Sunday, 15 June 2008

2100: The End?


Earth 2100 is the ABC product (notice, I didn't even call it news or a documentary) that comes in September and forecasts the end of civilization for us all. Basically....you are dying from global warming, global cooling, climate change, carbon issues, lack of gas, lack of food, lack of water, and probably the end of Fox News.

I sat and pondered my end....if I were around there at the end of time....2100. I likely would be on the porch...sipping tea....eating some animal crackers....and listening to some bluegrass music.

The ABC crowd is probably the dimmest news group on the tube these days....after Katie Couric (sorry, I had to mention her yet again). This highly fictional piece....basically brings things down to the Jerry Springer level. The guys they interview for the show....will be jokes of some sort.

And the key thing for you to notice? Count the number of times they say the word "change". I'll bet in two hours....it's mentioned at least sixty times. Will this have to do with any political candidate? It'll be a curious thing.

Job Versus Mission

I work with an individual whose husband has been deployed to Afghanistan. Its a one-year deal, unlike what most of the Air Force guys get.

The job description is kinda simple for this guy. Take a bunch of Afghan guys at the Kabul military airport area, and make them mesh into a team who rarely require leadership or orders.

So far, as individuals have come and gone from this position over the past five years....nothing has improved. The Air Force even came to realize this and has high hopes in changing the mentality of the new guys arriving now.

So its a daily fight.....job versus mission. You'd really like to take some lightly educated Afghan guys and make them real workers, but it just doesn't work. There is the one translator....apparently some Afghan "rock" star (or so he claims) and the military provided some language orientation as they spent two months getting this guy ready for the job. But things just don't work like you'd think.

Your mission is always the defining purpose of your reason being there. You ought to be able to accomplish your mission. But in the light of reality....your job is simplified....especially by the Afghan mentality of a boss and a bunch of guys doing what the boss wants.

I watched a video clip of some German in Afghanistan and how he traveled around..interviewing folks and getting his driver through checkpoints. After a while....you could see that things work in a special way there. There isn't this mentality of team-effort or flexible operations. The boss runs things until he's dead, and then the next boss takes over.

The simpler task would be to bring in some somewhat intelligent Afghani....and lead this one guy through the training....making him the task lead....and then letting him boss the workers through the daily operation. Will the Air Force come to grasp this concept? I kinda doubt it. They all envision some American-run operation, with people doing different things....without being told or directed. Its not a blunder or stupid mistake....but we are doing what you'd expect out of a military force....envisioning a mission and trying to make something out of nothing.

So I'm guessing in eleven months...my associates husband will get on the plane....leave the "God-forsaken-place", take a shower, and return to reality. And I'm guessing he'll appreciate soft beds, clean toilets, and pancakes more than ever.

Simply a Flood Idea

What I often wondered about, year after year, as floods come and go, is why we don't build giant existing empty lakes to "dump" flood waters into?

It would be such a simple task to go along a river that we know floods yearly or every decade or so, then offer up a deal to a farmer that we want to build a giant lake on his property and if we must ever use it....we pay for his lost crop out of federal funds, with the maximum amount of profit for the guy.

We could buy hundreds of these lakes. We could buy the giant German-made water pumps....like the ones they used in New Orleans after Katrina....mounted on tractor trailer rigs....and pump overflowing rivers into these "temp" lakes.

Simply an idea that I keep envisioning and wondering why people won't take actions to lessen the impact. Floods are destined things....they will happen. Our only hope is to lessen the impact.

Legacy

Legacy is a difficult thing to measure. Every single president, CEO, military general, governor, minister, and even our own blessed selves....want a legacy.

A year after George Washington stepped down....there was likely no legacy to render. It was probably twenty years later that people began to form an opinion and measured the guy bigger than what they had when he was likely in office. The same can be said for Lincoln....who was hated by half the nation when elected and when he died. Teddy Roosevelt carried a legacy as big as the Grand Canyon in the decades after he died, but if you asked folks in 1910.....most would have simply said he was not a bad individual....but not that great either.

In the last couple of months....the chatter of George Bush and his legacy has popped up. Different groups want to measure the guy now. I think this is a pretty silly notion and we ought to wait at least ten years. My humble opinion is that we won't regard him in the top ten leaders....and we might have serious reservations about Iraq and Gitmo in the coming decade.

When people run around....discussing their own legacy problems....it become even more sillier. This is a mark of a hopeless individual who has to have something to measure himself. Its the wrong attitude. Its the public and the individuals friends who make the measurement. What we know of Socrates today....is simply a legacy that continued on after his death, when his friends and associates refused to let his name disappear. They quoted him and made into a cult-like figure. We are much the better for their wisdom in remembering their associate. This is the measurement and legacy of an individual.

Flag-Burning Topic

Shasta High School in Redding...which had the brilliant yet deflatable Conner Kennedy write a piece on the feeling of burning a flag and put a picture of him in the practice of such....was going to cancel the school newspaper. It was a done deal earlier in the week. As of yesterday....the principal got a discussion going with the new and incoming editor of the school newspaper. Amanda Cope walked in and said that she hoped to "revolutionize" the paper. She also admitted that she had sought writers and players on the paper who were "professional".

This little slant of conversation....might be a very big hit on Conner and probably demonstrates that several individuals outside of the Conner mindset probably didn't agree with his topics or his method of writing. So what Amanda gets....is twelve months to fix and revive the paper. The $13k to run the paper.....well....no one is quiet sure where this will come from. I'm guessing they will cut a teacher in order to run the paper, feed the poor kids in the school, and pay for coffee for all the teachers.

Amanda's woes? She'll be walking a difficult line. The mentality of destruction will be hanging over every issue of the paper. For an editor to "make" news....is one of the first violations of competent journalism. Usually people go out and find the news....then report it. In the past twenty years....this invention of news has become a national pastime. People enjoy watching news invented out of thin air. Its not even real news anymore....its like the Jerry Springer show and what can I do....to outdo the other guy. Conner fell into the pit with these guys and believed that by him....the journalist...burning a flag....it made news....and its the sad part about learning your craft....you have to make screw-ups to learn from.

The locals feeling.....based on whats said in the Redding newspapers and California....its kinda split. Some folks are disturbed that this ended being in the school newspaper and would like the leadership to view the final product before production. Some folks would like for the paper to fold.

I grew up in a small Alabama school where there was no school newspaper. Everyone put their effort into the class yearbook. I'm guessing today that the school does offer some kind of one-page paper which gets published once a month.

Its the principals call here.....the $13k comes from the big pot and he has to figure what individuals get fired and what programs get cut. California schools are in for a bumpy ride over the next five years. I don't see this as a one-time only cut....it'll return each year. The state is in serious trouble. The paper survived this year....but it could well be cut next year or the year after. This is the reality of the situation.

Secrets

Last week....on a bloody train in the British empire....a number of classified reports were left on a seat.....later to be turned over to the BBC. The belief then was that some individual of significance....a member of the government....was traveling and simply accidentally left the reports there. An investigation is currently underway over this episode. The interesting thing is that the individual who found the reports....immediately who found the reports....turned them over to the BBC......not the government.

Yesterday.....a second batch of reports were found on another train.

Both batches of reports had to do with Al Qaida, and its operations & banking habits.

One accident, I'm willing to believe in....two....no. This is a effort by an individual to get information out to the public that is classified. To be very blunt....an individual handling classified information doesn't take it home....doesn't take it on the train.....doesn't travel around in public with it in their lunchbag. There are strict rules about the care and travel habits of classified documents. So I don't believe this is a one-time only accident, with another one-time only accident. It was calculated and planned.

A third batch to come? Yep....I'd bet on one within seven days.

$15 Million Short?

As we kinda hinted at.......a month ago....the Democratic convention folks in Denver were not gaining the capital they were hoping for. This week.....they are admitting they are at least $15 million short and may have to hand this bill to the city. Folks around Denver are a bit upset and asking questions to the city council and the mayor. They really don't want to pay for some political hijinks. Adding to this business is the possibility that numerous fringe groups plan hostile activities throughout the week and the cops will be ten times as busy as they normally might be.

The DNC is canceling almost all of the meet & greet events and the parties.....with only one big function planned for the entire week. Even the media has started to notice the various cost measures that are being put into effect.

My guess is that by Friday of next week....they probably will milk the big-name contributors for another $8 million and the city eventually gets stuck with a $5 million bill. They can complain about this, but considering the amount of tax revenue they are pulling in for the city for that five day period.....I would not say a word. They will easily make that $5 million back.

What remains amusing in this entire episode....is that the Republicans haven't said a word about being short on cash. They apparently have every bill covered. Enough said.