Thursday, 22 March 2012

America's Future Political Analyst

This is what we know.  There's this Virginia eighth-grade teacher....handling this civics honors class....who we shall leave as nameless.....who gave his eight-grade group this project.  The emphasis of the project?  They had to watch one of the recent debates with the four remaining Republican candidates....doing what you'd amount to as research.  You had to list out the positions of your guy, which you were assigned.  I won't use the word "weakness" but I would imagine the teacher tried to make them find this and write it out.

At the end, the teacher wanted the kids to find a point on the internet, where they could email to the candidate or the Democratic party.  But they didn't really have to send it to the Obama team.

I sat and pondered over this.  Naturally, a bunch of parents from this district are upset about what occurred.  But I thought it over and considered several facts.

First, any idiot adult who takes political research from a 14-year old kid.....is an absolute idiot.  If the Democrats are relying on 14-year old kids to deliver the 'bad news'.....it says some pretty comical stuff.

Second, if you asked any eighth-grade kid to explain politics to you.....they'd basically look at you and freeze.  If you asked about the infield-fly rule, out-of-bounds, the chief characters of Gilligan's Island, the words to a recent rap song, or the starting quarterback for the Denver Broncos.....they'd do a pretty good job.  Beyond that.....you've got mostly a bunch kids with no real knowledge base.

Third, this civics honors stuff?  It's what kids now toss onto their resume to a fancy-pants college.....in hopes of convincing them that they have the right stuff to attend some $30k a year university, and that they've washed old folk's necks, trimmed grass on library lawns, ran a homeless shelter for eight hours, and rebuilt a 1934 Ford sedan.  When I was a kid....we didn't have this honors crap, and you mostly just tried to stay out of trouble, graduate, and get a job with the paper mill.

Fourth, and final....an eighth-grade kid....analyzing Ron Paul?  Can you imagine this poor kid....sitting in the living room after watching the whole episode.....shocked at how different Ron Paul is from the group, and trying to get Grandma to comment.  Grandma say: ".....he's nuts".  The kid turns to Uncle Karl, who flips out from his Vietnam drug episodes one night a week, and he talks for an hour about the brilliant Ron Paul, but he makes just as much nonsense as Ron Paul.

So finally, you turn to your dad....your pillar of inspiration.  Dad is a bit stoic in nature, and has simply a one-liner....."If Ron Paul was selling tractor tires, I'd buy two", and leaves it at that.  You can imagine the kid trying to write this commentary up for a stupid honors class....and the best that he can offer the Obama team on the weakness stuff....is your dad's commentary about buying two tractor tires from Ron Paul.  You can imagine $100k being spent now by the President's team....on some stupid tractor tire video advertisement....how the President is a better salesman of tractor tires, than contender Ron Paul.

Sadly, the nation has slipped and fallen, and just can't get up.

Government Logic

When I came to the Pentagon two years ago....we had this nifty Xerox copier/scanner.  This $15k machine is a beast and proudly works like a champ.  In an average week, I need to PDF around twenty documents, which flow up and down various channels, and it merely takes 90 seconds to put in my email address, hit scan, and it copies it into PDF format....then ships it out to my email box.

In a matter of days....this enormous "power" will go away.  My agency (to remain unnamed) has come to this conclusion....that I cannot be trusted with PDF-power.  So when I scan....it'll go into a magic digital folder, where only appointed and special people....will read the document, and determine if I'm protecting it to the degree required.  Classified information?  No.....in two years, I have not touched a single classified document.  Everything is just plain unclassified.

How much time has been added to a process?  Well....I would be guessing that if I scanned three documents in the morning....provided the one and only person in my group is around.....I might see the documents by 1PM.  If the one and only person is not around......it might be tomorrow....or even next week.

How do you get to be the person with power to release scanned PDF documents?  I'm curious about this....but it's best not to ask.

It's kinda like Superman and his X-Ray vision.....with folks feeling uneasy about what he could see or not see.  So there's a special person who previews what Superman could see....if he had full-power, but he doesn't.

The sad thing here.....I'd be better off taking documents for PDF production home, and doing them on my cheapo Canon printer/scanner, and then emailing them to work.  Or, I could walk over to the Air Force area of the Pentagon and ask someone to scan the document for me, and just email it to me.  The Army guys would do the same....as would the Navy.

Luckily, my organization hasn't analyzed if I flush once, or twice when I do my bathroom business.  If they knew I tended to flush twice....they'd have to remove my flushing powers, and regulate someone to be "the flusher".  Maybe it's true....I just can't be trusted.

Update: one of the smart guys in the unit said yesterday that there is some plan underway to invent a print-server operation....where the old method could just continue on.  The problem is....they haven't been able to make such a thing to work yet.  It's like standing in the midst of WWII, knowing the Nazis are working on a nuke bomb, and you are begging for Einstein to just come through and invent this damn nuke bomb to save America.

The Wrong Priority

You can usually tell when a city council has peaked out and has a full-time job to do a part-time function.  This week....the LA city council moves to a resolution which will condemn (as much as a city council can do) various types of speech that might be uttered over airways within their city.  The goal?  They've decided that radio hosts are using racist and sexist comments during their conversations on the air.

They will cite various examples....the Rush Limbaugh issue.....the comments made about Whitney Houston after her death....etc.

You've got two issues here if you sit long enough to think about it.

First, there's the radio crowd which is desperate enough to say just about anything....to get you peppered up and locked onto listening to their product.  While getting their crowd locked into place....they naturally anchor the anti-crowd into place and they start voicing complaints.

Second, there's the city council crowd.....which are desperate to lock their crowd into place....so they tend to pick the anti-position, and then yank on the political cord for a while.

The sad thing here is that you've got just as many potholes on the streets of LA....as you had last year.  You've got just as much crime, as you had last year.  You've got just as many distressed businesses this year.....as you had last year.  With all the various problems....you'd think that the city council would prioritize things.  But in this whacked up world.....containing "slut" speech is more important than creating 100 new jobs.