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Archive for October, 2010

…fun when they are actually doing something cute – but usually just crying, and shitting all over.

Okay, just kidding… unions are never cute.

My long absence from writing was re-awoken this morning upon seeing the picture below in the Wall Street Journal.  The French, if you didn’t know, are embroiled in major strikes because of government proposed changes to the retirement age from 60 to 62 (sacrebleu!).  Gas stations have run dry as refinery workers protest, workers blocked the road to the airport causing travelers to walk on foot (see the sideshow in the above link for more photos of fires, trash, and general mayhem).  And why is the government proposing the age increase?  Because the pension is unfunded and people are living longer and taxes are already stifling the countries economy.  But this would only make sense to the sane – and un-entitled.

I know how to use colors in my sign!

The thing that annoys me most about unions (and this is primarily the ones overseas, because thank goodness ours don’t pull this crap) is how their intent of making everyone suffer until their needs are met is the primary concern.  And this is where the baby comparison comes in.  How does shutting down gas stations that your fellow Frenchmen use help your cause?  Or making people walk to the airport?  Imagine being at a restaurant and someone not getting the salad they ordered and so they take everyone hostage.  It’s infuriating.  And it’s the same thing we witnessed in Greece.  A country is drowning in the ocean, and the people want it to rub suntan lotion on their back while they sleep on their stomachs (bad analogy – or brilliant?).  I’ve never understood how this mentality gathers any support.  Hundreds of subway workers are unhappy so they strand thousands and reduce the productivity of a city to near nothing.  Unions are the only group who’s mob behavior is celebrated – except for the mob that is, with whom Americans are fascinated.

The unions in Europe are worse than America, because they have been bred on a welfare state mentality for far too long.  And that is why I am fiercely anti-union (see here, here, here, here, and here if you don’t believe me).  I don’t want to see our amazing country ever reduced to a spectacle such as this.  Thankfully our unions simply picket and use the same bumper sticker from the 1920’s, rather than set fire to things.  But that day may come – if you don’t discipline the baby, you get a rotten kid.

So what is there for us to do?  Is it possible to protest the protesters?  Well, we have but the government will come around on their side.  We choose to buy from Toyota or other car makers who’s non-union cars are more pleasing and affordable for us – and the government bails out GM.  We put our kids in private school and ask for our tax money back and are laughed at.  We ask for a Walmart in our town, and the city council creates rules about square footage.  At least for the time being we can shop at Trader Joe’s which pays better than union grocers – but, hey that still won’t stop unions from picketing them.

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LinkedIn?

Can anyone explain to me what this website is supposed to accomplish?  About three years ago someone sent me an email asking me to connect to them on LinkedIn.  I emailed back, asking him why he wanted me to do this.  His response was that he wanted me to be added to his network, or something like that.  Well, I didn’t get it- was this a more professional version of Facebook?  I’ve resisted Facebook, Myspace, and every other social networking site.  But the guy asking me to join his network is a very serious man (to borrow from the Coen Brothers), so I figured that I might as well sign up and, in time, I’m probably figure out what this was all about.  Maybe it would lead to some work opportunity or something.

Then, I got more requests, and I indulged them, still completely unclear as to the objective of all of this linking.  Most of the requests came from likewise serious people, such as pastors at my church.  OK, so there must be some clear benefit to all of this right?  But after linking with at least 10 or 15 people, I still couldn’t figure out one single positive upside to the time it took me to log in to my account and click some box accepting invitations to “link.”  So finally, I stopped responding to all requests.  Occasionally I read the LinkedIn updates that are sent to me, and they are always filled with pressing information such as “So and so is now connected with some other person.”  Why would that information be useful to me?

So someone please answer some questions for me: When I ignore a request to “link” am I actually being rude?  If I do link with all of these people making the request, can someone please tell me what positive benefits I might expect from this?  Can anyone share a story of how LinkedIn created some kind of actual, tangible benefit in their life?  And if there is no benefit, can we all agree to stop sending these requests to each other?

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