Welcome To The Year 2014

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As this year draws to a close I look back at everything I have done and everything that I will continue in 2014. In my blogging world I lost quite a bit and those losses became the lessons I learned to become better at what I do. So what, I lost my blogs I had for many, many years, I got over it pretty fast. I was able to rebuild and eventually move everything to a new platform which was the best decision I ever made concerning my blogs. As time moves forward y’all will see me and The Sting Of The Scorpion move forward as well. The past is a nice pillow to rest your head on but you have nothing until you are willing to put your boots on the ground so you can fight for what you believe.

The Sting Of The Scorpion is, and always will be, a private blog where I express my opinions on my life and the world I live in. My opinions aren’t always pretty, they aren’t always popular, but they are always expressed in a manner that represents what I feel. That’s all you get from me. You may not like what I have to say, that used to concern me, but now it just makes me push harder. In 2014 y’all will not see The Sting Of The Scorpion move in the backwards direction, we are here to stay, and we are here to continue to attempt to show y’all things from an alternative point of view. Y’all don’t have to agree with me, y’all don’t need to understand me either, but I will offer what I have as an opinion. If y’all don’t like it y’all know where the door is, don’t let it hit you in the ass on your way out because I hate cleaning ass prints off the glass.

So buckle up princess, 2014 has allot to offer.

Incompatible Software Malfunctioning IT

(FILE PHOTO) Samsung Overtakes Apple As Leading Smart-Phone Supplier

As the workplace becomes increasingly mobile, the federal government is opting for devices other than BlackBerrys. The Obama Administration announced a Digital Government Strategy for federal employees to access workplace networks from mobile devices without compromising privacy and security concerns. In accordance with this strategy, the Department of Homeland Security, Department of Defense, and National Institute of Standards and Technology developed a baseline of standard security requirements for mobile computing and a framework design to reference in designing security and privacy protections. This would allow federal employees to use a range of popular brand devices without compromising government networks and leaking information, and even allow some offices to implement a bring-your-own-device policy instead of on government-issued devices.

Technology insiders applauded the government’s decision to develop the mobile technology to permit federal employees to work remotely. A survey of federal managers and federal workers found that each employee would add an additional seven hours each week in productivity, amounting to $14,000 in productivity gains. Of those federal workers who already have mobile device access, they spend a weekly average of nine additional hours on top of their full-time work schedules checking in to their workplace networks. Almost half of these workers report working more efficiently outside the office.

The Department of Agriculture forked over $20 million to several companies for MDM integration which is now one year behind schedule and malfunctioning. Perhaps if the USDA hired one of the companies approved by the GSA for mobile management solutions, then the USDA would not be having these rollout problems. Or maybe if the USDA required a demonstration of the bidding companies’ capabilities for MDM integration in the USDA’s network, then USDA employees would now be using their own iPhones and Android to access their workplace servers. Instead, the USDA paid three contractors $20 million.

Testing before handing over taxpayers’ money would have shown that one contractor’s software is not compatible with part of the USDA’s network security infrastructure. Eight months after the MDM system was supposed to have completed a 30-day, 3,000 phone test phase, this test phase has been pushed back, and the USDA is still just testing one component of the contractor’s incompatible software to determine whether the software will be used or abandoned. According to the USDA’s Request for Proposal, the agency already supported more than 3,000 mobile devices before the $20 million project and hoped to expand the number of mobile devices to more than 100,000 over the next few years. As of late July, only 1,370 devices were on the USDA’s MDM system.

Surely, given the failure of the MDM integration at the USDA, other federal agencies would restrain themselves from awarding millions in taxpayer dollars to these contractors without first testing their product? Think again. One of these three contractors was awarded $212.1 million in government contracts just in 2013. The contractor with the incompatible software has several multi-million dollar government contracts with the CIA, NSA, FBI, DHS, and the Air Force. Instead of pouring millions of dollars to fix “glitches,” taxpayers would prefer their money go towards testing new technologies first to prevent such rollout problems.

Information found for this “Your Tax Dollars @ Work” post was done by using a Google search. Information compiled from multiple public websites & media outlets.

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Scams, Fraud, And Abuse For Tuition

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Taxpayers are seeing their dollars thrown away to scam artists, and students struggling to pay for college may find higher tuition costs as some community colleges try to recover the millions of dollars they’re losing each year from federal Pell Grant fraud and abuse. Out of the $33.5 billion in Pell Grants the federal government doled out last year, individuals posing as students, called “Pell Runners”, took off with $1.2 billion.

Given how easy it is receive the funds, it’s no wonder there is significant fraud. When students register for classes at a participating college, they can fill out a financial aid form. If they qualify for a Pell Grant – based only on financial need – the federal government will issue the grant to the school. The school then takes out the cost of tuition for the semester and sends the remaining funds directly to the student. The student can use the leftovers to pay for a variety of purposes, such as food and living expenses. Because community colleges are generally low-cost, Pell Grant recipients can have one or two thousand dollars sent to them for their personal use. Once the money is received, however, scamming recipients disappear, leaving the school to try to find them to pay back the funds, and oftentimes moving on to do the same at another school. Tracking down these scammers is nearly impossible, and the college usually ends up paying back the fraudulently received grant out of their own monies.

At Henry Ford Community College this year alone, over $4 million of taxpayer money went to individuals who claimed they were full-time students, only to take the money and run, never actually setting foot inside a classroom. The federal government has not done enough to curb the abuse. Some schools have been taking matters into their own hands, implementing measures to try to reduce the incidents of fraud. Some impose a longer waiting period before distributing the funds to the student performing more stringent checks, one school waiting until 10 percent of the way into the semester, while other schools are increasing tuition, in part to cover the costs of Pell Grant abuse.

In either situation, it’s the honest students that suffer: longer waiting periods means it will take longer to get the money they need, and higher tuition costs means they will have to get by with less next semester when the college sends them a reduced check.

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Information found for this “Your Tax Dollars @ Work” post was done by using a Google search. Information compiled from multiple public websites & media outlets.

Tax Refunds For Federal Tax Cheats

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While millions of Americans (myself included) continue to send back bigger portions of their hard earned wages to Washington, many federal employees are tax cheats and getting large tax refunds. During the year of sweeping budget cuts, millions of federal employees faced layoffs, furloughs, and other cutbacks as a result of Congress’ failure to replace sequestration with responsible, targeted cuts. Most of these federal employees are responsible citizens who pay their taxes. Some, however, don’t feel they have to live by the rules like other Americans.

In 2011, the IRS found nearly 312,000 federal employees and retirees were delinquent on their federal income taxes, owing a total of $3.5 billion in unpaid federal income taxes. This represented an 11.5 percent increase in the number of federal employees failing to pay their taxes, and a 2.9 percent increase in the total taxes owed the Treasury by these public servants. The 2011 figures, the most recent year for which data are available, include 107,658 civilian federal employees owing more than $1 billion in unpaid taxes; 141,980 were military and civilian retirees $2.1 billion in delinquent taxes; and 61,928 were current military with $329 million in outstanding taxes.

It is inappropriate for any individual in violation of the law, including tax law, to retain full time employment with the federal government. And yet, nearly every federal agency and office, starting with the White House, Congress, and even the Treasury Department, continue to employ individuals who are failing to pay their taxes. Congress, the Courts, and the White House have failed to lead by example, with the three entities employing a total of 1,622 individuals owing a combined $23.8 million in taxes as of 2011. Federal employees have a clear obligation, just as the rest of American citizens do, to pay their federal income taxes.

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Information found for this “Your Tax Dollars @ Work” post was done by using a Google search. Information compiled from multiple public websites & media outlets.