Monthly Archives: January 2013

Confidential Surveys?

I just filled out a so-called confidential survey for my employer. It’s really not confidential. Aside from some details about me that could be gleaned from my comments, the survey asked for my location, gender, ethnicity, years at my employer, total years of experience in the profession, and for my specific department. Well, if that doesn’t triangulate exactly who I am, I don’t know what will. Even if it narrows things down to one or two individuals, I’m still in trouble if I don’t parrot the party line and say things a potentially vindictive superior doesn’t want to hear.

I’m not surprised. I’m not shrieking about the loss of the right of free speech: that ship sailed long, long ago. My point is that, nowadays, these surveys seem to be less about informing the higher-ups of what’s good and what’s not so good and more about giving them dictatorial-like approval ratings from employees that are too scared about their futures to come forward with anything other than “very satisfied” evaluations for their bosses and work environment.

Allow me to supply the Devil’s Dictionary definition of “confidential survey”: a measure of what percentage of one’s employees are living in fear.

Cold, Dead Hands… Really?

Even though we’ve got a horrible situation as regards the fiscal arrangements of the US Government, much of the nation’s attention is focused on gun control. Well, all right, then… I’ll join in the national dialogue. Rather than go on and on about how the NRA gave legislation to Congress that left the BATF unable to deal with guns in the very way the NRA recently called for them to do, I’ll look at the outpouring of passionate emotions as regards personal weapons and what lies in store for government men that come a-callin’ for them.

First off, the BATF has around 3000 agents, so it won’t be a coordinated, fell swoop that scoops up all the guns. It’ll be individual visits. So, when the BATF shows up to get at a large stash of weapons, what does the person with the weapons do? If he opens fire, he’s committing a criminal act at the very least. If he coordinates with other people that do not want the same fate, then he’s engaging in fomenting rebellion against the USA and its government. No matter how screwed up the government may be, it’s still the government, and it possesses all the resources of the government, particularly in the area of suppressing insurrection.

“It’ll be 1776 all over again!” I’ve heard that sentiment from a number of people, even if not in so many words. Well, just like our Founding Fathers never had breech-loading weapons, let alone fully automatic ones, it’s fair to also say that the colonial governments of the British didn’t have Apache gunships, A-10 ground attack aircraft, or UAV drones, just to name a few things. No, it won’t be 1776.

If people take Charlton Heston’s “cold dead hands” comment to heart, then there is quite a lot of firepower on the part of the USG to make good on that arrangement. The US Army is not about to switch sides and join with a rag-tag band of patriots that have an aggressive interpretation of the 2nd Amendment. The NRA will not be issuing a call to arms to overthrow the government any time soon – and neither will any other group, unless it’s totally insane. I’ll spot the odd war surplus tank or cannon in someone’s private arsenal – they’re bound to be out there, somewhere – but the US Army and National Guard has got any group of half-cocked 1776’ers totally outclassed in terms of firepower, organization, and ability to attain tactical, operational, and strategic goals.

So when the USG manages to pass a set of restrictions on gun legality and someone from the same government shows up to take the firearms, my guess is that most folks will hand them over. Grudgingly and muttering dire prophecies and vile slurs under their breaths, but the folks will hand them over. A few will go down fighting, but there will be no 1776, no 1861, not even a 1968. All the talk about rising up against an overpowering government is just that – talk. The government is overpowering, and, at the end of the day, isn’t about to be bothered by interpretations of the 2nd Amendment that are at variance with its own.

Hannah’s Hug

There is a young girl at my church who warrants special mention. She is proof, to me, that we are all God’s children. She walks with difficulty and speaks with equally labored effort: Dickens would have likened her to Tiny Tim, of that I am sure. She is a wonderful person, though fate has given her challenges that most people do not face. Her name is Hannah, and today, she gave me a hug.

I don’t know exactly what I did to deserve it, but before I could get out of my pew at the end of the services today, Hannah was there and she flung her arms around my neck. She said nothing, just smiled, and I couldn’t hold back the tears. Anger wears down the heart while laughter revs it up: it’s tears, though, that lubricate and maintain the heart. I had me a good, strong, happy sort of cry while Hannah gave me that hug.

She has a lot of hardships, but she sees beyond them – if she sees them at all. And though she struggled to make her way down the aisle to give me the hug I did not expect, she gave freely of what she had to give. She gave a smile and she gave a piece of her heart.

I felt charity with that hug, I truly did. The pure love of God was in that hug, and none can tell me otherwise. I don’t know if it was with a purpose to reassure me for a loss or prepare me for a trial… or if it was simply a wonderful child that needed to share the joy she felt by hugging someone. I don’t know, but I accepted that hug gladly and with humility.

Her hug gives me hope. Thank you very much, Hannah. God bless us, every one!

Masked Wrestlers Save the Day


Currently watching “Santo contra los zombies.” Clunky old black and white b-grade Mexican sci-fi film with cheesy special effects that totally blows away 90% of the garbage coming out of Hollywood these days. 100% fun, fun fun! And if ninjas beat pirates and zombies beat ninjas, then this movie gives hope for humanity: MASKED WRESTLERS BEAT ZOMBIES. Totally awesome news. I’m going to watch “Santo contra las mujeres vampiro” next and I’ll bet pesos to pollos it’ll be way better than any Twilight flick.

Hey, Congress! Remember Sandy? No?

“I would not give one penny to [The Republicans] based on what they did to us last night… [Republicans can] kiss their seats goodbye…because if you can’t provide the most basic assistance for your district, who needs you in Congress?” – Representative Peter King, R-NY

As the House approved the bill to kick the can down the road and climb back up to the edge of the fiscal cliff – because we’re not out of the woods on that one, yet – it failed to consider a bill to assist victims of Sandy. They managed to increase their own salaries and continue to allow the government to wiretap and record all Internet activity without warrant, but they failed to remember the poor and suffering of the nation.

Yes, I know there’s too much spending in government. I heartily agree that there have to be fundamental restructurings of entitlement programs, or we’re all going down the tubes. But one function of a government is to take resources from one part of the nation that’s doing well and ship them over to another part that isn’t. It’s one of the most basic forms of government. I *want* my government to help out the people hit by disasters, not only because I might need some of that help myself one day, but because it’s the right and compassionate thing to do.

The GOP holds the gavel in the House, and it was their responsibility to remember the poor in that body. They have failed, and our nation fails with that decision. No matter how many times we sing “America the Beautiful”, God won’t shed his grace on us if, as a nation, we fail to remember His most simple of rules: to love our neighbors as we love ourselves.