24 May 2013

Friday Follies...
Here we are at last...at the beginning of the Memorial Day weekend, and the weather is a bit changed since yesterday...
Temps are in the FORTIES this morning, with an expected high of somewhere in the low 60s. Now, for me, that is comfortable.
Going to have plenty of sunshine to boot, so all in all, it looks to be a very nice day - a great start to this extended weekend.
So let's walk into the light, and take a gander at what's waiting for us.
*** I have been trying to avoid all this IRS scandal flap, but having been employed BY them at an earlier point in my life, I find it wonderful that they finally got caught with their hands in the cookie jar...AGAIN.
The IRS is the largest juggernaut our government has produced. Maybe it doesn't have the firepower the military has, or the clandestine activities the CIA enjoys, but make no mistake, they ARE way too powerful in both scope and reach.
All that they manage to get away with is nothing short of criminal, but you'd never hear tell about that...well, maybe not until NOW.
When I was working for them, it was on the heels of another investigation into the "dumping" of regular people's tax forms to make their quotas for job performance.
The forms were found in drop-ceilings in some of the service centers, and that caused a whirlwind of changes from the top down.
Now, you have to realize that this agency as well as every other in our overblown government has basically ONE mandate:
"Find a way to justify your budget, so you can increase it the following year."
Well, making quota sure justifies it, because then, when you get MORE money, you can hire more people, and all the bosses get government BONUSES for being SO diligent. That's the way it works, friends.
There is also something I used to call "busy work"...things such as changing the layout of departments (again) to justify that particular budget. Employees would be seen moving desks around during the "off-season" of the tax year.
Funny thing, there were two distinct modes of work in place there.
Mostly all the whites were never allowed the many "privileges" that many blacks had when it came to working at one's desk. Minorities could f$ck off a lot, and hardly a peep was said, but let anyone else try such things, and you might be called on the carpet. A wonderful double-standard. We even had a few blacks COMPLAIN about their own people being away from their terminals so often...nothing was done about that. And it took an act of Congress to fuire such people (thanks to employee unions).
But the (field) agents tasked with gathering up delinquent taxes were nothing short of diabolical in their job. Gestapo-esque comes to mind.
Posters would hang in their offices proclaiming: "Seizure Fever - Catch It!"
Naturally, the agents would glean some scratch off the top of whatever they COULD seize in taxpayers neglecting their payments.
They were very UNforgiving when it came to payment plans, too. Many folks had to make such arrangements because of lay-offs, strikes, whatever, and the IRS was less than friendly when it came to be understanding. That's why they could seize a child's bank account because her FATHER owed a couple hundred bucks, and was TRYING to make payments.
There does come a time in a person's life when their conscience gets the best of them...and so it was with me.
There was no way in Hades I would (or could) affect ANY change in policy by working there, so I had to leave. I was not going to be part of "the problem".
It came down to this - some people got breaks while others didn't, and it had nothing to do with random choice.
It would seem that the IRS has only gotten worse over the last 30 years...time to close it down (imho). Bring on a fair tax for everyone.
Moving on...
*** How many times do you hear the word "glitch" in any given day?
I'll wager it's more than a few...in fact, it's part of our regular lexicon nowadays.
And who can argue that...damn near everything can be affected BY that "glitch".
A brain-fart is nothing more than a MENTAL glitch, right?
We have glitches with computers out the ass, and no one seems capable of being able to stop them from occurring on any sort of long-term basis. Some companies live for such things.
The latest "glitch" is affecting the Indiana ISTEP+ scores, and the FWCS wants to have some closure on it, because you just can't toss out everything and call it done...not with something the government deems SO damn important.
Why don't we just go back to those old time booklets, the #2 pencils, a clock and a monitor who says "go" and "stop"? Oh, and check/grade them manually with those "templates".
The only glitch you could encounter THERE would be if the point broke off the damn pencil...and that's easily fixed.
But now, in today's society, we have to have EVERYTHING run by, or dependent upon computers. And with it...glitches/
Think about it...from the watch on your wrist to your TV, the phone (land line OR cell), your vehicle, to how you shop, how you read (thanks, Kindle), how you bank and pay bills, and how you basically conduct almost EVERY aspect of your life.
Some type of computer runs everything these days.
Think of this technology as the new "oil", because there's a crapload of things in your home MADE BY if not transported by OIL (saw that on Stossel last night...lol)
I really don't LIKE to be a slave to technology (or anything else), and hopefully neither do any of you, but we've not much choice in the matter.
You cannot buy a new (old) CRT television any longer, and every car since the mid-70s has had SOME form of electronic brain regulating motor functions. Today our vehicles monitor every function, and woe to us if that brain decides to develop some sort of GLITCH, right?
That's why we see so many recalls...mostly ELECTRONIC in nature.
Glitches come in various sizes, and with varying results...
A glitch under the hood of your car...you're a pedestrian.
A glitch in the nation's power grid...you're back in the 18th century.
A glitch in your fiber optics server...NO Internet, cable TV or phone (we've been there already).
A glitch in a railroad switch...major derailment.
A glitch in the control tower...good luck not flying into anything.
There are just SO many instances to cover, and I'm sure you can name more than several off the top of your heads.
This is not to say that all this tech is a BAD thing...it's just annoying as hell a lot of the time, and that's where my angst comes in.
In an era where we were "supposed" to be enjoying all the amenities of life in order to facilitate EASE of living (freeing us all up with time to pursue vocations, hobbies, and social development), much of this has created it's OWN problems, not the least of which is that damnable ...GLITCH.
Perhaps it's case of tossing all this technology out there (wherever there might be) and see what happens...and THEN find out how best to fix it.
That's not the best way to do this. Some things need to be (dare I say it?)...THOUGHT THE HELL OUT.
Or, you could practice enough until you get it right, all before it comes to the general public's eye.
Our lives are full of examples of us falling down, and then getting back up and trying whatever it was we were doing again...like learning to walk, or ride a bike, or learning a trade, craft, or career.
But you don't just take a person with a 2.8 GPA and make them head engineer of a nuclear development facility.
Just as PEOPLE have to get things right before they can move forward, so it SHOULD be all the "trinkets" we acquire in life.
And the fewer glitches...in both life and those trinkets...the BETTER.
*** Lastly, Memorial Day needs to have it's REAL meaning preserved, and by that I mean the REASON behind WHY we celebrate it, and the reverence that goes along with such a holiday.
Sure, we do cookouts, go to (or watch) the Indy 500, and look for all those sales at the stores, but that's not WHY that day is important.
All you need do is look anywhere in Arlington Cemetery and see what I'm talking about.
Take time to educate yourselves a bit more about it, and you'll understand much more than you could hope to, because with knowledge comes power, and I'd like to think we are ALL part of one powerful nation, that still eschews freedom and liberty.
And we have the sacrifices made by many to back that up...don't we?
Do have yourselves a great weekend.
Be well, make a difference to someone today, and as always...
Stay SAFE out there, America.


gadfly said...

Hello BobG!

Even Wendy admitted that the ISTEP testing glitch occurred when too many test-takers signed onto CTB McGraw-Hill's online computer. Strangely, the schools kept trying and the service provider didn't go offline.

With proper load-planning and some front-end permissions to prevent overload, the problem could have been avoided.

Either these superintendents do not understand how computers work or they slept through computer classes - but the tests themselves are unaffected by a shutdown. Yeah, some students will end up taking the test twice, but to quote Hillary: "What difference, at this point, does it make?"

Bob G. said...

They probably DON'T know how the things works...they just want to use it...like dangling shiny keys in front of an infant.

Likening Benghazi to ISREP+ - never thought of it THAT way...makes sense, too.
Hey, thanks for stopping by to comment today.

Sty safe out there and have a good weekend.