You get what you pay for

December 15, 2013
By

Why that Mandela funeral sign language interpreter didn’t know what he was doing:

Mr. Jantjie was paid a grand total of $85 for his simultaneous translation of the speeches of the U.N. secretary-general, six presidents, the head of the African Union, and a dozen other dignitaries. Ms. Bogopane-Zulu notes that the going rate for signing in South Africa is $125 to $165. So she thinks a junior official may simply have awarded the contract to the lowest bid.

[...]

Speaking of enjoying themselves, back in the VIP seats President Obama, Danish prime minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt, and British prime minister David Cameron carried on like Harry, Hermione, and Ron snogging in the back row during the Hogwarts Quidditch Cup presentation. As the three leaders demonstrated their hands-on approach, Michelle Obama glowered straight ahead, as stony and merciless as the 15-foot statue of apartheid architect Dr. Hendrik Verwoerd that once stood guard outside the government offices of the Orange Free State. Eventually, weary of the trilateral smooching, the first lady switched seats and inserted herself between Barack and the vivacious Helle. How poignant that, on a day to celebrate the post-racial South Africa, the handsome young black man should have to be forcibly segregated from the cool Aryan blonde. For all the progress, as Obama himself pointed out, “our work is not yet done.”

44 Responses to You get what you pay for

  1. Pluto on December 15, 2013 at 6:59 pm

    “Michelle Obama glowered straight ahead, as stony and merciless…”

    What fluffy propaganda from the right. The photo below didn’t fit the conservative agenda to bash the President:

    https://twitter.com/KellyBrouse/status/410487536926994432/photo/1/large

    • Jim,MtnView,CA,USA on December 16, 2013 at 8:47 am

      This set of photos don’t fit the fluffy propaganda from the Left. But they are more interesting and humorous.
      No one is saying that the FLOTUS spent the entire time scowling.
      http://pjmedia.com/tatler/2013/12/10/photo-of-the-day-obamas-selfie-michelles-reaction/

      It is kind of eerie how the Secret Service apparently did no checking whatsoever to vet the people who would be close to the President. The competence displayed by the rollout of HealthCare.gov has spread throughout the gov’t it seems.
      http://washingtonexaminer.com/mandela-memorial-security-scandal-there-were-no-checks/article/2540725
      “Jantjie has in the past been charged with murder, attempted murder, rape, theft, housebreaking and kidnapping, according to the South Africa-focused news organization eNCA.com. Jantjie also suffers from schizophrenia “

      • Pluto on December 16, 2013 at 3:44 pm

        “No one is saying that the FLOTUS spent the entire time scowling.”

        And it appears to be important to you to hold onto the idea that she is “scowling” at a memorial service. Fluffy propaganda.

        “The competence displayed by the rollout of HealthCare.gov has spread throughout the gov’t it seems.”

        More fluffy propaganda.

        • Jim,MtnView,Ca,USA on December 16, 2013 at 7:22 pm

          Just curious, which do you consider to be evidence of government competence?
          a) HealthCare.gov
          b) Secret Service performance at Mandela funeral
          c) Snowden/NSA
          d) Economic recovery during the Obama term
          e) US space program compared to, say, China
          f) foreign policy successes in Libya, Syria, Iran, …
          g) other

          • Pluto on December 16, 2013 at 7:38 pm

            I love it when the right wingers on this website come up with their, “do you still beat your wife” style of questions.

            Shall we compare the US space program to China? Sure, get back to me when a Chinese space probe takes a photo of Saturn, photobombed by Earth:

            http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/news/newsreleases/newsrelease20040618/

            Google “Mars rover photos”, if you still are not convinced that the USA makes China look like Cub Scouts with respect to space.

            By the way, Jim, you can’t have it both ways; namely, drown the government in a bathtub AND have a robust space program.

          • Pluto on December 16, 2013 at 7:40 pm

            “d) Economic recovery during the Obama term”

            This one always makes me smile, because on this website alone in November 2008 the right wingers vowed to check out of the economy, choosing instead to buy gold, guns and ammo. Hilariously, one poster loudly announced his intention to begin tipping at 7.5%, in response to the Obama victory.

            And the GOP’s attitude still hasn’t changed, one bit.

          • Ken_phd on December 16, 2013 at 9:04 pm

            Pluto:

            It just keeps getting worse, doesn’t it? It’s a shame really. So much potential going to waste as a Yahoo board monitor.

            You really shouldn’t get upset over the comments directed at you. It was your decision to be here.

          • More of the same from Ken on December 16, 2013 at 9:33 pm

            Go get ‘em, Ken! That’ll show ‘em!

          • Jim,MtnView,CA,USA on December 17, 2013 at 7:48 am

            “By the way, Jim, you can’t have it both ways; namely, drown the government in a bathtub AND have a robust space program.”

            I think that is factually incorrect, leaving aside the straw man “drown the gov’t in a bathtub”. Consider these points:
            1) The gov’t had a robust space program back in the 60s. Gov’t was far less bloated than today. Is it not conceivable that we could reduce gov’t sharply yet have a robust gov’t space program? In some ways wouldn’t it be easier to have effective programs if the ineffective and wasteful ones were scaled back?
            2) There is an undeniable upsurge in private space programs. Sure, it’s early days, but it may well be possible to have a robust space program which is largely outside the gov’t sphere.

          • Jake on December 17, 2013 at 9:17 am

            Jim, you’re ignoring the fact that Republicans have been going after NASA for a very long time now, claiming to be a waste of government money. Even more so since NASA embraced climate science. The only Republican in recent memory to say anything positive was Newt with his moonbase idea.

          • Jim,MtnView,CA,USA on December 17, 2013 at 9:59 am

            No, I don’t think so.
            NASA is currently not a well-functioning agency in my view. They pay other countries to hitch a ride to space.
            The agency is involved with Muslim outreach. And as you say, other politically correct topics like global warming.
            Not nearly so much with space anymore.

            But I was responding to Pluto’s comment that a strong space program was not possible if gov’t was scaled back (what he called “drown the gov’t in a bathtub”).

            Plus, plenty of Dems have taken pot shots at NASA. Why spend money on tech when it could go to welfare programs?
            The lack of coherency in NASA is not (or at least not entirely) a Repub vs Dem issue. By the way, there are some Tea Party types who praise Obama’s approach to the space program. Example–
            http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2012/10/15/obama-spacex-nasa-capitalism/1632691/

            I still think FLOTUS has a world-class scowl, too.

          • Jake on December 17, 2013 at 11:20 am

            “They pay other countries to hitch a ride to space.”

            That’s kinda cause NASA retired the space shuttle fleet. The private sector is tasked with getting equipment and personnel up into orbit, while NASA focuses on deep space exploration and interplanetary adventures. With all the recent space-related activities from other countries, including China, NASA can safely say, “been there, done that”.

            “what [Pluto] called “drown the gov’t in a bathtub””

            Thats is not Pluto’s term. That has been the core of the Republican platform for a while now. NASA, and other science agencies, have been placed in crosshairs as a result. Especially when they start producing data that contradicts conservative ideology. Though, it’s kinda hard to drown anything in a bathtub when it has the whale-size bloat of defense spending.

            “I still think FLOTUS has a world-class scowl, too.”

            That she does. I love the looks she gives her husband when he unleashes super-cheesy jokes.

          • Pluto on December 17, 2013 at 6:37 pm

            From Jim: By the way, there are some Tea Party types who praise Obama’s approach to the space program. Example–

            Tea Part types and Obama praise SpaceX. Indeed, the article goes on to say, “But, in fact, capitalism works everywhere.”

            However, that capitalism relies heavily on a strong Federal government. Why? Because SpaceX, and its founder, Elon Musk, relied upon Fed subsidies. SpaceX relies heavily on government contracts; ie. taxpayers’ dollars. SpaceX relies heavily on the prior research, development and testing of NASA. Elon Musk’s other interests, Tesla and SolarCity, have also had government subsidies. And, by the way, Elon Musk is investing millions in combating global warming.

            I am all for private space companies, like SpaceX, but the idea that they are not tied to a strong Federal government is a boat that won’t float. Private companies need to make money, and therefore they will not pursue exploration; that remains the realm of NASA. Do you really think that a private company will journey to Mars without considerable help from taxpayers’ money?

            Jim, NASA’s budget in the early to mid 1960s was over twice what it is today, in terms of today’s dollars and percentage of the budget. You are asking for results, at half the cost. A strong NASA program needs to attract top scientists and engineers, and that requires money for salaries, benefits and pension. You can’t do that without yearly increases in the NASA budget; and certainly not with the GOP proposed NASA budget cuts.

        • Jim,MtnView,Ca,USA on December 17, 2013 at 7:21 pm

          Wait.
          How did this become a NASA thread?

          All we wanted to do was relax a bit and chat about the FLOTUS’ visage.
          And you’re all goin’ on about fluffy right wingers, and then start pontificating on the Repubs shutting down NASA.

          Sorry, I think our gov’t spends way too much. And spends it poorly. And can’t conceive of spending less, spending more wisely, cutting down graft, corruption, and reducing the programs which make people dependents instead of sturdy citizens.
          And I still think you’ll find plenty of Dems who want to cut spending on older White male engineers for technology and re-route those bucks for ObamaPhones and such.

          In the discussion of the size and scope of our government, its invasiveness into all aspects of our lives, NASA is small potatoes, way way down the list of priorities.

          • Pluto on December 17, 2013 at 8:43 pm

            And I still think you’ll find plenty of Dems who want to cut spending on older White male engineers for technology and re-route those bucks for ObamaPhones and such.

            Now, now, snark weakens your argument. That said, I do want to cut spending, how about we start with the defense budget, and for every 1 dollar cut, we shunt 20 cents of that to NASA, NIH and NSF.

            And that is not snark.

          • Pluto on December 17, 2013 at 8:53 pm

            How did this become a NASA thread?

            You will have to take that up with the fellow who posted:

            e) US space program compared to, say, China

          • Jim,MtnView,CA,USA on December 18, 2013 at 5:55 am

            But you still think it is only Repubs who have been “going after” NASA?
            You still consider Muslim outreach a good way for NASA to spend its tax dollars?

          • Pluto on December 18, 2013 at 1:52 pm

            But you still think it is only Repubs who have been “going after” NASA?

            Their NASA budgets are substantially less than the Dems; and so, yes. As I said, I would increase the NASA budget by two fold, with clear stated goals, and couple it with a huge push in science education in the school. Unfortunately, you have to spend money to make money; that is, if you don’t want to be chasing China in science.

            You still consider Muslim outreach a good way for NASA to spend its tax dollars?

            This is another of your “do you still beat your wife” nonsense questions. You have been reading way too much right wing bloggers.

  2. irony on December 17, 2013 at 5:30 am

    Says the one-trick pony troll who has performed the same tired schtick for years.

    You’ve never substantively engaged with someone like Ken and you never will–because you can’t.

    Prove us wrong. Make an argument. You won’t. It doesn’t matter since events are rapidly moving beyond your ability to spin. How much longer do you expect to last?

    • ^More of the same from the coward on December 17, 2013 at 3:45 pm

      “Irony” said, “Blah, blah, blah…”

      “Irony” is the coward who always hides behind pseudonyms.

      Dance, coward,dance!

    • Pluto on December 17, 2013 at 6:39 pm

      Prove us wrong. Make an argument.

      Sure. I’ll argue that you are absolutely unable to tell us what name you used to post under, and Ken is absolutely unable to tell us what he means by “phd”.

      • Jake on December 17, 2013 at 7:48 pm

        “Ken is absolutely unable to tell us what he means by “phd”.”

        I think I may have figured it out.

        phd does not represent some form of doctorate degree, but means pH d. D being the fourth letter in the alphabet, Ken is using a cutesy way of writing “pH 4″.

        Since it has been many moons since I took chemistry, I consulted the almighty wiki. According to the page, the only thing listed on the pH scale under “4″ is a lysosome. Further investigation reveals a lysosome to be “the cell’s waste disposal system”. We all know what a waste disposal system is comprised of.

        In conclusion:

        Ken_phd = Ken_full-of-shit

        • Pluto on December 17, 2013 at 8:47 pm

          In conclusion: Ken_phd = Ken_full-of-shit

          ^Ah, heck, you might have scared him off. Drive-by snark is Ken’s stock-in-trade, and he is kind of flighty. Too bad, too, because I soooo wanted to lose my argument above that I posed to Ken_phd and that sock puppet fellow.

          • Jake on December 17, 2013 at 9:05 pm

            Sorry, Pluto. Didn’t mean to overstep. I’m not much of a hunter, so I don’t do well with critters that spook easy.

  3. Jim,MtnView,CA,USA on December 17, 2013 at 8:02 am

    More fluffy right-wing propaganda! Check out the photo of VP Biden….naughty! To be fair, there was a photo of pro-Dem Repub Gov Christie a couple weeks back, but that seemed more like awkward posing, not unwanted attentions.
    http://dailycaller.com/2013/12/16/morning-bro-biden-shows-us-how-not-to-hold-a-female-reporter-while-posing-for-a-christmas-photo-video/

  4. Jim,MtnView,CA,USA on December 17, 2013 at 4:26 pm

    Yet more fluffy R/W propaganda.
    Inviting him(?) to Christmas in your home?
    https://twitter.com/BarackObama/status/413079861922508800/photo/1

    • Jim,MtnView,CA,USA on December 18, 2013 at 10:55 am

      Despite the big push to get people signed up for ObamaCare, Pres Obama himself is not yet signed up.
      Sure, he’s the president, he’s got important stuff to do that prevents him from doing it.
      Like, say, a 17 Hawaiian vacay?

      • Jim,MtnView,CA,USA on December 18, 2013 at 10:55 am

        * 17 day *

        • Mark on December 18, 2013 at 3:29 pm

          Only 17 days? The House has been on vacation for several years now.

          • Jim,MtnView,Ca,USA on December 18, 2013 at 10:01 pm

            If only.
            A little more inaction by those critters would have served us well.

          • Pluto on December 18, 2013 at 11:39 pm

            Jim, there’s a “ranch” in Crawford that I’d like to sell you, cheap.

            I think that the deal includes 16 head of steer, and a BIG cowboy hat.

  5. Ken_phd on December 17, 2013 at 5:39 pm

    Pluto:

    “Go get ‘em, Ken”

    Thanks. I am happy to do my part.

  6. Jim,MtnView,CA,USA on December 19, 2013 at 10:35 am

    Pluto: “[Repub] NASA budget [proposals] are substantially less than the Dems”.
    Hey, could you give me a set of 3 links to back this up:
    Repub proposal for NASA (House),
    Dem proposal (Senate), and
    Dem proposal (Pres)

    Not challenging your veracity, I’d honestly like to see the info.
    Thanks.

    • Pluto on December 19, 2013 at 3:27 pm

      Jim, if you google “Republican NASA budget” it will give you a lot to sink you teeth into.

      Here is a cut-and-paste from the top hit for the above query:

      “A NASA authorization bill drafted by the Republican majority of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology proposes to slash NASA’s funding to $16.6 billion for 2014 — $300 million less than it received in 2013, and $1.1 billion less than President Obama requested for NASA in 2014. The bill — which authorizes spending levels but provides no actual funding — would roll back NASA’s funding to a level $1.2 billion less than its 2012 budget.”

      Here is another link:

      http://www.cbsnews.com/news/draft-house-bill-threatens-1-billion-in-nasa-funding-cuts/

      • Jim,MtnView,CA,USA on December 20, 2013 at 8:13 am

        OK, thanks.
        The article seems to focus on the cancellation of a proposed asteroid retrieval mission, and quotes a couple of veteran NASA guys as agreeing that a strong case for that mission had not been made.
        It also says the proposed cuts fit with Pres Obama’s sequestration bill. Since the budget was not under control, the NASA cuts were pretty much automatic.
        Also, cut funding for earth programs including “improving gas and electric utilities forecasting and assessing the impact of sea levels rising”.

        Overall, the priorities seem correct to me, though the attempts at implementation are failing completely:
        Get gov’t spending under control before an expansion of spending on non-core items like space and science research.
        Focus NASA on its key space-related missions.

        By the way, this story is about an authorization bill. Not an appropriation bill.

        • Jake on December 20, 2013 at 9:27 am

          “By the way, this story is about an authorization bill. Not an appropriation bill.”

          Is this an intentional bait and switch?

          • Jim,MtnView,CA,USA on December 20, 2013 at 1:31 pm

            Is your “bait and switch” response an intentional bait and switch?

          • Gardenia on January 1, 2014 at 5:41 am

            It’s imareptive that more people make this exact point.

        • Pluto on December 20, 2013 at 2:10 pm

          Overall, the priorities seem correct to me…Get gov’t spending under control before an expansion of spending on non-core items like space and science research.

          I would have been surprised if you were to have said differently. In other words, you are fine with the idea that the collateral damage for the far right’s wish to drown the government in a bathtub includes giving up on the USA as the world leader in science. Flat-lining research budgets will have long-term, negative consequences. The idea that capitalism will magically fill the void is stunningly myopic.

          It is so very sad that the 1960s passion for science is gone from the right.

          By the way, this story is about an authorization bill. Not an appropriation bill.

          I don’t understand your point here, since the authorization bill exemplifies that the GOP is no longer interested in research at any level except perfecting the shooting down of missiles with lasers. It used to be that there was strong bi-partisan support for, say, medical research, because prostrate cancer is bi-partisan in afflicting the old boy politicians, but now the GOP thinks that research is not needed, they will be protected by their magical beliefs.

          • Jim,MtnView,CA,USA on December 20, 2013 at 4:08 pm

            Yes, I see a MUCH higher priority to getting gov’t spending under control. I don’t overlap so much with the GOP, but I support their occasional, very tentative and so far ineffective efforts to rein in spending.
            The collateral damage to gov’t science and other programs are regrettable in some cases. Not so much in others.
            The hunger for graft and corruption on the left, its refusal to cut any spending, its desire to put all our kids into debt bondage–those are far more of a danger than anything you accuse.

          • Pluto on December 20, 2013 at 4:24 pm

            The hunger for graft and corruption on the left

            Right wing myth.

            its refusal to cut any spending

            Right wing myth.

            its desire to put all our kids into debt bondage

            Right wing myth.

            Yes, I see a MUCH higher priority to getting gov’t spending under control.

            This wasn’t much of a priority during the Reagan or Bush years. It became a priority beginning in Jan 2009, when the disenfranchised right needed a symbol, a yellow ribbon around its oak tree, so to speak, in order to justify, to unify, their all-consuming dislike of that far right-created caricature of Obama.

          • Jim,MtnView,Ca,USA on December 21, 2013 at 9:34 am

            “Right wing myth.
            Right wing myth.
            Right wing myth.”
            Not at all.

            “Reagan [] Bush years”
            Yawn. Reagan of course had a completely Dem Congress to work with. Bush (both of them) were weak on spending, and W seems to have believed that he should allow Congress to decide on spending while he performed executive duties.

            Spending needs to come down. Period.

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