Privatization Sucks!

In 1980 with the election of Reagan and the defeat of Carter a new way of running the government came into being…..privatization…..and since it has become the “thing” the country has lost bunches of cash paying these contractors to do the jobs that use to be handled by civil service employees.

When I left the Army I became a civil servant ( not a private contractor) doing the same job that I was doing in the military.

Most jobs in the Defense Department are cheaper with civilian employees as compared to contractors, according to an internal Pentagon report, though the cost comparisons differ based on location, pay grade and job function.

Civil service workers are most likely to be less expensive than contractors performing the same work in the Washington, D.C. region and in the Southeastern United States, the report compiled by the Office of the Secretary of Defense found. More than 75 percent of comparisons in the Southeast the Pentagon ran between government and contract workers showed a higher cost for the private sector, and the capital region was not far behind. Government Executive obtained the never-before reported on document through a Freedom of Information Act request.

https://www.govexec.com/management/2018/12/civilians-are-cheaper-contractors-most-defense-jobs-internal-report-finds/153656/

There has always been waste and fraud in the process of issuing contracts…but it seems to have gotten much worse after privatization…..

I believe that a whole new way of dealing with contractor needs implementing…..ear plugs that are not safe…the Pentagon needs to fine them the total cost of the contract and not allow the company to bid again for 5 years.

But does privatization really work?

According to privatization’s supporters, this shift from public to private management is so profound that it will produce a panoply of significant improvements: boosting the efficiency and quality of remaining government activities, reducing taxes, and shrinking the size of government. In the functions that are privatized, they argue, the profit-seeking behavior of new, private sector managers will undoubtedly lead to cost cutting and greater attention to customer satisfaction.

https://hbr.org/1991/11/does-privatization-serve-the-public-interest

But make up your own mind……https://www.governing.com/topics/mgmt/pros-cons-privatizing-government-functions.html

As you may have guessed…I do not think the privatization has produced all the benefits that the Reagan bunch promised in the 1980s.

Just thinking out loud.

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Is It Is Or Is It Ain’t?

If you have been paying attention to the news these days then you will know that we may be inching closer to a war with Iran……..

Pompeo has gone on the Tube and accused Iran of an attack on tankers in the Persian Gulf….without any proof other than his word……the problem there is that the captain of one of the attacked tankers does not agree with Pompeo….

The owner of the Japanese tanker that was attacked on Thursday in the Gulf of Oman, the Kokuka Outrageous, contradicted the US military’s claims about the attack. Central Command reported that the two tankers were hit with limpet mines, a type of mine that is attached to the hull of a ship below the waterline using magnets. But Yutaka Katada, the owner of the Kokuka Outrageous, said he received reports a projectile hit the ship.

“We received reports that something flew towards the ship,” Katada said at a press conference, “The place where the projectile landed was significantly higher than the water level, so we are absolutely sure that this wasn’t a torpedo. I do not think there was a time bomb or an object attached to the side of the ship.”

(antiwar.com)

All this reminds me of the 1980s…..the old “Tanker Wars”……

Mysterious attacks on oil tankers near the strategic Strait of Hormuz this week show how one of the world’s crucial chokepoints for global energy supplies can be easily targeted, 30 years after the U.S. Navy and Iran were entangled in a similarly shadowy conflict called the “Tanker War.”

While the current tensions are nowhere near the damage done then, it underscores how dangerous the situation is and how explosive it can become.

The so-called “Tanker War” involved American naval ships escorting reflagged Kuwaiti oil tankers through the Persian Gulf and the strait after Iranian mines damaged vessels in the region. It culminated in a one-day naval battle between Washington and Tehran, and also saw America accidentally shoot down an Iranian passenger jet, killing 290 people.

https://www.apnews.com/ceb6e7a86bf14a9a8d8ecf81c9dcc7ef

Plus the MSM has been hyping the incident to fan the flames of war….trying to get the public lathered up so they will fully support an illegal war….

If there were any lingering hopes that the corporate media learned from its role in perpetuating the lies that led to the 2003 invasion of Iraq and would never again help start a Middle East war on the basis of false or flimsy evidence, the headlines that blared across the front pages of major U.S. news websites Thursday night indicated that such hopes were badly misplaced.

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/06/14/think-us-media-wont-help-lead-nation-war-iran-based-flimsy-or-false-intelligence

It is getting so bad that Pompeo even blames Iran for attacks by the Taleban….

In the violence in Kabul broached by Pompeo, the Taliban claimed responsibility for a suicide bomb attack on a U.S.convoy on May 31 that killed four Afghan pedestrians and wounded four American servicemen and at least three civilians. Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid boasted of the attack in a phone call with The Associated Press.

But on Thursday, as Pompeo slammed Iran, he called the Kabul bombing one of “a series of attacks instigated by the Islamic Republic of Iran and its surrogates against American and allied interests,” the Post reported.

The characterization of the Kabul attack as linked to Iran surprised experts and a former U.S. diplomat, the Post reported. Besides the Taliban’s claim of responsibility, they said it would be unusual for Iran to launch an attack inside Kabul.

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/tanker-attacks-iran-pompeo-taliban_n_5d0581b2e4b0dc17ef0aed60

These warmongers are itching for another fight and will use or blame whoever they must to get their war.

All Those Transplants

I am amazed at all the successes they are having with transplants these days….hearts, livers, kidneys, corneas, penal and even face transplants…and with all these successful medical procedures there is one that made me ask…… WTF?

Ever heard of Fecal Transplants?

First of all…EEEwwwwww!

Fecal Microbiota Transplantation (FMT) is an innovative investigational treatment that has – in randomized, controlled clinical trials – resolved 80-90% of infections caused by recurrent C. difficile that does not respond to antibiotics. During FMT, a fecal preparation from a carefully screened, healthy stool donor is transplanted into the colon of the patient. There are multiple routes of administration (e.g., via colonoscopy, naso-enteric tube, capsules), each of which has unique risks and benefits. 

How does FMT work?

Though the mechanism has yet to be determined, it is believed that FMT works by repopulating the patient’s microbiome with diverse microorganisms that competitively exclude C. difficile

In a healthy gut community, C. difficile is out-competed by many different bacterial species. However, receiving antibiotic treatment disrupts this ecosystem by killing those protective bacteria. C. difficile forms spores that are resistant to antibiotics. No longer outcompeted, this pathogen establishes itself in the gut and produces toxins that leave patients suffering from severe diarrhea, abdominal pain, and, often, fever. With an infusion of bacteria from a healthy donor’s stool, the C. difficile is again out-competed.  

Researchers are also exploring FMT’s potential role for treating other gastrointestinal diseases, such as IBS and Crohn’s Disease. 

I had never heard of this procedure…but then I am an old fart and new technology is slow to be absorbed…….what made me ask the question was this article that I read about a death from a fecal transplant……

Fecal transplants, though experimental, have been lifesaving, reports the New York Times, citing the cases of some patients who were being ravaged by “uncontrollable diarrhea” caused by the the bacterial infection C. difficile. But in one recent case, such a transplant was deadly. The FDA announced on Thursday a patient recently died after receiving a fecal transplant, in which healthy fecal matter from a donor is processed in a lab and given to a patient via an infusion or pills in an attempt to reset the intestine’s bacteria. The FDA said it was halting fecal transplant clinical trials until researcher can prove to the FDA that they have measures in place to verify the fecal matter is free of deadly bacteria. That was not the case with the patient who died.

That patient, along with a second patient, received stool from the same donor that had not been screened and developed infections. After they were sickened, testing of the donor’s remaining stool samples showed it contained multi-drug-resistant microbes: E. coli that produced extended-spectrum beta-lactamase. The FDA didn’t offer details on the identity of the patients, what they were being treated for, or where the transplant took place, though they did say the two had compromised immune systems and were participating in a clinical trial. Fecal transplants are typically used as a treatment for C. difficile, which per CDC stats kills 29,000 Americans yearly, reports NBC News. USA Today notes antibiotic-resistant infections kill another 23,000. The FDA emphasized all standard treatments for C. difficile should first be tried.

Just when you think that you had lived long enough to have heard everything there is….then BAM!  They hit you with something like “Fecal Transplant”….

On that note I bow out for the day…….MoMo has me scheduled for a play date in the back 40……May all my Fathers have a good day………TTFN

Image result for fathers day images

History For a Sunday

Let me begin my day with a wish that all my fathers have a great Father’s Day……..

It has been awhile since I gave a history lesson and this Sunday seems like a good time to do so…….(I hear those heavy sighs and eye rolling)……

It is written that Hitler saw himself as a reincarnation of German Emperor Barbarossa…..seriously? That is who you want to emulate?

It is June 1190 and the leader of the Third Crusade dies…..this great warrior king did not even make it to the fight in the Holy Land…..he drowns crossing a river in Turkey on the way to the fight…..

On June 10, 1190, during the Third Crusade, Holy Roman Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa (r. 1155-1190) drowned in the river Saleph while leading an army to Jerusalem.

Frederick I Barbarossa (known as “red beard”) is generally considered one of Medieval Europe’s greatest emperors.  He had a long reign as not only Holy Roman Emperor but also as King of Italy, King of Germany (which at the time also meant King of the Romans), and King of Burgundy, ruling some of these realms from 1152 until his death in 1190, or nearly forty years!

 
Death peed on his dreams of glory in the Holy Land….I guess Hitler overlooked that part of the legend of “Red Beard” Barbarossa…..drowned while crossing a river (maybe someone should have told him that swimming in armor never ends well)
 
Ain’t history grand?
 
Plus it was fairly painless.
 
Be Smart!
 
Learn Stuff!
 
Class Dismissed!

Thought On A Saturday

This weekend is one of auto racing’s premier races, the 24 Hours of Le Mans…….this was one of the races I got to see first hand when I was a youngster…the sounds, smells and sights were something I will never forget.

I bring this up because one of the worse accidents in racing happened at Le Mans in 1955……

Fifty-nine years ago, the 1955 Le Mans 24-hour race started like any other. It ended with the usual champagne, as well. In the middle as many as 130 died in the most horrific disaster in motorsports history. [Warning: graphic content]

It’s hard to say just how many people died in the crash. The French police files have never been opened, and one long time Le Mans racing chief later estimated the death toll at 130. Within hours of the crash, the local police reported sixty five dead, as one racer remembered, and now the death toll is usually reported as something in the 80s. An initial news report claims 82 spectators killed, some decapitated by a flying hood “like a guillotine.” Another 120 were “maimed,” according to current writing, though initial news stories estimated around 70. All of this was from one car cutting through the crowd alone.

It remains the worst disaster in motorsports history.

I’ll try and give an explanation of how it happened, why so many people died, and why the organizers didn’t cancel the race after the crash.

https://jalopnik.com/just-how-horrifying-was-the-worst-crash-in-motorsports-1589382023

I will be switching between the race and the Women’s World Cup….I do not like too many sports but I do appreciate the beauty of football (soccer to Americans)

I hope everyone has a good day I know I will…..

Space For A Saturday

I begin my weekend reporting on stuff most people never think about….SPACE–the final frontier or something like that…..

I had a thought…..we have been “beaming” messages into space for decades…messages of greetings and some on our location and so far no one has answered…..could it be like that bum on the street that you avoid you hear their pleads but pretend not to understand?  That is Earth!

Since a young age I have been interested in Space and the exploration of said domain…..I have the original Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon to help peak my interest…..

The nation’s planetary scientist have been jumping up and down trying to find worlds that could support life……

The hunt for nearby exoplanets has just heated up considerably.

A new instrument designed to find potentially habitable alien worlds in Alpha Centauri, the nearest star system to our own sun, began operations on May 23, project team members announced today (June 10).

The instrument, called NEAR (Near Earths in the Alpha Cen Region), is a thermal coronagraph installed on the European Southern Observatory’s (ESO) Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Chile.

https://www.space.com/alien-planets-alpha-centauri-breakthrough-watch.html

I have heard that could be billions of planets that could support life…that is billions with a “B”…..but are there?

Where is complex alien life hanging out in the universe? Likely not on planets stewing in toxic gases, according to a new study that dramatically reduces the number of worlds where scientists will have the best luck finding ET.

In the past, researchers defined the “habitable zone” based on the distance between the planet and its star; planets that, like Earth, orbit at just the right distance to accommodate temperatures in which liquid water could exist on the planetary surface would be considered “habitable.” But while this definition works for basic, single-celled microbes, it doesn’t work for complex creatures, such as animals ranging from sponges to humans, the researchers said.

When these extra parameters — needed for complex creatures to exist — are taken into account, this habitable zone shrinks substantially, the researchers said. For instance, planets with high levels of toxic gases, such as carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide, would drop off the master list. [9 Strange, Scientific Excuses for Why Humans Haven’t Found Aliens Yet]

https://www.space.com/where-complex-alien-life-exists.html

NASA and JPL are pushing the limits of exploration these days……

Finally, NASA has said it wants a man on Mars within the next 20 years……and how is that going?

When a female astronaut first sets foot on the Moon in 2024, the historic moment will represent a step toward another NASA first: eventually putting humans on Mars. NASA’s latest robotic mission to the Red Planet, Mars 2020, aims to help future astronauts brave that inhospitable landscape.

While the science goal of the Mars 2020 rover is to look for signs of ancient life – it will be the first spacecraft to collect samples of the Martian surface, caching them in tubes that could be returned to Earth on a future mission – the vehicle also includes technology that paves the way for human exploration of Mars.

https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?feature=7422

That is it for my Space news….hopefully it was informative for those that like and are fascinating by space…….

Please…..watch this “SPACE”.  (I could not resist)

Closing Thought–14Jun19

Today is Flag Day…..a day when most Americans should spend some time a learn how to properly display the American flag.

Beyond a shadow of a doubt…the Iranians did it! (Pompeo and Bolton’s accusation)

We have had two more attacks in the Persian Gulf and as usual the US is blaming Iran……

Two tankers traveling through the Gulf of Oman were attacked on Thursday, forcing the crews to abandon the ships, and which left one of the ships on fire. One of the sailors was reported “slightly injured” in the incidents.

The ships were the Front Altair, a tanker owned by Frontline which was shipping naphtha to Taiwan, and the Kokuka Courageous, a ship owned by Japanese company Kokuka Sangyo, was transporting methanol to Singapore. They departed from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

The ships were apparently hit with sea mines, potentially magnetic mines. The US Navy claimed to have seen an unexploded mine on one of the two ships. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and other US officials immediately blamed Iran.

Pompeo’s declaration of Iran’s guilt was based chiefly on similar incidents happening in mid-May. John Bolton and Pompeo blamed Iran then, and since this was the same sort of thing, they blame Iran now. The problem is, they have offered no evidence Iran was responsible for the first incidents, let alone today’s, and are just tying them all together. Pompeo rattled off a list of things to blame Iran for, including multiple incidents that were done by Yemen’s Houthis, a rocket fired in Iraq that was never convincingly blamed on anyone, and an Afghanistan bombing that clearly was nothing to do with Iran at all.

(antiwar.com)

Where’s the evidence?

In a press conference that immediately evoked memories of the lead-up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday claimed Iran was behind alleged attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman without presenting one single shred of evidence.

“This assessment is based on intelligence, the weapons used, the level of expertise needed to execute the operation, recent similar Iranian attacks on shipping, and the fact that no proxy group operating in the area has the resources and proficiency to act with such a high-degree of sophistication,” said Pompeo, who did not provide any details on the intelligence he cited.

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/06/13/deja-vu-iraq-war-lies-mike-pompeo-blames-iran-tanker-attack-without-single-shred

Is this the same intel that our President refuses to accept elsewhere?

For me the question is…..The big questions are, as always, motive. Iran has no conceivable reason to attack such ships. 

Plus the Japanese ship is attacked while Japan’s Abe is on a state visit to Iran….again it smells like cow manure.

Just thinking out loud……