Category Archives: Back scratchin’

Is that an oil rig in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?

Wall-to-wall win (via the AssPress):

Gov’t officials probed about illicit sex, gifts

Government officials handling billions of dollars in oil royalties partied, had sex with and accepted golf and ski outings from employees of energy companies they were dealing with, federal investigators said Wednesday.

The investigations reveal a “culture of substance abuse and promiscuity” by a small group of individuals “wholly lacking in acceptance of or adherence to government ethical standards,” wrote Inspector General Earl E. Devaney, whose office spent more than two years and $5.3 million on the investigation.

“Sexual relationships with prohibited sources cannot, by definition, be arms-length,” Devaney said.

Really, from the headline onward there’s nothing I could possibly add to this. Go. Go read the story.

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Filed under Back scratchin', Circular firing squad, Fail Watch

Sunday project – I think I found what the “F” stands for

ICF International is in the news again for screwing up the payouts to people whose homes were destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. Again.

Last night I started wondering how ICF got the contract to administer The Road Home, which of course meant wondering if anyone at ICF has a connection to the pResident.

Tsk, tsk. How cynical can one man be?

I’m sure Mr. Michael Byrne, former Senior Director for Response & Recovery, Office of Homeland Security, current Senior Vice President of ICF’s Business & Development Team would be shocked and disgusted. I should have been too ashamed to wonder if he did any work on The Road Home program.* I should have never looked at this November 2006 article (via The Times-Picayune):

ICF International, hired to run the $7.5 billion relief program, is counting the preliminary calculations in its tally of awards released to state officials and to the public. The company’s Road Home project director, Mike Byrne, conceded the letters respond in part to demands in recent days for faster processing of awards.

“We’re definitely responding to appropriate direction and guidance of the people that we work for,” he said, referring to the Office of Community Development in Blanco’s administration. “The general principle is that they (homeowners) should know whatever we know, whenever we know it.”

Probably a completely different Michael Byrne who just happened to work for the same company. It could happen. Still, it is nice to know that ICF couldn’t have possibly foreseen the recently-revealed math problems that may result in homeowners getting calls from a collection agency … the minute they get phone service:

Officials acknowledged that, among more than 4,400 “preliminary” notices sent out to applicants, about a quarter contained erroneous information and had to be corrected and sent again, officials said.

Um … Well … If you’re talking geological time November 2006 to March 2008 is .0000001 of a picosecond (.003 if you believe g-time began 6,000 years ago). And it doesn’t negate the fact that it was very, very wrong to suspect that the F in ICF stands for Friends of the Chimperor.

As a side note, Mr. Byrne is no longer on that project. It is now being headed by Dr. Frank Abramcheck† who probably isn’t a complete wank just because he’s one of those Ph.Ds who sticks Dr. in front of his name and thinks anyone is impressed. Wankery is probably better judged by a man’s adherence to the bAdmin. “What about the painted schools?” principle of addressing fuck ups (via The Times-Picayune):

ICF administrator Frank Abramcheck preferred to focus on what the Road Home is doing right, rather than explain why so many applicants spend months in a process called dispute resolution and why some of them are never informed when their problems are resolved inside the bureaucracy.

That’s the ticket! If you look at what you did wrong you might discover screw ups that will bite you in the ass at a later date and that would embolden the … er … hurricanes.

Other wrong things:

Raising an eyebrow over the fact Maryland resident Ellen Glover – Executive Vice President of Technology & Leadership Solutions, ICF International gave $1000 to the campaign of Tom Davis (R-Va) in 2004.

Pointing out that Gerald Croan was last seen flogging the dead, maggot riddled, won’t-get-up-and-run-no-matter-how-much-you-hit-it horse of abstinence education which increases the likelihood that he’s an idiot.‡

There are a lot more people I could research but I should probably just stop right now. It isn’t like ICF will get any more business from this government.

And by no more business I mean “No more than $5.6 million” (via The Washington Post):

When a disaster strikes, the Department of Homeland Security’s agencies need to be ready immediately to assist state and local officials. ICF International, a Fairfax-based consulting and technology company, has a $5.6 million contract to help make that happen.

Under the contract, ICF consultants will work alongside DHS officials in examining the department’s emergency preparedness as well as with its ability to deliver services and maintain internal business functions during a disaster. Lockstep Consulting of Leesburg is ICF’s partner on the project.

Good thing we’ve already established there’s no more than a coincidental link between ICF & DHS.

*How dare you! Mr. Rug Byrne does not look like the sort of chap who’d fight Larry Craig for the best stall!

†Only perverts, commies and terrists would wonder if Frank and Brownie ever discussed horses.

‡Oh, stop it. Just because Jerry Croan is involved in trying to prove a failed “sex ed” policy can be made to work if we clap harder does not mean he has a fine collection of wetsuits. I don’t care if he does remind you of that one creepy teacher who always used the boy’s room instead of the toilet in the teacher’s lounge.

Just remember, these people are all patriots who are looking out for your tax dollars.

Safety! I mean safety.

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Filed under Back scratchin', We're from the government

Air Fail

On 7 March 2008 (via The St. Louis Business Journal):

Southwest Airlines defended its safety and maintenance procedures Thursday after the Federal Aviation Administration announced a $10.2 million fine against Dallas-based carrier for flying uninspected airplanes.

SWA flew 42 planes that had missed FAA inspections, according to the federal agency. The FAA said it was levying the fines over that issue and because six of the SWA planes had some fatigue cracking.

Southwest said in a statement Thursday that there was never a safety problem and the oversight was rectified.

FAA: You’ve been very bad and naughty and I’m going to punish you.

SWA: Waaah! That’s not fair, you big meanies. There’s nothin’ wrong with our planes!

FAA: No, no. We have rules you know. Someone might have been hurt.

John Q. Public: Gosh, it sure is nice to see the government officials tasked with protecting our safety do their job for a change.

Reasonably sentient homo sapiens: [Smacks Mr. Public upside the head for being a dumbass.]

On 11 March 2008 (via The Dallas Morning News) we see why SWA was a little upset. See, they thought the FAA was their BFF NMW:

Officials for Southwest Airlines and the Federal Aviation Administration “falsified the report” that said the airline had come into compliance with rules for crucial safety inspections for jets, according to records released by a U.S. House committee.

Shocked! I am – Oh wait. No I’m not. I’ll skip straight to wringing my hands and crying O! What could have caused such a thing. “O! What could have-?” No that’s a waste of time too because I’m a reasonably sentient h.s:

According to one of the whistle-blowers, Mr. Gawadzinski [FAA inspector who didn’t say no to crack – ed.] stopped being strict with Southwest after a former FAA colleague, Paul Comeau, joined the airline. Previously, the whistle-blower said, the FAA had forced jets needing inspections to stop flying.

At a news conference Friday, Mr. Oberstar [D-Minn -ed.] said he might propose a law prohibiting FAA inspectors from going to work for the airlines for a year or two. He also called for inspectors to be rotated between assignments “as a countermeasure against developing a cozy relationship” with airline employees.

Cue the usual noises about the free market.

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Filed under 'Sponsitility, Back scratchin', Misguided Self-justification