Thursday, July 22, 2010

Comments are missing

Thanks to Mrs4444 I've learned my comments are gone.

With all that's going on, it may be a few days before I can address this mess... 

Although it pains me to concede, this blog may have become too much for me to maintain much longer.

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24: Life imitates art (that imitated life)?

This may be a stretch, but just work with me:

One of the best television shows of all time (IMHO) was 24, and while I blogged in past years, I completely neglected it this season.... some suggested I was in mourning, I say I was just too busy.  Regardless, stick with me for a minute:

The main character JACK BAUER is often faced with incredible situations that demand immediate and often incredible choices to be made.  What made the stories so convincing is the great, personal risks Jack took for the greater good (My personal theory is that there are quite a number of real-life law enforcement officers who do a lot of things like Jack Bauer: unsung heroes without which we'd all be worse off in the long run).

(minor spoiler alert!)

In Season 5, Jack Bauer kidnapped the sitting president, Charles Logan, and tried to force a confession of treason from him.   Logan never broke, and the secret service eventually broke up the party, but not before Jack planted a listening device on Logan's person.   Later on, Logan boasts about his crime, and this leads to Jack's exoneration and Logan's removal from office.

In the most recent season, Jack had incriminating evidence of a conspiracy involving another sitting president, and in order to hand it off to a friend of his (to prevent the evidence from being 'lost' by agents of the conspiring president), he orders his friend to shoot him.  When she resists, he points the gun at his head as a last resort.  Fans of the show know (as well as anyone can know about a fictitious person) he was about to pull the trigger to ensure the safe passage of the evidence ... in the end, however, she shot him in the left side of his chest (a through and through) and our hero, of course, survived the wound.

Andrew Breitbart took a video clip of a USDA official, Shirley Sherrod, and released an extended (but not total) clip of a speech she recently gave to the NAACP concerning her conduct in the past.   The clip led the modern-day viewers conclude she harbored racial prejudices.     The NAACP was outraged at her comments, and the Obama Administration moved to push her out of her appointed position.  

Now bear in mind: Mr. Breitbart never called for Ms. Sherrod's termination.  In fact he never commented on her speech directly.    Predictably, a firestorm erupted in many blogs and an several cable news programs, and yes, there were calls for her to be removed, and, as stated, she was.

Then Breitbart revealed the longer clip, which showed Ms. Sherrod having used that story as a basis of her growing, as a person, from when she harbored racial tendencies to where she later became a more civil minded person.    The transformation of Ms. Sherrod is admirable, and when viewed in total the speech she gave was not a reason for her to lose her job.

So why did she lose her job?

She lost her job because everyone - everyone - believed the story she told was not one of a transformation but was, in fact, how she believed, then and there.   And she lost her job because everyone also believed that her jaded view was acceptable in certain circles, just not in the mainstream view.   Case in point: the NAACP was quick to condemn her story only when they saw the Breitbart video, and not during (or immediately after) her speech at their event!  No one in attendance of her speech raised an objection or any form of dissent.  In fact, you can hear murmurs of approval!!   It seems as if the kinds of speeches they were suddenly objecting to were not at all uncommon at their own sanctioned events.

Laughably, the mainstream media bought the story - hook, line and sinker - because it was so credible.

To be fair: not everyone who is a member of the NAACP is a racist by default because those in attendance on this video did not denounce the presumed racism of Ms. Sherrod.   Nor should the members of the black community overall be considered a racist because the NAACP immediately condemned her statements only after the Breitbart video surfaced.    

And to be equally fair: just because there may be one or two sign-wielding idiots spouting racism at a Tea Part event does not make it right to brand all in attendance a racist.   

So Ms. Sherrod pulled a bait-and-switch on the NAACP, and Breitbart amplified the action and made quite a splash.  The media storm surrounding Ms. Sherrod will die down, and she is pretty much guaranteed some sort of high-ranking appointment in the government from here or out.

Andrew Breitbart, however, took a big risk, and while it paid off nicely, will cause every future video from him to viewed with a jaundiced eye.  Not from those who are upstanding and honest partners, but from everyone who accepts the so-called business as usual approach in what they do, since they will be wondering what Breitbart will reveal tomorrow.

For that, Breitbart's credibility has taken a hit in the media, but the benefits of that hit are so illuminating it is far from a bad thing.

Andrew Breitbart is Jack Bauer.

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Sunday, July 18, 2010

I may have missed the World Cup ....

... but today I met a man from South Africa who had with him an authentic (so he said) vuvvuzela from his country.

There was a baseball game that began with an a cappella signing of the National Anthem;  I offered to accompany the singer with the vuvuzela, but was summarily dismissed.

The exchange student offered people a chance to blow his horn, and only a few could resist.  For what it's worth I think I did the best effort.

You don't suck at it! was the students commentary of my performance.

I think that was a compliment!

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Thursday, July 15, 2010

Casualties of war

I want to state, out the outset, that I am not blaming President Obama for the deaths of servicemen and servicewomen serving in the Afghanistan theater.   I want that to be said up-front.

According to the website  the total, combined Coalition Military Fatalities as of this writing is 1936 since 2001.  Not surprisingly, the number of casualties has gone up since Pres. Obama started ramping up pressure with his surge, an overall strategy that I have agreed with for some time.

I invite you now to go back in your memory to when President Bush was in office.   When the print and electronic media continuously broadcast the number of casualties in Iraq, in particular, and occasionally in Afghanistan as well.

When was the last time you heard the total number of casualties in either war?

In 2010, 42 military fatalities occurred in Iraq, and 368 fatalities in Afghanistan.  A total of 279 Americans died this year in our ongoing war.  Why hasn't the media found it necessary to bang their drum as incessantly as they did just a few years ago?

Pres. Obama carries no more blame for the deaths of the brave servicemen than does President George W. Bush.   But when there is an utter disregard for the sacrifices of those soldiers because the media is afraid to make a particular president look bad, they are no better than the same media that shouted the same information in order to make a particular president look bad.

Tell me again there isn't media bias.

God bless our brave soldiers.

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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Just keep doing what you've been doing!

So I am just out of an all-hands meeting at work.  Naturally, whenever there's an all-hands meeting, this strip comes to mind:

Well, that strip and the fact that after the last all-hands, we were led to believe they all of us would be called to the main office individually regarding our job description and titles;  two of our team were called that afternoon, and were summarily discharged.   For the record, no one else was ever called to discuss their titles, leaving an awfully sour taste in the mouths of the survivors.

Regardless, the meeting had no such ominous requests or the like, but was just routine issues.  One of them was an item regarding weekly status reports.    It appears that several people have been forgetting to send them in on Friday, and it is becoming an issue (so we are told).   Officially, then it was announced, our annual performance reviews may be negaitively impacted if we do not take immeidate steps to get our reports in, on time.

No problem, right?

After the meeting I went into the boss office and asked about my status reports.
 He:  What about them?
Me:  What should I do about my group's weekly status reports?
 He:  Just keep do same as always, why?
Me:  My group hasn't sent you a weekly status report in 2 years. 
 He: What?  Impossible.  Who told you to stop sending them?
Imagine his surprise when I handed him the e-mail from him stating we were no required to send them anymore.

Truth be told, we do several layers of reporting, including calls received,  trouble tickets open/resolved/closed, and so forth, so it's not as if we have lack visibility.   But this guy apparently got dinged (from above) for not having reports from some other staff member(s), and decided to make a formal announcement.

Of course, I could have called him out in front of the all-hands, which would have made him look foolish in front the staff, but I decided to go quietly.  In these economic times, there's no need to piss off the boss needlessly.

Regardless, there is a definite bad vibe coming from upper management, and I have decided to become proactive in securing better employment, possibly even closer to home.  Times are hard, no doubt, but there's no reason I shouldn't start to position myself to jump on an opportunity.

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