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November 07, 2013 06:00 AM UTC

Thursday Open Thread

  • by: Colorado Pols

"How oft the sight of means to do ill deeds makes ill deeds done!"

–William Shakespeare, from King John


20 thoughts on “Thursday Open Thread

    1. Thanks for bringing that up. That's another choice the people of VA made that will no doubt be ignored by the NRA who will continue to claim that they represent the will of the people. Just like Cuccinelli is spinning his loss as a win for his agenda because the people have made a statement (of their opposition to the agenda of the candidates they actually elected?).

      I think I've finally figured out why the rightie fringe keeps claiming that they represent "the people" despite all election results to the contrary. They mean the "real" people and to them that doesn't include minorites, women, "libtards" or "urban" folk no matter how many of us there may be. They still see their particular kind of people as the majority of everyone who ought to count. Voter suppression is just their way of clearing out the people who unfortunately have the right to vote but shouldn't.  They hate that the democratic process isn't restricted to the "right" people.


  1. Kofi Annan & Fernanco Cardoso

    We called on governments to adopt more humane and effective ways of controlling and regulating drugs. We recommended that the criminalization of drug use should be replaced by a public health approach. We also appealed for countries to carefully test models of legal regulation as a means to undermine the power of organized crime, which thrives on illicit drug trafficking.

  2. Today's Government IT update:

    Indeed, according to the research firm the Standish Group, 94 percent of large federal information technology projects over the past 10 years were unsuccessful — more than half were delayed, over budget, or didn’t meet user expectations, and 41.4 percent failed completely.

    The government has to follow a code called the Federal Acquisition Regulation, which is more than 1,800 pages of legalese that all but ensure that the companies that win government contracts, like the ones put out to build, are those that can navigate the regulations best, but not necessarily do the best job. 

    Any Administration that does not fix this, or try where Congressional legislation is required, is by definition, going to fail. And any Administration that chooses to fail 94% of the time is not one we want running the government.

    1. Welcome to the laws on Federal contracts – brought to you by the Defense industry, which wants to ensure that as many Congressmen are caught up in supporting contracts as possible.

      The law wasn't aimed at IT contracts, but it applies nonetheless. It's bad policy, and not likely one that will change so long as it makes the Obama administration look bad.

  3. Interesting.  I like the research that is being done by you, DT and others.

    I wonder how wide spread that problem is.  Remember how the Owen's administration spent millions on upgrades and new technology and it didn't work forever.

    The Denver Public Library bought new technology three or four years ago and parts of the programs are still not workable.

    1. The CBMS debacle IIRC was alleged to be cronyism at the start, but the longer I'm in IT, the more I feel that the big contract agencies are in it for the cash and not the results. Until they're effectively penalized for failure to deliver, they will continue to underperform and overcharge for crappy product. IMNSHO, that is.

      Either that, or we stop the idea that outsourcing will produce better results, and hire a competent team of  in-house IT folks who get fulfillment from designing and operating government systems that work.

      1. Add to that that only the companies that are good at lobbying for the work can land the contracts. So costs are higher and the award goes to those that can lobby well, not those that can deliver good code.

        1. I have no doubt that many of these contract agencies *can* deliver good code – I've worked with other divisions of some of them, and they tend to hire at least some competent people.

          But I've also seen cases where contractors have completely sandbagged the work in order to get more money. One company I worked at needed a ticketing system; they hired a contractor to build a customized solution from a well-known commercial package; within a month there were a dozen of them, and they worked for at least six months at it without producing results. I happened to be familiar with the package, and I would have been suprised if I couldn't have done the work on my own in six months.

    1. That's an excellent question.  For some reason, Colorado State seems about ready to double down on this money-losing proposition with a multimilion-dollar on-campus stadium.  Especially strange, when one considers that it's possible that the sport itself is <a href="">inherently unsafe</a> to the players.

  4. Hello all, I saw a story on Colorado Peak Politics that said 200,000 Coloradoans had received cancellation notices from their health insurers. I am skeptical about this number. Seems awfully high. Is there data from any credible source on this? Thanks in advance.

    1. It's that time of year for policy renewals and replacements.

      And, apparently, a number of health insurers in the state have been lying through their teeth about plan equivalence, rate increases for equivalent plans, etc.

      Best advice: if you're in the individual market and your insurer is telling you to pay a shitload more, shop the exchange. Chances are you'll get a better deal, and if you were paying some ridiculously low amount in the <$100/month range for insurance, chances are you'll actually be buying insurance this year instead of junk.



    Fannie Mae reported an $8.7 billion profit during the third quarter and will make an $8.6 billion dividend payment to the U.S. Treasury later this year, leaving the company close to making taxpayers whole on their massive investment in the company over the past five years.



    Now, I kow what you are thinking. This MUST be a lie.  The federal government is incapable of doing anything without a massive screwup.

    ANd for some, the obvious conclusion is that it would have been even better if the market had been allowed freedom to work itself out.

    The federal governement and the Federal Reserve saved the US and the word from a mssive depression.  The  market caused it – or tried to, and the regulators saved it.  Almost exactly how Adam Smith said they would 237 years ago when he explained how market econmies work and don't work.

    Fannie is just one example, but it is a good one.  

    The Federal Reserve turns 100 next month.  So of course we will hear the uniformed or corrupt blathering about everything would be so much better if the Federal Reserve were dismantled and financial markets were allowed to just do what ever they want.  This is one small, important, example to remember why that is just crazy talk.

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