Header Image (book)


Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Incompetence Rules The Day!

Five recent pieces of evidence, and this evidence crosses the spectrum from education to science to crime:

1. Contamination at NIH’s clinical pharmacy center halts operations

2. SAT's went missing from high-end school in Loudoun County, Virginia

3. Military Shipped Live Anthrax Samples to 51 Labs in U.S., Abroad

4. How did 2 killers escape from a maximum security prison?

5. Students find key error on [June 6, 2015] SATs given across U.S.

At least two of my students took the June 6th SAT. **sigh**

And last year...

CDC: Smallpox found in NIH storage room is alive

Corruption and incompetence at the top trickle down. Did not Shakespeare's Hamlet make that very point centuries ago?


  1. Incompetence Rules The Day! Indeed!
    He really is a clueless moron, he made a mess, and he don't know how to clean it up. I guess now this is Obbaamy's War. Ya just can't blame Bush any more!

    Yes Bush sent us there, BUT it was your Messiah who pulled the troops out too early against the advice of his top generals. In fact, the Idiot in Chief stood up and said many times "I promised to get us out of Iraq, and I did!" Too bad we have to go back because he made a poor choice.


    This blog post is not about Obama's foreign "policy."

    Comments which are way off topic are subject to deletion.

    1. Indeed. If partisans limit their criticism so narrowly, we will never get anything fixed. Obama is competing with Carter for worst president ever, but this didn't start with him, and he is not the totality of all incompetence around us.

      This is a system failure. It is big, widespread and cannot be easily quantified or even systematically cataloged. It psychological, educational and societal, among many other things.

      Related: I believe we are entering an era of the complete discrediting of all authority figures and institutions, much of it earned.

      Has it always been this way, but now we have ubiquitous cameras and social media to spread the bad news?

      I don't know. I do know we are in a low-level upheaval, and we will have to arrive at some kind of equilibrium, or things could get really ugly.

    2. SF,
      this didn't start with [Obama], and he is not the totality of all incompetence around us

      Absolutely true.

      However, the kind of "leadership" which Obama uses does contribute to what I often refer to as the devolution of America.

      We've really sunk since Alexis de Toqueville wrote Democracy in America.

  3. GREAT QUOTE! This seems to be on display, ubiquitously, on TV 24-7-365.

    1. Jon,
      Reality TV is horrible. I watched a few such shows, then went back to reading or listening to audio books.

  4. Descartes may have been a smart guy... but he was not necessarily the 'smartest'...

    The story goes that King John intended to travel through the neighbourhood. At that time in England, any road the king travelled on had to be made a public highway and the people of Gotham did not want a public highway through their village. The villagers feigned imbecility when the royal messengers arrived.[1] Wherever the messengers went, they saw the rustics engaged in some absurd task. Based on this report, John determined to have his hunting lodge elsewhere, and the wise men boasted, "We ween there are more fools pass through Gotham than remain in it."

  5. May all of America's idiots move to Boston, where they'll be in good company!

  6. Not really an impressive list.

    1. The events at the NIH were contained. They have lock down procedures because contamination is possible. The criticism seems as well anchored as the ebola hysteria. Farmer, turns out that using the military to build treatment centers was one of the better uses since WW II.

    2. There's a typo on the SAT, is that it? And one district temporarily misplaced the exams.
    Terrifying symptoms of our decline. But I'd rate is behind the terror of having a transgendered person use the "wrong" rest room. Noe that's proof of our decline.

    3. The prison escape is fascinating. How did they get power tools?

    Now as for our military using Fed-Ex to ship live anthrax spores. That is disconcerting but the military usually is.

    1. Duck,
      Please read the links about the SAT's. The problem with the typo (your term) is significant because the exam is strictly timed. A whole section of the test had to be thrown out, and if that section was a student's strength, that student's score will be adversely affected on a test that is used for all sorts of screenings by universities and other programs.

      The disappearing-then-reappearing SAT's were quite something. ETS did not received the students' bubble sheets, and the high school released a dated video showing the delivery service picking up the box. But it wasn't really the box! The box had been sitting for weeks in the school's shipping area.

      PS: This blog post is not about Ebola. Not keeping track of live smallpox and live anthrax is serious business. Those mistakes should not have happened. Period. I also remind you that you once quacked about how awful that misplacement of live smallpox was -- big mistake by the NIH, and this week the NIH pharmacy had mold-contaminated vials. The backup systems are failing at the NIH. Why? How?

    2. Yes, the SAT typo is a serious error and if there is a possible remedy it should be made available. I don't know what they can do but at any rate it's not an indicator that we are a nation of idiots.

      What we don't know about the smallpox is whether or not there was danger of contagion. Is there a failsafe in place for that type of error?

      Live anthrax spores just waiting for a Fed-Ex traffic accident is a little more disconcerting it seems to me.

    3. Never in the history of the SAT have such errors happened.

      The best remedy would have been to administer just the affected section of the test. Alas! Can't be done! Many students have serious summer plans. For example, one of my students, a rising junior, is going to Stanford Summer College and leaves before any such retesting can be put together. It is the norm for rising juniors and seniors to have summer internships, summer college, and the like.

      I do see this SAT mess as an indicator that we are a nation of idiots. It is so simplistic to make sure that the proctors' timing parameters and the students' test booklets match. Eazy-peazy, in fact. Where were the proofreaders?

      Speaking of proofreading, I see ridiculous errors in proofreading all over the place the past few years. So many proofreading errors! These proofreaders are getting paid. What are they doing to earn their pay.

    4. Hmmm, more disturbing. The smallpox virus wasn't in a containment lab.

  7. For worrisomeness - Anthrax or drug contamination. The latter has serious consequences more often than it makes headlines.

    But I was quite taken by the SAT error when I read the Board's explanation: "it was a printing error." Generally, once we've passed the days of typesetting, printers usually print your artwork, no? So what kind of error was this? Just indicates a bigger problem in taking and expecting responsibility.

    1. Baysider,
      Excellent point about drug contamination.

      Should not we expect better from the NIH? Absolutely! If "the best of the best" are making such errors (drug contamination, live smallpox in a closet), what kinds of mistakes are the rest -- not the best of the best -- making?

  8. Replies
    1. Ed,
      Might as well be!

      I got tired of putting together Nincompoopery polls because there is an inundation of nincompoopery.

      I will have a poll again soon, however: a new-lexicon poll. Just for fun.

  9. I am following the prison break story. I think this issue has a parallel to basic cryptography. If someone can code it, just by the nature of the code, another can decode the same - given time - and if not generated by artificial intelligence.

    Same goes for prisons. If someone can think up how to keep an individual "in" the same might be capable of a reverse order of operations for an escape.

    Is it possible the men spent literal months entering the maze of pipes and tunnels to build their own schematic of the facility? Either that, or they just downloaded the same from Google. wink But this escape took patient planning that most likely spanned months and not days. I anticipate they will not be caught very soon. Of course it is hoped that they will be returned to their jurisdiction.


    1. That almost sums up the plot to the film Escape Plan.

    2. Also sounds like Jacques Becker's "Le Trou".

      Great escape film.

  10. "The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools."

    ~ John Tyndall (1820-1893)

    'Nuff said!

  11. How competent were Nero or Caligula ? Well, they were competent at enriching themselves. Otherwise Nope. And these are the people in American politics today who the libtards admire and support. I'd say That is pretty clear.


We welcome civil dialogue at Always on Watch. Comments that include any of the following are subject to deletion:
1. Any use of profanity or abusive language
2. Off topic comments and spam
3. Use of personal invective

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.