Friday, 30 July 2010

A 99-0 Game For One Winner

Ousted Agriculture Department employee Shirley Sherrod said Thursday she will sue a conservative blogger who posted an edited video of her making racially tinged remarks last week.

By the end of this week and the talkshow circuit....you had this impression that the fired-then-rehired Agricultural Department employee Shirley Sherrod intends to sue Andrew Breitbart.

The charge? Well...defamation is probably the only thing that would be worthly in this case, but it leaves a big question mark.

If Breitbart didn't say anything...and all he used was edited video sold to him from a third source...of Shirley at some NAACP meeting...can a judge see defamation? My humble guess? No.

I watched three different interviews on clips this week of Shirley telling her story over and over. At some point....I started to wonder why she isn't nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for her actual real life achievements.

Who could she sue and and likely win against? Well...the Agricultural Department for unlawful pursuit of terminating an employee against normal regulations and rules. I actually think she could take on the government's position and probably get $4 million within the scope of things. But she doesn't want to sue the Agricultural Department.

Andrew Breitbart? I'm thinking he'll hire up a fancy lawyer and prepare for a case which may or may not ever come. As for Shirley? Well...she won't hire this fancy lawyer for her case...she'll depend on a NAACP-provided lawyer...just my humble guess. There'll be discussions on Larry King or a number of outlets...to show off her case and how things will go. Chances of the case starting before the November elections? I seriously doubt it. This is a case to start into 2012 and try to tear down general US feelings around a new Republican congress.

Shirley being used? Well...I'd hate to suggest this. But frankly...she's running to just about every friendly news source for an interview now...and we've all seen more than enough. She can't sell her case much more than what she's got right now.

The folks over at the Agricultural Department? They have to be grinning over this whole mess. They acted stupidly and in the vast majority of firings each year...they'd spend tens of millions on lawyers and a vast sum on paying fired-employees for being wrongly-fired. In this case? Nothing...not a single dime. It's like waiting for the absolutely perfect one-inch rainfall in a drought-stricken area of Mississippi in the midst of July, and it falls so slowly and perfectly that it saves every single stalk.

It's win-win-win deal for the Agricultural Department. Heck, not even Katie Couric asks why they were so stupid in the first place. And it shouldn't be this way.

My Anacostia Day


My organization had a bar-b-q today....which naturally, can't occur at the Pentagon (fire rules, you know).

So this was to be held over at Bolling AFB....which is just across the river from the Pentagon. It's in DC....but it's an area of DC that you probably don't really want to travel through.

Adding to this episode....remember....I don't have a car and I do all my travel via METRO. So I made this decision to travel from the Pentagon....via METRO....to Bolling. It's simple....go via the subway to the middle of DC, then take the green line over to Anacostia. Then, there's this bus from there to the front gate.

Well.....things came unhinged at the Anacostia Metro station. I stepped out with my co-worker (a black New York City gal)....and realized that this is a part of DC that you don't normally go to. I was the only white guy amongst the 300 folks that I could see. We quickly made our way to the W4 bus and thought we'd be near the front gate in ten minutes. We were wrong.

About sixteen minutes into this trip....I realized we missed the gate. To be honest...there are no signs on this street at all.

So we got off and got on a return bus....and began asking about where to get off. The passenger I asked....had this blank look. She was a local and lived in the neighborhood her entire life....yet knew nothing about the base. My co-worker talked to the bus driver.....and he gave us this blank look. Both appeared to be weed-smokers...just my humble opinion.

So we went back to the METRO station and met some more interesting characters....and spent forty-five minutes waiting for a return chance.

It was at this point that I had this image burned into my mind of Anacostia. I could not imagine myself standing there at sundown. This wasn't a crack haven or some drive-by shooters hangout in Memphis. It's just an area where a guy like me simply didn't fit. I felt fortunate to be standing there with my black female co-worker....and I can only imagine what the local folks had in their mind of my appearance.

Then....by the some form of luck....a military shuttle bus pulls up. We realized the potential and quickly got onboard. Twenty minutes later....we entered Bolling.

If you've never been to Bolling AFB in your life....it is a rare and unique place. It's barely half-a-mile wide and at the end....there's a park facing the bay....which faces out to the Pentagon, Ronald Reagan Airport, the Capital and Arlington. It's the best view of any place in the region.

The funny thing is that you've got this really screwed-up location of Anacostia sitting there....and five hundred feet over....is this five-star landscaped Air Force Base.

At the end of the day....luckily....another associate from the office was driving home and dropped me off....so I missed the chance to see Anacostia again.

The Chevy Volt


The Chevy Volt came up this week. The President has done a big show with the car...talking it up.

I sat and read up on the car. It's over $40k to buy it. The car runs primarily off the batteries...up to around forty miles. There's a small engine...which is tied onto this but it's primary purpose is to recharge the batteries. So off one tank of gas and the recharge involved...you'd get around 300 miles total.

The attraction to the car is that you could drive to work (say 15 miles away)...plug into your bosses electrical ports....recharge while there...and drive home.

Naturally...you don't think about money being involved with this recharge. You don't even consider that the boss will freak out once he grasps the cost of your recharge at his place. And then you have to wonder about how long the batteries will last (my guess is four to five years)...and how much they want to dispose of the batteries (I'll bet over $1,000).

Chevy thinks it'll take off. Personally...after reading up on it....I have doubts.

The government will get into this big-time. I can see the Air Force buying ten thousand the first year....mostly because they were ordered to do so. They will brag after twelve months that they saved millions from lesser fuel purchased. Then they will come along in two years to admit they have huge electrical bills. Then the day will come when all ten thousand require a battery switch-out and they have to pay the disposal fee....and you can figure a minimum of three of these over the lifetime of the car.

How many might sell in southern states? Unless you live in the beltway of Atlanta or Nashville....I don't see any of these getting sold. These are likely a urban seller...at best.

So I can applaud Chevy for trying to get ahead....but I seriously doubt this is the big wonder that the President spoke of.

Charley's Best

I watched probably five different news reports tonight over Charley Rangel. The congressional ethics episode is going into fourth gear right now...and the chance to negotiate with the group of eight (four from each party)...was missed.

For Democrats...it's a lousy moment to have Charley around. Republicans would have forced someone like this to resign for the sake of the party. Democrats would like Charley to resign, but so far...he hasn't found a need to do so.

His district? They'd still vote the guy into office this November. I think Charley could be caught with a suitcase of $5 million at an airport...and still walk away from the episode claiming that he just didn't know you couldn't carry $5 million in cash on you. He could probably dump fifty pounds of horse manure on the house floor...and just say he didn't know that you couldn't do it.

What happens now? If I were betting...I'd say we go into September and this legal setting...with Charley defending himself. It'll be a short case...and they will come to agree on most of the charges. The punishment is a question mark. Just fining him won't be agreeable...and I doubt that they want to really kick him out.

Just the Numbers Please

Only an observation that someone made to me today....from the WikiLeaks episode.

There are 70,000-odd messages released so far...and potentially...it could reach 90,000 messages.

Consider that an average message is around 1.5 pages long.

So potentially you've got around 135,000 pages of text to read.

Not a single congressman or senator read 2,700 pages of the text for the universal healthcare bill...and it's hard to find even one single American that admits that they read the whole thing.

So compare the 2,700 pages of text and 135,000 pages of text.

Who's going to sit there and read this...even from the geeky guys? From real journalists? From the Taliban? Or even from the New York Times?

When an intelligence analyst or operations guys writes an intelligence message...you can guess the readership to go from a dozen folks up to maybe 1,000 readers. In this case, you've consolidated all these messages into one library...and still...the odds are that out of 90,000 messages...maybe ten guys might read 1,000 at best.

Just something to think about.