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Thursday, April 15, 2010
Tea Party Day
I woke up this morning to this headline from Associated Press “American Taxes Lower, Despite Anti-Tax Rhetoric.” Thankfully I had not had breakfast yet or I would have barfed. My first thought is what planet are these guys living on but then I remembered that the media is in bed with President Obama. This headline is the biggest bunch of crap I have seen since Barry signed the nationalized healthcare bill. We are paying lower taxes? No “F”ing way!
Americans have never been taxed as much as they are right now. The best that most politicians can say is” Yeah but look what we let them keep.” I made 11K less than the previous year and paid MORE in income taxes by almost $1,000. AP thinks I should be grateful? “Kiss my grits you fascist pigs” And this does not include all the other taxes, fees, and mandated stuff I have to pay that is going up every year due to more government regulations and interference with private business. Then there are all the costs passed down from the government regulating other folks.
Here in California, my vehicle fees have doubled; the child deduction has been cut for $309 each to $99; the State pension fund is upside-down by 500 billion dollars and the city and county retirement funds are just as bad; businesses are dying; and unemployment is really closer to 25% not the 12.5% that is reported in the media.
Our economy is in worse shape than the Great Depression. The cause is not the businesses of America but the government of America. We used to think “taxation without representation” was bad but now we are worse off under taxation with bad representation. President Obama and likeminded politicians are cooking the books in ways that Enron could never have imagined. The difference is that they are the ones wielding the sword and they are so arrogant that they think no one is holding them accountable.
Every elected official take an oath to protect and defend the Constitution from all enemies foreign and domestic. Unfortunately for our people, the politicians in many cases are the domestic enemies of the nation. Thank God that many people are waking up to this threat. I’m happy to join with like minded people that love our country and want government restored to its rightful boundaries. We need to restore fiscal accountability, reduce the scope and reach of government and lower the regulatory and tax burden on our people. That is why I will see you at the Tea Party today to send a message that we have had enough.
Friday, April 09, 2010
Two domestic enemies of the US Constitution threw in the towel today. Congressman Bart Stupak, a distant relative of Judas Iscariot, and US Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens announced they were retiring at the end of their respective terms.
There is real hope that Stupak will be replaced by someone of better principles. Justice Stevens will likely be replaced by someone with more disdain for our republic and way of life. Hopefully, many more will follow Stupak “into that good night.”
Thursday, March 25, 2010
Money Woes in State Government
The State Controller’s Office (SCO) is once again delaying cash reimbursements to State employees for travel expenses. Whether this is a software issue or a result of budget shortfalls is not known. This is in addition to the spending freeze that is in place in parts of the government.
The CalATERS (California Automated Travel Expense Reimbursement System) program used by the Dept of Corrections and Rehabilitation has been down frequently for over six weeks now. The amount of man-hours wasted by users trying to make use of this program is incredible. Its failure is approaching that of the DMV boondoggle of several years ago and thus far the media has not gotten wind of this problem. SCO has responded with mass approvals and deletions of unaudited claims but the problems still persists.
I can’t wait until Meg Whitman or Steve Poizner gets their hands on the waste, fraud and abuse of systems like CalATERS. This system is so contrary to GAAP that it should never have gone live; let alone been rolled-out for use by agencies of State government.
Here are some shortcomings of the program.
• CalATERS cannot check for duplicate claims for the same trip or expenses.
• Approvers do not have to be immediate supervisors or even in the chain of command for employees.
• Receipts are not required for reimbursement of many transactions.
• There is no procedure to report waste, fraud or abuse of expenses charged directly to the State.
• Auditors have no written policies or uniform standards and training to audit claims.
• Due to system shortcomings, archive data further back than about three months cannot be pulled-up on the computers of auditors. Detailed claim history should be available for at least three fiscal years including the current one.
• Since multiple Regional Accounting Offices (RAOs) are pooled together, there are no clear cut delineations of which employee reports to a particular RAO.
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
RAKC v Mettler
There are some formations that any sports fan will recognize. The bunt situation, the goal line stand, the fourth and inches play, and the empty net when the goalie gets pulled.
In politics there is one formation that Republicans instinctively utilize to insure defeat in the face of certain victory. My friends and I refer to this formation as the “circular firing squad.” This is when conservative republicans behave irrationally and decide to sacrifice one of their own that might be pulling ahead of the others.
This week the Republican Assembly of Kern County (R.A.K.C.) executed this maneuver on Ken Mettler. Mettler is a past president of RAKC and recently resigned as President of the statewide California Republican Assembly to pursue an opportunity to run for State Assembly in the 32nd District.
The RAKC decided to go public with their accusations without confronting Mettler and giving him the opportunity to respond. To summarize their charges against Mettler, they accuse Mettler of spending almost $500 over a ten month period (see chart below) without authorization by the Executive Board. Additionally, they charge him with “disposed of all of the historical documents of R.A.K.C./B.R.A. from before the time of his presidency.”
- Date—- Amount Charge against Ken Mettler
01/30/2009 $174.25 Investigate possible campaign rival
02/09/2009 $22.25 Investigate possible campaign rival
11/03/2009 $56.03 Investigate possible campaign rival
11/04/2009 $63.93 Investigate possible campaign rival
11/05/2009 $83.33 Investigate background on Rob Badewitz
February09 $100.00 New bank account
RAKC has taken or said they will take the following actions to address their grievances with Mr. Mettler.
• Hold vote to expel Ken Mettler from RAKC. (Mettler is currently on board of RAKC as immediate past president).
• Postpone indefinitely the local endorsing convention that was called for April 5th.
• Turn over this matter to BPD (Bakersfield Police Department?) and the FPPC (Fair Political Practices Commission)
My first thought upon reading the release from the Republican Assembly of Kern County was the Scriptural admonition to settle things before you get to the judge and if you find fault in your brother go to him first and try to get things resolved. The fact that Martin Bertram immediately goes public with accusations without trying to resolve the situation within RAKC does not pass the “smell test.” That RAKC Board members during this period were not even interviewed by Mr. Bertram before concluding his findings is both sloppy and shameful.
Mr. Bertram is embarrassing himself, his organization, the CRA and the California Republican Party by his actions. This is just as stupid as Steve Poizner complaining to California Attorney General Jerry Brown to investigate Meg Whitman because she tried to maneuver him out of the race.
In our local central committee we discovered that a former chairman has embezzled over $60,000 and it was decided not to go to the authorities because of the harm it would do to the organization and the Republican Party. Bertram is upset about $500 being spent in ten months? I’m sure Mr. Mettler has receipts for thousands of dollars that came out of his pocket as President of RAKC and CRA that he never sought reimbursement for from either group. Not to mention the wages that he forfeited because he was working for the Party.
If Mr. Bertram was dealing realistically in this matter, the most he should have done is demanded that Ken Mettler give RAKC a check for $500 and then implement a policy to prevent this from happening any more.
I have been a treasurer in many organizations. I always keep copies of all checks that I deposit and match any check that I write with a receipt when I issue the check. My experience is that it is usually others in the group that try to skirt the rules. Sometimes the only documentation that I get is an email requesting that a check be given to a person for a specific purpose. Collecting receipts after the fact is difficult. When the treasurer is lax then things can get out of hand. Clearly this is the case here.
First, concerning records of the club, per bylaws provided by Mr. Bertram, the club Secretary is in charge of archiving club documents not the president.
Concerning the endorsing convention, Bertram does not have the power as a unit president to cancel an endorsing convention because he lacks the power to call it in the first place. This is the right of a CRA vice-president or Senate District Director. Only if all of AD 32 falls within the territory of RAKC could a single CRA chapter decide an endorsement. This is not the case in AD 32. Part of AD 32 is in San Bernardino County and there is a second CRA chapter in Kern County.
As for a call to remove Mettler from RAKC, the vote threshold to do this is a super majority (3/4 of members present). I doubt that Bertram will get the votes to do this.
It is my experience that the CRA State Board is reluctant to act against a member or local chapter in much more clear-cut and blatant violations of ethics and bylaws than those alleged by Mr. Bertram in this case.
Clearly the censure of Ken Mettler by the Republican Assembly of Kern County is meant to tarnish the reputation of Mettler and hurt his chances in the June primary. No other conclusion can be drawn from the way this was handled. Mr. Bertram, the fact you even emailed me about this is proof that I am right.
CRA State Board member
Treasurer, Cosumnes RA
Sacramento County Republican Party
Thursday, March 18, 2010
A Picture Worth 3,000 Words
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
What Budget Problems?
Today, the powers that be decreed that any claims for travel reimbursement in the Department of Corrections—that were submitted within a certain period of time—will be approved with no verification. Unless a CalATERS claim fails the “smell test” of an auditor the claim will be approved and any supporting documents will be audited at a later date. This is supposed to be implemented on a department-wide basis.
This initiative seems to originate from the State Controller’s Office as a way to fix the fact that the CalATERS program cannot handle the load or number of users from CDCR. The number of man-hours wasted on this program would likely pay for one that could do the job.
Meanwhile the “hard freeze” on travel is still in effect.
Update 02-24-2010 free pass period seems to be primarily for January 2010. Per email today goal is shedding 3,000 claims ASAP to reduce load on system.
This seems like a Band-Aid for systemic program design failure.
Sunday, February 21, 2010
Out of Touch Arnold
“Schwarzenegger says last year’s $862 billion stimulus plan is “terrific” and has created 150,000 jobs in his state…”—AP 2/21/2010
Hey Arnold, the stimulus bill has created no new jobs in the private sector in California and we all know it. If you really want to create jobs in California, turn on the water to the Central Valley farmers and tell the federal judge to go pound sand.
Thursday, February 18, 2010
California Correction’s Hard Freeze on Spending
The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation is implementing a hard freeze on spending as a temporary step to address a significant anticipated fiscal shortfall. The following areas are immediately frozen:
• Contracts for discretionary services
• Overtime for Administration
“The hard freeze will remain in effect until such time as the Department is able to prioritize and then establish a system for authorizing expenditures.”
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Unions Attack Whitman
Union front groups have started running ads against Meg Whitman because she is being supported by big business and she opposes global warming.
The unions have 40 million to spend tampering with the Republican primary and their two biggest complaints about Meg are those! If that is their best shot, then Meg has little to fear from the Left. What a waste of money. Any business that supports a Democrat deserves to fail. Any rational person that supports AB 32 should not be allowed to vote because their IQ is negative.
The union motto should be Democrats: same old playbook, same old politicians, same old results.
Ok who is older? Jerry Brown or Robert Byrd
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
More Tax Dollars at Work
In other government news, I just got permission today to install Service Pack 3 on our Windows XP computers. This Service Pack was made available to the general public for download on May 6, 2008.
I work for an obscure part of the accounting department within the California Department of Corrections (CDCR). We have three computer systems used for various accounting functions. None of the computers can talk to each other. At best data from one system can be batch dumped into another system.
The mainframe system seems like it was state-of-the-art when Ronald Reagan was President. Much of accounting is done via a program from SAP. Travel expenses are done via a custom application designed for Windows XP. This program runs in a Java “sandbox.”
Recently, the “sandbox” has gotten filled. Hundreds of man-hours are wasted just trying to log-on to the system. This program is the primary application that people in my unit are supposed to be running. Lately, many in my office have gone a day or two at a time without being able to log-on or process travel claims.
The ultimate organization that controls this program is the State Controller’s Office (SCO). Unfortunately, SCO is caught with their cyber pants around their ankles and a look of bewilderment. Instead of being prepared for a department wide implementation of the program by CDCR, they have been caught unaware.
Now this program has been in its current form since 2001. Requiring all institutions to use the program was a deliberate decision and I’m confident that SCO said no problem when they heard CDCR would begin requiring the use of the program. Only about 26,000 people in the department are even registered users. That’s less than 1/3 of CDCR employees.
SCO supposedly upgraded their servers and maxed-out RAM in the system last week-end. It has resulted in no noticeable improvement in the functioning of the travel program. The bottom line is that there are too many users trying to connect simultaneously and the system—no doubt built will millions in tax dollars by the lowest bidder—is unable to handle the real world conditions.
It will be interesting to see how the long this situation persists.
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Happy New Year
I haven’t blogged much laterly but plan to get back to it in 2010. I will finish my MBA from University of Phoenix in mid January.
Best Electronic Toy of 2009 is Google Android phone by Motorola.
Best Radio Talk Show host is Rush Limbaugh.
Avatar will win some awards from Oscar next time.
Most over-hyped show on SciFi Channel was Battlestar Galactica.
Worst first year term as US President goes to Barry Obama, I never thought I’d be missing Jimmy Carter.
Worst Republican in 2009 Dierdre Scozzafava in New York’s 23 Congressional Race
Worst Democrat move is following Harry Reid anywhere.
Dumbest environmental move of 2009 was decision by California Democrats to recycle Jerry Brown as the annointed candidate for Governor in 2010.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
NEWS FLASH! HELL HAS FROZEN OVER AND THE WORLD HAS TURNED UPSIDE DOWN!
Today the following email greeted me. If you want to know the history just Google Barbara’s name. This is too rich!
I kid you not. The Republicans of River City (RRC) have endorsed, and I can hardly believe it myself, Barbara Alby for Board of Equalization. Please see the forwarded press release below from none other than Carl Burton.
I have heard of politics making for strange bedfellows, but Carl Burton and the RRC endorsing Barbara Alby for anything is beyond belief. This is either one of the greatest practical jokes of all time or I have entered the Twilight Zone.
Barbara Ably endorsed by RRC for BOE
SACRAMENTO—- The members of Republicans of River City (RRC) unanimously endorsed Barbara Ably to replace Bill Leonard on the Board of Equalization (BOE)at their regular monthly meeting on Tuesday, October 20.
Bill Leonard currently represents BOE District 2 but is prevented from running for reelection due to term limits. Bill endorsed Barbara to replace him on the board. Barbara has served with distinction as Bill’s Chief of Staff for the past seven years.
The members of Republicans of River City recognize that there are four outstanding Republican candidates for Bill Leonard’s BOE office. However, because of her experience as Chief of Staff, Barbara is viewed by RRC members as the outstanding candidate for this office.
In addition to her experience as Bill Leonard’s Chief of Staff, Barbara served in the California State Assembly with distinction. Finally, Barbara served as one two California representatives on the Republican National Committee. There she was elected to several positions and made California’s voice heard.
Carl Burton, President of Republicans of River City said “the volunteer club is one of the largest Republican clubs in Sacramento County and Northern California and has a long history of endorsing candidates who later win in the primary election and go on to win their office in the general election.”
For those that don’t know the history of the love between Barbara Alby and the Republicans of River City, this would be much like the Palestinians nominating Israel for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Teddy “The Swimmer” Kennedy finally passed away yesterday.
He was a symbol of all that is wrong in modern American politics. He was one of the more successful Machiavellian liberals. Kennedy often treated the US Constitution as a suicide pact. He never met a terrorist or a communist that didn’t occupy a warm place in his heart. He perverted the values of America to expand the welfare state and erode the rights to own private property. He worked to thwart a parents’ ability to pass their values to their children. He spent his whole career trying to destroy the values the made our country great. He was always a defender of murdering the unborn and in his later years he worked to establish a national framework for euthanizing the infirm and aged. Kennedy hated Truth and Justice and anyone that stood for those values. He made a mockery of his faith and his family. He was at least guilty of manslaughter and to many he was a murder that got away with it.
His legacy is one of moral failure both personally and in his legislation record. Any success touted by Kennedy was a diminishment of the American people. His gains were our losses. How a man who so totally embraced wickedness could be called a role model for anyone is a commentary for just how corrupt we have become as a people. The only sad part in all this is that I am sure the people of Massachusetts will give the rest of the country another Senator just as worthless as Kennedy.
I have a mental picture of Kennedy experiencing his eternal reward and begging Father Abraham to let Mary Jo give him one cup of water to ease his suffering. Enjoy reaping what you sewed Uncle Teddy ‘cause you worked hard for it!
Friday, July 17, 2009
HPA Dell Hard Drive Upgrade
I agreed to upgrade a laptop for my wife’s friend last week. I have Acronis True Image Software and a USB connected external hard drive so I figure this is easy money right? NOT!
I took the laptop home and went to work. The laptop is a Dell that is about three or four years old. I made a full backup of the drive, inserted to 160 GB drive that replaced to 36GB drive. My first indication that all was not well was when the system was booted via the Acronis disk and the software could not see my removable drive. I had to copy the image file from my removal drive to my desktop computer. Only in one of the Public folders in my Vista machine could the backup file be seen via the Network option on the Acronis software. After the backup was completed, I booted up the computer and was greeted by a 36 GB hard drive that should have been 160 GB!
After much research I found that I was the victim of proprietary and hidden software that Dell stuck on their hard drive! I was not a happy camper. Acronis has an article on their support website called “HPA Makes the Cloned Drive Display Wrong Capacity.” While this is great information, it does nothing to fix my problem.
Most of the solutions that I found on the Internet were dangerous and/or dubious. One family of solutions involved using the Windows Repair Console. The owner of the laptop could not provide the master Administrative password so I was stuck and could not use most solutions. For those not yet familiar with this problem, when Windows is first installed it prompts you for a password. Whatever you type will be the only password that you can use three years from now to access the utilities on your Windows installation CD. Otherwise you get to wipe your hard drive and reinstall everything in your computer. Refer to http://www.goodells.net/dellrestore/hpa-issues.htm
So what I knew at this point is that any solution involves fixing the Master Boot Record (MBR) on the laptop. The other part of the solution involved killing the HPA software that made my new hard drive exactly the same capacity as the old drive. Once this size change is made on the drive, both the BIOS and the Windows installation program see the drive capacity as being the same as the old drive. You can even delete the partition and reformat and the new disk will still be the same size as the old drive!
Some Internet solutions say you must find a hexadecimal editor and edit the MBR on original disk. If you do this and screw-up you just lost all the data and you know that the owner of the laptop has never made a backup CD of all her vacation photos from her trip to Europe last year. After editing the MBR then they say make your backup and restore on the new disk. Yeah, Sure!
So the Master Boot Record must be killed, fixed, replaced or otherwise deal with to fix the computer. Then the drive size must be repaired. To repair the drive the only option that seemed to work was from Hitachi. Download the Feature Tool from this page. Get the ISO image file and make a CD. The program is bootable and simple to run. I will tell you when to use the disk in a moment.
The Hitachi tool will let the computer see the whole drive but what then? I found the answer on this discussion thread. http://www.wilderssecurity.com/showthread.php?s=984536e28c3c7ee064a0e7d6e054dc57&t=167401&page=2 The solutions proposed on this page mostly don’t work but there is a nugget in their that rang a loud bell in my mind. To get the space back on the drive one of the postings references Acronis Secure Zone. They said create a Secure Zone of any size and then delete it and pick the option to allocate any unused space to the partition that you select.
What I’m telling you now took me five nights staying up past one in the morning to figure out. Yeah much of the time was waiting for my Vista computer to send restore files via my home network to the laptop. I did 12 to 18 restorations during the period to find a fix.
I kept refining my attempts and this is what finally worked:
1. I restored everything from the old drive to the new one: C:\, the MBR and the two hidden partitions that Acronis found on the Dell laptop. Elapse time for this step about three hours.
2. Then I got my old DOS 6.22 bootable CD with Windows 3.11 and Norton Desktop on it and booted up the computer. Any bootable DOS disk that you can get will work as long as FDISK is on the disk. At the DOS prompt type A:\ FDISK /MBR and press enter.
(Even though it says A Drive, this command knows to run on the C Drive.) Remove the disk.
Insert the Hitachi disk, reboot computer and start via this CD and then follow instructions to resize the new hard disk.
To restore the drive to its full capacity you need to remove HPA on the target drive:
5. Click on the “Features” menu or press Alt-F keys and select “Change Capacity”;
6. You should see “Manufacturing values” and “Current values” on the appeared window;
7. Click “Options” and choose “Maximum Capacity” from the list. The appropriate value will be automatically entered in the “New Capacity” field;
8. Click OK.
At this point if you want to start Windows and look in Disk Management you will see the balance of the drive as unallocated space.
Warning: Don’t delete the other two partitions that you see via Disk Management Console. If you do the computer will not boot because your boot.ini file will then not match your computer configuration.
Elapse time for these steps is about ten minutes.
3. Lastly, get your Acronis CD again and boot the computer. Create a Secure Zone on the unallocated space on the drive. As you go through the process DO NOT SELECT ANY DRIVE OR PARTION. Leave all check boxes empty. Keep going Next. The program will automatically select space on the unallocated portion of the disk. The partition can be any size.
4. After the Secure Zone partition is created restart the wizard for Secure Zone again. This time delete the partition you just made. As you go through the screens you will see one with your disk partitions. Select the one that is labeled as C Drive. On my computer the other two partitions had no drive label. This selection allocates all unused space on the entire drive (not just the Secure Zone you are deleting) to your C drive. This is what you want. Click on Proceed. In fifteen more minutes you are done.
That’s it, enjoy your upgraded machine.