Myth: Vendor Overcharges To Government (Part 6)

Posted on May 24, 2013. Filed under: Journalism, Politics | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

10th in the series The Manipulators

Today’s proverbYou can’t fight city hall

Your words for the day:

  • scapegoat = one too helpless, often by reason of circumstance, to defend itself
  • witch hunt = the search for a scapegoat
  • not my job, man = the universal escape clause — unstated, but, inherent — in every assignment of responsibility

The Big Pee loves “ongoing coverage” of targeted scapegoats…   sort of a choreographed witch hunt.  Over the centuries, burnings, beheadings, public hangings, and executions by horses-going-off-in-four-directions-while-tethered-to-one’s-various-limbs have really filled the idle time of the masses.  All of that used to be free, but, in the spirit of capitalism, we now have to sit through silly and obnoxious ads from t.v. sponsors, subscribe to an internet service, or buy a newspaper to get our constitutional entitlement to blood and gore.  We are no longer unwitting witnesses to the grand processions of TIME and LIFE (Reality!   …not the magazines); we are now paying customers who are just here for the show.

Public officials are often targeted by The Big P (pronounced “pee”) when it is out to sell papers and such.  For that reason, I am surprised that our featured Jack-Haas missed his shot at Houston’s top executive, Mayor Annise Parker.  Ostensibly, all of the principals involved in those undocumented payouts of $19.2 million of taxpayer money are under her leadership.  And, since elections are only 2 years apart for that office, there has to be some interest by the public or the political opposition in such perception of top-level mismanagement.

Yes, Jack DID mention the mayor, or at least her office.  I paraphrase:  “According to the Mayor’s Press Secretary, that office is doing a separate review to be compared to the one being done by Dangerous Dave; and, the Mayor’s office will be diligent in working to recover any money owed the city, including litigation fees.”  In other words, the Mayor’s office is happy to join in the witch hunt for a cut of the booty.  Like a real Haas, Jack pursued no further, since that announcement from such a high office bolstered his tried-and-true theme, “Government…   victim!   Vendor…   villain!”

So, Mayor…  (Mayor-ess?  Your honor-ess?) Annise Parker, I was just wondering:

  1. Does the city’s accounting department perform a monthly closing of its books like real businesses?  Such as this would catch any variances or deviations at the time of occurrence and get them corrected for future invoicing and payments.  That’s what a real business would do.
  2. Does the city’s accounting department do a quarterly summary of its bookkeeping like real businesses do?  Ditto the benefit.
  3. Does the city’s accounting department do an annual report of all accounting functions detailing variances between documentation and money spent…   as real businesses do? 
  4. Real businesses have an outside auditor come in and verify their figures and on-going accounting practices — ANNUALLY.  Is Dangerous Dave, the self-serving bureaucrat who apparently gets motivated only once every 4 or 5 years, all you’ve got to rely on?
  5. Does the term “reconciling accounts” mean anything to the city’s bookkeepers and accountants?
  6. Does the city provide free coffee and donuts to all of its gold-bricking employees, who are being paid by the taxpayers to loiter?
  7. Are there any plans to have each city office submit requisitions for supplies to a central office where they are consolidated into a single order for maximum discount AND CONTROL?
  8. Are there any plans to have those who receive the materials actually document its receipt and identify it with the appropriate accounting numbers so it can be referenced when balancing the books…   and be available at the end of the year (or every 4 or 5 years) for Dangerous Dave the Auditor to review and criticize?
  9. The State of Texas has 266,874 square miles while the City of Houston has only 627 square miles.  With its thousands of offices statewide, Texas could easily run up 300,000 purchase transaction over a span of 4 years and 10 months (that of the Office Depot contract).  It is inconceivable that a piddling little 627 square mile bailiwick could rack up 1,100 purchases EVERY WEEK for 4-plus YEARS for miscellaneous office expendables (Dave’s figures, not mine) while taxpayer-subsidized supervisors notice absolutely nothing amiss.
  10. City employees have abused the spirit of the US Communities co-op purchasing contract by run-a-way impulse-ordering.  Will you be criticizing or rebuking those city employees who, instead of sharpening that dull pencil, opt instead to pick up the phone and order 1 box of mechanical pencils for ASAP delivery one thousand times a week?

Anyway, the journalistic Jack-Haas of the Houston Chronicle story missed all that stuff I have cited.  Why?  ‘cawz it was easier for him to meet his column quota by copying everything the important-sounding City Auditor told him and presenting all of that to a pre-conditioned, anti big-business, audience.  Taking the time to actually verify the basis of the “official” allegations would have been…   WORK.

And the General Public, that massive brain-dead jury pool so loved by litigators, receives its daily dose of anesthetics to numb that vaunted hallmark of humanity — those pesky reasoning abilities.

Next up:  A break from “The Manipulators”

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Who Says The Dead Don’t Speak?

Posted on June 12, 2012. Filed under: KBR, Piss Ants | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

2nd in the series The Great Cluster Fu…  A treatise on questionable journalism and pre-litigation pracitces

This is an old one from the earlier days of product liability suits.  Some guy was smashing one hammer against another.  Read that as “one piece of hardened steel forcefully applied against another piece of hardened steel.”  Sort of like the “immoveable object – irresistible force”  riddle.  Anyway, the dork was using the hammers in a fashion for which they were neither designed nor intended, resulting in a shower of shrapnel penetrating his person.  It takes a lot of force for hardened steel to shatter, so dorko must have been doing this a lot to weaken the integrity of the failed hammer.  But, it wasn’t his fault, you understand.  There was no label warning the user against total stupidity.

And all those dying smokers who wanted to get paid for a lifetime of being selfish, inconsiderate jerks.  Until forbidden by law, they smoked anywhere and everywhere, filling the breathing space, clothes and furniture of others with noxious smoke and ash at any time the whim struck them.  No one forced them to take up the “habit”;  it was a choice freely made based on the concept of self-image — appearing cool and soooooo mature —  and fitting in with their chosen crowds.  A choice that each made in spite of social objections and known physical detriment.  One they continue to make even decades after the life-threatening nature of intense and prolonged tobacco use has been thoroughly documented.  Before the lawsuits, there was no label warning that getting hooked on that crap would make you a selfish, inconsiderate jerk.

Nasty old McDonald’s.  Nasty old tool-maker.  Nasty old tobacco company.  ‘Cause none of them had labels on their products saying:  clumsy old bats, stupid dorks, and arrogant jerks will burn, hurt, or kill themselves if they don’t use common sense in the use of potentially harmful products of any kind.

But you gotta hand it to those paragons of PU* (pronounced, unabashedly, pee-yew),  those litigation attorneys.  It takes real talent to select a whole panel of brain-dead jurors from a jury pool of — presumably — normal, intelligent persons.  Because of that talent, the McDonald’s jury awarded about $3.5 million (much, much less when the higher courts got it) to an old bat for being clumsy;  a tool company paid an unspecified amount (actually, it was so long ago I just forgot how much) to a stupid dork for acting really stupid;  and the tobacco industry paid (or is paying) billions of dollars to people who chose to use a debilitating product for decades, one that seemingly had equally destructive effects on non-smoking bystanders.** 

Product labels warning of the obvious —

  • HOT coffee is HOT
  • HAMMERS are NOT for hitting OTHER HAMMERS
  • TOBACCO USE frequently causes CANCER

— will not prevent clumsiness, stupidity, or crowd-following.  For that reason, not one of these litigations should have been permitted to hear an opening court-room gavel, let alone result in the odious practice of paying people for self-inflicted injuries.  But, by golly, those litigation attorneys made out like bandits, because — like Dr. Frankenstein of fiction — they knew what buttons to push to make the brain-dead (that carefully selected jury) briefly walk and talk as instructed.

*Pismire ubiquity

**It is those BY-STANDERS whom the PARASITIC LITIGATORS should have been representing AGAINST THE SMOKERS;  but, again, individuals aren’t big business, and — in this case — they probably spent all their spare change supporting their CHOSEN habit.  But, if high moral standards are what the litigators are all about, and representing a few hundred thousand (pro bono) victims is the morally correct thing to do,  Mother Teresa will be really proud of them…    Sorry, Mother T.  It ain’t gonna happen.  The “right thing” for litigators is getting a big chunk of the M-O-N-E-Y won in court.

Next up:  Big business = cash cow

Series references:  KBR, Mary L. Wade, Qarmat Ali, Doyle Raiznor, Ms. Sparky, litigation, sued, cluster, deposition, hexavalent chromium

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