Monthly Archives: June 2010

Where Are The Yes Men? – Forbes.com

Warren Meyer writes a blog I enjoy reading, and he recently got the dream promotion of a column for Forbes!

Here, he gives some insight into why government inaction is inevitable in the face of disaster:

Over the last several weeks, Americans have been presented with a mind-boggling series of bureaucratic decisions by various Federal agencies that seem to belie the urgency of the Gulf oil spill: Barges sent to remove oil are delayed until the Coast Guard can inspect them for fire extinguishers; offers of foreign help are turned away because foreign ships would violate Jones Act protectionism of American shipping firms and unions; skimmer ships are rejected because the mostly oil-free water they return to the oceans does not meet EPA discharge standards; and states attempting to build artificial barrier islands to protect their wetlands have met resistance from multiple Federal agencies.

[…]

The problem in a government discussion, particularly a multi-agency discussion, is that everyone can say “no,” and worse, since their incentives are loaded toward risk avoidance (they get punished for violating procedure, but never punished for missing an opportunity), they have a tendency to say “no” a lot, in fact to say “no” by default. In the Gulf we have a thousand federal employees from 20 agencies whose entire incentive system–whose entire career–whose every lesson from every bureaucratic battle in a sort of long-term aversion therapy, prompts them to say “no” by reflex. And the unwritten rule in multi-agency meetings and task forces is that any other agency’s “no” must be treated with respect.

Of course, all these federal agencies are unconstitutional, and should be ignored and disbanded.  Hasten the day!

via Where Are The Yes Men? – Forbes.com.

Back in my comfortable place

I’ve mentioned this to a few people in real life, but haven’t yet in this space, so brace yourself for a shocking revelation if you didn’t already know:  I’ve gone back to school.

Back in March, a friend told me about WGU, an entirely online and self-paced university, and I started looking into it.  It’s a fully accredited university where they pair the student with a mentor,  tuition is paid per semester, and the student can complete as much coursework during the semester as desired.  That was the selling point for me!

I’d earned 2 Associates of Science while attending community colleges in California, but hadn’t ever even applied to a 4-year college due to the rigidity of the course schedules, and time conflicts with a full-time job.  With WGU, I’d never have to attend a class, I’d only have to travel to the occasional proctored exam site for a final exam.

So I hustled through the application process, aced the entrance exams, paid the entrance fees, and so on and so forth, but just barely missed the cut-off to start classes April 1st and had to sit through that month and started May 1st.  But I was officially enrolled in the Bachelor’s of Science Information Technology – Security program, and I was excited.

When I officially started on May 1st, I was able to get into the site, examine the course list, order all the books I’d need at steep discount through Amazon’s used-book partners, and then took 2 weeks vacation to travel through California and attend Front Sight in Nevada.  I had planned on studying while travelling, but it never works out that way.

Happily, between my Associates in Computer Science and Natural Science and the additional computer classes I’d taken within the last 5 years I had enough transfer credits accepted to satisfy all the general ed requirements and a couple of the upper-division classes. 19 classes eliminated right off the bat! Now I was excited!  I then accidentally tested out of the 6-unit Web Technologies class without studying for it due to some confusion over which books it used, and then tested out of the 3-unit IT Fundamentals class a week later.  I had completed the 2-unit orientation class at the beginning of May, and so I had officially finished 11 units of coursework the first month.  Last night I completed the final essay for the 4-unit Leadership Concepts and Applications class, and this coming Friday and Monday I’ll take the assessments for Principles of Management, and Fundamentals of Organizational Behavior and Leadership, at 4 units each.

With those done, I’ll have completed 23 units of coursework in 2 months, and be right on schedule for my goal of completing the entire program within a single 6-month semester.

Only 49 units left to go – that’s only two classes a month for the next four months!

How to show your employees you really care

Earlier this week, we received an e-mail from the CEO with this opening:

As we have previously communicated, we as a company are committed to becoming more involved in the political process to ensure our concerns are voiced and business is protected.

He’s referring to earlier communications encouraging the employees to support the failed re-election campaign of the repulsive Bob Bennett, which caused me and another employee to announce our revulsion for Bob Bennett and his unique brand of pretending to be a conservative Republican while joining with Democrats around the nation to sponsor and pass all kinds of unconstitutional legislation.

Seriously, the only time Bob Bennett votes in support of the Constitution is when a Democrat is in power and the bill is going to pass anyway.

Anyway, it turns out, the CEO had arranged to have the current candidate for senate, Tim Bridgewater, to come and speak at our place of business, and had invited other businessmen and random people to attend the meeting.

And, it also turns out, the way the CEO planned on showing that “our concerns are voiced and business is protected” was by specifically prohibiting me and my co-worker from attending the meeting.

With such an event, we are confident that all those visiting will see the professionalism and courtesy of our facility and staff. Thank you all in advance for heightened attention to these areas during our function.

Yeah, the professionalism of only allowing lap-dogs who want to buy influence with a senator who will sponsor unconstitutional legislation favoring your industry, rather than supporting the Constitution, under which your industry wouldn’t need favorable legislation, because the government would simply leave you alone.