The US Government and You

What, you may well ask, is my government doing for me right now? 1 Well you may ask!

In anticipation of November’s general election your typical Federal worker is biding his time. That’s right – he’s cleaning his desk, finishing up old work and projects, leaving early to go golf and in general not doing much.

Fire the bastard!, you might say. Good idea, except for one small detail – there’s really no one left to fire him. Here’s how that works.

When a new President is elected he normally puts his ‘own’ people into important roles, such as “Cabinet Level Positions.” The current cabinet (sans cabinet level administrative positions like VP, Chief of Staff, Director of National Intelligence, etc etc etc) is comprised of the following:

Secretary of State, Secretary of the Treasury, Secretary of Defense, Attorney General, Secretary of the Interior, Secretary of Agriculture, Secretary of Commerce, Secretary of Labor, Secretary of Health and Human Services, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Secretary of Transportation, Secretary of Energy, Secretary of Education, Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Secretary of Homeland Security.

Each of these posts are WH appointees. They are appointed by, and serve at the pleasure of, the President. Which means Shrub can fire them at will. Which also means that Obama can, and most certainly will, fire all of them upon his arrival in the White House. 2

Each of these individuals head Departments that contain any number of Agencies and Offices. Those Agencies and Offices in turn employ up to hundreds of thousands of Feds and contractors. Let’s use the DOJ as an example. Click here and keep it open as we talk…ready? Okay.

Notice how many organizations fall under DOJ? Each of them has an Administrator, who appoints a Deputy Administrator who usually appoints an Assistant Deputy Administrator who recommends a CIO, CSO and CFO, who pick Associate CIOs, CSOs & CFOs for each Agency or Office, whom then appoint or suggest Directors for each Division in their area, who then hire Branch Chiefs who pick their Team Leads to manage the worker bees…

Fun isn’t it? At this exact moment every Fed of the position Director upward is busily sending out resumes to private practice in order to get a jump on the upcoming exodus.

Which means that in many, if not most cases, Federal policy is being set and implemented by brave/adventuresome/crazy GS-12/13s. These employees are not usually in supervisory positions and, even if they were, would tend not to discipline their fellow workers for the nominal salary of $50-70 K P/A (special rates excluded here).

Hence, what is occurring in Government at many, many, many levels right now is what is referred to as ‘In-House Annual’. Isn’t that special? What is more fun is that it will take the new White House Administration – no matter who wins- up to a year (after next January 20th) to firmly place all of their new people and get their policies up and running.

And that’s only if the incoming Administration is very, very effective.

A very few of you will find this comforting. More than a few will be jealous. A whole lot of you will be aghast. Fear not, common citizen – some of us are still hard at work!

For example…

If you were a bad guy trying to steal nuclear material in America, where would you look? That’s right – Berkeley, California.

The Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, operated by the University of California for the US Department of Energy, would be an excellent place to look!

There, surrounded by multi-story steel-mesh fencing, a chain-gun land mined ‘no-mans’ area, sci-fi electronic security gear, armed guards and overhead cables to prevent a helicopter/sky-divers landing on the roof, sits something known as the “Superblock.” Inside the Superblock 3 reposes roughly 2,000 pounds of plutonium and weapons-grade uranium.

You do the math on how many nukes that would make.

Let’s say that some employees of the DOJ recently got off their collective duffs and simulated a terror attack against those defenses. Let’s say a commando team posing as terrorists attacked and penetrated the lab, quickly overpowering its defenses to reach its “objective” – a mock payload of fissile material. Way to go, Team! Hu-aaah!!!! Yea…wait, what?

It appears there are a number of serious security ‘shortcomings’ at Livermore. 4

Congressional staff from both parties were informed of the episode, and experts familiar with Livermore said the tests were…er…”an embarrassment” and that “immediate steps” were needed to correct what some called “the most dangerous security weaknesses ever found at the lab.”

Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman 5 was informed, as well as “senior officials in the U.S. nuclear and national security apparatus.”

Someone will get right on that…

What about the Internetz, Google and your Government?

Well, aside from your US Government buying $3.5 million dollars worth of CISCO hardware…that wasn’t really CISCO hardware but Chinese knockoffs, things are really, really good!

The Air Force is proposing to build its own zombie network, so it can launch distributed denial of service attacks on foreign enemies! Yea, Go Team!

In its best idea since the gay bomb, the Air Force wants to deliberately install DDoS code on its unclassified computers, as well as civilian government machines. And suggests mounting botnet code on the Air Force’s high-speed intrusion-detection systems, allowing a quick response by directly linking our counterattack to the system that detects an incoming attack.

After that, the Air Force could add botnet code to all its desktop computers attached to the Nonsecret Internet Protocol Network (NIPRNet). Once the system reaches a level of maturity, it would add other .mil computers, then .gov machines.

Hmmmm… on its surface, this seems -at best- a Strangelovian ideas.

I mean – the Air Force seems to think that building a massively distributed computing system to, essentially, flood the Internets with more as a defensive measure is a great idea.


What about all the, you know, other networks in-between the Air Force and the ‘enemy’?

On the other hand…

In’t this already 6 in place?

Didn’t the telco duopoly install direct fiber links into all those new top secret government communications hubs? 7 If so, what’s to stop the telcos from providing a mirror of all the data streams for, you know, ‘national defense’ or warrant-less surveillance reasons?

The entire world knows -and seemly cares less- that the telcos spread their legs to The Dark Lord and Shrub; why would they not have also provided the staging point needed to covertly alter routes & dynamically modify or delete content, to include initiating brand-new traffic on-demand?

I mean: how are YOU going to know, right?

From outside a telco the end result will look just the same. Inside, The Matrix.

DCS 1000/2000, Magic Lantern, Carnivore (and their recently distributed automated progeny) have already positioned the US to impersonate the entire Internetz with the flip of a switch, so the idea of recycling old 386 boxes into botnets is probably meant to make stupid people 8 believe that nothing really sophisticated will happen for a few more decades, so knock yourselves out! Let the cyber crime spree begin! That’s a damn good, sneaky idea… Wait.

They’re going to funnel it thriugh all those bogus CISCO switches, routers and firewalls from China, aren’t they?

Crap. Maybe next time…

Well, that’s that. That’s pretty much what your government is up to right now. There may be a bake sale later this summer, or the Armed Forces could implode, or maybe the elections will be suspended because of an ‘event’. Only time will tell.

Buy Bonds!

WNBTv - Good TV!

Show 8 footnotes

  1. Aside from sponsoring the long running Iraqi Games, the current Obama/Clinton Cage Match and supposedly sending you money, I mean.
  2. Or McCain, for that matter; but why depress ourselves needlessly?
  3. Building 332 to be exact.
  4. For example the hydraulic system -essential to operating a Gatling gun that protects the facility- flat out failed. No backup.
  5. Who took a break from brushing up his what? That’s right – resume!
  6. illegally
  7. Conveniently co-located on the other side of the drywall from major backbone switching hubs.
  8. Who are just searching for porn. Or writing blogs. Whatever: they aren’t paying attention.

Blog Wars…Not

David Perlmutter, Associate Dean for Graduate Studies & Research in the William Allen White School of Journalism & Mass Communications at the University of Kansas just completed taping a segment with Jon Stewart for an upcoming TDS.

As the blurb on the TDS site announces, author of Blog Wars, “analyzes how blogs have transformed the electoral landscape.”

There is not a definitive air date yet (or if there is I missed it; an assist, please?) but I’m sure if you Tivo the show for the next couple of nights you’ll catch Professor Perlmutter. Short of that, you can go to his site and actually READ his thoughts. Conversely, you can hit the TDS site er…daily…and look for the clip.

Professor Perlmutter was part of an open seminar on blogging vs traditional news hosted by and at KSHB 2 Saturdays ago.

In a related story, Christa Dubill -who also attended said seminar and blogs as part of her duties at KSHB- pens a post concerning KC’s Best Burger. In a blatant snub, X.O.‘s burger was nowhere on the list. 1 2

Happy viewing.

WNBTv - Good TV!

UPDATE: The Pitch posted the interview -from last night- on their site later this morning.


Show 2 footnotes

  1. Perhaps Mrs. Dubill is unaware that X.O. is on speaking terms with IronMan and could have her thoroughly thrashed, eh? Or tkc, for that matter.
  2. Though I believe Warren has offered to take that little job firmly in hand.


“Dood! Where were you?”

Warren slowly slinks under the couch.

Damn – now I feel bad. I know if I raise my voice to him Warren believes I’m going to smack his nose with a newspaper, put a boot to his ribs or some other god-awful behavior. I took him away in years ago from his first owner -–now deceased– who treated him like dirt; much like humans, dogs get hard-wired by their earliest experiences. Also like people, they almost never overcome them.

Calmly then, I try again.

“Warren. Come out from under the sofa, dood. I only want to talk. I was just surprised when I got up and you were missing, that’s all.”

His sniffling snout pokes out from under the couch, tests the air for violence molecules.

“I didn’t think you were going to get out of bed,” his quiet voice quavers.

“Uh…all day?”

“Well, yeah,” defensive with just a touch of sarcasm. “You were so baked last night you were talking to the refrigerator before you stumbled upstairs.”

(Yesterday Nora gathered the Astas and had swept them all out toward the center of Kansas in an effort to find her grandparents’ birthplace. I know she had mentioned this to me at one point, as well as why she was doing it, but…I forgot. Sans conscience, I may have…overindulged last night.)

“I might have smoked more than usual,” I allowed.

“More than usual?” Warren’s positively barking now – a good sign. “More than usual!? Dood, you were so stoned that I thought you’d float right off the couch.”

“All right. Be that as it may,” trying for gravitas, “what’s up with the disappearing act?”

“Well, like I said, I didn’t think you were going to rise before 4 or 5 today and I needed to get down to Volker Park.”

“Warren, nobody calls it that any more.”

“You do.”

I have to think about that, which doesn’t go well as I’m a bit foggy. mouth’s a little dry, too. I amble into the kitchen and pull open the fridge door looking for…yes! I pull out an old fashioned, long neck orange soda bottle and look around the counter-tops for a church key. Nothing. Check the dining room and find it on a sideboard. Pop the top and take a long drink.

Out of the corner of my eye I see movement and realize I hadn’t closed the blinds last night on the sliding glass doors leading out to the patio; Jennifer from next door is smiling, waving and laughing while she’s cutting her grass. Great neighbor. I wave back.

I amble back into the living room and sit on the couch, idly scratching my nuts.

“Man, if you haven’t showered yet Nora’s gonna kill you,” Warren says.


“Dood, go get dressed – you’re disgusting.”

I check. Yep, he’s right – I’m bare assed. And if I mark Nora’s couch I’ll be in Warren’s house for a week while he lounges indoors. Still…

“Warren? I’m disgusting? Dood, have you ever seen me, at any point, lick my dick?”

“That’s only because you’re as limber as a wood plank. Go get dressed; humans look funny without any clothes. Hey! Is that the last of the ‘good’ sodas? ’cause if it is, I want some.”

I’ve a neighbor who, due to medical complications, has a script for legal smoke. The place where he picks it up also has THC infused soda – he always brings me by a 6 pack.

“There’s another one left in the fridge, help yourself.”

“Very funny, asshole.”

I find and don some clothes and return to the living room.

“Okay, so where did you go?”

Warren sighs. “I just told you, Volker Park. There was an AIDS walk starting there this morning that I promised to do with Butch, Fred and Seymour. All of their owners got up early and drove them down so I couldn’t catch a ride. When I saw you weren’t going to get up in time I just jumped the fence and walked; it’s only a couple miles down Oak.”

“Oh.” Now I do feel bad; Warren’s a committed do-gooder and I had promised I would get him to Volker early enough to meet his friends. “How was it?”

“Good. Good. I met everyone, we scarfed down a ton of trash and left-overs and then Fred got sick everywhere, which was cool ‘cause Seymour was still hungry…”

“Okay, okay, enough.”

“Anyhow, it was good. But what was better was when all the people went to march on the Plaza I cut across Oak and was messing around in the parking lot of KSHB when an intern stepped out for a smoke. She petted me for a good 10 minutes before her pager went off.”

“Cool – I know how you like that. Did she scratch behind your ears?”

“Oh, yeah! That was the best. You know how my back right leg gets to thumpin’ when it’s done just right? Like that…anyhow, she has to go back in and I slip in the door behind her, just because, you know? And I look around the building a little, it kind of reminds me of the last animation house you worked at in LA, remember? Tape room, sound-stage, floor, switcher room, yadda yadda yadda. I can smell doughnuts bagels n’ stuff so I sneak upstairs. Sure enough, in the first big room I find, there’s the food. I amble in, take a doughnut and settle in under a table to eat it and maybe take a nap when folks start to enter and take seats.”

My soda is almost gone and I’m considering drinking the last one. “So, staff meeting or what?”

“No, man, that’s the funny part. Bloggers.”

“What? Bloggers? In a TV studio? Why?”


“I’m thirsty.”

“Okay, wait a minute…” I go into the kitchen, pour the rest of the orange soda in his dog dish and bring it out. Then I return to the kitchen and get the last good soda for myself.

“Okay, dog, give: what about the bloggers?”

He’s already lapped up all the soda and is snuffling around his dish, licking up any stay atom of moisture that might have escaped. Satisfied he’s got it all, he turns sits back on his haunch, half twists his body and lowers his head to lick…

“Dood, give it a rest!”

“sluuuurp…okay, okay. So it seems that the KC Press Club was hosting a seminar on the ethics of blogging at the studio. In fact the station manager – a Steve Kuat – was ‘moderating’ the event, though if you ask me it was just people talking.”

“Oh, yeah. I read about that.”

“Okay – so there was one guy; a Professor Pearlmutter from KU who spoke for about 10 minutes about a book he wrote called “Blogger Wars”. A few people from other media, oh, and Christa Dubill.”

“Christa who?”

“I forget, you’re too good for TV.”

“Don’t start with that shit. It’s just since The Sopranos went off the air there’s no reason to watch TV.”

“I’ve told you,”  Warren says but he’s back to the compulsive lick lick lick lick oh how the double helix unspirals differently in all of us, “The Sopranos was NOT a documentary.”

“Prove it, dood.”

ANYHOW, Christa is an anchor there and she showed up and sat at the end of the table I was under. She’s kinda cute n’ all but that well hell gal has much better bosoms…”


“Yeah yeah. So, also, there was a rather statuesque redhead named Sponge and a tall, older peacock who said he was XO.”


“Oh, yeah. I mean, it’s spring, don’t get me wrong, but this guy was feeling his oats. He swaggers in, rolls kinda like a sailor just off ship, unused to the land not moving, you know? Wearing this yellow, I mean to say YELLOW blazer over a black and white Hawaiian print shirt, diamond stud in his right ear. He’s probably around your age, maybe older. I can’t tell with you humans. He shaves his head, but I bet the fringe he owns would grow in as gray as his beard, so yeah, pretty old. Sponge and he sat together, though I don’t think she said one word the whole time.”

“Then there was a Russian: KC Meesha, that sound right? Guy named Forsythe and a lady who showed later, name of Toast? Odd names. Plus a college student turned blogger, an ad exec who also blogs and some writer sitting next to Christa taking note after note. In fact that jackass kicked me a couple times when I was trying to get a better sniff of Christa’s legs. All in all, I’d say there were about 20 people there. The station manager seemed pleased.”

“20? The Kansas City Press Club web site says 40.”

“What can I say: they may be literate, but they can’t count for shit. There were no more than 20-21 people there, only 9 of them bloggers.”

The second orange soda is gone and I’ve cleaned and filled a pipe while Warren’s talked. I light it now, take a slow pull and sit on it a minute. When I’m done, I squat over where Warren’s stretched out in front of the couch, reverse the pipe and shoot smoke up his snout. He takes it and gulps a few times, rolls over on his back and lets his paws loll.

The house is still.


Warren answers without opening his eyes or moving. “And what?”

“Did you guys have a good discussion on blogging and ethics?”

“Well, no, not so much. Funny, it was pretty obvious that the bloggers all hated this one other blogger, Tony? He has a blog that pretty much smears any and everyone, though he calls it a joke blog. I don’t think any of the other bloggers thought it was funny. I’m guessing he’s like an illiterate, small time drudge wanna-be, but without the wit or meat, you know? I looked at his stuff this afternoon when I got back and it’s all ‘oh, I’m so wonderful and the rest of you retards are so pathetic, come praise me.’ He’s very impressed with himself in the way a egotistical but bright pre-teen might be.”

“I’d heard that about him but have not met him so don’t really know.”

“Oh, and you’re linked up, too. Let me have another hit.”

I re-stoke the bowl and fill our lungs.

“Yeah,” after I can speak again. “Dan mentioned that Tony linked me some time back, though he also made some cute remarks about all the hot babes I’m sleeping with over at the Pitch.”

Have you ever heard a Rotty laugh? It’s hideous, believe me.

“What’s in this stuff?…you don’t even KNOW anyone at the Pitch, much less are ‘doing’ any of them. Anyway, all these bloggers obviously hate this guy’s guts but the overall conversation is kept at a mundane, polite surface level – what case law is vis a vis libel, and the slander bar for bloggers…”

“What is it?”

“Pretty much null, man. No one has seemed to nail a blogger for anything, legally. Some of it is the deep pockets thang –no blogger has any- and some of it is the targets bloggers choose, almost all of whom are public figures, fair game all. Some of it is the effort involved for a private citizen to go after someone who’s smearing them. My overall impression was it would be easier, and far cheaper, to just waylay the offending party and bust up one of his joints, maybe the fingers on his right hand. But that’s just me…”

I’m pulling up the ad guy’s site while Warren talks.

“Dood, says here you guys had “a lively event that examined the ethics of bloggers and the tremendous growth of bloggers and their impact on the news”. There’s also a picture of this Tony dood with Bill Grady – no other photos of the others? Weird…hey it also says there were about 30 of you, not 40.”

“Well, it’s the Internets, man. No Change Management – it said 40 earlier this afternoon.”

“Oh, I believe you. What about the ‘lively’ part?”

“Man, humans’ ideas on lively are somewhat different than mine. I think chasing down and disemboweling a rabbit is a lively time. I don’t think this little seminar counted.

“Fact of the matter is this Tony dude was sad. He’s almost talented, you know? But whatever his skills at ‘reporting’, he’s wasted them annoying the piss out of everyone, so much so that even if he wanted to play nice, no one would play with him. I’m not going to speculate on his upbringing –-though, dood: he’s in his early 30s and still lives at home for Pete’s sake– but he’s obviously emotionally stunted. It’s just sad. But, again: no one really called him out on being an asshat. Don’t get me wrong, all the other bloggers obviously think he’s an asshat, just none of them decided to tell him so while he was sitting right there.”

“Sounds like a waste of time.”

“Nah, I got to scarf down a buncha doughnuts, rested a bit before the walk back home, put some faces to names and got to smell Christa’s legs. Also, the station has some regulatory obligation to host around a half dozen of these public forums a years, so they asked the group for some ideas. I keep thinking a symposium on neutering/spaying might be nice. Though…”


“Kinda wish that Well Hell Gal had been there.”

“Dood, you are SUCH a dog. Another hit?”


Material guy n gal

I know not who said it, but it went something like this:

€˜ €¦Democratic scandals always involve money because they almost never have any; Republican scandals always involve sex because they €™ve never had any. € 1

Or something to that effect.

Still and all, Sen. Sam €œI loves me some nuns € Brownback is just begging for it [wink wink, nudge nudge] with the following video.

The video was produced by the Wichita Eagle €™s Opinion page staff, as announced on their front page online today, and -if I €™m any judge- destined for YOUTUBE.

Should be a biiiiig boost for his campaign, eh, wot, wot?

WNBTv - Good TV!

Show 1 footnote

  1. At least, the GOP’rs   haven’t had sex with what a clear majority of Americans would consider an attractive woman.