Category Archives: Bureaucracies and Their Idiocy

Horses, Hubris and Economics 101

This morning I read a short essay written by a fellow I know, Joseph Pearce.  He is a very decent fellow and, I like to think, a friend.  Not only that, he is smart; smart enough to know when folks aren’t.  Also, he is kind enough to let them know the truth about themselves.  He’s classy enough, too, to do it in such a classy way that only the dummy will know who he or she is.  One hopes that brings about the necessary reform.  But, dummies can be stubborn.

I read his article, titled What Is Economics, which appears in an online journal called The Imaginative Conservative and I think of an old friend of mine who is dead nearly one year, now.  So, at least he is not old any longer.  He is as Rod Stewart sings, forever young, I pray

My friend was named Charlie.   Joseph Pearce’s article brings to my mind  some things about Charlie which I thought at the time were dumb things for him to do.  Alas, I was no Joseph Pearce, then, and I simply watched my friend.  Nor am I now, and would probably do the same thing, watch. Besides, it is too late.  It also makes me think about some things, big things, which I began thinking about a few years ago.  But more about that below.  For now, Charlie

We were friends from an early age.  Close friends, I would say, but not so close as we would call each other best friends or bosom buddies, or stuff like that.  We lived about a block or so away from each other on Bailey Avenue in The Bronx.  Charlie was, what can I say, an intense kind of guy, not quite driven, not possessed, but simply intense. Maybe, thinking about it, he was more a mule than a bulldog.  But he had bulldogian notions.   I won’t say he had no sense of humor, but, though he could get a joke, he couldn’t tell one.  He had a kind of sense of purpose instead.   It’s odd he would find a companion in me, who has lived an Un-Purposed Life for three quarters of a century.

We “knocked around:” with the other guys our age on the block, doing the things the other guys on the block, and guys all over the city, did back then; which included getting into trouble, too.  And, then, we started growing up.

One day he asked me to write a poem for him; to write a poem for a girl from Brooklyn he had met at a dance, a girl he wanted to impress.  Now, we lived in the Bronx, which at that time could as well have been in another galaxy, and this girl of another species entirely.  She was, I think, an Italian girl; so she really was a member of another species.  But, Charlie was determined, even if getting to Brooklyn took about as long as it took The Owl and The Pussycat to get to The Land Where the Bong Trees Grow; which I understand is a nice place.  I hope to visit it someday.  I will probably find out I have already been there.  A lot.

Well, I wrote the poem.  Charlie began a weekly odyssey to Brooklyn under the tunneled streets and under the tunneled river, and under God knows where else.  He surfaced from time to time back among us and often asked for the loan of a buck or two for his trips to a Strange Land.  We gave of our surplus to supply his want.  What are friends for?  One day Charlie announced that he had found a better way, he would need our help no longer to visit his Brooklyn doll.  He had found the horses, and happy days were here again!

I am not going into all the details, but you know them already, don’t you.  We were in college then, me at Manhattan College. which was foolish enough to give me a scholarship, and Charlie at Fordham University.  He studied accounting and I studied English, a language I already knew, so I figure I do not have to do anything, a thing I still know how to do about better than anyone else.  I know how to do it certainly better than anything else I know how to do, which anyone will tell you is not much.

Charlie spends most of his time at school in Accounting classes learning how to develop a system to beat the horses, which have become a nearly full time occupation, and we begin to lose contact, to drift apart and finally lose sight of each other as the horizon intervenes.  Before that happens, he tells me that he is doing this by using statistics, which I do not now understand, and never will, but which he say is very very necessary for winning horse races and figuring whether it will rain in July , or whether it will be good to buy or sell almost anything. It’s part of Economics, he says.

I do not understand.

There is a term that is used in the NYPD to describe people who gamble for a living.  They are called a Degenerate Gambler; and I used to see the initials DG next to a lot of guys when I riffed through the police records looking for one bad guy or another, one clown or another in whom I took a professional interest.  I do not know if Charlie ever earned his DG patch.  Gosh, I hope not.  He was a man, for all that, and deserved better

But I remember, though, the several times before the sea between us was too wide, when he showed my his “books” the ledger he had on just about every horse at every track in the country.  He was sure he would develop a foolproof system.  He would have been the first if he had; which he didn’t.  But, I was impressed with his dogged devotion to the task, and the fire of the true believer in his eyes.

I asked him what of all these columns and numbers was most important for success.  “It’s all statistics,” he answered.  “Like batting averages?”  Batting averages were about the only thing I knew about statistics then, and still know now.  I listened to statistics about horses, and jockey weight, and the weather on race days, and stuff like that which Charlie said mattered while I drank his beer.  Then, I left.

While in college I was tempted to take a course in psychology, but shied away when I was told by the catalogue I needed to take a course in statistics.  I think that my experience with my friend may have had something to do with that also.  Anyway, Mr. Pearce’s article makes a point about economics, and whence the discipline comes; about which I had known nothing.  He binds it to philosophy, a thing which it definitely doesn’t resemble today.  I mean, philosophy requires more than “doing the numbers”, and is about more than that, the truth, for one thing.  But, Economics is, I kind of think, statistics dressed up.  Simple statistics can as the saying goes, lie; or lead one to that, a lie.  And so can Economics, which someone once told me is sort of “Anyone’s guess.”

Here is the other thing I am thinking about because of Mr. Pearce’s article.  The other night I watch President Trump talk to Congress and the rest of us.  You all know what he says by now, and think what you think about what he says. I don’t pay too much attention to that.  But one little part interests me.  That’s the part where he says they get rid of NAFTA, and they are going after this Pacific thing where we all get in a circle and deal straight up.

I say “Yippee!” to myself when I hear that.  And you know why?  It’s because economists and politicians, and millionaire business men, and one world maniacs think that there’s nothing better in the world than free trade.  They think this so fervently that they don’t see Detroit becoming a desert, and drugs becoming a number one commodity in places where folks once could make an honest living making shirts, shoes, pants, desks, chairs and what all from Maine to Mississippi.

And that was because the market analysis told them everyone would rise on the rising tide of free trade.  Well except the ones who couldn’t swim.  Swimmers love a rising tide.  little folks drown, or go on welfare, or to war, in the mud.  Turns out that NAFTA really was anyone’s guess.

Statistics don’t care, and Economics don’t either.  What the hell, there’s always welfare and surplus peanut butter.

You gotta get close to folks.  The corner store’s the best.




Revoltin’ Developments

No one likes a spoil sport, and it begins to look as though Washington, D.C. has become a town full of boys and girls who are just that.  The playing field is empty.  Everyone seems to have taken their ball and walked off the field to slouch around on the sideline, kicking stones and dirt and pointing fingers, calling names and trying to convince the helpless spectators (Us) that everyone else is at fault.  But they?  They are not to blame.  Well, in a game this important, everyone not playing, everyone not willing to come out on the field and get it done, is in some part to blame.

What is really galling, though, are the attacks on the fans. You know what I mean?

The progress of events since this began is what I’m talking about: the barricades and closings of public spaces, even of the ocean, and the petty harassment of old and young is at once laughable and pitiful to witness, humiliating to live through, as if a close family member was a public drunkard, a child or dog beater.  The venal attempts at humiliation of opponents, the snubbings and the kind of petulant silence masquerading as imperial, above the fray behavior on the part of the president haven’t been seen since Nixon, and surpass even his worst.   To what good end are open spaces shut against men and women who have sacrificed much in service to the rest of us?  What example does it set for our young people who most desperately need education and example in honesty, mutual respect, goodness and duty?  Why are people offering services to hungry or tired travelers on federal roads prevented from doing so?  Is it not just good for business?  Does it not aid safety and could it nor be looked on as a work of charity?  There’s Progress and Change that might bring real Hope to a bewildered and increasing frustrated and angry body politic..

But, the evidence so far suggests that no one inside the beltway really gives a tinker’s damn about anyone outside of it.  It seems in some, or in all, of these cases that the “shut down” government has turned against the people whose government it is.  It’s as if a kind of auto immune disease has infected us, or that DC is a tumor in our gut.

I am old enough to remember when we were shown the example of leaders such as Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Lincoln, the two Roosevelts, Wilson and Eisenhower (by God), and others, guys like Tip O’Neill, John Mc Cormack; men who pledged their lives and sacred honor to the life and honor of this once wonderful place.

Now what have we?   We have a leaderless mob in government as out Chief Executive sits in his palace (when not somewhere playing golf) and refuses to come out to play…unless they use his ball.  He refuses, even, to play unless he’s given a win before the game starts.  Who plays like that? Caesars.

He is an intelligent man, I suppose, but he isn’t behaving as an intelligent man.  His failure to “engage” with the other side on any level is more indicative of the behavior of a sulking child than an adult; a sulking child who wants his way in all things.  One wonders if he actually indulges in infantile tantrums.  It doesn’t take much to imagine him hurling White House china against a White House wall, kicking the dog, ripping up pictures of his political opponents.  It probably hasn’t happened, but one doesn’t need much to imagine it.

Were he mine (my child that is) I would take the strap to him, and make him stand in the corner…or perhaps spend an hour or two in a bare closet. This is not an evil man, or a bad man. This is a spoiled and wicked child. I wonder, now, whether in years to come…when I will, God willing, be dead and finished with such stupidities as his (and everyone else’s in DC)…I wonder whether someone who saw him day in and day out will write about the dishes he broke, the furniture he tore up, the dogs he kicked during his childish and cruel snits. What a lamentably poor example he gives us of a “leader”.

Perhaps, and I have no way of knowing whether or not this is the case (and even less do I know if someone is smart enough to have thought of it), perhaps part of the Republican strategy included showing the venality and mean-spiritedness of the Obama Administration (and of the man himself). If so, they have done a masterful job of it. Open air war memorials, private business in or near public parks, the ocean(!!!???) closed or threatened to be closed. Religious services to the military forbidden and priests and ministers threatened with arrest. Tourists threatened with arrest for “trespassing” on public lands, among whom are elderly, frail and crippled veterans who may not live to get another chance to visit a place. Food stores on military bases closed. Sports shows to troops in combat stopped. These actions make Richard Nixon seem like someone’s kind and loving Grandpa, a seat of wisdom and cause for joy. It borders on totalitarianism.

Of course there is more than enough of stupidity on the other side of the dispute in this case, and more than enough arrogance. But no matter how one may wish it, that does not make it so that the Obama Administration, and ultimately the President himself, are not the ones responsible for such ill willed practices as I mentioned above, and for no reason it seems other than spite and a kind of vicious contempt. They are, and he, ultimately, is, no matter how cool and distant he appears to be, playing the hand dealt him by others he’d like us to see as slick gamblers and cheaters.  That makes him a fool.

What does it advance to do those things? Who benefits? I’d rather a few golf courses be closed than food stores on military bases; a few lunch rooms in government buildings shuttered and cooks sidelined than houses of worship and their ministers threatened with jail, a few art museums locked than memorials to dead and living heroes blockaded.  I suspect the majority of the people in the country would readily agree.  This has become a worldwide embarrassment.

I am not on the other side of this thing. Neither Republican, Democrat, Liberal nor Tea party am I. I’m just one of the gob smacked millions wondering what the hell is going on down there, and not a little appalled by what we see. There ain’t nothing “masterful” about telling the truth.  And truth is, Pilgrims, that truth is a commodity in short supply on the shores of the Potomac.

Oh, yes, and while this goes on, and the Chinese prepare to foreclose on our mortgage and dispossess all 350,000,000 of us, including illegals, Benghazi, where an invasion of US territory took place, and an Ambassador was murdered along with three brave men…remains forgotten.

Can Anyone Be That Stupid??? You Want The Truth?

People all over this land are interested in wondering about one thing.  Who let the dogs out?  The dogs in this little piece about getting to the bottom of things are the filthy B***ards who stormed, and are still storming, the embassies and consulates of these Untied States of America in almost every place we have one beginning on September 11, 2012,  yet another day that will Live in Infamy…for an entirely different reason.

How did it happen that we were caught with our pants down?  Hell not only down, but completely off.  How did it happen that no one knew a damn thing about what was coming?  How did it happen that in Libya, a place where we played such a big part in freeing people from a dictator, our little piece of Amurriker was attacked…not demonstrated in front of…but attacked by a well trained and coordinated group, and we knew nothing about it?

You will remember, children, that in order for peace to prevail among nations, they have been in the habit of sending representatives one to another, to live in each other’s countries and to help in the conduct of the business of life in a dignified and peaceful fashion.  The persons so sent and the places where they live and work are considered to be sovereign and are placed under the protection of the hosting nation so guarantees of safety and sovereignty may be assured.  or, something like that.

OK?  OK, then.

So, what happened just a few days ago?  Well, if one believes the current fabulous tale being spun out of the our Capitol and throughout this land of mine and yours by the minions of truth, justice and the American Way, what happened was that some small time film maker made a film out in La-La Land which was never really completed, and never shown in a theater, and never released directly to DVD and never appeared anywhere except in a terribly disjointed 18 minutes long  “trailer” on You Tube, that well known location for blockbuster film premiers and whacko attempts at God-Only-Knows-What-But-It-Certainly-Ain’t-Cinema.

Some enterprising artiste dubbed the thing in Arabic, a language spoken by a goodly percentage of the world’s murderers, and things hit the fan. So, it’s really all our fault.  Time for the sad music and another apology.  And, it all happened too quickly and too quietly for anyone to know about before hand, or believe you me steps would have been taken.  We have promised to do so in the past, haven’t we?  How many times have we promised to take steps?  Anyone?  Anyone?  Bueller?

Well it is starting to become clear that this is not, erm, the truth.  This happens to the best of my ability to figure out, about a month or so ago.  You will read in this article by a reporter named  Caroline Glick that originally appeared in an AUSTRALIAN newspaper that some Mooselimb TV station in Egypt runs the film a whole month ago.   The “film” itself is finished a whole year ago.  Nobody really does a thing for w while.  Are they waiting?   These guys who run the thing are Salami Mooselimbs, or something like that, intellectually and doctrinally the rough equivalent of the snake handlers down in West Virginny.  But, by God, they know blasphemy when they see it, and know what to do.  I am sure you can imagine the Rev. Joe-Jim Bob Haystacks from East Mudgulch organizing an attack on, oh, say the Albanian Embassy here because some Albanian said something ugly about JEEEZUZ?

Yeah, neither can I.  Yet, that’s what happened, even after we apologized for it and said, “Please don’t hate us.”  Well, that’s what they want us to believe happened.

This thing appeared a MONTH ago?  Really? Yep, a month.  And to top it all off,  we knew something dangerous was this way coming.  We had been warned, we had been told, we’d heard it staid

Then we had time to get ready, right?  So you’d think.  Instead we went out for lunch and played a little golf, the weather being good for that.


“Hello, Madame Secretary.  This is Ambassador Stevens.”

“Why yes, Ambassador.  I was just talking with the President and Secretary of Defense about you.  September 11 is coming up and…”

“Funny thing, that’s why I placed this call.  I’m in Geneva now, and I just got word from Under Secretary Blivot’s team at State that the Freedom Fighters in Benghazi are planning an attack on the Consulate down there.”

“Of course they are, Chris.  You don’t mind me calling you Chris, do you?  We heard all about it yesterday.  The place is going to explode.  Well, what can you expect?”

“Oh, cool.  I thought I’d get a couple of guys together and fly down to get killed, take one for the team, so to speak.  You could blame it all on that idiot out in California, apologize once again…we missed last month’s apology to Islam…and make a lot of points with the voters for our irenic response to irrational provocations from whacko film makers in California, a place we stole from the Mexicans.”

“That’s great, Chris.  Barry was just wondering if you wouldn’t mind doing something like that.  We’ve got the press all primed for that story.  That idiot Romney will do something Republican about swift (I hate that damn word.) response and forceful measures, and we can take the high road.  It should give us a really good poll bounce.”

“I’m happy to. Hillary. Say,you don’t mind me calling you Hillary, do you?”

“Nah, go ahead.  You won’t have long to do it.”

“Good.  Then this is goodbye.  Have fun.  Oh, I’ve already voted.”

“Great.  See if you can get the guys who are going to die with you to stuff a few in there for us “White Hats”, ha ha, before they get blown up, willya.”


Now, that conversation never took place, of course.  But it certainly seems no other conversation ever took place either; like a short one saying, “Get the hell out of town, quick.”  Or, like, “Duck, because in about a minute we are gonna bomb the hell out of everything around you.”  And, that can only be due to the fact that the phone lines were down and all communication was cut off between the US and its embassies.  Or, maybe it is the fault of Congress and the Republicans who have refused to raise the debt limit and let Uncle Sugar pay his bills and keep the phone working.  Who knows.  It can’t be because they are all criminally stupid.  Can it?

As evidence that sanity reigns in Washington and throughout the government I offer the words of our Ambassador to the United nations…a place which wouldn’t exist without you and me pick up most of the bills… who is on record telling one of the suits on something called “This Week” last week that,..well, you go read it for yourself.  I can’t type it, because my attorney tells me that if I do I might become a part of a conspiracy to spread stupidity across the country, and during the past four years we have become more than sufficiently stupid to get us all killed.

The State of The Union #3,256 (NB: Its an inflated number)

The State of The Union: The building industry at work putting the economy back on its feet. Just you wait!

I’m just an ordinary slob of a guy.  I have to take off my shoes and socks if I want to count past ten.  So, you see, I don’t really get it when the current folks we put in charge of things, the boys and girls we elected, do things that make me wonder if anybody has a brain that works right anymore.

Here’s the thing that puzzles me.  For almost as long as I can remember, the money guys and such have been forecasting our financial future and issuing reports about how good or bad it is now or is going to get.  By the way forecasting means guessing, and guess is what you do when you don’t really understand things or have a solid answer. Weather guys and girls today, and generals.   Astrologers, wizards, magicians in the old days.    These guys were forecasters.  They threw bones, poked around in chicken guts, spoke to holes in the ground and looked at the king’s last BM.  Then they came out on the balcony and said, “Nah, nothing to worry about.  Go home and get dressed up.  We’ll meet at the temple tonight and roast a cow to the Great Badapple, God of All the Universe.”  Or, they said, “Go jump off a cliff, you and everyone you know.  It’s better than what’s coming.”

Maybe they do the same kind of thing today?

Because, you see, I keep hearing this line about the housing market.  I heard it back in the ’90’s when things took a dive.  And I heard it again, when stuff hit the fan.  And, of course I’m hearing it now.  All of sudden…well for four years, anyway which isn’t really a “sudden”, more like a long groan.  Anyway, all of a sudden (groan), I hear that the “housing market” needs to recover.  And, as soon as it does, why every sunset will be golden, every dawn will begin with a fanfare right out of Hollywood.


The guy next door to me?  He can’t sell his house, because he can’t find a buyer at any price that will cover what he still owes on it. And that is because the value of the house has fallen below the amount of his mortgage, which he got in the Happy Days of not so long ago  That’s a situation called negative equity. I do not hear about negative equity until about three years ago when my neighbor tells me he has it.  At first I thought it was a disease and he should see a doctor.  Perhaps it is.  Perhaps he should.

And, I read the other day that in the last four year everyone in the country has become 40% poorer than they were, besides which everything costs more and 8% of the guys and girls who can work can’t find it, which figure does not count the ones who simply gave up looking for work after a couple of years and are…what?

Savings accounts?  Some big money guys are complaining that the problem is no saves a dime anymore.  Have you been to the bank and asked to open a savings account in the past few years?  You want to know what the bank gives to citizens who want to do their duty?  A penny for your dollar.  A penny don’t even buy a stick of gum.  They could save money if they don’t mint pennies anymore.  But then, in a few years no one would know what’s the origin of the word Copper, so I figure that’s why they still have them; to preserve the language.

Anyway, the housing market.  Everyone says we gotta start building and selling houses again like there’s no tomorrow.  That’ll put all of those out of work guys and girls back to work, their paychecks will fill up the empty bank vaults and pretty soon everyone has a new car and a new house and a new suit and a new lease on life.

I hear this and I think most of the new cars ain’t made here anymore and the ones that are made are made for guys who own the company back in Japan, or Germany, or maybe even Iceland, and their stockholders to get rich off of.  Most of the suits are made in a hole in the wall in Indonesia or Pakistan.  And the lease holders are all Chinese.  And the stuff we build houses with is all made mostly over there somewhere.  We have no more steel mills we can call our own, damn few auto companies and damn little of anything else.  Man, we can’t even keep our soldiers overseas supplied by our own ships.  We have to hire some other country’s boats for the job.  For cryin’ out loud, this keeps up and soon we’ll be renting warships.  Hell soon we’ll be renting pirates to chase other pirates.

And houses are supposed to make all of this get better?

How the hell is that supposed to happen?  Show me how the bird guts point that out.

Dope Dealers, Holes in the Head, Dried Liver and Emeril

So, there’s this kid named Zach standing around like 12 years olds sometimes do waiting for the dope dealers to leave the playground so he can go skateboarding or something like that.  All of a sudden things begin to TTS.  Benny “Full Ounce”, the enterprising dealer, wishes to sell at a price that Alonzo “Snort” does not wish to pay for the merchandise his nose desperately needs.  So, in order to close the deal to his advantage “Snort” decides to murder Benny and please his twitching beak.

The Snort does what any decent dope fiend with a sinus problem would do. He removes from his belt the Sig-Sauer he got from the government’s Fast and Furious Arm -A- Creep program and “pops a cap” in Benny’s general direction.  The popped cap, not able to tell the difference between a doper and a skateboarder, simply follows a straight line and lodges itself in this kid’s head who is standing in line waiting until the whistle blows and “adult swim” is over .  It lands in his brain, to be exact.  This ruins the yong Zach’s plans to go skateboarding once the playground is clear of dope dealers, guns and other assorted necessaries of modern life.  It also ruins “Snort’s” plans to give his nose a treat, but that is of no concern to us.

Within a few minutes the kid is scooped up and taken the nearest hospital where the docs look at him and the hole in his head.  They say, “We can do a lot of stuff, but we can’t take bits of metal out of little skateboarder’s brains.  Want a lube job?”  So he gets scooped over to a bigger place where the docs have bigger, emm, where the docs ain’t afraid of slicing through a brain that has a bullet in it.

They do it!  They take out the bullet and put the kid in a bed with a lot of tubes in and out of him, and things that go zip when they move and bop when they stop.  Mom comes by and the docs tell her in a Hollywood scene that “It doesn’t look good.” At all.   For Zach. You may shed a tear here.  You see, these words in a hospital in Texas are not good words to hear from a doc when your son is lying in bed with a hole in his head.

Look over there!  That’s disaster looming on the horizon like a tornado cloud on a hot afternoon.

Because , you see, in Texas they have this law which allows a doc to say something like, “OK, I’m calling this game on account of darkness.” and order everyone off the field.  They call the law the “Futile Treatment Law”, and no matter what you might say about your son, and his hope to be a skateboarding champ or something, the doc’s word is, well it’s law.  Of course to do this thing, the doc has to meet with the hospital’s ethics committee and get them to OK the deal.  But, he has to wait ten days for things to settle, and stuff like that.

Oh, and in case you didn’t know, an ethics committee is that thing that a lot of hospitals have.  They consider stuff like the hole in Zach’s head and measure and weigh all of the probabilities and permutations.  How much is it costing?  Do they have insurance? What does the insurance cover?  How long will he be here?  Will it interfere with my golf vacation to Palm Springs?  Anybody got seats for tonight’s game with the Yankees?  He’s a kid, so he’s probably got a lot of healthy organs we can market.  Serious stuff like that.

But, in this case here with the little skateboarder the doc, he waits only a week and one morning when mom comes in to visit her comatose son, she finds out the doc has already decided time is up.  The little guy is off food and water.  Mom says, “What, are you kidding me?”  Everyone looks stupid and says, “It’s a FUTILE CASE.  Doctor’s orders.”  They tell her the Ethics Committee said so, and the doctor followed through.  Then I guess they leave her to say goodbye, or something; leave her alone with Zach slowly becoming a skinny dessicated raisin with a hole in the head.

Well, not really. I mean, that part about the Ethics Committee meeting and all. The doctor did it on his own.  There wasn’t any Ethics Committee Meeting; no place where the doc could go and say, “I got this kid downstairs lying like a lump in the bed hooked up to everything that’s got a plug, and it just ain’t doing him any good that I can see.”  “How much do those things cost us, Belva?”  This is a question from the Chief of Medical Ethics at the hospital.  “More than your salary, Dr. Hardheart.”  “Geez!  That much, huh.  Hey, Doc, turn out the lights on this kid.  We need the money for that new wing we’re gonna build.  Anybody got tickets for the game tonight?”  That’s the way it goes.  Only this time they don’t even do that.

The kid’s good for a heart, liver, a couple of kidneys and who knows what all.  What he’s got to sell could take care of a couple of brand new hospital rooms I bet.  So, you do the math.  Some folks are thinking that’s what drove the doc to his desperate move.  Not me.

But then,  Mom sees that her son’s now breathing on his own, even if he is a little bit weaker for no food and a little bit dried out. (Don’t you hate real life?  So messy.)  She beefs about this, the story gets out and the doc starts treating the kid like a human being again instead of a spare parts department.

And there the matter rests, a kind of standoff.  But, not for long.  Because the Ethics Committee has raised up, and seen what needs to be done.  They’re gonna meet, by God, and Zach is agenda item number one.  Then, Zach’s gonna be plugless, and foodless and waterless.  On his way to raisin.  After the committee meets, Zach’z Mom’s got ten days to find a place to put him, ( besides the family plot I suppose ), or it’s curtains like they used to say in the talkies.

Now, here’s what I’m noodling about in all of this.  Zach’s probably a healthy kid, only 12 years old and stuff.  So, he’s probably got a fine set of organs, liver, heart, eyeballs.  I’m not including his brain, that’s already shot. If they start starving and all, what’s gonna happen to that stuff?  What good’s a re-hydrated starved liver to anyone? Except maybe for trail mix, you know.  And then this idea occurred to my mind.

Ethics Committees should have a chef on them, a resident Emeril, to advise on when to take all of that stuff out and make sure it’s usable when and if, or at least edible.  You know, do it early before it starts to go prunish on you.  In the case of a mis-calculation, it can always be put back.

I’ll betcha a sandwich that somewhere in the half billion pages of Obamacare there’s a paragraph on the Emerilization of medical care.  A sandwich, or a nice calves liver and onions meal.  I’m wondering, now, how many little veals we can save with this idea.

Good Parenting 101

These folks are on trial?  They should be given a parade and the keys to the city.  Read the story and pay close attention to the weasel excuse about the PD’s failure to do anything when they came asking for help.

The other day the news broke in our little town that the local gendarmerie had busted up a prostitution ring; arresting eight girls and two or three dirt bags who were identified as pimps; a synonym for cockroach.  On of the young ladies was 19, so they said.  I imagine her parents are sick with worry and pain, and not a little anger at the cockroaches.

All of the girls were/are drug users.

Administrative Manual Update: 01-10-2012

(Many years ago I was privileged to be assigned to the Headquarters of a large government agency and found myself in Washington, By God, DC, where I languished for three of the best and worst years of my life. In so many ways they were the most bizarre and hilarious time of my life.   During that time one of my tasks involved writing bits and pieces of a number of training manuals, reports and “papers” for people who were very important and could not take the time to write them themselves.  I never forgot how to do it, nor why it was done, and it has been the primary reason I have spent all these long years in therapy.  Below is something I wrote a number of years ago when I was no longer at the Seat of Government, wonderfully acronymed as SOG.  You must understand that this is very serious stuff.)




The purpose of this directive is to standardize the use of Paper Perforators throughout D–/OIG.  This Directive, herinafter referred to as AMD019/Jun/HQAID CH 3.52a for purposes of brevity and clarity, also establishes the Office of Perforation Management (OPM) at the National Office (N.O.) and creates within each OIG Region the position of Regional Perforation Officer  (R.P.O.)to instruct field professional staff in the handling and use of issue paper perforators and to monitor adherence to the Perforation Guidelines (PGs) set out below, and to be amended/updated and otherwise  enhanced as time and circumstance dictate.  RPO’s will be required to submit a report on Perforation Monitoring (RPM) each quarter


This directive is applicable to all OIG Personnel whose Position Description (PD) mandates the use of Paper Perforaters and to such other OIG personnel whose duties and responsibilities will from time to time be extended and increased to require the temporary use of one or more Government Issue Paper Perforator Types (PPTs).  (NOTE: Temporary Paper Perforation Operation (TPPO) is covered in AMD 155/Feb/HQAID CH12.5a:ii)


All OIG personnel currently assigned to duties in the above categories shall follow the instructions set out below. Responsibility for following these directives ceases upon transfer and shall not apply thereinafter. Previously Responsible Personnel (PRP) are responsible for notifying the responsible PRO of their Change in Responsibility Status (CRS) as per the requirements outlined in AMD027/NOV/HQAID CH 0101.2.ii(d)sub.5 (as amended).


AMS is aware of the existence of localized paper perforation methods.  These methods make for a confusing situation when positioning of paper reports over two and three pronged paper fasteners or within two and three ringed binders is required.  With this directive the standard non deviational method for proper Paper Perforation is hereby established throughout OIG


1.     One adjustable three-hole, hand-lever paper perforator; protective base, desk model round hole, 9″ scale at perforator top, 13/32″ hole, will be issued for each three employees.  Offices currently staffed with less than a number of employees divisible by three will have their issue perforators rounded to the next lowest number.  (NOTE: In the event that office personnel levels descend below the number three, application may be made to OPM in a timely manner for an exception to this standard as per AMD52a/NOV/HQAID CH11o.3(rev).A.1a, continued use of existing perforation equipment may be made while application decisions are pending except in those instances when offices are closed or otherwise unoccupied.)

2.      Adjustable three hole, hand-lever, paper perforators will be calibrated at 1″, 4″ and 7″ by the RPO.  Re-calibration may only be done by qualified professionals.  Calibration Qualification Training (CQT) will be conducted by the RPO at Regional Calibration Training Facilities (RCTF) or at NO.  Calibration Qualified Personnel (CQP’s) will re-qualify on the Adjustable three-hole, hand-lever paper perforator at least once quarterly.  (NOTE: Calibration Qualification Training (CQT) will be accomplished by the RPO at the Regional Calibration Facility (RCF).  All CQT RCF facilities will receive regular inspections from the OPM Inspection Force (OPM/IF) as per requirements and standards established at the time of OPM’s creation.) Calibrators must achieve a Calibration Tolerance (CT) to within 1/16″ minimum average deviation from standard per each hole punched.  Failure to achieve CT will result in the loss of Calibration Certification(CC) and Calibrator Premium Pay (CPP) for the next subsequent period.

3.   Adjustable three-hole, hand-lever, paper perforators will be used for 8 1/2″ x 11″ paper only.  They may only be applied to the left hand text side of the sheet being operated on and may not be used in any other fashion.  Paper perforated in other than the the abovein described fashion will be rejected as non-perforated (NP) by the RPO and returned to the Perforating Agent (PA) by the RPO for re-perforation.  Personnel consistently mis-perforating will have their perforation privileges (PP) suspended until such time as they have successfully been re0cycled through the RCTF for CQT.


1.      The non-adjustable, two-hole, hand-lever operated paper perforator with protective base will be standard issue office property to all OIG personnel.  All personnel will be trained in the use, care and maintainance of this in-valuable time saving device. (REF: AMD010/DEC/051.a.12/B2x)

2.      The two-hole, hand-lever, paper perforator will be used as needed on both 8 1/2″ x 11″ and 81/2″ x 14″ paper only.  In the case of 81/2″ x by 14″ paper, the two-hole, hand-lever operated paper perforator may be used only as long as existing supplies last.  Use on 81/2″ x 14′ paper after that time is expressly prohibited and strictly forbidden.  For perforation purposes, the top of a sheet is defined and described as the end of the paper under which the majority of the writing, numbers and/or illustrations appear in an upright position.  For the purposes of this directive the term majority is self-explanatory.  Questionable majority issues will be decided by the RPO after submission using Questionable Majority Issue Referral Form (QMIRF) 1325a-3 within three working days of submission, other duties notwithstanding (REF: AMD010/DEC/051.r.2/N17d).

3.      In the case of blank and not previously perforated sheets of paper, herein defined in accordance with standard procedure as sheets of paper in their original condition and not bearing any marks other than USG approved watermarks, initial perforation may be made at either 81/2″ end with the two-hole perforator.  In exigent circumstances, perforations of blank paper made be accomplished with the three-hole adjustable paper perforator along the 11″ dimension of the sheet. File Uniformity (FU) paper folding operations are to be undertaken to ensure FU after such emergency operations.  In all such cases, nevertheless, the initially perforated edges become and remain the top and left side of the now perforated sheet respectively, REGARDLESS OF FUTURE RE-FORATION PROCEDURES, which may only be made at these loci.



1.      All Special Agent and Audit Personnel are required to familiarize themselves with and become competent in the use of all perforation equipment in the OIG armory.  All such personnel will be issued one corrosion resistant metal Squeeze-Action Paper Punch with knurled handles and 1/4″ hole (SAPP) for field use upon successful completion of the Squeeze Action Paper Punch Course (Basic) (SAPP-C Course).  It should be borne in mind that the SAPP is a light duty piece of equipment intended for no more than occasional field use under exigent circumstances.  Use of the SAPP will be closely monitored by the RPO.

2.  The SAPP may be used on all sizes of paper in a manner dictated by circumstance, provided its use ad-hoc application does not preclude more lasting and uniform paper perforation in keeping with Regional and National standards and perforation guidelines.

3.      Personally owned SAPPS may be used by Special Agent or Auditor personnel provided they have conformed them to agency standards,  Off duty use or carrying of the SAPP is not at this time condoned for OIG personnel.

4.     Further perforation instructions will be issued with initial publication of the Quarterly Perforation Report (OIG Form POI/5250-3G/aia)