… On Monday, the International Association of Information Technology Asset Managers, which deals with such technical questions regarding computer hardware and record retention on a regular basis and which has reacted with the same incredulity as the rest of us, released a list of six basic questions the IRS needs to answer.
1. First, what happened to the IRS’ IT asset managers who seemingly vanished during this critical period? IAITAM , which runs the only worldwide certification program for IT asset managers, says its records show that at least three IRS IT asset managers were moved out of their positions at the time of the May 2013 inspector general’s report that detailed the agency’s targeting practices. What can they tell us?
2. The hard drives in question are federal property and cannot be destroyed or recycled without proper documentation. “Proper IT asset management requires clear proof and records of destruction when drives are wiped or destroyed,” notes IAITAM President and founder Barbara Rembiesa. Where are these records?
3. IAITAM asks if the drives were destroyed by an outside IT asset destruction unit, a not-unusual practice among federal agencies. If so, it adds an entire second layer of documentation of the destruction of these assets, including who approved it.
4. What are the IRS’ specific policies and procedures on document retention when hard drives are damaged or destroyed? In most large private-sector organizations, hard drives and computers are just not tossed in the dumpster or dropped off at the local recycling center until recovery of the lost data is assured.
5. What is the disaster recovery policy at the IRS, an agency responsible for our most sensitive tax information, particularly in light of its statistically implausible number of hard drive crashes?
6. Where are Lerner’s emails from her BlackBerry device and what is on the enterprise server? Some have even suggested Lerner may have off-loaded her emails to what is known as a USB flash drive and still has them in her possession, another federal offense.
The IRS is counting on the general public’s relative ignorance of computer technology to believe its smoke-and-mirror cover-up.
But in the age of the iPad and iPhone, even a child knows that something does not compute here.
Politico Pair Produces 5,900 Words of Puff on ‘Less in Control’ Obama; All Scandals Except HealthCare.gov Go Unmentioned
For evidence that no one looking for objective reporting should seriously consider reading output from the Politico, look no further than the 5,900-word puff piece propagated by Carrie Budoff Brown and Jennifer Epstein on Sunday.
Their “Special Report: The Obama Paradox” told readers what that President Obama supposedly “recognizes that he is less in control of the Washington agenda than ever in his presidency — a reality that has left him deeply frustrated at times.” Meanwhile, the EPA is going wild with carbon regs in the name of the “climate change” hoax, federal regulators are harassing banks and their customers who operating legal businesses in Operation Choke Point, and immigration policy has been unilaterally hijacked. And in a final irony, as the Politico pair were putting their handiwork to bed, Obama was conducting a prisoner swap — one soldier whose loyalties are questionable for five hardened terrorists — while violating a law requiring him to notify Congress of what he was going. “Less in control” my foot. Instead, we are seeing usurpation of authority by Obama and his executive branch.
I have a bachelor’s degree in Math. I read some of the common core math instruction. If you wanted to turn students off to math, if you wanted to make them hate it with all their being, if you wanted to make math so incomprehensible that few American students will ever be able to master it, you could not have done a better job than coming up with Common Core.
Addition and subtraction are simple concepts. Multiplication and Division are simple variations on the theme of addition and subtraction. By using a “new” and contrived language to teach basic math concepts you are promising American illiteracy in the subject.
This garbage has got to go.
The default assumption has to be that anyone who still supports Common Core is uninformed, bought and sold, or an unapologetic statist.
What was true on Saturday is still true today, a full week after KMOV first broke the story: The AP has no national site story on Serco.
UPDATE: My PJ Media column, which appears on track to go up late tonight or tomorrow morning, will be about Serco.
A search at 11:00 p.m. ET tonight at the Associated Press’s national web site on “Serco,” the company with a five-year, $1.25 billion contract to process paper Obamacare enrollment applications, returned no results. That’s absolutely pathetic, given that St. Louis TV station KMOV, based on multiple accounts from several current and former employees and contractors, has reported that the company has well over 1,000 people doing almost nothing all day simply because there are very few paper applications to process. KMOV, which carried five consecutive reports this week (here, here, here, here, and here), even noted in its later segments that its work had drawn national attention.
What’s worse than AP not covering the story nationally? How about the wire service treating it as a local and regional story, even though Serco and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services are wasting roughly $20 million per month of U.S. taxpayers’ money, and even though calls for investigation have come from U.S. senators in at least two states? It would have been just as absurd if AP had treated bankrupt Solyndra, which failed to repay an Energy Department loan of over $500 million several years ago, as a California-only story because that’s where its plant was. Excerpts from the AP’s story, including a “This story is boring, so don’t read it” headline, follow the jump (bolds are mine):
In September 2010, Lachlan Markay at NewsBusters put up a post entitled “Eight Dems Arrested in Bell, CA ‘Corruption on Steroids’ – Not a Single Mention of Party Affiliation From Media.”
Almost four years later (!), reviews of search engine results and specific news stories on the sentencing of Robert Rizzo, the community’s former city manager, are again returning no mentions of the fact that Rizzo is a Democrat.
Over at Hot Air, Dustin Siggins writes that Andrea and Colin Chisholm “are getting enormous media attention.” Perhaps, and I really hope so. Unfortunately, I found no evidence of any level of attention to the Chisholms, the apparently very rich couple who allegedly engaged in protracted fraud against the welfare systems of Florida and Minnesota for seven years, at several national establishment press outlets.
Here are some of the infuriating details from ABC’s weekend “Good Morning America” show, a rare establishment press exception (bolds are mine):
From Michelle Malkin’s latest column:
Revolt Against the Testing Tyrants
… College-bound students in Orange County, Fla., for example, now take a total of 234 standardized diagnostic, benchmark and achievement tests from kindergarten through 12th grade. Reading instructor Brian Trutschel calculated that a typical 10th-grade English class will be disrupted 65 out of 180 school days this year alone for mandatory tests required by the state and district.
… Parents, teachers and administrators are fed up with Fed Ed. There’s a growing grassroots movement — left, right and center — to opt out of this latest battery of assessments. Last week, the Worcester, Mass., school board voted to allow parents to opt out of PARCC field tests and keep their kids in regular classroom instruction. The Norfolk, Mass., school board did the same in January. Colorado State Board of Education Chairman Paul Lundeen has called on the state legislature to repeal the PARCC testing requirement.
The testing tyrants, of course, are doing everything they can to stop parents from protecting their children: deceive, bully, intimidate and obfuscate.
… Bottom line: No child in America is legally required to be a part of the latest Common Core lab-rat testing experiments. You are your kids’ primary educational provider and decider. You have the power to flunk the latest Fed Ed testing boondoggles. Use it.
It’s time to invoke the left’s “Dissent is patriotic” credo in defense of our kids’ and grandkids’ well-being and the nation’s future.
That must be the real goal of governors who have thwarted modest food stamp reform.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is a such a clever guy. He has just milked the social welfare system out of over $450 million per year Congress and President Barack Obama allegedly did not wish to spend. For doing so, he is being treated as a hero. Other state governors have already copied Cuomo’s gambit.
That the program commonly known as food stamps, technically known as SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), is badly in need of reform should be beyond dispute. The number of households receiving SNAP benefits grew from 26.9 million at the end of fiscal 2007 to a peak of 47.8 million in December 2012, an increase of 78 percent. Total program costs and benefit payments are well over double what they were six years ago.
Though its post-recession performance has been the least impressive of any since the Great Depression, the economy has still managed to generate just over 8 million additional jobs in the 48 months since February 2010, the last month during which employers shed jobs on a seasonally adjusted basis. Until very recently, that growth in jobholders did little to halt the program’s runaway caseload, which grew by over 8 million during the first 33 months after that employment trough.
The first indications of a long overdue post-recession reversal in program participation occurred this past November and December. The total number of recipients fell by over 700,000 during those two months, and came in below 47 million for the first time since July 2012. Unfortunately, Cuomo and his copycats appear determined to slow down even that minimal amount of progress.
The Empire State governor’s move gets around a loophole many in Congress thought it had eliminated.
Here is the foundation under which Cuomo was able to pull off his con:
… to calculate disposable income, the state takes your total income and subtracts some allowable deductions for essentials. Since things like rent and utilities are considered household necessities, they’re subtracted. To calculate how much a potential food stamp recipient spends on utilities, states used to collect multiple utility bills from each and calculate the average. To streamline things, they came up with a standard utility allowance.
I would argue that the “streamline” was also designed to grow the dependency rolls and increasing dependents’ degree of dependency. Out of thin air, the “standard utility allowance” creates phantom expenses applicants don’t really incur, thus qualifying more households for benefits, and others for higher benefits.
Sadly, this aspect of the law’s administration hasn’t changed. The fact that it hasn’t is why Congress failed to fix the problem it thought it had solved, and why the advertised cost savings won’t occur. Here’s what the law does:
… The measure … involved stopping a practice in multiple states — the use of a program popularly called “heat and eat” that allowed residents who receive as little as $1 in federal heating assistance to also qualify for additional Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits.
The 2014 farm bill raises the minimum threshold in state LIHEAP (Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program) contributions to $20 for families to qualify for the extra food stamps.
States were even sending the $1 checks to households which don’t pay a utility bill for the sole purpose of increasing their SNAP benefits.
Even hardened leftists like Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow, advocacy groups like the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, and press outlets like Mother Jones recognized Congress’s move as an attempt at genuine reform.
So how did Andy Cuomo ruin things?
He simply increased the annual LIHEAP checks sent to affected families from $1 to $20.
Presto: 300,000 families will continue receiving excessive SNAP benefits. New York will spend $6 million (300,000 times $20) to ensure that an estimated $457 million per year in benefits continue to be overpaid.
Cuomo’s maneuver has proven too much for other governors to resist. Connecticut Democrat Dannel Malloy quickly followed suit, at an annual taxpayer cost of $67 million. Even alleged Republican Tom Corbett of Pennsylvania has sold out, at a cost of $300 million. Thus, barring new legislation or President Obama using his authoritarian instincts to actually save money (good luck with that), about half of the $8.6 billion Congress allegedly claimed it would save over five years has already evaporated. Other states will surely follow suit.
The social welfare community is naturally pleased as punch, because it believes that SNAP benefit levels are too low. They seldom if ever make serious arguments about benefit levels or how the calculation formulas should be changed in front of Congress, which I take as an indication that they don’t have a case.
Most local press accounts clearly favor the governors’ moves. National press coverage has been sparse, perhaps because the Politico, which to be fair at least described Cuomo as having “gamed” the law, is often the go-to place where stories worthy of wide national attention get buried. (Other national outlets seem to say, “Well, the Politico already covered it, so we don’t have to.”)
If President Obama or any Democrat in Washington really objects to what Cuomo and his co-conspirators have done, I haven’t heard about it. Their silence makes me wonder if they let the farm bill become law because they knew that “creative” governors would quickly get around it. If so, the “stupid party” once again got outsmarted.
SNAP’s goal should be to keep people with inadequate financial resources from inadequate nutrition. Unfortunately, the real objective for far too long has been to convert the program into an automatic entitlement any time one suffers even a small break or a temporary steep reduction in their income.
38 states have eliminated the program’s old “asset test,” which kept households with over $2,500 in the bank from receiving benefits (oh, the inhumanity!). Over 30 states have also increased the program’s income eligibility threshold from the long-established 130 percent of the federal poverty level to as high as 200 percent. This has enabled some normally high-earning and well-off households with tens of thousands of dollars in liquid assets whose breadwinners are temporarily unemployed to qualify.
This whole episode demonstrates how difficult if not impossible it will be to get federal spending, 70 percent of which consists of payments to individuals, under control before national insolvency “solves” the problem in a very painful way.
It will go up here at BizzyBlog Monday morning (link won’t work until then) after the blackout expires.
Patrick Moore is one of the early members of Greenpeace, and was an important official in that organization from 1971 to 1986.
Moore is among the last people one might expect to be a “climate change denier,” as those who irritate us with the idea that human-caused global warming is “settled science” like to characterize people who disagree with them. But he is, as seen in Senate testimony earlier this week. The establishment press is ignoring Patrick; the few identified results at the link come from British newspapers and center-right outlets. An Investor’s Business Daily editorial yesterday highlighted what Moore had to say (bolds are mine):
Requires no elaboration (HT Rhymes with Right):
And of course, the media darling is the phony.
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