Passport Fiasco

The Older Daughter has been invited by her grandma to take a 15-day European cruise this summer. (I am very jealous, but that’s another story.) Her passport expired a few weeks back, so we needed to get it renewed. We went to the State Department’s website to find the requirements. It said that we needed to bring her old passport or her birth certificate, and that we could pay by cash or check. Knowing how the government operates, I asked The Wife to call the local office to make sure the details from the website were correct. She did and they confirmed everything. Great, right? Not so much.
 
When they got to the office, they were told that she needed her old passport and her birth certificate. Well that sucks. My worst fears were realized in that no matter how hard you try to make dealings with the government easier, they always go awry. Anyway, they headed back  home to pick up the birth certificate. They made it back to the office, got all the paperwork filled out and processed. Then it was time to pay. The Wife forked over the $100 fee in cash. That’s when they told her that they don’t accept cash. You’re kidding me right? This after they said that was an acceptable form of payment on their website and The Wife double-checked over the phone? Not to mention that every Federal Reserve Note says “THIS NOTE IS LEGAL TENDER FOR ALL DEBTS, PUBLIC AND PRIVATE”.
 
I just wanted to rant about this to you and I hate to turn this political, but think about this for a moment. Think about this experience at the passport office; think about what a nightmare the DMV is; think about the IRS. You may have had other experiences interacting with the government. It’s nearly always a nightmare. The crush of massive bureaucracy and rampant incompetency is staggering.
 
How can anyone out there really think that the federal government can do a better job with health care? Universal health care would be an unmitigated disaster. Think of your DMV experience…that’s what going to the doctor or hospital will be like. We’ve got to stand against this.

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Here’s Who You Should Vote For

Who should I vote for?

I’ve seen a lot of quizzes out there that are supposed to help you decide who to vote for, but most of them seem pretty seem pretty lame. However, I’ve found one that may be a step above the rest. No tool like this is perfect, but it may be a useful educational tool. It’s called Glassbooth. You start off by weighting 14 issues. You have 20 points in which to allocate among the issues. If you are a single-issue person, you can allocate all 20 point to one issue. Otherwise, spread around the points as you see fit.

When you are happy with your point allocations, you move on to the questions. The questions are chosen based on the issues that you allocated points to. Your answer is on a 5-point scale from Strongly Oppose to Strongly Support. Answer those question and you are given the top 3 candidates that match you the closest by percent.

From there, you can drill into each issue and find out why they agree or disagree with you. They support their assertions with speech quotes and actual votes on bills, so you can understand why they think you match up or don’t with a particular candidate.

You are not limited to evaluating the top 3. They give you the ability to look at how you match up with any of the current candidates and many of those that have dropped out.

In case you care about my quiz (I know you don’t), first here’s how I allocated my 20 points among the issues:

  • Medical Marijuana and Drug Policy: 0
  • Civil Liberties and Domestic Security: 3
  • Crime and Punishment: 0
  • Iraq and Foreign Policy: 3
  • Trade and Economics: 2
  • Environment and Energy: 2
  • Gun Control: 0
  • Immigration: 3
  • Health Care: 0
  • Social Security: 4
  • Taxes and Budget: 3
  • Education: 0
  • Gay Rights: 0
  • Abortion and Birth Control: 0

Here are the top three candidates it spit out based on my answers to the subsequent questions:

  • Mike Huckabee: 71%
  • Ron Paul: 65%
  • John McCain: 65%

I checked out the other two remaining candidates to see how I match up with them:

  • Hillary Clinton: 44%
  • Barack Obama: 38%

I’d be interested in seeing what John and anyone else interested comes up with on this quiz.

Major Job Trends For 2008

CNN published an article today on the Major Job Trends For 2008. Strap yourselves in for Dad In The Headlight’s expert commentary on the article.

No. 1: Bigger Paychecks

Excellent. So far, so good.

No. 2: More Flexible Work Arrangements

More good news. So this means if I just don’t feel like coming into work on a given day, I don’t have to right? Or if I want to take a little nap, that’s fine?

No. 3: Screening Candidates via the Internet

Hey, you can get porn, pedophiles, viruses, cheap drugs, and financial scams with the Internet…why not employees also?

No. 4: Rehiring Retirees

Hmmm…I think we’re headed in the wrong direction now. I’m not sure I want a bunch of cane-wielding, Alzheimer’s sufferers running amok in the office.

No. 5: Diversity Recruitment

It’s always a good plan to diversify just for diversity’s sake rather than simply hiring the best regardless of any of the stupid categories we place ourselves in.

No. 6: Freelance or Contract Hiring

Sweet. Sounds like a good way to avoid paying benefits and eliminate any sense of job security.

No. 7: More Comprehensive Healthcare Benefits and Special Perks

In light of rising healthcare costs, 19 percent of employers report their companies plan to offer more comprehensive or better health benefits to employees in 2008. One-in-ten employers plan to offer more perks such as bonuses, discounts, company cars, stock options, free childcare, educational reimbursement, transit passes and wellness programs.

The math here escapes me. Healthcare costs are going through the roof, so employers are going to offer more of it? And cars, stock options, child care, etc. helps my health how?

No. 8: Career Advancement

Oh pick me, pick me! I want to be CEO for just one year. I promise I’ll jump out and pull the ripcord on my golden parachute after that and you’ll never see me again.