Saturday, 14 August 2010

Working For CNN


Occasionally, if you work for a real organization...you get this email in the midst of the day that makes you want to just pack up your stuff and leave the building.

Sometime this week...the HR department of TBS sent out an email to their New York office (home for CNN & staff).

Apparently, the HR guys had finally done a test of the building. Apparently, it's got major problems with bed bugs.

I can only imagine the text of this...since it's not in open forum yet. The HR guys probably said they were really upset about this problem. They probably hired Manny's Bug Service to come over. They probably insist that things will improve. And I'm guessing that everyone is calling their doctor to get a test done on themselves, their house, their dog, and their family.

As for the CNN morale there? Well....things have spiraled a bit over the past five years and frankly, bed bugs might be the least of your worries. Meanwhile, if you do have an itch...you might want to see a doctor.

The "Roaring Twenties"

Yesterday, I ended up watching an hour of Glenn Beck. It's unusual that I'd sit for that long of a period, but they did an entire hour on Calvin Coolidge. I've had a fascination with the Coolidge era (the 1920s before the "Great Depression" came) for the last decade.

It's interesting how we form our basis of American history. I grew up with a fantastic method of phrase words, repeated over and over, and tests to emphasize the phrase words. Around the 11th grade, under the history lessons of old man Brown....we came to this period of America. It was a simple lesson.....America recovers from World War I.....runs through the "Roaring Twenties"....spends itself into a problem....the Depression arrives under Hoover....and then FDR comes to save America (with the TVA project being a discussed item always).

It was an interesting class. At some point...a kid in our group....naively asked how they spent themselves into a problem. Old man Brown sat there.....thumbing through the teacher's edition of the history book (graciously bought by the state of Bama)....and spent a good thirty seconds trying to quote the proper answer. Then he simply says (because no one anticipated this question) that 'they bought more than what they ever needed', and that answered that question.

I sat there and kinda pondered over this....they didn't have TV's....there was no air travel....and other than building a house, there's not much that would fit this answer.

Over the years, I ended up in American history classes with Louisiana Tech and University of Maryland. And this basically went in the same direction....with slightly more information. Of course, the added information emphasized the recovery period of America after the "Great Depression", and rarely ever said anything much to explain how we spent ourselves into the depression

About ten years ago, I picked up a book on economic history of the United States. Up until that point, I had no idea that recessions and depressions are an ongoing event in America. From 1776 on.....we have a significant recession or depression on a scale of about every six to ten years. The 'down-period'? Well....it typically last two years. There is an exception or two over two hundred years....but it's a regular thing.

I sat shocked. No one ever mentioned this in high school or college. In fact....if you watch the major networks......they will never mention this. Amusingly, Glenn Beck did yesterday.

The United States is one of those amazing places where free market has consequences. You can't defeat or outrun a recession. In a way, it's the radiator of our civilization and keeps us locked in reality. If you suffer once in a while.....you keep a better prospective on your wealth. The problem is that we never remember these recessions or depressions....other than the "Great Depression".

There are interesting aspects of this economic history business. During the Civil War and the next decade after it.....the southern economy was stalled and locked in a recession. The rest of the nation moves on but it's into the mid to late 1870s before folks start to find recovery and move on.

The Coolidge period? Well....it's true that the federal tax program started under Wilson consumed the public and started a downward trend. It's true that Coolidge eventually dumped the taxation rates to a minor part of society's contribution. It's absolutely true that the public had more money, and then spent it....triggering the "Roaring Twenties". And it's absolutely true that we came to face the cycle period at the end of the "Roaring Twenties" where recession had to occur. To be honest....it could have been any President....even FDR....and it wouldn't have mattered....the recession was going to occur anyway.

What historians hate to cover at this point is this recovery period. Recessions typically last two years. The recovery period for the US is almost an entire decade. As FDR programs started, there came the promises of this mythical recovery and how patience was required. So year after year....this stalled period of America went on. To be honest....had World War II not occurred....the stalled period would have likely lasted through 1945.

There's a curiosity that I have over the guys who write classroom books and the simplicity they offer in "Roaring Twenties", which is a testable item as each and every year rolls around.

We are missing something but unless you actually pick up a book or two....you might not realize it.

What We Ought to Be Thinking About

Today, the President came out and said that he wanted to get into this mosque deal built up in New York City and near the 9-11 site.

He could have just sat on the sidelines and kept quiet....but I'm guessing that just wasn't "right".

I paused and pondered over this mess. It was a local thing that should have stayed local, and now most everyone has an opinion....and it's most against the Muslim guys. So I thought about this and the characters who desperately want to help the poor Islamic guys, and think we actually should agree with this construction deal.

In fact....I'd like to engage and enlarge the footprint.

First, after we finish the New York City mosque.....I'd like to buy up property within two blocks of the White House and construct a six-story mosque there. This could be used by Muslim tourists or radicals who frequent the Washington DC area. It'd even be nice if the federal government could buy the site for them and just hand it freely over.

Second, we need to start on the other mosque which would be a block away from the capital building for the other massive group of Islamic folks in the DC area.

Third, on the other side of Mount Rushmore.....just outside of the National Park.....we need to start up another mosque for Dakota Muslims to hang out at. It also ought to be bought and paid for by the Feds. And if it bothers the Indians....just let them sue.

Fourth, over near the entrance to Disneyland....there ought to be another mosque built so that tourist Muslims have a place to run into before they enter the park and offer up prayers. I'd prefer in this case that Disney pay for the property.

Fifth, over near Yankee Stadium....there ought to be another mosque built so that Yankee Islamic dudes have a place to conveniently stop in and worship at before attending Yankee-Red Sox games.

Sixth, over near the Golden Gate bridge....there ought to be another mosque built so that Islamic folks about to enter Oakland or San Fransisco would have a chance to pray for themselves (you probably need it anyway if you were Muslim and living in San Fransisco). Naturally, we'd use that old Army base near the bridge to make this happen.

Seventh, over near the Green Bay Packers stadium in Green Bay.....we need another mosque built so that Islamic folks have a chance to hang out before the big Sunday games.

Eighth, over near the main strip in Vegas......we need this mega-sized mother-of-all mosques to help tourist Islamic folks feel better after tossing their paychecks down the tubes or watching six husky Montana gals gaze at them in a drunken stupor.

Ninth, over in the midst of Death Valley.....as a poor Muslim guy drives his friends around the US....there needs to be a Muslim community center so that folks can hang out when they've reached maximum temperature sustainment in the Valley.

Tenth, and final.....as you traverse the twenty-six mile course to Key West....somehow....some way....we need to build a mosque half-way in the middle for Islamic guys to hang out when they've decided they need a moment to reflect.

Yes, the ninth-degree moment of pondering helps you come to a rational decision that you really don't need a building or structure or hut to carry out prayers. Once you reach this point.....the necessity of taking up property and building this in New York City probably doesn't matter. A guy can toss out a rug and pray on the Brooklyn Bridge....if he wanted to.

So, life goes on.

The Smell of Bolivia

Sometimes, you get the impression that we all live in a third-world country like Bolivia.

The recent episode (just days ago) of finding twenty six billion dollars laying around...to help teachers and state workers in America...actually had an attachment to it that most folks didn't realize until after it passed.

In order to fund the twenty six billion....they had to find cuts elsewhere....so they went carving into various budgets.

So DOD was raided...to help cover the teacher issue:

‘Aircraft Procurement, Army, 2008/2010’, $21,000,000;
‘Procurement of Weapons and Tracked Combat Vehicles, Army, 2008/2010’, $21,000,000;
‘Procurement of Ammunition, Army, 2008/2010’, $17,000,000;
‘Other Procurement, Army, 2008/2010’, $75,000,000;
‘Weapons Procurement, Navy, 2008/2010’, $26,000,000;
‘Other Procurement, Navy, 2008/2010’, $42,000,000;
‘Procurement, Marine Corps, 2008/2010’, $13,000,000;
‘Aircraft Procurement, Air Force, 2008/2010’, $102,000,000;
‘Missile Procurement, Air Force, 2008/2010’, $28,000,000;
‘Procurement of Ammunition, Air Force, 2008/2010’, $7,000,000;
‘Other Procurement, Air Force, 2008/2010’, $130,000,000;
‘Procurement, Defense-Wide, 2008/2010’, $33,000,000;
‘Research, Development, Test and Evaluation, Army, 2009/2010’, $76,000,000;
‘Research, Development, Test and Evaluation, Air Force, 2009/2010’, $164,000,000;
‘Research, Development, Test and Evaluation, Defense-Wide, 2009/2010’, $137,000,000;
‘Operation, Test and Evaluation, Defense, 2009/2010’, $1,000,000;
‘Operation and Maintenance, Army, 2010’, $154,000,000;
‘Operation and Maintenance, Navy, 2010’, $155,000,000;
‘Operation and Maintenance, Marine Corps, 2010’, $25,000,000;
‘Operation and Maintenance, Air Force, 2010’, $155,000,000;
‘Operation and Maintenance, Defense-Wide, 2010’, $126,000,000;
‘Operation and Maintenance, Army Reserve, 2010’, $12,000,000;
‘Operation and Maintenance, Navy Reserve, 2010’, $6,000,000;
‘Operation and Maintenance, Marine Corps Reserve, 2010’, $1,000,000;
‘Operation and Maintenance, Air Force Reserve, 2010’, $14,000,000;
‘Operation and Maintenance, Army National Guard, 2010’, $28,000,000; and
‘Operation and Maintenance, Air National Guard, 2010’, $27,000,000.

Nothing much was ever said about how they were cutting...until after the entire event. It would be curious how they cover this massive cut, but then you realize that they will all jump up to say that a special bill...probably after November...will be put up to find all the cut funds....and magically fix this with imaginary money.

Over the past year, with various reforms to the banking industry and the credit industry....we've had this interesting "truth in lending" attitude being tossed at us via new laws and regulations. We've supposedly fixed all the corrupt banking practices with the swift actions of a pen and a vote in congress.

So, maybe....just out of common sense and reason...could we possibly ask for truth in legislation?

And if we can't....that's ok...because the Senate and House of Representatives in Bolivia operate the same way and it's not a big deal....as long as we know we exist as a third world country.