Wednesday, 1 October 2014

The Problem With Cultural Evolution

There's an interesting case coming up in Colorado.  I doubt if the national media will pick up on it or discuss it much.

The case relates to the state's new laws over medical marijuana, and a private company's rules on employment.  Company X (a satellite TV service) has an employee.  The employee is a quadriplegic who has been advised by a Colorado doctor to utilize medical marijuana, which is legally sold in the state.  The company has a drug-testing program, which marijuana is one of those drugs that is listed on the forbidden list.

The chief reason that the company will say is that they are fearful that employees might show up at the work-place, with lingering affects of the drug in their system, and cause safety issues (for themselves or the public).

The guy in this episode, had been with the company for three years, and the original drug test occurred in 2010, with dismissal as the result.  The original court episode resulted in the company being proven innocent...the dismissal was allowed.  The appeal?  Again went for the company.  So we are at the level of the state supreme court listening to the case.  Personally, I expect them to render for the company again, and the case will move to the national level for one last chance.

The medical experts tend to side mostly with the guy in this case.  His health has improved with the use of marijuana.  Safety experts will generally side with the company.

If you go to the Fortune 500 companies.....almost all of them have some type of drug testing requirement.  You could work for them for over forty years and never get tested.  You could be tested yearly.  What generally happens within the Fortune 500 companies is that an event occurs which makes a division chief question the individual in question.  The HR office will send a note to this guy and require him within X-number of hours to report to a nearby lab and give a sample.  Failure to do so.....results in automatic dismissal.  It's usually written into your contract.

The problem here....is that we have an evolution going on with medical marijuana where one part of the nation has progressed on, and the standards of the remaining nation remain with certain rules.  There is more than ample proof that serious usage of marijuana disrupts your thinking process and could potentially cause an accident.  Hence.....even for buying medical marijuana.....they generally instruct or require you to leave the premises of the "store" and go home.  They don't even want you smoking this in their parking lot.

All of this leaves a regular user with limited options for employment.  A Piggly Wiggly shelf stocker, a gas station clerk, a french-fry guy at Burger King, or a pizza delivery guy.  At some point a decade down the line....some journalist is going to write up some big long story about the woeful problem with medical marijuana users and the unfairness of laws and forced drug-testing.  Some political party is going to promise a safe conversion for the nation, and we will all wonder a year or two later why accident rates have jumped a couple of percent.  

Monday, 29 September 2014

Battlestar III?

I sat this weekend....reading up on entertainment news and came to this odd story.  Someone has picked up Battlestar Galactica, and decided that there might be a third series out there.

I thought.....hmmm....so this story would tell the rest of the story of version two on Earth?  No.

What the writer of the article suggested was that they'd just rebuild the entire general script and tell the story fresh....yet again.

How different was version one versus versus version two?  It was an entirely different story, with different angles that you just couldn't do in 1978.  In 2004, you had real graphics....so you could build up six minutes of every show with some dynamic battle in space.

About a year after the 2004-version started up.....I happened to catch an episode and was amazed at the storyline, and characters.  It was crisp.  It was leading you onto various mystery elements, and motivating you to come back for the next show.

How to build version three?  I'm not sure that it can be done in a different way, and lay out a totally different outcome.  It's amazing.....so much creativity around, and the best that folks can suggest.....is to just redo it once again.  Thankfully, we haven't had idiots come to do this with Gilligan's Island or Gunsmoke.

Sunday, 28 September 2014

White House Stuff

After this recent ex-Army nutcase climbed the fence and got onto the White House grounds.....the Secret Service is having another round of discussions on improving the safety of the President.

Having been to DC, and walked the entire circle around the White House....I can say that I have a better prospective about this now.  The structure itself.....is one of the most protected sites in America....yet one of the most viewed sites in America.
I'd take a guess that well over forty-thousand people will walk around the front or back on an average week-day.  In August, on a Saturday....there's probably 200,000 people who will come by tour bus or just walk by the front or back.

In essence, it just isn't an easy site to offer protection.  There's the fence, and there's roughly three-hundred feet of open ground that you have to make your way through....to find a dozen-odd guards standing there with machine-guns ready to greet you.

What I expect to eventually to occur....some Jihad group will figure some innovative way to get into the place before they are stopped.   At that point, the Secret Service will stand up and admit the location is not working.  Yeah....we might actually see them suggest moving the President to a new White House....some secluded mountain valley in central Virginia....with triple the number of security personnel and moats as part of the design.

It might be a decade away.....maybe two decades away.  But this open-access environment that exists there......will eventually prove to be a bigger problem than they are willing to accept.

Saturday, 27 September 2014

What Could Have Happened

As a kid sitting around in my last year of high school.....I had an associate who would engage me into this "job of a lifetime"....forest ranger.  We probably spent at least an hour a week discussing the idea.

All of this came from some Lassie episodes, some Sunday afternoon forest fire documentaries, and write-ups in the news of this really 'great' profession.

Even after I'd signed up with the Air Force recruiter, these sessions over the forest ranger job idea would come up.  The excitement, I came to realize....was a job where you mostly drove around in an old Ford pick-up with "US Forestry" on the side, standing in some shack 200 feet above the ground, and wearing a uniform.  Sadly, after a while, I questioned where exactly this would lead onto.

Years later, I came to realize that this was one of the lowest paid jobs in the US government, and getting that cabin on the forestry reservation was the only plus-up when you added up the salary and benefits.

I came across an article this week....a rookie US forest ranger....makes $20,908 a year.  Figure thirty-percent taken for state/fed taxes, social security.  Then figure at least $250 a month for health insurance.  You might make $1,000 a month....roughly what a kid would make if he'd gone to the Marines or Army.

The free cabin?  Well, that helps.  Course, you probably still have a 1974 Ford pick-up, and the uniform might be issued out so you don't have to pay for it.

Moving up?  If you actually had a degree, and put in a year or two....you might get up around $30,000 a year.  Course, you'd have to ask yourself....after spending four lousy years in college....is this forestry deal worth all the hassle?

For some reason, I'm kinda glad the Air Force recruiter got to me....beating out the logic of my associate in high school.  I might be sitting in Montana today....wearing some green forestry suit, driving a beat-up forestry truck, and climbing 288 steps to reach my shack above the trees.  My daily priority?  Mostly checking picnic sites, watching for bears, and calling the cops when I noticed marijuana planted in my section of the forest.  Maybe once a year, I'd notice a fire, and get a pat on the back for reacting to the emergency.

Life has a funny way of making sure you don't do something stupid.