March 18, 2014
"Secretive, Autocratic, Unaccountable"
That's how the director of the Office of Research Integrity (ORI), whose job it is to monitor biomedical research misconduct, describes HHS:
In his letter, David Wright writes that working with ORI’s “remarkable scientist-investigators” was “the best job I’ve ever had.” But that was only 35% of his job; the rest of the time he spent “navigating the remarkably dysfunctional HHS bureaucracy” to run ORI. Tasks that took a couple of days as a university administrator required weeks or months, he says. He writes that ORI’s budget was micromanaged by more senior officials, and that Koh’s office had a “seriously flawed” culture, calling it “secretive, autocratic and unaccountable.” For example, he told Wanda Jones, Koh’s deputy, that he urgently needed to appoint a director for ORI’s division of education. Jones told him the position was somewhere on a secret priority list of appointments. The position has not been filled 16 months later, David Wright notes.
OASH itself suffers from the tendency of bureaucracies to “focus … on perpetuating themselves,” David Wright writes. Officials spent “exorbitant amounts of time” in meetings and generating data and reports to make their divisions look productive, he writes. He asks whether OASH is the proper home for a regulatory office such as ORI, noting that Koh himself has described his office as an “intensely political environment.”
David Wright makes no mention of a recent letter to ORI from Senator Charles “Chuck” Grassley (R-IA), who has complained that ORI was not tough enough on an AIDS researcher at Iowa State University who faked data to obtain nearly $19 million in NIH funding. ORI barred the researcher, Dong-Pyou Han, from participating in PHS-funded research for 3 years, but Grassley has asked why ORI did not make him return federal grant money or impose harsher sanctions (more at Retraction Watch).
Yet we're supposed to hand over more of our hard earned money to these folks?
February 06, 2014
Saul Alinsky Was Unavailable for Comment
As you do to others, so you will be done by:
The union that represents low-ranking Department of Labor (DOL) employees alleged racial hiring discrimination and discrimination of people with disabilities in an internal assessment being presented to DOL Secretary Thomas Perez Thursday.
The document, obtained by The Daily Caller, alleges that DOL is making a conscious effort to deny claims of discrimination among many other complaints including “abysmal” training procedures and “subjective performance appraisals” that promote “cultural norms” and “less diverse” college-educated employees over experienced non-college-educated veterans.
Our favorite complaint:
Hiring discrimination against black males, black females and Hispanic females:
“The statistics from our own Civil Rights Center reflect the discrimination in hiring, promotions, and removals at the Department of Labor. What is more frustrating than these statistics are the other statistics that show that when EEO claims are filed, discrimination is rarely, if ever, found to have occurred.
“There were a total of 22 removals from DOL, of which 12 (54.5%) were women and 10 (45.5%) were minorities. The percentages of removal actions taken against black males, black females and Hispanic females were higher than their respective representation in the DOL workforce. Black males accounted for 13.64% (3 individuals) of the removals, black females accounted for 22.7% (5 individuals) of the removals, and Hispanic females accounted for 9.09% (2 individuals) of the removals, compared to their DOL workforce representation rates of 6.54%, 15.99% and 4.4%, respectively.”
Yikes! Let's hope the EEO folks don't find out about the White House wage gap:
Paycheck Fairness: The president who repeated the feminist "77 cents" myth and touted equal pay for equal work in the State of the Union hasn't practiced what he preaches with the women he employs.
The feminist heroine that prompted the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act might be surprised to learn of the Obama White House's war on women, paying its female staffers only 87 cents on the dollar compared with their male counterparts.
We are shocked... SHOCKED to find this administration winking at blatant pay discrimination!!!11!
In his State of the Union address last week, President Barack Obama applauded the success story of Mary Barra, 52, the new chief executive of General Motors (GM) who sat with First Lady Michelle Obama. Barra became the first female CEO of the global automaker after a 33-year career at GM.
The White House said in a statement that State of the Union guests like Barra who "have been invited to sit with the First Lady represent the stories of millions of Americans across the country, who are working hard to better their communities, improve their own economic outcomes and help restore opportunity for all."
Trouble is, Barra is not even getting 77%, but less than half, 48%, of the pay of GM's outgoing male CEO who had no prior experience running a car company.
It's almost as though these folks don't really mean what they say.
January 15, 2014
You Tell 'Em
I love dogs. I love kittens. I just wish they didn't always grow into cats. Some of my kittens have grown into cool cats, others, like the one that currently resides on the Dark Side with us, have not. However, it is not my cat. It is the VES's cat, and that, and only that, is the reason why it is still here on the Dark Side. But I digress... I always had dogs around when I was growing up. And, from the moment I moved out on my own, rare has been the occasion when there was only one residing on the Dark Side with me. When such times have occurred, the situation has been remedied within a few months. Now, one of the cool things I love about my animals (PITA cat included) is the fact that they all talk. It started with my first dog, Bart, a German Shepherd/Doberman mix that was one of the smartest dog I've ever seen. He easily had a 200 word vocabulary of commands. About the only thing I couldn't teach him was to fetch the ball off of a baseball bat. He would wait for me to go get them in the outfield, toss them back to home plate, and....you guessed it, bring them back to me in the outfield.
Silly damn dog.
But he was a helluva talker, and that's what started it all. From that point on, I made sure to teach my animals to talk to me. Now they pick it up "monkey-hear/monkey-do" style from the older ones as they get brought into the pack. From all indications, my newest pup, Sierra,
is going to be quite the talker, too. She's just a little over a year old and may one day be as good as this guy - who definately has something to say to his person:
Tip O'the Stetson: The Daily Caller
December 02, 2013
...for those of you who haven't seen it:
Sooooo.... what did y'all talk about at the table during Thanksgiving dinner?
October 23, 2013
Things That Make You Go Hmmmm.....
I love sports. The young Dark Lord was an anomaly in the women's sports world of the time: as good as the guys but nowhere to play other girls at that level. I have my favorites - football, baseball and women's college basketball. I don't follow them all, but I know and understand most of them enough to be able to watch a game intelligently. And if I don't know the game, I know enough to watch intently and (try) not to ask (too many) stupid questions.
With that in mind, let's look at a few things happening in the sport's world:
Seems, once again, that the rinse and repeat contrived controversy over the Washington Redskins team name has reared it's greasy head yet again. Fortuately for us, though, we have Super Divider-In-Chief who loves nothing more than sticking his nose into any business that doesn't have the slightest relationship with actual governance-- the more divisive, the better. Shortly after that, football fans tuning in to Sunday Night Football were *treated* to yet another opinion of announcer Bob Costas during the halftime interval:
"Redskins can’t possibly honor a heritage or a noble character trait. Nor can it possibly be considered a neutral term. It’s an insult, a slur, no matter how benign the present-day intent."
Can't possibly honor a heritage? No matter how benign the present-day intent? Which one is it? Costas' rant reminds me of this ESPN commercial. It would be nice if the people who get up on their soapbox would at least take the time to have some cursory knowledge about that with which they would preach:
"Goddard shows that the term redskin is a translation from native American languages of a term used by native Americans for themselves."
The origins of the term "redskins" were as benign then as Costas' so-called present-day intent. (Question: If the present day intent is so damn benign why are we having this discussion yet again?) And, as Goddard stated in an interview, "When it first appeared as an English expression in the early 1800s, 'it came in the most respectful context and at the highest level,....These are white people and Indians talking together, with the white people trying to ingratiate themselves.'"
Costas, however, hasn't been paying attention to the world outside this tiny corner inside his pc bubble:
"Try as they might, the liberal sports media's efforts to shame the Washington Redskins into ditching their team name out of political correctness concerns hasn't significantly moved public opinion. A brand new Associated Press-GfK poll found 79 percent of respondents favored keeping the name."
Maybe the reason Costas isn't paying attention is because somebody else is paying it for him. Or as the twitter user protein wisdom put it,
"Thank goodness Bob Costas finally weighed in on how offensive Washington Redskins team name is in this, his 30+ year of sportscasting!
(@proteinwisdom) October 14, 2013
August 02, 2013
The CIA is polygraphing its operatives on a regular basis in an “unprecedented” effort to prevent Benghazi secrets from leaking out, CNN’s Drew Griffin is reporting, citing unnamed inside sources.
“Since January, some CIA operatives involved in the agency’s missions in Libya, have been subjected to frequent, even monthly polygraph examinations, according to a source with deep inside knowledge of the agency’s workings,” the bombshell report reveals. “The goal of the questioning, according to sources, is to find out if anyone is talking to the media or Congress.”
More from CNN:
It is being described as pure intimidation, with the threat that any unauthorized CIA employee who leaks information could face the end of his or her career.
In exclusive communications obtained by CNN, one insider writes, “You don’t jeopardize yourself, you jeopardize your family as well.”
Another says, “You have no idea the amount of pressure being brought to bear on anyone with knowledge of this operation.”
The CIA responded to CNN’s report in a statement, claiming it “enabled all officers involved in Benghazi the opportunity to meet with Congress,” according to Jake Tapper.
It has also been revealed that as many 35 Americans were in Benghazi on the night of the deadly terror attack, CNN reports, citing anonymous inside sources. As many as seven were wounded and 21 Americans were reportedly working in the building known as the CIA annex.
It will be interesting to watch this story die a horrible death. One wonders: what's the definition of "officers"?
July 09, 2013
A scientist tests the science behind natural family planning:
Little known and rarely utilized is the single method of birth control supported by the Catholic Church. Righteously termed "natural family planning," the method limits sexual intercourse to women's naturally infertile periods, such as certain portions of the menstrual cycle, menopause, or during pregnancy. Pope Paul VI's rationale for approving natural family planning versus other methods was that it "uses a faculty given by nature whereas contraception impedes nature."
To me, that seems a dogmatic and unscientific argument. So I assumed that the method itself would be similarly lacking in evidence. But to my surprise, I was wrong.
As it's typically used, natural family planning is about as effective as the female condom -- between 75 and 80% successful at preventing pregnancy over the course of a year. But when perfectly used, it can be 95% effective or higher. A large study conducted in 2007 found that the "symptothermal" method of natural family planning, in which the female user tracks both her body temperature and cervical secretions to gauge her fertility, is 99.6% effective when properly adopted, roughly the same as a copper intrauterine device.
Sorry - we couldn't resist the title.
May 13, 2013
"College Is A Lot Like.... School"
January 14, 2013
Kids These Days...
They've got no respect for authority:
An IBM supercomputer had to have its memory wiped because its programmers could find no other way to stop him swearing.
Artificial intelligence Watson, which famously won Jeopardy! against the game show's human champions, kept making obscene outbursts after memorising the contents of the Urban Dictionary.
... Eric Brown, the IBM research scientist in charge of tutoring Watson, had taught the computer the Urban Dictionary in an effort to make his communications seem more natural, Fortune reported.
...But while Watson hungrily scoffed as much knowledge as he was offered, Mr Brown, 45, found that that his microprocessor-based pupil had much more difficulty understanding the subleties of human communication.
It was after he started answering 'bullsh*t' back to human researchers that it was decided to pull the plug on attempts to teach Watson slang.
We suspect Watson understands the subtleties of human communication quite well.
June 26, 2012
Bull's Eye for the "Pay Later" Guy
The NH Union Leader nails Obama's modus operandi:
Since when has this President taken personal responsibility for his actions, their effects or their costs? Every American ought to be able to see by now the pattern that he has repeated since he took office:
1. Give sweeping speech proclaiming grand but vague vision.
2. Lowball the real cost of executing that vision and pay for much of it with debt.
3. If policies are enacted and then generate unintended consequences, blame the results on the previous administration.
4. If policy costs are shown to be more than the administration predicted, blame private sector “greed” and political obstruction.
Sometimes, the truth hurts:
The most recent estimate for the difference between the net present value of federal government liabilities and the net present value of future federal revenues is $200 trillion, nearly 13 times the debt as stated by the US Treasury. Notice that these figures, too, are incomplete, since they omit the unfunded liabilities of state and local governments, which are estimated to be around $38 trillion.
These mind-boggling numbers represent nothing less than a vast claim by the generation currently retired or about to retire on their children and grandchildren, who are obligated by current law to find the money in the future, by submitting either to substantial increases in taxation or to drastic cuts in other forms of public expenditure.
To illustrate the magnitude of the problem, the economist Laurence Kotlikoff calculates that to eliminate the federal government’s fiscal gap would require either an immediate 64 per cent increase in all federal taxes or an immediate 40 per cent cut in all federal expenditures.
We've often heard various progressive pundits lament the fact that we are well on our way to being the first generation who will be poorer off than their parents and grandparents. Less often heard is any honest admission that this is the logical and inevitable consequence of progressive policies.
The system works as designed.
May 23, 2012
Holy Sockpuppets, Batman!
Sacre bleu! Say it isn't so:
Did you hear the one about the New York state lawmakers who forgot about the First Amendment in the name of combating cyberbullying and “baseless political attacks”?
Proposed legislation in both chambers would require New York-based websites, such as blogs and newspapers, to “remove any comments posted on his or her website by an anonymous poster unless such anonymous poster agrees to attach his or her name to the post.”
No votes on the measures have been taken. But unless the First Amendment is repealed, they stand no chance of surviving any constitutional scrutiny even if they were approved.
We are guessing Princess Leia in a Cheese Danish Bikini, Knut the Adorably Psychotic Gay Teen Bear, and a host of similarly regrettable monikers would not approve. Be that as it may, we humbly offer a stuffed marmoset by parcel post to the first commenter to spot the problem with the excerpted passage.
April 12, 2012
Gawker Mag's Brave, Truth Telling Whistleblower
Quote of the day from the Fox Mole:
I am a weasel, a traitor, a sell-out and every bad word you can throw at me... but as of today, I am free, and I am ready to tell my story, which I wasn't able to fully do for the previous 36 hours.
We do not know about you people, but there is no one we trust more to bravely tell us the sordid truth about the tawdry state of the commodes at Faux News than a self-described weaselly, traitorous sell-out. If we didn't know better, we might suspect that the folks at Gawker were having a bit of self-defecating fun at our expense.
Will the evil empire ever pony up for some long overdue restroom renovations? Sadly, with the Fox Mole gone we may never know.
Who knows how many other game changing stories will go unrevealed and unreported?