Thursday, January 12, 2012

News of the Week

So, I get the Oregonian delivered to my house during the week. Sadly, I rarely get the chance to sit down and actually read the paper (yes, I have two young children) even though it doesn't take long - let's be honest folks, the Oregonian is not the most dense publication around; for me anyway...Not to be a snob but I grew up right outside Washington, D.C. in Maryland and was raised on The Washington Post so I was spoiled at a young age - something I was not aware of until I began my slow migration west starting in college.

Anyway, last night I had a chance to look at Tuesday and Wednesday's Oregonian and cover stories from each day interested me for very different reasons.

First was Tuesday's front page story. Apparently, for the FIRST TIME this year, police officers are going to be drug tested. ARE YOU EFFING KIDDING ME!?!?! Now, I guess I was out of the loop here, but cops weren't being drug tested before now? Now, as a criminal defense attorney, I have my own issues with the police, but that's a whole different subject. I am just shocked that this wasn't occurring before now. I mean I would have to guess that a majority of people I know with myriad jobs are drug tested unless they are self-employed. For example, someone I know was looking at applying for a human resources job and the job posting said that candidates and/or employees of the company would be subject to drug testing. A friggin' human resources position!! And, I know, don't forget I'm a lawyer, you don't need to explain the difference between public and private employees to me. I know, a private company can do pretty much whatever they want on this issue and that's fine.

My point is that years ago our society slid so far in the direction of paranoia about "drugs" that all these companies just said we're going to drug test everyone, even for simple desk jobs. My clients are forced to deal with this all the time. These people aren't driving school buses, operating heavy machinery, or doing anything of concern to the general public. I mean human resources?! I have always been of the mind that if someone is doing drugs enough to cause a disruption in their job, their employer should be able to tell. It can then take action and test that employee, fire them, what have you. But if the human resources person wants to smoke a little weed on their day off from work, that's not ok? Is that going to put this company in danger? Are they going to misplace someone's personnel file? Forget to update the employee handbook? Forget to change your health care decision during open enrollment? What is the danger here?

And, on the public/private side, I know someone else who works for the government - the feds mind you. He manages property that the government owns or leases for office space. It's a good gig - I think he likes it. But, he gets drug tested. I know, really important that this guy isn't smoking weed in his free time - that could be really dangerous. He could mess-up a government lease and the government might end up paying more than it needed to for something - scary right?

The point is, he's getting drug tested. And, all these years, Portland Police weren't? He's managing property for the government and getting tested, but cops don't? Do I really even need to explain why it would be more important to drug test the police more than other jobs?

The other story that caught my eye was this - more of a personal pet peeve of mine. But, finally, there's some press on this incredibly annoying and frustrating part of air travel. Thank you, NPR. Not to sound uppity, but I do a fair amount of flying and, since I had kids, I travel with them - not often by choice. For years, I have done everything in my power to ensure that when I do fly, I get to seats together with my kids. Listen, I don't want to sit with my kids. I would love a friggin' break from them. This desire was a wholly unselfish effort to appease my kids, and, even more importantly, the poor bastards that may get stuck sitting with my kids instead of me.

So, do the airlines help with this AT ALL!?! Of course not. My most recent flight, just days ago, not only did I reserve seats together when I bought the tickets over three months before our departure date, but because of my constant struggle with this I spent over an hour on the effing phone with some lady in Bangladesh the night before our flight desperately trying to confirm that we are sitting together. She assured me over and over again - "Don't worry about it, sir, you are sitting together."

So, I show up at the airport the next morning and guess what? Then, I have to argue with the ticket counter people, the people at the gate, and what do I get? They expect me to fall over myself thanking them for getting us within rows of each other. And then they tell me there's nothing else they can do - the flight is booked, I'm SOL (no, not "statute of limitations"). So, I pay them way too much for a crappy seat on this flight and I have to get on the plane and beg some stranger to switch seats with me so I can have an infinitely less enjoyable cross-country flight and sit with my annoying child who won't let me read more than two sentences in my book without asking for something!

And, the real rub about all of this? You get on the plane and the majority of people are flying alone - many don't care where they are sitting as long as it's not a middle seat, right? Wait, all these people are flying solo and the airline can't have figured a way to shuffle these people around so I can sit with my family!?!? AAAAARRRRRRGGGGHHHHH!!!!!!!! Next time I fly, I may really lose least I know some good criminal defense attorneys who can help me.

The airline's solution? Pay more to sit with my kids? Good luck with that. No way am I paying more for that - let some unlucky putz sit with my kids and let the flight attendants arbitrate that one. I'll be in the back with my i-pod on full blast....

1 comment:

  1. This is hilarious. Not the part about the gun-carrying law enforcemnt dudes but the part about the airlines. What is going on around here?