Flat Screen TV Mounting & Electrical Extension Cord Safety


Extension cord safety when installing flat screen, led, lcd, smart TV

Extension cord safety when installing flat screen, LED, LCD, smart TV

As mounting flat screen TV’s to the living room or bedroom wall or above the fireplace becomes more and more common, there is an increasing amount of flat screen TV, speaker, and home theater installers who are putting you and your family at risk, sometimes unknowingly. DXGWKVASVS5X Most customers who want their new LEDLCDplasma or smart TV mounted also want that nice clean look that can only come from concealing the audio video wires and power. A/V wires, like HDMI, optical, RCA/composite, component, and speaker wires are all low voltage and can safely be concealed inside the wall. However, the electrical power cord is a little more complicated.

Some flat screen TVspeaker, and home theater installers or do-it-yourselfers will run an extension cord inside the wall right along with the a/v cables. No extension cord is rated or approved to be used inside a wall, per National Electric Code (Article 400.8) published by the National Fire Protection Association. Doing so is a fire hazard and against the law in many jurisdictions. There is no form of licensing for flat screen TV installers, nor are they electricians in most cases. And so some are unaware of this fire hazard. There are also some who are simply unscrupulous and think the danger is a myth due to over cautiousness. Prospective customer must be vigilant to insure they get the job done right.

Installation  of a new power outlet that you can plug the flat screen TV directly into is the standard code compliant method. However many charge at least $80 and up to several hundred for a brand new independent outlet. Fortunately, some more reasonably priced code compliant solutions are now on the market. One of the more common is a PowerBridge which is very similar to installing a new outlet but can be installed without working with live electricity, switching breakers off, or accessing the basement or attic. It is still a bit pricey though at around $60. No Cables Attached, a Houston based TV and home theater installer, offers an even more affordable option (under $10) as part of their installation services and do-it-yourself flat screen installation kits. Regardless of the solution you choose, never let anyone run an extension cord inside your wall.

Some will think, “Well, I have never seen an extension cord start a fire on the outside of the wall. Why would it start a fire on the inside?” Consider this scenario. On a hot summer day standing outside in the open air may feel a bit uncomfortable to you or I. But go sit inside a closed parked car. It is burning up. This is similar to what happens inside a wall. The extension cord generates the same amount of heat, but in that confined space it can not dissipate.  Over time it can get hot enough to melt the cord and then create sparks that can cause a fire. When it comes to your family’s safety it’s better to be safe than sorry. And with the increasingly more affordable options on the market, there is no reason to cut corners.


Finally: A Reasoned Response to the Anti-Abortion Position

Balance the scales of abortion justice by reducing the emotion and increasing the logic

Balance the scales of justice by reducing the emotion and increasing the logic in the abortion debate

Growing up I have always taken for granted a women’s right to choose abortion. It was an innately and intuitively held position, and for the longest time that was good enough for me. Since the pro-life position is traditionally a conservative view, I wrote off that position as zealots trying to impose their religion on all Americans in violation of the separation of church and state. Additionally, it seemed silly and quite counter-intuitive that a fetus should be endowed with constitutional rights since: a) a birth certificate (not granted until birth) is the standard proof of citizenship and therefore constitutional rights and b) a fetus is a fetus, not a person or a citizen or anything else that I would equate with myself. Recently, however, the GOP has gone on the offensive in the abortion and women’s rights arena, and I was compelled to examine my position and their position in order to justify one or the other. Intuition would no longer suffice. Abortion rights became important to me and much more relevant, especially considering that my partner and I have relied on abortion in the past and are now living in an aspiring severely abortion restrictive state.

I will digress for a paragraph, as a bit of background on my faith may be insightful. I was baptized but otherwise not raised religious. I seriously explored a few major religions as I sought to define my faith and thoughts on God. I dabbled in one or two and committed to another, but could never let pure faith overcome my reliance on empirical evidence and logical argumentation. I even tried to empirically convince myself that the historical Jesus is in fact God by seeking evidence like that presented by Lee Strobel in The Case for Christ and The Case for Faith. Ultimately I have embraced some of the main teachings of Jesus as valuable philosophical guidelines in my pursuit of living a good life as a good person. And my position on God has evolved to a position of suspended judgment, i.e. despite rigorous examination the evidence does not exist to prove the existence or non-existence of a God or Gods. Some have reduced this to pretense and avoiding taking a firm position, but this is in fact a distinct and reasoned position. In a strict sense it is a form of agnosticism, but due to the widespread misuse and broad definition of the term I prefer to avoid using it.

In my examination of the pro-life position I was obviously biased against it and my suspicions were played out in many of the exchanges I had with others. There was the sanctity of life argument. There was the obvious religious view that life begins at conception. There were the purely emotional rebukes at the horror of my comparison of a fetus/mother relationship to a parasite/host relationship. And there was even a compelling pro-life argument expounded by another blogger that I had to think about a bit in order to overcome. Although I am confident in my counter argument, the blogger referred me to the empirical evidence that I now rely upon for my position that life does in fact begin at conception.

This naturally led to a philosophical and ethical dilemma for me. I could not let go of the strong intuition that it is a woman’s right to choose, but that right to choose was now murder in my eyes. How could I reconcile this surprising revelation with what I know in my gut is right opinion? I could not continue holding this gut belief seemingly contrary to reality as if I were Fox News. Surprisingly, none of the pro-choice websites offered a single solid argument to justify their position. Their position seemed to hinge solely on the blind and misguided belief that the rights of one human being were paramount to the rights of another simply because the one had the capacity to choose and the other did not yet have that capacity. This was extremely unsettling. Even my parasite argument, which I still think is a valid comparison, could not hold because the parasite in this case is in fact a human being.

I began reflecting on this dilemma, intently searching for a solution. I thought about another polarizing, though relatively less significant, issue that I took up. I led a policy initiative that resulted in making the largest university in the nation smoke free.The crux of the argument was that any amount of second hand smoke is harmful and one has the liberty to act only insofar as the act does not harm another. Therefore smoking anywhere on campus, which harms anyone with whom the secondhand smoke comes into contact, should be banned. When I plugged in the mother and fetus into this argument, the only time that abortion could be justified is in the case in which the mother’s life is in danger or if one also believes that a fetus is not a human being. Closer, but a big FAIL.

Next, I asked the question, if I identify a case in which a choice about my body resulted in the death of another would that choice be justified? Bingo! This choice, though surely painful and morally challenging, would in fact be a justified choice. I will proceed to posit what I hope will become the strongest argument in support of a women’s right to choose by offering the following example and follow-up questions. When the life of one is uniquely dependent on the life of another then it virtually has no rights to that life. Those rights are effectively transferred to whom it is dependent upon for life. For instance, if a medical procedure was identified, e.g., the cure for cancer, in which the only form of life support available or method to carry out the cure, in other words, the only way to save the patient’s life, required the continuous participation of a single/unique healthy human being, would it be constitutional to mandate this person’s participation in the procedure even if it entailed no adverse effects to him? Consider further the case in which this person volunteered to be part of the lifesaving medical procedure but during the course of the procedure he decided for whatever reason that he no longer wanted to be a part of it. Would it really be murder if he terminated his participation? If so should it not be his choice regardless? How could we justify mandating his participation? How is this any different from terminating a pregnancy or on the other hand mandating one to participate in a medical procedure against one’s will because a life depends on it?

The following example less closely parallels abortion and pregnancy, as there is no uniquely dependent lifesaving relationship (virtually anyone can save the life of anyone) but does however have a current application. Simply put, blood, plasma, platelet, organ, etc., donation are undisputed lifesaving procedures. Yet nobody is mandated to participate in any of them. Why is the sanctity of life and the right to life so important in the case of pregnancy and abortion but seemingly trivial when it comes to all of these procedures, many of which entail significantly less impact on the person in the lifesaving position?

I now feel confident that abortion is not murder and that the pro-choice position is the constitutional, morally compelling, correct opinion in which we must subscribe. I invite thoughtful, well-reasoned rebuttal and emotion free comment, on par with peer review. Thank you.

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Politics From The Middle

As a historian I find the extreme right wing of the Republican Party provocateurs of the worst sort. In the name of liberty they lie and distort the very words of the Constitution in order to further their goals. In fact some of their arguments more closely resemble the anti-Federalists positions than they do the actual words of the Constitution.

They seek to inflame the passions of the masses through the brain washing of our fellow citizens through talk radio and Fox Television. If you a lie long enough and repeat it enough people will believe the lie.

We are so busy that most of us do not have time to read the original source material to verify what is being said  as to its truthfulness and we tend to trust whoever is on television.

The preamble to the Constitution states the following: “We the people of the United States…

View original post 1,104 more words

The Mega-Millions Career Jackpot

lottery image final

The first time I attended a career fair was a lot like my first college search. Although reluctant, I was convinced that I needed to do it, I really wanted to do it, and I also had no idea how to best prepare.  I was filled with naïve optimism that was met with disheartening frustration. I had a resume and a suit to go with my liberal arts education and even a little research on the companies present. But I was missing an elevator pitch or even the faintest concept of such a thing. I also lacked a specialty and had not yet identified my calling. All I had been able to do was eliminate options to which I did not want to dedicate one half of my waking life.

My first time was a university career fair. The attendees specified which type of degree they sought in candidates. Of those few companies willing to consider a liberal arts degree, I wandered from booth to booth feeling like the nervous one at the party whose friends still had not shown up yet. I walked up to each of these booths, attempted the obligatory, tiresome small talk and feigned interest in companies offering careers that I most likely would not enjoy, all while trying to figure out how to network to gain an advantage in my professional career search and understand why these all so important networking events are all so important. Years later I am finally realizing the true value of these events. The value lies in the odds, and like the lottery, the odds vary from event to event, but one thing remains constant: your odds of hitting are slim; your odds of hitting big are virtually non-existent.

I did not draw this conclusion from a single limited life event. I recently relocated to one of the top five largest U.S. cities and have been actively searching for a job for about two months. In that time I have attended six job fairs. I have also sought positions that are consistent with my Meyers- Briggs personality and aptitude tests and some that are only consistent with my experience. I have tweaked or rewrote my resume countless times, adjusted my cover letter, resume and elevator pitch according to discussion with and advice from a university career counselor, and have reached out to my domestic partner and a former colleague in order to get  a leg up applying for positions at their companies. I have even called and emailed the directors of a research project that I am interested in to get my resume looked at by their recruiter. At this point in my life I feel like I have a solid job searching foundation (even if I still do not know exactly what it is I will genuinely enjoy spending half my life doing) and am qualified to generalize about job fairs.

Job fairs open to the general public, vis, not held exclusively for college/university students, that are not industry focused, eg., engineering, nursing, industrial job fairs, etc., are, as mentioned previously, similar to a lottery. Sales and call center positions and jobs requiring little or no education or experience are disproportionately represented at these events, the worst of which have included commission only positions and door-to-door sales positions. Often, companies do not show, positions and/or companies are not posted beforehand or sometimes not even the event day. The most recent event was billed as a “mega” job fair co-sponsored by a major job board and offered positions from four different industries. The venue space was several thousand square feet and charged $10 for parking. I thought, “Awesome! This is the big career event I have been practicing for by attending all those dead end, rinky-dink job fairs loaded with sales positions.” This mega job fair solidified my ambivalence for these events into a pure skepticism. The only thing mega about it was the mega waist of space and the mega misleading marketing. Only about 15% of the entire available space in the convention hall was set up with employers. The rest was partitioned off, set up for a basic job search seminars, or completely empty space. Three of the four industries advertised were represented by less than ten employers and one of those was represented by less than four employers.

This event was like the mega-millions jackpot lottery event of job fairs: Lots of hype followed by just as much disappointment. Sure, a couple might hit big, but most have nothing to show for their $10 lottery ticket and a few might go home with a small taste of a monstrous pie. I am in this last category. I applied for two positions that I do not really want and was able to follow-up with a recruiter whose employer had been blowing me off.

The more I reflect on my job and career search the more and more it compares to gambling in general. How many of us are really ever satisfied with our position, or salary, or hours, or boss? And although I do not think career search addiction could be possible, such addiction might be the best way for many of us to ever find satisfaction for that half of our waking lives. I will likely be chasing the career dragon for much of my foreseeable future.

When Bully’s Attack: A Slacker Story

bullying 1

Background Info

Corporate bullies are virtually exempt from the criminal legal system because they are too big to fail. The effects of prosecuting them or letting capitalism run its course through big bank/big business bankruptcy are thought to be so great that doing so will harm the economy more than doing nothing at all. This is where the civil lawsuit comes in. Corporate bullies are punished by making them give a large amount of money to those they have bullied, but in reality it is usually a quite trivial amount to the bully because they have exponentially more than those they bully: their customers, you and I, the average American. For example, the $2.4B one bank was ordered to award its customers in a recent lawsuit is an extremely small fraction of its $2 trillion (with a T) in assets and $83B in annual revenue.

Corporate bullies do not limit this unethical exploitation to these groups alone however. They also prey on other corporations, bullying their vendors and business partners, partners who are too weak financially to be a bully themselves and too weak ethically to challenge them by doing the right thing. These vendors and partners are corporate slackers. Corporate slackers greedily seek the benefits of being a corporate bully by climbing in bed with them because they are not powerful enough to be a bully themselves. In exchange for this relationship, corporate slackers carry out the bully’s bidding for a fraction of what the bully pays their own employees to do the same work. The corporate bully issues orders and the slacker responds obediently or else.

What follows is a story of this latter type of corporate bullying that is becoming the status quo as corporations are literally being granted personhood and actual people are valued less and less.

When Bully‘s Attack: A Slacker Story

I regret to inform you that my assignment with Stewart has ended. I wish you all the best. I was optimistic that I might be able to grow and succeed with you. I was looking forward to learning and growing a lot and sharing my knowledge even more in my first management position. To my dismay I was contacted by my staffing agency yesterday and informed that [insert corporate slacker’s name here] ended my assignment with no explanation given to them. I immediately inquired with Viola in person about the details of my termination. Her only response was, “Please direct all questions to your agency.” She neither confirmed nor denied that I was fired on [insert corporate bully’s name her] order, which is the most likely scenario.

I was caught off guard but not completely surprised by the corporate bully’s and the corporate slacker’s handling of this matter. Two people in particular had a very positive effect (initially) on my view of the corporate slacker, two supervisors in the loan modification department, Kendrick and Daniel. During loan mod training, which I was originally assigned to ~5 weeks prior, Kendrick often offered us his time and advice to the class, repeatedly explaining how valued we are at the slacker corporation. This really hit home with me, and I was hopeful that it was just tough luck that my previous employer (my first corporate job, also a short sale vendor and corporate slacker for the very same corporate bully) could not care less about who filled its seats so long as the work got done. I should have known that Kendrick’s words must be taken with a grain of salt when he boasted about being good at doing “shady things.” Daniel, on the other hand, came across as extremely genuine and caring. After my first team lead meeting with him, during which he offered a brilliant illustration of what it means to be a leader with a story about his young basketball player son, I was excited that I may have identified a potential mentor. Ever since my last mentor, a doctor and director of a university campus health department, I have not been able to identify any potential candidates that would even compare, until Daniel. Weary of the drastic differences in my new department, I was discouraged, questioned the longevity of my new position and so opted not to reach out to him. Then a crushing solidification of corporate slacker management philosophy manifested. A hiring policy nearly exclusively relying on temps is a red flag anywhere. According to Viola in a team lead meeting, “Using temps makes it easier to get rid of associates.” Red flag confirmed. This immediately depleted my remaining optimism about the company, yet I was still hopeful that I could glean knowledge and experience from the position

In hindsight, I may have been overly persistent in class yesterday when I questioned Kim about denying that a buyer can represent herself as her own agent, but Kim’s responses indicated that she did not understand my question, Kim going so far as to say, “That doesn’t even make sense.” My persistence was a genuine pursuit of accurate information for the sake of my team and the corporate bully Kim for which Kim worked. From past experience this particular issue has been a source of contention in this corporate bully’s short sales, and with the its quick reference guide contradicting verbal training, I felt obligated as a leader to seek a clear and consistent answer to the question. As others in training witnessed, I was happy to explore and research the issue after training, as Kim eventually suggested. After class, however, we did not explore and research the issue. Rather I was reprimanded by Kim for undermining her in class. Two other team leads were present and also insisted that a buyer could not be his own agent and that we should not even research the inconsistency raised by their position and the quick reference guide.

I was hired on with the corporate slacker with no professional management experience and thus extremely limited knowledge of how to navigate management level corporate politics. I did not hide this nor did I mislead about the extent of my experience. I have done many things well, most of which are due to skills acquired through various community leadership roles. In fact, I have already had many associates express sincere gratitude in my management and teaching styles. A supervisor appointed me “excel guru.” I have volunteered for jobs nobody else wants to do like take minutes at management meetings. I have gone above and beyond my experience level and have challenged myself to work outside of my comfort zone. The one thing I expect in return is to be coached up by management when I make a mistake in an area in which they knowingly hired me with no experience. But I received no coaching at all. I just got fired.

And thus goes the way of the slacker corporation.