Saturday, 30 August 2008

Stereotypes

I am a humble human being. I probably accept an awful lot of things that most folks don't accept. I probably tolerate alot of things that most folks don't tolerate. I can envision diversity and live with it, while most folks will comment on limits of diversity. I'm one of the few.

In the world of sterotypes....I'm probably one of the most far extreme. There isn't a second I waste when I meet or come across someone....to sterotype them. It doesn't matter who you say you are, who you dress like, your politics, your situation in life (whether a Democrat, a septic tank salesman, or a loser who lives in a garage apartment at age 40).....it doesn't matter. I'm going to stereotype you.

There probably ought to be stereotype training....like diversity training or sensitivity training....but it'd be a failure with me. You can't exercise this out of me or brainwash me enough to just avoid a "label". I'm going to pronounce a label on you....one way or another.

I've been this way for almost fifty years. I can't remember a period when I didn't stereotype folks. I'll likely die this way.

I've learned over the years, that there are good stereotypes and bad stereotypes. In fact, I might stereotype an individual one day....and months later come to realize I accidentally mis-stereotyped you.....and have to restereotype you as something new and different. Sometimes, thats a plus-point for you. Unfortunately, it might sometimes be a negative for you....it all depends.

Rednecks tend to be rednecks....unless you quickly sum up some wit or lack of accent....in which case you avoid the typical redneck stereotype label. Folks from New Orleans usually get labeled as a "loser" (Hurricane Katrina label), unless they quickly explain that they left twenty years ago and don't have the Orleans accent. Folks from the Southern Baptists convention....usually get a pretty negative convention unless they quickly offer up a flask of whiskey or comment on liking Karl Rove.

If I learn that you live in a house trailer....its usually a negative stereotype label, until you explain its a double-wide and you have a paved driveway. If I find out that you've been married five times....I usually label you a loser, until you explain you married those guys because they had money. If I find that you are from Alabama....theres usually a positive stereotype label until you ask if I'd like to attend your church.

Sometimes, stereotype labels quickly fade. When you have a gal at the Ramstein commissary dressed in a tube top, skimpy leather skirt and rubber wadder boots, and then you suddenly add up the grams of fat and sodium to let me know somethings good or bad in this product....then I realize you have some intelligence and you simply dress this way to throw guys like me off.

Sometimes, its the car or vehicle that allows me to stereotype you. Folks who drive Audi TT's are usually big assholes or bitches. Folks who drive Ford pick-ups are generally fine outstanding folks. Folks who travel only by public transportation....have issues....thus earning a negative stereotype label.

So, I'm not apologizing or saying anything to regret my stereotype labels. I'm handing them out freely, without any announcement or CNN "sudden reports". Whatever you did or wore or said.....was earned.....and I'm the guy handing out labels....so just accept it.

Germany's Monster Mosque

This week, after a long intensive debate....it was decided that a super giant mosque will be built in Cologne, Germany. It actually will be silhouetted against the sky with the most famous Gothic church in Germany.

It was a odd debate. Numerous locals stood up at various times over the past year and voiced a negative opinion. This Thursday, the town council held the final vote....none of the protesters involved that day really mattered. The outcome was already decided.

Based on reports, the conservative folks from the CDU and the far-right....voted no, but the majority were from the center or left....and their vote carried the weight.

The curious thing here....the monster structure will end up costing in the neighborhood of $18 billion dollars minimum (figure $25 billion by the end). Adding to this curious factor....its entirely financed by 800 Muslim groups in Germany.

To help lessen the impact and negativity involved....the group running the project agreed that they would not broadcast a call to prayer over loud speakers. That probably was a effort to take out half of the negativity of the project.

The most amusing part of this episode came with the quote from a member of the city council and a SPD member: "I think the new mosque will be such an architectural masterpiece that tour buses will take people to see it after they visit the Cologne Cathedral."

I kinda laughed over that quote and wondered what tour buses that the dimwit was referring to.

So then I came to my German analysis and whats really behind the scenes. Cologne is a fascinating place for construction and corruption. The two concepts are married.

Years ago, the city had a down-graded area in the midst of town that they wanted to make something out of....without spending their money. So they rigged up a deal where the city bought the property that was very undervalued, and then rigged up a state-project....the opera house.

Along came the largest construction company in Germany and they rigged up an evaluation. The deal was that the state (not the local guys) would fund construction of this opera and event house, and then the company would manage this and make money off of it. It was a great idea on paper. Out came an evaluator who surveyed the area to figure the profits involved. When he was finished....it was a dismal report. Such a opera house could not make sustainable profit. He gave the report to the company and they filed it.

Construction immediately started.

As the opera house came to be finished....there was a huge opening party where all of the bigwigs of town were invited, with fancy food and wine served (free to the fine audience members)....and a full month of scheduled events was arranged. There were some comedians, some rock & rock events, and some opera tirades. By the sixth month.....the operation was noting fewer attendees and lesser events. It couldn't sustain a profit. The tens of millions poured into the project? Probably twenty percent went into the pocket of the company as corruption money, and the rest paid for what was done.

It was five years later when the company was under threat of bankruptcy when this episode and dozens upon dozens of other state-funded projects came out into the open.

What Germany does (its political figures, no less) is fund various pet projects for cities, counties and states. The money falls into the pockets of these construction crews and their leadership. If you figure an actual project costs $50 million....you can figure at least $3 million is corruption money which has nothing to do with profit or materials or work done. That $3 million will quietly filter back into the local mayor, city council, or state government political figures.

The two major parties benefit greatly from this scheme. They look like they are enhancing their local infrastructure, but four years later when the project is finished....you wonder just how necessary it was or where the money really went. Road projects are often run in this manner. Its easy to hand out project money....and let it filter into the hands of political folks.

So, lets return to Cologne and the $18 billion involved here by the 800-odd Muslim groups. Forget the $18 billion now and forever. Forget $25 billion now and forever. These guys are going to be suckered into laying out over $40 billion by the end. Trust me. At least $5 billion will fall into the hands and pockets of these local political figures and the corrupted construction planners. It'll be the biggest payoff in twenty years for some of these people. I'm betting several members of the city council retire by 2015 to some island off the coast of Spain and have millions in their private accounts from this whole episode.

The Muslim dimwits will be standing there in 2015 scratching their heads over where $40 billion dollars went and how this was worth that much. Every step of the way, will be negative bystanders who either damaged the construction effort or brought case after case into court. Toss in the corruption and the German greed factor....and you have a five-star event.

The Exit Sign at Clayton County, Georgia

Yesterday, the governor of Georgia fired four members of the Clayton county board of education....which came in conjunction with the termination of accreditation for the county school system. For this public school system, with 50,000 kids....it basically means that they don't have accreditation for the rest of the year and the situation will be reviewed in late 2009 for the next step. If they fail on their achievements, then they get a three-year sentence. If they pass....they get back into the good graces of the accreditation folks and the governor.

This board had huge issues....involving ethics and open meetings. There were numerous behind-the-scene operations being conducted, with various shady deals accomplished. The accreditation folks felt that there was no leadership within the board or the county school system.

So if you were a parent living in Clayton county, what happens now?

Well....if you had plans for junior attending community college next year or maybe going to Georgia State University.....then you basically have two choices....remove Junior from the current public school system and enroll him in a private school (at a cost), or move out of the county to qualify for another school district.

If you were a star basketball player or a potential big-league baseball player who might have gotten a scholorship offer in the spring to play for the University of Arizona team....well....that effort just went out the door.

As you might speculate....by Friday afternoon....some kids were weeping and crying in the hallways of the various schools in Clay county. They can't stay. They can't be part of the school during their last year. They can't share this passing year with old friends. Some of them know that Mom will pack them up next week and send them to Tennessee to live with relatives. Some know that Dad is going to move the family forty miles over into the next county.

Some real estate folks think the county has lost $500 million in value since the action occurred. It'll be difficult to sell a house with a loss involved. Who wants to buy a house in a county where they have no accredited school system?

We had one school superintendent......John Thompson....who said “A storm came through and look at it now, the sun is shining, That’s what’s going to happen in Clayton County”. It really wasn't accepted too far, and most folks had a laugh after reading the commentary.

By the end of next week...I'm guessing three thousand kids will be removed and sent to live with Grandma over in Tennessee or Uncle Ed in Charleston. Some kids will be sent to private schools in the county....if mama can afford it. Some church groups will start up a private group and get home-schooling on the agenda. The star-basketball players? Gone. The star baseball pitchers? Gone.

My suggestion for the governor....fire the entire county board of education. Bring in seven state national guard commanders and put them on the state payroll for eight months to fix this entire problem. These folks there need leadership....and the Army guard is the place to find it.

Diversity Training

When someone utters "Diversity Training"....I usually sit there and start smirking. I can't keep a straight face, and I usually start thinking of islands in the Pacific, playful dogs, or the length of a shadow at 4PM. I can't take it serious....I'm sorry.

Basically, you are saying the comment "Whatever you believe in or do in public cannot be accepted so you must be lightly brainwashed and motivated to say things differently."

What Diversity Training accomplishes in the end....is getting people to automatically say "X" when an event occurs. It doesn't matter if you believe in "X" or even understand "X". The end result is a shift in attitude.

Many things fall within the range of "Diversity Training". The subjects can include: women, religion (although never Southern Baptists), Blacks, Latinos, Lesbians or gay dudes, fat folks, and even people with disabilities. Strangely enough, there are subjects which will never be included in Diversity Training: rednecks (they can't be accepted by society, period), dumbasses (if you didn't run from Hurricane Katrina, its your own fault), large lusty bimbos (its hard to convince you of something different when you meet them), Germans (if you did accept them, then you'd be in serious trouble), and finally... septic tank repairmen (they have a funky smell which can't be explained away).

I've been through about fifty of these Diversity Training seminars in my life...from the Air Force years and the past ten as a contractor. In the beginning, I kinda sat near the front row and got drawn into the Training project. They'd always want to act out some scenario....usually five or six times....so that the players would each grasp their contribution to the seminar. It worked in the first five or six....but then I kinda got tired of the acting and began to sit as far in the back as possible. When they did get around to selecting me for the act....I would speak the intended verse but as slow as possible....like one would do in a tragic Greek opera. I was told once that I was being uncooperative....I smiled and offered my sympathy for their splendid program. It didn't help.

In recent years....the company dudes have made this Diversity Training into a 25-minute computer program. You keep pressing forward while Claire (the chief character) talks about diversity and how you can be a part of it. At the end....you press "complete", and you get a certificate of some digital sort. Its not worth much but the company can say that you did get diversified.

I'm waiting for the day when I have a dwarf boss, a lesbian Southern Baptist coworker, and an assistant who was previously a man but converted to a woman and today refers to himself as "Dorie". There'll be this mention of Diversity Training....but I'll just decline and announce that I'm fully capable of working with these people.....but the question is....are they capable of working with me? At that point....we will see who is diversified and who is not.

15,000

Like the movie "300", this past week in Denver with the DNC convention in full swing....there was another movie (called "15,000") played out. It involved the 15,000 reporters.

Most folks didn't really see at least 5,000 of the group....who were mainly there to meet and hobnob with their favorite local political group or old political friends. These are the guys who own the papers in Austin, Memphis, Chicago or Atlanta. They discussed tactics and the methods of downplaying McCain over the coming weeks. They sipped $30 bottles of wine and entertained their political hack who refused to pay for their meal. They probably stayed at a hotel that was at least two hours away because they couldn't find acceptable lodging in Denver.

A fair number (maybe 1,000) of the 15,000 were drunk or stoned for this period. They talked the boss into a high per diem rate and tossed the $1000 into good booze or good pot.

At three hundred arrived with no credentials. These are mostly the foreign guys from Frankfurt or Moscow or Ottawa. Oh, we might include the smalltown papers who suddenly decided that they could afford the trip but didn't have reservations and ended up in a RV at the end of town that someone borrowed from their Uncle.

I'm guessing at least 60 probably attended a single minute of the entire convention and simply reporting news from the TV in their hotel room while they were meeting with their liaison, "Wicked Wanda". Their boss back in Seattle still thinks that Joe is on the floor of the convention and getting first rate interviews....while Joe is sitting in his bathtub.

Theres probably six guys who had to check in at some lodge in Cheyenne, Wyoming and were supposed to drive down each day....because this was the cheapest place they could find under the boss's travel pay scheme. The six probably never got past the city limits of Cheyenne because of a broke water pump on the van.....and sat mostly around the pool sipping Ole Milwaukee and eating buckets of fried chicken.

There ought to be a movie made on this entire episode, but then who would believe it?