Saturday, October 31, 2009

Caveat Lectores from Devil’s Neck to Sleepy Hollow

This begins with the caveat that the Lector has a three beer buzz going that motivates this Rant.

E/S and I had lunch at the Sleepy Hollow biker bar just down the road from Devil’s Neck. People know about Sleepy Hollow ( who never heard of Floral City. We ended up there after deciding to just drive around until we found it.
Here are the directions: leave the house on Devil’s Neck and keep turning right until you get there. That is all I can tell you. Other people find it. So can you. Apparently, riding a motorcycle will make it easier to find because nearly everyone there is on a bike. There were a few cars and trucks, nearly all of which were American made. There was only one M3 in the afterthought car lot so my car was easy to find when we left.

I loved the place. Actually it was the people I loved. Let me describe the demographics:
· Lots of facial hair on the men
· Ponytails abound on men and women
· Weathered faces, more burned by the sun than tanned on the beach
· Tattoos
· Beer bellies are common except on the really skinny women
· Lots of Marlboro Red lung bleeder smokers
· Budweiser is the beer of choice for this crowd
· Jeans and boots everywhere
· Not a lot of silicone enhanced breasts or face lifts
· Leather vests, ball caps and do-rags
· Vietnam vets are noted as are Marines
· VFW and American Legion are making a comeback
· The crowd is getting older, three wheelers are common
· The band plays both types of music, Country AND Western
· Their version of Cocaine sounded like it should. J.J.Cale would approve
· There were some pseudo bikers, but these people work for a living
· I would like to think they made up more than the average of union members
· I really liked them and being there although I doubt we would agree on politics

We need a lot more people like that, but they were not racially or ethnically diverse. Affirmative action is not an issue but I suspect they have the capacity to accept a lot more than it looks like. Anyone who earns their respect would fit right in.

If you are ever near the house on Devil’s Neck, just ask for directions to Sleepy Hollow. Everyone knows how to get there.

And oh yes, have a nice day.

Caveat Lectores from the Devil’s Neck

It is a little difficult for me to conjure up a Rant from the house on Devil’s Neck* but…. I am up to the task after reading an Email from a trusted colleague I have known for many years. His emails tend to either contain religious messages (wasted on me), pictures of nude or nearly nude good looking women (always welcome) or right wing conservative comments disparaging the President and anyone who would not qualify as a John Burch supporter. While I usually encourage spirited debate on political issues, this type of garbage is just that. The subject line read like this:


It is story about “new” evidence of a transcript from a college that asserts the President is a foreigner who applied for financial aid and was awarded a fellowship for foreign students from the Fulbright Foundation Scholarship program. This damning evidence has nothing to do with the Supreme Court when you realize the Supreme Court, controlled by a conservative majority, has refused to pander to the madness of the “birthers.”

The purported news article was an April Fool’s Day hoax and nothing more.
The person who sent the email to me and surely others continues to fall prey to incredible gullibility because of an irrationally intense dislike of the current President. This malady causes pitiful attempts to bring discredit upon President Obama only to bring discredit upon himself. Why this person is willing to go to such lengths is known only in his inner mind.

I recognize there is nothing I will contribute that will cause these poor souls to convert to supporters of the President, but I am very disappointed they will go to such extremes to undermine him they that they will cause themselves to look foolish in the eyes of others who actually check up on the source of such Bull Sh*t.

When it became obvious that the rumors about former President Bush’s many bad characteristics could not be proven I gave it up and focused on others weaknesses he so obviously displayed. Maybe it is time for others to do the same.

Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck and a score of other right wing commentators blinded by hate and their own greedy desire for fame are doing all that is necessary to destroy the Republican Party without amateurs getting onto the fight.

President Obama has made enough real missteps, on his own, to make my future more difficult. The amateurs only have an audience among themselves. Kinda like preaching to the choir.

And oh yes, have a nice day?

*FYI. Devil’s Neck is a peninsula that roars out into a lake called Floral City Lake. The “House on Devil’s Neck” is not mine but it could feel like home. I will stick with Devil’s Neck because it sounds more manly and mean. Floral City Lake sounds a little, well... You know.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Caveat Lectores on Remarks by the President at DSCC/DCCC Reception in Miami

“We provided relief to states so they wouldn’t have to lay off teachers and cops and firefighters.”

On behalf of the hundreds, possibly even thousands of Florida public employees, including cops, teachers and firefighters who have lost their jobs, I want to express my disappointment in the President that he would make such a statement.

Where the f**k has he been?

And Oh yes, have a nice day!


Sunday, October 25, 2009

Caveat Lectores on New FTC Rules

In the interest of full disclosure and open and honest transparency about the relationship among me, Caveat Lectores and Lectores Labor Consulting, a wholly owned subsidiary of Lectores Information Technology, LLC, please let me state this: This whole operation is designed to figure out a way to pay for my insane desire to help public employees live a better professional life. Everything about this is commercial with the intent to sell something and give me an outlet for what is sometimes my rage disguised as a civilized Rant called Caveat Lectores.

There are some new FTC rules coming out in December 2009 that I do not yet fully understand, but I want to beat the rush to submit to government censorship.

Lectores Labor Consulting and Lectores Information Technology, LLC gives me free copies of the books and CDs that I wrote in order to allow me to plug them in my Blog. I admit it. I would allow them (me) to pay me (myself) bribes, if there was any money flowing from this.

Now, I feel so much better. Long live government censorship.

Please review the advertisements and order something. If it were not for my intense desire to impress rather than annoy, these Rants would be a lot more severe.

And oh yes, have a nice day!


Saturday, October 24, 2009

Caveat Lectores on Media Coverage

Firefighter who fell down pole shaft gets $12.7 million
Jones currently lives with his twin sister, Lt. Meg Jones, who also is a Seattle firefighter and his guardian. The union negotiated for other firefighters to take her shifts voluntarily so she wouldn't have to use vacation or sick time ...

Please go to the link. Read the entire article and the first response to the article.

If you just read the headline you get the impression a firefighter has found a way to make a fortune off the “system,” but that is not the case here. Yes, it was a firefighter who fell who may receive nearly 13 million dollars BUT…..

After he pays for his past and future medical bills, a guardian and caretaker, his attorney fees and all it will take to keep him alive for a few years, falling down a negligently designed and maintained “pole hole” on his head was not a winning ticket to the lottery. At best, he will live out his years without becoming a total burden to his family and society or one of those poor and socially abandoned homeless people we avoid when we pass them on the street.

The facts indicate a lot more than does the headline. What is the moral of the story? The news media is not your friend.

The news media does what it takes to get people to read the medium so there will be wide spread circulation so advertising rates will pay the bills. This is not subversive to anything, but it is dangerous to believe the news media is on your side. Done correctly, the news media is on no one’s side except the public it supposedly serves.

The press, so-called fourth estate, is supposed to keep its eye on those in power to keep them honest, more or less. The actual news article appears to be an honest recounting of what happened to that unfortunate firefighter, but the headline is not. I will let you determine the public purpose of that headline.

The headline took a cheap shot at firefighters and other public employees. As you know, public employee bashing is popular right now.

The headline should have been this…
“Severely Injured Firefighter May be Partially Compensated for Injuries “

And oh yes, have a nice day.


Sunday, October 18, 2009

Caveat Lectores on the Value of Unions

At an Oktoberfest get-together this past Saturday, I encountered two former Employment Law students. I am proud to say they were good students and both are in graduate school. One former student is in law school and credits me with motivating him to become an attorney. That is a little scary, but I will enjoy the image of me as a mentor. I am always afraid that the motivation went like this: “If he can make it through law school, so can I.”

The other student is more familiar to me and getting a master’s degree in Economics. I enjoy speaking with him because I fancy myself a student of economic theory and have claimed to have what could be considered a dual undergraduate major in Business Administration and Economics. I am not sure that is correct, but I did take several courses in economics, and that makes me a self-styled expert.

Remember, we met at a bar so my professorial demeanor was diminished by Paulaner Beer. His pretense of professorial respect had diminished, as well.

Somehow we started to talk about labor unions and how unions interfered with the economic models that work best. He excited my indignation when he said that unions existed only for the benefit of the union leadership. Naturally, this college student has never lead a union nor even belonged to one. He is the victim of his upbringing and anti- union readings, lectures from teachers and peers who know, at best, little more about how unions work than he.

Unfortunately, he may not be entirely incorrect. Unions do indeed interfere with the employer’s unilateral manipulation of the workplace. So far as I can determine, that is their purpose. He was correct when he said the need for unions,in many areas of protections for employees, has been supplanted by the laws the unions helped to pass. (OSHA, ERISA, COBRA, HIPAA, Title VII, FLSA, et al)

Where he was dead wrong was in the statement that unions exist only for the benefit of union leaders. He may know more than I about economic theory after one semester of graduate school, but he is ignorant of union leadership and will likely remain so. That is the risk of academic education. He can become an expert and develop “educated” opinions without the benefit or burden of experience.

Most union leadership is performed at the lowest levels. Local union leaders seldom prosper because of their involvement. They occasionally receive some payment for their time, but the good feeling that comes from helping others is about all they get. At the upper levels of national leadership the remuneration is much, much greater. However, there have never been any national union leaders who even begin to make as much as the upper level corporate executives of the 21st century. This was a major source of our discordant social intercourse as well.

I am reminded of a speech I gave to an IRRA labor management group about twenty years ago. I offended all in the room when I said that my experience with both labor and management convinced me that, as far as greed and corruption were concerned, labor could be just a greedy and corrupt as management just not as successfully. The most corrupt of labor leaders have never robbed the economy like today’s robber barons who call themselves banking executives, CEOs, CFOs. Just read the papers about executive pay gaps. The Internet has a lot of information about this topic.

15 Oct 2009 Goldman Sachs Nine-Month Compensation Totals $527192 a Person ...

And oh yes, have a nice day.


Caveat Lectores on American Flag Display

This is a tough one. Or is it?

A Pennsylvania firefighter is being disciplined because he refused to remove an American flag from the outside surface of a locker he used for personal items. Notice I did not say “his” locker.

Apparently, this saga started when someone made a complaint about something objectionable displayed on a locker. The employer overreacted and told everyone to remove everything from the outside of the lockers. The employee refused to remove the flag, and we now have an employee disciplined because of patriotic respect for “Old Glory.”

No one will win this battle. Somebody needs to blink so we can move on with what is important. Thirty-five years involvement with the fire service tells me there is more to this story. I will not speculate about what is between the lines. Go to for the story.

The firefighter must recognize that rules are rules he must follow unless doing so will endanger a life. He could have removed the flag and made a complaint that could have served him well, but he may have not gotten his name in the news.

The employer must recognize such reactionary management only makes management look stupid in the eyes of the employees and now the public. No one cared about what was on the lockers until someone complained about something racially offensive. Rather than deal with the real problem, the employer decided to start enforcing a rule that had been apparently violated for a long time. Unfortunately, this is typical behavior from far too many fire managers.

Why not have the department buy American flag decals for all the lockers and require they be displayed? Remember, the lockers are the property of the American people. I will bet I can get somebody to donate the decals. I have seen IAFF emblems with an American flag on them. The union should donate the decals. If there are any rats or scabs in the department, they may complain because they have to look at a union endorsement. Oh well, you cannot please everyone.

And oh yes, have a nice day.


Caveat Lectores on FLSA Overtime, Again!

Apparently, the Ft. Myers, Florida newspaper did not read my blog on overtime a couple of weeks ago. It is found here at:

The media and nay sayers are attacking firefighters in Lee County for making too much money by working the overtime their employer requires someone to work. They either volunteer or are ordered to do so and then are attacked because they are paid according to a federal law. It is a law, stupid! Does someone have a hard-on for public employees or what? Since when is working long hours and doing a good job such a sin?

Yes, times are bad in Lee County. A concocted tax revolt and sinking economy has made taxes scarce. So let’s attack the public employees for doing their jobs. That will make it all better. What a bunch of #^*&$# numbnuts.

One of the major cities in Lee County has even asked its employees to take a “voluntary “ pay reduction. Never mind there is a union that bargains wages. The city even put a deadline for taking such a cut in pay. How can you put a deadline on something you want people to do voluntarily? The cutoff was Friday. I wonder if the same city “fathers” requested its citizens to voluntarily pay a little more in taxes to pay for the services they receive. There are about 600,000 people living in Lee County. $1.66 per person per year amounts to nearly $1 million dollars to pay for needed services. Instead, they attack their firefighters and ask the employees to volunteer to take a pay cut after layoffs did not save enough money. Go figger. There must be something in the water that causes complete loss of reasoning ability.

And oh yes, have a nice day.


Saturday, October 10, 2009

Caveat Lectores on the Nobel Peace Prize

At first, I was merely surprised, not stunned, that President Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize "for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples." He is young and has not had fifty years of failure mixed with success to provide support that he is deserving. I filed it in the knowledge bin like all the other announcements of like nature and moved on. But then, I started to feel the pressure of the explosion of bigotry and right wing revulsion from those elements of American society who cannot accept that a dark knight could be so well thought of by a world community that has accepted that a non-white, non- Anglo Saxon can actually be a leader.

I assume the racists made loud protests when Dr. King won the prize in 1964 and maybe less so when Archbishop Tutu won. Nelson Mandela caused some controversy as have many others even if not cursed with dark skin. Al Gore won the prize because of his work trying to convince the world about climate change, and there is still a too large segment of our country that does not accept that reality. I assume many of those same people really believe the world was created in six days.

Rather than be proud of American accomplishment, there are those among us who want to denigrate the honor. We Americans do not control the committee who makes the decision. That must be pretty hard for some to accept. My opinion of the validity of the award is as valueless as all the others who agree or disagree on whether the President of the United States, who some still believe is a foreigner, is worthy. Somebody else made the decision. Get over it.

Here is what I say to my President who has now become a Nobel Laureate.

I am a proud American who is proud of the honor bestowed upon you. Now get your skinny brown ass in gear and become the peacemaker somebody thinks you are. You are fighting two wars. There is nothing to win. You did not start them, but you must figure out a way to end the madness, or you should give back the award and the cash.

And oh yes, Have a nice day!