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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Firefighters in Dresses Hailed as Heroes?

By now, you have undoubtedly seen the video.

According to, the two Sedan, MN volunteer firefighters occasionally wear dresses to raise funds for their volunteer fire department.

”The group of volunteers were waiting in line in preparation for Padua’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Saturday when a fire erupted in a truck and the firefighters went to work”.

Volunteer firefighters Ted Aubart and Ben Terhaar, one wearing green and the other wearing red evening gowns are seen manning the hose to extinguish the vehicle fire.

Yes; the video has gone viral and it has made the rounds at all of the major news outlets. This morning on Fox News, the news anchor described the pair as “heroes”.

Now; back in the day, when I was new to the ways of firefighting, it was not uncommon for us to tackle fires dressed only in our “street clothes”. It was part necessity and part stupidity. I say “part necessity” because back then, we didn’t have enough bunker gear to outfit everyone. You were lucky to find a pair of boots that fit. I say “part stupidity” for obvious reasons. Like most; we learned from our mistakes and lived to tell about it.

Several fire service websites and bloggers have taken this story and ran with it. Some have made light of it, while others have pointed out the obvious safety concerns of firefighters not properly attired in full turnout gear with SCBA. Is this a department that believes that it is safe to fight vehicle fires without proper gear? Do they believe that smoke and fire from a burning vehicle is somehow different than “other” smoke and fire? What about polyvinylchloride, hydrogen cyanide and carbon monoxide? Were they wearing heels or pumps? Did they have matching clutch purses?

Volunteer fire departments have been battling image problems for how long? I mean; it’s one thing to dress up like Liza Minelli and sing Broadway tunes in the privacy of your own home, but to do it in public? The money would have to be right; I can tell you that.

I’m not too fond of circus clowns, but men running around in evening gowns with a big hose in their hands is a nightmare from Hell. The one in the red dress was spot on, but the guy in the green dress clashed big time with the color of the fire truck. So, the guy in the red was completely out of touch with the blarney, but gets kudos for accessorizing with a red fire truck. The guy in the green showed his Irish, but looked so gauche with the rest of his ensemble.

And where was the chief? Was he standing just off camera in a dazzling, white Versace evening dress?

Had they gone strapless, I would have scary images running around inside my head of them tanning nude so as not to get tan lines. However; there would have been no concern for straps slipping off of the shoulder had they chosen to go strapless.

Wear your air and hide your back hair!

Now, I come back to my original question: what was so heroic about two guys in evening gowns squirting water on a burning truck?

I can tell you this: you won’t see this kind of “class” at FDIC.


The opinions and views expressed are those of the article’s author, Art Goodrich, who also writes as ChiefReason. They do not reflect the opinions and views of, Fire Engineering Magazine, PennWell Corporation or his dog, Chopper. All articles by the author are protected by federal copyright and cannot be reproduced in any form without expressed permission.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Rescuing the Lady

Oh, where to begin.

As if things weren’t already bad enough in Illinois, I read today where my state is the third most corrupt state in the nation. Chicago has the distinction of being named as the number one most corrupt city in the nation.

For many of us who have lived in Illinois our entire lives, this doesn’t exactly come as a revelation, but it is very frustrating after spending so much time in politics with the idea that we were going to change it.

I want to say that our politics in this state isn’t reflective of the people who live here, but unfortunately, it is people (real and imagined) who vote for the jamokes that get into state politics long enough to muck things up, plead guilty, serve their sentence and then become lobbyists when they get out. Our most recent poster child for Illinois politics comes courtesy of the Illinois Department of Transportation, where a mob bookie got a $70,000 a year job with the DOT and now, with the help of the union, continues to work for the state; much to the chagrin of his DOT supervisor.

You probably never thought that turning a key in a lock could be hazardous to your health, but at Menard State Prison, over $10 million was awarded to prison guards AND the warden for injuries caused from this innocuous act. Apparently, some of our Illinois Industrial Commissioners had their own workers’ compensation claims and were suffering “sympathetic” pain for the guards.

In an effort to cut our deficit and to bolster our credit rating, the state raised my state income tax by 67% and they also raised the corporate tax by 47%. Makes you want to run a business and work there, doesn’t it? Caterpillar recently told Governor Quinn the Mighty that they will not increase their business in this state, as long as the climate is so “anti-business”. Let’s see; we had the money to bribe Sears and the CBT to keep their business here, but not Caterpillar? I lost my job at Cat when they moved the engine assembly to Texas. Then, at about the same time, they moved the road graders from Decatur, IL to North Little Rock, Arkansas. And now; a new Cat plant is going to Athens, Georgia, but Quinn still thinks that Cat is just “blowing smoke”.

It was clear that the Gov was hurt by Oberhelmann’s statements and he could barely muster a reply. He said, “We overhauled the workers’ compensation system in this state”. Quinn’s idea of “overhaul” must mean that, when you get your oil changed, you are having your engine overhauled. The work comp “overhaul” did NOTHING to lower rates in this state.

So, there has been no meaningful spending cuts made yet, but Quinn and his bobble heads are still finding ways to RAISE money through the good taxpayers in this state. Now, Quinn and Chicago mayor Rahm Emanual want to charge a $65 “fee” for gun registration in this state and as we all know, a “fee” is not a “tax”.

It wasn’t that long ago that Rahm the Merciless was President Obama’s Chief of Staff, but Rahm couldn’t get everyone on board with doing things the “Chicago way”, so, feeling like a fish out of water, Rahm returned to the familiar waters of Chicago politics, where he has been doing a yeoman’s job of bullying his city council AND our governor.

So, that brings me to Obama. He got his start in politics as a community organizer. There must be a playbook or instruction manual that teaches one to organize. Now; I have to wonder if he was organizing in the most corrupt city in the nation in spite of it. After-all; he is a product of that environment. Did he escape it squeaky clean? I don’t think so. Look at his shadow cabinet of czars, his recess appointments, Obama Care, activists judges, the NLRB, his fast and furious attorney general’s willingness to sue private citizens and businesses to stop them from exercising their liberties, suing states to keep them from enforcing immigration laws and then it becomes very clear that President Obama is a by-product of his environment. His hypocrisy has no limits.

The House and the Senate haven’t been much help, either. Many of them still believe that they are beefing up their re-election victories by pigging out on pork projects for their home districts, because they are too chicken to base their chances on the moral and ethical strength of their votes on various pieces of legislation. And besides; giving the special interests groups that support and the special attention that they deserve isn’t “buying” votes in the strict sense is it?

Sure; everyone wants their taxes to come back home in some way, but it has caused a de facto redistribution of wealth. However; in Illinois, tax money that is taken and is supposed to come back to the school districts isn’t. Instead, Quinn the Mighty is simply telling school districts that they are going to have to take on a bigger share at the local level which will most likely cause property taxes across the state to skyrocket. I wish that I could tell my creditors to eat it in the same way that Illinois government tells their taxpayers.

In his “State of the State” address, Quinn offered NOTHING; only get tough talk, but no plans to get tough.

The 2012 elections will be the most important election in my lifetime and I don’t exaggerate when I say that. I cannot think of another single election where there was so much at stake at the state and federal level. We have an opportunity in Illinois to flip the entire legislature as ALL of the seats are up for re-election. There are but a very few who deserve the privilege of our vote for them.

At the federal level, I can’t wait to pay $5 a gallon for gas, even though we sit on enough oil to truly become energy self-sufficient and cut the cord to Middle East countries that don’t like us very much, but are more than happy to take our money and the lives of our soldiers and citizens.

That is not to say that I am for price controls, because I’m not, but why is it that gas prices can go up whenever a sheik farts, but a utilities company must “request” a price increase from the legislature?

I fully understand a company’s duty to shareholders and yea, though I don’t know what “obscene profits” are or what it is to have “too much money”; I know that our country survives because of capitalism.

I believe that, in many cases, those who have their hand out because “they can’t help it” are a myth. I have always felt that those in need will receive their help from charitable donations from kind-hearted givers. Government is not a charity nor should they determine for us how we should spend our money.

It’s a fact that not everyone can afford to buy a house, a car or go to college. Those decisions should be made by potential purchasers. When I took out the loan for our first house, interest rates were eight percent. I made my payments without the help of the government. I borrowed money for my vehicles from the bank and never missed a payment. Back then, there were no incentives to buy and interest rates were eight to nine percent. We took out student loans so that our son could go to college and we paid back every dime. We never looked for a bailout from the government. What has changed, other than loan rates have dropped dramatically?

All of us who came from poor beginnings know that we had two choices: stay there and wallow in self-pity fueled by government cheese or to change it.

I chose to change it. I won’t apologize for it and I refuse to stand by and allow government to tell me that I have too much and must give some of it to someone else.

I pay my taxes and I donate to charities. I volunteer my time in my community and will help where help is needed.

THAT is MY decision and because I am opposed to extending that charity to flimflammers and scammers of the System, I will not believe that I am a bad person.

The state of the government and the condition of our country is our fault.

So, I say that it is time to rescue Lady Liberty and to take back our country from dysfunctional governance.

It is a non-partisan approach. Republicans and Democrats alike have managed through several parliamentary procedures to set themselves up as the ruling class and in the process have trampled on our Constitution.

I will not consider any candidate from any party who will not work to change it. I want a government who will allow me to keep what I have earned and return upon my retirement the Social Security funds that I have paid since I was sixteen years old.

I have supported government at all levels. I don’t expect any more than what I have paid for. I expect government to honor their contract with me. Period.

Rant off.

Game on. November can’t come soon enough.


The opinions and views expressed are those of the article’s author, Art Goodrich, who also writes as ChiefReason. They do not reflect the opinions and views of, Fire Engineering Magazine, PennWell Corporation or his dog, Chopper. All articles by the author are protected by federal copyright and cannot be reproduced in any form without expressed permission.