Thursday, 26 March 2015

The Bergdahl Story

A simple take on Bow Bergdahl....the Army guy who paid five Islamic terrorists for and some cash via the middle-guy....who yesterday was announced on the short list for court martial. Charges?  Desertion and misbehaving before the enemy.

If convicted on desertion....he gets five years max.

For misbehaving before the enemy?  This is an odd charge and rarely if ever used.  You'd basically have to have some evidence of a sort that indicates that he cooperated with the enemy and helped them in some fashion. For get life in an Army prison as the max.

For those who might think this is like the OJ case and the court episode will take weeks and  This entire court case will likely wrap up in seven to ten court-session days (two weeks or less).

The prosecution merely needs to show that on X-day....Bergdahl is reported missing, and indications are that he walked out....leaving his weapon behind.  Enough bits of evidence exist (mailing his gear back to the state the week or two prior was the big hint with months left to go on the tour) to show his intention.

Around twenty members of his unit will testify and it'll go fairly negative for the defense.  There are few questions that can trip these guys up.

Then we come to the defense moments....Bergdahl was crazy.  He was crazy when the Coast Guard discharged him from boot camp.  He was crazy in high school.  He was crazy when the Army granted him a waiver to join after the mental issues were noted on the Coast Guard paperwork.  He was crazy when he deployed and he was crazy for the whole time that the Taliban guys were holding him.

The Army response will be that they have 500,000 crazy folks and none of them ran off to the Taliban.

For the jury, the crazy factor will help on the one charge of misbehavior with the enemy.  If he was nuts....he couldn't be held responsible for his actions.  The desertion thing?  Oh, that's acceptable and he'll do the five years for that.  At that point, the jury will wrap things up....convict him on one charge and he quietly does four to five years.

Upon release?'s just me talking here.....but I'm of the mind he'll board a plane and make his way to the Pakistan, where he'll be captured again.  Yeah.....he IS that crazy and stupid enough to do something like that.

A movie on this?  Maybe....but it's going to be hard to make him look anyway....but plain stupid and crazy.

After Watching Breaking Bad

I'm one of those guys who generally misses big-name TV shows and catches up months and even years later.  Seinfeld, The Seventies Show, Law and Order, Friends?  Most I ended up watching three to five years after they ended.  That's mostly because of life overseas.

Today, after an entire month....I've finally watched all of Breaking Bad.  It ended around two years ago.  Yeah, it just wasn't on my must-watch list at the time.

So my five observations after turbo-viewing the sixty-two episodes?

One.  It is probably one of the best written and epic stories that TV ever produced.  I should point wasn't the big three (CBS, NBC, or ABC) or the Cable thugs (Showtime or HBO).  It was an AMC production.  They didn't go over the top or hire four-star actors....they knew they could get decent actors....give them a great script....and they'd turn in four-star performances.

Two.  From the first ten episodes....I was all bought into Walt's idea and mission in life. I was all connected to Jessie maturing and getting clean one day.  By the final ten episodes....I hated Walter White immensely....his character was no longer a likable guy.  As for Jessie....somewhere along the bitter end....he wised up.  They leave you with a mystery on what happens to Jessie next.  Maybe in five years.....Jessie turns up somewhere in another show.

Three.  Breaking Bad is a great tool to lecture people on the business side of drugs.  There is a distribution system, a manufacturing system, an advertising system, a regulatory commission of sorts, a customer complaint system, and rich guys at the top who act as CEOs.

Four.  By the end...with about six exceptions....virtually every single character that you met along the way is dead.  Saul, the crappy but dependable lawyer?  He survives, and one might suspect him turning up one day....maybe in Mississippi or Jacksonville.  My favorite short-term character?  Jessie's heron girlfriend.  You could tell in the first five minutes upon introduction.....she just wasn't going to be around for more than five or six episodes.

Five.  The big three (CBS, NBC, and ABC) have a problem.  They can't produce shows like this.  The public will eventually figure this out.

After you sit and watch fifty-odd hours of have a good idea of the meth world.....the characters involved...the business connection....and marginal amount of time you have to make money, then lose money.  Maybe in some way.....there's a great business side to Breaking Bad....showing the decision process and how a company can fail quickly on bad decision-making.

Worth watching?  Yeah.  Just don't get attached to any characters.....some get whacked pretty quick.

The Radio Shack Listing

As Radio Shack proceeds through bankruptcy (yeah, it's been a written goal of theirs for two decades to fail)....they've come to announce that they intend to sell their customer database as part of the proceedings.

The list?  117-million customers.

Various parties are hostile about this customer database being sold and don't think it's ethical.  Some folks have pointed out that everyone had the chance to say 'no' and just not give the information.  Some will say that the list has value and might be worth in the range of five-million dollars (on the high side, if you ask me....I'd value it at $200,000 max).

I've sat and pondered over this.  It's an odd thing.  If you really had 117-million active wouldn't be going bankrupt.

So I pondered upon this.  I can remember in 1976 walking into the Radio Shack of the town where I grew up and buying an item, and they collected the customer data even then.

I'm only suggesting this because they certainly won't admit it.....but this list of 117-million names probably is every single customer they've had since the mid-1970s.  I would even go a step further.....that twenty-percent of the listing are simply dead people.  And I'll even suggest that twenty-five percent are people who've moved in the past twenty years.

I've used Radio Shack on fifteen-to-twenty occasions since 1977 when I joined the Air Force.  They've probably got my name down, with at least six different addresses.

Actual value, if proven true?  Maybe $10,000 because you just don't know how accurate it really is.

This brings me around to the long-term strategy plan of Radio Shack.  I'm one of those people who saw the writing on the wall in the 1990s.  Whatever strategy they was simple and limited to probably a three-by-five inch card.  Once we emerged into the technology era of the 1990s....they should have picked up the hint.

They could have put a new look onto the stores.  They could have been at the front of the cellphone sales era.  They could have aimed more gadgets at kids.  There should have been a Xmas gift catalog every single year with emphasis on guys.

Instead....they just stayed with the 1970s scheme...a shop for geeky guys.  It lasted fifty years and it was simple.  Lets face it....before Ebay or Amazon came along.....if you wanted some hard-to-get electronic items....Radio Shack was 'it'.  You usually couldn't find another special store like this within 300 miles of your home.  They just didn't figure out the strength of the on-line competition until it was too late to fix anything.

Amazon buying the 117-million customer list?  No.  I'd lay down a good bet that they don't have any interest.  In's hard to think of a name-brand company who'd like to lay out hundreds of thousands on this type of listing.

Bottom line?  Radio Shack spent thousands of hours collecting this stupid data, and never knew how to really utilize it. Now?  They think they have something of value?  It just doesn't make sense.