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Archive for February 26th, 2009

At the delayed morning meeting with an attorney that hates attorneys, we got around to talking about the money… yeah, THAT money.

There is the Stimulus Package I & II, the normal government loads to states, the bailout to some banks (but not the ones with a passion for customer loans), the bailout of the car mfgs which seem, now in retrospect to amount to overspill from a Super Bowl game by comparison. But en masse, we’re talkin’ real money here folks.

Does anyone grasp the numbers anymore? Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know that is slightly rhetorical.

We do need to do some stuff and that is what we are doing but it occurred to me that the numbers are all running together and perhaps even Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke doesn’t have the necessarily grasp on the meaning of those $$$$ trillions. But, maybe I am wrong. He deals in money. We don’t. For all we know he may be more scared than we are… On the other hand, none of them want to have the collapse of the world’s leading economy on their watch.

During the Obama speech Tuesday night the camera’s panned to Hillary in the front row. It’s as if a little cartoon bubble rose above her head during the 2nd third of the speech and it had in it…

“I’m soooooooooo glad you are standing there right now….”

Oh, there is a new item that came out after the address to both Houses and the Judiciary of the government… another $75.5 billion for the two fronts of the war… which seems to have gone to the, “I don’t know why we’re here now; ask the guys from Halliburton” stage and another $663.7 for 2010 defense spending.

So, where are we? We have a $3.5+ trillion plus budget and we are not sure what that will bring or yield. Talk about a ‘faith-based’ initiative! We need the changes but no one said the right ones would be the first ones.

Here’s the deal. The people in 99.5% of the positions in Washington DC got there by doing some things better than their opponents. They won. They learned from those there how it all works. They copied those methods and those rationales. They were re-elected with the promise to continue to do the job like they’d been doing.  (read: status quo) That also is the case for the bankers, the auto executives, and some of the brokers on Wall Street.  You’ve heard it before and it applies here as an example of what went terribly wrong:

to a carpenter, every problem can be solved with a hammer.”

Now we need some new technologies and greater grasp of other ‘tools’ besides a hammer.

Changing individuals is difficult.  Changing cultures is almost infinitely more complex to pull off. You have to change the contingencies, the consequences of behavior to get different results. Not at all easy. The culture there is strong and ideas of what is right and wrong only die when the people holding them die. Any changes that come quicker are difficult to anchor because no one knows how those will work in that culture.


And, just about the time they get a rhythm and some solutions there will be another election. That is why you have to follow what’s going on.  Short of death you can get rid of those that don’t do right by the country’s standards.  Elections!

One component is to follow the money. Another is to follow your representatives in Washington and your state as they get THE MONEY. Things have got to change. No one wants to pay more taxes but everyone wants something more from the government.

You want a bailout? It will cost your kids. You want cheap money? It will cost a lot more? You want something for nothing? Good luck with that… maybe the tooth fairy will entertain that idea but even she require a tooth.

It’s time… lead, follow or get out of the way.

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Ok, let’s review…

Car crash outside the front window every Friday night… what happens?

Keith Olbermann goes nuclear on an unsuspecting dolt…what happens?

Car crash on 3 corner of Darlington raceway… what happens?

Rush Limbaugh says he hopes the President ‘fails’ in efforts to steer the country… what happens?

The latest, but not the last unfortunately, is Dr. Phil… Dr. Phil has a two-day interview to skewer his “what’s her name” patient and what happens?

(I really hate myself for writing this but there are contingencies everywhere.)

Highly probable that no one will read this any way ‘cause it is not as entertaining as Dr. Phil turning into Dr. Jekyll, the absolutist psycho-blimp – not his physical state necessarily but his approach to working through challenges that float around pop media based on the ratings…

Oh, yeah, the ratings… Up 20%. Gee, that’s a lot… must be a relationship there between getting in front of the best parade in town once you know is being watched on TV and trying to look like the band director.

When combined with his psycho-shock-jock approach about an 11 year-old murder suspect, he is in full stride. His mother is so proud! But, then she is getting a stipend no doubt so that is hardly the criteria to “oh and ah” over. This makes Dr. Phil what???, the “Dr. of talking heads?” Is that different than a “talking heads Dr.”? Somebody else figure that out, please!

Or, it could be a contract year for him at his network and, like any self-focused pro athlete, he is playing for a new contract rather than the integrated best interests of his headline sucking patient.

We are watching the consequences of media at work here. Everyone needing to stay in the limelight has an opinion on those things that they don’t understand or affect. It is hard to tell the opinion of a taxi cab driver in Denver from the pundits these days. Biggest difference is that the taxi cab drivers have no media contracts to pump. Yup, there were 8 or 9 celebs eating their $250 a plate dinners at one of the awards celebrations that had their opinions as well but no solutions.

No, I refuse to weigh in on this nationally pop-news dot. Every time another dot is added, look around. What you see is self-puffery from everyone involved…everyone! Everyone has something to gain from doing what they are doing. Not so you say; prove me wrong.

Oh, …returning to the review above, contingency management is operating there too in each and every example.

In each case there is a greater likelihood…

… you’ll watch out the window on Friday night; you’ll watch Keith parley his tirades to bigger dolts in the future; people will want tickets near the 3rd corner of Darlington next year; and the Rush-ter will get larger columns in the press and media reports than he otherwise wouldn’t received.

And of course, if you attend to Dr. Phil and what’s her name, you are part of Dr. Phil’s contract extension because you were part of that 20% spike. He is just responding to the consequences he’s experienced in the past… just like you and I do.

Move on.

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