Saturday, May 31, 2014

Set it to music and call it "VA Follies." . . .

So, now the administration has to find a new head of the Veteran Administration, now that the current leader has fallen on his own sword on publication of the incompetence -- and worse -- of health care for vets.

The main qualification of the next appointee? Why, nothing less than the willingness to be the designated scapegoat, later, should it again become politically necessary to protect the administration if and when the quality of care vets once again becomes an issue.

The incompetence of the VA is built in. Most of the employees are protected through collective bargaining and the "employer" has no real competitors to set a "market" price for provided services, and no motivation on the part of management to make a profit by controlling expense. Further, compensation bonuses for management are based on numbers.

Thus VA employees get paid if they report good numbers, whether true or not, and with little bad consequence if not.

We just have to kick the can down the road past the next election by arguing that the cure is in the works.

It's all politics based on the healthcare provided to vets.

Why would we expect anything else?

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Cyber dreams in Google land . . .

Google technocrats have been in love with the idea of driverless cars for a while now. The idea is that there should be a car which drives itself to the destination you select, without the need for any human intervention. Using Google maps, and a GPS signal, Google figures they can get you anywhere, with enough proximity detectors on the cars to avoid bumping.

Oh, say. Has anyone ever been misled by Google maps, like, when the roads were changed, or closed? Does Google know where all the bike lanes are, when new ones are added? How about all the new little projections into what were usable vehicle lanes, to stick little nasty, grassy spots to collect water runoff and Starbucks cups? They didn't used to be there. In other words, maps need to change with changes to the roads, and the maps can't always keep up.

Of course, Google is concerned with safety, so they are going to put extra bump padding on the outer surfaces of the vehicles.

And here's the best part. Top speed will be 25 mph. Google says that even if there is an accident, with that speed, nobody should be hurt very bad. Oh, and it will be great if you want to get flaming drunk some night; your car will be your designated driver.

I can't wait. Just the thing to eliminate the stress of rush hour. Just sit in your car; let it drive you home while you play games, or text your friends, or read lies on your I-phone.

And there is always a rush hour stress as everybody is trying to get home and drivers must be hyper alert while driving in rush hour traffic. But, Google says no driving, no stress.

On the other hand, wonder how much the stress of rush hour will be increased when you are stuck following a driverless vehicle which refuses to go faster than 25 mph?

I suspect that it would take no more than a dozen self-satisfied, smug dipshits with Google smart/slow cars, strategically distributed, to make an entire city unlivable.

On the other, other hand, where's my flying car I was promised by Popular Science magazine, back in the fifties?

Saturday, May 24, 2014

My power of sarcasm grows weak in the face of overwhelming stupid . . .

Here's a story about a university dropping its gender studies program and replacing it with a course on the United States Constitution. The usual suspects, morons, professionally outraged, and blinkered feminist uglies are outraged. The program being dropped once provided information on how to become a lesbian in a mere 10 days. Of course, we can all see how such a course is needed in our troubled times, and how a course on the U. S. Constitution would be dumb and stupid seeing as how it is no longer of any importance or in any way pertinent to the needs of politicians to be elected and re-elected in pursuit of their expectations of wealth, based on their obviously superior knowledge of pretty much anything.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Boil your water, Portland . . .

Portland Water Board issued a warning to everybody using Portland water, to boil it, not ingest it, this morning. I also got a robocall from the City advising the same. On the 20th of this month they found E. coli in the water, and every day including today.

So. Did I drink water on the 20th? Yes I did. Did I do it again on the 21st? Yup. How about the 22nd? You betcha! And this morning? Why, yes again.

I sure am glad I was warned not to drink Portland water, cook with it, brush my teeth in it, or use any ice cubes made any time since the 20th.

And aren't you glad you voted no on the issue proposal to get water out of city hall politics, because unnamed "corporate polluters". -- unnamed so as to avoid defamation lawsuits -- were supporting the proposed change of administrative responsibility? Oh, and who were the cronies who paid for all the vote no campaign material?

Did I say crony? I meant to say "interested citizen with special access to local ambitious politicians." Yeah, that's what I meant.

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Sucker Lists and the suckers who are on them . . .

Just got a phone call from a local charity we've given to in the past. No big surprise. They are running short of funds for their current programs and they need more money to keep on keeping on.

But in addition, they've just started an exciting new program to serve an additional population segment, and they need money for that, as well.

Why would you start a new program you couldn't pay for, when you already are doubtful of taking care of the existing needs?

Oh, well. I shouldn't be so critical.

At least the phone caller wasn't trying to convince me that they are from Microsoft and my computer has a scary problem they can fix with the simple disclosure of credit card information. Had two of those calls today, alone, despite the fact that Microsoft publishes that it never telephones people to alert them to problems they didn't know they had. And Microsoft certainly never initiates phone calls from Mumbai.

Oh, no. When Microsoft needs more money, it issues a wonderful, new version of Windows and stops supporting old versions.

I must be on a list of some kind.