Sunday, 6 September 2009

Jack Webb on Healthcare

Sometimes, you get a fairly decent video on Youtube, which doesn't slam folks too bad and actually says an interesting message. I liked Joe Friday....typically, he was right on most things he spoke up on.

My Interview

I did a job interview this week. As most of you know....I'm in the "must-leave" Germany situation although I've got probably six months before the final day. This contractor-to-GS employee game puts me a lose-lose situation because of the stupid German work-visa. I have to leave for at least twelve months before I can apply for any GS job in Germany.

So this week....the Forestry Service folks called up and said they'd like to do an interview for a Santa Fe job.

My reference in the office actually got a questionnaire (the Forestry guys didn't even say anything to me about it).....and had to turn it into Ranger Jill.

So the interview comes with Jim and Joaquin. They both seemed to be HR guys.....which didn't bother me although I wondered why the boss didn't do the interviews....and that came to light real quick.

Joaquine did the entire interview, with Jim sitting in the background and taking notes. There was this long introduction to the job.....which kinda hinted more than the typical folks would ever mention....some things were not enticing.

So then Joaquin comes to this uneasy moment....and you can almost hear Jim half-laughing in the background. I would have to work for two bosses. Yep....one boss in one national forest and one boss at a second national forest about seventy miles away. Apparently, with Jim still half-laughing.....these two bosses conflict and have issues. Joaquin didn't really want to say alot but obviously he wanted to scare you a bit that this might not be the best of situations.

Then Joaquin goes into the very first question....how would I handle two difficult bosses in constant conflict? Jim....I'm pretty sure....was grinning from ear to ear.

I paused here....in traditional Bama fashion....maybe a good 15-second pause.....with a "hmmmm".

Then I said that currently at Ramstein.....I have around fifteen bosses, so you folks are actually giving me a vacation of sorts.

Jim and Joaquin took to laughing for a good 15 seconds. Then I just kept going. I didn't really say that I was like Daniel and the Lion....but I tend to take the difficult, disruptive, challenging, demanding, irritating, troublesome, and unyielding folks...and work things out. The answer was like a 80-pound hammer whacking a 10-penny nail.

At that point, I owned the interview. It was my only five-star interview ever.

By the end, Joaquin went on into detail...with more details would have made me worry about taking such a job.

The forestry guys up at Taos apparently have a staff meeting each week and I need to drive up to attend it. It's around sixty to seventy miles away. So you can count out four hours of travel, two hours for a meeting and your lunch hour....so pretty much this entire day is wasted....each and every week.

I sat there....thinking....what the heck do forestry guys chat about for two hours in some staff meeting? Bear reports, camper havoc, freaked out locals reporting Bigfoot, snakebites, etc? I've spent my whole career with military folks of the logistical, civil engineering, intelligence, flight operations and communications fields. I've seen some staff meetings that made you want to cry and weep over. I've been to meetings where the AC broke and it was 90 degrees in the room with some character wanting a detailed explanation of how we can better organize the summer picnic.

I was wondering if Joaquin was doing this to see if I'd just withdraw or fall into temptation. The truth was....I was awful damn tempted.

I see management potential....changes....taming of difficult folks.....improvements.

Heck, I can even see a book coming out of this experience in Santa Fe....."How I saved Timmy and Lassie, and Tamed the Ranger and the Bear".

I can imagine that both my Dad and my brother would beg for a job like this. My dad....in a National Forest....with a $800 chain saw.....could cut trees all day long. After mowing grass and cutting hay....cutting trees is number three on his thrill list. And my brother? He'd probably find that most of these ranger gals aren't into NASCAR, or any of the 44 natural Bama filters that he uses to prevent bad relationships. Other than these ranger gals probably being into camping and firearms....he'd probably overlook those "weaknesses".

So I have to wait a week and see what the Forestry folks say. I'm pretty sure Jim underlined the "fifteen bosses" comments. This is probably the craziest option that anyone could ever dream up for me.....but you know....if I could just save "Timmy and Lassie"....it'd make this all worth the effort.

Besides....is there anything that a guy from Bama can't do?

Honduras, The Saga Continues

Honduras has ended up being one of the best stories of the year. Here was the President of Honduras who said one term was not enough...then wanted the constitution changed to allow a second run. No one in party agreed....no one in the Senate there agreed....the Honduran Supreme Court would not agree, and finally the Honduran military stepped in and said they really didn't agree and escorted the guy to the airport.

The laughable part about President Zelaya actually gone out and had ballots made for the public to vote on and declare the constitution changed (actually only the Senate there can change the constitution, and they have to agree on the change in one year....wait 365 days....then vote a second time in favor). Course, he couldn't make ballots like this in Honduras....so he had them made in Venezuela (near his friend Hugo). Then the voting mechanism of the country said they couldn't dispatch such a effort....so he called in the Honduran military to distribute the ballots and bring them back in. They kinda said it wasn't their job, and refused.

The White House climbed on the anti-Honduras bandwagon after Zelaya was forced out. This whole game is illegal....so they say. This week, they cut the handout that they give Honduras each year. Secretary of State Hillary has jumped down hard on the Republic of Honduras. I'm guessing that she really hopes this clears because if she has to come down there....it'll be messy.

The joke here is that national elections are already scheduled (they happen every four years in Honduras)....and we are only 90 days away from a democratically-elected president of Honduras. The White House point at that conclusion? Well....they won't say. Obviously, just being democratically-elected....might not be enough.

This week....we added a whole new dimension to this game.

Apparently, Zelaya wasted around $6 million of government funds....on horses, vacations and Harley Davidson motorcycles.

I was intrigued by the mention of the Harley Davidson motorcycles. At least he is buying a good quality bike while spending government money.

Somewhere in this long list of expenditures....was more money for jewelry, and the use of a private helicopter.

This is a script for a Woody Allen movie....and the US's strategy....simply makes it an even bigger joke.

The Kid and His Apprenticeship

My son has started his German apprenticeship program in the last month. The deal involves four days of work one week, with one day of actual school time....then three days of work the next week and two days of school time.

He's come to meet all the kids in his "group". There are around 32 kids in this apprenticeship area within the group.

The curious thing is that the ages range from 16, to 26.

A couple of kids took the first immedate exit out of school and got a job apprenticeship deal at age 16.

Then you have one guy who went through five years of university....to discover that whatever he studied...just ain't going to get you a job.

One guy spent the last six years learning the butcher trade (age 25), and he came to hate each and everyday. The government agreed to retrain him totally.

There's the one 23 year old girl who spent several years leaning wood craftsmanship....but now has a bad back so she has to get into the office sales/business management deal.

Its funny here....the books are geared toward the dumbest kid in the class....so ninety percent of the folks are probably way-under challenged. The sixteen year old kids will work exceptionally hard....while the prior university guy will likely smile all the way through the three-year program.

The positive thing for me is that he's finally pulling in a check and I can cut that weekly allowance business.

Van Jones, Resignation

It was a shocker today....to watch a brief note fly by on the news....Van Jones....Czar of Green Jobs....resigned.

It had been a hectic two week period for Van. Actually I came to like the guy (mostly for his referring to Republicans as "assholes"). It's hard to find refreshing new beliefs and concepts like that in the DC area. Most folks want to hold Republicans up like teddy bears and hug them....well....at least they act that way on TV.

I thought Van could last through this episode....enter another dozen random episodes....and eventually go back to California to run as a congressman or something. I guessed wrong.

What this does do...is take away a Glenn Beck "theme" that he has for planned for at least twice this week, and probably another two times next week. Glenn will have to sit down and actually be creative. Well....actually there are other Czars....so he just might go to number two on his list....since he's not that creative.

New green jobs Czar? Well....yeah. My guess is that they will stay quiet about a replacement for two or three months and then sneak someone in with issues quickly. The problem is that Republicans now seem to question every Czar selected and what they are supposed to be doing. Rather than bring a program under a cabinet post....this Czar business tends to hide decisions and leave congress out of the loop. The Czars report to the President...not congress.

The only significant question left here....does the White House learn anything from this experience? Inexperience is a problem with this team, and it would be great if they learned to be selective and ask more questions of people before handing them major jobs. It'd be different if you were hiring a secretary who was into bondage, or a janitor who was a radical leftist immigrant from El Salvador, or a an male assistant who wore women's clothing all the time. These Czars are all in the spotlight and people actually go back and review what they said or who they chatted with.

My guess is that the replacement will be some other guy with issues....and we repeat this entire episode again. That's the sad part about this sort of situation....we'd like to fix things but that just wouldn't be fun....you know.