Another blow to the American dream

Come to America, where everyone can become a millionaire.

Thing is, a million ain’t what it used to be.

It’s been a long time since I served with the U.S. Army Special Forces. We liked to think of our special operations units as the “quiet professionals.” We didn’t like to have our pictures taken, we’d keep a low profile, identifying marks on our bodies that weren’t put there by god weren’t approved of. (A friend, Tim G., got busted 2 ranks and put in a shit job for getting “YANKEE” tattooed across his chest just before being shipped to Nicaragua to train people we had no business training). When “Mark Owen” wrote the book “No Easy Day” about the operation to get Bin Laden, I pre-ordered it and read it the weekend I got it.

I didn’t see anything that even remotely seemed like a security leak, or disclosure of classified info or special ops weapons or tactics. I’d read most of Dick Marcinko’s “Red Cell” books- and gleaned a lot more there.

And while it’s OK for Hillary, Bill, and Barack to make millions from their books- apparently, it’s not OK for an enlisted man to make a dime.

Matt Bissonnette, a former member of Navy SEAL Team 6, will probably have to forfeit at least $4.5 million in book royalties over his failure to allow the Pentagon to review his best seller on the Osama bin Laden raid for possible security breaches, according to court documents filed by his lawyer. The documents say Mr. Bissonnette would also have to give up movie rights to his book “No Easy Day,” worth at least $900,000, and would lose the security clearances needed to do military-related consulting work.

via Former Navy SEAL, Author of Bin Laden Best Seller, May Face Costly Penalties, Lawyer Says – NYTimes.com.

Let’s see the differences:

Bissonnette signed a blank check to the people of the United States guaranteed with his life. He trained harder than 99.99% of Americans. He risked his life many times over.

Hillary, Bill and Barack- got elected. They smiled and waved at cameras, told people what they wanted to hear, and took billions in donations to reach their goal. Hell, even Monica Lewinsky got paid for her near toppling of our government over her sloppy blow job.

Charlie Sheen pretended to be a Navy SEAL- and got paid millions. Why shouldn’t Bissonnette? He’d even promised most of the proceeds to go to families of Navy SEALs who were killed in action, although the foundation refused his donations according to Wikipedia sources.

Generals have made millions from their book deals- I’ve got a signed copy of General Tommy Frank’s book, Colin Powell has a book, McChrystal has a book- after he had to resign for talking to Rolling Stone while still on duty. Look at what all the generals get to do once they retire- sit on boards, work for defense contractors, lecture tours.

Guys like Matt who did their dirty work, make up the largest segment of America’s homeless.

The American dream isn’t what it used to be. Even the guys who make it possible for it to continue to survive- have to fight tooth and nail to get their share.

I hope the Pentagon drops this stupidity before they make bigger fools of themselves.

The nadir of American “politics”?

This election, Nov. 4, 2014, may have been where America hit political rock bottom. At least I hope so. Estimates of $3.6 billion wasted on what amounted to an auction of elected office. Voters, disgusted with the lack of respectable and credible candidates stayed home for the most part. Those who voted often felt dirty.

If you need proof that those running this clown show have lost touch with reality, from this morning’s N.Y. Times:

“Barack Obama has our country in a ditch, and many of his lieutenants running for the Senate were right there with him,” said Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee. “The punishment is going to be broad, and it’s going to be pretty serious.”

via Election Results: Republicans Win Senate Control With at Least 7 New Seats – NYTimes.com.

“The punishment” for serving our country? The punishment for trying to work in a system that’s been derailed by dirty money and gerrymandered districts? Where our government actually shut down because of the lack of the most basic skills critical to civilized society- compromise?

I was once chided by none other than former Dayton Mayor Rhine McLin for talking about politicians- when she corrected me with her definition of herself as an elected representative. When will our “elected representatives” start acting like representatives again? What happened to the statesman?

In the city of Dayton- less than 24,000 people voted- of the approximately 100,000 registered voters. Granted I believe the total to be inflated as much as 25,000- but that still says more than half stayed home.

As to our country being “in a ditch” and placing blame unilaterally on Democrats- I truly wonder what we were in when Barack Obama took office? The economy had just disintegrated thanks to Wall Street being run like a casino. We’re still at war, with zero end in sight- even though we still are pretending we’re not. And, while numbers of unemployed are low- we’ve taken so many people off the rolls- and accepted the fact that most workers are now woefully underemployed in sub-living wage hell, that our economy is nothing but a house of cards, ready to implode once again.

The stock market is near record highs- just waiting for a “correction” that will wipe trillions off our general net worth- and yet, the chairman of the Republican party is doing a happy dance with his new-found power.

For the first time in 22 years- the idea of running for office, to make a difference, turns my stomach. If this is the way the game will be played from here on out- it’s one that disgusts me.

If anyone who was elected yesterday, truly believes that it’s because of their skill and merit- other than perhaps Fred Strahorn and Jim Butler, who both faced hapless opposition, they should be ashamed of themselves.

We’re all losing when political office is bought- not won, when campaigns are about mud, not ability and when choices are almost always the lesser of two evils.

Elections that matter- and those that don’t

If the money spent on the Dee Gillis vs. Bill Beagle race were spent on a public works project, or hiring another (or 10) police officers in a rough neighborhood it would matter a lot. Instead, campaigns run by twenty somethings who have no idea about advertising has, or should embarrass both candidates, has been bombarding voters. In the grand scheme of things- one more Democrat in a gerrymandered house of Republicans won’t make a bit of difference. I’ll say this though- when I wrote 4 years ago to vote for Beagle because he wasn’t a career politician like Fred Strahorn- I made a mistake. Beagle is an empty suit, totally incapable of saying where he stands on the tough questions, and doing the repressive parties’ work perfectly.

He doesn’t deserve re-election, no matter how many mailers, TV ads, radio ads, etc., he runs. Strahorn on the other hand, humbled by his defeat, seems to be fully engaged and recognizing that to be a representative isn’t a union job where you can’t get fired for doing the minimum. He’s a way better candidate than the oddballs running against him for the house seat he inherited when Clayton Luckie went off to jail.

I consider myself lucky this election cycle. Due to an abundance of work, I’ve not seen much TV. I never watch our local news which is so negative and worthless I’m surprised we don’t have “breaking news” causing suicides every day. I did happen to catch the Foley ad attacking Mike Nolan which made me wonder why Foley, another life-long politician who thinks it’s his birthright to be elected, felt the need to run it? Polling must be telling his people that his career of smiling and wearing a suit is wearing on people- and that people are just tired of supporting the Royalty of Montgomery County. The good news here is that people can vote for a really good guy who would shake things up- former Dayton Mayor Gary Leitzell, who actually does have the capability to have an original thought- and isn’t having his seat bought for him by the local puppet masters behind the curtain (take a look at Foley’s campaign donations if you want to know who they are.) Full disclosure- Leitzell buys his printing and web hosting from me.

The most important race in the state- for governor was botched by the Ohio Democratic Party with their absolute failure in vetting their candidate. The rest of the Dem ticket fully deserves your support- because with the inevitable Republican landslide due to gerrymandering in the House and Senate (which is one elected body too much for our state) we’re doomed to more bull like “Jobs Ohio” which is just a political slush fund to hand out tax dollars to big business as if it’s play money.

For the top spot- I’m voting Green Party. Although they have no chance of winning, if they get over 2% of the vote, a major obstacle for their party goes away statewide- the requirements of getting way more signatures than the major parties to run. This would provide ballot access to many and give us a sliver of a chance of having a real choice at election time instead of the lesser of two evils.

Speaking of vetting- the race between two veterans for Ohio 41 is another case of party failure- although Wayne Small is a really nice guy, as is Jim Butler, Small has basically run a non-existent campaign, and may not be capable of handling the job if elected.  Not that he has a chance against the machine in the first place. Full disclosure- I printed signs and used to host Small’s site when he ran for Riverside council, and I’ve printed some things for the Butler campaign.

The only race where you can really send a message is the Oh-10 congressional race, where Mike Turner has gotten way too comfy doing whatever he pleases. Much like the Eric Cantor race upset, sending school teacher Robert Klepinger to represent us would be a shot heard across the nation- and give our country a chance at not being totally taken over by corporate and special interest money. Turner may be the only one in the country who still thinks nuclear weapons are a great idea- and while claiming to “work for WPAFB” so many times he sounds like a guy with a string you pull out of his back- and out comes the same dogma- he voted to shut the base down. We could have some integrity in office in a place it matters by just saying no to the bum in office. Full disclosure I printed bumper stickers for Klepinger.

The sad thing is that even if we “throw the bums out,” our system is being so co-opted by money, parties run like fraternities, and the glacial speed of change by government- that very few seats matter much, no matter how many ads they run. The only people who are benefiting from our woefully inadequate system of choosing figureheads only benefits the major media- who without this huge cash infusion would be struggling like the rest of us.

Hail to the losers and the victors for keeping broadcast TV, newspapers and the US Mail in business.
00
We’re all screwed until we take the money out of politics and put the emphasis back on statesmanship.

The Sexist Selective Service System

Selective Service Manual cover with the words "No Girls Allowed" superimposed

Selective Service System is still a good ole boys club

When I turned 18, I went to the post office and registered for Selective Service. About 6 months later, I volunteered to enter the U.S. Army, where I served with women who weren’t required to register.

From the Selective Service System website:

Almost all male U.S. citizens, and male immigrants living in the U.S., who are 18 through 25, are required to register with Selective Service. It’s important to know that even though he is registered, a man will not automatically be inducted into the military. In a crisis requiring a draft, men would be called in sequence determined by random lottery number and year of birth. Then, they would be examined for mental, physical and moral fitness by the military before being deferred or exempted from military service or inducted into the Armed Forces.

via Selective Service System: Fast Facts.

I hadn’t given it much thought lately until I heard a PSA on WDPS reminding young men to register. It warned that failure to register could stop eligibility for “student financial aid, loans, or grants; vocational training under WIA; government employment; and security clearances.”

In light of changes to the rules about women in combat, as of Jan. 24, 2013, when:

a unanimous recommendation by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta today announced the end of the direct ground combat exclusion rule for female service members.

via Defense.gov News Article: Defense Department Expands Women’s Combat Role.

it would seem to me that it is discriminatory to force the “Selective Service System” only on men, and only penalize men for not registering for the draft that probably would never happen. It’s time to level the playing field and ask women to make the same commitment to their country as men, if they also want access to financial aid, loans, grants, etc.

It’s been a long time for this country to live up to the words of the founding fathers – in our Declaration of Independence, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Women can vote, women can go to war, women can become presidential candidates- it’s time for women to register for the Selective Service System.

 

Who did you elect? Who you gonna call? Database 102 for Boards of Elections

On Friday, I was talking to Jan Kelly, the director of the Montgomery County Board of Elections. about a form. Trying to figure out how to accurately fill it out- and the cold hard fact was, it requested information that was totally impossible for a voter, or even the person in charge of checking that form to know what the answer was. The correct way to fill this form out was to leave information required blank.

Bad form design aside, how to find the simplest information about who and what we elect, what the qualifications for each and every public office, term dates, forms required, processes to follow are all over the place online- making getting into elected office way more complicated than it has to be. While the axiom of running government like a business is a common crutch for clueless political wannabes, the reality is that even the way to buy elected office is such a convoluted process that if elected office were an online store, it wouldn’t make very many sales.

The Montgomery County Board of Elections has an online portal to tell you if you are registered and where to vote (it’s recently been fixed so that it will even allow those without a middle name to get their information, a flaw identified by this site a few weeks ago) it doesn’t have the ability to tell you all the people who represent you and their offices.

Who represents you?

We often see a little blurb at the end of newspaper articles about how to contact your congressman with their address and phone number, but, who represents you on the State Board of Elections, who is your coroner, your party precinct captain, your county engineer, your state Supreme Court justices? Good luck at finding all that information in one place, yet isn’t this the most fundamental part of a representative democracy?

One of the reasons we have so many elections is because we have so many offices to fill and we’re attempting not to overload and confuse the voters. It’s one of the reasons the big political parties hand out the official “Endorsed candidate slate list” because, frankly, it’s too hard for most voters to fathom who they should vote for in each election without one- especially when the ballot contains candidates like judges who don’t show their party affiliation on the ballot (at least this used to be the case, I’m not even sure of where this stands right now in Ohio).

I also often get calls asking what the qualifications are for office- not just where you have to live, your age, your experience, but what petitions, deadlines, etc., are required to run for U.S. Congress- you don’t actually have to live in the district you are planning to represent, nor do you have to be born in the U.S., but to run for president you have to be born in the U.S. and have to be at least 35. As to how many signatures are required- it depends on if you are running as a candidate of a major political party or not. All these details should be available to each and every voter. For instance, even though it’s not an elected position- you don’t have to be a lawyer or have gone to law school to be on the U.S. Supreme Court- although it’s very unlikely that Congress (a body made up of a lot of lawyers) would ever confirm a non-lawyer to the bench these days, although as recently as 1941 we had a high-school dropout appointed to the bench.

The last justice to be appointed who did not attend any law school was James F. Byrnes (1941-1942). He did not graduate from high school and taught himself law, passing the bar at the age of 23.

via- Supreme Court FAQ

It would seem to me that knowing who represents you, how to contact them, the requirements of the office and the forms to file should all be available to every voter, with a simple look-up of their address, just like they have for where you vote. This should be required by law, across the land, and every effort should be made to simplify and reduce the number of forms (see this page on the Ohio secretary of state’s office for the really long list of required forms: http://www.sos.state.oh.us/sos/elections/electionsofficials/forms.aspx) My really rough count came up at 238 (not including the ones in Spanish).

The SOS site does have a page with a general description of what is voted on in the next election here: http://www.sos.state.oh.us/sos/elections/Voters/whatsontheballot/whatsOnBallot.aspx

There aren’t enough hours in the day, or dollars you could pay me to try to list all the offices from party precinct captains up to POTUS, but I’m pretty sure the list would overwhelm each and every one of you if it was readily accessible. If we want to see any real reduction of government, or better efficiencies via regionalism, this would be an amazing place to start- a simple look-up by address, of every person you are expected to elect, complete with requirements for office, terms, pay, duties and who currently sits in it.

For the closest example of anything remotely like an information page for running for office- see this page from Armstrong County, Pa.: http://www.co.armstrong.pa.us/departments/public-services/elections-votersregistration/running-for-public-office New York state also has a page: http://www.elections.ny.gov/RunningOffice.html

VoteSmart.org has a look-up list that’s semi-useful, but far from complete or up-to-date: http://votesmart.org/search?q=45410&cx=004674700904797117618%3Aiqzskagjgeo&cof=FORID%3A11#.UwnzGl6gaXQ (Gary Leitzell is still Mayor!). Common Cause has an even less complete version here: http://www.commoncause.org/siteapps/advocacy/search.aspx?c=dkLNK1MQIwG&b=4860375

What do you think?

Veterans day shouldn’t be one day only.

A friend in advertising posted this video on Facebook, it had over four million views yesterday and close to 8 million today.

He said “We look, but do we see?”

He’s an award-winning copywriter and his perspectives are often insightful, thought provoking and almost always pithy. He says more with less than most I know. I watched the video, mostly because he was recommending it- and it had a before and after pic- and the before had “US ARMY VETERAN” superimposed. I’m in that group, I should watch.

The video, which I assume you’ve now watched, shows a guy getting a haircut and a suit. This somehow is supposed to say we’ve transformed a homeless drunk vet into a productive, acceptable part of society. When the call for donations came at the end- it just felt shameless to me. Ripping off the Dove “Evolution of Beauty” award-winning spot is one thing- turning it into a donation machine is another.  For those of you who don’t know about the Dove spot- it’s an award-winning ad that isn’t an ad for Dove:

When I see this “Homeless Veteran Timelapse Transformation” I see propagation of a stereotype of our veterans. That somehow, we all become drunk, homeless, unemployed. Yes, I full well know that the unemployed figures tell us that something like 26% of our vets are unemployed- about the same rate as minority high school dropouts or maybe a little higher. But, there are a lot of veterans who aren’t unemployed- or drunks or drug users. In fact, there are a whole bunch of them who own businesses and hire other veterans. Check out the National Veteran Owned Business Association NaVOBA, an organization that’s run by vets to help grow awareness for supporting the notion of “Buying Veteran.”

Many states have adopted preferences for buying from vet-owned businesses. Unfortunately, Ohio isn’t one of them. When you consider that Raj Soin, an Asian Indian built MTC into a global powerhouse based on being an 8a firm (one the government gives preference to based on being minority owned) and that government contracts go to 8a’s ahead of those owned by Service Disabled Veteran Owned Businesses SDVOBs, you have to wonder if our country really values its veterans.  I don’t know the exact stat- but, I do know that veteran-owned businesses are way more likely to hire vets than non-veteran owned businesses- and that vets better understand other vets. It’s time this country stopped paying lip-service to military service and put SDVOBs at the top of the pecking order for government contracts.

The other change that needs to happen in government contracting to put real teeth into a buy veteran preference program is that size standards for “small businesses” not include companies that gross $150M a year. Really? That’s a small business? Changing the requirements for a GSA schedule (an overly complicated contract with the government to provide goods and services at an “appropriate” rate) from being a 200-page plus monstrosity to something more like a 1040ez for small businesses under $10M a year. This is a proposal I wrote back in 2005 that got about a minute’s worth of attention on the Hill. GSA EZ Schedule Proposal

There is an old proverb- give a man a fish and eats for a day, teach him how to fish and he eats for a lifetime. If our country wants to help our vets, who now make up around only a single percent of our population, yet give us the freedom and protect our democracy, from enemies foreign and domestic as the saying goes- it’s time to build a more friendly vet support network. A haircut and a suit are just window dressing.

Jobs and opportunities are what will make the difference.

Thank you for your service to all my veteran brethren. May your sacrifices never be forgotten or in vain.

 

Random morality

General Petraeus should have resigned as CIA director, not for having an affair, but for being stupid. When decisions you make aren’t measured by profits and losses but by lives lost and history being made, you don’t have time to be sneaking around to have sex. In this case, the likelihood of a fellow West Point graduate being a spy is nill, but the chance of being inaccessible when something like Benghazi is taking place is inexcusable.

As the saying goes, with great power, comes great responsibility.

But the right wing nut-job idea that exposing this the day after election day and the delays are some kind of way to stop the General from testifying about Benghazi is ludicrous. I think the General has more to fear from his wife than he does from a Congressional investigation. Sixty years of work building credibility as a trustworthy leader just came crashing down in a very public way. The man knew he’d screwed up and accepted it. Time for the country to move on.

However, the idea that the four deaths in Benghazi are somehow more important than the deaths of over 6,000 US service men and women in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is where we really need to examine our moral compasses. Where is the outrage over the failings of 2 presidents to end these meaningless wars? And, when you put things in perspective, the loss of US lives pales to the numbers of Iraqis and Afghans that have died.

There are somethings that you just can’t do in some professions. Airline pilots shouldn’t be drunk or high on the job, firefighters shouldn’t be out of shape, police officers shouldn’t be visually impaired, and chiefs of our spook service shouldn’t be caught sneaking around.

But, then again, is extra-marital sex really any of our business? Should it be? Had the General been single would this have been an issue? Had he still been in the Army, Paula Broadwell is clearly a subordinate as a Lt. Col. and he would have not had any business sleeping with her. But, he was CIA director at the time of the affair and UCMJ doesn’t apply. As a single man, he would have been showing bad judgement by risking the wrath of an angry husband, who may be slightly intimidated by the fact that this man has the power to order people detained or killed (arguably not US Citizens, but even that line is getting fuzzy). The job he has requires a focus and level of integrity that just doesn’t allow for this kind of distraction. The coordination of an illicit rendezvous, sucks time and energy out of a person who has a position that isn’t forgiving of lapses in concentration and focus.

This isn’t a congressman, who isn’t on the clock 24/7/365, this is the CIA director.

Of course, the next question is what about the president? Did Bill Clinton deserve to fall for an extra-marital blow-job by an unmarried intern? In the sliding scale of things, the real damage here was between Bill and Hillary and not one for the public. Yes, Monica Lewinsky managed to take our country off track with her actions, but, in the grand scheme of things- this is because we set some kind of impossible standard for morality among our leaders that isn’t shared by other nations. People do have sex, the question to ask is how many people were affected? Clinton’s whereabouts are known 24/7- and other than the embarrassment of his private business being exposed, blackmail shouldn’t have been an issue, nor should his ability to perform his job been questioned. In fact, shouldn’t all leadership have some down time allowed?

Should we have hard and fast rules about adultery and competency? Or should it be on a case-by-case basis? The critical questions shouldn’t be about the sex- but, about the risks that are taken. Had Broadwell been single, the only question should have been who, other than the General’s wife didn’t know about his whereabouts and if it impacted his job. Had he still been in the Army, UCMJ should be applied. The only remaining question is if Lt. Col. Broadwell will get busted under UCMJ for clearly violating the standards, if she doesn’t, then, and only then should we question the true nature of this political hot-potato.

The news cycle has once again been derailed, from the important matters of negotiating our way off the self-imposed “fiscal cliff” to how we’re going to fund our schools and local government if our economy doesn’t take a radical turn. The real damage of the growing disparity between the rich and the poor is a much greater threat to national security than where a general sticks his privates.

 

Inspector Gotcha at work in Vandalia

Last night we heard both Presidential candidates talk about being pro-small business.

What we needed to hear was that if either was elected, “Inspector Gotcha” would be put on America’s Most Wanted List and hunted like Bin Laden.

Thanks to Vandalia, we get to see another prime example of stupidity in power:

One building code issue remains unresolved between the city and the new Scene 75 entertainment complex on Poe Ave. near Wyse Rd. next to Interstate 75.

The city says the fire alarm system isn’t loud enough. Scene 75 owners say it meets code, especially since it is teamed with a visual system.

Until the issue is resolved, an occupancy permit will not be issued and the building will continue to operate under a temporary permit.“We think we’re in compliance,” said Les Sandler, part of the ownership group of Scene 75, which opened in early July. “We have two systems, a sound system and a sight system. The place lights up when the system goes off.

“We’re continuing dialogue with the city. We’ll get past this.”Vandalia building inspector Ted Baker informed the city council in a work session this week the sound system for the alarm is not enough, especially on weekends when 1,000 or more people are in the building, which contains a restaurant, bar and snack areas and several entertainment venues such as go-karts, miniature golf and a 4-D theatre.

“The system designed on paper met code,” said Vandalia building inspector Ted Baker, “but it didn’t pass muster when it went into the field.

”Because of that, Scene 75 has been granted three occupancy extensions as long as firemen are on the scene as a temporary measure in what is called a “fire watch” in case there are problems.

via City, Scene 75 in dispute over fire alarm system | www.daytondailynews.com.

Let’s be absolutely clear- the system meets code. However, if there is a fire, Inspector Gotcha doesn’t think’s that Scene 75’s patrons will be able to hear the alarm and will stand around, despite the lights all coming on, sirens going- and continue to play their games as if nothing is going on. Employees, who have been trained on evacuation techniques and procedures, will also stand around either mute, or will high tail it out, leaving the video gamers and go-cart drivers to fry into crispy critters because, well- the sirens aren’t loud enough.

This has caused the owners of Scene 75, or the citizens of Vandalia to pay to have firemen on the scene while Scene 75 is open (over 3 months) and frustrate and hassle a new small business that has more important things to focus on.

While I’m sure Inspector Gotcha thinks he is doing his job, this isn’t the seventies or the Beverly Hills Supper Club. The risk to the owners of Scene 75 of not having a system and procedures to evacuate a building in case of a fire is clear and they have met code. It’s time to stop Inspector Gotcha from rewriting the laws on the spot. If government bureaucrats had their livelihood on the line and had to take responsibility for their actions, we wouldn’t see this kind of pedantic, capricious behavior.

This is the kind of over-regulation small business really worries about, and the kind that Wall Street Banks aren’t.

Fire Inspector Gotcha now- and let Scene 75 have their occupancy permit.

Misguided government waste

As a small business, registered in Central Contractor Registry,  now called SAM. I get asked to bid on various projects based on our NAICS codes (an arcane government numbering system that identifies what your business does with a numeric code) through Fed Biz Ops, the central clearinghouse for government contracts over $25K.

As an ad agency, we supply ad specialties for our clients, so that is one of our NAICS codes. For those of you who don’t know what an “ad specialty” is- it’s also referred to as “trash and trinkets” – or trade show bait, or “ad promotional materials.”

Common items run from pens and notepads – all the way to custom engraved iPads.

So when I see an Air Force buyer looking for trash and trinkets for a “Sexual Awarness Prevention and Response Campaign (SAPR) Supplies” I really have to wonder? What, we don’t want people to be “sexually aware” (we’re preventing it right?) or telling people how to respond to sexually aware people (those who didn’t get the training).

The logo- says it’s a “Sexual Assault Prevention Response Program”- so it’s already looking like someone is trying to cover something up.

Here is the link to the RFQ: https://www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportunity&mode=form&id=1c4369dc2ebb279d41c78ff6c09c517e&tab=core&_cview=1

And here is what they want prices on:

:
F1C0BW1259A002
:
Combined Synopsis/Solicitation
:
Added: Sep 22, 2011 3:32 am

This is a combined synopsis/solicitation for commercial items prepared in accordance with the format in Subpart 12.6, as supplemented with additional information included in this notice. This announcement constitutes the only solicitation; quotes are being requested and a written solicitation will not be issued. This solicitation, F1C0RH1259A002, is being issued as a Request for Quotation (RFQ). This solicitation document and incorporated provisions and clauses are those in effect through Federal Acquisition Circular (FAC) 2005-53. This procurement is a 100% Small Business set-aside IAW FAR 19.502-2(a). The NAICS code is 541890 and the small business size standard is $7,000,000.00. The following commercial items are requested in this solicitation:

Logo for USAF HQ Sexual Assault Prevention Response Program

Is it Sexual Assault Prevention Response Program or Sexual Awareness Prevention Response Program?

NOTE: SAPR Stock logo is provided. See attached pdf.

CLIN 0001 – Collapsible Can Cooler
Quantity: 750ea
Color: Teal
Folds flat; pocket/ purse storage
Printed SAPR Logo with “Andersen AFB 366-SARC”

CLIN 0002 – Circular Keyring (chrome)
Quantity: 250ea
SAPR Logo with “Andersen AFB 366-SARC”
(Laser engraved)
CLIN 0003 – Stainless Bottle (25 oz.)
Quantity: 400ea
Color: Teal
Height: Appx. 9 inches
Printed SAPR Logo with “Andersen AFB 366-SARC”

CLIN 0004- Leather-bound Journal with ruled pages,
business card holder and pen loop.
Dimensions: 8.5″H x 6.5″W x 0.75″L
Quantity: 50ea
Embossed with with SAPR logo

CLIN 0005- Insulated Cooler Drawstring Cinch Bag
Nylon exterior; adjustable nylon cord w/
shoulder straps
Quantity: 400ea
Color: Teal
Printed SAPR logo with “Andersen AFB 366-SARC”

CLIN 0006- Tumbler (15 oz.)
Quantity: 50ea
Double wall construction with stainless steel liner; leather holder; removable sleeve.
Printed SAPR logo

Somehow, giving away can stainless water bottles or insulated cooler cinch bags is somehow going to prevent either “sexual assault” or “sexual awareness”?

This is in a country where we can barely give our kids proper sex ed, and the idea of distributing free condoms to youths most at risk of either getting preggers or STDs is against the law?

Despite the problems with the horrible logo- which won’t screen print or engrave easily, the whole idea of our government spending around $20K on trash and trinkets, just before year end, as our government is bordering on bankruptcy has to make someone wonder.

I know this is less than rounding error on a sub-sub-sub line item of just the Air Force budget, but, as an American – working as a contracting officer, shouldn’t you be putting your foot down? This mess might have been caused by Congress- but there is nothing stopping government employees from asking real questions like “What is an engraved keyring going to do to stop sexual assault?”

So much for photo ID at the polling places

While Republicans in Ohio have been busy trying to use smoke and mirrors to distract from the real issues at hand- by wasting time with stupid ideas like requiring state-issued photo IDs at  polling places, to combat a self-proclaimed “voter fraud” issue that doesn’t exist- the Chinese have already a foot in their door to help in the subversion of the American voting system….

uh, that was total BS.

Yep, instead of laying down the law and eliminating over half of our Podunk jurisdictions by state mandate, the Republicans are worried about people voting 2x or more, to sway elections. This is SUCH a widespread problem (gag).

And yes, the Chinese do play a part in it- because for about $100 you can get a most excellent, number one, knockoff of an Ohio driver’s license via the Internet:

The counterfeit version of Ohio’s driver’s license has been intercepted by federal authorities in at least two cities with international mail facilities — Chicago and Cincinnati. But countless IDs have reached college students and others who ordered them online.“It is a considerable problem that we’re dealing with,” said Robert Booker Jr., executive director of the Ohio Investigative Unit, an agency within the Department of Public Safety that enforces liquor laws.

via Fake IDs contain features of real ones | The Columbus Dispatch.

Fake Press ID for David Esrati

With a $.99 app, I'm a member of the Press

In a story the DDN ran in the print edition of today’s paper- the Columbus Dispatch uncovers a dirty little secret- that IDs are still easy to forge. They do claim that the Chinese knock-offs don’t have the right data encoded on the magstripe- but, in all my years, the only places I’ve seen the magstripe swiped for data has been in c asinos and a tech trade show. Besides, any smart college student can re-encode a magstripe pretty easily. Doing a search on fake ID generators online gives you a ton of choices- I just bought an iPhone App for .99 that allows you to become a secret agent, Lifeguard or a member of the Heineken Party Squad- seriously.

Ohio supposedly upgraded the security of the IDs this year to meet federal standards, but this will take at least a few years to fully propagate.

The real problems with our elections have nothing to do with voters, it has to do with the systems we have for drawing districts, what positions we elect people to (the coroner? really?) the processes for getting on the ballot, the way the local boards of elections are staffed by political patronage and last but not least our arcane methods of how we register and track voters and how we go to vote (that 78-year-old woman at the polls is really going to be able to tell a fake ID?).

Ohio has election problems galore- but they won’t be solved with photo IDs or by the politicians we have- they’ll only be solved when we totally reinvent the state’s way of divvying up power. First to go are urban townships, next to go are cities smaller than 25% of a county’s population- and we even could reduce the number of counties- by half and not miss anything.

But instead- let’s blame the Chinese for helping subvert Ohio’s election process, it’s a lot easier than fixing what’s really broke.