Friday, 27 August 2010

The Blago Syndrome

There's an interesting story that appeared today over the former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich...Blago. Most of you remember the accusations, and the court case that finally ended last week. If you remember....one juror stopped almost all the charges except one. She agreed on one conviction....and basically, that ended the case.

Well....today, she started talking about the whole thing. Its a tremendous perception that she lays out.

This lone juror says that Blago is "too narcissistic" in his character, and then describes him as being absolutely too disorganized to ever engage in an actual crime.

I sat there....laughing as I read this. She is evidentially a very competent and educated gal. She knows personalities. And she figured Blago out completely. For Blago, this is an insult in a way...to suggest the narcissistic deal. But then she comes right back to say he's too disorganized to perform the crime they suggested.

I would have liked to have asked her what she thought of the President....but I'm guessing that she has a pretty fair opinion there too, and it's best we not hear that story.

In California

There's an interesting episode in California going on. The cops have this idea of planting a GPS device on your car to track you....if they think you're involved in a crime.....without a judge's stamp on the paperwork.

The court of California apparently says this is acceptable and legal....in their eyes. It might eventually get up to the Supreme Court (I'm thinking).

The nifty thing about this understanding....after I read the whole thing....is that you the common regular guy on the street could walk up to a cop car in California, and toss a GPS tracker under the rear of it....and likely be just as legal. The cops will disagree, and I'm thinking the court might say the same thing....but it's the same logic.

You can imagine forty cop cars around LA....being tracked by some gang....and they know every step of the law enforcement in town.

The Driver's License

My son spent around fifteen months on the road to getting his license. He stalled on starting this German program. Then he finally entered, and around $1300 had to be laid out to the town trainer dude for this two-part program.

The kid went on and on with the book part and always seemed to be a 12-wrong answer guy (you can only miss ten to get the license).

About four months ago....way past the traditional six months of training and passage....the trainer dude was suggesting that this kid wasn't going to ever wrap it up. So this computer software package was purchased to toss questions at you constantly (over 1,000 driver's questions). Four weeks ago, the kid finally passed the written test. Today, I got the call, and he passed the driver's practical test (a 20-minute drive around deal).

The kid is finally licensed to drive. Of course, then came the call if the insurance could be swiftly changed to cover him on the Audi A4 (my old car), and to start this $85 a month gas contribution.

For him, there's another 80-minutes of sleeping now...instead of getting up at 4:45AM each morning to catch the early bus to reach work by 7:15.

Now, if I could just get the kid married to some dominate gal who would whoop up on a World of Warcraft punk....I'd be set.

Dumbass

Sometimes, a guy really labels himself a dumbass, and you can't get over just how stupid he really is.

This week....this young gentlment who helped to impregnant Sarah Palin's teenage daughter....Levi Johnston....came out and basically said that "he wishes he hadn't apologized for telling lies about the former Alaska governor because he's never lied about anything."

I sat and read three versions of this deal. None of them make this kid look any better. Basically, he's saying he lied when he apologized, and he meant everything. Course, this took well over a year to come and admit this....and you have to wonder about the next step in this.

Could weeks or months pass, and then he apologizes for making this apology, and then go back to say he did mean the real apology to Sarah Palin? Then perhaps six months later, he'd apologize for apologizing, for the apology of the apology of the apology?

This kinda sounds like some drunk who shows up on your front porch at 2AM and he wants to apologize for something he did on the property twelve years ago, and you keep trying to explain to him that you only moved to this property six months ago.

The only hope for this kid Levi? A new reality show....called "I'm Sorry". I'd put it on the History Channel right after Ice-Road Truckers on Sunday night.

The Company

I worked for a company that shall remain nameless. I've actually worked for two companies in my life. The first was one of those Fortune 500 companies that rarely had comical event to occur. I could actually go almost an entire month before something within our division screwed up and it became something that you'd remember for years and years. The second company, which shall remain nameless, had weekly comical events that you'd laugh over, and really wonder how the government could ever accept this type of situation.

One of the top ten stories from my five years with this company....had to involve this guy "Larry". Larry was hired as the company got the contract with the Air Force. Larry was supposed to be an instructor retiring from the Army. Larry had vast experience.

Larry arrived, and by day three...the company realized that it would take two or three months to get his clearance fixed from his military days to the civilian structure. The organization couldn't use Larry and he needed a place to sit. So my boss offered up a seat in my room. I had an empty desk behind and everything seemed to fit.

Larry showed up on day one and actually stayed all day. On day two....Larry left around 2PM to attend to business. On day four, Larry left around 1PM to attend business. By day ten, Larry would leave by 10AM. By day twenty, Larry would show up for 30 minutes and then leave. There was no work to do because he wasn't in his organization to really perform real work.

So a month passes, then two, then three, then four, then five. Around this point, the military boss at the real job decided that they had to use Larry in some capacity and the contractor boss called over to my office. He needed Larry to come over and a project would be laid out. I explained that Larry had left, and he ended up calling Larry at home.

Larry went to his new office the next day.

Things had changed for Larry over this five month period. Larry had taken to drinking. In fact, Larry was drinking from 10AM on.

So in the new work atmosphere, Larry left for lunch and then took a fairly long lunch....and came back after consuming at least two German beers and a shot or two. He always brought back a soda, and I'm guessing he always tossed in two shots of something. Larry stayed happy throughout the afternoon, with his soda.

It took the new organization about two months to realize that Larry was mostly wasted from noon to mid-afternoon. They warned Larry. The contracting company warned Larry. The warning worked for a week, and then Larry went back to consuming beer and alcohol.

So, one morning....the contractor boss asked Larry to go over to the program office. They pulled out the paperwork, and fired Larry. Larry couldn't believe it. The bad part of this story is that the agreement with the company was that you had to successfully finish your contract....to get your personal gear shipped back to the US. Larry hadn't done more than ten months of that.....so they weren't going to pay for anything beyond airline tickets. Larry was screwed.

The funny thing here was that Larry had five months to just sit around and do nothing....yet get paid.

This was a typical event with this company.

Another famous episode was the 'Xerox' episode. There was a team of contractors working in an environment where hostile feelings were a daily matter. About half the guys were mostly goofing off and complaining. This became a daily event to gaze upon negative feelings within this operation.

One of the guys finally got sick of the mess and resigned. He'd found a better job. The company always hands out a survey to explain why you are leaving. Most folks don't put down anything. This guy wrote an entire page of complaints. He named names, events, and labeled various folks as incompetent. He wrote this in pen....at his desk. The day came to a close and he simply put this survey in a folder on top of the desk. Another contractor knew precisely what this guy was doing, and waited.

When the coast was clear....he Xeroxed the survey. Naturally, he handed around copies of this to the group of unhappy and incompetent folks. By the next day.....things were about twice as bad as they were before.

The company came to figure this out....and then came to find the guy who did the Xerox copy. They brought him in and read the ethics book to him.....then they fired him. Naturally, they offered him the survey form to fill out as well.

This firing didn't really fix much of anything but it did lay out the mighty power of that stupid ethics form that you signed as you came into the company.

The Meaning of Incumbent

When someone says the word "incumbent", it tends to mean that you are the higher placed person on the list. The value of this situation in reality....is zero.

Around mid-December of 2008, I was told that my contractor job in Germany would be made into a GS position....as would another dozen contractor positions within the organization. It made sense for the organization to switch to the government worker.

For me, this didn't really matter. My job was ending and I would have to rotate back to the US finally. I have a German work visa which prevented me from applying for my own job as a government position there in Germany. This was the end of this game for me.

When the term incumbent was mentioned around to the thirteen of us....I started laughing. It wouldn't really mean much of anything. Anybody could apply for our positions and even being the incumbent in this case....didn't mean very much. I made this comment to the other dozen folks....and I was seen as being pessimistic.

So days, weeks and months have passed. For the most part....no one has gotten their position as it switched over to GS. There's still two or three positions to be advertised, but this is mostly over. Across the rest of the base where one hundred odd positions were switched....the same thing is happening.

In early July, as my old job was advertised....I applied....mostly to see what would happen. I had five months left before my 365-day period outside of Germany ends....and I figured "what the hell". Early this week, the notice came back....I wasn't selected.

Yesterday, my associate here in the Pentagon who had applied for her old job at Ramstein as well....got the same notice.

Being an incumbent means virtually nothing....as proven in this situation.