View 737 Tuesday, August 14, 2012
The heat wave continues. My office telephone is acting up. I managed to replace a feed line and it is now more or less working properly, but one gets overheated doing anything in this weather. Ah well. Sable finds a cool part of the floor to lie on, and probably wonders why we aren’t taking her for walks. Actually, it’s very nice out at 6AM. We’ll have to think about that.
Incorrect Information: NWS Not Buying Ammo
I read with dismay the posting you made today about the National Weather Service buying ammo, primarily because it’s not true and a couple of minutes of research would have shown this. The solicitation for ammo at the link https://www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportunity&mode=form&id=bfd95987a1ad9a6dfb22bca4a19150cb&tab=core&tabmode=list& is filled with errors. There is no such thing as "DOC NOAA National Weather Service – Western Acquisition Division – Boulder". The Department of Commerce has a Western Acquisition Division in Boulder. Further reading of the solicitation clearly indicates that every round of ammo is destined for the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), which is part of NOAA. Why the NMFS needs the ammo I cannot say.
Obviously the individual preparing the solicitation used some previous solicitation as a boiler-plate and didn’t completely excise the no longer relevant data.
I agree with your sentiments that the Federal government should be smaller than it is, but with posts like this, you make yourself sound more anarchist than rational. Perhaps I’m being unfair to you. Maybe Mr. Martin is a trusted correspondent of yours so you felt little need to trust but verify. This touched a sore spot with me because I for one think the Weather Service is actually good value for the tax dollars spent but in the rush to universally condemn everything the Federal government does (a theme that is more and more prevalent in your postings), I’m afraid the legitimate things the Feds do will not get the protection they deserve.
No, I thought the story was screwy, and possibly satirical, but I saw no great harm in posting it: the horror is that it might be true, just as my fanciful tale of TSA SWAT teams appearing at your house to arrest you for putting out too much CO2 might be thought possible with just a bit of belief suspension. When a guitar company is raided by a guns drawn team of federal agents because it might have illegally imported wood, what is actually impossible? Weather bureau bureaucrats shooting fish seems unlikely, but is it impossible? Presumably someone is going to fire those cartridges.
We still have bunny inspectors, and armed agents still raid vitamin companies. After all, we would have thought it impossible that the Federal Government would arrange for assault weapons and ammunition to be fast and furiously delivered to Mexican drug cartels, or at least that there would have been some kind of adult supervision by constitutionally responsible officers – or that once this came to light the constitutionally responsible officers would be concerned – or something. Yet the response of the constitutional officers seems to be defiance of the Congress. It’s all a puzzlement.
In any event, I haven’t lost my mind, and I don’t think I have deceived anyone. One of the advantages of being me is that if I do post a bit of questionable mail, someone will tell me. Quickly. Thanks. Readers may now be warned.
As to the less whimsical part of your letter, of course the Federal Government does some things well, and some are quite necessary. Adam Smith noted that there are great project whose benefit to any one person is small but which have enormous benefits to all, and those are a proper concern of government. The Framers thought so. They had in mind roads and canals, but I doubt that Franklin would have objected to government research laboratories. I am hardly an anarchist.
On the other hand, transparency is generally desirable.
: NMFS Office of Law Enforcement
The National Marine Fisheries Services has an office of law enforcement that deals with poachers, illegal imports of seafood and other laws that the agency is charged with enforcing.
Which makes a fair amount of sense, although I continue to worry about the multiplication of law enforcement agencies. Why can’t the US Marshals take care of such matters? I can understand having an enforcement counsel to coordinate with the Marshals, or the Revenoors, or whatever, but I am not really sure that the Marine Fisheries Service needs armed game wardens. Perhaps so. It is a dangerous world out there and even the game wardens may now need to be armed although they certainly were not when they inspected fishing licenses from those fishing in federal waters (TVA created lakes) on the Tennessee River when I was a kid. I had a shotgun but the warden was unarmed, and neither of us was afraid of the other. But that was a different world in a different time. Still, both for economic and liberty reasons, perhaps some rethinking of enforcement of federal regulations is in order. Did we learn nothing from Waco? But now I am rambling.
Recently a US Marshal (prisoner escort) was allowed through TSA with his weapon and ammunition, but they had to confiscate his bottle of cologne which was too large to take on an airplane. At least that’s the story he tells on the air. Of course the teller may not really be a US Marshall, or he may be making up the story, or – but does anyone believe it is impossible?
Firefox has started another of its rounds of updates, worries, compatibility checks, and general annoyances. Coupled with Adobe’s insistence on updates when and how it feels like. And were I not conscientiously complying with the frantic please for energy conservation by trying to operate without air conditioning I would probably not notice. It’s the dog days of the silly season.
© 2012, jerrypournelle. All rights reserved.