High school senior

May 10, 2010

Once a high school senior has completed his required classes to graduate, they should be allowed to go to school for half a day and work the other half. I would much rather see the student start working on their future by getting some college courses done. If work is a must then keeping them in school is not going to do them any good.

Oral Composition

April 24, 2010

As I stand in line at the American Airlines ticket counter in DCA, I hear complaining about the $25 charge for a checked bag. The American agent tells the consumer, at least they are not charging for carry-on bags. The response of the consumer was “Who would do that? I wouldn’t pay it!” The answer is Spirit airlines will start charging for carry-on bags in August of this year. Free market has already started doing its job.

According to Spirit CEO Ben Baldanza, charging for carry-on bags will lend to having fewer carry-on bags. This will be a benefit to the passengers in many aspects. The boarding and deplaning time will be faster. There is also the added benefit of having overhead space when you need it. It is widely reported that the number one complaint people have about boarding is other passengers whose bags are too large to fit in the overhead bins and the time it takes to board and deplane the aircraft.

Baldanza said the idea is to get customers to pay for individual things they want, while keeping the base fare low. Carry-on bags that fit in the overhead bin will cost fliers $45 if paid for at the gate and $30 if paid online or at ticket counter. Fare club members pay $20 for each carry-on bag. There is no charge for carry-on items that fit under the seat. Baldanza states an interview with Fox news that Spirit has dropped base ticket prices by at least $45 to cover for the carry-on bag fee. He also states the checked bag fee were lowered.

Spirit is not breaking new ground by charging for extras on flights. Airlines have been charging extra fees for food service, checked bags, even for making reservations on the phone, basically anything they can. There is a loophole in the tax law that allows revenue produced on anything other than airfare to be taxed differently. There is basically an incentive to charge for “extras” when it comes to air travel, like the checked-bag charge. Most major air carriers started adding checked-bag fees in 2008. The airlines reported collecting nearly $740 million in baggage fees in the third quarter of 2009, according to U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics. (Pawlowski 6 Apr. 2010)

Congress is now accusing Spirit of going to far by charging for carry-on bags. Senator Charles Schumer’s concern is that other airlines will follow Spirit’s example by also charging for carry-on bags and not lower prices and consumers will get the short end of the stick. Senator Schumer said the law allows airlines to charge for anything that is not necessary for passengers to carry on board. He and Senator Ben Cardin said that carry-on bags do contain necessary items such as baby formula and medicine. Congress is moving to pass legislation that classifies carry-on bags as essential personal items. (Lowy, Joan 06 May 2010)

On the surface Spirit charging for carry-on bags seems to be just another way for airlines to raise ticket prices without putting it on the ticket. This may be true but we are part of a free market and the consumer will ultimately decide what they will pay for. Five major airlines have said they will not charge for carry-on bags but that is not true. You pay for all the amenities when you buy your high priced ticket. You are paying for your pillows, the bathrooms, oxygen masks, pilots, flight attendants and yes your carry-on bags. Most major airlines bundle all these small items together into the ticket price so you are paying for a pillow if you use it or not. It would be like the grocery store raising the price of bread to cover the cost of butter. Not everyone gets butter with bread or even wants butter. Why would you have to pay for it if you don’t want it? Spirit is an unbundled airline with an ultra-low cost. You pay for the services you use. Is Spirit’s plan going to work? Will it reduce time to load and disembark the airplane? Will Spirit raise prices in a year back to what they were? I don’t know the answers to any of these questions but what I do know is the free market will quickly and accurately decide what the people will stand for.

Work Cited

(Pawlowski, By A. “Airline to Charge for Carry-on Bags – CNN.com.” CNN.com International – Breaking, World, Business, Sports, Entertainment and Video News. 6 Apr. 2010. Web. 08 May 2010. <http://edition.cnn.com/2010/TRAVEL/04/06/spirit.carryon.fees/index.html)

(Lowy, Joan. "Spirit Airlines CEO Says Carry-on Fees Will Be Disclosed, Overall Ticket Prices Still Lowest – 5/6/2010 5:52:14 PM | Newser." Newser | Headline News Summaries, World News, Breaking News, and Local News. 06 May 2010. Web. 8 May 2010. <http://www.newser.com/article/d9fhkg7g0/spirit-airlines-ceo-says-carry-on-fees-will-be-disclosed-overall-ticket-prices-still-lowest.html.)

YouTube – 'Nickled and Dimed' at 30,000 Feet. YouTube – Broadcast Yourself. Web. 24 Apr. 2010. .

YouTube – Spirit Airlines CEO on Charging for Carry-Ons. YouTube – Broadcast Yourself. Web. 24 Apr. 2010. .

Teach someone something new

April 15, 2010

As a Crew Chief Evaluator for Gulfstream aircraft, G-IV and 550, I have the opportunity to teach a lot.  It is one of the most remarkable feelings to see the “light bulb” come on for someone.   A new Crew Chief  is like an empty glass and filling it to the brim with aircraft information is beyond rewarding it is addicting, I can’t get enough of it.

The new Crew Chiefs are a lot of the time 18 year old kids directly out of aircrew school with no aircraft experience.   It is the evaluator and instructors job to take these prospective Crew Chiefs and form them into system experts.  Within 6 months they are qualified and have learned more about aircraft than they ever wanted to.  We teach them by taking the aircraft system by system and breaking it down little by little and then putting it all back together again.  These 18 year old kids will be the future of the platform and have to be taught the right way now.  Bad habits are like a poison that continues to be passed from one to the other, watering down the entire system. 

The instructors are taught how to give a checkride and evaluate someone’s performance.  As the evaluator, I set the standard and expect my instructors not to just be a question asker, teach them something.  Do not ask questions you do not know the answer too.  Asking a question you do not know the answer to is like telling your doctor how he should do your operation.  I know that it seems this should go without being said but I can’t count how many instructors I have caught asking trivia type questions and they do not even know the answer to it themselves.  Some of my other pet peeves are; it is not a secret tell your students everything you know.  Tell your student how smart you are, is like your boss telling you he is the boss, it is not needed. 

One of my rewards comes when I teach my instructors, using a lesson and watch them add it to their tool belt for later use.  Even better to watch them take your lesson and use it with a student.  The best reward is when one of your students tells someone else how much you have taught them with no intent on you ever hearing it.      

 I enjoy my job not only because I enjoy flying but because I enjoy teaching the airplane.  I have a passion for what I do and I know that crosses over to motivating my instructors and students.  I can not overstate the importance to the program, which we have to have guys that have a thrust for knowledge.  It is not good enough to just be qualified, you have to learn the finer details of the job and then pass what you have learned on to the next student.  The addiction to watching my students “get it” has been what has made my flying career worth wild.

NFL overtime rule change

April 14, 2010

In the NFL, the team that has the highest score at the end of 4 quarters wins the game.  If there is a tie at the end of 4 quarters the game goes into sudden death overtime.  The first team to score wins.  That is, until the recent postseason overtime rule change the NFL owners recently passed.  

 The NFL owners voted to change the overtime rule for the postseason.  The new postseason overtime rules are;

  • Both teams must have the opportunity to possess the ball once during the extra period, unless the team that receives the opening kickoff scores a touchdown on its initial possession, in which case it is the winner.
  • If the team that possesses the ball first scores a field goal on its initial possession, the other team shall have the opportunity to possess the ball. If [that team] scores a touchdown on its possession, it is the winner. If the score is tied after [both teams have a] possession, the team next scoring by any method shall be the winner.
  • If the score is tied at the end of a 15-minute overtime period, or if [the overtime period’s] initial possession has not ended, another overtime period will begin, and play will continue until a score is made, regardless of how many 15-minute periods are necessary. (Mortensen, Chris, and John Clayton. “NFL Owners Pass Playoff Overtime Rules Modification)

The owners added a rule that changes part of the season, that is like changing your pants everyday but leaving your shirt the same.  It doesn’t make any since.

It is a fact that 60% of overtime games are won by the team that wins the coin toss, a very decided advantage. (Advanced NFL Stats) This tells me that the overtime rule needed to be changed, but why would you change it in a way that makes less since than the original 1974 rule.  Why not adopt the college rule or just play another full quarter.   The NFL has defined ways of scoring; now during one portion of the game a field goal is no longer good enough. 

In 2010 the New Orleans Saints won the super bowl.  On the way to the super bowl the Saints won a overtime game over the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC Championship game.  They won on a field goal, with the new rule everything would have changed.  Coaches would have more decisions to worry about. What if it’s fourth down and three yards to go on the opposition’s 33 yard line? Do you kick a field goal? Or do you go for it, keeping the drive alive and maybe score a TD and never have to worry about playing defense? (Barker, David. “The NFL Overtime Rule Change Causes Coaches Heartburn.”)

It was time to change the NFL overtime rule but the owners didn’t make the best decision.  They fixed a symptom of the problem instead of addressing the real problem.  They have said kicking a field goal is no longer good enough to win in overtime postseason.  Why is it then good enough to win in the first 4 quarters?  Why is it good enough to win in overtime of the regular season?  The field goal is only a symptom of the problem.  The real problem is the fact that each team doesn’t have a chance to touch the ball.  The owners needed to only address this by allowing each team a chance to score in overtime.  The game fundamentally stays the same and it gives each team a chance to win.   

 Work Cited

Mortensen, Chris, and John Clayton. “NFL Owners Pass Playoff Overtime Rules Modification – ESPN.” ESPN: The Worldwide Leader In Sports. 24 Mar. 2010. Web. 14 Apr. 2010. http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/news/story?id=5022064.

Advanced NFL Stats. Web. 14 Apr. 2010. http://www.advancednflstats.com/.

Barker, David. “The NFL Overtime Rule Change Causes Coaches Heartburn.” 26 Mar. 2010. Web. 14 Apr. 2010. <http://bleacherreport.com/articles/369172-the-nfl-overtime-rule-change-causes-coaches-heartburn>.

Are competitive sports good for kids

April 8, 2010

Are competitive sports good for kids?  There has been more than one report that competitive sports in young kids are leading to over-competitiveness that leads to poor sportsmanship and burning the kids out before high school.  These reports admit that sports are a way to get kids physical fitness training but don’t think children should be playing competitively.

 Mallory Holtman the first baseman for Central Washington showed the ultimate display of sportsmanship in 2008.  Her team was playing Western Oregon in a softball playoff game.  The batter, Sara Tucholsky, hit a home run with two runners on base.  This 3 run shot would give Western Oregon a 4 to 2 lead.  Sara pulled her anterior cruciate ligament at first base and was unable to round the bases on her own.  The umpire informed Oregon coaches that if any Oregon player touched Sara, she would be out.  She had to touch all the bases for the home run to count.  There is no rule that the opposing team can’t touch her.  With the game on the line, Mallory and a Central teammate picked up Sara and carried her around the bases.  “We started laughing when we touched second base,” Holtman said.  “I wonder what this must look like to other people.”  She got her answer when they arrived at home plate, “My whole team was crying, everybody in the stands was crying.  My coach was crying.  It touched a lot of people.”  It does not sound like these players who started playing at a young age are too competitive to know the right thing to do. (Prince, Seth. “Softball Opponents Offer Unique Display of Sportsmanship.” The Oregonian. 29 Apr. 2008. Web. 7 Apr. 2010.)

 It is clear that being active in youth sports have many benefits, for the kid and for our society.  It deters negative behavior, promotes teamwork and teaches leadership to name a few positive characteristics.  “If it were not for interscholastic athletics or something like it, the rebellion against school, the rate of drop-out and the delinquency of boys might be far worse than they presently are.” (Ewing, Martha E. “Youth Sports in America: An Overview.” Youth Sports in America: An Overview. 07 Apr. 2010).  All the positive characteristics in the world can’t top the most important thing, the memories and bonds created for a life time.  

I have 4 children, they all are in or have been in sports.  Sportsmanship, teamwork and hard work have been instilled in them from a young age.  It has kept them out of trouble and in the books.  A bad grade and they have to hang up the cleats.  If you need to see the joy sports bring to a kid.  Just watch the look on their face as they put their first baseball uniform or drive in the winning run.  Sports may not be for every kid that is for the parents to decide.  For me and my childhood friends it was great, we created relationships and learned tools that I have carried throughout my life.  I can only hope my kids enjoy them as much and build the bonds that last a life time. 

Work Cited

(Prince, Seth. “Softball Opponents Offer Unique Display of Sportsmanship.” The Oregonian. 29 Apr. 2008. Web. 7 Apr. 2010.)

(Ewing, Martha E. “Youth Sports in America: An Overview.” Youth Sports in America: An Overview. 07 Apr. 2010)

Here lies a United States Chief

April 7, 2010

Here lies a United States Navy Chief.  He will be welcomed into Davie Jones’ locker by the Chiefs that have passed before him.   What dies with him is not much; he has already passed the heritage and trained his sailors.  His legacy will be lived out at the scuttlebutt and in the gedunk over and over again by the Sailors who knew him and the others who knew of him.  When the stories of strange lands and closing down bars have ended, what is left is the strong men he mentored and led to take over the Navy.    

Although he was born in July he celebrated his birthday on the 1st of April, the Chiefs birthday.  He expected his sailors, department head and even family to wish him a happy birthday that day without exception.  His mother was even expected to recognize that day as his new birthday.  He knew he was born a Chief and just had to wait on the selection board to catch up.

The proudest moments to this Chief was when one of his former Sailors was selected for promotion for Chief.  Not only for the obvious reason but also because this meant Chief’s induction was here and for him that is like going to church.  With lessons of tradition, patriotism and heritage, the soon to be boot Chiefs started understanding their new role in running the Navy.  “It is not about you anymore shipmate, it is about your sailors, your command, and our Navy.”     

When asked how long he had been in the Navy he would respond, in a voice you would swear came from a Viking pirate ship;

 “All me bloomin’ life!

Me mother was a mermaid, me father was King Neptune.

I was born on the crest of a wave and rocked in the cradle of the deep.

Seaweed and barnacles are me clothes.

Every tooth in me head’s a marlinspike; the hair on me head is hemp.

Every bone in me body is a spar, and when I spits, I spits tar!

I’se hard, I is, I am, I ARRRRR!”

The Chief was as tough as the deckplate on USS Constitution and never accepted excuses for being late, not helping a shipmate, or running out of coffee.  He had to be hard, the Navy needed him to take eighteen year-old idiots and hammer them into Sailors.  He completed this by being an expert at choosing descriptive expletives, adjectives and nouns, none of which his mother would endorse.  It is a good thing he did, those are the Sailors that will relieve him today; thanks to him they are ready. 

He had rows of hard-earned, worn and faded ribbons, but he would tell you that a ribbon does not make you a good Sailor.  He lived by the Navy core values of honor, courage and commitment.  He set the example and understood that when Chiefs lead, the Navy excels, and where Chiefs fail, we all fail.  I am sure the thing he will miss the most is sitting at the goatlocker sharing sea stories that were bigger than life.  At his request his fouled anchors were buried outside of the goatlocker, so let the sea stories roll and don’t be surprised if you hear that pirate voice laugh or raise the BS flag on one of the stories.

 Here lies a United States Navy Chief.  There is no name attached, he answered only to Chief.  A name is not needed to define him you only need to know that he bled blue and gold, and the Navy traditions lived through him.  He will be missed by his sailors, his mess, and his Navy.  But on today’s date he has been ordered to Davie Jones’ locker and the Chief always responds to every lawful order with an “Aye Aye”.  Chief, we wish you the traditional fair winds and following seas.

The Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009

April 1, 2010

The Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009 is legislation geared to protect American consumers from abusive fees, penalties, interest rate increases and other unwarranted changes in their accounts. The most sweeping statutory changes in card protections for consumers since the Truth in Lending Act was enacted in 1968 (“Credit Cards: New Law Protects Consumers from Surprise Fees, Rate Increases and Other Penalties.” FDIC Consumer News. Summer 2009. Web). The legislation prevents credit card companies from increasing a consumer’s interest rate without 45 days advance notice, it also prevents banks from charging over-the-limit fees without the consumer opting-in. Prior to this law, credit card companies made a majority of its profit with over-the-limit fees and other abusive penalties.

The banks are taking a stance that they need the income and that this legislation stands to further the problem. It is a fact that the baking system is in trouble but it shouldn’t be up to consumers to pay outrageous interest rates imposed by credit card companies to bail them out. The banks troubles were not caused by the consumer, it is back pay for years of approving bad loans and even worse business decisions.

The bill even protects young consumers, under the age 21, by requiring that credit card issuers to obtain an application that contains either: (1) the signature of a parent, guardian, other qualified individual willing to take financial responsibility for the debt; (2) information indicating an independent means of repaying any credit extended; or (3) proof that the applicant has completed a certified financial literacy or financial education course. (United States. Cong. House Financial Services. Library of Congress. 111 Cong. Cong H.R. 627. Web. 30 Mar. 2010.) This alone will help college student start their life without credit card bills that they will never payoff.

At the end of last year, the interest rate on Susan Moriarity’s Visa business card from Chase was about 13%. A bit high, she thought, but her law firm in Santa Barbara, Calif., was busy. Then, in January, when business slowed, Moriarity began to carry a balance — and her interest rate climbed to 27.9%. When she called a customer service representative, she was told the hike reflected risk in the overall market: “I said, ’so this has nothing to do with anything we’ve done wrong, you’re just raising the rate because you legally can do so?’ And she replied, ‘well, I wouldn’t put it that way… but yes.’” (Ransom, DIANA. Wall Street Journal. 26 Feb. 2010. Web. 30 Mar. 2010).  With the passing of the Credit Card Act this type of action is a thing of the past.

The credit card act is a step in the right direction. It regulates, protects and provides a tool that will help consumers manage their debt. With the change in the over-the-limit fees Americans will be forced to live with the credit they have, and that is not a bad thing. Even better, credit card companies have to disclose the period of time it will take the cardholder to pay off the card balance if only minimum monthly payments are made. This should open the eyes of the normal cardholders of what they are really paying back. This act puts an end to the arbitrary interest rate increases and protects our young consumers from themselves. It is clear the government is taking a stance to protect consumers from the credit card companies that are trying to keep there heads afloat as they not only push the consumer under the water but hold them there.

Work Cited

“Credit Cards: New Law Protects Consumers from Surprise Fees, Rate Increases and Other Penalties.” FDIC Consumer News. Summer 2009. Web

United States. Cong. House Financial Services. Library of Congress. 111 Cong. Cong H.R. 627. Web. 30 Mar. 2010.

Ransom, DIANA. Wall Street Journal. 26 Feb. 2010. Web. 30 Mar. 2010

If you stole my truck

March 31, 2010

As I walk out of the house, into the garage, everything seems normal but as the garage door reveals what is behind it, the confusion starts.  Where is my truck?  I walk out into the yard and look around as if I didn’t park it where I have parked it for years.  The truth is that I did park it in the normal spot and my wife or daughter didn’t move it.  The confusion turned quickly into my heart pounding along with a flush feeling.  Someone has stolen my truck?  Who took my truck?  What do I do?  I need to call work to let them know I won’t be in.  I have to call the police.  Who stole my truck?

As I wait for the police to arrive, I have nothing but time.  I am so mad and have so many questions to answer?  Do I know you?  Are you the kid down the street?  Why did you pick my truck?  I know I keep it clean and it looks nice but, it is mine.  Did I make myself an easy target?  Is my house an easy target too?

A police report tells me that you left no clues to who you are or where you have taken my truck.  The realization just hit me that you didn’t just take my truck you got all the things that live there; my I Pod, my jacket, my uniform, my tools and worse of all my garage door opener.  You have my garage door opener!  Do you have plans to rob my house?  Who are you?  Are you a kid that is just going down the wrong road and looking for a joy ride or are you a harden criminal that is coming back tonight to rob my house and put my family in danger.  I have to re-key my garage door right now!

My wife is worried that my daughter will be home alone after school.  She wants her to start going to her grandmother’s house instead of coming home.  You have changed my family’s life with a single act.  Did you know or care the effect of what you have done.  As a kid, I had some friends that broke into Mr. Roberts’s corner store. I wonder if he had the same feelings of anger, fear and helplessness.  Those guys got caught and had to work for Mr. Roberts for two weeks to repay the debt.  If they catch you I don’t think I could be as understanding as Mr. Roberts.  You know what, I don’t care who you are, I don’t want you around my family.

The confusion has passed, my heart rate is back to normal and my anger is subsiding.  What I am left with is a feeling of fear and helplessness.  My truck is gone.  You have it and that is fine you can have it.  But when will the feelings of fear go away and when will my questions be answered?  Will time make these feelings fade?  It is not just my truck you stole.  You took my families safe place.