broke off of the main sheet and floated out into the lake. The rescuing departments ( sheriffs and fire depts. plus the US Coast Guard) used Helicopters and airboats ( hovercraft?) to rescue the trapped fisherman. Leaving much of their equipment and transportation out on the ice. So there are ATV's and snowmobiles floating on the ice of Lake Erie. Hmm? What happens if/when that ice melts or gets broken up by the wind? Of course it won't be on the order of the Exxon Valdez, but it still isn't good for the Lake Biosphere. The Agencies have informed these men that if they are dopey enough to need another rescue this season they will be billed for the service. The first one was on the taxpayer tit.
Then I ran across a letter to the editor that really struck a cord in my mind. Why is it that so many people live by the moto, "It's Not My Job.", rather than "Let me help you with that."? I guess that it has as much to do with litigation as it does with simple greed and laziness. The letter is actually about the honesty and integrity of people and their jobs. It was brought about by the pilot of the plane that landed in the Hudson River. This man did his job as best he could and everyone on the plane survived. He did what he had to do under extremely difficult circumstances and he remained calm and collected, which if you think about it is exactly what he is payed to do. He flies the plane and when the plane malfunctions for any reason, it is his job to make get it on the ground ( back to earth?) the safest way possible. His point was to reprimand the corporate CEO's and Other business honchos who have wasted billions of dollars in company funds and resources and yet still feel entitled to their huge bonuses and corporate vacations and golden parachutes at the cost of the taxpayer through the Government bailout/stimulus packages. But I read something else in there as well, Honesty in our workers. There was a story about a State Employee in NY who was collecting a salary of $94,000 a year while he did nothing. Why did he do nothing? Apparently this was retribution by other state officials for stepping on some toes (By suing the governor 10 years earlier). So to punish him they withheld his duties. How was this punishment? Sure he may have suffered from Boredom, but for that kind of money, I would be happy to suffer some boredom. I guess that he needed to continue to collect his money to make the point that he had a job, even if there was nothing to do there. Honesty and integrity are sort of intertwined, and anyone who has to work in other peoples house can tell you this in a huge way. We have all been accused either directly or indirectly of sticky fingers. And sadly there are some who do steal, and they make the honest ones look bad too. So we have to fight that much harder to keep our reputations.
Anyone from the meter reader to the cable guy, the appliance repair man to the exterminator has a reputation to protect. Not only that they do their jobs well, but that they do not use their access to peoples most personal places for dishonest activities, like thievery or spying. Of course temptation can surface in many ways from a lonely housewife looking for a little fun, to raiding a medicine cabinet for some prescription drugs, but a true professional will do their job and leave temptation in the wind. There is also a different kind of honesty, it is one of owning up to ones mistakes. An honest person will see and forgive an honest mistake.
Having worked in an industry where I have been allowed into peoples homes for many years, I have learned that some people are forgiving and others are total assholes. The total assholes will freak out about the smallest thing and cause a problem 100 times the size of the mistake. While the forgiving ones will truly be understanding of a human error and will allow you to make up for your mistake in anyway that you can but only for equal amount of your mistake. The Assholes will end up making you get a lawyer, because that's what makes them feel powerful, while the forgivers will recommend you to all of their friends. The forgivers understand when something is beyond your control, but the assholes will never understand that you aren't 100% responsible for everything that has come before you or after you, from original hidden problems to acts of nature.
The sad part is that these assholes are usually the same people who will squander the resources of big business and then claim that it isn't their fault. It is these people who are most likely to run business into the ground and then hold their hands out for government assistance in bailing themselves out. They are the people who will lay off the workers who make and buy their products so that they will still have enough money in the bank to pay their own salaries even as the companies falter. The people who will declare bankruptcy to escape creditors and skate away with a huge personal bank account that is completely free from the the business obligations that they should be liable for. It has been said that the crook will have the best burglar alarm and will make the biggest fuss when he is ripped off.
As our government once again prepares to stimulate the economy by giving money to big business who will once again squander the resources, I am left with my impotent rage at the lack of thought that goes into this mess. The billions of dollars sent out to the business that hide their wealth in off shore banks and build their new facilities in China and Mexico and Malaysia, it is insane to think that this is going to stimulate the economy. The American Taxpayer, who has worked his or her ass off so that the government can take their money in the form of taxes and then give it to the people who have raped and robbed them for generations, watches helplessly as their money does nothing. If this money was given not to the big corporations but to the working men and women of America the economy would flourish. There is no denying that if you put $50,000 in the hands of every taxpaying citizen in the United States with a net worth of under $500,000, the economy would jumpstart in a hurry. They would be able to pay off their debt, and start new debt. They would be able to buy new cars saving the auto industry, they would be able to go shopping and save the retail, industry, and they would be able to put money in the band and save the banking industry. They would need goods made in the foreign countries stimulating world economies as well. Pay us and watch the economy get stimulated and let the failing business fail if their management is so poor. It is what a free market is all about. But please don't just put good money after bad again and again.