Thursday, 22 July 2010

The USDA Firing

I sat back for two days to watch this entire firing of Shirley Sherrod unfold and have come to several observations.

First, after watching the entire video of her speech and going through comments of local farmers in Georgia...I'd have to say that she's a 5-star individual. When a farmer says "she done us right"...it tends to carry a lot of weight. You can't find a single person in Georgia so far...to criticize her...and I think that's really saying a lot for a government official.

Second, it's odd to me how you fire a government employee this fast. Over thirty years associated with the military and it's various government employees....it typically takes a minimum of two months...and possibly up to twelve months...to fire a guy. If I wanted to fire someone...there's folder you pick up and then you complete some checklist...and just that act alone...will take several hours to fill out to start step one.

Those idiot lawyers for the SEC in DC who cruised lusty hot videos on their government computers last year? None were fired. The idiot who used his government VISA card to buy a bunch of Gor-Tex jackets right after Hurricane Katrina for FEMA folks....was simply handed paperwork but never fired.

So it's kind of unbelievable to me that some goofballs out of DC could find some rule to force her into quitting...in just three or four hours.

Then, there's this funny issue of them coming back to say 'sorry' over firing you, but offering you a job to teach race relations instead of your old job? She declined that...without much thinking. They felt she'd be a great teacher of cultural sensitivity....especially their stupidity of firing her? That part, I just don't understand.

Finally, we come to this trigger for the firing...Glenn Beck. Shirley readily tells the story that the White House was jamming the USDA and hyping up the whole Beck thing. So Beck is this powerful now? The White House is willing to do stupid things...just to counter Beck?

I'm thinking there must be a team of seven guys out there...meeting at 5PM DC time. I'm thinking of this imaginary make-up: two are Rahm's guys....one guy is from the DNC strategy team....two guys are authentic bloggers who feed internal e-mails to ABC, MSNBC, the Washington Post, Time, Newsweek, CBS, and NBC....and then the final two guys represent George Soros in some fashion.

The team probably has 90 minutes to summarize the damage done by Glenn's show that day...then they feed this forty-line message to the President's Blackberry. The President calls Rahm...discusses the problems of that day's broadcast....and then pushes out the counter-attack for the next day and the various media outlets.

Fear of Beck...is this what we've come to? Some Presidential administration that runs its offense like a defense...against one broadcast show?

When folks suggested a lack of maturity in the administration last summer...they might have been right.

So here's my final bit of advice...two choices. First, the White House needs to offer a contract to Glenn Beck of $2 billion a year to run NPR...either into the ground or into non-existence...it's his choice. Glenn would gladly take the job and probably stay busy destroying NPR. It'd be worth the effort to get him off their case.

Or the second choice....put another chair in the Oval Office....bring in Bill Clinton to manage the administration completely...from 8AM to 5PM...and just let President Obama attend social events. Beck's agenda would go downhill and the country would get back to the glory days of the 1990s.

My guess is that we will simply watch another 6.5 years of this amusing game continue....and learn to live with it....like CBS learned to live with Katie Couric...you know.

Real Sports

A federal judge came out today...and said that competitive cheerleading is not an official sport.

This was all in relation to a college's efforts to be fair and spend the right amount of money on sports...so this college told the university women's volleyball team that they were "finished", and the volleyball team sued.

Frankly, there's a list of sports in my mind....that AREN'T sports. Like NASCAR, golf, and probably horse racing.

I'm wondering if the courts may get some more tests here...or if someone might be willing to go up to the Supreme Court and let them decide on cheerleading. This might be the one time that Chief Justice Roberts bends the conservative rules....and favors his liberal side in support of cheerleading.

Al's Woes

While you stand in line tomorrow...gaze over at the newest National Enquirer. Revealed in the newest copy? Al Gore has two more police investigations going on....for some lusty stuff. Naturally, they involve female massage therapists.

One is over a Beverly Hills luxury hotel episode...during a 2007 Oscars event...and the second at a fancy hotel in Tokyo.

The quote from the Beverly Hills event?

'Take care of this.'"

At the time, Al was pointing at a manly part of his body.

I'm guessing that there are dozens of these massage therapists waiting to come out of the woodwork now....all fessing up that they were Al's one-minute babes.

What doesn't make sense here...is a guy like this should just pack up and make a monthly speech in Bangkok...and stay at a fancy hotel there for a day or two.

I'm thinking Al will probably simmer down and avoid news folks for a month or two...hoping they forget about his past activities.

Twelve Simple Steps

A number of years ago...I was the number two guy in a systems shop. I came to want a simple checklist over a radio system that the Air Force provided. If it went off...you had to know various steps to bring it back up.

So I asked the contractors to provide a simple checklist. Three weeks later...nothing. So I sat there with thirty minutes of nothing much to do....and wrote a 12-step process on how to bring the radio system back up. It was small enough to fit on a 5x8 card vertically.

Two weeks later...the contractors finally came to me with their product. It was a five page product. I sat there in disbelief.

There was a picture on the first page of the various nine buttons and switches...with each identified.

Then came this vast description of what each "could do" but the truth was that we only had ONE setting for what we desired.

I asked the contractor in question....if he couldn't make this short and simple. His boss really didn't think that would be appropriate. I asked why it took five weeks. He said it took he around three complete days to write this entire version. Then his boss sat on it for a couple of days until he could proof-read it.

Then it went to a company peer process. Then it went to a secretary who specialized in English grammar usage. Then the division chief for the contract company had to read it. So they had invested around forty man-hours into this product.

I wrote mine in thirty minutes, and then printed it onto a 5x8 card vertically....and put in a simple plastic sleeve by the radio.

I took their product...sadly....and put it into plastic sleeves and then into a complete binder, which sat on top of the radio.

For some reason....at least for the next twelve months....the airmen and NCOs always went straight to my 12-line sheet....rather than the five-pager product.

I used to laugh about this....except when they discussed the pricing scheme per hour of contractors.