Saturday, 31 January 2009

Reality of Iranian Thinking

Today....Iran's leadership decided that President Obama's offer to talk to Iran...demonstrates that America's policy of "domination" has failed. An Iranian spokesperson....Gholam Hossein Elham said: "This request means Western ideology has become passive, that capitalist thought and the system of domination have failed. Negotiation is secondary, the main issue is that there is no way but for (the United States) to change."

In an amusing way, they've cornered the President and invited a number of embarrassing questions if any major change in US policy over Iran occurs. On the other hand, if the President wants to indicate "CHANGE" will take place....the Iranians can quickly sum things up in their own country and show that democracy and capitalist beliefs have failed and Obama admits such (its bogus but hey, this is Iran).

What we could do....is say that capitalism has totally failed, and then suggest they put in 100 Kentucky Fried Chicken enterprises...toss in a Pepsi production facility...and suddenly failed capitalism is ok....as long as its failed capitalism.

Model Boys Set to Score

Somewhere in the midst of this $800-odd billion stimulus package, is a neat and tidy amount of money, arranged for global climate data modeling. Of course, you might perk up here and ask how much? $140 million. Scratching your head? So am I.

I would like to think that there are hundreds of climate model scientists and non-scientists who are unemployed and very much need a job of some type. I went looking. The best I can right now....based on a statement by Pat Michaels (former president of the American Association of State Climatologists)....is that not a single modeler presently...is unemployed. Almost all of their research money is guaranteed via the federal government, although it might draft down via colleges.

So $140 million, for guys who aren't unemployed and probably not going to suffer. So what might this pay for? Well...maybe out of 1,500 different models (I'm assuming) that exist currently (because every modeler is using a different cherry-picked data list)...maybe we will add another 1,000 more models (with more different cherry-picked data lists). Maybe we will send more of the model boys to special conferences in Paris or Bangkok....to stay in 5-star hotels and sip fine wine. Maybe we will be buying the model boys each a new American-made Ford....to help the car industry. Maybe there will be a massive new data storage system developed which we'd naturally call "Cherry-Picker". Perhaps we could simply buy all the model boys some great new hardware, so that model development could be done differently.

So the bottom line? Those model boys are going to score bigtime, unless someone is a jerk and takes the item out. What could regular people have done with $140 million? Two more major bridges completely replaced...but then who cares about American jobs or bad infrastructure?

Aliens, UFOs, and Black Dudes

Larry Wilmore, a comedian and writer....has come out with a new book, entitled: I'd Rather We Got Casinos.

It is a book of a black guy's humorous view of life, blacks, whites, and reality. Amongst his topics....he comes to one that I once pondered. Why is it, that only white guys or gals report aliens or UFOs?

You never have a black guy doing an interview....describing his thoughts on some abduction, some probe, some UFO over their house, or some alien contact. It simply doesn't happen. Oh, I agree...there is that one dude from the 1950s...married to that white gal up in the Northeast....who says they both got kidnapped and probed by the aliens. But after that guy, there just aren't any blacks with stories.

Why is this? I sat and pondered. Black guys typically don't take alot of crap, so maybe aliens avoid them because there might be immediate gunplay. Black guys don't stand around waiting for some visitation....either its poker night, party night with a hot babe, or catching up on ESPN with an associate. They aren't sitting out on the front door step.....watching the stars and looking for UFOs to pass over.

Could aliens be racist in nature and simply refuse meeting with black guys? Well....this is a remote possibility. I've noticed that you never have reports of little black alien dudes or black alien hotties. They all seem to be one generic color or race.

Would a meeting between a typical LA black dude and a alien lead to some disastrous consequences? I'm thinking the LA dude would suggest some black gal meetings.....some booze....some ESPN football....and to hang out with other dudes. The alien might not have the social skills or the ability to grasp why black women are the way they are. I could see some alien dude saying the wrong thing, and having some black gal whomp the heck out of the little poor alien dude. He'd likely limp to the mother ship and tell the other dudes to stay the hell away from black women.

Maybe there is some scientific reason for lack of black alien or UFO reporting. But the longer I think about this....I'm thinking alot of white dudes are plain crazy....and the black guys are sitting there....snickering about the bogus story....and laughing their butt off over some dimwit white dudes.

Flag and Rules

There are some simple rules if you are in the Middle East where flag burning is a daily ritual, especially US or Israel flags.

Rule number one, always stay a good ten feet from anyone messing with the burning flag. Fabic doesn't readily burn (for media purposes), so most of the expert flag-burners use a little bit of gas on the flag to ensure a bright and professional media burn. As the camera guy, you don't want to be part of the event.

Rule number two, if you are stupid enough to stand too close and get dosed with the fuel on your clothing....fire will erupt. Stop, drop and roll on the ground.

Rule number three, flags tend to burn in less than three minutes. Get the shot, the momentum of the moment, and then move on out. If you stay....a bunch of regular guys with no clear agenda will want to chat with you over what they think....and sadly, its pretty widespread....from jobs to their uncle's health. This isn't why you came to a flag-burning.

Rule number four, always ensure that its younger guys handling the burning flag event. These old guys will try to be safe, cautious, and delay a good burning until everyone is ten feet away. Its the young radical dudes who make the best fires because safety is way down on the priority list. The younger guys also look better on TV (they usually have all their teeth) and they have charisma.

Rule number five, flag burning events usually dehydrate you....so plan on carrying a bottle of water with you, and then plan for a bar stop quickly after the event.

Rule number six, flag burns usually aren't that well planned. Some guys will stall, and hold back their flags until they know they've got a real audience. If there are only twelve people standing there....don't count on a flag burning that day.

Rule number seven, flag burning usually takes place in the afternoon...for some unknown reason. Some folks think that everyone is kinda caught up in the morning with the coffee crowd and the discussion of the day. By lunch, they get all hyped and then run off to burn a flag. You might notice that no one burns flags after dark....some kind of logic that you can't see clearly the flag burning in the dark, I would assume.

Just some pondering from my mind this morning.

How to Run a Government

What you notice here in the early days of the Obama period, is that there are a number of "Czars", special envoys, and task forces being created. I sat and looked over this bold new landscape.

With the various special envoys being created, they've more or less regulated Hillary back to "image-secretary" and non-negotiation player. For every chaotic area in the world that the government might have an interest in....this group of special envoys appear to be the real Secretary of State. No one really sits in front of the camera to lay out leadership trails but I would assume that the envoy can call directly to the president and have face-to-face meetings if necessary.

The Czars? This appears to be more of a puppet show. If you have a face attached to a problem, you assume that something is being done. The guy can go on the Today Show, Wolfe Blitzer's show, or even chat with whats left of the New Times. He will explain the problem in Obama-detail, then state their plan....and then walk away. For two or three years, most folks will buy this concept and the value of the Czars. At some point, one of the guys will readily admit on camera that his job is worthless and simply is a PR gimmick.

The task forces? It has terrific PR. You can spend thousands of man-hours on something, and produce a 300 page document detailing what ought to be done....then go out and golf for the remaining two days at the resort that you are having the meeting at. Nothing has to really be accomplished....it just has to look like things are important.

Which of these would I want to be? I'd pick the task force stuff. My three choices would be: (1) The Task Force on Reforming the BCS Bowl Situation, (2) Septic Tank Revival and Reform Task Force, and (3) The Division of Bama into North Bama and South Bama States Task Force. Naturally, I'd like for my meetings to be held in a nice resort, preferably in Arizona. I'd like to have a semi-open bar for the meeting participants....with a fine buffet of food to be offered for breakfast and lunch.

Yes, I am a bit of a cynic and very sarcastic over this entire "game". We've had presidents to do different pieces of all of these....but this time....we've put all the models on the table and maxed out anything historical. More and bigger, is the landscape. A naive guy would sit there and think "RESULTS". Frankly, you've got tons of experts and if you don't achieve results, then the public ought to be asking alot of stupid questions in four years. I believe this is more of a trap, than a tool. It'll be amusing to compare the mileage of Hillary to Condi...in four years. I'm already betting she does half the trips that Condi made.

The positive of all of this? Its kinda like economic stimulus.....you are employing a bunch of guys who might be unemployed. So maybe this is the one bright spot of this entire game.

McCaskill's Dream

This was the week that Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill stood up, and said she was really upset....demanding that Wall Street executives ought to have limits on some of their salaries. Her idea? She wants to force companies taking federal bailout money to limit compensation for any employee to what the president of the United States currently earns: $400,000 a year. As she said: “Is that so unreasonable? It’s eight times the median household income in the United States of America. I don’t think that sounds like a bad deal.”

There are two ways of looking at this. First, you have company boards now, which are very willing to hand out $20 million or even $200 million...to have "their" CEO onboard. In most cases, the board is the one controlling this method of "madness" (if it even is madness). If you dug into the board members...you'd find that most companies in the big-boy range are paying the board folks around twenty-five percent of whatever they are paying the CEO (exception to the $200 million guys). Salary madness is a problem, but then when you enter a candy store...are you capable of controlling your urges and only buying what you came to buy?

The second way of looking at this....is that the CEO is chiefly responsible for the success or failure of a company. A real leader, will boldly make decisions and push profits to a higher margin. We can all look over at Enron and suggest that they hired a guy who understood nothing about business, and he was there for cosmetic reasons only. But then we could turn around to any number of other businesses in the US...where the CEO is the driving force of the company.

Frankly, if the Senator's idea is so good...why not limit everyone to the president's salary? Why are we paying a second-rate relief pitcher for the Yankees $6 million a year? Why are we letting CBS pay a second-rate journalist millions a year to run the nightly newscast but she really doesn't draw anyone (yes, Ms Couric). Why do we have experts for think-tanks in the US drawing a $1 a year....to mostly stand ready to answer questions on CNN while a major event occurs?

What would happen if the Senator gets to play ball and insert this into law? You'd watch one of two things occur. Either a mass number of CEOs would simply retire and you'd find only a limited number of folks who'd want to be a CEO at that range of pay....meaning you got a second-rate guy running a company and helping to dissolve it one way or another.....or you'd have companies refusing government help or bailout, then bankrupting themselves in a honest American sort-of-way. You might actually have Senators weeping on TV about a massive American economic downturn and offering trillions of dollars to companies...and they refuse to accept the package deal because of the pay deal.

Just another night in America.