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Just Another SNAFU

Back in February, 2008 the Department of Homeland Security announced the successful test of a “virtual fence” along the border. For “only” $20 million it covered 28 miles of the border and did all kinds of wonderful things so they were going to expand the system.

That bit of euphoria lasted all of one week, when it was discovered that the project would cost more and take longer than “originally thought”. In other words. the people who won the contract, Boeing, were just kidding about the budgets for time and expenses. Nonetheless, the project went forward.

Until this week, just shy of three years and a billion dollars later, when we learn that the Homeland Security chief cancels costly virtual border fence.

You know, you could pay a lot of Border Patrol officers with a billion dollars.

8 comments

1 Steve Bates { 01.16.11 at 8:18 pm }

“You know, you could pay a lot of Border Patrol officers with a billion dollars.”

But Bryan… then it wouldn’t be a private-sector solution to the problem. You’d be paying government agents… what you’re saying is heresy! I know private sector solutions are always better; the Tea Party and the GOP both told me so. %-}

2 Bryan { 01.16.11 at 9:50 pm }

Boeing?! Of all the stupid political tricks, what in hell does Boeing know about surveillance electronics and sensors?

Boots on the ground with local knowledge and contacts. Start some Border Patrol cavalry regiments with the wild horses they are always trying to wipe out and build a series of substations along the border. If you want to seal it, that is what it is going to take – patrols at random intervals along the border with reliable communications links for back-up.

3 ellroon { 01.16.11 at 11:36 pm }

We could have just cut out the middle man and given the millions to whoever thinks of the neatest thing. Huge moats with machine guns! Sharks with lazers! Don’t have to even produce it, just talk about it.

No wonder corporations hate accountability and regulations… they won’t make any money that way.

4 Bryan { 01.17.11 at 12:08 am }

We should at least get a video game out of it, Ellroon 😈

5 Kryten42 { 01.17.11 at 12:59 am }

That reminds me of one of those funny old famous quotes. 😉

I don’t think I’ll get married again; I’ll just find a woman I don’t like and give her a house.
— LEWIS GRIZZARD, attributed, Oxford Dictionary of Humorous Quotations

(OK.. Maybe not totally appropriate 😉 but I like it. How about these?)

Because the free market system is so weak politically, the forms of capitalism that are experienced in many countries are very far from the ideal. They are a corrupted version, in which powerful interests prevent competition from playing its natural, healthy role.
— RAGHURAM G. RAJAN, Saving Capitalism from the Capitalists

Advocates of capitalism are very apt to appeal to the sacred principles of liberty, which are embodied in one maxim: The fortunate must not be restrained in the exercise of tyranny over the unfortunate.
— BERTRAND RUSSELL, “Freedom in Society”

Actually, I’ve usually found that quotes about street hookers and their pimps are far more appropriate for Capitalists and their masters. 😈

6 Bryan { 01.17.11 at 8:13 pm }

There nothing wrong with capitalism, Kryten. I really think we should try it, because what we are doing now doesn’t work … 😈

Any similarity between capitalism and the current system is merely rhetorical. Surely no one actually believes that risk and competition are good things … 😉

7 Badtux { 01.18.11 at 12:12 am }

Capitalism is a means to an end (that end being to more nimbly meet customer demands by using the future income derived from meeting said customer demand to pay the current capital cost of investment needed to meet that demand), not something to be worshipped as a false idol (the almighty dollar). Somehow Americans forgot this truth, and we are paying the price for this worship of pieces of toilet paper with pictures of dead people on it, and forgetting that the purpose of capitalism is to serve us — not the other way around.

== Badtux the Capitalist Penguin

8 Bryan { 01.18.11 at 11:22 am }

People just don’t understand that making money from money is worthless. To have value, money has to be based on something more concrete than other money. There has to be something with inherent worth created that people want to buy.

Water is one of the most valuable commodities on the planet, as people are going to discover in the very near future when the water wars begin. Most people can last a month without food [American a bit longer]. but try going without water for a few days.

When the nation’s economy is tied as closely to the financial sector, as the US economy is these days, nothing good will come of it. You have to create something to survive.