Thursday, December 10, 2009
Tuesday, December 01, 2009
NOW AVAILABLE FREE FOR 2010 – UPDATED, 3RD EDITION – SMALL BUSINESS FEDERAL GOVERNMENT CONTRACTING GUIDEBOOK
It covers 7 major areas of the business with 38 articles and two company models on small business systems and pricing.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Tuesday, September 08, 2009
Saturday, August 01, 2009
"I have received all of the lab results on the sample you were concerned about. I didn’t include the raw data as I felt it would be better understood by everyone involved if I touched on the results versus sending raw lab results out that likely wouldn’t make much sense to most people without guidance and research.
Here’s what I’ve found: Upon my initial review, nitrogen values looked a bit higher than normal with the exception of Ammonia. These nitrate values are higher than what I’ve personally seen in other urban settings from storm water pipes I’ve monitored in the past. After consulting Travis Bistodeau, Water Resource Specialist at the Dakota SWCD, who has extensive experience with monitoring around the County, he indicated that the levels detected were similar to levels he has detected while sampling the Vermillion River near the Falls and other locations upstream in the watershed. This level of nitrate detected was not in exceedance of the drinking water standard. I would expect nitrogen values to be slightly higher as well considering the time of year and use of nitrogen on lawns and fields. The ammonia value detected appeared to be relatively normal. My guess is any elevated nitrogen levels are a reflection of warm season nitrogen application and current background nitrogen levels found in this area of the County.
Metals values detected were less than any toxicity levels stated in the MN ch. 7050 water quality standards.
MBAS (Methylene Blue Activated Substances) is a test for surfactants that the lab ran and helped me interpret the results since I’m not familiar with it. I was hoping this test would address any foaming that was present in the water. The text below indicates the lab’s opinion on what was detected. It appears that a situation like someone washing a car or cars may have contributed to this surfactant level as it does not appear to be a wastewater issue.
From Standard Methods:
"At current detergent and water usage levels the surfactant content of raw domestic wastewater is in the range of about 1 to 20 mg/L. Most domestic wastewater surfactants are dissolved in equilibrium with proportional amounts absorbed on particulates. Primary sludge concentrations range from 1 to 20 mg absorbed anionic surfactant per gram dry weight. In environmental waters the surfactant concentration generally is below 0.1 mg/L except in the vicinity of an outfall or other point source of entry."
Based upon this and the 0.1mg/L in waters, the 0.527 mg/L would seem to indicate a slightly elevated surfactant level. Plus, remember that the sample was already about a week+ old (hold time 48 hours) before it was analyzed.
I hope that provides some clarity about this potential discharge concern. We greatly appreciate having some "eyes and ears" within the watershed to help us potentially locate and fix problems that might exist on the upland areas that drains to our water resources. Please let us know if we can further assist you with this matter and also let us know if other potential concerns arise.
Vermillion River Watershed Joint Powers Organization
Dakota County Water Resources Department
14955 Galaxie Avenue, Apple Valley, MN 55124
Phone: 952-891-7546 Fax: 952-891-7588
Saturday, July 11, 2009
SAIC Case Sheds Needed Light on World of Government Contracting
Science Applications International Corp. is not only one of the federal government's largest contractors -- with more 17,000 Washington area employees, it is the region's fourth-largest private employer. So it is of more than passing interest that after a lengthy investigation, the Justice Department has now accused company executives of conspiring with corrupt Navy officials to rig a 2004 computer contract potentially worth billions of dollars.
Last week the Justice Department asked a federal judge in Jackson, Miss., to order the company to pay damages that could top $350 million -- a lot of money for a company that earned $450 million last year. A judgment might also lead the government to temporarily suspend SAIC from competing for new contracts.
See Above link to read more.
Monday, June 01, 2009
"Answers" on "Linked In" recently posted the following question pertaining to getting old. Below is my response:
What is old age to you?
We have heard 40 is the new 30, but yet I think "old" seems to always stay the same distance for me. At 25 I thought 50 was old, at 35 I thought 60 was old, now I have hit 50, 75 is old.I know true age is more a matter of mind, but I would love to know how old you are and at what age you think you will be old.
I took a fall on the ice 2 winters ago in front of the Middle School and 2 dozen 5th graders. The fall didn't hurt nearly as much as the laughter and the subsequent whispers this year, "There goes that old guy again, do you think he might fall?"
I took a nap out in the wildlife refuge last Sunday in a beautiful stand of aromatic pines. When I awoke I found two huge turkey buzzards staring at me intently from their perch nearby. I had known I was getting older but had not realized I had reached the carrion stage.
I reported a pollution spill in the Vermilion River recently and the Minneapolis paper picked up the story. A reader commented on the web site that the Minnesota pollution control program had now been relegated to an "Old Guy" in the vets home (see below link).
I feel fine about getting old. It's how I am perceived by others that bothers me.
Sunday, May 10, 2009
Thursday, May 07, 2009
Wednesday, April 08, 2009
The Minneapolis Star Tribune and Hasting Gazette recently reported on my pollution findings at the 18th Street Bridge in Hastings:
Judge for yourselves.
Wednesday, April 01, 2009
Here is his take on the matter, which recently received a “Best Answer” Rating on the “Linked In” web site:
“About mid-summer every agency begins to get paranoid about whether or not they have spent all their money, worried about having to return some and be cut back the next year. They flood the market with sources sought notifications and open solicitations to get the money committed. Many of these projects are meaningless.
Then during the last fiscal month (September) proposals are stacked up all over the place and everything is bottle-necked. If you are a small business trying to get the paperwork processed and be under contract before the new fiscal year starts you are facing a major challenge.
Many companies go out on risk to continue multi-year procurements with no guarantee on paper that they will get the funding from the government in the new year due to the backlog. In October the flood gates open and everything is “Plussed-Up”. This process must be changed as we scale down the size of the federal machine.
Let’s face it. We are broke and we are operating on credit here. The stimulus is just that - our children's future credit bills. We should be able to plan five years out and fund accordingly. Most well managed organizations do and with the size of this machine right now I agree with the others who have commented here that it is almost impossible.
We are about to pump "Stimulus" money (really credit with huge coat tails) in the billions into this already preposterous machine and we expect reasonable management? They do not have the infrastructure, the capability or the inclination to manage it. They will outsource the job to companies who can perform the process, establish the IT and lend a hand.
I have hundreds of SCORE clients right now who are getting in line to get qualified to become federal government service contractors in these fields. I don't blame them. They will get the first money injection to keep the GAO happy and prop up the agency heads that will be overwhelmed.
We will be forced to give up the annual budget cycle. It has become a ludicrous exercise we can no longer afford and our government is choking on it.”
Sunday, March 01, 2009
Friday, January 02, 2009
The longest running and largest consortium of this type is the US Military Industrial Complex (MIC), funded each year at an amount many times the Wall Street and automotive bailouts combined. It is the elephant in the room in the burgeoning financial crisis, carrying the weight of wars, weapons systems and a pentagon/corporate financial relationship based on cost plus and time and material contracts since World War II:
IMPORTS AND EXPORTS
We are importing goods and services and borrowing money from the Chinese, the European Union, Japan, Korea, India and other developing countries at a rate unmatched in our history. Loan proceeds are being used to fight wars and bail out our bankers, carmakers and state governors.
Our largest export today is our public debt and our credit rating is slipping.
What shall the prospective, second-largest government/industrial complex be called, “The Department of Wishful Thinking”? It is being financed with money borrowed from entities future generations will owe as the US kicks the financing can down the road like it has for the last 60 years.
No doubt Washington will attempt to regulate the outlay, put in auditors and control mechanisms like the Federal Acquisition Regulation and Cost Accounting Standards that evolved over the years on a reactive basis dealing with the white elephant scandals in the Military Industrial Complex. But somehow those controls have never been able to stop the mammoth waste, fraud and abuse that occur in the MIC.
Big money attracts greedy people, not only in the MIC but also on Wall Street and in the corporate boardroom. It also buys influence and crooks in government.
The natural order of economics is still out there. Washington's money-and-power-influenced, artificial reality cannot survive what historically has been the rise and fall of booms and busts in the last 100 years. Economics is now on steroids through high technology, the Internet, mass communications and frauds that cross national borders like cobwebs.
The MIC will be scaled down by collapse. The Russian MIC led to that country's financial demise. It is now apparent that we did not outspend the Russians at weaponry and interventions. We simply had a better credit rating that is now maxed out
The other government agencies will be re-scaled and downsized as well but not by any specific action taken by the pending or future federal establishment. The over 50 entities that make up the federal government, together with their corporate outsource services, will be shrunk dramatically because the US is broke. The feds will fight to preserve the artificial reality, but US financing and credibility on the world stage are drying up and the creditors are suffering.
No new administration can change the above facts by riding on the taxpayer's back with "Social Improvement", " Public Works" and "Creating Democracies in Other Countries" mantras. Such policies in the past have led to foreign interventions, thousands of young soldier’s deaths, bureaucratic growth in Washington and bloated corporations performing low quality service contacts.
Annual budget deficits and the national debt are at intolerable levels.
The US will come home from military adventures abroad because it will no longer have the money to run them and it will cease bailing out failing commercial establishments because there will be no funding for that.
The US will re-align priorities at the state and the national level much like all the little "Joe the Plumbers" throughout the country, who are toting skinny 401K's without jobs. They represent the present and future tax base upon which this country will run. America will not spend its way out of this dilemma because there will be no cash or credit left to spend.
The US will demonstrate financial prudence out of necessity, align spending with available revenue, downsize the federal government and its corporate cadre, cultivate technology and the small business base and take care of its most important constituent here at home - the average tax payer.
The US will understand the above are not political objectives but economic realities that are here and now. World economics will not allow a new, financial, government/industrial complex to emulate or replace the MIC.