Posted tagged ‘government’


August 29, 2022

clearance-01This morning I found an article on the Washington Post that claims 5.1 million Americans have security clearances, which amounts to 1.5% of the population.  It occurs to me that is why so many people seem to think that a former president taking huge amounts of classified material to his home is OK.   They’ve never seen what ordinary Americans who work with security clearances have to do every day to work with sensitive information.  I have worked for 60 years on defense systems, mostly sensor systems that keep track of the vessels and vehicles of countries that might mean us harm.   I have held clearances at most of the levels mentioned in the affidavit justifying the search of Mira Lago … Confidential, Secret, Top Secret and special access.  At each step, I was trained in the rules for handling classified documents at that level.  I had a safe in my office where I kept any classified documents in my possession. (more…)

Tax Day

March 26, 2018

taxes1It is Tax Day.  Don’t panic, please … Tax Day for me hasn’t been April 15 for many years, since I began having my taxes done by a professional tax accountant.   For most of my years working for Big Industry, I did my own taxes.  I would postpone filing as long as possible, then scramble to collect all the necessary records, re-remember from last what went on what line and hold my breath as I looked up the tax due in the Tax Tables.  That usually happened on April 14.  Since I started my own business and hired an accountant to do the dirty work, Tax Day has been the day of my appointment with Taxman Bob.   I gather up all my paperwork and fill out the tax organizer that Bob provides, them spend about an hour in his office as he looks through what I’ve provide, making sure nothing is missing or incorrect.  He checks to see that I’ve paid my estimated taxes (in the amounts he calculated the previous year to assure there will be no penalty) and makes sure I haven’t neglected any deductions.   Then we’re done.  Within a few days, he will call with the bad news.   It’s always bad news because I pay estimated taxes, so, at a minimum, I will owe the first estimated tax payment minus any return I might have coming.   It can be a substantial chunk of change. (more…)

Bureaucracy and Bundles

February 21, 2013

paperworkI have worked for companies that worked for the government all of my life.  When I would sit in meeting and the subjects of contracting and accounting came up, I would mostly tune out.  But even in my tuned-out state, I learned that there was a great deal of bureaucracy and red tape involve in being a government contractor.  But practically speaking, I handed in my time card on Friday mornings and got a check on Friday afternoon.  Yes, I occasionally had to listen to a presentation about special provisions of a contract and I did have to maintain a security clearance but that was about the extent of it.  When I started a small consulting firm with a colleague in 1999, we mostly subcontracted to other companies who were government contractors, which involved a bit more paperwork but it was no big deal.   Then we won a job directly from a Navy agency, so that the contract had to be conducted under the watchful eyes of the U.S. government.   The financial and contractual parts of that job were as distasteful as anything I’ve encountered in my career, and, although we made a fair amount of money, I vowed, Never again. (more…)

Splitting First Amendment Hairs

July 18, 2010

My father, who passed away last week, was inclined to teach us by his actions or through stories about his experiences but one message he stated clearly was this: When anyone tells you about something they’ve read, be sure to read it yourself so you know what was really said.  So before joining WordPress’ initiative to raise awareness of the First Amendment through 1 for All, I spent some time looking around the 1 for All site.   1 for All is very much what I expected and every bit something I will support, but a quote from LL Cool J that appeared at the top of each page puzzled me:  This is our country, and you know, our country has a lot of diversity.  It has a lot of different people in it with a lot of different ideas.  And those ideas deserved to be heard.  All of them. (more…)