EVERYONE’S ATWITTER

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Bob Turner has won Wiener’s New York congressional seat,

Republicans hope that means Obama will go down in defeat.

We don’t know if that is true, but we know how to win a race,

Don’t Twitter your private parts in an attempt to reach first base.

Many young Americans are now moving to the Far East,

That’s where they can find jobs and have their salaries increased.

While their parents will surely miss them, no matter what they may espouse,

They secretly are ecstatic to have them move out of the house.

Boise State football is now the next in line,

To have recruiting violations and receive a NCAA fine.

While we agree that no student should be paid to play defense,

Do they really need to punish a purchase of two dollars, thirty-four CENTS?

Demi Moore is in her 40’s and often in the public view,

One time even naked, covered completely with tattoos.

Now she’s posted on Twitter a nude picture of her back,

At what age will she begin to give us a little slack?

Have a birthday or anniversary coming up? 

Why not have us write a tribute to that special person?

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SMALL MOMENTS – A 9/11 TRIBUTE

Saturday, September 10, 2011

by Suzanne Watson

Her message was my wake-up call.  She inspired me and changed my life forever.  And I never met her.

Melissa Harrington Hughes died at the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.  She didn’t work there; she was on a business trip for her San Francisco-based technology firm. She was an extremely accomplished 31 year old, who had traveled the world and had recently married her sweetheart, Sean Hughes.

Many people remember her, and him, for the harrowing telephone message that she left him minutes after the building was struck by the plane.  In that message, she said, “Sean, it’s me. I just wanted to let you know I love you and I am stuck in this building in New York. A plane hit or a bomb went off – we don’t know, but there’s a lot of smoke and I just wanted you to know I loved you.”

The first time I heard Melissa’s voicemail, Sean was being interviewed by Chris Jansing on MSNBC.  Ms. Jansing completely broke down upon hearing it.  Clearly, Melissa’s final words resonated with a lot of people.  The internet site dedicated to Melissa filled with posts from people who were touched by her story.  I was among them. Somehow, with all of the tragedy of that day, her story stuck with me above all of the others.  But why?

Partly, I think in some ways I could relate to her.  I was working for a large financial institution at the time and had spent all of my life, and most of my career, working in San Francisco.  One of my positions required that I visit our businesses in New York in the Trade Center, so I had also taken business trips to the towers.

When the buildings collapsed I thought about all of the people that worked for my company.  We lost three employees that day, but I didn’t know any of them.  She was the one that stood out for me.  Her beautiful wedding picture taken up in Napa, close to where I grew up, became seared in my brain as it was shown repeatedly over the next several days.  But it was more than the pictures; it was her message.

In her voice I could sense so many of her emotions: fear, panic, bewilderment.  But mostly, in her final minutes on earth, she wanted Sean to know that she loved him.  I thought about her, and all of the people that died that day, who went off to work as they normally did.  Kissing a spouse or child good-bye, grabbing a cup of coffee, making plans for the weekend.  And none of them came home.  Plans and hopes and dreams were gone in an instant.  Sean Hughes said that he and Melissa were excited about their future and talked about all the things that newlyweds do: moving to a new home, getting a dog, having children.

Her final words to Sean started me thinking about my own life.  My husband had taken early retirement in 1996.  He wanted to travel, spend time with our new grandson, and enjoy time with friends.  I had wanted to continue working.  But I kept thinking about Melissa’s message.  What if that had been me?  Is that how I would want my life to end, without ever having enjoyed what my husband and I had worked so hard to build?

The weeks following September 11 were frightening and incredibly busy for me.  My division of the company had locations throughout the United States and for weeks after the twin towers fell we received bomb threats in major cities. I had an office on the top floor of our Los Angeles headquarters and I jumped every time I  heard a plane or helicopter go by.  After a month or so, I began to feel like this would all pass and that life would get back to “normal”.   But then I thought about Melissa.  Life doesn’t get scripted.  Although the odds of me being killed in a terrorist attack might be low, there were still no guarantees that I could escape a car accident or a terminal illness.

So in the first week of November, when all of the initial frenzy had died down, I told my boss that I wanted to resign.  We negotiated that I would stay until March 1, which I did.  I have never regretted that decision and would not trade all of the memories and experiences I’ve had since then for any amount of compensation I gave up.

Judith Viorst once wrote that it is the small moments in life that make it rich.   Melissa made me realize that I needed to grab the small moments while I could; that sitting with my husband every morning, sipping coffee and watching the news, is a gift.

So to Melissa Harrington Hughes: thank you.  Someday I hope to get back to the new trade center memorial where I can touch the steel engraving of your name.  And in the hollows of those letters, we will finally be connected.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

September 8, 2011

Restaurants are attempting to increase our weight some more,

They now want to take food stamps at all the fast food stores.

The national obesity experts say that’s not the way we should behave,

And say our taxes will now be used to pay from “burger to grave”.

Baby boomers are now considered to be the most stressed out,

Watching retirement fade as their stocks have taken a clout.

Experts are advising calm and “not to over-medicate”,

This – to a generation that doesn’t know how to be straight.

Maryland’s Terrapins have new football “uni’s”,

And the best thing being said is they look a little loony.

More embarrassing still, they have the same theme,

And look remarkably like the women’s roller derby team.

The Kennedy Center has revealed this year’s honorees,

It’s a very distinguished group that will be on their marquee.

With Ma and Diamond tributes no one will be bored,

But what accent will Streep use when she gets her award?

For a personalized poem or tribute, visit our website at

www.redposey.com

IT’S UNOFFICIALLY FALL


September 6, 2011

With Labor Day behind us the campaigns get more intense,

But the Presidential season has seldom made less sense.

The Republicans are bickering, Obama’s back is to the wall,

Huckabee leads the Gallup, and he’s not in the race at all!

European stock markets have gone into the dumps,

Based mostly on the U.S. unemployment slump.

Now in addition to our recovery and our job goals to pursue,

Apparently we have to worry about rescuing Europe too.

College football is back again to amuse and entertain,

And most of the top teams did well, except for Notre Dame.

TCU lost a close game, with Baylor scoring late,

And the reigning champs, the Auburn Tigers nearly lost to Utah State

The annual MDA Telethon carried on with Jerry gone,

Nigel Lithgoe and some beauties capably carried on.

They raised $61M in six hours, more than in past years,

Looks like people are willing to pay not to have Jerry appear.

For a personalized poem or tribute, please visit our website:

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I’M LABORING OVER UNIONS

Note: On holidays, and other occasions as they strike us, we will divert from our normal rhyme and post opinion pieces.  Think of it as our two cents.

Monday, September 5th

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in New York.  For those of you who have never heard of it, 146 women either died in the fire or jumped to their deaths because they had no means of escape when the fire started.  You see, the managers had locked all of the stairwells and exits so the women were trapped in their workroom.  This incident, appalling even in the day of railroad barons and cigar-smoking tycoons, helped spawn the growth of the International Ladies’ Garment Workers Union, or ILGWU, as it is known.  If ever a situation warranted a union, this was it.

In 1932 my father graduated from high school and, because of the Depression, felt grateful to land his dream job – working for a newspaper.  The price of admission?  Joining the International Typographical Union.  He did so reluctantly, as he was not a big believer in unions, but a job was a job in those days and he could ill afford to turn it down.  Over the next 40 years, even when he was a newspaper owner and thus considered “management”, he paid his ITU dues.   When he decided to retire in the early 70’s he contacted the ITU to claim his retirement pension, only to be told that the pension funds had been “poorly invested”.  It didn’t take a genius to interpret their actions – the ITU had stolen my dad’s pension.   After all his years of contributions, his monthly annuity was a meager $75.

Fortunately, beginning in the mid-70’s federal and state employment laws began to emerge to protect workers.  Regulations were passed regarding everything from the minimum wage and pension reform to gender and race discrimination and equal access for those with disabilities.  The EEOC developed into a powerful and influential government agency. To some extent, labor unions were at the heart of getting these baseline entitlements passed and as a result, the workplace became a much fairer, albeit legal, environment.

At the same time, most American companies were defining their culture and values which invariably covered how employees were to be viewed and treated within the organization.  Were there still some rogue managers who treated people poorly?  Absolutely.  But now there were clear-cut procedures for employees to follow within their own company to seek resolution.  For those companies that practiced unfair or abusive treatment, employees could seek assistance in another venue – the American justice system.  And the EEOC assured protection from any sort of retaliation for doing just that.

So what is the role of unions today?  To gain better wage and benefit packages?  If so, one might say that they have overshot their target.  Companies with unionized workers state that union contracts have caused the price of products to skyrocket and have resulted in them becoming uncompetitive.  Auto manufacturers, once the bread and butter of the U.S. economy, cite that the union compensation packages result in an increased cost of $1500 per car.  In many of our traditional industries, we are seeing massive layoffs due to the complete closure of manufacturing plants and an increase in the number of companies moving jobs offshore.

If their role is to provide job security, they haven’t been terribly effective.  The fact of the matter is they can do nothing to stop corporations from moving factories and call centers to other countries.  This is partially due to a U.S. tax code that effectively rewards companies to move jobs offshore.  And partly we are now in a world where we have to compete with other countries that target some of our time-honored manufacturing bases.  That is globalization, whether we like it or not.  For those of us who have been stuck in a circular conversation with someone working in a call center in India, I acknowledge that it isn’t always a pleasant reality.  But it IS reality.

In the final analysis, unions have failed to recognize that the U.S. economy has changed and the skills needed for today’s workplace along with it.  The jobs that have been shipped overseas are most likely not coming back.  There ARE jobs available in the U.S., but they require a different skill set than in the past.  Are unions ready, willing and able to re-train their members so they can better assimilate into this new work environment?  Or have unions outlived their usefulness?

Finally, for those of you old enough to remember, the ILGWU used to have a catchy commercial on TV requesting us to “look for the union label”.  If you’ve never seen that label, it’s because all of our clothes are now made offshore.

If you’d like a personalized poem or tribute, visit our website at:www.redposey.com

IT’S THE WEEKEND!

Just as a reminder, we post our news Monday through Friday. On the weekends we take time off from the pressure-packed world of news blogging to watch football.

Look for our first “holiday” post on Monday titled, “I’m Laboring over Unions”. This will be the first in a series of opinion pieces (rather than poems) that we will post on holidays and at other times as the mood or topic strike us.

Have a great weekend!

LOST IN THE SHUFFLE

September 1, 2011

Obama’s going to unveil a plan before an anxious nation,

We’re waiting to hear what will inspire brand new job creation.

Millions have no work, lost their income and their homes,

When those who should be unemployed, sit under the Capital Dome.

AT&T, the giant telecom, wants a merger with T-Mobile,

But Justice doesn’t want them taking their dropped call problem global.

The company said that it’s concerned about its loss of speed,

But based on our experience, it’s really due to greed.

The champion Boston Bruins lost their center for the season,

They say his two concussions are the overwhelming reason.

Marc Savard seems to be complying, acting bold and brave,

We think he should be joyous – think of all the teeth he’ll save.

When we look at the new roster for “Dancing with the Stars”,

We think someone’s lost their mind, or been in way too many bars.

Chaz, Chynna, David, Ricki? Dr. Drew could be their mentor,

Is this a dancing program or a sequined rehab center?

For a personalized poem or tribute, please visit our website:

www.redposey.com