Daily Archives: January 3, 2014

Those pesky ice cubes!

Antarctic  ice isn’t melting after all, study finds.

“We found ocean melting of the glacier was the lowest ever recorded, and less than half of that observed in 2010. This enormous, and unexpected, variability contradicts the widespread view that a simple and steady ocean warming in the region is eroding the West Antarctic Ice Sheet.”

No wonder those poor guys got stuck in their boat.

A decade from now – sooner, I hope, people will recognize the smug, arrogant dismissal of global warming skeptics by the pretend-elite for what it was: just another scheme of the progressives to assert control over the masses.

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Here’s a surprising approach to problem solving

Government slimming machine

Government slimming machine, circa 2014

Faced with inefficient, bureaucratic tech skills, Obama proposes a new agency.

The Obama administration, stung by the failures of the HealthCare.gov rollout, may loosen hiring rules for technology specialists and create a new federal unit dedicated to big tech projects, officials said.

“We don’t have enough people inside of government to make good sound technology decisions,” said Clay Johnson, a former White House innovation fellow….

…  Agencies now must rely on the lengthy, often onerous federal hiring process run by the Office of Personnel Management. The process includes requirements such as evaluating multiple candidates for every position, lengthy questionnaires and giving preference to veterans.

HealthCare.gov is hardly the first government technology project to fall short of expectations. The Census Bureau spent hundreds of millions of dollars to develop hand-held computers for its 2010 count, only to cancel the program when the devices failed to work as expected. The Federal Bureau of Investigation spent millions last decade on a computer system to track cases, an initiative that ultimately was scrapped.

But the health-insurance program’s high profile has moved the issue of federal technology procurement to the forefront and called into question Mr. Obama’s contention that government can leverage technology to improve services and cut costs.

Longtime observers cite two root causes for poor performance: rigid practices adopted by risk-averse officials and the government’s inability to attract top-notch technology talent.

“The government is lagging well behind the private sector in the competition for skills,” said Alan Chvotkin of the Professional Services Council, which represents government technology contractors.

Agencies have also been slow to adopt private-sector models. When building HealthCare.gov, officials say the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services used the traditional “monolithic” or “waterfall” contracting structure in which an agency writes out a set of requirements well in advance and contractors attempt to deliver the full system at once by a final deadline, which can be years out.

“There are dozens of rules, and lots of people who can say no in that process, and very few risk absorbers: someone willing to stand up and say, ‘Go forth and do well, I’ll take the risk,’ ” he said.

The federal technology workforce skews older: According to the Office of Personnel Management, there are eight times as many federal technology employees over age 50 as the number who are under age 30.

“I don’t believe the present class of [federal chief information officers] are in touch enough with modern technology to know what’s available to them,” said Mr. Johnson, the former White House innovation fellow. “This gap between the public sector and private sector has really affected their knowledge.”

We could outsource this for a fraction of the cost and get quality, rather than excuses, but we won’t,just as we refuse to privatize the air traffic control system. For-profit businesses are bad, government is good, no matter how badly it performs the job.

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De Blasio’s replacement as Public Advocate follows his lead

OMG, that's actually Gen. Dinkins up on the dias

OMG, that’s actually Gen. Dinkins up on the dias

Caught lying on her first day in office.

Just hours after being sworn in as the city’s public advocate, Letitia James went on TV to claim that she played a key role in helping expose “the face of poverty in the City of New York” on the ‘front page of The New York Times.

“And, in fact, I had established a task force on Auburn, and the conditions continued. And so we decided to work together to basically put on the front page of The New York Times the face of poverty in the City of New York.”

It wasn’t James’ first attempt to portray herself as a champion of the homeless — at the inauguration, she invited young Dasani to stand at her side for the swearing-in.

But the Times refuted James’ account, saying she had nothing to do with its articles.

How about poor little Dasani Coates, the child portrayed in the NYT article and exploited as a poster child by Letitia James? Kay Hymowitz tells the real story in a brilliant essay, one that shows why “inequality” is not what’s keeping Dasani in such wretched conditions. Read the whole thing – here are some excerpts:

Chanel, Dasani’s mother and herself the daughter of a welfare-dependent drug addict in Brooklyn, has six children by three different men, a long history of debilitating drug use, an explosive temper, and numerous arrests. Her husband, Supreme, has brought his own drug addiction and two more children by a deceased wife into the mix; Elliott makes vague reference to previous children as well. At some point, Supreme worked as a barber, but as far as we can tell, Chanel has never held a job. In truth, she isn’t much of a mother, either. She is often “listless from methadone”; the family’s room is filled with “piles of unwashed clothes.” Dasani appears to be the primary caretaker of her seven siblings. She wakes up early to change and feed her baby half-sister and get the other children ready for school; understandably, though her school is only two blocks from the shelter, she is chronically late. What role, if any, her parents play in this morning chaos known to every mother and father, rich and poor, is left unsaid.

… True to the progressive spirit, Elliott implies that the structural forces arrayed against Chanel and Supreme are so great that the two are powerless to help their children. (It should be mentioned that in Elliott’s nearly 30,000 words, she makes not a single reference to Dasani’s genuinely invisible father.)

But on several occasions, “Invisible Child” unwittingly reminds us that there might be ways out of the family’s misery. Chanel inherits $49,000 on her mother’s death; within a short time the money is gone, and she can’t figure out where it went. A local charter school, the lifeline for many other poor parents and children, advertises its “rigor and excellence”; Elliott sniffs that it sounds “exclusive.” In the wake of welfare reform—howlingly protested by the New York Times, by the way—Chanel’s mother, Joanie, “turned her life around,” landing a $22,000-a-year job cleaning subway cars. Calling her first day of work the “the happiest day of her life,” she was able to save enough for “a cozy apartment in Bedford Stuyvesant” and to earn a pension that would be inherited—and apparently squandered—by Chanel.

Elliott’s other target—inequality, or “a neighborhood’s profound divide,” as she calls it—reveals the ideology that guides her project. She often refers to Brooklyn’s growing affluence with barely disguised distaste: the gleaming residential towers, the wine store with its sommelier tastings, and “the whims of the wealthy.” The reality is that inequality is a mixed blessing for Dasani. It’s true that before gentrification, Fort Greene was more equal:everyone was poor. Many residents also faced the chronic threat of violence—one scourge, at least, from which Dasani and her family appear relatively free. More important, underclass poverty of the sort that threatens Dasani and her siblings preceded incoming mayor Bill de Blasio’s “tale of two cities” by decades. Ironically, by blurring Bloomberg-era inequality with the perpetual carelessness of Chanel and Supreme, theTimes diminishes those workers who are genuinely struggling with stalled median wages, working poverty, and poor skills.

The reason for this confusion is clear: in the progressive mind, there is only one kind of poverty. It is always an impersonal force wrought by capitalism, with no way out that doesn’t involve massive government help. Progressives blame lack of compassion—and the city’s failure to provide more services—for tragedies like Dasani’s, but they’re mistaken. It in no way excuses the appalling conditions at Auburn or the incompetence of Homeless Services to note that, even if she were living in a four-bedroom apartment, Dasani’s situation would remain awful. The shelter did not cause her mother’s drug problems, violent temper, or indifference to her children’s development and education. Living in an apartment, Dasani will still be late for school because she’s busy feeding and clothing her seven siblings while her jobless parents nod off on methadone.

What Dasani’s story really proves is what progressives don’t want to admit: how tough it is to free a child from the “choices” of her parents. “When they’re happy, I’m happy,” the remarkable Dasani says. “When they’re sad, I’m sad. It’s like I have a connection, like I’m stuck to them like glue.” That’s the thing about kids. Even the best social services cannot unglue them.

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More on the Hartford scandal; it’s creeping closer to Malloy

What's next, my landscaping?

What’s next, my landscaping?

I hold extraordinarily low expectations of politicians, but is there no one in that racket who can resist temptation?

Rowland resurrected.

Republican gubernatorial hopeful Tom Foley called Thursday for a legislative investigation into a state Department of Economic and Community Development loan program — citing the case of Earl O’Garro Jr., an insurance businessman who received two DECD loans totaling more than $350,000, and now is under federal investigation.

Foley …  called O’Garro “the central figure in a federal corruption investigation involving the Treasurer of the City of Hartford” — Adam Cloud – “and members of his family who are closely connected to Governor Malloy.”

State Attorney General George Jepsen’s office now is trying to seize O’Garro’s assets.

Cloud’s father, businessman Sanford Cloud, served on Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s transition team after Malloy’s 2010 election victory over Foley.  O’Garro’s business, Hybrid Insurance Group, moved from Windsor into Hartford two years ago with the help of a $126,000 DECD loan. O’Garro’s paid lobbyist at the state Capitol has been Chris Cloud, brother of Adam Cloud.

Said Foley: “The fact that these two loans were approved in the first place is disturbing.” He said it’s hard to understand the DECD’s “use of state funds to move an 8-person insurance agency from an office in Windsor to an office in Hartford owned by one of the Governor’s closest political supporters.”

The building in which O’Garro leased space, at 30 Lewis St. in Hartford, is owned by members of the Cloud family.

Foley also questioned other Small Business Express program loans or grants – including $5 million in economic aid to Back9Network, a Hartford-based cable golf network. “It was recently reported that the [homosexual, NTTAWWT] spouse of the Governor’s Chief of Staff works for Back9,” Foley said, adding that “Chris Cloud is [Back9’s] lobbyist.”

The Courant reported in its Capitol Watch blog on Dec. 19 that Back9 has hired Jason Veretto, who is the spouse of Malloy’s staff chief Mark Ojakian. Ojakian obtained written clearance from state ethics officials for Veretto, a former mail carrier, to work for Back9 in October 2012. Veretto started as an “independent contractor” there in August 2012, and has been full-time since May 2013, a Back9 spokesman said.

Malloy’s office referred questions Thursday to James Hallinan, state Democratic Party spokesman. Hallinan said: “”By all accounts, the Small Business Express Program has been a success.” He said Foley doesn’t recognize that because he has made “millions” by “buying companies, driving them into bankruptcy, laying off their workers, and stealing their retirement money.”Halliinan said Foley “lies about his road rage incidents…about his election violations, and…about his fundraising practices. …Tom Foley has zero credibility left.”

None of which, of course, addresses the issue, but that’s the standard approach for these things.

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The exodus from the City may take longer than some of us hoped

Bring back the good old days

Bring back the good old days

Christopher Bedford: de Blasio isn’t going to destroy New York (for a while)

[M] any on the right have predicted a public failure for the Big Apple’s social experiment. Some even sound a little excited at the prospect. What better drama to prove conservatives right than a shining city on an island brought low by liberalism unconstrained?

But Rome wasn’t built in a day, and Detroit wasn’t destroyed in one either.

Perched atop the commanding heights of one of the richest cities in the world, Mr. de Blasio has a lot — a lot — of other people’s money, meaning the worst consequences of his policies won’t be felt for years.

By spending years rebuilding damaged communities as well as cracking down on trash, criminals, graffiti, pimps, prostitutes and grime, Mayors Rudy Giuliani and Michael Bloomberg not only helped their city to flourish, they banished the culture of acceptance that held it down.

In 1993, the year before Mr. Giuliani took office, there were 1,960 homicides in New York City — among the highest levels in the country. In 2013, as Mr. Bloomberg left office, the number was 333 — one of the lowest rates in the country. …

It’s a combination of this short memory and the common human failure to appreciate the hard work of others that allows men like Mr. de Blasio to win in the first place. After years of growth in wages and living standards under sound economic governance, the Bill de Blasios of the world find an ear when they call to rob the men and women who drive the growth and hand the loot out to their constituents.

But as mentioned, it’s a sizable haul, and the conservatives predicting imminent anarchy will find themselves more disappointed than the progressives predicting the end of inequality.

… [I] t took Messrs. Giuliani and Bloomberg [years]  to fix the mess that Mr. de Blasio’s predecessors had made, and it will take a few more for the new mayor’s worst policies to be felt.

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See what happens when you let ’em out of the closet?

 

Squeal like a pig, boy

Squeal like a pig, boy

Connecticut football player knifes his gay lover to death.  “Don’t ask, don’t stab” ‘s my motto.

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But did they use solar powered aircraft to accomplish it?

Just hang on for a decade or two - we'll get you!

Just hang on for a decade or two – we’ll get you!

Helicopters fly trapped global warmists to freedom. The mainstream media resolutely refused to mention the goal of these scientists, calling them (unspecified) “researchers”, “tourists”, and “poor little lambs” (I made that one up), but no mention of global warming. Too bad, because they deprived viewers the pleasure of reflecting on the irony of the warmists having to depend on evil, fossil fuel burning rescue vessels and aircraft for their salvation.

UPDATE: Or this:

solar_powered_helicopter

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You think we have tidal surges

 They know how to do things right across the pond . What’s interesting is that these surges “are not unusual”, so the Brits and Irish just continue, as they have for hundreds (thousands) of years. Over here, we’d have every politician in the land shaking their fists and railing against the Koch brothers.

South Wales

South Wales

Pleasure Beach

Pleasure Beach

 

Scotland

Scotland

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I suppose this is the daughter who won’t be managing Malcolm’s car museum

Tina Pray deassecioning family's art collection

Tina Pray  deaccessioning family’s art collection

Tina Pray arrested again.

The daughter of late auto magnate Malcolm Pray was arrested Tuesday after she reported her boyfriend had pulled a gun on her during a domestic dispute.

When Greenwich police units arrived on high alert minutes later, they discovered she had fabricated the story, police said.

Part-time reality TV star Natasha “Tina” Pray, 50, of 80 North Sound Beach Ave., is facing a range of charges stemming from the incident, including two counts of falsely reporting an incident, disorderly conduct and reckless endangerment, among others.

Screen Shot 2014-01-03 at 10.25.41 AM

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