Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Product Recalls

     Today I am sitting at the Toyota shop waiting for the Camry's recall work to be completed.  I postponed the original appointment.  I am learning some things about this recall.
      I was concerned that the manufacturer of the recalled parts could have also supplied the same assembly to other automotive manufacturers.  Apparently they have, but not for vehicles in the U.S.  According to a recent NY Times blog (http://wheels.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/01/28/accelerator-pedal-supplier-in-toyotas-recall-has-many-customers/) the supplier is CTS Corporation.  CTS is based in Indiana, USA.  One statistic mentioned in the blog is that Toyota represents only 3% of the company's annual sales.  This entry, dated January 28, 2010, noted that other gas pedal assembly customers, including Chrysler, were not affected because their components are different than Toyota's.  Ford did purchase the recalled part for commercial vehicles used outside of the U.S.  I have yet to verify the facts.  More to do and no time to do it!

     The Camry should be ready soon, so I will move on to today's websites:
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration: http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/  This website is a great starting point for those looking to purchase a new or used vehicle.  Autos, infant and child carseats, and tire safety issues are just a sample of the items addressed on this website.  Consumers can file complaints and research product safety.  The NHTSA also maintains the Safercar.gov (http://www.safercar.gov/) website.  This site provides quick access to recall information.  Recalls include motorcycles, helmets, tires, child restraint products, and automobiles.  Consumers should sign-up for recall notifications sent directly to their e-mail.  Notifications can be general (all autos) or specific (a particular make and model of automobile).
Kicking Tires: http://blogs.cars.com/kickingtires/recalls/?CMP=GoogResREC&domainid=68&detid=1802681929  This is a blog found on cars.com (http://www.cars.com/go/index.jsp).  Cars.com is another resource for car buyers.

Opps.  The car is ready, gotta run! 

Monday, April 5, 2010

Anger Management. . . I Need To Learn (State Workers)

     I can't believe I am still upset over an exchange I had with a parade-goer in March during the St. Patrick's Day parade.  I drove my Xterra in the parade with my local 4X4 club.  I love participating in this event.  This year it was rainy and mid 40's.  Maybe that was the reason for the bad attitudes vocalized by the small crowd.  So, today I am dragging out my double-high soapbox.  Please excuse the typos.

     I work for the State of New York.  I have a NYS sticker on the driver's side of my truck.  I pay NYS taxes, same as many middle class NYS residents and workers.  Recently, written opinions in my region have been very negative toward State employees.  Given New York's current economic status I understand that sentiment. 
     During a pause in the parade's movement, a woman asked me if I knew that I had a nice truck.  I told her that I knew that and then I thanked her.  She asked if I take my "very nice truck" out with the club.  I replied in the affirmative (only once so far and that was long ago).  She looked at my vehicle and asked where I work.  Becuase I have a sticker announcing my employer I said, "The State."  Her reply?  Her reply made me very angry.  She said "Nice to see what my tax dollars are buying."  @#$%$%^&;*@##Q$*@

Why do people think that only civil servants fall into this category?

 = I drink Coke a Cola.  Don't I contribute to the salaries of its employees?
 = I am composing this blog on a Dell computer.  I paid a part of someone's salary at Dell.
 = NYS purchases products from manufacturers all over the state.  Following this logic, one should conclude that tax payer dollars are paying UAW salaries when the State buys Ford or GM automobiles.  Should the State save money and purchase cars from Toyota, Honda, and Nissan instead?  (pardon the tangent)

We all contribute to each others' incomes when we purchase products or services.  Singling out civil servants is not fair to anyone.  There are lazy employees in all fields just as there are amazing individuals doing the work of three people with the resources for one in every organization.  The stereotypes that are applied to civil servants are also applicable to the private sector.

My job was not handed to me.  I had to have a college degree and score very high on an exam to qualify for the job.  If I want to advance within my organization I have to complete graduate school and take another exam.  To be considered for a job, an applicant must have one of the top three scores for his or her exam. 

Which brings us to today's websites:
SeeThroughNY: http://www.seethroughny.net/  This website provides "a clearer view of how ... state and local tax dollars are spent."  New Yorkers can view contracts, payrolls, and expenditures.  The "other data" portion of the website provides regional information, such as city payrolls, and federal payrolls in New York.

New York State Civil Service: http://www.cs.state.ny.us/ Are you looking for a civil service job in New York?  Start at this website.  Sign up for e-mail notification of exam announcements.  Some study guides are available through the website.  Also, take a trip to your local public library.  You will find civil service study books on the shelves.  Ask the individual at the reference desk if you need help.

NYS Unified Court System careers page: http://www.nycourts.gov/careers/index.shtml Bilingual?  Interested in law enforcement?  The courts are continuously looking for interpreters and court officers.  The court system hires attorneys, librarians, secretaries, court monitors, network specialists, and more.  Check this website regularly for job postings and exam announcements. All applications and instructions are on the website.

Happy Dyngus Day!