Friday, 27 July 2012

A Bad Day for CNN

It wasn’t that shocking, but the chief of CNN news….Jim Walton…is quitting. He kinda admits….that things aren’t going well with the network and there’s some need for new leadership and new prospective.

The CNN folks built up this nifty news media in the 1990s and stayed for the most part….fairly neutral. News was news….at least eighty percent of the time. You could accept that. About a decade ago….Fox News came along, with MSNBC, and CNN decided that if they pretended to be neutral….things would be ok. The truth is…they shifted themselves around and they kinda lean more to the left on ten hours a day, and maybe stay neutral for the remaining fourteen hours. Any news that you get off their international team….is mostly slanted against the US in some fashion. You end up laughing if you watch the CNN International News network (if you are overseas).

My advice for CNN? Go raid Fox News and bring over four people. Work up an hour or two around lunch with a right-leaner duo, and go after the lunch-time crowd. Shock your own folks by grining as you pump out various right-wing comments.

Then go and fire that Piers dude who does the evening interview segments….because he’s mostly an idiot, and just not attracting much of anyone. With the two remaining new Fox News guys that you hired….start a 10PM show at night where you go out and find regular people….not these think-tank crowds or stars, but just interview farmers from Iowa, high school basketball coaches, transmission mechanics, real American Indians, and old TV stars from the 1970s. Let the regular folks connect to the heartland, and let the new two former Fox News guys do what they do best….just tell a fair and balanced story with what you got.

The Coming Wave

This sequestion episode discussed on the news finally came around to reality this week as folks kinda admitted that it went past just contractors for the Department of Defense being let go in the thousands…..they’d also have to cut regular civilian employees….maybe as many as ten to fifteen percent of the work force.

The pace of this mess? Well….they admitted to Congress yesterday that they were barely into the planning stage, but that they’d have to start sending out warning notices to folks in early November, and some regular civilian employees would actually be cut in January.

As you can guess, it’s turned into a water-fountain topic. You figure ten percent of the folks gone by late spring of 2013 as you look around the office. There’s no real logic to this. One might assume that they’d try to encourage the older guys up around sixty to sixty-five to just plain retire. There might be a $25k bonus offered up if they’d just accept retirement and walk away.

The problem is….a bunch of guys have kids in college or their 401ks really got screwed two years ago or they still have eight years of mortgage left to go on this overly expensive house.

So I’m kinda expecting some long discussions in August with the bosses and they try to figure out how many to let go. Then you move into September, and October…identifying the folks by name. Folks will discuss the impact…..what work continues on, and what work get terminated. Office space will come up as a topic because there’s going to be empty cubicle space. Even parking permits will come up because now there are fewer folks parking around the building by spring of next year.

I’m guessing a few guys here and there….will suddenly find their safe and comfortable government job to be not so safe. Even for myself….I might have to start thinking about long-haul trucking, or maybe working for the National Park Service.

There’s two things to ponder from this though. First, a bunch of these folks all reside in the Virginia region, and they are likely now to ask a bunch of stupid questions for this fall. If you ask me….it’s going to swing 75k votes very easily now.

The second thing….is a bunch of folks are going to worry about things, and ask daily by mid-November what Congress and the Senate will do. If this is a lousy loss for the Democrats....they might just slide toward the door and let the Republicans work on this in January....but by then, folks are now out-processing and there just won't be any way work a miracle.

If I were a betting person….I’d say that November is going to be this big huge mess for someone to clean up. And it just won’t be pretty.

I Could Write a Chapter or Two

The thing about the Bible....is that it's mostly written by older and fairly serious religious guys....who don't really think much on reality.  So I came to ponder over Genesis, the book.  I might have written it in a different fashion.

In the beginning....after all the dust and stuff settled....God looked down up on his work.

It wasn't enough to just have trees, waterfalls, and hailstorms.  There needed to be action and soap opera-like situations.

So God created up Adam, who was supposed to be mostly a gardener and farmer, but also did odd jobs on the side.  To blend into the action, God created Eve, who was an Amazon-like gal and lacked common sense, but this all played into the "script" that God had written up.

Various other creatures were added....from horses to border collies, onto cows, and finally....God saw reason to add cats.

To be honest, things were just slow and without any real conclusion or excitement....so at some point....God added up a fancy snake-character to the garden and a get-smart apple.  After this...Adam and Eve would get into various adventures and everyday turned into a new adventure.  God was eventually pleased with his creation, and usually felt inclined to just sit back and observe mankind at work and play.  This gave God a chance to think and ponder over "what-if" situations, and occasionally add another character or whisper secret instructions to the border collie to challenge mankind.

(the picture?  The Fall of Man.  One of my favorite fancy portraits.)

The Ten Ways

I've sat and pondered over the ten ways that President Obama could widen the margin and easily take this election against Romney.  These are my own ideas:

1.  Tax the rich at 312-percent a year.  I realize that it'd probably bankrupt the rich within five years....but it'd make the majority of voters happy that they didn't have to pay for taxes for five years.  What happens after that point?  Well....it's best not to discuss that....because it gets into the term of some Republican president probably.

2.  Offer to pay up all health insurance costs for the first two years.  This might get into the trillions, but it'd make the bulk of voters pretty happy for a short period of time.

3.  Offer up free cable TV service....to include HBO and Showtime, for four years.  This would take a load off most younger voters and offer up a chance to watch some weird TV shows that folks haven't regularly reviewed.

4.  Talk Seinfeld into bringing his TV show back on the air.

5.  Fire VP Joe Biden, and hire up either Brittney Spears or Katie Couric as VP.  Folks would spend hours each day waiting for either one to screw up twice as bad as VP Joe did.

6.  Offer up seven-day postal delivery, free coffee coupons while at the polling place, and three hundred pounds of welfare dog chow as part of a government enhancement package.

7.  Offer to allow the History Channel to run a reality TV series from the White House.  The truth would be it'd be a fake set, with twelve fake Hollywood guys who look like the President and VP Joe, with a fairly fake set, and a series of Latin American fake dictators who would shuffle through and get into fights with VP Joe occasionally.

8.  Offer Pete Rose a Presidential pardon, and then deliver a two-hour speech weeper of a speech on why Pete was such a great player, screwed up, and yet deserves a second chance in life.

9.  Offer to open up the secret vaults at Area 51 if he wins the election, and show off the alien guys and their UFOs.

10.  Finally....if enough of you did vote for him.....he'd agree to be a Judge on America's Got Talent, and be a guest on some ballroom dancing show.

Just a Gut Feeling on Guns

Years ago….while living in Arizona….I had in-laws come and stay a couple of weeks. One evening….around midnight….there was a ‘blast’ sound. I kinda woke up and thought it was a back-fire from a car. Twenty minutes pass, and then a knock at the door. This was Tucson and a decent neighborhood, but you generally don’t open doors after midnight. I eventually opened this and here was some cop. There was this 90 second story of sorts….but apparently, the neighbor had been cleaning his gun (go figure a guy doing this at midnight), and it’d gone off….going through his apartment wall, and impacting into the doorway area of my wall (entry-way). The cop wanted to make sure that was all that occurred, and that I hadn’t been shot or such. The in-laws are German…..and I kinda think it freaked them out a bit. I kinda accepted this and said no problem.

About every twelve months or so….I’ll spot a story in the paper over some guy who was cleaning his gun, and it goes off. Sometimes….someone gets hit. Personally, I just can’t think of a single reason why a guy would clean his weapon with bullets still in it. Cops generally always accept this comment and write into the report, but realistically…..the owner of the gun has to be a five-star idiot to make a comment like that.

The sad thing is….one day….I’ll be in the wrong place at the wrong time….with a thin wall between me and some gal or guy…..who decide at midnight to clean their gun, and I’ll get hit. I’ll crawl across the wood floor and get fifty splinters across various parts of my body, somehow get the phone, and call 9-11. Maybe I’ll survive long enough for the rescue guys to come over to my apartment and tote me out to the ambulance. Then I have to hope that it’s just a light wound. Then I have to hope this is a clean hospital and I don’t get some infection from the hospital or the splinters, and eventually die from a pain-killer or some one-in-a-million infection deal.

I have this odd feeling that most folks just walk into a gun shop….spot a nice looking pistol….buy a box of ammo, and never handle the gun except for gun-play episodes in their living room. They show it off to the boy-friend or girl-friend….but truthfully, they haven’t fired the gun in their life. And they always have that odd Barney Fife-explanation for the cops…..they were cleaning the gun….when it went off. Like Andy….I’d like to respond to them that they ought to only get one bullet, and it ought to be in their shirt pocket unless there’s real trouble.

The Gun Comment

Somewhere today….in the early morning hours….the President came out and made a four-star talking bullet about AK-47 automatic rifles….."belong on the battlefield of war, not on the streets of our cities."

I looked over the comment. Out of the normal 120 deaths in the District of Columbia each year….an area of six by six miles….almost none of the deaths of the past 2.5 years had anything to do with AK-47s or automatic rifles. From most of the last 500 killings in Chicago….I’m taking a pretty guess here….but I’m fairly confident that ninety-nine percent of them had nothing to do with automatic rifles or AK-47s.

You could outlaw AK-47s tomorrow across America, and there would still be 50k of them probably kept in private residences or in the hands of criminals. Folks wouldn’t voluntarily turn them over, and to be honest….it probably wouldn’t be the gun of choice for ninety-eight percent of the public.

So it’s a grand speech and a decent TV comment….but frankly, it’s worthless. Course, in Mexico….it might be worth discussing….especially if you could outlaw the US ATF guys from running Fast and Furious operations across the border and selling automatic weapons to various drug cartels.