Would You Like Some Cheese With That Whine

Politico has a post up about how some bureaucrats and former bureaucrats are upset with Congress reviewing and repealing regulations under the Congressional Review Act of 1996. Toward the end of the post it has a quote from one of the regulators that shows his upside-down view of the constitution.

“I believe there’s a good chance that, in a legal challenge, that a court will overturn Congress’ actions here as an unconstitutional usurpation of the executive branch’s powers,” he said.

Uh, no. The ability of the bureaucrats to regulate does not generally flow from the President’s powers under Article II. It’s is generally derived from Congress delegating it’s Article I powers to the Executive Branch. What Congress can delegate, it can take back.

Governing with a Pen

staedtler-stick-eraserWhen Congress was not passing legislation to support his attempt at fundamental transformation of America, Barack Obama famously said that he would use his pen and his phone to bring changes through regulation. President Trump also has a pen, and he has already begun to use it. One of the results of his penmanship will be the need for bureaucrats to undo some of what has been done in the past.

Hogewash! is offering a deal on erasers through Amazon. I recommend the Staedtler Stick Eraser as an energy saving device compared to powered erasers. Click on the image on the left to order. We accept payment via government credit cards.

Buffer Inventory Control

Darrell Fawley has an essay over at Small Wars Journal about the Army’s challenge retaining its best and brightest junior officers. (H/T, Instapundit) If you’re interested in the future of our military, you should read the whole thing.

One thing Fawley points out that drives many good soldiers out of the Army is the its tendency to pettifogging bureaucracy in a peace time garrison environment.

Forcing leaders to fill out pages of high risk trackers to be briefed to generals rather than allowing commanders to own their companies is just one example.  Having COMET teams run around post stopping vehicles to ensure they have their warning triangles is another.  Carrying around a standards book as an inspectable item?  Does that show trust?

No, it doesn’t. And I can sympathize based on my experience as a Second Lieutenant.

My initial set of assignment orders had me assigned to a unit at Ft. Hood as a Combat Signal Officer following completion of the Signal Officer’s Basic Course at Ft. Gordon. However, I did so well in the course that the Signal School retained me as an Instructor in the Officer Basic Course. One day, I received a set of orders appointing me the Buffer Inventory Control Officer for the School. Buffer Inventory? Was this some sort of supply detail? I called up the Adjutant’s office and asked what I was supposed to do.

I was to be the property custodian for the month of October for all the floor polishers (“buffers”) on the property books of the School, all 124 of them. I was to sign for all of them and then pass them along to another officer in November. If any were missing, I’d have to reimburse the Army for the full purchase price of a replacement.

So I decided to conduct a sight inventory of the “buffers,” signing only for the ones that I could actually find. I should mention that the orders specifically said that use of my private vehicle was not allowed, so I took off walking around Ft. Gordon. It was obvious from the reactions of the various NCOs and Army civilian employees I encountered that no one had ever actually asked to check on their floor polishers. After a couple of days, the Colonel I worked for asked me what I was doing. He called the Adjutant and got me a staff car and driver. That lasted for about a day-and-a-half until someone up the food chain realized what I was doing. I was actually following orders, and that was screwing up the system.

It turned out that sometime in the early ’60s someone lost a floor polisher. The corrective action (on paper) was to assign an officer to be responsible for Buffer Inventory Control, and so that became a slot on the School’s duty roster. Nudge, nudge, wink, wink. Apparently, I was the first officer in years who actually did an inventory, and I wasn’t finding all the “buffers.”

Around the 10th of the month, I received a second set of orders canceling the duty.

That’s how the bureaucratic garrison Army tends to be. If it can’t change, it will lose its best soldiers to civilian life.

Non-Joking Legal Questions

A three year old deaf child is having trouble with education bureaucrats because the registered sign for his name violates their weapons policy. (I’m not making this up, you know.)

I ask these questions in all seriousness—Does a person have a Ninth Amendment right to his own name? And a First Amendment right to say (or sign) it?

How is the Federal Bureaucracy Like Windows?

Smitty takes a look at that question when he considers how the government grew to reach critical morass.

Which operating system has more systems deployed: Microsoft’s Win*, or the various Unix flavors (with Apple’s line standing far closer to Unix)? Linux, in particular, is wrecking all non-desktop comers (supercomputers, routers, servers) because Linus Torvalds is ruthlessly anti-bloat. The U.S. Code is far more like Windows, with its tendency to add more layers of noise atop the existing crap, without insufficient trimming of legacy crap.

Ruthless focus on first principals is the difference between Apple under Steve Jobs and Microsoft under Steve Balmer. It’s the difference between George Patton and William Westmoreland. It’s the difference between spectacular success and meh.

And, yes, all the computers in my business and my household run either some form of Mac OS or Linux, and all my families mobile devices run iOS.