Archive for December 16, 2009

Democrats are shocked and Angry. Bernie Sanders proposed a 700+ page amendment and Tom Colburn objected to the waving of the reading of it.

So right now on C-Span 2 the entire 700+ page Amendment is being read aloud.

To give you a sense of how this could delay things, it took the Senate clerk 18 minutes to get through the first 6 pages of the amendment, which were the table of contents. At this current pace, it will take 38 hours to get through the entire amendment.

I wonder how many more amendments will be offered with Colburn on the floor. I strongly suggest tuning into C-Span 2. You will hear the words amendment of the amendment quite a lot. This is actually important.

What happens in the federal code is that the origonal code gets amended in a law, rather than listing what the existing law is in the bill it say: This section is amended as follows. Often a bill is amended so many times that you have an amendment amending a bill as amended to change one or two phrases. Or something described somewhere else.

If the congressman is not familiar with the existing law, or the existing amendments then one can easily make huge changes to public law affecting millions with a sentence that is almost totally unintelligible to a person reading it.

I’d say it’s watching the sausage factory at work but as I said before that would be an insult to sausage makers like Mike Romano.

As you might guess I love it!

I think if the senate rules allow it, he should call for a quorum call to force all the senators to be attend said reading.

It wouldn’t surprise me, I haven’t seen much new on the site since my previously posted items. As we can’t go anywhere without getting the ball actually rolling on the project maybe some local action is in order. This post has a few suggestions of things you can do to get things started.

Plan A: Talk to the local Schools

If you want to create a generation of people who appreciate Vets and will do so for years, it is necessary to get people involved at a young age. With the advent of the all volunteer army many kids don’t know serving soldiers and may not have a vet in the family. So how do you remind them of their sacrifices. You use what is already there:

Question: What are the reminders of Veterans that exist in almost every town that everybody sees every day but almost nobody notices?

Answer: Local Monuments to war dead and people who served.

These Monuments are solid resources to remind a community both its history and the Veterans who were are part of it. They are in place and ready to be utilized, the problem is to get them noticed.

Why do so few people actually “notice” them? Many of these monuments are from wars long past (Civil War, World War 1, Spanish American War and Revolutionary) and those more recent wars such as Korea, World War II and Vietnam are either retired or nearing it. Combine that with people moving and re-locating and you have a monument where nobody knows or cares about any name on it.

So here is what I did:

I visited the two high schools in Fitchburg (Fitchburg High and Saint Bernard’s Catholic High School) and met with principal of the former and the headmaster of the latter. I explained the campaign to both of them focusing on the idea of promoting awareness through the history/social studies curriculum. I quickly discovered that when you are dealing with professional educators and sharing ideas, they will come up with improvements and even better ideas when simply from the seeds of good suggestions. Here are a four basic projects we discussed:

#1 Assign students to go to a monument and pick out a name, any name on it. Have him do a paper on that person. Where did he live in town? Why did he join? What locations did he visit and or what Actions was he involved in. If he died how was it noted in the local paper? If he didn’t what did he do when he came home? Does the local paper mention him in any records? Does he still have family in town and does that family know their relative name is engraved in stone on a town square or common?

Transform that stone name into the man he was, a real life person who existed and lived in the very town maybe even the same neighborhood that the student does.

From here you can get creative. Do any old letters or photos exist from or to him. If so perhaps the student can make a facebook or twitter page for them, talking about what he did in his own words.

#2 Go to the yearbooks. If the high school existed by 1930 then odds are most of the men from the classes of 1930-1944 served in some capacity. Let the students go into the yearbooks and do a similar project to what was suggested on those men. Some might still be alive, visit or talk to them. Get that living memory recorded while it can be done.

#3 Trace vets within the student’s own families. Let them do a project within their own family tree. Remember this might, be limited by the number of students whose families have newly or recently come to America.

#4: Schools have a National Honor Society Chapter, as one of their community projects they can visit veterans in nursing homes, get some of that living history recorded or involve themselves in the annual veterans activities that your city or town holds.

I also visited the local College (Fitchburg State College) and talked to the president. He also had an interest and suggested activities could be done though the student life office.

Will this stuff happen? They will talk to their social studies and history departments and then we will see.

Plan B: Talk to your local officials:

My state rep goes to the same church that I do. I brought up the campaign and he seemed interested. I also visited the Mayor’s chief of staff who between our first and 2nd meeting was transferred to the local Veterans office at City Hall. Show them the web sites and discuss the campaign with them. See if they are interested in getting involved on the local level. In addition to being a good cause on it’s own they might also decide that it would be a good cause to add to their political resume.

This is where you, like me, might run into some trouble. Money is tight and there are always many different groups vying for the few dollars available. There might also be larger and more influential groups looking to get the city’s attention. After all there are only so many good causes that can be successfully promoted at once.

This is where my inability to get any kind of response or contact from the national campaign stopped me cold. I was able to get a hearing because I either knew or made myself known to the people involved but that wanted to see evidence of the national organization and my inability to get any kind of response from national to my inquires stood me in poor stead. Maybe you might have better luck but it’s still worth the effort.

Plan C: Attend local veterans ceremonies and functions and talk to the people there

If you can get the local vets or a VFW or an American Legion post interested in the campaign then they will have the gravitas to move things on a local level. Soldiers and vets are a group that often spend a lot of time talking to other people in the “family”. If you outside of that family show an interest it usually generates excitement and interest.

Once your local vets are involved then the local institutions will be much more likely to follow.

Plan D: Check with your historical society and/or museum

With tight budgets an exhibit that consists of artifacts that can be locally acquired and pertain to the city or town in question might be just the type of project they would be interested in. Run it by them and see what they have to say.

Again these are all things you try yourself. If the mother organization can take the time to coordinate said activates on a local level all over individual cities and towns, a really big splash can be made for very small bucks.

If you do want to have a go on the fundraising side then try to sell the mayor’s office on the project. You can suggest a goal of say 1100 families giving $11 dollars citywide and it being presented in both the people’s and the City’s name. That might get some coverage and Mayor’s generally like coverage.

I’d stick more with the awareness part but that your call. Keep in mind $11 given once and forgotten is a tax deduction whose paperwork goes in the trash after a few years, an involved person creates decades of real help for those who have given of themselves to protect and defend our nation.

Either way I assure you that if you do nothing, then nothing will get done. Why not give it a go?

The San Francisco Weekly

Posted: December 16, 2009 by datechguy in opinion/news
Tags: , , , ,

…had an article (via Glenn) that is a scathing critique of the City and how it is run, two things jumped out at me, neither of which were a surprise:

#1 The Rush was Right moment.

If you actually Listen to Limbaugh show, you will note that for years he’s said that liberals are all about intentions and not about actual results. It doesn’t matter what you actually DO as long as you believe the right thing and mean well. From the article:

In 2007, the Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF) held a seminar for the nonprofits vying for a piece of $78 million in funding. Grant seekers were told that in the next funding cycle, they would be required — for the first time — to provide quantifiable proof their programs were accomplishing something.

The room exploded with outrage. This wasn’t fair. “What if we can bring in a family we’ve helped?” one nonprofit asked. Another offered: “We can tell you stories about the good work we do!” Not every organization is capable of demonstrating results, a nonprofit CEO complained. He suggested the city’s funding process should actually penalize nonprofits able to measure results, so as to put everyone on an even footing. Heads nodded: This was a popular idea. emphasis mine

How dare you prove that you are actually accomplishing something, or providing measurable peer reviewed results! What do you think, we have the entire Climate change industry to help manage data?

#2 Yomi Agunbiade.

The story of Yomi Agunbiade is the story of a man whose incredible fiscal and organizational incompetence was not enough to remove him, but the following was:

Rec and Park spokeswoman Rose Dennis claimed that Agunbiade had been sexually and religiously harassing her for years, and produced letters he’d sent to her home as evidence. She confirmed to SF Weekly that Agunbiade’s letters urged her to stop wearing revealing clothes so that she could get right with Jesus.

Don’t get me wrong, this guy belonged out. If the fiscal stuff wasn’t enough he has no business pressuring a subordinate on religion, but the irony is delicious. What type of harassment can actually get someone fired in SF? Not sleeping with an employee (like the Mayor) but urging them to dress modestly. That’s crossing the sexual line! If only he had promoted fisting to youngsters, he could have gotten a federal job and Media Matters could have backed him up.

Considering the reputation and demographics of the City, what were the odds that the poster child for bad bureaucracy in a San Francisco Paper would be a zealous Christian? Then again you have to sell the papers IN San Francisco.

The really sad thing about this is the taxpayers really mean well. They want to do good but they are betrayed by their own principles.

One down three to go

Posted: December 16, 2009 by datechguy in employment, personal
Tags: ,

I’m pleased to announce that my pal Dave just was hired today and will be starting a new position just after the first of the year.

That leaves Myself and my pal Roger as still unemployed in the computer field, and my Nephew Dominic outside of the tech field as still searching.

Lets hope that it doesn’t take much longer for the rest of us.