Category Archives: stupid government

worst corporate mission/values EVER

seriously, I’m embarrassed for this organization.  my only edits are in [square brackets], to protect their identity.  if you can tell me anything useful about the organization based on this description, you win $1,000,000:

Mission, Vision and Guiding Principles

Mission

Promote integrity and accountability

Vision

Deliver optimal value to our stakeholders

Guiding Principles

The [department] is committed to:

Achieving Results

Sustain our performance culture with increasingly challenging
and satisfying work that adds value to the [larger firm]

Respecting and Developing People

Treat everyone fairly and respectfully through our words and actions,
ensure professional growth, and support diversity

Operating with Integrity

Be a model of ethical behavior

Encouraging Innovation

Promote creativity in executing our mission

Developing and Retaining Knowledge

Create an environment that supports gathering, sharing
and retaining knowledge with interactive networks and tools

their goals are equally bad:

Goal 1 – Add Value to [bloated government entity] Operations

(whoops,  I let the cat out of the bag — it’s a bloated government entity…)

Goal 2 – Preserve Integrity and Security for [bloated government entity]

(ok, this almost sounds like a reasonable goal…  actually it sounds like it ought to be their Mission)

Goal 3 – Continuously Improve [our] Products and Services

(whatever that might mean, since no products or services are described here)

Goal 4 – Pursue a Highly Satisfying, Performance-based Culture within the [organization]

(on my taxpayer dime?  I could care less how satisfying your job is.  if it isn’t satisfying, give all that money back to the Treasury…)

fear of the day:  that I end up in an organization as pointless/aimless as this.

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Filed under corporate rebellion, stupid government

voter fraud vs. voter suppression

To here the news lately, you’d think we live in some third-world dictatorship, unable to administer a fair election.

The press keeps touting the fact that we are due for the greatest voter turnout of all time.  One group, which tends to be Republican and/or conservative, spin tales of fraudulent voter registration rolls — of elections being stolen by the likes of Mickey Mouse and Yo Momma, or possibly of immigrants that are ineligible to vote, or possibly by people voting several times under different identities.  Another group is sounding the alarm against voter suppression, citing that names are already being removed from rolls or are being allocated provisional ballots that can be suppressed for all kinds of minor reasons…  of course that groups tends to be Democrat/liberal.

First things first — I don’t think voter turnout is going to be all that great.  “The youth” that everyone thinks is so energized about this election; isn’t that the same “youth” that was going to turn the tide in 2000?  and 2004?  I know, technically it’s not the same youth, as those youth are no longer young (prematurely middle-aged by the inability to get a home mortgage in these crazy times).  But seriously, “the youth vote” always seems to find something better to do November 4th, so don’t count on them.

The big chunk of ‘undecided’ voters are equally unlikely to make a difference; a Pew study I heard about on NPR this afternoon demonstrated that almost half of those ‘undecided’ in days leading up to the election just end up not voting.  No reason to think that will be any different this year; and frankly, do we really want people going into the polling stations thinking “eeiny, meeny, miney, mo…?”  Stay home, undecided voter.

Of course, now that the media has convinced us it will be an unprecedented turnout, when numbers are below expectations they can easily reason that huge numbers of votes have “been suppressed”.  If Obama doesn’t win, or it’s close, you’ll hear this before the end of election night.  No, it’s not a card the Republicans can play.

The Republican card is voter fraud, and it’s decidedly more difficult to play with a straight face.  Sure, it’s possible that people could vote multiple times in different precincts with easy-to-obtain fake IDs.  But it’s a lot more difficult logistically to make this happen than it is to make a few thousand votes disappear from a Diebold machine.

Both sides can argue breathlessly that their ideological constituents are being wronged here, but it makes me wonder which is the greater transgression?  Is there a corollary of Blackstone’s formulation?

“Better that ten illegitimate persons cast votes than one legitimate citizen have there vote cast asunder” ?

“Better than ten legitimate votes be withdrawn than to have the will of the people thwarted by a single illegitimate vote” ?

Neither one sounds right; either way, here’s my prediction — voter fraud/suppression will be in the secondary headlines on November 5th.

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Filed under politics, stupid government

second biggest fear

…this election cycle:

The European Union says the world should operate under a new financial system that is more like the EU; more regulated, more socialist, etc.  Bush has agreed to participate in a summit to discuss.

Now, which presidential candidate would be more likely to buy into a UN-style New World Financial Order?

If you answered “Obama” — welcome to my second biggest fear regarding the upcoming election.  Not enough to push me into the McCain camp, but enough to make me nervous.  [shiver]

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Filed under politics, stupid government

Kent A. Sepkowitz: no friend of mine

The technology to limit car speed has existed for more than 50 years — it’s called cruise control. In its common application, cruise control maintains a steady speed, but a minor adjustment would assure that vehicles, no matter the horsepower, never go past 75 miles per hour. This safety measure should be required of every new automobile, the same as seat belts, turning signals, brake lights and air bags.

NYT: “No Need For Speed

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Filed under dumbfounded, fear of the day, reasons to homeschool, stupid government

Thomas Friedman wants you to pay more for energy

I can’t say it any more clearly than that.  Watching Meet-the-Press, he advocated that government should mandate a certain percentage of electricity be generated from renewable sources.  The only reason that they would need to be mandated is that they are more expensive, which power companies would avoid in order to reduce their costs*.  If renewable sources were more cost-effective, then energy companies would already be using them (or moving to them) to displace dirty-dirty-coal energy.  In fact, this is the case in some areas, namely where hydro-electric power is a big contributor.  Which raises the question — why doesn’t anyone talk about hydro-power anymore?  Now it’s all solar and wind farms… did Hydro cease to be a renewable, clean, technology?  Just curious.

Did anyone tell Friedman, or the rest of the alternative-energy loving population, that we’re in the middle of a financial and economic crisis?  If McCain claims that the economy is ‘fundamentally sound’, they’ll rip into him for being out of touch.  How is this any different?**

Anyhow, as long as mandates are driving adoption, you’re only going to get the minimum amount of ‘alternative’ energy sources to meet the mandate.  Above and beyond that, power companies exist to make a profit, and for the most part consumers are going to choose the least expensive energy option.  (Of course, there are some outliers who will pay more for alternative energy our of some sense of duty, guilt, or piety.)

Friedman’s hope is likely that by forcing enough power to alternative energy sources, there will be some innovation in alternative energy production that will radically change the game.  I’m not sure if there are any examples of this working in the past:  MPG mandates on automobiles have not encouraged innovations that created huge gains — even hybrids are barely enough to keep entire manufacture fleets above their EPA standards.  If federal mandates magically pushed us through these types of barriers, we’d all be driving 100 mpg (likely 100% internal combustion, since hybrid’s are more complicated than they’re worth) cars.  Or electric cars that go farther than 40 miles per charge…  Seriously, how that dinky little Smart car gets less than 100mpg, I’ll never understand.

OK, so MPGs was only one example — if anyone has an example of a federal mandate spontaneously causing leaps in innovation, I’m all ears.  And no, the government never mandated anything related to TCP/IP adoption…

Friedman: “What I say is if climate change is a hoax, it’s the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the United States of America.” (which I thought was a Jesus reference, but now Google seems to be betraying me and not indicating the original source of the phrase; only recent antecendants).  He made this reference as though it was proof that global warming is real (after all, it couldn’t be an elaborate hoax!), completely oblivious to the fact that many reasonable people think otherwise.

“Because everything we would do to get ready for climate change, to build this new green industry, would make us more respected, more entrepreneurial, more competitive, more healthy as a country.”  Respected for falling for an elaborate hoax?  Entrepreneurial for developing solutions to a problem that doesn’t exist — and that in the end nobody is going to want to pay more for?  More competitive by investing more in basic scientific research? — OK, that might actually be valid, but if global warming is a hoax and we fund science aimed at solving global warming problems (ie. a level or two above basic science, like building a better hybrid-engine) then we miss the boat on that.  More respected?  Do you think the truly poor in the world have a huge amount of respect for us, while they starve, knowing that we’re spending discretionary dollars on wind-generated energy instead of dirty coal?  Do you think they’re thinking, “gosh, I’m hungry today, but at least American’s are treating the planet better”?  I’m guessing they’d rather have a full belly.  Better to buy dirty energy, send our savings to Africa, and sustain a young life that might solve some entreprenurial problems closer to his own home; and which might spill over to the rest of the world.

[quotes from Meet the Press transcript]

* let me state this another way:  if alternative energy sources were already more cost-effective, power companies would be turning to them en masse to reduce their energy costs and extract more profits from consumers.  the fact that this is not so is proof that alternative sources cost more (fully-loaded, lifecycle costs; not marginal costs)

** I know, I know; just as they’ll call for alternative energy mandates, and at the same time call for subsidies or exceptions so the poor won’t have to bear the burden.  so the Rich will pay all the alternative-energy excess…  and in their eyes it couldn’t be more fair than that.

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Filed under debunking, dumbfounded, economics, energy policy, global warming, if you aren't outraged you aren't paying attention, pick any two, politics, reasons to homeschool, stupid government, whatnot

McCain drawing retirement benefits — not sure where to begin

mrs.st4rbux just mentioned this to me this evening [via msnbc]:

McCain’s 2007 tax return shows Social Security benefits of $23,157 for the year, an average of $1,929.75 a month. He said he started receiving the payments “whenever I was eligible.”

McCain, who will turn 72 next month, was eligible to receive full-retirement benefits when he turned 65. In 2008, the maximum benefit for a person retiring at full retirement age was $2,185.

McCain reported a total income of $405,409 in 2007. As a senator, he is paid $169,300 a year. Last year, he donated $105,467 to charity, his return shows. […] McCain’s wife, Cindy, reported a total income of more than $6 million in 2006, according to the campaign.

I honestly don’t know what to think about this.  on the surface, it makes me mad.  it makes me mad that he is NOT retired and he’s drawing what is widely regarded as ‘retirement’ benefits.  but I guess the truth is that anyone can claim their social security benefits at age 62 and continue to work in whatever capacity they see fit.  it’s probably just incredibly rare for anyone in their mid-60’s — or 72 in his case — to have a $169,000 salary.  most people in that pay scale with decent retirement planning would have sufficient funds to quit working.  it makes me want to say that anyone with $400,000 in income shouldn’t be able to draw SS benefits… but

B.J. Jarrett, a spokesman with the Social Security Administration: “An individual does have the right to refuse his/her Social Security retirement benefit. However, Social Security is an entitlement program and an individual would essentially be forfeiting a benefit based upon contributions during his/her working lifetime.”

right — it wasn’t designed as a welfare program, and it shouldn’t be means-tested because it’s supposed to be the returns on their contributions over their work-life.  so I’m wrong to be mad — why wouldn’t he take the payout on his contributions over the prior 40+ years?  it would be irrational to refuse.  and, in effect, means-testing social security would be like means-testing my 401(k), saying I couldn’t withdraw it after 59.5 years of age if my other income was over a certain threshold.  there’s no way that makes sense.

but I’m still angry.  I think it’s because he could refuse his benefits, and if nothing else it would be symbolic gesture to show that he really believes the system is broken and is ready to sacrifice personally to help extend it.  a gesture that could go a long way when he asks others, as inevitably will, to sacrifice their benefits in order to maintain solvency.  maybe more than a gesture; it’s a chance to demonstrate leadership on the issue.

McCain reported over $100K in charitable contributions; forgoing an additional $20K wouldn’t be the end of him — not with Cindy’s $6M in yearly income (2006).  I’m not saying he should forgo it simply because he has the means (I’d never argue that), I’m just saying that $20K is a small price to pay to buy the moral high-road on this issue.  it’s chumpity-chump change compared to the television spots he’s going to have to buy to spin his current decision.

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Filed under dumbfounded, I believe the children are our future, politics, stupid government

let the punishment fit the [fashion] crime

[click the image for the full story, but you’ll probably get the idea…]

“I believe it’s a national nuisance. It is indecent and thus it is indecent exposure, which has been on the books for years.”

… says Chief Dicks.  says Wikipedia:

In the fifty states of the United States indecent exposure is defined by state law as exposure of the genitals and/or the female breast in a public place and may in some states require evidence of intent to shock, arouse or offend other persons.

of course, the Chief shouldn’t be expected to know the laws as they are interpreted by the courts or anything; police should enforce the laws as they see fit.  and no, buttocks are not genitals.

give me a money quote to leave with, Chief:

“This immoral self expression goes beyond freedom of expression.”

brought to you by “the land of the free, and the home of the brave”.

or something like that.

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