Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Minor League Executive Skills

There was a episode today....as everyone started figuring out the whole deal with the firing of the inspector general of AmeriCorps.

Some senators finally woke up and apparently decided that the White House had to explain the logic in this quick and decisive firing.

So today, we get a very response about this firing of Gerald Walpin. The bottom line? The White House describes Gerald as "confused" and "disoriented".
There are seven indicators given with this announcement:

• Removed after unanimous request from the AmeriCorps board of directors
• At May, 20, 2009, board meeting Walpin "was confused, disoriented and unable to answer questions and exhibited behavior that led the board to question his capacity to serve."
• The U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of California complained about Walpin's conduct to the IG oversight board and alleged he withheld exculpatory evidence.
• Walpin had "been absent from the Corporation's headquarters, insisting upon working from his home in New York over the objection" of the board.
• He "exhibited a lack of candor in providing material information to decision makers."
• He "engaged in other troubling and inappropriate conduct."
• He "had become unduly disruptive to agency operations, impairing his effectiveness."

I sat and read over the seven indicators. I’ve worked within the US government circle for thirty and have seen some folks fired who had emotional issues or breakdowns. So I came home and then watched Mr. Walpin talk with Mr. Beck on Fox. After about 60 seconds....I came to realize that Mr. Walpin doesn't have an emotional problem....or a judgment problem....or a "troubling" issue.

So I've turned back around to the White House. Frankly, you gentlemen are about to open up a hornets nest in the house and senate. "Impairing effectiveness"?

Let me explain what happens now...since you guys aren't that bright. The senate and house are going to actually call a meeting and invite Mr. Walpin and you guys out. You guys will refuse and cite that you have to right to fire anyone....like Bush firing the attorneys. The problem is....IG's are not like that deal.

The house and senate will be asking for a probe. Naturally, this means an independent counsel. No matter who you pick....they will be in this spot until 2016 (if the administration makes it this far), and will likely agree that the White House was "foolish" in triggering this termination. Then someone will start asking questions about the Czars and their expenditures of money. Frankly, unless congress authorized them to do so....they really don't have any pots of money. So they are open targets.

Finally, we come to the reason of this? To protect some third rate political figure who is a mayor of a city in California...under investigation by the IG...and this dimwit happens to be a retired NBA player and personal friend of President Obama. Frankly, it's a weak executive skill demonstrated here....like you'd expect in Bolivia or Panama.

Rembrandt versus Van Gogh


I spent several hours of this trip to Amsterdam....touring two museums.....one dedicated to Van Gogh and the other to Rembrandt.

To be honest, a guy from Bama will have almost no introduction in his life to either, and is lucky to even be introduced to art, period.

I remember at some point in the seventh grade....where European history was mentioned....Rembrandt was brought up for a brief moment....for some comparison of culture. I kinda sat there.....a kid from Bama.....wondering what they meant by culture, but never asked.

So as time passed and I became a more learned individual....I came to recognize Van Gogh and Rembrandt.....masters of art.

So I made this trip to Amsterdam to properly introduce myself to both gentlemen. It's tough, because I have this Bama slant on life, woes, sorrows, and history.

So allow me to introduce you to both masters.

Rembrandt is the early 1600s dude, who we could refer to as "Mr. Polaroid". What he drew....was a honest to life picture of who he was facing. It was life-like. It was the ugliness and beauty of the individual.

Rembrandt was a guy who wanted to show his profits....so he bought what you'd consider a mansion today....not a palace.....and played out his role as a painter and a art collector. He made money off commissions and did a fair run of money-making. He spent a fair amount on knickknacks and artifacts. His collection....probably worth a fair amount of money at the time.

Rembrandt was like your Uncle Joe....a guy who made a bunch of money early and life, then came to a point where he made nothing. He didn't have a business sense to the whole game and probably would have been in a better situation in life if he'd just had a business manager arranging the other side of art for him.

So by the last few years of his life....he'd lost the house and ended up as a washed-up artist with no true sustaining art business. The art collection that he'd picked up over the years....simply taken as property for the lenders, and I'd doubt that they fully comprehended the full value of what Rembrandt had collected over the years.

Rembrandt ended up famous years later....and his works are worth billions today.

So the Van Gogh dude? It's a Bama opera tragedy. Here is a 16-year old kid with a worthly job situation....an art dealer....and a likely career in front of him. In 1870, he would have been 17 years old and heading toward a fair success in life....with absolutely nothing having to do with art production, but it's sales. Then, like some Bama kid stepping into a Baptist revival.....he got "religion" and fell apart.

Van Gogh became obcesed with religion. It was a dramatic turn of events....and literally dragged him away from a simple business career apprenticeship. It was a massive handcuff upon his mental state and stability.

So like a kid from Bama, he traveled off and tried to be a minister of the faith. He would have been the best version of Jimmy Swaggart alive at that time. The problem was....he couldn't sell the religion like he wanted to practice it. No one bought off on his version.

In his mid-twenties....Van Gogh's dad was almost of the mind to put the kid into a mental institute. His frame of mind...was slipping.

At some point around this period, Van Gogh finally picked up a brush and actually started to paint. It was probably more to just relax and get his mind off various thoughts.

From this point on....to 1890....there are a dozen periods of mental change. None really improved much of anything. He painted on, and on, and on. There are 2,000 works by Van Gogh by 1890.

At age 37, in 1890....Van Gogh walked into a field and shot himself with a pistol. His brother, who helpd to manage his affairs....died six months later. It was Theo's (the brother) wife who inheriented the entire art collection and then over the next 35 years to market Van Gogh, and then her son took on the empire.

It is a curious opera....Van Gogh with no real talent of painting known until his late 20's, then coming out over ten years with 2,000 works of art by age 37....dead. He never saw a penny of the profits or the attention dumped upon his works. Statistically, he had to draw or paint almost daily....to turn out an average of 200 works per year.

The Van Gogh style? Compared to Rembrandt....Van Gogh was a barn-painter....he painted with passion and in quick long strokes. Rembrandt tended to paint strictly people....Van Gogh painted just about anything he saw.....from a wheat field, to a house.

For a boy from Bama....who has traveled afar....I still have no culture, and likely never will. I have an appreciation of what people have done in a moment of creativity and passion. The funny thing is that I tend to see wheat field in the same fashion as Van Gogh.....and I could stand in front of a field for hours....just admiring the rich colors and the waving stalks.