Saturday, November 30, 2013

Ever more comfortable lying without anyone believing him, Barry prepares to lie some more about his website

No longer concerned with whether anyone actually believes him Barry apparently is set to announce that his Obamacare website is all better now:
Administration officials are preparing to announce Sunday that they have met their Saturday deadline for improving, according to government officials, in part by expanding the site’s capacity so that it can handle 50,000 users at once. But they have yet to meet all their internal goals for repairing the federal health-care site, and it will not become clear how many consumers it can accommodate until more people try to use it.
Never mind that the damn thing has been in development for three years and that it was actually supposed to work two months ago when they launched it. Now, all is well, Barry says, so fuck all of you and he's going to go on vacation now. Think I'm kidding? Even money says he goes to Hawaii for about 2 weeks, and, oh yeah, that fucking website still doesn't work:
Administration officials have said for several weeks they define success as having “the vast majority of users” be able to navigate the site and sign up for insurance. While they initially did not define what that meant, White House press secretary Jay Carney said earlier this month that the administration’s aim was to have 80 percent of users enroll through the site. Those working on the project have set speed and error rates as a way of measuring that goal.
Just think if Travelocity only actually booked your flight four out of five times. Would you ever use it again? How about if only 80 percent of your orders on Amazon actually got made? Yeah, those companies would be out of business. That's why government simply can't do these kinds of projects. If they fail, there are no consequences. No one gets fired, no one can go to another company for the service, no one can do a damn thing about it.

Knowing that no one will get fired, government employees for the most part really don't give a fuck if it actually works: they will suffer no consequences. That means it won't work. Just think what would happen if a government agency responsible for fighting poverty actually succeeded and eliminated poverty. No poverty, no mission for the agency. Boom, they're all unemployed. The first mission of the bureacracy is to protect the existence of the bureaucracy. Why do you think we still have the Rural Electrification Administration? You can't make this shit up.

So Barry's web site still won't work. Probably a good thing, since if people were able to sign up in large numbers because the front end finally worked, everything would get worse on the back end where the system is unable to calculate subsidies or sent accurate information to insurers regarding applications:
The site's disastrous front end has overshadowed another set of serious problems on the back end. Insurance companies say they're seeing widespread errors in the trickle of applications they do receive through the exchanges.
And until those errors can be fixed, it might be best to leave enrollment at a trickle.
"Is CMS stupid enough to fix the front end of this thing before they fix the back end?" asked Bob Laszewski, a health care consultant who works closely with insurers.
I think the answer to that question is, "Yes."

Friday, November 29, 2013

Thanksgiving food porn, limited edition

We are doing a limited food porn edition for this Thanksgiving, since last year we did a broad overview of the dishes served. This year we have a modified combination: some pies, and then a step-by-step on one of the dishes served. Perhaps I will do it differently next year, but that is how it is this year.

Without further ado, first we have the pies: two pumpkin, one apple. Very good:

Some whipped cream on those bad boys, can't beat it.

For the second part of your food porn, I give you a broccoli-cheese-mushroom casserole. Start with three tablespoons of butter in a large pot:

Once the butter is melted over medium heat, stir in two tablespoons of flour and heat until golden in color. It should look about the color of peanut butter:

Meanwhile, chop up a 1/2-pound of mushrooms, 2 cloves of garlic and a large onion:

Add those to the roux, then add 1/2 cup chicken stock.

Mix in 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne and some salt and pepper to taste. Then, add 1-1/2 cups of heavy cream, stir thoroughly.

 Chop up about a half pound of broccoli. The recipe calls for a 10 oz. box of frozen broccoli. I used fresh:

Throw it in there:

Add a cup of the cheddar-monterey blend, stir it in:

Add 3 cups of cooked rice:

Put the mix in a 2-quart greased casserole dish:

Top that sucker with the other cup of cheese:

Bake that bad boy at 425 for about 20 minutes, until the cheese is nice and gooey and browned. I don't have that picture because I put this thing together at about 8 am and it didn't come out of the over until much later and I wasn't in a picture-taking mode at that point, I was trying to put dinner on the table. So live without the finished-product picture.

Recipe caveat: The reviews on this dish were good, but I would include maybe one cup less of cooked rice and more broccoli. As it was, very ricey, not very broccoli-y. Easily remedied, and the recipe was good as-is, as well. Enjoy.

Thanksgiving game food porn

We will try not to speak of the alleged football game that occurred yesterday afternoon in Detroit. it was a disaster. Fortunately, the game food was not. It came in four parts, one of which was added late when Nephew to Wolves finally arrived and I made some wings, which I did not photograph. However, I did snap the skins:

We also had the bacon cheeseburger macaroni and cheese, the recipe for which is featured here

We also had butternut squash soup, for which I have not yet put up the recipe:

Like I said, we did wings, but you've seen wings. I haven't put up the recipe yet, but I will. In the meantime, you can look here if you need to see pictures of wings.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Are you ready for some football?

Sure, Thanksgiving is a day to give thanks for all of the blessings in your life, to reconnect with family and friends over a good meal and to reflect on the good things in life.

It also is a day to go whole-hog into watching some serious NFL action, basically noon to midnight. Screw all that sentimental stuff, people, we're talking football!

Sure, it's old, and for Monday Night Football, but I think you get the idea. Plus, Bocephus.

So anyway, here at the Wolves household, we take our football seriously. There will be game food porn later, of course, but we already have Packers celebrations going on. Take, for instance, the auxilliary backup dog:

She's happy -- nay, proud - to wear the green and gold. Of course, it keeps her warm in the winter, so she probably is happy. And then, we have the shrine, with a Packers train, a miniature Lambeau, Packers Santa and assorted other Green Bay memorabilia. Go Pack!

I guess Matt Flynn will start today. I think it is no coincidence that the Packer started losing when Mrs. Wolves lost one of my Packers socks, which I always wear on game days (superstitious much?). Sure, Aaron Rodgers breaking his collarbone might have played into it, but don't complicate the narrative. Yesterday, I cleaned out the laundry room (huge chore) and found the missing sock. I'm not saying this has implications for what will happen to the Packers in Detroit today. I'm just sayin'. Update: Finding the sock had no impact. It might have had a negative impact.

It is probably better to not ask what Obama and unions just did in your mouth. Update!

With apologies to Ace on the "in your mouth" joke, it's still worth knowing that the Obama administration just gave the unions a hand job on Obamacare, and you're paying for it:
It's official: Union-managed multi-employer health insurance plans are getting a special exemption from an Affordable Care Act — also known as Obamacare — tax. To make up for the lost revenue, taxes are going up on other plans.
The rules change, first proposed by the White House earlier this month, was announced by the Health and Human Services Department on Monday evening. The change exempts “self-administered, self-insured group health plans” from the law's reinsurance fee.
The shift will raise the cost of the tax for those who do pay to $44 a year. It had previously been $42. In essence, the change is forcing those who don't get the exception to pay an extra $2 for those who do.
Obama officials say this isn't just a union hand job, since it applies to all self-insured health plans that don't use a third-party administrator. That, of course, doesn't fly because pretty much nobody but unions use that arrangement. Plans of that ilk exist primarily under the Taft-Hartley Act, which applies specifically to unions:
The phrase “self-administered, self-insured group health plans” would include multi-employer plans. These are also known as “Taft-Hartley plans” and are widely provided by organized labor groups to their members.
Heaven forbid that the unions pay their share of Barry's healthcare boondoggle.

Update: Just to clarify, the fee applies to each covered employee, so it adds up quickly.

Thanksgiving food porn update

Might have to go to plan B on the bread. Not real happy with the current edition of sourdough bread.

I'm just sayin'

There are all kinds of good deals over at Amazon for Cyber Monday, and shopping through Eff You, via that link over there or the Amazon gadget over on the right, sends a little cash to the Wolves family, which we appreciate.

Happy Thanksgiving!

You're going down, bird!

Happy Thanksgiving, nun-style

I have an aunt who lives not too far away. She sends me joke emails. She gives me great T-shirts for my birthday that say things like, "If I got smart with you, how would you know?" She comes for holidays and sometimes for football games. She is a Redskins fan, but I forgive her. It is difficult to remember sometimes that she is a nun. Whatever you think nuns are, she isn't. Anyway, she sent me this:  
The Parrot 

A young man named John received a parrot as a gift.  The parrot had a bad attitude and an even worse vocabulary.  Every word out of the bird's mouth was rude, obnoxious and laced with profanity.  John tried and tried to change the bird's attitude by consistently saying only polite words, playing soft music and anything else he could think of to "clean up" the bird's vocabulary.
Finally, John was fed up and he yelled at the parrot.  The parrot yelled back.  John shook the parrot and the parrot got angrier and even ruder. John, in desperation, threw up his hand, grabbed the bird and put him in the freezer.  For a few minutes the parrot squawked and kicked and screamed.   Then suddenly there was total quiet.  Not a peep was heard for over a minute.
Fearing that he'd hurt the parrot, John quickly opened the door to the freezer.  The parrot calmly stepped out onto John's outstretched arms and said "I believe I may have offended you with my rude language and actions.   I'm sincerely remorseful for my inappropriate transgressions and I fully intend to do everything I can to correct my rude and unforgivable behavior."
John was stunned at the change in the bird's attitude.  As he was about to ask the parrot what had made such a dramatic change in his behavior, the bird continued, "May I ask what the turkey did?" 

Wishing you a very nice Thanksgiving. 

Happy Thanksgiving, y'all.

A Thanksgiving lesson

Every Thanksgiving, Rush Limbaugh tells the story of the first Thanksgiving (or at least what Yankees call the first Thanksgiving -- colonists at Jamestown, Virginia held Thanksgiving observations as early as 1607, well before the Plymouth observance in 1621, and gathered formally at Berkeley Hundred in 1619 in what historians recognize as America's first Thanksgiving feast) drawing from the diaries and memoirs of William Bradford, the governor of the Plymouth colony at the time.
 Here is the transcript of Rush last year at Thanksgiving:
What is the story of Thanksgiving? What I was taught, what most people my age were taught, maybe even many of you were taught, the Pilgrims got to the New World, they didn't know what to do. They didn't know how to feed themselves. They were escaping tyranny, but they got here, and the Indians, who were eventually to be wiped out, taught them how to do everything, fed them and so forth. They had this big feast where they sat down and thanked the Indians for saving their lives and apologized for taking their country and eventually stealing Manhattan from 'em.

But that's not what really happened.

"The story of the Pilgrims begins in the early part of the seventeenth century ... The Church of England under King James I was persecuting anyone and everyone who did not recognize its absolute civil and spiritual authority. Those who challenged ecclesiastical authority and those who believed strongly in freedom of worship were hunted down, imprisoned, and sometimes executed for their beliefs. A group of separatists first fled to Holland and established a community. After eleven years, about forty of them agreed to make a perilous journey to the New World, where they would certainly face hardships, but could live and worship God according to the dictates of their own consciences."
On August 1, 1620, the Mayflower set sail. It carried a total of 102 passengers, including forty Pilgrims led by William Bradford. On the journey, Bradford set up an agreement, a contract, that established just and equal laws for all members of the new community, irrespective of their religious beliefs. Where did the revolutionary ideas expressed in the Mayflower Compact come from? From the Bible. The Pilgrims were a people completely steeped in the lessons of the Old and New Testaments. They looked to the ancient Israelites for their example."And, because of the biblical precedents set forth in Scripture, they never doubted that their experiment would work.
But this was no pleasure cruise, friends. The journey to the New World was a long and arduous one. And when the Pilgrims landed in New England in November, they found -- according to Bradford's detailed journal -- a cold, barren, desolate wilderness. There were no friends to greet them, he wrote. There were no houses to shelter them. There were no inns where they could refresh themselves. And the sacrifice they had made for freedom was just beginning. During the first winter, half the Pilgrims -- including Bradford's own wife -- died of either starvation, sickness or exposure. When spring finally came, Indians taught the settlers how to plant corn, fish for cod and skin beavers for coats.
"Life improved for the Pilgrims, but they did not yet prosper! This is important to understand because this is where modern American history lessons often end. Thanksgiving is actually explained in some textbooks as a holiday for which the Pilgrims gave thanks to the Indians for saving their lives." That's not what it was.

"Here is the part that has been omitted: The original contract the Pilgrims had entered into with their merchant-sponsors in London called for everything they produced to go into a common store, and each member of the community was entitled to one common share." It was a commune. It was socialism. "All of the land they cleared and the houses they built belonged to the community as well," not to the individuals who built them.

"Bradford, who had become the new governor of the colony, recognized that this form of collectivism was as costly and destructive to the Pilgrims as that first harsh winter, which had taken so many lives. He decided to take bold action. Bradford assigned a plot of land to each family to work and manage." They could do with it whatever they wanted. He essentially turned loose the free market on 'em. "Long before Karl Marx was even born, the Pilgrims had discovered and experimented with what could only be described as socialism." And they found that it didn't work.

"What Bradford and his community found was that the most creative and industrious people had no incentive to work any harder than anyone else," because everybody ended up with the same thing at the end of the day. "But while most of the rest of the world has been experimenting with socialism for well over a hundred years -- trying to refine it, perfect it, and re-invent it -- the Pilgrims decided early on to scrap it permanently. What Bradford wrote about this social experiment should be in every schoolchild's history lesson. 'The experience that we had in this common course and condition,' Bradford wrote. 'The experience that we had in this common course and condition tried sundry years... that by taking away property, and bringing community into a common wealth, would make them happy and flourishing -- as if they were wiser than God. ... For this community [so far as it was] was found to breed much confusion and discontent, and retard much employment that would have been to their benefit and comfort. For young men that were most able and fit for labor and service did repine that they should spend their time and strength to work for other men's wives and children without any recompense.'"

What he was saying was, they found that people could not expect to do their best work without any incentive. So what did they try next? Free enterprise. "Every family was assigned its own plot of land to work and permitted to market its own crops and products. And what was the result? 'This had very good success,' wrote Bradford, 'for it made all hands industrious, so as much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been.'"
They had miraculous results. In no time they found they had more food than they could eat themselves. So they set up trading posts. They exchanged goods with the Indians. The profits allowed them to pay off the people that sponsored their trip in London. The success and the prosperity of the Plymouth settlement attracted more Europeans, began what became known as the great Puritan migration.

And they shared their bounty with the Indians. Actually, they sold some of it to 'em. The true story of Thanksgiving is how socialism failed. With all the great expectations and high hopes, it failed. And self-reliance, rugged individualism, free enterprise, whatever you call it, resulted in prosperity that they never dreamed of.
Amazing that so long before the term "socialism" was even coined that we have a refutation of socialistic principles. Odd that our current administration can't seem to grasp that big-government, socialist policies simply don't work and have never worked whenever they were tried. It is sad for this country that we have a president trying so hard to drive us toward European-style socialist democracy just as Europe is realizing it doesn't work. Oh, well.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Breakfast food porn!

Captain Queeg didn't want to work today -- didn't want to work yesterday, or last Friday, either -- so we took a forced day off. Or, as Queeg put it, "hey peeps, take some time off, relax." Queeg, apparently,does not realize that if we don't work, we don't get paid.

In any event, I took advantage of the lack of gainful employment for the day and turned it into good food porn for Cpl. Wolves and Marrying Into Wolves. I fixed sausage gravy and biscuits, of course. It all starts with a pound of sausage. The more sausage costs, the lower the fat content. The lower the fat content, the less you have to drain the sausage after cooking. Gwaltney is in the middle. I had to drain it a little.

Anyway, bust up that sausage and brown it.

Once the sausage is browned, sprinkle about 3 tablespoons of flour over the browned meat.

Stir the flour in, then add about a cup of milk. Remember that you're making gravy, not library paste, so add more milk to keep the gravy from getting too thick. Because it will. The longer you cook, the thicker it gets. You can salt and pepper to taste, but you shouldn't have to add much seasoning as sausage tends to be heavily seasoned.

You also need to make some biscuits. You can make them from scratch, but unless your grandmother is from Alabama and taught you how  it is better to take some frozen commercial biscuits, like Pillsbury.  They work just fine.

Pour some of the sausage gravy over those biscuits, and enjoy.

Bon appetit.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Maybe there are plenty of shitty jobs out there for temps

I saw this Posse List post Sunday night -- that would be Nov. 24  for those of you who are calendar-challenged -- and wondered whether they could staff this project:

[An agency I have worked for a lot] is staffing a project scheduled to start Monday, 11/25/2013. If you are interested and available, please email us at [their email address] with your resume in Word format, and answer the questions below.
*Start Date: Monday, November 25th at 9:30AM
*Expected Duration: 4-5 weeks
*Hours: 40 hours per week - No work on Thanksgiving, or the Friday after
*Location: [the agency's] Downtown DC Review Center
*Rate: $29/hour
*Requirements: Licensed in DC; Previous Redaction Experience;
If you would like to be submitted, you MUST answer all of the following:
1) Please confirm that you are licensed to practice in DC
2) Attach an updated RESUME in Word format that includes all relevant experience
3) Do you have previous document review experience? If so, roughly how much experience?
4) Do you have experience with redactions?
4) Indicate any foreseen scheduling conflicts for the next 2 weeks (appointments, days off etc.)
5) Are you currently on a project or have a resume submitted for a pending project?
6) Are you registered with [the agency], that is, have you met with [an agency] recruiter?
Once again, an agency is asking for particularized experience (redactions, which can be difficult) and is paying below-market. Obviously, agencies are hoping to drive the market lower. I understand that, as their survival is, in my opinion, in doubt. Trying to match the rates paid overseas, however, is no way to survive, as that means the people they seek to hire in this city cannot make a living on the wages the agencies want to pay. No overtime, coupled with a low rate? Please. No telling who they got, but it is unlikely many had redaction experience. Advertising the night before the project is supposed to start is no way to get good people.

On a final note, how confidence-inspiring was it for the agency to claim the project would last 4-5 weeks, while only asking if applicants have "foreseen scheduling conflicts" for the next two weeks? Just sayin'.

Bittersweet game food porn

Probably the first time I've ever been glad to have a game finish in a tie. Packers were getting boned until Matt Flynn came in the middle of the third quarter. Makes you wonder how things might have gone had he started.

What you need not wonder about, however, is the game food. We went for simple this week, with only the skins made from scratch. Good food, just not mostly made by me, at least in the pre-cooking phases. First, we grilled some teriyaki-marinated beef:

At the same time, I grilled some andoullie sausage, and cut it into bite-sized pieces:

Finally, we had the ever-present stuffed potato skins, which are always excellent:

The recovery from disaster to acceptable in the game made the game food that much better. Stay tuned for Thanksgiving game food porn, as well as turkey porn. Bob appetit.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Wanted: Premium-skilled help for subpar pay. Apply within

Once again, a job posting is out there where an agency is looking for something for nothing. They sent out the following on The Posse List, a listserve for job postings for contract attorneys that I have mentioned before:
[An agency I've never worked for] is staffing a document review project in Washington, DC.  Candidates must have a financial background and it must be reflected on their resume.
 Project Details:
  • Location – Washington, DC
  • Start Date –  within the next 2 weeks 
  • Duration – 2 months
  • Schedule – 40 hrs/wk (possibility of OT)  
  • Rate – $30 per hour
 Project Requirements:
  1. Bar Membership – Any US jurisdiction (active and in good standing)
  2. Financial work expertise/experience required
  3. Familiarity with Concordance or Clearwell review tool preferred (please reflect this on your resume)
  4. Must be commutable or have a place to stay in DC for the duration of the project (Hire Counsel does not pay for relocation costs)
Please answer the following questions in your response:
1.       Do you have another job, legal or otherwise?
2.      Have you recently been submitted for another temporary or permanent job for which you are waiting to get feedback on?
3.      If selected for this project, will you commit to the project for the duration we are describing?
How to Apply - READ CAREFULLY (No Phone Calls Please!)
Simply send your resume as an MS Word file (even if you know we have it already) to [the agency I've never worked for] and indicate that you meet the requirements listed above.
What Happens Next?
When we receive your resume and email indicating how you meet each of the requirements listed above we will review the resume and call you if we believe there is a good potential that you would be selected.  Once we have spoken to you and obtained your permission we will send the resume to our client.  Once we hear from them we will let you know if you were selected for the project.  We will not send your resume ANYWHERE without your express permission to do so.
So, the agency is offering a project at a rate that is a little below what most agencies are paying, with an indefinite start-date (are you supposed to sit on your ass for two weeks waiting for this project, only to learn that it actually won't start until January and that it will last two weeks, not two months?) and no overtime. There is always a possibility of overtime, as there are more than 40 hours a week. Of course, there is always a possibility of an asteroid striking Earth and ending all life. However, unless someone has spotted a particular asteroid and identified it as an Earth-killer, that possibility is unlikely to be realized anytime soon. Same for the overtime.

So, bad money, no OT, uncertain start date and a short project. What's not to like, right? I'll tell you what: they are offering shit terms and still want you to have some expertise in a particular field. Please note what I put in bold and red in the ad: they want expertise in financial work, but will settle for experience. I suspect they will get neither, as the submissions they will get for a shit project like this will be from people whose financial experience involves paying for coffee at Starbucks. Serves them right. If you want expertise, pay for it.

Unfortunately, it isn't a killer robot

It looks like the Marines might be about to get some robotic help on the battlefield. Unfortunately, the machine being tested isn't some Terminator-like killing bot. It's a beast of burden. But considering how much stuff Marines (and soldiers) have to carry with them into battle these days, a beast of burden that never tires sounds like a good thing.

Here's part two:

Maybe they can strap a laser to its head. Except it doesn't have one.

So I'm late, it's still hilarious

Mrs. Wolves alerted me to this video, which she found at The Blaze. It's an ad for Footlocker shoe stores, and it is LOL funny.

Rich and famous athletes (or former athletes) willing to mock themselves make me smile.

Not a lot of blogs can make this claim

Seriously, while I have not done any research on this, I am willing to bet that I have just had someone find my blog using a search term never used before in the history of man. Or at least never used trying to find a blog that did not specialize in bestiality.

The search term? "Cows.ass."

WTF, says you, right? Well, Eff You covers a lot of ground when it comes to subject matter, and in one of my posts about this year's county fair I included in my pictures of livestock on display a picture of a cow's rear end. I actually took several pictures of several cows from that angle, but as I said in the post:
This is another cow. I also took a picture of the cow's ass that was next to this cow, but I decided that one cow's ass was really enough,  don't you think?
Had I known that people would be trying to find this blog using the search term "cows.ass," I might have tossed in a few more of those pictures. As it is, I suppose I should once again share the picture in question. Without further ado, here is my work of art that I call "Cow's ass":

Kind of a statement on modern civilization, doncha think?

Just because he lied doesn't mean we get a do-over, polls notwithstanding

Got this from Instapundit, who linked to Weasel Zippers, who got it from The Daily Caller -- got all that? -- so it isn't new and original, but it seems a lot of folks are noticing this. "This" is a poll that indicates that, had Obama voters known he was lying when he told folks that "if you like your plan, you can keep your plan. Period.", then Barry would have lost.
If voters had been aware last year that they might lose their health-care plans when Obamacare went into effect, Republican President Mitt Romney would be sitting in the White House today, according to a poll released Friday.
A Wilson Perkins Allen Opinion Research survey conducted from Nov. 18-20 asked voters who supported President Barack Obama in 2012: “As you may know, millions of Americans have lost their insurance plans despite President Obama’s promise that, quote, ‘if you like your plan, you can keep it.’ If you knew in 2012 that this promise was not true, would you still have voted for Barack Obama?”
In response, 23 percent said they would not have voted to re-elect Obama, while 72 percent said they would still have voted for him. The largest number of defections were among female voters ages 18-54, 31 percent of whom said they would not have supported the president.
The sample is fairly small, and the margin of error is moderately large, so you can take this with a grain of salt, but I am inclined to believe that if people know a politician is lying to them straight up about an important issue, they won't vote for him. Maybe I'm wrong. Ultimately, it doesn't matter. Anybody who knew anything about the Obamacare law knew he was lying, and there were too few of us to make a difference, so he won. Woulda-coulda-shoulda don't mean shit to a tree.

I'm not even sure why people waste money on "what if" polls. It is a game for children. Adults look at what happened and try to change it going forward. You can't change the past. We are now in a mode of minimizing the damage of what Barry has done to the country, and what he will continue to try to do. That is the fight that matters. If you're not willing to fight that fight, and fight to win, you might as well spend your money on polls asking whether Romney would have won if he hadn't run such a terrible campaign. Or maybe whether Custer would have beaten Sitting Bull if he hadn't sent Reno and Benteen off with two-thirds of his men. Whatever.

Friday, November 22, 2013

More temp encounters of the third kind

Things keep sliding downhill in Temp Town. The paranoia spawned by the recent spate of memos on dress, behavior and speech is making folks nervous. Combine that with a review platform that randomly kicks people out at odd intervals, forcing them to sign back in, along with recent dire warnings about making sure we are logged into the review platform for enough hours a day to cover the number of hours we file on our timesheets (um, who doesn't do that?), and you get exchanges like this one:

CA 1: Maybe I'm just paranoid, but sometimes when I'm working and I get kicked out of the system, I think they're doing it on purpose just to see how long it takes me to log back in.

CA 2: 
That really is paranoid.

CA 3: Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't out to get you.

CA 4: It also sounds totally like something they would do.

Thank God we're all professionals here, and treated as such. Oh, wait. Nevermind.

Temp encounters of the third kind

In light of the recent thought police memo we received on this project, people are getting a little squirelly about Big Brother and his watchful eye. I'm not sure they are taking it seriously, though, given this incident:

Contract Attorney 1: (Inaudible comment).

CAs 2 and 3, joined by CA 1: (Loud laughter.)

CA 4: I'm sorry, guys, I'm sure you saw the memo. Could you please keep personal conversations to a minimum, and please keep it down. You woke me up.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Marines dodge a major bullet

Many folks  missed it, but a few weeks ago, the NewYork Post reported that the Obama administration was trying foist some seriously uncool covers -- "hats" to civilians -- on the Marine Corps in the interests of an inclusive "unisex" look:
Thanks to a plan by President Obama to create a “unisex” look for the Corps, officials are on the verge of swapping out the Marines’ iconic caps – known as “covers” — with a new version that some have derided as so “girly” that they would make the French blush.
“We don’t even have enough funding to buy bullets, and the DoD is pushing to spend $8 million on covers that look like women’s hats!” one senior Marine source fumed to The Post. “The Marines deserve better. It makes them look ridiculous.”
The thin new covers have a feminine line that some officials think would make them look just as good on female marines as on males — in keeping with the Obama directive.
“The Marine Corps is being ‘encouraged’ by DoD to standardize on a unisex/universal dress and service cap,” Marine brass noted in an internal memo obtained by The Post.
Fortunately for the Marines, the people responsible for actually making the decision realized that "unisex" for the Marines should lean toward male, not female, style. Also, the Marines love tradition, and the current cover has been in use since 1922. Fortunately, last Friday (Nov. 15), the Marines shot down the girly cover in favor of tradition:
In late October, the Uniform Board sent a survey to all active duty Marines asking which hat they preferred. An overwhelming 91 percent of all Marines, male and female, preferred going to the current male cap. On Friday the Marine Corps announced that Gen. James Amos, the commandant, had decided everybody would be wearing the male cap.
This is good. While the proposed new cover was called the "Dan Daly" after Sgt. Maj. Dan Daly, a Marine Corps legend and one of only 19 men (including seven Marines) to be awarded the Medal of Honor twice, it isn't like Daly endorsed the cover. The Corps handed a similar cover to him, told him to wear it and he did. No one ever recorded whether he thought the hat was cool. It seems unlikely that Daly liked the Frenchy-French cover -- the man chewed nails and spit carpet tacks. At the battle of Belleau Wood in World War I, he led a (successful) charge against a German position by shouting, "Come on, you sons of bitches! Do you want to live forever?"

Any chance that guy would have thought it was a good idea to dress Marines in the swishy crap the two Marines on the right are wearing?

Say what you want about the "bucket cover" on the left that the Marines are keeping, no one would want to wear that steaming heap of manure on the right. Cpl. Wolves informs me that the decision to go with the current cover is popular because a) it means male Marines won't look French and 2) he won't have to spend 70 bucks per cover to replace his current inventory. Makes sense to me.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Suddenly there is a lot attention being paid to our previously ignored project

The project I am on has been going for more than two years; I have been on it for 11 months. My observations, and from what I have heard about the project before I joined it, until recently have established that this project was on autopilot in many ways. Things had gotten very casual.

That has changed recently. Suddenly, we are getting emails about the dress code, warnings that it is a fireable offense to "eat, drink and be merry," and a deterioration in working conditions. Now, we're getting further warnings about our behavior. Some folks on the project -- nowhere near all, which raises questions of competence -- got an email yesterday that apparently bans any activity not actually related to clicking on documents (emphasis is mine):
Good afternoon, As a reminder, please remember to keep social conversations and other distractions to a minimum while respecting your co-workers’ space and privacy. Employees are expected to use their best efforts while performing a job assignment and not engage in any other business or personal activity while working on an assignment which interferes with the performance of his/her job duties. Please continue to keep any conversations in the review rooms on a professional level. We appreciate your attention to the matter. Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns.
I would think that talking to people, on the project or on the phone, about things other than the project subject matter would interfere with the performance of your job duties. Lots of temps like to think that they have their own practice, and they often have a client or two to whom they speak on the phone and act lawyer-like (except for the part where they let any random chump listen in on their side of a supposedly privileged communication. Don't get me started.), but I don't really think that's what this is aimed at.

Right before this email came out, Captain Queeg came through the room on his way out the door for the day and noticed three or four temps on my aisle who would normally sit with their backs to each other  had turned their chairs around to face each other so they could discuss the previous day's football activity. Queeg's comment when he saw this was something like, "All you guys need is a coffee table between you." Naturally, everyone ignored him, but that night, the email came (at least to those who the agency realizes are actually on the project. I am not among them. Not sure how that makes me feel.)

Now, folks are getting nervous. A low-key, low-tension project is rapidly becoming a pain in the ass. If you take the email literally, we are now the only employees in the country who are expected to completely ignore any non-work-related thoughts for the entire time we are at work. Not so easy if you are at the job site 12 or 13 hours a day, is it?

Let's face it, it isn't like this work requires our full brain power. I'm not convinced it requires a law degree, except for the fact that firms only hire people with law degrees. A reasonably intelligent high-school graduate could do this shit. So why the flak from above? Only time will tell.

New country visiting Eff You!

I think we have a new visitor nation to welcome, but I'm just not sure. It is possible that I simply never mentioned this country before. Nonetheless, a search of the blog indicates that we have our first-ever visitor from Nigeria.

Of course, we have mentioned Nigeria on this blog before, because Nigeria is one of the search terms that the NSA looks for as it relentlessly searches without a warrant through America's emails. So, yes, having triggered that particular search term, I believe I'll trigger another: Yo, Clapper, blow me. James Clapper is the director of national intelligence and the guy who is in charge of the people who want to listen to your phone calls and read your emails, blog posts, Facebook stuff, Twitter, etc. I guess he has a dull life. So blow me, Jimmy. (You can almost hear the feds opening a file on me as I type.)

But we were talking about Nigeria. According to Wikipedia, the Federal Republic of Nigeria is:
a federal constitutional republic comprising 36 states and its Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. The country is located in West Africa and shares land borders with the Republic of Benin in the west, Chad and Cameroon in the east, and Niger in the north. Its coast in the south lies on the Gulf of Guinea on the Atlantic Ocean. There are over 500 ethnic groups in Nigeria, of which the three largest are the Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba.
The name Nigeria was taken from the Niger River running through the country. This name was coined by Flora Shaw[citation needed], who later married Baron Lugard, a British colonialadministrator, in the late 19th century. The British colonised Nigeria in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, setting up administrative structures and law while recognizing traditional chiefs. Nigeria became independent in 1960. Several years later, it had civil war as Biafra tried to establish independence. Military governments in times of crisis have alternated with democratically elected governments.
Nigeria, known as "the Giant of Africa", is the most populous country in Africa and the seventh most populous country in the world.[6] Nigeria is roughly divided in half between Christians, who mostly live in the South and central parts of the country, and Muslims, concentrated mostly in the north. A minority of the population practice traditional and local religions, including the Igbo and Yoruba religions. Its oil reserves have brought great revenues to the country. It is listed among the "Next Eleven" economies. Nigeria is a member of both the Commonwealth of Nations, and the African Union.
I don't know who or what the "Next Eleven" are, but, to Nigeria, welcome to Eff You Nation. Glad to have you, regardless of what Clapper thinks. Fuck him.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Damn this food porn tasted good

Even though we were slack in the game food department, we still got some good food porn. Today I stayed with the comfort-food theme and made chicken pot pie. Ooooooh, baby. Nothing like it on a cold autumn night. Of course, it wasn't that cold tonight, but let's not get technical, OK? You will need a number of ingredients, including a medium to large onion, 4 or 5 carrots, about 5 ribs of celery, two cloves of garlic, some flour, some sugar, salt, pepper and a stick of butter, still cold and hard. There are some other ingredients that are optional, but you can make that call later.

We will start with the crust. Slice 5 tablespoons off the stick of butter, and mix them with 1-1/4 cups of flour, 1 teaspoon of sugar and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Put all that into a food processor (or a regular old blender if, like me, you don't have something grand enough to be called a food processor), sprinkle about 3 tablespoons of ice water over that and pulse it all together until it is crumbly but holds together if squeezed.

Seriously, the recipe says ice water.

The recipe also says don't over-mix. I probably did, but what the fuck.

Once mixed, take the dough, form it into a disc, wrap it in plastic and refrigerate for at least an hour.

OK, now chop your onions, carrots and celery.

Melt the rest of the butter (three tablespoons) in a large pan and add the chopped vegetables. Sautee those over medium-high heat for about 10 minutes.

Chop up your garlic.

Toss the chopped garlic into the sauteed vegetables, then add 1/2 cup of flour:

Stir it in:

Once the vegetables are coated, stir in 4 cups of chicken broth. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Salt, pepper, etc.  You can add peas, corn or whatever at this point.

Stir in 3 cups of cooked chicken. At some point during this process, you probably should have been cooking chicken in some fashion. Anyway, toss it in there now.

After simmering for about 10 minutes, pour the whole shooting match into a two-quart baking dish.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, put that disc of dough on a cutting board covered in flour.

Roll that sucker out to about 1/8 inch thickness (no, I didn't take a picture of the rolling process. Sue me.) and put it over the filling, folding the edges in.

Bake at 375 for 45 to 50 minutes, then let it cool for 15 minutes before serving. Then enjoy the hell out of it.

Bon appetit.

A pathetic (game food) performance

Maybe if I had prepared more game food. Maybe if I had done something more elaborate. I don't know, but the Packers lost yet again to another shitty team. I am contemplating going to Green Bay and laying hands on Aaron Rodgers to heal him myself. Yes, I can do that. Don't doubt me.

In any event, we had just me and Mrs. Wolves for today's game, and with a 4:30 start, I didn't want to spoil dinner, so I held back and didn't prepare most of what I had planned when I thought there would be more people. As it was, I just made skins. They were good. The game wasn't.

A commenter noted that I might enrage the readers of the game food porn posts if I didn't always take a new picture of the skins, even though I fix them every week. He might be right, so there you have it, a new picture of a recurring item.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Hey, Israel and Saudi Arabia working together? Maybe Barry's "smart power" is finally working

Or, um, not. As we see here, the Times of Israel is reporting that Israel and Saudi Arabia are cooperating in plans for a military strike against Iran to keep Iran from completing a nuclear weapon.
Israel is working on coordinating plans for a possible military strike with Saudi Arabia, with Riyadh prepared to provide tactical support to Jerusalem, a British newspaper reported early Sunday.The two countries have both united in worry that the West may come to terms with Iran, easing sanctions and allowing the Islamic Republic to continue its nuclear program.
Apparently, they are doing this because the Obama administration has a major boner to strike a deal -- any deal -- with Iran on nuclear weapons development, regardless of whether that deal actually puts a crimp in Iran's efforts to develop a bomb. The New York Times reports that a deal with Iran is close:
“For the first time in nearly a decade,” the official said, “we are getting close to a first step that would stop the Iranian nuclear program from advancing and roll it back in key areas.”
Talks between six world powers and Iran are scheduled to resume in Geneva next week. Western diplomats hope to complete an accord then that would halt Iran’s nuclear efforts for six months while negotiators pursue a more comprehensive agreement that would ensure that Tehran’s program is solely for civilian purposes.
The problem, apparently, is that the deal the Obama administration is "close" to achieving is really shitty for everybody but Iran. It took France -- France, for crying out loud -- to put the brakes on the shitty deal last week:
Negotiations between Iran, the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council (the U.S., Great Britain, Russia, China, and France), and Germany hit a snag Saturday after France expressed concerns that the proposed deal did not do enough to trim Iran's nuclear ambitions.
French foreign minister Laurent Fabius said that the talks managed to narrow differences without eliminating them, saying there are "still questions to be dealt with" in future rounds. Later, Fabius told France-Inter Radio that France did not want to be part of a "con game."
The cheese-eating surrender monkeys who used to trade hand jobs with Saddam Hussein said that the Obama-proposed deal with Iran was a "con game." Questions, anyone?

You might think that would be enough to slow down the man who is challenging Hillary Clinton for the title of  Worst Secretary of State EVAH, John Kerry. You would be wrong:
Secretary of State John Kerry took his case on Wednesday to Capitol Hill, urging Congress not to impose new sanctions on Iran as talks with that country on its nuclear program heat up.
"Our hope is that no new sanctions would be put in place for the simple reason that, if they are, it could be viewed as bad faith by the people we are negotiating with," Kerry said before entering a closed-door briefing with members of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee.
"It could destroy the ability to be able to get agreement," he added, "and it could actually wind up setting us back in dialogue that's taken 30 years to achieve."
Joltin' John thinks that lifting sanctions on Iran and letting the mullahs continue a nuclear program will be the greatest thing since sliced bread. Oddly enough, some of the countries that are actually within range of a potential Iranian nuclear weapon do not agree:
Iran’s bid for the bomb “threatens directly the future of the Jewish state,” Netanyahu told CNN recently, in a short preview clip of an interview broadcast on Saturday. As the prime minister of Israel, he stressed, he had to care for “the survival of my country.”
. . .
Saudi Arabia, a Sunni Muslim country across the Persian Gulf from Iran, has long been at odds with Tehran, and fears a nuclear weapon would threaten Riyadh and set off a nuclear arms race in the region.
I can only speculate that Barry and the rest of the gang feel like they need to accomplish something, somewhere to make it look like Barry knows his ass from a hole in the ground and is not the most incompetent president since, um, well, shit. I can't think of a more incompetent president, and I'm thinking of you, Jimmy Carter. As it is, with his signature domestic program looking more and more like a complete disaster, Barry would love to have something to show that he has something on the ball, and a deal that "stops" Iran from developing a bomb would fit the bill, even if the deal doesn't actually do that.

Maybe Barry should put forward an Israeli-Saudi join effort as proof that he has a successful Middle East policy. I guess if Obama can get the Israelis and Saudis working together, then that would be a major accomplishment. Of course, they appear to be working together to thwart Obama's diplomatic objectives, but hey. Smart power, baby.

Holy crap! More people support building a Death Star than signed up for Obamacare

Hattip to Ace for pointing me to this story, which helpfully puts Obamacare's success into perspective:
A petition to build a Death Star from the Star Wars universe received more support than people who were able to sign up for health insurance via in October.
The petition, which received 34,435 signatures, demolished health care in signups, which was starkly lower at a mere 26,794. That’s a difference of 7,641.
In response to the Death Star petition, the White House actually took the time to write out a lengthy response entitled “This Isn’t the Petition You’re Looking For.” The 500-word response included such ironic statements as, “Why would we spend countless taxpayer dollars on a Death Star with a fundamental flaw…?” Take out “Death Star” and insert “health care law,” and you have something the President should have been asking himself several years ago. Except that his health care law has more than just “a” fundamental flaw. 
Yeah, Barry, this isn't the health care reform we were looking for, either.

More signs of bad times in Temp Town

I got an email a week ago (sorry for the delay, kids, but I work for a living) from The Posse List advertising the following project:
We are staffing a review starting Monday 11/11/13. Need resumes & responses ASAP. Details:*Pay rate $30/hour; overtime possible*Estimated duration: one month*Must be DC barred with privilege review & log experience*In DC near MetroPlease send resume ASAP to XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX and include any time/days off needed in the next month.  Please note MONDAY in the subject line. Thank you. 
 Anybody see anything wrong here? Pay seems to be in line with the market (in other words, low). Short project with vague possibility of overtime -- standard. Listing posted on a Friday for a start the following Monday, forcing folks to really scramble to a) get their resume in and 2) rearrange their lives for the following month or so on the uncertain possibility that they might get put to work for a while on this project. And, yeah, it probably will only last two weeks.

Wait a minute -- let's revisit that pay issue. They want DC barred, but won't pay more for it? Sure, most veteran temps are DC-barred these days since the 2005 DC Court of Appeals advisory opinion that suggested contract attorneys must be members of the DC Bar. It isn't binding, but most law firms try to stick to it, and DC bar-required projects since then have usually offered a little more money than any-jurisdiction-bar projects. Not always, but usually.

And they want privilege review and privilege log experience? No offense, but most temps I know are not qualified to do privilege reviews or privilege logs. Those are skills and expertise that are acquired through experience and study, not mere graduation from law school. Most junior associates I have worked with don't know enough to do good privilege review or create a privilege log -- yet those are the morons usually put in charge of such things. Nonetheless, this requirement purports to seek people with above-average skills and experience, yet offers to pay them what is at best market rate for regular document review? Fuck that.

You want to know what's really sad? They probably were able to staff the project with a bunch of desperate people who were afraid of facing the holidays unemployed. Maybe some of them fudged on their privilege experience to help them land the gig. These are not good times in Temp Town.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Little Barry Sunshine keeps trying to sell baskets of shit

I recently received an email with the following message:

My initial response was, of course, you have got to be joking. Everyone qualifies -- you're required to buy Obama-mandated insurance. And I already know how much I can save -- fuck all, that's how much. How many days am I supposed to spend online with a nonfunctioning website just to find out that I can get a really expensive policy with high out of pocket costs that covers shit like maternity care and birth control that I don't need and, in some instances, have religious objections to paying for? I am part of the group that is supposed to subsidize the takers. I choose not to participate. As of January 1, I plan to be a scofflaw. Tell me that "It's the law"? Suck me, Barry. Come and get it.

My second response was, of course, how many fucking times do I have to unsubscribe to stop getting these emails from Our Worst President Ever? I subscribed during the 2008 campaign to see what my enemy is saying. Now, like syphillis, I can't get rid of them. Actually, I think I would prefer syphillis.