Friday, July 16, 2010

Hill Street Blues and the Hollywood mind set

Hill Street Blues was a great 80's show about a police precinct in a crime-ridden neighborhood of a major metro area. Sgt Hunter is the head of their SWAT-like Emergency Action Team. Hunter is a former Marine Officer, a swaggering idiot, wants to shoot everything in sight, and is completely incapable of having a relationship with a woman. We see this over and over again with these Hollywood gerbil racers. They like to turn these guys into their stereotype of an overly gung-ho idiot with no problem solving abilities.

The real question is why?

Perhaps it is because the reality disturbs them. The reality of a Marine who transitions into the police force and becomes a SWAT guy is that he embodies everything that they lack in Hollywood. Courage, self sacrifice, family values, and a quiet professionalism that disturbs somebody who can't take it if their latte arrives 10 minutes late. The idea that such men exist offends them by making them face their own weakness. Maybe they don't like that.

Here is the reality

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Into every life, a little rain must fall...

And the rain today, falls mostly around the credit card. My credit card. I received a call from my bank that there were questionable transactions on my card. And there were. I talked to a support person and someone was using my card in Delaware. Where I haven't been in 14 years.

Fairly simple, and the bank was accommodating about refunding the amounts concerned.

Then I tried to get the police involved. Oh, now the government is supposed to do their job right? Wrong!

The local police in Newark Delaware told me I had to file a report in my own town. My police told me I had to file a report in Newark. God those guys are good. I wanted to track down the perps because they used the card in a Newark WAWA convenience mart that probably had security cameras. And we had to work fast, before the security cameras were erased.

I actually got in touch with the Mayor of Newark, and he did get back to me. Which was unexpected, and appreciated. He gave me their Chief of Police. And here is where we encounter more incompetence. The Chief shuffled me off to a detective whose voicemail informed me that he would be gone a week. Surely the chief knew that, and was putting me in the gaff mode.

So the next time you get ripped off, and wonder how thieves stay in business, don't wonder. The police are hooking them up. Who is the real thief I wonder. The credit card thief only got several hundred dollars. The police are making a lot more than that.

Monday, July 12, 2010

The ID card

I've done a couple of stints as a defense contractor for the Department of Defense. As such, I'm completely disgusted with the performance of the Federal Government workers, commonly known as GSs (General Schedule).

During the course of getting a DOD ID card, I was forced to try and get one of these GS characters to do their job. It's just about impossible to do. And as a contractor, when a government employee won't do their very simple clerking duties you're just about screwed. The beauty of it was when the former Colonel who was the head contractor for the program starts hitting us over the head for not getting our ID cards. What are we supposed to do about it?

In the end I got the head GS to make the other GS do her job. Probably about 40 hours work for me to get her to do her job. For a simple ID card.

A few years ago, a soldier asked the Defense Department Secretary why they didn't have the equipment they need in the theater of Operations to do their job. Rumsfield's famous reply was, "You go to war with the Army you have." He was vilified in the press for this statement. The reality is, you go to war with 700,000 federal civilians in charge of paying, equipping, and servicing you. It seems like 95% of them don't do a damn thing.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Crappy Jobs

I used to be in the Marines. As I was transferring our of my last unit the battalion commander gave me a JAG manual investigation on a missing laptop. This battalion commander was a particularly weak Lieutenant Colonel. He probably thought he was screwing me over with the investigation, as I was on my way out the door and didn't have the time to properly do the job. These JAG investigations were huge pains in the butt, and for a stolen laptop too. Pretty trivial.

I was pissed about it of course. But somewhere in my plans to blow it off I had a bit of an epiphany. I resolved to do the best job on that investigation that I had ever done on anything.

After I left the command called and told me that NIS had called and thanked them for a job well done.

So I guess the moral of the story is, when someone gives you a crappy job to screw you over, screw them over by doing it well.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


I'm kind of a big believer in training. Try to learn something every day. Hal the IT director for the DA's office said he was too. He must have been, he went to all kinds of bogus training all around the country. And he bragged of certifications that different people in the division had every chance he got.

So I decided to get certified in the .net platform. It was a real bitch. I studied for 6 months, failed the test. Got my act together and passed the second time. I asked Hal to pay for it, but he refused. Must have been out of training money.

Anyway, when I showed Hal the certification, he was offended and said,"What to you expect to get with that??!!!" In front of the junior programmers. The conversation was the subject of much merriment for months afterward.

I'm not necessarily a huge believer in being certified. Many people take that as a license to sit on their fat asses and collect a paycheck. But if you're cognizant of that maybe you can avoid being one of those.

And what did I expect to get from that? Another job.

Monday, July 5, 2010

It amazes me when I hear, over and over again how a socialist government set up for the United States will solve all our problems, when not a single Socialist government in human history has managed to prosper.

Yet when I ask the idiots that continue to press for this, they always give the same line,"Well, they just didn't do it right." Don't get me wrong, I think Socialism was originally a good idea Everyone gets what they need, nobody goes hungry,everyone has a job. Works pretty good for ants and bees. Unfortunately it seems like anything with a brain larger than an insect (socialists excepted) has a problem with working hard for little or no return.

The government organizations that I have worked in are very much Socialist organizations. The hard workers are actually punished in some cases for making the others look bad. The politicians in the organization seem to get ahead. And the managers were idiots for the most part with a tenuous grasp on reality. Why is this?

1) High performance individuals will become disgusted with the system and leave at the first opportunity.

2) Low performance individuals know they can hide and slide, and stay around for ever with minimum effort

3) Managers are not held accountable for their division's performance, but for their minority recruiting and ability to kiss butt

4) Government labor unions hold enormous power with legislative bodies

5) Tax increases are supported by these government labor union interest groups and have a bigger megaphone than tax relief groups.

Margaret Thatcher once said, "The only problem with Socialism is that eventually you run out of other peoples money." The question is, when their money runs out what is going to happen next?

Sunday, July 4, 2010

New Government Organizations

Even as our federal government is enabling legislation to enable another bureaucracy I took the time to read this in the Declaration of Independence:

He Has Erected a Multitude of New Offices, and Sent Hither Swarms of Officers to Harass Our People, and Eat Out Their Substance...

Is this Obama or King George? What's the difference? It's the same to you and me. Stop me if I'm wrong, but we already have a swarm of bureaucrats that are supposed to keep banks and financial organizations on the straight and narrow. All these new regulations are gonna do is punish the individuals and companies that are already following the rules. The criminals will keep on criminaling. (New word)

This government is rapidly running out of our consent, our dollars, and our patience. I believe the best thing to happen now is a Greece type meltdown with no one to bail us out That seems to be what many of us need for a reality check.

The other day when I was at the gym this fat couple in their 50's parked their enormous truck in the handicapped spot and waddled over to the gym. They had no debilitating handicap, they were obviously well fed, and I'll bet you dollars to doughnuts that they were on disability. What's gonna happen to all these professional victims being supported by our tax dollars when Uncle Sugar goes broke? My God, they will have to get off their fat asses and work for a living. Sounds like a win-win to me.

Happy 4th of July everyone.

Friday, July 2, 2010

102k Problem

We have 2 DBAs on the programming team. One pretty much runs the databases and the servers and anything else he can get his dirty little empire building paws on. The other one is on meds. For her little mental problem. Not to make light of such problems, members of my own family have similar problems.

But this is a woman who was hired to be a DBA for a major metropolitan law enforcement agency. Who is totally incapable of doing her job. She is given busywork to stay out of our hair, so she can't screw up the database. And she makes $102,000 a year. Hence her nickname: $102k. Why does this happen?

1) She has a med condition
2) She has a previous EEO complaint that she made
3) Hal is too damn dumb and lazy to get rid of her

So, our running total is up to $412k I think if 102k is cut from our little government organization. With an operating budget of $4.2 million for personnel, we're almost up to 10% cuts that will actually make the organization run smoother. God I'm good at this! And no one has to deal with her insanity. None of us anyway.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

How to not hire a manager

My old IT director Hal fired the previous programming team manager because he was too competent and more popular than Hal was. The sheer gal! Hal didn't really fire him, he demoted him and humilated him until he quit. Which will only work on someone who has any self-respect.

So we had a hiring board for the new programming manager. I think we had about twenty applicants. Hal is a blow hard who will not shut up during the entire interview so it was really difficult to get a feel for the qualifications of the interviewee. Which really didn't matter, as previously stated Hal would just hire the hottest chick who showed up for the job. Who was by no means hot, but everything is relative.

Anyway, the first chcik showed up for about a month, did nothing, pissed everyone off, then quit. A mystery all around.

Number two was Abby. Abby is completely incompetent. Also: lazy, stupid, comes in late and leaves early every day. Our work tracking software reported a 72% drop in team productivity when Abby came on board. She didn't know that of course, because she was too damn stupid to even use the software.

This programming team manager makes over $99,000 a year. Hal makes over $150k, more than the district attorney. We drop two idiots, save the taxpayer $250k a year, and that's just for one little group.

I have just solved the deficit problem ladies and gentlemen. They have no self respect, so we can't humiliate them into leaving. But there's plenty of material to get them to resign so they aren't fired. How hard is that?