1-23-2004 Hero of the Month


I see that there is a great deal of discussion about benefits going on and public vs. private sectors. Having been in the private sector for all these years, I have always had to pay a portion of my benefits. Even when I was working for the International Union of Elevator Constructors, I had to pay a portion, 10%. Currently, I receive a good chunk of money for my benefits, but still pay $56/week out of pocket. I don't mind because I understand that my employer does not have to do this and that if I don't like it I could always go elsewhere. It's my choice. Private sector folks are used to paying for a portion of their benefits.

But I do have a question, and it is not asked with any malice or sarcasm: Why do folks working for the public sector, for the taxpayers, believe they are entitled to better than what those same tax payers receive? I realize being a cop or firefighter is a very difficult and dangerous job, one that I probably could not do (I'm not sure I could handle seeing a small, lifeless child in a pile of twisted metal-so God bless all you rescue folks), but by the flip side of the same token, it seems that compensation comes from a higher salary. I would have to believe that these types of folks are compensated well above the average salary for the area. Also, layoffs are not a concept relevant to only the public sector either-I have been on the giving end of a layoff and it was the worst thing I ever had to do because all the folks I had to let go were all good workers. No one wants a layoff-it is a no win situation.

Both of the emails you posted are quite good and I think the answer is a combination of both. The city should look at unloading those dead assets. Does wonders for balance sheet, and if there is no depreciation to take advantage of, the effect on the Profit and Loss statement is nil. The money from the sales could be used to pay down our debt, which has a huge positive impact on both P&L and B/S. It allows the city to keep more of its cash (tax payer money and other). But I think it is also time for the public sector folks to be brought back down to Earth in regards to benefits. They should not be above other folks just because they work for the taxpayer. Hell, they are taxpayers themselves. I have a feeling that our new administration is smart enough to figure this stuff out and hope they come to an agreement that is good for everyone.

You know, I usually concentrate on the idiot of the month without looking at a person who acts in an opposite manner. So here is the first ever Hero of the Month, Kelly Geiger, who had the backbone to stand up and say what Mark Pazuhanich did was wrong and push that fact to security and eventually the police. Kudos also goes to the security guard and to Patrolman Sereyka.

More on the Eaglets. Prior to the Carolina game I found numerous articles on ESPN alone, stating what a great quarterback Donovan McNabb was. All mentioned that he was black and all but one or two mentioned Rush. While I thought it was absolutely stupid for Rush to bring up race while at ESPN, his point was right on. This is a mediocre QB on a good, solid team that was being held up to a higher standard than his statistics warranted. I published his 2002 statistics and add now his 2003 statistics:

2002 QB rating: 8th-Respectable, but only because he only threw 6 interceptions (which is very good). With two more interceptions he would drop to 20th! Even first year starters Chad Pennington and Matt Hasselback did better on much weaker teams (Jets/Seahawks).
2002 TDs: 17th-He was actually tied for 17th and there were 18 others in front of him. Even Tim Couch and Mark Brunell threw more. Say what?
2002 Completion %: 22nd-Horrible, terrible. Jon Kitna and Rodney Peete did better.
2002 Yardage: 26th-Terrible, awful. Only a few starters did worse.

Realizing he missed one game this year, I adjusted the statistics by his average performance.
2003 QB rating: 16th-Delhomme was 14th. Worse than 2002.
2003 TDs: 17th, adjusted 16th. Better, slightly.
2003 Completion %: 19th-Better.
2003 Yardage: 14th, adjusted 10th. Much better.

He was a huge Fantasy League bust, as he was last year. Do I want to see him succeed? Yes, because I am a fan. But I also think he is being too heavily touted and too heavily criticized. He is a solid, middle of the road QB, but he does not have the numbers to say he is great. And what is wrong with saying he is a good QB and forget about saying he is a good black QB. I leave this topic with this absolutely ridiculous comment from the AP: "After a slow start, McNabb was terrific for the NFC East champs during the regular season, despite an unspectacular quarterback rating of 79.6." How do you manage to use "terrific" and "unspectacular" in the same sentence?

The Super Bowl. You know, I don't think there have ever been two more closely matched teams. NE's defense is ranked 7, Car 8, with only 1 sack difference. Car offense is ranked 16, NE is 17. NE has it all over Car on take-aways. Car has it all over NE on punting. Car has it over NE in kicking as well. Even in returns they are only separated by 1.4 yards and 1 TD, and in scoring they are separated by only 1.5 pts, NE having the edge. The big advantage Car has is in rushing-they average 3 first downs more per game than NE.

I can't recall two teams that have been so close. If Car puts pressure on Brady, NE is in trouble, because they don't run the ball well. I think Car ability to use play action passing will be an advantage. Car also has big receivers vs. the little guys NE has. If Car can jam NE receivers like they did Philly's, big ouch. That will take away Brady's three-step drop and quick passes. One big intangible: Car has the ability to win close games. Car has also won the Simulation Bowl-the computer generated game. I'm gonna root for Car, but I also won't be unhappy if NE wins, seeing that I spent 10 years in Connecticut which is a huge NE supporting state. I think it is going to be a great game.

Dean Howard, thanks for the images. I look at Ann's site just about every day. I had seen both prior to you sending them, and the images of the fallen are striking. The way that the calendar gets filled up with dead soldiers almost daily is a big bummer. No one wants to see our soldiers fall.

There is one thing that I will note. Our soldiers are part of a voluntary Army, signing up by themselves, for better or for worse. And regardless of what their intentions were, they understand that the purpose of our military is to smash things, blow things up and to kill people. But we add something to our military duties as well, and that is to help rebuild what we destroy-we are probably the only country that does this and pays for it to boot. They understand that there will be a loss of life. I have a friend, who right now is over in Iraq. We go to the same church. She is an amazing person, I believe she is a Captain and is a jumpmaster and a pastor as well. Karen Meeker is her name and just so you know, check out www.soc.mil/usacapoc/eo/newsltrs/mar03.doc She weighs all of 100 lbs and runs marathons and sets up churches all over the world for fun. She has accomplished more in her short life than most people accomplish in a lifetime. Her comment to me on the above topic was "loss of life is expected-its part of being a soldier."

What is NOT expected, is NOT a duty, is the loss of innocent life like we saw on 911. It was not part of those people's job requirements that they subject themselves to danger. What was their crime? Jaywalking? How about the thousands of faces there? How about the faces of the people clinging to the building window ledges, smoke pouring over them, and the horror as they let go and fell, landing as a pile of mush hundreds of feet below? How about the faces of their families? How about the faces of the 60+ children that were born post 911 that will never get to touch the real faces of their fathers? Don't they count as well? The difference is that the above faces are giving their lives so that the images of these faces hopefully, won't have to be seen again. It doesn't make it right or wrong, it makes it reality.

Keep the faith.
Private Sector Dude.