Thursday, December 23, 2010

Two Sides to Every Coin

For about two or so years there has been an active debate, kept active mostly by me, amongst the people I routinely converse. Much of it, and this is unfortunate, has centered around public employees and their role in our lives. As you can imagine, many if not a majority of my friends and acquaintances have worked their entire adult life as a public employee. A near equal amount have never been employed in any government department or agency. This has caused a definite rift. I've been thinking long and hard about the subject for a while now in an attempt to see things from the other side and hopefully temper my own thinking.

At one point I had stated I did not think a married couple, both employed by the public school system, should be better off than their private sector peers. I have changed my thinking on that subject completely.

I now believe that a married couple in these United States should most definitely have the ability and the belief that they can achieve the American dream. An educated and successful couple, whether from the private or public workforce, with proper care and planning of their investments, should be able to have the retirement homes, boat on the river, and the freedom to enjoy all of it whenever they choose.

No one would be willing to argue that the folks who teach our children, fix our roads, save our homes from fire, and protect us from evil are not worth every penny they earn, and probably more. I think that is where the misunderstanding is taking place. Please believe me when I say that I appreciate your hard work and the sacrifices you have made in dedicating your life to your chosen career. I swear to God I do.

I could not imagine walking up the stairs of the World Trade Center knowing you may never come back down. I could not imagine having to deal with parents who are assholes when all you want their kid to do is learn math. I could not imagine seeing and dealing with crime, and the conditions that surround it, on a daily basis. I could not imagine what it must be like to be thousand of miles from home, sitting on a rocky hill while others are trying to kill you, specifically you.

The jobs you have are extremely important to this country. When the economy is steaming along, and everyone is getting richer, no one mentions that any of you are getting too much. Your unions bargained well and earned you guaranteed pensions and top notch benefits. Of course, nothing last forever.

What would happen if public sector jobs were privatized?

It is a bold, and most likely foolhardy thought. Would you do well or be passed by if your profession was run by a private corporation? I'm thinking that the best of you would earn more money than you currently do, and the worst of you would be let go to make way for new employees who want to make more money. So, what would be the result if that were the case?

Keep in mind that when I say "the best of you" I'm referring to the one's who put in the extra hours, take minimal time off, and produce above average results in quantifiable ways. Why are those the best? Because they save the company, or the boss, a lot of money. You get a company, or a school, or a firehouse, or a police precinct, or a road crew to have a lot of "The best of you's" than you end up with one helluva team. Guess who the boss is when you are a public employee. Guess. Yup, it's me, and you. We all pay taxes.

Any boss in the private sector compensates the best and tries to get rid of the worst. There is no other way to guarantee a quality product or service and do it in the most efficient way possible.

This is the basic theory for the founding of America. It is the principle that has made us a great and powerful country. There must be incentives in any business. The greatest incentive is the knowledge that everyone is replaceable, and at any time.

This country, based on the results of the last election, is stating loud and clear that changes are necessary. We must improve efficiency in all areas. If we simply take more money from the wealthy to fund our current operations we will ultimately cause a drag on the economy that may actually cause the failure of some governments and/or their agencies.

The public sector jobs are vital to the country. That is why we all agree to pay for them. I don't think we wish to lose any of them. Raise taxes and continue down the current path, or lower taxes and reform all of it. It's tough choice, how hard do any of us want to work?

Codsey out

Thursday, December 16, 2010

There is a God, and He is Good part 4

Thursday was to be our final full day aboard the cruise ship. It has been a wonderful time, and my relaxation meter was full. We awoke and the first thing M said to me was "Are we moving?"

She was right, we were not. The ship was now anchored off the coast of Coco Cay, which is Norwegian's personal island in the Bahamas. Their was another ship anchored off our port bow, and both ships were now running shuttles back and forth from the island.

M and I ate breakfast and dutifully waited in line to jump ship for the island. The process was quite smooth and the shuttle boats they used seated about 300 people.

It was a beautiful day. The temperature was about 78, and there was barely a cloud in the sky. As the boat was docked on the island, and the front ramp lowered down, we unloaded as though we were storming the beaches at Normandy.

Of course, we knew not where we were going. Our first mistake was renting a locker to hold what few valuables we had brought with us. One caveat to the rented locker that I found to be strange and mildly disappointing... we could only shut and reopen said locker one time before we had to pay another four dollars. I found that odd. So odd, in fact, that we ended up not even using the locker and instead just hung on to our stuff.

We found what looked to be a nice spot on the beach. There are about four or five different little coves where you can sit and enjoy the seashore. The water was clear, and every once in a while one could see a small fish swim past. Of course, M did not appreciate the nature she had to share her water time with, and she vowed to not get off her floaty mat while she was in the ocean.

While sitting next to the ocean waiters would stroll by with various alcoholic drinks, on ice. If you tipped them well enough they would give you extra rum in your drink. The waiters were able to remotely swipe your card, right in front of you, and hand you a receipt, while both of you stood on remote Caribbean island in the middle of the Atlantic. Innovation will never cease to amaze me.

While M and I sat, enjoyed the sun, and watched various people venture into the cove, we noticed one man and his floaty mat gingerly walking into the sea. He was in his mid twenties, had black hair, olive colored skin, and very skinny physique. He also was wearing a white speedo swimsuit.

This swimsuit left nothing to the imagination unless you like to imagine whether he is circumcised or not. When he got into the cove, and was positioned on his mat while laying on his back, it looked like he had a small triangular sail propped up to catch any wind that might move him across the cove. I was embarrassed for him, M thought it was natural.

Yes, she did. She may have been partaking in the maui wowie too, I'm not sure.

While we both chuckled at this man and his glaring, barely covered penis, M decided it was time to get back on her floaty. She floated out into the cove, and then allowed the waves to slowly bring her back towards the shore.

M was going on about something to me. I was seated about 5 feet from the edge of the water, and as she floated towards me she was talking on and on about sails. Actually, I have no idea what she was talking about because I wasn't really listening.

Now, I'm not sure if the decisions and actions that I have taken over my lifetime were meant to bring me to that very moment, at that very time, to experience what was forthcoming. But, if so, then I can now die in peace knowing that my life is complete.

As M floated closer to the shore, and she was about to touch land, I noticed something out of the corner of my left eye. I turned my head and could plainly see a small school of about ten or so fish swimming along the shore line, heading straight for M and her floaty mat.

I began to chuckle out loud because I could see what was about to transpire. M looked at me quizzically because apparently whatever she was talking about was not meant to be funny and I was now laughing out loud.

The school got to where her floaty was beached. The school of fish could go no further. Each fish was about 4 or 5 inches in length, and when they ran into M's floaty they began to turn and roll and jump violently in an attempt to get away from this land loving intruder.

The school of fish appeared to be acting like a school of piranha, in a feeding frenzy, except there was no biting and no blood. M had now realized what was happening and began to try to get up out of her floaty. It was at this very moment that I came to fully believe that there is a God, and he is indeed more good than any of us could ever imagine.

One of those fish jumped up and out of the water, and landed squarely on M's beautiful chest. The fish bounced off from her, and harmlessly fell into the water. M jumped up and, here is how I know God and Jesus are real, she walked on water to get away from those fish!!!!

I have never laughed so hard, and for so long, in my entire life. I'm still laughing about it today. I catch myself laughing out loud when I randomly think back to the fish hitting her chest. Nothing that could happen- not me winning the WSOP, or my kids graduating, or seeing my grandchildren, or watching Tiger plummet to 197 in the world rankings- could ever rank higher than seeing M being tormented by a school of small fish.

My life is now complete. I cannot wait to go on another cruise. I highly recommend it to anyone.

Codsey out.