Friday, 10 July 2009

What Were They Thinking?

Typically, I don’t find a lot to agree with when discussing matters with a four-star general. This week….I was given a speech text from Air Force General Norty Swartz (a four-star).

He got to speaking on “Survivor”. This is one of those series that I can’t really get into and probably have watched two episodes in my entire life. This year, which concluded in June….the series decided that they needed to reach out and try something new. Normally, the motto of the show is “Outwit. Outplay. Outlast.” The passion of the show is use tribal community votes to eliminate another member through the process of a secret ballot, and every votes…and then work against people for the duration of the game.

At this point, lying…cheating….deceiving folks….all start to be part of the game and the show. Adding to the issue is this six week period of endurance to survive.

This past year….the show suddenly found itself in a unique situation. They came upon this guy who won the entire game….with a unanimous vote of the jury. Then….you had to go back and review each episode….he never received a single negative vote along the way.

It was like a 300 game in bowling. It was supposed to be impossible.

As the general wrote his speech, I was amazed. I read through this and came to be shocked.

This guy they found….answered “sir” and “maam”. He had toughness but nothing remarkable. But then he brought some unique skills which the folks on the show had never seen before….integrity, honesty, and pure conventional wisdom. He would not betray or deceive or lie.

His team members? They were amazed. In the end…they could not find fault with him or his team values. The Survivor staff had tossed something into the mix that people had not seen before.

So he won.

I sat there looking at the whole description and took to reading via the internet. Here’s the thing. The Survivor guys had finally decided to recruit and bring a Bama guy to Surivor. Here was some small cattle rancher….twenty-four years old….who was just being Bama….acting Bama….and finally delivering Bama. James “JT” Thomas Jr….was every inch and ounce a true guy from Bama.

The truth of the matter is that half the guys in Bama are this way. There is some honor code or creed that they intend to follow. The other half may end up in politics, used car sales, real estate, Baptist churches, or in relationships with trailer trash women. But this “pure” crowd? They actually mean it when they say they are ‘concerned’ or ‘worried’. They mean it when they ask about your health or the condition of your cows. They mean it when they invite you over for a fish fry. They mean it when they ask if you need help digging up the septic tank. They mean it when they ask if you want a bit of help painting the barn or hauling hay.

The Survivor crowd simply hadn’t never considered the idea of some Bama guy walking into the game and actually delivering common sense, wisdom and ethics.

The general pointed out a number of these character enhancements….leading to a fine mention of true leadership and how leader ought to behave. I kinda follow the same boat on this issue. Honesty, respect and common sense end up being required if you want to lead a team to a tough result.

So now the season is ended. The Survivor staff has consider this situation and how you improve the show to the next level. My suggestion? Lets bring on a dozen Bama folks….and lets make this real interesting. What if an entire team refused to cast a negative vote? What if an entire team choose to abstain and just march on to the next phase? What if the theme of Survivor got around to the idea that is totally opposite of what it was conceived to do?

Just my two cents.

The Week Ahead

So a brief examination. California came up two years ago and began to grasp that they had a huge revenue issue and were going to fail to meet obligations. So the political folks met…..they talked….they argued….and they basically wasted two years. The state is bankrupt. In the last few weeks, the finance folks for the state started a state-certified “I-O-U” for bank payments. Today, Friday…..the banks have said that they are finished with accepting IOU’s, and today is the last day. The trouble starts tomorrow.

So lets go over the media plan and what will take place.

Both senators and Pelosi will likely be in California this weekend….talking to the governor and the heads of the state legislative process. It will not go well. To kinda fix this sinking boat and just steam in circles….they will need a minimum of $25 billion (several sources say $50 billion but that’s a far extreme)….to make it for six months.

The problem here is that they basically takes them to probably Feb or Mar of 2010. Since no decision has been made to fix anything….we should assume that a second loan will have to occur. The repayment of the first $25 billion? That would be a curious thing. The repayment of the second loan? That would be a curious thing too.

Then you ask this….with 2010 being an election year….do you really want a second loan to come up? Would either party in California even make an attempt to fix anything over the next twelve months?

So this starts to make you think that they will ask for $70 billion and try to make it to December 2010.

Then we come to an interesting episode….forty-nine states are watching this. If the two senators and Pelosi ask for this package….why would New York not play the same game? Why wouldn’t Bama or Texas go right in and claim their $30 billion each?

Then you could have fifty senators who stand up and say…..we’ll let you have the $70 billion but every state employee takes a five-percent pay cut before we pay you the money, and a freeze on pay-raises for three years. This could suddenly toss the California “fix” into the toilet and screw up the whole process.

What if thirty-eight states come up quickly behind California and the total package comes up to $450 billion? Does this suddenly influence the universal health-care plan and the carbon package plan? What about the new stimulus package being discussed by Pelosi? Could we afford another $750 stimulus package on top of the save-the-state check?

So next week will likely be one of the top ten news stories of the year. The bottom line? Here is a legislature without any willingness to fix problems. Gaze over at New York state this week…..notice the problems in the state house there? This gamesmanship by both parties and the childish reporting by the media….simply recreates 1858 all over again.

The Truth?

ABC News says that he was just looking at his footing as he stepped down.

Frankly, I watched the video and looked at the picture for a while.....he's not looking at his feet or in front of himself....he's looking at her butt.

Course, if I were a dimwit from ABC....I might even be willing to say that he was gazing at the teleprompter......or someone dropped a dime by his foot. Sounds good....doesn't it?