Sunday, October 02, 2011

Our Country

Some of the observant souls among you may have noticed over the years that tower cranes always fly an American flag on the very end of their boom.  I suppose we have always been a patriotic bunch, even before it was the "in" thing.  Well, over time, and due to such high winds at those heights, the flags will become tattered and must be replaced.  Ever wonder how they did it?  You'll get a much better view if you click on these photos to enlarge them.  That's of the fellows goes out there on the end and changes the flag by hand.

Now, it may look as though he is over the deck and therefore, not that high up, but the end of the boom is actually extended past the building, so James is looking about 200 feet straight down.  And yes, he is tied off.  In fact, we could see that he was tied twice!  I don't blame him.  The crane trolley has a neat little basket that a person can ride in to get out there and back.  The crane operator controls this as he would if he were making a lift.  Notice the large hook and tackle for making lifts.  On smaller cranes, as most people see, this is an actual ball; quite large and heavy and it is called the "headache" ball.  Naturally I had to ask why way back when I was a little apprentice girl.  "Well, 'cause if it hits you in the head you're gonna have a headache."  If you still have your head, that is.

Speaking of flags and country and all; I guess many of you may have heard about Alabama recently passing most of this new immigration bill.  Now, I'm not going to get into the pros and cons of such a thing.  That isn't the reason for this post.  I just thought the effects of this bill passing have been interesting.  To tell the truth, I have not read and studied all the bill enough to form a defensible position.  I have read a good bit of it and must say, there is lots I agree with; there's a little I don't.  We have a number of Hispanics that work for our company and I have enjoyed working with all of them.  Many people I talk to adhere to that old stereotype of the chauvinist Hispanic male (and a few are, just like whites) but they have always treated me well.  They are very kind to me and we joke around and have a good time.  I have even been invited to some their family events.  I do not have any problem with people coming here to make a better life.  I do have a problem with some of them doing it illegally and taking advantage of our system.  I do also think our immigration laws need a bit of revision so that it is easier for people to become legal residents.  All of our Hispanic carpenters are legal and many have lived here for years.  They go through our apprenticeship program just like everybody else and do well.  They are good men and love this country and I have recently been sad to see a few go back to their homeland because we didn't have enough work to keep them busy.  We were beginning to see a drop in the number of Hispanics on our jobs just due to the slow down of the economy anyway, as construction is usually one of the first industries to fall back.  So, when it came out Thursday that this bill had passed we were expecting a change Friday and boy, was there ever.  Our company is very diligent to hire only legal immigrants.  Hell, you should see the background checks they do on us, people born and raised here!  However, many of our subcontractors are not so careful.  Come Friday, our job was very quite in places.  Whole floors were vacant.  It was very odd to say the least.  At least 6 or the rodbusters had vanished, 6 or 7 of the form crew and I can't even guess how many electricians and mechanical guys.  I overheard some of the guys saying that they had expected this and the subs were already sending new crews out.  They better be or we are going to suffer some serious delays.  I can't help but wonder though, will they be replaced with legal Hispanics or Americans?  The fact is, our own people don't want to do this kind of work anymore, so can anybody blame the Hispanics for coming here to get a decent paying job?  I don't.  We are building a residence hall for a very large university.  They have had record number of enrollments these past 2 years but surveys, and the economy, have shown that the actual jobs available for college graduates keep falling.  Now, you long time readers know I have a college degree.  I have nothing against education.  But in my opinion we have just become lazy and want some cushy job sitting inside where we rake in wads of dough.  Well, that ain't happening much anymore in many places.  We need people to go into the trades.  We need society to recognize that the trades are an honorable profession and that you can make a decent living.  So, if this new bill leaves us in a bind, well, I can't say we don't deserve it.  We've become way too dependent on others for so many things and now it's going to bite us in the ass.


edifice rex said...

Well, alrighty then! Wow. guess that was offensive or touchy or whatever. Lost a follower and everything! Oh well. I'm really not sure what to say.

Lesteraffe said...

Well said, in my opinion.

Anonymous said...


As it has been said many times before, and by folks a lot more eloquent than myself, America is a nation built on legal immigration.

We are also a nation that has become lazy and have started looking for others to do the heavy lifting. In less than one generation we've gone from the greatest generation to the laziest.
Doling out welfare without tying it to a chance to work and maintain dignity is robbing the soul of this nation. If it takes having to do without a few things to wake us up to the crisis that is coming, then so be it! The young folks aren't looking at developing trade skills anymore, they think college is the ticket to success!! The country that depends on others to support their lifestyle is living on borrowed time. It's the same as it's always been, nothing comes easy and life isn't fair. If folks come to America legally then they are more than welcome to pitch in and help clean up the mess we've made of things.

By the way, I like the new view we have of your property now on the blog page.

Take care,


Ed said...

Having gone through the immigration process and seen it first hand, I'm not sure I would change anything other than to add a bit of common sense to the process. My wife got through the process with little problems but then, we followed the steps, filled out the reams of forms, made countless trips for more forms, fingerprints and interviews and waited the appropriate times between steps. The lack of common sense part I thought was in denying my mother-in-law a visitor's visa to see her daughter get married because she didn't have enough money in her bank account and was deemed a risk of staying. Flash forward to a month after Obama takes office when she has no more money in the bank and she was granted a 10-year visitor's visa. Politics!

I had great aspirations of a cushy job where I made wads of dough when I graduated from college. I'm still looking for that job!

Tossing Pebbles in the Stream said...

When I think of the illegal immigrants in the United States, I think of how desperate their lives must have been to risk illegal entry into the United States. Then I think of the plaque on the Statue of Liberty and wonder how many American's remember it. The United States needs to find a fair and humane response to this problem.

NAFTA has facilitated the free flow of capital and products across borders. Perhaps, it is time for the free flow of labour.

antvee said...

Well said, Annie. I completely agree.
I will add, since TX. has been forced to enforce the federal laws already in place, I am seeing more Americans on road crews, construction crews and landscaping crews. Btw, I have no problem with legal workers, citizens or not, as long as they have a work visa.
I even saw a crew of Americans hot-tarring a roof the other day, something I hadn't seen in 20 years! Around here what I see is Americans willing to do that sort of work, but NOT willing to do it for 10 dollars an hour. Hell, I've been a blue collar worker my entire life and there ain't much I haven't done at one time or another, but I expect a decent wage. Plus, lets face it, a higher wage allows folks to buy more goods and that seems like a win-win to me as far as the economy goes. As long as the large corporations keep trying to hold us down while they rake in huge profits by using cheap labor, this country is going to STAY in trouble. Plus, Americans are always looking for a cheap deal, just look at all the wal-marts and costcos on every corner. China gets rich because we buy their goods, while America goes down the tubes.
But, hey, that's just MY opinion.

edifice rex said...

Hey Les! thanks!

Hey Barry! thanks! and yes, I agree! you make a great point.

Hey Ed! thanks for that insight on the immigration process. We could use a bit more common sense in a lot of things!

Hey Philip! I think lots of Americans remember well what Ellis Island is all about, that's why most of them have no problem with legal immigration. I don't see what the problem is with asking people to do it legally. I realize many of the illegals come from dire circumstances but I have seen where and how they live here and it's heartbreaking to see them taken advantage of and basically worked like human mules for starvation wages because they are illegal and have no rights because of it. No society should use people that way and the legals have leverage to make better wages, like us. I agree
that we need a fair solution.

Hey V! well said to you also! I agree wholeheartedly.

Chieftain of Seir said...

When I started out I heard "I can normally only get Mexicans to do this kind of work". Now I make wages that everyone seems to think they deserve starting out and I don't work half as hard any more.

The bottom line is that hard physical labor is very un-cool in this country. We are rapidly reaching equality amongst the sexes in regards to the "manly" jobs. That is to say, neither sex my age or younger wants to do hard labor these days.

Nothing makes some people madder than saying there are jobs that Americans will not do. They will swear up and down that it is not true or if it is true it is only because the dirty rotten bosses don't pay enough.

Those of us who work in construction know that there are a lot of jobs that pay quite well but it is hard to find anyone willing to do them. I guess if you paid extremely well you might find more people but then you would be pulling people out of other jobs and they would have shortages.

edifice rex said...

Hey Chieftain! Right on all accounts!
I've seen so many people get so fired up about the fact Americans won't work certain jobs but I don't see any volunteering for these migrant farm worker jobs. Hell no.