Sunday, November 25, 2012

RANDOM SHOTS - Don't Ignore The Signs, Sandy Victims Angry Over Latest Insult, Union Comment Response, and much more!


Don't Ignore The Signs!

No, I'm not talking about knowing the difference between someone you can trust, or a conservative with traditional values versus spotting a liberal who thinks taking for himself is the new "OK", or one of Obama's lies.

No, I'm talking about something bigger than that. I'm talking about the reason that I've been unable to post anything since last Tuesday.

On Tuesday morning, I posted a short article on the EPA using fake names and fictitious e-mail accounts. After having coffee and feeding the horses, I made a list of things I needed to get done while my wife was gone on her trip with her mother, then attempted to finish an article before my wife came home.

My wife Deanna and I arrived at our American Legion at around two in the afternoon. After checking the stock and restocking some of the bar, I checked the cash box and was getting ready to head home when Chris Zahniser - who is my number one go to volunteer bartender these days - showed up early. He was set to open at 4, but gets there early.

As I was talking with Chris, my chest started to tighten up and a numbing pain sort of shot to my back. The soreness reminded me of pulling a shoulder muscle.

Instead of leaving right away, I went into the office and got on the website for the Legion and updated upcoming events and such. The soreness in my chest had lightened up some. I just thought it might be a little stress so I didn't pay it too much mind.

After returning home, Deanna went in to start fixing dinner and I went out to feed. I was thinking about another article on horse care or maybe one on feeding right. Then I thought about writing something about the new horse that we've picked up recently. Another refugee looking for a home sure, but he's also my replacement for my boy Murphy who I lost last year.

Since starting this blog, I've tried to get out as many articles on all sorts of different subjects. I've tried putting out as many as I've had the time to do. The Old West, American history, horses, cattle, and of course what's going on around us on the political scene are my favorite topics. But really, it seems as though the election absorbed most of my efforts.

I went to bed early for a change and slept uncomfortably all night  The pain just wouldn't go away.

At eight on Wednesday morning, I picked up my mom and drove to Placerville. After meeting with my sister Joan and her husband Ray, we talked awhile and had breakfast. We joked about Holiday stress giving me chest pains.

After they left, I found myself on Highway 50 driving West. I wanted to stop at a tack store in Shingle Springs, but instead kept driving for the VA Hospital at Mather Field about 10 miles away. I decided that I needed someone to take a look at what's going on with the tightness and pain in my chest.

When I walked into the ER, the folks there took me right in and immediately hooked me up to take an EKG. They took blood and asked a bunch of questions from family history, to time duration of the pain, to my personal medical history, you name it.

And no, some of the questions weren't asked just once or twice, I was asked to describe the pain and how it all took place about a half dozen times by more than just two or three doctors. These folks were treating me as if I were someone important! No kidding!

Nitro under the tongue, aspirin, oxygen, all helped to reduce the pain. Though the EKG didn't look too bad, soon the first blood work came back with some not so good results.  An enzyme was too high.

The enzyme numbers indicated a cardiac "incident." It indicated something was not right with my heart.

Now, I know that there are a few folks out there who will say that that is no great surprise - but it was something that most folks don't like to know about.

I figured being over-weight and having a family history of heart troubles finally caught up with me. My mother has congestive heart disease and it wasn't but a couple of years ago that my old brother went through open heart surgery, so I figured it was my time.

My normal excuses weren't washing at the moment. Writing, reading, and researching for my blog; my having a bad back, my this, my that, have all contributed to too much sedentary and not enough activity .

I didn't think I was that sedentary. But at that moment, I figured I must be.

Prior to being on that gurney, I really thought that my working my horses, unloading feed, working around the place digging post holes, mending fences, fixing this and that, combined with my volunteering and running around for the Legion would be enough to to offset how much time I spend in front of the computer.

On that gurney in ER, yes, I realized how wrong I was.

Because that enzyme was high, they admitted me and started running blood test every 6 hours. I was told that they were watching what that enzyme does. If it rises than the heart might have a lot of damage, but if it lowers on its own than the heart might not have the problems suspected such as severe blockages.

My wife arrived while I was in the ER and stayed until I was settled in my room upstairs. She wanted to come and be with me on Thanksgiving, but I insisted that she go to her folks home to enjoy the day with our family. Her mom and dad, her brother and his wife and their kids are all very special to us - there was no need for both of us not to be there.

Because Thursday was Thanksgiving, the hospital wouldn't be able to preform a Cardiac Catheterization Exam until Friday morning.

A Cardiac Catheterization Exam is an invasive diagnostic test that is used to detect blockages in the arteries of the heart. The test is used to diagnose heart disease and heart attacks.

A long, thin tube called a catheter is inserted into an artery in your groin! Then a thinner tube known as a guidewire is used to guide the catheter into the various arteries of the heart.

While this is going on, your doctor will track the course of the catheter through the blood vessels by viewing moving X-ray pictures displayed on a screen that is similar to a TV monitor. 

Believe it or not, I found out later that more than One Million heart catheterization exams are performed annually in hospitals across our nation.

I found out later that the cardiac catheterization part of the exam really only refers to the catheter insertion. The cardiac catheterization is all about having an angiogram. The coronary angiogram is the X-ray picture of the arteries of the heart.


This is really incredible stuff here! I actually saw my own heart beating on their monitor!

They take a special contrast dye, and inject it into the arteries that supply blood to the heart via the catheter so that the X-rays can be taken. Imagine that!

The angiogram is used to pinpoint the location and severity of coronary artery disease, including blocked arteries and abnormalities in the heart wall.

Cardiac Catheterization is an invasive diagnostic test that is reserved for people who have a high likelihood of having heart disease or who may be having a heart attack. I read where a patient is sent for a cardiac catheterization exam only after having a positive (abnormal) noninvasive test.

In an emergency situation, including a suspected heart attack, you may be sent immediately for catheterization. Cardiac catheterization, the angiogram, helps locate the blood clot that is causing a heart attack.

On Thanksgiving, for lunch, the hospital served a plate of turkey with stuffing and green beans. It was backed with a slice of pumpkin pie.

That night, a friend brought in some of her own home cooking to enjoy. It was part of her family's Thanksgiving dinner. She shared some with me.

Her family is from Oklahoma and Louisiana. Her food reminded me of my travels down South and how much I enjoyed Southern cooking. I don't know if it is strictly a part of African American cooking or simply a part of the South, but by God she can cook. And yes, her collard greens were outstanding.

Outstanding is the perfect term to use for all of those fine folks at the Mather VA Hospital.

Upon arriving, I met an ER Tech by the name of Laroya who is a 27 year old Black women who is holding a full time job while attending Nursing School.  She has ambitions of becoming an RN. She is an great example for other 20 something year olds who only have excuses as to why they aren't trying to get ahead in life.

Then there is Doctor Taylor. He's the doctor who has been there for me on 4 occasions now. And yes, this is the first time dealing with my heart.

He is a great doctor who I fondly refer to as "Doc Alabama." It's not only because he is from Alabama, but also because of his bedside manner. Doctor Taylor would have made a great country doctor in the days when they still made house calls  - and part of their stock and trade was making you feel better about their situation.

Many folks in the ER just want to know that things will be OK. He makes folks feel that way. And yes, it is a gift that he has. One which too many doctors today are sorely lacking.

So what did I learn from this?

Well, only a fool ignores the signs of a heart attack. It is something that I really should have paid attention to on Tuesday instead of waiting almost 24 hours later. I was very stupid for not having it looked at sooner.

Yes, very stupid. My ignoring the signs and the severity of what was going on could have killed me. I got lucky in respect that all worked out all right for now. But yes, follow ups are in my near future.

Don't be stupid like me, don't ignore the signs if your heart tells you that there is something wrong. It might not be just a case of too much stress. It might be something where treatment is needed as soon as possible!



One-Party Political Control Now In 37 States

The November 6th election left more than two-thirds of states under single-party control beginning in January. With one party holding the governor’s office and majorities in both legislative chambers, it is believed that people in those states may see drastic changes.

The ultra-left New York Times reported that single-party control in at least 37 states means bold partisan agendas will likely grow over the next couple of years, and indicates voters are no longer interested in compromise even though President Barack Obama and Republicans have signaled a greater willingness to reach across the aisle.

As usual the New York Times is full of itself. Voters are interested in compromise, they're just tired of giving away the store for nothing in return.

As for Obama and the Republicans, Obama has nothing to lose and will work to try to achieve something other than the fiscally insane program known as ObamaCare - which I still believe will be repealed somehow down the road.

As for the Republicans, they better not bend over too far in an attempt to kiss the president's ass. Fact is that they are holding on to the House of Representatives and want the Senate in 2014, just two years away. They are going to need a lot if not all of those 56 million voters who stepped forward for Romney if they plan on taking the Senate - or keeping the House.

Anger them by bending over too far and they may find themselves out of a job because those conservative voters just might stay home and hand the whole shooting match over to the communist in the Democrat Party.

Republicans will control 24 states while 13 states will be controlled by Democrats.

And by the way, it's not surprising that Democrats control Legislatures in Minnesota, Oregon, and the left coast called California. Democrats in California now hold a super-majority, so yes citizens of California are expecting them to run the state right into the dirt.

I was very surprised that Colorado went to the Democrats. I really thought those folks had more sense than that. But then I was told not to blame the people who have been their for a few generations, because Colorado now has a huge number of California liberals now living there.

You can recognize them easily. They're the ones who will tell you that your border collie is really a rare tri-colored sheep on the endangered list. Yes, they are full of themselves. So yes Colorado, you might just get what you've voted for.

State governments which are split between the parties are in only 12 states, the lowest since 1952.

Some at the New York Times believe in fairy tales, because they have made the statement that politicians will likely come to realize that one-party control means there’s not as much room to spread around blame, meaning voters could retaliate and switch party control in the next election.

I say they won't care. They will try to get away with as much as they can.

The irony is that the states that have had Republican Governors have shown to have economies that are on the rise as their unemployment drops. The opposite is true for states that have Democrat Governors.

Knowing this, I can't help but wonder how far Democrats can drag down a state with no opposition at all.



Long Island Resident Angry Over Post-Sandy Electric Bills

If Katrina was handled like Sandy, the liberal mainstream media would have called for George W. Bush's impeachment!

It has been one thing after another. No preparation, no aftermath response, and government bureaucrats everywhere except with help.

Those poor people have gone without power, water, housing, food, warmth, and all they have gotten has been insult after insult.

November 1st, it was reported that Environmentalists Groups were saying "Don't Rebuild Jersey Shore."
At the same time, it was reported that looters descended on Coney Island in wake of the storm, and the mayor of New York wanted to divert needed resources to holf a marathon.

November 5th, it was reported that FEMA was unprepared to distribute even something as simple as bottled water to Hurricane Sandy victims when the storm hit. On the same day, it was reported that Post-Sandy price-gouging was taking place, and again there were evacuations ordered as second storm threatened New York.

On the 7th, a nor'easter took it blustering cold into New York and New Jersey. It threatened to swamp homes all over again, plunge neighborhoods back into darkness and inflict more misery on tens of thousands of people still reeling from Superstorm Sandy.

A day later, NYC Mayor Bloomberg ordered gasoline rationing.

Since then local governments have sent housing inspectors to red-tag homes and inform victims that they will be fined and charged if certain things are not done to fix their homes. Power companies drug their feet in getting power to the those in need, and the National Guard has never been called out like it was during Katrina to assist in taking control of looters and crime in the street.

Then on November 24th, it was being reported that some Long Island Power Authority customers are angry because they are charged for electricity in their normal electric bill despite the fact that they have spent weeks without power due to Hurricane Sandy.

That's right! Imagine the gaul it takes to do such a horrible thing!

The New York Post reported that Long Island residents received an estimated rate that covered the entire billing cycle, and the statements made no mention of potential refunds to account for the prolonged blackouts.

"I can't get LIPA to acknowledge my existence on earth to talk to me about anything," Jonathan Saporta told the paper after getting hit with $649 for a home he left in October and $281 bill for his new place. "But I guess they had power, so they could print my bills. Nice, right?"

The utility's hurricane response and preparedness has been horrible with LIPA keeping many victims of Sandy in the cold and dark for weeks on end. 

On the other side, LIPA said in its defense that the storm was worse than anyone could have imagined and that it didn't just damage outdoor electrical lines - it caused flooding that touched home and business breaker boxes. LIPA also acknowledges that an outdated computer system for keeping customers notified has added to people's frustration.

But really, some say the government-run utility should have seen it coming. It was recently criticized in a withering state report for lax preparation ahead of last year's Hurricane Irene and for the 25-year-old computer system used to pinpoint outages and update customers.

At its peak, Hurricane Sandy knocked out power to over 8.5 million customers in 10 states with New York and New Jersey bearing the brunt of the outages.

As for Mr Saporta, for his part he promised to fight the bills.

"I am not paying any of my bills, that much I promise," Saporta said. "They can put me into collections, and I'll fight them tooth-and-nail. It's simply criminal."

I don't blame him for being angry. This whole ordeal that the victims have had to endure is just criminal.

And to me, the worse was Chris Christie and Obama and others all congratulating themselves when nothing was being done yet. It was a terrible sight since they made themselves look fairly desperate and camera hungry.

Their response was their job. Their congratulating themselves was totaling uncalled for. If it was done at all, they should have waited until the all were cared for and the area rebuilt.    



Propaganda From The Unions, The Left, The Democrat Party

Regarding my post on Sunday, November 18, Kool-Aid Drinking Unions Kill Hostess, on November 23, 2012, Anonymous wrote me saying:

"Too much Fox news. Try going to the baker's website and teamster's site and read the experts' reports about Hostess by Dr. Belzer and Harry Wilson, do a little research. Hostess managers ran Hostess into the ground I am proud that the bakers said no. Unions are not the problem, hell the American middle class is because of the unions, the problem is people like you who believe that what Fox news bables about has any relevance to the facts."

When I found that comment this afternoon, I was merely going to post it under the article in the comment section - but then I decided to reply to it.

This is my reply:

Anonymous,

Actually, I read a number of news sources besides FOX News. I do like FOX News a lot, but I really like to look at many others like NewsMax, Wall Street Journal, The Washington Times, Town Hall, and The Mail out of London England. All have relevance on the facts.

It seems that you missed the point of my article. That being, why do unions have a real desire to shoot themselves in the foot when it comes to keeping their members jobs?

The point of my article was not to address ALL of what contributed to the problems at Hostess. And yes, I read on the BCTGM union website their information that they knew the management and financial problems at Hostess. My article was to address the Union's role in striking the final blow that killed Hostess.

Sure, you are correct that management was suffering. But friend, it was the BCTGM Union who made the final blow that killed that 82 year old company. You simple can't get away with saying the union is not responsible for their closing.

And by the way, just for the record, it wasn't the AFL-CIO Teamsters who did it. They apparently saw what was happening and settled in an effort to keep the company alive.

One news agency reported, "The fear of thousands of job losses, for its own members and other unions, led the Teamsters to plead with the BCTGM to hold a secret ballot to determine if bakery workers really wanted to continue with the strike, even with the threat of closure.

Teamsters officials complained that bakery union leaders did not substantively look for a solution or engage in the process, and complained that the BCTGM called for its strike on November 9th without first notifying the Teamsters. They said that, unlike the bakery union, the Teamsters voted to "protect all jobs at Hostess."

It was in fact the BCTGM Union who refused to take less from a company that was in obvious financial trouble. The sad part is that the BCTGM knew that they were in trouble - but didn't seem to give a damn!

Ask yourself why?

Why didn't the BCTGM settle on less in an effort to keep the company going during the company's reorganization during bankruptcy? Why not wait for the company to regain its footing before asking for more? Why bleed an already in trouble company while you knew perfectly well that that company was in dire straits?

Why purposely put yourselves out of work, especially during the Holiday Season, knowing that your demands were already rejected and the company would be forced to close its doors?

As I said in my article, I both belonged to different unions in my life and I worked in security to prevent unions from taking their anger out on the places that they were striking. In security, I watched business after business close during union strikes. And yes, most times the unions stayed out for what they considered "principles" of the strike.

One of the worse that I saw was St Regis Paper Company in Union City California back in the 1980s. I saw that plant go from a place where more than a hundred people worked to being closed over .25 cents and hour difference in what was demanded and what could be paid.

In that strike, the Union got everything it demanded but would not compromise with the company over .25 cents an hour increase. The workers were going to get an increase, just not the full increase that the union demanded.

The company would be able to safe about $70,000 a year by holding back on that .25 cents for all its union workers. That would have enabled the company to hire one or two more union members if things increased as they later did throughout the economy.

The union said they didn't care about the company hiring one or two more of its members. They cared about what their union bosses wanted in showing St Regis Paper its power to bring them to their knees.

Finally St Regis advised them that they could not pay the .25 cents and would have to close the plant in Northern California if the union didn't take their offer of compromise.

After receiving the ultimatum of being closed, union members spiked the tires of the managers and shop foremen coming in to the plant parking. Then a few union members, who were late getting to the picket line, snuck around the building to the loading docks and set a rail road car on fire. The car was filled with rolls of paper delivered for processing.

The next day, the plant closed. The picket line disappeared after the first Teamster driven trucks arrived to remove the machinery.

Vandalism at the plant increased 10 fold after the picket lines were gone. I went there to check on things, and once there I was told that security was primarily concerned with the Union inciting their members to burn down the plant.

Just for the record, the security company that I worked for was Unionized. Yes, of the few different unions that I have belonged to in my life, I belonged to a Security Officers Union at the time.

Months later, I was having a drink at a Honky Tonk in the town of Niles (actually a district of the city of Fremont California) when an older man walked up to me and introduced himself as one of the strikers at the "Old" St Regis plant.

He said he recognized me and wanted to talk about the strike. He said he never thought it would come to that. He said he had 27 years invested at that plant. He said it all went down the drain because his Union was too proud to give in over a mere .25 cents an hour - which amounted to about $500 a year for the average full time worker there. He was in his late 50s and didn't have any prospects for work.

About 6 years later, I saw him working at a convenience store as a clerk behind the counter. We said hello, and said no after I asked if he went to work in another paper plant. He said he was kicked out of the union because he couldn't pay his dues after the plant closed. Besides, he said, there weren't but one other paper plant in the Bay Area at the time.

Like with St Regis Paper about 30 years ago, I feel it was greed and distrust on the part of the union bosses who encouraged the strike vote at Hostess.

I don't believe Unions have the needs of their members in their best interest, the bosses have themselves in their best interest. They know that Union meetings usually have the same guys show up most of the time, and these power hungry bosses want to climb the Union ladder know how to influence those few who vote and keep them in power.

As for your assertion that the Unions built the Middle-Class in America, World War II built America's Middle Class. At the end of the war, the GI Bill enabled education benefits for people who prior to WW II would not have had the opportunities to go to school and make something more of themselves.

That combined with a new found buying power on the side of consumers divided America into more than just the old saw of "the haves and have nots." It created a vibrant Middle-Class America that has become the majority of our society.

And please don't make it sound like all of the rich during the Great Depression were Republicans, over 40% of all of the wealthy people in America during that time were in fact Democrats.

What that means is that over 40% of the wealthy were part of "the haves" that the Democrat Party likes to make the American people think were all Republicans.

Democrats like John F. Kennedy, who once said "the only thing he knew about the Great Depression was what he read in the papers," did little for working Americans during the 1930s.

And please don't say that he wasn't in a position to help working folks working at the time, fact is that John F. Kennedy was born into one of the wealthiest families in America. It is also a fact that in 1938, on his 21st birthday, he was given One Million Dollars by his father.

One million dollars is a big deal now, but back in 1938 it was worth even more. In today's dollars, that was $17 Million dollars today.

While unions have not been the whole problem with shutting down companies like Hostess, unions have never been all that public spirited.

And no, it doesn't surprise me that a lot of people - especially old timers - have a poor opinion of unions. In the spring of 1941, American defense plants were swept with a wave of strikes.

When I was in West Allis, Wisconsin, I found out that the Allis-Chalmers plant which manufactured turbine engines for US Navy Destroyers went on one of the most bitter strikes in history and adversely effecting how many U.S. Navy Destroyers would be built in 1941.

US Destroyers used to get conveys to Great Britain were not available because of labor unions.

In fact, unions did very little to help the War Effort during World War II. In fact just prior to America's entry into the war as a combatant, more than 3,500 strikes took place throughout 1941 when America was ramping up its defense production capabilities. In 1941, union strikes cut defense production by a full 25% of what it should have been. 

In 2011, the union membership rate - the percent of wage and salary workers who were members of a union - was 11.8 percent, essentially unchanged from 11.9 percent in 2010, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The number of wage and salary workers belonging to unions, at 14.8 million, also showed little movement over the year. In 1983, the first year for which comparable union data are available, the union membership rate was 20.1 percent and there were 17.7 million union workers.

This shows a drastic decrease in union membership across the country. And to top that, the biggest group of union workers is not in the private sector at all.

Of the 11.8% of Americans in the union today, government workers have a union membership rate of 37 percent. That's more than five times higher than that of private-sector workers with 6.9 percent.

Maybe the reasons that less Americans are going into the unions have to do with how the unions preform their jobs and treat their members? Maybe the union habit of worrying too much about politics and greed has caught up to them?

Their attitude of always looking out for what's good for them before anyone else has turned off a lot of Americans. They seem to care less about what's good for their paid members, like me who once needed help from my union, and more about their own interest.

As for their reputation in America today, I really believe that their exposure of trying to insert their influence into matters that have very little to do the interests of their membership - and have more with politics and a left agenda - has put unions in a bad light.

A lot of people see unions as more part of the problem than the solution, especially when it comes to its control on public services through hostile union actions like wanting to shut down essential city and national services if their demands aren't met. 

And by the way, if you think that people like me "who believe that what Fox news babels about has any relevance to the facts" are the problem, then I'm sorry to inform you that the really nice part of being Americans is that we have the ability to discern the truth from multiple sources.

Americans are no longer held hostage by having to listen to liberal mouthpieces that guys like you want people to hear. It would be great for folks like you, the liberals, the Democrat Party, the Unions, the Occupy Movement, the anti-Christians, the Atheist, the anti-American revisionists, those on the left, to completely monopolize the news for your own advantage.

Sorry Anonymous, but it's not happening. Like it or not, today many Americans are smarter and a lot more informed. Today, we don't have to buy into the propaganda that guys like you put out. We don't need to watch or read or listen to the official line from the left.  We don't have to buy into the union line anymore.

If Americans care to, today we have all sorts of information sources to better understand the issues. The key is our desire to research and not just accept what a union or a company has to offer in the way of information. Good non-biased information is out there if we look.

I believe that this last election showed that 56 Million Americans were not drinking the Kool-Aid and actually put the nation's best interest ahead of the Obama socialist agenda.

In contrast, 58 Million Americans voted for their own best interest knowing that Obama would pay them back somehow. Their vote shows that more people than thought would prostitute themselves and throw the next generation under the bus.

That's just how I see it!




Story by Tom Correa

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