Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Do you take food or water for granted?

December 22nd, 2008

Sitting back, sipping your favorite Vitamin Water, or drinking straight from the tap.

Ever think that, a large population of the world don’t have the ability to realize the benefits of something like a tap?   Culturally, a majority of people don’t get enough water as it is on a daily basis when they HAVE the ability to free flowing water at their disposal.  

Think about the poor children and others who lack this luxury in any form of regularity.

We need to stand up and level the playing field for people in the world to be able to hold their own, take advantage of the things we have in bulk and the benefits we can pass down.

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Projects like OLPC (One Laptop Per Child) and others have taken an effort in order to improve the lives of these children, though sadly these efforts apply intellectually to those who have had the opportunity to survive.

However, for those who haven’t quite survived via the luxuries we have such as Clean Food and Clean water (Note: I’m not even talking about Clean Air, lack of pollution, and a number of other high-risk type things – The same type of pollution which can cause corrosion of computing equipment in a ‘secured’ area) No,  I’m only asking about something which we can provide answers and solutions for.   Regular water, and regular food.

It doesn’t appear the US has taken this tact too seriously with the recent UN resolutions they voted against, leave it up to the nations to decide they say, instead of to the people.

There are solutions out there, but there need to be more, better solutions, which are available.

Water Preservation in the US does not trickle down to those who actually need the water (elsewhere) albeit in a drought our own decisions certainly impact us.   We need more efficiency in both the water we use and the water we waste.   Things will get better over time (~25 years) but we shouldn’t have to wait for solutions which are evident today.    Certainly I’m not asking for water regulators the likes of which Dune brought us (Though it’d be nice) considering the amount of water we as a species waste on our own, let alone while simply brushing our teeth or flushing the toilets.

This is not a call for you to change anything, because I’m not telling you how to make a difference, grin.   This is more of a question.   How much do you take food and water for granted?  How long could you go, and how intolerable would it be, if either of those were not in ready and clean supply?

Do you take food and water for granted?

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Posted in Baltimization, Blog, Christopher Kusek, Health, Informational, Politics | Comments (0)

No Food for you! Says the US to the UN! (WTF)

December 21st, 2008

Hey there, latest UN resolutions proposed, lets see how the votes came out!

By a vote of 180 in favour to 1 against (United States) and no abstentions, the Committee also approved a resolution on the right to food, by which the Assembly would “consider it intolerable” that more than 6 million children still died every year from hunger-related illness before their fifth birthday, and that the number of undernourished people had grown to about 923 million worldwide, at the same time that the planet could produce enough food to feed 12 billion people, or twice the world’s present population. (See Annex III.)

By the terms of the text, the Assembly would express concern that, in many countries, girls were twice as likely as boys to die from malnutrition and childhood diseases and that twice as many women as men were estimated to suffer from malnutrition.  Accordingly, it would have the Assembly encourage all States to take action to address gender inequality and discrimination against women, including through measures to ensure that women had equal access to resources, including income, land and water, so as to enable them to feed themselves and their families.  By further terms of the draft, the Assembly would urge Member States to promote and protect the rights of indigenous people, who have expressed in different forums their deep concerns over the obstacles and challenges faced in the full enjoyment of the right to food.

After the vote, the representative of the United States said he was unable to support the text because he believed the attainment of the right to adequate food was a goal that should be realized progressively.  In his view, the draft contained inaccurate textual descriptions of underlying rights.

The Committee also approved a draft resolution on the rights of the child by a vote of 180 in favour to one against ( United States), with no abstentions.  Among other things, that omnibus text would call upon States to create an environment conducive to the well-being of all children, including by strengthening international cooperation in regard to the eradication of poverty, the right to education, the right to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health, and the right to food.

So, taken at face value with this information it looks like the United States is being cruel, vicious and uncaring; as though choosing self before choosing the rights of children and people to eat, be educated and have enjoyment and health.    The did speak out in more detail stating:

Speaking in explanation of vote, the representative of the United States said that, while agreeing with the sentiment expressed in the resolution, his delegation could not support the text as drafted.  The United States felt that the attainment of the “right to adequate food” or the “right to be free from hunger” was a goal that should be realized progressively.  The current resolution contained numerous objectionable provisions, including inaccurate textual descriptions of underlying rights.  The United States was the largest food donor in the world of international humanitarian food aid and it would continue to work towards providing food security to all.  In the future, he expressed hope that the co-sponsors would work to address his delegation’s concerns, so the United States could join other countries in adopting the draft.

Wow, it looks like they really do want to help, but there are some vital ‘legal’ and perhaps questionable character flaws of the way the text was presented.  Certainly the text can be misconstrued and result in people having less luck in achieving the results this resolution looked to resolve.

Which leaves me to question why is it that all resolutions are stored under lock and key and no one ever gets to see them until it becomes time to pass them, so that stipulations and textual misinterpretation cannot be mishandled.  Oh wait, I forgot, that doesn’t happen.

So you’re telling me, if you disagree with a portion of the bill you outright deny it, instead of working towards getting it corrected in the first place?  I’m sure having a terrible PR effort show up on your record is far better than standing up for what you believe in when it matters, instead of ‘at the time of vote and make us look like fools’.

By the looks of the document others also disagreed with portions of it, but they didn’t say “I won’t tell you what I disagree with, I’ll simply deny the resolution on the whole!” because by the looks of it, 180-1 makes you look like the fool.

While speaking on the rights of Children they said:

Speaking in explanation of vote, the representative of the United States welcomed the commitment of the United Nations and the Third Committee on issues relating to the rights of the child.  The United States was equally committed to the issue and had worked to ensure that the protection of the rights of children was fully integrated into its foreign policy.  However, she also expressed disappointment over the failure to make a number of minor changes that would have allowed the United States to support the draft.  In particular, she referred to preambular paragraph 2, which stated that the Convention on the Rights of the Child “must constitute” the standard, and in operative paragraph 2, which might have been improved by urging States to “consider” becoming States parties to the Convention, as each State had a sovereign right to make such decisions on their own.  Finally, operative paragraph 31, which recognized the contribution of the International Criminal Court in ending impunity for the most serious crimes against children, was not necessarily supported by fact, as it had not yet tried a single case in that regard.

So again here, 180 to 1, and another piece of legalese since they mandated it “must constitute” instead of leaving it open to interpretation “must consider” meaning countries which already violate children and human rights would sit back and say “Hey, sweatshops? nah we considered it and said we don’t think so”.   Seriously US.   When everyone else is doing it (Sure don’t follow the tread, but don’t sit back and disagree over a mandate of good instead of an interpretation of evil which it seems like you wanted to be allowed.

I live here in the United States, and seriously? I mean, Seriously?!  Next thing you know, they’ll be voting against another good mandate over the definition of the word “is” or something.

I won’t even go into all of the other things the United States voted against because I don’t have that much SPACE out here! Read it if you wanted to be informed!

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Posted in Baltimization, Blog, Christopher Kusek, General, Informational, Politics, WTF | Comments (2)

“My small business is too big!” No defense contract for you!

December 20th, 2008

For those of you who follow the GSA, there have been a number of happenings with them this year!

Back in April they opted to re-examine awards: GSA re-examines Alliant Small Business awards

And then a new hurdle is introduced: Small companies face another hurdle on Alliant contract

The companies have passed GSA’s bid evaluations process, but GSA and Small Business Administration officials now must check that the firms meet the criteria for being a small business, said Mary Powers-King, GSA’s director of governmentwide acquisition contracts (GWACs). Because of that, companies ultimately might not get an Alliant Small Business award.

What this means is companies who have been snatched up through acquisitions are now putting themselves in a difficult circumstance in order to produce revenue like they used to.

One company — Kadix Systems — was acquired by Dynamics Research Corp. in August, which could end its eligibility for the contract.

The old adage of bigger is better, apparently doesn’t play out when it comes to $15 Billion worth of federal contracts – So staying small and nimble may play to your advantage when you want to continue bringing home the billions.

The court found problems with the past-performance information GSA used to determine who received awards. The court ruled that the agency based its evaluations on “sketchy” information and used that information as a major factor in awarding the massive contract.

Although not required by the court, GSA decided to re-evaluate the Alliant Small Business contracts, too. Earlier this year, GSA asked the 62 small businesses to extend their offers.
“Given the history with this, we really want to make sure we’re on very firm and solid ground,” Powers-King said.

The court had chided GSA for diverting from its plan for selecting companies, particularly regarding past performance, when awarding the Alliant contracts in 2007. For the latest round of awards, “we very, very closely adhered to our plan” and included a review of how well officials stuck to the plan, Powers-King said, adding that GSA is confident of its choices for Alliant Small Business.

I can only commend the courts for questioning old practices of not rewarding and awarding on sketchy information, and apparently this forces a revisit of the grandfathering of a number of “not very small businesses” anymore as a result of these acquisitions.

It just goes to show, as you grow you best plan for your circumstances as the tide can change at any moment.   Your meal-ticket of yesterday won’t be the one of tomorrow, so innovate, improve and elevate.

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Posted in Baltimization, Blog, Christopher Kusek, Defense, Politics | Comments (1)

Terror in Mumbai – Twitter and the Media

November 27th, 2008

This is a terror event like no other, one which has been prolonged by the use of technology, adhoc and otherwise.    A call out from the users of the service Twitter requested on #mumbai that the Live Media Coverage being broadcast by news networks such as NDTV and CNN-IBN may have made the situation ‘worse’ than ‘better’ by not only letting those “on the street” know what is going on, but also informing those on the inside in the form of Terrorists.

So this situation almost on the flipside.   The Broadcast media apparently making the situation worse (Not to be outdone by a major network broadcasting on-air the room number of a hostage) and the AdHoc (Twittersphere) using this opportunity to spread information that is beneficial to all of those involved.

Such notable ones as:

  • The number of tweets about people heading to hospitals to donate blood is astonishing!
  • @aadisht: #mumbai Holy Family Hospital has enough blood; please donate elsewhere if you do.
  • rockzapper: #mumbai NDTV still showing commando movements. Doesn’t it get it? This can cause a grim situation for police.
  • @blogdiva: more numbers to call re Mumbai crisis : US helpline 888-407-4747 Brazilian help line 9820686143 (C) CNN IBN FA 1-613-996-8885
  • blogdiva: if you are in Mumbai and want to donate blood, call 922 222 1947 and tell them you want to donate. They’ll get back to you when someone
  • CXI Our hearts go out to those suffering in Mumbai, as well as my friends and associations out there being personally impacted.

Never before in history have people had access to so much information, so real time, and so fast and available.  Some may feel that Twitter may be a hindrance to situations going on, however the spread of information by good people wanting to help has never been so prevalent as their ability to reach out and help, especially when times called for it most.

This is hard on everyone, and no one feels it so much as those in Mumbai and with friends and family who live there.  Our hearts are out to you, and may this catastrophe be resolved with no more innocent deaths or bloodshed.

Tomorrow won’t be known as Thanksgiving, but Thanksliving for those who can survive this horrific time and be stronger for it, in light of desperate and terrible situations.

Be safe, and be well.

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Posted in Baltimization, Christopher Kusek, Informational, Politics | Comments (0)

Monopolies are considered constitutional now!

November 10th, 2008

Wow, another bombshell dropped us on by Congress! The clause that Small Businesses in Defense (and other) areas for a guaranteed budget allocation has been squelched.

This previous instance set some serious precedence with no end in sight.

(re: “Preferential Treatment” for minorities called unconstitutional a court has ruled)

So, fresh from the halls of Congress is this little gem:

Small business program declared unconstitutional

As Nick Wakeman has had to say,

I think this story is just beginning. Small business advocates will likely be on Capitol Hill explaining ways that Congress can address the court’s ruling. Some will argue that many socio-economic groups still are discriminated against. Another argument is that small business programs foster economic growth.

We definitely need that now.

Perhaps this will drive innovation in these smaller businesses in order to be more agile, nimble and able to take those monies from big business.   But without any major reform in addition to these new lines of ‘reform’ initiated from Congress and declaring things “unconstitutional” we’ll be stuck with more of the same, Big Business Wins, small businesses collapse and Monopolies all around!    The question is, who will be the Thimble and who will be the Car.

 

Good luck out there small businesses. It’s definitely an uphill battle from here.

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Posted in Baltimization, Christopher Kusek, Defense, Informational, Politics | Comments (0)

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