Monday, March 10, 2008

Is Bu$hCo due blame for flawed census gadgets?

To the left you'll find an image of Howard L. Lance, the Boss Hoss at Harris Corporation down in Melbourne Florida. According to FEC searches, it appears he's a solid Republican/Bu$hCo supporter. Howard is doing just fine if this Business Week piece is accurate.

However, David Goldstein of McClatchy Newspapers reveals troubles for the taxpayers with his reporting titled Gadget's failure could triple cost of 2010 census. Mr. Goldstein reports:

... The hand-held mobile computers that are supposed to replace the pens and paper long used by census takers aren't working properly, and delays could send the cost from $600 million to as much as $2 billion. ...

The government awarded a $600 million contract for the new system to the Harris Corp. of Melbourne, Fla., in 2006. But the Census Bureau continued to tinker with the specifications, which the GAO said led to delays and cost overruns. The agency didn't finalize the specifications until January. ...

Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez told the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee this week that the program has "serious problems." Both the Census Bureau and Harris "could have done things differently and better over the past couple of years," he said.

Harris spokesman Marc Raimondi would not comment on who was to blame. But he said it was "not unusual for programs of this size and length to encounter some customer requests for additional requirements that they feel best enables them to accomplish their mission."

"Managing those changes is challenging," Raimondi said. "However, we remain totally committed to supporting the Census Bureau's efforts." ...

So should we blame Bu$hCo? The Census Bureau is after all part of Bu$hCo's Commerce Department. Former Census head Charles Louis Kincannon, who appears to have earned plenty of blame for the trouble with the Harris gadgets, was appointed by Dubyah. It seems like from the prior link that Mr. Kincannon fled the Executive branch, even serving in Paris with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, a globalization outfit of some note, whenever a Democrat was in the White House.

Returning to the reporting of David Goldstein, please note the following:

... Census data is used to apportion congressional seats, as well as to calculate how much money states receive for subsidized school lunches, highway aid and a host of other federal programs dependent on income and other demographic data. ...
Reckon if slow or flawed census data might not be a useful problem for movement conservatives? Thinking about the possibilities for mischief troubles me greatly. Even if St. John doesn't make the cut come this fall the mess that Bu$hCo will leave for either Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama will be significant.

Also, I note that Harris just got a 45.2 Million Order from U.S. Air Force for Falcon Radios. Also, there's U.S. Air Force Selects Harris Corporation for $410 Million Network and Space Operations and Maintenance Program. Following Harris' own press releases indicates they are surely involved at the defense/government level. While an Open Secrets search doesn't reveal exclusively GOP donations from Harris connected people a good number did donate to Republicans. I've long believed while folks like Grover Norquist, the Field Marshall of the Bush Plan, might want to get government down to the size where they can drown it in a bathtub one of their favorite ways to reduce its size is to pocket what they can from its coffers.

So we've got a mess that will costs us triple what it should have plus likely deliver critical data slower than we need it? Heck of a job! John Gunn

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