Thursday, 27 July 2017

The Transgender Story

I sat and read through the President's general order and the negativity that came after that.  There are in my mind....two essential areas....which fell apart when the Pentagon sat and tried to envision this working.

1.  Boot-camp.  If you had transgender 'Joe' show up for boot-camp (female to male)....how would you handle the shower situation?  Or 'Missy' showing up (male to female)?  No one could ever detail the whole thing out.  Would you force 'Joe' to the men's physical standards, and if you did....how many would fail.  Few people realize this angle, but there's two different rule-sets for push-ups, sit-ups, and the 'run'.  Which do you use for the transgender?  Or do you make up a whole third-set  of physical standards?  No one ever said this part of the solution.  My guess is that it became more difficult to solve.

2.  Role of military in transgender health-care.  No one could ever say that the military would not get stuck with the bill for hormones or surgery necessary.  The hormone therapy?  Someone has to pay, and if you were on some process and your remote medical unit couldn't readily provide the hormone on a regular basis....your success rate would go down quickly.

Oddly, there are a thousand categories in which you could end up being disqualified for military service.  Epilepsy, low IQ, being too short, mentally unstable, etc.  Early on in my career, I noted the episode that developed at the health clinic on base where they wrote an evaluation up on a records clerk, ensuring that she could not re-enlist.  The reason?  Continued incompetence.  Week after week, she screwed up records and paperwork.  After twelve months of dealing with her....it came down to the point of every single detail of what she did on a daily basis....had to be peer-reviewed and checked.  As she was wrapping up the two-year tour (having roughly one year left on the contract), she was desperately trying to have the evaluation removed, and they were very firm in saying that the service just wasn't a place for her.  They didn't want to 'fire' her or toss her out, but simply to ease her out at the end of four years.

Will this simply end with the transgender deal?  No.  I would expect the House and Senate to pick this up and write some forty-page law to just do it.  Which physical standards will they use?  It won't even be mentioned and the Pentagon will sit there and have to figure out the way of solving this mess.

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

The Toilet Paper Story

I noted this story off Breitbart today....which featured the picture taken from a Twitter note of Henrique Capriles.

As the story goes....in Venezuela....they were having a military awards situation with the commander giving out some citations, and as part of the 'rewards' with the certificates....you got two rolls of toilet paper.

If you haven't followed Venezuela news over the past year....things have gone into the crapper....literally.  If you walked into a store and had a hundred bucks on you....desperately wanting toilet paper....it's a very questionable situation if the store would even have toilet paper to sell you.

I sat and pondered upon this.

In the three decades that I was associated with the US military....there were a couple of occasions that you got some kind of 'reward'.  Usually, it was a three-day pass, a day off, or some $10-coupon at the local NCO club.  It was something that you generally didn't laugh about, although in value....other than three days off....it had limited appreciation.

The toilet paper?  I'm guessing each single GI went home and treasured the two rolls of toilet paper.  As bad as things are in Venezuela, I'm guessing that folks have learned to do their morning business in the toilet with two or three sheets....maybe four for a really bad situation.  These are young GI's and looking over the toilet paper as a pretty uplifting 'gift' from the colonel.  

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Sessons-Trump-Mueller

So you have an Alabama senator who gets this awful rare chance to meet up with a Russian ambassador.  If you lined up the last five Alabama Senators....I doubt if any of them had ever met the ambassador.

Weeks pass, and you get offered some job, and the Senate folks want to ask about meeting any foreigners of influence, and you say 'no'.....you never did.

You get confirmed, and then a month later.....it's obvious that you told a fib.  What's the deal?

(A) You are pretty Alabama-stupid.  (B) You are growing old and forgetful.  (C) You are told to get past point A by your chief supporter, and then are able to hand off the special prosecutor situation to someone that your chief supporter tells you is the 'right' guy.

It can only be one of the three answers.  Two of them make you look like a loser.  The third makes you look like some guy with an agenda designed by your chief supporter....whoever he is.

At this point, I think Sessons has demonstrated he's out of his league, and that he might be compromised because of his incompetence.  In other words, he needs to retire back to Alabama.

Mueller? Well....he's got this problem in that his old law firm (before the special prosecutor job) donated a fair sum of money to Hillary Clinton.  Mueller himself didn't donate....but his firm did.

Most of Mueller's big-lawyer team?  They either donated money to Hillary or were members of legal firms that donated money to Hillary.

At this point, Trump needs to find some legal wiz.....Cruz probably....ensure he's never ever met a Russian, and hire him as the Attorney General.  Cruz would then run the investigation business himself because of a lack of Russians in his background.

The Polling That Matters

I'm often amazed at the fake news agenda and the attempt to portray a national poll, which would lead you to certain false beliefs.

If you go back to the 2016 Presidential election....just over 52-percent of the general public showed up to vote (that in itself says a lot).  But here's the real substance to look upon....thirty states came to vote for Trump....only 20 states for Hillary Clinton.

If you go and do polling of the 30 states, I'm willing to guess that virtually all of them are still in some positive trend for Trump today, and will likely be that way in 2020.

So, only the thoughts of 30 states matter?  Yes, that's basically the whole story.  It doesn't matter if 90-percent of California or New York go another direction....those thirty states hold the electoral power over the remaining twenty.

What also falls into the 2020 election?  There's this odd 2018 senate race going on in Michigan....with 'Kid Rock' now announced as a GOP candidate.  He'll have to run against a Democratic senator who has been there three times now and won.  The influence of 'Kid Rock'?  He'll draw the youth vote and some of the Detroit votes, along with the GOP.  For 2020, Senator Kid Rock (assuming he wins in 2018) will be a major cog in getting Michigan again in the win-column.

If the GOP wins another three Senate seats in 2018?  It puts the polling back into the thirty-state equation, and you can basically discount whatever the Hillary states of 2016 say or think.  You could easily have another case where one or two million votes do appear for the Democratic challenger to Trump, but not enough to affect the thirty-state count.

On the Subject of Meetings

This morning, I read through a political news piece talking Jared Kushner (Trump's son-in-law) and his meeting business with the 'Russians'.  At some point, Jared realized that the meeting was a total waste of time, and sent a 'chat' to some associate to call him at the meeting and 'get him out' of the meeting.  The news journalists hyping up all this stuff....seemed amazed at people trying to get out of meetings.

At some point in the early-1990s....I moved from a play-mode to a manager-mode, and then came the realization that you had to go and attend meetings.  Some were a mere fifteen minutes long and drilled quickly down into the issue, and were worthwhile as a meeting.  Some were 90 minutes long, and basically accomplished next to nothing.  I came to value most meetings as worthless.

At some point around 2002 to 2004....I probably was wasting four hours a week in meetings.  In 2010 to 2013.....as a manager within the Pentagon empire, I was lucky to get myself down to 180 minutes per week.  The only enjoyable meeting each week in that last year was the building custodian meeting where all kinds of building renovation or history came out from the chief of the Pentagon building.

I brought this up years ago with a older guy who could remember the 1970s era, and how there were rarely meetings.  In his mind, when the internet and computer era arrived....meetings increased.  As he pointed out.....more people wanted 'stock' ownership in decisions made, and success from meeting decisions rarely paid dividends.

At some point about fifteen years ago....I worked with a female who had a husband who had a degree in business management (the master's degree), and he had weekly meetings with his staff (the wife, and the two kids).  One of the kids was a teenager and had become anti-meeting....thus causing friction in the household.  The wife tried to explain to the husband that these meetings were not of much value, and instead got lectured on the necessity of a 'focused-team'.  I asked the co-worker how would this all end, and she felt the kid would be out the door as soon as she graduated from high-school.

Jared in my humble opinion....has realized the value of meetings.  If you don't reach the necessary chat-topic in five minutes, and reach some solution in fifteen minutes....there's something wrong.  The sad thing is that we probably need thousands of Jareds in the US government, to stop worthless meeting-garbage.

Saturday, 22 July 2017

The Burlington College Story

Over the past year, I've sat and watched the Burlington College episode, with Jane Sanders....proceed.  It is a curious story.

Prior to 1971.....Burlington College didn't exist.  Some folks met....talked over some ideas and had this vision of a private college that served the local community.  Their eventual motto?  "Light a fire".
In 1972, the basic charter was written and the college took off....well....slowly took off.  In terms of student count....depending on who tells the story....they never got much past 300 students (that includes both full-time and part-time).

The campus?  It was set to roughly 30 acres....fairly small by most standards.

In 2004, the college talked Jane Sanders (wife of Bernie) to become the President of the university.  Her immediate goal...repair the schools's financial health.  Part of this idea was to grow the university (more students) and part of this was to find someone to entice folks to donate to the school.

Six years go by and the school has gone out to buy property for $10 million....out on some lakefront area.  Being lake-front....you can assume it was over-priced and probably not an economically wise idea.

To make the deal occur....Sanders had to go over to a bank and convince them this was great for the bank and money would roll in to pay the loan back.  Whoever sat there at the bank and approved this....probably weren't that capable or competent.

It took almost a year for the whole thing to reach a level where the board of trustees with the school realized financially....they were screwed.  Sanders resigns under pressure.  Roughly three years will pass before the school's accreditation is in serious trouble because of all the financial troubles.

It's hard to figure the angle to the lake-front property.  My guess is that some third party wanted the property for a lesser cost, and they convinced Sanders to make the move....get the loan....realize the screwed-up nature of having the property, and then sell it at loss to the third-party.  Maybe a 20-to-40 percent loss....on a quick sale.

If you look over the resume of Sanders, there is little there to indicate that she had a business, real estate, or financial background.  In other words, she was marginally capable of filling this type of position.

The legal folks?  They will have to prove that she intentionally ran the college into the ground, or made money off this episode.  I don't think they can prove such.  If they do go into court....it'll be a short case where incompetence or marginal skills are laid out....which doesn't get you jail-time.

As for the college?  I'd blame the the recruitment committee.....they knew precisely who they were hiring and of her limits.  They got what they desired.

Friday, 21 July 2017

The $39 a Month Health-Insurance Concept

You don't really have to be a rocket-scientist to sit and visualize how to make a simple $39 a month health-insurance concept to work.

So, you start with cigarettes being taxed at a rate of $40 a pack.  Smokers will have to make a decision whether they smoke a pack a day....with the monthly cost at roughly $1,200 or they quit (the intention).

Then you go and ration out beer, wine, and alcohol.  Your limit?  Basically two six-packs of beer or two bottles of wine, or one bottle of booze per week.  Cheating on your limit?  A $1,000 fine.

Sugar content in candy, snacks, sodas and food?  You force the companies to cut sugar content by fifty-percent.

Weight situation.  You draw a simple line on weight.  A guy who is 6 foot 1 inches tall....can weigh a max of 185 pounds.  Every pound past that point is a $50 a pound tax figured onto your income tax each year.  You come down to the county court-house in January of each year to figure out your weight, and send the weight credit to IRS.  You weigh less than 185 pounds...you get a $10 a pound credit.

Got a guy on a drug-overdose?  Notify the dispatch unit to look the guy's name and address up.  First time ever?  You do everything possible to save the guy.  Second time.....you do absolutely nothing.   Leave him there.  If he makes it....fine, if not....he's not going to cost you any further money.

DWI accident?  Once they assess your alcohol level....they send the note to IRS.  You get assessed a $2,500 tax for alcohol-stupidity.

Rehab for alcohol or drugs?  You get one single free rehab for your entire life.  The second rehab is assessed and fifty-percent of the cost is handed to you via IRS.  The third rehab?  100-percent is assessed back to you.

In a period of five years, you'd slowly watch as each year....the health-insurance package drops.  All of the incoming taxes are handed over to the health-insurance bureau.  Through some simple deductibles (out-patient set at $20 a visit and in-patient set at $150 a day), you would find health insurance very affordable.

Thursday, 20 July 2017

The Extremist Story

I sat and read a British piece today.....which laid out this poll of British folks and who they felt were extremists.....meaning people with agendas....usually someone who is on an illegal or violent action to achieve what they desire.

So these Brits were asked if Jesus, Gandhi, or Martin Luther King were extremists.....one in five said 'yes'.

This worried some folks, because in their opinion....this one in five crowd weren't reading off the same script as most folks were.

If you went by this way of thinking.....well....George Washington, Moses, Elvis and even Donald Trump could be categorized as extremists.

Those one in five folks?  Are these regular people?  Do they smoke a bit of weed on occasion?  Are they emotionally stable?  Do they believe in elves, aliens, bigfoot, or that NCAA bowl games are legit?

The thing about this is that number of folks will read the poll....talk about this with their minister, and start to worry that maybe Jesus was an extremist.  They might go and spend weeks worried about this new attitude or 'facts'.  You can imagine these ministers getting all hyped up and trying to relieve folks of this opinion.


Wednesday, 19 July 2017

'Unproductive' Congress Topic

Yesterday, it came out that Congress and the Senate have been noted as the most 'unproductive' of the past 164 years.  I think most people would sit and admit that they aren't shocked (doesn't matter if they are Republican or Democrat).

The GOP?  For eight lousy years, they 'talked' and 'talked'.  They were going to do this.  They were going to do that.  So now....a majority in the House and Senate, with the President ready to sign?  They can't do anything?

My gut-feeling is that you probably need to flip out or 'fire' about ten Republican Senators.  It doesn't matter if they get replaced by Republican or Democrat folks....just that they need to go back home and sell used cars or manage some casino-hotel operation.  If there ever were a reason to have term limits.....I think this period of 2017 proves the point.

The rest of 2017?  I deem it mostly a failure.

My advice for Trump:

1.  Go and hire up a Senate-manager for the White House.  Find some guy who would do Mitch McConnell's work for him.  Build a database of the GOP senators and their likes/dislikes, and promises to their state folks for the election campaign.  Dangle the database in front of them and remind them of what they promised and how it might be used.

2.  Go and find five Democratic Senators in serious election trouble for 2018.  Put some emphasis into defeating those five.  Gain the five seats, and then tell the loser five GOP folks who always say 'no'....to just go and sit in the corner....you don't need them.  Make this a show item for the rest that you can defeat the Democrats and bring fresh blood into the Senate.

3.  Hire up one single guy to talk over GOP Senators on the news media.  Yes, I'm talking about Newt.  Let him make some blunt and pointed comments at promises made back in the home states.

Monday, 17 July 2017

Delta and the Stupid Seat Story

At some point in the last week, Ann Coulter was supposed to be flying Delta Airlines, with a extra-purchased deal.....a premium seat.  This generally means you get three inches more of legroom, and the ability to board early.  So as she arrived....Delta dumped her out of the seat.  Reason?  Unknown.  Delta doesn't give any explanation....except they are angry over her Twitter talk, and basically they offered her the $30 back for the premium cost.

I had to fly Delta a couple of weeks ago, and went through the same gimmick....do you want to buy the legroom?  Flying from Germany into the US....I said no.  I probably regret that to some degree but it seemed crazy to around $90 for this 3 inches of extra room.  On the way back from Atlanta to Germany?  Yeah, I paid the $90, and got the premium economy seat.

For years and years.....you didn't think much about this business.  You had had two typical choices....coach or business/first class.

In the last seven years, I've noticed at least a dozen different gimmicks.  Bags on stateside flights?  Now $25 or a full-ticket (not the discount ticket).  If they could charge for the toilet usage.....they probably would do it.

Between the TSA folks, the border control gang, and the airlines....they've all worked hard to make flying a miserable experience.  But then I'd have to include regular people on this problem as well.  I sat and watched some lady who got bumped off a flight about six years ago.  She went into some childish tirade and I thought for sure that the cops would get called.  I sat and watched some older guy who'd consumed a fair amount of booze at Atlanta's airport bar, try to enter and sit in four different (but incorrect) seats before the stewardess pushed him into the right seat.

To be honest, if I lived in the US, and had to travel somewhere....I'd prefer to just get into a car, and waste a day or two of driving to get there and avoid the airport stress and the TSA security game.

As for Delta and this Coulter episode?  Delta might like to sit down and analyze how Coulter had purchased the seat ahead of time and how their system 'dumped' the purchased seat.  It ought to be near-impossible to occur unless you got some air-marshal to arrive.  Based on the picture of the gal who ended up in the seat....it wasn't a air-marshal.  No, the system wouldn't dump the premium payer for a Delta pilot/stewardess either.  So, there's almost no way to make this occur....unless you just wanted Coulter to lose the premium seat.  Course, you wouldn't be that stupid now.....would you, Delta?

Saturday, 15 July 2017

My Cursed Barracks

During my Air Force years.....I stayed in six barracks or dorms (counting basic and tech school).  Five had nothing much to say negative.  The sixth....from the Barksdale period....would best be described as a marginal living situation.

It'd been built in the early 1960s with all the positives of the period.  It had a sink in each room....a central toilet/shower, and AC.  Oddly enough, it had a twelve-foot ceiling.  By the time I got there in 1981, it had reached an end-point.  The carpet had some moldy smell (still from the original 1960 construction).  Cockroaches were hour-by-hour thing.  The AC could no longer function.  The heat could handle temperatures only down to 20-degrees (beyond that....it was marginal).

In twenty years, there had been two single upgrades or renovations.  They put some shading film on the windows in the lat 1970s, and the month that I got there....they'd added cable TV connections.

Renovation?  About 18 months into my 'visit'...they announced that they were tearing the place down in a year....it was not capable of handling renovation.  I ended my period on base as the month came when they were shutting down the building.

The three peaks of miserability?

The last summer there....the AC simply died and they refused to fix it (cost-wise, it made sense).  So you sat in 95-degree heat with two fans whirling hot around the room.  Your only relief was a refrigerator that you kept beer and ice in abundance.

Then winter came....with a shocker period of two weeks in December where the temperature dropped to minus-temperatures on three or four nights, and room temperature for seven days in a row could only be kept at 40 degrees.  The system was at maximum capacity and was never made to handle minus-0 temperatures.

Then came the explosion.  Some natural gas leak occurred at one side of the building and they evacuated the whole building for 72 hours while they repaired the gas leak and cleared the threat.    It wasn't a big explosion....just enough to burn half the hair off some kid who who'd showered and lighting up a smoke while he was going blow-dry his hair.

In some ways, it was a cursed building.

Probably everything that came in 1984 has already met their end, and been replaced as well.

"Russia Fatigue"

The phrase was coined yesterday by CNN's Alisyn Camerota.

If you were sitting in 2010 and watching MSNBC, CNN, Fox, NBC, PBS, CBS, and NBC on a regular basis (30 hours per week of news)....the phrase 'Russia' probably wouldn't have been uttered more than 15 times a month.  From the business channel and referencing oil or gas news....it might have been uttered sixty times a month.

Over the past six months, I would guess the seven major networks together.....probably have uttered the word 'Russia' at least 500 times daily.  The business channel?  Just their normal sixty times a month and mostly over oil and gas news.

Yeah, it's kinda like the term 'whore'.....you utter it enough, and people get use to the term being uttered.  It's not so bad after a while.

If you went out into most rural areas of America....most folks will tell you that they've never a single Russian in their life.  Even if you lived around the metro areas of Atlanta or Nashville....there's fairly good odds that you've never met a single Russian.

Around 1996, I went off on a two week vacation to Turkey....a beach resort operation.  The guests?  It was roughly 75-percent German....15-percent Russian....and the rest from Europe (oh and me the one single American guy).  What I generally learned from that 14-day period from interacting with the Russian folks (some did speak English) is that they did like consuming a fair amount of alcohol....used very little sun-tan lotion (meaning massive burns)....and they could have a very good sense of humor.

I'm not sure where the Russia talk will go with the news media.  I think Camerota is correct....it's pretty much a dead-end street with people losing interest.

When the "Kids" Run the University

I sat and read through a piece today...it was mostly critical of a editorial piece from a University of Maryland student....suggesting:"There is nothing inherently wrong with screening speakers, teachers and even students on the campus. in “intolerant” points of view “....to prevent certain groups of people from participating in campus life safely.”

Basically, the editorial was suggesting that you need to deny “intolerant perspectives.”   This would help to preserve the peaceful nature of the campus.

The criticism?  It came from Campus Reform, and suggests that this is something that you really don't want to start up because you don't know where it ends.

I pondered through this logic of the editorial.  You see a lot of this these days....where students seem to think that too many facts change their judgement on things, and they would prefer just one story or one single line of facts....to base their decisions upon.

Rational judgement?  Gone.  The fact that you could add to your grasp of a subject or test your reasoning....isn't something of value to this new crowd of college students.

If you asked me for ten reasons why a college education doesn't mean much in today's atmosphere, this is one of those reasons.

You could easily end up with a bunch of idiots who have no interest in Socrates or Plato....nor desiring to understand Mao or Churchill.

This whole safety discussion going on in campus life is creating a group of 'wussy' intellectuals who will be unable to handle real-life situations.  We will be graduating thousands of these individuals who can't work in certain companies or perform certain functions because they simply don't have the ability to reason and reach rational levels of understanding.

In some ways, they are defeating the term intellectual and becoming something very much less than that.

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

The Question of College

The Pew Research Center did a research project and asked the question of value of colleges in America....depending on your view as a Republican or as a Democrat.

What they can generally say is that most Republicans (or leaning that way)....in the range of 58-percent....think it's a negative objective now to go off to college.

For Democrats (or leaning that way).....near 72-percent think that college are a positive thing.

What Pew can also show is that the Republican position has changed in a fair degree over a short period of time (roughly five years).

Why?

I think reality has come to set on the whole college-education scheme.  If junior is going off and spending $60,000 to $80,000 over four years....what exactly is junior getting in return?  Can that degree relate to junior getting a starting salary of $35,000 a year and $45,000 within five years?  Or will junior be stuck as some assistant manager of a airport car-rental shop and barely clearing $30,000 for the next fifteen years?

Few colleges want to have studies done to explain the pay-back feature of the degree business.  Lets face facts....a four-year degree in engineering is a good bit different than a four-year degree in French literature or tourism science or turf management.

From roughly twenty years ago, I worked with a guy who was financing his daughter through college and at the end of the first year...which he'd spent near $25,000 on tuition and board/expenses....the daughter came to admit that the degree that she was pursuing....was NOT of value.  The change?  At the end of year two......she noted the new strategy or degree path wasn't interesting enough.  As I met with my associate on the fifth year of this college path, he more or less told the daughter that this would be it for his paying into this deal....he'd wasted almost $125,000 and questioned what he saw was a total waste of $50,000 of that sum (he noted that you could have bought two new cars for that sum).

Presently, there is a 'bubble' in existence over the college debt episode.  It's kinda like the real estate 'bubble' that grew in the 2002 to 2008 period, and triggered the massive chaos of 2008's crisis.  At some point within the next decade, I expect that 'bubble' to explode and some massive forgiveness by the government will be required....with hundreds of billions of debt simply disappearing because of the government's solution.

When that solution starts to occur, I expect the only adding feature of the Republicans to this mess will be a severe limit to any form of credit for college education.  The colleges?  I expect them to fall on their knees and beg for some type of government credit solution, but the massive loss of trust in forgiving the debt....won't settle much of anything.

Monday, 10 July 2017

The Health Insurance Story

The AP put out a short piece today and noted that the number of non-health-insurance folks in the US.....grew by 2-million over the previous year.  We are at 11.7-percent without health insurance....compared to 10.9-percent at this point last year.

You can interpret this in forty different ways.  But I would suggest that most people have reached a point where the yearly fee....usually in the $8,000 to $12,000 range, and the deductible of $4,000 to $6,000....has reached a point where it's simply stupid to pay into the deal.  Let's face facts....at $15,000 a year....you can almost afford to buy a bare-basic pick-up truck, or over three years....a BMW 3-series car.

If I were the Republicans....I'd do absolutely nothing.  It's obvious that they have no plan and no concept over how the program works in general.  I'd say the same about the Democrats as well.

At the pace of things....you can figure by mid-summer 2018....the rate will be around 12.5-percent and by mid-summer 2020....around 15-percent.

As much as people have some fraudulent idea that the Affordable Healthcare Act fixed things....it simply invented a new problem with cost being out of reach or reaching a ridiculous point.

Bergdahl Episode

I noted in minor military news this past weekend, that the Bowe Bergdahl episode has progressed to the next step.  He was the young Army guy who decided to walk out of the camp in Afghanistan, in search of a better life and was taken prisoner by the Taliban folks....held for a fair amount of time as a prisoner and then traded with a deal with the Obama Administration.  The Army has taken the view that some court-martial type offenses have occurred and the court is working up to a starting point.

So the two items that have occurred is that the military judge in charge decided that all charges that were referred to the court.....will be allowed.  There are two charges....both of which could get not just life in prison but the death penalty. The second item is that two witnesses will be allowed into the court.....both of which were members who were injured or wounded during the hunt for Bergdahl after he disappeared.  This is a bit difficult for the defense lawyers to overcome and harsh questions toward the two won't be appreciated by the jury.....all combat-veterans.

I will note....that if you go and research all of Bergdah's history....after getting removed from the Coast Guard boot-camp.....the Army should NOT have allowed him in.....he was simply not mature enough or competent enough for military duty.  Somehow, he made it through Army boot-camp and came to lose his prospective on life in Afghanistan.   I do put some of the blame on the Army for not recognizing the guy's behavior and limits.

All this said and done.....I think Bergdahl will end up with a 15-year sentence and be reduced to E-1.  They will likely credit him for the period held captive, but the rest of this....probably 13 years....will be what he owes the Army.  I will add that if he demands NCOs be on the jury (which is his right).....he's likely to get MORE time, not less, on the sentencing.  It would not be in your best interest to have NCOs on this jury.

Friday, 7 July 2017

PTSD and News

I sat this morning and was reading through the British paper....the Telegraph.  It had an interesting piece on a medical study about PTSD in kids.

So, kids that sit and watch BBC and Sky News in Britain appear to have some chances of getting post-traumatic stress disorder.

All of this goes to the various clips that you see nightly.....even in the US (CNN, Fox News, ABC, CBS, MSNBC, NBC, PBS, etc).  Most of us don't think about this. You see some bombed-out neighborhood in Syria, or some apartment complex burning away....but in the eyes of some kid, it's a pretty dramatic moment.

Resolving this?  Well....how?  You could go and make the network news folks only carry the dramatic stuff after 9PM.  They (the journalists) would laugh at you and suggest that it will be a fairly undramatic news period from sun-up to 9PM (they are correct).  You could forbid any images or video of dramatic news pieces (that would also make the whole news show concept pretty boring).

If you go and review nightly news coverage from the early 1980s.....there's rarely anything graphic or upsetting with what people typically saw.  All of this graphic stuff....the kind of material to trigger PTSD....started in the past twenty years.

What happens now?  Mostly nothing.  No one wants to change the magic formula.


Wednesday, 5 July 2017

The 'You-Know' CEO

I sat and viewed a TV interview on the business channel from last week.....journalists had a CEO of a company which was having a IPO situation (initial public offering of stock).

It was a ten-minute conversation and a chance to hype up the company.  Typically, guys or gals who get hired as CEOs.....have to be proficient at interviews.

About a minute into this conversation, I started to notice the guy using the comment "you-know" a lot.  Over the remaining 9 minutes of this chat?  I'd take a guess that he uttered the comment "you-know" at least forty times.

About nine years ago.....Caroline Kennedy came up for a big interview as a key player of the President Obama organizational committee....and she did the exact same thing, uttering "you-know" at least thirty times in a five to eight minute interview.

I doubt if these people ever realize how bad they got the problem.....until someone rolls the video out and shows the tendency to utter "you-know".

A nervous reaction?  To some degree....yes.  But they've spent years weaving "you-know" into their reaction for commentary and it's hard to get rid of the habit. You almost need to have some guy there with a electric shock device and throwing some voltage into the guy to condition them to avoid the expression.

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Trump News Network

I spent a few days in the US.....at various airports and two hotels, and probably had seven hours of CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News.  So I made ten observations:

1.  Both MSNBC and CNN are surviving off 50-percent Trump-news.  Doesn't matter what time of day....they are both covering Trump, Trump-associates, and Trump news (healthcare, foreign policy, etc).  For CNN, they can't go more than 10 minutes....without a Trump comment or negative report.

2.  I would suggest that CNN now has around 600 'Trump-experts' who rotate throughout the day and fill in the gap with Trump news.  Oddly, none of them are regular people, barbers, diesel mechanics, farmers, or landscapers.  It gets to being noticeable after a while.

3.  You would think that there's just about nothing much happening in the world.....except Trump, if you watch MSNBC or CNN.

4.  They continue to slide mental-health experts into the conversation and they want to provide analysis....which could be a reportable item to some state medical accreditation association sooner or later.  These guys don't seem to worry about it but you can lose your license if you talk in a public way about a guy and you haven't personally examined him or her up close.

5.  "Anonymous sources" gets used an awful lot.  I'm waiting on someone to say the anonymous source to an anonymous source....says Trump did such-and-such.

6.  Political burn-out?  You can probably carry this 'over-load' for maybe a year....but I don't see how your advertising folks would keep buying into this news item for long-term.

7.  All this chatter on Twitter and social media comments by Trump?  Here's the thing......there are probably 500,000 people o Twitter or social media who probably ought to be kicked off or terminated from public comments.  If some idiot wants to make the Trump the target.....I'd broaden this out and just fire a bunch of accounts.

8.  On Trump health-care news.  It's just odd that none of these network news folks are actually talking to regular people.  You notice this a lot.  MSNBC and CNN want to stay with either lobbyists, political folks or journalists.

9.  If you stand around at airports....people are gazing at the large-screen TVs and making commentary....but in Detroit, Nashville and Atlanta (where waited on flights)....this was mostly negative conversations about the networks.

10.  You have to admire the news management folks in one way....they've taken a topic and convinced the journalists to stick with it....even when it's barely worth reporting.