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Two Tales of "Good Enough For Government Work"

Two Tales of "Good Enough For Government Work"

Well, the US government might be taking that old chestnut a tad too literally today. Check out these two blunders of bureaucratic proportions.

Over at the Department of Homeland Security, the top immigration enforcement official ordered the destruction of photographs of an office Halloween party. The pictures showed a white agency employee dressed as a black detainee. The staff member who won the “most original costume” prize wore a dreadlock wig, what looked like a prison jumpsuit and black face paint. The employee said, “I’m a Jamaican detainee from Krome — obviously, I’ve escaped,” referring to a detention center in Miami.

Julie L. Myers, the assistant secretary of Homeland Security For Immigration and Customs Enforcement, ordered that the photos be removed from a digital camera in a “coordinated effort to conceal” her role in awarding one of the top costume prizes to the employee.

Want to see who's spending government money on Internet dating services?


An audit by the Government Accountability Office released by Senate lawmakers yesterday found that nearly half the "purchase card" transactions it examined were improper, either because they were not authorized correctly or because they did not meet requirements allowing the bucks to be spent.

Federal employees forked over government credit cards to pay for lingerie, gambling, iPods, Internet dating services, and a $13,000 steak-and-liquor dinner. The GAO also found that agencies could not account for nearly $2 million worth of items identified in the audit — including laptop computers, digital cameras, and, at the Army, more than a dozen computer servers worth $100,000 each.

Well, shoot. Those certainly aren't the most flattering government stories I've heard today. Are you going to call them up and ask for the iPod your tax money purchased? How do you think these stories of government corruption stack up against those around the world?


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freegracefrom freegracefrom 9 years
If I'm completely honest, I admit that I rejoice when men like Saddam Hussein and Mohamed Farrah Aidid are taken out of power, even if it's through forceful means. But no, I really meant intervention through diplomatic means, aid (food not guns), It's an excruciatingly slow way to affect change, but as recent history has shown us time and time again that our military engagements and regime overthrow attempts are far less successful at achieving the goal and far more costly to us (financially and politically) in the long run. There are civil wars that last for decades. Oftentimes, they are between a handful of powerful interests that could care less about any innocent people caught in-between and even go so far as to systematically eliminate the whole population of civilians. How can people stand up to fight when they don't have food, arms and a reliable saint-like leader with a vision and a plan? I'm not saying we should arm people, but we shouldn't judge them for not "fighting back" if they don't have the means to do so. In these most extreme situations, I think the only thing we can really do is help the people that come to us asking for our help (not turn them away) and at the same time, finagle some sort of peace in those countries at war. Even if the country isn't currently ravaged by war and famine but instead is simply struggling to achieve stability and positive growth (e.g. Mexico), why not devote time and brainpower to help that country to make the best use of their resources and become self-reliant/self-sustaining? Don't you think that if people had the opportunity to support themselves and their families in their own country they would? I guarantee you that most people from that country wouldn't be so eager to illegally enter a country over miles of desert, risk being shot, where they will be constantly looking over their shoulder, where they are outcasts, where they don't speak the language, where people always shoot them dirty looks and yell obscenities at them! Even in an economic downtime with the value of the dollar spiraling downward, the USA is still the wealthiest country in the world. We do a lot already, but why not do more when we have the ability? Especially when we can do so without even making the slightest bit of difference to our standard of living.
UnDave35 UnDave35 9 years
So are you now condoning the use of our military to overthrow other governments? I'm confused.
freegracefrom freegracefrom 9 years
UnDave - There's a pretty huge disparity between the resources that the colonists had in America vs the British army in 1776 ... and what the people in various countries have to work with vs their respective governments. People pay with their lives all the time to stand up to their governments and believe me, there are some governments out there that wouldn't blink an eye if they had to wipe out every single one of their citizens to remain in power. The gulf is too wide now - their is no hope without the intervention of other international superpowers.
stephley stephley 9 years
UnDave, to get this property on which we built this bastion of democracy, we sacrificed millions of native american lives. Not so sure we should sneer at other people.
UnDave35 UnDave35 9 years
That would've pretty cool to see. Do we have any pictures?
raciccarone raciccarone 9 years
The runners up were a group re-enacting Abu Ghraib.
UnDave35 UnDave35 9 years
The lack of compassion comes from what we a combination of what we are bombarded with in the news, and our frustration that these people aren't fighting within their country. We (our forefathers) fought and died to create and preserve this counry, and make it the bastion of democracy that it is. If these illegal immigrants don't want to aren't willing to make the same sacrifices for their country, why should I have any concern for them?
freegracefrom freegracefrom 9 years
Back when I used to work for a refugee advocacy organization, INS was just getting swept under the Department of Homeland Security. I remember that we were concerned about what this would mean. I respect the mission of the INS/Dept of Homeland Security - I really do. I don't necessarily agree with all of their laws, but I respect their overall mission. But it's pictures like this that speak a thousand words about THEIR attitude towards the individuals they deal with. It's almost as if they think these people are not even human. It certainly explains a lot to me why the conditions in Krome are so awful. I guess I'll never understand the lack of compassion for immigrants, illegal or not. 99.999999% of these people don't enter this country with the intention to blow up buildings and break laws. A lot of these people just simply wanted a better life for themselves and their families. A lot escaped from deplorable conditions in their own homeland and escaped using desperate means (a bathtub across the Atlantic!). Some of them are asylum seekers that face certain persecution and death if shipped back to their country and they have to live with that constant fear every single minute while trapped behind those bars at Krome. I guess that's why I don't think the Halloween costume was so hilarious.
foxie foxie 9 years
Or Julie realized what the backlash would be in this trigger happy society.
outtajo outtajo 9 years
The Halloween party story has to be at least a year old. Seriously. And how do people not see the problem with dressing up and mocking harmful stereotypes of another race?
stephley stephley 9 years
"Julie L. Myers, the assistant secretary of Homeland Security For Immigration and Customs Enforcement, ordered that the photos be removed from a digital camera in a “coordinated effort to conceal” her role in awarding one of the top costume prizes to the employee." Apparently, Julie came to think it was racist too.
foxie foxie 9 years
The sad thing is that you automatically assume this guy is racist. It's Halloween. He's dressing up. I'm 100% sure that he works alongside black people and I'm guessing everyone thought it was pretty funny. Wasn't there just a post up the other day about how overly-sensitive people are these days? It's mind-boggling.
stephley stephley 9 years
Hmm, I guess its not just a work atmosphere issue.
mondaymoos mondaymoos 9 years
Yeah, I don't get the blunders in the first story either. It's a Halloween costume. But I'll take my La Perla whenever we can get that shipped, thanks.
Stella-Stylist Stella-Stylist 9 years
Wow Foxie! The sad thing about your question is that you are serious. Maybe u just have to be black in order to understand the blunders in the first story.
freegracefrom freegracefrom 9 years
Wow. The sensitivity... it boggles the mind.
krampalicious krampalicious 9 years
no, i just want my $13,000 steak dinner. i'll have the cabernet, too, please.
foxie foxie 9 years
I'm not following what's a blunder about the first story...?
stephley stephley 9 years
Actually, the $2-million dollars of missing items in the GAO audit sounds a tad low for our government. I'll avoid commenting on what creates a work atmosphere like the one suggested in the Homeland Security story.
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