Bad Employment News
links for 2007-12-08

Paul Krugman Is a Bit... Shrill

Paul Krugman points us to a difference between Darth Vader and Dick Cheney:

Back when Hillary Clinton described Dick Cheney as Darth Vader, a number of people pointed out that this was an unfair comparison. For example, Darth Vader once served in the military. Here’s another reason the comparison is invalid...

Darth Vader:

Return of the Jedi: The DEATH STAR COMMANDER, MOFF JERJERROD, a tall, confident technocrat, strides through the assembled troops to the base of the shuttle ramp. The troops snap to attention; many are uneasy about the new arrival. But the Death Star commander stands arrogantly tall.

The exit hatch of the shuttle opens with a WHOOSH, revealing only darkness. Then, heavy FOOTSTEPS AND MECHANICAL BREATHING. From this black void appears DARTH VADER, LORD OF THE SITH. Vader looks over the assemblage as he walks down the ramp.

JERJERROD Lord Vader, this is an unexpected pleasure. We're honored by your presence.

VADER You may dispense with the pleasantries, Commander. I'm here to put you back on schedule.

The commander turns ashen and begins to shake.

JERJERROD I assure you, Lord Vader, my men are working as fast as they can.

VADER Perhaps I can find new ways to motivate them.

JERJERROD I tell you, this station will be operational as planned.

VADER The Emperor does not share your optimistic appraisal of the situation.

JERJERROD But he asks the impossible. I need more men.

VADER Then perhaps you can tell him when he arrives.

JERJERROD (aghast) The Emperor's coming here?

VADER That is correct, Commander. And he is most displeased with your apparent lack of progress.

JERJERROD We shall double our efforts.

VADER I hope so, Commander, for your sake. The Emperor is not as forgiving as I am.

Richard Cheney:

McClatchy | Warren Strobel: WASHINGTON — A State Department project manager banished from Iraq by the U.S. ambassador and under scrutiny by the Justice Department continues to oversee the construction of the much-delayed new American embassy in Baghdad from nearby Kuwait, State Department officials disclosed Thursday. James L. Golden, a contract employee, is still managing the $740 million project, said Undersecretary of State Patrick Kennedy, the department's top management official. "Mr. Golden is still . . . our project manager, and still is working with the contractor, at their base in Kuwait," Kennedy said.

One State Department official with detailed knowledge of the unopened embassy expressed outrage that his superiors haven't replaced Golden. "I find it absolutely amazing that State senior management doesn't seem to think it a trifle odd that two people under investigation . . . are still making all the management decisions under this same contract," the official said in an e-mail. The official asked for anonymity because he feared retaliation by his superiors. Golden and the Baghdad-based embassy construction coordinator, Mary French, have been implicated in a Justice Department criminal investigation into how embassy construction subcontracts were issued, according to current and former U.S. officials and congressional testimony. Neither Golden nor French has been charged with any wrongdoing.

Construction and safety problems have plagued the Baghdad embassy, originally scheduled to open in September. Kennedy and other top department officials have declined to provide a firm date for when it will be ready to house nearly 1,000 U.S. diplomats and staff. Kuwaiti-based First Kuwaiti General Trading and Contracting Co. is constructing the embassy, which will be the largest American embassy in the world once it's completed. Department officials defended the decision to leave Golden in place, saying it was necessary to provide continuity on the project. The department is working to overcome construction flaws that range from questions about the strength of blast walls to a fire-suppression system that failed inspection.

U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker banished Golden from Iraq after an incident last May in which a mortar round damaged a wall at the new embassy that was supposed to be blast resistant. Golden, along with First Kuwaiti, attempted to repair the damage before an investigation could be conducted, U.S. officials said...