Friday, February 1, 2008

Road Time, 2 Less Votes and Rachel Is Nearly Ready

Starfield, Ordinary Life

I put some new skins and tubes on my red Serotta and headed out for a much needed outdoor ride this afternoon. I don't mind hammering away on my rollers but there's something wrong about staying indoors when it's so beautiful out and the roads are dry. Nothing fast about today's ride but I could tell my heart, lungs and quads were feeling it. It's so nice to be back on the road again.

It always feels like I'm cheating winter a few hours at a time when I can knock out some miles when a few years earlier I wouldn't have considered it. The last hour my toes were getting a bit numb. That's the one thing that keeps me from staying out longer in these temps. I think I'll invest in a pair of Lake shoes next year. From what I hear there's not a better winter riding shoe.

I brought it in with a little over 50 miles.

I'll be breaking ranks with the Republican party this coming election. No, I won't be voting for any Democrat candidates either as my pro-life position won't allow it. This just simply means that Republicans who normally get the nod from Tammy and I will be receiving two less votes this time around. Tammy is disappointed with the Republican party as well. It's the best we can do. I've thought a lot about this and it's taken me a good while to get to where I am. We'd vote Democrat but there's something about supporting a person who embraces the belief that ripping full term children from their mother's womb is acceptable and civilized. There's nothing to understand with respect to that thinking.

I honestly believe there would be a Democrat in the White House now had it not been for the fringe Left having co-opted the party on this one issue. The last two presidential elections were so close that I have little doubt they would have swung in the direction of the Left if people such as Tammy and I could have voted for them...but we can't.

Reid, a friend from work, told me about a program PBS did titled Cheney's Law. Yeah, I know, PBS tilts to the left...that's not lost on me. Once you get beyond that and listen to some of the people they interview you'll understand why this is a very important program to watch. It details the way Cheney went about establishing the Bush administration's overreaching approach to power. Some of the people they interview for the show were people on the inside, former staff members who felt that the administration was heavy handed in their wielding of power. The program can be found at this link .

For the longest time I've given Bush a pass when it came to the war in Iraq. My belief was that the president and his advisers had much more knowledge than the rest of us and I trusted them to do the right thing. After all...what would Democrats (or whomever) have said had he not acted on whatever intelligence he had and terrorism which could have been stopped wasn't? There would be no forgiving the man.

I began to question this administration when it came time for our union (Natca) to negotiate a contract a little over two years ago. It wasn't just the contract negotiations, or 'lack' of negotiations which caused me to pause. It was their approach to dismantling the air traffic system as we know it beginning with the people at Flight Service where I used to work back in the mid '80s.

Flight Service was always an inherently governmental job as has been air traffic control in general. Flight Service was put up for bids a few years back and sold off to Lockheed Martin. In the process many Flight Service specialists lost their government pensions. Many were within a few months of retirement.

Too bad.

See ya.

That was the Bush administration's attitude toward them. The government could easily have absorbed hundreds of those they left stranded but chose not to. I know many of them personally as I worked with them.

Flight Service is a shell of what it once was. Pilots try and avoid their services as much as possible these days.

If there's any parallel between the way this administration handled contracting out Flight Service and the way they're running the war in Iraq then I think there's no end to the incompetency at work.

Bush's entire time in office has been punctuated by anti labor positions. When Northwest Airline mechanics were set to strike back in his first term, he intervened. The mechanics had been without a contract for nearly five years. Bush banned any strike for 60 days and became the 2nd president in 35 years to tell workers they couldn't exercise their right to strike for a fair contract. In the process he set up a Presidential Emergency Board (PEB) which could recommend a settlement and ask Congress to impose it. The airline continued to operate with little incentive to negotiate with its workers.

No doubt the PEB was made up of a hand picked group of Bush's choosing and would not be labor friendly.

There were other times with other airlines when the administration promised management that it would step in to avert a strike if necessary...Delta Airlines and their pilots union in 2001 and the 23,000 flight attendants at American Airlines in the same year.

Read further into my blog to see how he dealt with those of us in my profession.

Rachel isn't too far off from getting her license. I think she'll probably have it later this month or sometime next month. She said she's looking forward to it but that she can wait. She drove 35 miles to Maple Grove tonight on the heels of rush-hour traffic and did a nice job. We're in search of some used wheels for her. Two things are a must...anti-lock breaks and an airbag. I'm hoping to find something in the range of $7000-8000...something dependable and economical.

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