Archive for April, 2010


The GOP Census

Wouldn’t you think from all that you have heard from Michele Bachmann and Glenn Beck that the Republicans think that censuses are a bad thing?  I mean Bachmann actually seems afraid some one will come get her if she tells the federal government – the government she works for! – how many people live in her house.  Go figure.

So, I was surprised when a co-worker informed me that she had received a census from the GOP!  She claims she is a Democrat and has no idea why they sent it to her.  She showed it to me and I found it rather amusing.  It has her name all over it.  It has a “census tracking number” so they can track her responses.  So, it is alright for a political organization to know all about you but not he federal government – the government that they want to win a majority in.  I just don’t get that logic.

Before the questionnaire, there is a three page letter from Michael Steele.  He says that Obama is greatly expanding the government and the things Pelosi and Reid do are damaging the country.  He says Obama’s real agenda is “massive tax increases, government- run health care, amnesty for illegal aliens, and bigger, more intrusive government.”  After informing Republicans just how horrible things are, then there are four pages of questions to ask them how horrible things are.  Could there be a more poorly designed survey?   Well, poorly designed from a true scientific point of view.  But, if you are looking to get big numbers of people that agree with you, well it is perfectly designed.  Oh, yeah, Republican’s don’t believe in all that sciencey stuff, right?                        (Copy of census below.)

GOP Census


Office Space Part 2

To continue the story:

I had a little bit of a Peter Gibbons moment. During the fourth revision of the report design, I was not hiding my disgruntlement well. My boss asked me what I thought. I told him that I thought the information was married with all its parts well on the first format. I told him it made since to my linear brain. I told him the other version seemed to be just an orgy of data to me and not the monogamous relationship of the first format. Where the analogy came from, I really don’t know. Yet, I think it was bizarre enough to get his attention. I redid the sample report in the fourth version and printed him a copy of the first format. He acted as if he had never seen it before. He asked if I had done all the reports in that format. I was baffled. That was the original format! It was based on what we have used for other reports! That giant binder I put on his desk last week had every report in format 1.0 and format 2.0. He obviously had never even bothered to look at it. Amazing! Bottom line, he is deliberating on this and I have a feeling we will return t o format 1.0.

In the end, none of the data has changed one bit. It is simply how it is arranged on a page. All this time on arranging information that no one will read!!


Time to get out my copy of Office Space

Maybe office life has changed some since the movie Office Space came out. Does anyone really use fax machines that much anymore? But other than that, everything still holds perfectly true. The only difference between an office job and a factory job is that you work less in an office and get paid more. You are still just a mindless minion.

The futility of many of the things I do on a daily basis simply boggles the mind. I created a – well let’s just call it a TPS report. I compiled seemingly random data into a random pattern in accordance with my superior’s specifications. I spent days doing this only to be told once I showed the TPS report to him, that “Yeah, well, you know we really need to have a different format on this TPS report.” Ok. So, I reconfigure. I showed a sample of the new format and got the green light to proceed. I spent three days redoing them. This morning I got the same, “Yeah, well, you know we need to conversate about the TPS reports.” A new format. Can I do that? Sure! As I left my superior’s office with my assignment I was told, “We are getting close!” Oh really? It will take at least two days to redo all of them. Even after I present him with a sample and get the go ahead, there is no way to know for sure that after he sees the full report he will not once again say “close” and give me a dozen other changes.

The killer? No one is ever going to look at this damn report no matter what format it is in.

The other killer? I’m am thoroughly appreciated for doing these completely inane things that in the end produce no goods and generate no profits for the company. Like I said, no one is going to look at this report.


Real Journalism!

Nice job by Anderson Cooper of performing some  REAL journalism!  It so rare to find it these days.  Even his network goes to the blogs and Twitter on a regular basis.  So, it is a little ironic that debate focused so much on things on the internet being false.  Still, kudos.  Step by step, here are facts.  Step by step, these are not facts.   More please! April 21, 2010 CNN

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GOP Objects And Objects And Objects.

I just loved this… Now if we could get the guys to autotone it!! From Huffington PostDemocrats took to the Senate floor on Tuesday to try to break a logjam that has 101 executive branch nominees backed up. A new Senate rule that aims to make “secret holds” more difficult requires a senator to publicly declare his or her hold six legislative days after the nominee is brought to the floor.

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Frank Luntz is the most powerful man in America

Remember that theme of the 2008 Democratic primary about “pretty words” and how they don’t mean anything? God! How wrong that was. Except it is not Team Obama with the power of words. “Yes we can” has been usurped by “No”. “No” is so much more powerful and final than the infinite possibility of “Yes” that implies necessary action.

The GOP continues to win on the word spin front because they have ceded all their wordsmithing to one guy – Frank Luntz. He’s good, but what really makes it work is the complete participation of the GOP. The repetition makes it work because repeating makes it true. The latest little gem is “the bailout bill”. What blows me away, is that even with the exposure of the mechanics used to simply try and “kill” one more bill, it works. I was thrilled when last week it was pointed out in the media that Mitch McConnell and his minions where following the directives of Luntz. Silly me. I thought people simply knowing that one guy laying out a script for the GOP would get bigger play and would turn people off. This guy is not elected. He is not a policy guy. His only agenda is to help the Republicans “win”. His agenda is not to help promote Republican ideas, just simply to prevent the Democrats from getting anything done that might make them attractive to the populace.

This morning I realized that Luntz is winning again when I heard Cokie Roberts report on NPR. She explained how the Republicans are tying the Financial Reform bill to bank bailouts, specifically the part that is intended to dismantle a big bank that fails. She explained they are calling it a bank bailout, bailout, bailout and that doing so plays well because it is a charged word. But, she didn’t mention Luntz or the talking points memo. She didn’t even mention that the part of the legislation they call a bailout is actually intended to “fail” banks, not bail them out. She does mention, however, that there is talk of taking this portion of the bill out.

Score one more Luntz and the power of oft repeated words to win every time.


So where is that well informed electorate?

I just watched a clip of Sean Hannity’s show – or rather, campaign rally for Michelle Bachman. Are you kidding me? Is Fox going to have a show at her opponent’s rally? It was totally sickening. You have a congresswoman that has repeatedly “yelled fire in a crowded theater”. She stirs up fear to build her brand and fire up her base. You pair her with a celebrity that tells her fans to “reload” and “rise up” and uses gun sites to denote what congressional races need to be targeted. Then you put them in front of a rabid throng and put it on a news channel. Yes, yes, I understand that it is suppose to be in the “commentary” portion of programming. But, this is not commentary any more than the tea parties that they endorsed and promoted or the all the major talking heads urging viewers to call their Senators and tell them not to vote for health care. It is not news programming and it is not commentary programming. It is simply programming of their masses. It is beyond bias.

Here is a question that Hannity posed to Bachman: “Does the president understand or have the moral clarity that… Reagan had or George Bush had, that there’s good in the world and evil n the world. And, if people think they are doing God’s work, doing God’s will and that virgins await them in heaven when they kill innocent Americans. Does the president lack that moral clarity? He called America Aryan, he went on an apology tour. Where does this come from?”

Does the president have moral clarity? Does he have the moral clarity of George Bush!!?!! Ok which do you consider moral, wanting to end nuclear weapons or starting two wars that you can’t finish? He cited Bush right before the phrase “people think they are doing God’s work”. Bush thought he was doing God’s work! He said he didn’t ask his dad for help but went to a higher father. He peppered his speech with Christian imagery and allusions to church hymns. Where does Hannity come from? It is just unbelievable. His question was posed in a discussion of the president’s nuclear policy. The Fox/Palin/Bachman take was that it was too soft to say we wouldn’t nuke a country if they followed the non-proliferation treaty. All options should be on the table, they said. The potential threat from the US should be a deterrent. If I remember correctly we had eight years of such policies under Bush and all his moral clarity. How’d that work out? Oh, yeah. Two wars and Iran and North Korea working on getting nukes.