Tuesday, 6 October 2009

The World is Achanging, Bama-Style

News from Bama today says that things are now approaching the point where a ten-digit telephone scheme is going to be tossed into people's lives soon.

There are guys sitting now...sweating. They never dreamed that this day might come. They always thought seven was holy and handed down by Democrats or the Baptists.

My dad is likely sitting there and wondering if he lives long enough...they might actually go to fifteen...maybe even twenty.

The curious thing is that fifty percent of the folks....still just have one phone in the house...no internet access...no cellphone...and kinda wondering why anything has to change. The other fifty percent have three numbers in the house, a personal phone number for each kid, a personal phone for the porch, and the guy is discussing some kind of plan to put a personal phone in the shed...which the wife is wondering who the heck would call him in the shed...especially at 10PM at night.

Something is Better than Nothing

Around six months ago….General McChrystal took over the Afghanistan mission. He had a nifty meeting with the President and was told to review the war and make bold steps to fix problems.

Somewhere around 90 days into this….the General came to realize that we aren’t winning and we aren’t losing. We are having minimum effect. The war in the small villages isn’t being changed.

So the General sat down and did a review, and came up a month later with his ideas. Then he packaged it. What you can imagine is a full report (six hours of reading), and a executive report which you could read in thirty minutes. He sent them to the White House. He figured in two weeks…someone would call and then a discussion phase would start.

Three weeks passed….nothing. Four weeks passed….nothing. At some point….he probably asked the Pentagon about this and got this look from them that they couldn’t get anything back in discussion.

So he let a comment out, in public.

Things heated slightly. News got into the media. The wheels started to turn.

People got around to asking players in the administration about the Afghanistan changes and got this funny look.

So things got a bit heated.

The thing is….here was the president who operates under a one-plate situation. And
his plate was heaping over on the national health care debate. So in this time period, he was running around to make town hall meetings and talk up that. When he finally ended that session….he swung around the West….then took off for a vacation on Cape Cod. There, he had to deal with the CIA eruption of problems. Over the past two weeks….the UN business and then the Denmark trip to pump folks over Chicago.

Bluntly, he was a one-plate kinda manager as a lawyer. When elected to the Illinois house, he stayed a one-plate kinda manager. As a senator in DC, he was still a one-plate kinda guy. He has no background to comprehend a dozen major problems and forty minor issues….on a daily basis. He hasn’t the experience or the ability to see this great forest of management.

So you can imagine this 24-minute episode with the general. It was likely a heated 12-minute episode where the President laid into the general and told him his practices and discussions were hindering reality. The general stood there and said nothing. Then the President recovered….said that he’d review the plan….and take wisdom from some big guys in DC. The general just said “fine” and probably left.

At the end of the day….you more or less are stuck with a President who is a great campaign artist and a great speaker. It would have been nice if he was an executive, but you can’t have everything…..can you?