Friday, 27 December 2013

Book Review: The Amateur (by Edward Klein)

In the summer of 2012, Edward Klein finished The Amateur.  I really didn't pick up on it's value or timing.  This past week, as part of my new e-book capability (yeah I eventually came around to it)....I read The Amateur.

Basically, it's the woeful story of a guy who charms his way into the President's office, hires people who are charmed by his character, then discovers that he's mostly a political candidate with no executive experience, no ability to listen to anyone but himself, and using the services of characters who just feel charmed by everything.  Sadly, it's the world we live in today.

The book lays out about two hundred individuals who have run through the White House, and kinda discovered that there is no true leadership connected to it.  It's a charming atmosphere and maybe the first couple of days were fake reality....but after a while....as Klein tells the story....it's just a empty suit situation.

The book is simple enough....lays out names and interviews.  Klein went and talked to lots of folks who sat in on a meeting or two....or actually were part of the apparatus for a while.  It's loaded with examples of bad management, bad leadership, and incompetent but important people in the White House.

Here's the thing.  After you read the book....ending with updates in the spring of 2012....you'd like to have a second book written at the end of eight years and tell the entire story.  You also end up with a bitter taste in your mouth over politics and the amount of deceit now involved in daily affairs.

As for the President?  I can understand now why companies and foundations are not jumping quietly up to offer seats on the board or positions within foundations to the President.  He hasn't won any favors, and likely will find a rough world in 2017 for him to exist in.  Maybe the pension deal is enough, and a handful of speeches a year....but I think he's mostly looking at the best years of his life.  Some idiot publisher might buy into a book deal or maybe even five books....but it's charity work for a guy who can't write, can't produce executive decisions, can't listen to advice, and can't be part of some team.

The book is worth reading.....just be prepared for a dismal feeling at the end.

The Almighty License Story

Truenancy never was a problem in the Bama school environment that I grew up in.  You might have used your farm requirements....thus faking up a logical but truthful reason....and skipped a day here and there.

Over the last thirty years, I've become impressed by the amount of truancy, and dedication by some sixteen year old punks.

In Germany....they have the same problem, but here....the cops will eventually get involved and the parents could end up with a fine if it reaches a drastic state.

I read this week that Michigan's legislature has decided....enough was enough.

So a law has been crafted and in the works now.  Basically, after a certain number of days missed....the school has to contact a local judge.  It's not a decision that the school makes or the principal or the county superintendent.  The law dictates you simply will inform the judge.  Then the law puts the local judge into a bind....he can only take the info given, and report it.  Again, he can't act out some role or pretend the event didn't occur.

The judge will end up calling or faxing or sending an email to the state guy who controls driver's licenses.  Based on that one report....he will invalidate the license of the kid.  It's not clear on the way that the kid or parents get the message.  I will assume that some letter is generated and sent to the kid himself.  It'll be a three-liner probably...."due to truancy, your license is revoked".  There's probably a line directing them to a page where they can work on reestablishing their license....which likely involves some fee, and a certain period of showing no additional truancy (probably over six months).

The kid's reaction?  Well....he or she might pretend the letter never came, and just keep driving.  After one occasion of getting pulled over, and a hefty fine of driving without a license.....things get seen differently now.

The one thing in the state's favor?  You are mandated, with no exceptions.....to attend school until you reach eighteen.  For a fourteen year old punk already testing truancy?  They even worked in a piece to the law that says you could be denied your license, until after eighteen.....if you got into a bad habit of truancy.

For the youth of today, there are a couple of important things.  Access to a computer, a cellphone, access to beer, a car, and a license to operate a car.  Denying any of these....really dissolves a successful youth era.  I would imagine several states will follow this trend.  For kids with truancy issues.....I think life just took a tumble.